Monday, March 3

Candidates Tournament 2014

World #2 Aronian
14th World Champ Kramnik
15th World Champ Anand

In the world of professional chess, a Candidates Tournament seeks to determine the next challenger to the reigning World Champion.  Over the years, this elite event has taken one of two formats: either a series of knockout matches or a traditional round-robin.  The 2014 FIDE Candidates Tournament features an 8-player double round-robin for the right to face Magnus Carlsen.  The octet will contest 14 rounds from March 13 to 31 in the remote Russian city of Khanty-Mansiysk

16th World Champ Carlsen
The 2771 average field consists of two former champions, four Russians and the current top three on the live ratings, excluding the #1 ranked Norwegian himself.  Two players qualified at the 2013 World Cup, two from the 2012-13 Grand Prix and two more by rating.  The final participants are the loser of the 2013 World Championship and a local player selected by the organizer.

  1. Levon Aronian 2830 (#2 ranked from Armenia)
  2. Vladimir Kramnik 2787 (14th World Champ from Russia)
  3. Veselin Topalov 2785 (Bulgaria)
  4. Viswanathan Anand 2770 (15th World Champ from India)
  5. Sergey Karjakin 2768 (Russia)
  6. Peter Svidler 2758 (Russia)
  7. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov 2757 (Azerbaijan
  8. Dmitry Andreikin 2709 (Russia)  
Seven of the world's top dozen Grandmasters will participate. Unfortunately, the top American, Hikaru Nakamura, did not qualify despite achieving several excellent results over the past two years.  And in light of the current events, it is fortuitous that no Ukrainian earned an invitation. 

Karjakin as dark horse?
Who will win?  While almost anyone could conceivably finish first, the smart money says either Aronian or Kramnik.  Each of the top four brings more than a decade of top level chess experience to the table.  The dark horse could be Karjakin, a talented and still young prodigy whose recent results have been inconsistent.  Please vote in the poll at the right side bar.

Don't forget to follow the action starting on March 13!  Depending on your schedule, watch the games live or play through the moves later.  Check out the official website or enjoy the Game of the Day videos at the Internet Chess Club (members only).

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