4. Peter Svidler
– Many will be critical of Peter Svidler’s inclusion in the tournament at the behest of the Russian sponsors. However, to be fair to Svidler he over-performed at the last candidates coming third and has shown an uncanny knack of upsetting higher rated players in tournaments. Note that unlike most other wildcard options, Svidler has actually defeated Magnus Carlsen in a recent classical game. I think he will have a good tournament but that’s all. Prediction: 7.5/14, 4th
3. Vladimir Kramnik
– The legend returns for yet another bite at the cherry. Everyone knows how powerful Kramnik is and like two of the other candidates he has won the world championships before. The only things I see preventing victory for Kramnik are ring rust, he hasn’t played competitavely in 2014, and a certain Armenian who seems unstoppable.
Prediction: 8.5/14, 3rd
2. Sergey Karjakin
– This will be my most controversial prediction. I think Karjakin will rock this Candidates. He seems to have been forgotten or written off by the pundits, despite qualifying on ELO alone. That means consistency. Ok, he had an average Tal Memorial, but he won the Norwegian Tournament, not to mention a string of other good performances. What else is in his favour? He is young, this is his best chance to get at the world championship and he is on home turf. He was born in the Crimea so the only thing that could prevent a good show is if his mind is elsewhere, but I can’t see it. Only issue is, there is one other super GM who I think will sneak ahead of Sergey when the dust settles… Prediction: 8.5/14, 2nd
1. Levon Aronian
– Has been in the form of his life and recently reached his highest ELO rating, the third highest in history. If it wasn’t for Magnus Carlsen Lev would be the poster-boy of chess. Call it written in the stars but I can’t see Lev bottling it this time, unlike at Candidates 2013. Prediction: 9.5/14, 1st
So there they are, my mystical predictions. Lev Aronian to win!