Reports | January 16, 2013 10:45

London Candidates: dates & venue announced

London Candidates: dates & venue announced

The dates and the venue for the Candidates tournament were announced yesterday in a press release: March 14, 2013 – April 1, 2013 at the IET London: Savoy Place. Levon Aronian, Magnus Carlsen, Boris Gelfand, Alexander Grischuk, Vassily Ivanchuk, Vladimir Kramnik, Teimour Radjabov and Peter Svidler will fight for a chance to play Vishy Anand in the next World Championship match.

After the positive CAS judgement in the court case with the Bulgarian Chess Federation, AGON & FIDE could finally sign the contract with the venue for the Candidates tournament. Yesterday we received a press release by World Chess, the brand name used for the two organizations behind the upcoming events in the World Championship cycle.


The dates are finally set: March 14, 2013 - April 1, 2013. The London Candidates will be the strongest tournament of its kind in history. It is a double round robin with four rest days between the following eight players:

  1. Magnus Carlsen (NOR, 2861)
  2. Vladimir Kramnik (RUS, 2810)
  3. Levon Aronian (ARM, 2802)
  4. Teimour Radjabov (AZE, 2793)
  5. Alexander Grischuk (RUS, 2764)
  6. Vassily Ivanchuk (UKR, 2758)
  7. Peter Svidler (RUS, 2747)
  8. Boris Gelfand (ISR, 2740)

Carlsen, Kramnik and Aronian (currently also the world's number 1, 2 and 3) qualified by rating – for this FIDE looked at the average FIDE rating list of July 2011 & January 2012. Teimour Radjabov is the organizer's wild card, Grischuk, Ivanchuk and Svidler qualified as the top three of the last FIDE World Cup and Boris Gelfand qualifyed as the loser of the last world title match.

Date Event
Thursday, 14 March Opening Ceremony / Players meeting
Friday, 15 March Round 1
Saturday, 16 March Round 2
Sunday, 17 March Round 3
Monday, 18 March Rest day
Tuesday, 19 March Round 4
Wednesday, 20 March Round 5
Thursday, 21 March Round 6
Friday, 22 March Rest day
Saturday, 23 March Round 7
Sunday, 24 March Round 8
Monday, 25 March Round 9
Tuesday, 26 March Rest day
Wednesday, 27 March Round 10
Thursday, 28 March Round 11
Friday, 29 March Round 12
Saturday, 30 March Rest day
Sunday, 31 March Round 13
Monday, 1 April Round 14
Tuesday, 2 April Tiebreaks / Closing ceremony

The prize fund to be shared by the players totals €510,000. The winner of the Candidates will become the Challenger to Viswanathan Anand in a world title match that's currently scheduled to be held in November 2013.


The venue will be the IET at Savoy Place. It's a historic, beautiful venue which has been the London home of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) since 1909. According to its brochure, it "plays tribute to its long heritage with a host of subtle touches evoking engineering history". Sitting on the banks of the river Thames in the heart of London, the building has been a part of London's cityscape since 1246.

Tickets will be available on the website and at the venue. Further information can be found at the World Chess website.

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.


AAR's picture

Now the argument will start for why such a person should not be included and why such a person should be included.

RealityCheck's picture

That sort of talk is superflous. All contestants on the list have proven themselves worthy candidates.

What amazes me, is that they got this far with the cycle. Especially with all the attempts made by GK and his cronies to derail and discredit the program, its organizers, and contestants. Compare this with what went on between 1993 to 2000 when GK was in charge! Night and day.

S3's picture

Well most of them qualified fair and square and one can hardly object to Carlsen, Aronian, Kramnik and Radja.
Karjakin would have been a nice add-on though.

aidni's picture

Unless carlsen choose and play the tournament, he might loose in the candidates match.I feel carlsen should channelize the energy properly and focus on important tournament like candidates.Even If he wins in this double round robin candidates match, still he doesn't have enough experience on playing matches which is different ball game.My favourtie would be vassily ivanchuk he deserves a title shot.He is a king of player if starts play well in a tournament no one is there to stop him.

NBC's picture

I think this is pretty much between the top three guys, Carlsen, Kramnik and Aronian. The other players simply lose to often against each other. Against Anand, each of the above three would have a shot, but it would be difficult due to Anands superior match preparation.

silvakov's picture

Right now there's no other player to consider but Carlsen for the win, especially in such a long event. Maybe a Kramnik displaying his superb form from London, an "in the mood" Ivanchuk or an Aronian coming back from the dead could put up a challenge, but it doesn't seem likely.
But hey, no one seriously considered Gelfand as a potential winner last time, let alone a final match Gelfand x Grischuk, so these analysis are nothing but conjectures...

redivivo's picture

"But hey, no one seriously considered Gelfand as a potential winner last time"

The format was a bit different then, if you look at all previous double round robin Candidates I think the favourite won every single one of them.

redivivo's picture

Including all pure round robin Candidates or World Championships the winners have been:

Anand (2007)
Topalov (2005)
Petrosian (1962)
Tal (1959)
Smyslov (1956)
Smyslov (1953)
Bronstein (1950)
Botvinnik (1948)

All of them World Champions or Candidates that drew title matches, and #1 on existing rating lists.

S3's picture

There were no rating lists in '62 or before, so that hardly proves anything.
I suppose the luckiest one will win. And that might just be the one who gets to play Ivanchuk twice after his mental collapse during the tournament. I hope that doesn't happen though.

redivivo's picture

The Chessmetrics rating list has all the Candidates winners up until and including 1962 as World number 1 at the time of the title match they qualified for, so round robins do tend to be a good format for the strongest players.

S3's picture

I suppose it helps that that means you look at the list the candidates tournament.

Cleto's picture

"#1 on existing rating lists" : You made a point !

2007 : Anand was 1 in the list of July 2007.

2005 : Topalov, at 2788, as equal 1 in the list of July 2005 (puting aside Kasparov, retired but still in the Rating list).

1962 : In Chessmetrics of Jeff Sonas, Petrosian was number 1 since May 1961.

1959 : In Chessmetrics of Jeff Sonas, Tal was number 1 since October 1958.

1956 : In Chessmetrics of Jeff Sonas, Smyslov was number 1 since November 1953.

1953 : Here, in August to October 1953, months of the Zurich-Neuhausen Candidates, Smyslov was 2nd to Reshevsky in Chessmetrics.

1950 : Here, in April and May 1950, months of the Budapest Candidates, Bronstein was 3rd to Smyslov (2nd) and Botvinnik (1st) in Chessmetrics.

1948 : In Chessmetrics of Jeff Sonas, Botvinnik was number 1 since August 1944.

Anonymous's picture

Is there comparative information for candidate matches in the past?

adam's picture

thumbs up, can't wait to see this feast. the rest of the top 10 would be nice to include, but one can't have everything i guess

redivivo's picture

It's certainly the strongest Candidates tournament in more than 50 years.

john's picture

I will root for gelfand again so that he can get his due.

noyb's picture

This will be Carlsen's tournament, beginning to end.

Anonymous's picture

For chess, this would be the best outcome.

Thomas's picture

If we look at similarly strong tournaments (Bilbao, Tal Memorial), did Carlsen ever dominate "beginning to end"? Often he won (on tiebreak or after a blitz playoff), but that's not the same.

Anyone can claim that this would be the best outcome for chess, but not that any other outcome would be second- or third-best.

Anonymous's picture

A small double round robin of the world's best by rating to select a candidate for a world's championship match is the best format for choosing the Champ, IMO.

Anonymous's picture

Can somebody briefly explain the championship cycle? There is a schedule for FIDE events here:

I think a tournament to determine to candidate is the best format. What about the World Cup though? Are they going to have a knockout to determine a challenger again? That will probably produce another relatively weak challenger.

Balderdash's picture

My understanding is that Grand Prix winners, World Cup winners, a few committee selections, and players who qualify on rating will get into the Candidate's from now on.

Anonymous's picture

It is yet to see whether Carlsen is going to play or not!!

turing's picture

It is yet to see whether Carlsen is going to play or not!!

bondegnasker's picture

I think the above message was generated by a human. Does it mean it has passed the test?

Cowboys26's picture

Why cant they wait till 2014 to play next match? R we going to have a WCC every year?

Cowboys26's picture

Carlsen opted out last time stating that the champion Anand should play as well and not have an advantage of waiting for the Candidate.Things havent changed ,so lets see if Carlsen has a change of mind.

aidni's picture

if every other great player like kramnik doesn't have problem with world championship format,why carlsen should have problem with it.Becos carlsen is dominant for few years in few tournaments,doesn't mean system has to be changed to accomdate him.carlsen is not bigger than chess.WChampsion has own its history of match play to determine WC ,that must not be changed for any single person.I wud love see him loosing in this candidates cycle.

Anonymous's picture

Just like Fischer he probably tries to secure some psychological advantage. In a way he succeeded as the new format is almost build to his demands.
The official reason for opting out was that the system wasn't sufficiently fair to motivate him to play. Not the change of rules

redivivo's picture

"Just like Fischer he probably tries to secure some psychological advantage. In a way he succeeded as the new format is almost build to his demands"

Carlsen made no demands and this cycle is far from what he gave as his preferred format, while for example Kramnik said that the system must be changed and that he wanted FIDE to hold a Candidates double round robin of exactly the sort they later decided to hold. Carlsen didn't want the previous cycle to be the joke FIDE turned it into, I don't think anyone seriously sees this as trying to get some Fischer style psychological advantage, it's just common sense.

Anonymous's picture

Many people think that Carlsen tried to secure a psychological advantage. He wanted a double round robin and he got it. Without having to qualify for it. Meanwhile he was talking about a "fair" system and Anand's priveleges.

redivivo's picture

"Many people think that Carlsen tried to secure a psychological advantage"

Nah, just a few Carlsen hating nutters that don't know a knight from a bishop.

Balderdash's picture

This is quite far from the truth. Carlsen did two separate things: 1) drop out of the cycle because FIDE broke its agreement with top players and changed the format, and 2) express his personal preference for round robin events over matches. He did NOT drop out of the cycle because FIDE refused to cave in to his demands concerning the cycle. Stop conflating the two.

Anonymous's picture

Carlsens own words (or his manager):

"After careful consideration I’ve reached the conclusion that the ongoing 2008–2012 cycle does not represent a system, sufficiently modern and fair, to provide the motivation I need to go through a lengthy process of preparations and matches and to perform at my best.
Reigning champion privileges, the long (five year) span of the cycle, changes made during the cycle resulting in a new format (Candidates) that no World Champion has had to go through since Kasparov, puzzling ranking criteria as well as the shallow ceaseless match-after-match concept are all less than satisfactory in my opinion."

So the main objections are against the format.

He continues:

"Although the purpose of this letter is not to influence you to make further changes to the ongoing cycle, I would like to take the opportunity to present a few ideas about future cycles in line"

Interpret that any way you want.
Then he gives only one practical example of what is fair:

"One possibility for future cycles would be to stage an 8-10 player World Championship tournament similar to the 2005 and 2007 events."

So what happened ?
Of course the world champion didn't lose all his hard earned priveleges.
But Carlsen got his self proposed 8 men drr tournament. Kramnik too has expressed sympathy for this format but only after it was announced.

It's likely that Carlsens public letter with "advice" was meant to pressurise Fide despite the "not to influence" phrase. Whatever the case, he got everything he realistically could get.

redivivo's picture

"Kramnik too has expressed sympathy for this format but only after it was announced"

No, he expressed it very clearly before, when he said that the Kazan format was "not suitable for today’s classical World Championship candidates".

"So you would have preferred a tournament? Weren’t you in favour of matches?

I personally have always preferred the tournament format"

and mentioned

"a round robin tournament of say seven or eight players, double round"

as a good format, and that

"the tournament system would be much more interesting, and much more logical"

Anonymous's picture

Perhaps I am mistaken but as far as I know this DRR was already decided before Kazan. And before Kazan, when he had not lost, Kramnik, understandably, said matches were good.

The point is; Carlsen was first to openly argue for a 8 round dr and it was immediately implemented in the next cycle.

Another thing is that Carlsen did not withdraw out the previous candidates because of Fide but because of the format.

redivivo's picture

"Perhaps I am mistaken but as far as I know this DRR was already decided before Kazan"

Yes, you are mistaken, as also can be seen from Kramnik's talking about whether FIDE will keep the current format, when he says he likes a 7-8 player double round robin Candidates instead.

"Another thing is that Carlsen did not withdraw out the previous candidates because of Fide but because of the format."

The format FIDE changed during the cycle, yes. As you may have noticed Carlsen participated in the cycle before the change. The rules in the contract with the players didn't have any 8 player knockout but a two player Candidates match.

Anonymous's picture

Ok, so Kramnik joined Carlsens plea for a tournament (although Kramnik didn't make threats of withdrawal). It doesn't make a big difference.

Carlsen still got what he wanted.

After he made it clear how he wouldn't play in matches FIDE switched to this format.

redivivo's picture

"Kramnik joined Carlsens plea for a tournament (although Kramnik didn't make threats of withdrawal).

Carlsen didn't make threats of withdrawal. He withdrew, and after withdrawing he specifically pointed out that he didn't want changes to the current cycle.

For the future Kramnik wanted a double round robin candidates, that he got. Carlsen wanted a cycle without Champion privileges, which he didn't get.

"After he made it clear how he wouldn't play in matches FIDE switched to this format"

No, the cycle had a longer Candidates match that Carlsen obviously wanted to play until it was removed by FIDE after the cycle started, and was replaced by a knockout. I think you know that Carlsen never "made it clear how he wouldn't play in matches", he disliked the knockout format that hardly can count as matches, and preferred longer, real matches. For that to happen all players had to agree to it, but Gelfand was against it since his chances were better in a knockout.

Now this discussion is finished for my part, so feel free to post some more "facts".

Anonymous's picture

Redivivo must be part of Carlsens marketing team considering how much time he spends on denying an obvious truth. Either that, or he has too much time on his hands.

Once more just for redivivo:

Carlsen quit the cycle -said he much preferred a fair system like an 8 player tournament - Fide changed format to 8 player tournament.

Basically, it's perfectly in line with Fischers strategy, only Fischer quit a cycle to have Fide change tournaments to matches.

Balderdash's picture

You are taking a bunch of different events that happened, and completely inventing relationships between them.

redivivo's picture

"every other great player like kramnik doesn't have problem with world championship format"

Kramnik refused to participate in many World Championship cycles, as did Anand. Carlsen of course never demanded that the rules should be changed to accomodate him, what he wanted was that FIDE should NOT change the rules as they did.

FIDE arranged a phone conference with the top players after changing the rules, after Aronian had demanded that they should listen to the players. FIDE declared that they would listen to the players views on the cycle change, and on their preferences for future cycles, and that the result would be published by FIDE.

The conference showed that all players were against the cycle change, so FIDE skipped publishing the result. Carlsen referred to this conference when later giving his views, since they had been hushed by FIDE, but they were of course never some kind of demand, which is obvious since he is playing this cycle without having anything critical to say about it.

aidni's picture

the fact of the matter is carlsen pressurised fide for double round robin for this cycle.he got what he wanted but will he able to cross the hurdle ? the answer will be no, unlike other tournaments where carlsen always win all against tailenders and draw/loose against top ranked candidates there is no easy prey for him, he will get frustrated and might loose more games.

redivivo's picture

"carlsen pressurised fide for double round robin"

Well, Kramnik insisted that FIDE would introduce a double round robin Candidates. Carlsen said that "one possibility for future cycles would be to hold an 8-10 player World Championship". Gelfand, on the other hand, said that the knockout format of Kazan leads to the strongest player winning. So all players have different preferences, and the format Kramnik insisted on "won". Most people would agree that the format is good, and I certainly think it is better than the one used in Kazan.

Anonymous's picture

Facts against redivivo:

Kramnik insisted on nothing. He said he preferred tournaments in an interview.

Carlsen said "one possibility would be a tournament" without stating any other possibility and with the same letter he withdrew because of the current system being unfair.

Gelfand said that, whatever the format, usually the stronger player wins.

So only Carlsen communicated directly to Fide about the wish for a tournament, and Fide acknowledged that wish.

redivivo's picture

As you probably know Carlsen opted out because the rules of the cycle were changed (and the original rules of course stated that the title holder played a challenger), it's another thing that Carlsen said his preferred format would be a World Championship without one player seeded into a title match. But Carlsen certainly never claimed that he refuses to play a title match against a seeded title holder, he just doesn't think it's the ideal format.

AK's picture

I think chances are 50 - 50 that Carlsen wins it. Meaning that it's as likely that someone else wins this event.

Magnus Carlsen - Favorite. But opening prep is big question. And also performing under immense pressure.
Vladimir Kramnik - If he is in top form then watch out. Best opening prep. Although rather passive black openings might be a problem if someone starts to win a lot of games.
Levon Aronian - frankly... I don't think he will win. Has a history of not performing well under immense pressure (see Mexico and Kazan).
Teimour Radjabov - Hasn't played much, but has all the qualities to win.
Alexander Grischuk - Ultimate dark horse. When in top form plays as good as anybody. Has usually excelled in high pressure events. Although relative lack of success in round-robins and time management are big question marks.
Vassily Ivanchuk - Sorry. But he rarely plays great in events where all opponents are tough as nails. Also has a history of failing in high pressure events.
Peter Svidler - If he is well-prepared and in top form then he can beat anybody. I don't see him winning, but would not be surprised if he is just behind the winner like in San Luis.
Boris Gelfand - Everybody have counted out him so many times before, but he still has delivered in big events. We will see...

Balderdash's picture

Gelfand got to the WCC without having to face (much less beat) any of the top ten rated players in the world other than Mamedyarov (9th). He beat the 9th, 12th, and 18th ranked players in the world. At the World Cup that got him there in the first place, he beat Polgar (48th), Vachier-Lagrave (23rd), Jakovenko (15th), and Karjakin (18th). He himself was the top seed. So while he may have done well in these events, in a tournament where he HAS to contend with Kramnik, Carlsen, and Aronian, he doesn't stand a chance.

redivivo's picture

"in a tournament where he HAS to contend with Kramnik, Carlsen, and Aronian, he doesn't stand a chance"

Obviously, and he never did in his 25 years long career against players on that level, so he's not going to get any second title match.

AK's picture

I don't think he will win. I think it's far more likely that he will be dead last. But aren't you guys tired of crapping on Gelfand all the time?

Yes, he didn't face absolute top players in Kazan or in the World Cup. But it's not his fault that Carlsen didn't bother to show up and the other two couldn't beat Grischuk.


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