Two weeks ago, in New In Chess Podcast #13 (released March 29), Anish Giri previewed the Candidates Tournament in Toronto, drawing great enthusiasm from our listeners with his fine wit and expert insights.

In this week’s New In Chess podcast episode, Anish Giri returns to give his take on the first half of the Candidates. Interviewed by Dirk Jan ten Geuzendam, he candidly shares his assessment of the players so far.

After 7 rounds, Ian Nepomniachtchi, the winner of the previous two Candidates tournament, is in the sole lead. Understandably, Anish sees him as one of the top favourites to win the Candidates and qualify for the World Championship match. But he also speaks at great length about the other players.

Will top-seed Fabiano Caruana live up to expectations? Will Indian youngster Praggnanandhaa pull off an incredible stunt? Will Gukesh fight back after he lost the lead in the last game of the first half? Will Vidit treat us to more flashes of genius? And what about the wildly popular Hikaru Nakamura, who streams his round reviews immediately after the games? What will the motivational videos that he watches himself bring him? And whose party will Alireza Firouzja and Nijat Abasov spoil?

By the way, does Anish also follow the Women’s Candidates? (Less intensely, but yes, he does, and he has some interesting things to say!)

With 7 exciting rounds to go, listening to this podcast is excellent prep for the decisive half of the Candidates!

00:00 – Intro
01:35 – Anish’s experience following the Candidates so far
02:57 – Alireza-Gukesh (round 7)
06:25 – Nepo’s performance so far, games against Pragg and Hikaru
14:13 – How many points does Anish think the winner will need?
16:18 – Fabiano’s performance so far
20:52 – Gukesh’s play
23:03 – Pragg’s crazy combinations
28:32 – Vidit-Pragg (round 3)
32:29 – Could this be Pragg’s tournament?
34:20 – Vidit’s play thus far, his early win against Hikaru
37:20 – Vidit’s “meditation”, other top players’ rituals before games
43:24 – AD BREAK
44:04 – Hikaru jumping right to YouTube after a game, even a loss
48:30 – Anish’s dislike of post-game press conferences, his preference for Hikaru’s approach
52:32 – Alireza’s tournament
58:33 – Who does Anish favour, halfway through the tournament
1:06:23 – The Women’s Candidates Tournament