Russia’s Ian Nepomniachtchi got the better of China’s Wang Hao to take sole lead after the fifth round of the Fide Chess Candidates 2020 tournament in Yekaterinburg, Russia, on Sunday.

Nepomniachtchi, who shared the overnight lead with Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Hao, successfully negotiated his Chinese opponent’s Petrov Defence and then made enough inroads with his queen to clinch full point after 43 moves.

The Russian was the only player to register a win in the fifth round as Fabiano Caruana, playing black, managed to escape with a draw against Anish Giri, while Vachier-Lagrave and Kirill Alekseenko split points in a double-edged Najdorf Sicilian game. On the last board, Ding Liren and Alexander Grischuk also shared a point in a Ruy Lopez game.

Giri should have won the game against Caruana after surprising the American with an innovative opening choice and the latter had to dig deep to stay alive in the game. However, the Dutchman always had the upper hand but failed to convert that advantage into victory.

Standings after round five

Rank Name Rating Points
1 Nepomniachtchi,I 2774 3.5
2 Vachier-Lagrave,M 2767 3.0
3 Grischuk,A 2777 2.5
4 Caruana,F 2842 2.5
5 Wang,H 2762 2.5
6 Alekseenko,K 2704 2.0
7 Ding,L 2805 2.0
8 Giri,A 2763 2.0