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Candidates 2024 R1: Two exciting draws

by Shahid Ahmed - 05/04/2024

FIDE Candidates 2024 is off to a great start. All four games in the Open section ended in draws. However, they were not without an excitement. R Praggnanandhaa launched a determined attack on the kingside against Alireza Firouzja (FRA). However, due to the lack of pieces, his attack did not have the desired effect. Fabiano Caruana (USA) and Hikaru Nakamura (USA) had another exciting battle. Caruana had a decent advantage, however, it was not easy to translate it on the board, especially against a sharp player like Hikaru. D Gukesh and Vidit Gujrathi had the shortest draw of the round in 21 moves. Round 2 starts today at 2:30 p.m. local time, 12 a.m. IST. Photo: FIDE/Michal Walusza

50% fighting chess

Alireza Firouzja (FRA) and R Praggnanandhaa had an interesting battle | Photo: FIDE/Michal Walusza

Caruana - Nakamura: 0.5-0.5

The last Classical decisive game between Fabiano Caruana (USA, 2803) and Hikaru Nakamura (USA, 2789) took place at 11th Norway Chess last year. Nakamura had won that. The Speed King went for a surprise in the Classical Sicilian 5...e5.

Position after 19.Qb7

Nakamura mentioned in his analysis that 19.Qb7 took him out of his comfort zone. He took about 35 minutes to play Rc5. He felt that he should have played 19...d5. Soon Black sacrificed his rook.

Position after 23...Rxf2

24.Kxf2 leads to a draw after Qh4+ 25.Kg1 Bd4+ 26.Kh1 Be5. Thus, White went 24.Rbxd5 Qh4 25.Qd3 Rf6 26.g3 Qb4 27.Kg2 Bb2 28.Rf5? was White's final mistake. He was getting low on time which induced the error. 28.Rb1 would have maintained his advantage.

World no.3 Nakamura's provocative opening choice against world no.2 Caruana - Commentary by IM Sagar Shah | Video: ChessBase India
Starting the Candidates with a BANG - Hikaru Nakamura analyzes his game | Video: GMHikaru
Fabiano Caruana vs Hikaru Nakamura | Postgame Press Conference | Video: FIDE

Fabiano Caruana (USA) and Hikaru Nakamura (USA) had an exciting draw | Photo: FIDE/Michal Walusza

Nijat Abasov (AZE) - Ian Nepomniachtchi: 0.5-0.5 | Photo: FIDE/Michal Walusza

Firouzja - Praggnanandhaa: 0.5-0.5

Alireza Firouzja (FRA, 2760) and R Praggnanandhaa (2747) had only one decisive Classical rated game which was nearly 6.25 years ago. A lot has changed since then. Praggnanandhaa was relentless with his attack.

Position after 28...Rh3

Black is pushing with all his might on the kingside to squeeze an advantage. However, due to the lack of enough resources, Black's attack did not yield the desired result. 29.Qe1 Rxf3 30.Nc5 White is launching a counter-attack of his own Qh5 31.Nxe6 Qxg4 32.Ng5 Ne5 33.Rxe5 Rxh2+ 34.Kxh2 Qh5+ 35.Kg2 Qg4+ and the game soon ended in a draw by perpetual check.

The insane fight between two Crown Princes = Firouzja vs Praggnanandhaa, Commentary by IM Sagar Shah | Video: ChessBase India

Vaishali taking a quick glance at his brother's game against Alireza Firouzja (FRA) | Photo: Maria Emelianova/
Gukesh D vs Vidit Gujrathi | Post-game Press Conference | Video: FIDE

D Gukesh - Vidit Gujrathi: 0.5-0.5 | Photo: FIDE/Michal Walusza

Photo Gallery

Isai Scheinberg made the inaugural first move on Fabiano Caruana (USA) and Hikaru Nakamura's (USA) board | Photo: FIDE/Michal Walusza

The Official Commentators - GM Vishy Anand and GM Irina Krush (USA) | Photo: FIDE/Michal Walusza

Spectators watching the game at the venue - The Great Hall in Toronto, Canada | Photo: FIDE/Michal Walusza

The playing arena | Photo: FIDE/Michal Walusza

Time control

The time control for each game is 120 minutes for the first 40 moves, followed by 30 minutes for the rest of the game with an increment of 30 seconds per move starting from move 41.

Replay Round 1 live stream

FIDE Candidates 2024 Round 1 Live Commentary by Amruta Mokal and GM Harshit Raja | Video: ChessBase India

Replay Round 1 games

Round 1 results

Round 1 results | Photo: FIDE


Round 2 pairings

Bo.No.Rtg NameResultName RtgNo.
GMNakamura, HikaruGMVidit, Santosh Gujrathi
GMPraggnanandhaa, RGMGukesh, D
GMNepomniachtchi, IanGMFirouzja, Alireza
GMCaruana, FabianoGMAbasov, Nijat



Official site

Tournament Regulations

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