12 November 2020

Karjakin/Carlsen's Early World Championship Steps

Yesterday, in a post titled Opens for Discussion on my World Chess Championship Blog, I wrote,

The Association of Chess Professionals (ACP) recently issued a Proposal For The World Championship Cycle, where the essence of the proposal was: "It seems natural then to make the open tournaments part of the World Championship cycle."

While I was researching the topic, I wondered which early steps the current World Champion had taken on his path to the World Championship. A few years ago, in Karjakin/Carlsen's World Championship Careers (May 2016), I started a similar analysis for the two players who were preparing for a title match later that year.

In a curious coincidence of parallel paths, I discovered that both players had launched their careers at the 2004 FIDE Knockout Matches, Tripoli, and were both eliminated in the first round. The next step for both was the 2005 World Cup, Khanty-Mansiysk, the first in a new series of World Cup events which carried on the tradition of the knockout format.

Since writing that post, I've added a few more pages to my history of the World Championship. The page 2002-2004 Zonal Cycle Qualifiers says that both players qualified the same way into the 2004 Knockout event:-

106. Karjakin, Sergey (UKR) – President’s nominee
109. Carlsen, Magnus (NOR) – President’s nominee

Continuing with the parallel path, a similar page, 2004-2005 Zonal Cycle Qualifiers, says that both qualified via the same event into the 2005 World Cup:-

42, 1503014, Carlsen Magnus, g, NOR, Warsaw 2005
49, 14109603, Karjakin Sergey, g, UKR, Warsaw 2005

The official name for Warsaw 2005 was the '6th European Individual Chess Championship'. It is one of the events mentioned on my page of clippings for the 2004-2005 Zonal Cycle. Karjakin finished a full point ahead of Carlsen, although Carlsen was more successful in the 2005 World Cup. According to the post on 'Karjakin/Carlsen's Careers':-

Karjakin was again eliminated in the first round. Carlsen survived to the fourth round, where he lost the match but continued to play for a qualifying place in the subsequent candidates matches. He succeeded, but in the first match was eliminated from the rest of the cycle by Aronian.

That rupture of the parallelism was the first sign that Carlsen would eventually be more successful than Karjakin on the path to become the World Champion. While we're waiting for the 2020 Candidates Tournament, Yekaterinburg to resume, I might take the time to determine how all eight of the current candidates first qualified into a World Championship cycle.

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