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Chess Candidates Tournament, Yekaterinburg 2020-2021

The World Chess Candidates Tournament 2020 was held in Yekaterinburg (Russia), March 15th - 25th 2020 (first 7 rounds) and April 19th-28th 2021.
1. Ian Nepomniachtchi - 8.5 out of 14 scores, 2. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave - 8, 3-4. Anish Giri, Fabiano Caruana - 7.5, 5-6. Ding Liren, Alexander Grischuk - 7, 7. Kirill Alekseenko - 5.5, 8. Wang Hao - 5.

After the first half, 2020: 1-2. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Ian Nepomniachtchi 4.5 out of 7 scores, 3-6. Fabiano Caruana, Anish Giri, Wang Hao, Alexander Grischuk 3.5, 7-8. Ding Liren, Kirill Alekseenko 2.5.
FIDE stops the Candidates Tournament 26.03.2020, because Russia interrupts air traffic with other countries from March 27, 2020 because of Covid-19. The last 7 rounds will be played in April 2021.

The winner Ian Nepomniachtchi will play the match for the Chess Crown vs World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen in the latter half of 2021 (in Dubai, UAE, during Expo 2020, from 24 November to 16 December 2021).

Round 14, 27.04.2021
Caruana - Grischuk 1/2. The Sicilian Defence. With counterplay.
Giri - Alekseenko 0-1. The Queen's Indian Defence. Kirill obtained a small advantage, then Anish weakened the kingside with 37.g4? and lost.
Ding Liren - Nepomniachtchi 1-0. The King's Indian Saemisch System or Modern Benoni Defence. A sharp fight! 14...cxd4 was better.
Vachier-Lagrave - Wang Hao 1-0. The Spanish Game, Berlin Variation. 20...Nxd6 was better. Wang Hao played badly.
Chess Candidates Tournament, Yekaterinburg 2020-2021. Round 14 Games

Round 13, 26.04.2021
Wang Hao - Caruana 0-1. The Sicilian Defence. Fabiano had the better play after 34...Bg6.
Nepomniachtchi - Vachier-Lagrave 1/2. Ian had a small edge and grabbed a pawn.
Alekseenko - Ding Liren 0-1. The Italian Game. Kirill could have obtained a big advantage with 29.Be5! and with 47.Bb2!, but made an error, 47.Bc5? and lost.
Grischuk - Giri 1-0. The Queen's Indian Defence. After 23...exd4? Alexander had a good game, Black's pawns were weak. 23...g5 was better.
Chess Candidates Tournament, Yekaterinburg 2020-2021. Round 13 Games

Round 12, 24.04.2021
Caruana - Giri 0-1. The Sicilian Defence. Anish had good counterplay in the opening, then won a pawn and attacked on the kingside.
Ding Liren - Grischuk 1-0. The Queen's Gambit Declined. 40...Ra3? and 42...Bxe5? were mistakes.
Vachier-Lagrave - Alekseenko 1-0. The Caro-Kann Defence. Maxime had an advantage, grabbed a pawn.
Wang Hao - Nepomniachtchi 0-1. The Russian Game or Petrov Defence. Ian outplayed the rival in the endgame.
Chess Candidates Tournament, Yekaterinburg 2020-2021. Round 12 Games

Round 11, 23.04.2021
Nepomniachtchi - Caruana 1/2. Four Knights Game. With equality.
Alekseenko - Wang Hao 1/2. The Italian Game. Perpetual check.
Grischuk - Vachier-Lagrave 1-0. The Sicilian Defence. With a sharp fight, Alexander had the better chances.
Giri - Ding Liren 1-0. The Spanish Game or Ruy Lopez. Anish attacked on the queenside.
Chess Candidates Tournament, Yekaterinburg 2020-2021. Round 11 Games

Round 10, 21.04.2021
Caruana - Ding Liren 1/2. The Spanish Game or Ruy Lopez. Perpetual check.
Vachier-Lagrave - Giri 1/2. The Sicilian Defence.
Wang Hao - Grischuk 1/2. The French Defence. Alexander grabbed the white queen. However the game ended in a draw.
Nepomniachtchi - Alekseenko 1-0. The English Opening or Catalan Opening. Ian obtained a big advantage with the strong 22.Nd5! and attacked the king in the position with the opposite-colored bishops.
Chess Candidates Tournament, Yekaterinburg 2020-2021. Round 10 Games

Round 9, 20.04.2021
Alekseenko - Caruana 1/2. The Italian Game.
Grischuk - Nepomniachtchi 1/2. The Gruenfeld Defence.
Giri - Wang Hao 1-0. The Catalan Opening. Anish obtained a clear edge in the middlegame.
Ding Liren - Vachier-Lagrave 1/2. The King's Indian Defence. Perpetual check.
Chess Candidates Tournament, Yekaterinburg 2020-2021. Round 9 Games

Round 8, 19.04.2021
Caruana - Vachier-Lagrave 1-0. The Sicilian Defence. Fabiano won the exchange and beat the rival in the endgame.
Wang Hao - Ding Liren 1/2. The Scotch Game. Perpetual check.
Nepomniachtchi - Giri 1/2. The Sicilian Defence.
Alekseenko - Grischuk 1-0. The French Defence. Alexander had an advantage, but made mistakes and lost.
Chess Candidates Tournament, Yekaterinburg 2020-2021. Round 8 Games

Round 7, 25.03.2020
Caruana - Wang Hao 1/2. The Russian Game or Petrov Defence. With equality.
Vachier-Lagrave - Nepomniachtchi 1-0. The French Defence. Maxime outplayed the rival in the middlegame. 18...c4? was a strategical mistake.
Ding Liren - Alekseenko 1/2. The Bogo-Indian Defence.
Giri - Grischuk 1/2. The English Opening. Alexander attacked on the kingside with 10...h5, Anish counterattacked in the centre with 11.d4.
Chess Candidates Tournament, Yekaterinburg 2020. Round 7 Games

Round 6, 23.03.2020
Grischuk - Caruana 1/2. The Spanish Game or Ruy Lopez. White had a small advantage, 30.N2xb3 was interesting. In the ending Black took some initiative.
Alekseenko - Giri 0-1. The Italian Game. With counterplay. White made a mistake, 24.Qe8+?, and Black had better chances due to weak white pawns. Anish won in 98 moves.
Nepomniachtchi - Ding Liren 1-0. The Spanish Game or Ruy Lopez. White had a small, then huge advantage and won.
Wang Hao - Vachier-Lagrave 1/2. The Gruenfeld Defence. White obtained a clear edge in the endgame and grabbed a pawn, but Black defended well, a draw.
Chess Candidates Tournament, Yekaterinburg 2020. Round 6 Games

Round 5, 22.03.2020
Giri - Caruana 1/2. The Slav Defence. Anish had a small, then big advantage, two bishops, but made mistakes, a draw. White could have won with 29.Bb5, 32.Qb2 and 33.Rf2.
Grischuk - Ding Liren 1/2. The Spanish Game or Ruy Lopez. With equality in the ending.
Alekseenko - Vachier-Lagrave 1/2. The Sicilian Defence. A sharp tactical struggle (home preparation). Perpetual check.
Nepomniachtchi - Wang Hao 1-0. The Russian Game or Petrov Defence. Looks drawish. Wang Hao made an error in the endgame, 32...Qd7? and lost. 32...Qe7 was better.
Chess Candidates Tournament, Yekaterinburg 2020. Round 5 Games

Round 4, 21.03.2020
Caruana - Nepomniachtchi 1/2. The Gruenfeld Defence. With equality in the endgame. 27...Bd6 was better. Then Fabiano could have obtained an advantage with 31.Qd4!.
Wang Hao - Alekseenko 1/2. The Gruenfeld Defence. With more or less equal play. Wang Hao grabbed the exchange for two pawns, a draw.
Vachier-Lagrave - Grischuk 1/2. The Spanish Game, Berlin Variation. A theoretical duel again. The endgame: King vs King.
Ding Liren - Giri 1/2. The Bogo-Indian Defence. White had a slight edge.
Chess Candidates Tournament, Yekaterinburg 2020. Round 4 Games

Round 3, 19.03.2020
Ding Liren - Caruana 1-0. The Slav Defence. 9...e5 was a novelty, home preparation by Fabiano Caruana. In the game Ding Liren - Zhou Jianchao, Danzhou 2010 Black played 9...c5, in Ding Liren - Paragua, Ho Chi Minh 2012 Black continued 9...Bg6, White won both games. Fabiano sacrificed two pawns, with compensation thanks to better development. But in the middlegame Ding Liren outplayed the rival.
Giri - Vachier-Lagrave 1/2. The Gruenfeld Defence. With more or less equal play.
Grischuk - Wang Hao 1/2. The Russian Game or Petrov Defence. White had a slight advantage due to Black's isolated d5-pawn. Perpetual check.
Alekseenko - Nepomniachtchi 1/2. The French Defence. With equality. Perpetual check.
Chess Candidates Tournament, Yekaterinburg 2020. Round 3 Games

Round 2, 18.03.2020
Caruana - Alekseenko 1-0. The Nimzo-Indian Defence. Fabiano chose a sharp line, 4.f3. 13.d6 was a novelty. 23...Bxd6? was a mistake (23...Nf6 was better), and Caruana attacked on the kingside with 25.Qh3, 28.Rg1 and won.
Nepomniachtchi - Grischuk 1/2. The Spanish Game, Berlin Variation. A theoretical duel. 17.Kh2 was a novelty, however Black had good counterplay.
Wang Hao - Giri 1/2. The English Opening. White had a slight advantage due to Black's isolated d5-pawn. In the endgame Wang Hao grabbed a pawn, but Anish Giri had real chances to draw.
Vachier-Lagrave - Ding Liren 1-0. The Spanish Game. Ding Liren riskily attacked on the kingside with 15...f5 and 19...g5, played badly and lost.
Chess Candidates Tournament, Yekaterinburg 2020. Round 2 Games

Round 1, 17.03.2020 (18:00 Nsk, 12:00 CET, 7:00 EDT)
Vachier-Lagrave - Caruana 1/2. The Spanish Game. With counterplay, then Fabiano had slightly better chances, a draw.
Ding Liren - Wang Hao 0-1. The English Opening. White seized space on the queenside with 10.b4. But after 34...Rg6 Wang Hao had a clear edge, he attacked with the powerful exchange sacrifice 41...Rg4! and won.
Giri - Nepomniachtchi 0-1. The English Opening. Ian grabbed the c4-pawn and won a queen with 31...Rxb3. Anish had a rook and a bishop, but Black's queen was stronger, and Ian obtained a big advantage.
Grischuk - Alekseenko 1/2. The English Opening. With equality. In the middlegame Alexander seized the centre, but Kirill equalized again. Perpetual check.
Chess Candidates Tournament, Yekaterinburg 2020. Round 1 Games

Games CT 2020-2021 (56, pgn)
The Opening Ceremony - 16th March 2020.
Schedule, games: March 2020 17-19; 21-23; 25; April 2021 19-21; 23-24; 26-27; tie-break April 28 (if required). The Closing Ceremony - 27th or 28th April 2021.
Time control: 100 minutes for 40 moves, 50 minutes for the next 20 moves and 15 minutes for the rest of the game plus an additional 30 seconds per move from move 1.
Players from the same federation play each other in earlier rounds according to the Regulations for the FIDE Candidates Tournament 2020.

Chess Candidates 2020: Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (Teimour Radjabov, the winner of the World Cup 2019, withdrew from Candidates), Ding Liren (World Cup, 2nd place), Alexander Grischuk (Grand Prix, the winner), Ian Nepomniachtchi (Grand Prix, 2nd place), Anish Giri (rating, the player with the highest average rating for 12 rating periods from February 2019 to January 2020), Wang Hao (Grand Swiss, the winner), Fabiano Caruana (the Challenger of the World Chess Championship match 2018), Kirill Alekseenko (wildcard by the organizers).
Lausanne, March 6, 2020: Teimour Radjabov has informed FIDE about his decision to withdraw from the Candidates Tournament. The French player Maxime Vachier-Lagrave is Radjabov's replacement according to the Article 2.1.E of the tournament regulations, since he has the highest average rating from February 2019 to January 2020, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave is next after Anish Giri by rating.
The FIDE Candidates 2020 tie-break rules, in order of priority: 1. result of mutual games; 2. higher number of wins; 3. Sonneborn-Berger System.

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