The Candidates so far...

4 rounds down. 2 men in front. 10 games to go. One thing's for sure - there has been some extraordinary chess played so far and let's hope it continues for the remaining games.

Carlsen and Aronian, the bookies' favourites to win this event, have started to show their class early on, reaching an impressive 3/4. Lev played wonderfully against Chuky and simply outclassed Boris, yet I think he still has another gear in him so it will be interesting to see whether he manages to keep pace with a rampant Magnus Carlsen who has now won 2 in a row and looks in top shape. His win against Boris was typical Carlsen - managing to convert the tiniest of endgame advantages into the full point, and his victory today against Grischuk demonstrated a real gulf in class between the two. There is now a danger that if Magnus manages to put together a string of victories like he managed to do in London and Wijk, the rest of the field will simply not be able to catch him, even in a tournament with as many rounds as this one. 

It's worth mentioning that these two aren't the only ones who have really impressed thus far. The self-proclaimed Anglophile Mr. Peter Svidler, who has lost an incredible 20+ kilos in preparation for this event (yes these players have to be in top physical and mental shape in order to perform in a tournament as gruelling as this), has been the stand-out "dark horse" for me, sitting on a very healthy +1 thanks to a smooth win against Radjabov in round 3. Peter has demonstrated how comprehensive and thorough his opening preparation has been having achieved a practically winning position against Teimour in a KID Samisch variation, and today he equalized comfortably against Levon Aronian in a Queens Gambit Accepted, again thanks to a superb novelty in a well-known line. I really believe that he has got the goods to challenge for the top spot, the big question being whether he can keep pace with the Norwegian genius who could easily get to +3/+4 before the rest day. 

One would be foolish to rule out a challenge from the ex-World Champion Vladimir Kramnik, despite a relatively slow start and 4 rather solid draws. However, we all know that if Vlad manages to chalk up a couple of wins he will be right up there fighting and let's face it - he knows how to keep his nerve and win tournaments. You simply cannot rule the big guy out at this early stage.

Radja is sitting on an even score having won one and lost one, but he has yet to show his best so it will be interesting to see whether he can also mount a challenge, the key for me being whether he can start winning critical games with White.

Grischuk had a tough day at the office losing a difficult game against Magnus, but he has shown that he isn’t in too bad a shape in the other games so he shouldn’t be too disheartened with his -1 score. He will have to win (and win quickly) if he has any hope of catching the leaders.

The Golden Oldies Gelfand and Ivanchuk have really struggled thus far, propping up the table on -2 and one could argue that they are already too far behind the leaders to make a contest of things. Chuky has really struggled with his clock this tournament, losing twice on time (albeit in busted positions) and nearly suffering a disaster in the first round where he nearly got flagged in a theoretically drawn position. Boris had a tough couple of games in rounds 2 & 3 where he went down against an irrepressible Aronian and a stubborn Carlsen – only Boris knows whether he has enough energy and fight to make what looks like an unlikely comeback. We shall soon see.

Join myself and GM Nigel Short for live coverage of round 5 at 2pm GMT, please go to to watch all of the action.

Take care and will provide another update soon.



  • 4 jaar geleden


        Superb commentary! London Chess Classic was outstanding, but now, together with Pein and Short...simply overwhelming! Witty, entertaining...

  • 4 jaar geleden


    great stuff. Would love to see you take better advantage of the post press conf interviews and actually interview these guys. And not have them analyze. Just a few minutes of insight into their playing philosophies etc. thanks!

  • 4 jaar geleden


    enjoying your commentar

  • 4 jaar geleden


    I am really enjoying your commentary Lawrence!! Great humor and witty comments, subtle and sharp all the way. I never knew watching a chess event would be fun enough to make me laugh. 

  • 4 jaar geleden


    You're a great side-kick for Nigel Short ... you sort of balance him out when he gets too serious!  Keep up the great work ... my favorite part is when you guys go out for a quick pint late in the day!  Superb commentary! 

  • 4 jaar geleden


    I really enjoyed your great live commentary and analyses as well as you entertaining sense of humor. It's been so awesome....! Thank you so much.

    If the organizers could add a chat feature in such a way that the online audience can join the conversation with you, Nigel and other (guest) commentators like the one in London Classic, that would make the event more interactive, I believe Cool

  • 4 jaar geleden


    Fantastic commentary - you and Nigel are a great double act!

  • 4 jaar geleden


    Thanks for the post. I really appreciate your live analysis of the event.

  • 4 jaar geleden


    Really enjoying the coverage. Keep it up! Cool

  • 4 jaar geleden


    I'm enjoying your commentary, Lawrence, but I do have one gripe: when the clocks are down to minutes and there's likely to be a flurry of moves, don't start analysing sidelines, focus on the actual game live in real time (first Ivanchuk game).

  • 4 jaar geleden

    IM DanielRensch

    Thanks Lawrence! Great job on the commentary side, as expected Wink

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