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World Chess Championship Candidates Starts Tomorrow

User Rating: / 10
Written by Administrator   
Tuesday, 11 March 2014
By GM Daniel Gormally, England.
Best rating: FIDE 2573

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Vishy Anand- is the old king now the kingmaker?

And should be very exciting. This is the tournament that will establish the first challenger to the young Norwegian superstar, 23 year old world champion Magnus Carlsen.

The favourite is Levon Aronian, who is the world number two and has a big lead in rating over the next obvious choice of the pundits, Vladimir Kramnik.

Now of course favourites don't always win, but Aronian and Carlsen seem so far clear of the rest of the chess elite that whatever the outcome here I would be amazed if they didn't meet in a match at some point.  It reminds me of the days of the Kasparov-Karpov matches, when regardless of what happened in the meanwhile, you just knew they were heading for confrontation over the board.

Of course for Aronian there is a lot of pressure, because in Armenia chess is huge (currently the European individual championship is taking place in Yerevan) and he is rightly feted as a hero in that country. But if he does manage to qualify, that vast interest will surely work in his favour in a match with Carlsen.

Every Armenian chess player will be working around the clock trying to find novelties to bust the Norwegian's openings. Perhaps that won't be enough, but in any case my opinion is that Aronian is the only player from the candidates that has a realistic chance of beating Carlsen in a match.

Fans of Kramnik (and perhaps Kramnik himself) might take umbrage to that statement, but realistically he would be up against it in a match. He is giving Carlsen 15 years in age, and is incredibly almost 100 rating points lower than the current champion. Of course ELO isn't everything, but that's still an awful lot.

The other problem for prospective opponents of the Norwegian is that they will be becoming aware that Carlsen is reaching a level now that is almost untouchable- that seems to be above anything we've ever seen before, even from the great champions of the past like Fischer and Kasparov. When I look at his play lately, it seems that every other game is a masterpiece. Chess is scarily easy for him now and Aronian aside, I think he'd sweep anyone else from the board.

It couldn't happen again, could it?

That is why I cannot see the previous champion, Viswanathan Anand winning the Candidates. I just can't see what the motivation for Anand would be to face Carlsen again. He would have as much chance of winning a rematch as the England football team have of winning the World cup.

But he could still have a pivotal affect on the outcome. If we see Aronian and Kramnik as the two favourites, well it's worth looking at their respective scores against the Indian Grandmaster.

Whereas Aronian has a comfortable plus score against Anand, Kramnik's lifetime score is nothing like as impressive and indeed he has already lost a World title match to the maestro from Madras.

In a tournament where the margins could be so tight, such a factor may ultimately prove decisive.

P.S. Bonus from - current results of the Candidates'2014 poll:

Originally published in GM Danny Gormally's blog

Other posts by GM Danny Gormally:
Players who have quit, or you never hear about anymore
Could you work as hard on chess as Kramnik?
Bobby Fischer vs. Hikaru Nakamura: Theoretical Match-up
Interesting thoughts of Anand in defeat
London Chess Classic Preview
Losing your motivation
Playing blitz chess online & all the computer cheats
Anand-Carlsen borefest continues
Magnus, is this all he has?
A clash of kings
Do we overrate ourselves?
Computers and their all-pervading influence on modern chess
From Russia with love
The England Chess Team & Jack Wilshire
Should the grandmaster title be scrapped?
ECF Book of the Year?
Is being a chess pro worth it - continued?
Is being a chess pro worth it?
An Elitist Game?
Does hard work in chess pay off?
World Cup Final preview
World Chess Cup Semi-Final preview
World Chess Cup Quarter-Final preview
World Chess Cup 1/8-final preview
Why are Russians so good at chess?
British Champs-2013
Ghent and now the British
I'll never be fat again!
Lessons learnt!
The sad case of Borislav Ivanov: Part II
Does Anyone Have a Cure for Anger Problems?
The Depth of Chess
Fundraising in chess
Nurturing a Chess Prodigy
The Sad Case of Borislav Ivanov
4NCL Impressions: no country for old men - Part II
4NCL Impressions: no country for old men
One move, one line - Part II
One move, one line
Candidates Final Review & Preview of Upcoming World Championship Match
Would Carlsen have beaten Capablanca?

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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 11 March 2014 )
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