Chess Candidates 2022 in a Nutshell

 Candidates chess tournament is crucial tournament where only the winner gets to fight for world championship title with current world champion. This year, in 2022, this tournament held in Madrid Spain, where 8 players participated to claim that title. Many speculations were made who would win the race. There was lot of talking going on with chess community that, could Ian Nepomniachtchi make a comeback from his very bad world chess championship with Magnus Carlsen or many more. The title race was very close even when the match was halfway through between Fabiano Caruana and Ian Nepomniachtchi with just a half point margin ahead.


                                          Photo credit: Grand Chess Tour (Twitter)

However, in the blink of eye, Ian Nepomniachtchi topped the table and nobody seemed to come even close to him and he won with a game to spare. In interview, he was asked, if he wants to celebrate that victory, but he said, he has no plans for now. Fabiano Caruana who was going neck to neck with Ian on the first half of the tournament was completely way out of the title race. He chocked many good games for instance with Ding Liren and throw away winning game and lost it. However, Grandmaster turned streamer turned grandmaster/streamer Hikaru Nakamura has put himself to the second spot. Was that just the luck or much more?

Ian, from the beginning of the tournament, has made clear that he is in the tournament to win it. He won the very first game and maintained the lead throughout this tournament. We could see from his body language that he was fully dedicated and mentally prepared for this tournament. He is going slowly and steadily, game by game, and grabbing every opportunity whenever he can. When he lost against Magnus in Fide World Chess Championship 2021, he got a lot of bad comments. That didn't discourage him. He learnt from his experience and stood even taller than his critics. He has made no errors in this tournament and looks fully prepared for the title this time. 

Also, another challenger Hikaru Nakamura was not taken seriously in the Grand Prix event, where he won comfortably and made spot to this candidates. Many super grandmasters were not taking him seriously in that tournament. However, he also proved himself he was and still is worthy of this competition despite he turned into streamer. He time and again mentioned that, he literally does not care much and enjoys the game as it is. Suddenly everyone is looking at him and the second position with deep focus as current world champion has made dubious statement that he may not be playing world championship game to defend his title.

In case so, the top two players of Candidates will fight for the world championship title. Whatever is the case, Ian will definitely play for the championship title. If Magnus, as we paraphrase his statement that he will only play next championship if Alireza Firouzja becomes next world championship tournament challenger, which did not happen in this tournament. 

If Hikaru manages to draw the game on last round, he will become second in this tournament as he is playing Ding with black pieces in last game. Whatever Magnus decides, we are this much sure Ian will put a hell of fight in the next World chess championship match and make it amazing. 

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