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    Entries in Candidates 2014 (29)

    Saturday
    Mar082014

    Top Players on the Candidates

    Here are some excerpts from Magnus Carlsen, Alexander Grischuk and other elite players on the upcoming Candidates tournament, on the interesting new chess portal chess24.com. I'll have more to say about the site soon, but it looks pretty promising - there are contributions from Peter Svidler, Viswanathan Anand (though his material is aimed for semi-novice crowd), Artur Yusupov (or "Jussupow" in the German spelling), Jan Gustafsson and other strong players.

    Sunday
    Feb162014

    Candidates 2014: The Pairings Are Up

    Since the Candidates' Tournament doesn't start for another month and the basic idea is that everyone plays everyone else twice news of the pairings isn't particularly exciting. What is a little interesting, however, is that a bit of anti-Russian paranoia seems to have reared its head, and - per the regulations - the four Russians play each other in the first three rounds of each cycle.

    Full pairings here.

    Sunday
    Feb162014

    An Anand Interview

    The Candidates Tournament is approaching, and fans of the recently deposed world chess champion, Viswanathan Anand, are wondering if he will finally put an end to his long run of bad form. In this recent interview he suggests that some strong changes are underway: "I am going through a phase of changing my game."

    I don't know if he can make the changes fast enough or if they are what he needs, but other players have benefited from such a shift. Vladimir Kramnik transformed his style in the year or two leading up to his match with Garry Kasparov, to great effect, and since losing his title in 2007 and the match to Anand in 2008 he has re-sharpened his play and given his career a fresh boost. Before Kramnik, Kasparov underwent a somewhat similar transformation through his early matches against Anatoly Karpov, developing into an all-around player who could handle technical positions almost as well as Karpov. Alexander Alekhine likewise made a strong, concerted effort in the lead-up to his match with Jose Raul Capablanca in an effort to become a better technician. So if this is the sort of work Anand is doing, it's a positive step - even if it doesn't pay off right away.

    (HT: Jaideep Unudurti)

    Wednesday
    Jan222014

    Anand Is In

    News is that Viswanathan Anand has made the pragmatic decision to play in the Candidates after all. A wise decision, as I argued earlier, and now at last the field is set. Here are the contestants for the 2014 Candidates tournament, the winner of which will play Magnus Carlsen for the world championship this coming November:

    • Levon Aronian 2824 (using the live list)
    • Vladimir Kramnik 2787
    • Veselin Topalov 2785
    • Viswanathan Anand 2773
    • Sergey Karjakin 2771
    • Peter Svidler 2758
    • Shakhriyar Mamedyarov 2757
    • Dmitry Andreikin 2709

    The tournament doesn't start until March 13, but we can start making predictions now. I'll say it's between Aronian, Kramnik and Svidler, and I'll predict that Aronian wins (not really going out on a limb there), Svidler is second (riskier) and Kramnik is third. Topalov might be in the mix, but I don't think Anand will threaten for first unless people repeatedly walk into some monster prep he has left over from the Carlsen match.

     

    (HT: Dan Parmet)

    Friday
    Dec272013

    Anand In, Anand Out?

    What in the world is Viswanathan Anand going to do, when it comes to the Candidates? No one knows (at least no one outside his immediate circle), but speculation is rampant as Anand one day seems to lean one way, only to lean in the opposite direction the day after. If you want a look at the latest round-up, have a look here. (HT: Ross Hytnen)

    Saturday
    Dec212013

    Candidates 2014: Anand Out, Caruana In?

    Maybe. In the latest issue of New In Chess Magazine, there's an interview with Viswanathan Anand shortly after his lost match to Magnus Carlsen. There he tells the interviewer, Dirk Jan ten Geuzendam, that he intends to play in the upcoming Candidates tournament in March of 2014. Dirk Jan seemed rather unconvinced by this, and now he seems to be leaning against playing (HT: Brian Karen).

    If he still has any aspirations to compete again for the world championship, skipping out on this seems like a big mistake. For one thing, qualifying for subsequent Candidates events from scratch is not going to be easy, so he should take the free pass while it's there. Second, he must still have a nice bank of theoretical work from the match that will still be usable. In time it will seep out in tournament and others will catch up, so he should use them while he can.

    Suppose then that he does drop out. Apparently Fabiano Caruana (send him back! [or now that he's 21, come home!]) is slated to take his place. I don't know if that's true, but he would be a very reasonable choice. Whatever the case, I hope Anand makes up his mind soon, as this would be an incredible opportunity for Caruana or whoever the replacement is, and they should have as much time as possible to gather a team and prepare.

    Friday
    Nov222013

    Viswanathan Anand Qualifies For The Candidates; Carlsen Fails To Do So

    With his performance against Magnus Carlsen, Viswanathan Anand qualified for the 2014 Candidates tournament, set for next March in balmy Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia. He will be joined by Vladimir Kramnik and Dmitry Andreikin (World Cup qualifiers), Veselin Topalov and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Grand Prix qualifiers), Levon Aronian and Sergey Karjakin (qualified by rating) and Peter Svidler (organizer's wild card pick).

    Carlsen will have to wait until next November for his earliest chance to qualify for the next Candidates event.

    Tuesday
    Nov052013

    Peter Svidler Selected as the 8th and Final Candidate

    Peter Svidler is a great player, but I'm still surprised that he was chosen by the Russian organizers of the 2014 Candidates' tournament as their wildcard selection. (HT to Daniel Parmet for alerting me to this.) Svidler just won his 7th Russian Championship, but rated #13 in the world compared to his fellow Russian and world #5 Alexander Grischuk, he seemed the less likely choice. Apparently, according to Chess Today's report on this interview, it was Svidler's strong performance in this year's Candidates' event that persuaded them to give him a second chance.

    With that, all the finalists for next year's Candidates' tournament are set. (Sort of.) They are:

    1. The loser of the Magnus Carlsen/Viswanathan Anand match.
    2.  Vladimir Kramnik (World Cup winner)
    3. Dmitry Andreikin (World Cup runner-up)
    4. Veselin Topalov (Grand Prix series winner)
    5. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Grand Prix series runner-up)
    6. Levon Aronian (Highest rated player not to qualify by other means)
    7. Sergey Karjakin (Second-highest rated player not to qualify by other means)
    8. Peter Svidler (Organizer's wildcard pick)

    Wednesday
    Oct232013

    Candidates 2014: Dates and Place Set

    As expected, the 2014 Candidates' tournament will be held in good old Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia from March 12-30. (HT: Chess Today)

    Who doesn't love Siberia in the spring? Brr.

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