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Caruana: Firouzja’s World No 2 position was a little bit of momentum

The Opening Press Conference of the FIDE Candidates Tournament 2022 took place today in the venue of the event with presence of Deputy Minister of Sports for the regional government at Comunidad de Madrid Alberto Tome Gonzalez, FIDE Managing Director Dana Reizniece-Ozola and GM Fabiano Caruana. All the eyes were on Fabiano Caruana who answered journalists’ questions, speaking about what it means to him to play at the Candidates, what is the best strategy for victory, and what are his thoughts on Alireza Firouzja’s chances at the event.

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FIDE Candidates Chess Opening Press Conference; Photo by Stev Bonhage

The tension of this tournament is only surpassed by the world championship match. For me, that was the highest tension I had ever felt in my life. Chess is a game, but it feels massively important when you’re in the midst of it. And I think the most important thing to understand is that all of the players here, from their childhood – they had one dream, which is to become world champion.” said Fabiano about the importance of the Candidates Tournament.

When he was asked about the evaluation of Alireza Firouzja’s chances to win the event, Fabiano said: “Well, it’s hard to say. He is not a very experienced player. He is super gifted and super strong, but he hasn’t played in this event before, and it is a different event from the ones he’s played in. But the first time I played the Candidates I was also not very experienced and I got very close to winning it. So, I don’t think it’s impossible for a first-timer to potentially win a tournament. And I think he is also quite smart in his approach to chess and how he prepares. He has a team, he takes them seriously. So, I would say he has chances for sure. His ascent to World No 2 position was a little bit of momentum. I don’t think it fully conveyed his level compared to other top players in the world. But momentum carries you far, and I’ve experienced this myself and I think many players have.”. See the full Conference below.

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