FIDE Candidates Matches 2011

FIDE Candidates Matches 2011

| 52 | Chess Event Coverage

The FIDE Candidates Matches start 5 May in Kazan, Russia. Eight players will fight for the chance to be the next challenger for Vishy Anand's world title.

The competition consists of a series of short knockout matches, with the quarter-finals and semi-finals being over four games, and the final over six games.

The time control will be 40 moves in two hours, followed by 20 moves in an hour, and then 15 minutes plus a 30 second increment for the remainder of the game.


The quarter-final pairs:

 Veselin Topalov (BUL) 
 v   Gata Kamsky (USA)
 Vladimir Kramnik (RUS)   
 v  Teimour Radjabov (AZE)
 Levon Aronian (ARM)
 v  Alexander Grischuk (RUS)
 Boris Gelfand (ISR)
 v  Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (AZE)

The semi-final pairs:

 Topalov or Kamsky     v 
 Gelfand or Mamedyarov
 Kramnik or Radjabov  v
 Aronian or Grischuk


If matches finish all-square there will be tie-breaks of four games at a rate of 25 minutes plus 10 second increment. If scores are still level there will be pairs of blitz games at a rate of 5 minutes plus 3 seconds increment. If the scores are still level after 5 pairs of blitz games, then there will be a sudden-death game (5 mins v 4 mins, with a 3 second increment after move 60).

The full rules and regulations can be found here at the FIDE website.


Clockwise from top left:

Topalov, Kamsky, Radjabov, Grischuk, Mamedyarov, Gelfand, Aronian, Kramnik.

veselin topalov-1.jpg Gata_Kamsky.jpg
vladimir kramnik39.jpg teimour radjabov02.jpg
Alexander Grischuk.jpg
Boris Gelfand.jpg



The re-introduction of candidates matches (albeit short ones) will be welcomed by most chess fans, but since they were thrown together out of thin air it's worth refreshing our memories as to how the players qualified to get this far.

  • Veselin Topalov (lost to Anand in the last World Championship match)
  • Gata Kamsky (runner up to Topalov in the last qualifying cycle)
  • Boris Gelfand (winner of the 2009 World Cup)
  • Lev Aronian (winner of the Grand Prix Series)
  • Teimour Radjabov (runner-up of the Grand Prix Series)
  • Alexander Grischuk (third in the Grand Prix Series)
  • Vladimir Kramnik (next highest rated not otherwise qualified)
  • Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (wildcard)

Magnus Carlsen had qualified by virtue of his high rating, but sensationally declined to take part and was replaced by Grischuk. Mamedyarov was the wildcard choice of the original hosts Azerbaijan, and he still keeps his place despite the controversial change in venue.

During discussions over the venue change, Veselin Topalov also stated that he would not be prepared to play a Russian player in Russia (citing the "unpleasant situations" that he faced in Elista in the 2006 match with Kramnik, the so-called Toiletgate affair).  So, if Topalov gets to the final and faces either Kramnik or Grischuk, there may not even be a final match!


The prize is a shot at the World Chess Championship, but if hard currency impresses you more: 

  • Quarter-final losers get €30,000
  • Semi-final losers get €60,000
  • Finalists get €90,000 each


Games start at 15:00 in Kazan, (11:00 UTC, 07:00 Eastern in the US, 12:00 in the UK). 

05-May Q-Finals Game 1
06-May Q-Finals Game 2
07-May Q-Finals Game 3
08-May Q-Finals Game 4
09-May Tie-breaks
10-May Rest Day
11-May Rest Day
12-May S-Finals, Game 1
13-May S-Finals, Game 2
14-May S-Finals, Game 3
15-May S-Finals, Game 4
16-May Tie-breaks
17-May Rest Day
18-May Rest Day
19-May Final, Game 1
20-May Final, Game 2
21-May Final, Game 3
22-May Rest Day
23-May Final, Game 4
24-May Final, Game 5
25-May Final, Game 6
26-May Tie-breaks



The official website for the candidates matches can be found at


Our poll currently puts Aronian as favourite (38%), followed by Kramnik (25%) and Topalov (20%) with the rest also-rans.  Will there be a shock winner? Tell us in the comments!

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