Magnus Carlsen ranks the candidate players | Top Vip News

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The long-awaited Candidates Tournament is just around the corner, with the eight contenders fighting for the right to challenge reigning World Champion Ding Liren for the title. But who will triumph in the end? Here is the verdict of GM Magnus Carlsen.

Four grandmasters have shared their statistical verdicts, but how does the former world champion rank?

Carlsen recently shared his view on the Candidates during the latest episode of the Sjakksnakk (“chess talk”) podcast, which we covered last week, but in a new Chess.com video he sat down with our own GM David Howell and said in more details about each player.

Players are classified according to the following five categories: Probability of winning, Main contender, will do well, will do it wrongand in a bad time.

Alireza Firouzja

Can Alireza Firouzja qualify for a fight for the throne?  Photo: María Emelianova/Chess.com
Can Firouzja qualify for a fight for the throne? Photo: María Emelianova/Chess.com.

Carlsen’s verdict: “I quite like what I saw of Alireza in Tata (Steel Chess) this year. He did quite well (at the Chessable Masters 2024), reached the final against me and also forced a restart there in the final. Honestly, he was also the closest to beating me in Freestyle Chess. I am a true believer of Alireza. But for now I’ll put him in the ‘Doing well’ category, which is reasonable considering the difficulties he had last time.”

Carlsen range: will do well

I am a true believer of Alireza.

Ian Nepomniachtchi

Nepomniachtchi has already won the Candidates twice, but can he do it three times?  Photo: María Emelianova/Chess.com
Nepomniachtchi has already won the Candidates twice, but can he do it three times? Photo: María Emelianova/Chess.com.

Carlsen’s verdict: “So Ian hasn’t shown much in recent years except in the Candidates. He shows flashes here and there. At the moment, I’m not convinced, but I think he has enough pedigree to be in the Top Contender group considering he has won two times in a row.”

Howell: Do you think he saves his best for this specific tournament?

“I think he probably keeps the best. On both occasions he also had circumstances with him, which is quite fair.”

Howell: I’m a little surprised you put Ian in the second category?

“I haven’t seen anything from Ian in a long time. He didn’t play that well at the world championship either. I’m still not completely convinced. But he’s still in the group of top contenders. I’d say the top two are ‘1A’ and the others two are ‘1B’.”

Carlsen range: Main contender

Ian hasn’t shown much in recent years, except in the Candidates.

Gukesh Dommaraju

“You’re more likely to have a bad event than a good one,” is Carlsen’s verdict on Gukesh. Photo: María Emelianova/Chess.com.

Carlsen’s verdict: “For Gukesh, it’s very difficult to say. I can’t see him winning, but I can see him between +2 and -5. I think he will certainly win at least a couple of good games, but he will suffer some pretty bad losses. Also. I don’t think he will do bad, but I don’t think he’s doing too well either. I don’t think he fits into any of the categories, but I think he’s not ready to make the jump yet, and I think he’s more likely to have a bad event than a good one.”

Carlsen range: will do it wrong

You are probably more likely to have a bad event than a good one.

Nijat Abasov

Nijat Abasov, the worst classified is
Abasov, the lowest ranked, “is going through a bad time,” according to Carlsen. Photo: María Emelianova/Chess.com.

Carlsen’s verdict: “Obviously, Abasov had an incredible tournament at the World Cup. It’s very, very hard to believe if he can replicate it. If he gets off to a good start, he can severely limit the damage, but overall I think he most likely will.” . suffer. You could see it with someone like Warmerdam (GM Max Warmerdam) on Tata, which started very well, but usually once you start losing it’s hard to stop the bleeding if you’re a considerably weaker player than the others, which I think Abasov unfortunately is. He won’t have it easy.”

Carlsen range: in a bad time

If you get off to a good start you can severely limit the damage, but overall I think you’ll most likely suffer.

Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu

Praggnanandhaa is expected to do well, but can he go all the way?  Photo: María Emelianova/Chess.com
Praggnanandhaa is expected to do well, but can he go all the way? Photo: María Emelianova/Chess.com.

Carlsen’s verdict: “I don’t think Pragg is prepared to win the tournament, but I don’t see him doing badly either. He has weak moments, but psychologically he is quite stable, he has a repertoire of improvement and he is very serious. I think it is very unlikely that Pragg will win the tournament. tournament, but I don’t see him getting a really bad result either.

Carlsen range: will do well

I don’t think Pragg is ready to win the tournament, but I don’t see him doing badly either.

Fabiano Caruana

Can Fabiano Caruana live up to the expectations and challenge for another world championship match?  Magnus Carlsen thinks so.  Photo: María Emelianova/Chess.com
Can Caruana live up to the hype and challenge for another world championship match? Magnus Carlsen thinks so. Photo: María Emelianova/Chess.com.

Carlsen’s verdict: “I think Fabi has a great chance to win. His pedigree is very strong. He seems to have regained some strength also in classical chess, after having had a bit of a downturn. Maybe he is not as good as he was in his game. better , which was probably 2018. He has as much chance as anyone. He definitely belongs in ‘Likely to Win.'”

Carlsen range: Probability of winning

I think Fabi has a great chance to win.

Vidit Gujrathi

Carlsen doesn't expect Vidit to do well in Toronto, but can he surprise?  Photo: María Emelianova/Chess.com
Carlsen doesn’t expect Vidit to do well in Toronto, but can he surprise? Photo: María Emelianova/Chess.com.

Carlsen’s verdict: “I think Vidit has improved a lot, especially from a psychological point of view. He did very badly now in Prague, which is not a big deal, but it doesn’t have to mean much either.

“I think here Vidit is between levels: “He will do well” and “He will do badly.” I am sure that he will be very serious and well prepared. He will not win the tournament, although I think he has the ability to score very good scores if things go his way. I really like the way he plays, but I can also see him losing quite a few games. He’s also in between categories, but I think he’s more likely to make -4 than +3.”

Carlsen range: will do it wrong

He won’t win the tournament, although I think he has the capacity to score very good points if things go his way.

Hikaru Nakamura

“Hikaru never had a better chance of becoming world champion,” Carlsen says of the world number three. Photo: María Emelianova/Chess.com.

Carlsen’s verdict: “I think Hikaru never had a better chance to become world champion than this. I would say he and Fabiano are co-favorites. Hikaru has been pretty consistent lately. He has an excellent chance, so he belongs in the first category.” .

Carlsen range: Probability of winning

I think Hikaru never had a better chance to become world champion than this.

Here are Carlsen’s final rankings in one place:

Magnus Carlsen's final verdict on the candidate players.
Magnus Carlsen’s final classification of the candidate players.

What do you think about Carlsen’s verdicts and rankings and who do you think will win the Candidates Tournament? Let us know in the comments!

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