Firouzja wins Grand Swiss and qualifies for the 2022 Candidates Tournament
The FIDE Grand Swiss is over and the 18-year-old GM Alireza Firouzja is the big winner with a remarkable 8/11 score and a ticket to the 2022 Candidates Tournament. The second runner and also a Candidates’ qualifier is the 2018 Challenger Fabiano Caruana who tied on points with Grigoriy Oparin but got a better tiebreak score.
The young Iranian-born French GM had an outstanding performance in Riga, climbing to fifth place in the world ranking, and increasing his chances of facing either Magnus Carlsen or Ian Nepomniachtchi in the 2022 WCC.
Despite having his first defeat in the tournament by losing in Round 9 against the much more experienced Fabiano Caruana, Firouzja only needed a draw in the final round against Grigoriy Oparin to secure his spot in the next Candidates Tournament, and he got it.
In 2018, GM Ivan Sokolov, who had been working with Firouzja said:
“I think he has something special in him when it comes to chess. And given his young age, he has the potential to become a world champion. And other players will become very strong players, but that is not exactly the same.”, and in 2021 his words make even greater sense!
Many fellow players, influencers, and journalists congratulated Firouzja for his win and the comment section is on fire with the fans anticipating a World Championship match with the young prodigy.
For the time being, we have five Candidates, the World Cup winner Jan-Krzysztof Duda, the World Cup runner-up Sergey Karjakin, the Grand Swiss winner Alireza Firouzja, the Grand Swiss runner-up Fabiano Caruana, and the FIDE nominee Teimour Radjabov.
Also, six players qualified for the FIDE Grand Prix, which will consist of three events, and is set to take place between February and April 2022 in Berlin. Grigoriy Oparin, Yu Yangyi, Vincent Keymer, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Alexandr Predke, and Alexei Shirov are the GMs who will compete to secure a place at the 2022 Candidates Tournament.