After two rounds, Ding Liren and Hou Yifan of China are tied for the lead of the second Grand Prix tournament.
Hou Yifan and Ding Liren, the two Chinese players in the Moscow Grand Prix, are tied for the lead after two rounds. While Hou drew in Round 2 with Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France, Ding beat Ernesto Inarkiev of Russia to catch up to his compatriot.
There was one other decisive game as Ian Nepomniachtchi of Russia bounced back from his Round 1 loss to Hou to beat Jon Ludvig Hammer of Norway.
The Moscow Grand Prix is the second of four in the series. Each tournament has a prize fund of 130,000 euros. The Moscow tournament is being held in the Telegraph building in central Moscow, a landmark building that is steps from the Kremlin. The Telegraph was also the site of the 2016 Candidates tournament.
The top two finishers in the Grand Prix will qualify for the Candidates tournament next year to select a challenger for the World Championship.
Twenty-four of the top players in the world are competing in the Grand Prix, with 18 playing in each Grand Prix. (Each player competes in three of the four tournaments.)
The Grand Prix is organized by Agon Limited, the commercial partner of the World Chess Federation, the game’s governing body. Agon has the exclusive commercial rights to organize the cycle of the World Championship.
The Grand Prix is sponsored by Kaspersky Lab, the global cybersecurity company, PhosAgro, a giant Russian fertilizer company, and EG Capital Advisors, a global financial management company.
Though three of the seven games that were drawn in Round 2 were hard-fought, four were short and uninspired – three ended in less than 20 moves. Though such risk-averse play may be understandable given the high stakes, it is not exciting for the fans. The player who has best exemplified this trend is Alexander Grischuk of Russia, who drew his first game against Salem Saleh of the United Arab Emirates in 11 moves, and his second against Evgeny Tomashevsky, a compatriot, in 15 moves.
On the other end of the spectrum, Pentala Harikrishna of India has really worked hard. His first game against Hammer went 92 moves, and his second draw, against Francisco Vallejo Pons of Spain, was 82 moves.