Caruana and Nepomniachtchi Win to Begin 2022 Candidates

By John Hartmann |  June 17, 2022  |   News

UPDATE: Check out our printable round one bulletin!

There’s a bit of folk wisdom about first rounds at important chess events.

They’re like the first rounds of boxing matches, they say. There’s a lot of feeling-out-the-opponent, a lot of jabbing and dancing, and not a whole lot of action.

Not so today in Madrid.

The first round of the 2022 FIDE Candidates started with a bang, as two of the four games saw decisive results.


Nakamura resigns to Caruana Round 01 2022 Candidates
Image Caption
courtesy FIDE / Maria Emelianova


In what will come as a surprise to defenders of the "Berlin Wall," GM Fabiano Caruana ground down his fellow countryman GM Hikaru Nakamura in 50 moves. Find out how the deed was done in these annotations by GM Jacob Aagaard, exclusively for Chess Life Online!



After the game Nakamura — and let’s just say it, both surprisingly, and not entirely so! — posted his own post-game recap on his YouTube channel.

Meanwhile, 2021 World Championship Challenger GM Ian Nepomniachtchi battered GM Ding Liren into submission after 32 moves. This game was, frankly, brutal. Caruana put it best after the round.

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After the game Ding — who did so much work to even become eligible to play in the Candidates — was clearly crestfallen.


A crestfallen Ding Liren, Round 01, 2022 FIDE Candidates
Image Caption
courtesy FIDE / Maria Emelianova


An intereresting sidenote: as fate would have it, Nepomniachtchi takes the white pieces against Caruana on Saturday in what already feels like a potentially important pairing.

In other games, GM Alireza Firouzja sacrificed an Exchange in the early middlegame against GM Teimour Radjabov, gaining excellent compensation for the material.


Radjabov-Firouzja, Round 01, 2022 Candidates
Image Caption
courtesy FIDE / Maria Emelianova


But Radjabov soaked up the pressure and emerged in a pawn-up rook and pawn endgame. Firouzja held firm, and their game was drawn after 71 moves.



And after a bit of opening intrigue, the matchup between GM Jan-Krzysztof Duda and GM Richard Rapport was a draw.


2022 Candidates Round 1 xtable


Round two begins at 9 a.m. EDT on Saturday, June 18. Here are the pairings:

Rapport – Firouzja
Nakamura – Radjabov
Nepomniachtchi – Caruana
Duda – Ding

Quick Links

FIDE Candidates homepage
US Chess Candidates homepage
Candidates Overview (including streaming links)
Lichess analysis study (Aagaard)
Round 1