September 13, 2007

Friday Fun: Let's get ready to RRRRRRRRumble!

(Ok, it's a day early, but I have my reasons.)

So, today begins the World Chess Championship tournament in Mexico City. Photos of the opening ceremony yesterday, list of participants and round schedule here. A good preview is at The Week in Chess, with chattier discussions at ChessNinja here and here.

The participants are Viswanathan Anand, Levon Aronian, Boris Gelfand, Alexander Grischuk, Vladimir Kramnik, Peter Leko, Alexander Morozevich and Peter Svidler. Kramnik is the defending champion. The rather complex explanation of what happens next is to be found at the TWIC link above.

What's going to happen? Well, Kramnik is champion but tends not to do as well in tournaments as in matches, except in tournaments of all highly rated players in which he can eek out a +2 and still win. Anand is the highest rated player, but he sometimes seems to lack the killer instinct to win the big tournament. Aronian is the second youngest in the field but may be the one most poised for another big breakthrough, like the one he had a couple of years ago to break into the top 10. On balance, I would say Anand 50%, Kramnik and Aronian 20% each and 10% one of the others.

It should be fun.

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