Bulgarian Nurgyul Salimova Faces 2nd Consecutive Loss at World Chess Candidates Tournament

Bulgarian chess prodigy Nurgyul Salimova faced another setback in her journey at the World Chess Candidates Tournament 2024 in Toronto, marking her second consecutive loss and fourth overall in the competition.

In the 11th round of play, Salimova, playing with the black pieces, succumbed to defeat against Indian veteran Humpi Konery after a grueling match that spanned over five hours and 90 moves.

Despite her previous victory against Koneru in the tournament, Salimova struggled to apply pressure on her more experienced opponent this time around.

From the outset, Koneru demonstrated superiority with the white pieces, steadily consolidating her advantage as the game unfolded, despite having only a marginal material advantage with one extra pawn. Despite Salimova's valiant efforts to salvage a draw, Koneru's strategic placement of the crucial pawn on the h-file ultimately sealed her victory.

With this loss, the 20-year-old Salimova finds herself in eighth place in the tournament standings, with a total of 4 points. Meanwhile, India's Vaishali Rameshbabu, who was previously at the bottom of the rankings, secured a surprising victory over Russia's Aleksandra Goryachkina, propelling her to 4.5 points. Rameshbabu now shares the same score with Ukraine's Anna Muzychuk, who drew her match against China's Lei Tingjie.

In another notable match of the round, China's Tan Zhongyi clinched victory over Russia's Kateryna Lagno, reclaiming the top spot in the standings with an impressive 7.5 points. Lei Tingjie follows closely behind in second place with 7 points, while Koneru, Goryachkina, and Lagno are tied for third place with 5.5 points each.

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