Candidate Carlsen?

Oct 25, 2011, 2:30 AM |

Candidate Carlsen?

The Quick and the Blind
Photo © G-Star Raw


The big sponsorship and media pulling-power of Magnus Carlsen looks to have finally won over FIDE, as they bowed to the Norwegian World No.1's demands to change the format to the 2012 World Championship Candidates rules that clears the way for him to re-enter the fray for a possible title clash.

The 2011 Candidates in Kazan a few months back was settled by knockouts that only served to make a mockery of the system, with many games controversially ending in short draws. Subsequently elite grandmasters supported him by voting for an all-play-all format; now FIDE looks to have succumbed to the mounting pressures by switching back to an eight-player, double-round all-play-all.

The all-play-all format clearly favors Carlsen as his tournament record is peerless while 14 games would give far less chance of a fluke result than four. "If the changes that are predicted come true, I am ready to fight for the World Championship title," commented Carlsen in a statement released through his manager on Thursday. Besides the change to tournament format, Carlsen will also have as a requirement a "waterproof contract", as FIDE was unilaterally changing the terms and conditions for the players with scant regard to their contracts.


Tournament Times Carlsen Grand Slams Chucky 

Carlsen Grand Slams Chucky

Vassily Ivanachuk may have been the Samba King in the first leg of the Grand Slam Final in Sao Paulo, but it was World No.1 Magnus Carlsen who single handedly stopped the Ukrainian from one of his best tournament performances ever, as he dominated the second leg in Bilbao to snatch the title from the Ukrainian after an exciting playoff between the two.

The omens started to look bad for Ivanchuk after a second crushing defeat at the hands of Carlsen in the penultimate round that left both tied for the lead going into the final round. And when both drew their final round games, the odds firmly moved to Carlsen for the speed playoff to decide the title, which he duly won with ease after a crushing win in game two.

Carlsen's overall performance gained the Norwegian more Elo points to extend his lead over Vishy Anand and Levon Aronian at the top of the unofficial live rating list. World Champion Anand almost had the indignity of finishing in last place, but his tournament was salvaged somewhat in the final round by beating Francisco Vallejo to climb out of the cellar.

Spare a thought though for Hikaru Nakamura, who can only reflect on how costly his mea culpa of inexplicably failing to make the time-control in the penultimate round against Vallejo. Had he won against Vallejo, Nakamura would have been sharing the lead in the final round with Carlsen & Ivanchuk. Not only that, it would also have seen him overtake Sergey Karjakin in the top 10 world rankings.

All the best game highlights from the Sao Paulo/Bilbao Grand Slam Final can be found in GM Alex Yermolinsky's Game of the Day selections below (three of which are free for everyone to view) and you can also find daily video coverage from the Grand Slam Final from Macauley Peterson now on the ICC Facebook page by clicking here.

Chess.FM will be back on the air next month with live commentary coverage from the Tal Memorial running November 16-25 in Moscow - and what a stellar lineup that will be, with Carlsen, Anand, Aronian, Kramnik, Ivanchuk, Karjakin, Nakamura, Gelfand, Svidler and Nepomniachtchi! Join ICC today by clicking here to reserve your ringside seat for all the best live commentary action from the Tal Memorial!