FIDE Candidates 2018: A Road to Nowhere
The road to FIDE Chess Candidates 2018 started many moons ago for those seeking to snatch the crown from the most worthy chess world champion in the history of the game, Magnus Carlsen. It's a road to nowhere, since none of the candidates are good enough for Magnus. Yet we must go through the motions. Here goes then a summary of the chances of each candidate.
Sergey Karjakin the loser with the sense of humour is back again to fight again after losing narrowly to Magnus two years ago in New York. Sergey has shown some sparkling form but in the main does not look to have advanced that much as a player relative to his rivals. He does raise his game on big occasions so may do a bit of damage at the Candidates but don't really expect him to win it. He won't win.
Levon Aronian the majestic winner of Chess World Cup 2017. I love Aronian. He's a gentleman and a player. Capable of immensely brilliant play against anyone in the world. He however never seems to have the gumption to win a tournament style qualification to the World Chess Final. He has fallen at the the fence so many times it almost seems like a forgone conclusion that he fall again
Ding Liren the dark horse. The architect behind the most brilliant game ever played by two humans in his divine masterpiece Bu-Liren 2017, look it up and grab some popcorn. Ding hasn't quite been the big ding dong his arrival seemed to signaled. Expect him to be middle of the pack average but no more than that.
Shakhriyar Mamedyarov is a random machine. Someone said of every Shaky game that he either loses in an example of overreaching and every win is an example where overreaching is the correct approach. He has no subtle mode and as such might top the tournament or be at the bottom. Magnus has the measure of him and so would be a welcome opponent for Magnus. No chance of that ever happening though since others in the field have the measure of him too. Shaky may surprise us all and play soundly. Nah he won't.
Alexander Grischuk a true poker player. All or nothing, mostly nothing. It might be that lady luck shines on him this year. No Svidler or Gelfand to confuse him. He can chip away at the likes of Aronian, Caruana and others on form, and double down on the rest. He's not had much luck in such events but perhaps it's 4th time lucky. All in bro, all in.
Fabiano Caruana will win a lot. He is also the most challenging candidate for Magnus. Having almost no respect for the Norwegian over the board. The neutrals favourite if there are any neutrals watching this stuff. I doubt it but I don't doubt Caruana will win but win or lose fabulously to Magnus.
Wesley So will lose a lot. So is not going to do well. He always seems star struck at such events. Just happy to be there. So so.
Vladimir Kramnik is the wild card. He'll narrowly miss the finals by fluffing up his final game as usual. Kramnik is a legend but we don't need legends now we need winners.
A road to nowhere, no worthy challengers fighting over a worthless crown to unseat a worthy champion.