On April 19th, the FIDE Candidates’ Tournament is set to resume in Yekaterinburg, Russia The first half of the tournament was held there from March 17 to 25, 2020, but FIDE was forced to call it off halfway due to the COVID-19 pandemic. So, after a 389 day long break, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (France), Ian Nepomniachtchi, (Russia), Kirill Alekseenko (Russia), Alexander Grischuk (Russia), Fabiano Caruana (USA), Anish Giri (Netherlands), Wang Hao (China) and Ding Liren (China) will finally return to the tournament hall to finish the event. The stakes couldn’t be higher for these elite grandmasters as the winner of the 2020-2021 FIDE Candidates will challenge Magnus Carlsen for the title of Word Champion this November.

When play resumes on April 19th, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Ian Nepomniachtchi will start the eighth round tied for first place with 4.5 points. The formidable pack of Fabiano Caruana , Anish Giri, Wang Hao, and Alexander Grischuk are close behind the tournament leaders all with 3.5 points. With such a talented group breathing down the leaders necks, I fully expect a thrilling second half of the 2020-2021 FIDE Candidates. 

Round eight will quickly set the tone for an intense second half of the 2020-2021 FIDE Candidates Tournament. When play resumes on April 19, both of the tournament leaders will be pitted against one of the challengers who are just a point back. GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave will have the black pieces against pre-tournament favorite GM Fabiano Caruana while GM Ian Nepomniachtchi will be playing white against GM Anish Giri. Add to the intrigue that Maxime Vachier-Lagrave is coming off a bad tournament at Tata Steel where Fabiano Caruana used the white pieces to utterly destroy MVL in the Frenchman’s beloved Najdorf Defense. While MVL was struggling at Tata Steel, Anish Giri played at his absolute best winning the event which should be a major confidence booster for Giri. after just seven more rounds, we will know who will face Magnus Carlsen in the Nest FIDE World Championship Match.

With a an invitation to the World Championship Match at stake, the conclusion of the 2020-2021 FIDE Candidates Tournament will be must watch chess. I recommend visiting https://en.candidates-2020.com/about for more information and live broadcast links of this year’s tournament. However, if your schedule doesn’t allow you to stay up all night watching the event live, I humbly advocate coming to this YouTube channel to see recaps of the days excitement in my daily chess musings. 


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Chris Torres is a nationally renowned scholastic chess coach working in the San Francisco Bay Area. His classes have attracted players of strengths ranging from rank beginners to world champions. A chess professional since 1998, Chris is widely recognized as one of the main driving forces behind the explosion in popularity and sudden rise in quality of scholastic chess in California. Chris Torres served as the President of the Torres Chess and Music Academy from 2005-2020 and currently is recognized as a correspondence chess master with the United States Chess Federation. Since 1998 Chris Torres has taught 6 individual national champions as well as led multiple school teams to win national championship titles. In addition, Chris Torres has directed and taught at 10 different schools which have been California State Champions at chess. In 2011 and 2012, several former and current students of Chris Torres have been selected to represent the United States at the World Youth Chess Championships. Mr. Torres’ hobbies include playing classical guitar and getting his students to appear on the national top 100 chess rating lists.

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