The Candidates: Postponed after Round 7

by ChessBase
3/25/2020 – Ian Nepomniachtchi went into the second rest day of the Candidates Tournament leading by a full point. The tournament has been suspended. The only other player with a plus score was Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. In round seven the two played each other, and Vachier-Lagrave, who had the white pieces, outplayed the Russian and caught up with him in the standings table, a full point ahead of the field. The remaining three games ended drawn. | Live games and commentary from 11:00 UTC (12:00 CET / 7:00 EDT). | Photo: Lennart Ootes / FIDE

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Second half schedule TBD

The eight-player Candidates tournament is one of the most prestigious global chess events, held every two years. The event will determine who will challenge the defender Magnus Carlsen for the title of the World Chess Champion. This year’s event has a prize fund of 500,000 Euros, which is the highest ever in the history of the Candidates tournaments.

Previous reports: Round 1 | Round 2 | Round 3 | Round 4 | Round 5 Round 6 Round 7

Live games and commentary

Players receive 100 minutes for 40 moves, then 50 minutes for the next 20 moves, then 15 minutes for the rest of the game, plus a 30-second bonus per move starting from move 1. No draw offers are allowed prior to move 40.


Commentary by Evgenij Miroshnichenko and Daniil Dubov

Current standings


Results of Round 1


Results of Round 2


Results of Round 3


Results of Round 4


Results of Round 5


Results of Round 6


Results of Round 7


Results of Round 8


As available.

The key encounter of round seven was the one that finished decisively, as Maxime Vachier-Lagrave caught up with Ian Nepomniachtchi in the standings by beating him with the white pieces in their direct face-off. 'Nepo' employed the Winawer Variation of the French Defence for a second time in Yekaterinburg and was duly outplayed after incorrectly deciding to close the structure on the queenside.

Nepomniachtchi's defeat reminds us of his backset at the Croatian leg of the Grand Chess Tour last year, when he started with three straight wins and went on to give up the lead by losing in rounds six and seven. Nevertheless, it must be noted that the Russian currently has a better tiebreak score than 'MVL', as he has one more win so far. Vachier-Lagrave is, in fact, undefeated at the moment — the only other player not to have lost at all is Alexander Grischuk, who drew all seven of his games.

The remaining games of the round finished drawn. Fabiano Caruana could not get much against Wang Hao's Petroff Defence, Alexander Grischuk found a couple of critical moves to neutralize Anish Giri's new idea in the opening, and Ding Liren was disappointed with his play after needing to defend an inferior position with White against Kirill Alekseenko.

The 2020 Candidates Tournament official opening

Press release

The opening ceremony took place at the “Ekaterinburg Expo” congress center and was hosted by the renowned Russian film actress Alena Babenko and sports commentator Viktor Gusev. Speakers at the Opening Ceremony were Evgeny Kuyvashev (Governor of the Sverdlovsk Oblast (Region)), FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich, former World Champion Anatoly Karpov, the President of the Sverdlovsk Chess Federation AndreySimanovsky as well as the Regional Corporate Sales Head at Kaspersky Marina Usova.

Evgeny Kuyvashev, the Governor of the Sverdlovsk Oblast (Region) said that it is the first time this region is hosting a FIDE Candidates tournament and added: “Our region considers itself one of the leaders of the home [Russian] chess movement and the center for the development of “the chess thought”. Today some 20,000 people professionally play chess in the Sverdlovsk Region, including 2.500 children and teenagers. We are proud of our chess masters and our young chess talents”.

Arkady Dvorkovich | Photo: Lennart Ootes / FIDE

Congratulating the players and chess fans across the world on the start of the FIDE Candidates Tournament in Yekaterinburg, FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich pointed to this event being the most important stage in the qualifying cycle for the World Chess Championship, as it will determine the opponent of the current world champion Magnus Carlsen. “In the coming weeks, we will witness epic battles between eight world's leading chess players. They went through the toughest selection process in the previous few months to compete for the right to challenge for the world chess crown in Yekaterinburg”.

FIDE president also reflected on the fact that the Tournament is held in the environment of an alarming situation with the spread of COVID-19. “I would like to note that in terms of medical safety measures, the Tournament organizing Committee fully follows the recommendations of the World Health Organization, the IOC and Rospotrebnadzor and fulfils all the prescribed requirements. We also ask for maximum support from the chess community, the media, and all of you”.

“Once again, I would like to welcome the participants of the FIDE Candidates Tournament and wish them memorable combinations and spectacular victories. And let the Tournament bring only joy and new positive emotions to all the fans”, Dvorkovich concluded.

The mayor of Yekaterinburg, Alexander Vysokinsky highlighted the importance of this event for the local community, adding “we will try to do everything in our power so that this event is held according to highest standards, so everyone could enjoy!”

Press conference | Photo: Lennart Ootes / FIDE

Anatoly Karpov: "Energy, health and calm nerves"

One of the speakers at the ceremony was Grandmaster Anatoly Karpov, the 12th World Champion in chess, who himself comes from the Ural region. Karpov emphasized the uniqueness of the tournament for the region and spoke about efforts made to develop chess education, including at the Ural Federal University.

Anatoly Karpov (middle) | Photo: Lennart Ootes / FIDE

The President of the Sverdlovsk Chess Federation Andrey Simanovsky, as well as the Regional Corporate Sales Head at Kaspersky Marina Usova joined the speakers in wishing the players good luck in the tournament.

The medal awaits | Photo: Lennart Ootes / FIDE

The official part of the Opening ceremony was followed by a concert by the famous Russian violinist and conductor, Yuri Bashmet and his “Moscow Soloists” Chamber Orchestra. The concert featured other renowned Russian classical music artists such as Bolshoi Theatre soloist Alina Yarovaya and opera singer Vassily Gerello. The musical event also included a performance of the top stars of the Bolshoi Theatre.

Opening performance

Colourful performances courtesy the Bolshoi Theatre | Photo: Lennart Ootes / FIDE


Topics: Candidates 2020

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zedsdeadbaby zedsdeadbaby 3/26/2020 01:53
Hi Chessbase. Any chance of a sale on Download DVDs since we are all stuck in doors and no candidates to watch :)
anthonyy anthonyy 3/25/2020 11:14
proof is given that the wild card should have gone to MVL
Arminio12 Arminio12 3/25/2020 10:56
"Nevertheless, it must be noted that the Russian currently has a better tiebreak score than 'MVL', as he has one more win so far."

The first tiebreak criterion is "The results of the games between the players involved in the tie". Having won their first encounter MVL has, for the time being, a better tiebreak score than Nepomniachtchi. True, that may still change, but so may the number of wins.
Peter B Peter B 3/25/2020 10:18
You are using the wrong tie break method in your score table.
KnightOnTheRim KnightOnTheRim 3/25/2020 07:41
Good title 😉
Stupido Stupido 3/25/2020 04:17
Nepo has a good score vs Carlsen if I remember correctly; there is no reason Carlsen would be happier to face him than anyone else.
PurpDriv2 PurpDriv2 3/23/2020 09:43
Giri must be in heaven
PurpDriv2 PurpDriv2 3/23/2020 09:15
Carlsen would be more afraid of Caruana and Ding.
He would be happy to play against Nepo
Scarlat gica Scarlat gica 3/23/2020 06:15
it,s draw
Talhaunted Talhaunted 3/22/2020 08:54
I often disagree with analyses by "experts", as did Capablanca. But in the case of Giri failing to score, I totally agree with what was said. Rook e2 was a blunder. Better for example would have been rook f2. Complications is not the specialty of Giri. He should definitely make a point of changing that...
MrPickl3 MrPickl3 3/21/2020 08:02
@sligunner, They call Grischuk 'Sasha', his first name, all the time. I don't see a problem calling Wang 'Hao'.
Jeh Jeh 3/21/2020 07:21
Kurt Utzinger, Kd5 wasn't actually played. It's just how the arbiters communicate to the electronic chessboard that the game is a draw.
Kurt Utzinger Kurt Utzinger 3/21/2020 05:11
Unbelievable, round 4, Ding-Giri, draw when Ding had an easy win in the endgame.
sligunner sligunner 3/21/2020 02:49
The commentators keep calling Wang 'Hao'. Hao is his first name – the commentatos are not calling Grischuk 'Alexander' . . . so please stop this. They don' call Ding 'Liren' so Wang should be Wang!
fckeres fckeres 3/19/2020 10:13
Wow @planner99 - I would be really interested how these probabilities were calculated? Has a coronavirus fear factor been taken into the formula :))
Raymond Labelle Raymond Labelle 3/19/2020 09:52
"(...) if you're using the same air as other people for hours at a time, the distance doesn't make the slightest difference;"

Which is why social distanciation is recommended I suppose.
Raymond Labelle Raymond Labelle 3/19/2020 09:51
"1 to 2 meters apart is for passing by strangers briefly, if you're using the same air as other people for hours at a time it doesn't make the slightest distance;" Aighearach

I understand that what is meant is: "(...) if you're using the same air as other people for hours at a time, the distance doesn't make the slightest difference;"

Is that what was meant?
Raymond Labelle Raymond Labelle 3/19/2020 09:49
Interesting, Caruana has the highest probabilty, but his probability is frankly below 50%.
planner99 planner99 3/19/2020 08:08
Updated Probabilities:

Caruana 36.8% 
MVL 16.1% 
Nepomniachtchi 15.6% 
Wang Hao 15.2% 
Ding Liren 8.1% 
Grischuk 6.3% 
Giri 1.7% 
Alekseenko 0.1% 
Playoff: 0.4%
PurpDriv2 PurpDriv2 3/19/2020 06:29
no crosstable?
eagle9 eagle9 3/19/2020 05:43
Back to the games for a moment. In Ding versus Caruana I really don't understand why he didn't play 9 c5 or at least 9 Bg6.
In my humble opinion all the problems he had during the game originated from that dubious move. His preparation messed up and after that he was clueless.
Aighearach Aighearach 3/19/2020 04:27
1 to 2 meters apart is for passing by strangers briefly, if you're using the same air as other people for hours at a time it doesn't make the slightest distance; the virus primarily spreads via liquid droplets suspended in the air. Touching each others hands can also spread it, but that only matters when you're not sharing air. If you're sharing air with somebody infected, you were exposed, it doesn't matter what you did with your hands.
UlfDK UlfDK 3/19/2020 03:35
Shut down this tournament. If the organizers have made no antivirus precautions, as players have mentioned, they can consider themselves as almost criminals. WAKE UP!
twamers twamers 3/18/2020 08:38
Completely agree. The photo of the press conference is not following guidance. People should be 1-2 metres apart - that is definitely not the case in that photo and they should definitely not be proceeding on that basis.
David Herz David Herz 3/18/2020 08:35
Bashmet is a VIOLIST first and violinist second. He is a great VIOLIST!!! arrgghhh (frustrated violist)
bondsergey bondsergey 3/18/2020 06:01
Online tournament with arbiters at the location of the players is not a good idea (my opinion). There will be too many arbiters. Arbiters can be bought.
Raymond Labelle Raymond Labelle 3/18/2020 03:53
On the shaking of hands: it could be replaced by elbow contact.
Chris Holmes Chris Holmes 3/18/2020 12:27
It's a pity ChessBase hasn't got a statistician to tell us about the changed probabilities of the players winning the tournament after playing each round. Ding & Giri now have lower probability - they have only 13 rounds to achieve first place (& lower live ratings).
Raymond Labelle Raymond Labelle 3/17/2020 08:26
Fabiano also mentioned that this tournament was probably the only major sporting event which has not been canceled or postoned.
Raymond Labelle Raymond Labelle 3/17/2020 08:16
Someone asked why Fabiano arrived so late. Even though not directly asked about this, in answering a question related to the virus, he said that he was not sure if the event would not be cancelled. That is probably why he waited at the last minute. In the press conference, he also admitted being concerned by a situation which could evolve unpredectingly for the next three weeks. He also said something like (by memory, so maybe not word by word): "We will see after the tournament if it was a good idea not to postpone or cancel it.)
David Herz David Herz 3/17/2020 07:45
I do agree that unless they have invisible walls between them, so many people coming from so many different countries who could not possibly have been tested in time are creating a dangerous situation...MVL just got out of France before the lockdown ( I presume he was in France, don't know)
David Herz David Herz 3/17/2020 07:44
the King marches around the Queen and both attack the pawn, Black has opposition...I guess that's it.
basler88 basler88 3/17/2020 07:30
and yes it's coronavirus! Again, my fat fingers! :)
basler88 basler88 3/17/2020 07:27
Right fckeres! My fingers are to fat!
David Herz David Herz 3/17/2020 06:50
Giri resigned a drawn position no? Nepomniachtchi's move 73. ... Qd3 is beautiful but forces nothing...what am I missing?
David Herz David Herz 3/17/2020 06:47
Giri resigned a drawn position no?
fckeres fckeres 3/17/2020 06:10
you surely meant 6 feet not 6 feed right basler? :)
basler88 basler88 3/17/2020 04:47
Oh, I just was reading, Russia has only 6 coronadovirus cases!?????????
basler88 basler88 3/17/2020 04:45
I agree, where is the 6 feed rule?? They shouldn't sit next to each other that close!!
amarpan amarpan 3/17/2020 04:44
In principle, the tournament could have been held completely online, with arbiters at the location of the players. And the event could be broadcast live. This would have been an opportunity for chess to set itself an example to the world.