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World Championship Candidates (2011)

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

 page 1 of 2; games 1-25 of 48  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. Aronian vs Grischuk ½-½70 2011 World Championship CandidatesD86 Grunfeld, Exchange
2. Mamedyarov vs Gelfand ½-½39 2011 World Championship CandidatesB90 Sicilian, Najdorf
3. Kamsky vs Topalov ½-½41 2011 World Championship CandidatesB90 Sicilian, Najdorf
4. Radjabov vs Kramnik ½-½25 2011 World Championship CandidatesD56 Queen's Gambit Declined
5. Topalov vs Kamsky 0-131 2011 World Championship CandidatesA15 English
6. Grischuk vs Aronian ½-½22 2011 World Championship CandidatesD37 Queen's Gambit Declined
7. Gelfand vs Mamedyarov ½-½40 2011 World Championship CandidatesD45 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
8. Kramnik vs Radjabov ½-½61 2011 World Championship CandidatesE06 Catalan, Closed, 5.Nf3
9. Kamsky vs Topalov ½-½37 2011 World Championship CandidatesB90 Sicilian, Najdorf
10. Mamedyarov vs Gelfand 0-139 2011 World Championship CandidatesB87 Sicilian, Fischer-Sozin with ...a6 and ...b5
11. Radjabov vs Kramnik ½-½33 2011 World Championship CandidatesD56 Queen's Gambit Declined
12. Aronian vs Grischuk ½-½59 2011 World Championship CandidatesD97 Grunfeld, Russian
13. Grischuk vs Aronian ½-½17 2011 World Championship CandidatesD31 Queen's Gambit Declined
14. Gelfand vs Mamedyarov ½-½24 2011 World Championship CandidatesA43 Old Benoni
15. Kramnik vs Radjabov ½-½28 2011 World Championship CandidatesD37 Queen's Gambit Declined
16. Topalov vs Kamsky ½-½58 2011 World Championship CandidatesA15 English
17. Aronian vs Grischuk 0-147 2011 World Championship CandidatesA37 English, Symmetrical
18. Grischuk vs Aronian 0-172 2011 World Championship CandidatesD31 Queen's Gambit Declined
19. Radjabov vs Kramnik 0-165 2011 World Championship CandidatesC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
20. Kramnik vs Radjabov ½-½77 2011 World Championship CandidatesD55 Queen's Gambit Declined
21. Kramnik vs Radjabov 1-063 2011 World Championship CandidatesE94 King's Indian, Orthodox
22. Aronian vs Grischuk ½-½61 2011 World Championship CandidatesA04 Reti Opening
23. Radjabov vs Kramnik 1-045 2011 World Championship CandidatesC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
24. Grischuk vs Aronian 1-049 2011 World Championship CandidatesD37 Queen's Gambit Declined
25. Radjabov vs Kramnik  ½-½23 2011 World Championship CandidatesD37 Queen's Gambit Declined
 page 1 of 2; games 1-25 of 48  PGN Download
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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 68 OF 151 ·  Later Kibitzing>
May-10-11  Rachit: I think the current system of having 8 players to play a knockout tournament and decide a challenger for WC is very appropriate. Surely there can be some improvements on 1. how these 8 players are chosen and 2. the number and format of this knockout tournament. For first part currently there are 4 types of people getting birth in the top 8. They are winners of World Cup, winners and runners up of FIDE Grand Prix, 2 highest rated players, looser of challenger match and looser of the world chess championship. Of these World cup is very important because this tournament essentially gives a wide spectrum of players the chance to go for the WC championship. FIDE grand Prix on the other end is a very long cycle and can be replaced by something shorter and smarter. FIDE rating is also a good criteria since it ensures players who have maintained high ratings over all are seeded higher. But the last two category (looser of challenger match: kamasky, looser of the world chess championship: topolov) are entries which is because of the mess that fide (or someone else) has created and has to now take care of. Hopefully when these two entries are removed and some smartening of the FIDE grand prix has been done then we will have a very fair, efficient and standardized format for choosing WC candidates. Regarding the Point on the number and format of this knockout tournament,i think it is by and large Okie given that a four classical and four rapid matches cannot be called very few. One can surely ask for more but then there has to be a cap somewhere, and ofcourse FIDE will have issues like money/accomodation/players interests in longer matches/ audience injterests in longer matches etc etc.
May-10-11  khursh: What makes this format sick, is it's impact on players strategy. When a player decide to draw Classical matches to try winning on rapids and blitz. Grischuk is unbelievably talented player, and I am sure we could see really interesting fight if there were longer classical matches. But the format said "Hey Grischuk, you are really stronger player at fast controls, so don't try to win in classical games"
May-10-11  WiseWizard: <Rachit: FIDE rating is also a good criteria since it ensures players who have maintained high ratings over all are seeded higher.>

In essence we are using Elo rating to eliminate players. So when they selected the 2 highest rated players the 3-4 players were eliminated just by elo. The candidates matches show clearly that elo doesn't mean a thing once the pieces start moving. If we are picking the top 8 based on elo, why stop there? Why not pick the top 4 based on elo? the top 2? In this system we should just give the highest Elo the championship every year.

This is why it is critical to not base it on Elo rating. They should all start at zero, you get a point for a win, half for a draw. Top 4 point earners play elimination matches.

In order to have a fair, organized selection process for the World Championship match we must start all the way at the bottom every player starts from zero and earns his spot. The Zonal system is closest to the ideal.

May-10-11  WiseWizard: <Khursh> Aronian was Blitz WC and 1st overall in the Rapid (Melody- Amber) Tournament.

If they are equal in classical, but Grischuk is better in rapids/blitz, Grischuk is a stronger player and he deserves to advance.

May-10-11  blueofnoon: <The candidates matches show clearly that elo doesn't mean a thing once the pieces start moving.>

This is a questionable statement to say the least.

In round robin format, it's hard to imagine Kamsky or Gelfand would score better than Aronian.

Kasimdhzanov did beat Ivanchuk, Grischuk, Topalov and Adams to win the FIDE title in 2004, but who think he is the better player than those 4?

Like it or not, ratings work pretty well. It's this knockout thing we should get rid of.

May-10-11  WiseWizard: <blueofnoon: Kasimdhzanov did beat Ivanchuk, Grischuk, Topalov and Adams to win the FIDE title in 2004, but who think he is the better player than those 4?>

If they were the better player why couldn't they beat him?

May-10-11  Valmy: Oh yea guys, we should do the same in soccer or boxing, a 8 game match in quarter final and then a 12 game match in semi final and at least a 20 game match in the final...
May-10-11  blueofnoon: Are you trying to argue for the sake of argument?

Of course, Kasimdzhanov is a very good player, no doubt about that.

However, how many times did he win super tournaments? Did he ever reach top 5?

If Kasim is better than, or at least in the same league with likes of Topalov, Ivanchuk, etc why doesn't he get an invitation from super tournaments at all?

It's not Grischuk's fault that the format of this tournament is bizarre. However, FIDE definitely needs to build a better system to choose challenger to Anand.

May-10-11  ksr: Nobody thought Bangladesh was better than England in the world cup, but they did beat them. Kenya was (and is) certainly much poorer than West Indies , when they beat them.

Once Leander Paes ended by beating Goran Ivanisevic ,no body will ever think Inanisevic was weaker.

Upsets do happen. It does not matter who is better player, all that matters who played better in the game or match.

Not always can the format be used to justify the upset. In the 2004 match Kasimzhanov played stronger than Topalov . Period.

Topalov played incredible strong in 2005,but that does not mean Topalov played stronger in 2004.

May-10-11  drik: <WiseWizard: The players devote their lives to this and deserve the right compensation. The games must become copyrighted by law >

...but clearly not the book openings or the endings; just the middle bit. Do I get my money back if it ends in a hackneyed Philidor Mate?

May-10-11  WiseWizard: Maybe he didn't do any of those things but he was able to beat the players who did in a match. So what does that say to you? We have seen Topalov and Ivanchuk turn to waffles under pressure, and neither Grischuk or Adams are pillars of might.

<In round robin format, it's hard to imagine Kamsky or Gelfand would score better than Aronian.> Interesting, how does Aronian fare in match format though?

May-10-11  WiseWizard: <drik:...but clearly not the book openings or the endings; just the middle bit. Do I get my money back if it ends in a hackneyed Philidor Mate?>

No.

May-10-11  Rachit: <WiseWizard><In essence we are using Elo rating to eliminate players. So when they selected the 2 highest rated players the 3-4 players were eliminated just by elo. The candidates matches show clearly that elo doesn't mean a thing once the pieces start moving.> Elo does mean something because its computed on how much you have been winning and loosing over a much bigger period. Something like playing a very long match with everyone out there. Plus choosing the highest players does not disqualify others, as they have other ways to reach the candidates through Grand Prix or through World Cup. So in short you can say that to qualify for top 8 following criteria is applicable: if you have been amongst the best performers for a pretty long period (ELO), you qualify for Candidates. If you are amongst the top players in world but not the best two on rating... please participates and win in FIDE Grand Prix where you will meet only other high quality players as yourself. And if you are not really amongst the best but you think you still have the potential then you you have to go through the world cup where you have to qualify through a much bigger maze of players and survive numerous knockout duels. So in essense the world championships gives everyone a chance, but the the further you are away from the top odds are harder.
May-10-11  blueofnoon: <Upsets do happen. It does not matter who is better player, all that matters who played better in the game or match.>

Well, I have beaten quite a few number of FIDE titled players in online blitz. But unfortunately for me, nobody ever said I am a better player than them.

This fact alone confirms that vast majority of chess players and fans believe there are appropriate and inappropriate formats for the game of chess.

FIDE KO was a fail, or why did FIDE themselves decided to change the format? I bet they will modify the format of candidate tournament in next cycle again, hopefully for the right direction.

May-10-11  drik: <Peligroso Patzer: <ughaibu: Matches have been decided by spins of a roulette wheel, how can blitz be worse than that?> Roulette bears a closer resemblance to real chess than does "blitz" so-called chess.>

Really? I'm confident that we could beat Kasparov at roulette half the time ... could we beat him at blitz chess half the time?

May-10-11  WiseWizard: <Rachit> Very good point. There are opportunities out there for the players and their selection was fair.

Although Kramnik was selected based on elo. If he was forced to play in lower rated tournaments and lost to these lower rated players his rating would not be as high. Since he only plays in the high rated tournaments he doesn't lose as many points for a loss. His elo rating is skewed because of this.

He almost lost the match to Radjabov who is 36 elo points lower, and Radjabov was only the runner-up in Grand Prix.

If Kramnik competed in the Grand Prix we don't know if he would have even placed in top 10, if so he wouldn't even be in the Candidates Matches. This is unfair to all the players who competed in that tournament.

This is why I feel that all players should start from the same place at zero points. We do away with Elo, give 1 point for a win and half for a draw. After 3 years the top 4 players play elimination matches to decide the World Championship.

May-10-11  WiseWizard: Just think of the fighting chess that kind of format would produce.
May-10-11  cbpatzer: tiebreak Kram - Radja including the blitz http://videos.chessdom.com/kramnik-...
May-10-11  WiseWizard: <blueofnoon: Well, I have beaten quite a few number of FIDE titled players in online blitz. But unfortunately for me, nobody ever said I am a better player than them.>

In that game you were and thats my point, elo was irrelevant.

May-10-11  WiseWizard: After 2012, It's time for a revolution in Chess.
May-10-11  khursh: <WiseWizard: <Khursh> Aronian was Blitz WC and 1st overall in the Rapid (Melody- Amber) Tournament.

If they are equal in classical, but Grischuk is better in rapids/blitz, Grischuk is a stronger player and he deserves to advance.>

1. They are not equal in Classical. It's not difficult for a person who understands chess to look at their games to grab it. 2. Blitz WC is decided in a different format.
3. Rapid and blitz is a lottery, when we talk about players of these caliber. If you are a person who judges <a stronger player> based on <in rapids/blitz> then we have very different criteria and this discussion is pointless. 4. I have only one point. A player can have a strategy to draw classical games and try lottery. And this format says "do it if you don't believe in your strength in classical game".

May-10-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: It is absolutely wide open, no clear favorite among the final four.

I checked PaddyPower, no line on the chess matches. Maybe they will cover the match with Anand.

May-10-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  dangerhump: <wizewizard> My point is that Aronian was the only one to have winning chances. Yes, I realize he didn't for various reasons but time was not one of them. In fact, in game three he had a hour of time advantage. At no point was Aronian ever in any danger whereas Grishuk was lucky that Aronian misplayed his advantage to go "back to equal". Aronian, during classical part, demonstrated his control.
May-10-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: So Kramnik-Radjabov was the ONLY quarter-final match won by the higher-rated player. It's grotesque IMO to have matches of such importance decided by rapid and blitz games. I would much rather see a double-round candidates tournament at normal time controls than this farce.
May-10-11  Imposter: Here's my 0.02.

Any format requires a strategic approach for which every player could prepare beforehand. But, the shortness of the match means that vagaries have a proportionately bigger chance of influencing the outcome, eg: the clock incident, the use of rapid and blitz and especially armageddon to decide matches at the highest level. Every mistake becomes magnified and every lost game potentially catastrophic, all of which combine to produce chess of less than the highest quality.

Of the sixteen games in the first round, only two were decisive. They were classic games, but an 87.5% draw rate is not conducive to interesting chess news or to attracting sponsorship dollars.

Players must feel free to express their fullest talents, and take some chances. If they make mistakes, and lose a game or two, they should have the opportunity to recover and display their fighting spirit.

The current format shows how stilted the chess has become.

The best of 12 for Candidates matches that was de rigeur for many years produced beautiful fighting chess and many classic games.

So if mini matches are to be the go, they should be played on a round robin basis as was the case in the late fifties...this truly produced both good chess and worthy challengers.

If round robin match tournaments are rejected then longer matches should be restored with a decent interval between the rounds.

For example why couldn't the first round of four matches be a best of 12 with the semi finals played a month later to allow players time to rest and recover. The final could then be played one-three months later and still not impact the actual World Championship match, and would still allow the challenger to rest up and prepare for the big one.

It would probably attract more interest and sponsorship dollars as the chess would be less inhibited, although FIDE would need to hire a marketing firm to promote the game on a world wide basis as they're utterly hopeless at this critical task.

For prize money and venues to become increasingly dependent upon the whack job that is running the international game into the ground is a situation too gruesome to continue...unfortunately, that is exactly what is almost certain to happen.

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