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After Being Away From Classical Chess for Two Years, Hikaru Nakamura Wins a Seat at the Candidate’s Tournament

Published 03/29/2022, 3:20 PM EDT

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While Magnus Carlsen is winning back-to-back tournaments in the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour 2022, the battle for his next world championship challenger is on. Leading the proceedings is the American Grand Master Hikaru Nakamura, who is returning to classical chess since 2020.

However, the third leg of the FIDE Grand Prix in still in progress, and the winners for the candidate’s tournament have been decided already.


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The candidate’s tournament will take place in France from June 16 to July 5. As per the FIDE guidelines, the winner of the candidate’s tournament is the next challenger for the world chess championship. Five seats in the tournament were already claimed by some of the best chess Grand Masters in the world and here came the two more entries.

Hikaru Nakamura and Richard Rapport in the candidate’s tournament now

Making their place in the candidate’s tournament through FIDE Grand Prix are Hikaru Nakamura and Richard Rapport. While Nakamura won the first leg, Rapport was the winner of the second leg of the Grand Prix. They both were leading the tournament with 20 points each and are now finally the overall winners.

What a journey it has been for the American Grand Master Hikaru Nakamura. He was away from classical chess for almost two years. Many were thinking he has now become a full-time streamer and will not return to the classical games. However, he surprised everyone and came back stronger than ever.

Who all are in the candidate’s tournament 2022?

The tournament will feature the top classical chess players of the world. Amongst the finalist are the 2021 world championship runner-up Ian Nepomniachtchi, FIDE nominee Teimour Radjabov, 2021 world cup winner Jan-Krzysztof Duda, 2021 Grand Swiss winner Alireza Firouzja and runner-up Fabiano Caruana.


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However, there is still one seat left in the tournament. Since FIDE has banned the Russian Grand Master Sergey Karjakin for six months, the most prominent contender for 8th place is the Chinese Grand Master Ding Liren.


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Who do you think will be the next challenger for the world chess championship?



Saurav Panwar

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Saurav Panwar is a US Sports writer at EssentiallySports. A postgraduate in Media and Communication Studies, he shares a profound love for creative direction and filmmaking. Saurav is also an avid reader and a literature devotee whose fandom spreads from classics to sci-fi, non-fiction, plays, comics, and much more.

Edited By: Pritam Priyedarshi