Today, a a rather inconspicuous article titled "FIDE President's working visit to Yerevan" appeared on the FIDE website. But the article contained information a lot of chessplayers all over the world were waiting for: details of the Candidates Tournament 2016. To quote:
"FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov arrived on a working visit in Yerevan where he met with the President of Armenia, President of the Armenian Chess Federation Serzh Sargsian. The two Presidents discussed several issues related to the organization of the Candidates' Tournament. The FIDE President informed Mr. Sargsian that the event would be held in Moscow the next year as it has been planned. The organizers will be FIDE and AGON with the support of Russian Chess Federation. The partner of the tournament will be a famous Russian company Tashir. The organizer will nominate GM Levon Aronian to participate as their nominee."
Tashir might be a "famous Russian company" but head of the group is the Armenian millionaire Samvel Karapetyan and this might explain why the organizers gave the wildcard to Levon Aronian. Last year the Tashir Group also sponsored the Petrosian Memorial.
Now the following seven players are nominated for the Candidates:
Viswanathan Anand (World Championship finalist)
Hikaru Nakamura (Grand Prix)
Fabiano Caruana (Grand Prix)
Sergey Karjakin (World Cup)
Peter Svidler (World Cup)
Levon Aronian (Wildcard)
Veselin Topalov (Average rating in 2015)
Topalov was nominated because of his high rating average in 2015 and the last remaining place will also be given to the player with the best average rating. Here Anish Giri and Vladimir Kramnik have the best chances though at the moment Giri would qualify as the following table which was published on Wikipedia and is based on calculations by Martin Bennedik shows.
"The following table lists the projected top 10 players by average ratings in the 12 monthly rating lists for 2015. ... With just one more rating list to be released, Veselin Topalov and Anish Giri are virtually assured of qualifying."
|Rank||Player||Estimated 2015 average
(assuming no more games played)
(as of October 2015)
Source: Wikipedia, "World Chess Championship 2016", retrieved 5. November 2015