Ian Nepomniachtchi is the winner of the FIDE Candidates Tournament with a round to spare and a new Challenger for the world championship against Magnus Carlsen.
Ian Nepomniachtchi vs Maxime Vachier-Lagrave ended in a draw. The Frenchman has chosen an interesting double fianchetto system where he avoided moving his central pawns. This has allowed white to take control in the center and to finish his development without a problem.
Later Ian managed to trade the dark-squared bishops and prepared b4 after which he had a slight advantage. MVL decided to offer a pawn as he got two good blockading knights. But later he traded all the major pieces and in the end, the Russian was happy to draw the game.
Ian Nepomniachtchi: “I am extremely happy to qualify for the match and I am extremely thankful to all and everyone who supported me, especially to my team.”
“It’s a huge milestone in my career and perhaps in my life. I am extremely tired. It was one year of thinking about this tournament, one year of preparation.”
“I was playing with a fighting set of mind [today], tried in every possible way that I saw to complicate the position, to be tricky. But of course, winning with Black on demand is not an easy task and it can very easily backfire.” – Maxime Vachier-Lagrave
At the same time, Anish Giri had to win with black against Alexander Grischuk.
He decided to play Bogo-Indian. White simply followed the mainline and turned out he had the edge after the opening. From there Giri was not sure how to try to activate his pieces and has missed the chance for h4. After that Alex simply went Nf1 with the idea to go to d5.
Giri went f5 which was a blunder and soon he was 2 pawns down in a hopeless endgame.
“It was a very poor game. I think it was the combination of a mindset that does not suit the position and a heavy lack of understanding. I made a lot of terrible mistakes.” “Ian put me under a lot of pressure.”
Ding Liren scores his second consecutive victory in the second half of FIDE Candidates 2020 Ding beat Alekseenko to avoid finishing at the bottom of the table with 6.0/13. The Russian was better all the time as Ding gave a pawn in order to get pair of bishops. White managed to improve and at some moment Ding gambled with Be4.
Kiril has missed probably Bc3 c5 Nf3 with a big advantage. When Ding found Rb8 it was not possible for white to defend.
Fabiano Caruana defeats Wang Hao with Black and moves to the shared third place with Vachier-Lagrave.
Wang was trying from the opening to get an equal position without risk. He got is in Sicilian Alapin but towards the endgame, he played too passive and Caruana took the initiative with Bc2. Soon after that white lost a pawn a resigned.