Chess Candidates Tournament: Nakamura revives, knocks down a shadow of Caruana and is half a point away from the lead | Chess News

Chess Candidates Tournament: Nakamura revives, knocks down a shadow of Caruana and is half a point away from the lead |  Chess News

When chips influence neurons so much, it is worth remembering that in chess games between humans, emotions and feelings count a lot. Everything indicates that the American Fabiano Caruana, 2nd in the world, was not feeling well today, in the 8th round of the fourteen scheduled in the Candidates Tournament in Toronto (Canada), because he played much below normal against his compatriot Hikaru Nakamura, 3rd in the ranking, relentless in punishment. Meanwhile, 17-year-old prodigy Dommaraju Gukesh knocked down another Indian, Gujrathi Vidit, and overtook the leader, Ian Niepómniashi.

Caruana, 31, started as the main favorite to win the tournament and challenge the champion, the Chinese Liren Ding, in November, not only for being 2nd in the world but, above all, for his great experience: in the final of the World Cup 2018 he drew the twelve slow games with the Norwegian Magnus Carlsen, who could only defeat him in the quick tiebreaker. But Caruana acted today as if he couldn’t handle the pressure of a Candidate well, even though this is the fifth one he has contested. Everything indicated that he had established a solid position when, suddenly, he made several weak plays and was immediately lost, rehabilitating Nakamura, who seemed discarded since he lost to Vidit in the 2nd round.

A very different case is that of Gukesh, who seems emotionally strong – in addition to possessing enormous talent – despite his extraordinary youth. After his very painful defeat on Thursday due to taking excessive risks against the Frenchman Alireza Firouzja, it seems that the Indian took good advantage of the rest day to calm down and beat Vidit today with the black pieces in an unquestionable way, from start to finish.

Dommaraju Gukesh, at today’s press conference after beating ViditMaría Emeliánova

While Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa signed a draw with white without much history with Firouzja, Niepómniashi applied once again – despite the fact that he faced the last placed with white – his usual strategy: press and press without risking, in an effort to make his rival miss and fall. But here the Azerbaijani Nijat Abásov has shown today why he finished 4th in the World Cup and qualified for the Candidates after Carlsen’s resignation: he is very technically tough, and has defended himself very well against the Russian’s harassment. Judging by the joy with which Gukesh plays almost every day, Niepómniashi will have to take risks at some point if he wants to win his third consecutive Candidates.

The excitement also increases in the Candidates Tournament, where China’s Tinglie Lei continues her impressive comeback after a poor start. Today she beat the leader, her compatriot Zhongyi Tan, and both now lead along with the Russian Alexandra Goriáchkina, who did not suffer much with the black pieces to tie with the also Russian Kateryna Lagno, fourth, half a point behind the three leaders. The Indian Humpy Koneru, 6th in the world, is not yet ruled out after beating her compatriot Rameshbabu Vaishali (sister of Praggnanandhaa) after more than five hours of fighting.

Results (8th round).-

Candidates: Nakamura – Caruana, 1-0; Niepómniashi – Abásov, boards; Praggnanandhaa – Turquoise, tablas; Vidit – Gukesh, 0-1.

Candidates: Lagno – Goriáchkina, boards; Tan – Earth, 0-1; Salimova – A. Muzychuk, boards; Koneru – Vaishali, 1-0.


Candidates: 1º-2º Niepómniashi y Gukesh 5; 3ª-4º Praggnanandhaa y Nakamura 4,5; 5º Caruana 4; 6º Vidit 3.5; 7º Firouzja, 3; 8º Abásov, 2.5.

Candidates: 1st-3rd Tan, Goriáchkina and Lei, 5 points; 4th Lagoon 4.5; 5th-6th Salimova and Koneru 3.5; 7th Muzychuk 3; 8a Vaishali 2,5.

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2024-04-14 00:28:43
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