Chess: pawn, rook, knight, bishop, bishop, knight – get rid of it!

Chess: pawn, rook, knight, bishop, bishop, knight – get rid of it!

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Page 1Pawn, rook, knight, bishop, bishop, knight – get rid of it!

Page 2Played blitz games on the internet

Thirteen moves have been played and Black sacrifices a pawn and a rook, then a knight. White retaliates with a bishop sacrifice. A few moves later, Black also gives a bishop and a knight on top of that. Punching and stabbing in the Candidates Tournament in Toronto, the Internet audience in the gallery: you think you can hear the outcry around the globe.

On Thursday this is the game of Nakamura against Nepomnyashchi, the American against the Russian, a theoretical duel. They have worked out the variations in domestic analysis and are now letting them crash onto the board. Boring of chess? Who said that?

Nakamura vs. Nepomnyashchi, position after the 15th move: rook hanging, knight hanging, bishop hanging © Screenshot chess.com

In the end, White has the rook, knight and bishop, Black only has the queen and five pawns each. White has the material advantage, but his pieces stand helpless while the king ducks the constant checks. The game ends in a repetition of moves. Black cannot win, but he can prevent White from winning. Division of points. What a wild thing.

Seven rounds have now been played in Toronto, how quickly did that happen in the Candidates Tournament. First four games, rest day, then three games, rest day. Now, from Saturday onwards, things will be a little slower in the second half of the season because the World Chess Federation is giving its candidates an extra day of rest in recognition of the tension and also the exhaustion that is gradually setting in in this second most important of all chess tournaments.

A game can last five or six hours, with the clock running, with maximum concentration, after months of preparation. And when the fight has come to an end with victory, draw or surrender, then it is important to tame the euphoria or not let the annoyance turn into despair. Chess goes very deep. Every defeat attacks the ego. Maintaining balance or at least regaining it if it is lost in the meantime also leads to mastery.

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At halftime, is it clear who will be the next challenger to Chinese world chess champion Ding Liren?

No.

The field has at least sorted itself out. At the top is someone who wasn’t considered a top favorite beforehand, Jan Nepomnjaschtschi. The Russian, a war opponent who, due to global circumstances, is competing here under the flag of the World Chess Federation Fide, has held his ground well from the start. His opening approach is sophisticated, his game is quick and confident, and he was lucky several times when he got into trouble. He has won two games, lost nothing so far, and is half a point ahead of his pursuers. The question is what will happen if he suffers another defeat. The 33-year-old is known for his lack of stamina. He often leads at the beginning of tournaments, occasionally he gets hit and then nothing works.

Nobody wishes it on him, although the non-Russian observers of the tournament would prefer another winner. Nepomnyashchi has already played for the World Cup title twice, in Kazakhstan in 2023 and in Dubai in 2021, and he failed each time. Now someone else could try it.

For Fabiano Caruana, world number two, the same applies: he failed in London in 2018 against Magnus Carlsen. Six years later, due to his age, it may be his last successful attempt at a world championship fight. The 31-year-old American is one of the best opening experts and is difficult to defeat; However, he has recently been lacking the bite, as was evident in Toronto in the first round when he drew the game against his compatriot Hikaru Nakamura instead of playing around a bit, which would have been possible given the position.

More on the topic: Candidates Tournament

Chess Candidates Tournament: And the queen wanders forever

Candidates Tournament: A pitchfork-like pawn advance

Candidates Tournament: Runner sacrifices like from the Himalayas

Hikaru Nakamura on his part is very difficult to assess. A hint of gambling surrounds him. He is the world champion in the 1-minute blitz, the bullet, one minute for the whole game. You can only play on the internet because it saves time on the screen premove can be entered, i.e. the answer to an opponent’s move that has not yet been made. A victory for Nakamura in the Candidates Tournament would be the most celebrated because, as a streamer, he entertains an audience of millions with his combinations. After every game he sits down in front of the camera and talks about what great moves he found or how stupid they were. He makes a living from it, and does it very well. But in the second round he caught a zero on the board. Since then he has been trying to fight his way back forward and – after a win – has reached 50 percent.

Three Indians star in Toronto, adored and accompanied by Indians from Toronto. They line the entrance to the Great Hall on Queen Street and hold out chessboards and felt-tip pens to the masters, asking for a signature. One of the three Vidit Gujrathi, has now risen to become the candidate of hearts beyond India. His victories and his defeats, two each, were spectacular; and he lets audiences in Toronto and India share his inner life. After a defeat, the 29-year-old sits slumped in the hallway in front of the press center; his sister puts her arm around him, his two seconds hug him as if they wanted to put a protective film around his soul.

In good moments, Vidit plays fantastic chess; He lacks the time he takes for this at the end of the games and then allows him to make serious mistakes. A first place in the tournament would be a miracle, Vidit can bring down anyone.

Thirteen moves have been played and Black sacrifices a pawn and a rook, then a knight. White retaliates with a bishop sacrifice. A few moves later, Black also gives a bishop and a knight on top of that. Punching and stabbing in the Candidates Tournament in Toronto, the Internet audience in the gallery: you think you can hear the outcry around the globe.

On Thursday this is the game of Nakamura against Nepomnyashchi, the American against the Russian, a theoretical duel. They have worked out the variations in domestic analysis and are now letting them crash onto the board. Boring of chess? Who said that?

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