After losing to Carlsen in the World Cup quarterfinals, Gukesh missed the chance to qualify for the Candidates. The top three finishers in Azerbaijan will play the eight-player double round-robin Candidates tournament scheduled in April next year at Toronto, Canada.
The Candidates winner becomes the Challenger for the world chess crown.
In an interview with chessbase after beating Gukesh, Carlsen was all praise for the youngster’s rise to the world’s top-10. Carlsen said, “It’s been very impressive to see his rise. Obviously, it’s a shame that he cannot play the Candidates via this route (World Cup), I think he’s certainly strong enough to play there already. But you know, sometimes you don’t catch the breaks you need to.”
“Besides, for most young players there are stepping stones. He skipped a lot of steps already in his development. Most don’t make it on their first try in the World Championship. He still has a chance to make it to the Candidates via other avenues. In general, he is going to be around for a very long time, and you know, the sky’s the limit,” Carlsen added.
The other avenues that Carlsen said include a couple of tournaments and rating criteria.
While the top-two finishers of FIDE Grand Swiss Open at Isle of Man scheduled from October 23 to November 5 will qualify for the Candidates, the highest-rated player in the world as of January 1, 2024 also will make it to the eight-player event.
As per the standard ratings, Gukesh is currently holding the eighth position in the world with 2758 ELO. Since Carlsen will not play, Ian Nepomniachtchi and Fabiano Caruana already qualified to become a challenger to world champion Liren Ding, Gukesh is now required to maintain better rating against Hikaru Nakamura, Alireza Firouzja and Anish Giri.
The last slot for Candidates is reserved for the FIDE circuit. One player who achieves the highest results during 2023 eligible circuit tournaments will qualify. The current leader of the circuit is Giri with 75.87 points with Gukesh following at the second spot with 75.28 points.