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Candidates 2024 R12: Gukesh and Nakamura catch-up with Nepomniachtchi, make it a three-way lead

by Shahid Ahmed - 19/04/2024

FIDE Candidates 2024 is closing in to the final stage. D Gukesh was in a virtually must-win situation against Nijat Abasov (AZE) to get back at the top of standings. The teenager managed to achieve that. He outplayed Abasov to win against him for the second time at this event. R Praggnanandhaa drew against Ian Nepomniachtchi in a well contested battle. Hikaru Nakamura (USA) scored a hat-trick of wins as he beat Alireza Firouzja (FRA). He joined the lead with Gukesh and Nepomniachtchi at 7.5/12 each. Vidit Gujrathi self-destructed against Fabiano Caruana (USA). Caruana continues his chase at 7/12. Today is the last rest day. Round 13 starts tomorrow Saturday at 2:30 p.m. local time, 12 a.m. IST. Photos: FIDE/Michal Walusza

Nakamura scores a hat-trick

Hikaru Nakamura (USA) became the first and only player to score a hat-trick in the Open event. He will face his coleader Ian Nepomniachtchi in Round 13. Gukesh will be up against the only player who managed to beat him - Alireza Firouzja (FRA). 

D Gukesh has rejoined the lead with Ian Nepomniachtchi

Abasov - Gukesh: 0-1

D Gukesh (2743) defeated Nijat Abasov (AZE, 2632) for the second time at this event. Gukesh outplayed his opponent.

Position after 42...Nd5

Gukesh gained a decisive advantage in the endgame. 42...Nd5 threatens Rxe3+ so White went 43.Rc2 Rxc2+ 44.Bxc2 a4 45.Kd3 a3 46.Bb3 Kg6 Black despite having a passed pawn on a3, it was certainly not easy to realize his advantage. However, he beautifully converted his advantage into a full point.

D Gukesh on fire vlog | Video: ChessBase India
When Gukesh had to win on demand against Abasov | Video: ChessBase India
Post-game Press Conference with D Gukesh | Video: FIDE

D Gukesh scored a crucial victory over Nijat Abasov (AZE)

Nakamura - Firouzja: 1-0

Alireza Firouzja's (FRA, 2760) biggest strength is also his huge weakness. He loves to play attacking, sharp chess which tends to produce decisive results but more often than he would like to, also proves to be detrimental for his cause. It is not easy for a human mind to find the best move, ideas, plans or continuation in all sharp positions. Sure his opponent can also go wrong in the same way but in this case against Hikaru Nakamura (USA, 2789), that did not happen.

Position after 18...d3

Black started pushing his pawn 17...d4 18.Nb5 d3 19.Rxc5 dxe2 20.Re1 Nd3 21.Rxf5 Nxe1 taking the rook for two minor pieces in this way was not a great idea. Instead, 21...Qd7 22.Rc5 Rad8 23.Bxc7 Nxe1 24.Qxe1 was playable. 22.Nxe1 Qxd2 23.Bxd2 Rad8 24.Bc3 Rd1 25.f3 Black never gained enough compensation and eventually lost the game.

I Sacced the Rook!! | Video: GMHikaru
Post-game Press Conference with Hikaru Nakamura and Alireza Firouzja | Video: FIDE

Hikaru Nakamura (USA) completed a hat-trick with a win over Alireza Firouzja (FRA)

Caruana - Vidit

Position after 26...Ke8?!

Vidit Gujrathi (2727) made questionable king shift to e8 from g8. The position was balanced. He really did not need to move his king to the center of the pawn especially when Fabiano Caruana (USA, 2803) has a queen and rook on the board. It just doesn't serve any good purpose for Black. A simple 25...Qd6 would have sufficed. White had no trouble exploiting the vulnerable black king and win the game.

Post-game Press Conference with Fabiano Caruana | Video: FIDE

Vidit Gujrathi lost his fifth game of the event
The tale of three leaders - Hikaru, Guki and Nepo, IM Sagar Shah's Round 12 recap | Video: ChessBase India
Anish Giri breaks down the last two rounds of the Candidates | Video: ChessBase India

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.


The total prize fund is €500000. The top three prizes are €48000, €36000 and €24000. All prize money shall be divided equally among the players with the equal score after 14 rounds regardless tie-break results. In addition, each player gets €3500 euros for every half point scored.

Replay Round 12 live stream

FIDE Candidates 2024 Round 12 Live Commentary by IM Sagar Shah, GM Harshit Raja and GM R B Ramesh | Video: ChessBase India

Replay Round 12 games

Round 12 results

Round 12 results | Photo: FIDE


Standings after Round 12

Rk.SNo NameFEDRtgPts. TB1  TB2  TB3 
GMGukesh, DIND27437,540,7540
GMNakamura, HikaruUSA27897,540,5050
GMNepomniachtchi, IanFID27587,540,5030
GMCaruana, FabianoUSA2803736,7530
GMPraggnanandhaa, RIND2747633,5020
GMVidit, Santosh GujrathiIND2727531,2530
GMFirouzja, AlirezaFRA27604,525,2520
GMAbasov, NijatAZE2632319,5000


Round 13 pairings

Bo.No.Rtg NameResultName RtgNo.
GMNepomniachtchi, IanGMNakamura, Hikaru
GMPraggnanandhaa, RGMCaruana, Fabiano
GMVidit, Santosh GujrathiGMAbasov, Nijat
GMGukesh, DGMFirouzja, Alireza



Official site

Tournament Regulations

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