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Chess - the world in black and white

Rorschach - 2

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That's 8 rounds done. 3 more to go.

Caruana and Aronian drew their top board encounter. While Anton managed to beat Grischuk

So we have a three way tie at the top right now.

Caruana 6(8)

Aronian 6(8)

Anton 6(8)

The pack in pursuit

Wang Hao 5.5 (8)

Alekseenko 5.5 (8)

Maghsoodloo 5.5 (8)

Kovalev 5.5 (8)

Carlsen 5.5 (8)

Vitiugov 5.5 (8)

Karjakin 5.5 (8)

Nakamura 5.5 (8)

Anand 5.5 (8)

Gelfand 5.5 (8)

Then we have bit further down the folks wit 5 points, who can also still hope to catch up.

Shirov 5(8)

Adhiban 5(8)

Tari 5(8)

Kasimdzhanov 5(8)

Rakhmanov 5(8)

Grischuk 5(8)

McShane 5(8)

Yu Yangyi 5(8)

Kryvoruchko 5(8)

Svidler 5(8)

So 5(8)

Matlakov 5(8)

Xiong 5(8)

Howell 5(8)

Le Quang Liem 5(8)

Ragger 5(8)

Robson 5(8)

Hovhannisyan 5 (8)

Top two boards for tomorrow.

Board 1 Aronian - Anton

Board 2 Carlsen - Caruana

Personally I think there will be quite a lot of action on the boards with the 5(8) players involved. If they want to win the tournament (and thus clinch a spot at the candidates) they are pretty much in the must win phase now. If one of them managed to win their last three games, it would put them on 8(11), which might just be enough (maybe not), realistically I think outright winning would mean 8.5 (11). But then again, if the winner is named Carlsen or Caruana, then the best not Carlsen or Caruana named player will qualify.


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Any of you catch the exact same game on adjoining boards today? Well for about 17 moves anyway.Then the officials moved one of the games away and the play deviated .

Weird,but not apparently unprecedented.

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Haven'T seen the game. However, sounds more likely they were just within their prep. Remember, there are some theory heavy lines where the free play really just starts after 15+ moves. Then they (GMs and IMs) all use pretty much the engines for analyzation purposes. They probably occasionally looked over to see what's happening there, but I don't think there was any copycat action happening there. Maybe one got lucky at some point got to refresh his memory at some point wrt move order.

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The broadcast had the umpire in the studio to explain, and he stated there was no suspicion of any cheating - which means both set of players were just in theory. 

Made sense to move one board anyway, as after they leave theory one board would have a slight advantage in seeing moves made ahead of time.


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C&C drew their game.

Lev is pushing against Anton.  A win would be huge for him.

Nakamura won against Kovalev and is now sitting on 6.5(9) alongside Fabi (and maybe Lev and Anton)

Look like Sascha will win against Shirov and thus remain in striking range. He will ofc hope that Anton holds the draw against Lev. Half a point is not the end of world, but a full point with two rounds to go, would be a very tall order (like I said, I think the folks who were on 5(8) were/are in must win situations - so by that logic McShane and So agreed to give up on qualifying here). That's ofc assuming he will beat Shirov and join Carlsen on 6(9).

Matlakov might end Gelfand's candidates hope. On that notion, I wonder what Anand will do, if he fails to qualify for the again.

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And Wang Hao is putting an end to any hopes Anand might have had about somehow qualifying here. Looks totally busted. So does Matlakov against Carlsen.

So two more names on the won'T make it to the candidates list.

Edit/update: Anand resigned, and Wang is back in the competition with 7/10. And it looks like Le is eliminating Maghsoodloo from the race for the candidates. Too bad for Le, it was one draw too many in the previous rounds. Like I said, 7.5 (11) [the max he could still get] won't be enough. On the same notion, So is winning his USCF mini match against Robson, but is in the same situation as Le. Fabi with a slight pull against Anton at the top board.

Howell-Grischuk looks wild. If Howell somehow wins this game, he'd have a fair chance to qualify for the candidates. And a few rounds ago, we thought McShane might be the English underdog to make it. 

Karjaking - Alekseenko is another wild game. From all the Russians playing there, I must admit I did not see Alekseenko of all people qualifying. Well, there's still Vitiugov who looks like to be a step closer to winning his game this round and putting him in a good position.

Update 2: Howell looks close to winning now.

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Caruana entering the final round as sole leader.

Standings before the final round I'll only list the players with a chance of winning). * Carlsen and Caruana do not need to qualify for the Candidates.

1. Caruana*  7.5 (10)

2.  Wang Hao  7 (10)

     Alekseenko 7 (10)

     Carlsen*      7 (10)

     Aronian       7 (10)

     Vitiugov      7 (10)

     Nakamura   7 (10)

     Howell         7 (10)

Pairings at the top 4 boards.

1. Fabi vs. Naka

2. Lev vs. Carlsen :(

3. Alekseenko vs. Vitiugov

4. Wang Hao vs. Howell

I am trying to get my head around David Howell potentially qualifying for the candidates. It's completely bonkers, and the reason why I said that this like a lottery.

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Top two boards drawn (as was to be expected). So Naka and Lev are out of the running.

From the relevant boards.

Howell produced a Howeller. I know I am bad at those word games. Anyway 18...Bd5?? is just horrible, as it runs into the fairly obvious 19.Rd1! dropping material - pinned piece is pinned.

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Yep. Altho, saying Hao sounds weird. He is Chinese, so Wang Hao's family name is Wang, and Hao is his given name.  And I recall cb article from some years ago, where they essentially had the same problem with Hou Yifan (and later with Wei Yi). Anyway long story short, Hao is the thing that is presumably not working. His friends will presumably have some sort of nickname for him, otherwise Wang Hao is the correct one (yes, I am being a hypocrite here, as I also tend write just family name out of sheer lazyness).

Anyway, Candidates is taking some shape.

Candidates tournament line up (thus far).

Confirmed qualifiers.

Caruana (by virtue of losing the last WCC match)

Radjabov (WC 1)

Ding Liren (WC 2)

Wang Hao (Winner of the FIDE Grand Swiss Tournament [aka lottery])

Open spots.

Grand Prix Series (1st place)

Grand Prix Series (2nd place)

Rating Qualifier (presumably Giri)

Organizer Wildcard

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They have added certain restriction on the Wildcard tho. Not just the average above 27xx from last time.

Eligible for the WC.

Best non-qualifier from the WC (MVL)

Best non-qualifier from this lottery (Alekseenko)

Best non-qualifier from the GP [tbd]

Top Ten on the Average rating list. Surprisingly  Lev is not on that list :(






I think the wildcard will go to Shak or one of the Russians (Nepo and Sascha as frontrunners, and I think Nepo might have the better connections there), basically whoever misses out on one of the GP spots.

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Giri will qualify by ratng. Yes, that is a pretty safe assumption.

GP qualifiers will be two of

Grischuk, Shak, Nepo and MVL.

Like I said, basically which of the three (Shak, Sascha, Nepo) misses out on the GP, will be reasonably hopeful of getting that wildcard. We will know more after the Hamburg GP.

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