Wang Hao stunned fellow-Chinese Ding Liren in the opening round of the Candidates Chess tournament. Liren was playing with white pieces.

The day’s only other decisive result also went in favour of black, as Anish Giri of the Netherlands went down to Ian Nepomniachtchi of host Russia.

On the top board, France’s Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, who is here only because Teimour Radjabov of Azerbaijan pulled out after his request to postpone the tournament in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak was turned by world chess governing body FIDE, held firm favourite Fabiano Caruana of the United States to a draw.

Also read: Caruana favoured to come out on top

The game between the two Russians, Alexander Grischuk and Kirill Alekseenko, was also drawn.

The tournament is played on a double round-robin basis (the participants will play each other twice). The winner will be eligible to challenge World champion Magnus Carlsen later in the year.

Thirteen rounds remain.

The results (first round): Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (Fra) 0.5 drew with Fabiano Caruana (US) 0.5; Ding Liren (Chn) 0 lost to Wang Hao (Chn) 1; Anish Giri (Ned) 0 lost to Ian Nepomniachtchi (Rus) 1; Alexander Grischuk (Rus) 0.5 drew with Kirill Alekseenko (Rus) 0.5.

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