27 July 2022

Madrid Candidates - PGN++

Getting back to the 2022 Candidates Tournament, Madrid (m-w.com), in my previous post Madrid Candidates - My Resources (July 2022), I listed a few actions still to be accomplished. They are repeated in the following screenshot.

The three actions marked 'OK' in red are done, leaving one action for another post. While I was updating the FIDE links, I discovered a few links concerning the forthcoming title match. I'll add that page ASAP to my index for the World Chess Championship.

20 July 2022

An Accidental Challenger

According to my previous post, Madrid Candidates - My Resources (July 2022), 'There are still a few more actions concerning the event to be accomplished.' That can wait another week, because big news broke today: It’s official! Magnus Carlsen will NOT defend his title (chess24.com; Colin McGourty):-
Magnus Carlsen, the 5-time World Chess Champion, today ended months of speculation by announcing via his sponsor Unibet that he will not defend his title.

Unibet? Yes, Unibet: Breaking news: Magnus Carlsen will not play in the 2023 World Chess Championship (unibet.co.uk). So who *will* play the title match? Magnus Carlsen Will Not Defend World Championship Title (chess.com; Peter Doggers):-

GM Magnus Carlsen will not defend his world championship title against GM Ian Nepomniachtchi next year. Carlsen announced his decision on a podcast on Tuesday. According to current regulations, FIDE Candidates tournament winner Nepomniachtchi will now play the world championship against Candidates runner-up GM Ding Liren.

Ding Liren's participation is about as accidental as things get in the real world. First, GM Karjakin lost his place in the Madrid Candidates; for details see The Karjakin Affair (March 2022). Then Ding Liren scrambled to grab that place by rating; for those details see The Ding Liren Affair (May 2022). At the half-way point in Madrid, the Chinese star had a negative score, but finished strongly to overtake his rivals for second place.

World Champion Carlsen had already announced the possibility of relinquishing his title during last year's 2021 Carlsen - Nepomniachtchi title match (m-w.com). The players in Madrid knew that second place was worth a fight.

The table I developed for Madrid Candidates - Kickoff (June 2022) once again comes in handy. According to Chessgames.com,

Classical games: Ian Nepomniachtchi beat Ding Liren 3 to 2, with 9 draws. • Including rapid/exhibition games: Ian Nepomniachtchi beat Ding Liren 13 to 9, with 17 draws. • Only rapid/exhibition games: Ian Nepomniachtchi beat Ding Liren 10 to 7, with 8 draws.

Those results include a +1-0=1 score by Nepo against Ding Liren in Madrid, where the Russian won with the Black pieces. Advantage Nepomniachtchi?

The downside of Carlsen's move is that many fans will continue to think of him as the *real* World Champion. The winner of the forthcoming title match -- venue still unknown -- will forever have an asterisk after his name. We know from the PCA fiasco that 'two world champions are [not!] better than one'; for those details see FIDE/PCA Chronology (m-w.com; 1993-1996 and after).

13 July 2022

Madrid Candidates - My Resources

Following last week's post Madrid Candidates - Third Week (July 2022), I added the final crosstable to my page 2022 Candidates Tournament; Madrid (m-w.com). There is still more to be done for that page.

One thing I can't do is explain the event's logo, shown on the left. It's a reverse (black on white) copy of the official logo (white on black) seen on many FIDE pages. The logo shows eight right-pointing arrows aimed at a Rook. To the left of the Rook is a small text that says 'a8'. What does it all mean?

There are still a few more actions concerning the event to be accomplished:-

  • Add the PGN to the m-w.com page.
  • Calculate the cumulative scores and add them to the same page. These scores were compared for the previous five events in Madrid Candidates - First Week (June 2022).
  • Update FIDE links on that page.
  • Update the Index of Players (m-w.com).

The crosstable can also be improved:-

Can I accomplish all of that for a single new post? Somehow I doubt it; maybe two posts.

06 July 2022

Madrid Candidates - Third Week

Last week, in Madrid Candidates - Second Week (June 2022), we left the tournament with GM Nepomniachtchi in first place, a point ahead of GM Caruana. I speculated,
With five rounds left to play it seems even more unlikely that anyone except Nepomniachtchi or Caruana will win the event.

The Russian finished +1-0=4 in the last five games, while the American collapsed with +0-3=2, giving him four losses in the second half of the tournament. The final tally in the following image tells the complete story.

Ding Beats Nakamura To Finish 2nd Behind Nepomniachtchi; Radjabov Claims 3rd Place

The battle for second place was less straightforward, especially since World Champion Carlsen had teased that he might hang up his crown before the next title match is held. That last round game 'Ding [Liren] Beats Nakamura' left the Chinese player a half point ahead of his main rival for runner-up status and a possible title match.

And thus the 2022 Candidates Tournament, Madrid (m-w.com) goes into the official record. The next move is GM Carlsen's. He convincingly beat the same challenger +4-0=7 in last year's title match, 2021 Carlsen - Nepomniachtchi, Dubai (m-w.com). Anyone expecting a carbon copy of that match is advised not to place large bets.

Nepomniachtchi clinched first place during the next-to-last round. Here is the winner's interview with Dina Belenkaya.

Nepo's Instant Reaction To Winning Candidates (5:25) • '[Published on] Jul 4, 2022'

The applause and Nepo's reaction to it are worthy of a champion. Players who won candidates tournaments always became superstars. Players who won two -- Smyslov, Spassky, Karpov, Anand -- always became World Champions.


Later: Re 'Players who won two [Candidate cycles] always became World Champions', wrong! A few weeks after this post, a Chessbase article, Nepo joins the elite Two Plus Club (chessbase.com; Albert Silver), pointed out that Korchnoi won two cycles, but lost the title match both times to Karpov.