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Candidates Round 9 — Giri beats Wang Hao

Another day, many more great games from the World’s best Grandmasters. So what happened at R9 of the #FIDECandidates Tournament yesterday?

Cover photo by Lennart Ootes/FIDE

Chinese wall Breakdown

Anish Giri won Wang Hao showing his exceptional technical skills. What surprised us the most though was the position estimation that the two Grandmasters had during their game, as they revealed at the press conference. Giri believed that he had only a minimal advantage on his side, while Wang Hao did not see good continuations for himself.

A true Russian battle

Alexander Grischuk faced Ian Nepomniachtchi and surprised him with an unexpected and tricky opening response. Besides the complications, both GMs found themselves in a very stable endgame, which led them to an agreed draw on White’s 41st move.

Photo by Lennart Ootes/FIDE
  1. h4!

An opening without a name was the choice of Ding Liren against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, which turned almost victorious for White. MVL blundered, but with careful moves he managed to create a counterplay and “steal” half a point from a collapsing position.

At the press conference Maxime stated: “I am glad that I managed to save half a point and stay in chances to win the tournament, but this game will definitely not end up in my best games collection. I hope my brain will click at some point and I will play a game I am proud of from the beginning to the end.”

Almost to bare kings

Alekseenko’s game against Caruana ended up in a draw, with the young Russian Grandmaster showing impressive skills in understanding the “feeling” of a position. Fabi was fighting until the end to turn the position in his favor, but the two Grandmasters were left almost with their bare kings and eventually agreed on a draw.

Meanwhile, WGM Dina Belenkaya and GM Ernesto Inarkiev hosted the BREAKDOWN STUDIO LIVE SHOW, commented on the games, and had a very interesting discussion with the CEO of World Chess, Ilya Merenzon.

Ilya explained how the film industry could boost chess as a mass sport and also revealed the numbers that show that chess could make you smarter and richer! Watch the whole live below.

Standings after the 9th round

# Player Position
1 Ian Nepomniachtchi
2 Fabiano Caruana 5
3 Maxime Vachier-Lagrave 5
4 Anish Giri 5
5 Wang Hao 4
6 Kirill Alekseenko 4
7 Alexander Grischuk 4
8 Ding Liren

Pairings for the 10th round

Fabiano Caruana – Ding Liren
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave – Anish Giri
Wang Hao – Alexander Grischuk
Ian Nepomniachtchi – Kirill Alekseenko

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