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 ...