China’s Ding Liren secured his first victory at the event ©FIDE

China’s Ding Liren boosted his hopes at the International Chess Federation (FIDE) Candidates Tournament by beating Fabiano Caruana in Yekaterinburg.

Liren had lost his opening two matches of the round robin competition at the Hyatt Regency Hotel.

He responded in fine fashion today by handing his American opponent Caruana his first defeat since August.

Caruana’s last defeat also came against Liren.

The result saw the American drop from the top of the standings in the early stages of the event, having shared the overnight lead with three other players.

Liren was the only player to secure a victory on the third day of competition.

Russia’s Ian Nepomniachtchi drew with his compatriot Kirill Alekseenko, while the match between France’s Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and The Netherlands’ Anish Giri also ended in a stalemate.

China’s Wang Hao and Russia’s Alexander Grischuk also drew.

Nepomniachtchi, Vachier-Lagrave and Wang top the standings after the first three matches, with the trio moving on to two points.

Caruana and Grischuk are on one and a half points, while Liren, Alekseenko and Giri have one point each.

The tournament will have a rest day tomorrow, with play set to resume on Saturday (March 21).

The final round of games is scheduled to conclude the tournament on April 3.

Participants are competing for the largest amount of money ever at a Candidates Tournament with the prize pot standing at €500,000 (£453,000/$556,000).

The tournament is one of the few events taking place amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has largely decimated the sporting calendar.