Daniil Dubov is out of the 2022 Tata Steel Chess Masters after a positive PCR test. His results to date will stand, with tournament leader Magnus Carlsen, joint 3rd placed Richard Rapport and Praggnanandhaa getting forfeit wins in his remaining games. That makes four forfeit wins, after Daniil declined to play his 7th round game against Anish Giri in a mask after a close contact tested positive. Magnus Carlsen, who plays Vidit on Friday and Fabiano Caruana on Saturday, is now even more of a favourite to win the event.
"Paraphrasing Gary Lineker, everyone plays chess, but they always discuss Dubov", said Ian Nepomniachtchi after the Round 7 forfeit, but there's no avoiding discussing Dubov some more. After that forfeit he tested negative for the Coronavirus and kept playing, making draws against Jan-Krzysztof Duda and Jorden van Foreest, before suffering an 82-move loss to Nils Grandelius in Round 10. That's where his tournament has come to an end.
We wish Daniil a swift recovery!
It remains to be seen how the remainder of the tournament will be affected. So far no more positive tests have been announced and, since Dubov had completed over half his games, his results will now stand, while crucially his three remaining games will be forfeit wins for his opponents.
Magnus Carlsen had earlier been able to tease Anish Giri about taking the forfeit win instead of, for instance, offering to play on the rest day.
He’s playing really, really well the last few days. He’s also showing tremendous will to win, picking up free points instead of playing games on free days, for instance, which shows that he really, really wants to win the tournament.
Now, however, that advantage has gone, and with one guaranteed win to come Magnus Carlsen's half-point lead at the top is even more important than it had already seemed going into the final weekend of the tournament.
The other big beneficiary is Richard Rapport, who now arguably becomes the second favourite for the tournament since he was due to play Daniil in today's Round 11.
Dubov's positive test will also be a headache for the organisers of the FIDE Grand Prix, due to start in Berlin in one week's time, on Friday 4th February. It remains to be seen if he'll be eligible to play and able to travel to an event where he was going to start in a pool with Levon Aronian, Vidit and Vincent Keymer.
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