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Grand Swiss: Firouzja Back In the Lead Before the Final Round

Alireza Firouzja, an 18-year old chess prodigy who was a sole leader for most of the Grand Swiss, an important tournament held by the International Chess Federation, managed to regain the lead by beating David Howell, a UK GM. He is now half point ahead of his closest rival, Fabiano Caruana.

Photo: Anna Shtourman, FIDE

FIDE Grand Swiss is a recent addition to the World Chess Championship cycle. It’s a large Swiss event to select two players for the next Candidates tournament. The winner of that tournament will become the challenger for the next World Chess Championship Match, likely to be held in March of 2023. There are 108 players in the Grand Swiss Open section.

In Round 10, Firouzja faced David Howell, a seasoned UK grandmaster and a close associate of Magnus Carlsen. Howell was on a phenomenal winning streak, winning his last four games. Both players chose a complicated opening which Howell knew well from his commentator role on Carlsen’s recent games.

On Move 31, Firouzja missed a very dangerous move. He found the move and blocked the rook (31… Qc6, 32. Bc3…), but was in shock, according to the interview he gave after the game. Following this dangerous episode, Firouzja maintained a steady lead and kept pressing Howell, who resided on Move 57.

The final round begins at 2PM Local time and can be followed on World Chess.

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