By reaching the final, both Karjakin and Svidler qualified for the Candidates tournament that will determine who will go forward to challenge Norwegian Magnus Carlsen for the World championship title. Carlsen’s last challenger, India's Vishy Anand, and the two Americans Fabiano Caruana and Hikaru Nakamura are the others who have already qualified.
Three more slots remain to be filled for the eight-player gladiatorial contest: Veselin Topalov and Anish Giri have a commanding lead for the year-ending two rating qualifiers, leaving the final ‘wild card’ spot to be determined by the host nation/organiser of the Candidates, the only stipulation being that the player must have a current rating of 2725+.
In an interview during the World Cup final with the Russian site Chess-News, FIDE president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov announced that the World Championship match has been scheduled for October 2016 and will be held in the United States of America. ‘It’s all decided,’ according to Ilyumzhinov. The exact city to host the match is still unknown, but according to the FIDE president it could be New York, Los Angeles, or Chicago.
‘I made another offer when meeting the [as yet unnamed] sponsors: to give the US the right to organise also the Candidates Tournament, which is scheduled for March,’ he further added. Ilyumzhinov believes there is a 50% chance that the US will also host the Candidates - but, since other countries might want to nominate one of their leading players (Russia has former World champion Vladimir Kramnik and Alexander Grischuk; Armenia with Levon Aronian; and there’s also China’s Ding Liren and 16-year-old Wei Yi), they might also bid for the right to hold the competition.
The full interview with Ilyumzhinov (in Russian) is available here.
Peter Svidler - Sergey Karjakin
FIDE World Cup Final, Blitz playoff (10)
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 By the early 17th century, Italy was regarded as the first European superpower of the modern game, bequeathing to us the fianchetto, the gambit, Greco's opening manuscript and the Giuoco Piano after taking up the game from the Arabs. The Giuoco Piano is thus one of the oldest chess openings, and means 'quiet game' in Italian. But in the hands of a strong player, it is often anything but a quiet game. 3...Bc5 4.c3 Nf6 5.d3 d6 6.Nbd2 0-0 7.h3 Ne7 8.0-0 Ng6 9.Bb3 a6 10.Re1 Ba7 11.Nf1 Be6 12.d4 Bxb3 13.Qxb3 Qc8 14.Ng3 Re8 15.Bg5 Nd7 16.Nf5 Ndf8 17.h4 h6 18.h5 hxg5 19.hxg6 Nxg6 20.Nxg5 Qd7 21.g3?! It's extremely hard to be critical of a blitz game, particularly a nerve-jangling playoff decider as this one, but here the strategic retreat of 21.Qd1! aiming to switch the direction of the attack with Qh5 would have offered superb winning chances here for White. 21...d5 Counter-play is Karjakin's best chance here - and it pays off big-time for him. 22.Qxd5 Qxd5 23.exd5 Rad8 24.Kg2? A waste of time; White would have faired better with 24.Nf3. 24...Rxd5 25.f4 f6 26.Ne4 Marginally better would have been 26.Nh3. 26...Rdd8 The White knights look menacing, but long-term Black has wonderful potential for his dominating rooks. 27.fxe5 fxe5 28.d5? Going for the cheap trick, which fails. But by now, the game and ultimately the match was slipping out of Svidler's control - he had to play 28.Ng5 followed by Rad1 challenging Black's rooks, after which the game was balanced. 28...Rxd5 29.Nh6+ If 29.Rad1 Red8 30.Rxd5 Rxd5 and the extra pawn and powerful bishop will easily win. 29...Kf8! 30.Rf1+ Nf4+! (See Diagram) Possibly this is what Svidler had missed - the knight sacrifice soon liquidates the position down to a Black endgame win. 31.gxf4 gxh6 32.f5 The best chance to save the game. If 32.fxe5+ Kg7 covers all the knight fork bases, and Black will easily capture on e5 and win. 32...Kf7 33.Rad1 Rg8+ 34.Kf3 c6 35.c4 Rd4 36.Rxd4 exd4? Nerves and the time scramble: 36...Bxd4 was stronger and better. 37.Rh1? The feeling was mutual - nerves and the time scramble was also affecting Svidler, as he missed a saving chance with 37.Nd6+ Kf6 38.Rh1 (38.Re1 d3!) 38...Rh8 39.Rg1 h5 40.Rg6+ Ke7 41.Ke4! 37...Rh8 38.Rg1 Rd8 39.f6? It was hard to see how Black could win after 39.Rg6! - but by this stage, it had become a lottery, as Svidler needed to win and also had very little time left on his clock. 39...Ke6 40.Rg7 Rd7 41.Rg8 d3 42.Re8+ Kf7 43.Rh8 Ke6 44.Rxh6 After 44.Re8+ Karjakin would have happily had taken the draw by repetition. 44...d2 45.f7+ Ke7 0-1