Candidates matches start in one week - who's your pick?

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
In exactly one week eight days from today, the first games of the FIDE Candidates matches will be played. In Kazan, Russia the first round will have Veselin Topalov vs Gata Kamsky, Vladimir Kramnik vs Teimour Radjabov, Levon Aronian vs Alexander Grischuk and Boris Gelfand vs Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. Who do you think will qualify for a match with Vishy Anand?

The matches, with the above pairings, will be played over four games. Two days after these matches end, the second round starts, with the winner of Topalov-Kamsky against the winner of Gelfand-Mamedyarov and the winner of Kramnik-Radjabov against the winner of Aronian-Grischuk. These matches will also consist of four games. The final match will consist of six games.

  Quarterfinals (best of 4) Semifinals (best of 4) Final (best of 6)
  1  BulgariaVeselin Topalov 0  
8  United StatesGata Kamsky 0  
4  IsraelBoris Gelfand 0
  5  AzerbaijanShakhriyar Mamedyarov 0  
  3  ArmeniaLevon Aronian 0  
6  RussiaAlexander Grischuk 0  
2  RussiaVladimir Kramnik 0
  7  AzerbaijanTeimour Radjabov 0  

Bracket courtesy of Wikipedia

Dates The dates for the Candidates matches are May 3rd-27th. Although no official message (nor a website) has been communicated by FIDE or the organizers since the official announcement of the pairings on February 7th, we may safely assume that the opening ceremony will take place on May 3rd, and the first game will be played the next day - exactly a week from today.

Update: we've found the official website at There we read that 3 May is the 'Arrival', 4 May the 'Players Meeting / Opening Ceremony' and 5 May 'Game 1, round 1'.

The drawing of colours for all the rounds will be conducted during the opening ceremony. The winner of these Candidates Matches will qualify to challenge World Champion Vishy Anand in a 12-game match during the first half of 2012.

Players Veselin Topalov qualified as the runner up of the previous World Championship. Vladimir Kramnik qualified by rating. Levon Aronian was the winner of the FIDE Grand-Prix 2008-2009 and Boris Gelfand was the winner of the FIDE World Cup 2009. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov was kept as the wild card, originally picked by organizers in Baku, Azerbaijan, before the event was moved to Kazan.

Teimour Radjabov came second in the FIDE Grand-Prix and Alexander Grischuk also qualified from this GP. The Russian replaces Magnus Carlsen who decided not to play early November, 2010. Gata Kamsky is in as the runner up of the Challengers Match 2009.

Time control The time control will be 120 minutes for the first 40 moves, then 60 minutes for the next 20 moves and then 15 minutes for the rest of the game plus an additional 30 seconds increment per move, starting from move 61. Tiebreaks will consist of four games of 25 minutes plus 10 seconds increment, two blitz games (five minutes plus three seconds) and one sudden death game (five against 4, with 3 seconds increment from move 61, and draw odds for Black).

Prizes The four losers of the first round matches will each receive a (minimum) amount of 30,000 euros. The two losers of the second round matches will each receive a (minimum) amount of 60,000 euros. The minimum prize fund for the final match of the 3rd round is 180,000 euros which will be divided 50%-50% between the two players (90,000 euros each).

Kazan The matches will be held in Kazan, Russia. It's the capital city of the Republic of Tatarstan is the sixth largest city of Russia. From Wikipedia we learn that it lies at the confluence of the Volga and Kazanka Rivers in European Russia. The Kazan Kremlin is a World Heritage Site and in April 2009, the Russian Patent Office granted Kazan the right to brand itself as the "Third Capital" of Russia. Besides, in 2009 it was chosen as the "sports capital of Russia".


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