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Chess: Russian duo lead world Grand Prix as race to take on Carlsen heats up

Ian Nepomniachtchi and Alexander Grischuk well placed to become candidates to take on Magnus Carlsen in 2020

Moscow’s iconic Central Club was the epicentre of the Soviet chess empire in the golden decades, when USSR grandmasters defeated all rivals and the country produced a stream of world champions from Mikhail Botvinnik to Garry Kasparov.

The club staircase is still decorated with photos of the old legends, so in choosing it as the venue for the first leg of the Fide Grand Prix, the opening round in a series of events which will decide Magnus Carlsen’s 2020 title challenger, the organisers reckoned to inspire Russia’s seven contenders in Moscow.

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