Candidates Khanty-Mansiysk – a pictorial retrospect

by ChessBase
4/4/2014 – We reported extensively on the recently concluded Candidates Tournament, with summaries of all games, GM analysis and videos, and a large number of pictures. They were attributed to "the official web site", and a substantial number came from our regular, FIDE press officer WGM Anastasiya Karlovich. But there were many wonderful images by a talented new photographer, Kirill Merkuriev.

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The FIDE Candidates Tournament took place in Khanty-Mansiysk (Russia), from March 13 to 30, 2014. The event was a double round robin (14 rounds). The time control was 120 minutes for the first 40 moves, 60 minutes for the next 20 and 15 minutes for the rest of the game plus an additional 30 seconds per move starting from move 61. The prize fund was 600,000 Euros (= US $832,000), the first place 135,000 and last (8th) place 25,000 Euros.

The tournament determined the challenger who will face the reigning World Champion Magnus Carlsen in a title match later this year. It turned out to be the previous World Champion Viswanathan Anand.

Meet Kirill Merkuriev

We asked Kirill to introduce himself to our readers, and this he did with the infromation given below. We look forward to working with him extensively in the future, so for instance at the Women's Grand Prix that will start next Monday in Khanty-Mansiysk.

I'm 26 and live and work in a beautiful city called Khanty-Mansiysk, the capital of Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug-Ugra. I've been working as a photographer here since 2010. Ever since I was a child I had a passion for art and a desire to self-express myself. As a result my interest in photography has grown to a professional level. One of my goals is to see the world through the prism of my camera and get to know people of different backgrounds and nationalities. I’m currently working at major sports events, such as World Championships and Tournaments, which are held in Khanty-Mansiysk and its Okrug. Some of the sports events I’ve worked at were the Women's World Chess Championship, the World Rapid and Blitz Championships and the International Candidates Tournament 2014.

While working as a photographer I have participated in a number of photo contests and become a prize winner. In 2013, I received a Journalist of the Year Award in the «Photography» section, where my sports themed images were presented. I also made it to the finals of All- Russian competition «The Best of Russian 2013». Last but not least I took a part in the creation of a book dedicated to Ugra sports, where 70% of all shots used in the book were taken by me. By the way I'm using Canon 5d mark III.


The Candidates Tournament 2014 was held in the Ugra Chess Academy, which is located in the city center of Khanty-Mansiysk.

Khanty-Mansiysk is an oil boom town, located on the eastern bank of the Irtysh River, 15 kilometers (9.3 mi) from its confluence with the Ob. Population: 80,000. Here are some impressions of the city.

The Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ, with the city of Khanty-Mansiysk below

The city park in autumn...

... and in the heart of winter

The soccer and sports complex with a spectacular winter sunset

The Candidates Tournament 2014

In the following giant retrospect we will not caption every single picture, as is normally our policy to do. You know the players by now, and discriptions of the obvious ("Kramnik stretches" or "Anand ponders the position") are always irritating. We will often let the pictures speak for themselves.

A fisheye view of the set-up for the Candidates Tournament

Photographers get five minutes at the start of each round

The start of round nine (in which Mamedyarov, right, defeated Aronian)

The audience – seldom larger than in the above shot

The winner and next World Championship challenger Viswanathan Anand

Azeri GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, who won three and lost three in this tournament

Vladimir Kramnik, former World Champion, was not happy with his 50% result

Ukrainian turned Russian Servey Karjakin finished in second place

Bottom seed Dmitry Andreikin finished fourth with a 50% (7.0/14) score

Peter Svidler, the FIDE wildcard, scored 6.5/14 for equal 6-7 place with...

... top seed Levon Aronian, who collapsed in the last two games

Bulgarian GM Veselin Topalov finished in last place with 6.0/14

The name is Bond. Hal Bond. Hal is a FIDE arbiter from Canada

The boss: FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov in Khanty-Mansiysk

Impressions from the tournament

The world wide live commentary was conducted from this area – really!

The commentators: GMs Viktorija Cmilyte and Peter-Heine Nielsen, who recently married

The post-game interviews were conducted in the press room...

... where a handful of journalists wrote report and published pictures

At the closing ceremony...

... Anand receives his prize, a trophy and a fur hat from FIDE President
Kirsan Ilyumzhinov and Governor of Khanty-Mansiysk Natalya Komarova

The music and dance presentation at the closing ceremony

Vishy in the winter

On a free day Vishy Anand tries his hand at rifle shooting...

... at the Khanti-Mansiysk Biathlon stadium

Dressed to kill – in the traditional KM winter garb

The other one – our regular photographer Nastja Karlovich


The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 12 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.

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