Candidates Tournament 2020 - Part 1 Yekaterinburg

In this book he talks about the analysis of the matches of the 2020 Candidates Tournament but also how it was affected by the coronavirus.

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In the middle of the last century, tournament compilations were extremely popular. After each major chess event, a printed compendium appeared. Naturally, the Candidates Tournament was no exception. For example, David Bronstein's book "Zurich International Chess Tournament, 1953" was carefully and thoroughly studied many times in my youth. To this day I can still recite some of his most memorable passages. Gradually, various textbooks and publications, but mainly theoretical manuals, completely replaced that particular type of chess literature. Today, even the fight for the world title is not always worthy of its own publication. This is probably a direct result of the rapid increase in the number of international tournaments currently played on the world circuit. The close-knit circle of leading grandmasters has become a kind of wandering circus company, traveling the world with practically the same act. One competition passes smoothly to the next, making it difficult for the average chess fan to follow this endless stream of events.

Initially the same could have been said of the 2020 Candidates Tournament. However, the balanced flow of the normal chess calendar was unexpectedly interrupted by a terrifying event. Seemingly harmless at first, the coronavirus pandemic seized more countries every day and gradually became the main and only determining factor of life. The Candidates Tournament was also threatened. Whether it would be held or not was quite in doubt until the last minutes. Even the grandmasters, who had already met in Ekaterinburg, had reason to doubt that they would have the opportunity to sit in the meetings. In the end, having actually begun, the tournament planted in me the vague notion of writing a book about it.

The title of it was born first. It naturally flowed from the name of one of Alexander Pushkin's four little tragedies, "A Feast in the Time of the Plague". Surely, the situation in which the players would have to compete required some dramatic associations. Certain parties opposed to holding the tournament also used this expression implying a kind of cynicism and impropriety of celebration in such tragic times for humanity. However, the great poet had something completely different in mind. That particular work was written in 1830 during the second cholera pandemic and Russia was in the midst of suffering. While in mandatory quarantine, Pushkin's little masterpiece praised the virtue of the human spirit, ready to withstand any calamity or misfortune.

Its author recalls another cholera outbreak in which he was directly involved. Chess also had a role to play in that story. The news that the cholera pandemic had invaded Odessa reached me in Buenos Aires in 1970. The articles in all the newspapers were terrifying and I was convinced that it was unlikely that I could see my hometown, my friends and the love of my life, who would later become my wife, at any time. However, having successfully concluded the tournament, I was surprised at the ease with which I returned to Odessa. The city welcomed me in an unusually serene and gloomy manner. There were no crowds of wandering tourists and the sweepers were running nonstop. I had never seen a summer so clean and desolate in Odessa before or since. The Odessa natives, normally carefree and full of life, were not discouraged even in those dark times. Not many local restaurants chose to stay open on those days, even when the wine flowed like water. People enthusiastically believed the advice of doctors who claimed that wine helped prevent misfortune. Today those days are behind us, even if we still remember them as

a symbol of love of life and optimism.

As the tournament we will talk about began in such an interesting and energetic way, this timid idea of writing a book soon morphed into a very persistent desire. The book before you is therefore a testament to my solidarity with my younger colleagues. The talent and courage shown by the world's best players at this time of global calamity is a testament to their strength and commitment.

As usual, I was assisted by my old and tried "Iron Friend", who we know as the computer engine. Without him, none of this could have been achieved so quickly. At the same time, my silent assistant was solely responsible for the rhythm, while most of the responsibility for the quality of the execution falls entirely on the author's shoulders.

~ The GM is Vladimir Tukmakov

Product Details

Data sheet

Product Type
Vladimir Tukmakov
No Pages
Year published
23.5 x 17cm



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