Chess Candidates Tournament: Niepómniashi remains alone in the lead | Chess


Ian Niepómniashi was not the main favorite because his results since losing the 2023 World Cup final against Liren Ding did not encourage it. But you always have to count on the Russian, double runner-up, because he makes very few mistakes. This Monday he will enjoy as the sole leader the first day of rest in the Candidates Tournament that eight chess players compete in a double round in Toronto (Canada). His rival, the Indian Gujrathi Vidit, became overconfident when he had a good position.

As long as Niepómniashi, 33, does not lose – recovering from a defeat has been his main weak point since adolescence – he must always be taken into account. Even when his game does not impress, as is the case: he tied in the 1st round with the theoretical victim of the tournament, the Azerbaijani Nijat Abbasov; He beat the Frenchman Alireza Firouzja in the 2nd when he rejected a sure draw to launch himself like a kamikaze. And he took half a point in the 3rd against the Indian Dommaraju Gukesh after trailing for four hours.

Nor has he impressed in the 4th, where Vidit presented him with the Berlin Defense, highly analyzed since 2000, when Vladimir Krámnik dethroned Gari Kasparov with it. The Indian has shown that he knows very well the deep subtleties of that structure. But perhaps there, in overconfidence, his defeat has been cemented, because Vidit has failed, and at least twice, when everything indicated that only he could play to win. Of course, from then on Niepómniashi has been as effective as a steamroller.

Niepómniashi expects a move from ViditWalusza Photography (Walusza Photography)

By then, a tie had been signed for a long time without hardly any fight between the American Hikaru Nakamura, with his morale greatly affected since the defeat against Vidit on the 2nd day, and the Indian Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa, full of joy after his victory yesterday over Vidit himself a day after losing to Gukesh. He managed to tie with black, after some suffering, against the main favorite, the American Fabiano Caruana, while Firouzja confirmed that he no longer dazzles like he did in his adolescence and could not defeat Abbasov.

In the Candidates, the only dull thing was the tie between Goryáchkina and Vaishali. Lagno failed to finish against the leader, Tan, in a completely won position. The same thing happened to Anna Muzychuk – who suffers misfortunes every day in this tournament – against Lei. And Salímova beat Koneru very well.

Results (4th round).-

Candidates: Abbasov – Firouzja, tables; Nakamura – Praggnanandhaa, tables; Niepómniashi – Vidit, 1-0; Caruana – Gukesh, tables.

Candidates: Goryachkina – Vaishali, tables; A. Muzychuk – Lei, tables; Lagno – Tan, 1-0; Salímova – Koneru, 1-0.


Candidates: 1st Niepómniashi, 3 points; 2nd-3rd Caruana and Gukesh, 2.5; 4th Praggnanandhaa 2; 5th-8th Vidit, Firouzja, Nakamura and Abásov, 1.5.

Candidates: 1st Tan, 3 points; 2nd Goryachkina 2.5; 3rd-5th Lagno, Vaishali and Salímova 2; 6th-8th Koneru, Muzychuk and Lei 1.5.

to weekly newsletter ‘Wonderful play’, by Leontxo García

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