World Chess Candidates Tournament 2016


The winner of the tournament, Sergey Karjakin of Russia (Black) facing the former world champion Viswanathan Anand of India (White).

Story by Bredi Aranya, Staff Writer

Eight of the world’s top grandmasters went to Moscow to play in the tournament that will be contested as a double round-robin over 14 games. The winner would play a match for the title against reigning World Champion Magnus Carlsen this November in the United States. This event usually is the most exciting event for chess fans; eight of the best compete for a shot at the championship.

There were five different qualification paths to the Candidates Tournament. In order of priority, these were: loser of the World Chess Championship 2014 match, the top two finishers in the Chess World Cup 2015, the top two finishers in the World Chess Federation (FIDE) Grand Prix 2014–15, next two highest rated players (average FIDE rating on the 12 monthly lists from January to December 2015, with at least 30 games played) who played in Chess World Cup 2015 or FIDE Grand Prix 2014–15, and one player nominated by Agon Limited, the owner of commercial rights and organizer of the World Chess Championship cycle events.

The eight participants in the Candidates Tournament were Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria and Anish Giri of the Netherlands, who qualified based on their ratings. Viswanathan Anand of India, the runner-up of the last championship match in 2014. Hikaru Nakamura and Fabiano Caruana of the United States, who were the top two finishers in the last Grand Prix. Sergey Karjakin and Peter Svidler of Russia, the winner and runner-up, respectively in the last World Cup. and Levon Aronian of Armenia, the player nominated by the organizers (Agon Limited).

FIDE gave the qualifiers until January 11 to decide upon participation and sign the contract, and all accepted even though Veselin Topalov was open in his dislike of Moscow as a location. Topalov did not attend the opening ceremony,  leaving himself open to a forfeiture of 5% of his prize money to each FIDE and the organizers.

The tournament lasted March 10th – 19th. Usually, there were 2 rounds per day, but they took 4 breaks to study their opponents and create a stronger strategy. After a devastating 14 games, Sergey Karjakin of Russia came on top. Karjakin earned 8.5 points from 14 games, the same score as Viswanathan Anand in the 2014 World Candidates Tournament. And without many people liking Topalov because of his ego and attitude about the Candidates Tournament, no one expected him to win. He came in last with 4 points and 0 wins.

The World Chess Championship 2016 is a 12-game match between reigning world champion Magnus Carlsen and challenger Sergey Karjakin to determine the World Chess Champion. The matches will be held from November 11th to 30th. This series of games will be held in renovated Fulton Market Building in the South Street Seaport in New York City, with the two contestants competing for a prize fund of at least 1 million euros.


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