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Candidates 2024 R3: Praggnanandhaa's refreshing f5 takes Vidit by surprise

by Shahid Ahmed - 07/04/2024

R Praggnanandhaa bounced back well in the third round of FIDE Candidates 2024. Despite him suffering a loss in the previous round and his opponent Vidit Gujrathi crushing Hikaru Nakamura (USA), the recent history was in favor of Praggnanandhaa. That gave the teenager the courage to unleash his surprise 4...f5 in the Ruy Lopez. The element of surprise definitely helped him as White needs to be well-prepared to refute it. D Gukesh outplayed Ian Nepomniachtchi. He just needed to find the right break in the endgame to score full point. It would have given him good chances. The remaining two games ended in draws. Round 4 starts today at 2:30 p.m. local time, 12 a.m. IST. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Gukesh outplays Nepomniachtchi, misses good chance

All Indians facing each other rounds are over. Now all three of them will face the remainder opponents till round 7.

R Praggnanandhaa made a strong comeback | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Vidit - Praggnanandhaa: 0-1

R Praggnanandhaa (2747) defeated Vidit Gujrathi (2737) in their last three Classical rated games. The recent one occurred at 6th Prague Masters last month. The teenager unleashed 4...f5 a delayed Schliemann/Jaenisch Gambit in the Ruy Lopez as his weapon of surprise.

Position after 4...f5

4...f5 is a dubious line. However, to seize advantage of this dubious variation, one has to know the nuances and intricate details. 5.d4 exd4 6.e5 b5 7.Bb3 Na5 8.Nxd4 Bb7 9.Nxf5 Vidit grabbed a pawn which is what Black wants in this position. 9...Nxb3 10.axb3 d6 11.Qe2 Qd7 12.e6 Qc6 13.Bg5 g6 14.Ne3 h6 15.Bf4 Ne7 16.c4 b4 Black has consolidated his position quite well and White only has an extra pawn but it is not able to do much. Soon Black grabbed a couple of pawns and started turning things in his favor.

Position after 34...g3

34...g3 ended things for White. 35.Nxb7? there weren't many choices left for White gxf2+ 36.Kxf2 Qxb7 37.Qf3 Reg5 and Black won the game in the next few moves.

Praggnanandhaa vs Vidit vlog | Video: ChessBase India
Pragg's unbelievable opening choice - Vidit Gujrathi vs Praggnanandhaa, Commentary by IM Sagar Shah | Video: ChessBase India
"It was suggested by one of my seconds!" - Praggnanandhaa | Video: ChessBase India
Post-game Press Conference with Praggnanandhaa and Vidit Gujrathi | Video: FIDE

The photo captures Praggnanandhaa's confidence with his choice of opening and Vidit's annoyance by it | Photo: FIDE/Michal Walusza

Gukesh - Nepomniachtchi: 0.5-0.5

D Gukesh (2743) played only one Classical rated game against Ian Nepomniachtchi (2758) earlier this year at 86th Tata Steel Masters. The teenager won that battle. Gukesh outplayed the former two-time World Championship Challenger. He could have repeated that result if he had spotted his tiny window of opportunity.

Position after 28...Rd8

Here, White needed to play 29.a4 to disintegrate Black's queenside pawn structure and maximize his bishop pair. The game continued 29.Bb6 Rd7 now also 30.a4 was possible. However, he did not do it again. 30.Rd1 Rxd1 31.Bxd1 and White's advantage faded.

Why did Gukesh and Nepo smile and what happened to the clock? Commentary by IM Sagar Shah | Video: ChessBase India

D Gukesh outplayed Ian Nepomniachtchi, he just needed to finish well to score a half point more | Photo: FIDE/Michal Walusza

Vishy Anand tweeted on Gukesh's chances

I Can Only Do So Much | Video: GMHikaru
Nakamura: If I'd known that my opponent wasn't feeling well I would have done something random | Video: FIDE

Nijat Abasov (AZE) - Hikaru Nakamura (USA): 0.5-0.5 | Photo: FIDE/Michal Walusza
Alireza Firouzja: "I was very annoyed after yesterday's game; today I played a good game" | Video: FIDE

Alireza Firouzja (FRA) - Fabiano Caruana (USA): 0.5-0.5 | Photo: FIDE/Michal Walusza

D Gukesh, Sagar Shah and Vidit Gujrathi with their fans | Photo: FIDE/Michal Walusza

View from the top - Spectators at the Great Hall in Toronto, Canada | Photo: FIDE/Michal Walusza
When the brother sister duo strike - IM Sagar Shah's Round 3 summary | 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 3 live stream

FIDE Candidates 2024 Round 3 Live Commentary by Amruta Mokal and GM Harshit Raja | Video: ChessBase India

Replay Round 3 games

Round 3 results

Round 3 results | Photo: FIDE


Standings after Round 3


Round 4 pairings

Bo.No.Rtg NameResultName RtgNo.
GMNakamura, HikaruGMPraggnanandhaa, R
GMNepomniachtchi, IanGMVidit, Santosh Gujrathi
GMCaruana, FabianoGMGukesh, D
GMAbasov, NijatGMFirouzja, Alireza



Official site

Tournament Regulations

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