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
March 10th-March 28th, 2018 (Berlin, Germany)