The Candidates 2020

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  • #61
    Wang Hao's 29.e4 translated into two pawns extra and a bishop for whites rook. Black's potential for a passed E pawn means the white king cant make headway and so the position is a draw.


    • #62
      The Candidates 2020

      March 21, 2020

      Round Four

      Jan, Lawrence and Magnus are commentating today. Peter Svidler comes on via Skype from Yekaterinburg.

      I believe he is Alekseenko’s second. He says they get their meals by picking up the phone, dialing three and getting room service. The meals appear to be vegan or non-vegan but all feature mushrooms. Comments from Lawrence in being anti-mushroom. Perhaps he really means anti-Marshall.

      Peter says that the only time you come into contact with others is in the elevator. He met Sasha Grischuk there this morning. But actually the conditions there aren’t much different from a usual tournament but there distancing rules are enforced.

      Jan said that in Hamburg yesterday he went to the supermarket to get some groceries and was standing in line to play when the man behind got very close to him and was coughing. The only thing that guy wanted to buy was a 39 cent iced cappuccino. The price is so low because it is being bought at a discounter store.

      Malcolm Pein - Giri's play described as 'Dubovian' by @polborta on @chess24com and Jan revealing that Iced Cappucinos are €0.39 at his local supermarket. As soon as this is over I'm off to Hamburg to buy 100 of them.

      One viewer in the Chat wants Svidler to talk less and Magnus to talk more. Two replies:

      - why do people demand things of the stream? like guys, these people run the show, that is why they are on it. also svidler is good.

      - I, for one, believe they should change to every whim of The Chat.

      Analyzing Grischuk’s game the guys talk a lot about time trouble.

      Jan explains to a user in chat that they're talking about "time trouble" not "time travel", while time travel isn't allowed in chess...

      Magnus: "Is it specifically outlawed?"

      Other comments:

      - you mean I just bought all these flux capacitors for nothing?!?!

      - too bad time travel isn’t allowed

      - you can only travel forward in time, not back

      - Didn't Bronstein once spend 45 minutes on his first move as white because he suddenly found all the possibilities so beautiful?

      Jan has one hand heavily bandaged and some chatters ask how it happened.

      - Jan got into a knife fight over the last pack of toilet paper at Lidl.

      - Jan actually injured his hand on a boxing machine after bowling with some friends

      One could go on like this forever, but here are today’ games:

      Round 4, Mar. 21
      Caruana, Fabiano – Nepomniachtchi, Ian
      D87 Grunfeld, Exchange, Spassky variation

      1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 Bg7 7.Bc4 c5 8.Ne2 O-O 9.O-O Nc6 10.Be3 b6 11.Qd2 Bb7 12.Rfd1 cxd4 13.cxd4 Rc8 14.Rac1 Na5 15.Bd3 Qd7 16.h4 Rxc1 17.Rxc1 Rc8 18.h5 Rxc1+ 19.Qxc1 Qc8 20.h6 Bf8 21.d5 e6 22.Nc3 Nc4 23.Bxc4 Qxc4 24.Qd2 exd5 25.Nxd5 Bxd5 26.exd5 Qb4 27.Qd3 Qa3 28.Qc2 Qa5 29.Qd1 Bd6 30.g3 Kf8 31.Qf3 Qe1+ 32.Kg2 f5 33.g4 Qb1 34.Bd4 Kf7 35.Qe3 Qe4+ 36.Qxe4 fxe4 37.f3 exf3+ 38.Kxf3 Ke7 39.Ke4 Kd7 40.a4 Bc7 41.Be3 a6 42.Bd2 b5 43.axb5 axb5 44.Kd4 Bb6+ 45.Kd3 Bc5 46.Bc3 Ba3 47.Bg7 Bc5 48.Bc3 Bf8 49.Bg7 Be7 50.Kd4 Bd6 51.Bf6 Kc7 52.Bg5 Kb6 53.Bd8+ Ka6 54.Kd3 Bf8 55.Kd4 Bd6 1/2-1/2

      Round 4, Mar. 21
      Wang, Hao - Alekseenko, Kirill
      D78 Neo-Grunfeld

      1.Nf3 d5 2.g3 g6 3.Bg2 Bg7 4.d4 Nf6 5.O-O O-O 6.c4 c6 7.Nbd2 a5 8.b3 Bf5 9.Bb2 a4 10.bxa4 Qa5 11.Qb3 Nbd7 12.cxd5 cxd5 13.Rfc1 Ra6 14.e3 Qxa4 15.Bf1 Qxb3 16.axb3 Rxa1 17.Rxa1 Nb6 18.Ra7 Rb8 19.Ne5 Nfd7 20.Bb5 f6 21.Nxd7 Bxd7 22.Ra5 Bf5 23.Ba3 Bf8 24.Bc5 Nd7 25.Ra7 Nxc5 26.dxc5 e5 27.b4 b6 28.c6 Bxb4 29.e4 dxe4 30.Nxe4 Bxe4 31.c7 Rf8 32.Bc4+ Kh8 33.Be6 Bf5 34.c8=Q Rxc8 35.Bxc8 Bxc8 36.Ra8 Kg7 37.Rxc8 Bc5 38.Rc7+ Kh6 39.h4 f5 40.Kg2 e4 41.Kf1 1/2-1/2

      Round 4, Mar. 21
      MVL – Grischuk, Alexander
      C67 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defence, open variation

      1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.O-O Nxe4 5.d4 Nd6 6.Bxc6 dxc6 7.dxe5 Nf5 8.Qxd8+ Kxd8 9.h3 Ke8 10.Nc3 h5 11.Bf4 Be7 12.Rad1 Be6 13.Ng5 Rh6 14.Rfe1 Bb4 15.a3 Bxc3 16.bxc3 h4 17.g4 hxg3 18.fxg3 Ne7 19.h4 Nd5 20.Bc1 Nxc3 21.Rd3 Na4 22.Rf3 Bd5 23.Rf4 Nb6 24.Ref1 Rg6 25.Rf5 Bc4 26.Re1 Ke7 27.h5 Rh6 28.g4 Rhh8 29.a4 Nxa4 30.Ba3+ c5 31.e6 f6 32.Bxc5+ Nxc5 33.Rxc5 fxg5 34.Rxc7+ Kd6 35.Rxc4 a5 36.Rd1+ Ke7 37.Re4 Rhd8 38.Rb1 Rdb8 39.Rb5 a4 40.Rxg5 Rg8 41.h6 gxh6 42.Rxg8 Rxg8 43.Rxa4 h5 44.Kf2 Rxg4 45.Rxg4 hxg4 46.Kg3 Kxe6 47.Kxg4 Ke5 48.Kf3 Kd4 49.Ke2 Kc3 50.Kd1 b5 51.Kc1 b4 52.Kb1 b3 53.cxb3 Kxb3 1/2-1/2

      Position after Black’s 18…Ne7


      Grischuk “I did a very stupid thing, thinking for 1 hour almost about Ne7. I was just 100, not 99, 100% sure Maxime was going to play g4. Then when he played h4 I was just -1 hour, but at the end maybe it didn’t matter too much because anyway I would spend this 1 hour somehow" :)

      Round 4, Mar. 21
      Ding, Liren – Giri, Anish
      E00 Queen’s Pawn game

      1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.g3 Bb4+ 4.Bd2 a5 5.Bg2 d5 6.Nf3 O-O 7.Qc2 c5 8.cxd5 cxd4 9.Nxd4 Qb6 10.e3 exd5 11.O-O Nc6 12.Nxc6 bxc6 13.Rc1 Rb8 14.Bxb4 Qxb4 15.b3 h5 16.Nc3 h4 17.Ne2 Bd7 18.Nf4 hxg3 19.hxg3 Rfc8 20.Bf3 a4 21.bxa4 Ra8 22.Nd3 Qxa4 23.Qxa4 Rxa4 24.Nc5 Ra5 25.a4 Rca8 26.Bd1 Be8 27.Kf1 Kf8 28.Rab1 Ne4 29.Nxe4 dxe4 30.Rb7 c5 31.Bb3 R5a7 32.Rxa7 Rxa7 33.Ke1 Ke7 34.Ra1 c4 35.Bc2 Kd6 36.Kd2 Kc5 37.Kc3 Ra6 38.g4 g5 39.a5 Bc6 40.Ra2 Ra7 41.Ra1 Ra6 42.Ra2 1/2-1/2

      Anish Giri (tweet) - Just met D Dubov in the elevator, who told me he was impressed with my prep today. If this is not what we play chess for, then what is?

      Standings after Round Four

      1-3 Nepo, MVL, Wang Hao 2.5
      4-5 Caruana, Grischuk 2
      6-8 Ding Liren, Alekseenko, Giri 1.5


      • #63
        in rd 5 Alekseenko - MVL a ripping rousing Sicilian resulted (not to be confused with Richter Rauzer) with at least 5 piece sacrifices and many more potential and offered. The players satisfied their blood lust (or was it fear of the endgame?) and agreed to a perpetual.


        • #64
          In Nepo - Wang Hao I love the geometry of this game. First the white squares, then the dark squares, then the white squares. Nepo played with great energy and an interesting endgame has resulted.


          • #65
            Giri had a pressing advantage against Fab Fabi for most of the game but couldnt find the right plan to break thru. The position at move 32 is a revealing one. With proper placement of the rooks in the center black is in trouble.


            • #66
              Wang Hao resigned after 43.Ne3. His potentially active king cannot leave the kingside arena because the white knight will win the pawn h7. Once that is figured out. the white knight will have a free hand to win the pawns at b7 and c6 creating a passed C pawn. Theres a long line of calculation where the black king can walk over and win the H pawn but in the meantime the white knight captures the pawns of b7 and c6 and eventually all pawns get captured except for the white and black A pawns, With the white knight still on the board that position is an easy forcing win for White.


              • #67
                Giri - Caruana ends up drawn and Grischuk - Ding will be drawn soon.


                • #68
                  The Candidates 2020

                  March 22, 2020

                  Round Five

                  The commentators today are Jan, Lawrence, Nihal Sarin, Magnus and Greg Shahade. Nihal is FIDE 2620 and 15 years old. Lawrence says that Nihal is sponsored by a milk company.

                  Greg is out of Philadelphia and he and Lawrence have had a grudge match online. See:


                  To have had Alizera on and now Nihal is really a coup for chess24.

                  Watching the opening today, with no audience and the photographer wearing a face mask, I started to think about the Mannheim 1914 tournament and subsequent internment.

                  Wikipedia says this:

                  The political situation became more and more tense while the tournament went on. Milan Vidmar, in his autobiography Goldene Schachzeiten, gives a fine report about the melancholic mood of the masters participating in the unfinished Mannheim "chess symphony". Soldiers of the German army began to dominate the city panorama. When Germany put first an ultimatum (July 31) and then declared war the following day against Russia, the tournament had to be interrupted.

                  After the declaration of war, eleven "Russian" players (Alekhine, Bogoljubov, Bogatyrchuk, Flamberg, Koppelman, Maljutin, Rabinovich, Romanovsky, Saburov, Selezniev, Weinstein) were interned in Rastatt, Germany. On September 14, 17, and 29, 1914, four of them (Alekhine, Bogatyrchuk, Saburov, and Koppelman) were freed and allowed to return home via Switzerland. A fifth player, Romanovsky was freed and went back to Petrograd in 1915, and a sixth one, Flamberg was allowed to return to Warsaw in 1916. Whilst imprisoned, some participated in the Triberg chess tournament.

                  The American Frank James Marshall, being from a neutral country, was allowed to leave. It took him five days to travel to London, and he left almost at once for New York City. In his My Fifty Years of Chess Marshall wrote: "I made for the Dutch border and arrived in Amsterdam after many adventures. Usually a seven-hour trip, it took me 39 hours. Somewhere on the border I lost my baggage, containing all my belongings and the presents I received in St. Petersburg and elsewhere...Five years later, much to my astonishment, my trunks arrived in New York, with their contents intact!"


                  The parallel I was thinking about was playing a tournament with a looming disaster hanging over the country and some form of imprisonment after.

                  Round 5, Mar. 22
                  Giri, Anish – Caruana, Fabiano
                  D12 QGD Slav

                  1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 Bf5 5.Nc3 e6 6.Nh4 Be4 7.f3 Bg6 8.Bd2 Be7 9.Nxg6 hxg6 10.Qc2 Nbd7 11.O-O-O Nb6 12.c5 Nbd7 13.Kb1 Qb8 14.h4 g5 15.Be1 g4 16.e4 gxf3 17.gxf3 b6 18.exd5 exd5 19.cxb6 axb6 20.Ne2 Qa7 21.b3 Nh5 22.Ng3 g6 23.Nxh5 Rxh5 24.f4 Kf8 25.Be2 Rh8 26.Bd3 c5 27.Bc3 cxd4 28.Bxd4 Bf6 29.Bxf6 Nxf6 30.f5 gxf5 31.Bxf5 b5 32.Rh2 Rh5 33.Re2 d4 34.Re5 Ng4 35.Rc5 Ne3 36.Rc8+ Rxc8 37.Qxc8+ Ke7 38.Rc1 Nd5 39.Re1+ Ne3 40.Rc1 Nd5 41.Re1+ Ne3 42.Rc1 1/2-1/2

                  Position after White’s 32.Rh2


                  Round 5, Mar. 22
                  Grischuk, Alexander – Ding, Liren
                  C88 Ruy Lopez, Closed

                  1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 O-O 8.h3 Bb7 9.d3 d5 10.exd5 Nxd5 11.Nbd2 Qd7 12.a4 f6 13.Ne4 Na5 14.Ba2 c5 15.Be3 Rfc8 16.axb5 axb5 17.Nxc5 Rxc5 18.b4 Rcc8 19.bxa5 Kh8 20.Bd2 Nb4 21.Bb3 Bd5 22.Bxd5 Qxd5 23.Rc1 Nc6 24.c4 bxc4 25.Rxc4 Nxa5 26.Rxc8+ Rxc8 27.d4 Nc6 28.dxe5 Nxe5 29.Nxe5 fxe5 30.Qg4 Rd8 31.Be3 Bf6 32.Rc1 Qd7 33.Qh5 Qe8 34.Qf3 Rc8 35.Rd1 Rd8 36.Rc1 Rc8 37.Rb1 Rb8 38.Re1 Qg6 39.Ba7 Rc8 40.Qb7 Qc2 41.Be3 Qc6 42.Qb4 h5 43.Bc1 Qc2 44.Be3 Rd8 45.Qb1 Qxb1 46.Rxb1 Kh7 47.g4 hxg4 48.hxg4 Rd6 49.Kg2 Kg6 50.Kf3 Bg5 51.Ke4 Bxe3 52.fxe3 Re6 53.Rb7 Re8 54.Ra7 1/2-1/2

                  Round 5, Mar. 22
                  Alekseenko, Kirill – MVL
                  B90 Sicilian, Najdorf

                  1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.f3 e6 7.Be3 b5 8.Qd2 Nbd7 9.a3 h5 10.O-O-O Bb7 11.Kb1 Be7 12.Rg1 Rc8 13.Be2 Nb6 14.Qe1 Nfd7 15.g4 hxg4 16.Rxg4 g6 17.Rxg6 Rxc3 18.Nxe6 Qc8 19.Ng7+ Kf8 20.Rh6 Rxh6 21.Bxh6 Rxc2 22.Nf5+ Ke8 23.Nxe7 Kxe7 24.Qh4+ f6 25.Bf4 Rxb2+ 26.Kxb2 Na4+ 27.Kb1 Nc3+ 28.Ka1 Nxd1 29.Qh7+ Kd8 30.Qg8+ Ke7 31.Qh7+ Kd8 32.Qg8+ Ke7 33.Qh7+ 1/2-1/2

                  Kirill spent almost an hour over 18.Nxe6:

                  MVL: "If my next opponent thinks for 50 minutes again I'm going to have to ask the arbiter to bring some board game!" :)

                  Round 5, Mar. 22
                  Nepomniachtchi, Ian – Wang, Hao
                  C42 Petrov, Classical Attack

                  1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nf3 Nxe4 5.d4 d5 6.Bd3 Bf5 7.O-O Be7 8.Re1 O-O 9.Nbd2 Nd6 10.Nf1 Bxd3 11.Qxd3 c6 12.Bf4 Na6 13.h4 Nc7 14.Ng5 Bxg5 15.Bxg5 f6 16.Bf4 Qd7 17.Ng3 Rae8 18.Bxd6 Qxd6 19.Nf5 Qd7 20.Qh3 Kh8 21.h5 Rxe1+ 22.Rxe1 Re8 23.Rxe8+ Nxe8 24.g4 a6 25.b3 Qe6 26.Ne3 Nd6 27.h6 g6 28.c4 dxc4 29.bxc4 Kg8 30.Qh2 Kf7 31.c5 Nb5 32.Qb8 Qd7 33.Qh8 Ke6 34.f4 Nxd4 35.Qg8+ Qf7 36.Qc8+ Qd7 37.Qg8+ Qf7 38.Qd8 Qd7 39.f5+ gxf5 40.gxf5+ Nxf5 41.Qxd7+ Kxd7 42.Nxf5 Ke6 43.Ne3 1-0

                  Two post mortems were interesting. The players were asked about their form and whether they were ignoring social medium and world news in order to concentrate on their games:

                  Giri says now is no time to try and completely ignore the news since there might be a message, "You have to go to that place or you'll die!"

                  Giri: "I have faith in the private jet of FIDE that will fly all the players to their houses - that's the only hope!"

                  Grischuk: "My form is terrible, I don't want to play at all with all this situation. When it was the beginning I did not have a clear opinion but now for several days I have a clear opinion it should be stopped. The whole atmosphere is hostile, with masks...

                  Grischuk: "It's no coincidence that everything else is stopped. We're the only major sport event in the world and I think it should be stopped and postponed"

                  Grischuk on the effect of the coronavirus situation: "Botvinnik was commenting on this that if you make two players play while standing it's completely unsure that the same one will win as while sitting"

                  Just as Greg Shahade comes in on Skype, Magnus leaves and the last game finishes, the interview follows and the broadcast is at a virtual end.


                  Later: I forgot to add this but Chris Rice on the EC Forum remembered:

                  Then of course there is the exit strategy or more accurately lack of one for the non-Russians. Caruana was saying earlier that he has no idea what his situation will be once this tournament is finished. The USA are unlikely to let him back in now and he has no idea whether the Russians will let him stay.

                  Standings after Round Five

                  1 Nepo 3.5
                  2 MVL 3
                  3-5 Caruana, Wang Hao, Grischuk 2.5
                  6-8 Ding Liren, Alekseenko, Giri 2
                  Last edited by Wayne Komer; Sunday, 22nd March, 2020, 05:14 PM.


                  • #69
                    Rd 6 Again interesting endgames - maybe in all 4 games (as Grischuk - Caruana looks to be transposing to an endgame)


                    • #70
                      Nepo wins as Ding misses a couple of endgame transpositions (admittedly involving some tricky tactics). Full credit to Nepo for pushing the B pawn and creating pressure and then surviving Ding's kingside threats.


                      • #71
                        Wang Hao is up a pawn in a knight and bishop vs knight and bishop endgame vs MVL but there is a lot of play still left.


                        • #72
                          Giri has an advantage with his opponents doubled isolated B pawns in a Q+N vs Q+N endgame.


                          • #73
                            All the endgames have leading knight play. I'm really enjoying watching the threats develop.


                            • #74
                              Ive been enjoying Yasser and Alejandro in endgame discussions.


                              • #75
                                Ive been thoroughly enjoying the Wang Hao - MVL endgame. First Wang Hao's knight captured the pawn on a6 going up a pawn and then travels 10 moves before capturing MVL's bishop on f5. Now its MVL's knights turn and its travelling the board. I admire that although there is great risk involved playing against the bishop.