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Nakamura takes down the 2022 FIDE Grand Prix

The Grand Prix sequence

Hikaru Nakamura is certainly certainly one of a sort. After greater than two years away from the classical chess board, dedicating his time to turn out to be the world’s primary chess streamer and content material creator, Nakamura accepted FIDE’s wildcard nominee to affix the circuit as soon as once more for the 2022 FIDE Grand Prix.

(title picture – Hikaru Nakamura, credit score FIDE / Niki Riga)

Though nonetheless a particularly robust participant, it was laborious to consider that he may very well be a pressure to contemplate: elite chess is basically powerful and full dedication is important to carry out on the highest ranges. FIDE gave me the chance, as Press Officer for the primary leg of the sequence, to witness how the American was going to show all people mistaken.

(IM Michael Rahal interviewing GM Hikaru Nakamura – credit score FIDE / Pierre Adenis)

He took down the primary leg of the Grand Prix in February in Berlin, with a fairly convincing efficiency might I say, defeating Levon Aronian in one of the crucial thrilling tiebreaks that I’ve seen reside in my life. He took residence €24,000 and 13 extraordinarily worthwhile Grand Prix factors. Though I believed that he had carried out very well, Hikaru modestly shook it off: “I used to be fairly lucky within the first leg as I received gamers who hadn’t performed as a lot; they weren’t sharp”.
(My favorite Nakamura Grand Prix recreation – Nakamura versus Grischuk)

Neither of the 2 finalists participated within the second leg held in Belgrade a few weeks later – every of the 24 certified Grandmasters took half in two of the three occasions. Native participant GM Richard Rapport, born in Hungary however presently dwelling within the Serbian capital, was eradicated within the Berlin semi-finals by Nakamura, however he took full benefit of his peak type profitable outright the second leg of the sequence. This improbable rating, added to the factors obtained in Berlin, put the Hungarian in clear first for one of many two Candidates spots: greater than 95% probability to qualify.

(GM Richard Rapport – credit score FIDE / Mark Livshitz)

The third leg noticed a return to the Berlin venue, on the finish of March. Nakamura once more carried out at a extremely excessive 2800+ stage, defeating contender Levon Aronian within the group stage and taking down Shakhriyar Mamedyarov within the semi-finals. With this end result, he clinched the second Candidates spot. Nonetheless, American GM Wesley So proved to be a troublesome nut to crack within the ultimate.

So additionally reached the semi-finals within the first leg however on that event fell quick. “That is what chess is. You practice so laborious after which every thing will depend on that essential few seconds of resolution making”, was Wesley So’s ultimate reflection. Nonetheless, Wesley is just not one to draw back from a comeback. The second time round he introduced his A-game to the board and defeated Nakamura in the tiebreaks by 1.5-0.5, profitable the occasion and taking third place within the Grand Prix standings.

The Candidates Match

The 2022 Candidates Match is scheduled to happen in Madrid, Spain from June sixteenth to July fifth. The venue is the centric Palacio de Santoña location, a brief 10-minute stroll from most of Madrid’s main vacationer sights such because the Prado Museum, the Retiro Park or the well-known Plaza Mayor.

(the outside of the Palace – Wikipedia / Luis Garcia CC-BY-2.0)

I might be personally attending as a spectator on the primary weekend: Barcelona-Madrid is a brief three-hour practice journey and the spectacle that awaits us there might be large. I count on that attendance to the occasion might be huge so guide your tickets quickly!

Seven of the eight contributors have already been confirmed. Primarily based on the April 1st FIDE score listing, the certified gamers are:

  1. GM Alireza Firouzja (France 2804) certified because the winner of the 2021 FIDE Grand Swiss.
  2. GM Fabiano Caruana (USA 2781) certified because the runner-up of the 2021 FIDE Grand Swiss.
  3. GM Richard Rapport (Hungary 2776) certified because the 2022 FIDE Grand Prix runner-up.
  4. GM Ian Nepomniachtchi (Russia 2773), certified because the World Championship runner-up.
  5. GM Teimour Radjabov (Azerbaijan 2753) FIDE nomination.
  6. GM Hikaru Nakamura (USA 2750) certified because the 2022 FIDE Grand Prix winner.
  7. GM Jan-Krzysztof Duda (Poland 2750), certified because the winner of the 2021 World Cup.
  8. Vacant, to be determined by highest score by the tip of the Could 2022 FIDE score listing following GM Sergey Karjakin’s 6 month suspension

FIDE’s resolution to revoke GM Sergey Karjakin’s (Russia 2747) qualification as 2021 World Cup runner-up implies that as but there’s nonetheless one spot up for grabs. Beneath the present guidelines and laws, two gamers are heavy favourites for qualifying by score: GM Ding Liren (China 2799) and GM Levon Aronian (Armenia 2785), each of them world-class elite.

The Chinese language 29 year-old will journey to Madrid if he’s able to reaching the 30-game minimal requirement – having simply received the Hangzhou quadruple Spherical Robin by a transparent margin, mopping up 12 of the 30 video games, I might say that he’s properly underway. Attributable to journey and visa restrictions, Ding Liren has hardly performed OTB chess for almost two years.

In response to his upcoming preparation schedule, it appears he’ll make it: after 4 of the six video games in his encounter towards fellow countrymen Wei Yi the rating is presently 2-2 (4 attracts) and he will even take part in a ten spherical qualifier for the Asian video games on the finish of April. So long as he doesn’t massively underperform and lose many score factors – extremely unlikely – the eighth Candidates spot needs to be for him.

I would like to listen to your ideas on who’s the favorite to win the occasion and problem Magnus Carlsen for the world title. I’ve my private favorite and I promise so as to add my remark to the discussion board in a couple of days: now it’s YOUR flip to maneuver!

Initially born within the UK, IM Michael Rahal can be a FIDE Coach, and the present Chess Champion of Spain (Veteran, 50+ class). Primarily based in Barcelona, Michael has coached chess gamers of all ages for greater than 25 years in English and Spanish, and has written chess books, chess journalism, and commentary and broadcasts – together with most just lately on the FIDE Grand Prix and FIDE Sochi World Cup. Round this, Michael additionally actively maintains an instructive YouTube channel, and can be lively on Twitter.



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