Each match will consist of six games, possible tiebreaks will be under rapid time control
The Candidate matches for the World Chess Championship will take place May 26 – June 14 in Elista, Russia. Having failed to find the sponsorship and follow the original schedule, FIDE president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov came up with 320.000 USD of his own money for the prize fund, with FIDE contributing additional 160.000 USD.
Each match will consist of six games, possible tiebreaks will be under rapid time control. Two rounds of eliminations will produce the final four players to join Vladimir Kramnik, Viswanathan Anand, Peter Svidler, and Alexander Morozevich for the 2007 World Championship tournament. The World Championship will be held in Mexico City, 12th-30th of September.
A few words about the pairings. Peter Leko seems to be the absolute favorite against Mikhail Gurevich. The same could be said about Levon Aronian, but Magnus Carlsen is gradually improving and this year he had fantastic performance at the Morelia/Linares and Gausdal. Results in Judit Polgar-Evgeny Bareev and Alexei Shirov-Michael Adams are completely unpredictable. Shirov was not really impressive in 2007, while Adams played well at the Mtel Masters, but dropped many favorable positions.
Levon Aronian and Magnus Carlsen
Alexei Shirov and Michael Adams
Boris Gelfand is holding his top shape over the last few years and has slightly better chances over Rustam Kasimdzhanov. Still, the former FIDE champion should never be underestimated. Another former champion, Ruslan Ponomariov, is paired against Sergei Rublevsky. Ponomariov is higher rated, but Rublevsky is a dangerous player with nasty opening repertoire.
The duel between the two Russians, Alexander Grischuk and Vladimir Malakhov, will be particularly interesting because Grischuk has been playing poker more than chess over the last months. Finally, our pick for the most exciting match in the first round is the battle between Etienne Bacrot and Gata Kamsky. The French is top notch player with fantastic opening preparation, while Kamsky is very experienced in matches. Kamsky is also a fearless fighter, and very often he initiates real skirmish only during the fourth hour of the play. Should be fun to watch.
Etienne Bacrot and Gata Kamsky