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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