Ten memorable photos from the 2024 Candidates Tournament

by ChessBase India
5/24/2024 – The Candidates Tournament 2024 took place last month in Toronto, Canada. The tournament turned out to be quite exciting, with many twists and turns. Sanket Nawle lives in Toronto, and is an excellent photographer. He tried to capture a few moments outside the playing hall — and managed to take some beautiful photos! In this article, he takes you through some of his most favourite photos from the Candidates, shortly describing why he likes them. | Photos: Sanket Nawle

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By Sanket Nawle

Vishy Anand

The legend Vishy Anand arrives at the Candidates for commentary!

This photo holds a special place in my heart as it marks the first time I saw Vishy sir in person. The moment he stepped out of the van, I noticed a powerful aura around him that drew everyone towards him. I feel fortunate to have captured this moment of rush and excitement!

Humpy Koneru

Koneru Humpy fully focused before entering the playing hall.

Whenever I try to take pictures of people, I enjoy capturing the raw emotions and the personality of that person. This image reminds me of Sagar’s incident when he congratulated Humpy even though she had lost the game — because it’s so difficult to read her expressions! After seeing her in person, I believe you, Sagar!

Fabiano Caruana

World no.2 Fabiano Caruana walks into the hall as fans are busy taking photos of him!

I think this is a fabulous picture of Fabi! After taking photos for multiple days during the event, I believe that Fabi’s brisk walk is my favourite. I can feel the confidence and determination he has to win the game just by watching him enter the venue!

Vidit Gujrathi

Be it a win or loss, Vidit always interacts with the fans!

I selected this picture because Vidit is a rare player who interacts with his fans even before the game begins! Despite having just 10–15 minutes left before the match, he doesn’t turn down any fan approaching him. This truly reflects how much he values and appreciates his fans. This photo was taken on the day Vidit defeated Hikaru in round 9.


The supermom of the chess world — Nagalakshmi!

It’s easy to overlook the effort our families put forth in supporting us on our journey. I captured a photo of Nagalakshmi when someone from the crowd wished her a “Happy Vishu!”. Her genuine smile and gratefulness brought a smile to my face too. I’m glad she was there to provide emotional support to Pragg and Vaishali.

Hikaru Nakamura

Hikaru Nakamura entering the venue with his wife, Atousa Pourkashiyan!

It’s not often that Hikaru denies giving autographs to his fans, but on this particular occasion, he was running late for the game. However, I managed to capture a photo of him rushing to the venue with his Starbucks beverage.

Alireza Firouzja

Alireza Firouzja approached by fans for an autograph on their chess boards!

As I mentioned earlier, I find it satisfying to take photos that capture a person’s personality. Alireza, in particular, always appears to be lost in thought about the game even when he’s outside of the venue. I’m pretty confident that he’s still contemplating what move he could have played while interacting with his fans.

Ian Nepomniachtchi

Ian Nepomniachtchi looking dapper getting off the van as the fans surround him!

I think this is a very classy picture of Nepo with his famous container. I felt a certain level of confidence in him that made me believe his game wasn’t a big deal for him and that he could easily win that day.

Dommaraju Gukesh

Gukesh didn’t know if he had won the tournament yet — but still interacted with many fans after his last-round draw against Hikaru!

I am thrilled to have captured a photo of Gukesh after he drew the game against Hikaru in the last round! On that day, I was the first person to get his autograph on my chessboard. Despite the loud shouting and people rushing towards him, he remained calm and interacted with every fan, just like how he handles chaotic positions in chess! At some point, even I was annoyed by the screams, but he kept smiling for photos and signing autographs.

Candidates Tournament 2024

One of the most liked photos of Gukesh at the Candidates — this got 100K+ likes in the ChessBase India Instagram page!

Out of all the photos I captured during the Candidates event, this one is my favourite! Gukesh looks like a hero entering the venue to greet his fans. This scene feels like it’s straight out of an Indian action film, where the protagonist enters a place to fight off a group of people. He looks stylish and charming.

Many thanks to Sagar for organizing the above event and encouraging me to take photos throughout the Candidates Chess Tournament.

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