Gukesh falls to Firouzja in a tense showdown, relinquishing the top spot to Nepomniachtchi, who now reigns supreme! Meanwhile, Tan masterfully thwarts Goryachkina’s advances, holding on tight to her well-deserved lead.ย ๐Ÿ†๐Ÿ”ฅ

At the halfway mark, the tournament is ablaze with action!ย ๐ŸŒŸย In the Open section, Nepomniachtchi has seized the spotlight after a solid draw against Nakamura, making him the undisputed leader. Meanwhile, Firouzja’s dynamic play toppled Gukesh, leaving him tied with Vidit for the most decisive games โ€“ a thrilling four!ย ๐Ÿ’ฅย Over in the Women’s section, Lei’s unstoppable momentum continues, while Tan held her ground against Goryachkina to maintain her lead.ย ๐Ÿ†ย As the players gear up for a well-deserved rest day, anticipation brews for the tournament’s second half. Can the frontrunners hold their ground and finish what they’ve started? The stage is set for even more excitement!ย ๐ŸŽ‰

In the thrilling arena of the Candidates tournament, the players aren’t content with mere draws โ€“ they’re hungry for victories! Round 7 clashes showcased the tenacity of Firouzja and Abasov, who refused to back down despite their shaky start. Abasov even managed to rattle Vidit, while Firouzja stunned Gukesh in a dramatic showdown.

But it’s the daring spirit of the Petrov Defence that stole the spotlight. Nakamura, with a thirst for victory, plunged into a chaotic Petrov variation against Nepomniachtchi. It was a whirlwind of tactics, with Nakamura’s queen stranded on a8, yet somehow, amidst the chaos, he gained material. The position teetered on the edge, with Stockfish even nodding in approval with a “+1”. But seizing the advantage was like navigating a labyrinth. In a bold move, Nakamura sacrificed his queen, leaving him with a curious concoction of pieces. A rook, knight, and bishop against a queen โ€“ usually a recipe for success, but not in this labyrinth of a board. The pieces danced, but coordination eluded them, and the active queen posed a constant threat. In the end, the battle ended in a logical stalemate!ย ๐Ÿดโ€โ˜ ๐Ÿ”ฅ

Commentators couldn’t contain their excitement as Firouzja dared to conquer with the London today!ย ๐ŸŽ‰ย Gukesh initiated a bold strategy, targeting the London’s vulnerable b2-pawn early on with a daring Qb6 move. Firouzja, however, infused the game with intrigue by unleashing Rh3, elevating the rook to dynamic heights, and orchestrating an unconventional castle, reminiscent of AlphaZero/Leela’s audacity. The rook’s odyssey culminated in a menacing gaze toward Black’s monarch from g3. Despite sacrificing pawns and enduring moments of disadvantage, Firouzja’s resilience shone through. Gukesh, perhaps failing to seize optimal opportunities, embarked on a dazzling knight sacrifice, amassing a trove of pawns in exchange for the valiant piece. While Firouzja’s king danced on shaky ground and Black’s defenses appeared stout, the impending endgame did not spell doom for the Iranian prodigy. In a nail-biting climax amid time scarcity, Gukesh stumbled, permitting a pivotal knight invasion by Firouzja, culminating in an abrupt, dramatic conclusion.ย ๐Ÿ”ฅ

Praggnanandhaa is really shaking things up in the chess world!ย ๐ŸŒŸย From daring knight sacrifices in the Petrov to unleashing the Schliemann against the Ruy Lopez, and now delving into the French Defense โ€“ he’s keeping everyone on their toes!ย ๐Ÿ’ฅย While the French Defense may not be as common among top players nowadays, it still holds its own, occasionally making a stylish comeback. It’s worth noting that three heavyweights โ€“ Nepomniachtchi, Firouzja, and Caruana โ€“ are also fans of the French. When Caruana opted for the Advance variation rather than diving into the deep end of theory with the Winawer or Steinitz lines, it was evident he wanted to keep things solid. Although White enjoyed a slight edge in the typical Advance French fashion, Caruana’s decision to trade bishops on move 17 dashed any hopes for a significant advantage. Nevertheless, the position remained balanced, leading to a hard-fought draw on move 41.ย ๐Ÿ†

In stark contrast to Caruana’s steady performance, Vidit’s game was a rollercoaster ride of instability!ย ๐Ÿ˜ฎย From a familiar Exchange Ruy Lopez line, Abasov skillfully maintained a dynamic grip on the position, despite the looming threat of a potential pawn target on f6, reminiscent of his match against Caruana.ย ๐Ÿค”ย However, the winds of fortune shifted swiftly, with Vidit seizing the initiative after Abasov opted for a passive knight retreat.ย ๐Ÿ‡ย Yet, capitalizing on this advantage proved elusive, and the game ultimately fizzled out into a stalemate.ย ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™‚

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