World Championship Cycle (2014-2016)

The next scheduled World Championship Match will be between reigning champion Magnus Carlsen and a challenger to be determined in a Candidate’s Tournament. The Candidate’s Tournament will be held in 2016, with the winner facing Carlsen in a match later in the year. The field for the Candidate’s Tournament will be determined through a series of events in 2014/2015, and on this page we will track those events as they occur, and keep a running projection of the most likely field.

THE FIELD (Players listed in bold are officially in, others mentioned are “potential” winners of the given spot):

Viswanathan Anand – 2014 World Championship Runner-up

Peter Svidler – 2015 World Cup Finalist

Sergey Karjakin – 2015 World Cup Finalist

Fabiano Caruana – FIDE Grand Prix 1st Place

Hikaru Nakamura – FIDE Grand Prix 2nd Place

Highest Average Rating – Currently projected to be Veselin Topalov

Second Highest Average Rating – Currently projected to be Anish Giri

Levon Aronian – Organizer’s Nominee

Potential Alternates:

If any of the above eight players (once those eight are finalized) is unable to participate in the Candidates Tournament, or declines their invitation, the following players would serve as potential replacements, in the order listed:

1: Dmitry Jakovenko – Grand Prix 3rd Place

2: Highest Average Rating not yet in the field – Currently projected as Vladimir Kramnik, who currently maintains a very slim lead over Alexander Grischuk.

3: 4: 5: and as many additional places may be needed: Next highest Average Rating not yet in the field.

(All data and estimated odds are updates as of 11/5/2015)


15 thoughts on “World Championship Cycle (2014-2016)

  1. Keep in mind also that in order to qualify by average rating, a player must compete in one of the qualification events. This means that those who didn’t play in the Grand Prix will have to play in the World Cup to be eligible for a rating spot.


    • Good point! Right now, with the World Cup field not yet finalized, we’re operating under the assumption that any player rated high enough to potentially qualify who didn’t participate in the Grand Prix will make sure to participate in the World Cup, to assure their eligibility. We’re also assuming that all potential ratings qualifiers will play the required 30 games in 2015.

      Should anyone high on the ratings list NOT meet these requirements, we’ll definitely make note of it and cross them off the list as soon as it’s clear!


    • Presumably. He’s part of the “Grand Chess Tour”; Norway, Sinquefield, and London. That will get him 27 games unless he drops out, enough to put him above the 30 required. Of course since he didn’t participate in the Grand Prix, he has to play in the World Cup to be eligible… as of now there’s no reason to assume he won’t though.


    • Smaller than they’d probably like, at least. Either of them could climb to #2 on the ratings list with some good tournament results (especially in the next few months), though. Or they could finish in the top two at the World Cup. Or someone ahead of them on the ratings list could qualify via the World Cup, sneaking them in. Or they could be selected as a wild card entry (although I haven’t heard any rumors of either of their home nations being likely hosts of the Candidates Tournament, and the wild card spot usually goes to a player from the host country…)

      All told they have enough possibilities that it’s way too early to write either of them off totally.


      • They both were invited to participate, but declined the invitation (as did Carlsen, Anand, and Topalov). I’m not aware of any public statements from either as to why they declined.


    • Well, I can make predictions based on the current seeding, and then update them as ratings and seeds change. Of course there will be a rapid updating process right before the tournament starts, when it becomes clear if all 128 qualified players are competing of if any were unable to make it.

      Cliff’s notes: I currently estimate Topalov at a 16.4% chance of winning (he’s the favorite) and I have Wei Yi with a 1.6% chance of *reaching* the finals (earning one of the Candidates spots) as the #24 seed.


  2. I’d give Karjakin a larger percentage odds based on his much superior rapid and blitz skills, not one of Eljanov’s major strengths, especially given that both his rapid and blitz ratings are inactive. If game 2 is drawn, then Karjakin has to be very warm favorite to take the tiebreaker.


    • Perhaps, but you could just as easily argue that his inactive rapid and blitz ratings mean we don’t actually know his current playing strength, rather than that it’s an indicator of weakness per se.

      If we take those rapid and blitz ratings as gospel, though, then they do suggest Karjakin should win tie breaks about 70-75% of the time, depending on how much weight you put on rapid vs. blitz, which is better than the 54% edge the model will give him if they go to tie breaks.

      Probably the truth is somewhere in between.


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