Home Chess Candidates Day 4: Nepomniachtchi Takes The Lead

Candidates Day 4: Nepomniachtchi Takes The Lead

Candidates Day 4: Nepomniachtchi Takes The Lead


The 4th day of the Candidates Match in Madrid has concluded – with the spotlight of the day being Ian Nepomniachtchi’s win in opposition to Alireza Firoujza – a win which makes him the only real chief, and Berlin Protection reclaiming (for now) it’s popularity as a dependable draw weapon. 

Each day, Lichess is offering a broadcast of the video games performed in real-time. We even have a choice of annotated video games by GM Nijat Abasov and video recaps by WGM-elect Jesse February.


The FIDE Grand Prix 2022 runner-up and winner confronted one another for (solely) the sixth time of their profession in classical tournaments, with Nakamura having three wins and two attracts in opposition to Rapport. With Berlin Protection performed, we needed to wait and see if we might have three out of three decisive Berlin Protection video games involving Hikaru on this Candidates Match, or the opening would slowly reclaim its drawing (on prime stage) popularity. Effectively, it turned out to be the second. Rapport performed 5. Bg5, which is a reasonably unusual variation in anti-Berlin, with Nakamura going for the h6 – g5 concept like in his spherical 1 loss in opposition to Caruana. This time, nevertheless, he performed way more precisely all through the sport till the top, securing the draw. 

Credit: FIDE/Stev Bonhage

If we have been to anticipate a pointy recreation in at the moment’s spherical, it could undoubtedly be Nepomniachtchi versus Firoujza; and certainly the sport stood as much as these expectations! With the 2 gamers following the primary line of Najdorf (albeit with a barely totally different transfer order), the primary main deviation got here at transfer 15 when Firoujza replies to f5 with the extraordinarily unusual 15…Bc4, adopted by Nepomniachtchi’s Kb1 getting ready to proceed his march on Alireza’s kingside just a few strikes later with 18.f6. The stability already began tipping in favor of white when Firoujza

spent 70 minutes for 3 strikes, together with the sub-optimal 20…Bxc1 – ending up with 37 minutes on the clock and nonetheless a sophisticated place to deal with for 18 strikes extra till the time management. (keep in mind, there’s no increment till transfer 61!). To make issues worse, he performed 23… Nd6; it’s laborious to think about what compensation Firoujza anticipated for the pawn he gave up, however he had none, and doesn’t have a method to threaten white’s king or make the most of the semi-open information. In reality, after just a few extra strikes, with some piece maneuvering exploiting a number of tactical motifs, Nepomniachtchi has an awesome assault on the kingside whereas Firoujza is left with uncoordinated items and one minute to defend a dropping place! The ultimate blow struck quickly, after black’s 35…f5, permitting white to execute a gorgeous mixture: 36. Rxh7+! Kxh7 37. Qh5+ Kg8 (37… Qh6 38. Qxe8 would additionally simply be dropping, you’ll be able to see some potential traces within the annotations) 38. Nxf5 Bf6 39. Rg1+ and Firoujza resigned with 5 seconds in sight of Kf8 40. Qh6+ Kf7 41. Rg7+ Bxg7 42. Qxg7# 

Jan-Krzysztof Duda and Teimour Radjabov have confronted one another solely as soon as in a classical event, particularly within the 81st version of Tata Metal Masters event in 2019, with the sport being drawn. Their 2nd ever classical endgame was additionally to finish in a draw; this time within the Candidates. Like in Rapport v Nakamura, 5. Bg5 was performed; on this recreation although the 2 gamers entered unexplored territory already by transfer 8. Na4. Radjabov’s response, 8…Bb4+allowed Duda to get an edge, which by no means obtained transformed into one thing extra. With 17. Qf3 f5! Black managed to equalize; the 2 gamers shortly thereafter obtained into an equal rook endgame, and the sport resulted in a draw by transfer 40.

Credit: FIDE/Stev Bonhage

The present World’s No.2, Liren Ding, confronted the previous (for fairly a very long time) No.2 and Candidates veteran Fabiano Caruana, in a recreation with the Ragozin Protection on the board. Ding goes for the fairly fashionable 5. Qa4. Fabiano selected to play 7…Na4, which has been performed on excessive stage solely as soon as, and never in a classical recreation. White manages to get an edge out of the opening, because of dominating the c file, with Caruana deciding to sacrifice a pawn to contest it. Nevertheless this one pawn benefit was confirmed inadequate. The 2 gamers entered a rook endgame on transfer 26, with Ding being a pawn up and nonetheless pushing, however Caruana managed to carry pretty simply, and the sport resulted in a draw. Try the sport to see his approach!

Credit: FIDE/Stev Bonhage



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