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🏆 World Championship Candidates (2011)

  PARTICIPANTS (sorted by highest achieved rating; click on name to see player's games)
Levon Aronian, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Vladimir Kramnik, Veselin Topalov, Alexander Grischuk, Teimour Radjabov, Boris Gelfand, Gata Kamsky Chess Event Description
World Championship Candidates (2011)

The 2011 FIDE Candidates tournament was an eight-player knockout held in Kazan, Russia, 5-25 May 2011. The winner would earn the right to challenge World Champion Viswanathan Anand in 2012. The participants were the loser of the Anand - Topalov World Championship Match (2010) (Topalov), the three best players in the FIDE Grand Prix series 2008–2010 (Aronian, Radjabov and Grischuk, the latter replacing the rating-qualified Magnus Carlsen, who had withdrawn), the next highest rated player (Kramnik), the winner of World Cup (2009) (Gelfand), the loser of the Topalov - Kamsky Candidates Final (2009) (Kamsky), and one player nominated by the organizer (Mamedyarov). The quarter- and semifinals were of four Classical games, and the final was of six Classical games. If equal, there would be played four 25+10 Rapid tiebreak games, followed if necessary by up to five pairs of 3+2 Blitz games and an Armageddon game. Time control (Classical): 120 minutes for the first 40 moves and 60 more minutes for the next 20, followed by 15 more minutes for the rest of the game, with 30 seconds added per move starting from move 61. Prize fund: min. €420,000, with min. €90,000 to each of the finalists. Chief organizer: Franca Dapiran. Chief arbiter: Ignatius Leong.

Boris Gelfand beat Alexander Grischuk in the final and qualified for the Anand - Gelfand World Championship Match (2012).

Quarterfinals 5-9 May Semifinals 12-16 May Final 19-21 and 23-25 May

Gelfand ½½1½ ---- -- -- -- -- -- - 2½ Mamedyarov ½½0½ ---- -- -- -- -- -- - 1½ Gelfand ½½½½ ½½01 11 -- -- -- -- - 6 Kamsky ½½½½ ½½10 00 -- -- -- -- - 4 Kamsky ½1½½ ---- -- -- -- -- -- - 2½ Topalov ½0½½ ---- -- -- -- -- -- - 1½ Gelfand ½½½½½1 ---- -- -- -- -- -- - 3½ Grischuk ½½½½½0 ---- -- -- -- -- -- - 2½ Grischuk ½½½½ 10½1 -- -- -- -- -- - 4½ Aronian ½½½½ 01½0 -- -- -- -- -- - 3½ Grischuk ½½½½ ½½½½ 1½ -- -- -- -- - 5½ Kramnik ½½½½ ½½½½ 0½ -- -- -- -- - 4½ Kramnik ½½½½ ½½½½ 01 11 -- -- -- - 7 Radjabov ½½½½ ½½½½ 10 00 -- -- -- - 5

Official site:
Mark Weeks:
ChessBase 1:
ChessBase 2:
ChessBase 3:
Wikipedia article: World Chess Championship 2012#Candidates Tournament

Previous: Topalov - Kamsky Candidates Final (2009). Next: World Championship Candidates (2013)

 page 1 of 3; games 1-25 of 54  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Kamsky vs Topalov ½-½412011World Championship CandidatesB90 Sicilian, Najdorf
2. Mamedyarov vs Gelfand ½-½392011World Championship CandidatesB90 Sicilian, Najdorf
3. Radjabov vs Kramnik ½-½252011World Championship CandidatesD56 Queen's Gambit Declined
4. Aronian vs Grischuk ½-½702011World Championship CandidatesD86 Grunfeld, Exchange
5. Grischuk vs Aronian ½-½222011World Championship CandidatesD37 Queen's Gambit Declined
6. Gelfand vs Mamedyarov ½-½402011World Championship CandidatesD45 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
7. Topalov vs Kamsky 0-1312011World Championship CandidatesD85 Grunfeld
8. Kramnik vs Radjabov ½-½612011World Championship CandidatesE06 Catalan, Closed, 5.Nf3
9. Radjabov vs Kramnik ½-½332011World Championship CandidatesD56 Queen's Gambit Declined
10. Aronian vs Grischuk ½-½592011World Championship CandidatesD97 Grunfeld, Russian
11. Mamedyarov vs Gelfand 0-1392011World Championship CandidatesB87 Sicilian, Fischer-Sozin with ...a6 and ...b5
12. Kamsky vs Topalov ½-½372011World Championship CandidatesB90 Sicilian, Najdorf
13. Grischuk vs Aronian ½-½172011World Championship CandidatesD31 Queen's Gambit Declined
14. Topalov vs Kamsky ½-½582011World Championship CandidatesA15 English
15. Kramnik vs Radjabov ½-½282011World Championship CandidatesD37 Queen's Gambit Declined
16. Gelfand vs Mamedyarov ½-½242011World Championship CandidatesA43 Old Benoni
17. Kramnik vs Radjabov ½-½252011World Championship CandidatesD31 Queen's Gambit Declined
18. Aronian vs Grischuk ½-½612011World Championship CandidatesA04 Reti Opening
19. Kramnik vs Radjabov 1-0632011World Championship CandidatesE94 King's Indian, Orthodox
20. Kramnik vs Radjabov ½-½772011World Championship CandidatesD55 Queen's Gambit Declined
21. Kramnik vs Radjabov 1-0802011World Championship CandidatesA13 English
22. Radjabov vs Kramnik 0-1652011World Championship CandidatesC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
23. Grischuk vs Aronian 0-1722011World Championship CandidatesD31 Queen's Gambit Declined
24. Radjabov vs Kramnik ½-½392011World Championship CandidatesD37 Queen's Gambit Declined
25. Grischuk vs Aronian 1-0492011World Championship CandidatesD37 Queen's Gambit Declined
 page 1 of 3; games 1-25 of 54  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  alexmagnus: <APatzer> It is exactly equivalent to the traditional scoring system :))
May-30-11  achk: <frogbert: no hurry. there's supposed to be a world championship final in 2013 as well. with a new challenger.>

Ok, it may be good news after all. It is very likely that the 2013 match will be delayed (like Kamsky-Topalov, Anand-Topalov, Anand-challenger 2011 (in fact 2012), candidates and so on), so in fact it may be played right in time - in 2014. :P

May-30-11  drik: <I play the Fred: I have to emphasize this in saying it for the third time: For What it's Worth.>

Point taken - but perhaps it could be worth more with a little additional editing? How about counting the instances where the champion defended against the best possible opponent? Lasker's matches against Marshall & Janowski can be discounted as can Alekhine's against Bogolubov. After all Kasparov won exhibition matches against Andersson, Timman & Miles.

May-30-11  SetNoEscapeOn: <drik>

I think if you continue down that road, you'll soon find the wisdom in <I play the Fred>'s "I know it's not that important but here's the data" approach.

May-30-11  kia0708: very interesting analysis of the last game by a grand master is here:
May-31-11  Sokrates: <I play the Fred: I have to emphasize this in saying it for the third time:> It's okay, we've got your point. Interesting statistics, thank you for composing it. However, it's also quite useless, since quality not quantity is of the essence here. As noted by <drik:> matches aren't just matches.

Botvinnik, low on the list, had to face some geniuses of his own time: All of them in 1948, Bronstein, Smyslov, Tal and Petrosian. True, he lost three of the matches, but they way he won in 1948, kept a draw against Bronstein and fought back against Tal and Smyslov was so very convincingly. I don't like the person Botvinnik and what he stood for in the Soviet time, but one has to give him credit for a level higher than most of the VMs.

But in my point of view one cannot really compare neither champions nor WC matches diachronically. When Lasker was at his height (around 1900) only Rubinstein, and a few years later Capa were worthy opponents. Today, Anand has to face a wide range of worthy players - you know all of them. It is much harder for any world champ to be superior and dominant today. Perhaps Kasparov will be the last of that breed. Neither Kramnik nor Anand have been or will be as dominating as the big K (which also includes Karpov in his time).

May-31-11  drik: <SetNoEscapeOn: <drik> I think if you continue down that road, you'll soon find the wisdom in <I play the Fred>'s "I know it's not that important but here's the data" approach.>

Not all data are of equal significance - Lasker v Janowski was +8 -0 +3. Does that really compare with the titanic K v K struggles? Janowski had no business sitting across the board, when Rubinstein & Capablanca were real challengers.

May-31-11  Sokrates: <drik: > <Does that really compare with the titanic K v K struggles? > Of course not. The K & K matches were on an unusual high level - in fact one could argue that because of the colossal strength of both players, not other match in chess history have had such a consistantly high level of play.

But this is also a matter of relativity, really. With the exception of the obviously superfluous or unequal matches before WW2 (especially Lasker's with Janowsky and Marshall and Alekhine's with Bogoljubow) all matches for the throne have been very tough and balancing on a knife's edge. The latest - Anand vs. Topalov - is a good example. IMO Anand didn't appear as a clear winner. It was more or less a coincidence that he and not Topalov won the last game. Such last-game decisions have occurred frequently and they bear witness of the lack clear superiority of one part.

May-31-11  drik: <Sokrates:> I agree with what you say. Perhaps I should have said 'counting the instances where the champion defended against a worthy opponent', rather than 'the best possible opponent'. There is some randomness in any selection process, so the champion cannot be held responsible for that - but deliberately chosing substandard opposition has to impact on the validity of a title match.

P.S. Of course I meant +8 -0 =3 for Lasker v Janowski.

May-31-11  AVRO38: <I play the Fred>

Your numbers are a tad off, here are some corrections:

Alekhine 4/5 (80%)
Kasparov 5.5/8 (68%)
Kramnik 2.5/4 (63%)

May-31-11  researchj: Any bids for a venue?
May-31-11  BobCrisp: The stakeholders for such a match should be highly respected professional figures. I nominate <Dominique Strauss-Kahn> and <Sepp Blatter>.
May-31-11  parmetd: I don't know that I expected him to win... but I'd say I wanted him to win once he knocked out kamsky who was my first choice.
Jun-03-11  Bondsamir: Everybody was saying that Carlsen will be in the final vs Anand, what happened ? can somebody tell me please.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Bondsamir: Everybody was saying that Carlsen will be in the final vs Anand, what happened ? can somebody tell me please.>

Kidnapped by the Mossad. You missed it?

Jun-03-11  Bondsamir: <keypusher>, thank you for the bravery and the frankliness.
Jun-03-11  bronkenstein: I guess this summarizes Carlsen´s decision to withdraw precisely :

<Gelfand: Very strange to withdraw from the cycle with no obvious reasons.>


<... so I see no reason whatsoever for him to withdraw. But it’s his choice>

More info here , including top GMs scratching their heads , and some funny football-chess parallels =)

Jun-09-11  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.

Jun-07-15  zanzibar: Maybe at the time it made sense to separate this out, but really it's just the final round of this tournament:

World Championship Candidates (2011)

Of course, with slightly different rules for the win (out of 6 and not 4 games).

Jun-14-15  zanzibar: <From 3 to 27 May 2011 the FIDE Candidates matches are being held in Kazan, the capital of the Republic of Tatarstan, with eight strong GMs competing to qualify as Challenger for the 2012 World Champion match. Time controls in the four regular games are 120 minutes for the first 40 moves, 60 minutes for the next 20 moves and then 15 minutes for the rest of the game, plus an additional 30 seconds per move starting from move 61. In case of a tie there will be four rapid chess games, and if the tie is still not broken then up to five two-game blitz matches 5'+3". Finally there may be a sudden-death final decider. The prize fund of the candidates is 500,000 Euros.>

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.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus: In 2007 it's worse because all 12 matches of the event (which selected 4 players into the FIDE World Championship Tournament (2007)) are on separate pages.

Tournament Index. CG 2001-2010 is more or less a disaster area.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus: Reposted:

<Apr-13-21 fabelhaft: The 2011 Candidates was another that was far from ideal. When the qualification tournaments started, it all ended with a longer Candidates match. Kramnik and Topalov had complained about having to participate in a qualification for the Candidates, and FIDE went with their wish to be given free places in a Candidates with changed rules, so that the other players no longer were competing for a place in a Candidates match, but to qualify for the right to play Kramnik and Topalov in a minimatch knockout.

This was after the qualification cycle had started, and the longer Candidates match was replaced by a minimatch knockout first after Carlsen already had shared first in a qualification tournament. Adams and Carlsen withdrew from the qualification and Aronian urged FIDE not to change the rules, but to no avail.

In the end Carlsen declined to play the Candidates was replaced. The event was postponed six months and moved from Baku to Kazan after Aronian didn't want to play in Azerbaijan.

The Candidates consisted of four game minimatches and few games were not drawn. Most of the matches were decided by speed chess tiebreak, three in blitz. The winner never faced an opponent in the top eight, etc etc. So Candidates had problems in the past as well :-)

Apr-13-21 Lambda: What FIDE did for 2011 was utterly unacceptable. Still, even a completely broken candidates process is certainly no worse than anything which happened before WWII.>

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