2021 Grand Swiss, Round 8

 A half-point lead has become a full-point lead. Firouzja's convincing round 8 win against Sasikiran took him to 6½ points, while Vachier-Lagrave and Shirov could only draw on board 2 to take them into joint second on 5½.

They were joined in that scoregroup by eight people who had had 4½/7 and won. Wins for Caruana, Vitiugov, Korobov and Predke were no surprises, but the other four - Howell, Oparin, Anton Guijarro and Sevian - all defeated higher-rated opposition.

It now seems very likely - although not certain - that the two qualifiers will be Firouzja and one of those ten players (Vachier-Lagrave, who has already played Firouzja, probably looking best placed of the ten), with most if not all of the six Grand Prix qualifiers also coming from those ten.

The top board pairing for round 9 is Caruana - Firouzja, and it promises to be an exciting occasion.


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