One-hit Awonder? American tops the charts in Gelfand Challenge

The US star went straight in at No.1 with a perfect 5/5 as the second Julius Baer Challengers Chess Tour event got under way

American prodigy Awonder Liang is top of the charts in the Gelfand Challenge after a pitch-perfect performance on day one.

The 14-year-old from Wisconsin had a storming start in second event of the $100,000 Julius Baer Challengers Chess Tour.

Awonder Liang in action

Awonder’s victims included the Tour leader and hot favourite Praggnanandhaa, Russia’s two-time World Girl’s champ Polina Shuvalova and the newest Grandmaster in the field, Zhansaya Abdumalik.

One point behind in the 20-strong field is 16-year-old Uzbek prodigy Nodirbek Abdusattorov.

The final standings

Tied on 3.5 points is Azerbaijan’s Gunay Mammadzada and the German wunderkind Vincent Keymer.

In the team challenge, Team Polgar edged ahead of Team Kramnik with 26 points to 24.

It was a day of fighting chess with three draws in the final round being the most of any round.

Boris Gelfand, the Israeli chess legend the event is named after, said: “Really great day for Awaonder, good day for Nodirbek and a good day for Vincent and Gunay.”

He added: “It’s just the first day, there are three more days and a lot of tricks will happen.”

Play will resume on Day 2 at 15:00 CEST.

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