The coronavirus is flying over more and more every day the minds of the eight chess players of elite who play in Yekaterinburg (Russia) the Candidates Tournament, the only competition of the first row world of any sport that is still in dispute. The Russian Alexander Grischuk calls directly in the immediate suspension “because the environment is very hostile”. The main concern of the american Fabiano Caruana and the dutchman Anish Giri is not the spread but the return to home. Another Russian, Ian Niepómniachi, is the sole leader after five rounds of the thirteen planned.
Grischuk, 36 years old, 5th in the world, has always been distinguished by speaking very clearly: “we Can feel the tension around us, with so many people with masks at the venue of the tournament. Taking into account the circumstances, I can be satisfied of my results up to now [cinco empates]. But, if all other sports have cancelled the big competitions, I don’t understand why we keep playing”.
In reality, the use of masks in the game room is one of the many preventative measures-others are the absence of the public and the major restrictions on the normal work of journalists – adopted by the International Federation (FIDE) to provide maximum protection to the players. The people close to the tournament consulted by this newspaper -the person signing above, the only reporter not Russian that managed to get to Yekaterinburg, is in mandatory quarantine for having travelled from Spain – to ensure that they have not seen anyone with masks in the streets of a city of 1.5 million inhabitants, 1,500 kilometers east of Moscow, at the gates of Siberia and the Urals, where there are only six diagnosed by COVID-19, according to the official statistics.
With the data available today, the objective risk of infection of the five participating non-Russian (two chinese, an american, a dutchman and a frenchman) is lower in the Hyatt hotel of Yekaterinburg (where it is hosted and play) in their countries. This explains your fear of leading is not that: “I understand that if you do not return immediately to the united States, I will stay stuck in any part,” explains Caruana. “I hope that FIDE is thinking of chartering a private flight that we go, leaving in our countries, because otherwise I don’t see how I’m going to go back to the mine”, says Giri. The supervisor of the FIDE and chairman of the Appeal Committee, Jeroen van den Berg, and one of the two photographers official, Lennart Ootes, are also Dutch.
Up to the time of sending this chronicle, the FIDE had not responded publicly to the concerns of Grischuk, Caruana and Giri. Its president, Arkady Dvorkóvich, former deputy prime minister of Russia, took the decision not to cancel the march 6, when a rated in its own right, the Azerbaijani Teimur Radyábov, refused to play for fear of the coronavirus; it was replaced by the frenchman Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. Five days later, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the pandemic.
When Spain declared the state of alert, 13 march, the eight chess players and their companions were already in Yekaterinburg, or flying. Two days later, the Russian Government suspended all international competitions, but Dvorkóvich got it done an exception with the Candidates Tournament in exchange for a series of measures very restrictive; in addition to the above mentioned, there can be no more than 50 people in the venue at any time, should be kept safe distances at all times, the temperature of the present is controlled every day, all the people connected with the tournament had a scan at the beginning and there will be another on Tuesday, the traditional handshake before and after each game since it is not mandatory, and the authorities invited to the kick-off of honour should wash their hands with alcohol in front of players before touching the parts.
Maybe because the effort to play as best as possible is the best route of escape for the anxiety, the technical level and competitiveness is even now quite a bit higher than in other tournaments similar. The 20 games disputed until now have been interesting in a greater or lesser degree. Niepómniachi, winner in the fifth round of Wang Hao, is the only leader of the time, even though the great pending is the consistency. The two big favorites were today: mostly Caruana, came to have a losing position against Giri, who, as so often, came to a halt when I had to dash to the attack.
To a lesser extent, Liren Ding was used extensively to not fall to Grischuk. The third Russian, Kíril Alexeyenko, and the French Maxime Vachier-Lagrave tied a combat, very spectacular, whose beauty was celebrated by the world champion, the Norwegian Magnus Carlsen, during his live commentary for the portal Chess24. The winner in Yekaterinburg will challenge Carlsen to the end of the year in a duel to the best of fourteen games in the world Expo in Dubai (United Arab Emirates). But at that moment, you can not ensure that the tournament ends on the 4th of April, as planned.
Classification: 1 Niepómniachi 3.5 points; 2nd Vachier-Lagrave 3; 3rd-5th Wang, Caruana and Grischuk 2,5; 6th-8th Ding, Giri and Alexeyenko 2.
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