Anand maintains one point lead after round 10

Posted by on Mar 26, 2014 in Chess News & Events |

Former World Champion Viswanathan Anand maintained a full point lead in the FIDE World Candidates Tournament after playing a draw with Shakhriyar Mamedyarov in round 10.

Anand’s nearest rival Levon Aronian also made a draw, with white against Veselin Topalov.

In the all-Russian matches Peter Svidler defeated Vladimir Kramnik, while Sergey Karjakin and Dmitry Andreikin drew.

Anand is clear first with 6,5 points, one point ahead of the second-placed Aronian. Mamedyarov, Karjakin and Svidler are on 5 points each, while Kramnik and Andreikin share the 6th place with 4,5 points. Topalov remains last with 4 points.

Viswanathan Anand

Viswanathan Anand

Viswanathan Anand – Shakhriyar Mamedyarov 1/2-1/2

The 6.h3 Naidorf Sicilian is all rage now in the FIDE World Candidates Tournament. In round 10 Viswanathan Anand again used the system, this time in the game against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov.

The game was similar to Anand’s match against Topalov, but this time black was more vigorous to trade the pieces, counter in the center and achieve good play.

Anand made a good psychological decision to go for relatively simple position in which Mamedyarov, a gifted tactician, could not create threats with taking excessive risk.

At some point white offered moves repetition but black decided to play on. However, on move 30 black changed his mind and offered a draw.

Sergey Karjakin – Dmitry Andreikin 1/2-1/2

Dmitry Andreikin defended with the Taimanov Sicilian and Sergey Karjakin used Nepomniachtchi’s favorite 7.Qd3. Incidentally, Ian Nepomniachtchi was commenting the games live for Russian audience.

Karjakin followed his earlier clash with Mamedyarov (2009), but then he chose a different pawn structure with 13.e5, very similar to the Classical French.

Black didn’t meet many obstacles in solving the typical problems – exchange of the light-squared bishops and counterplay on the b-file.

Having achieved no advantage, white conceded a draw by repeating the moves.

Vladimir Kramnik

Vladimir Kramnik

Vladimir Kramnik – Peter Svidler 0-1

Peter Svidler had another go at the Dutch defence and Vladimir Kramnik responded with the customary expansion in the center.

With the slightly better pawn structure white claimed a small advantage, but black always remained solid and was close to trading off the entire queenside.

At one point Kramnik blundered horribly by allowing 32…Bxh2+ which lost him an exchange and a pawn.

Further, the white king was exposed to a relentless attack and he gave up shortly before the time control.

Levon Aronian – Veselin Topalov 1/2-1/2

Levon Aronian chose a quiet setup against Veselin Topalov’s Chebanenko Slav, allowing black to extinguish much of the opening pressure.

Around move 14 white was uncertain how to place the pieces. At the press conference Topalov proposed 15.a4 Qb6 16.Bc3, but Aronian replied that he didn’t like the bishop there.

After black installed the knight on the strong d4-outpost, white understood that he should be careful not to end up worse.

Topalov thought that he had small advantage throughout the middlegame, but he decided not to be rash and make mistakes in pursuit of a victory at all costs, as it happened to him earlier in the tournament.

Despite the doubled f-pawns and opponent’s passer on d-file, white was able to hold the endgame. Draw signed on move 45.

Official website


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Candidates Tournament R8: Aronian and Anand draw, maintain lead

Posted by on Mar 23, 2014 in Chess News & Events |

The co-leaders Levon Aronian and Viswanathan Anand shared the point in their round 8 match in the FIDE World Candidates Tournament.

The duo remained in joint lead, but now the possible tie-break at the end of the event would favor Anand (mutual score 1,5-0,5).

Vladimir Kramnik missed a chance to catch the leaders as his opponent Dmitry Andreikin defended very well to deserve half a point.

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov sacrificed a knight for attack but Veselin Topalov found the safe route to make a draw in the rook endgame. Sergey Karjakin defeated Peter Svidler in the longest game of the day.

After eight round of play Anand and Aronian are on top with 5 points each, while Kramnik is close behind with 4,5 points. The remaining five players, Mamedyarov, Topalov, Karjakin, Svidler and Andreikin are on 3,5 points each.


Aronian-Anand (all photos by Eteri Kublashvili)

Levon Aronian – Viswanathan Anand 1/2-1/2

Levon Aronian stunned Viswanathan Anand with an enterprising novelty as early as on move 3.

Anand appreciated the strength of Qb3 in various transpositions as it was not easy for him to reach a convenient Catalan or Gruenfeld structure. He finally went for the reversed Benoni even if it included a pawn sacrifice. Black did achieve quick development as compensation.

Aronian said that he convinced himself in the viability of the novel idea, which “he discovered during a nap”. He knew that computers wouldn’t like the pawn grab, but he believed he could “always pull a Petrosian and slowly consolidate”.

As the game progressed Aronian grew unsatisfied with his position and started to fear of another quick loss against Anand. He joked that he wished black had his pawn back on c5, a square which Anand used to transfer the pieces and exert huge pressure on white queenside.

The game was drawn after repetition on move 19.



Veselin Topalov – Shakhriyar Mamedyarov 1/2-1/2

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov defended with the Naidorf Sicilian and Veselin Topalov used the Fischer’s favorite 6.h3 which is back in fashion again.

The play soon transposed into Dragon variation. White castled long and expanded on the kingside but black was quick to generate the counterplay on the other flank.

Mamedyarov said he didn’t like his knight and he didn’t want to stay passive in defence so he decided to sacrifice this piece to open up the b-file.

The temporary sacrifice triggered a forced line that led to an equal rook endgame. Draw signed on move 32.



Vladimir Kramnik – Dmitry Andreikin 1/2-1/2

Dmitry Andreikin used his trusted Chebanenko Slav defence to which Vladimir Kramnik responded with a fianchetto setup.

White created some pressure as his bishops cross-fired all over the board, but he probably over-estimated the position resulting after the pawn sacrifice.

Black did experience problems with coordination while white dominated on the c-file and on the 7th rank.

At some point black was even two pawns up but white had strong pressure on the central pawns. After the massive exchanges white got the material back and a drawn endgame was reached.



Peter Svidler – Sergey Karjakin 0-1

Peter Svidler used a clever-move order to transpose from Reti to King’s Indian Attack, an opening which certainly wasn’t high on the priority list in Sergey Karjakin’s preparation.

Nevertheless, the young Russian played very well to extinguish white’s initiative on the kingisde.

Much of the middlegame was black’s effort to exchange some pieces and stabilize the extra pawn.

White attempted to set a fortress, but black broke through with 40…f4+ just before the time control. Faced with tough defence white was slowly losing the ground.

Karjakin converted the advantage in the 7th hour of play.

Official website

Candidates Tournament R8


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Candidates Round 5: Anand Holds Lead, But Field Tightens

Posted by on Mar 19, 2014 in Chess News & Events |

In last year’s Candidates Tournament, the leaders (Magnus Carlsen and Vladimir Kramnik) pulled away from the field relatively early, turning the tournament into an apparent two-man race. It seems unlikely that this will be the case in 2014, as after five rounds, the competition is about as close as it can be between four competitors. Following a draw with Dmitry Andreikin, Viswanathan Anand still stands alone in first place with a 3.5/5 score. But right behind him are three players with 3/5 scores. They include favorites Levon Aronian and Kramink, along with Peter Svidler, who scored a neat win over Veselin Topalov in the 5th round to join the chase group. Topalov had an early advantage from his preparation, but Svidler was able to turn the tables later and score an important victory. As in previous years, it seems as though Svidler — overlooked in recent years as a part of the world elite — will be right in the hunt and remain a factor in determining who becomes the challenger to Carlsen later this year.

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Candidates’ R4: Mamedyarov & Aronian Win, Anand Maintains Lead

Posted by on Mar 17, 2014 in Chess News & Events |

Candidates’ R4: Mamedyarov & Aronian Win, Anand Maintains Lead

In round 4 of the 2014 FIDE Candidates’ Tournament in Khanty-Mansiysk Vishy Anand maintained his half-point lead. The Indian GM drew a wild but relatively short game with Vladimir Kramnik that started as a Vienna. Levon Aronian moved to shared second place by beating Peter Svidler in a Grünfeld. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov finally had Caissa on his side; the Azerbaijani won against Dmitry Andreikin in a Chebanenko Slav.


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Anand takes early sole lead at Candidates 2014

Posted by on Mar 15, 2014 in Chess News & Events |

Anand - Mamedyarov in round 3

Anand – Mamedyarov in round 3

The Candidates Tournament 2014 has an early sole leader. After only three rounds the ex World Champion Viswwnathan Anand is clear first with 2,5/3. Anand defeated Mamedyarov, and just like in round 1 is the only leader of the day. Anand is 1/2 points ahead of Kramnik and Svidler, who fought the longest game of the day and shook hands for a draw after 4h and 30 mins. A detailed report follows, find the full standings and replays here.

More informationOfficial website / Daily Chess Insider magazine in PDF and PGN / Live games with standings and statistics / Alternative live 1 / Alternative live 2 (with chat)

Mamedyarov – Anand 0-1

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Viswanathan Anand stuck to their guns, Vishy defended with the Slav while Shakh once again played knight on d2.

After the introductory moves white expanded in the center with e5 and f4. The former World Champion did not lose time and immediately undermined the pawn chain. White’s inability to bring the rooks to the central files, controlled by the beautifully placed black bishops, proved that his position was a little over-extended.

Mamedyarov was forced to make a concession and exchange the light-squared bishops. However, this maneuver left the squares around the white king horribly weak.

Anand jumped on the opportunity and quickly mobilized the heavy pieces to attack the opponent’s king.

White didn’t survive long and Mamedyarov resigned on move 31.

Anand suggested possible improvements in 24.Bc5 or 24.Bf2, instead of the game move. Mamedyarov replied that 24.Bc5 Rd8 is unpleasant. Anand agreed and said that probably 24.Bf2 was the best try.

Replay game with analysis

Andreikin – Karjakin 1/2-1/2

Dmitry Andreikin is an unpleasant opponent for Sergey Karjakin, having eliminated him in the 4th round of 2013 World Chess Cup.

Karjakin defended with the Berlin Ruy Lopez, and Andreikin avoided the famous endgame by slowly expanding in the center with d3, c3 and d4.

Black traded on d4 and struck back with d6-d5. After the massive exchanges, black found the excellent move 17…Qd5 to hold the balance.

With the weakened pawn structure around his king, Andreikin couldn’t find anything better than to trade all the rooks and force perpetual check.

Replay game with analysis

Topalov – Aronian 1/2-1/2

Despite the loss in the first round, Levon Aronian didn’t hesitate to repeat the Ruy Lopez Anti-Marshall. Veselin Topalov chose the line that was earlier seen in Grischuk’s games.

Black conceded the bishop’s pair to get a pawn on d4 and the position appeared to be equal. White decided to complicate the matters with the queen’s excursion to h5.

Aronian thought for a long time but eventually decided not to take the pawn on e4. Soon-after he played 22…Ba6 allowing wild complications after 23.Bd6.

White captured the h7-pawn and set his f-pawn in motion. But black was just on time to create counterplay by pushing his d-pawn. White was eventually forced to take the perpetual check.

Replay game with analysis

Peter Svidler didn’t want to test Vladimir Kramnik’s Nimzo-Indian or Ruy Lopez and decided to start with the English Opening.

It was a fairly normal position as black forced the trade of white’s light-squared bishop, but then 15…e6 gave the signal for Svidler to amass his pieces on the d-file.

Kramnik clung onto his pawn, but Svidler managed to break through by getting e5 and c5 in. White got an imposing passer on d6 but it was very difficult to force its advance.

Already around move 30 the players run into zeitnot and for the final moves before the time control they were down to seconds.

When the smoke cleared, it appeared that white will finally remove the blockading rook from d7, but black was very resourceful to find counterplay. The amazing 45…f5 and 46…Rf6 saved the day for Kramnik.

Replay game with analysis


N# Player name Score SB
1 Viswanathan Anand 2.5 2.75
2 Peter Svidler 2 2.5
3 Vladimir Kramnik 2 2.5
4 Veselin Topalov 1.5 2.25
5 Levon Aronian 1.5 1.25
6 Dmitry Andreikin 1 1.5
7 Sergey Karjakin 1 1.5
8 Shakhriyar Mamedyarov 0.5 0.75


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Candidates’: Anand Beats Mamedyarov, Back in Sole Lead

Posted by on Mar 15, 2014 in Chess News & Events |

Going into the first rest day, Vishy Anand is back to being the sole leader at the 2014 FIDE Candidates’ Tournament in Khanty-Mansiysk. The Indian grandmaster defeated Shakhriyar Mamedyarov with the black pieces in round 3, countering strongly against over-aggressive play from the Azerbaijani. Andreikin-Karjakin, Topalov-Aronian and Svidler-Kramnik ended in draws with especially the latter seeing some amazing tactics. MORE LATER


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Anand takes the lead of Candidates 2014 after round 1

Posted by on Mar 13, 2014 in Chess News & Events |

candidates-chess-2014-1The FIDE World Candidates Tournament 2014 started Thursday at the beautiful playing venue in Ugra Chess Academy in Khanty-Mansiysk.

After the first round, Viswanathan Anand took the lead, as he was the only winner of the day.

More informationOfficial website Daily Chess Insider magazine in PDF and PGN / Live games with standings and statistics / Alternative live 1 / Alternative live 2 (with chat)

Dmitry Andreikin and Vladimir Kramnik, the World Cup 2013 finalists, were paired in the first round of the Candidates Tournament.

The players moved quickly through the opening, in the line of Nimzo-Indian defence which Kramnik used before with great success.

The position quickly simplified into an equal rook endgame and the competitors signed a draw on move 32.

Kramnik commented that as he played the first game with black pieces, he just wanted to avoid a defeat and get warmed up for the tournament. He didn’t want to reveal how deep his preparation was, but he noted that he already had the position after 21…Qe4 in the game against fellow Candidate Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. On that occasion Mamedyarov took a draw with perpetual check.

Andreikin decided to play on because he though that after 24.b6 maybe there are small problems for black. He showed some lines in which white could have obtained advantage, but Kramnik was up to the task and comfortably held the position.

Do not miss the full photo gallery of Candidates 2014 here


In the other Russian derby, Sergey Karjakin and Peter Svidler fought in the Taimanov Sicilian. White quickly expanded in the center, while black looked for his chances on the queenside.

The black knight remained strained on the edge of the board, but it still performed an important function of defending the f5-square.

Apparently neither of the players saw a possibility to create winning chances and the game ended with moves repetition.

The pairings were known well in advance and all participants had more than enough time to prepare for specific opponents. Svidler said that he checked many lines and he thought there was a big probability that this setup will occur. This morning he spent three hours repeating all the variations, but somehow he forgot to look at 8.f4.

Karjakin said that he also expected this line but he forgot the preparation.

Svidler was pleased that he survived the initial assault but he just couldn’t see how to develop the play. He felt stuck. there was an option to open the game with 23…fxe4 24.bxc4 bxc4 25.Ka1 where black would get some counterplay on the queenside, but his knight would still remain out of play. Karjakin suggested 24…Rxc4 as possible improvement and Svidler admitted that he didn’t really look at this as “opening the b-file felt natural”.

Topalov and Mamedyarov

Veselin Topalov defended with Slav against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov who already on the 4th move employed the rare 4.Nbd2.

Topalov proceeded to develop in Gruenfeld-like fashion and quickly struck in the center with c6-c5. The queens went off as early as on move 9, but the game nevertheless remained very interesting.

Black established the knight on a strong outpost on e4 and opened the a-file for the rooks. At the same time white was looking for a chance to invade the 7th rank and attack the opponent’s exposed king.

Mamedyarov admitted that he didn’t get anything from the opening, but after maneuvering the knight to d3 he thought he got some chances. Near the end of the game he thought that he was on the brink of winning, but he just couldn’t finish black off, as there always was some only move that saves the day for Topalov.

In the end the Azeri was forced to drop the ambitions and take a draw with perpetual check.

20140313_144913Before the tournament the experts were stating that former World Champion Viswanathan Anand got the most difficult pairing at the start – against the bookmakers’ favourite Levon Aronian.

Anand confidently opened with 1.e4 and soon an Anti-Marshall appeared on the board. After the short delay to insert preparatory moves, Anand snatched the e5-pawn.

Aronian treated the position as “very simple”, as he admitted afterwards, and underestimated the dangers within. After the very strong 19.Ne5 white returned the extra pawn but he kept the bishops’ pair and some positional pressure. At this point Aronian became worried.

Anand believed that he had a small pull thanks to the pair of bishops, but soon he realized that his advantage was much greater. He blasted black’s queenside and relentlessly pursued the black knight until finally closing the net on move 47.


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Tension Rising at Reykjavik Open, Dutch Duo in the Lead

Posted by on Mar 8, 2014 in Chess News & Events |

The Reykjavik Open has reached its half-way point and the tension is rising. After 5 rounds the tournament, a 10-round Swiss, has two Dutch leaders: GMs Robin van Kampen and Erwin l’Ami. They will play on board one against each other on Saturday. Note that every day you can enjoy live commentary on this tournament on!

All photos © Fiona Steil-Antoni


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