The inaugural version of the Grand Chess Tour is coming to a close with the 7th edition of London Chess Classic. All of the 9 regular players still have a chance of winning overall, yet the four players at the top of the standings naturally has the biggest chance of pulling it off. Veselin Topalov, Hikaru Nakamura and Levon Aronian will win the Tour if they win outright in London (Topalov obviously just needs to place first), and Magnus Carlsen will pull it off with an outright win in London while Topalov finishes 3rd or poorer. Any other combinations will complicate the math a bit, which is why we built a model to predict all games and thus the overall standings.
For the model, I added 37 points to white’s rating to simulate first-move advantage, since a difference of 37 points corresponds to a score of 55.3%. I then used chess-db.com to find the probabilities of each pairing, and then ran 10,000 simulations of each game to get an outcome for the London Chess Classic as well as the overall standing for the tour. I used the live ratings from 2700chess.com as of December 3rd to get each player’s rating.
So who’s going to win?
For the London Chess Classic, the most likely outcome is a tie for first followed by Carlsen and Topalov.
This more or less follows the current standings in the ratings, with the exception of Caruana who jumps ahead of Nakamura and Aronian due to having 5 games with white.
Perhaps just as interesting is how this will effect the final standings of the Grand Chess Tour. A small disclaimer, players with equal score in London for any other position than first were both awarded the points for that position. This would not be the case since there are tie-breaks involved. This was done to speed up the simulations and should not have much effect on the overall probabilities.
Here, Topalov has tripled his chance compared with winning the London round. As expected, since he is in the sole lead and will win if he is one of the players tied for first in London (9%), or if he places second and neither Nakamura, Aronian nor Carlsen places first (7.6%). Magnus Carlsen pretty much has to win in London, with only 1% of his overall win chances coming from placing 2nd or 3rd. Nakamura also makes a big jump with 5.6% of win chances coming from being tied for first with any player but Topalov, and another 4.7% from placing in the top 3. Finally, Aronian also adds to his overall chances by tie break in London (4.3%) as long as it does not involve Topalov or Nakamura.
What about that overall 10.9% chance of Tie Break for the Tour title? 4.9 of those is between Topalov and Carlsen, mostly if Carlsen wins in London and Topalov finishes second.
We will keep updating these probabilities after each round, and finish this post by posting the pairings and probabilities for round 1: