GM Ian Nepomniachtchi clinched victory at the FIDE Candidates Tournament by securing first place with a round to spare.
ROUND 13 REPORT
Following a draw in round 13 game against Hungarian Grandmaster Richard Rapport, Nepomniachtchi is on 9/13, a point and a half ahead of the rest of the field. This is his second consecutive victory in the eight-player Candidates.
In the post-game interview, when asked how he is feeling now, Nepomniachni responded: ‘The traditional answer is – I don’t know… In this tournament I was trying more to play chess than playing for a win. That is important… Another important factor is that I never had a six-hour game here. I was lucky enough not to play for too long’, said GM Ian Nepomniachtchi.
The 31-year-old GM has taken an early lead in the tournament and is the only player not to lose a single game.
American Hikaru Nakamura is currently in clear second place with 7.5 points, having won today against Polish GM Jan-Krzysztof Duda. In the final – 14th round – he will be up against China’s GM Ding Liren who is on seven points, in a direct duel for second place.
The race for second place has become ever more important since five-times world champion Magnus Carlsen has made several suggestions he might not be willing to defend his title. If Carlsen decides not to play in the match which is due to take place next year, he will be replaced by the runner-up in the Candidates.
Text from FIDE.