Grischuk replaces Carlsen; statement by Anand

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Today in an official statement the World Chess Federation (FIDE) has announced that Alexander Grischuk will replace Magnus Carlsen in the 2011 Candidates matches. In a first reaction, Grischuk said: "It's nice, I enjoyed his decision." World Champion Viswanathan Anand called Carlsen's decision "sad".

Here's today's statement by FIDE:


FIDE statement concerning the Candidates Matches 2011 FIDE respects that every player makes his own decisions and regrets that GM Magnus Carlsen has expressed his desire to withdraw from the upcoming Candidates Matches. It is always a big loss for any event when a player of Magnus Carlsen's strength is not participating. FIDE's policy is to review regularly the World Championship cycle after consultation with the top world players. 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. The match system for the World Championship has been in place for around a century with some slight variations such as in 1948 or 1999-2007 when round-robin or knock-out tournaments were also used to decide the world title. FIDE has always been sceptical about World Championship matches instead of tournaments. Ten years ago, FIDE established that the World Champion should not have any privilege when entering the World Championship Tournament (knock-out or round-robin), in accordance with the current suggestions of GM Magnus Carlsen. After 2007, FIDE discussed the format with a number of top players and many of them, including former World Champions Anatoly Karpov, Gary Kasparov and Vladimir Kramnik still preferred a match to decide the winner of the title instead of a tournament. FIDE accepted this change and returned to the classical system of a World Championship Match but without the privilege of the World Champion keeping his title in case of a tie. As a matter of principle, FIDE cannot change its regulations upon the wish of a single player, even if this player is the World Champion or the No.1 or No.2 of the world ratings. On the other hand, FIDE is always open for suggestions which can be applicable in the future and which would also support or increase the marketing value of the World Championship. Best regards, Georgios Makropoulos FIDE Deputy President


After his game with Mamedyarov at the Tal Memorial today we spoke briefly to Alexander Grischuk about the news. As he was learning about definitely being the new Candidate for the first time, he reacted in typically laconic style, "It's nice, I enjoyed his decision." Here's the audio clip:

[audio:http://www.chessvibes.com/audio/carlsenletter/Candidates Grischuk-32Khz-mono.mp3]

We also asked reigning World Champion Viswanathan Anand for a comment on Carlsen's decision. He told us that he hadn't had any advance knowledge and only heard from it in the media, and while he declined to answer questions on the matter he did issue the following statement:

"I understand that it is a personal decision of Magnus and he must have thought it over, but it's sad. The cycle has a clear direction and seems to have the pieces in place. We have the most probable venue and organisation for both stages and the match in London would definitely be a high point in chess, something I am keenly looking forward to. The candidiates by itself will be an extremely strong and very keenly contested event."
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