FIDE Candidates Tournament 2024: Exciting Events and Player Perspectives

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    From left: Lei Tingjie Hikaru Nakamura, Nijat Abasov. Photo: (FIDE/ Michal Walusza)

    Magnus Carlsen, the reigning World Champion, has shared his thoughts on Hikaru Nakamura, Fabiano Caruana, and the young talents Praggnanandhaa and Gukesh participating in the FIDE Candidates Tournament.

    Magnus Carlsen considers Nakamura and Caruana as co-favorites for winning the tournament. However, he expressed skepticism about Praggnanandhaa‘s readiness to obtain the title, noting the youngster’s impressive achievements but emphasizing the challenging nature of the event.
    Fact about Praggnanandhaa, at just 18 years old, he made history by becoming the world’s youngest player to reach the Chess World Cup final, securing his spot in the 2024 Candidates Tournament. He defeated strong opponents like Nakamura and Caruana en route to his remarkable feat. Carlsen believes that while Praggnanandhaa shows promise with a stable mindset, improving repertoire, and serious approach, winning the tournament at this stage seems unlikely.

    Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa. Photo: Economic Times

    Magnus Carlsen also gave his view on Gukesh Dommaraju, a 17 year old prodigy who is the second youngest participant in Candidates history, following Bobby Fischer. He attained the Grandmaster title at an astonishingly young age and has achieved several milestones, including surpassing a rating of 2750+ and becoming India’s top-ranked player. Carlsen acknowledges Gukesh‘s talent but is cautious about his chances in the tournament, predicting that Gukesh Dommaraju may win some games but also face challenges and losses, indicating that he may not be fully ready to excel at this elite level yet.

    Gukesh Dommaraju

    Hikaru Nakamura, known for his confident and unconventional style, is making waves at the ongoing FIDE Candidates Championship 2024 in Toronto. Nakamura, a prominent chess streamer, approaches the tournament with a unique perspective, emphasizing content creation and fan engagement alongside competitive play. In an interview before the championship, Nakamura expressed his primary focus on streaming and creating engaging chess content. He downplayed the pressure of the tournament, highlighting his desire to play exciting and unique chess moves to entertain his audience. “I don’t feel any pressure with this tournament. If I win, nice and fine. Fact of the matter is if I become world champion, the reach or influence of that is so minor compared to what I have done via streaming or content creation. I just found another path (streaming), that for better or worse is far more lucrative and makes it a lot easier to enjoy chess,” he added.

    Hikaru Nakamura. Photo: Chess.com

    During the first round, Nakamura‘s calculated risk-taking against Fabiano Caruana paid off, resulting in a draw but displaying his dynamic gameplay. Unlike Caruana, who expressed concerns about the playing hall’s size and potential distractions from spectators, Nakamura remained undisturbed, embracing the audience’s attention.

    Fabiano Caruana. Photo: playersbio.com

    The tournament also witnessed dramatic moments captured by cameras facing the players, revealing players’ emotions and struggles during intense matches. In the first round, seven out of eight games ended with players agreeing to a draw, the only decisive result of the night came from the battle between China’s Lei Tingjie and Tan Zhongyi. Tan applied pressure on Lei‘s king, almost trapping it, causing Lei‘s Lei’s calm expression to falter. Lei Tingjie‘s visible frustration, including pulling her hair in dismay during a challenging position, she eventually lost.

    Lei Tingjie seen pulling her hair into her mouth out of frustration at the FIDE Candidates. Photo:

    Another standout moment involved Nijat Abasov, an underdog in ratings, who managed a draw against Ian Nepomniachtchi despite a leg injury and limited preparation. Abasov‘s strength and determination showcased the tournament’s competitive spirit.

    The FIDE Candidates Championship continues to unfold with interesting games, unexpected strategies, and captivating moments, promising an exciting journey towards crowning the next challenger for the World Chess Championship.

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