November 05, 2013 14:33

Svidler is FIDE Candidates Wildcard

The Russian organizers have chosen GM Peter Svidler as the lone wildcard to the 2014 FIDE Candidates Tournament, to be held in Khanty-Mansisyk in Siberia from March 12-30. The official statement on FIDE's web site is here.

They were free to choose any player rated above 2725; Svidler is currently 2752 on the live ratings list, ranking him 13th in the world.

Svidler finished third at the 2013 Candidates Tournament, the event that GM Magnus Carlsen won to challenge for the world title. Just three weeks ago, Svidler won his seventh Russian Championship.

Svidler (left) winning the 2013 Russian Championship. Photo courtesy Eteri Kublashvili, Russian Chess Federation

Svidler joins the other seven players who are already qualified - GMs Vladimir Kramnik, Dmitry Andreikin, Veselin Topalov, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Levon Aronian, Sergey Karjakin, and the loser of this month's World Championship Match.

Organizers passed over other possible nominations, including GMs Hikaru Nakamura (world number four), Alexander Grischuk (number five), Fabiano Caruana (number six), prior World Champion Runner-Up Boris Gelfand (number seven), and Leinier Dominguez (number 12).

A recent poll asked members which of these players they would like to see get the wildcard. With more than 3000 respondents, Nakamura had the highest share with around 40 percent of the voters choosing him.

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Mike Klein's picture
Author: Mike Klein


Tamz29's picture

Why not Grischuk :(

baladala's picture

Has he won significant tournaments in recent years?

>:)'s picture

Deservedly so over Grischuk. He is capable of winning more games than Grischuk, though not the event.

idratherplay960's picture

Would've been exciting to see naka or caru, but svidler is also exciting

Redvii's picture

A worthy candidate - why not send your national champion?

Good luck to him - he did really well at the 2013 tournament.

NN's picture

*Grischuk did not have the chance to compete at the national championship, because he was trying to qualify through the Grand Prix at that time.

Bronkenstein's picture

Yes, Sasha might feel - a bit - betrayed by his beloved federation =)

Another detail: Svidler - after losing chances to qualify - simply didn´t participate in the last GP, but after his showing @ the Russian Chship (and good candidate performance in London - and not just there) it might be very hard to wildcard someone else - and then ´defend´ the decision.

Just to clarify, I have nothing against Peter, one of my favorite players, and the finest sportsmen/gentleman - I am happy with either of them being candidate.

Ruben's picture

A fair choice.

Anonymous's picture

fair? grischuk will be a real contender svidler statist

chesshire cat's picture

Great choice - even if he does badly, he is well capable of outplaying anyone in the world...will add another measure of uncertainty to the mix. Would really be cool if he won it!

David's picture

I hoped for Caruana. According to the Elo rating and his last performances I think that he was the one who deserved it the most.

SierraSunset's picture

If Carlsen wins the WC, isn't it likely that family-man Vishy will retire, and not participate in the Candidates? Then there will be another open spot...

NN's picture

and who would get to choose the candidate in that case?

Calvin Amari's picture

I should think this scenario, or something like it, is a distinct possibility as well. Anand may have more loose than to gain by his participation in the candidates. But, because Vishy's status should afford him a longer run of appearance fees, I'm inclined to think (and hope) that Vishy will not fully retire.

AngeloPardi's picture

Vishy has already booked for the Zurich chess challenge, and the London classic, so it's seems likely that he will keep playing.

Anonymous's picture

What do you mean retire? The only person in the history of chess that has ever "retired" from the game is Kasparov. In the hundreds of years of the ancient game, that is.

You want to know why? Because chess isn't a corporate job with a 401k plan. Kasparov didn't technically "retire." He *withdrew* from professional chess probably out of the fear of being humiliated by younger players and getting his ego bruised.

setikiki tilapongo's picture

don't have a clue as to what you just said

Anonymous's picture

Not even close. Kasparov withdrew because he didn't get the world championship match he had hoped for, and playing usual tournaments would only be repetition.

Jan 's picture

I thought it was pretty obvious that Gelfand would get the wild card: he has been playing fantastically in the last three years. But, to paraphrase the late great Hein Donner: I am always wrong!

Bronkenstein's picture

Indeed, Gelfand would IMO be the most deserving. But since the Russians were organizers, it was really either Peter or Grischuk - and I´m happy with this choice (as I would also be had they chosen Sasha instead).

Anonymous's picture


Morley's picture

Gelfand has had many chances in recent years. It doesn't seem fair to give him the wildcard the one time he doesn't qualify some other way.

the real S3's picture

@ Morley: Gelfand had to earn all of them chances.
But a wildcard is hardly fair anyway.

Anonymous's picture

Enough of Gelfand. He's simply not world champion material.

KingTal's picture

Guys, are you stupid or something (those who thought Nakamura, Caruana or Gelfand would get the wildcard).

Since the Candidates take place in Russia, the Russian Chess Federation can pick the wildcard, which automatically means it would be a Russian player... jesus.

About the pick: Svidler deserved it more than Grischuk because he is the new Russian champion + had better results in the Candidates this year.

Anonymous's picture

grischuk > svidler

Dirk's picture

Nakamura was +5 -0=4 vs Svidler and Caruana in 2013, has a higher rating and would have added alot of eyeballs to this event which is already backed with Russians. He had as good a claim as anyone after his manhandling of Caruana and Svidler this year in elite events. That being said GO SVIDLER! He seems like a cool guy and he isn't getting any younger. I hope that if Anand decides to retire the open slot goes to Gelfand. His performance in Super Tournaments since the defeat to Anand in last year's WCC proves to me he belongs there. Nakamura and Caruana must get high enough in the list where they cannot be denied next cycle.

Harry_Flashman's picture

Are you sure about Naka 'S scores against Caruana and Svidler? Anyway, even if I would have liked to watch Naka or Fabiano in the Candidates we have to remember that they both got their chances to qualify in the GP series and failed.

Dirk's picture

I meant the combined score against them in 2013 and it was actually +5-0=5. +3-0=3 vs Caruana and +2-0=2 vs Svidler. Dominant performances in 2013 and that does count for something especially the score vs Svidler given the Russian's total domination of Nakamura in the past.

KingTal's picture

What do you mean with been denied? They didn´t manage to qualify, that´s all. Hopefully they will do better next time. Caruana was actually damn close, if only he wouldn´t lose to Nakamura in the GP.

You can´t hope to get a wildcard from a foreign Chess Federation which has like 4 or 5 own players they can choose for a Candidate.

Anonymous's picture

Can you actually imagine Svidler playing a world championship match? It would be kind of funny ;)

Roberto Costa's picture

For me would be much more exciting if Caruana or Gelfand get the card.

Svidler is a good guy, but I don't believe he can win the candidates, neither Nakamura, that has been getting stuck after some advantage in tournaments. . More likely Caruana and Gelfand are better IMHO.

Dirk's picture

Caruana has yet to win an event on the level of Wijk aan zie and Nakamura is literally the one who kept him from finishing top 2 in the the Grand Prix this cycle. His style is uninspiring to me. If he wanted to qualify all he had to do was DRAW Nakamura ;-).

Ruben's picture

It is " Wijk aan zee " Dirk.

Dirk's picture

Thanks for the correction, Ruben.

Thomas Oliver's picture

If Anand should retire after (losing) the WCh match, his spot will go to Caruana as third finisher in the GP series.

As to Svidler or Grischuk, Ilya Levitov actually wanted a qualifying match between them but there was no time for it - both were busy at the European Club Cup and FIDE set a deadline of 5th November (today). The "tiebreaker" was Svidler's result at the London candidates.
Source: Google-translated (pointed out by ChessinTranslation on Twitter).

Dirk's picture

I think win or loss Anand will retire so your scenario will play out anyway. Caruana isn't going to win anyhow because his style doesn't produce enough victories but I guess it will be a good experience for him and prove the system works at least somewhat.

RG13's picture

Do the Candidates pay appearance fees? If not then couldn't Anand skip them but still not retire?

BS's picture

i don't see why anand should not play the Candidates, easy money and it is a conceivable sceario that he could win it.

the cyncs who said a russian would get it were correct, with hindsight it is clear if a sponsor had some on from their own country to qualify they would pick him.

mircelalettin's picture

Another biased decision from FIDE. It definitely was Nakamura's right. He simply has shown that he has the potential to deliver. He is center of attention and I believe he is one of the players who can make chess a more popular sport. Maybe that is exactly what Mr. FIDE is trying to avoid.

Thomas Oliver's picture

How can Nakamura, or anyone else, possibly have the (definite) right for a wildcard? It's always a present for someone who missed out on several other chances to qualify, any decision/pick will be controversial: even at (basically American?) Nakamura got just 40% of the votes.

In a different way than Nakamura, Svidler certainly can or already did also "make chess a more popular sport" - arguably more so than Grischuk, but this probably didn't play a role in the decision of the Russian federation.

Dirk's picture

What you fail to mention is that world number six Caruana is also an American and he and Nakamura together gained 65 + percent of the vote. That site has an international following and membership so you can insinuate favoritism or whatever but there is no way to know. People find Hikaru's chess exciting no matter where you go even though he has settled down a bit in recent times. Now he is crossing his bette noires e.g. Svidler, Wang Hao etc... off the list one by one and Carlsen is next.

Thomas Oliver's picture

So about 1200 people voted for Nakamura, 750 for Caruana, roughly 1000 for someone else. Can't find that poll, was there a shortlist or could people vote for anyone eligible? Was it even possible to vote for Svidler?
All I want to say: it is nonsense to state that Nakamura "definitely" should have been picked.

Dirk's picture

Of course. That goes without saying. He was one of many fine choices. By merits Caruana should have gotten in but this is politics.

James Roark's picture

Dirk: Nakamura has not won a single event since that Wijk aan Zee 3 years ago, while Caruana has won

Reykjavik 2012
Sigeman 2012
Bucharest Kings 2013
Zurich 2013 (ahead of Kramnik, Anand, Gelfand)
Paris Grand Prix

and tied for first in

Dortmund 2013, getting first on tiebreak ahead of Karjakin

Grand Slam 2013, the highest rated tournament of all time with Carlsen, Aronian, Anand and Karjakin, tying with Carlsen with a performance of ~2900 but losing the blitz tiebreak

He also finished higher in the World Cup and Grand Prix series than Nakamura and would have won the whole Grand Prix if not for the rule eliminating the worst result from the players' final score.

His tournament record and successes are far ahead of Nakamura, although it is true that Nakamura has a tremendous personal score against him and that counts for something.

On the other hand Gelfand and Carlsen dominate Nakamura and Caruana has beaten Gelfand 4 times and Carlsen twice (more than anyone else) in the past 2 years so whatever you want to make from that.

Dirk's picture

Wrong. You can visit his page and look up his wins. I won't bother lifting that page and pasting it here. Caruana has never won an event on the level of Wijk 2011. Period.

Dirk's picture

Nakamura is undefeated against 5 time world champion Vishy Anand. Make of you will about that. Nakamura was 0-4 and 0-6 vs Svidler before 2013 and is +4 against them this year with no losses. Make of what you will about that. We can do this all day.

Dirk's picture

0-4 vs Wang Hao and 0-6 against Svidler that is.

AngeloPardi's picture

A wild card for the Candidates simply doesn't seems right. There should be a clear qualification process, withe the same rules for every player.
Wild card is purely arbitrary.

James Roark's picture is often incomplete and inaccurate. I get my stats from twic and megabase. You can't dispute evidence just by saying "wrong". If you base the level of a tournament by average rating, which you should, then Caruana has won many events stronger than Wijk. The average rating in that tournament was 2739 and even the Paris Grand Prix recently won by Caruana was stronger. Not to mention the 2012 Grand Slam where the average rating was 2781, or Zurich 2013 where the average rating was 2771.

Nakamura hasn't had a first place finish in a top level tournament since that Wijk 2011 nearly 3 years ago. He won the 2012 US champs but he only played a single 2700+ player there, and that's an open tournament so it can't be counted. It had less 2700+ players and was generally weaker than Reyjavik 2012 where Caruana got unshared first.


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