The pack is starting to separate.
GM Ian Nepomniachtchi leads the 2022 FIDE Candidates as we head into the second relaxation day, defeating GM Jan-Krzysztof Duda in a slugfest.
Nepomniachtchi manuevered his opponent right into a sluggish, positional recreation, one the place Duda was out of e book early and virtually instantly fell into difficulties. His nineteenth and twentieth strikes had been lemons, and though Nepomniachtchi almost threw the clear win away with 24. e6, Duda failed to search out the important continuation and shortly succumbed.
At 4½ factors, Nepomniachtchi has a half-point benefit over GM Fabiano Caruana, who defeated a clearly out-of-form GM Alireza Firouzja to maneuver to 4/6 and clear second place.
Firouzja’s offbeat 6. Qd3 within the Catalan gave him a bonus on the clock, however nowhere else. Quickly Caruana slowly turned the screws, frequently ratcheting up the strain in a deceptively quiet-looking place. Firouzja tried to concretely resolve his issues with 20. Rxd7, however missed Caruana’s 21. … Bf5! when he was down materials with out compensation. Ever exact, Caruana’s approach did the remaining, and Firouzja resigned simply after the time management.
GMs Hikaru Nakamura and Richard Rapport are a degree and half behind the chief at 3/6. Each drew immediately, though that they had completely different paths to the shared factors.
Nakamura’s recreation with GM Ding Liren was, in our annotator GM Jacob Aagaard’s phrases, “a robust strategic effort” by each gamers. Nakamura appears to agree with this view in his Youtube recap, the place he congratulated his opponent for enjoying effectively and appeared content material with the shared level.
In the meantime GM Richard Rapport was pressured to trip his luck, saving the draw in opposition to GM Teimour Radjabov by the pores and skin of his tooth.
This was an attention-grabbing, inventive recreation by each gamers, getting into a non-standard kind of place and pawn construction. Each gamers made errors, however Rapport erred considerably on transfer 37, giving Radjabov the possibility to take his first full level within the occasion (and his first in classical chess since 2019).
After which Radjabov took 16 seconds to drive a draw when retreating the bishop would give him a successful place.
So the place does this depart us after six rounds, and close to the midway level? It is clear that some gamers are out of shape (Firouzja, Radjabov), and others have but to totally hit their stride (Ding Liren, Nakamura). Nonetheless, it appears honest to say that the 2 present leaders are there by advantage.
Nepomniachtchi has largely taken his probabilities, though he was lucky to attract on Wednesday in opposition to Nakamura. And Caruana has performed the robust, regular chess for which he’s well-known.
Who will win? I do not know. This factor is much from over.
Play resumes Saturday at 9 am japanese with the seventh spherical. Listed here are the pairings.
Rapport – Nepomniachtchi
Duda – Nakamura
Ding – Firouzja
Caruana – Radjabov
FIDE Candidates homepage
US Chess Candidates homepage
Candidates Overview (together with streaming hyperlinks)
Lichess evaluation examine (Aagaard)