Magnus Carlsen will challenge Viswanathan Anand for the World title in November despite losing in the final round of the Candidates' tournament against young Russian Peter Svidler in London.
In a rare coincidence, Vladimir Kramnik, the former world number one, also lost his match against Ukrainian Vassily Ivanchuk — which meant Carlsen went through by virtue of winning more games.
The final standing were: 1. Carlsen 8.5 points (5 wins), 2. Kramnik 8.5 points (4 wins), 3-4. Svidler and Aronian 8 points, 5-6. Grischuk and Gelfand 6.5 points, 7. Ivanchuk 6 points and 8.Radjabov 4 points.
In fact, Carlsen was speaking to the press about his defeat to Svidler when news of Kramnik's result came in. From being dejected, the Norwegian was suddenly engulfed by his contingent. The 22-year-old is considered by many as the toughest challenger to Anand's crown and such was the following in Norway that their biggest newspaper online, vg.no, crashed due too the high number of visitors trying to follow the games.
The final round couldn't have been more dramatic, with Carlsen getting into time trouble and knocking off a piece in frustration before resigning and leaving his fate in Ivanchuk's hand.
Carlsen lost two of his last three matches in the Candidates tournament and was quoted in The Guardian as saying: "At the end everyone got tired, the quality got lower, and then anything can happen. But overall I think I did pretty well."
But after learning that he will play Anand, he said in the press conference: "I never expected to lose and I didn't really have any expectations for the other game. That didn’t make sense to me since I couldn’t do anything about it. I didn't really want to resign before I was sure that Ivanchuk would win! I think it’s going to be very interesting (match vs Anand), a great event but it’s a long time ahead so we’ll see what happens."
Carlsen will play Anand for the world title in a match over at least 12 games.