A hat-trick of wins for Nepomniachtchi!

A crushing victory with Black saw the young Russian whizz-kid dispose of the experienced Nigel Short with some delightful tactical blows. A good result in Havana will take Ian Nepomniachtchi into the 2700-club and, on the basis of this display, deservedly so.
A truly wonderful game, which can be found with our exclusive annotations (for subscribers) in the Game of the Week section!

Nigel Short chose an unusual move order which led the game into a Sicilian Dragon with White playing f4. White's development then seemed normal enough, but the Russian found a way to shake up the queenside with a temporary piece sacrifice. With Short trying to hold his various weaknesses together, Nepomniachtchi then smashed through on the kingside with a series of elegant blows.

WhiteRatingCountryResultBlackCountryRatingNo. MovesOpening
Lazaro Bruzon Batista2668CUB0.5-0.5Evgeny Alekseev2700RUS13Queen's Indian Defence
Vassily Ivanchuk2741UKR0.5-0.5Leinier Dominguez Perez2713CUB33Grünfeld Defence
Ian Nepomniachtchi2695RUS1-0Nigel Short2685ENG28Sicilian Dragon

Dominguez was able to steer the game away from the main theoretical lines and all Ivanchuk could obtain was a slight advantage in development. However with a symmetrical structure and no weaknesses the Cuban was able to gradually nullify White's nominal advantage.

Bruzon-Alekseev was another quick draw which suggests that these two players prefer to avoid losing any more games rather than seeking their maiden victories.

PositionNameCountryOfficial RatingHighest ever RatingVirtual Rating before HavanaWorld rankingAgePoints after 7 rounds
1stVassily IvanchukUKR27412787272612415.5
2ndIan NepomniachtchiRUS2695Actual269542195
3rd-4thLeinier Dominguez PerezCUB27132721271328264
3rd-4thNigel ShortENG26852712268348454
5thLazaro Bruzon BatistaCUB26682677266863283
6thEvgeny AlekseevRUS27002725271137292.5

Only half-a-point separates the leaders with Nepomniachtchi coming up fast. He has to play Dominguez and Ivanchuk in his remaining games, so the race for first place is definitely hotting-up.

Although one gets used to it (to some extent!), his name is still something of a mouthful, so I was wondering if he is known by a dimunitive such as 'Nepi'? Just a thought!

More information in Spanish from the

Official site

Bruzon: lacking inspiration @ chessbase
Alekseev: involved in damage limitation! @ chessdom

Published on , Updated on