15 March 2016

Alexander Khalifman Rates The Chances In The Candidates

Translation of the message board post of the ex-World Champion.

After the first three rounds of the Candidates, Alexander Khalifman presented his opinion about the present form of the players and their chances to meet Magnus Carlsen in the title match. Below is a rough English translation. 

1. Levon (rejoice, Tashir!). It may seem nothing special, but +1 and an extra White is not to be neglected.

2. Sergey (get drunk, Kirill!). Once again, nothing extraterrestrial, but he is the only player who defeated someone else than Topalov. Also, I really liked his play in that game, and please disregard whatever computer says.

3. Vishy. Everything is under control. Still, I cannot help thinking that he will win this tournament only if being forced to.

4. Fabiano. He looked really weird in the first two rounds. However, he can still gain momentum, and the next game is very important for his overall performance.

5. Peter. His Black openings look really solid (though nobody really tested him seriously yet). What I did not like is his reluctance to squeeze water from a stone. You cannot go anywhere without it.

6. Anish. If it was not for his two White games, he would be on the 4th spot in my rankings. It is clear this man was preparing for the tournament the right way, not with his wife or grandfather. And yet...

Trailing by a large margin...

7. Hikaru. This could be his nerves, or a wrong approach to preparation for such event, but he completely fails to justify expectations. His readiness to accept a worse position without counterplay against Sergey looked particularly weird. This could only work in some low level Swiss.

8. Veselin. So far he did not convince he should be playing here at all. He will still spoil this tournament for one or two of his opponents, but it seems his time is over.