Qatar Masters Round 5: Gukesh, Giri Beaten; Narayanan In Sole Lead (2024)

GM Narayanan Sunilduth Lyna is the first sole leader of the 2023 Qatar Masters after beating world number-eight Gukesh Dommaraju to move to 4.5/5. No fewer than 12 players are half a point back, including GM Hikaru Nakamura, and IM Vaishali R, who beat a strong grandmaster to post a stunning 2773 rating performance so far. GM Magnus Carlsen won a third game with the white pieces, while GM Anish Giri paid a high price for a single mistake against IM Rudik Makarian.

Round six, after a rest day, starts on October 17 at 8:15 a.m. ET/14:15 CEST/5:45 p.m. IST.

How to watch?
You can watch the 2023 Qatar Masters on the Qatar Chess Association YouTube: and on Hikaru Nakamura's Kick channel: Games from the event can be viewed on our events page.

The live broadcast was hosted by IM Irine Sukandar, IM Jovanka Houska, and GM Evgenij Miroshnichenko.

Qatar continues to be a tough place for favorites, with the world numbers seven and eight—Giri and Gukesh—the latest to stumble. For Giri it was all down to one move, 34...Qa7?, which suddenly allowed 35.d5! to break open the black position. In what followed,19-year-old IM Makarian was merciless.

Gukesh's downfall, meanwhile, was critical to the tournament standings. We were heading for a 14-way tie for first place until 107-point-lower-rated fellow Indian Narayanan won a fine game to take the sole lead. He had the white pieces and soon took control.

Narayanan has Gukesh on the ropes! #QatarMasters2023

— (@chess24com) October 15, 2023

Gukesh would later pounce on a chance to fight back and was tantalizingly close to a draw, but in a queen endgame, he couldn't find the narrow path to hold and lost in 58 moves.

Qatar Masters Round 5: Gukesh, Giri Beaten; Narayanan In Sole Lead (1)

Not all the favorites struggled. Top seed Carlsen kept his hopes alive with a third win in a row with the white pieces, this time taking down 15-year-old Indian GM Bharath Subramaniyam. Carlsen thought his opponent's decision to put knights on the rim on h5 and a5 made it "very hard to imagine that Black is ok."

Carlsen did, however, confess to one shaky moment in what should have been a smooth win.

Magnus still rusty? 30.Rxg7+! was crushing here, but, with 50 minutes extra on the clock, the world no. 1 went for 30.Qd5, when 30...Qd3! would at least have prolonged the game, though it would be very unlikely to alter the outcome of the game#QatarMasters2023

— (@chess24com) October 15, 2023

Carlsen commented:

I’d missed this idea he had of 29...Re1 from afar, and honestly I was not so sure if I was winning anymore because he could, I think, have forced an endgame where I’m two pawns up, but it’s not that easy for me to win. Fortunately for me, he had very little time, and he went for a direct try for a perpetual, which didn’t work.

After 30.Qd5?! Bharath could indeed have played 30...Qd3!, threatening checkmate and forcing an exchange of queens. What's more surprising is that Carlsen, with 50 minutes to spare, didn't calculate that 30.Rxg7+! is winning, with the queen and bishop just too powerful against the bare black king.

That game was also analyzed by Nakamura in his recap.

Nakamura also, of course, covered his own game against 17-year-old Uzbek GM Javokhir Sindarov, but that quiet draw is perhaps only of interest because it followed a 1959 game between the legendary GMs Mikhail Tal and Bent Larsen.

Qatar Masters Round 5: Gukesh, Giri Beaten; Narayanan In Sole Lead (2)

Back then Tal's b-pawn was able to break free, storm up the board, and win the game singlehandedly. However, Nakamura was aware of that precedent and shut things down for a 30-move draw that leaves him in the big group on four points, just half a point behind the leader.

The most notable player in that group, and hence half a point ahead of Carlsen, is 22-year-old Vaishali, who in the last couple of years has truly emerged from the shadow of her brother, GM Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu. Her performance in Qatar has been a stunning 2773, and she's currently smashing the requirements for a grandmaster norm.

Qatar Masters Round 5: Gukesh, Giri Beaten; Narayanan In Sole Lead (3)

Her round-five opponent, GM Shamsiddin Vokhidov, had made draws in the previous two rounds against Giri and Nakamura, but he met his match in Vaishali. That encounter is our Game of the Day, analyzed by GM Dejan Bojkov.

There's one more game we can't skip before ending this recap, since it featured the combination of the day. Another Uzbek GM, Nodirbek Yakubboev, found it in order to beat "the beast," GM Adhiban Baskaran, in his own style.

Qatar Masters Round 5: Gukesh, Giri Beaten; Narayanan In Sole Lead (5)

The players now have a rest day on Monday before the final four rounds of the event. Narayanan will have to defend his lead against the formidable 2021 World Rapid Champion, GM Nodirbek Abdusattorov, while Carlsen again faces a teenage Indian star, this time IM Samant Aditya S.

Qatar Masters Round 5: Gukesh, Giri Beaten; Narayanan In Sole Lead (6)

The standings look as follows with four rounds to go.

Qatar Masters | Standings After Round 5 (Top 33)

Rk.Seed No.NameAgeSexFEDRatingPointsTB1TB2
22GMNakamura, Hikaru2780422780
35GMAbdusattorov, NodirbekU202716452712
46GMErigaisi, ArjunU202712462782
57GMMaghsoodloo, Parham2707472736
612GMSindarov, JavokhirU1826584122800
719GMYakubboev, Nodirbek26164192726
820GMKarthikeyan, Murali26114202693
923GMParavyan, David25994232705
1025GMJumabayev, Rinat25854252772
1130GMAditya, MittalU1825724302747
1237IMMakarian, RudikU2025484372686
1375IMVaishali, Rameshbabuw24484752773
141GMCarlsen, Magnus28393.512636
154GMGukesh, DU1827583.542629
168GMVan Foreest, Jorden27073.582625
1715GMAryan, Chopra26343.5152607
1816GMSalem, A.R. Saleh26323.5162669
1918GMPuranik, Abhimanyu26183.5182569
2022GMVakhidov, Jakhongir26073.5222624
2124GMSethuraman, S.P.25983.5242599
2226GMKuybokarov, Temur25843.5262563
2327GMPranav, VU1825793.5272554
2431GMShimanov, Aleksandr25663.5312578
2535GMKaidanov, Gregory25543.5352554
2643GMKevlishvili, Robby25213.5432663
2745GMSankalp, GuptaU2025183.5452544
2846GMPranesh, MU1825153.5462643
2948IMSamant, Aditya SU1825113.5482613
3055IMAhmadzada, AhmadU2024943.5552673
3179IMSrihari, L RU1824383.5802676
32102IMPanda, SambitU2023953.51032662
333GMGiri, Anish2760332598

Full standings

Qatar Masters | All Games Round 5

The 2023 Qatar Masters is a nine-round open tournament for players rated 2300+. It takes place in Lusail, Qatar, on October 11-20 and boasts a $108,250 prize fund with $25,000 for first place, as well as a $5,000 prize for the top female player.

Previous Coverage:

  • Round 4: Carlsen Has Great Escape As Nakamura And Gukesh Join Leaders
  • Round 3: Nakamura, Giri Held As Carlsen Hits Back
  • Round 2: Carlsen Criticises Lack Of Anti-Cheating Measures After Stunning Defeat
  • Round 1: Carlsen, Nakamura Start Fast, Fedoseev Falls
  • Qatar Masters 2023 - All The Information

Colin McGourty

Colin McGourty led news at Chess24 from its launch until it merged with a decade later. An amateur player, he got into chess writing when he set up the website Chess in Translation after previously studying Slavic languages and literature in St. Andrews, Odesa, Oxford, and Krakow.

Qatar Masters Round 5: Gukesh, Giri Beaten; Narayanan In Sole Lead (2024)
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