Khanty-Mansiysk Round 5 Update

Down goes Tomashevsky! Down goes Tomashevsky!

With Karjakin’s marathon victory today, in a game that lasted more than seven hours, the battle for second place in the overall Grand Prix standings got a lot more interesting! Caruana is still alone in first place at Khanty-Mansiysk, and in the projected combined standings. If the tournament ended today, he would finish with 400 Grand Prix points, while Tomashevsky would just barely squeak out a second place finish with just 282 points, barely ahead of Nakamura (272) and Karjakin (270). That gap could possibly close before the event actually concludes, but right now Caruana remains a prohibitive favorite. What is far less clear is who will end up in the second spot.

Here are our projected odds of each player finishing in the top two of the final standings, and earning a berth in the Candidates Tournament. The Khanty-Mansiysk scores and “CURRENT TOTAL” reflect current standings, not projected standings, and are subject to drastic change with a few decisive results, while the current odds in the far right are projections based on 20,000 simulations of the remaining rounds:

Player Live Rating Baku Tashkent Tbilisi Khanty-Mansiysk CURRENT TOTAL ODDS (PRE K-M) ODDS (CURRENT)
 Fabiano Caruana (ITA) 2808.1 155 75 170 400 71% 92.1%
 Hikaru Nakamura (USA) 2795.8 82 125 65 272 49% 40.3%
 Evgeny Tomashevsky (RUS) 2744.4 82 170 30 282 52% 38.8%
 Sergey Karjakin (RUS) 2758.2 82 75 113 270 8% 14.2%
 Boris Gelfand (ISR) 2745.2 155 15 65 235 7% 7.4%
 Dmitry Jakovenko (RUS) 2747.1 30 140 65 235 9% 5.7%
 Alexander Grischuk (RUS) 2781.6 82 40 65 187 3% 1.1%
 Peter Svidler (RUS) 2744.1 82 20 113 215 0.1% 0.3%
 Anish Giri (NED) 2769.5 40 75 30 145 1% 0.1%
 Baadur Jobava (GEO) 2698.5 75 40 30 145 0.2% 0.02%
 Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (FRA) 2732.7 75 40 10 125 1% 0.01%
 Leinier Dominguez (CUB) 2744.9 10 75 113 198 0% 0%
 Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (AZE) 2735.0 35 125 75 235 0% 0%
 Teimour Radjabov (AZE) 2738.0 50 50 110 210 0% 0%
 Dmitry Andreikin (RUS) 2717.9 20 170 10 200 0% 0%
 Rustam Kasimdzhanov (UZB) 2703.8 35 15 75 125 0% 0%

Most interesting to me is how little Nakamura gained from Tomashevsky’s loss. While Toma’s odds of qualifying dropped from 55% before the game to only 38% afterward, it is Karjakin (and Gelfand and Jakovenko) whose odds increased. Naka sits now at the same 40% chance we gave him prior to this round. This emphasizes a point we’ve hinted at before: Nakamura’s qualifying chances rely on the expectation of him winning some games (from his high rating). Ultimately he’ll have to follow through on that expectation to convert his “odds” into an actual Candidates Tournament ticket. He didn’t enter this last event with enough Grand Prix points to draw his way to the top two. Sitting in the middle of the pack, he’s likely to be overtaken by someone else. He can’t just wait for everyone around him to lose.

Of course his next chance at a win, and an absolutely critical game in this battle for second place, will come tomorrow, when Tomashevsky takes up the white pieces and Nakamura sits across the board from him with black. Our model estimates that the game will be drawn 59% of the time, with a 19% chance of Tomashevsky winning and a 22% chance of Nakamura winning. Obviously any decisive result will send the winner’s qualifying odds back up over 50%, while the loser will be in far worse position than they are now.

In another crucial game, Karjakin has black against Vachiere-Lagrave. Our model marks MVL as the favorite, due to the white pieces, however the model only looks at live ratings, and makes no attempt to measure “form”. Maxime is at the bottom of the standings and has not been playing well. Karjakin’s qualifying odds are up to 14% with his win today, and if he manages to take advantage of his reeling opponent and wins again tomorrow his name will definitely join the triumvirate at the top.

As for how we expect players to do in just this leg, ignoring the broader picture, here are the current projections for average Grand Prix points won, and chances of winning the event outright:

Player K-M Expected Score Odds of Clear 1st (Pre-Event Odds)
 Fabiano Caruana (ITA) 135 37% 17%
 Sergey Karjakin (RUS) 95 8% 5%
 Peter Svidler (RUS) 94 6% 2%
 Leinier Dominguez (CUB) 94 6% 2%
 Hikaru Nakamura (USA) 87 5% 14%
 Alexander Grischuk (RUS) 75 3% 11%
 Boris Gelfand (ISR) 66 2% 3%
 Dmitry Jakovenko (RUS) 63 2% 3%
 Anish Giri (NED) 55 1% 7%
 Evgeny Tomashevsky (RUS) 46 0% 3%
 Baadur Jobava (GEO) 33 0.1% 1%
 Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (FRA) 28 0.02% 3%

3 thoughts on “Khanty-Mansiysk Round 5 Update

  1. I love to make intuitive but intelligent guesses.

    Barring unforeseen MAJOR blunder/s, I expect Caruana to score a minimum of 7 pts, Naka and Karjakin both get at least 6 pts, whilst Toma at between 5 – 5.5 pts. These projections reinforce my post-Rd 3 evaluation that Naka has a good chance to dislodge Toma (in the overall GP standing) whilst facing a Karjakin challenge (both for the Khanty-Mansiysk leg and for the overall GP).

    PS: I actually love to see Karjakin come out victorious here bcoz Caruana and Naka are practically shoo-in to clutch the “Rating” criteria for the Candidates tournament. Also, I want Wesley So as the “Organizer’s nominee”. Altogether, these young below-30’s super-GMs will make the 2016 Candidates tournament very strong and very interesting!!


  2. Amazingly, in Round 6, Karjakin temporarily leaped ahead of Tomashevsky, but when Curauna won his game, Tomashevsky re-claimed the 2nd spot!


    • When just the Tomashevsky-Nakamura and MVL-Karjakin games were over we announced on Twitter that Karjakin’s odds of reaching the Candidates Tournament were around 31%, ignoring other games. However a lot of his equity revolves around finishing ahead of Caruana, so after Caruana won his game Karjakin’s odds dropped back down to only about 21%.

      Big swings are occurring with every decisive result! Must be nerve wracking for the players, but it’s a lot of fun for us fans!


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