FIDE Candidates Chess Tournament 2020 (13)

Ian Nepomniachtchi wins the 2021 Candidates tournament with a round to spare

Nepomniachtchi qualified for the World Chess Championship match against Carlsen with a draw in Round 13. Photo ©

Nepomniachtchi qualified for the World Chess Championship match against Carlsen with a draw in Round 13. Photo © | https://fide.com

Ian Nepomniachtchi’s conservative approach to the second half of the FIDE Candidates
tournament in Yekaterinburg paid off with qualification secured with a round to spare.
Nepomniachtchi played a good first half in 2020 but had become sick and had just lost
a game to MVL – he has been very candid about how much the break due to Covid-19 favoured him.
On the resumption Nepomniachtchi has played in a rather restrained way,
he’s beaten tale-enders Kirill Alekseenko and Wang Hao and drawn the rest and it’s
been more than enough. Today Maxime Vachier-Lagrave tried to create something
against 1.Nf3 with black and got a much worse position – he gave it his best shot.
Nepomniachtchi continued with a reasonable safety first policy and when he saw Anish
Giri had a busted position he offered a draw which was accepted. Nepomniachtchi will
face Magnus Carlsen in a match in Dubai November 24th to December 16th.


Anish Giri had similar problems to MVL, he had to create winning chances with black
against a very strong opponent. At first Giri seemed to be doing fine against Alexander
Grischuk but he perhaps missed the strength of the regrouping 22.f3, 23.Nf1 and 28.Ne3
once this was completed Giri was in desperate trouble. Giri played long past where
he would in an ordinary game and resigned on move 51. After the game he said he was
very disappointed with how poorly he had played today, but it was not an easy situation.
In retrospect Giri’s first round loss to Nepomniachtchi after getting in a favourable opening
surprise was a huge moment, it was always a long shot trying to catch the leader, even
with a fantastic run of wins in the second half – especially as this loss has essentially
been worth not a point but a point and a half to the winner.


Fabiano Caruana beat Wang Hao with the Chinese player decisively blundering on move 40.
Ding Liren beat Alekseenko in the final game to finish.


Round 13 Standings:
1 Nepomniachtchi 8.5 (having won his mini-match with Giri he cannot be overtaken as this is the first tie-break),
2 Giri 7.5,
3 Caruana 7,
4 MVL 7,
5 Grischuk 6.5,
6 Ding Liren 6,
7 Wang Hao 5 and
8 Alekseenko 4.5.


Final Round 14 Pairings:
Caruana-Grischuk, Giri-Alekseenko, Ding-Nepomniachtchi and MVL-Wang Hao














FIDE Candidates 2020 Yekaterinburg RUS (RUS), 15 iii 2020 – 28 iv 2021 cat. XXI (2774)

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
1. Nepomniachtchi, Ian g RUS 2774 * * 1 ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 . 1 1 ½ 1 2881
2. Giri, Anish g NED 2763 0 ½ * * ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 0 ½ 1 ½ 1 1 . 2837
3. Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime g FRA 2767 1 ½ ½ ½ * * ½ 0 ½ 0 1 ½ ½ . ½ 1 7 2804
4. Caruana, Fabiano g USA 2842 ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ 1 * * ½ . 0 ½ ½ 1 1 ½ 7 2791
5. Grischuk, Alexander g RUS 2777 ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 ½ . * * ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ 0 2767
6. Ding, Liren g CHN 2805 0 . ½ 0 0 ½ 1 ½ ½ 1 * * 0 ½ ½ 1 6 2739
7. Wang, Hao g CHN 2762 0 0 ½ 0 ½ . ½ 0 ½ ½ 1 ½ * * ½ ½ 5 2688
8. Alekseenko, Kirill g RUS 2698 ½ 0 0 . ½ 0 0 ½ ½ 1 ½ 0 ½ ½ * * 2675










Round 13 (April 26, 2021)
Nepomniachtchi, Ian – Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime ½-½ 42 A15 English counter King’s Fianchetto
Grischuk, Alexander – Giri, Anish 1-0 51 E16 Queens Indian
Wang, Hao – Caruana, Fabiano 0-1 42 B40 Sicilian Classical
Alekseenko, Kirill – Ding, Liren 0-1 61 C50 Giuoco Piano

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