FIDE Publishes Candidates' Tournament Pairings
Candidates' Tournament pairings.

FIDE Publishes Candidates' Tournament Pairings

| 103 | Chess Event Coverage

In the first round of the €420,000 / $515,000 FIDE Candidates' Tournament, on March 10, the World Cup finalists Levon Aronian and Ding Liren face each other. The other pairings are Vladimir Kramnik vs Alexander Grischuk, Sergey Karjakin vs Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, and Fabiano Caruana vs Wesley So.

Last week other news took priority, but now it's definitely interesting took look at the pairings for the upcoming Candidates' Tournament. On February 9, the World Chess Federation published the full pairings on its website

This was in accordance with the regulations (here in PDF), which stipulate that the pairings are conducted in the FIDE office in Athens a month in advance.

An important aspect of these early pairings is that players from the same country are paired against each other in the early rounds (and also in the early rounds of the second half), to avoid any (suspicion of) collaboration. 

The background behind this measure goes all the way back to the Candidates' Tournament in 1962 in Curacao, where Bobby Fischer accused the Soviet participants of collusion: Tigran Petrosian, Efim Geller and Paul Keres drew all 12 mutual games in an average of only 19 moves.

This year the tournament has three players from Russia, and two from the USA.

2018 FIDE Candidates' Tournament | Participants

# Fed Name Rtg Rnk Age Qualification
1 Shakhriyar Mamedyarov 2814 2 32 Grand Prix
2 Vladimir Kramnik 2800 3 43 Wildcard
3 Wesley So 2799 4 25 Rating
4 Levon Aronian 2797 5 35 World Cup
5 Fabiano Caruana 2784 7 26 Rating
6 Ding Liren 2769 11 25 World Cup
7 Alexander Grischuk 2767 12 34 Grand Prix
8 Sergey Karjakin 2763 13 28 Runner-up 2016

The first round is scheduled for March 10 at 3 p.m. local time (9 a.m. Eastern, 6 a.m. Pacific). Below are the full pairings for the tournament. There are four rest days: on March 13, 17 and 21 and 25.

2018 FIDE Candidates' Tournament | Pairings

Fed Name R1 (10/3) Fed Name Fed Name R8 (19/3) Fed Name
Kramnik - Grischuk Grischuk - Kramnik
Karjakin - Mamedyarov Mamedyarov - Karjakin
Aronian - Ding Ding - Aronian
Caruana - So So - Caruana
Fed Name R2 (11/3) Fed Name Fed Name R9 (20/3) Fed Name
Grischuk - So So - Grischuk
Ding - Caruana Caruana - Ding
Mamedyarov - Aronian Aronian - Mamedyarov
Kramnik - Karjakin Karjakin - Kramnik
Fed Name R3 (12/3) Fed Name Fed Name R10 (22/3) Fed Name
Karjakin - Grischuk Grischuk - Karjakin
Aronian - Kramnik Kramnik - Aronian
Caruana - Mamedyarov Mamedyarov - Caruana
So - Ding Ding - So
Fed Name R4 (14/3) Fed Name Fed Name R11 (23/3) Fed Name
Grischuk - Ding Ding - Grischuk
Mamedyarov - So So - Mamedyarov
Kramnik - Caruana Caruana - Kramnik
Karjakin - Aronian Aronian - Karjakin
Fed Name R5 (15/3) Fed Name Fed Name R12 (24/3) Fed Name
Aronian - Grischuk Grischuk - Aronian
Caruana - Karjakin Karjakin - Caruana
So - Kramnik Kramnik - So
Ding - Mamedyarov Mamedyarov - Ding
Fed Name R6 (16/3) Fed Name Fed Name R13 (26/3) Fed Name
Caruana - Grischuk Mamedyarov - Grischuk
So - Aronian Ding - Kramnik
Ding - Karjakin So - Karjakin
Mamedyarov - Kramnik Caruana - Aronian
Fed Name R7 (18/3) Fed Name Name R14 (27/3) Name
Grischuk - Mamedyarov Grischuk - Caruana
Kramnik - Ding Aronian - So
Karjakin - So Karjakin - Ding
Aronian - Caruana Kramnik - Mamedyarov

In case of a tie, the following tiebreak rules will be used:

a) The results of the games between the players involved in the tie.
b) The total number of wins in the tournament of every player involved in the tie.
c) Sonneborn - Berger System.

In the unlikely event that players are still tied, a playoff will be played on March 28.

The tournament will be held in the Külhaus Berlin, a "factory"-style building that used to be a cooling place to keep foods fresh but nowadays is being used for art, concerts, and exhibitions. It consists of seven floors, of which five will be used during the tournament.

Külhaus Berlin Chess Candidates Tournament

An interior photo courtesy of the Kühlhaus website.

Tickets will cost from €20 to €40 a day, and tournament passes will be €170. VIP options will also be available. Following the match online will cost $15.

During the whole event, the Chessbrahs will bring you live coverage for free on both and with commentary by GMs Yasser Seirawan, Eric Hansen, Robin van Kampen and Aman Hambleton.

Their opponent in the desired world title match in November 2018, Magnus Carlsen, gave a statement on the candidates after his recent Fischer Random match:

"I am very much looking forward to it as a chess fan. I’m always interested to see what people have in store in terms of ideas and especially the last Candidates' there were so many twists and turns to follow so the only thing I am hoping for is that, last Candidates', I was down with a flu most of the time which was kind of miserable even though I could follow the event so this time I hope to be a bit fresher and then I can enjoy it even more."

Peter Doggers

Peter Doggers joined a chess club a month before turning 15 and still plays for it. He used to be an active tournament player and holds two IM norms.

Peter has a Master of Arts degree in Dutch Language & Literature. He briefly worked at New in Chess, then as a Dutch teacher and then in a project for improving safety and security in Amsterdam schools.

Between 2007 and 2013 Peter was running ChessVibes, a major source for chess news and videos acquired by in October 2013.

As our Director News & Events, Peter writes many of our news reports. In the summer of 2022, The Guardian’s Leonard Barden described him as “widely regarded as the world’s best chess journalist.”

In October, Peter's first book The Chess Revolution will be published!

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