01 April 2020

Yekaterinburg Candidates - Second Week

This might become one of the shortest blog posts I've ever written. After last week's post, Yekaterinburg Candidates - First Week, there was no second week. Shortly after I finished the 'First Week' post, FIDE announced, FIDE stops the Candidates Tournament (fide.com; 26 March 2020). The announcement said,
Today, the government of the Russian Federation announced that starting March 27, 2020, Russia interrupts air traffic with other countries without indicating any time frames. FIDE can not continue the tournament without guarantees for the players' and officials' safe and timely return home. In this situation and on the basis of clause 1.5. Rules of Candidates Tournament, the FIDE President decided to stop the tournament.

It will be continued later, with the exact dates to be announced as soon, as the global situation related to the COVID-19 pandemic will allow. As it was stipulated by the special rules agreed with the players before the start of the event, the results of the 7 rounds played remain valid, and the tournament will be resumed in the same composition starting with the games of the 8th round.

I added a link to that announcement -- along with subsequent, related announcements -- to my page 2020 Candidates Tournament; Yekaterinburg (Russia), III-IV, 2020. Eventually I'll expand the months 'III-IV, 2020' to include whatever FIDE decides, although I doubt we'll see that decision anytime soon. The result of the first half of the tournament is shown in the following chart.

FIDE Candidates Chess Tournament 2020

In the 'First Week' post I noted a curious coincidence about the last four Candidates tournaments : 'The winner was one of the leaders after the first half of the tournament.' Would Yekaterinburg have continued the sequence? The leaders after seven rounds were GMs Vachier-Lagrave and Nepomniachtchi, with the Frenchman beating the Russian in the seventh round. My explanation about the success of the leaders after the first half has to do with momentum and motivation. Since there will now be a months-long pause before the tournament recommences, momentum will not play a role.

The tournament should have been postponed before it started. FIDE's lack of good judgement and its disregard for the safety of the players and officials will not be forgotten.

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