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Candidates Day 1: Half decisive, half drawn

Credit: Stev Bonhage / FIDE

The primary day of the Candidates Event in Madrid has concluded with an action-packed first day.

Day by 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, additional beneath.

Rapport is named a inventive attacking participant, and Duda additionally has his moments of thought-about aggression, so this recreation promised to be fascinating and probably unconventional. The primary couple of strikes have been an ordinary Taimanov variation, earlier than leaving any trodden path by transfer 7. Undoubtedly an unconventional begin. A curious 8… g6 by Rapport in an try and fianchetto appeared weird with conference ordinarily indicating to not fianchetto in case your pawn is on d6 (as Rapport’s was). Duda pressed onerous, and nonetheless within the opening had a substantial benefit. Rapport needed to tread fastidiously; in some traces misplaying led to pressured mates in 9. Rapport did certainly tread fastidiously, and by the middlegame Duda’s momentum had largely fizzled out. A cagey recreation of cat and mouse ensued, with the primary probabilities and the bishop pair with Duda. However, Duda couldn’t construct up the identical dominance he’d achieved within the opening, maybe because of nerves – being his first Candidates event, and didn’t convert the sport with it ending in a draw.

Credit score: Maria Emelianova

Liren opted for the English, 1. c4, a doubtlessly explosive opening. The gamers went down a line much less traveled early on, with Liren sustaining the everyday small benefit white has within the opening. By transfer 20, going into the middlegame, Nepomniachtchi had nullified Liren’s slight benefit and truly constructed up a small one in every of his personal. Nepomniachtchi constructed up his assault, getting his items coordinated on good squares for an eventual g5 push to use a possible weak point of his opponent on h4. Just a few strikes later, Nepomniatchi was able to push g5 and Liren misplayed permitting a crushing assault on his king. A clearly upset and disenchanted Liren tried to play on and confuse the place, however a number of strikes later may solely resign.

Credit: Stev Bonhage / FIDE

An all-American showdown as Candidates veteran Caruana performed Nakamura who not too long ago got here out from an OTB hiatus with a sequence of 2850+ performances. They’re additionally no strangers to one another, with no less than 46 encounters (barely in Caruana’s favour by 1 win). Caruana opened 1. e4 and Nakamura opted for the Berlin Protection line, made well-known by Kramnik as a constant drawing line for black. A flurry of exchanges within the centre launched some pressure however left Nakamura with a scary wanting pawn construction and assault on the kingside. Chilly-blooded Caruana stared it down, mitigating the assault and breaking it down – with Nakamura now wanting dangerously overextended. A sequence of cautious maneuvering strikes later, Caruana had a transparent benefit and with classical surgical style it was solely a matter of time earlier than Nakamura was dispatched.

Radjabov not too long ago has appeared to have a stoop in kind so it was troublesome to know what to anticipate from him. Likewise, Firouzja has been getting ready away from the chess circuit with little or no latest play, like some sort of Kung Fu grasp meditating in solitude. General, the sport appeared to be a little bit nervy from Firouzja, maybe easing himself again into the saddle. Firouzja appeared to be pushing extra for a win, and at levels Radjabov appeared to be extra on the backfoot, however finally Radjabov’s defenses have been enough, or Firouzja’s assaults weren’t fairly urgent sufficient, and neither appeared at any severe danger of shedding. In a theoretically drawn place, Radjabov performed it out a little bit however Firouzja wasn’t going to slide up and the 2 gamers agreed to a draw.

Credit: Stev Bonhage / FIDE

Spherical 2 of the Candidates event begins at 13:00 UTC. Watch it dwell on Lichess.



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