Viswanathan Anand (2796) qualified by virtue of being last year’s challenger.
Sergey Karjakin (2766) and Peter Svidler (2743) qualified through being the winner and runner-up, respectively, of this year’s World Cup.
Fabiano Caruana (2787) and Hikaru Nakamura (2793) made it to the Tournament by finishing first and second, respectively, in the most recent Grand Prix.
Levon Aronian (2783) was the organiser’s choice.
This leaves two players who are virtually certain to qualify by rating average for 2o15: Veselin Topalov (2803) and Anish Giri (2783).
If one of those mentioned above decides not to play, Dmitry Jakovenko (2737) will be the replacement, as he finished third at the World Cup. Alas, poor Jakovenko! He could also muster only third at the Grand Prix and so must hope for the rumors that Topalov is seriously considering whether to play to be true. I read this in a recent chess24 article, which claimed “Topalov has said he’s still considering whether to take part…” However, he will probably play, and I hope he does, as there seems to be no reason not to, and it sets a strange example for others in the future if he doesn’t.
The World Championship date has not been posted on the FIDE website. The recent clashes have been in early fall, so perhaps it will be the same this time around? Hopefully it will triumph over the United States presidential election to win the newly minted Hikaru Junction title of “Most Interesting Fall Competition.”
The most interesting chess on American soil currently is, though, the Showdown in St. Louis (SISTL), which features two matches: Fabiano Caruana–Hikaru Nakamura and Hou Yifan–Parimarjan Negi. The event featured Basque Chess (Two simultaneous games), rapid games, Fischer Random, and, today, blitz! Here are two highlights:
First, a brilliant endgame by Negi:
Hou Yifan-Parimarjan Negi SISTL 2015 Basque Chess
Next, a lowlight for Hikaru, giving us all hope.
Fabiano Caruana–Hikaru Nakamura SISTL 2015 Rapid
And lastly, I leave you with the trailer that the Poland team made for the European Team Championship (of chess, or course). The team consisted, in the first round, of Radoslaw Wojtasek, Jan-Krzysztof Duda (whose name took no less than six tries for me to type), Grzegorz Gajewski, and Mateusz Bartel, in board order.
Wasn’t that awesome? Let’s all root for Poland!