Candidates will take place in March in Moscow

by Johannes Fischer
11/5/2015 – FIDE has announced the dates for the next candidates tournament. It will take place in Moscow from 10. to 30. March. Main sponsor is the Tashir Group, and the wildcard goes Levon Aronian. Six players had already qualified: Anand, Nakamura, Caruana, Karjakin, Svidler, and Topalov. Anish Giri has the best chances to become candidate number eight.

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Candidates Tournament 2016 in Moscow

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)
2015 average
(as of October 2015)
1  Veselin Topalov 2804 2805.3
2  Anish Giri 2788.6 2788.5
3  Vladimir Kramnik 2780.3 2780.6
4  Alexander Grischuk 2780 2785.6
5  Wesley So 2774 2777.4
6  Ding Liren 2762 2758.2
7  Maxime Vachier-Lagrave 2752 2750
8  Dmitry Jakovenko 2745 2746.1
9  Shakhriyar Mamedyarov 2744 2744

Source: Wikipedia, "World Chess Championship 2016", retrieved 5. November 2015

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Johannes Fischer was born in 1963 in Hamburg and studied English and German literature in Frankfurt. He now lives as a writer and translator in Nürnberg. He is a FIDE-Master and regularly writes for KARL, a German chess magazine focusing on the links between culture and chess. On his own blog he regularly publishes notes on "Film, Literature and Chess".