Hikaru vs Fabiano was probably the match everybody waited for in the Candidates 2022. It finally happened and what an amazing contest it was. Hikaru Nakamura won the match against Fabiano Caruana and this defeat has brought a great twist to the tournament. Prior to this match Ian and Fabiano were leading the table by some margin but with Hikaru winning, things are looking a little tighter now. He is only half a point behind his fellow countryman. There are still four rounds to go before the tournament ends and it seems anything can happen. If Fabiano loses again and Hikaru wins his round, then he will be an inch closer to Ian at the table. However, if Hikaru loses, then it will be a permanent bye-bye for the American.
Currently, Ian is at top of the leaderboard, leading by a point against the number two Fabiano. Hikaru is only half a point behind Caruana. While Ian is the favorite to win the tournament, one slip-up might lead to things becoming even more interesting. Fair to say as of now, the remaining players have almost zero chances of winning the candidates. If anything has to happen, it will happen in between the top three. If Ian wins the Candidates, chances are that Magnus Carlsen will not come to defend his World Championship title. He already beat Ian last year and needs a new competition that can motivate him to defend his title for the sixth time.
Hikaru Vs Fabiano Candidates 2022: What Happened In the Match?
The match was so interesting, Hikaru vs Fabiano that the starting itself set the entire tone of the match. In a classical match, Hikaru played his first 20 moves in the first 3 minutes only. Maybe he forgot that it was a classical game and not blitz or rapid. Hikaru had white pieces and Fabiano got black. Since 2010, both Americans played 47 classical games with each other. Back in 2015, in Norway Chess, Hikaru had beaten Fabiano. Since then, only Fabiano had won and the others were just drawn. Many experts believe the reason for Fabiano’s loss is the opening he played.
The Dilworth Opening, is used very rarely by players, a sort of gamble maybe to surprise the other player. After Hikaru won the match, he stated something regarding the match. He said, “I think today being a streamer helped me, because I think Fabiano, for whatever reason, just assumed that I’m chilling on the beach all day, and I am not studying openings before this tournament. Because playing the Open Spanish, going into this whole line which is very sharp, it’s just inexplicable honestly. I don’t understand this decision by him at all. It’s insane.”
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68 Moves Game
It took 68 moves for Hikaru to win the match against his fellow American, his nemesis. After almost 60 moves, Hikaru was almost +6 in the game and there was no way for Fabiano to make a comeback. A bitter-sweet victory for Hikaru, one he must cherish. He has displayed a great fighting spirit after a disappointing first two or three days at the Candidates. Now, he should be proud of himself for the comeback that he did and hopefully will play even better chess in the games to come.