Candidates Tournament 2020

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Chris Rice
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Re: Candidates Tournament 2020

Post by Chris Rice » Sat Mar 07, 2020 12:02 am

Some more updated information on the Radjabov issue, firstly from FIDE:

"FIDE Director General Emil Sutovsky then gave an explanation from FIDE's point of view and nuanced the choice of the words "personal reasons" in a comment to Championat.com. [The translation below has been rewritten and corrected from an earlier version, in which the word "not" had inadvertently been dropped from the text. That suggested that FIDE accused Radjabov of exaggerating, which is not the case—on the contrary.]

"Over the past couple of days, were have been in touch with Teimour. He is concerned about the spread of the coronavirus. We have taken a number of measures regarding the situation: we are minimizing the contact between the players and the audience, and we will create all proper conditions in the playing hall. We also introduced the recommendation not to shake hands before the game.

"You need to understand that this tournament is not massive — there are only eight chess players. We will cancel or postpone large events. This tournament has been authorized not only by FIDE, but also by the Russian health departments. We are in daily contact with healthcare providers.

"Teimour believes that the problem of the virus has not been taken care of properly and that FIDE cannot be ready for all possible scenarios, which is logical from his point of view. However, we do not see any criticality in this situation since the tournament will have medical staff.

"We used the explanation 'personal reasons,' although it might have been more accurate to use the phrase 'personal decision,' precisely so that we do not accuse Teimour of exaggerating. You can argue whether Radjabov's decision is appropriate, but it has not been dictated by the instructions of the authorities. We are not just brushing aside his questions; we're providing a list of measures that will be taken.

"Of course, the decision is up to the player. We understand that the situation is unusual. In any other situation, if a player would withdraw from the tournament just 10 days in advance, sanctions would be taken against him. Now that's out of the question."

In another Radjabov Instagram message that is also featured in the article, Radjabov insists that even if he had replied to the email by the deadline FIDE would have replaced him in any case. Not sure how he came to that conclusion. On the situation with MVL, FIDE have said:
"The French GM has already been informed, he is ready to take part in the tournament and "his travel arrangements are being made at the time of this announcement."

The situation with Wang Hao I am finding slightly odd. A number of Radjabov's complaints appear to be directed at him yet he seems to support Radjabov absolutely yet appears to have no intention of withdrawing himself:

"GM Wang Hao, who is planning to travel to Russia from Japan on March 13, told Chess.com that he thinks FIDE should postpone the tournament:

"I believe that all the big events (not just chess) should be postponed for now. For example, FIDE is taking a big risk to hold the World Seniors now. Although there are not many cases in the Czech Republic, the outbreak of the virus in Europe just seems unstoppable. These old people could easily get infected on the way to Prague, and infect each other.

"The problems of the Candidates Tournament would be probably simpler but definitely not easy to solve. If some players arrive in Moscow, and someone in his flight just got infected or has a fever, I guess that the player would be simply quarantined for 14 days and miss the tournament.

"And I don’t know what will happen if some player just happened to cough or has a fever during the tournament. It’s a big question because it’s not easy to test the virus and the results can also be wrong. Also, it’s possible that he just caught a cold or the flu. But if such a case happens, what should we do? At least I don’t think that there’s a good solution.

"I just saw the news about the withdrawal of Radjabov. I think that it’s a decent decision, probably he just wants to stay at home to avoid all the possible risks. No one can blame him if it’s the reason."

Daniel Gormally
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Re: Candidates Tournament 2020

Post by Daniel Gormally » Sat Mar 07, 2020 9:20 am

My personal feeling is that Radjabov might regret this further down the line. A lot of things in life are risky, and there's no guarantee he'll get more shots at the candidates. players like Aronian, Karjakin and Anand have missed out this time, and MVL only got in because Radjabov himself withdrew.

It's a one in a lifetime opportunity to get a world championship match and you wonder in a way if it's self-sabotage, that the pressure of the event has led him to find an excuse to take an escape route, bit like Fischer used to do back in the day.

Jonathan Rogers
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Re: Candidates Tournament 2020

Post by Jonathan Rogers » Sat Mar 07, 2020 11:25 am

Perhaps. But I would point out that for Radjabov it was not a once in a life time opportunity - he already played a candidates and finished last by a mile (4/13 in London 2013). Nor has he been obviously working on his game in the meantime. He most likely entered the World Cup to make some easy money, it is probably the biggest pay opportunity for people just hovering in the top 30 or 40 or whatever.

Mind you, I shouldn't be surprised if he does have a history of withdrawing from events. When he was making waves with his Kings Indian some 12 or 13 years ago, he withdrew from Linares after his room was burgled. That might also be understandable in itself but it makes me wonder whether there are other examples out there. (Perhaps there are, and perhaps that is why he does not get many invites).

Chris Rice
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Re: Candidates Tournament 2020

Post by Chris Rice » Sun Mar 08, 2020 11:21 am

MVL's manager Laurent Verat makes a statement that MVL has not prepared at all and needs to arrive early.

Chris Rice
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Re: Candidates Tournament 2020

Post by Chris Rice » Mon Mar 09, 2020 10:40 pm

I thought that once Emil Sutovsky became Director General at FIDE the Association of Chess Professionals (ACP) was pretty much done. But the coronavirus has changed the game:

ACP on the Candidates: An Open Letter

In the light of the current global outbreak of the coronavirus crisis and with the situation evolving on a daily basis ACP would like to express concern about the imminent organization of the Candidates Tournament in Yekaterinburg.

While we understand that at this stage it may not be possible to cancel the event outright we rest assured that FIDE takes all possible measures to minimize the risk in accordance with Russian and global health authorities. Still, in our opinion there is one major topic that has not been publicly addressed and that could impact both the players’ safety and psychology.

We are urging FIDE to publicly state that in case any member of the organization, the press, the players’ teams, the arbiters team, the volunteers or any other person which may be perceived as having contact with the tournament, be affected by CoViD-19, FIDE officials will immediately call the tournament off and make all efforts to ensure that the players are escorted safely back home.

It is our strong opinion that by doing so FIDE would fulfill its role as a responsible organization and show that it can act with wisdom and be a beacon in times of darkness. This will also increase the players’ confidence in the overall organization and the community’s respect for its management.

The ACP Board

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JustinHorton
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Re: Candidates Tournament 2020

Post by JustinHorton » Thu Mar 12, 2020 9:30 pm

Caruana now flying direct to Moscow
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

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Chris Rice
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Re: Candidates Tournament 2020

Post by Chris Rice » Fri Mar 13, 2020 12:42 pm

Caruana arrived so looks like its all set to start on time. I'm not sure what to think. On the one hand it should be a great tournament on the other whether it should be being played at all in the midst of this storm is very questionable.

NickFaulks
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Re: Candidates Tournament 2020

Post by NickFaulks » Fri Mar 13, 2020 12:47 pm

Chris Rice wrote:
Fri Mar 13, 2020 12:42 pm
Caruana arrived so looks like its all set to start on time. I'm not sure what to think. On the one hand it should be a great tournament on the other whether it should be being played at all in the midst of this storm is very questionable.
Being in a segregated group of a dozen or so people for the next few weeks sounds like a good plan to me.

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: Candidates Tournament 2020

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Fri Mar 13, 2020 12:52 pm

Caruana travelled from the USA, right? Where did all the others travel from and when (and via which countries)? I suspect this event will go OK, but if someone starts coughing near-continuously on the livefeed... The effect will be psychological on some of the players. The players who is most mentally strong might win the event, so we might have a surprise challenger for Carlsen. I am going to go out on a limb and say not MVL or Grischuk, but maybe one of Ding Liren and Wang Hao may win. I will predict Ding Liren.

Matthew Turner
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Re: Candidates Tournament 2020

Post by Matthew Turner » Fri Mar 13, 2020 12:56 pm

Christopher Kreuzer wrote:
Fri Mar 13, 2020 12:52 pm
Caruana travelled from the USA, right? Where did all the others travel from and when (and via which countries)? I suspect this event will go OK, but if someone starts coughing near-continuously on the livefeed... The effect will be psychological on some of the players. The players who is most mentally strong might win the event, so we might have a surprise challenger for Carlsen. I am going to go out on a limb and say not MVL or Grischuk, but maybe one of Ding Liren and Wang Hao may win. I will predict Ding Liren.
Perhaps a small inconsistency there - surely this could give the smoker an advantage?

Daniel Gormally
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Re: Candidates Tournament 2020

Post by Daniel Gormally » Fri Mar 13, 2020 2:24 pm

why would ding be a surprise winner?

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: Candidates Tournament 2020

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Fri Mar 13, 2020 3:44 pm

Daniel Gormally wrote:
Fri Mar 13, 2020 2:24 pm
why would ding be a surprise winner?
Fair point. He wouldn't be. I started writing that by thinking that there might be a surprise winner, and then ended up tipping Ding Liren because, erm, he is a very good player! :D (Let's go with Alekseenko for a 'surprise' winner.)

Phil Makepeace
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Re: Candidates Tournament 2020

Post by Phil Makepeace » Fri Mar 13, 2020 8:26 pm

Over on The Chess Pit we’ve done a Candidates Preview Special

Chris Rice
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Re: Candidates Tournament 2020

Post by Chris Rice » Sat Mar 14, 2020 9:17 am

FIDE PR showing Candidates officially starting March 16. Seems strange to go straight to the Health & Safety section but that's the world we are living in right now. Measure number 4 though seems surprisingly lax:

"The following health and safety measures will be in force:

1. A check-point with a qualified nurse will be created for all participants of the tournament, and officials and visitors in the auditorium. At this point, visitors will be checked for symptoms of Covid-19 before entering the game room, including checking their body temperature.

2. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers will be available at all times.

3. N95 face-masks will always be available in the required quantity. Depending on the assessment of the situation, the wearing of masks may become mandatory for visitors in the auditorium.

4. Handshakes before and after the game are optional.

5. Spectators who come to the venue will not have access to the playing area.

6. Preventive measures (masks, disinfectants) must also be provided in all hotel rooms where participants and officials will be staying, as well as in all vehicles used for the tournament.

Other preventive measures may be put in place, depending on requirements."

Mick Norris
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Re: Candidates Tournament 2020

Post by Mick Norris » Sat Mar 14, 2020 9:34 am

There's also this
The official opening of the Tournament will take place on March 16 at 7 PM at the Congress Centre – Ekaterinburg Expo (Address: 2, Expo Boulevard). Before the beginning of the ceremony, between 6.15 and 6.45 PM, members of the media will be able to meet with officials and the participants.

On the same day, at 1 PM, there will be a pre-start press event mainly for Russian media, attended by the officials, organizers and some of the players. The event will be held at the Sverdlovsk Journalists' Union, (Address: 1, Clara Zetkin Street).
Seems an unnecessary risk for the players & officials to mix with the media
Any postings on here represent my personal views and should not be taken as representative of the Manchester Chess Federation www.manchesterchess.co.uk

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