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Chess: Candidates stopped at midway point after Russia suspends air traffic

France’s Maxime Vachier-Lagrave led after seven of the planned 14 rounds, as global body Fide plans a later resumption with points already scored still counting

The world championship Candidates in Ekaterinburg was abruptly stopped on Thursday morning, with seven of 14 rounds played, after the Russian government announced that international air traffic would be suspended from Friday. Fide, the global chess body, planned a charter flight to Amsterdam enabling the Chinese, Dutch, French, and US grandmasters plus their aides and tournament officials to leave before the deadline.

Fide’s intention is to complete the tournament later this year, still in Russia and with points already scored counting, so that its winner, the official challenger for Magnus Carlsen’s crown, can play the Norwegian in Dubai in December. Whether coronavirus will permit this schedule remains to be seen.

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