The Candidates Match 2022 concluded yesterday with the final spherical. It was a day stuffed with motion and three decisive outcomes out of for. Ian Nepomniachtchi, having already gained the match, secured a draw and a formidable 9.5/14 total rating. Ding Liren seized the coveted second place spot on the end line.
Nepomniachtchi joins an elite membership of gamers who’ve gained the Candidates consecutive occasions, and can get a second shot on the World Championship. We must await Carlsen’s determination to see if Ding’s run for the 2nd place spot will yield him one thing greater than an elevated prize and glory.
Every day, Lichess is offering a broadcast of the video games performed in real-time. We even have a number of annotated video games by GM Ulvi Bajarani and video recaps by WGM-elect Jesse February.
Liren Ding – Hikaru Nakamura 1 – 0
Magnus actually did us a favor when you consider it.
If he was positively going to play there wouldn’t be a lot to see this spherical. Nepomniachtchi would have already clinched the one spot that issues, and we’d solely be enjoying chess as a result of they already offered tickets to 14 rounds. As an alternative, there was nonetheless a (potential) World Championship spot on the road! If Naka holds the draw it goes to him, if Ding can win he will get it! What (potential) pleasure!
Like many must-win video games, the opening was not minimize and thrust. The participant who wants a draw has apparent causes for preferring calm waters. The participant that should win usually doesn’t play sharply both. To begin with, many sharp openings have prompt compelled attracts lurking within the corners. Secondly, an unreasonable dedication to sharpness usually simply results in worse positions, the type which can be even tougher to win than even ones.
Early on, Nakamura was capable of get the queens exchanged off the board, one thing that always helps the participant aiming for a draw, however the entire different items have been nonetheless on the board, which left Ding one thing to work with a minimum of. Nakamura’s plan of exchanging bishops on d5 was not the perfect, and after it was executed Ding appeared to have a small benefit. His rooks have been organized on the c-file and prepared for motion whereas Black’s d-file was not equally thrilling. Ding managed to get a pawn to h5, which could be laborious to judge, however the truth that it lived to the top of the sport means that Nakamura maybe ought to have prevented it.
The primary actual clear error of the sport got here on transfer 35 with Nakamura’s 35 Bd8, though Ding rapidly returned the favor with 38 e4. Sadly for him, Nakamura had a second favor able to go instantly and it could be the sport’s final. 38… f3 would have stored hope alive nevertheless it remained unplayed, and issues rapidly went downhill. Nakamura resigned on transfer 58.
Jan-Krzysztof Duda – Ian Nepomniachtchi ½ – ½
Maybe Magnus Carlsen, or different potential World Championship contributors have been carefully watching this recreation, to see how Nepomniachtchi’s Petroff held up. Duda tried the three. d4 line and the Petroff appeared to carry up fairly properly. Nepomniachtchi missed an opportunity to take some initiative with 15…d4. He performed it a number of strikes later, however by then it had misplaced its punch. Nepomniachtchi then grabbed a spicy pawn, leaving Duda to benefit from the time wasted as compensation. Duda then sacrificed a bit, however the pleasure was short-lived as the sport arrived rapidly to a drawn endgame. It was formally agreed to be drawn on transfer 48.
Richard Rapport – Teimour Radjabov 0 – 1
For a spherical that 75% “didn’t matter” we certain acquired to see some good video games! We had one other non-drawn Berlin opening on this recreation, though this one will hardly damage the opening’s fame. White’s 9 Na5 seems to be unusual, nevertheless it’s been performed earlier than, and with good impact. White is a bit of bit higher in that place. The benefit was carried all the way in which to maneuver 19 till Rapport gave it away with a doubtful piece sacrifice. Radjabov missed his first likelihood to take a giant benefit with 20.. Bxc4, however didn’t miss the second and outplayed Rapport over the subsequent few strikes. He resigned on transfer 33. Maybe Radjabov is the form of participant who gained’t begin a struggle however is completely able to ending one if it arrives through the opposite participant.
Radjabov was one thing of a charity case for this occasion as he didn’t qualify through the conventional means. As an alternative he was gifted a spot as penance for the way poorly he was handled within the earlier candidates match when he appropriately predicted that attempting to run the match throughout a pandemic was a foul concept, a number of months earlier than FIDE non-voluntarily figured it out themselves.
You may be forgiven for pondering he wasn’t fairly as much as the identical stage of the opposite gamers, however nothing in his video games would recommend that, fairly the alternative the truth is. With as we speak’s victory he took third within the occasion, considerably forward of many gamers that certified by non-bad-idea-predicting strategies.
Fabiano Caruana – Alireza Firouzja 0 – 1
In the future when all of the laborious edges have been sanded off of Alireza, and he’s traded in his Najdorf for the Petroff like Nepomniachtchi has, we could miss this youthful model of him. It’s such a pleasure to look at Tremendous Grandmasters earlier than they determine that they will’t simply attempt to win each recreation towards each participant eternally.
Caruana’s well-known preparation served him properly on this one, as he was clearly a bit higher out of the opening. Nevertheless, as the sport continued, it slowly turned to Firouzja’s favor. He secured an endgame that was near successful and whereas Caruana presumably may have efficiently defended himself, 60 Ne4 put an finish to issues rapidly.