The 2020 Candidate Tournament The International Chess Federation (FIDE) – one of the few sporting events held amid the world coronavirus pandemic – closed its first round on Wednesday with the seventh round of clashes, of which the game between the Russian stood out. Ian Nepomniachtchi and french Maxime Vachier-Lagrave.
Nepomniachtchi, the solo leader until before this day, missed the opportunity to stretch the advantage against his escort. The number 5 of the FIDE ranking tried a French defense with black pieces, but Vachier-Lagrave knew how to counter his plan to win the victory after 42 moves and, incidentally, hit ‘Nepo’ his first defeat in this contest.
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On the other hand, those who were emerging as the great favorites before the start of the tournament, Fabiano Caruana Y Ding Liren —Second and third place in the FIDE ranking, respectively— are still not taking off. The American did not pass the tables against Wang Hao, the same result that Liren achieved against Kirill Alekseenko.
In the remaining game, Anish Giri could not repeat his victory from the previous date. Playing with white pieces, the Dutch equalized against Alexander Grischuk, who became the only undefeated player in the tournament by accumulating seven consecutive draws.
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The second round of the competition starts this Thursday with the eighth round. For this occasion, the crossings were defined as follows: Nepomniachtchi vs. Giri, Alekseenlo vs. Grischuk, Wang vs. Ding and Caruana vs. Vachier-Lagrave, the latter being profiled as the most attractive game of this day.
It should be remembered that the winner of this tournament, held in Yekaterinburg, Russia, will have the opportunity to challenge Magnus Carlsen for the title of world chess champion. The Norwegian has held the crown since 2013, and has since successfully defended it up to three times.
2020 Candidate Tournament: leaderboard