FIDE Candidates Chess Tournament 2022 is just halfway through, yet the whole tournament has reduced to a two-horse race now. There’s a massive 1.5-point gap between the first two players and the rest of the field, and it does not seem like anybody except for Caruana can stop Nepomniachtchi’s run.
Read more: FIDE Candidates Chess Tournament 2022 – R7 recap
Round 8 pairings:
Richard Rapport – Jan-Krzysztof Duda
Ian Nepomniachtchi – Ding Liren
Hikaru Nakamura – Fabiano Caruana
Alireza Firouzja – Teimour Radjabov
Richard Rapport – Jan-Krzysztof Duda, R8 Candidates Chess 2022
24-year-old Polish grandmaster Jan-Krzysztof Duda meets 26-year-old Hungarian Richard Rapport who decided to switch federation to Romania just before the Candidates Tournament 2022. The players met six times in classical tournaments with Duda having a slight advantage in the overall score leading with 3.5-2.5, including the R1 Candidates game which ended in a draw with Duda having white pieces.
Replay the game – Jan-Krzysztof Duda – Richard Rapport 1/2-1/2, R1 Candidates Chess 2022
Ian Nepomniachtchi – Ding Liren, R8 Candidates Chess 2022
The Chinese grandmaster Ding Liren faced many difficulties in reaching the 2022 Candidates Tournament. He first needed to complete 28 games in a short time to be eligible to qualify for the event, and then had to avoid the current pandemic lockdown to get to Madrid. Meanwhile, the Russian grandmaster and 2021 Challenger of Magnus Carlsen in the World Chess Championship Match, Ian Nepomniachtchi, prepared for the Candidates with a super-computer, and the preparation seemed to work as he is the sole leader of the event after 7 played rounds. Nepomniachtchi won the R1 Candidates game against Ding Liren as Black, and now takes White pieces.
Replay the game – Ding Liren – Ian Nepomniachtchi 0-1, R1 Candidates Chess 2022
Hikaru Nakamura – Fabiano Caruana, R8 Candidates Chess 2022
American grandmasters Fabiano Caruana and Hikaru Nakamura have played a total of 175 games. A greater number of games happened in Online events, as Nakamura didn’t play many OTB tournaments before his triumph in the FIDE Grand Prix 2022 and qualification for the Candidates. The R1 game of the Candidates Tournament 2022 when Caruana had whites ended in favor of Fabi, who today looks for another victory to eventually catch the sole leader – Nepo.
Replay the game – Fabiano Caruana – Hikaru Nakamura 1-0, R1 Candidates Chess 2022
Alireza Firouzja – Teimour Radjabov, R8 Candidates Chess 2022
Azerbaijani grandmaster Teimour Radjabov will meet the Iranian-French prodigy Alireza Firouzja and none of the players had a great tournament so far. Radjabov’s last tournament before the Candidates was Norway Chess 2022, and for Firouzja it was the Grand Chess Tour Romania 2022. Interestingly, before the Candidates 2022, the players never met before at the classical OTB tournament. Their encounter in the first round finished in a draw, with Firouzja being Black.
Replay the game – Teimour Radjabov – Alireza Firouzja 1/2-1/2, R1 Candidates Chess 2022
Featured photo: FIDE/Stev Bonhage