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🏆 World Championship Candidates (2011)

  PARTICIPANTS (sorted by highest achieved rating; click on name to see player's games)
Levon Aronian, Vladimir Kramnik, Veselin Topalov, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Alexander Grischuk, Teimour Radjabov, Boris Gelfand, Gata Kamsky

 page 1 of 2; games 1-25 of 48  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Aronian vs Grischuk ½-½702011World Championship CandidatesD86 Grunfeld, Exchange
2. Mamedyarov vs Gelfand ½-½392011World Championship CandidatesB90 Sicilian, Najdorf
3. Kamsky vs Topalov ½-½412011World Championship CandidatesB90 Sicilian, Najdorf
4. Radjabov vs Kramnik ½-½252011World Championship CandidatesD56 Queen's Gambit Declined
5. Topalov vs Kamsky 0-1312011World Championship CandidatesD85 Grunfeld
6. Grischuk vs Aronian ½-½222011World Championship CandidatesD37 Queen's Gambit Declined
7. Gelfand vs Mamedyarov ½-½402011World Championship CandidatesD45 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
8. Kramnik vs Radjabov ½-½612011World Championship CandidatesE06 Catalan, Closed, 5.Nf3
9. Kamsky vs Topalov ½-½372011World Championship CandidatesB90 Sicilian, Najdorf
10. Mamedyarov vs Gelfand 0-1392011World Championship CandidatesB87 Sicilian, Fischer-Sozin with ...a6 and ...b5
11. Radjabov vs Kramnik ½-½332011World Championship CandidatesD56 Queen's Gambit Declined
12. Aronian vs Grischuk ½-½592011World Championship CandidatesD97 Grunfeld, Russian
13. Grischuk vs Aronian ½-½172011World Championship CandidatesD31 Queen's Gambit Declined
14. Gelfand vs Mamedyarov ½-½242011World Championship CandidatesA43 Old Benoni
15. Kramnik vs Radjabov ½-½282011World Championship CandidatesD37 Queen's Gambit Declined
16. Topalov vs Kamsky ½-½582011World Championship CandidatesA15 English
17. Aronian vs Grischuk 0-1472011World Championship CandidatesA37 English, Symmetrical
18. Grischuk vs Aronian 0-1722011World Championship CandidatesD31 Queen's Gambit Declined
19. Radjabov vs Kramnik 0-1652011World Championship CandidatesC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
20. Kramnik vs Radjabov ½-½772011World Championship CandidatesD55 Queen's Gambit Declined
21. Kramnik vs Radjabov 1-0632011World Championship CandidatesE94 King's Indian, Orthodox
22. Aronian vs Grischuk ½-½612011World Championship CandidatesA04 Reti Opening
23. Radjabov vs Kramnik 1-0452011World Championship CandidatesC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
24. Grischuk vs Aronian 1-0492011World Championship CandidatesD37 Queen's Gambit Declined
25. Radjabov vs Kramnik  ½-½232011World Championship CandidatesD37 Queen's Gambit Declined
 page 1 of 2; games 1-25 of 48  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 151 OF 151 ·  Later Kibitzing>
May-26-11  frogbert: (ex-) candidate ratings, <after> the event, rounded:

1. aronian 2805
2. kramnik 2781
3. topalov 2768
4. mamedyarov 2765
5-7. gelfand 2746 (1)
5-7. grischuk 2746 (2)
5-7. radjabov 2746
8. kamsky 2741

who got screwed by the format? based on current form and strength, i think only one player - aronian.

in the (white) classical games he played he was very close to beating grischuk, and imho only failed to do so because of getting too few games to prove himself to be the stronger player in classical chess. gelfand beat grischuk - in his 3rd white game.

kramnik, while still on average a "better" player than the two finalists gelfand and grischuk, struggles too much to win games for the time being. and/or doesn't try hard enough. still, his chances would've increased with more games - simply because he's good!

topalov would also have profitted on more classical games, as it would make his somewhat risky style less vulnerable. but his current form is not top notch (amongst others witnessed by his downward-spiralling rating), and it was case in point when he failed to win his won 4th game against kamsky.

among the rest of the players, more (classical) games wouldn't be of very high significance for the outcome, i guess. it was an advantage for them compared to the previously mentioned players that the classical distances were all short here, and gelfand making the most of it doesn't look that surprising given his excellent wc record from 2007 on:

* qualified from wcc 2005 (6th place) to candidates 2007

* candidates 2007 round 1: defeated kazimdzhanov 2,5-0,5 in rapid tie-breaks, after 3-3 in classical games

* candidates 2007 round 2: defeated kamsky by 3,5-1,5 (classical)

* wc tournament 2007: came shared 2nd with kramnik, only beaten by anand (drew all 4 games against anand/kramnik, beat (a sick?) aronian 2-0, only lost 1 game - to tail-ender grischuk!)

* wcc 2009: winner!


however, in the 2008-2010 fide grand prix, gelfand did rather poorly - despite finishing shared 2nd with aronian in jermuk, only half a point behind the winner ivanchuk (8,5/13). overall gelfand finished outside top 10, and in 3 classical encounters with aronian in this series, he lost 2,5-0,5. aronian was the clear winner of the grand prix series (after carlsen withdrew and without the participation of kramnik/anand/topalov).

regardless of the obvious weakening of the grand prix series by the no-shows of some of the top players, i claim that pitching the grand prix winner against the 2009 wcc winner would've meant a <much better guarantee> for providing the toughest challenger to anand - in a fair and predictable way - than adding the anti-classical short knock-out "matches" of these candidates. i made the same argument 2,5 years ago: the incompetent, intrusive, contract-breaking changes made <during> the ongoing wc cycle back in 2008 would do <nothing> to improve the status and health of the world championship. quote:

<It can already be concluded that FIDE's handling of the situation only has increased the uncertainty regarding the ongoing and future WC cycles, quite contrary to the stated purpose.>

now that we've got to the end of this qualification cycle, who can tell us what the next will look like? right. only someone with a well-functioning crystal ball: everything's uncertain at the moment.

the only thing this dumb "match-like" format has going for it, is the "entertainment value" of the tie-breaks. the chess part of it was mostly very boring, and next time around (in the same format) it will probably be worse, assuming that the players have seen and learnt what kind of strategies that proved successful.

do ... not ... lose ...

May-26-11  Daodejing: "Combined Ages List" WC Chess

(excluding Steinitz Matches, Lasker counting as born 1869)

1910 Lasker - Janowski 83
1958 Smyslow - Botwinnik 84
1908 Lasker - Tarrasch 85
1921 Lasker - Capablanca 85
1934 Alekhine - Boguljubov 86
1963 Botwinnik - Petrosjan 86
2012 Anand - Gelfand 86

Don't know who "exactly" are the oldest,
but Anand - Gelfand are for sure close.


May-26-11  frogbert: of course, considering the list of excellent wc qualification results, <including the currently finished "candidates">, boris gelfand has very much earnt his eventual world championship final. and gelfand has done it through hard work and by playing chess. he deserves <total respect> for what he has achieved.

[personally i find it a bit sad that fide dumped the final "responsibility" for the matches being of lengths 4, 4 and 6 in gelfand's lap, thereby making carlsen's decision to drop out of the candidates final. as a last resort of getting a meaningful format, carlsen wanted 6 + 6 + 8 games and a break before the candidate final - but when the candidates were confronted with this "option", gelfand put his foot down against further changes. and i understand him, despite guessing that this mostly was a result of "professional" considerations on his part.]

the big problem has been the freebies passed around to various other (back-room) players during the past 5-6 years. now, when that's hopefully more or less out of the picture, it will be <very> interesting to see what will happen.

one question that we should demand an answer to asap: how will the fide <process> be for coming up with a plan for future world championships?

unless "someone" pitches this on a high enough level - and soon - we'll just experience one more time our world championship being reduced to another half-baked concept resulting from some random fide brain-storming session, announced to the public before anyone with an analytical cell in his/her brain has had a chance to comment on the presumedly ill-conceived plans. *sigh*

May-26-11  Daodejing: "All time Ranking":

1892 Steinitz - Tschigorin 98
1890 Steinitz - Gunsberg 96
1886 Steinitz - Zuckertort 94
1889 Steinitz - Tschigorin 92
1896 Lasker - Steinitz 87


May-26-11  jamesmaskell: Wikipedia says a Candidates tournament involving three qualifiers from this years World Cup, rating qualifiers, a nominee and the loser from Anand-Gelfand is the next cycle. Does this sound about right? Im guessing the grand prix cycle is only right for women (not complaining at all, the last cycle was very good to watch).
May-26-11  Troller: <frogbert> Would Carlsen have played if the matches were 6-6-8 games? I thought he had more objections than that.

The main problem IMO has been the introduction of selected players <after> the qualification had actually begun. FIDE gambled that Kramnik, Topalov & Anand would play the GP series, and lost. It was a stupid gamble of course, those three players already had stakes in the WC, why would they try and qualify for a match against themselves? (as it turned out, only Anand was correct in this)

I would prefer longer matches than 4 games - like everyone else here - but that said, 4 classical games are not exactly a coin toss, as some seem to think.

But very appropriate that one of the "true" qualifiers, Gelfand, went on to win here as well, doing away with 3 seeded non-qualifiers on his way!

May-26-11  drik: <Imposter: some useless but interesting facts. - the anand-gelfand match will be the first wc match between players not from the what was once (or would become) the eastern bloc (soviet union/eastern europe) since lasker-capablanca>

As a 17 year old, Gelfand became the 34th Soviet Junior champion, in Yurmala 1985. As a 22 year old, Gelfand won a gold medal for the Soviet Union, at the 29th Olympiad in Novi Sad 1990. So I think we can assume that he was from the Soviet Union.

May-26-11  frogbert: troller, as i think has been pointed out before: there was/is a difference between 1) the things carlsen has mentioned as general problems with wc qualificaton and wc cycles over the past years, and 2) the factors that eventually contributed to his choice for these candidates. what exactly constituted no. 2 i don't know, but participating with the current format was obviously something he didn't want to do.
May-26-11  SetNoEscapeOn: In the letter Carlsen wrote announcing he wasn't going to compete he said

<After careful consideration Ive reached the conclusion that the ongoing 20082012 cycle does not represent a system, sufficiently modern and fair, to provide the motivation I need to go through a lengthy process of preparations and matches and to perform at my best.

Reigning champion privileges, the long (five year) span of the cycle, changes made during the cycle resulting in a new format (Candidates) that no World Champion has had to go through since Kasparov, puzzling ranking criteria as well as the shallow ceaseless match-after-match concept are all less than satisfactory in my opinion.>

so I take those to be his reasons.

May-26-11  Mr. Bojangles: Though unexpected, the challenger may well be the toughest opponent for Anand right now.

Gelfand's progress towards the title has been solid and progressive since Mexico 07.

There is no worthy challenger outta da elites than Gelfy to Anand.

I can't wait for this tussle.

I make it 52%-48% in Anand's favour, nonetheless, I am rooting for Gelfy.

May-26-11  frogbert: sneo, i think you'll agree that it's possible to be unhappy about several things around something, while there at the same time might only be 1-2 issues that tip your decision in one or the other direction. i'm quite sure that's what happened in this case too.
May-26-11  bharatiy: With the current Elo difference, theoretically Anand should have +2 at the end of 12 games. I dont think the WC match had this disparity in recent history except may be Kramnik ( coming out of illness) playing Topa.
May-26-11  Imposter: <drik> also correct - i forgot gelfand was originally from belarus. well i was almost right about something.
May-27-11  M.D. Wilson: <shivasuri4: <M.D.Wilson:Anand will be 42 years old this year and has won exactly 1 super tournament out of the last 10 in which he has participated. Let that sink in, 1 win (Linares 2008) out of 10 tries. That's simply an absolutely dreadful statistic.>

And how exactly does that mean that he's weaker now than 10-15 years ago? Of course he's stronger now! Look at his rating!

May-27-11  hellopolgar: <Classical games>: Alexander Morozevich beat Boris Gelfand 7 to 3, with 11 draws. <Including rapid/exhibition games>: Alexander Morozevich beat Boris Gelfand 16 to 6, with 21 draws.
May-28-11  jhoro: yet another format proposal:

1) split the top 16 by ELO in two DRR tournaments
2) play the top 2 from each tournament in 6-game semifinal matches 3) play 8-game challenger final

- at least a month break between each stage
- use the most wins as 1st tiebreak in the DRR's
- use the most number of moves as white in all drawn games as 1st tiebreak for the matches

May-28-11  Blunderdome: <- use the most number of moves as white in all drawn games as 1st tiebreak for the matches>

So they can shuffle for another hundred moves in a rook ending? Ugh. If you make a player's interest to extend a drawn game indefinitely, you'll get a lot of nonsense. You could have an arbiter decide which moves were "real" but that would be wildly arbitrary.

May-28-11  jhoro: <Blunderdome>, agree. let's improve it a bit by counting only up to 40 moves. so if they play a 100 move draw they get 40 tiebreak pts only
May-28-11  Kinghunt: I don't think we should try and force elite GMs to play to please us. They're in it for themselves, and always will be. Rather, we should simply seek to alter the format such that by playing for themselves they produce entertaining chess. As such, things like the Sofia rules and "number of moves in white draws" aren't ideal solutions. They need something to motivate them to play for wins inherent in the format of the Candidates. In that regard, a tournament stands out as by far the best option. In a tournament, every game counts, and a draw does count against you, as your opponents won't all be drawing.

Now tournaments aren't exactly perfect either. Besides the possible collusion and "coasting" after a successful first half, picking a challenger by tournament just doesn't feel quite right. So I would favor a tournament to select either 2 or 4 players which would then play matches to determine the final challenger. Take the top 4 finishers from the World Cup, the Candidates finalists from the previous cycle (substitute ex-World Champion if necessary), and the top 12 players by rating. Split into two groups of 9 and have each play a double round robin. The top two finishers in each group qualify for the matches. The semifinals are 8 games each, and the finals are 10 games. You have to play to win to make it through the tournament to the matches, then the matches are long enough to provide meaningful results.

But sponsorship is hard to come by! Where are you going to get money for all these games? Well, I'm proposing a 16 round tournament, followed by 8+10 days of matches, 34 game days total (you could hold both drrs at the same time and place). This system had 6*13 = 78 game days for the Grand Prix, followed by 14 days of matches. See the problem? FIDE used too much of the available sponsorship on the Grand Prix series when they should have been using it on the later stages of the cycle. Cut the Grand Prix and you can use its sponsors for better purposes.

May-29-11  drik: <Kinghunt:> Jeff Sonas did some interesting statistical simulations on championship formats - However, when he spoke to top players they preferred to have destiny in their own hands (as in KO) but didn't like the instant death aspect. Taking on their feedback, Sonas came up with a double elimination format, which seems better than the current format -
May-29-11  frogbert: <we'll just experience one more time our world championship being reduced to another half-baked concept resulting from some random fide brain-storming session, announced to the public before anyone with an analytical cell in his/her brain has had a chance to comment on the presumedly ill-conceived plans. *sigh*>

turns out it had already happened:

read 'em and weep. then go cry some more...

Premium Chessgames Member
  amadeus: <frogbert>, are you suggesting that FIDE is not going to change the rules during this cycle? :)
Jul-16-11  lamont: <shach matov> ~

I/ve been re-reading all of
yr/ overheated dust-ups
w/ many kibitzers-of-note
--from May to present July.

Here is my honest assessment:

You are our own Greek
mythological 9-headed Hydra

If one head is lopped off
one (some say two) heads regrow

It took a Hercules to finally slay
that swamp-monster, <whose mouth had a stench that was fatal>.

--Speed the day Hercules returns !!

Until then,
I say ignore the damn Beast
& let him wallow in his own swamp

Jun-07-15  zanzibar: In the distant past now, perhaps a reminder of the scheduling, thanks to <ChessBase>:

The first matches are scheduled to be four games long, followed by the next matches to be played two days later. The time control will be 120 minutes for the first 40 moves, then 60 minutes for the next 20 moves and then fifteen minutes for the rest of the game plus an additional 30 seconds increment per move, starting from move 61. This does not include potential tiebreaks, which if not required, would allow a third rest day. The semifinals are also to last four games, and the finals will be six games.

In the event of a draw, tiebreaks are to be held on the rest day with four games of 25 minutes with a ten-second increment per move, and should there still be a deadlock they will play mini-matches of two games of blitz games played at five minutes with a three second increment. A maximum of five such mini-matches can be played to break the tie, and if after ten blitz games, there is no winner, a final Armageddon blitz game will be played to decide it. The Armageddon is played with five minutes for White and four minutes for Black, with a three-second increment as of move 61. In the event of a draw, Black is declared the winner.

In case that was a bit confusing, here is what it might look like if it went to the wire:

Four games at 40/2h
Four games at g/25 + 10 sec. per move
Two games at g/5 + 3 sec. per move
Two games at g/5 + 3 sec. per move
Two games at g/5 + 3 sec. per move
Two games at g/5 + 3 sec. per move
Two games at g/5 + 3 sec. per move (maximum five matches) Armageddon blitz

The official FIDE rules can still be found here:

and in a generic link (that should have the cycle dates embedded in it):

<CG> has separated off the final round here:

World Championship Candidates Final (2011)

but it just as well (maybe even better) been included here.

The final tiebreak rules looks slightly different from <Chessbase>'s description.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus: <<CG> has separated off the final round here: World Championship Candidates Final (2011) but it just as well (maybe even better) been included here.>

Should be merged. I'll skip this one too.

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