Ian Nepomniachtchi extended his lead at the top of the FIDE Chess Candidates 2020 to a full point ahead of the second rest day when he defeated China’s Ding Liren in the sixth round at Yekaterinburg.
The Russian, who had defeated China’s Wang Hao in the earlier round, looked better prepared than one of the pre-tournament favourite Ding in the sixth round clash. The Chinese did have his chances of eking out a draw in the middle game but failed to capitalise and resigned after 40 moves to all but end his hopes of facing Magnus Carlsen in the world championship match.
Nepomniachtchi now has 4.5 points from a possible six while Frenchman Maxime Vachier-Lagrave is a point behind at 3.5 after holding Hao to a draw in a game that lasted 83 moves.
But the longest game of the day between Anish Giri and Russian wild-card Kirill Alekseenko saw the former register his first win of the tournament in 98 moves and jump to joint third position with Fabiano Caruana, Wang Hao and Alexander Grischuk on three points.
In the fourth game of the day, Caruana was held to a draw by the experienced Grischuk, who has split points in all his six games so far.