Sergey Karjakin qualifies for the 2016 World Championship Match! Print
Thursday, 10 March 2016 21:18
round13-idThe 14th and last round of the FIDE World Candidates Tournament 2016 was held today at the DI Telegraph in Moscow, Russia.

Sergey Karjakin of Russia emerged winner and qualified for the World Championship match against Magnus Carlsen!

In the most dramatic finish of the event Sergey Karjakin and Fabiano Caruana entered the final round with equal points and paired one against another! There was one more variable at play, owing to the tie-break rules, and Anand's result was also important for the two leaders.

Caruana entered the Richter-Rauzer variation of the Sicilian defence as its unbalanced nature allowed him to try to play for a win with black pieces. Karjakin avoided the sharpest lines and proceeded into strategically even middlegame. Feeling some heat on the e4-pawn, white decided to throw it away in order to open up the files and diagonals for the heavy pieces. In the mutual time trouble Caruana allowed a mistake and Karjakin immediately pounced on the opportunity to sacrifice a rook for the strong attack...

Levon Aronian employed the Ragozin defence in the Queen's Gambit Declined, opening up the center and sacrificing a pawn to activate the heavy pieces. Black's compensation was sufficient and after many exchanges he took the material back. Draw was agreed on move 33.

Anish Giri and Veselin Topalov played one of the popular lines of the Catalan opening. The queens went off early and white tried to get something going on the kingside. Black was alert and successfully defended against all the threats. The game was drawn after moves repetition.

Another English opening was seen in the game between Peter Svidler and Viswanathan Anand. The former world champion was more cautious than in the previous rounds and patiently prepared the central break to equalise the position. The tension was resolved by massive exchanges and eventually the game was drawn on 35th move.

Round 14 results:
Svidler - Anand 1/2
Giri - Topalov 1/2
Nakamura - Aronian 1/2
Karjakin - Caruana 1-0

Final standings:
1. Sergey Karjakin - 8,5
2-3. Viswanathan Anand and Fabiano Caruana - 7,5
4-7. Levon Aronian, Anish Giri, Peter Svidler and Hikaru Nakamura - 7,0
8. Veselin Topalov - 4,5

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Round 13

The 13th round of the FIDE World Candidates Tournament 2016 was held today at the DI Telegraph in Moscow, Russia. Karjakin and Caruana enter the last round with 7,5/13 points each.

Despite playing white pieces Veselin Topalov run into early trouble against Hikaru Nakamura. The American weakened opponent's pawn structure and penetrated with both rooks to the second rank. Nearing the time control black won a pawn and then imposed the decisive blow with the knight. White resigned on move 40.

Anish Giri confirmed Nakamura's evaluation that he is in great shape, easily equalising with black against the winner of previous Candidates Tournament Viswanathan Anand. Then when the opportunity presented itself, Giri sacrificed a bishop for attack, and after many transformations around the time control black emerged with R+2P vs B+N. White, however, pinned the black pieces to f7-pawn and it was not possible to make progress for either side. Draw agreed on move 52.

Levon Aronian and Sergey Karjakin played a popular line of the English Opening - The Sicilian Dragon Reversed. Big complications ensued when Karjakin grabbed the a3-pawn. The resulting ending saw black holding B+2P vs B+N. For more than 50 moves Aronian trying to make something out of the position, but black's far-advanced a-pawn was a too big of distraction. The game was drawn after 101 moves of play.

Peter Svidler handled the black side of the Ruy Lopez pretty well and even obtained slight advantage in the game against Fabiano Caruana. But a mistake on move 34 put black on defensive for the rest of the day. Transposing to the R+B ending white managed to win a pawn. Svidler decided it was best to eliminate all the pawns and defend the notorious R+B vs R ending. The Russian demonstrated the proper 2nd-rank defence to hold the draw after seven and a half hours and 116 moves of play.

Round 13 results:
Caruana - Svidler 1/2
Aronian - Karjakin 1/2
Topalov - Nakamura 0-1
Anand - Giri 1/2

After thirteen rounds of play Karjakin and Caruana are joint leaders with 7,5 points each. Anand is clear third with 7 points. There follow Aronian, Giri, Svidler and Nakamura (6,5) and Topalov with 4 points.

The last round games are on schedule for 28th March at 15:00 Moscow time:
Svidler - Anand
Giri - Topalov
Nakamura - Aronian
Karjakin - Caruana

Tie-breaks (Important): If Caruana, Karjakin and Anand share the first place - Caruana qualifies on the best tie-break. If Caruana and Karjakin share the first place - Karjakin qualifies.


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Round 12

The 12th round of the FIDE World Candidates Tournament 2016 was held today at the DI Telegraph in Moscow, Russia. There has been another change on the top and now Karjakin and Caruana share the lead with 7/12 points each.

Viswanathan Anand run directly into Hikaru Nakamura's preparation. The English opening is very often employed in this event and Nakamura came up with some clever lines to lure Anand into making an early mistake. Black fell behind in development and the threats along the a1-h8 diagonal were simply too strong. Anand resigned after only 26 moves and two hours of play.

So far Anand has won four games with white and lost three with black pieces.

Sergey Karjakin quickly recovered after the yesterday's setback and won a nice attacking game against Veselin Topalov. The former world champion defended with the Naidorf Sicilian and white responded with the sharp English attack. Black placed his knight on the dominant e5-square, but white missed the most concrete 15.h6. Only two moves later black erred with 17...Rc8, when 17...Bf6 was the best option to hold the position together. Karjakin grabbed the exchange and proceeded to convert the advantage.

The game between Fabiano Caruana and Levon Aronian started as a quiet Ruy Lopez but black didn't wait long before sacrificing a pawn to unbalance the position. White rushed to return the material and reach a roughly balanced ending with heavy pieces on the board. At one point before the time control white allowed the beautiful tactical shot 38...Rxd3, but black passed it. The next opportunity presented itself when Caruana played 47.Ke3, after which black obtained certain initiative. This, however, was not sufficient for a win, and the game was drawn on move 67.

Anish Giri was well prepared to meet Peter Svidler's favorite opening setup and even obtained slight advantage with black pieces. Following the massive exchanges before the first time control black emerged pawn up, but white still had counterplay with two pairs of rooks on the board. Giri pressed hard for a win, but Svidler defended well and the game was drawn in the seventh hour of play.

Round 12 results:
Svidler - Giri 1/2
Nakamura - Anand 1-0
Karjakin - Topalov 1-0
Caruana - Aronian 1/2

After twelve rounds of play Karjakin and Caruana are joint leaders with 7 points each. Anand is clear third with 6,5 points. There follow Aronian, Giri and Svidler (6), Nakamura (5,5) and Topalov with 4 points.

Saturday is a rest day. Round 13 games are on schedule for 27th March at 15:00 Moscow time:
Caruana - Svidler
Aronian - Karjakin
Topalov - Nakamura
Anand - Giri


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Round 11

The 11th round of the FIDE World Candidates Tournament 2016 was held today at the DI Telegraph in Moscow, Russia. Anand and Caruana share the lead with 6,5/11 points each.

There has been another change on the top as Anand bounced back after yesterday's setback and defeated the long-time leader Sergey Karjakin. The game started with a quiet line in the Anti-Berlin Ruy Lopez. The pieces were going off until the players were left with two rooks each and opposite-coloured bishops. It appeared that black equalised the position, however white was holding the only open file with his rooks. Anand skillfully maneuvered and already before the time control assumed certain advantage. In the resulting ending black tried to set up a fortress, but white found a way to break through.

Peter Svidler once again used the Queen's Gambit Accepted, the defence he prepared particularly for this tournament. Levon Aronian responded aggressively, trying to use attacking patterns typical for the positions with isolated d-pawn. He did become more active but black was defending well to weather the storm. At one point before the time control white could have forced perpetual check, but considering the earlier game advantage and the current tournament standings, Aronian passed on this and continued to play. Suddenly, with a series of strong moves Svidler turned the tables and signed his first victory in the event.

Fabiano Caruana missed a good chance to move into the sole lead. In the sharp English opening Veselin Topalov, playing white, sacrificed exchange for a pawn and compensation. At some point in the middlegame the things went wrong for the Bulgarian and black seized the initiative. It looked like black will break through, but somehow Caruana became obsessed with winning the f2-pawn. The time trouble didn't help him either. Topalov found a brilliant idea to completely tie the opponent's pieces and after a long thought Caruana offered a draw.

Anish Giri and Hikaru Nakamura started the game with the Italian opening. White obtained slight advantage after the central structure has been shaped. A lot of maneuvering followed, but then after the time control white increased his plus. A rash knight-sacrifice allowed black to neutralise the pressure and few moves later the game was drawn.

Round 11 results:
Aronian - Svidler 0-1
Topalov - Caruana 1/2
Anand - Karjakin 1-0
Giri - Nakamura 1/2

After eleven rounds of play Anand and Caruana are joint leaders with 6,5 points each. Karjakin is clear third with 6 points. There follow Aronian, Giri and Svidler (5,5), Nakamura (4,5) and Topalov with 4 points.

Round 12 games are on schedule for 25th March at 15:00 Moscow time:
Svidler - Giri
Nakamura - Anand
Karjakin - Topalov
Caruana - Aronian


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Round 10

The 10th round of the FIDE World Candidates Tournament 2016 was held today at the DI Telegraph in Moscow, Russia.

Fabiano Caruana surged ahead after defeating the overnight co-leader Viswanathan Anand from the white side of the English opening. White's 12.Qc2 surprised the opponent and black spent some time to find the correct plan. Caruana was already out of preparation, but as he testified later, all his moves were natural and easy to find. A temporary bishop sacrifice allowed white to seize the initiative. Soon-after black made a mistake with the knight jump and white proceeded to convert the advantage into full point.

Sergey Karjakin and Anish Giri tested the very popular line in the Meran Slav defence. White didn't achieve much and the massive exchanges allowed black to push the liberating c6-c5. The game was drawn several moves later.

Peter Svidler and Hikaru Nakamura, as well as Levon Aronian and Veselin Topalov, also opened started with the English opening, following the same line up to move 9.

Svidler seized some space in the center, but black was on time to undermine it with c7-c6. White snatched a pawn as black was developing the counterplay. Instead of trying to hold onto the material, white allowed his opponent to force the perpetual check.

In his own game Aronian put some pressure on the opponent despite the many exchanges. The commentators have pointed that 28.Qf3 might have been better alternative. Topalov was up to task and masterfully neutralised white's advantage before the time control. The game proceeded until all the possibilities were exhausted and was finally drawn on move 58.

Round 10 results:
Svidler - Nakamura 1/2
Karjakin - Giri 1/2
Caruana - Anand 1-0
Aronian - Topalov 1/2

After ten rounds of play Karjakin and Caruana are joint leaders with 6 points each. Aronian and Anand share third place with 5,5 points.  There follow Giri (5), Svidler (4,5), Nakamura (4) and Topalov with 3,5 points.

Round 11 games are on schedule for 24th March at 15:00 Moscow time:
Aronian - Svidler
Topalov - Caruana
Anand - Karjakin
Giri - Nakamura


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Round 9

The 9th round of the FIDE World Candidates Tournament 2016 was held today at the DI Telegraph in Moscow, Russia.

The spectators enjoyed the most fighting day since the beginning of the event as no games were finished before the first time control.

There has been a change on the top as Viswanathan Anand defeated the overnight co-leader Levon Aronian to take his place in the standings.

In the Italian opening white emerged with a slightly better pawn structure. Aronian somewhat carelessly allowed Anand to establish a strong outpost on d5. The resulting double rook ending looked better for white as the more active side, but black put up a fierce resistance. It appeared that black was close to salvaging a draw, but after white got his king to g7 the game was practically over.

Hikaru Nakamura and Sergey Karjakin had another debate in the Queen's Indian defence. The American apparently liked Topalov's 11.Rb1 as he repeated it today. Nevertheless, black was slightly better after the opening thanks to the better pawn structure. Nakamura put his pieces to work in order to complicate the matters. The activity paid off and after correct play from both sides the draw was agreed on move 44.

Veselin Topalov got a slightly better position in the Anti-Marshall Ruy Lopez against Peter Svidler. Black defended well but at some point he had to concede the pair of bishops and transpose to an ending. Immediately afterwards white made a couple of inaccurate moves which allowed black to quickly stabilize. From then on Svidler had no major difficulties in holding a draw.

In the longest game of the tournament Anish Giri and Fabiano Caruana fought for more than seven hours before settling for a draw on move 96.

Round 9 results:
Topalov - Svidler 1/2
Anand - Aronian 1-0
Giri - Caruana 1/2
Nakamura - Karjakin 1/2

After nine rounds of play Karjakin and Anand are joint leaders with 5,5 points each. Aronian and Caruana share third place with 5 points. There follow Giri (4,5), Svidler (4), Nakamura (3,5) and Topalov with 3 points.

Tuesday is rest day. Round 10 games are on schedule for 23rd March at 15:00 Moscow time:
Svidler - Nakamura
Karjakin - Giri
Caruana - Anand
Aronian - Topalov


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Photos courtesy of Andreas Kontokanis

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Round 8

The 8th round of the FIDE World Candidates Tournament 2016 was held today at the DI Telegraph in Moscow, Russia.

The game between the two American players saw the Anti-Berlin Ruy Lopez where white gave up the light-squared bishop and castled long. Both sides started marching the pawns towards enemy kings. As Hikaru Nakamura said after the game, it was either win or lose in brilliant fashion. As it happened, white king used the opponent's pawns as shelter and black's attack stalled. With free hands to develop his own attack, Fabiano Caruana swiftly brought the victory home.

Levon Aronian and Anish Giri revisited the slightly forgotten Anti-Moscow Semi-Slav opening. White showed aggressive intentions in the opening, however black was able to exchange the queens and calmly complete the development. Aronian tried in all ways to unbalance the position but Giri was up to task to hold the draw.

Viswanathan Anand easily equalised in the opening from the black side of Ragozin Queen's Gambit. Veselin Topalov opted for the slow build-up to push e3-e4, but after realising that it won't come that easy, he went for massive exchanges. In the resulting ending black was relying on several small factors - weak d4-pawn and better coordination of the queen and knight. White was extremely solid and after making no progress black agreed to a draw on move 51.

The game between the two Russian players saw an ultra-sharp line of the English opening. At some point Sergey Karjakin pushed the opponent's pieces back and assumed the initiative. Peter Svidler grabbed a pawn and braced for defence. However, instead of keeping the pressure on, black rushed to regain the material, allowing his opponent to gain a new momentum. From then on Svidler played for a win, coming very close to scoring, but a couple of inaccurate moves let his opponent of the hook.

Round 8 results:
Svidler - Karjakin 1/2
Caruana - Nakamura 1-0
Aronian - Giri 1/2
Topalov - Anand 1/2

After eight rounds of play Karjakin and Aronian are joint leaders with 5 points each. Anand and Caruana share third place with 4,5 points. There follow Giri (4), Svidler (3,5), Nakamura (3) and Topalov with 2 points.

Round 9 games are on schedule for 21st March at 15:00 Moscow time:
Topalov - Svidler
Anand - Aronian
Giri - Caruana
Nakamura - Karjakin

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Round 7

The 7th round of the FIDE World Candidates Tournament 2016 was held today at the DI Telegraph in Moscow, Russia.

Hikaru Nakamura and Veselin Topalov opened with the Slav defence. White expanded on the queenside while black pushed in the center. At one point Topalov decided to make the things interesting and sacrificed a piece. But later he missed a neat 31...Qf5! (idea ...Rd3 and ...Qh3) 32.Re3 Qd7. After Nakamura was allowed to play 33.Kh2 black position simply collapsed.

Viswanathan Anand easily equalised with black against Anish Giri. Following the massive exchanges the players agreed to a draw after completing obligatory 30 moves.

Levon Aronian was well prepared to meet Sergey Karjakin's Kings-Indian attack. Quick push of the a-pawn got white thinking a bit longer than usual. Karjakin jumped 13.Ng5 "in the hope to attack", but black's response in 13...Ra6 was "absolutely brilliant". Black freed his game and perhaps even missed a more active continuation in 16...Bf6. After the many exchanges the game was drawn on move 31.

Peter Svidler aggressively attacked Fabiano Caruana with the English opening. The American GM was spending a lot of time searching for a way to weather the storm. White sacrificed a piece and got the black king out for a walk. Caruana was forced to give the material back and white even emerged with an extra pawn. But after several inaccuracies by Svilder, Caruana was able to equalise and save the game.

Round 7 results:
Svidler - Caruana 1/2
Karjakin - Aronian 1/2
Nakamura - Topalov 1-0
Giri - Anand 1/2

After seven rounds of play Karjakin and Aronian are joint leaders with 4,5 points each. Anand is sole third with 4, followed by Caruana and Giri on 3,5 points. Svidler and Nakamura share sixth place with 3 points each, while Topalov has 2 points.

Round 8 games are on schedule for 20th March at 15:00 Moscow time:
Svidler - Karjakin
Caruana - Nakamura
Aronian - Giri
Topalov - Anand


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Round 6

The 6th round of the FIDE World Candidates Tournament 2016 was held today at the DI Telegraph in Moscow, Russia.

Viswanathan Anand, former world champion and winner of the previous Candidates Tournament, returned into contention for the top after a fine victory against Peter Svidler. The Russian surprised his opponent with 8...Bb7, nevertheless white obtained good position by making natural developing moves. At some point black decided to go all in with 18...Nb3, but at the end of the ultra-sharp line white had the decisive 24.h4, after which Svidler promptly resigned.

Sergey Karjakin played another Queen's Indian defence, fourth time in only six rounds. Fabiano Caruana deviated from Topalov's mysterious 11.Rb1 and made his own 11.a3. Karjakin responded in the usual manner, creating the hanging pawns in the center. When white tried to break this structure, black suddenly sacrificed a queen for some material. Black's compensation relied on the fact that there were no pawns left on the queenside. Still, white could have posed certain problems had he advanced the g and h-pawns in proper manner. Karjakin took the opportunity to sacrifice another piece in order to free the passed pawn. At that point Caruana had to concede the draw.

Veselin Topalov used a clever move order with an early 3.h4 to disturb Anish Giri's intention of playing the Gruenfeld Indian defence. Giri promptly sacrificed the b-pawn to transpose into the Benko Gambit. Black obtained good play and reached a typical Benko-ending where white tries to hold onto the extra pawn but is suffering from inactivity. After the time control black turned the situation and emerged pawn up, however the position was already simplified and draw was most likely inevitable.

In the longest match of the day which lasted nearly seven hours Levon Aronian defeated Hikaru Nakamura. White opened with the popular gambit in the Queen's Indian defence. Black tried to free his game by returning the pawn and trading the queens, however white retained some pressure by occupying the 7th rank. After some maneuvering, Nakamura forced further exchanges to reach a rook ending. His position remained unpleasant though. The critical moment occurred on move 74 - Nakamura touched the king and was forced to move this piece - immediately spoiling his position beyond repair and white duly converted into full point. Aronian was convinced that the ending was winning even with black's best play. Numerous experts have claimed since that the ending is drawn.

After six rounds of play Karjakin and Aronian are joint leaders with 4 points each. Anand is sole third with 3,5, followed by Caruana and Giri on 3 points. Svidler is sixth with 2,5 points, while Nakamura and Topalov share seventh place with 2 points each.

Friday is a rest day. Round 7 games are on schedule for 19th March at 15:00 Moscow time: Svidler-Caruana, Karjakin-Aronian, Nakamura-Topalov, Giri-Anand


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Round 5

The 5th round of the FIDE World Candidates Tournament 2016 was held today at the DI Telegraph in Moscow, Russia.

Viswanathan Anand faced another Berlin Ruy-Lopez, but this time the black player - Hikaru Nakamura - decided to quickly trade the knights on d4. Soon arose a structure that resembled Ruy Lopez Anti-Marshall, with a-file open and black having doubled e-pawns. Anand was taken by surprise as Nakamura quickly advanced his d-pawn. White couldn't find anything better than to force a perpetual check.

Fabiano Caruana defended with Benoni but Levon Aronian was not impressed - in fact he said "give me Benoni any day you like". White built up for the typical pawn sacrifice in the center, e4-e5 followed by f4-f5 instead of recapture. Black was accurate in handling the defence and white had to throw in more material in order to have something going. Finally, Caruana decided it is too risky to allow white bishop coming to f6 and therefore repeated the moves.

Peter Svidler employed his favourite Gruenfeld Indian defence and Anish Giri countered with the fianchetto variation. It appeared as white obtained some positional pressure but black was able to challenge the center with e5 and rearrange the pieces. The players repeated the moves in the equal position.

Sergey Karjakin played his third game in the same line of the Queens-Indian defence. Veselin Topalov, with white pieces, made a mysterious 11.Rb1, but its purpose was revealed later as the rook operated on the second rank. Karjakin responded in principled manner, striking in the center and creating the hanging pawns. However, it looked as white had some pressure and perhaps Topalov missed a better continuation. After achieving equality, Karjakin tried to gain more by complicating the position with 21...g5. Both players continued to make good moves and the game was drawn shortly after the first time control.

After five rounds of play Karjakin remains on the top with 3,5 points, followed by Aronian who is half a point behind. Svidler, Giri, Anand and Caruana are on 2,5 points each. Nakamura is 7th with 2 points and Topalov has 1,5.

Round 6 games are on schedule for 17th March at 15:00 Moscow time: Topalov-Giri, Anand-Svidler, Aronian-Nakamura and Caruana-Karjakin.


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Round 4

The 4th round of the FIDE World Candidates Tournament 2016 was held today at the DI Telegraph in Moscow, Russia.

Sergey Karjakin moved into the sole lead after defeating former world champion Viswanathan Anand. The Russian played a novel idea Qc2-h4 in the opening, which seemed quite aggressive, but then he changed the strategy and decided to play in positional manner.

Black's hanging pawns proved to be more a weakness than strength, and Karjakin was able to transpose into a much better ending. His technique was flawless and he brought the victory home on move 43.

Hikaru Nakamura and Anish Giri started with a Slav defence, following a long sharp line that eventually finished in a perpetual check.

Levon Aronian once again faced the English opening with black pieces. Peter Svidler forced a quick exchange of the queens and transposition into an ending where he had pair of bishops and positional pressure as a compensation for the pawn. Within next several moves Aronian gave up two pawns but he managed to activate the remaining pieces. Black comfortably held a draw.

Fabiano Caruana and Veselin Topalov were involved in a long positional struggle that saw lots of maneuvering and changes in the pawn structure. Shortly before the time control Topalov erred and white jumped on the tactical opportunity to win material. But suddenly Caruana dropped the guard and committed several inaccuracies that Topalov exploited to reach a draw in the double-rook ending.

After four rounds of play Karjakin is on the top with 3 points, followed by Aronian who is half a point behind. Svidler, Giri, Anand and Caruana are on 2 points each. Nakamura is 7th with 1,5 and Topalov has 1 point.

Round 5 games are on schedule for 16th March at 15:00 Moscow time: Giri-Svidler, Aronian-Caruana, Topalov-Karjakin and Anand-Nakamura.

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Photo by Andreas Kontokanis



Round 3

The 3rd round of the FIDE World Candidates Tournament 2016 was held today at the DI Telegraph in Moscow, Russia.

Veselin Topalov, playing from white side of the English opening, committed several inaccuracies in the opening and lost two pawns early on. He tried to compensate with the pair of bishops but Levon Aronian assumed control and never allowed his opponent back in the game. Soon after the time control white resigned.

Sergey Karjakin repeated the pawn structure from his yesterday's game, only this time with black pieces. Anish Giri commented that in the quoted game white obtained excellent position, therefore he didn't mind trying it himself. Karjakin decided to be more active, setting an interesting pawn-chain on the queenside, and provoking his opponent on the other side of the board. Giri accepted the challenge and sacrificed a piece searching for a decisive blow against the enemy king. Karjakin, however, defended with precision and the game was finally drawn after a perpetual check.

Today was a second Berlin Ruy Lopez in only three rounds for each Viswanathan Anand and Fabiano Caruana. Anand's 11.Qc2 threw black into deep thought, but the American managed to find a good way to liquidate the center and centralize the pieces. Anand held only a minimal advantage and Caruana had no difficulties in holding a draw.

Peter Svidler's fantastic opening preparation with black helped him to assume the initiative against Hikaru Nakamura. Seeing there is no way to attack the black king, Nakamura decided to simplify the position down to an ending where he was hoping to hold. Svidler won a pawn and meanwhile the queenside was cleared. Black continued to press, but with the knights being traded off Nakamura easily held a draw.

After three rounds of play Anand, Karjakin and Aronian share the first place with 2 points each. Svidler, Giri and Caruana follow on 1,5, Nakamura is 7th with 1 point and Topalov has 0,5.

Monday 14th March is a rest day. Round 4 games are on schedule for 15th March at 15:00 Moscow time: Svidler-Aronian, Karjakin-Anand, Caruana-Topalov, Nakamura-Giri.


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Round 2

The 2nd round of the FIDE World Candidates Tournament 2016 was held today at the DI Telegraph in Moscow, Russia.

In the only decisive game of the day Sergey Karjakin defeated Hikaru Nakamura with white pieces. White position was always slightly better but black seemed to be solid. A faulty combination starting with 29...Nxg3 left black on the losing end after he missed the double-attack 34. Rc7.

In another game with black pieces Veselin Topalov was not afraid to repeat the Berlin Ruy Lopez, despite the loss against Anand in the first round. Peter Svidler did not choose the most ambitious lines with white. The outcome was that all the queenside pawns were traded and a draw was agreed shortly after completing the necessary 30 moves.

Viswanathan Anand was well prepared with black to meet the aggressive attacker Levon Aronian. After completing the theoretical line the position was roughly equal. The balance was never disturbed and a series of exchanges led to a drawn opposite-colored bishops ending.

Anish Giri was once again involved in the longest game of the day, but this time it lasted "only four hours". Fabiano Caruana went sharp against the Berlin Ruy Lopez, at one point even obtaining a promising position. But after the exchange of the queens black slowly consolidated and draw was agreed after the time control.

After two rounds of play Anand and Karjakin are in the lead with 1,5 points each. Caruana, Aronian, Giri and Svidler are on one point, while Nakamura and Topalov have 0,5 points each.

Round 3 games are on schedule for 13th March at 15:00 Moscow time: Nakamura-Svidler, Anand-Caruana, Giri-Karjakin, Topalov-Aronian.


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Round 2 photos courtesy of Andreas Kontokanis


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Round 1

The FIDE World Candidates Tournament 2016 started on 11th March at the DI Telegraph, a historical building in the vicinity of the Moscow Kremlin.

President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan made the honorary first move in the game Anish Giri vs Levon Aronian. Also present for the short ceremony were FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, President of the Russian Chess Federation Andrey Filatov, President of the Russian Olympic Committee Alexander Zhukov and ECU President Zurab Azmaiparashvili.

The only decisive game of the day was played between the two former world champions Viswanathan Anand and Veselin Topalov. In the complicated Anti-Berlin Ruy Lopez Anand broke through with the rooks and converted the attacking position into full point.

The first game to finish was the all-American clash between Hikaru Nakamura and Fabiano Caruana. The 2015 World Cup finalists Sergey Karjakin and Peter Svidler followed soon.

But Giri and Aronian fought for nearly six hours before the pieces were traded down to theoretically drawn pawn ending.

Round 2 games on 12th March at 15:00 Moscow time: Svidler-Topalov, Aronian-Anand, Caruana-Giri, Karjakin-Nakamura.


Candidates Tournament - first move
Photo courtesy of Russian Chess Federation



DI TelegraphThe opening ceremony of the Candidates Tournament, part of the World Chess Championship cycle, took place on March 10 at the Pashkov House in Moscow.

Eight top grandmasters will compete from 11th through 29th March for the 420,000 Euro prize fund and the opportunity to challenge the World Champion Magnus Carlsen (Norway), given to the eventual winner.

The line-up consists of the World Championship 2014 finalist Vishy Anand (India), 2015 World Cup winner Sergey Karjakin, 2015 World Cup runner-up Peter Svidler (both Russia), 2014-15 FIDE Grand Prix winners Fabiano Caruana and Hikaru Nakamura (both USA), two players qualified by rating Veselin Topalov (Bulgaria) and Anish Giri (Netherlands), and the player nominated by the organizers – Levon Aronian (Armenia).

The opening speeches were delivered by the Russian Deputy Prime-Minister Arkady Dvorkovich, FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan, President of the Russian Chess Federation Andrey Filatov, and Dmitry Peskov, Chairman of the RCF Board of Trustees and press spokesman for the President of Russia.

Tashir Group, Russia’s largest diversified industrial holding company, is a general partner of the tournament and the Russian Chess Federation is also a major supporter.

The games will be played at the DI Telegraph, a multifunctional space in the Central Telegraph building which is home to many of Russia's high-tech companies.

The World Championship Match between Magnus Carlsen and the challenger qualifying from this tournament will take place in November in New York.





 
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