Thursday, April 4, 2013

Chess - London 2013 Candidates Tournament

On Monday April 1st 2013 the tournament ended that determined Magnus Carlsen would be the challenger against Viswanathan Anand for the World Champion title later this year.

The tournament was fascinating and bloody all the way through and on round 12 out of 14 rounds the unthinkable happened as Magnus Carlsen, the hands down favorite to win it all lost to Vassily Ivanchuk and fell to second place behind former World Champion Vladimir Kramnik.

Round thirteen saw Carlsen draw even meaning that everything would be decided by the outcome of the final round of games to be played on of all days, the day of fools.

What makes the Round 12 loss of Carlsen even more interesting is that his opponent, Ivanchuk, had been having disastrous problems minding the time on his clock throughout the whole tournament and losing games he might otherwise have won. The round he managed to get his act together of course was at that point critical for Carlsen. The very next round Ivanchuk went back to losing by time forfeit.

The 14th and final round would prove miraculous for one player as Carlsen was to play white against Svidler the many times Russian Champion while Kramnik would be playing against Ivanchuk. Which Ivanchuk would he face, the time trouble suffering player or the king killer Carlsen lost to in round 12?

As it turned out the third of the 4 ongoing games to finish was Carlsen vs Svidler. It was a disappointing loss for Carlsen, meaning that his fate rested completely with the outcome of the only remaining game, Ivanchuk vs Kramnik.

The time between Carlsen's loss to Svidler and the end of the Ivanchuk vs Kramnik game was less than an hour, but must have been the most stress-filled period in the tournament.

In the end, the king killer version of Ivanchuk revealed himself to play spoiler yet again leaving Carlsen and Kramnik tied for first.

To break the tie there were several methods that would be applied each in turn until the tie was broken or the players would have to play a small series of rapid timed games to determine the overall winner.

The first of the tiebreak rules to be applied was the number of victories, and as it turned out this was the only method needed to resolve the question of who would go on to play against Viswanathan Anand for the World Championship. It was Magnus Carlsen with 5 victories to Vladimir Kramnik's 4 victories during the tournament, that decided the outcome.

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