The World Chess Candidates Tournament – London 2013 9th round

Gelfand
(The photo is taken from the official site of the event)

GM Kramnik Vladimir 2810 1/2 GM Carlsen Magnus 2872
GM Svidler Peter 2747 1/2 GM Grischuk Alexander 2764
GM Ivanchuk Vassily 2757 1-0 GM Radjabov Teimour 2793
GM Gelfand Boris 2740 1-0 GM Aronian Levon 2809

Kramnik played his favorite Catalan against Carlsen, got a better position out of the opening and won a pawn on move 23. Perhaps 25.Qd4 was a better choice as 25.Be5 allowed a simplification which helped Black to equalize.
Svidler and Grischuk created an incredible game! In the Saemisch variation of the King’s Indian Grischuk made a novelty on the 12th move instead of the usual 12…Neg4 and got a very good game due to much better development and king placement. Probably, the queen sacrifice wasn’t justified as Black pieces were very active. Black sacrificed an exchange on move 25 to eliminate the bishop pair and open more files and diagonals. Because of Svidler’s mistake on move 29, Black could have won a piece with 29…Qe5.
Aronian got a pleasant equality against Gelfand and had some pressure in the center after the opening. Perhaps improvements can be suggested on moves 18, 20 and 25. 26…Bf7 for sure was a mistake and instead of it I like 26…Bd1, activating the B and having in mind the invasion on the d-file. Later on it is possible to improve white’s play many times but time-pressure can be a tricky thing :).
Ivanchuk entered the middlegame having a slight space advantage but Black’s position looked very solid although without any counterplay. Perhaps in the rook endgame it was better to continue the tour of the king and to march all the way to c7-square where it would help Black to push b7-b6 and create a passed pawn.

Standings after 9 rounds

1. Carlsen 6 out of 9
2. Aronian 5.5
3. Kramnik 5
4-5. Gelfand, Grischuk 4.5
6. Svidler 4
7. Ivanchuk 3.5
8. Radjabov 3

Today is a rest day!

Official website.

The World Chess Candidates Tournament – London 2013 8th round

Aronian
(Photo taken from the official site of the tournament)

Today’s pairings

GM Carlsen Magnus 2872 1/2 GM Aronian Levon 2809
GM Radjabov Teimour 2793 0-1 GM Gelfand Boris 2740
GM Grischuk Alexander 2764 1-0 GM Ivanchuk Vassily 2757
GM Kramnik Vladimir 2810 1-0 GM Svidler Peter 2747

Aronian got a comfortable equality with Black against Carlsen, 15…c6 was a novelty preparing the a6-a5 push and many pieces got eliminated towards move 30. Draw wasn’t very far away from that point :).
Radjabov didn’t get much out of the opening against Gelfand and attempted to create an attack with …f5 push. Probably the immediate 17…Qa3 with the idea of Ba6 was a little better, but in any case looks like white didn’t have time to push the pawns on the kingside as Black created some positional threats on the other side.
Grischuk, playing against the Accelerated Dragon of Ivanchuk chose a rare line 10.Nd5 and got a fairly active position with some space advantage. 14…Nd3 appears to be a novelty when Black hunts for material, while 16.Qe2 should give white a small advantage. The R and N endgame is even if only both sides weren’t in time pressure and wanted to win 🙂
Kramnik chose a rare line 14.Kc2 in Svidler’s Gruenfeld and Black answered with a novelty – 14…Ne5, instead of the usual 14…Na5, thanks to which white got a large space advantage. Black got an unpleasant and passive position and didn’t manage to find a good plan.

Carlsen and Aronian share 1st-2nd with 5.5 points, Kramnik is 3rd with 4.5.

Today’s pairings

Round 9 on 2013/03/25 at 14.00

GM Kramnik Vladimir 2810 – GM Carlsen Magnus 2872
GM Svidler Peter 2747 – GM Grischuk Alexander 2764
GM Ivanchuk Vassily 2757 – GM Radjabov Teimour 2793
GM Gelfand Boris 2740 – GM Aronian Levon 2809

Official Site.

The World Chess Candidates Tournament – London 2013 7th round

IMG_2932
(Photo taken from the official site of the event)

All games were drawn but but these were fighting draws! Kramnik got a very flexible position out of a Nimzo Indian against Gelfand and was on a good side of the equality in the middlegame. Only 18…Ne8 appears to be a mistake (with 18…Qd8 or 18…Be7 being better moves) due to the possible 19.Neg5 with very good chances for attack.
Ivanchuk played the long endgame line of the Mieses Variation in the Scotch against Svidler, preventing Black to get any play using his central pawns and was never on the verge of being even slightly worse :).
Carlsen played the Rossolimo with an early b3 against Radjabov and got some play on Black weak pawns but in return Black got possibilities for attack. With 11..f5 and later …f4 Black creates some dangerous threats on the kingside and gave white a reason to worry. Instead of 21.Qe4 (which is apparently a mistake) both Qg4 or Qh3 are OK for white although Black’s active position guarantees him fine play. On move 23 probably better was to win the exchange and then to improve the B via c7 to a5 when it would create an unpleasant pin. Black is at least much better, if not more.
In the Classical Variation of the Queen’s Indian Grischuk got a good position against Aronian and after multiple exchanges in the early middlegame kept the equality.

Carlsen and Aronian lead the event with 5 points, Svidler and Kramnik have 3.5.

Today’s pairings

GM Carlsen Magnus 2872 – GM Aronian Levon 2809
GM Radjabov Teimour 2793 – GM Gelfand Boris 2740
GM Grischuk Alexander 2764 – GM Ivanchuk Vassily 2757
GM Kramnik Vladimir 2810 – GM Svidler Peter 2747

Official Site.

The World Chess Candidates Tournament – London 2013 6th round

IMG_2855
(Photo taken from the official site of the tournament)

Carlsen got very solid position out of a Ruy Lopez against Svidler. The novelty was 15.Bc2 with the usual being 15.Ba3 instead. Carlsen managed to open the position up with d5 on move 17 and his position looked very active. It wasn’t a good idea to capture the pawn on a5 on move 22 as it would have exchanged a good R for a passive one on a1. Perhaps 25.cxd4 was a better choice. Naturally, 25…Bxh3 looked very interesting and should give Black a win but it is not easy to spot when you are playing :). But even after taking on d3 Black pieces were very active. 33.Qh5 was a mistake but it was nearly impossible to find 33.Re8 which was the only move which wasn’t losing anything.
Kramnik’s Catalan was also very interesting! 9.Nc3 is a very rare move, 9.Bf4 or 9.Bg5 are frequently played. 10.Rfd1 appears to be a novelty. The exchange sacrifice on f6 was justified and quite typical. The king and pawns become weak and it looks like white got very good chances for attack. 21.Ne4 or 21.Ra5 looks like possible improvements over 21.Qd2 after which it is difficult to find anything except for a draw.
Gelfand chose the Sicilian and got a very active position against Grischuk which white pieces being passive and mostly all on the first rank. It is possible to suggest many improvements later in the game but it is easy to show it after analysis with an engine rather than during the game :).
Radjabov-Aronian was another Ruy Lopez with Black getting a very comfortable position out of the opening. 16…Bf8 was an interesting choice in my opinion with the idea being to protect the h6-pawn and to leave the B on e3 where it blocks the R. White attempted to attack the king and win space on the kingside with 19.g4 but Black quickly exchanged in the center with dxe4 and went Ne7 to eliminate white’s most active piece. The position around move 20-23 looks still fairly equal when white opened the g-file with g5 to try to attack. 27…Ra6 was an important positional idea which improved the R and helped in defense. The mistake that got Black a much better position was 49.Kg2 which possible improvements being 49.Nf3, attacking e5 again and 49.Kh1.

Carlsen and Aronian lead the event with 4.5 points, Svidler and Kramnik have 3.

Today is a rest day!

Tomorrow’s pairings

Round 7 on 2013/03/23 at 14.00

GM Carlsen Magnus 2872 – GM Radjabov Teimour 2793
GM Aronian Levon 2809 – GM Grischuk Alexander 2764
GM Gelfand Boris 2740 – GM Kramnik Vladimir 2810
GM Ivanchuk Vassily 2757 – GM Svidler Peter 2747

Official Site.

The World Chess Candidates Tournament – London 2013 5th round

Svidler and Trent during a conference
(Photo taken from the official site of the tournament)

Although all 4 games finished in a draw, players showed an incredible fighting spirit! In the game Ivanchuk-Carlsen – 11.Qa3 turned out to be a novelty, later on Black sacrificed a pawn to simplify and was never in any danger. Svidler got what seemed to be a huge positional advantage against Gelfand out of a 5.Bd2 Gruenfeld (some online sources may call it prosaic, but it never showed :)), with very good attacking possibilities. The 7.f4 & 8. Nf3 plan was new and looks very strong. Perhaps, one improvement is 14.g4 with the idea of Qh3 directly, keeping the d4-pawn protected well for the time being. In Kramnik-Aronian game 11…Qb8 was a new plan, which gave Black a very solid position. White sacrificed a pawn on a2 trying to activate the pieces on the kingside and get attacking chances, but Black managed to give the pawn back and neutralise the threats. One possible suggestion is 27…f6 exchanging part of white’s center, another is 32…Rc2 with the idea of b2. Radjabov played a new move 13…g6 against Grischuk, instead of 13…Ba6 played in the game Nakamura-Gelfand, 2011 or 13…Bf6 played in Wang Hao-Matlakov, 2012. Looks like Black got a very solid play on the queenside and then made an interesting piece sacrifice on c5 to get 3 passed pawns against the N. It was perhaps better to play 36…b4 directly although the N never looked too great against the pawns.

Aronian and Carlsen share 1st – 2nd places with 3.5 points, Svidler is 3rd with 3.

Pairings of today’s round

GM Svidler Peter 2747 – GM Carlsen Magnus 2872
GM Kramnik Vladimir 2810 – GM Ivanchuk Vassily 2757
GM Grischuk Alexander 2764 – GM Gelfand Boris 2740
GM Radjabov Teimour 2793 – GM Aronian Levon 2809

Official Site.