2013 World Championship Candidates
The 2013 Candidates Tournament takes place in London from 14 March - 2 April, with the winner earning the right to challenge current world champion Vishy Anand for the title.
The tournament is an 8-player double round-robin event, with 22-year old world #1 Magnus Carlsen the firm favourite to win. The venue is The IET at 2 Savoy Place, on the banks of London's river Thames, and the total prize fund is €510,000 (approx 665,000 USD).
All rounds start at 14:00 GMT, and the time control is 2 hours for 40 moves, then an extra 1 hour for the next 20 moves, then 15 minutes with a 30 second increment to finish.
So who are the Candidates?
Name: Magnus Carlsen, Country: Norway, Rating: 2872, World Rank:1, Qualified: by rating
The Norwegian superstar Magnus Carlsen is officially the highest rated chess player of all-time, and the heir apparent to the incumbent champion Vishy Anand. Aged just 22, Carlsen has set himself apart from his rivals with his enormous natural talent and sheer will to win.
It’s hard to see any weaknesses in his armour, but as the clear favourite in London the pressure on his shoulders will be immense. Ruthless in attack and resourceful in defence, will he fulfill his destiny and become Anand’s next title challenger?
Name: Vladimir Kramnik, Country: Russia, Rating: 2810, World Rank: 2, Qualified: by rating
Vladimir Kramnik stunned the chess world when he defeated the legendary Garry Kasparov to claim the World Chess Championship title for himself in 2000. Conveniently avoiding a rematch with Kasparov, he successfully defended his title in 2004 against Peter Leko with a last-gasp victory in the final game. Then came the acrimonious encounter with Veselin Topalov which spawned headlines for all the wrong reasons.
Since losing his title to Anand in 2007, Kramnik has maintained his competitiveness and undergone something of a transformation from a notoriously solid and cautious player into someone altogether more adventurous. At 37, Kramnik must be near his peak and represents a real threat to Carlsen’s chances.
Name: Levon Aronian, Country: Armenia, Rating: 2809, World Rank: 3, Qualified: by rating
Likeable and laid-back, Lev Aronian is a popular figure in the chess world, and a hero in his native chess-mad Armenia. Described at turns as a “diabolically talented lazy guy”, and a “coffee-house player”, he claims to have become more serious in his chess study over the last few years, which have seen him achieve his highest ever rating.
Aronian was the favourite in the last Candidates event, but crashed out in the first round to Alexander Grischuk. But in a recent interview Magnus Carlsen named Aronian as his most dangerous opponent in the London Candidates. Has the Armenian done his homework this time?
Name: Teimour Radjabov, Country: Azerbaijan, Rating: 2793, World Rank: 4
Qualified: as nominee of original host country.
Teimour Radjabov owes his berth in the Candidates to his status as the nominee of the original hosts, Azerbaijan, but as the #4 ranked player in the world, he richly deserves his place in the contest. He hit the headlines at the age of 15 by sensationally beating Garry Kasparov with the black pieces at the 2003 Linares tournament.
Ten years later his dynamic play - especially with the black pieces - has brought him close to the ultimate prize. Can he become the new ‘Beast from Baku’?
Name: Alexander Grischuk, Country: Russia, Rating: 2764, World Rank: 10
Qualified: Runner-up, 2011 World Cup
Never afraid to voice his opinions, Alexander Grischuk’s controversial quick-draw strategy with white at the last Candidates event left many fans angry and pundits declaring the death of classical chess. Only Boris Gelfand’s victory in the last game of the final stopped Grischuk from becoming Anand’s challenger.
This time around, the tournament format will prevent a repeat of that successful strategy, but Grischuk has nerves of steel and determination to match. None of his fellow Candidates will take him lightly.
Name: Vassily Ivanchuk, Country: Ukraine, Rating: 2757, World Rank: 13
Qualified: 3rd Place, 2011 World Cup
There is only one Vassily Ivanchuk! A man so obsessed by chess his opponents say he lives all by himself on “Planet Ivanchuk”. The unpredictable Ukrainian genius wears his heart on his sleeve, and can blow hot and cold from one tournament to the next. All of which makes him hard to play against and impossible to rule out of contention in any event. If he makes a good start to the competition and gets in a positive frame of mind he could be unstoppable.
Name: Peter Svidler, Country: Russia, Rating: 2747, World Rank: 14
Qualified: Winner of the 2011 World Cup
Affable and witty, Peter Svidler is a popular player on the chess circuit. A hugely experienced campaigner, Svidler has won the Russian national championship an amazing six times and qualified for this Candidates competition by winning the hugely competitive 2011 World Cup.
If he has prepared seriously, then cricket-loving Peter Svidler could be a force to reckon with!
Name: Boris Gelfand, Country: Israel, Rating: 2740, World Rank: 18
Qualified: Losing challenger to Anand in 2012 WCC match
Boris Gelfand came within a whisker of wresting the title from Vishy Anand when they fought each other for the title in 2012. Anand needed rapid tie-breaks before finally retaining his crown. Massively experienced, extremely solid and always well-prepared, Gelfand cannot be ruled out from qualifying for another tilt at the title despite being the lowest rated player in the field.
|Levon Aronian||-||Magnus Carlsen|
|Boris Gelfand||-||Teimour Radjabov|
|Vassily Ivanchuk||-||Alexander Grischuk|
|Peter Svidler||-||Vladimir Kramnik|
|Magnus Carlsen||-||Vladimir Kramnik|
|Alexander Grischuk||-||Peter Svidler|
|Teimour Radjabov||-||Vassily Ivanchuk|
|Levon Aronian||-||Boris Gelfand|
|Boris Gelfand||-||Magnus Carlsen|
|Vassily Ivanchuk||-||Levon Aronian|
|Peter Svidler||-||Teimour Radjabov|
|Vladimir Kramnik||-||Alexander Grischuk|
|Magnus Carlsen||-||Alexander Grischuk|
|Teimour Radjabov||-||Vladimir Kramnik|
|Levon Aronian||-||Peter Svidler|
|Boris Gelfand||-||Vassily Ivanchuk|
|Vassily Ivanchuk||-||Magnus Carlsen|
|Peter Svidler||-||Boris Gelfand|
|Vladimir Kramnik||-||Levon Aronian|
|Alexander Grischuk||-||Teimour Radjabov|
|Peter Svidler||-||Magnus Carlsen|
|Vladimir Kramnik||-||Vassily Ivanchuk|
|Alexander Grischuk||-||Boris Gelfand|
|Teimour Radjabov||-||Levon Aronian|
|Magnus Carlsen||-||Teimour Radjabov|
|Levon Aronian||-||Alexander Grischuk|
|Boris Gelfand||-||Vladimir Kramnik|
|Vassily Ivanchuk||-||Peter Svidler|
|Magnus Carlsen||-||Levon Aronian|
|Teimour Radjabov||-||Boris Gelfand|
|Alexander Grischuk||-||Vassily Ivanchuk|
|Vladimir Kramnik||-||Peter Svidler|
|Vladimir Kramnik||-||Magnus Carlsen|
|Peter Svidler||-||Alexander Grischuk|
|Vassily Ivanchuk||-||Teimour Radjabov|
|Boris Gelfand||-||Levon Aronian|
|Magnus Carlsen||-||Boris Gelfand|
|Levon Aronian||-||Vassily Ivanchuk|
|Teimour Radjabov||-||Peter Svidler|
|Alexander Grischuk||-||Vladimir Kramnik|
|Alexander Grischuk||-||Magnus Carlsen|
|Vladimir Kramnik||-||Teimour Radjabov|
|Peter Svidler||-||Levon Aronian|
|Vassily Ivanchuk||-||Boris Gelfand|
|Magnus Carlsen||-||Vassily Ivanchuk|
|Boris Gelfand||-||Peter Svidler|
|Levon Aronian||-||Vladimir Kramnik|
|Teimour Radjabov||-||Alexander Grischuk|
|Teimour Radjabov||-||Magnus Carlsen|
|Alexander Grischuk||-||Levon Aronian|
|Vladimir Kramnik||-||Boris Gelfand|
|Peter Svidler||-||Vassily Ivanchuk|
|Magnus Carlsen||-||Peter Svidler|
|Vassily Ivanchuk||-||Vladimir Kramnik|
|Boris Gelfand||-||Alexander Grischuk|
|Levon Aronian||-||Teimour Radjabov|
Look out for details of Chess.com TV coverage of the event at this page.
Place your bets ladies and gentlemen! Who do you want to win, and who do you think will win?
Photos where indicated by Ray Morris-Hill.