1. #1
    Cookie Monster
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    Anyone betting on Chess Candidates Tournament?

    The candidates tournament to the challenger for Chess World Championship will start tomorrow. 8 of the best players playing a double round robin, the winner will play a match vs Magnus Carlsen for the title. Anyone betting on it? I rather like Topalov as a dark horse, as he is streaky and draws less that the rest. IMO he is the most likely to finish last, but also a good value for winning at +1000. When he is at his best (as San Luis 2005) he is unstoppable. OTOH, he may be the weakest on rapid chess, so it would be very hard to win a rapid tiebreak.

    BTW, nice article at chessbase: http://en.chessbase.com/post/compute...didates-winner

  2. #2
    Cookie Monster
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    After 9 of 14 rounds, things are not clear. Anand and Karjakin leading with 5.5. Caruana and Aronian next with 5.0. Giri still a little hope with 4.5 (9 draws!). Almost out are Svidler 4.0, Nakamura 3.5 and Topalov 3.0.

    Karjakin has the edge, as he beat Anand on 1st encounter, so a draw with him would get the tiebreak against the former champion. Karjakin is very solid and punishes opponent mistakes. It is increidible seeing Anand at 46 years old still hanging out with the young pack, and giving them lectures on opening preparation and technique. He basically invented a new defense setup for this tournament, a hybrid of Nimzoindian and Ragozin.

    Caruana has been playing very solidly, has only a win vs Nakamura, whom crashed into Caruana's opening preparation. Aronian IMO has played the best chess on the tournament, very imaginative. But today fell into a bad opening vs Anand, and the Indian ruthless technique crushed him. Cannot say much on Giri 9 draws on 9 games, just that he is unlikely to win 2 on last 5 games to have any chance of winning the tournament.

    Svidler has shown excellent preparation, getting favorable positions out of the opening on most games. But he has been outplayed on middlegames and has not converted his good positions into wins. Nakamura has had a bad tournament, his nerves have failed him under pressure. The "j'adoube incident" vs Aronian is a clear case. Under chess rules, a player must move a piece he touches. The exception is to fix a piece not clearly set on its square, by saying clearly "j'adube" before touching the wrongly placed piece. In a drawish rook endgame, Nakamura touched his king, and before moving it he noticed it would be a decisive mistake, so he said "j'adoube" afterwards. Of course, that is against the rules and the arbiter ruled he must move his king, so he lost a few moves later. On last place my dark horse pick, Topalov. I praise his aggressive approach, but he has been badly outprepared, and his attacks have crashed against this very solid field.

    Karjakin is a solid favorite to win the tournament. I would prefer Caruana or Aronian to win, as they would make a more interesting match vs champion Magnus Carlsen. Karjakin is more of a lightweight, and Anand has lost already two matches against Carlsen.

  3. #3
    Ballerholic
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    Can you even bet on chess?

  4. #4
    SEAHAWKHARRY
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    Wtf

  5. #5
    Cookie Monster
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    In the end, Karjakin won the tournament and will challenge Magnus Carlsen for world championship. After some lead changes (Caruana beat Anand to join lead with Karjakin, Anand beat Karjakin to join lead with Caruana, Karjakin beat Topalov while Anand lost to Nakamura), on next to last round Caruana and Karjakin were leaders.

    Karjakin with black was outmanouvered by Aronian and was on a losing position, while Caruana got a nice advantage over Svidler. But Karjakin was able to hold a very difficult endgame after Aronian missed the winning blow, and Caruana got the infamous Rook + bishop vs Rook endgame, studied 250 years ago by Philidor. This endgame is a draw with perfect play, but defense has to be very precise to avoid falling into the losing positions. OTOH, the bishop side has to win before the 50-move rule draw is reached (50 consecutive moves without any capture or pawn movement). On the 36th move Svidler fell into a losing position, and Caruana had a chance to convert before the 50th move, but Caruana was unable to find the perfect move order, and even let his opponent into a drawn position again. So, into last round Karjakin and Caruana were on the lead and they played each other, but Krajakin had the white pieces, and most importantly, draw odds. One caveat: If Anand with black beats Svidler and Karjakin and Caruana draw, there is a three way tie for first and Caruana had the tiebreak.

    Caruana had to play for a win, so he chose a double-edged Sicilian defense. Svidler - Anand went into a boring middlegame, very likely to be a draw, as eventually happened. Caruana played aggressively, and surprisingly Karjakin boldly went into a double edged position. Black was not worse, but had to play precisely and Caruana was on time pressure. As happens often, the player short on time overlooked a tactical blow, allowing Karjakin to sacrifice a rook to put black king under heavy attack. Caruana had the choice to give back the rook, leading to a pawn down endgame without any hope for a win. So, he choose to try to defend his king but there were no way out. A few moves later Caruana resigned when checkmate was forced.

    So, Karjakin is the challenger. He clearly deserves this chance, but Magnus Carlsen looks like a bad style match for him. Both play solidly, but I cannot see how Karjakin can outplay Carlsen in quiet positions. The champion is known for keep playing apparently innocuous positions, and after a few moves the opponent is tied up. I guess Carlsen will be -500 to retain the crown.

  6. #6
    eidolon
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    Magnus Carlsen isn't as dominating has he was 5 or so years ago. Bet against him.

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