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World Championship Candidates 2020/21 Tournament

Ian Nepomniachtchi5.5/9(+3 -1 =5)[games]
Fabiano Caruana5/9(+2 -1 =6)[games]
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave5/9(+2 -1 =6)[games]
Anish Giri5/9(+2 -1 =6)[games]
Alexander Grischuk4/9(+0 -1 =8)[games]
Kirill Alekseenko4/9(+1 -2 =6)[games]
Wang Hao4/9(+1 -2 =6)[games]
Ding Liren3.5/9(+1 -3 =5)[games]
* Chess Event Description
World Championship Candidates 2020/21

The 2020 Candidates Tournament is an 8-player double round-robin that will decide Magnus Carlsen's challenger for the World Championship match that is set to take place in Dubai in November 2021. The 14-round event is being 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 is €500,000.

The players have 100 minutes for 40 moves, then 50 minutes for the next 20 moves, then 15 minutes to the end of the game, with a 30-second increment from move 1. No draw offers are allowed until after move 40. A playoff (beginning with four 25-minute games) is unlikely as head-to-head, no. of wins and Sonneborn-Berger are used first to break a tie for 1st place. (1)

Official site:

(1) chess24

 page 1 of 2; games 1-25 of 36  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Vachier-Lagrave vs Caruana ½-½442020World Championship Candidates 2020/21C78 Ruy Lopez
2. Ding Liren vs Wang Hao 0-1452020World Championship Candidates 2020/21A20 English
3. A 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. Vachier-Lagrave vs Ding Liren 1-0372020World Championship Candidates 2020/21C84 Ruy Lopez, Closed
7. Caruana vs K Alekseenko 1-0342020World Championship Candidates 2020/21E20 Nimzo-Indian
8. Wang Hao vs A Giri ½-½612020World Championship Candidates 2020/21A37 English, Symmetrical
9. K Alekseenko vs Nepomniachtchi ½-½402020World Championship Candidates 2020/21C18 French, Winawer
10. Grischuk vs Wang Hao ½-½492020World Championship Candidates 2020/21C01 French, Exchange
11. Ding Liren vs Caruana 1-0592020World Championship Candidates 2020/21D17 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
12. A Giri vs Vachier-Lagrave ½-½302020World Championship Candidates 2020/21D85 Grunfeld
13. Caruana vs Nepomniachtchi ½-½552020World Championship Candidates 2020/21D87 Grunfeld, Exchange
14. Wang Hao vs K Alekseenko ½-½412020World Championship Candidates 2020/21D78 Neo-Grunfeld, 6.O-O c6
15. Vachier-Lagrave vs Grischuk ½-½532020World Championship Candidates 2020/21C67 Ruy Lopez
16. Ding Liren vs A Giri ½-½422020World Championship Candidates 2020/21E00 Queen's Pawn Game
17. K Alekseenko vs Vachier-Lagrave ½-½332020World Championship Candidates 2020/21B80 Sicilian, Scheveningen
18. Grischuk vs Ding Liren ½-½542020World Championship Candidates 2020/21C84 Ruy Lopez, Closed
19. A Giri vs Caruana ½-½422020World Championship Candidates 2020/21D12 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
20. Nepomniachtchi vs Wang Hao 1-0432020World Championship Candidates 2020/21C42 Petrov Defense
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 A Giri 0-1982020World Championship Candidates 2020/21C50 Giuoco Piano
24. Wang Hao vs Vachier-Lagrave ½-½832020World Championship Candidates 2020/21D87 Grunfeld, Exchange
25. A Giri vs Grischuk ½-½402020World Championship Candidates 2020/21A20 English
 page 1 of 2; games 1-25 of 36  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  Messiah: I love this tournament. It is round 9, exactly 20 minutes elapsed, and it is already 99.99999% guaranteed that ALL four games will have significance in the opening theory.

Amazing! This is some extremely good chess.

Premium Chessgames Member
  fabelhaft: Going by the look of it MVL seems to be in trouble also today
Premium Chessgames Member
  fabelhaft: The engines consider it the most equal of the games at the moment, but can't be fun to see Ding Liren give away a knight on the middle of the board just like that after Caruana also sacrificing a piece and winning yesterday
Premium Chessgames Member
  fabelhaft: Something like 16. ... Nf7 17. Re1 0-0 18. Bg4 and MVL may be a piece up but his position looks horrible
Apr-20-21  nok: Maxime still saving prep
Premium Chessgames Member
  moronovich: 15.37 Maxine is going down.A few hours ago he was leading the tournament.

Tough fate ):good chances to Giri and Alek-Caruana can go both ways in a very dynamic position.The russians will draw.

And what a bonus to have Magnus in the studio !

Apr-20-21  jphamlore: Giri is sort of back in contention but he has lost to Nepo as White. I think he needs to go +2 the remaining games to have any chance.

Not great odds but I am still rooting for Giri as I think he would at least give Carlsen an interesting match.

Apr-20-21  jphamlore: I don't recall a younger player embarrassing themselves in this format of Candidates, and thankfully, Alekseenko seems to have steadied his game to follow this trend. Energy is good in such a grueling event.
Apr-20-21  Absentee: <moronovich: 15.37 Maxine is going down.>

Are you calling him a pussy?

Apr-20-21  LameJokes:

Epic prep by Fabi, equally epic defense by MVL and epic perseverance by Fabi again. What a game!

Today Giri squeezes water from stone. At least, two players on +1 and one on +2 (MVL Vs Ding still in progress). The event is heating up already.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sokrates: When asked by Tania what he, Carlsen, thought about a 14 games match compared with a 12 games match, he thought it was an improvement. One of the arguments being the fact that it was a bit easier to come back after a defeat, thereby making the players willing to be less cautious.

Further, Carlsen said that now the outcome of the tournament would be completely unpredictable. I agree with Carlsen on both assessments.

Premium Chessgames Member
  moronovich: <Absentee: <moronovich: 15.37 Maxine is going down.> Are you calling him a pussy?>

Iīll keep my sexual preferences for my self ;)

Premium Chessgames Member
  moronovich: Carlsen also told that he has less energy these days compared to his youth. He turns 31 this december.
Apr-20-21  Whitehat1963: The shortest games in this tournament were a pair of 28-move draws and a 30-move draw. I think thatís outstanding! It sure beats the hell out of the Kramnik-Leko chessus interruptus debacle of a championship match in 2004.
Apr-20-21  devere: Nepo leads this tournament. He has White against Alekseenko next round and then White against Caruana in round 11. If those games go well for him the odds of him finishing in first place will be very high. Right now I'd estimate the odds:

Nepo 46%
Fab 24%
MVL 15%
Giri 14%
The rest 1%

Apr-20-21  Lambda: Updated ratings-based probabilities:

Nepomniachtchi 45.7%
Caruana 30.1%
MVL 12.9%
Giri 9.1%
Wang Hao 1.1%
Grischuk 0.7%
Ding Liren 0.4%
Alekseenko 0.1%
0.7% chance of an unbroken tie.

The average winning score is: mean - 8.62/14, median - 8.5/14, mode 8.5/14

There's a 71.5% chance of it being decided by most points, 19.0% chance head to head, 3.7% number of wins, 5.3% S-B, 0.7% playoff.

Premium Chessgames Member
  fabelhaft: My estimate:

Caruana 50%
Nepo 35%
Giri 10%
MVL 5%

Premium Chessgames Member
  Check It Out: I'm hoping for a Nepo-Carlsen match. Caruana? Been there, done that.
Premium Chessgames Member
  fabelhaft: Iím counting on Caruana beating Ding Liren tomorrow, if he doesnít Iíd lower his chances a bit.
Premium Chessgames Member
  fabelhaft: A Nepo vs Carlsen match would be fun, but Nepo is being very careful here and seems to hope he can draw his way to first place but that isnít going to work.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sokrates: Ding Liren really blew it against MVL (as MC expressed it).

He had a won position around move 30, but then he began to drift and complicate things for himself (lack of self-belief?).

His position was so strong that he could allow himself to play four, almost consecutive, inaccurate moves.

He played
31.Qe2 instead of the stronger Rf3
35.Rb1 instead of Qc2
36.Rd1 instead of grabbing the pawn with Rxb6
37.d6 (instead of Qc2) throwing his pawn into the claws of the Frenchman.

When it was all over he continued to beat the dead draw position, but MVL defended ingeniously and carefully.

A very bad day for the Chinese master, who strangely went from being one of the absolute favourites prior to the first leg, to being the absolute tail six games away from the end of this tournament.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sokrates: My estimate, btw, is:

Caruana 27%
Nepo 26%
Giri 24%
MVL 23%

with a statistical uncertainty of 4%.

Apr-20-21  jphamlore: Nepo has White versus Alekseenko? Some Sicilian I am guessing.

If Alekseenko can hold Nepo to a draw, this event remains wide open. If Nepo wins, and now is the time for Nepo to use all of his energy, I think Nepo has this event barring an incredible collapse.

Apr-20-21  macer75: <fabelhaft: Iím counting on Caruana beating Ding Liren tomorrow, if he doesnít Iíd lower his chances a bit.>

I don't think you can count on anybody beating Ding Liren.

Apr-20-21  AdolfoAugusto: MVL is vulnerable and bleeding, (I feel it was the same case for Carlsen in the last 4 tournaments) everyone is going to be playing extra hard for him. Nepo & Caruana are very motivated. Giri is playing very aggressive, Wang Hao is a dark horse, Alekseenko has nothing to lose, evrn Ding Liren (who had a terrible start last year) played a beautiful game today trying to get out of the basement... Definitely the weakest player (the piŮata!) at the moment is MVL.
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