Karjakin Wins Challengers, to Face Carlsen for World Title

Caruana Finishes Second and Anand Third

Russia’s Sergey Karjakin (26) has earned the right to challenge World Champion Magnus Carlsen (25) of Norway with a win over Italian-American Fabiana Caruana yesterday in Round 14 of the Candidates Tournament held in Moscow.

The world title clash will be held in November this year in New York City. Former world champion Russian Garry Kasparov, a vocal critic of President Vladmir Putin, has been living in exile New York since 2013

Marketing, Advertising Ammunition: The chess world has been crying for a new, younger challenger to Carlsen for greater marketing and advertising ammunition. With Karjakin they have got what they wanted.

Karjakin, ranked world number 13, is a surprise winner with top-seeded Caruana having started as the favourite.

But Karjakin had a very good tournament, staying on top of the leader board almost throughout and finishing with 8.5 points, a clear point ahead of second-placed Caruana.

His only loss in the 14 rounds was to Viswanathan Anand, who finished third with 7.5 points.

Anand started the tournament well and was in the lead till Round 3, but his loss to Karjakin in Round 4 put the Russian in the spotlight. He regained lead after his win over Karjakin in Round 11.

Anand did raise visions of emerging as a challenger yet again but two losses in the last five rounds (to Caruana and Nakamura) pushed him back.

Creditably, he had more wins than anyone else in the tournament – four (against Karjakin, Aronian, Svidler and Topalov). But he also suffered three defeats. His failure to secure draws during crucial games impaired his prospects badly.

I will not write off Anand, a five-time world champion, yet, but he will find the going tough. He will have to seriously think of the support he has been getting from his seconds.

There were eight players in the race with each pitted against one another twice during the tourney. 

Congratulations, Karjakin, and best wishes for the title clash against Carlsen.

G Joslin Vethakumar

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