Salimova's Challenge: Bulgarian Chess Prodigy Falls to Russian Rival Goryachkina

Bulgaria's Nurgyul Salimova faced defeat against Russian Alexandra Goryachkina in the sixth round of the Candidates Tournament for the World Chess Title held in Toronto. The loss marked Salimova's second in the tournament, leaving her with 2.5 points and securing her fifth place in the rankings.

The intense battle, spanning nearly five hours, marked the first classic chess encounter between Salimova and Goryachkina since the World Cup final last August, which saw Goryachkina clinch victory after a dramatic tiebreak.

Beginning with a Catalan opening, Salimova found herself in a challenging position early on. Despite remaining close to Goryachkina in material, Salimova struggled to formulate a clear attacking strategy, allowing the seasoned and higher-rated Russian to assert dominance over the board.

In an attempt to shift the tide, Salimova opted to sacrifice a pawn on the 27th move. Though initially not seized upon by Goryachkina, the Russian, ranked third in the world, maintained control of the game.

As the match progressed, Salimova's options dwindled, compounded by time pressure. Ultimately, on the 60th move, she conceded defeat. Goryachkina's strength in the endgame and Salimova's time constraints sealed the outcome, forcing Salimova to acknowledge the victory of one of the tournament favorites.

In the upcoming seventh round, concluding the initial rotation of the tournament, Salimova will face off against another Russian contender, Kateryna Lagno, with the black pieces. Lagno, recording her first win in the sixth round, triumphed over Vaishali Rameshbabu of India.

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