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Updated January 21st, 2024 at 19:33 IST

Tata Steel Masters: Gukesh outplays Max Warmerdam, moves to joint lead

With this result, Gukesh took his tally to 4.5 points out of a possible seven and now shares the lead alongside Nodirbek Abdusattarov of Uzbekistan and overnight sole leader Anish Giri of Netherlands.

D Gukesh
D Gukesh | Image:International Chess Federation
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Indian GM D Gukesh overwhelmed Dutch player Max Warmerdam for his third victory on the trot and elevated himself to a joint lead after the seventh round of the Tata Steel Masters Chess tournament here on Sunday.

With this result, Gukesh took his tally to 4.5 points out of a possible seven and now shares the lead alongside Nodirbek Abdusattarov of Uzbekistan and overnight sole leader Anish Giri of Netherlands.

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The beginning of the second half also brought cheers in the Vidit Gujrathi camp as he scored his first win in the tournament at the expense of Firouza Alireza of France.

The victory helped Gujrathi move to joint fourth spot on four points along with compatriot R Praggnanandhaa and Alireza.

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Praggnanadhaa played out a draw with Jorden Van Foreest of hosts, but Giri suffered a rare defeat at the hands of Abdusattarov.

Gukesh was surprised early in the opening if his clock was any indication. Warmerdam had come fully prepared in a Tarrasch defence in black as he blitzed the first thirty moves.

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To Gukesh’s credit, he kept on trying to find the best resources even though the computers suggested that the resulting endgame with rooks and knights was just about equal.

Soon Warderman erred and ended up a pawn less in what was still a complicated endgame.

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However, by this time, Gukesh had fully recovered and moves flowed showing some immaculate technique. It took 66 moves for a very satisfying victory.

Coming to the seventh round, Gujrathi had said his draws were obviously not part of the plan.

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In the game against Alireza he took all the chances with white pieces.

Starting with the king pawn, Gujrathi faced the Sicilian Defence and Alireza sacrificed a piece early to initiate an attack against the white king.

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As it turned out, it was not enough compensation for the sacrificed material as Gujrathi found a few correct moves to steer his king to safety. It was all over in 42 moves.

Praggnanadhaa could not make much use of his white pieces against Foreest out of a standard Queen’s gambit declined as the latter was well-prepared.

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It was still a middle game when the players decided to sign peace.

In the challengers’ section, Leon Luke Mendonca improved his chances while defeating Stefan Beukema of Belgium while Divya Deshmukh scored over Liam Vrolijk of Netherlands.

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The other Indian, D Harika played out a draw with Anton Korobov of Ukraine.

Masters Results (Round 7, Indians unless stated): Vidit Gujrathi (4) beat Firouzja, Alireza (Fra, 4); Wei Yi (Chn, 3.5) drew with Ding Liren (Chn, 3.5); Nodirbek Abdusattorov (4.5) beat Anish Giri (Ned, 4.5); Parham Maghsoodloo (Iri, 2) drew with Ian Nepomniachtchi (Rus, 3.5); R Praggnanandhaa (4) drew with Jorden Van Foreest (Ned, 2.5); D Gukesh (4.5) beat Max Warmerdam (Ned, 3.5); Alexander Donchenko (Slo, 2) drew with Ju Wenjun (Chn 3).

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Challengers: Divya Deshmukh (2.5) beat Vrolijk Liam (Ned, 3); Leon Luke Mendonca (4) beat Stefan Beukema (Bel, 2); D Harika (3) drew with Anton Korobov (Ukr, 4.5); Erwin L’Ami (Ned, 4.5) lost to Jaime Santos Latasa (Esp, 4); Daniel Dardha (Bel, 3.5) drew with Hans Moke Niemann (Usa, 3.5); Marc Andria Maurizzi (Fra, 4.5) drew with Mustafa Yilmaz (Tur, 3) Eline Roebers (Ned, 2) lost to A.R. Saleh Salem (UAE, 5). PTI Corr UNG

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Published January 21st, 2024 at 19:32 IST

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