Traps, Tricks & Mistakes: From Winning To Losing

Covid pandemic heavily affected the Candidates tournament 2020. Scheduled to start on 2020, Mar.15th and last for three weeks, the spread of coronavirus compelled the organizers to cancel the event on Mar.26th after 7 rounds.

The tournament resumed one year later in Apr-2021. Ian Nepomniachtchi won the chance to play the World Championship match against Carlsen.

However, coronavirus also affected the beginning of the Candidates. Teimour Radjabov, one of the previously qualified participants withdrew from taking part few days before the start. He was concerned about the spread of coronavirus and the measures planned in case players or anyone in contact with them diagnosed with the disease.

Most of the players won the right to take part in the Candidates by qualifying in previous top-level FIDE events. But the organizers reserved the right of selecting one player. Because the main sponsor of the Candidates was a Russian company, they choose the Russian GM Kirill Alekseenko.

Alekseenko was the lowest rated player in the pool and in fact, he had a bad performance finishing seventh with 5,5 points out of 14.

In round 13 he played against Ding Liren and achieved the advantage after the opening. However, a miscalculation led him from a winning to a losing position in only one move.

The following position appeared in the game after Ding Liren played 46.Be5 pinning Alekseenko’s knight.

The only reason for explaining Alekseenko’s mistake is a weak psychological shape due to his bad performance. He only wanted to finish the competition and recover from his poor results.

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