FIDE Candidates Tournament 2020-1

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  • FIDE Candidates Tournament 2020-1

    FIDE Candidates Tournament 2020-1

    April 13, 2021

    From the FIDE official site:

    From a press conference held today, in Moscow at the Rossiyskaya Gazeta Media Center:

    Six days before the resumption of the FIDE Candidates Tournament in Yekaterinburg the speakers answered questions of journalists from all parts of the world, who were attending the event online.

    The speakers of the press conference were: FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich, multiple times World Chess Champion, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Sverdlovsk Region Chess Federation Anatoly Karpov, participant of many previous Candidates Tournaments and the winner of 2016 FIDE Candidates Tournament Sergey Karjakin, and Director of the Candidates Tournament, Executive Director of the Sverdlovsk Region Chess Federation Albert Stepanyan.

    Arkady Dvorkovich started by thanking chess fans and media for waiting for the resumption of the tournament, which was stopped on March 26, 2020. “FIDE is very proud to announce the resumption of the Candidates Tournament in Yekaterinburg. After all the games are played it’ll be determined who will be the World Champion Challenger and play the World Championship Match against Magnus Carlsen in Dubai in December 2021. We are absolutely ready to start the Candidates Tournament. All players are aware of the medical protocol, and we are in daily contact with all participants and their teams. The wearing of a mask during the tournament is not necessary for the players. Players will be required to have negative PCR tests done no earlier than 72 hours before the start of the tournament. They will not be required to do the tests during the tournament unless a player has symptoms. I know that 2 players have made the vaccination, I’m not aware of the other players, it’s their personal decision. We have decided that spectators would be admitted to the tournament with some of the measures, such as wearing face masks and social distancing. Also, spectators must have either a vaccine, or antibodies, or a negative test for coronavirus infection.”

    Albert Stepanyan assured that organizers took all the measures to make the event safe for players and visitors: “The whole chess world was waiting for this tournament to be resumed. The first part of the event was quite nervous, we were not sure what to expect in this non-standard situation. Nowadays, we know how to adapt to these conditions. The organizers, medical authorities and all the other bodies involved in making this tournament have a clear vision of what to do and how to conduct this event on a high level”. He also added that although the access to the playing hall will be limited, visitors will be able to listen to the live commentary of the games on the venue: “Access to the commentary hall will be free for everyone in accordance with all the necessary medical standards”.

    Anatoly Karpov reminded the reason the tournament was stopped: “All this time we were waiting for reopening borders between countries, and despite the fact that Russia was one of the first countries to open the borders, European Union and China were still keeping them shut. All this time Yekaterinburg was ready to resume the tournament at any moment. The next game is going to start on April 19th, and together with the whole chess world we are looking forward to knowing, who is going to get the right to play against the World Champion Magnus Carlsen“.

    Sergey Karjakin expressed his opinion that the event will run smoothly: “As a chess professional, I would like to say that I’m also very eager to see the start of the tournament and get to know who will be the next contender. I’m sure the organizers will do their best and conduct the tournament on the highest level. I have been to Yekaterinburg many times and know well how strong the local chess federation is“.

    The winner of the Candidates tournament 2016 gave some advice to the players, based on his own experience: “I think the players should find the way to abstract away from the tournament situation and the fact it’s only 7 rounds left. They should mainly concentrate on their play. Under so stressful conditions everything will depend on who has better nerves, who will manage to be stable during the whole distance and not break down psychologically”.

    FIDE Candidates Tournament 2020-2021:

    This double round-robin tournament kicked off on March 16, 2020. However, it had to be abruptly stopped 11 days later when the Russian government announced the closure of air traffic with other countries, amid a rapidly escalating coronavirus pandemic. After a long wait, the challenger to Magnus Carlsen's throne will be finally known by the 28th of April.

    After the first half, the French Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and the Russian Ian Nepomniachtchi are in the lead, with 4˝ points after seven games. Fabiano Caruana (USA), Anish Giri (Netherlands), Wang Hao (China) and Alexander Grischuk (Russia) are in the chasing pack, all with 3˝ points.

    From chess24: World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen will commentate on the event that decides his next challenger when the FIDE Candidates Tournament finally resumes with Round 8 in Yekaterinburg, Russia on Monday April 19th. For Rounds 8-10, Magnus will be joined by Tania Sachdev and David Howell, while for the last four rounds Judit Polgar will team up with Tania and guests for live commentary, with player cameras, here on chess24.

    Standings after Round Seven

    1-2 MVL, Nepo 4.5
    3-6 Caruana, Giri, Wang Hao, Grischuk 3.5
    7-8 Ding Liren, Alekseenko 2.5


    Round 8, April 19

    Wang Hao-Ding Liren

    Round 9, April 20

    Giri-Wang Hao
    Ding Liren-MVL

    Round 10, April 21

    Caruana-Ding Liren
    Wang Hao-Grischuk

    Free Day, April 22

    Round 11, April 23

    Alekseenko-Wang Hao
    Giri-Ding Liren

    Round 12, April 24

    Ding Liren-Grischuk
    Wang Hao-Nepo

    Free Day, April 25

    Round 13, April 26

    Wang Hao-Caruana
    Alekseenko-Ding Liren

    Round 14, April 27

    Ding Liren-Nepo
    MVL-Wang Hao

    Tie-Breaks, April 28

    Games start at 4 PM (UTC+5)

    i.e. Yekaterinburg 4 PM is 7 AM Toronto/Montreal time

  • #2
    FIDE Candidates Tournament 2020-1

    April 18, 2021

    Tomorrow the Candidates resumes at Round 8. One of the participants is Alexander Grischuk. He recently gave a series of interview before going to Yekaterinburg. Excerpts of these have appeared in chess24:

    Grischuk was one of the most vocal players about the decision to try and play the Candidates when a pandemic was stopping all other events, but this time he seems fine with the situation. As he explained:

    There’s not going to be any “bubble”. You can leave the hotel, as you could last time, so the conditions are normal. I wouldn’t have played otherwise.

    He also felt the atmosphere won’t feel as “hostile” as he described it a year ago. This time the players are only required to have one negative PCR test before the event resumes.

    Last time all the staff, which was about 50 people, went around in masks. That was the very start of the pandemic and it looked hostile. Plus, they tried to force us to have medical check-ups twice a day. Over the year I’ve already got used to the situation, so if it’ll be a similar story again I’ll be able to deal with it. The main thing is that I can play without a mask.

    Although he’s an undisputed post-game interview star, he felt the format should change.

    To answer the question seriously, I’d make separate press conferences when a game ends decisively. First the loser appears, then the winner, like in tennis. That would be much better. As it is, it goes badly: one guy sits there and simply glows, while the other looks at the floor and bites his nails.

    Alexander, if we make an analogy with tennis, then even a 5-minute medical timeout can change the course of a match. You had a pause that lasted a year. How might that influence the state of play?

    In tennis rain can also interrupt play. Sometimes you might have to wait days to go on court, while in chess such a strange situation is really happening for the first time. But it’s the same for all eight participants. I think that the break could have an influence, but it’s impossible to say in advance of what kind. I’m simply glad that the tournament is nevertheless taking place as at some point I’d started to think that it wouldn’t happen at all. You can see what’s going on in the world - the second wave, the third. The very fact that the tournament is resuming is already good news.

    A limited number of spectators will be allowed in, and for the first five minutes of each round. Are fans important in chess?

    Chess isn’t football with its 40,000-people stadiums. We usually have around five people in the hall, so five or zero isn’t much of a difference. I’m used to it. I realise that chess isn’t the most popular sport. It was different in the Soviet Union, but I wasn’t around to see that. So it’s not particular upsetting. I’ve got no illusions.

    I even got to understand the way it is after one occurrence. I love sport in general - football, hockey, handball, basketball, tennis - and various games, for instance card games. Once I was free and decided to watch the World Championship of the computer game Dota. I specially downloaded a coaching video. I talked for half an hour with Nepomniachtchi, because at one time he played Dota semi-professionally. I turned on the broadcast, chose the commentary for beginners and… for the three hours that the final lasted I still didn’t understand a thing.

    Instead I got an idea of how it is for people to watch chess. Of course, the computer can tell you who has a winning position, but it’s only really interesting for a few thousand people, who have a certain level of knowledge and skills.

    By the way, on computers. How do you feel about online chess, which has developed due to the pandemic, compared to classical chess? You even suggested resuming the Candidates Tournament in that format?

    In itself the format is great. Sitting at the board opposite an opponent or a computer monitor - I didn’t feel any difference. True, my results were unsatisfactory. There were a lot of interesting tournaments, including those run by Magnus Carlsen, but I didn’t do well in any of them. I played badly.

    Overall there’s one huge minus, which is difficult to fix. In online chess we all play against each other on good faith. If someone wants to cheat then it’s impossible to catch or stop them. There’s monitoring, but it’s not enough, like trying to catch a mosquito with a fishing net.


    • #3
      FIDE Candidates Tournament 2020-1

      April 19, 2021

      Round Eight

      The analysts are Magnus Carlsen, David Howell and Tania Sachdev. Chess24 is serving up the game in nine languages total.

      Round 8, April 19
      Caruana, Fabiano – MVL
      B97 Sicilian, Najdorf, Poisoned Pawn variation

      1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 Qb6 8.Qd2 Qxb2 9.Rb1 Qa3 10.e5 h6 11.Bh4 dxe5 12.fxe5 Nfd7 13.Ne4 Qxa2 14.Rd1 Qd5 15.Qe3 Qxe5 16.c3 Bc5 17.Bg3 Qd5 18.Bc4 Qxc4 19.Bd6 Nf6 20.Nxc5 Nd5 21.Qe5 Rg8 22.Ndxe6 fxe6 23.Nxe6 Qxc3+ 24.Qxc3 Nxc3 25.Nc7+ Kf7 26.Rd3 Ne4 27.O-O+ Kg6 28.Nxa8 Nc6 29.Nb6 Rd8 30.Nxc8 Rxc8 31.Ba3 Rc7 32.Rf4 Nf6 33.Bb2 Ne7 34.Bxf6 gxf6 35.h4 h5 36.Rg3+ Kf7 37.Rg5 Rc1+ 38.Kh2 Ng6 39.Rf2 Nxh4 40.Rxh5 Ng6 41.Rh7+ Ke6 42.Rxb7 Ne5 43.Rb6+ Rc6 44.Rxc6+ Nxc6 45.Kg3 Kf7 46.Rc2 Nb4 47.Rd2 Nc6 48.Kf4 Kg6 49.Rd6 Ne5 50.Rxa6 Nf7 51.Ke4 Nh6 52.Ra5 Nf7 53.Ra3 Nd6+ 54.Kf4 Nf5 55.Rd3 Nh6 56.Rg3+ Kf7 57.Ke4 Ng8 58.Kf5 Ne7+ 59.Kf4 Nd5+ 60.Kg4 Kg6 61.Kf3+ Kf7 62.Ke4 Ne7 63.Kf4 Nd5+ 64.Kf5 Ne7+ 65.Ke4 Ng8 66.Rh3 Kg6 67.Ra3 Kf7 68.Kf4 Nh6 69.Rg3 Ng8 70.Kg4 Ne7 71.Kh5 Nd5 72.Rf3 Ke6 73.g4 Ke5 74.Kg6 1-0

      Position after White’s 67.Ra3


      Fabiano Caruana has done it, winning an incredible game where he sacrificed a piece & 3 pawns to catch MVL and trail new sole leader Ian Nepomniachtchi by just half a point with 6 rounds to go!

      Round 8, April 19
      Wang, Hao – Ding, Liren
      C45 Scotch, Mieses variation, main line

      1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nxc6 bxc6 6.e5 Qe7 7.Qe2 Nd5 8.c4 Ba6 9.b3 g6 10.Ba3 Nb4 11.Bb2 Bg7 12.a3 Nd5 13.Nd2 O-O 14.O-O-O Rfe8 15.Qf3 Nb6 16.Ne4 Bxe5 17.Bxe5 Qxe5 18.Nf6+ Kf8 19.Nxe8 Qa1+ 20.Kc2 Qa2+ 21.Kc1 Qxa3+ 22.Kb1 Na4 23.Qf6 Qxb3+ 24.Kc1 Qa3+ 25.Kc2 Qa2+ 26.Kc1 Qa3+ 27.Kc2 Qa2+ 28.Kc1 1/2-1/2

      Round 8, April 19
      Nepomniachtchi, Ian – Giri, Anish
      B33 Sicilian, Pelikan, Chelyabinsk variation

      1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5 6.Ndb5 d6 7.Bg5 a6 8.Na3 b5 9.Nd5 Be7 10.Bxf6 Bxf6 11.c3 Rb8 12.Nc2 Bg5 13.g3 O-O 14.h4 Bh6 15.a3 a5 16.Qd3 Ne7 17.Nce3 Bxe3 18.Nxe3 Be6 19.Rd1 Rb6 20.Bh3 Bb3 21.Rd2 Qc7 22.O-O Rfb8 23.Rc1 Rc6 24.Bg4 h6 25.Bd1 Be6 26.Bg4 Bb3 27.Bd1 Be6 28.Bg4 1/2-1/2

      Round 8, April 19
      Alekseenko, Kirill – Grischuk, Alexander
      C11 French, Steinitz, Boleslavsky variation

      1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e5 Nfd7 5.f4 c5 6.Nf3 Nc6 7.Be3 cxd4 8.Nxd4 Qb6 9.Qd2 Qxb2 10.Rb1 Qa3 11.Bb5 Nxd4 12.Bxd4 a6 13.Bxd7+ Bxd7 14.Rb3 Qe7 15.Rxb7 Qh4+ 16.Qf2 Qxf2+ 17.Kxf2 Be7 18.Nd1 Bd8 19.Ne3 Bc6 20.Rb2 O-O 21.Bc5 Re8 22.c4 f6 23.cxd5 exd5 24.Bd6 fxe5 25.fxe5 d4 26.Nf5 d3 27.Ke3 Bb5 28.Ke4 Rc8 29.Nd4 Bc4 30.Rd1 a5 31.a3 g6 32.Rb7 Bf6 33.Nf3 Bg7 34.Ra7 Rcd8 35.Kd4 Bb3 36.Rxg7+ Kxg7 37.Rxd3 a4 38.Nd2 Be6 39.Ne4 Bf5 40.Re3 Bxe4 41.Rxe4 Rf8 42.Ke3 Rfe8 43.Kf4 Ra8 44.Rb4 Ra7 45.Ke4 Kf7 46.Rb6 Rc8 47.Bb4 Rac7 48.Kd5 Rc2 49.e6+ Kf6 50.Rb7 g5 51.Rxh7 Rxg2 52.Kd6 Kg6 53.Rh3 g4 54.Re3 Rxh2 55.Kd7 Rhh8 56.e7 Rce8 57.Bd6 Ra8 58.Bc7 Rag8 59.Re4 Kf5 60.Rf4+ Kg5 61.Rxa4 Kh4 62.Re4 Ra8 63.a4 Kg5 64.a5 Rh7 65.Kc6 Rhh8 66.Kd7 Rh7 67.Kc6 Rhh8 68.Re3 Rhe8 69.Kd7 Kf6 70.Re6+ Kf7 71.Re4 Kf6 72.Bd8 Kf5 73.Kxe8 Kxe4 74.Kf8 1-0

      Position after Black’s 68…Rhe8


      Magnus Carlsen: "It feels like Alekseenko has found a good defence based on pure centralization

      Magnus Carlsen on Alekseenko: "I love the way he's played this. I think he showed very deep understanding of the game by going for Bd6 and then centralising his pieces this way, activating the king.

      - Congrats Kirill, nice game
      - He deserves this win, he shows that he is a real super BM like the other guys

      - Grischuk could never activate his French rooks

      After 389 days to stare at the standings after Round 7, Round 8 has completely shaken up the #FIDECandidates table, with Ian Nepomniachtchi now again the sole leader

      Standings after Round Eight

      1 Nepo 5
      2-3 Caruana, MVL 4.5
      4-5 Giri, Wang 4
      6-7 Alekseenko, Grischuk 3.5
      8 Ding 3

      Summary from chess24 by Colin McGourty

      Fabiano Caruana took down leader Maxime Vachier-Lagrave as the FIDE Candidates Tournament got off to a spectacular resumption in Yekaterinburg. Maxime had 389 days to prepare to hold with Black in Round 8, but Fabi nevertheless unleashed a brilliant novelty, sacrificing 3 pawns and a piece. MVL defended "like a beast" according to Magnus Carlsen, but was finally ground down in a 6-hour epic. Ian Nepomniachtchi now leads the race to play Magnus alone after a draw against Anish Giri, while Kirill Alekseenko's first win dealt a massive blow to Alexander Grischuk's hopes


      • #4
        What a great game by Fabiano. Amazing 3 pawns down and he plays the stunner Bc4, led to a drawn endgame but very complicated. The tournament is wide open, it is going ro be a great Candidates tournament. And we have Magnus doing the comments. These years are great for chess !!


        • #5
          Huge win by Fabiano Caruana. It puts him in the hunt only a half point behind Nepo.


          • #6
            After winning today Giri is also in the hunt.

            I thought Fabiano was winning at the end with the passed A+B pawns but I guess White's E pawn is faster and therefore draw.


            • #7
              FIDE Candidates Tournament 2020-1

              April 20, 2021

              Round Nine

              We have been able to keep track of what the grandmasters have been doing during the pandemic and also, the juniors. But where are the commentators? Peter Leko and David Howell have been on regularly. Peter Svidler seems to have disappeared from regular duties.

              I saw today that Anastasiya Karlovich is asking questions at the Candidates post-game and on YouTube, GM Daniil Dubov, IM Almira Skripchenko, and GM Evgeny Miroshnichenko were commentating in English. Welcome back everyone!

              Round 9, April 20
              Grischuk, Alexander – Nepo, Ian
              D85 Grunfeld, Modern Exchange variation

              1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 Bg7 7.Nf3 c5 8.Rb1 O-O 9.h3 Nc6 10.d5 Bxc3+ 11.Bd2 Bxd2+ 12.Qxd2 Nd4 13.Nxd4 cxd4 14.Bc4 e5 15.O-O Qd6 16.f4 Rb8 17.fxe5 Qxe5 18.Qf4 Qxf4 19.Rxf4 Re8 20.Bb5 Rd8 21.Rbf1 Bd7 22.Bc4 Rbc8 23.Bb3 Bb5 24.R1f2 a5 25.d6 Bc4 26.Rxf7 Bxb3 27.axb3 Rxd6 28.e5 Rb6 29.Rd7 Rf8 30.Ra2 Rxb3 31.Rxa5 Re3 32.Rb5 Re1+ 33.Kh2 Rf7 34.Rbxb7 Rxd7 35.Rxd7 Rxe5 36.Rxd4 Re7 37.Kg1 Kg7 38.Kh2 Rf7 39.Kg1 Re7 40.Kh2 Rf7 1/2-1/2

              Position after White’s 26.Rxf7


              Alexander Grischuk seems a little disappointed that 26...Bxf7 27.Rxf7 a4 28.Bd5 d3 did not happen.

              Round 9, April 20
              Giri, Anish – Wang, Hao
              E05 Catalan, open, Classical line

              1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.g3 Be7 5.Bg2 O-O 6.O-O dxc4 7.Qc2 a6 8.a4 Bd7 9.Qxc4 Bc6 10.Bf4 Bd6 11.Nc3 Bxf4 12.gxf4 a5 13.e3 Na6 14.Ne5 Bxg2 15.Kxg2 c6 16.h3 Qb6 17.Qe2 c5 18.Rfd1 cxd4 19.Rxd4 Rad8 20.Rxd8 Qxd8 21.Rd1 Qa8 22.Kg1 Nb4 23.Qb5 Nbd5 24.Nxd5 Nxd5 25.Rc1 h6 26.Qd7 Nf6 27.Qd6 g6 28.b3 h5 29.Kh2 Kg7 30.Qd4 Rd8 31.Qb2 Qb8 32.b4 axb4 33.Rc4 b3 34.Rb4 Qa7 35.Rxb3 Qxa4 36.Rxb7 Qe8 37.Ra7 Rd5 38.Qb7 Ne4 39.Nxf7 1-0

              Anish Giri scores his 2nd win of the #FIDECandidates to get right into the hunt to challenge Magnus Carlsen!
              "A very, very good game - he managed to showcase all his strengths here!"

              Round 9, April 20
              Alekseenko, Kirill – Caruana, Fabiano
              C50 Giuoco Piano

              1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.d3 Bc5 5.c3 h6 6.O-O d6 7.Re1 O-O 8.h3 Bb6 9.Nbd2 Ne7 10.d4 Nc6 11.a4 a5 12.Ba2 exd4 13.Nc4 dxc3 14.Nxb6 c2 15.Qxc2 cxb6 16.Bd2 Be6 17.Bxe6 fxe6 18.Qb3 Qe8 19.Qxb6 Nd7 20.Qe3 e5 21.Qd3 Qe6 22.Nh4 Nc5 23.Qg3 Kh7 24.Rad1 g5 25.Nf3 Rf7 26.Bc1 Raf8 27.Qg4 Qxg4 28.hxg4 Rf6 29.Be3 Nxa4 30.Rd5 Nxb2 31.Rc1 R8f7 32.Rc2 Na4 33.Rc4 Nb2 34.Rc2 Na4 35.Rc4 Nc5 36.Bxc5 dxc5 37.Rcxc5 Re7 38.Nxe5 Nxe5 39.Rxe5 Rxe5 40.Rxe5 Ra6 41.Re7+ Kg6 42.Rxb7 a4 43.f3 a3 44.Rb1 a2 45.Ra1 Kf6 46.Kf2 Ke5 47.Ke3 Ra8 48.Kd3 Kf4 49.Kc4 Kg3 50.e5 Kxg2 51.e6 Kxf3 52.Kd5 Kxg4 53.e7 Kf3 54.Rxa2 Re8 55.Ke6 g4 56.Kf7 Rxe7+ 57.Kxe7 g3 58.Kf6 g2 59.Rxg2 Kxg2 1/2-1/2

              Fabiano Caruana misses a real chance to catch Nepo, but credit to Kirill Alekseenko for "a nice save"

              Fabiano Caruana at the post-game press conference says he missed his best chance when he didn't take the pawn on a4 on move 26, something Magnus also pointed out

              Round 9, April 20
              Ding, Liren – MVL
              E60 King’s Indian Defence

              1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.h4 Bg7 4.Nc3 c5 5.d5 d6 6.e4 e6 7.Be2 exd5 8.exd5 Nbd7 9.Nf3 Ng4 10.h5 Qe7 11.Bg5 Bxc3+ 12.bxc3 f6 13.Bd2 g5 14.O-O Nge5 15.Nd4 cxd4 16.cxd4 O-O 17.dxe5 fxe5 18.Be3 b6 19.a4 Nc5 20.a5 Rb8 21.Ra3 h6 22.Qd2 Bf5 23.axb6 axb6 24.Rfa1 Rb7 25.Qd1 Kg7 26.R1a2 Ne4 27.Bd3 Qf7 28.Rb2 Nc5 29.Bxf5 Qxf5 30.Bxc5 dxc5 31.Qe2 e4 32.Re3 Re8 33.Rb5 Qe5 34.g3 Qd4 35.Rb1 Rf7 36.Rd1 Qf6 37.d6 Re6 38.d7 Rd6 39.Rxd6 Qxd6 40.Rxe4 Rxd7 41.Kg2 Qc6 42.Kh2 Qf6 43.Kh3 Qf5+ 44.g4 Qf6 45.Re5 Qd6 46.Kg2 Qc6+ 47.f3 Qd6 48.Qe4 Ra7 49.Qe2 Rd7 50.Qe4 Ra7 51.Kh3 Rf7 52.Re8 Qf6 53.Kg2 Qb2+ 54.Kh3 Qf6 55.Kg2 Qb2+ 56.Kg3 Qf6 57.Qd3 Qf4+ 58.Kg2 Qf6 59.Kg3 Qf4+ 60.Kg2 Qf6 61.Qe2 Rd7 62.Qe4 Rd2+ 63.Kh3 Qd6 64.Re5 Kf6 65.Rf5+ Kg7 66.Re5 Kf6 67.Rf5+ Kg7 68.Qb7+ Kh8 69.Qa8+ Kg7 70.Qa7+ Kh8 71.Qa1+ Kg8 72.Qa8+ Kg7 73.Qa1+ Kg8 74.Re5 Qf8 75.Qa3 Rf2 76.Kg3 Qf4+ 77.Kxf2 Qxe5 78.Qa8+ Kf7 79.Qb7+ Kf8 80.Qc8+ Ke7 81.Qb7+ Kf8 82.Qxb6 Qh2+ 83.Kf1 Qh1+ 84.Ke2 Qg2+ 85.Ke3 Qg1+ 86.Ke2 Qg2+ 87.Ke3 Qg1+ 88.Ke2 1/2-1/2

              Final Position


              It's finally over! MVL escapes with an 88-move draw from a dead lost position that leaves him still just behind Nepo while it's the "last nail in the coffin" (Magnus) for Ding Liren's #FIDECandidates chances

              Carlsen: "It just feels absolutely wide-open at this point. Giri does have worse tiebreak than Nepomniachtchi, so he is a little bit further behind than Fabi, but it's pretty much wide-open and as a spectator that is all we can ask for at this point."

              Magnus on how he's changed since 2013: "It's hard to say. I'm probably more reliant on preparation now, unfortunately, and my willpower probably isn't quite as strong!"

              Magnus Carlsen says the press conferences he failed to show up to after losses won't be his proudest hour when he writes his autobiography, but "it can be the saner choice". He recommends if you have to show up:
              "Ignore the questions, say your bit & go!"

              Standings after Round Nine

              1 Nepo 5.5
              2-4 Caruana, MVL, Giri 5
              5-7 Alekseenko, Wang, Grischuk 4
              8 Ding 3.5



              Note: Nigel Short tweets on this position in Ding-MVL after 30….dxc5


              The human evaluation is that White has a very pleasant advantage. The engine goes a bit further, informing us that Black is dead and buried.
              Last edited by Wayne Komer; Tuesday, 20th April, 2021, 04:42 PM.


              • #8
                Yes the Ding MVL finish was disappointing.

                Grischuk shocked me with 26.Rxf7. It was a lovely trick but Nepo just traded bishops and the position was very dry (drawish) all of a sudden.


                • #9
                  Magnus just said on commenting in the Candidates that Fabi would be his toughest opponent followed by Ding, Nepo, and Wesley So.


                  • #10
                    Nepo won a good game against Alekseev, a kind of Catalan that got really bad early. He's now +3 and clearly in the driver's seat.


                    • #11
                      FIDE Candidates Tournament 2020-1

                      April 21, 2021

                      Round Ten

                      Round 10, April 21
                      Caruana, Fabiano – Ding, Liren
                      C88 Ruy Lopez, Closed, anti-Marshall

                      1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 O-O 8.a4 b4 9.a5 d6 10.d3 Be6 11.Bxe6 fxe6 12.c3 Rb8 13.Nbd2 Rb5 14.d4 bxc3 15.bxc3 exd4 16.cxd4 Qc8 17.Ba3 Nxa5 18.Qc2 c5 19.e5 dxe5 20.dxc5 Nc6 21.Ne4 Nxe4 22.Rxe4 Rd8 23.Rae1 Bf6 24.h4 h6 25.R4e3 Rd5 26.g4 Qe8 27.Kg2 h5 28.g5 Be7 29.Nxe5 Bxc5 30.Bxc5 Rbxc5 31.Qg6 Qxg6 32.Nxg6 e5 33.f4 Rd2+ 34.R3e2 Rxe2+ 35.Rxe2 Nd4 36.Re4 Rc2+ 37.Kf1 Rc1+ 38.Kf2 Rc2+ 39.Kf1 Rc1+ 40.Kf2 Rc2+ 1/2-1/2

                      Magnus Carlsen on the 10.d3 Ruy Lopez in Caruana-Ding Liren: "It takes a lifetime, and probably even more, to master!"

                      Carlsen on Ding "There are very fine margins at the top & once you start losing your confidence a little bit your level can drop a lot. It can look like you're a bit better than you are when you're rolling & quite a bit worse than you actually are when you're not playing so well"

                      Round 10, April 21
                      MVL – Giri, Anish
                      B33 Sicilian, Pelikan (Lasker-Sveshnikov) variation

                      1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5 6.Ndb5 d6 7.Nd5 Nxd5 8.exd5 Nb8 9.c4 Be7 10.c5 Na6 11.cxd6 Bxd6 12.Bc4 O-O 13.O-O Nc7 14.Nxd6 Qxd6 15.Qf3 b6 16.Rd1 Bb7 17.Bg5 h6 18.Bh4 b5 19.Bb3 Na6 20.Qe2 Nc5 21.Qxb5 Nxb3 22.axb3 Rfb8 23.f3 a6 24.Qa5 Rc8 25.Qa3 Qb6+ 26.Bf2 Qb5 27.d6 Qd7 28.Qa4 Bc6 29.Qh4 Re8 30.Rac1 Rac8 31.Rc4 Re6 32.Bc5 Rg6 33.Qf2 Re8 34.Re1 e4 35.fxe4 Rg4 36.h3 Rgxe4 37.Rexe4 Rxe4 38.Rxe4 Bxe4 39.Qe2 Bb7 40.b4 Qc6 1/2-1/2

                      Magnus Carlsen says he knew about this c5-line in the Sveshnikov back in 2003-4, long, long before the 2018 World Championship match, so he's sure Giri has prep here. He says White has some tries, but nothing too serious!

                      MVL-Giri ends in a draw, so both players are now a point behind Nepo with 4 rounds to go!

                      Magnus says helping Vishy Anand in 2007-8 helped him "immeasurably".

                      "While I was already a former live no 1 in the world at that time at 17 I realised I have so much to learn from him & in chess in general. It was very educational & also quite humbling"

                      Round 10, April 21
                      Wang, Hao – Grischuk, Alexander
                      C11 French, Steinitz, Enevoldsen variation

                      1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e5 Nfd7 5.Nce2 c5 6.c3 Nc6 7.f4 Be7 8.Nf3 f6 9.Be3 O-O 10.g3 Qb6 11.Qd2 cxd4 12.Nfxd4 Nc5 13.exf6 Bxf6 14.Nb3 Ne4 15.Qd3 Qc7 16.Bg2 Nd6 17.Bf2 Nc4 18.Qc2 Ne7 19.O-O e5 20.fxe5 Bf5 21.exf6 Bxc2 22.fxe7 Rfe8 23.Nf4 Nb6 24.Nxd5 Nxd5 25.Bxd5+ Kh8 26.Nd4 Qd7 27.c4 Bg6 28.Ne6 Rxe7 29.Rae1 Bf7 30.Nxg7 Bxd5 31.Rxe7 Qxe7 32.Nf5 Qf8 33.Bd4+ Kg8 34.cxd5 h5 35.d6 Kh7 36.Ne7 Qe8 37.Rf6 Rd8 38.Bc3 Rxd6 39.Rxd6 Qxe7 40.Rd4 Kg6 41.a3 Qe3+ 1/2-1/2

                      Magnus Carlsen: "You can try and parody Grischuk, but he does a better job of it!" Magnus is still not certain Grischuk isn't in prep after spending over an hour on move 11!

                      As I said, if you were going to parody Grischuk you would do this, have a position right after the opening when you have only one decent move and then spend an hour calculating it still. That would be my Grischuk parody, but he's doing it better himself!

                      "Shockingly he has taken on d4!" says Magnus after Grischuk finally played the expected 11...cxd4 after a mere 1 hour and 12 minutes!

                      Position after Grischuk’s 11…cxd4


                      Round 10, April 21
                      Nepo, Ian – Alekseenko, Kirill
                      A13 English, Neo-Catalan open

                      1.c4 Nf6 2.g3 e6 3.Bg2 d5 4.Nf3 dxc4 5.Qa4+ Nbd7 6.Qxc4 a6 7.Qc2 c5 8.Nc3 Be7 9.O-O O-O 10.d4 cxd4 11.Nxd4 Qc7 12.Rd1 Rd8 13.Be3 Nb6 14.Rac1 e5 15.Nf5 Bxf5 16.Qxf5 Nc4 17.Bg5 Rxd1+ 18.Nxd1 Rd8 19.Bxf6 Bxf6 20.Be4 Qa5 21.Nc3 Kf8 22.Nd5 b5 23.Qxh7 Rxd5 24.Bxd5 Qd2 25.Rxc4 bxc4 26.e4 Qxb2 27.Qh8+ Ke7 28.Qc8 Qb6 29.Qxc4 Qb5 30.Qc7+ Qd7 31.Qc5+ 1-0

                      Ian Nepomniachtchi and our commentators are simply searching for the best kill, but there's almost no doubt Nepo is going to take a giant step towards a potential match vs. Magnus today!

                      It's over! With 3 games still in progress Ian Nepomniachtchi has a 1.5 point lead with 4 rounds of the #FIDECandidates to go - he'll be the sole leader going into tomorrow's rest day

                      Ian Nepomniachtchi's win today also took him up to a career best world no. 3, at least for now!

                      Magnus Carlsen on Ian Nepomniachtchi: "He's someone who can outplay me... it's always been an interesting clash of styles!"

                      Ian Nepomniachtchi's win over Alekseenko has given him a full 1-point lead with just 4 rounds to go to decide who plays Magnus Carlsen in this year's World Championship match!

                      David Howell: Been one of the highlights of my career commentating on the #candidatestournament with @TaniaSachdev and @MagnusCarlsen. Hope people enjoyed! Will now switch to being a fan myself for the final 4 rounds. May the best player win!

                      Magnus is playing in the New In Chess Classic, which starts on April 24.

                      Rest day tomorrow. When the 11th round starts, the pairings are Nepo-Caruana, Alekseenko-Wang, Grischuk-MVL and Giri-Ding.

                      Standings after Round 10

                      1 Nepo 6.5
                      2-4 Caruana, MVL, Giri 5.5
                      5-6 Wang, Grischuk 4.5
                      7-8 Ding, Alekseenko 4


                      • #12
                        Give Wang Hao marks for creativity. Very complex. Was there winning chances?


                        • #13
                          FIDE Candidates Tournament 2020-1

                          April 23, 2021

                          Round Eleven

                          The commentators are Judit Polgar, Tania Sachdev and Vidit Santosh Gujrathi.

                          Round 11, April 23
                          Nepo, Ian – Caruana, Fabiano
                          C47 Four Knights, Scotch variation

                          1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.d4 exd4 5.Nxd4 Bb4 6.Nxc6 bxc6 7.Bd3 d5 8.exd5 O-O 9.O-O Bg4 10.f3 Bh5 11.Bg5 Qd6 12.Bxf6 Qxf6 13.dxc6 Bxc3 14.bxc3 Qxc3 15.Be4 Bg6 16.Qd7 Rad8 17.Qxc7 Qc5+ 18.Kh1 Bxe4 19.fxe4 Rc8 20.Qd7 Qxc6 21.Qxa7 Qxe4 22.Rfe1 Qxc2 23.a4 Qc5 24.Qxc5 Rxc5 25.a5 Ra8 26.a6 h5 27.Reb1 Kh7 28.Rb6 Ra7 29.Kg1 Rc2 30.h3 f6 31.Ra3 Kg6 32.Kh2 h4 33.Ra1 Rc4 34.Kg1 Rc2 35.Ra4 Rd2 36.Rg4+ Kf7 37.Rxh4 Ra2 38.Rb7+ Rxb7 39.axb7 Rb2 40.Ra4 Rxb7 41.Kh2 1/2-1/2

                          Not the position Fabi wanted: he knows it’s a draw, but he still has to work for it.

                          The big game of the day, Nepo-Fabi, has been anti-climactic, but there's a real fight on all the other boards!

                          Fabiano Caruana on not going all-out for a win:
                          "There are still three rounds to go - I thought, why would I burn my bridges?"

                          Round 11, April 23
                          Alekseenko, Kirill – Wang, Hao
                          C55 Two Knights Defence

                          1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.d3 h6 5.c3 d6 6.Nbd2 g5 7.Nf1 g4 8.N3d2 d5 9.exd5 Nxd5 10.Ne3 Nxe3 11.fxe3 Na5 12.O-O Nxc4 13.Nxc4 Bg7 14.e4 h5 15.Ne3 Qd6 16.Qb3 O-O 17.Qc2 b6 18.Bd2 Ba6 19.c4 Rad8 20.Nd5 Bc8 21.Rae1 f5 22.exf5 Bxf5 23.Bb4 c5 24.Bc3 Be6 25.Qd2 Rxf1+ 26.Rxf1 Bxd5 27.cxd5 Qg6 28.Qd1 Rxd5 29.Qa4 Rxd3 30.Qxa7 Rd8 31.a4 Rf8 32.Rxf8+ Bxf8 33.Qb8 Qb1+ 34.Kf2 Qf5+ 35.Ke2 Qe4+ 36.Kf2 Qf4+ 37.Kg1 Qc1+ 38.Kf2 Qf4+ 39.Kg1 Qe3+ 40.Kf1 Qd3+ 41.Kf2 Qf5+ 42.Ke2 Qc2+ 43.Kf1 Qd1+ 44.Kf2 Qxa4 45.Qxb6 Qc2+ 46.Kf1 Qf5+ 47.Ke2 h4 48.Qb3+ Kh7 49.Qd5 Bg7 50.Qxc5 Qe4+ 51.Kf1 Qd3+ 52.Ke1 h3 53.gxh3 Qe4+ 54.Kf1 Qd3+ 55.Ke1 Qe4+ 1/2-1/2

                          Round 11, April 23
                          Grischuk, Alexander – MVL
                          B23 Sicilian, Closed

                          1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Qxd4 Nc6 5.Qd2 g6 6.b3 Bh6 7.f4 Nf6 8.Bb2 e5 9.Nge2 O-O 10.O-O-O Be6 11.Kb1 a5 12.a4 Qb6 13.h4 Rac8 14.h5 Nxh5 15.g3 Nb4 16.Bh3 Bxh3 17.Rxh3 Bg7 18.g4 Nf6 19.g5 Nh5 20.f5 Rfd8 21.f6 Bf8 22.Ng3 d5 23.exd5 Nxg3 24.Rxg3 h5 25.Qe2 Rc5 26.Rh3 Nxd5 27.Nxd5 Rcxd5 28.Rdh1 Qd6 29.Ka2 Rd1 30.Rxh5 gxh5 31.Rxh5 Rd4 32.Rh1 Rxa4+ 33.Kb1 Qd5 34.Qh5 Qxh1+ 35.Qxh1 Rg4 36.Bxe5 Rxg5 37.Qxb7 Rd2 38.Bc3 Re2 39.Qc8 Rg1+ 40.Kb2 Rgg2 41.Bxa5 Rxc2+ 42.Qxc2 Rxc2+ 43.Kxc2 Kh7 44.Kd3 Kg6 45.Bc3 Kf5 46.Kc4 Ke6 47.b4 Bd6 48.b5 1-0

                          Final Position


                          MVL had over 50 minutes on his clock after the time control but blitzed out 42...Rxc2+, when 42...Ba3+! may have been the one way to save the game!

                          Maxime Vachier-Lagrave led the #FIDECandidates for 389 days, but his challenge lies in tatters after a loss to Alexander Grischuk today!

                          42...Ba3+ doesn't in fact work, but Grischuk said he didn't go to smoke at move 40 as usual to try and induce MVL to play fast and not play it!

                          Round 11, April 23
                          Giri, Anish – Ding, Liren
                          C85 Ruy Lopez, Exchange variation doubly deferred

                          1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Be7 6.Bxc6 dxc6 7.d3 Bd6 8.Nbd2 Be6 9.Nb3 Qe7 10.Na5 O-O-O 11.Qe2 Bg4 12.c3 c5 13.a3 c6 14.b4 Bc7 15.Nb3 Nd7 16.h3 Bh5 17.Be3 f5 18.Bxc5 Qf7 19.Rab1 g5 20.exf5 g4 21.Ng5 Qxf5 22.h4 b6 23.Ne4 bxc5 24.bxc5 Nf6 25.Nd6+ Bxd6 26.cxd6 Rxd6 27.d4 c5 28.Nxc5 Re8 29.Qc4 1-0

                          Position after Black’s 22….b6


                          "Anish is in really great form!" says Vidit as Giri finds 23.Ne4!! and 25.Nd6+!

                          I love the piece sacrifice from Anish Giri (23.Ne4!). It brings to mind the speculative sac. vs Nepo that helped him to a Chess Tour victory

                          Anish Giri is now just half a point behind Nepo after a brilliant win over Ding Liren!

                          "To win in this style gives you some extra self-confidence... You can win sometimes, but you can really WIN the way you remember for the rest of your life!" - Judit Polgar on Giri's sparkling win over Ding Liren

                          Giri moves up to World #4 at the expense of his opponent today!

                          Giri: "6.Bxc6, 7.d3, this is how I spent my rest day!"

                          Standings after Round Eleven

                          1 Nepo 7
                          2 Giri 6.5
                          3 Caruana 6
                          4-5 Grischuk, MVL 5.5
                          6 Wang 5
                          7 Alekseenko 4.5
                          8 Ding 4

                          The #NewInChess Classic kicks off tomorrow and we're all fired up!

                          "My main worry is to play until 4am!" says Vidit about the upcoming #NewInChess Classic, the 5th event on the @Meltwater #ChessChamps Tour!

                          Nigel Short: Nepo is the massive favourite to win the #FIDECandidates. He would make an interesting Challenger for @MagnusCarlsen. However, there is still time remaining and his victory is by no means secured.

                          Surya Sekhar Ganguly:
                          Eagerly looking forward to this. Will be joining the commentary team @GMJuditPolgar and @TaniaSachdev
                          Last edited by Wayne Komer; Friday, 23rd April, 2021, 01:46 PM.


                          • #14
                            Giri - Ding Liren - Now thats the kind of chess the fans want to see! Impressive attack.


                            • #15
                              By the way the commentary is fantastic. What a luxury of great commentators.