After more than a year of postponement due to Covid-19, eight players continued to play Candidates from April 19 to choose the challenger to challenge the throne of Magnus Carlsen.

Nepomniachtchi (right) succumbed to Vachier-Lagrave when the two players met in game 7 of the Candidates chess tournament on March 25, 2020.  Photo: FIDE

Nepomniachtchi (right) succumbed to Vachier-Lagrave when the two players met in game 7 of the Candidates chess tournament on March 25, 2020. Image: FIDE

Candidates’ remaining seven rounds took place from April 19 to April 27, with a day off after rounds of 10 and 12. Eight standard chess matches, face-to-face in the city of Yekaterinburg, Russia. The identity of Carlsen’s next challenger will be determined by April 28, if the players must play play-off.

The first phase of Candidates takes place from March 17, 2020 to March 25, 2020. On the last day, the FIDE World Chess Federation announced the indefinite postponement of the tournament because Covid-19 boomed in Russia. FIDE had planned to hold a tournament in November 2020, but failed.

Before the eighth round, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Ian Nepomniachtchi are still leading with 4.5 points. Fabiano Caruana, Anish Giri, Vuong Hao and Alexander Grischuk were in the second group with 3.5 points. Dinh Lap Nhan and Kirill Alekseenko are at the bottom with 2.5 points.

In the eighth round, the number one seed Caruana holding a white army met Vachier-Lagrave, while Nepomniachtchi holding the white army met Giri. The other two matches are the Chinese internal fight between Vuong and Dinh, and Russia between Alekseenko and Grischuk.

In December 2020, Nepomniachtchi won the Russian league for the second time in his career, after 11 standard games. It was also the only standard prize he played in over a year. And Vachier-Lagrave played more with 18 games, but only earned 5 out of 13 maximum points in the Tata Steel tournament in January 2021.

Xuan Binh


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