Magnus Carlsen emerged as the challenger to world chess champion Viswanathan Anand from the London Candidates Tournament that concluded on April Fool’s Day. The race for the challenger was the most exciting in the history of the game.
Carlsen who won and joined Kramnik in the lead after the 13th and penultimate round lost the final round to Svidler with the white pieces. Vassily Ivanchuk who had two rounds earlier defeated Carlsen also defeated Kramnik in the dramatic final round.
This ensured that the Norwegian Carlsen and Russian Kramnik tied for first place by losing their final round games! Carlsen had his better tie-break scores (individual 1-1; wins 5-4) to advance and meet Anand in the summit clash to be held later this year.
Carlsen and Kramnik tied for first place on 8.5 points despite losing. Svidler unexpectedly pipped Aronian for the third place. Svidler had scored 1.5-0.5 in the head-to-head against Aronian and was thus third.
The predictions of Arvind Aaron in www.asianchess.com could have easily gone wrong with so many exciting things happening towards the end. In the end, both came right as it was indeed Carlsen and that he would be losing rating! That was a hard to guess combination of sequences but it did happen. The enormity of the strength (Category 22) of the event and Carlsen’s high 2872 start rating were the primary factors to make such a prediction. Ivanchuk’s ‘tidal bore’ act towards the end made this prediction to actually happen.
Carlsen, 23, escaped in both games against the former world champion Kramnik with draws. Carlsen who is sponsored by Arctic Securities is closing in on the 2900 rating mark after winning big events with wider and wider margins.
Final placings: 1-2. M Carlsen (Nor), V Kramnik (Rus) 8.5/14 each; 3-4. P Svidler (Rus), L Aronian (Arm) 8 each; 5-6. B Gelfand (Isr), A Grischuk (Rus) 6.5 each; 7 V Ivanchuk (Ukr) 6; 8 T Radjabov (Aze) 4.