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World Championship Candidates 2020/21 Tournament

Ian Nepomniachtchi8.5/14(+5 -2 =7)[games]
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave8/14(+4 -2 =8)[games]
Anish Giri7.5/14(+4 -3 =7)[games]
Fabiano Caruana7.5/14(+3 -2 =9)[games]
Ding Liren7/14(+4 -4 =6)[games]
Alexander Grischuk7/14(+2 -2 =10)[games]
Kirill Alekseenko5.5/14(+2 -5 =7)[games]
Hao Wang5/14(+1 -5 =8)[games]
* Chess Event Description
World Championship Candidates 2020/21

The 2020/2021 Candidates Tournament was an 8-player double round-robin that decided Magnus Carlsen's challenger for the World Championship match that is set to take place in Dubai in November 2021. The 14-round event was played in the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Yekaterinburg, Russia from 17 March to 3 April 2020 (rounds 1-7) and, after a long Covid-19 break, from 19 to 27 April 2021 (rounds 8-14). The prize fund was €500,000. The players had 100 minutes for 40 moves, then 50 more minutes for the next 20 moves, then 15 more minutes to the end of the game, with a 30-second increment from move 1. No draw offers were allowed until after move 40. Head-to-head, no. of wins and Sonneborn-Berger would be used to break an eventual tie for 1st place. Chief arbiter: Nebojsa Baralic.

Ian Nepomniachtchi won with a round to spare, and qualified for the Carlsen - Nepomniachtchi World Championship Match (2021).

Elo 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 1 Nepomniachtchi 2789 ** 0½ 1½ ½½ 10 ½½ ½1 11 8½ 2 Vachier-Lagrave 2758 1½ ** ½½ ½0 1½ ½0 ½1 ½1 8 =3 Giri 2776 ½0 ½½ ** ½1 ½1 ½0 10 ½1 7½ =3 Caruana 2820 ½½ ½1 ½0 ** 0½ ½½ 1½ ½1 7½ =5 Ding Liren 2791 01 0½ ½0 1½ ** ½1 ½1 0½ 7 =5 Grischuk 2777 ½½ ½1 ½1 ½½ ½0 ** ½0 ½½ 7 7 Alekseenko 2696 ½0 ½0 01 0½ ½0 ½1 ** ½½ 5½ 8 Wang Hao 2763 00 ½0 ½0 ½0 1½ ½½ ½½ ** 5

Official site:
Chess-Results: 1: 2:
ChessBase 1:
ChessBase 2:
Wikipedia article: Candidates Tournament 2020%E2%80%9321
Press conference:
Closing ceremony:

Previous: World Championship Candidates (2018)

 page 1 of 3; games 1-25 of 56  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Vachier-Lagrave vs Caruana ½-½442020World Championship Candidates 2020/21C78 Ruy Lopez
2. Ding Liren vs H Wang 0-1452020World Championship Candidates 2020/21A20 English
3. Giri vs Nepomniachtchi 0-1732020World Championship Candidates 2020/21A33 English, Symmetrical
4. Grischuk vs K Alekseenko ½-½412020World Championship Candidates 2020/21A20 English
5. Nepomniachtchi vs Grischuk ½-½402020World Championship Candidates 2020/21C67 Ruy Lopez
6. Caruana vs K Alekseenko 1-0342020World Championship Candidates 2020/21E20 Nimzo-Indian
7. H Wang vs Giri ½-½612020World Championship Candidates 2020/21A37 English, Symmetrical
8. Vachier-Lagrave vs Ding Liren 1-0372020World Championship Candidates 2020/21C84 Ruy Lopez, Closed
9. Giri vs Vachier-Lagrave ½-½302020World Championship Candidates 2020/21D85 Grunfeld
10. Ding Liren vs Caruana 1-0592020World Championship Candidates 2020/21D17 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
11. Grischuk vs H Wang ½-½492020World Championship Candidates 2020/21C01 French, Exchange
12. K Alekseenko vs Nepomniachtchi ½-½402020World Championship Candidates 2020/21C18 French, Winawer
13. Caruana vs Nepomniachtchi ½-½552020World Championship Candidates 2020/21D87 Grunfeld, Exchange
14. Ding Liren vs Giri ½-½422020World Championship Candidates 2020/21E00 Queen's Pawn Game
15. Vachier-Lagrave vs Grischuk ½-½532020World Championship Candidates 2020/21C67 Ruy Lopez
16. H Wang vs K Alekseenko ½-½412020World Championship Candidates 2020/21D78 Neo-Grunfeld, 6.O-O c6
17. Nepomniachtchi vs H Wang 1-0432020World Championship Candidates 2020/21C42 Petrov Defense
18. Giri vs Caruana ½-½422020World Championship Candidates 2020/21D12 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
19. Grischuk vs Ding Liren ½-½542020World Championship Candidates 2020/21C84 Ruy Lopez, Closed
20. K Alekseenko vs Vachier-Lagrave ½-½332020World Championship Candidates 2020/21B80 Sicilian, Scheveningen
21. Nepomniachtchi vs Ding Liren 1-0402020World Championship Candidates 2020/21C78 Ruy Lopez
22. Grischuk vs Caruana ½-½542020World Championship Candidates 2020/21C78 Ruy Lopez
23. K Alekseenko vs Giri 0-1982020World Championship Candidates 2020/21C50 Giuoco Piano
24. H Wang vs Vachier-Lagrave ½-½832020World Championship Candidates 2020/21D87 Grunfeld, Exchange
25. Giri vs Grischuk ½-½402020World Championship Candidates 2020/21A20 English
 page 1 of 3; games 1-25 of 56  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 115 OF 115 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Some remarks on the post by <parmetd>:

While I do not recall when the practice ended, norms for GM/IM had to be made within three years, else the first such norm vanished into thin air.

Even here in USA, aspiring GMs found it impossible to obtain the title without leaving for Europe; Tarjan travelled to Yugoslavia for a time to get the norms needed.

On the point of 'automatic titles', this was not quite the case; scoring two-thirds of the possible points in a Zonal was good for IM, and one would imagine this was how many players from the Canadian, Asian and African zones have historically gotten theirs, though obviously the Asian zone became far tougher from the 1990s onwards.

Never heard of a 'double norm'; perhaps someone could enlighten me on this.

On preparation: news travelled far more slowly and a Gligoric-Fischer KID from 1970 comes to mind, in which Gliga was afraid of an improvement in published analysis by his great opponent, but Fischer had not yet seen the game, an unthinkable occurrence nowadays.

More than across the years I have stated the view that one must have endgame knowledge going in--no more boning up on BCE and having one's second(s) do the dirty work whilst grabbing a spot of rest. Botvinnik-Fischer could have gone rather differently post-2000 than it did in 1962.

Not sure when the rating requirement entered the reckoning, but all one needed to do was make the requisite norms, back in the day, for the title.

Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: This tournament was cancelled last year due to the pandemic, but it's on this year:

Jun-04-21  parmetd: <perfidious> Not just Tarjan but people like Michael Brooks as well.

Anyways, < Never heard of a 'double norm'; perhaps someone could enlighten me on this>

A double norm is where a person makes the necessary performance rating in round 9 to make their norm but again makes the necessary performance rating by either a round 11 or 13 calculation. So say it is round 9 and you have a performance rating of 2600 with right mix of foreigners, GMs etc then you have a GM norm. If by round 11, you also have a 2600 rating then you have scored a second GM norm. This rule was introduced sometime in the 90s to account for long tournaments like Olympiad to account for consistency and energy levels. It can work in reverse where you score a norm in 11 and 13 but did not make the 9 cut off. For example, you had a bad start going 0/3 and by round 9 you are 6/9 which places you at 2580 performance rating missing the norm. But you continue going 4/4 making the round 11 and 13 norms - you get two GM norms. Larry Cohen was banned as an arbiter after Ben Finegold convinced Larry to submit round results for Finegold in a different order than it happened so he would get the necessary performance rating for one of the round cut offs (unsure of the details so don't know which rounds got switched).

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Most interesting; so that is how Finegold finally wangled his GM title?
Jun-04-21  Olavi: About this double norm thing I'd like to hear more. I was a semi-professional back then (with one GM norm, so I think I knew the rules) and this is the first time I have heard about it. What I do know is that the possibility of scoring a 9 round GM/IM norm in a 11 or 13 round tournament was introduced - many such norms were achieved at Olympiads. (I think it only applied to Olympiads and some other team tournaments, to avoid people having to sit out their last games in order not to endanger their norm, thereby harming their team.) It had to be the first 9 rounds obviously.

A famous example before the rule was introduced is Nunn - van der Sterren, last round 1988 Thessaloniki Olympiad, where Paul was closing in on a GM norm, but blundered in the endgame and only drew. No norm. Finegold's case can easily be fitted into this.

Jun-04-21  Olavi: That means that it still "makes sense" to keep the performance rating for the last rounds, because then you have scored a longer norm, which helps towards the required 24 games, naturally.
Jun-05-21  parmetd: Well no because they were caught by FIDE as Ben Finegold bragged about it on his blog. I think Ben's final GM norm was one of Susan Polgar's Spice cups. The double norm rules were something Ben was using to fake a norm he didn't make by taking for example his 10th round win and switching it with his 9th round loss, it would appear he made a GM norm from a tournament where both those games were played by submitting the rounds out of order.
Jun-12-21  RookFile: <Messiah: The average rating was 2773.5 >

Sure. They are the best active players in the world, aside from Carlsen, of course. Were there some fascinating new ideas developed in the opening? Someting that made this tournament memorable? Zurich 1953 this was not.

Jun-15-21  Ron: Earlier in this thread I expressed skepticism about the practicality of online tournaments:

<A problem is the time zone difference. There is a twelve hour time difference between Florida and China for example. It might mean that the games in a round cannot be played simultaneously, and players would not have equal breaks between rounds. It worked with Fischer because he was in the same time zone as Cuba's.>

Well, since we now have examples of online tournaments, let it be noted that I was shown to be wrong.

And the more I think about it, its a good thing that I was wrong.

Jun-16-21  fabelhaft: Grischuk alone had a plus score against the top four, and he even scored +2 against them. Winner Nepo didn?t reach a plus against the top six, but +3 against the bottom two was enough.
Jun-17-21  fabelhaft: The details concerning the GP series have been announced by FIDE, three tournaments in February-April

<This time around the tournaments will start with a round-robin, or rather four round-robins. The 16 players will be divided into four groups of four, before they play each other twice over six rounds of classical chess. Only the winners of each mini-tournament go forward to the knockout, where semi-finals and a final are held over 2-game classical matches, with potential rapid playoffs.

Each tournament has a ?150,000 prize fund, with ?24,000 for 1st place, but the main goal is of course to qualify for the Candidates Tournament and the potential of playing a World Championship match in 2022 or 2023. For that purpose there will be Grand Prix points, going from 0 for finishing 4th in a group to 13 for winning the tournament>

Jun-17-21  fabelhaft: One thing that is certain is that with two game knockouts in semis and finals rapid playoffs will decide much, the risk is also big to be eliminated in the group stage where it isn?t enough to finish second after six rounds to avoid being eliminated.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: That winner-take-all format in the group phase should have an impact on how the play will go.
Jun-17-21  WorstPlayerEver: 4 players: winner takes all, for Christ sake.

8 players: 1st 66%, 2 33%

Jun-17-21  Dionysius1: <harrylime>. Eh? What? That's ma... Oh, never mind, it's you again, isn't it?
Premium Chessgames Member
  harrylime: magnus

the saint of the fjords

i cannot imagine a world withoot magnus

Jul-05-21  Ilkka Salonen: Will there be classical time control finish at the World Championship match or another rapid and blitz event? Let´s hope both player´s make it to the match in good condition, because these are troubled times. It is a bit funny that Nepomniatchi can´t play under russian flag in Dubai, where there too are vast issues nearby at least, with exploitaion of labor. Do the russian have to abide by the olympic spirit if their flag is even excluded?
Premium Chessgames Member

NBC Sports to cover the WCC.

Premium Chessgames Member
  saffuna: That sounds excellent.

<Starting on 27 November, 2021, the daily 30-minute shows on NBCSN from the FIDE World Championship Match 2021 will bring the highlights of each game not only to the hardcore chess fans but to the much wider and highly-engaged community of sports lovers throughout the United States.>

I hope the presentation is of the game in real time, with thinking time edited out. In other words, I hope they leave the suspense of the game in the broadcast.

Sep-04-21  Albertan: GM Ben Finegold analyses some of the games from this tournament at his YouTube page:

Oct-07-21  Ron: <OhioChessFan: NBC Sports to cover the WCC.>

Maybe NBC should get AlphaZero as one of the chess analysts.

Nov-21-21  Pedro Fernandez: Hey <Ron>, some problem with Stockfish? My advise you try the moves, you will get a lot of fun! Cheers!
Nov-27-21  macer75: Congratulations to Ian Nepomniachtchi for his victory!
Dec-31-21  Albertan: Candidates playoff introduced to break a tie,in case of a tie for first place:

I like this idea,rather than using an existing tie-break system.All tied players will now get a chance to determine their own destiny,rather than being unable to do so if the tie-break system result is not in their favour.

Dec-31-21  Albertan: 2022 Candidates Tournament will take place in Madrid:

Good luck to the organizers!

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