2018 World Candidates Tournament (Berlin, Germany)

Today the World Chess Candidates will start the process of determining the challenger for the World Championship match later on in the year against World Champion Magnus Carlsen. The tournament will take place in the German capital of Berlin, the city’s first time hosting the event. The field will feature seven of the qualifiers and one wild-card selection. Half of the 2016 field will return with in Levon Aronian (ARM), Wesley So (USA), Fabiano Caruana (USA) and Sergey Karjakin (RUS). Karjakin won the event scoring a key win over Caruana in the final round.

The Russian went on to play Carlsen, but lost the championship match in tiebreaks. He returns along with Vladimir Kramnik and Alexander Grischuk forming a Russian trio and comprising 38% of the field. One intriguing player is the top seed Shahkriyar Mamedyarov, arguably the hottest player of 2017. Ding Liren is the first Chinese to qualify and of course the second Asian behind Viswanathan Anand to vie for the qualifying spot.

Carlsen will be watching intently although a spat has surfaced between he and Anish Giri who implied that the World Champion was nervous at the prospects for facing the winner. What is clear is that the championship will prove to be exciting. Any of the eight competitors will be viable opponents. Who will break through?

It is ironic that Giri once wrote a book titled, After Magnus: Who Can Dethrone the World Chess Champion? Four of those he featured in the book are in the tournament, Caruana, So, Ding and Grischuk. Surprisingly, Giri’s other inclusions Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Hikaru Nakamura and Wei Yi will not be in Berlin, but are three players who could threaten Carlsen in the future.

Main Site: https://worldchess.com/berlin/
Games (TWIC): https://theweekinchess.com/assets/files/pgn/wchcand18.pgn
Regulations: https://www.fide.com/FIDE/handbook/regscandidates2018.pdf
Pairings: https://fide.com/images/stories/NEWS_2018/FIDE_NEWS/Candidates_Tournament_2018_Pairings.pdf
Schedule: https://worldchess.com/berlin/

2018 Candidates Tournament
March 10th-March 28th, 2018 (Berlin, Germany)
Participants
#
Name
Title
Federation
Flag
Rating
1 Mamedyarov, Shahkriyar GM Azerbaijan
2809
2 Kramnik, Vladimir GM Russia
2800
3 So, Wesley GM USA
2799
4 Aronian, Levon GM Armenia
2794
5 Caruana, Fabiano GM USA
2784
6 Ding Liren GM China
2769
7 Grischuk, Alexander GM Russia
2767
8 Karjakin, Sergey GM Russia
2763
Main Site

Daaim Shabazz

Dr. Daaim Shabazz is the creator and webmaster of The Chess Drum. He serves as a tenured faculty member of Global Business & Marketing at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida, USA. He holds an MBA in Marketing and a doctorate in International Affairs & Development. He has served the journalist community for more than 30 years and still competes in tournaments occasionally.

26 Comments

  1. Round 1 – Saturday, 10 March 2018

    Three decisive games… Caruana KOs compatriot

    Vladimir Kramnik 1-0 Alexander Grischuk
    Sergey Karjakin 0-1 Shakhriyar Mamedyarov
    Levon Aronian ½-½ Ding Liren
    Fabiano Caruana 1-0 Wesley So

    Wesley So’s debut was not an auspicious one.
    Photo by Frederic Friedel

    Video by chess24.com

    Video by GM Daniel King

  2. Round 2 – Sunday, 11 March 2018

    Alexander Grischuk (0) 2767 1-0 Wesley So (0) 2799
    Ding Liren (½) 2769 ½ -½ Fabiano Caruana (1) 2784
    Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (1) 2809 ½ -½ Levon Aronian (½) 2794
    Vladimir Kramnik (1) 2800 ½ -½ Sergey Karjakin (0) 2763

    Video by chess24.com

    Video by GM Daniel King

  3. Round 3 – Monday, 12 March 2018

    Sergey Karjakin (½) 2763 ½-½ Alexander Grischuk(1) 2767
    Levon Aronian (1) 2794 0-1 Vladimir Kramnik (1½) 2800
    Fabiano Caruana (1½) 2784 ½-½ Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (1½) 2809
    Wesley So (0) 2799 ½-½ Ding Liren (1) 2769

    Video by chess24.com

    Video by GM Daniel King

  4. Round 4 – Wednesday, 14 March 2018

    Alexander Grischuk(1½) 2767 ½-½ Ding Liren (1½) 2769
    Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (2) 2809 ½-½ Wesley So (½) 2799
    Vladimir Kramnik (2½) 2800 0-1 Fabiano Caruana (2) 2784
    Sergey Karjakin (1) 2763 0-1 Levon Aronian (1) 2794

    Video by chess24.com

    Video by GM Daniel King

  5. Round 5 – Thursday, 15 March 2018

    Levon Aronian (2) 2794 ½-½ Alexander Grischuk(2) 2767
    Fabiano Caruana (3) 2784 ½-½ Sergey Karjakin (1) 2763
    Wesley So (1) 2799 ½-½ Vladimir Kramnik (2½) 2800
    Ding Liren (2) 2769 ½-½ Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (2½) 2809

    Video by chess24.com

    Video by GM Daniel King

  6. Round 6 – Friday, 16 March 2018

    Fabiano Caruana (3½) 2784 ½-½ Alexander Grischuk (2½) 2767
    Wesley So (1½) 2799 1-0 Levon Aronian (2½) 2794
    Ding Liren (2½) 2769 ½-½ Sergey Karjakin (1½) 2763
    Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (3) 2809 1-0 Vladimir Kramnik (3) 2800

    Video by chess24.com

    Video by GM Daniel King

  7. Round 7 – Sunday, 18 March 2018

    Sergey Karjakin (2) 2763 1-0 Wesley So (2½) 2799
    Alexander Grischuk (3) 2767 ½-½ Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (4) 2809
    Vladimir Kramnik (3) 2800 ½-½ Ding Liren (3) 2769
    Levon Aronian (2½) 2794 0-1 Fabiano Caruana (4) 2784

    Now the controversial video where Kramnik claimed he was winning in every variation. he certainly didn’t win many fans here.

    Video by chess24.com

    Video by GM Daniel King

  8. Round 8 – Monday, 19 March 2018

    Alexander Grischuk (3½) 2767 1-0 Vladimir Kramnik (3½) 2800
    Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (4½) 2809 ½-½ Sergey Karjakin (3) 2763
    Ding Liren (3½) 2769 ½-½ Levon Aronian (2½) 2794
    Wesley So (2½) 2799 ½-½ Fabiano Caruana (5) 2784

    Video by chess24.com

    Video by GM Daniel King

  9. Round 9 – Tuesday, 20 March 2018

    Wesley So (3) 2799 ½-½ Alexander Grischuk (4½) 2767
    Fabiano Caruana (5½) 2784 ½-½ Ding Liren (4) 2769
    Levon Aronian (3) 2794 ½-½ Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (5) 2809
    Sergey Karjakin (3½) 2763 1-0 Vladimir Kramnik (3½) 2800


    Video by World Chess

    Video by GM Daniel King

    Video by chess24.com

    Video by chess.com

  10. Fédération Internationale des Échecs  (FIDE)

    Caruana holding steady at 2018 Candidates

    During this rest day, the 2018 World Candidates tournament is heading toward a very exciting ending. America’s Fabiano Caruana has held sole lead (6/9) for a couple of rounds breaking away from Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (5½/9), also undefeated. Caruana has had a very solid showing thus far and only obstinate defense by Ding Liren (and some misses by Fabiano) prevented a full-point lead over the field. Ding has drawn all nine of his games.

    There has been a lot of attention on Caruana for the past few years since rejoining the U.S. National Team. Since then he has won a U.S. Championship and a gold medal with the U.S. Olympiad team. In recent days, excitement has heightened and the prospects of him earning the right to challenge Magnus Carlsen seem possible. Caruana missed an opportunity in 2016 when Sergey Karjakin defeated him to win the tournament. Karjakin lost the match against Carlsen that November.

    There are many who feel that Caruana would represent a threat to Carlsen’s supremacy. He has a decent head-to-head score, has a style that is flexible and nerves that are steady enough to rankle the Norwegian. Hikaru Nakamura, who has been knowing Caruana since childhood, also talked about his strengths.

    Video by World Chess.

    This skill has been on fully display during the first half of the tournament. Although he snatched a win from Vladimir Kramnik, he missed one at a critical stage of the game with Ding Liren. After pressing Ding for three hours, Caruana seemed to be on the verge of collecting the full point with his deft rook maneuvers. In the maze of complications, he missed his chance. Here was the segment when the winning line was shown…

    Video by World Chess

    Nevertheless, Caruana has been well-prepared and showed his resilience in snatching a win from beleaguered Kramnik and scoring an important win over Levon Aronian. Kramnik has been in a tailspin since the loss and is virtually out of contention. GM Ian Rogers cautioned readers about Kramnik being the “drunkened gunslinger” with nothing to lose. Caruana faces him in round 11. Before that, Caruana will face Mamedyarov who is hot on his heels. The road is a tough one and Caruana will have to keep his nerve to become the first American to vie for the World Championship since Bobby Fischer.

    Games of Fabiano Caruana

    Main Site: https://worldchess.com/berlin/
    Games (TWIC): https://theweekinchess.com/assets/files/pgn/wchcand18.pgn
    Regulations: https://www.fide.com/FIDE/handbook/regscandidates2018.pdf
    Pairings: https://fide.com/
    Schedule: https://worldchess.com/berlin/

  11. Round 10 – Thursday, 22 March 2018

    Alexander Grischuk (5) 2767 ½ – ½ Sergey Karjakin (4½) 2763
    Vladimir Kramnik (3½) 2800 1 – 0 Levon Aronian (3½) 2794
    Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (5½) 2809 ½ – ½ Fabiano Caruana (6) 2784
    Ding Liren (4½) 2769 ½ – ½ Wesley So (3½) 2799

    Video by GM Daniel King

    Video by CCSCSL

  12. Round 11 – Friday, 23 March 2018


    Wesley So (4) 2799 ½-½ Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (6) 2809
    Levon Aronian (3½) 2794 0-1 Sergey Karjakin (5) 2763
    Fabiano Caruana (6½) 2784 ½-½ Vladimir Kramnik (4½) 2800
    Ding Liren (5) 2769 ½-½ Alexander Grischuk (5½) 2767

    Video by GM Daniel King

    Video by CCSCSL

  13. Round 12 – Saturday, 24 March 2018


    Alexander Grischuk (6) 2767 ½-½ Levon Aronian (3½) 2794
    Sergey Karjakin (6) 2763 1-0 Fabiano Caruana (7) 2784
    Vladimir Kramnik (5) 2800 ½-½ Wesley So (4½) 2799
    Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (6½) 2809 0-1 Ding Liren (5½) 2769

    Video by World Chess

    Video by GM Daniel King

    Video by CCSCSL

  14. Round 13 – Monday, 26 March 2018

    Caruana bolts into the lead with one round remaining!


    Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (6½) 2809 1-0 Alexander Grischuk (6½) 2767
    Ding Liren (6½) 2769 ½-½ Vladimir Kramnik (5½) 2800
    Wesley So (5) 2799 ½-½ Sergey Karjakin (7) 2763
    Fabiano Caruana (7) 2784 1-0 Levon Aronian (4) 2794


    Video by World Chess

    Video by GM Daniel King

    Video by CCSCSL

  15. Round 14 – Tuesday, 27 March 2018

    Caruana wins Candidates… will face Carlsen for WCC!

    Alexander Grischuk (6½) 2767 0-1 Fabiano Caruana (8) 2784
    Levon Aronian (4) 2794 ½-½ Wesley So (5½) 2799
    Sergey Karjakin (7½) 2763 ½-½ Ding Liren (7) 2769
    Vladimir Kramnik (6) 2800 ½-½ Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (7½) 2809

    Fabiano Caruana

    Fabiano Caruana after winning 2018 Candidates Tournament

    Video by World Chess

    Video by GM Daniel King

    Video by CCSCSL

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