Evaluating Ding and Caruana in the Madrid Candidates Tournament

2022 Candidates Tournament: Battle for a Chance at the World Chess Championship

The highly anticipated 2022 Candidates Tournament is set to commence in Madrid, where eight of the world’s top grandmasters will battle it out for a coveted spot in the prestigious World Chess Championship. With the opportunity to challenge the reigning champion Magnus Carlsen at stake, the stakes are high and the excitement palpable.

The Question of Carlsen’s Participation

One intriguing aspect of this year’s tournament is the uncertainty surrounding Magnus Carlsen’s decision to defend his title. Despite emerging victorious in the 2021 World Championship against Ian Nepomniachtchi, Carlsen has expressed doubts about defending his crown unless presented with a fresh and captivating challenge from his prospective opponent.

Carlsen has specifically mentioned Alireza Firouzja, a young prodigy, as someone who could potentially motivate him to engage in another match. Should Carlsen opt out of defending his title, the top two finishers of the Candidates Tournament will then contend for the coveted World Chess Championship.

The Odds and Contenders

According to the odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook, Chinese grandmaster Ding Liren is the frontrunner for the Candidates Tournament, with a favorable +200 rating. Hot on his heels is Fabiano Caruana, a former championship challenger, who currently stands at +250.

Chess legend Garry Kasparov also favors Ding Liren for victory in the tournament, pointing to the grandmaster’s impressive track record and exceptional gameplay as reasons for his prediction. However, Kasparov acknowledges that Caruana’s previous experience in the World Chess Championship makes him a formidable adversary to watch out for.

Another contender who has been making waves is Jan Krzysztof Duda, a young Polish grandmaster who has consistently delivered impressive performances in both live and online events. Duda, who expresses unwavering confidence in his abilities, has set his sights on becoming the world champion since his early years.

Alireza Firouzja, at a mere 18 years old (turning 19 during the tournament), exudes immense potential and promise. Although not considered the favorite this time around, many pundits and fans believe his time to shine as the World Chess Champion will inevitably come.

Hikaru Nakamura, an American grandmaster, has garnered a significant following through his popular chess streaming sessions. While he has spent more time engaging with audiences online, Nakamura’s exceptional skills led him to secure his place in the Candidates Tournament by winning the 2022 FIDE Grand Prix. Currently ranked at No. 11 globally, Nakamura has previously reached the prestigious No. 2 spot.

The Road to Victory

The exciting journey of the Candidates Tournament will culminate on July 5, when tiebreakers will be held if necessary. In addition to the potential to challenge Carlsen and claim the World Chess Championship, the players will also compete for a substantial prize pool of €500K ($520K), with the winner specifically receiving a base prize of €48K ($50K), as well as performance bonuses based on their scores.


As the world’s top grandmasters gather in Madrid for the 2022 Candidates Tournament, the chess world eagerly awaits the outcome. With Ding Liren and Fabiano Caruana leading the pack, talented contenders like Alireza Firouzja, Jan Krzysztof Duda, and Hikaru Nakamura are not to be underestimated. The ultimate question remains: Will Carlsen defend his title, or will a new champion emerge from this intense and captivating battle?


1. How many players participate in the Candidates Tournament?

The Candidates Tournament features eight of the world’s top grandmasters who compete for the opportunity to challenge the reigning World Chess Champion.

2. What is at stake for the winner of the Candidates Tournament?

The winner of the Candidates Tournament earns the right to compete against Magnus Carlsen for the World Chess Championship title in the following year.

3. Will Magnus Carlsen defend his title?

Magnus Carlsen has expressed uncertainty about defending his title, stating that he will only do so if his potential challenger presents an intriguing and stimulating challenge.

4. Who is the favorite to win the Candidates Tournament?

Chinese grandmaster Ding Liren enters the tournament as the favorite, closely followed by Fabiano Caruana, a former championship challenger.

5. How much prize money is at stake in the Candidates Tournament?

The Candidates Tournament offers a total prize pool of €500K ($520K), with the winner receiving a base prize of €48K ($50K) along with additional performance bonuses based on their score.

Doug I. Jones

Doug I. Jones

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