FIDE announces dates for Candidates Matches, but no new pairings

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
The World Chess Federation has announced the dates for the 2011 Candidates matches on its website. From 3 to 27 May 2011 the matches between the eight World Championship contenders will take place in Kazan, Russia. Interestingly, no new pairings (as a result of Magnus Carlsen's dropout) were communicated.

On the FIDE website the following statement can be read:

FIDE announces that the Candidates Matches to determine the challenger for the next World Championship Match will be held in Kazan, Russia from 3 to 27 May 2011.

The 8 original qualifiers are GMs Veselin Topalov (Bulgaria), Magnus Carlsen (Norway), Vladimir Kramnik (Russia), Levon Aronian (Armenia), Boris Gelfand (Israel), Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Azerbaijan), Teimour Radjabov (Azerbaijan) and Gata Kamsky (USA). In case of replacements, the 3 first reserves from the FIDE Grand-Prix 2008-2009 are respectively GMs Alexander Grischuk (Russia), Dmitry Jakovenko (Russia) and Wang Yue (China).

All the participants are requested to confirm their participation by returning their ATTACHED PLAYER'S CONTRACT signed to the FIDE Secretariat by 22 December 2010, 13:00 GMT, through fax or email and by registered post. The full technical regulations of the Candidates Matches 2011 are available on the FIDE website at the link

So finally the location of Kazan, Russia has become official - thus far it had only been mentioned in a Sport-Express report by Yuri Vasiliev. Back then (we're talking July this year) it led to some turmoil when Veselin Topalov said he wouldn't play in Russia. Later his manager Silvio Danailov changed this to Topalov “refusing to play a match with a Russian player in Russia, if that match is connected to the title struggle”.


As you know, the pairings for the Candidates matches are as follows:

Topalov vs Kamsky ( 1 vs 8 ) Carlsen vs Radjabov ( 2 vs 7 ) Kramnik vs Mamedyarov ( 3 vs 6 ) Aronian vs Gelfand ( 4 vs 5 )

As you also know, Magnus Carlsen has announced that he will not participate in these Candidates matches, to the surprise and disappointment of chess fans and several of his colleagues and the World Champion.

On November 10th a statement by FIDE Deputy President Georgios Makropoulos was published on the FIDE website in which Makropoulos announced that Alexander Grischuk will replace Magnus Carlsen:

"At this point in time, the current cycle is in its final stages and it is not possible for FIDE to change its regulations. In the case of GM Magnus Carlsen not participating, according to regulations GM Alexander Grischuk from Russia will be his replacement."

However, from the general phrasing of today's statement we may conclude that for the moment FIDE is hesitant to publish official new pairings (with Grischuk and without Carlsen). In fact it has been debated whether Grischuk replacing Carlsen is according to the rules. European Chess Union President Silvio Danailov recently said in an interview:

(...) [A]ccording to my knowledge, nobody can replace Magnus by regulations. Article 3. 3. 3 says that “Any player who withdraws after the 15th of May 2010 shall not be replaced and his opponent in the first round is declared as winner.” This means that according to the regulations Radjabov has to move directly to the second round. But maybe I am missing something, FIDE should know better.

And one of the candidates, Teimour Radjabov, also expressed his doubts:

I honestly don’t want to comment on it for one simple reason: it’s not an official decision at the moment. He wrote to FIDE that he didn’t want to play in the cycle, and so on, but I don’t consider that official. He hasn’t rejected the contract they’re supposed to send him. When he rejects the contract then I’ll genuinely be able to say something. But what if tomorrow he says “I’ll play”? Then what happens?

So again, and as Radjabov points out as well, new pairings haven't been published yet. In fact the players' contract explains that we won't see anything official before Febuary 4th, 2011:

After 22 December 2010, FIDE will announce the provisional list of players and the final pairings of the 1st round matches will be announced on 4 February 2011, after all possible replacements are made, if any (articles 3.3.1, 3.3.2 and 3.3.3 of regulations).


To a Western chess fan Kazan might sound like yet another small, unknown town somewhere in the Caucasus. However, in fact 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". In short, the city doesn't seem bad at all for a chess event.

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