Reports | March 06, 2013 11:34

FIDE Candidates: all the info (including the pairings!)

FIDE Candidates: all the info (including the pairings!)

The first round of the Candidates tournament in London, on March 15th, 2013 will see the games Aronian-Carlsen, Gelfand-Radjabov, Ivanchuk-Grischuk and Svidler-Kramnik. Nine days before the opening ceremony the full pairings were already published on the official website.

FIDE and AGON, the commercial partner of the World Chess Federation, will organize the strongest Candidates tournament in history in London. The tournament is an 8-player double round robin with 4 rest days. The dates are March 14th-April 2nd, 2013. The prize fund shared by the players totals € 510,000.

FIDE Candidates 2013 | Players

The following eight players qualified for the tournament:

  • the top three player from the 2011 World Cup: Peter Svidler (2747, Russia), Alexander Grischuk (2764, Russia) and Vassily Ivanchuk (2757, Ukraine);
  • the player who lost the 2012 World Championship Match: Boris Gelfand (2740, Israel);
  • the top three players with the highest average FIDE rating on the July 2011 & January 2012 lists: Magnus Carlsen (2872, Norway), Vladimir Kramnik (2810, Russia) and Levon Aronian (2809, Armenia);
  • one nominated player by the organiser: Teimour Radjabov (2793, Azerbaijan).

The winner of the Candidates will have the right to challenge World Champion Viswanathan Anand of India in a world title match which is scheduled to take place in November 2013. Anand has been World Champion since 2007, when he won the World Championship Tournament in Mexico City. He successfully defended his title against Vladimir Kramnik (Bonn, 2008), Veselin Topalov (Sofia, 2010) and Boris Gelfand (Moscow, 2012).

FIDE Candidates 2013 | Schedule

Event Day Date
Opening Ceremony Thursday 14/03/2013
Round 1 Friday 15/03/2013
Round 2 Saturday 16/03/2013
Round 3 Sunday 17/03/2013
Free day Monday 18/03/2013
Round 4 Tuesday 19/03/2013
Round 5 Wednesday 20/03/2013
Round 6 Thursday 21/03/2013
Free day Friday 22/03/2013
Round 7 Saturday 23/03/2013
Round 8 Sunday 24/03/2013
Round 9 Monday 25/03/2013
Free day Tuesday 26/03/2013
Round 10 Wednesday 27/03/2013
Round 11 Thursday 28/03/2013
Round 12 Friday 29/03/2013
Free day Saturday 30/03/2013
Round 13 Sunday 31/03/2013
Round 14 Monday 01/04/2013
Tie-Breaks if necessary/Closing Ceremony Tuesday 02/04/2013

As could be read in the regulations (here in PDF), the draw for pairings and colours would be conducted in the FIDE office in Athens, one month before the start of the event. Yesterday they were published on the official website so we can repeat them below.

As you can see, the tournament starts with a bang with Aronian-Carlsen in round 1 and Carlsen-Kramnik in round 2! Aronian, who got lot number one, will play his first two games as White while Kramnik will start with two games as Black.

FIDE Candidates 2013 | Pairings

Round 1 15.03.13 15:00 CET   Round 8 24.03.13 15:00 CET
Aronian - Carlsen   Carlsen - Aronian
Gelfand - Radjabov   Radjabov - Gelfand
Ivanchuk - Grischuk   Grischuk - Ivanchuk
Svidler - Kramnik   Kramnik - Svidler
Round 2 16.03.13 15:00 CET   Round 9 25.03.13 15:00 CET
Carlsen - Kramnik   Kramnik - Carlsen
Grischuk - Svidler   Svidler - Grischuk
Radjabov - Ivanchuk   Ivanchuk - Radjabov
Aronian - Gelfand   Gelfand - Aronian
Round 3 17.03.13 15:00 CET   Round 10 27.03.13 15:00 CET
Gelfand - Carlsen   Carlsen - Gelfand
Ivanchuk - Aronian   Aronian - Ivanchuk
Svidler - Radjabov   Radjabov - Svidler
Kramnik - Grischuk   Grischuk - Kramnik
Round 4 19.03.13 15:00 CET   Round 11 28.03.13 15:00 CET
Carlsen - Grischuk   Grischuk - Carlsen
Radjabov - Kramnik   Kramnik - Radjabov
Aronian - Svidler   Svidler - Aronian
Gelfand - Ivanchuk   Ivanchuk - Gelfand
Round 5 20.03.13 15:00 CET   Round 12 29.03.13 15:00 CET
Ivanchuk - Carlsen   Carlsen - Ivanchuk
Svidler - Gelfand   Gelfand - Svidler
Kramnik - Aronian   Aronian - Kramnik
Grischuk - Radjabov   Radjabov - Grischuk
Round 6 21.03.13 15:00 CET   Round 13 31.03.13 15:00 CET
Svidler - Carlsen   Radjabov - Carlsen
Kramnik - Ivanchuk   Grischuk - Aronian
Grischuk - Gelfand   Kramnik - Gelfand
Radjabov - Aronian   Svidler - Ivanchuk
Round 7 23.03.13 15:00 CET   Round 14 01.04.13 15:00 CET
Carlsen - Radjabov   Carlsen - Svidler
Aronian - Grischuk   Ivanchuk - Kramnik
Gelfand - Kramnik   Gelfand - Grischuk
Ivanchuk - Svidler   Aronian - Radjabov

As we were told, FIDE had to perform the drawing of lots twice, to make sure that the three Russian players would play each other in rounds 1, 2, 3 and 8, 9, 10 (as stipulated in the regulations).

The venue is the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), Savoy Place, London. The IET is the largest multidisciplinary professional engineering institution in the world. Savoy Place is one of its main offices, a large red brick building on the north bank of the River Thames. It is on a street called Savoy Place and Savoy Street runs along the side of the building up to the Strand.

Google Maps

Google Maps StreetView

Tickets can be purchased online here and at the venue during the tournament. The ticket price is between £ 25 (€ 30) and £ 30 (€ 35) depending on the day. There's also a "tournament pass" which gives access to the complete event, being sold at £ 200 (€ 230).

FIDE Candidates 2013 | Presentation

The chess world is anxiously awaiting the Candidates tournament, and not only because of the importance for the World Championship cycle. Assisted by design firm Pentagram and PR agency Mission, with this event AGON is supposed to start their revolutionary new coverage of chess as a sport, which we described here back in June.

(...) Condensed highlights will be shown on living room television sets, supported by interactive broadcast on the internet, iPads and smartphones. (...)

Its broadcast strategy will exploit the interactive potential of the internet and mobile technology, allowing fans to post live match commentary, monitor players’ heartbeats, track their eye movements over the board, and predict the next move.

We can't wait so see what will come of this, next week. In any case, ChessVibes will be present in London throughout the tournament to provide on-the-spot coverage!

Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.


adergaard's picture

What Gelfand and Svidler is doing there is beyond me. It should be a nice tournament though. I wonder if Carlsen will stand the pressure. Interesting for sure.

AK's picture

I can't believe that some still complain...

Both of them fully earned their place in this tournament.

sab's picture

"I can't believe that some still complain..."

Immaturity (if not stupidity) is the answer.

NN's picture

Svidler won the 128-player World Cup in order to qualify. Gelfand won the previous one. If this is too easy, go win it yourself next time.

RG13's picture


Anonymous's picture

Thanks for the info.

D Sanchez's picture

Not that I agree with adergaard, but there needs to be a name for the "and I suppose you could do better" logical fallacy. I know it's an example of a red herring, but it gets used so often I feel like it needs its own name.

notyetagm's picture

Gelfand was the runner-up in the last WC match.

Svidler, Grischuk, and Ivanchuk finished 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, respectively, in the last World Cup in 2011.

Bob NotChess's picture


Septimus's picture

25GBP is not that bad. I suppose football (soccer) games cost much more.

PP (nl)'s picture

Calsen vs Aronian in round one. They start with a bang... ;-)

Looking forward to the tournament. It will be very interesting!

sab's picture

It's Aronian - Carlsen.
I bet that one will be a draw.

Feuertunken's picture

Anyone as excited about this as I am? This is going to be epic! Go Carlsen, Aronian and Kramnik. :)

Feuertrunken's picture

Well and Chucky of course! :D

Anthony Migchels's picture

A good test for the future World Champ. He's so cool headed, let's see how he performs under maximum pressure. My bet is it will be blood bath.

elgransenor1's picture

I think carlsen, at his current odds on betfair, rates a lay.

Septimus's picture

I hope we don't see Grishchuk repeat his "draw everything and wait for tie-breaks" strategy. I think Carlsen, in his current form will win this. The only other serious challenger is Kramnik.

sab's picture

It's an 8-player double round robin tournament. The best score gets the right to challenge the WC. How a "draw everything and wait for tie-breaks" strategy could work in this case?

Septimus's picture

You are correct. I completely missed the format specifications.

Outsider's picture

I have heard rumours that there will be no free live streaming (or live commentary for that matter) given by the organizer. Is this true, and what kind of online service does AGON offer, then?

Dave Ewart's picture

"Condensed highlights will be shown on living room television sets" - does this mean it's actually going to be shown on TV, in the UK?? Which channel?

mishanp's picture

It's been mentioned that it'll be on the Sky Arts satellite channel in some form e.g.

An Observer's picture

Carlsen arguably has the best schedule of anyone. His last five games include three whites and he doesn't face Kramnik or Aronian. Anyone else who hopes to win better be sure to have a big lead on him by then.

Another Observer's picture

Furthermore, he faces lower rated opponents in EVERY SINGLE game, what a shame!

Kronsteen's picture

No kidding. It's obviously a fix, funded by Norwegian oil money.

Gelfand, on the other hand, has to play UP every game! Once again, the anti-Israeli cabal rears its ugly head. For shame.

Jack's picture

Aronian should win. It will be interesting to see Aronian Vs Anand than Carlson Vs Anand.

milan kovacs's picture

I'd love to go there but I'm not near London enough...

Sunmaid's picture

I know Carlsen is the favorite to win. But I wonder if he is a good bet against the field. Over the past two years he has clearly been the best player due to his rating and tournament performances. But against the field I would give him about a 50/50 chance of winning.

Carlos Cleto's picture

Fantastic line-up. It's a pity Caruana don't play.

filiusdextris's picture

I'm proud of FIDE for once for doing its best to allay collusion concerns by pairing compatriots as early as possible, removing one of the few major objections to such a format in the first place. One doesn't normally see that level of common sense in world chess politics. Kudos!

Kronsteen's picture

Yes, that was a remarkable piece of forward thinking - pretty cool. (I wonder whose idea it was.)

Anonymous's picture

I agree, it was good and simple thinking. The idea can be applied in this age where chess does not have as much of a one country dominance. It would not have made a difference if there were, say seven Russians and one Carlsen.

Kronsteen's picture

On the other hand, if you're inclined to suspect collusion (which I'm not), then it is Carlsen versus seven Russian-speaking ex-Soviets: "Let man’s petty nations tear themselves apart / My land’s only borders lie around my heart"

Well, at least we can be sure that Aronian and Radjabov will not be throwing games to each other.

filiusdextris's picture

It's not so much that one suspects collusion among these chess professionals. More to the point, FIDE has taken away, to the extent reasonably possible, the APPEARANCE of collusion. Who knows what goes behind closed doors, but this provision surely helps, and will help prevent people from even contemplating such action in future years.

Stefan's picture

They will "monitor players’ heartbeats"? Seriously? I cannot imagine the players to agree to such conditions.

D Sanchez's picture

It'll be funny if Gelfy's heart starts to flutter every time Chucky enters the room :-)

columbo's picture

seems that i will be there ! got my tickets ... Me and my wife will look at all these murderers :)

Pal Gore's picture

"murderers" is NO WHERE NEAR POLITICALLY CORRECT! But good for you for not caring what anyone thinks.. Have a nice time, and defend your wife.

bronkenstein's picture

Levon or Vlad? Hmm...

PS that heartbeat monitoring thing sounds funny, can´t wait =)

Mart Smeets's picture

This will be the best tournament since Zürich 1953. Too bad there is ni Bronstein anymore to write the tournament book

RG13's picture

Shipov or Marin can do.

Thomas Oliver's picture

Actually even the (otherwise quite unknown) Alik Gershon & Igor Nor did a very good job for the San Luis WCh tournament.

valg321's picture

"...monitor players’ heartbeats, track their eye movements over the board..."

surely this is a joke right?

john's picture

who so ever wins the candidates,one this is sure,Anand will not be retaining the WCC this year

Sunmaid's picture

I think it is interesting that they are having the three Russians playing each other at the beginning of each round to help prevent national collusion.
Would FIDE have done the same if the three players were from some other country? Or is the rule specifically targeted for Russia due to it's history of collusion?

RG13's picture

We'll probably never know since Russia is the only nation with multiple entrants

Thomas Oliver's picture

I think we do know: the regulations must have been established before the World Cup - which otherwise wouldn't have had a match for third place. At that stage, two Azeris or two Ukrainians were equally possible - the latter almost happened when Ivanchuk and Ponomariov both reached the semifinals (=75% chance to qualify for the candidates).

Anyway, as the Cold War is over, the entire idea of collusion seems nonsense - particularly Kroonsteen's brilliantly suggestive "if you're inclined to suspect collusion (which I'm not)" referring to the dominance of 'Soviet' players. But recently (when they announced Peter Heine Nielsen as a second), the Carlsen management played the "Carlsen against the Soviet Union" propaganda card.

One thing is clear at least to me: if Kramnik wins because he does well against Grischuk and Svidler, this doesn't mean that they were instructed (by whom?) to throw their games against Vlad.

Axel's picture

... and I always thought Svidler was English ;)

Anonymous's picture

"as the Cold War is over, the entire idea of collusion seems nonsense": I'm not sure. There is still China.

jussu's picture

It's not about being instructed, but imagine yourself facing your good friend in the last round, who is tied for first. It must be damn hard not to consider throwing the game.

Thinking of which, it's actually personal relations that might disturb the last rounds. Pairing compatriots together in earliest rounds is probably the most one can do to fight these issues, but it's 21st century and these men are largely citizens of the World. Fortunately, there are no other French in this lineup than Kramnik, and Svidler is the only English :)


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