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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 Aleksandrov 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)  

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 131 OF 151 ·  Later Kibitzing>
May-17-11  culei: Something besides that all of them are numbers?
May-17-11  Mozart72: A FIDE960 is what we need today.
May-17-11  Refused: Number of moves played in Grischuk's games with white? :)
May-17-11  theodor: <Hovik2009>, I bet 100 to 1 you've lost at least 4000 in las vegas!
May-17-11  dangerhump: 960 is not the answer. Much of the enjoyment for fans is knowing the openings and being able to follow along.

Chess is far from "drawish" as proven by tournaments where there are great incentives to win. As my previous post, just look at recent tournaments this year (Tata Steel, US & Euro championships) where there were many decisive games and winners were +5 or so.

Besides, many of the draws are not the fault of chess, it's the fault of players or tournament format. Either they arrange draws prior to their games or avoid a fight because they don't want to risk a loss.

960 may temporarily eliminate opening theory but that is not the problem with chess draws.

As I mentioned, if the Candidates followed the same structure as US Championships and brought in 4 more top players (Carlsen, Nakamura, Ivanchuk, etc) I guarantee you we would not be frustrated fans right now.

May-17-11  Hovik2009: <theodor: <Hovik2009>, I bet 100 to 1 you've lost at least 4000 in las vegas!>

wrong!!, it seems you are not a good better so quit gambling for your own good man!, actually I won 5000$ long time ago(I think 1989) in Vegas being first in unrated or under 1800 catagory in American open, you could check the Sunday LA Times and USCF magazine for records, my first name is there, beside that me in Vegas and many other gambling cities that I have been so many times that I can't count and remember, but humbly said I am a very good card player and if I wasn't lucky to win I have never lost any substantial amount of money.

May-17-11  Anatoly21: A lack of quality chess and the whole forum starts to sound like a chessclub that just quit smoking: grumpy, irritable, and arguing about everything. Withdrawal is not pretty.
May-17-11  badest: <SteinitzLives: Those supporting the current format or advocating it for the future, like Grischuk, who really looks like he needs to learn how to shave, could use a bath (preferably using lye soap), and a visit to a tailor, (not to mention a good thrashing,) are yet more in the long line of oafish louts (or as Swift puts it, Odious Vermin)who should be on trial for chess crimes against decency and good taste!> LOL! ... however, Gris is still good enough to knock out Aronian + Kramnik ... God only knows what he can achieve if he shaves and takes a bath ... maybe he'll even beat Anand ;)
May-17-11  Everett: Lots of interesting posts, but so many pages to parse, I can't keep it all together. So here is just another opinion regarding various comments.

Regarding motivation: Kramnik and, if he stumbles in the finals, Anand are the only ones who can claim a lack of it, and rightfully so. Nearly every WC dropped from number 1 soon after winning the title. The lone exceptions are Lasker, Alekhine, Karpov and Kasparov.

Personally, I think Botvinnik's rep is tarnished because of his privileges. Related, many bemoan being robbed of Karpov-Fischer, Lasker-Rubinstein, etc., but what we also missed was Smyslov-Tal in '60, and any combination of Smyslov-Tal-Petrosian in '63. This is a loss for chess, especially since based on performance Botvinnik had no business being there any more.

A brilliant post mentioned the <Salov> "proletariat" view and the <Kasparov> "bourgeois" view. I like it. Carlsen and Bronstein would certainly agree with Salov. I'm not sure how I feel about it. I think, in today's day and age, it may come down to this question: Does the chess world benefit from having a CHAMPION, or just a Champion that changes more often. What format would be best for sponsors?

Which brings me to the advent of rapid, blitz, armageddon. I don't see it going away. Chess will have to be brought, kicking and screaming if need be, to the present.

Lastly, what's with all the "seconds" when computers are so dynamite now? I mean, what's with the ARMY of seconds? It's ridiculous, and in my eyes, somewhat unsporting.

May-17-11  dx9293: Chess has had a long history of players having seconds; in that regard, the end of adjournments in the late '80s/early '90s leveled the playing field some.

The reason seconds and (for people like Anand, Kramnik, Topalov, and most of all Kasparov), TEAMS are very important, is that there is so much work to be done, and no matter how strong Houdini, Rybka, etc. are is that they need to be lead by strong GMs.

Salov, the best technical player of the past 20 years, definitely was screwed by Kasparov in the 1990s, that is for sure.

May-17-11  blueofnoon: Some people insisted likes of Khalifman, Ponomariov and kasimdhzanov were not "classical" world champion as they often won in tie-breaks.

What can they say about Grischuk or (to lesser extent) Gelfand now?

Will one of them be qualified as the challenger of "classical" world championship?

May-17-11  VincentL: If two of Kramnik, Aronian and Topalov had got through, say without winning any classical games, would people be criticising the qualification format?
May-17-11  Imposter: <SetNoEscapeOn: The last time candidate matches were used to select a challenger for the undisputed title, Nigel Short beat Anatoly Karpov in the 10 game semi-final match....According to chessmetrics, he was world #10 when he played Karpov.>

Short was the exception to the rule, he was by far the weakest challenger since the War. Every other challenger under the old system fully taxed the world champion.

<On tiebreakers>

Suggestions for alternative tiebreakers with prearranged first moves miss the point, and are a bit too fancy by half.

Simply lengthen the matches slightly to 6-6-8 or 6-8-10, allow a break in between rounds of at least a few weeks, and if tiebreaks are necessary, simply use rapid games, and leave blitz out of the equation.

Rapid games should be 45 minutes minimum with 30 second increments.

This system would certainly produce much fairer results without having to resort to confected tiebreakers and won't blow out into months long matches.

The unlimited Kasparov-Karpov matches shouldn't cause overreactions in limiting the duration of World Championship matches, either in the Candidates or in the championship match. Rapid game tiebreakers are fine, blitz tiebreakers are not.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <VincentL: If two of Kramnik, Aronian and Topalov had got through, say without winning any classical games, would people be criticising the qualification format?>


May-17-11  queenfortwopawns: <refused> :)
May-17-11  SetNoEscapeOn: <Short was the exception to the rule, he was by far the weakest challenger since the War. Every other challenger under the old system fully taxed the world champion.>

Granted. But do you think it's a coincidence that he also happened to be the most recent?

May-17-11  Imposter: <VincentL: If two of Kramnik, Aronian and Topalov had got through, say without winning any classical games, would people be criticizing the qualification format?>

Absolutely, and they have been since as soon as FIDE altered the rules mid-cycle, contributing to Carlsen's withdrawal.

Check out the history of the Candidates at sites like to see just how effective the old methods were.

It's a different world now, and some adjustments are needed, but not that different that Candidates matches need to become mini-knockout tournaments.

Sponsorship dollars are becoming much more difficult to come by, and turning this most elite of cycles into such a dreary circus will definitely scare away sponsors, not only from the World Championship cycle (which has already happened), but from classical super tournaments thereby reducing the pool of full time professional chess players.

The flow on effects haven't been much discussed here, but they are important to consider in the context of the future of organized international chess.

My guess is that FIDE will continue to fail, with India and China stepping into the breach eventually taking over the game organizationally, commercially and professionally. I'll give it 30 years.

May-17-11  Imposter: <SetNoEscapeOn: Granted. But do you think it's a coincidence that he also happened to be the most recent?>

Interesting question. I'm not sure of the relevance of the timing to which you refer. What's your idea here?

Premium Chessgames Member
  OneArmedScissor: I really hope it goes to blitz games and Grischuk wins in the blitz phase. lol it would be so hilarious.

Then he plays Anand in the WC match and Grischuk wins in the blitz phase of that.

May-17-11  Refused: <SetNoEscapeOn: <Short was the exception to the rule, he was by far the weakest challenger since the War. Every other challenger under the old system fully taxed the world champion.> Granted. But do you think it's a coincidence that he also happened to be the most recent?>

Funny part is, Short was actually the last one to qualify by the traditional candidates matches. He defeated Gelfand, Karpov (!) and Timman.

Of course another round in the eternal battle Kasparov-Karpov would have been funny, but Short qualified fair and square, earned his spot. That he was so badly schooled by Kasparov was not necessarily due to Short's weakness but to Kasparov's strength.

On a further note, Grischuk himself said something interesting about the criticism on the format: <And Iíd say in general. Itís very fashionable to criticise the qualifying system Ė but if you go back to the origins of competitions, the Olympics in Ancient Greece, and so on. They started off in order to identify the strongest person. But now people pick out the strongest at the beginning, for example Aronian, and then if, god forbid, he doesnít win, the systemís considered bad.> (

And he has a point there. And that could also be applied to poor Nigel and his qualification.

Btw. has anybody seen any comments from Kramnik after his elimination, I bet he was pretty p... off over it. Would love to hear that artist and what to paint quote from him again. ;)

Premium Chessgames Member
  amadeus: "Soccer is like chess, only without the dice."
May-17-11  Imposter: <Refused>

Short definitely qualified fair and square, but did badly in the championship match. He's said himself on his player page that he played really badly (euphemistic paraphrase) in the first part of the match.

He was down 7-2 (+0 -5 =4) after the first 9 games, and that was the lead that Kasparov maintained for the rest of the match. The last eleven games were even, with one game each and 9 draws.

Short wouldn't have been the first player to lose form at a critical moment, and it speaks for the quality of the man that he picked up his game to hold his own against Kasparov for the second half of the match.

May-17-11  SetNoEscapeOn: Quite simply: as time goes on and the number of strong players increases, the chances of getting "the type of challenger people want" decreases, regardless of the format used. I think Nigel's qualification- though absolutely deserved- was sort of a warning shot about the old qualification system. Too much parity at and around the top. Of course computers have also helped to level the playing field.

This is especially if players were forced to qualify for the candidates via a large interzonal tournament. Like in recent Olympiads, I think we would see some very interesting results.

Maybe this is why people like <MrMelad> and <drnooo> want to bypass qualifying entirely and have Carlsen just challenge Anand for the world title. If the goal is really to get the strongest challenger, something like that might be necessary, short of going back to something like a "must win 6" format. Which will never happen.

You know, people talk about Carlsen's views, but ironically it was Anand himself who said "I think we should abandon privileges and just play normal world championships," well over a decade ago. Nobody wanted to hear it, though.

May-17-11  Mr. Bojangles: <God only knows what he can achieve if he shaves and takes a bath>

dirty Gris lol

May-17-11  BLarsen1967: <dangerhump><960 is not the answer. Much of the enjoyment for fans is knowing the openings and being able to follow along> That's true,but it's hardly exciting when 50 % of all openings rarely 'happen' - The Gambits. For the chess beginner gambits are hot stuff,then later one finds out that GMs only believe in 'boring' chess

Also,yes,960 might not be the answer,yet this same enjoyment of openings is now slowly coming to 960 too,we're going to see 1000s of books dealing with completely new and fresh openings,in the future

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