Viswanathan Anand is the winner of Candidates Tournament Print
Tuesday, 01 April 2014 00:00

The Candidates Tournament is now officially closed

The official closing ceremony concluded the FIDE Candidates Tournament in Khanty-Mansiysk today. The Ugra Governor Natalia Komarova and the FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov awarded the winner and the runner-ups.

The most precious prize for Vishy Anand is, of course, an opportunity to play another championship match. However, he was quite happy to receive other awards, too.

13553313675 d8c5850b0e z

“For a few weeks Ugra lived with high level chess. The candidates' names were all over the global media. I want to thank the players and the arbiters for their excellent work. I also want to remind you the Indian wisdom: happiness always finds its way to the strong-willed. You are always welcome in Ugra, and we are always very supportive for you”, said the Ugra Governor Natalia Komarova in her closing ceremony speech.

The FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov mentioned that in terms of chess development Ugra is a model not only for other Russian regions, but for many countries across the world. “The tournament was organized at the highest level. Unhappy faces show up quite often at such events, but not here. We never heard a single word of criticism!”

13553424783 d02bb420e9 z

The runner-ups were also awarded at the ceremony. Sergey Karjakin finished second after a big fight, and Vladimir Kramnik took the third place. All three players received our traditional gifts – Siberian fur hats.

“Regarding the level of tournament organization, I cannot think of any problems. We lived nearby, the playing hall was excellent. I am biased, of course, but everything was just perfect, really”, said Vishy Anand.

Peter Svidler likes coming to Khanty-Mansiysk a lot. “The only thing I can complain about is the weather. We could discuss that, but it would be ridiculous. Apart from the temperature jumps, I never had any other issues here. Khanty-Mansiysk always does its job perfectly”, stated the grandmaster.

13553312095 0f10b13f7d z

The closing ceremony was followed by the match between the tournament winner Vishy Anand and the 12-year-old student of the Ugra Chess Academy Dmitry Chumak. The sponsor – ASUS company – gave the winner their own price – a powerful laptop computer.

The Candidates Tournament in Khanty-Mansiysk created a buzz on the internet. The official website recorded about a million visitors. The live broadcast was followed by 20,000 viewers every day, most frequently by chess enthusiasts from USA, Germany, and India.

13552634645 28e0f67efb z

Closing Ceremony Photo Gallery

FIDE World Candidates Tournament is concluded

Viswanathan Anand concluded the FIDE Candidates Tournament with a draw against Peter Svidler for a total of 8,5/14 points. FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov made the honorary move for the World Championship qualifier.

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Vladimir Kramnik also had a relatively quick draw, while Veselin Topalov and Dmitry Andreikin split the point only after 69 moves of play.

In the longest game of the day Sergey Karjakin defeated Levon Aronian with black after seven hours of play.

With this victory Karjakin emerged clear second with 7,5 points. On shared third place are Kramnik, Mamedyarov and Andreikin with 7 points each. Svidler and Aronian and on 6,5 points each, while Topalov is last with 6 points.

13509203414 8cc5c2a017 z

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov was involved in some of the sharpest games of the previous rounds, but today he decided to go for the positional Qc2 line in the Nimzo-Indian Defence. As he admitted at the post-game press conference, he was already feeling tired.

Vladimir Kramnik happily entered his pet line 7…dxc4. Instead of the common retreat 11.Qc2, white accepted to trade the queens on move 11. The players commented afterwards that this exchange meant that the game will be drawn.

The play continued until most of the pieces were removed from the board and draw was signed on move 30.

13509206384 45c1216ca6 z

Having already qualified for the World Championship Match, Viswanathan Anand felt no pressure ahead of the game with Peter Svidler, but he still “didn’t want to finish a good tournament with a defeat”.

Anand allowed the Ruy Lopez Marshall Gambit, stating that he wanted to test the new ideas by Fabiano Caruana. Svidler in his turn followed the plan of Rustam Kasimdzhanov – 14…Qf6.

Many pieces were exchanged and white was hoping to further trade the rooks and play a B vs N endgame with pawns on both sides of the board. However, before he could do that, black succeeded in clearing all pawns from the queenside.

Draw agreed on move 34.

13509194444 9c72e818cd z

Dmitry Andreikin’s treatment of the Berlin Ruy Lopez was rather original as he quickly expanded with the pawns on kingside and in the center.

It was a strategy with considerable risk and Veselin Topalov rushed to open up the play to exploit black’s weaknesses.

White managed to snatch a pawn but his own structure was slightly compromised. He proceeded to force the exchange of the rooks hoping that he could get something in the endgame with minor pieces.

Topalov pressed for a long time but couldn’t do harm to Andreikin’s fortress.

13508945633 f98169d4e9 z

It is rare occurrence that Levon Aronian opens the game with 1.e4. Another surprise was his relatively modest approach against Serey Karjakin’s Sicilian defence.

Black played all the logical moves, even succeeded in locking the white bishop on b1, but then a small inaccuracy handed a pawn to white.

In order to shift the trend, black gave up the exchange to destroy white’s structure and win the pawn back.

White’s reaction was not the best, he handed the material back and even fell under attack.

The material was already reduced and it was not easy to exploit the weaknesses around the white king.

Only in the 7th hour of play white cracked under pressure and dropped a piece for pawn. He tried to compensate with the advanced passer, but black was quick to force the exchange of the queens and finally clinch a victory.

Round 14              
SNo.   Name FED Res.   Name FED SNo.
7 GM Aronian Levon ARM 0 – 1 GM Karjakin Sergey RUS 2
6 GM Anand Viswanathan IND ½ - ½ GM Svidler Peter RUS 3
5 GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar AZE ½ - ½ GM Kramnik Vladimir RUS 4
8 GM Topalov Veselin BUL ½ - ½ GM Andreikin Dmitry RUS 1

Round 13: Viswanathan Anand qualifies for 2014 FIDE World Championship Match


Viswanathan Anand will have another shot at the World Chess Championship title after winning the Candidates Tournament 2014 in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia.

In round 13 Anand held a draw against Sergey Karjakin to take his score to 8 points and secure clear first place with one round to go.

Anand is set to play a match with World Champion Magnus Carlsen in November. The hosting city should be announced soon.

In the other games Dmitry Andreikin defeated Levon Aronian and Vladimir Kramnik won against Veselin Topalov. Peter Svidler and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov split the point.

Anand is first with 8 points, point and a half ahead of the large group of players on shared second place – Andreikin, Kramnik, Aronian, Mamedyarov and Karjakin. Svidler is 7th with 6 points, while Topalov is last with 5,5 points.


Shakhriyar Mamedyarov remained consistent and chose once again the Sicilian Naidorf. Peter Svidler answered with 6.Be3, the line in which he has huge practical experience.

The first critical junction was on move 16 when black played Nd4 instead of Grischuk’s Nce5. Next he offered exchange of the queens.

More pieces were traded soon and a rook endgame was reached around move 25. Black had the doubled f-pawns.

World Champion Magnus Carlsen tuned into live commentary with GM Peter Heine Nielsen and said that white can keep pressing for a long time without any risk.

Svidler tried for something more until the time control, but then he agreed to a draw.

Levon Aronian played another very original opening, defending against the Trompowski employed by Dmitry Andreikin.


After only ten moves of play black’s pawn structure looked awful, but he still tried to stir trouble on white’s long castle and advanced pawns.

White decided to trade the queens and go into a roughly equal endgame. He offered an exchange for advanced passed pawn, but black snubbed the offer because the eventual result was likely to be a draw. Aronian needed a win to stay in contention for the first place.

Andreikin skillfully took advantage of the poor placement of black bishop to win a pawn and proceed to the double rook ending. He converted into full point on move 44.

Vladimir Kramnik and Veselin Topalov tested the Semi-Slav Moscow variation. Again Topalov was first to insert a new move, by playing the speculative 10…c5.

Kramnik cemented the development advantage with an excellent 14.Bb5, which prevents black knight from coming into play. Magnus Carlsen also praised this move in his live commentary.

Black somehow untangled his pieces but white already had the action going on the kingside. However, after a couple of inaccurate moves, white lost all of his advantage and even started looking suspicious because black had the pair of bishops.

The resulting endgame was sharp and unclear. It was extremely difficult to find the most precise moves – only deeper analysis can tell.

Topalov was the last to make a mistake, when he allowed white rook to reach the back rank and claim a bishop. Kramnik quickly wrapped up the game.

Sergey Karjakin was fully charged to fight in the game versus Viswanathan Anand, having in mind that only a victory would have given him the chance to win the first place and match against the World Champion Magnus Carlsen.

White played a modest yet flexible setup with fianchetto on b2. Black replied with the principled strike in the center c5, but was soon left with a backward c6-pawn.

Karjakin won this pawn but the queens got exchanged and it looked like black had a good compensation for the material. Anand’s idea to trade the light-squared bishops with 17…Bd7 was criticized by Magnus Carlsen.

The reigning World Champion had a good hunch, as black soon came under pressure on the queenside.

Anand made a huge decision to give two pieces for a rook and pawn. The material favored white, but all pawns were on one side of the board and white pieces were poorly coordinated.

The Grandmasters who commented the game on Twitter believed that black had better chance to draw than white to win.

Anand succeeded in setting a fortress, and despite the huge effort Karjakin simply couldn’t find a way through.


SNo.   Name FED Res.   Name FED SNo.
1 GM Andreikin Dmitry RUS 1 – 0 GM Aronian Levon ARM 7
2 GM Karjakin Sergey RUS ½ - ½ GM Anand Viswanathan IND 6
3 GM Svidler Peter RUS ½ - ½ GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar AZE 5
4 GM Kramnik Vladimir RUS 1 – 0 GM Topalov Veselin BUL 8

Round 12: Anand takes a practical decision, draws Andreikin.

Viswanathan Anand took a practical decision to accept draw against Dmitry Andreikin in a better, but extremely complicated position. Considering the other results, Anand is coming closer to challenging World Champion Magnus Carlsen to another match.

Levon Aronian – Vladimir Kramnik and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov – Sergey Karjakin were drawn, while Veselin Topalov won a nice game against Peter Svidler.

After 12 rounds of play in the FIDE World Candidates Tournament, Anand is first with 7,5 points, still a full point ahead of Aronian. Mamedyarov and Karjakin share the third place with 6 points each. On 5-8th place and with 5,5 points each are Kramnik, Svidler, Topalov and Andreikin.

13444909384 1e5071f231 z

Peter Svidler’s Taimanov Sicilian was not a great surprise for Veselin Topalov, but the recapture on 8th move, dxc6 instead of Qxc6, is a rare continuation.

Topalov continued in the straightforward manner by transferring the knight to c4 and playing a key move, according to Svidler in the post-game press conference, 12.f3 to effectively stop the counterplay.

The rigid pawn structure and gapping hole on d5 were preventing black from activating the pieces. He was reluctant to part with the bishop pair to eliminate the dominant c4-knight.

White eventually broke through the d-file to win the black a5-pawn. Being unable to find a perpetual check, Svidler gave up.

The game between Levon Aronian and Vladimir Kramnik started as a Queen’s Gambit Exchange variation, but white deviated from the theory quite early, by playing the literally unknown 8.h3.

13444543465 16e0ea0386 z

Black immediately used the opportunity to trade the dark-squared bishops and ease up his development.

Both players castled long and tucked their kings into safety. The pieces were shuffled around until white decided to go for a central break with e3-e4.

Aronian admitted that he wouldn’t risk that much if he would be closer to the first place. The players repeated the moves for a draw in 31 moves.

Actually, instead of Ba6 in the end, black had an interesting maneuver in 28…Nb5 29.exd5 Na5! which might have given him something. Aronian was stunned when FIDE Press Officer showed him this line.

Dmitry Andreikin wanted to try a Caro-Kann against Viswanathan Anand, exactly the line that Carlsen played in game 2 of Chennai WCC match.

Anand definitely had an improvement ready, as he deviated on move 15 with Qd3-f3. In this development he kept more pieces on the board.

Black was trying for a usual queenside counterplay, while white centralised his pieces waiting to answer black’s c6-c5 break with d4-d5.

Black immediately went astray by allowing the pawn to advance further, all the way to d7. In addition, white launched an attack against the enemy king.

However, Andreikin didn’t roll over, and he sacrificed a bishop to lead the white king out in the open field.

13444663423 c87c081907 z

His efforts paid off when Anand conceded a draw by “taking a practical decision” to repeat the moves.

Anand commented later – “I looked at Kd2, but there are two rooks, queen, knight jumping around, and I couldn’t see it through.” He added that 36.Bd2 might have been a better try.

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Sergey Karjakin played the longest game of the day. Karjakin took note of Mamedyarov's handling of the sharp f3 Nimzo-Indian in the earlier clash with Aronian.

The Russian team prepared a Benko-like counterblow 5...b5. As it was expected from the tactically gifted Azeri, he quickly expanded to grab space in the center.

Karjakin was pleased with his opening, but at the pres conference he criticized 20...Ndc5, which took the knight far away from the defence of the king.

13444910734 1372b56ccc z

Black did win three pawns, but he was running low on time and white was constantly endangering the king. At one moment black had only 14 seconds to complete six moves (there is no increment before first time control).

Karjakin beat the zeitnot, but by then white simplified the position and in the next hour held a draw in a double rook endgame despite being one pawn down.

SNo.   Name FED Res.   Name FED SNo.
6 GM Anand Viswanathan IND ½ - ½ GM Andreikin Dmitry RUS 1
5 GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar AZE ½ - ½ GM Karjakin Sergey RUS 2
8 GM Topalov Veselin BUL 1 – 0 GM Svidler Peter RUS 3
7 GM Aronian Levon ARM ½ - ½ GM Kramnik Vladimir RUS 4

Round 11: All games drawn, Anand still in full point lead

All four games of the 11th round of the FIDE World Candidates Tournament ended in draws.

The first to split the point were former World Champions Vladimir Kramnik and Viswanathan Anand. Peter Svidler and Levon Aronian, Dmitry Andreikin and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, followed the suit around the first time control.

Sergey Karjakin was pressing for a victory against Veselin Topalov, but the Bulgarian was alert to parry all the threats.

Round 11 standings: 1. Anand 7; 2. Aronian 6; 3-5. Svidler, Mamedyarov and Karjakin 5,5; 6-7. Kramnik and Andreikin 5; 8. Topalov 4,5.

13425315255 7c8aed2512 z

Possibly the toughest challenge for Viswanathan Anand in the last four rounds was the game with black against Vladimir Kramnik.

It wasn’t a great surprise that Kramnik opened with the Catalan, which brought him so much success in the past.

The line with 7.Ne5 is considered innocuous, but Kramnik wanted to play something that he is familiar with. In an over-the-board inspiration he decided to go for the rare 11.Na3, which he analysed some years ago.

Anand continued in the regular manner, by quickly advancing the c-pawn to clear the files and achieve counterplay with heavy pieces.

A temporary pawn sacrifice helped black to clear the queenside and reach an easy draw.

13425314455 c79f0abc96 z

The game between Peter Svidler and Levon Aronian started as a Reti but soon the pawns were arranged in the shape of Slav Exchange variation.

Black solved the problem of the light-squared bishop and this helped him achieve good play on the queenside.

The structure was symmetrical but there were still plenty of resources for either player.

Svidler marked 22.b4 as a mistake after which black succeeded in trading the heavy pieces on the c-file. Both players agreed that 22.Rc2 was a better try, when black would probably start preparing a break with e5.

After the queens went off, draw was signed on move 33.

13425679904 927a59b2e3 z

Dmitry Andreikin and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov also explored the Catalan opening. White inadvertently followed in the footsteps of former World Championship Challenger Boris Gelfand, but already by move 20 he was down to less than half an hour on the clock.

Andreikin admitted that he was surprised in the opening and had to spend lots of time to find the best moves.

White made a break by advancing c4-c5, but black exchanged all the pawns on the queenside. On a positive note, white obtained a pair of bishops.

The resulting endgame 2B vs B+N and four pawns on the same flank should be equal, but still some precision was required from black.

Mamedyarov recollected that Kramnik and Gelfand held similar endgames, but he didn’t feel entirely at ease in today’s game. Nevertheless, he managed to trade more pawns and draw was finally agreed on move 46.

13423937715 b45901834f z

Veselin Topalov and Sergey Karjakin played the Double Fianchetto Hedgehog, following for a while their earlier game from 2012 World Rapid Championship.

Topalov was the first to deviate by advancing his pawn to g5. In the battle for the long a8-h1 diagonal both players maneuvered their queens to the corners of the board.

The queens and three pairs of minor pieces were soon exchanged. Black tried to create an outside passed pawn on the h-file, while white concentrated his efforts on breaking through on the queenside.

While white was throwing his pawns forward, black seized the opportunity to trade a rook for the bishop and doubled passed pawns on the a-file.

Despite being an exchange up, white remained passive because black always threatened to advance the passers.

Eventually white stopped both pawns with his king and rook and black couldn’t find a way to activate his own king to make a decisive impact on the final outcome. Draw in 57 moves.

Round 11              
SNo.   Name FED Res.   Name FED SNo.
1 GM Andreikin Dmitry RUS ½ - ½ GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar AZE 5
8 GM Topalov Veselin BUL - GM Karjakin Sergey RUS 2
3 GM Svidler Peter RUS ½ - ½ GM Aronian Levon ARM 7
4 GM Kramnik Vladimir RUS ½ - ½ GM Anand Viswanathan IND 6

Anand maintains one point lead after round 10

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.

13401724374 9265e49ac3 z

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.

13402378595 6d3cf01253 z

Dmitry Andreikin defended with the Taimanov Sicilian and Sergey Karjakin used Rustam Kasimdzhanov`s favorite 7.Qd3, although Karjakin admitted he didn’t analyzed this variation with his second.

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.

13401491223 f6735129bf z

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.

13401368955 e597e3586b z

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.

Round 10              
SNo.   Name FED Res.   Name FED SNo.
2 GM Karjakin Sergey RUS ½ - ½ GM Andreikin Dmitry RUS 1
4 GM Kramnik Vladimir RUS 0 – 1 GM Svidler Peter RUS 3
7 GM Aronian Levon ARM ½ – ½ GM Topalov Veselin BUL 8
6 GM Anand Viswanathan IND ½ – ½ GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar AZE 5

Anand surges ahead as Aronian falters in round 9

In the battle of two former World Champions Viswanathan Anand defeated Veselin Topalov to single out again on the top after his co-leader Levon Aronian lost to Shakhriyar Mamedyarov.

Sergey Karjakin scored a second consecutive victory by beating Vladimir Kramnik, while the other two Russians – Dmitry Andreikin and Peter Svidler, split the point.

After nine rounds of play Anand is leading the race with 6 points, a full point ahead of the second placed Aronian.

Kramnik, Karjakin and Mamedyarov are on 4,5 points each. Andreikin and Svidler share the sixth place on 4 points, while Topalov is last with 3,5 points.

Monday is the rest day, the tournament resumes with round 10 on Tuesday.

13354019613 149e869369 z

The match between Dmitry Andreikin and Peter Svidler was a Naidorf Sicilian with the Fischer’s variation 6.h3.

Svidler opted for the traditional e5-Be6 setup, while Andreikin expanded on the kingside with g4. Black made a counter in the center and soon the queens went off.

The position quickly simplified but there were still some resources for both sides.

However, after reaching the required 30 moves the players have agreed to a draw.

13350968895 5620c218bd z

Levon Aronian introduced another stunning idea when he temporarily sacrificed two pawns in the sharp Gheorghiu Nimzo Indian against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov.

Black successfully built a strong attack and white was forced to concede an exchange. But then black strayed from the right path and white was given a chance to coordinate the pieces.

A few more mistakes by Aronian and Mamedyarov was already launching a devastating counterattack.

Shortly before the time control white decided to trade down to a winning opposite-colored bishops ending with two extra pawns. Black immediately gave up.

13351353664 85154c2181 z

Former World Champions Viswanathan Anand and Veselin Topalov also had the h3 Naidorf Sicilian on trial.

Topalov went for a more flexible structure with e6, much similar to the Scheveningen Sicilian.

White allowed the exchange of his strong dark-squared bishop, but he got a quick long castle in return. Black’s reaction was not the best and he soon ended up in a slightly passive French-like structure with the backward pawn on e6.

Black tried to obtain some counterplay against white f4-pawn, but the exchange of both pairs of rooks only helped white to press on black’s weak points.

In the ensuing Q+B endgame white king was also much safer.

After some clever maneuvering white won the pawn and proceeded to convert the advantage.

13355315533 d4e6990445 z

Today it was Sergey Karjakin’s turn to use an unexpected move order in the opening to throw Vladimir Kramnik off the balance.

The position after 7.Qb3 strongly resembled some of the Kramnik’s own games with white from the 90′s. Exactly at this moment black erred by capturing the pawn on c4 instead of taking the knight on f3.

Karjakin grabbed the b7-pawn and after a sequence of natural moves obtained clear advantage.

In desperation, black sacrificed another pawn in the hope of setting a blockade on the light-squares. But after some patient build-up, white was able to push the opponent’s pieces back.

Karjakin exchanged everything to reach a winning double-rook endgame with two extra pawns. Kramnik resigned on move 64.

Round 9              
SNo.   Name FED Res.   Name FED SNo.
2 GM Karjakin Sergey RUS 1 - 0 GM Kramnik Vladimir RUS 4
1 GM Andreikin Dmitry RUS ½ – ½ GM Svidler Peter RUS 3
6 GM Anand Viswanathan IND 1 - 0 GM Topalov Veselin BUL 8
5 GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar AZE 1 - 0 GM Aronian Levon ARM 7

Aronian and Anand split the point in round 8

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.

13326604215 86dd9aec79 z

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.

13326603995 6400fc17eb z

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.

13326241534 4ed5791726 z

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.

13326991094 0d05f2db82 z

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.

Round 8              
SNo.   Name FED Res.   Name FED SNo.
4 GM Kramnik Vladimir RUS ½ - ½ GM Andreikin Dmitry RUS 1
3 GM Svidler Peter RUS 0 – 1 GM Karjakin Sergey RUS 2
8 GM Topalov Veselin BUL ½ – ½ GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar AZE 5
7 GM Aronian Levon ARM ½ - ½ GM Anand Viswanathan IND 6

Aronian catches Anand on shared first place

Levon Aronian defeated Sergey Karjakin in round 7 of FIDE World Candidates Tournament to join Viswanathan Anand on the top of the crosstable.

Anand had some advantage with black against Peter Svidler but he couldn't achieve more than a draw.

Vladimir Kramnik surged ahead by winning a wild game against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. Dmitry Andreikin escaped from the bottom by punishing Veselin Topalov's over-ambitious play.

After seven rounds Aronian and Anand are leading with 4,5 points each. Kramnik is half a point behind and Svidler remained on 50% score. Topalov, Andreikin and Mamedyarov are on 3 points each, while Karjakin is last with 2,5 points.

13305287063 6388a52051

Veselin Topalov was not amazed by Dmitry Andreikin's opening choice, since the Russian repeated the line he used to beat Kramnik last year in Dortmund.

Already on the 7th move white introduced a novelty, but his plan was kind of slow and black threatened to take the initiative after a quick castle and pawn sacrifice.

But Topalov chose a wrong path and instead of recapturing the c-pawn he went for the kingside expansion. The tactical problem is that 18...g4 wouldn't work because of the powerful influence of white heavy pieces on the open files.

White first secured the advanced c6-pawn and then evacuated the king to safety on a1. Black was running out of options as his pieces couldn't get to the good squares.

Andreikin besieged the weak d5-pawn and black position immediately fell apart.

13308787945 472dcff84b

Another Berlin Ruy Lopez in the game of former World Champion Viswanathan Anand proves that he has plenty of preparation left from the match in Chennai.

Anand employed a novel idea 11...exd4 with d5 and Nh5, which worked exceptionally well in combination with the strike against white center.

Peter Svidler spent 40 minutes to make 15.Bc2 and his position looked depressing, but then suddenly Anand pulled a break and allowed white to somewhat stabilize the game.

Anand started over again by giving the queen for rook, bishop and better pawn structure. But Svidler found the straightforward plan of eliminating all the pawns on the queenside, after which Anand agreed to a draw.

13305139855 df34bf3dd8

Levon Aronian also played the Berlin Ruy Lopez against Sergey Karjakin. After white was forced to capture on c6, the game started resembling the Delayed Exchange Variation.

White had difficulties in getting his pawn majority going, while black slowly probed opponent's structure on the other flank. Despite the apparent simplicity on the board, Karjakin was spending lots of time and his position slowly deteriorated.

Few moves before the time control white conceded two pieces for a rook and some pressure on the back rank. He did win the bishop back, but then black captured a handful of pawns while constantly threatening the white king.

Karjakin tried to seek the escape by exchanging the queens but black pawns were too fast and the game was concluded in Aronian's favor on move 53.

13305502804 276172d269

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov remained loyal to the Ragozin Queen's Gambit defence despite the earlier loss against Aronian. He attempted to surprise the opponent with unknown 14...b5, but Vladimir Kramnik navigated quickly through the opening, most likely thanks to the home analysis.

White emerged with a small but healthy advantage and Kramnik proceeded to perform his traditional positional squeeze.

At some point Kramnik rushed with the central break e3-e4 and Mamedyarov got the chance to unbalance the position by grabbing a piece and allowing two advanced pawns.

White pawns were looming near promotion but somehow he just couldn't find the way to queen them.

Nevertheless, the position was immensely complicated and black had to find a sequence of computer-like moves to reach a better rook endgame. Mamedyarov's hand slipped in the decisive moment when he allowed promotion with check instead of creating checkmating net around white king.

Kramnik easily converted the huge advantage.

Round 7              
SNo.   Name FED Res.   Name FED SNo.
2 GM Karjakin Sergey RUS 0 – 1 GM Aronian Levon ARM 7
3 GM Svidler Peter RUS ½ - ½ GM Anand Viswanathan IND 6
4 GM Kramnik Vladimir RUS 1 - 0 GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar AZE 5
1 GM Andreikin Dmitry RUS 1 - 0 GM Topalov Veselin BUL 8

Mamedyarov and Topalov victorious in round 6

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Veselin Topalov won their respective games against Peter Svidler and Vladimir Kramnik in round 6 of Candidates Tournament. The other two matches, Viswanathan Anand – Sergey Karjakin and Levon Aronian – Dmitry Andreikin, were drawn. Anand must feel happier as Aronian missed to win and catch him on the shared first place.

After six rounds of play Anand stays on the top with 4 points, while Aronian is close behind on 3,5. Four players are on 3 points each: Kramnik, Svidler, Mamedyarov and Topalov. Karjakin is on 2,5 points and Andreikin has 2 points.

Thursday 20th April is rest day.

13263441835 402b98c875 z

Another Berlin Ruy Lopez in Viswanathan Anand’s game, this time playing white against Sergey Karjakin. Anand confidently entered the famous endgame, blitzing out the first 20 moves.

Karjakin also analysed the line up to 21.Rh1, but his moving was slower as he tried to recollect the exact preparation. He planned to make 23…Nb4 but then he understood that 24.f4 gxf4 25.Bh4+ with next Bf6 would be very unpleasant.

Anand tried to prepare f4 but Karjakin placed his pieces on optimal squares and white soon realized that there is no way to make progress. Draw was signed on move 33.

13263579273 5c017e4b3c z

Huge tension was felt in the air ahead of the game between Veselin Topalov and Vladimir Kramnik, their first classical since 2008. Somehow they kept missing each other in the past six years, with exception of the quick games in Melodi Amber events. Even the other participants recognized the importance of the moment and kept glancing at the board on far left.

The game started as a Queen’s Gambit Declined where Topalov entered the Bf4 variation and then introduced a novel idea with 8.Be5 and 9.Bd3.

Kramnik responded by pushing his pawn twice to f4 before starting the logical process of undermining white’s queenside. However, he probably missed the strength of the tactical blow 19.Nxd5, which allowed white to trade down to the practically winning endgame.

Topalov duly converted the advantage.

13265969813 96cdf623d1 z

Peter Svidler started with the Dutch defence, an opening that he had planned to introduce during this event. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov was not confused, he didn’t take more than two minutes to answer with 2.g3.

Mamedyarov criticized his 8.b4, but he had already tried many different moves in this position and it was time for something new.

Svidler believed that black emerged with a good position from the opening, having achieved everything that he hoped for. But then, as he said at the press conference, “his brain stopped working for about 20 minutes”, when he made a couple of mistakes in succession.

Mamedyarov didn’t take long to elegantly conclude the game.

13268188715 409b1deca7 z

The game between Levon Aronian and Dmitry Andreikin started with Reti opening where the first fight revolved around the black pawn on c4. But then white unbalanced the play by sacrificing two pieces for a rook and a pawn.

Black tried to improve on the earlier games of Dutch Grandmaster Smeets, but white was able to trade a couple of pawns and emerge with an outside passer.

Cracking under pressure, black was forced to give the material back and transpose into an endgame where white had an extra pawn – exactly that passer on the a-file.

But then Aronian rushed to exchange a strong bishop for opponent’s knight, probably considering the rook endgame easily winning. However, it turned out that the outcome was unclear, thanks to the black pawn on e6. White was not able to anchor the rook on f4 as there was always e6-e5. Game drawn on move 48.

Round 6              
SNo.   Name FED Res.   Name FED SNo.
7 GM Aronian Levon ARM ½ – ½ GM Andreikin Dmitry RUS 1
6 GM Anand Viswanathan IND ½ - ½ GM Karjakin Sergey RUS 2
5 GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar AZE 1 - 0 GM Svidler Peter RUS 3
8 GM Topalov Veselin BUL 1 - 0 GM Kramnik Vladimir RUS 4

Round 5: Svidler defeats Topalov, Anand still on top

Peter Svidler bounced back after yesterday's loss by winning against Veselin Topalov in round 5 of FIDE World Candidates Tournament. At the same time Viswanathan Anand preserved the lead after splitting the point with Dmitry Andreikin.

Kramnik and Aronian played a wild match that eventually settled in a draw after six hours of play. The first game to finish today was a peaceful draw between Sergey Karjakin and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov.

After five rounds Anand remains on top with 3,5 points. Kramnik, Aronian and Svidler share the second place with 3 points each. A full point behind are Topalov, Mamedyarov and Karjakin. Andreikin remains last with 1,5 points.

13240471754 19fd34078a z

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov attempted to play the Naidorf Sicilian, which is not very common in his practice, but Sergey Karjakin circumvented with the Bb5 check and the Moscow variation.

White's 12.Nd5 allowed massive exchanges at black's convenience who was just on time to strike the pawn chain with 15...b5.

Black could even allow the luxury of giving up a pawn to activate his heavy pieces. Draw was signed on move 31.

At the press conference both players agreed that Mamedyarov's 21...a5 was very strong, practically securing a draw.

13240475024 390370b83c z

Despite the unpleasant experience with Berlin Ruy Lopez in the World Championship Match in Chennai, Viswanathan Anand himself adopted the opening with black in the game against Dmitry Andreikin.

Andreikin employed the system with early Bxc6 and Be3, championed by his compatriot Ian Nepomniachtchi. But Anand was already familiar with the plan, having earlier defended black against Topalov.

The main battle was on the queenside where white was attempting to break to the 7th rank. Anand, however, played quickly and confidently, while Andreikin was burning his clock.

Black constantly had a small pull, but white held the position together and the draw was signed on move 43.

13244798044 381bbc2f9b z

Veselin Topalov
revived a line in the Ruy Lopez Møller Defence that was previously considered dubious. His 10...exf3 appears to better than the committal 10...Bxf2+.

The surprised Peter Svidler spent lots of time to accurately navigate the resulting sharp position. After move 14 he actually thought that he is losing. But he treated it well and even emerged with slight advantage.

A couple of imprecise moves by black, namely 26...Ka6 and 28...Ne5 were enough to get him in trouble. The combined force of rook and two bishops harassed the stranded black king until white was able to trade down to the winning endgame with the passed h-pawn.

13244941303 ea4bfb65b5 z

The start of the game between Vladimir Kramnik and Levon Aronian was quiet as it can get, but it didn't take long before white started piling his pieces towards the black king.

Kramnik already has the experience of blasting the opponents off the board after a seemingly modest setup (for example against Van Wely). Aronian responded with counterplay in the center.

White forced the opening of the long diagonal, which looked immensely dangerous for black. Luckily for him, Aronian had a strong trump in the advanced e-pawn.

With the help of the temporary queen sacrifice black succeeded in simplifying the position down to an equal rook endgame.

Kramnik pressed on but to no avail as Aronian played precisely to hold a draw.

Round 5              
SNo.   Name FED Res.   Name FED SNo.
1 GM Andreikin Dmitry RUS ½ – ½ GM Anand Viswanathan IND 6
2 GM Karjakin Sergey RUS ½ – ½ GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar AZE 5
3 GM Svidler Peter RUS 1 - 0 GM Topalov Veselin BUL 8
4 GM Kramnik Vladimir RUS ½ - ½ GM Aronian Levon ARM 7

Round 4

Anand draws Kramnik, maintains lead after round 4

Viswanathan Anand didn't get advantage from the opening against Vladimir Kramnik and the game was quickly drawn, but the Indian retained the lead after round 4 of FIDE World Candidates Tournament.

r4 1

In the other matches Levon Aronian outplayed Peter Svidler, while Shakhriyar Mamedyarov won an exciting game against Dmitry Andreikin. Veselin Topalov forced perpetual check to hold Sergey Karjakin to a draw.

Anand is first with 3/4 points, while Kramnik and Aronian are close behind on 2,5 points each. Topalov and Svidler share the 4th place with 2 points each. Mamedyarov and Karjakin are on 1,5 points, while Andreikin sunk to the last place with 1 point.

The game between two old rivals, former World Champions Viswanathan Anand and Vladimir Kramnik, was eventful, sharp and quick.

Kramnik defended with the Vienna Queen's Gambit, which came as a surprise for Anand. Anand said he didn't expect this line, particularly since he himself payed it against Kramnik (in 2003).

After black has infiltrated behind the opponent's ranks with the excellent 18...Qh2, the play became more forced. Black's inspired defence finally brought him reward when he caught the white king in perpetual check.

At the press conference Anand said that he was prepared up until 17.Qd2. He added that 18.Rd3 was forced and suggested that maybe 21.Nb3 was a better try.

Kramnik didn't want to discuss his preparation, he just said that after 4.Nc3 he plays many different moves, 4...Be7, 4...Bb4, 4...c5, and now obviously 4...dxc4. Previously he entered Vienna with black in a game against Grischuk three years ago.

The players didn't want to speculate on which score would be sufficient for the first place (+4 or +5). Kramnik said that the only sufficient score is to actually be just one step ahead of the rest of the field.

r4 2

Sergey Karjakin started the round with 1.c4, which was only fourth such occasion from almost 1000 games with white. Veselin Topalov thought for a couple of minutes before responding with his favourite Reversed Dragon setup.

Later in the game, black played the relatively rare 10...Re8 and then traded the knights on d5. White briefly contemplated the position and decided to double the rooks on the c-file.

In a matter of couple of moves all minor pieces were exchanged. White decided to launch the usual minority attack on the queenside, to which black responded by giving two rooks for a queen and a pawn to unbalance the position.

Karjakin tried to redeploy his rooks to the open e-file, but Topalov was able to take advantage of the weakened light squares and deliver perpetual check.

At the press conference Karjakin noted that it is curious that he also plays Reversed Dragon with black pieces. He was unhappy about 14.Rc3, after which he didn't have advantage. Topalov added that no matter what white does instead of Rc3, he would still continue with the same plan as in the game.

After 21.e3 Qf6 Karjakin could not find anything convincing. Topalov said that 22...Qg6 was a strong threat. He suggested maybe to delay a4 for one move and play 26.Rb3 first, but it shouldn't change the overall evaluation of the game.

r4 3

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov reversed the negative trend by defeating Dmitry Andreikin to leap ahead of the Russian player in the standings.

For third time in four rounds Mamedyarov faced with the Slav Defence. His start was modest, having moved e3 and a3, but soon-after he opened the center with e3-e4. Black naturally struck back with c6-c5.

White got some pressure after damaging black's queenside structure and pushing b4. From that point on black experienced problems with the weakened light squares and advanced passer on c6.

White's advantage was slowly increasing until he had missed the very strong 34.Qd6 and instead gave a check, because as Mamedyarov admitted, "when you are in time trouble you try to find some cheap tricks".

After 35...f5 white realized that the win might be slipping away from his hands. But Andreikin quickly returned the favour with the weak 37...Kf7 (instead of the correct 37...Kh7 38. Qd6 Qa6).

Mamedyarov soon wrapped up the game.

r4 4

Levon Aronian and Peter Svidler did their homework and quickly banged the first 20 moves in one of the lines of the Gruenfeld Indian defence. Svidler prepared a novelty 21...Qa3 instead of the previously played 21...Qa6, which according to him loses by force.

Svidler spent some time to consider 27...Nxd4 and thought that this forced line would lead to a draw. He preferred to fight on and deviated from this move, which was a decision that he regretted later in the game.

After another inferior move, namely 32...Nf7, white started to gradually squeeze the black's position.

The endgame was quite unpleasant and black could only prolong the suffering until move 57.

SNo.   Name FED Res.   Name FED SNo.
5 GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar AZE 1 – 0 GM Andreikin Dmitry RUS 1
2 GM Karjakin Sergey RUS ½ – ½ GM Topalov Veselin BUL 8
7 GM Aronian Levon ARM 1 - 0 GM Svidler Peter RUS 3
6 GM Anand Viswanathan IND ½ – ½ GM Kramnik Vladimir RUS 4


Round 3

Viswanathan Anand is leading the standings with 2,5 points.

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 didn’t 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.

r3 1-604x402

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.

r3 2-604x402

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.

r 3 31-604x402

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 looked like 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.

r3 4-604x402

Round 2

Round 2

SNo.     Name FED Res.     Name FED SNo.
4 GM   Kramnik Vladimir RUS 1 – 0 GM   Karjakin Sergey RUS 2
3 GM   Svidler Peter RUS 1 – 0 GM   Andreikin Dmitry RUS 1
8 GM   Topalov Veselin BUL ½ – ½ GM   Anand Viswanathan IND 6
7 GM   Aronian Levon ARM 1 – 0 GM   Mamedyarov Shakhriyar AZE 5

Standings after Round 2

In the battle between two former World Champions, Veselin Topalov started his game with a flexible Reti setup, which is a kind of Bulgarian specialty as their Grandmasters achieve excellent results with white pieces.

It wasn’t a great surprise that Viswanathan Anand responded by lining his favourite Slav structure.

White initiated an early skirmish in the center, but black didn’t hesitate to sacrifice a pawn in order to complete the development.

Topalov’s extra pawn was isolated and came under fire from the black rooks. Black’s compensation appeared to be sufficient.

The queenside got cleared of pawns and white kept a 4P vs 3P advantage on the other side of the board. Anand immediately forced the exchange of the bishops and played the textbook 28…h5 to secure a draw.

Topalov played by the Sofia rules and the point was officially split on move 54.

r2 1-604x402

Levon Aronian quickly bounced after the poor start to defeat Shakhriyar Mamedyarov in round two of Candidates Tournament.

Mamedyarov defended with the Ragozin Queen’s Gambit and Aronian avoided the sharpest lines by clarifying the central pawn structure early on.

The position resembled the Queen’s Gambit Exchange Variation and appeared innocuous enough, but one careless knight move blocked the retreat route for black queen.

Aronian pounced on the opportunity to win the opponent’s queen for a rook and minor piece.

However, converting the advantage was not that easy, as Aronian admitted in the press conference. If black consolidates the pieces he could even hold the game.

Aronian advanced his central pawn mass and then proceeded to maneuver in order to reach the time control.

As soon as the time was added to the clocks, Mamedyarov allowed the decisive d5-break and immediately resigned.

r2 2-604x402

Dmitry Andreikin treated us with an old Sicilian defence, the Labourdonnais-Loewenthal variation. This opening was revived in the recent years as several top players used it with success and a number of opening manuals were published.

Black apparently achieved the strategical aims, he traded the dark-squared bishops and struck the white pawns with 16…b5. But Svidler got some action going with the beautiful sequence that included 17.Qg3 and 20.f4.

It didn’t take long before black cracked under pressure and erred with 22…Bd3. A retort 24.Nf5 revealed the poor positioning of black pieces that allowed all kinds of geometrical motives.

Black threw his pawns forward in the one last desperate attempt. He could only get a rook endgame being two pawns down. After the precise 31.Rd5 Andreikin gave up.

Svidler said that the opponent’s opening choice was a complete surprise. It’s been a long time since he looked at the variations. He conceded that after 11…Qg5 white doesn’t have a slightest advantage. Andreikin agreed and added that he was very happy with his position.

Andreikin disliked 13.b4, while Svidler believes that 16…b5 was rash and suggested 16…Rfd8 instead.

r2 3-604x402

Vladimir Kramnik and Sergey Karjakin engaged in a popular sharp line of Queen’s Gambit Accepted.

Black won a pawn but his advanced soldier on e4 was weak and a constant target of white’s attack. A rook-lift to c5 ousted the black queen and Kramnik gave the c4-pawn to win the e6-pawn clearing the way for his strong passer.

With Karjakin being low on time, Kramnik sacrificed an exchange to install the knight on the strong outpost.

This was an excellent practical decision as Karjakin couldn’t be precise in parrying all the threats with only minutes on clock. Black dropped the guard and 34.Rc5-35.Nc6 won the material back with interest. Faced with further loses Karjakin resigned.

Kramnik said that he prepared 9.a3 for the last year’s Candidates Tournament, but he didn’t have a chance to use it before. He sensed that Karjakin might play the QGA and he reviewed the lines this morning.

Karjakin thought about retreating the knight 9…N4d5 because he understood that Kramnik deeply analysed the position, but he decided to be principled and took the bishop on e4.

r2 4-604x402

The FIDE World Candidates Tournament is taking place March 11th-April 1st, 2014 at the Ugra Chess Academy in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia.

The event is sponsored by the Khanty–Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug and Sibur, and organized by FIDE, Russian Chess Federation and Ugra Chess Federation.

Round 1

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

In the short ceremony Chief Arbiter Takis Nikolopoulos and President of Ugra Chess Federation Vassily Filipenko greeted the players and wished them luck. Filipenko made the honorary move in the game Anand-Aronian.

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

They 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.


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”.


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 ambition and take a draw with perpetual check.


Before 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.


Kirsan-Ilyumzhinov-1The opening ceremony of one of the most important chess tournaments of the year – the candidates tournament – took place on March 12 in Khanty-Mansiysk.

Eight top grandmasters of the world are going to compete for three weeks for 600,000 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 former World Champion Vishy Anand (India), who lost his title only a year ago, 2013 World Cup winner Vladimir Kramnik, 2013 World Cup runner-up Dmitry Andreikin (both Russia), 2012-13 FIDE Grand Prix winners Veselin Topalov (Bulgaria) and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Azerbaijan), two players qualified by rating Levon Aronian (Armenia) and Sergey Karjakin (Russia), and the player nominated by the organizers – Peter Svidler (Russia).

Official website / Live games / Photos opening 

The opening ceremony took place at the concert hall Ugra-Classic and was attended by Natalia Komarova, Ukra Governor and Vice-President of Russian Chess Federation, and Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, FIDE President.

“We are just as nervous as the candidates, – said Natalia Vladimirovna. – A chess board has 64 squares. The candidates tournaments are also played for 64 years. Each square of the board saw thousands of combinations, but we nevertheless expect more brilliance and ingenious games from our players.

Chess teaches honesty, fairness and respect to the opponent. I’d very much like to see these rules universally accepted”, – concluded the Governor.

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov noted that Khanty-Mansiysk continues to bring pleasant surprises: “This tournament and its opening ceremony is a great gift to the players. Since 2005 Ugra is recognized as Chess Mecca. Three great champions gathered here today, and together with five other outstanding players they will have to determine a new title contender”.


He also drew attention to the fact that chess in Ugra is not only a professional sport, but a mass sport, and sport in Ugra is highly developed. Ugra representatives recently won four Olympic medals in Sochi, including two gold medals.


The opening ceremony continued with a concert show peformed by Ugra-Classic creative team. The unique 8 ton pipe organ with mammoth bone keys was the center of attention – and chess, of course!


“Life is like chess, it’s just a clever arrangement of pieces on the black and white board”. This quote by writer Oleg Roy was a theme of the show. Enchanted by mysterious sound of organ, the spectators watched a historical show with elements of dance and theater, filled with quotes about the most intelligent game in the world.

General inquiries:

FIDE Sponsor
arb banner
arb banner
arb banner
arb banner
arb banner
arb banner
arb banner
arb banner
©  World Chess Federation   |  FIDE News RSS Feed