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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)  

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  technical draw: <Third prize: You're fired?>

No third prize is a lifetime premium membership in but with the user name: Iamaloser.

May-25-11  PJ chess player: Gelfand has last chance to become world chess champion. Now or newer!
Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: In classical games, Anand has 9 wins to 6 losses and 27 draws.

The last time Anand defeated Gelfand in a classic game, was around five years ago.

Their last six classical games have ended in draws.

(According to the database.)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jim Bartle: Yes, and the last time Gelfand defeated Anand in a classical game was in 1993, if I'm reading correctly.

Still it looks pretty competitive.

May-25-11  VincentL: These candidates matches produced some surprising results, but there were few classical games before the rapid/blitz started. Gelfand will have to play many more classical games against Anand, and if the match does indeed reach rapid/blitz, I am sure Anand would be an even greater favourite in that format.
Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: Gelfand is no doubt aware of how formidable Anand is, and will prepare accordingly. Do I believe he can beat the Indian in a match?
No, but I think it will be a better match than some people expect.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jim Bartle: If anybody's worried about Gelfand being too dull and risk-averse, take a look at Gelfand vs Shirov, 1998. I saw this ranked as one of the top three of the 1990s on at least one list.
May-25-11  jamesmaskell: I've been a fan of Gelfand for a while, pretty much since I picked up the Petroff a couple of years ago. I like his solidity and I think a match with Anand could be very interesting with them both very balanced players.
May-25-11  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

- it will be the first wc match between over 40 year olds since lasker-janowski (lasker was 39 against the discrepit tarrasch) and

- the first ever wc match between over 40 year olds not from the former eastern bloc.

great country for old men.

well, some amusement has to be mined from this whole sorry series.

glad gelfy won though, he deserved it winning 2/3 of the results in the entire candidates series.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Petrosianic: <it will be the first wc match between over 40 year olds since lasker-janowski>

Not quite. You're forgetting about the second Alekhine-Bogo match.

May-25-11  bharatiy: A real match involving non soviet players would be between current no 1 and 2
May-25-11  bronkenstein: But No2 is ex soviet...Ah, you ment ELO No2 =).
May-25-11  Imposter: <Petrosianac> you're right of course. it'll still be a historic match. go old guys!
May-26-11  M.D. Wilson: Korchnoi improved with age (into his 40s, at least). So has Anand.
May-26-11  M.D. Wilson: <shivasuri4: <M.D.Wilson:Anand is much better now than he was 10-15 years ago. Anand will comprehensively beat Gris or Gelfand in 2012.> Weren't you the one claiming that there is no evidence that Anand is better now than when he played Kasparov in 1995?Sorry if you weren't.>

No, I wasn't.

May-26-11  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.>
May-26-11  shivasuri4: Doesn't the above post by you imply that Anand is weaker now than in 2000 or earlier?You seem to contradict yourself here.
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.
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