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


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