Live blog – Candidates Chess 2022 day 1

Good morning everyone and welcome to the live blog from day 1 of the Candidates! We will cover all day long the events from Madrid, where the battles start today at 15:00 CET. The news will appear here on this live blog, time stamped at reverse chronological order. Scroll down to the first news of the day, while on top you will find the latest curiosities from Madrid.
More: All Candidates news (collection) / Preview of R1 / Candidates pairings all rounds

14:45 CET, Madrid

FIDE Candidates 2022 is about to start. Here is a collection of links to follow the event live:

Live games, analysis:  Jan-Krzysztof Duda – Richard Rapport / Ding Liren – Ian Nepomniachtchi / Fabiano Caruana – Hikaru Nakamura / Teimour Radjabov – Alireza Firouzja

Live video:  GM Polgar and GM Gustafsson / GM Daniil Yuffa and WIM Fiona Steil-Antoni / GM Benjamin Bok and team Hikaru / Sagar Shah and Amruta Mokal / GM Naroditsky and WGM Skripchenko

13:15 CET, Madrid

On the eve of the Candidates, Magnus Carlsen published a blog post on his law firm sponsors Simonsen Vogt Wiig. Quoted by Chess24, Carlsen says, “I am always looking forward to the Candidates, both in terms of sporting excitement, and also for the way opening theory is always advanced by these exceptional tournaments.” He continues, “In terms of chances to win the whole thing, I would divide the players into three tiers. Tier one: the favourites. In this tier I would put Caruana and Ding. To me, they are the best and most consistent players in the field, and I would bet on one of the two winning against the field. Tier two: the dark horses. Firouzja and Nepomniachtchi belong here. Neither of them have the consistency to be in the top tier, but they both have a ceiling which gives them a smaller, but still quite realistic chance of winning… Nakamura will probably have a decent event, but I don’t see him winning enough games to have a real chance. Duda and Radjabov I just don’t think have any shot.” Earlier Carlsen confirmed he will be following closely the Candidates

13:03 CET, Madrid

FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich greeted the journalists and media personnel today and gave them a tour of the venue. Right after the tour, he teamed up with Spanish-Ukrainian IM Olga Alexandrova and played hand and brain chess against two journalists. Dvorkovich is running for re-election during this year’s Chess Olympiad 2022 and has recently announced his team.

12:55 CET, Madrid

We have four candidates for FIDE President and all come from Europe. The continental representation of the Candidates is more balanced, but still inclined towards Europe. – two players from North America, one from Asia, and five from Europe. In this situation, a logical voice from Africa comes, as Pureheart Irikefe writes, “I think FIDE
needs to grow to the point to include the winner of African Chess Championship in the Candidates. Hence, accord the African Chess Confederation a slot to play in the #FIDECandidates for equity sake”.

12:30 CET, Madrid

The FIDE Candidates are absolutely unpredictable, yet Chess by the Numbers tries to put order in the chaos. Over 7000 words long preview and analysis has predicted Ding Liren as the winner of Candidates 2022. See the full preview here

11:55 CET, Madrid

The FIDE Candidates 2022 will be full of quality video coverage. Here are just a few to mention, we will update the list as the day goes GM Polgar and GM Gustafsson / GM Daniil Yuffa and WIM Fiona Steil-Antoni / GM Benjamin Bok and team Hikaru / Sagar Shah and Amruta Mokal / GM Naroditsky and WGM Skripchenko

11:31 CET, Madrid

Enter team Nakamura! What a week it has been for Hikaru. On Tuesday he joined Misfits Gaming as an influencer and content creator. On Wednesday he announced massive giveaways. And Hikaru Nakamura is in Madrid not only to compete in the FIDE Candidates Chess Tournament 2022, but he also prepared the live broadcast of the event with Team Hikaru and Benjamin Bok, Irina Krush, Fiona Steil-Antoni, Levy Rozman, Anna Rudolf, James Canty, Jennifer Shahade and Maria Emelianova. Nakamura’s first game is against Caruana and you can follow it live here

11:15 CET, Madrid

Judit Polgar will comment the Candidates for Chess24 together with Jan Gustafsson. She qualified the Candidates like this, “This will be a really juicy Candidates. I am expecting great opening ideas, a lot of freshness in the games by the new generation of players, and for all the participants to be very motivated and hungry to win!” Judit shared her expectations about Carlsen defending the title, “Do you think it is great fun to play a 6th World Championship match for him? I think no, it comes with great pressure, expectations and unbelievable stress”

11:00 CET, Madrid

We interrupt the Candidates narrative for a second, as there is an important last round of Prague Chess 2022 that just started. Follow live the Masters here where Le Quang Liem and Harikrishna are in a race for first, while the juniors keep impressing and you can follow live the Challengers here where Hans Niemann, Vincent Keymer and Nodirbek Abdusattorov are in a race for the 2700 club and battle for 2nd position in the junior rating list. Read: Hans Niemann is now the second strongest junior in the world

10:35 CET, Madrid

Here is a preview of the playing hall by David Llada. Throwback: See how the Candidates looked in 1953

10:05 CET
Round 1 pairings today include Jan-Krzysztof Duda – Richard Rapport / Ding Liren – Ian Nepomniachtchi / Fabiano Caruana – Hikaru Nakamura / Teimour Radjabov – Alireza Firouzja. Each of the games will be live on Chessdom and we will also bring you a collection of the best video coverages from Grandmasters and experts for you to choose from. Round 1 will see the two players from the same country face each other to avoid possible arrangements in the last round. It is curious that Fabiano Caruana plays in R14 against Alireza Firouzja, as Caruana said at the press conference, “Firouzja’s World No 2 position was a little bit of momentum” (see the full statement of Caruana in the video here)

9:35 CET

Norway is anticipating with interest the challenger of Magnus Carlsen. But Norwegian audience has two very different scenarios in mind. “This tournament has a dimension far beyond the ordinary,” Torstein Bae says for NRK. “Two World Cup tickets can be awarded in this year’s candidate tournament. If Magnus Carlsen actually withdraws from the World Cup, he will be the winner of the candidate tournament in Madrid and the one who ends up as number two, who will be the opponent in 2023.” NKR’s article also dubs Alireza Firouzja as the favorite of the competition.

Recently Magnus Carlsen said, “I will be following the Candidates full time” See the whole interview with Carlsen here

9:14 CET, Madrid

You are looking for a ticket to attend the Candidates? There are none! The Candidates were sold out long ago. But you still have a chance to feel the atmosphere as the organizers are creating a special fan zone. Attendees will enjoy surprise visits by prominent personalities from the chess world, including grandmasters, famous commentators and streamers, and other enigmatic guests. Fun may continue even after the conclusion of the Candidates games, with a friendly banter blitz among the guests. See more about the fan zone here

8:51 CET, Madrid

The Candidates 2022 in Madrid are unpredictable. This opinion is shared by the majority of chess fans around the world. We have not had such contested Candidates since London 2013, and this is bringing records before the event even starts. @olimpiuurcan explains the tension perfectly with one photo. Chess is a tough game, but these Candidates can prove to be on another level. The tension of this tournament is surpassed only by the world championship match

8:31 CET, Madrid

The weather at this time in Madrid is quite nice for a walk with the outside temperature being 25 degrees Celsius (77 degrees Farenheit). But this is quickly about to change as temperatures around the start of round 1 of the Candidates are going to break 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Farenheit). We wrote earlier about the heat wave that is tormenting Spain at this moment. But even in this extreme heat, Ljubomir Ljubojevic is walking on Madrid’s streets in a suit. Ljubojevic is roaming the streets of the city for a few days now after he arrived earlier this week with Richard Rapport (pictured together here)

8:15 CET, Madrid

Vishy Anand also shared his opinion on the upcoming Candidates, “Obviously these are the best chess players on the planet, with the exception of Magnus. What makes it especially interesting is that this is the first Candidates after the pandemic, and we also have people who are coming after very long breaks: Ding and Hikaru have played relatively little over-the-board chess for a long time; Then we have a lot of the newcomers: Rapport, Firouzja, Duda; Plus experienced players like Caruana who played last several Candidates. So there is a very exciting field with a lot of question marks hanging over everyone and that makes it particularly intriguing in the beginning. I think the first few rounds you really want to see who is in the best shape, because I can’t predict it at all.” See all that Vishy says about the Candidates here

Alexander Grischuk

8:00 CET, Madrid

We start the day with Alexander Grischuk. He talked to RIA Novosti about the chances of Ian Nepomniachtchi in the Candidates and shared, “The political situation in the world and the ban on Russian players from international sports competitions will not affect the chances of Ian Nepomniachtchi in the Candidates Tournament. Ian has decent chances to win the tournament, I would say 15%, maybe even 20%. The composition of the tournament is very balanced. The only players who I do not believe that can win the event are Radjabov and Rapport. Everyone else can win, there is no clear favorite.” Earlier comments by Grischuk on Krajakin and the Candidates here

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