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Candidates 2024 R5: Who dares wins

by Shahid Ahmed - 10/04/2024

It is the FIDE Candidates 2024. Every win could potentially make a huge difference. D Gukesh knew that he is facing the lowest rated player of the event, Nijat Abasov (AZE). He is not 100% and already suffered a loss. Although, Gukesh could have ended things earlier, his advantage evaporated and it liquidated into a queen endgame. He kept trying and eventually his opponent crumbled after a near six-hour long battle. Vidit Gujrathi almost made an epic comeback against the world no.2 Fabiano Caruana (USA). He was unable to run away with the king at the right time and he had to settle for a draw. R Praggnanandhaa's preparation slightly rattled Ian Nepomniachtchi. However, it didn't turn out to be enough to score a full point. Gukesh joined Nepomniachtchi in the lead 3.5/5. Round 6 starts today at 2:30 p.m. local time, 12 a.m. IST. Photo: FIDE/Michal Walusza

Gukesh joins Nepomniachtchi in the lead, Vidit misses against Caruana

The eventful fifth round was fifth round was full of exciting games. The most heartbreaking loss was suffered by Alireza Firouzja (FRA). A terrible blunder in the final moments of the endgame cost him a half point and he lost against Hikaru Nakamura (USA).

D Gukesh won a prolonged battle against Nijat Abasov (AZE) | Photo: FIDE/Michal Walusza

Gukesh - Abasov: 1-0

D Gukesh (2743) and Nijat Abasov (AZE, 2632) faced each other only twice in a Classical rated game. Gukesh the first one in 2022 and drew the second in 2023. Abasov employed the Petroff's Defence and managed to equalize with ease.

Position after 32...d3

The d3-passed pawn may look menacing but there is nothing to worry about. 33.Qxa4 Qa2 34.Kh2 g6 35.Qb4 Qf7 36.Re1 Rfe8 37.Rfe4 Rxe4 38.Rxe4 Rd5 39.Nd2 Ng7 40.Kg1 Ne6 41.Re3 Nxc5 42.Qc4 Ne6 43.Rxd3 b5 44.Qc3 Nf4 45.Re3 Rg5?

Position after 45...Rg5?

Here, White needed to take the c6-pawn 46.Qxc6 Rxg2+ 47.Kf1 now the threat is Re8+ followed by Rb8, idea Rb7, pin the queen and win the game. This was a bit risky because if things do not work out, White might get into a huge trouble. The game continued 46.Ne4 Rxg2+ 47.Kh1 Nd5 48.Nf6+ Nxf6 49.Kxg2 Nd5 50.Qxc6 Nxe3+ 51.fxe3 and the resultant queen endgame is not easy to play for a win. However, Gukesh was determined to win, so he kept creating chances.

Position after 58...g5?

Black eventually made a mistake 58...g5? 59.e4 Qxh3 60.Qg6+ Kh8 61.Qh6+ Kg8 62.Qxg5+ it was still not to convert because the nature of queen endgames are extremely complex.

Position after 83...Qf1+??

Black's final mistake in the game was 83...Qf1+?? Find out why.

Gukesh is the leader of Candidates 2024 along with Nepo | Video: ChessBase India
Gukesh's determination and willpower vs Abasov's Tenacity, Commentary by IM Sagar Shah | Video: ChessBase India
Gukesh's epic interview in the fanzone | Video: ChessBase India

Gukesh knew his target and struck well after a nearly six-hour long battle | Photo: FIDE/Michal Walusza

Praggnanandhaa - Nepomniachtchi: 0.5-0.5

R Praggnanandhaa (2747) and Ian Nepomniachtchi (2758) played only two Classical rated games. Both ended in draws. The teenager was well prepared and he sacrificed his knight on 21st move.

Position after 21.Nxf7

21.Nxf7!? is an interesting sacrifice because White will regain the material in the next few moves. Black decided to go for the most forcing line 21...Kxf7 22.Rd3 Nd7 23.Rxd5 Nc5 Praggnanandhaa mentioned in the post-game press conference that 23...Bxh2+ 24.Kxh2 Nc5 is the best line which is what the computer also says. It is obvious that these are all part of his preparation.

Position after 25...Kh8

Although, computer says 26.Qe5 Qxa2 27.Bf5 gives White a decisive advantage, Nepomniachtchi felt that White has a long-term advantage and Black's position is difficult to play but not like he was going to lose. 26.Bf5 gave Black an opportunity to force the queen exchange Nb7 27.Qxa5 Nxa5 after the queens got off the board, draw became the obvious result.

Praggnanandhaa's insane opening preparation - Commentary by IM Sagar Shah | Video: ChessBase India
Post-game Press Conference with R Praggnanandhaa and Ian Nepomniachtchi | Video: FIDE

R Praggnanandhaa's good preparation did not yield the desired result against Ian Nepomniachtchi | Photo: FIDE/Michal Walusza

Vidit - Caruana: 0.5-0.5

Vidit Gujrathi (2727) played only one Classical rated game against Fabiano Caruana (USA, 2803) in 2022 which ended in a draw. Vidit gained a decisive advantage and needed to run with his king from the queenside to the center of the board.

Position after 25...Rf8

26.Kc2 and then get the king out of danger was what White needed to do. Even Caruana mentioned in the post-game press conference that he did not know what he would do after 26.Kc2. The game ended in a draw by perpetual check after 26.Qe5 Qa4 27.Qb8+ Bd8 28.Qe5+ Be7 White had no option but to repeat the perpetual checks. Vidit missed Bd8 he said.

When you have the world no.2 by the throat - Vidit vs Caruana, Commentary by IM Sagar Shah | Video: ChessBase India
Post-game Press Conference with Vidit Gujrathi and Fabiano Caruana | Video: FIDE

Vidit Gujrathi pushed Fabiano Caruana to his limit, something no one has been able to do so far | Photo: FIDE/Michal Walusza

Vidit repenting his huge missed opportunity | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Firouzja - Nakamura: 0-1

Ideally, the game between Alireza Firouzja (FRA, 2760) and Hikaru Nakamura (USA, 2789) should have ended in a draw. Things rarely end in the way it is supposed to.

Position after 61...g4

Black obviously cannot lose the above position without making a series of mistakes but for White one can prove to be fatal. Unfortunately for Firouzja, that's what happened when he played 62.Kxd3?? g3 63.Rf8+ Ke6 Black does not even need his king to support the pawn, thanks to White misplacing his king on d3. A heartbreaking loss for Firouzja.

Breaking Back | Video: GMHikaru
An absolutely stunning finish - Firouzja vs Nakamura, Commentary by IM Sagar Shah | Video: ChessBase India
Post-game Press Conference with Hikaru Nakamura | Video: FIDE

Alireza Firouzja (FRA) realizes what a terrible mistake he made | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

The handshake after the game | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Photo Gallery

Two legends - Vishy Anand and Andrea Bocelli | Photo: FIDE/Michal Walusza

The Italian Tenor - Andrea Bocelli plays a friendly game against Vishy Anand | Photo: FIDE/Michal Walusza

Andrea Bocelli feels the vibe of Round 5 before it starts | Photo: FIDE/Michal Walusza

Andrea Bocelli gets the feel of what it likes to sit on the Candidates tournament board | Photo: FIDE/Michal Walusza

Younger readers would be familiar with Andrea Bocelli in Ed Sheeran's famous song - Perfect (Symphony version).

Ed Sheeran - Perfect Symphony [with Andrea Bocelli] | Video: Ed Sheeran
Andrea Bocelli: "I play chess online almost every day" | Video: FIDE

D Gukesh and Vishy Anand | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

D Gukesh with his fans | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

A happy Gukesh | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Spectators at the Great Hall in Toronto, Canada | Photo: FIDE/Michal Walusza
Round 5 recap by IM Sagar Shah | 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 5 live stream

FIDE Candidates 2024 Round 5 Live Commentary by Amruta Mokal, IM Sagar Shah, GM Srinath Narayanan and GM Harshit Raja | Video: ChessBase India

Replay Round 5 games

Round 5 results

Round 5 results | Photo: FIDE


Standings after Round 5


Round 6 pairings

Bo.No.Rtg NameResultName RtgNo.
GMNepomniachtchi, IanGMCaruana, Fabiano
GMGukesh, DGMNakamura, Hikaru
GMVidit, Santosh GujrathiGMFirouzja, Alireza
GMPraggnanandhaa, RGMAbasov, Nijat



Official site

Tournament Regulations

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