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Candidates Round 11 — King of draws, who?

Photo by Lennart Ootes/FIDE

Giri defeats Ding Liren

Another win for GM Anish Giri at the FIDE Candidates Tournament, a crucial win that brings him half a point behind Ian Nepomniachtchi. Anish didn’t only win though, but he gave us a game to remember for many years. Despite the complicated and a bit unpleasant position that Giri had at the middle game, he came up with a great idea that Ding Liren totally neglected, which made the game one to watch!

“My feeling is that Ding Liren might have missed this h4 move!” // Boris Gelfand

Playing safe

On the other hand, the – so far – leader of the tournament, Ian Nepomniachtchi had a very calm and peaceful game with Fabiano Caruana, which led to an expected draw, taking into account the passiveness of the game.

Photo by Lennart Ootes/FIDE

Holding tight

We were all on our toes by watching Alekseenko’s game against Wang Hao, because it was far from promising for the young GM. But his technique and exceptional instinct, helped him survive and “steal” half a point.

Another Brilliant Sacrifice

We have seen some very impressive sacrifices during the FIDE Candidates Tournament, with Caruana’s bishop sacrifice at R9 being already in our hearts. But yesterday, Alexander Grischuk sacrificed a whole rook to gain counterplay on the h-file, and it absolutely worked for him. Maxime could have defended though, but he missed almost every opportunity to do so, and Grischuk was led to an important win.

Live Breakdown with special guest Boris Gelfand

WGM Dina Belenkaya and GM Ernesto Inarkiev, as every day at 5 pm GMT, hosted the Breakdown Live Studio, commented on the games, and had a very special guest, GM Boris Gelfand.

The broadcast was an absolute delight, with Boris commenting on the games and giving us very valuable insights as always! Watch the whole live below.

Standings after the 11th round

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

Pairings for the 12th round

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

 No comments    113   9 d   Candidates 2021   Video

Candidates Round 10 — Nepomniachtchi is a full point ahead

Photo by Lennart Ootes/FIDE

Ian Nepomniachtchi faced Kirill Alekseenko on R10 of the Candidates, but things didn’t go as planned for the second. Nepo gained a quick advantage after Kirill’s early mistake in the opening, who tried to create a tactical game afterwards, but with no substantial counterplay.

Three draws

All the other games ended up in a draw, but they weren’t indifferent at all.

Giri played the Sveshnikov for the second time, but Maxime responded in a different way than what his opponent expected, which made him a bit confused. MVL felt very comfortable at his position, but didn’t manage to make it a point.

Photo by Lennart Ootes/FIDE

On the other hand, Caruana’s game against Ding Liren was very tactical, but both players didn’t have a clear understanding of what was going on at the game, as they revealed at the press conference.

I would explain it if I could but I don’t understand the line at all!
—Fabiano Caruana

Last but definitely not least was the game between Wang Hao and Alexander Grischuk. Wang was confused with his preparation and couldn’t remember the line, but he made it all worth it with a memorable queen sacrifice at the 21st move.

Live Studio Breakdown w/special guest Malcolm Pein

WGM Dina Belenkaya and GM Ernesto Inarkiev hosted the Breakdown Studio Live together with Malcolm Paine, a renown chess promoter and organizer of the London Chess Classics.

Malcolm revealed that it was chess players who solved the Enigma code, advised coaches and teachers to just let the kids play chess and they will love it, and that chess is an international language that can bring down all inequalities.

Watch the broadcast below.

Standings after the 10th round

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

Pairings for the 10th round

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

 No comments    90   9 d   Candidates 2018
 No comments    227   12 d   Candidates 2021   Main feature   Video

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

 419   14 d   Candidates 2021   Video

Candidates Round 8 — Nepo at the top

What a start for the Candidates’ resume with Caruana and Alekseenko scoring after several hours and Nepomniachtchi reaching the top as a sole leader with 5 points.

Photo by Lennart Ootes/FIDE

Starting with the most interesting game of the day, Fabiano Caruana was clearly very well prepared and won with a remarkable style. Fabi took himself in a very dangerous position, with less material, but enough compensation to achieve an amazing win, and also entertain the whole chess community!

Another surprise of Round 8 was Alekseenko’s win in a position that could turn into an equal rook endgame, but Grischuk preferred to keep his extra material and give Kirill a solid counterplay.

Far less exciting was the game between the two Chinese grandmasters, Wang Hao and Ding Liren, who made a draw in less than two hours.

Lastly, Anish Giri decided to play the Sveshnikov system against Ian Nepomniachtchi, which also ended in a draw after some inaccuracies from the White’s side.

Watch WGM Dina Belenkaya, GM Ernesto Inarkiev, and GM Sergey Karjakin comment on the R8 games:

Standings after the 8th round:

# Player Position Rating
1 Ian Nepomniachtchi 5 2774
2 Fabiano Caruana 2842
3 Maxime Vachier-Lagrave 2767
4 Anish Giri 4 2763
5 Hao Wang 4 2762
6 Kirill Alekseenko 2698
7 Alexander Grischuk 2777
8 Ding Liren 3 2805

Pairings for the 9th round:

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

Join our LIVE breakdown studio with WGM Dina Belenkaya, GM Ernesto Inarkiev, and their amazing guests every day at 5 PM GMT, on Youtube and Facebook.

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 328   15 d   Candidates 2021   event report   Main feature   Video
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