2022 Candidates Tournament (Madrid, Spain)

In two days, the 2022 Candidates tournament will begin with a very interesting field of new faces and some returnees from the 2020 edition. Ian Nepomniachtchi won the tournament and went on to face defending champion Magnus Carlsen for the crown. The champion got a crushing 7½-3½ win, a total disaster for the Russian player. He collapsed toward the end losing three of last four games.

Hikaru Nakamura at 2022 FIDE Grand Prix
Photo by Pierre Adenis/World Chess

Each of the eight qualifiers got here in very different ways. Hikaru Nakamura is perhaps the biggest surprise after being away 822 days from competitive chess. The last classical game was October 2019 at the FIDE Grand Swiss, but it appears that all of the Twitch streaming has paid off. Everyone will be watching closely to see if the American has his old fighting spirit.

Since Nakamura’s rise as a streaming superstar, there has been another talent emerging among the elite. Iranian-born Alireza Firoujza changed the landscape with a meteroic rise to the 2800-club. Since changing his federation to France, he has become the new sensation and perhaps the heir-apparent to World Champion Magnus Carlsen. In fact, after Carlsen crushed Ian Nepomniachtchi in their championship match, he mentioned that unless another fresh face (Firoujza) emerges, he would not play another championship match.

Is Alireza Firouzja ready for the big stage?
Courtesy of FIDE /Stev Bonhage

This will be the biggest test for Firouzja as he will face a highly-motivated field including two championship challengers in Fabiano Caruana and Nepomniachtchi and the world’s #2 in Ding Liren. Ding was able to find a way into the Candidates after Sergey Karjakin was banned six months for violating FIDE Ethics after supporting the condemned Russian invasion of Ukraine. Jan-Krzysztof Duda of Poland won the 2021 World Cup in an impressive fashion. With Richard Rapport qualifying through the FIDE Grand Prix, the field is a very youthful 28 years.

It seems that not long ago Teimour Radjabov was a teenage phenom taking on the likes of Garry Kasparov. While never challenging for the title, he has always been one of the world’s elite and after a hiatus, he qualified for the Candidates by winning the 2019 World Cup over Ding Liren.

As the 2020 Candidates tournament approached, COVID-19 was sweeping the globe and ultimately Radjabov decided to pull out. Organizers started the tournament, only to postpone midway through. Radjabov protested the idea of holding the tournament under such conditions. In controversial fashion, FIDE decided to grant him the wildcard position. In such a mixed field with a diversity of players, it should be an exciting tournament!

Official Site: https://candidates.fide.com/
Photo Gallery: https://www.flickr.com/photos/fide/albums/72177720299820474

2022 World Candidates (Madrid, Spain)

2022 Candidates Chess Championship

June 17th- July 5th, 2022 (Madrid, Spain)

Participants
#
Name
Title
Federation
Flag
Rating
1 Ding Liren GM China
2806
2 Alireza, Firoujza GM France
2791
3 Caruana, Fabiano GM USA
2783
4 Nepomniachtchi, Ian GM FIDE
2766
5 Rapport, Richard GM Hungary
2764
6 Nakamura, Hikaru GM USA
2760
7 Radjabov, Teimour GM Azerbaijan
2753
8 Duda, Jan-Krzysztof GM Poland
2750
Main Site

Daaim Shabazz

Daaim Shabazz is the founder of The Chess Drum, while serving as a tenured faculty member of Global Business & Marketing at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida, USA. He holds a B.S. Computer Science from Chicago State University, an MBA in Marketing and a Ph.D. in International Affairs & Development, both from Clark Atlanta University. He has served the journalist community for more than 30 years and still competes in tournaments occasionally.

34 Comments

  1. After the opening press conference, the players were readying themselves for the most important tournament of the year. The Opening Ceremonies have been held and the Candidates Tournament is officially open! Arkady Dvorkovich welcomed the chess community to the most important tournament in determining who will challenge Magnus Carlsen for the world crown.

    Arkady Dvorkovich at Opening Ceremonies. Photo by FIDE/Stev Bonhage
    Arkady Dvorkovich at Opening Ceremonies.
    Photo by FIDE/Stev Bonhage

    2022 Candidates Chess Championship

    June 17th-July 5th, 2022 (Madrid, Spain)

    Date
    Madrid
    New York
    Dehli
    Moscow
    Event
    June 16
    Opening Ceremony
    June 17
    3:00pm
    9:00am
    6:30pm
    4:00pm
    Round 1
    June 18
    3:00pm
    9:00am
    6:30pm
    4:00pm
    Round 2
    June 19
    3:00pm
    9:00am
    6:30pm
    4:00pm
    Round 3
    June 20
    FREE
    DAY
    June 21
    3:00pm
    9:00am
    6:30pm
    4:00pm
    Round 4
    June 22
    3:00pm
    9:00am
    6:30pm
    4:00pm
    Round 5
    June 23
    3:00pm
    9:00am
    6:30pm
    4:00pm
    Round 6
    June 24
    FREE
    DAY
    June 25
    3:00pm
    9:00am
    6:30pm
    4:00pm
    Round 7
    June 26
    3:00pm
    9:00am
    6:30pm
    4:00pm
    Round 8
    June 27
    3:00pm
    9:00am
    6:30pm
    4:00pm
    Round 9
    June 28
    FREE
    DAY
    June 29
    3:00pm
    9:00am
    6:30pm
    4:00pm
    Round 10
    June 30
    3:00pm
    9:00am
    6:30pm
    4:00pm
    Round 11
    July 1
    3:00pm
    9:00am
    6:30pm
    4:00pm
    Round 12
    July 2
    FREE
    DAY
    July 3
    3:00pm
    9:00am
    6:30pm
    4:00pm
    Round 13
    July 4
    3:00pm
    9:00am
    6:30pm
    4:00pm
    Round 14
    July 5
    Tie-breaks & Closing Ceremony

  2. Round 1 – Friday, 17 June 2022

    Ding 0-1 Nepomniachtchi
    Duda ½-½ Rapport
    Caruana 1-0 Nakamura
    Radjabov ½-½ Firouzja

    The highly-anticipated opening of the Candidates’ tournament started with four tense battles leading to speculation that there would be four decisive results. The venue is very exquisite with classical paintings and ornate architectural designs enhancing the prestige of the event.

    Opening of the World Candidates 2022. Photo by FIDE/Stev Bonhage
    Opening of the World Candidates 2022
    Photo by FIDE/Stev Bonhage

    Ding-Nepomniachtchi, 0-1

    It would be the top seed Ding losing the first decisive result of the tournament as he got caught on his back foot, played inaccurately in the middlegame, and fell to a brutal mating attack. Nepomniachtchi finished off the game with the nice 32…Bh3+!

    It was a crushing blow for Ding who had worked hard to qualify after travel restrictions jeopardized his participation. Perhaps he is still working into form, but it will need to stabilize quickly since another setback would make a recovery difficult. 

    Ding resigns for first decisive result of the tournament.
    Photo courtesy of FIDE/Stev Bonhage

    Duda-Rapport, 1/2

    This may have been a game of missed opportunities for the Polish player against a Sicilian Taimanov. Jan-Krzysztof Duda has a structural advantage and better bishop pair exerting pressure on the queenside. Ultimately, these bishops were ushering the passed a-pawn down the board, but Rapport was able to confront and block the pawn’s advance.

    Caruana-Nakamura, 1-0

    The battle of the two compatriots. The only federation with more than one candidate, rules were established so that these matches occur early in the tournament to avoid any prearranged results. This game would be the 147th game between the two who have battled since their teenage years. Fabiano Caruana held a 7-5 edge in classical battles so this one would be a thriller.

    Hikaru Nakamura was perhaps a bit overambitious with his kingside advance, and had to end up castling on the airy side of the board. This was a disadvantage as white would always have permanent threats against the king with heavy material on the board. Nakamura tried trading queens on a couple of occasions to ease the pressure, but Caruana kept the queens on and kept tightening the screws. In the end, there were simply too many holes to repair and Nakamura was unable to avoid massive losses after 50.Qg4+

    Radjabov-Firouzja, 1/2

    An exciting battle with the young 18-year-old showing some flashing of his talent. This attempt was only enough for equality, but the phenom still had to fight in a R+P ending a pawn down.


    Video GM Daniel King

    Video by FIDE/chess.com


  3. Round 2 – Saturday, 18 June 2022

    Rapport ½-½ Firouzja
    Nakamura 1-0 Radjabov
    Nepomniachtchi ½-½ Caruana
    Duda ½-½ Ding


    On the 19th birthday of Alireza Firouzja, he was looking to have a big day against Richard Rapport. What started out to be a day of celebration almost ended in disaster, but he hung on to save a worse ending. He may have gotten his gift after all. All of the games were tense, but the highlight was Hikaru Nakamura fighting back from a loss in round 1 to win against Teimour Radjabov in a show of determination. The two tournament leaders (Fabiano Caruana and Ian Nepomniachtchi)

    Caruana and Firouzja arriving for 2nd round
    Photo by FIDE/Stev Bonhage

    Rapport 1/2-1/2 Firouzja

    In a rare Chekhover variation of the Sicilian, Rapport quickly exchanged his light-squared bishop for a knight, avoiding sharp lines and entering a calm, balanced position with a slightly better pawn structure for White (similar to one Rapport had as black against Duda in game one).

    White did a better job in the ensuing manoeuvering play and got a slight edge. By move 32, the two entered a rook endgame, but this was when Firouzja committed a grave mistake – 32….Ra1, allowing Black to capture on c6 and then double his rooks along the seventh rank.

    After 34.Rcc7! black is busted.

    By move 37, White was completely winning, but then it was Rapport’s turn to err. He could have given a check on g7, followed by an exchange of a pair of rooks, leading to a supported free runner down the e-file and at the same time pinning Black’s d-pawn. Instead, he played 38.Ke4 (see a diagram below), giving some breathing space to Firouzja, who was defending well.

    Rapport couldn’t find the winning plan, and after 47.Rg6, he dropped the rest of his advantage, and the position was even. Firouzja then returned the favour with 51…Re7?, but Rapport did not accept the gift (52.Kf5! was winning) and opted for 52.b4, leading to a forced draw. ~ Analysis from Milan Dinic/FIDE



    Nakamura 1-0 Radjabov

    In the Ruy Lopez, Nakamura played d3 and denied Radjabov a chance to enter the main line of the Berlin Defence. Radjabov opted for a rare continuation (5…Nd4) where Black has to make several moves with a bishop in the centre. However, he spent significantly more time in the opening, suggesting he was out of the book.

    The price of this was soon felt on the board as Nakamura created a strong edge: Black had doubled pawns and a pawn on d7, which was blocking the development of his c8 bishop. Radjabov opted to sacrifice a pawn by playing d7-d5 to complete development and unlock the potential of his bishop pair.

    Having a 60-minute advantage, Nakamura gradually simplified the position: he returned the pawn and exchanged the queens but managed to place his rook in the Black’s back rank and put his knight on d4, towering over the board. The computer said the position was equal, but Radjabov had five minutes on seven moves to reach the first time control.

    Radjabov-Nakamura
    Photo courtesy of FIDE/Stev Bonhage

    Nakamura kept his cool: pushing his king forward and skilfully manoeuvring the rook, he was gradually grinding Radjabov, creating problems and traps, hoping Black would fall for one of them. Still, Nakamura’s efforts would not have been enough for a victory had Radjabov not blundered a pawn on the move 35.

    Even after this mistake, Radjabov had plenty of defensive options. After 57…Rc8 – which is not that easy to find – Black, most likely would have held a draw. However, he played 57…Bf7? Which was the decisive mistake.

    White set his three pawns on the queenside in motion, while his king and heavy pieces were there to hold the black pawns on the kingside from advancing. Nakamura’s victory became imminent, and he sealed it on the move 65.

    ~ Analysis from Milan Dinic/FIDE



    Nepomniachtchi 1/2-1/2 Caruana

    In the Italian game, Caruana introduced an aggressive plan: with an h6-g5 manoeuvre on the queenside, he launched a double-edged novelty – Ng4 – as early as move ten. A product of deep preparation, this continuation was a direct indication of an attack on the white king, forcing Nepo to react and enter a sharp line.

    The discomfort on Nepomniachtchi’s face was obvious: he was forced into a variation deeply analyzed by Caruana, his seconds and the supercomputers. Nepo was, therefore, facing not just his opponent but his entire team of experts and computers and had to find a solution right there, on the spot, alone, with the clock ticking. Fabiano gave his evaluation of 10…Ng4 in a post-game interview:

    “I knew that Ng4 would come as a surprise. I don’t know if many people have analysed this move. It’s a novelty. I’ve played this position myself against Wesley So in blitz or rapid and I played Nh7 which is a common move. And Ng4 is borderline losing, a huge gamble. But I was counting on a surprise factor and I also thought that he would go for what he did which is the most natural way.”

    ~ Fabiano Caruana after his Ng4 novelty

    Nepomniachtchi spent more than an hour searching for the right path but coordinated his pieces at the cost of his d4-pawn. The offering of the pawn was the first time in the game that Caruana stopped blitzing and spent some time thinking.

    Nepomniachtchi seemed to have achieved some breathing space, but only for a short while as Caruana pressed on and soon won one more pawn. Despite having a doubled pawn on the a-file, the two-pawn advantage and control in the centre and over the b-file gave Black the edge.

    Caruana spent even more time thinking but couldn’t find a precise way to victory in a very complicated position. Probably feeling that the situation was getting out of control, Fabiano offered a draw by repetition on the move 32. Caruana wasn’t happy after the game. He staged a big surprise in the opening, had a strong advantage and had two extra pawns, but he couldn’t find the road to victory.

    ~ Analysis from Milan Dinic/FIDE



    Duda 1/2-1/2 Ding

    The same opening was played as in the game between Nepomniachtchi and Caruana. Ding chose to go with the pawn two steps (a5) forward while Fabi steeled for one step (a6). The idea in both cases is to create an escape path for the bishop. However, unlike the drama that evolved in the Nepo-Caruana game, the Duda-Ding duel was a strictly positional affair.

    Following the stabilization of the pawn structure in the centre, White started regrouping his pieces in the hope of penetrating Black’s camp on one of the wings. With 25.b4 Duda pushed on the queenside, opening the b-file where he then lined up his rooks, but Ding covered all the critical squares and pushed f6-f5 to create some tension on the kingside. Both sides were still carefully manoeuvring their pieces, improving their positions and looking for a chance, but the position was even. Following threefold repetition, the two agreed on a draw after 41 moves and three and a half hours of play. ~ Analysis from Milan Dinic/FIDE

    Ding and Rapport finishing the day’s proceedings.
    Photo courtesy of FIDE/Stev Bonhage





    Video GM Daniel King

    Video by FIDE/chess.com


  4. Round 3 – Sunday, 19 June 2022

    Ding ½-½ Rapport
    Caruana ½-½ Duda
    Radjabov ½-½ Nepomniachtchi
    Firouzja ½-½ Nakamura

    Ding Liren missed his biggest chance to collect a point after allowing Richard Rapport to wiggle away. Is Rapport becoming the Sergey Karjakin of this tournament? He has shown class defense at critical stages proving that winning at this level is incredibly difficult.

    Ding Liren will have to find a way to break through.
    Photo by Stev Bonhage/FIDE

    A highly-anticipated matchup between Hikaru Nakamura and Alireza Firouzja did not disappoint. The young phenom uncorked 16.Nxg5!? getting two pawns for a piece and an immediate attack. However, Nakamura saw the complications and was able to equalize. The American still had to be on his toes to stop an avalanche of white pawns marching up the board. The game ended in a comical K+N vs. K draw.

    Fabiano Caruana and Jan-Krzysztof Duda played a topical Sicilian Najdorf with its share of complications, but it too ended in a K+N vs K draw. Ian Nepomniachtchi and Teimour Radjabov had a rather tame draw.

    Ding 1/2-1/2 Rapport

    Caruana 1/2-1/2 Duda

    Radjabov 1/2-1/2 Nepomniachtchi

    Firouzja 1/2-1/2 Nakamura

    All game notes Carlos Alberto Colodro (ChessBase.com)


    Video GM Daniel King

    Video by FIDE/chess.com

  5. Round 4 – Tuesday, 21 June 2022

    Rapport ½-½ Nakamura
    Nepomniachtchi 1-0 Firouzja
    Duda ½-½ Radjabov
    Ding ½-½ Caruana

    Rapport 1/2-1/2 Nakamura

    Richard Rapport and Hikaru Nakamura qualified through the same tournaments and are now here trying to make the most of the opportunity. However, this game was not the one where they took a lot of chances and the game ended in a rather placid draw. If nothing else, both players have made the most dramatic entrances.

    Richard Rapport looking like a boss.
    Photo by Stev Bonhage/FIDE

    Nepomniachtchi 1-0 Firouzja

    Another impressive win for Ian Nepomniachtchi as he displayed brutal efficiency in smashing through the Alireza Firouzja’s Najdorf. The young phenom made some thematic moves like 17…d5! but lost his way in the compications. The last straw was when Firouzja played the inexplicable 33…Nb2. Already behind in the initiative, the lost time meant that Nepo had time to conjure up a deadly combination after 35…f5

    After 35…f5, Nepomniachtchi uncorked a knockout blow. Can you see it?
    Nepomniachtchi about to make the finishing blow.
    Photo courtesy of
    Maria Emelianova/Chess.com

    Duda 1/2-1/2 Radjabov

    Duda playing 8.Bg5 against Radjabov
    Photo courtesy of Stev Bonhage/FIDE

    The elderstatesman from Azerbaijan is still looking for his first victory against one of the youngest talents. There was very little pull in this game that saw 8.Bg5 (instead of 8.Bxc6 Rapport-Nakamura). Radjabov’s prep may be a bit rusty as he was spending a lot of time keeping up with the wrinkles. Nevertheless, he played dynamically and secured the draw.

    Ding 1/2-1/2 Caruana

    Two heavyweights squared off in a battle of would-be contenders. The game had moments of tension and Caruana had to sacrifice a pawn to avoid falling behind further in development. As a result, Ding had a favorable ending with two passed queenside pawns, but the queenside evaporated and the game switched to the kingside. Ding won a pawn, but it was not enough as the ensuing rook ending ended in a draw.

    All game notes Carlos Alberto Colodro (ChessBase.com)


    Video GM Daniel King

    Video by FIDE/chess.com

  6. Round 5 – Wednesday, 22 June 2022

    Caruana ½-½ Rapport
    Radjabov ½-½ Ding
    Firouzja ½-½ Duda
    Nakamura ½-½ Nepomniachtchi

    Four draws today, but some interesting battles including the headliner, Nakamura-Nepomniachtchi. Caruana was looking to gain ground on Rapport who has inspired with his fashion sense. 

    Caruana 1/2-1/2 Rapport

    There has been a good share of Sicilians in this tournament and this time we saw a Taimanov. Caruana played the rare 6.g4 and Rapport responded with 6…Nge7. This game had the hallmark of Sicilian battles with an opposite wing assault.

    Looking at the position after 18.Qd4, this game was double-edged, but as with many Sicilians, it walked a theoretical tightrope and ended peacefully.

     Radjabov 1/2-1/2 Ding

    Both players trying to find their first wins.
    Photo courtesy Stev Bonhage/FIDE

    Firouzja 1/2-1/2 Duda

    Two young talents trying to break into the win column. Was this too much pressure on Firouzja? It is not for the lack of trying. The game had its ebbs and flows but ended up in a sure draw. In order to live up to the pre-tournament hype, Firouzja will have to seize on his chances. Not today.

    Nakamura 1/2-1/2 Nepomniachtchi

    This was a big game for Nakamura. With a chance to narrow the gap, he faced the Open Ruy Lopez and essayed an interesting 14.Ra2!? He later missed 21.Nh4! giving him an advantage, but the subtletly isn’t easy to spot after 21…Qb1 22.d5! Nd4 23.Rb2 Qe4 24.Qxe4 Bxe4 25.Rxb7!

    All game notes Carlos Alberto Colodro (ChessBase.com)


    Video GM Hikaru Nakamura

     


    Video by FIDE/chess.com

     

  7. Round 6 – Thursday, 23 June 2022

    Radjabov ½-½ Rapport
    Firouzja 0-1 Caruana
    Nakamura ½-½ Ding
    Nepomniachtchi 1-0 Duda

    Both leaders struck today and Nepomniachtchi and Caruana took down Duda and Firouzja, respectively. Both players have notch five of the six decisive games with Nakamura winning the other.

    Radjabov 1/2-1/2 Rapport

    There have been missed chances and perhaps Teimour Radjabov missed an opportunity. In a Sicilian Taimanov, instead of plowing onto black’s 7th rank, he could’ve retreated his bishop and invaded the 7th rank anyway. Despite being down three pawns, he would’ve had a decisive advantage. Take a look.

    Teimour Radjabov

    Firouzja 0-1 Caruana

    This was an interesting battle between two very dynamic and well-prepared players. In this Catalan, Firouzja showed he was up to date in his preparation, but took a big risk in the exchanged sacrifice 19.Rxd7?! hoping for 19…Qxd7 20.Bh3 regaining the balance. However, Caruana could play 21…f5! meeting 22.Bxf5 with 22…Qe8! From this point, Firouzja was playing for complications, but the American continued playing accurately and met his opponent’s threats with some of his own. Again… the young star perhaps overstepped and learned a lesson that one cannot win without the toughest resistance.

    Nakamura 1/2-1/2 Ding

    This was an evenly-played game by both players and Nakamura’s Italian Game didn’t have any wild swings… until the end when a melee broke out. After the smoke cleared white had his piece aimed at the black king, but black had a solid knight on e6 and a pawn all the way down on d2 pinning white’s rook down. In the end, there was a perpetual after 35.Bxg7 Nxg7 36.Rxg7+. Well-played, but neither side was ever in danger.

    Nepomniachtchi 1-0 Duda

    Nepomniachtchi showed his class with this crushing win over the Polish star. See Grandmaster Daniel King’s analysis below!

    All game notes Carlos Alberto Colodro (ChessBase.com)


    Video GM Hikaru Nakamura

     


    Video by FIDE/chess.com

     

  8. Nepomniachtchi leading Candidates 2022 after six

    Ian Nepomniachtchi came into this Candidates Tournament as the last player who earned the right to play Magnus Carlsen for the World Championship. That match ended in a disaster as the Russian lost three of the last four games. While he was gracious in defeat, Nepomniachtchi may get a second chance at facing either Carlsen or the other top-two finisher of the Candidates. After thrashing Nepomniachtchi and winning his fifth title, Carlsen went on record to say that he would not defend his title unless Alireza Firouzja emerges as the challenger.

    I found that the negative has started to outweigh the positive, even when winning. I have by now played against the previous generation and three leading players of my generation. Being result-oriented has worked out for me in these matches, but it doesn’t feel sustainable long term. Passion must be the main driver. It is unlikely that I will play another match unless maybe if the next challenger represents the next generation.

    ~Magnus Carlsen

    Two-Horse Race?

    So far, it appears that Firouzja is not yet prepared for the big stage and sits in last place after six rounds. In fact, Fabiano Caruana crushed the would-be contender in Firouzja in the sixth round and is looking for another shot at the champion. Caruana played Carlsen in 2018 with the 14 classical games ending in draws! Caruana went on to lose 3-0 in tiebreaks. Thus, Caruana and Nepo had two very different experiences, but both will be looking for a better result.

    Ian Nepomniachtchi on the verge of winning against Jan-Krzysztof Duda.
    Photo courtesy of FIDE/Stev Bonhage



    Thus far, Nepomniachtchi has been the most impressive with three wins (Ding Liren, Jan-Krzysztof Duda, Firouzja) followed by Caruana who also dispatched of the young teen pheno and Hikaru Nakamura. Nakamura who is the second oldest in the field at age 34 (Teimour Radjabov is 35), had to bounce back after the opening round loss to Caruana.



    …and here is Nakamura’s comeback win.



    Teimour Radjabov-Hikaru Nakamura represent the “older” generation.
    Photo courtesy of FIDE/Stev Bonhage

    What’s ahead?

    Lots of questions moving toward the halfway mark and beyond. Can Nepomniachtchi hold onto his 1/2-point lead? Can Caruana edge closer to apply pressure? Can Firouzja rebound and live up to the pre-tournament hype? Some other questions surrounded the performance of Ding Liren who lost badly to Nepomniachtchi, but has stabilized his play. Despite the near-miss against Richard Rapport in the third round, he is still only -1. Speaking of misses, Rapport had misses of his own including one against Firouzja.

    After 34.Rcc7! black is busted.



    Richard Rapport has won social media style points.

    Richard Rapport of Hungary
    Photos courtesy of FIDE/Stev Bonhage

    So, Firouzja was close to being -3. It has been a learning experience for the young Iranian turned French national. Many were choosing him as the pre-tournament choice to win. However, it may have been a combination of Carlsen’s request and the fans’ desire for a new face. There is still an outside chance for another fan favorite, Nakamura. He has been posting Twitch videos during the tournament and interacting on Twitter.


    Some are calling this a “two-horse race” with the two former candidates leading the pack. One may recall that Nepo can sometimes go into streaks of both brilliant and uninspired play. This may leave and opening for opportunistic players like Nakamura who doesn’t need much motivation to get going.

    Ten years ago, many thought the American would be the next challenger, but he became a streaming icon and his career took another path. Former champion Garry Kasparov thinks that Ding Liren has the best chance against Carlsen along with Caruana and Duda. Time will tell, but at this point Ian Nepomniachtchi has been the most convincing. Here is his dismantling of Firouzja with a beautiful finish!


    All game notes Carlos Alberto Colodro (ChessBase.com)

    Main Site: https://candidates.fide.com/

  9. Round 7 – Saturday, 25 June 2022

    Rapport 0-1 Nepomniachtchi
    Duda ½-½ Nakamura
    Ding ½-½ Firouzja
    Caruana 1-0 Radjabov

    Again… Nepomniachtchi and Caruana seem to be winning in tandem during this tournament. This becomes the third time that both players won (1st, 6th, 7th). If anyone is to catch the Russian player, they will need to keep pace. Nepo is now on 5.5/7 while Caruana is just a half-point behind at 5/7. An amazing seven out of the eight decisive games in the tournament have come from the two leaders. This marks the official halfway point.

    Rapport 0-1 Nepomniachtchi

    This battle brought some interesting commentary. Caruana was asked about his view of the game and he thought such a try by Richard Rapport was a bit naive with the speculative queen sacrifice.

    Video by chess.com

    Nevertheless, Rapport showed some grit in his attempt.

    Despite the loss, Rapport deserves praise. Many chess pundits who were following the game said that Rapport’s decision to decline an early draw and enter a weaker and riskier position instead was unnecessary and that he should have accepted reality. That may be objectively true, however, it is exactly those who refuse to accept (a dim) reality that stand a chance to make a difference, and sometimes manage to do it. Rapport has shown that he is here to fight whatever the odds and throw a good show for the audience, the people who love chess. From a wider perspective, chess was granted another interesting story to tell, which goes beyond the standard reciting of lines and is much more about psychology, courage and character. A rare exception to dull and quick theoretical draws which – however realistic – make the game less attractive for everyone.~Milan Dinic/FIDE

    Duda 1/2-1/2 Nakamura

    There was nothing coming out of this Nimzo-Indian as Nakamura equalized with ease. He then seized some intitiative with a firm grip after 19…Re4. This edge wasn’t quite enough as white played actively and got a 3 vs. 3 rook ending.

    Ding 1/2-1/2 Firouzja

    Caruana 1-0 Radjabov

    Radjabov trotted out the O’Kelly Sicilian variation after 1.e4 c5 Nf3 a6!? a rare sight at the highest levels. It seemed like black was trying to steer away from known theory, but ended up with an uncomfortable postition after 13…0-0-0. There were other critical moments of the games, but the Azeri players kept piling up mistakes. Caruana marched his white king all the way up the board to g6, virtually guaranteeing a substantial endgame advantage. Black had created two passed pawns, but they were far too slow as white’s pieces were poised in optimal positions.

    All game notes Carlos Alberto Colodro (ChessBase.com)

    Interview with Fabiano Caruana


    Video by FIDE/chess.com


    Video GM Daniel King

  10. Round 8 – Sunday, 26 June 2022

    Rapport 1-0 Duda
    Nepomniachtchi ½-½ Ding
    Nakamura 1-0 Caruana
    Firouzja ½-½ Radjabov

    The news of today was Nakamura’s win over compatriot Fabiano Caruana. Some outlets were calling this an “upset,” but those knowing the history of these two players will understand the parity. Nakamura returned the favor after Caruana beat him in the very first round, so it would be poetic justice for this result. Nakamura’s recap is included below.

    Rapport 1-0 Duda

    Rapport, wearing a fashionable jacket, gets his very first win by beating Duda. When asked about his jacket, he mentioned that it was his wife’s idea. The Hungarian player was coming off of a loss and perhaps the jacket brightened his mood.

    Richard Rapport makes a statement, in attire and over the board.
    Photo Steve Bonhage

    Richard Rapport, who suffered a tragic defeat in the previous round – stood out in round eight not just with his salmon-pink jacket, but also with the result. He made an important comeback as he defeated Jan-Krzysztof Duda with white pieces. In a theoretical debate in the Four Knights Game, where White played a rare 5.g3, Duda exposed himself on the kingside and didn’t defend well against White’s advances. Rapport immediately jumped at the opportunity to force his initiative, creating serious threats to the black king. Duda didn’t have the energy to go through the suffering and resigned on move 29.

    With this win Rapport became only the fourth(!) player in this tournament to have a victory on his scoresheet (next to Nepomniachtchi, Caruana and Nakamura) and with 4/8 still has chances for a place in the top ranks. Duda, however, is in serious trouble – his second defeat (the first one was in round six to Nepomniachtchi) sent him to the bottom of the table. Let us hope that he will regain his strength and continue to play as he did in the first part of the event.

    ~Milan Dinic/FIDE

    Nepomniachtchi 1/2-1/2 Ding

    In just under an hour, both players shook hands, as Ian Nepomaniachtchi feels no pressure in playing for a win. There was a funny exchange at the end of the game where Ding Liren wanted to agree to a draw, but the position had only repeated twice.

    Nakamura 1-0 Caruana

    This was a very instructive win by Nakamura who naysayers like to claim that he is primarily a blitz player. having reached the stratospheric 2800 mark, he clearly showed his class in this win against Caruana. At first glance, Caruana’s black bishop on d3 looked menacing, but it turned out to be a glorified pawn that sat in the same spot from move 21 to 73… when Caruana resigned.

    Here is his entertaining recap…

    Firouzja 1/2-1/2 Radjabov

    In the Italian Game, Radjabov opted for a line where he had doubled pawns on e6 and e5, which is slightly inferior for Black but still very solid. In subsequent slow positional manoeuvring White had a little more space to develop his initiative. Black was trying to find his chances on the kingside, but when the opportunity presented itself, Radjabov did not grasp it.

    Everything was ready for a 26…Nhf4+ with a more promising position for Black, but Radjabov opted for 26…b5 which was not nearly as effective. 

    Firouzja consistently tried to get the ball rolling in a roughly equal position and eventually got an edge but allowed Black’s to push d6-d5, equalizing. In the end, Teimour sent his king into the attack and forced Firouzja to maintain equality with precise moves.

    The two transitioned into a queen and rook endgame, where Black held a draw despite the best efforts of White to wear him out and bring him down. 

    After 7 hours of play, Firouzja had to settle for a draw.  

    ~Milan Dinic/FIDE

    All game notes Carlos Alberto Colodro (ChessBase.com)

    Full Broadcast

    Video by FIDE/chess.com

    Video by GM Daniel King

  11. Round 9 – Monday, 27 June 2022

    Firouzja 1-0 Rapport
    Radjabov 1-0 Nakamura
    Caruana ½-½ Nepomniachtchi
    Ding 1-0 Duda

    For a long time, Ian Nepomniachtchi and Fabiano Caruana carried most of the decisive results as they were simply dominating the field. Today, three players scored their first victories. Alireza Firouzja was the one who seemed the most relieved. If we look at his photo from the opening ceremonies to now, he seems to have aged a few years. Hopefully, this experience will provide valuable experience. Apart from Firouzja, Ding Liren and Teimour Radjabov scored their first wins.

    Firouzja 1-0 Rapport

    What a relief! Alireza Firouzja won his first game after very uneven play putting him at the bottom of the field. In his game against Richard Rapport, he demonstrated why many are high on his talent.

    Radjabov 1-0 Nakamura

    After coming off of an impressive win over Caruana, Nakamura had closed the gap and was now only 1/2-point from second. In a tournament where only first place is a desirable result, Nakamura’s loss is a tremendous setup and shows that while he can win “on-demand,” he also has problems with consistency.

    After Nakamura ate up time on the clock, he decided to sacrifice a pawn, but Radjabov simply grabbed it and took advantage of his time advantage and better structure. By the time Nakamura was able to relieve some pressure, Radjabov started pushing the a-pawn up the board. and it turned out to be the deciding factor. Nakamura does another wonderful job of recapping this game in a very balanced way.

    Video by Hikaru Nakamura

    Caruana 1/2-1/2 Nepomniachtchi

    This was a fun game even though it ended peaceful. Caruana was trying to close the gap even further and faced the Petroff. He came up with a novel plan and ended up with an advantage. By move 20, pieces were zipping around the board, and it was hard to work through the maelstrom of complications. However, Nepo was capable and showed his class with 23…Kf7! This gave fans and commentators a lot to ponder and many scrambled for the engines. After massive exchanges, the game was over by move 40.

    Ding 1-0 Duda

    Ding one his first game grinding out a win against Duda, the only player remaining without a win. Ding’s positions are usually slow without the violent shifts. This game plodded along and he kept increasing his grip.

    Full Broadcast

    Video by FIDE/chess.com

    Video by GM Daniel King

  12. Round 10 – Wednesday, 29 June 2022

    Rapport 0-1 Ding
    Duda 1-0 Caruana
    Nepomniachtchi ½-½ Radjabov
    Nakamura 1-0 Firouzja

    Jan-Krzysztof Duda won his first game completing the field of winners. This was one of three decisive results with Ding Liren picking up his second in a row over Fabiano Caruana. This loss put Caruana in a tie for second with Ding and Hikaru Nakamura who beat Alireza Firouzja. After today’s round, all three were on 5.5/10 while Ian Nepomniachtchi sat at 7/10. With four rounds remaining, there is still a possibility of catching the Russian.

    Rapport 0-1 Ding

    Ding wins again after grinding down Richard Rapport with the black pieces. Ding came up with an interesting Ra8-b8-c7 maneuver that puzzled commentators. That rook jaunt was critical and plowed into white’s position with 21…Rxc3. There was some fireworks as the Hungarian tried to blow Ding off the board after 25.Ng3! Rapport took tremendous risks and ended up down two pieces for a rook. Ding sacrificed back exchange to get his passed pawn rolling.

    They entered an opposite-colored bishop ending and all signs pointed to a draw… except that the white king was too far away from the queenside action. Ding had calculated that the white king would not be able to assist his bishop in blockading the pawn.

    Duda 1-0 Caruana

    Duda finally got his first win and it was a very important one. After Caruana tried hard to force the issue with 17…g5? the Polish player rearranged his pieces and exploited black’s exposed king. It was an inexplicable error on Caruana’s part. The thunderbolt occurred on 36.Nh7!! throwing black’s entire kingside in disarray. Another front was opened with 39.f4 putting Caruana in a serious time crunch. After 39…Nc5, 40.fxe5! is winning. Black had to donate a piece.

    Nepomniachtchi 1/2-1/2 Radjabov

    Nakamura 1-0 Firouzja

    Last November, Hikaru Nakamura addressed an assertion that he had “retired” from competitive play. Visibly annoyed he retorted, “I’m going to play in the FIDE Grand Prix. I’m going to win it. I’m going to go beat Alireza in the Candidates.” Of course, his prophecies turned out to be true at the end of the 10th round with an impressive win. This is one of the most instructive win and if one watches the video, you’ll learn new terms like “stacking rooks,” “jumbo pony” and others. The position became critical after he sacked the exchange with to get the jumbo pony planted on f5.


    Video by GM Hikaru Nakamura

    Full Broadcast

    Video by FIDE/chess.com

    Video by GM Daniel King

  13. Round 11 – Thursday, 30 June 2022

    Nakamura ½-½ Rapport
    Firouzja 0-1 Nepomniachtchi
    Radjabov ½-½ Duda
    Caruana 0-1 Ding

    Ian Nepomniachtchi crushed Alireza Firouzja who tried recovering from his loss to Hikaru Nakamura by playing 268 hyperbullet (30-second) games the night before playing the tournament leader. While most condemned this diversion, his opponent (Daniel Naroditsky) defended the match in principle. However, some reports mentioned that he played seven hours until 6am. It did not reflect well when the next day he had an abysmal performance and was totally in bullet mode (16.g4?) against Nepo. There were plenty of jokes in social media.

    There were others such as Judit Polgar admonishing the young player’s habits.

    It may also show that he either resigned himself to a poor result or simply lacks the discipline and professionalism needed to remain in the elite fraternity of chess players. The game was a total disaster. More on this later.

    Nakamura 1/2-1/2 Rapport

    This game went on for 96 moves! Here is some commentary by FIDE reporter:

    Hikaru Nakamura and Richard Rapport ended up drawing their game in the Sveshnikov variation of the Sicilian. In a complex and sharp position the two sides were pushing and looking for chances, but they were evenly matched. The game eventually transpired into a knight and bishop endgame where White had an extra pawn, but all pieces were on the kingside and it was an easy draw for Black. Nakamura decided to test Rapport’s endgame knowledge, so the play dragged on for quite some time, but Black comfortably held White to a draw. Nakamura has six points and still has theoretical chances to reach the top, while Rapport is on 4.5.

    ~ Milan Dinic/FIDE

    Firouzja 0-1 Nepomniachtchi

    Perhaps the game of the round, but not in a good way.

    Many picked Alireza Firouzja to be the challenger to Magnus Carlsen. In fact, the World Champion handpicked the 19-year old phenom as one he would like to play from the new generation. However, this may have been too much pressure. Despite Firouzja’s performance in 2021, they were mostly in the online platform which may have a different feel since younger players are more comfortable in that format. Predictably, Firouzja had to resist bullet habits, but in the 11th round 268 bullet games the previous night, he got the lesson he deserved. GM Daniel King recounts the debacle against Ian Nepomniachtchi.

    Totally awful performance which sent shockwaves through the chess world. Firouzja (and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave) will not be in Chennai for the Chess Olympiad and will most likely be playing online blitz and bullet. It may have been good for him to compete in Chennai to get a better vision of the board.

    Garry Kasparov weighed in.

    Radjabov 1/2-1/2 Duda

    Caruana 0-1 Ding

    Fabiano Caruana tried to rebound from yesterday’s loss to get back into the fray. There was a wild position with Caruana’s white knight on g7 and bishop on h6. On move 23, Caruana played 23.Ne6 and Ding sacrificed the exchange for full compensation. Later Caruana started to go wrong and his white king got exposed. Black’s active pieces gave Ding the advantage as Caruana struggled to hold. He had 61.Bxg5! which was equal, but he missed it as his time was melting away. The American collapsed and it would be his third loss in four games.

    Full Broadcast

    Video by FIDE

    Video by GM Hikaru Nakamura

  14. Round 12 – Friday, 1 July 2022

    Rapport ½-½ Caruana
    Ding 0-1 Radjabov
    Duda ½-½ Firouzja
    Nepomniachtchi ½-½ Nakamura

    Ding Liren’s three-game winning came to an end. Ian Nepomniachtchi gained another half-point (drawing with Hikaru Nakamura) while Fabiano Caruana drew with Richard Rapport. Some were critical of Nakamura because the game seem to have no fight and it was over in 14 moves.

    Ding 0-1 Radjabov

    Ding was looking to close the gap even more against one of the tailenders, but ran into a motivated veteran. This game was actually a disaster as Ding was lost by move 21.

    The crushing blow 21…Rxe3!! and white is already dead lost.

    Wow! This is a devastating loss for a player who was on a hot streak and challenging for the lead. To lose a game so badly with the white pieces must be a huge disappointment.

    This crucial loss may have put Ding out of the running to challenge Nepomniachtchi.
    Photo by Stev Bonhage/FIDE

    Rapport 1/2-1/2 Caruana

    After today’s draw, time is slipping away for Caruana.
    Photo by Stev Bonhage/FIDE

    Duda 1/2-1/2 Firouzja

    All eyes were on Duda-Firouzja as the French representative was on the verge of losing yet again. Black essayed 22…g5 deviating from main theory where black is fine. Firouzja took a huge risk and was fortunate to hold the game.

    Nepomniachtchi 1/2-1/2 Nakamura

    Quick 14-move draw. Nothing to say here.

    All game notes Carlos Alberto Colodro (ChessBase.com)

    Full Broadcast

    Video by FIDE

    Video by GM Daniel King

  15. Round 13 – Saturday, 3 July 2022

    Nepomniachtchi ½-½ Rapport
    Nakamura 1-0 Duda
    Firouzja ½-½ Ding
    Radjabov ½-½ Caruana

     

    Ian Nepomniachtchi wins the 2022 Candidates!

    Photo by Stev Bonhage

    Nepomniachtchi 1/2-1/2 Rapport

    Russia’s Ian Nepomniachtchi draw in the 13th round clinching victory in the Candidates tournament with one round remaining. The question is who would take second place just in case Magnus Carlsen decides not to defend his title. FIDE has given the champion a proposed deadline for making his decision. Both Hikaru Nakamura and Ding Liren. This will be the Russian’s second time playing for the world championship.

    Nakamura 1-0 Duda

    Hikauru Nakamura was happy needless to say. Well-played game after falling into some difficulties early on. He explains the details in another entertaining recap.

    Video by GM Hikaru Nakamura

    Duda 1/2-1/2 Firouzja

    All eyes were on Duda-Firouzja as the French representative was on the verge of losing yet again. Black essayed 22…g5 deviating from main theory where black is fine. Firouzja took a huge risk and was fortunate to hold the game.

    Radjabov 1/2-1/2 Caruana

    All game notes Carlos Alberto Colodro (ChessBase.com)

    Full Broadcast

    Video by FIDE

    Video by GM Daniel King

     

  16. Round 14 – Monday, 4 July 2022

    Rapport 0-1 Radjabov
    Caruana 0-1 Firouzja
    Ding 1-0 Nakamura
    Duda ½-½ Nepomniachtchi

    Three decisive games on the final day determined who would come in second with a chance to play for the world title if Magnus Carlsen decides not to defend. Many believe he will most likely defend, but he has until July 20th to make a decision. If he decides not to defend his title, then Ian Nepomniachtchi and Ding Liren will play for the vacated title. Such a scenario would essentially devalue the prestige of the world title.

    The tournament ended with future contender Alireza Firouzja getting a big win over Fabiano Caruana. The usually steady American inexplicably collapsed in the second half with four losses and three draws. In the first half, he had three wins and four draws and stood within striking distance of the lead. Ding won three in a row to pass Caruana and jump into contention with Hikaru Nakamura. Second place all came down to the Ding-Nakamura matchup and this time the Chinese player would be victorious.

    Rapport 0-1 Radjabov

    Richard Rapport continues showing fashion on the runway.
    Photo by Stev Bonhage

    This game showed a bit of Richard Rapport’s creativity, but it would be the Azeri player who would capitalize off of the adventurism. Rapport, a very creative player, threw 19.g5!? on the board just after Teimour Radjabov played 18…h6, apparently to stop this thrust.

    Rapport lived up to his reputation in this tournament.

    The idea worked initially because Radjabov captured with the wrong pawn. On 19…hxg5 20.h4, black has 20…g4 or 20…Nf8. Immediately feel under pressure after 19…fxg5? Rapport tried the shocking 20.Nxg5 and never got enough compensation. The oddity is that Rapport resigned on move 33.

    Caruana 0-1 Firouzja

    Disastrous ending for Fabiano Caruana. This time he takes in on the chin to Alireza Firouzja whom he crushed in Round 6. Firouzja was trying to salvage a bad tournament in which he was criticized for playing bullet chess until early morning before playing Nepomniachtchi.

    Tragedy struck the American four times in the second half.
    Photo by Maria Emelianova/chess.com

    On the other hand, Caruana was also licking his wounds. He had been on a tailspin in the second half. Any hopes of coming in second were dashed, but he was trying to end on a high note. The nightmare would continue.

    Ding 1-0 Nakamura

    Another disappointment for the American team. Nakamura had on his mind to get the second position, but made some critical mistakes in his planning. He discusses it very thoroughly in his recap.

    Duda 1/2-1/2 Nepomniachtchi

    With the tournament already decided, there were no expectations here, but perhaps we were in for a surprise. Ian Nepomniachtchi would try to avoid the fate of the last Candidates where he won with a round to spare and lost the last game to Ding. It’s always nice to finish strong… and undefeated. Jan-Krzysztof Duda did come out aggressively with the white pieces and uncorked the zinger in 26.Bxg6!

    After 28.Rb1 Nepomniachtchi played 28…Bd5!

    After black’s resource, the pieces came off and a drawn position ensued. Great tournament for Nepomniachtchi. Not so much for Duda who shared last place with Rapport on 5.5/14 (-3). However, he scored a win against Fabiano Caruana, a quality opponent. We will hear more from this young talent in the near future!

    Full Broadcast

    Video by FIDE

    Video by GM Daniel King

  17. Nepomniachtchi wins Candidates…
    Carlsen undecided on rematch

    Ian Nepomniachtchi won the Candidates Tournament yesterday ending on an undefeated 9.5/14. In fact, he avoided real trouble (for the most part) and his +5 showed a consistent level. Magnus Carlsen spent a few days in Madrid and met with FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich and Director-General GM Emil Sutovsky. They discussed potential format changes.

    Carlsen has been known to give his opinion on the formats including the suggestion that the title should be determined by knockout or rapid chess. At the last press conference after winning the title in Dubai, The Chess Drum asked the question after which he stated he was open to a different format.

    Video by FIDE

    FIDE has asked that Carlsen decides on whether he will play by July 20th.

    In their match last November, Nepomniachtchi did not give a good account of himself losing three of the last four games. Many thought that he did not have the psychological preparation needed to carry the match the full number of games. Garry Kasparov gave the opinion that the preparation Nepomniachtchi did for his match with Carlsen gave him an edge in the 2022 Candidates Tournament. Viswanathan Anand also won the 2014 Candidates Tournament after losing the title to Carlsen.

    One of the points made is that Nepomniachtchi will be better prepared and may surprise a potentially less-motivated Carlsen. His two previous matches with Sergey Karjakin and Fabiano Caruana required tiebreaks. Many suspect that he will give a rematch. Asked whether he was surprised about the tournament outcome, he made the following statements:

    New Champion on the Horizon?

    Given the result of the last match, many wonder if Nepomniachtchi will be more competitive in a rematch. Kasparov’s contention that previous match preparation having immense value makes sense, but of course, the Carlsen team will have access to all of Nepomniachtchi’s games from the Candidates to study.

    The real question is if the Russian plays Carlsen again for the championship, will he have a chance of winning? While some argue that (politically) a Russian winning the world title would not be good for chess, but Nepomniachtchi has earned the right given the rules FIDE has set forth. Will sponsorship be a problem with a Russian competing? Will FIDE have to find a neutral ground to stage the match? These are interesting questions, but the first order of business seems to be the format of the title match.

    As mentioned earlier, Carlsen made suggestions in 2017 (knockout) and 2018 (rapid). Nepomniachtchi would stand a very good chance if rapid chess were the format. If the format includes classical, rapid, blitz and 960 (for example), the chances would also improve for the challenger. If the format remains the same with 14 classical games of classical followed by rapid and blitz tiebreaks, Carlsen would remain the heavy favorite.

    Could Ding meet Nepomniachtchi in a new cycle?

    Could Ding meet Nepomniachtchi in a new cycle?
    Photo courtesy of FIDE/Stev Bonhage

    Will Carlsen Play?

    If Carlsen declines to defend his title, then we are left with Ian Nepomniachtchi and Ding Liren. This match would no doubt be a very close one with Ding’s style being more suited for matchplay. Given the horrible showing against Carlsen, Nepomniachtchi has to prove that he can remain focused for an extended period. If given a second chance, he will be more prepared and motivated to redeem himself for his previous abysmal performance.

    What does Carlsen lose if he declines to defend his title? Since prize money would not be the primary incentive for the champion, what is his current motivation? Online reports say he is focused on breaking 2900. Having won five world titles and his last one convincingly, it is clear that he is getting bored with the current process. While Carlsen won all of his championship matches, he was not dominant in all cases. He actually fell behind against Karjakin (before equalizing) and was held to 14 draws in classical against Caruana. He went on to win both matches in tiebreaks.

    It would be surprising in Carlsen did not play, but it would also be interesting to see how he will approach the match against a rejuvenated opponent. He had a repeat match against Anand with the same result. Carlsen had suggested that he would play only if someone from the new generation (i.e., Alireza Firouzja) would break through. It is clear now that Firouzja is not quite ready for that stage at this point. Nevertheless, forfeiting the title defense would throw the title in some disarray, unless Carlsen retires altogether. As long as he is active, there will be a question of the world champion who is not the world’s best player. We learned this lesson from Garry Kasparov exiting from the FIDE cycle.

    Finding Nepo


    2022 Candidates Chess Championship

    June 17th- July 5th, 2022 (Madrid, Spain)

    Participants
    #
    Name
    Title
    Federation
    Flag
    Rating
    Points
    1 Nepomniachtchi, Ian GM FIDE
    2766 9.5
    2 Ding Liren GM China
    2806 8.0
    3 Radjabov, Teimour GM Azerbaijan
    2753 7.5
    4 Nakamura, Hikaru GM USA
    2760 7.5
    5 Caruana, Fabiano GM USA
    2786 6.5
    6 Alireza, Firoujza GM France
    2791 6.0
    7 Duda, Jan-Krzysztof GM Poland
    2750 5.5
    8 Rapport, Richard GM Hungary
    2764 5.5
    Main Site

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