Nakamura Closes the Gap, Nepo Holds His Lead

The game that garnered most of the attention this round was Nakamura-Caruana, a complicated slugfest which also had the biggest effect on the standings. By winning, Nakamura came within striking range of the leaders, while Caruana fell a full point behind Nepomniachtchi. The other decisive game was Rapport-Duda, in which Rapport became only the fourth player to actually chalk up a win and kept his hopes alive in the overall race.

Image
Hikaru Nakamura at the 2022 FIDE Candidates Tournament
Image Caption
Hikaru Nakamura at the 2022 FIDE Candidates Tournament. Photo: Stev Bonhage/FIDE.


Here’s a brief summary of the action with notes on the two decisive contests.

There’s not much to say about Nepomniachtchi-Ding. Ding doubtless would have liked to play for a win, but, not for the first time, faced a sterile opening in which opportunities were lacking. Nepomniachtchi played the Scotch Four Knights and Ding properly played into one of the main neutralizing variations. The players didn’t depart from theory until move 21 and drew with a repetition following a number of thoroughly harmless moves. It’s hard to fault Nepo wanting a rest after so many decisive games, but one has to feel for Ding, who hasn’t been able to show his considerable strength yet in this event.
 

Image
2022 FIDE Candidates Round 8, Nepomniachtchi-Ding
Image Caption
Nepomniachtchi and Ding in round 8 of the 2022 FIDE Candidates. Photo: Stev Bonhage/FIDE


Firouzja-Radjabov was the longest game (over seven hours). The players followed a main line of the Giouco Piano which has plenty of positional subtleties, but offers few chances for either side to create dynamic chances. Most of the game featured extremely slow play designed to achieve minor advantages; Black made his first and only change in central pawn structure (the advance …d5) on move 81, a dozen moves before the end. While not compelling theater, this was an instructive game for 1. e4 e5 players and required accurate treatment on both players’ part. They worked hard to make something happen and fought through some serious time pressure. You feel that, given their toughness, one or both will soon break through with a win.
 

Image
2022 FIDE Candidates Round 8, Firouzja-Radjabov
Image Caption
Firouzja and Radjabov square off in round 8 of the 2022 FIDE Candidates. Photo: Stev Bonhage/FIDE.


Rapport-Duda was a dynamic, well-fought game in which Black responded well to White’s expansion on the kingside, until he suddenly miscalculated something and lost the thread. A nice win by Rapport, but the game doesn’t do justice to Duda’s normally solid judgment:
 


 

Image
2022 FIDE Candidates Round 8, Duda-Rapport
Image Caption
Duda and Rapport prepare for their round 8 bout at the 2022 FIDE Candidates. Photo: Stev Bonhage/FIDE.


Nakamura-Caruana featured the newly fashionable Dilworth Variation of the Open Ruy Lopez. Both sides were well-prepared, but for once, Caruana hadn’t properly assessed the key position and had to struggle against White’s pressure for the entire game:
 


 

Image
2022 FIDE Candidates Round 8, Nakamura-Caruana
Image Caption
Hikaru Nakamura and Fabiano Caruana shake hands after round 8 of the 2022 FIDE Candidates Tournament. Photo: Stev Bonhage/FIDE.

 

Image
2022 FIDE Candidates Crosstable after Round 8

 

Round 9 continues Monday, June 27 at 9 a.m. ET.

The pairings are:

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


Quick Links

FIDE Candidates homepage
US Chess Candidates homepage
Candidates Overview (including streaming links)
Round 1
Round 2
Round 3
Round 4
Round 5
Round 6
Round 7

 

Add new comment

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.

Plain Text Comments

Archives

Share Your Feedback

We recently completed a website update. If you notice a formatting error on this page, please click here.