There were eight on the starting line to vie for first place in the Toronto 2024 Candidates tournament, which will determine the future opponent of the reigning world champion, the Chinese Ding Liren. After 9 rounds, the Russian grandmaster Ian Nepomniachtchi – nicknamed “Nepo” by the chess world – led the way with a little wonder from India, Dommaraju Gukesh, only 17 years old.

Round 10, which saw them face each other, therefore became crucial. Nepo with the white pieces, synonymous with initiative, was he going to try everything to win. Given the importance of this part, Le Figaro Live decided to analyze it in order to understand the strategy of the two champions. Hyper-prepared, the Indian star drew from the 4th move a sub-variant intended to nip in the bud the offensive desires of the experienced Russian No. 1, who has already won the Candidates tournament twice (2021 and 2023) . After a few skirmishes, and despite Nepo’s attempts, the two players had to agree for a draw….

The duel at the Nepo – Gukesh summit analyzed on Le Figaro Live

Classement provisoire après la 10e ronde sur 14: 1 ex aequo, Gukesh, Nepomniachtchi 6/10; 3 from equal, Caruana, Nakamura, Praggnanandhaa 5.5/10; 6e, Saw 5/10; 7e, Firouzja 3.5/10; 8e, Abasov 3/10

Ian Nepomniachtchi – Dommaraju Gukesh, Candidates Tournament for the 2024 World Chess Championship in Toronto, 10th round, Spanish Game, Cozio defense 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nge7!?, the sub- Spanish simplifying line concocted especially for this part by Gukesh. See the diagram below…

5.d4 exd4 6.Nxd4 Nxd4 7.Qxd4 Nc6 8.Qe3!?, entry into the final with 8.Bxc6?! dxc6 9.Qxd8 Rxd8 10.Bf4 Bd6! didn’t give much… 8…Be7 9.Nc3 0–0 10.Nd5 b5 11.Bb3 Ca5! 12.Qg3 Bd6 13.Bf4!, Nepo, obviously, does not fall into the simplistic trap: 13.e5? Fxe5! 14.Qxe5 Re8! wins the queen, nailed. 13…Bxf4 14.Qxf4 d6 15.0–0 Be6 16.Rfd1 Re8 17.h3 h6 18.Rd3, maybe 18.Ne3! Cxb3 19.axb3 would have retained more tension. 18…c5 19.Rg3 Kh8 20.c3 Nxb3 21.axb3 Bxd5!, the move canceling. The position is now lifeless. Gukesh achieved his goal: a draw with black. 22.ExD5 DD7 23.B4 CXB4 24.DXB4 TE5 25.DD4 DA7 26.TD3 TE2 27.DXA7 TXA7 28.B4 TC2 29.TE1 RH7 30.TE8 TC7 31.TA8 ​​T7XC3 32.TXC3 TXC3 33.TXA6 TC4 34. Rxd6 Rxb4 35.Rb6 Rb1 36.Rh2 b4 37.d6 Rd1 38.Rxb4 Rxd6 39.Ra4 h5 40.h4 g6, draw, 0.5-0.5