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Gukesh scorches Firouzja, emerges sole leader, moves closer to winning Candidates 2024

by Shahid Ahmed - 21/04/2024

FIDE Candidates 2024 is poised for an exciting finish. D Gukesh scored a fantastic win to emerge sole leader 8.5/13 heading into the final round. Alireza Firouzja (FRA) is the sole player to beat Gukesh at this event. The teenager is obviously not going to let it slide easily. His defiance in accepting a subtle draw offer via repetition was a firm show of his determination. Firouja floundered in a difficult endgame. Gukesh had no trouble seizing his opportunity. He will face Hikaru Nakamura (USA) in the final round. Gukesh is just a win away from securing a match for the World Championship. However, a draw could also be enough provided Fabiano Caruana (USA) and Ian Nepomniachtchi draw their final round battle. Round 14 starts today at 2:30 p.m. local time, 12 a.m. IST. Photos: FIDE/Michal Walusza

Gukesh on the verge of making history

D Gukesh is now World no.6 with a live rating of 2762.8. He has also crossed the World Champion - Ding Liren (CHN) in the process. What are the possible scenarios of who can win the tournament? How many players can become eligible for tie-breaks after the final round? All possible scenarios explained at the end of the report.

D Gukesh has now gained sole lead 8.5/13 heading into final round

Gukesh - Firouzja: 1-0

D Gukesh (2743) arrived at the board with only one result in my mind - him winning the game and avenging his sole loss of the event against Alireza Firouzja (FRA, 2760). On 41st move when Firouzja decided to repeat moves, Gukesh did not hesitate to decline the subtle draw offer.

Position after 41...Rg6

Gukesh played 42.Qh4 instead of going Rgd1 and taking the draw. 42...Rxg1 43.Kxg1 Kh8 44.Kf2 White has already gained an upper hand as Black's pieces are all tied up in defense. 44...Rg8?! 45.Qg5 Qg6? 46.Qxg6 hxg6 the resultant rook and knight endgame is winning for White as he can pick up the loose pawns and there is not much Black can do about it.

Final moments: Gukesh vs Firouzja | Video: ChessBase India
D Gukesh vlog of Round 13 | Video: ChessBase India
Post-game Press Conference with D Gukesh | Video: FIDE

D Gukesh scored a fantastic win over Alireza Firouzja (FRA)

Gukesh is now World no.6, surpassed the World Champion - Ding Liren | Source:
Hikaru Nakamura (USA) analyzes his draw with Ian Nepomniachtchi | Video: FIDE
Post-game Press Conference with Ian Nepomniachtchi and Hikaru Nakamura | Video: FIDE

Ian Nepomniachtchi - Hikaru Nakamura (USA): 0.5-0.5

Praggnanandhaa - Caruana: 0-1

R Praggnanandhaa (2747) played some inane stuff and arrived at a lost position in 24 moves against Fabiano Caruana (USA, 2803). The teenager had to move his queen four times in 20 moves and five in 24. This was certainly not the same Praggnanandhaa who knocked out Caruana at the FIDE World Cup 2023 Semifinal by playing a majestic game.

Position after 24...Nf3+

Praggnanandhaa is a fighter, so he kept the game going but never got a proper chance to fight back. Only computer will say that White equalized or Black's advantage was less. However, in a practical game, it was nothing but a long road to loss for White.

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

R Praggnanandhaa needs to find a way to restore his previous version

Vidit Gujrathi - Nijat Abasov (AZE): 0.5-0.5

Mack Hollins, Wide Receiver of Buffalo Bills in the NFL, made the ceremonial first move of Round 13 on Ian Nepomniachtchi and Hikaru Nakamura's board

Possible scenarios

What are possible scenarios of the four players - D Gukesh, Ian Nepomniachtchi, Hikaru Nakamura and Fabiano Caruana winning the tournament? Check out below:

1. Gukesh beats Nakamura, becomes a clear champion. No tie-breaks needed.

2. Gukesh draws against Nakamura, Caruana draws with Nepomniachtchi, Gukesh becomes champion.

3. Gukesh draws, either Caruana or Nepomniachtchi wins, Gukesh plays tie-break games with that player.

4. Gukesh loses to Nakamura, Caruana draws with Nepomniachtchi, Nakamura wins the tournament.

5. Gukesh loses, either Caruana or Nepomniachtchi wins, Nakamura plays tie-break games with the winner of Caruana/Nepomniachtchi.

Tie-break rules and regulations

Check out the image below for tie-break details

Tie-break details
WIM Charlize Van Zyl (RSA) - the one who makes FIDE broadcasts fun | 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 13 live stream

FIDE Candidates 2024 Round 13 Live Commentary by Amruta Mokal, IM Sagar Shah and GM Harshit Raja | Video: ChessBase India

Replay Round 13 games

Round 13 results

Round 13 results | Photo: FIDE


Standings after Round 13

Rk.SNo NameFEDRtgPts. TB1  TB2  TB3 
GMGukesh, DIND27438,548,7550
GMNepomniachtchi, IanFID2758847,7530
GMNakamura, HikaruUSA2789847,5050
GMCaruana, FabianoUSA2803845,7540
GMPraggnanandhaa, RIND2747636,5020
GMVidit, Santosh GujrathiIND27275,535,2530
GMFirouzja, AlirezaFRA27604,527,7520
GMAbasov, NijatAZE26323,523,7500


Round 14 pairings

Bo.No.Rtg NameResultName RtgNo.
GMNakamura, HikaruGMGukesh, D
GMCaruana, FabianoGMNepomniachtchi, Ian
GMFirouzja, AlirezaGMVidit, Santosh Gujrathi
GMAbasov, NijatGMPraggnanandhaa, R



Official site

Tournament Regulations

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