Kramnik to play 2018 Candidates

by ChessBase
10/30/2017 – Vladimir Kramnik has received the organiser's wild card for the March, 2018 Candidates tournament in Berlin, according to an official release by Agon Ltd. Only two spots remain to be filled via the FIDE Grand Prix. As of now the players will be Sergey Karjakin as the previous World Championship runner-up, Levon Aronian and Ding Liren via the World Cup and Wesley So and Fabiano Caruana thanks to rating qualification. | Photos: Amruta Mokal

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Wild Card

In a letter dated October 26th, and published today, World Chess, the organizer of the 2018 FIDE World Chess Candidates Tournament, nominated GM Vladimir Kramnik (Russian Federation) as a "wild card" choice for the Candidates Tournament that will take place in Berlin, Germany from March 10th — 28th, 2018. World Chess and FIDE have decided to issue the nomination before the final leg of the Grand Prix in Palma, Majorca, in case the choice affects the preparation and determination of players who are fighting for the Candidates qualification there.

Update 14:55 (CET) — Reached for comment Monday, Kramnik tells ChessBase he was surprised to learn of the decision, that he hadn’t advocated for a wild card spot, and had resigned himself to missing the Candidates. He was unaware of any decision on the wild card during the recent European Club Cup in Antalya, and believes such decision had not yet been made.

Vladimir Kramnik

Ilya Merenzon, World Chess CEO, is quoted as saying:

We believe that inviting Mr. Kramnik to the Candidates will make the Tournament line-up the strongest possible and will ensure the choice of the best challenger to incumbent World Champion, Magnus Carlsen.

Vladimir Kramnik, the 14th World Champion, comments:

I’d like to thank everyone who helped my nomination to the Candidates. Usually, the chess world’s attention is drawn to the tournament and taking part in it is a challenge for any grandmaster. I hope to show a worthy performance and fight for first prize!

Andrey Filatov, President of the Russian Chess Federation adds:

I am pleased that FIDE and World Chess had selected Kramnik. For over 20 years he is in the top three world’s strongest chess players, and for seven years he’s been the World Champion. Kramnik is extremely popular among chess players and his participation will certainly generate additional attention and drama. Now Russia has at least two players who have a chance to become the challenger to the incumbent World Champion. With a bit of luck, the third contender, Alexander Grischuk, can join them. I very much hope that a Russian chess player will 'capture Berlin' and will face Magnus Carlsen in the Match in November of 2018.

My Path to the Top

On this DVD Vladimir Kramnik retraces his career from talented schoolboy to World Champion in 2006. With humour and charm he describes his first successes, what it meant to be part of the Russian Gold Medal team at the Olympiad, and how he undertook the Herculean task of beating his former mentor and teacher Garry Kasparov.


Candidates 2018

The Candidates tournament, as previously announced, is slated to take place at Kühlhaus Berlin with the following players:

  • Sergey Karjakin (previous world championship runner-up)
  • Levon Aronian (World Cup winner)
  • Ding Liren (World Cup runner-up)
  • Wesley So (rating qualification)
  • Fabiano Caruana (rating qualification)
  • Vladimir Kramnik (wild card)

The top two qualifiers from the FIDE Grand Prix series will be known on November 26th. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Alexander Grischuk, Teymour Radjabov, and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave have chances. The latter two will play in Palma and seek to overtake the leaders in the overall Grand Prix point tally.

Players leading Grand Prix

Mamedyarov, Grischuk, Radjabov, and Vachier-Lagrave | Source:

World Chess nomination letter candidates 2018 to Kramnik

Official nomination letter (PDF)


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ashperov ashperov 10/30/2017 02:09
Has a Russian ever not got the wild card? I'm just asking. Might be wrong.. But would be a predictable trend. Big Vladimir is a nice edition nevertheless
fixpont fixpont 10/30/2017 01:58
@AWSoP: the point is, Kramnik is not good enlogh because he is too old and wont be better anymore. So its not true for EVERYONE. If they had wanted to give it a russian player, i woluld have given it to a younger one a rising star type of player.
csolrob csolrob 10/30/2017 01:57
AWSoP AWSoP 10/30/2017 01:28
@Jarman: just think a little bit further. Your argument is valid for EVERYONE who gets the wild card, not only for Kramink, right? So whats's your point? If you want to say that the whole concept of a wild card has flaws then yes, I agree with you, but why all this Kramnik talk?
kramnikstudent kramnikstudent 10/30/2017 12:58
Good Luck Kramnik. Hope you play Magnus in the Wch
monty fufu monty fufu 10/30/2017 12:50
@Jarman: You make an absurd and bitter little point. Even wildcard qualification depends on the player standing out in some way - and Kramnik's credentials are lavish. But besides that, he was the odd man out of the three who might have qualified through rating. No-one else was in range and this makes him the natural choice.
Jarman Jarman 10/30/2017 12:31
Kramnik should have refused the invitation. If he's not strong enough to qualify by merit anymore, against the true world elite he will quickly find himself in a struggle to avoid placing last.
Mr TambourineMan Mr TambourineMan 10/30/2017 12:15
Dont know the detail but I would think its kind of a win win even for Caruana that probably qualify by rating now!? A Candidate tournament without Caruana that would have been the Challenger to Carlsen if hi only would had won the won Rook and Bishop vs Rook against Svidler in last Candidate.