John Saunders reports: Round six of the 2020 Gibraltar Masters took place on Sunday 26 January 2020 at the Caleta Hotel, and the tournament once again has a sole leader in the shape of 17-year-old Russian GM Andrey Esipenko, who defeated and displaced the Ivan Cheparinov (Georgia) who has led from the start. Esipenko now has 5½/6 but has opted to sit out the seventh round and take a half-point while his rivals attempt to catch in Monday’s round eight.
The biggest shock of the round was the defeat of former world champion veselin Topalov (Bulgaria) by 14-year-old Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa (India) who is now half a point behind the leader on 5, having won five straight games since himself being the victim of a shock defeat in the first round. Six other players are on 5/6: Mikhail Antipov (Russia), Wang Hao (China, who took a half-point bye in round six), Parham Maghsoodloo (Iran), David Paravyan (Russia), Mikhail Kobalia (Russia, who is also taking a half-point bye in round seven) and Alan Pichot (Argentina). The leading scorer in the race for the top women’s prize is Bela Khotenashvili (Georgia) who is on 4½ after winning a game with the sneakiest trick you could ever wish to see (and hope not to see played against you).