Candidates R09: Anand beats Aronian

3/22/2016 – Hikaru Nakamura vs Sergey Karjakin was a Queen’s Indian Defense that ended in a draw after 44 moves. Veselin Topalov and Peter Svidler fought a dramatic battle but drew in 47, Anish Giri and Fabiano Caruana played the longest game – 96 moves. In the only decisive game Anand beat Aronian and joins Karjakin in the lead. There are lots of pictures, extensive analysis and postgame interviews in our round nine report.

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The 2016 FIDE World Chess Candidates Tournament is a 14-round event, which determines the next Challenger to Magnus Carlsen's title, is taking place in Moscow from March 10–30. Eight players, including six of the World’s top-ten rated grandmasters. The time control is 100 minutes for the first 40 moves, 50 minutes for the next 20 moves and then 15 minutes for the rest of the game, plus an additional 30 seconds per move starting from move one. The guaranteed prize fund is US $420,000.

Round 9, Monday 21 March 2016
Topalov Veselin
½-½
Svidler Peter
Anand Viswanathan
1-0
Aronian Levon
Giri Anish
½-½
Caruana Fabiano
Nakamura Hikaru
½-½
Karjakin Sergey
Rest day, Tuesday 22 March 2016

Note that ChessBase is doing daily one-hour roundup shows after each round


Candidates round nine – Vishy joins Karjakin at the top

Report from Moscow by Sagar Shah and Amruta Mokal

This is shaping out to be a keenly contested Candidates Tournament. After nine rounds no one can be sure on who will win the event. To be fair, it seems as if four players – Karjakin and Anand on 5.5/9, and Caruana and Aronian on 5.0/9, have excellent chances of winning the tournament. Compare this to the previous Candidates in 2014 and you will see the difference.

Khanty Mansiysk 2014 – standings after nine rounds:



In 2014 after nine rounds Anand was literally running away with the tournament, and
the fact that he had already played Aronian twice made him a favourite by a huge margin.

Moscow 2016 – standings after nine rounds:

It doesn’t come as a surprise that chess journalists have flocked to Moscow
from all over the world to cover this event

And there is no age bar for being a good reporter as this young boy shows. He can be seen
donning many hats which include taking pictures, posing with the stars and playing blitz!

Round nine on the 21st of March was a day filled with hard-fighting chess. All the four games for the first time in this event went above the initial time control of 40 moves, although once again we were treated to only one decisive result. And that game could well have a huge role to play in the outcome of the tournament. Vishy Anand, who was half point behind his opponent Levon Aronian, beat him with the white pieces. Although this was the game of the day, the other three battles were filled with interest and definitely had moments from which we can learn something.

Viswanathan Anand – Levon Aronian 1-0

In recent times Levon Aronian seems to bring out the best in Anand. The Indian won a brilliant game at the Tata Steel 2013, followed by a fine victory in the Candidates 2014 and a theoretically important win in the Zurich Chess Challenge in 2015. Continuing the trend of one fine victory every year, Vishy played an excellent endgame yesterday, in the smooth style of Capablanca or Smyslov, to score the full point. Here’s a piece of statistic: Prior to the Candidates Vishy had the position of 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 from the white side 369 times in his games. Out of these he had played 3.Bb5 on 356 occasions – 3.Bc4 was played by him only seven times! There was absolutely no way for Aronian to guess that Vishy would go for Giuoco Piano.

“The Italian has come back into fashion recently, especially with the plan of Na3-c2-e3,
so I thought I would give it a try” is how Vishy explained his choice of playing 3.Bc4

Surprise me – what are you going to play today?

White’s advantage was nothing special. He had a small pull thanks to the e4 vs d6 structure. But Aronian made a few careless moves and soon slid into a difficult ending. Objectively the endgame should be drawn, but it was not at all easy for the Armenian.

Strong players like Vishy know when to change the character of the position. Anand knows that if he goes for a kingside pawn storm nothing much will come out of it. On the other hand in this position with the king coming to f5 and the opponent in severe time pressure (two moves to reach the time control) things can go completely wrong. Hence, this was a smart decision. Levon traded the pawn on e4 for the pawn on g7, but the king activity turned out to be the decisive factor that ended the game in White’s favour.

[Event "Candidates 2016"] [Site "?"] [Date "2016.03.21"] [Round "9"] [White "Anand, Viswanathan"] [Black "Aronian, Levon"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C54"] [WhiteElo "2762"] [BlackElo "2784"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [PlyCount "131"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 $5 {Enough of the Anti-Berlins. I think Anand must have given his seconds a full day to find something in the Berlin for White, and if they could not he would decide to go for the Giuoco Piano. And this looks like an excellent decision, especially because Anand needs to win this one.} Bc5 4. O-O d6 5. d3 Nf6 6. c3 a6 7. a4 Ba7 8. Na3 {You can bank on Anand to have a new idea up his sleeve in whatever opening he played.} Ne7 9. Nc2 Ng6 10. Be3 O-O 11. Bxa7 Rxa7 12. Ne3 Ng4 $6 {The main reason why this move is not so great is because it takes away the pressure from the e4 pawn and helps White to go d4.} 13. Qd2 a5 (13... Nxe3 14. Qxe3 Ra8 15. a5 {might be what Levon was afraid of and is the reason why he played a6-a5.}) 14. d4 $1 Ra8 15. dxe5 N4xe5 (15... dxe5 16. Qxd8 Rxd8 17. Rad1 $1 $16) 16. Nxe5 Nxe5 (16... dxe5 17. Qxd8 Rxd8 18. Rfd1 $14) 17. Bb3 {[%csl Rd6,Ge4] The e4 pawn against the one on d6 gives White a small advantage.} Nd7 18. Bc2 Re8 19. f3 {A restrained move for the time being. White would like to co-ordinate his pieces better and later he can decide whether he would like to expand on the kingside with f4 or on the queenside with b4.} b6 20. Rfd1 Nc5 21. b4 Nd7 22. Bb3 Nf6 23. Qd4 Qe7 $6 {This was pointed out by Anand and Aronian as a careless move. Now Nd5 gives White a nice edge.} (23... Be6 {could be an improvement, although this too looks better for White.}) 24. Nd5 {A very practical and pragmatic move. White leads the position into one-sided play.} Nxd5 25. Bxd5 {Only White can be better here. He has the better minor piece and also more space.} Ra7 26. b5 $1 {Anand is doing all the right things here. But still his advantage is at best pleasant, not decisive. He needs Aronian to make errors in order to win. With accurate play this looks like a draw.} Bb7 (26... Be6 {was also possible.} ) 27. c4 Qe5 (27... Bxd5 {This was Aronian's original intention.} 28. cxd5 Raa8 29. Rac1 Rad8 30. Rc6 Rd7 31. Rdc1 Qd8 32. R1c4 Ree7 33. Qc3 {and here Black doesn't mange to hold because Rxb6 is a threat and after} Qb8 34. e5 $1 { is really strong.} Rxe5 (34... dxe5 35. d6 $1 $18) 35. Rxc7 $16) 28. Rac1 (28. Qxe5 Rxe5 29. Kf2 $14 {is similar to the game.}) 28... Qxd4+ 29. Rxd4 Kf8 30. Kf2 Ke7 31. f4 {Anand opens the third rank for his rook to go to h3 or g3 via c3.} f6 32. Rc3 Kd7 33. Rh3 h6 34. Rg3 Re7 35. Rg6 (35. f5 Bxd5 36. cxd5 { also looks like a plan. Of course e4 is a weakness, but White can take care of it with Kf3, and he can slowly develop the final kingside breakthrough with h4-g4-g5. However, the problem in this scenario is that the area of battle is just too small and Black can be ready for this. Hence, Anand doesn't go for the committal pawn move with f5.}) 35... Bxd5 36. cxd5 Ra8 37. Kf3 {This is not a pleasant position to be in as Black, that is for sure.} Rae8 38. Kg4 $1 { Maybe an exclamation here is generous. But the point that I am trying to make here is that good players know when to change the character of the position. Vishy knows that if he goes for a kingside pawn storm nothing much will come out of it. On the other hand in this position with the king coming to f5 and the opponent in severe time pressure (two moves to reach the time control) things can go completely wrong. This was a very smart move by Anand.} Rxe4 { Anand was surprised that Aronian took this pawn without much thought.} (38... Kd8 39. Kf5 {only improves White's chances. One cannot be sure whether it is winning or not, but it definitely is no fun for Black.}) 39. Rxg7+ Kc8 $6 ( 39... Kd8 {was more accurate as then the c7 pawn doesn't fall with check.} 40. Rd2 Rxa4 41. Rc2 Re5 $1 42. Rcxc7 Rg5+ $1 {I wonder if Levon would have found this nice defensive idea. It surely doesn't look easy to find over the board.} 43. Kf3 Rxg7 44. Rxg7 Rd4 $11) 40. Rd2 $1 {Keeping the rooks makes it difficult for Black to play freely as there is always counterplay associated with the c7 pawn.} Kb8 $6 {"Stupid 40th move" was Levon's statement after the game. "I should have played Kb7." But is there such a huge difference between Kb8 and Kb7?} (40... Rxa4 41. Rc2 $36) (40... Kb7 41. Rc2 Rc8 42. Ra2 Rd4 43. Kf5 Rxd5+ 44. Kxf6 {And we reach a position that is similar to the game. I don't understand the difference between Kb7 and Kb8.}) 41. Rc2 Rc8 42. Ra2 $1 { After making the black rook passive for a while White returns to defend the a4 pawn.} Rd4 43. Kf5 {The main advantage for White in this position is his king activity. Look at the guy on b8 and look at the king on f5. White is just better.} Rxd5+ 44. Kxf6 Rf8+ 45. Rf7 $1 {A very nice deicision, transposing the game into a winning single rook endgame.} Rxf7+ 46. Kxf7 Rf5+ 47. Kg6 Rxf4 48. g3 $1 {The final accurate move to get double passed pawns on the kingside.} Rc4 49. Kxh6 d5 50. Kh5 {Not the best move in the position, and Vishy said that he was sort of embarassed because he didn't go Kg5. It's true that Kg5 wins easier, but this is also winning.} (50. Kg5 {was of course the easier way to win the game.} d4 51. h4 d3 52. Rd2 Rxa4 53. h5 Rb4 54. h6 Rxb5+ 55. Kg6 $18 {and White just wins.}) 50... d4 51. g4 $6 (51. h4 d3 52. Rd2 Rd4 53. Kg5 { and even with the lost tempo, White wins.}) 51... d3 52. h4 Rd4 (52... Rc2 53. Ra1 d2 54. Rd1 $18) 53. Rd2 Kc8 {White's task has become much harder because the black king is coming to stop the white pawns where as the d3 pawn makes the rook passive.} 54. g5 $1 Kd7 55. Kg6 $1 {A brave decision by Anand to give up the h4 pawn, but he sees that he can win the game.} Rxh4 (55... Ke8 { was another move and now White's road to victory is not so wide.} 56. h5 Kf8 ( 56... Rd6+ 57. Kg7) 57. h6 Rd6+ 58. Kf5 $1 {The only winning move.} (58. Kh7 Rd7+ 59. Kh8 $2 (59. Kg6 {would still win.}) 59... Kf7 $1 $11) 58... Rd5+ 59. Ke6 $1 Rxg5 60. Rxd3 Rg6+ 61. Kd7 Rxh6 62. Kxc7 $18) 56. Rxd3+ Ke8 57. Ra3 Rc4 (57... Kf8 {might have been a little bit stauncher.} 58. Rf3+ Ke7 59. Rc3 $1 { This is the crucial move, not so easy to make.} Rxa4 60. Rxc7+ Kd6 61. Rc6+ $18 ) 58. Kg7 {Now it's just winning.} Kd7 59. g6 c6 60. Kf6 cxb5 61. g7 Rg4 62. axb5 Rg1 63. Rd3+ Ke8 64. Re3+ Kd7 65. Re5 $1 Rxg7 66. Rd5+ {Kg7 is also winning, but this is just better technique!} 1-0

It was a job well done for Vishy who, along with Sergey Karjakin, now leads the tournament on 5.5/9. Interestingly the five-time World Champion has the greatest number of wins in this event – three, one more than Karjakin and Aronian.

Anish Giri – Fabiano Caruana 0.5 – 0.5

There is a reason why Fabiano Caruana is interested in other games, while Anish is concentrated as ever – the American came completely prepared for the game, unleashing an interesting idea in the 3.f3 Grunfeld, with 11…Na6 instead of the more common 11…Nbd7.

11…Na6 is a new idea at the top level, with only two games having been played before.
But this was not where Fabiano’s preparation ended – it went all the way until the 18th move.

The idea of Bf5 giving up the g6 and h7 pawns looks dangerous for sure
(for both sides!), but Anish had everything under control

That’s the intensity required to refute the ideas of a well prepared opponent

It seems that Caruana messed up his preparation. After 23 moves he was completely lost, having no compensation for the three missing pawns.

After this it was a case of fighting as hard as you can and posing maximum problems to your opponent. Anish missed a straightforward win with 24.Ke1. After that he was always better, but there was no clear win in sight. The two bishops combined with the exposed white king made it difficult to make progress. It was clear that Giri tried his best, pressing on for 96 moves and more than seven hours, but in the end it was insufficient for victory.

[Event "Candidates 2016"] [Site "?"] [Date "2016.03.21"] [Round "9"] [White "Giri, Anish"] [Black "Caruana, Fabiano"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "D70"] [WhiteElo "2793"] [BlackElo "2794"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [PlyCount "191"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. f3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. e4 Nb6 6. Nc3 Bg7 7. Be3 O-O 8. Qd2 e5 9. d5 c6 10. h4 cxd5 11. exd5 Na6 $5 {[%cal Gb8a6] This is a pretty uncommon move and the strongest player to have tried it is rated around 2400.} (11... N8d7 {is much more common.}) 12. h5 Nb4 13. hxg6 Bf5 $5 {[%cal Gc8f5] What an interesting idea by Caruana: giving up two pawns and using his lead in development to create dangerous threats. Although it looks totally scary for White, Anish kept his cool and was able to extinguish Black's initiative.} ( 13... hxg6 14. Rd1 Bf5 15. Bh6 $1 $40) 14. gxh7+ Kh8 15. Rd1 Nc2+ 16. Kf2 Nxe3 17. Qxe3 Bd7 {Caruana played this with the idea of f5, but turns out that it wasn't particularly good.} (17... Rc8 {was much better.}) 18. Nh3 f5 19. f4 $1 {[%cal Gf3f4] A strong positional move by Anish.} Rc8 20. g3 (20. fxe5 f4 $132 21. Nxf4 Qg5 22. g3 Bxe5) 20... Nc4 $2 {The biggest mistake of the game. After this Anish should have won.} (20... e4 {was better.}) 21. Bxc4 Rxc4 22. fxe5 $18 {[%cal Gh3f4] White is just two pawns up without any compensation.} f4 { Fabiano realises that he is completely lost and tries to sacrifice more material to complicate the issue.} 23. Nxf4 Qg5 24. Rd4 {The most normal move from the human point of view.} (24. e6 Rcxf4+ 25. gxf4 Rxf4+ 26. Ke2 Bb5+ 27. Nxb5 Qg2+ 28. Kd3 Qg6+ 29. Kd2 Qg2+ 30. Qe2 Rf2) (24. Ke1 $1 {This was the move that would have given Anish victory. However, for a human it is not so easy to find.} Bxe5 25. Ng6+ (25. Qxe5+ Qxe5+) 25... Qxg6 26. Qxe5+ Qg7 27. Qxg7+ Kxg7) 24... Rxd4 25. Qxd4 Bxe5 26. Qb4 $1 {Of course this was the point of Rd4. The rook on f8 is hanging and White keeps his advantage.} Rf7 (26... Re8 27. Kg2) 27. Nce2 Bg4 28. Qe4 Qf6 (28... Bxe2 29. Kxe2 Bxf4 30. Qe8+ $18) 29. Rh4 Bf5 30. Qe3 b6 {Although White has three extra pawns it is extremely difficult for him to convert because the two bishops control many squares and it is not so easy to advance the pawns.} (30... Bxb2 31. Qxa7) 31. b3 Re7 32. Qd2 Rc7 33. d6 {Although the computer gives many different ways for White to play for the advantage, Anish finds this the most human, clearing the d5 square for his pieces.} Bxd6 (33... Qxd6 34. Qxd6 Bxd6 {should also be defensible.}) 34. Qd5 Rf7 35. Kg2 Bc5 36. Rh5 (36. b4 $5 Bxb4 37. Nd4 $18) 36... Bg4 37. Rh6 (37. Rg5 Bxe2 38. Qa8+ Rf8 39. Rg8+ Kxh7 40. Rxf8 Bxf8 41. Nxe2 {is similar to what was reached in the game, but with the different bishop.}) 37... Qxh6 38. Qxf7 Qc6+ 39. Nd5 Be6 40. Qf6+ Kxh7 41. Qh4+ Kg7 42. Qg5+ Kf8 (42... Kf7 43. Nef4 Bxd5+ 44. Qxd5+ (44. Nxd5 Ke6 $11) 44... Qxd5+ 45. Nxd5 Ke6 46. Nf4+ Kf5 47. Kf3 {This should most probably end in a draw although it is not 100% clear as Black cannot easy exchange the queenside pawns.}) 43. Qf6+ {From here on the players make a lot of moves and a lot of checks. Suffice it to say that White is still better, but with the two bishops around the black king it is extremely difficult to break through.} Kg8 44. Qg6+ Kf8 45. Qh6+ Kg8 46. Qg5+ Kf8 47. Nef4 Bf7 48. Qe5 Kg8 49. Kh3 Qd6 50. Nf6+ Kf8 51. Qf5 Ke7 52. N6d5+ Kf8 53. Kg4 Bd4 54. Nc7 Be5 55. Ncd5 a5 56. Qc8+ Kg7 57. Ne3 Kh7 58. Qb7 Kg8 59. Qa8+ Qb8 60. Qe4 Qd6 61. Nf5 Qd1+ 62. Ne2 Bg7 63. Nxg7 Kxg7 64. Qe5+ Kg6 65. Kf3 Qd3+ 66. Kf2 Qc2 67. Qd6+ Kg7 68. Qd4+ Kg8 69. Qg4+ Kf8 70. Qa4 Be8 71. Qa3+ Kg8 72. Qe7 Bf7 73. Qd8+ Kg7 74. Qd4+ Kg8 75. Qa4 Qd2 76. Qg4+ Kf8 77. Qc8+ Ke7 78. Qc7+ Kf8 79. a3 Bxb3 80. Qb8+ Kf7 81. Qb7+ Kg8 82. Qxb6 Qa2 83. Qd8+ Kf7 84. Qd7+ Kg8 85. Qe8+ Kg7 86. Qe7+ Bf7 87. g4 Qd2 88. Qc5 Be6 89. Qe5+ Kf7 90. g5 Qa2 91. Qf6+ Ke8 92. Qh8+ Ke7 93. Qh7+ Kf8 94. Qh8+ Ke7 95. Qg7+ Ke8 96. Qh8+ {Drawn due to three fold repetition.} 1/2-1/2

Fabiano! Each and every game that he plays in this event is filled with excitement.

Sopiko: it can get lonely when your husband plays more than seven hours and then …

…has to give interviews and …

… sign autographs!

Hikaru Nakamura – Sergey Karjakin 0.5-0.5

Hikaru Nakamura is not fighting for the top spots at the tournament any more,
but he can definitely have an impact by beating the leaders like Karjakin

We will definitely have to name this line in the Queen’s Indian as the Karjakin Variation. Four games in this tournament have reached exactly the same position for the Russian. While Anish’s 11.Ne5 and Fabiano’s 11.a3 were interesting, Nakamura went for Topalov’s 11.Rb1. He had come well prepared to the game and was blitzing out his moves. He sacrificed an exchange for some compensation. Karjakin saw the dangers and immediately returned the material. The resulting position was quite equal, but the players fought on until there was nothing left to play for. A good fighting game of chess.

[Event "Candidates 2016"] [Site "?"] [Date "2016.03.21"] [Round "9"] [White "Nakamura, Hikaru"] [Black "Karjakin, Sergey"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "E15"] [WhiteElo "2790"] [BlackElo "2760"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [PlyCount "88"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 b6 4. g3 Ba6 5. b3 Bb4+ 6. Bd2 Be7 7. Nc3 d5 8. cxd5 exd5 9. Bg2 O-O 10. O-O Re8 {What is wrong with Sergey, or should we ask: how exactly does he believe so much in his system! He has played this for the fourth time in the tournament. Nakamura tries to follow the path taken by Veselin Topalov.} 11. Rb1 {[%cal Ga1b1]} Nbd7 {Karjakin improves on his game against Topalov, where he went c5.} 12. b4 Bc4 13. Bf4 {This is the logical move with the threat of Nd2.} Ne4 {Stopping Nd2.} 14. Nxe4 dxe4 15. Nd2 Bxa2 16. Bxe4 Bxb1 17. Qxb1 Nf6 $1 {Giving back the exchange. Saving the rook and giving up the h7 pawn is just too dangerous.} 18. Bxa8 Qxa8 {The position is relatively even at this point. The question is what exactly was Nakamura's home preparation all about if the best he could manage was this position.} 19. e4 Rd8 $5 {This natural move was not studied by Nakamura in his home preparation.} 20. Be3 $5 (20. d5 {is a bad move because of} c6 $1 21. d6 Bxd6 22. e5 Bxe5 $1 23. Bxe5 Rxd2 $17) (20. Be5 Ng4 $15) 20... Ng4 21. h3 $5 (21. Rc1 {is another option at this point.} Nxe3 {Ok, Black is not really forced to take on e3, but definitely the move Rc1 looks useful. Nakamura wanted to open the f-file immediately for his rook.} 22. fxe3 $14) 21... Nxe3 22. fxe3 a5 $1 { I like this move – it immediately clarifies the situation on the queenside.} 23. bxa5 (23. Qb3 Rf8) 23... Qxa5 24. Qc2 Qg5 25. Rf3 (25. Qxc7 Qxe3+ 26. Rf2 Bf6 $17) 25... c5 {Black is already very comfortably placed.} 26. Qb3 cxd4 27. Qxf7+ Kh8 28. h4 (28. exd4 Qxd2 29. Qxe7 Qxd4+ 30. Kg2 $11) 28... Qe5 (28... Qc5 29. Nb3 Qe5 30. Nxd4 Qxe4 31. Ne6 Rg8 32. h5 $36) 29. Nc4 Qxe4 30. Rf4 Qb1+ 31. Kh2 (31. Kg2 Qa2+ 32. Kh3 Bb4 $11) 31... Rg8 32. exd4 b5 33. Ne5 Bd6 34. Qd5 Qc2+ 35. Kg1 Bxe5 36. dxe5 Qe2 37. Rf2 Qe3 38. Kg2 b4 39. e6 (39. Qb5 $5 g5 $1 {Not at all an easy move to make, but it does equalize the game.} 40. h5 Qe4+ 41. Kh2 Qg4 $11) 39... h6 40. Qd7 Qe4+ 41. Kh2 Kh7 42. e7 Ra8 $1 {An important idea creating mating nets on the back rank and securing the draw.} 43. Rg2 b3 44. Qb5 Qxe7 1/2-1/2

Veselin Topalov – Peter Svidler 0.5-0.5

After the j’adoube incident, the safest moment to adjust your pieces is on your opponent’s time?!

Peter Svidler seems to be the only player in the world who is playing the main line of the closed variation of the Ruy Lopez from the black side. While “only” is surely an overstatement, the general trend at the top level shows a marked increase in popularity of the 3…Nf6 Berlin as compared to 3…a6. And Peter might well make the change pretty soon after the dismal result he has had with 3…a6 in this event. First he lost in 24 moves against Vishy Anand, and today against Veselin Topalov he was almost on the ropes. Peter’s opening choice is also the reason why Veselin decided to begin with 1.e4 instead of his customary Queen’s Pawn Opening.

In reply to Svidler’s 17…d5, Topalov jumped with his knight to e5. This was a move underestimated by Peter. In the press conference Svidler said, “I am lucky that the position is not completely lost here” – which definitely says something about the strength of 18.Ne5! The position kept getting worse for Svidler, and the critical moment of the game arrived on the 32nd move:

Svidler has just played his knight to d3 attacking the bishop on e5. The best move for White would have been 32.Be2! with the neat point that 32…Nxe5 loses to 33.Bxb5 axb5 34.Re1! Either the knight on e5 would fall or the bishop on a8. This relatively simple tactical solution was missed by both the players. It is true that 32.Be2 can be met with 32…Rb3, but even that leads to a bad position after 33.Rc1! In the end Topalov couldn’t make the most of his chances and Svidler clung on to his dear life. The result was a draw after 47 moves.

[Event "Candidates 2016"] [Site "?"] [Date "2016.03.21"] [Round "9"] [White "Veselin, Topalov"] [Black "Svidler, Peter"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "C88"] [WhiteElo "2780"] [BlackElo "2757"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [PlyCount "93"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 O-O 8. a4 {Topalov chooses the same line played by Anand. But Svidler now goes for his favourite move rather than 8...Bb7 that he played against Anand.} b4 9. d3 h6 10. Nbd2 d6 11. c3 Rb8 12. h3 Re8 13. d4 Bf8 14. a5 bxc3 15. bxc3 exd4 16. cxd4 Nb4 17. Ba3 d5 {17...c5 would be the natural way to play, but Svidler wanted to go for the other central break with d5. He was fine with the positions after e5, but missed or underestimated his opponent's next move.} 18. Ne5 $1 { [%cal Gf3e5,Rd7d5]} Bb7 (18... Be6 19. Ba4 $16) 19. Qf3 Ba8 20. Nxf7 $1 { A temporary piece sacrifice that ruins Black's position.} Kxf7 (20... dxe4 21. Nxd8+ $18) 21. e5 Kg8 22. exf6 Qxf6 23. Rxe8 (23. Qxf6 gxf6 $14 {would have been a pleasant endgame to play, but Topalov wanted more.}) 23... Rxe8 24. Qc3 c5 25. Nf3 Rb8 26. Ne5 cxd4 27. Qxd4 Bd6 28. Bb2 Qxe5 29. Qxe5 Bxe5 30. Bxe5 { White has the bishop pair and a clear advantage.} Rb5 31. Bd1 Nd3 $2 {[%cal Gb4d3] The big mistake of the game and one that went unpunished.} 32. Bd4 $2 ( 32. Be2 $1 Nxe5 (32... Rb3 33. Bxd3 Rxd3 34. Rc1) 33. Bxb5 axb5 34. Re1 $18 { This simple line was missed by both the players.}) 32... Bc6 $6 33. Bc2 $6 (33. Ba4 $1 Rb4 (33... Rxa5 34. Bxc6 $18) 34. Bxc6 Rxd4 35. Rd1 $16) 33... Nf4 34. Be5 Rc5 35. Bd1 Nd3 36. Bd6 Rc3 37. Bg4 Kf7 38. Ra2 Bb5 39. Re2 Rc6 40. Bb8 Nc5 41. Re5 d4 42. Bf3 Rc8 43. Bd6 Ne6 44. Bh5+ Kf6 45. Bg4 Rc1+ 46. Kh2 Bc4 47. Rf5+ {A game where Topalov must have been sad with the number of chances he missed.} 1/2-1/2

 

Oh. My. God. Topalov’s moment-of-truth reaction when he realized
that he could have won the game in just three moves

Elina Edgeeva is a chess enthusiast and is developing a tactics app for mobile platforms.
She is enjoying the atmosphere in the Candidates and learning a lot in the process.

Ian Nepomniachtchi takes time out from his grueling commentary schedule to check his messages

The press room

All photos by Amruta Mokal of ChessBase India

Standings after nine rounds

Sergey Karjakin and Vishy Anand jointly lead the tournament. The Russian has the better tiebreak at the moment, as he has defeated Vishy Anand in their personal encounter. However, Anand has the better second tiebreak because he has the most number of wins. The game between the leaders will take place in the eleventh round. But before that we have the tenth round on Wednesday, after the rest day on Tuesday! This tournament is definitely heading to an exciting finish: be sure to relax and unwind today so that you can be back on the chess board tomorrow to follow the live games that begin at 15.00 hours Moscow time!

Pairings and results

Round 1, Friday 11 March 2016
Karjakin Sergey
½-½
Svidler Peter
Nakamura Hikaru
½-½
Caruana Fabiano
Giri Anish
½-½
Aronian Levon
Anand Viswanathan
1-0
Topalov Veselin
Round 2, Saturday 12 March 2016
Svidler Peter ½-½ Topalov Veselin
Aronian Levon ½-½ Anand Viswanathan
Caruana Fabiano ½-½ Giri Anish
Karjakin Sergey 1-0 Nakamura Hikaru
Round 3, Sunday 13 March 2016
Nakamura Hikaru
½-½
Svidler Peter
Giri Anish
½-½
Karjakin Sergey
Anand Viswanathan
½-½
Caruana Fabiano
Topalov Veselin
0-1
Aronian Levon
Rest day, Monday 14 March 2016
Round 4, Tuesday 15 March 2016
Svidler Peter
½-½
Aronian Levon
Caruana Fabiano
½-½
Topalov Veselin
Karjakin Sergey
1-0
Anand Viswanathan
Nakamura Hikaru
½-½
Giri Anish
Round 5, Wed. 16 March 2016
Giri Anish ½-½ Svidler Peter
Anand Viswanathan ½-½ Nakamura Hikaru
Topalov Veselin ½-½ Karjakin Sergey
Aronian Levon ½-½ Caruana Fabiano
Round 6, Thursday 17 March 2016
Anand Viswanathan
1-0
Svidler Peter
Topalov Veselin
½-½
Giri Anish
Aronian Levon
1-0
Nakamura Hikaru
Caruana Fabiano
½-½
Karjakin Sergey
Rest day, Friday 18 March 2016
Round 7, Saturday 19 March 2016
Svidler Peter
½-½
Caruana Fabiano
Karjakin Sergey
½-½
Aronian Levon
Nakamura Hikaru
1-0
Topalov Veselin
Giri Anish
½-½
Anand Viswanathan
 
Round 8, Sunday 20 March 2016
Svidler Peter
½-½
Karjakin Sergey
Caruana Fabiano
1-0
Nakamura Hikaru
Aronian Levon
½-½
Giri Anish
Topalov Veselin
½-½
Anand Viswanathan
Round 9, Monday 21 March 2016
Topalov Veselin
½-½
Svidler Peter
Anand Viswanathan
1-0
Aronian Levon
Giri Anish
½-½
Caruana Fabiano
Nakamura Hikaru
½-½
Karjakin Sergey
Rest day, Tuesday 22 March 2016
Round 10, Wed. 23 March 2016
Svidler Peter   Nakamura Hikaru
Karjakin Sergey   Giri Anish
Caruana Fabiano   Anand Viswanathan
Aronian Levon   Topalov Veselin
Round 11, Thursday 24 March 2016
Aronian Levon   Svidler Peter
Topalov Veselin   Caruana Fabiano
Anand Viswanathan   Karjakin Sergey
Giri Anish   Nakamura Hikaru
Round 12, Friday 25 March 2016
Svidler Peter   Giri Anish
Nakamura Hikaru   Anand Viswanathan
Karjakin Sergey   Topalov Veselin
Caruana Fabiano   Aronian Levon
Rest day, Saturday 26 March 2016
Round 13, Sunday 27 March 2016
Caruana Fabiano   Svidler Peter
Aronian Levon   Karjakin Sergey
Topalov Veselin   Nakamura Hikaru
Anand Viswanathan   Giri Anish
Round 14, Monday 28 March 2016
Svidler Peter   Anand Viswanathan
Giri Anish   Topalov Veselin
Nakamura Hikaru   Aronian Levon
Karjakin Sergey   Caruana Fabiano

Roundup broadcasts

ChessBase is doing roundup shows at the end of each round of the Candidates.

Here is the full schedule of future broadcasts – you need to be a premium member to watch

Roundup Commentary Schedule

Date Day Round English German
22.03.2016 Tuesday Free day Summary Yannick Pelletier  
23.03.2016 Wednesday Round 10 Daniel King Klaus Bischoff
24.03.2016 Thursday Round 11 Simon Williams Klaus Bischoff
25.03.2016 Friday Round 12 Daniel King Oliver Reeh/Karsten Müller
26.03.2016 Saturday Free day Summary Yannick Pelletier  
27.03.2016 Sunday Round 13 Daniel King Klaus Bischoff
28.03.2016 Monday Round 14 Yannick Pelletier Klaus Bischoff

Links


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albitex albitex 3/24/2016 06:28
The Anand move 38.Rg4 is not conclusive. If Aronian does not captured in e4 but played 38 ... Rf7 and then moved the Rook e8 in e7 e8 e7 square continuously all the time, Black could take refuge in an impregnable fortress.
Example:
38.Kg4 Rf7 39.h4 R8e7 40.h5 Re8 41.Kf5 Re5 42.Kg4 Re8 43.Rc4 R8e7 44.Kf5 Re8 45.Rg3 R8e7 46.R3c3 Kd8 47.g4 Re8 48.Rc6 R8e7 49. Rc1 Re8 =
There is no way to enter!
KevinC KevinC 3/23/2016 05:12
@JohnTVian, beautiful composition, but to say that comps don't get it was incorrect. Houdini found it in about two seconds (really).
RaoulBertorello RaoulBertorello 3/23/2016 04:32
@JohnTVian. A possible line: 1. Rh1 d4 2. Ra1 d3 3. Ra3 bxa3+ 4. Ka1 a2 5. Ba3 Kxf6 6. Bb2#
Pionki Pionki 3/23/2016 09:06
Come on, Anish! Chess is not a friendly game. You have to win one or lose one. The choice is yours. Give it a go.
sicilian_D sicilian_D 3/23/2016 03:35
come on chessbase folks... please correct the internal title:
Viswanathan Anand – Levon Aronian 0.5-0.5 <--- to Viswanathan Anand – Levon Aronian 1-0
footloose4 footloose4 3/23/2016 01:16
"It is true that 32.Be2 can be met with 32…Rb3, but even that leads to a bad position after 33.Rc1!"

Rc1 hangs the rook.
X iLeon aka DMG X iLeon aka DMG 3/23/2016 12:46
Even though I'm not a Karjakin groupie (in fact none of the candidates really gets my blood rushing) I'd really like to see him in the final because he's definitely a very talented player who started out as a child prodigy but somewhere in the way got stuck. It would be a fresh final to see Carlsen Karjakin! Defo no more Anands - we've had enough of that (great though the indian is!). I'm also disappointed by Svidler and Naka, both of whom I was expecting to see much better performances from.
Chvsanchez Chvsanchez 3/22/2016 10:39
"66.Kd5+ (Kg7 is also winning, but this is just better technique!)"
In fact, both moves has the same value (in distance to mate), as the black king cannot capture the b pawn in either case.
jajalamapratapri jajalamapratapri 3/22/2016 08:30
Anand looks worried about asbestos in the crumbling walls in the picture on the stairs.
semprun semprun 3/22/2016 06:42
Where are they playing with this horrendous brick wall... It seems a building bombed in WWII and left to play a Candidates in 2016...

Certainly no Palace, like in Soviet times...
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 3/22/2016 06:38
@ libyantiger : I think, objectively, that what you say about Anand vs. Carlsen is not true. The "problem" is not with Anand but with Carlsen ! The present Elo difference between Carlsen and the no. 2, Kramnik (50 points) is the same as between Kramnik and the no. 18 (Mamedyarov), or as between the no. 18 and the no. 43 (Bacrot). It is enormous... And Anand played at a quite normal level in term of performance rating in his two matches against Carlsen. For an example, Karjakin is 91 points below Carlsen ; Maryia Muzychuk was 104 points below Hou Yifan (and Maryia Muzychuk didn't play much under her Elo level in their match). I don't see any reason why a Carlsen - Karjakin match would be much different. Karjakin's style seems to me to be rather close to Carlsen's style. When you have two players with the same type of style and nearly a 100 points between them, the result seems to me to be rather obvious : the stronger one will crush the comparatively weaker one. There could always be a surprise, but I think that this would be normally very unlikely. I would follow closely any match between Carlsen and any other top player, but, for me, there is no serious "suspense" in such a match ; it is much more a sort of "lesson in chess" on how Carlsen can beat convincingly even the world's best players beside him... Perhaps it will change in a few years, but I don't think realistically that it can really be the case immediately : Carlsen's lead is just to important for the moment...
the vhiz the vhiz 3/22/2016 06:23
IM Shah: "I don't understand the difference between [40...] Kb7 and Kb8."
From chess.com: The main point being that, inevitably, when White breaks through on the kingside and Black gets the d5-pawn as compensation, Black will have ideas of pushing c6 to trade and make way for the king, and likely have good drawing chances with it.
JohnTVian JohnTVian 3/22/2016 06:15
@ AzingaBonzer, Oh I get it, nobody can be original. Well, I didn't see the engine's analysis to get that. Here's a problem that none of the chess engines get. If you be wise then solve it. White to mate in 6...

karavamudan karavamudan 3/22/2016 06:07
Most of the comments seem to veer around Anand. Almost the entire chess fraternity from the wood pusher to the GM cannot bear to see Vishy again outplayed by Carlsen and they seem to root for a younger guy who has better chance of winning a few games against the smug Carlsen.

AlvaroFrota AlvaroFrota 3/22/2016 06:00
Go Anand go!!!
AzingaBonzer AzingaBonzer 3/22/2016 05:33
@JohnTVian: It was originally an engine that pointed out 24.Ke1. So yeah, buddy. I wouldn't talk.
Dionisio De Cuadro Dionisio De Cuadro 3/22/2016 05:08
Anand, Anand, Anand !!!! Congratulations GV : GREAT VISHY !!! Go for the goal Vishy !!!
JohnTVian JohnTVian 3/22/2016 04:58
@ WickedPawn it doesn't take an engine to figure out that 24.Ke1 was a winning move. Perhaps it would be much wiser for you to keep your wicked thoughts to yourself, or is that possible?
libyantiger libyantiger 3/22/2016 04:54
the problem of the indian tiger as that he truned into nice kitty once he clashes with carslen

any body but anand we dont want to see another carnage
idratherplay960 idratherplay960 3/22/2016 02:25
Man I'm stoked for either Vishy or Karjakin or Caruana for that matter. Karjakin, I believe, has the best nerves and defensive skill of the three but Caruana and Vishy are often sharper and better prepared in the opening.
richard_l_jones richard_l_jones 3/22/2016 01:55
Is it just me, or does the picture for this article before opening it up looks like something out of a gritty movie showing Anand walking down the stairs with a look on his face like, "I'm here to f- s- up!"? Kind of spot on considering how well he played today.
ROHAN2028 ROHAN2028 3/22/2016 12:57
Isnt going for Kh3, Nf7 instead of Kg3 on move 35 a chechmate and win that Nakamura missed in Rd 9 ,just a query
lajosarpad lajosarpad 3/22/2016 12:56
Giri is a really funny guy :)
Phillidor Phillidor 3/22/2016 10:54
Well it seems to me that Giri's strategy is not so bad after all. He plays similar chess to Petrosian's, taking risks to the minimum, but still keeping life in the position. Caruana, motivated by the win against Nakamura in the previous round, has taken too much of a risk against Anish, which could have backfired easily. If the other players competing for the first place get overexcited or impatient, Giri might still qualify with +2, who knows. He's young and still has time to find the right strategy. The format in the "good old times", with many games and elimination rounds, could very well fit Giri's style. But still, even in a round robin tournament, I think solid strategy must not be discarded as bad per se.
ABHIJITDAMLE3 ABHIJITDAMLE3 3/22/2016 09:14
@ --> duvvurioct65 I really like your idea and format you suggested
strategos78 strategos78 3/22/2016 06:29
About risks (Anish Giri), Xavier Tartakover was saying: "When you take risks, you can loose. When you take no risk, you always loose"...
Pionki Pionki 3/22/2016 05:41
Anand, I have no idea why they call you a tiger (you're anything but it), but I know why you are the best of them all. Give the youngsters another lesson, just one more!
TaminoMX TaminoMX 3/22/2016 05:12
Chessbase is collapsing? What is this!
malllanna malllanna 3/22/2016 05:10
Indian tiger impressive game! !!!.,Vishy!!!! keep it up.....
karavamudan karavamudan 3/22/2016 04:46
Anand is the strongest player from Planet Earth.
sigirisetti sigirisetti 3/22/2016 03:17
Doesn't matter its Anand or someone else. Best player should get a chance.
thlai80 thlai80 3/22/2016 02:53
Giri is becoming like Mariya Muzychuk. Super well prepared, but right out of the opening started misplaying. Super solid in candidates will not win him a ticket to face Carlsen.
WickedPawn WickedPawn 3/22/2016 01:52
@ JohnTVian

Because Giri didn't have the engine within reach as you did.
Depsipeptide Depsipeptide 3/22/2016 01:19
Nakamura-Karjakin: A quiet draw and yet another example of Sergey's consummate skill in playing this variation with either color.
Topalov-Svidler: Peter played the anti-Marshall more sanely than against Anand and a draw ensued.
Giri-Caruana: In search of a win, Fabi has resorted to sharper openings such as the Benoni and the Gruenfeld today. It could have gone horribly wrong as Anish was clearly winning but it ended in his 9th draw.
Anand-Aronian: Game of the round. Anand played the Italian game and nursed a small advantage that grew in the endgame. A Carlsen like performance and one worthy of a Candidate. So what if he's lost two matches to Magnus? If he plays like this, Anand deserves to win the tournament and earn a third title shot.
duvvurioct65 duvvurioct65 3/22/2016 12:55
Some players with so much talent argued that it is unfair for other players first to play candidates and win to earn the right to play champion. Even as a token of protest Magnus did not participate in candidates one time. Well i am here to suggest an interesting proposal. Let us keep the champion and the challenger out of candidates.Winner of candidates tournament first plays against challenger in a match. Winner of challenger match plays the champion.
KOTLD KOTLD 3/22/2016 12:38
To Chessbase: these video interviews are very good. Of course, you include these kind of things on your monthly database discs, but to also present them on this website is a real improvement. Thanks.
amosburn amosburn 3/22/2016 12:26
In retrospect, that original article on probabilities begins to seem like one of the funniest things that I have ever read.
Rational Rational 3/22/2016 12:02
This was an excellent win for Anand he took out Aronian in slow motion like Capablanca used to take out people like
Tartakover.For years in the really top tournaments candidates, KO World Championships etcetera Anand has played games where you just know once h plays 1. E4 he is going to win.mViscerally however I just do not want to see Carlsen Anand 111 and would like to see Karjakin get a crack, after all he was a GM at 12 I think.
bin bin 3/21/2016 11:13
Anand was equal to Aronian most of the game he won by luck I would say
fmeca fmeca 3/21/2016 11:02
I have to disagree with a little bit of sadness with all the people who don't want Anand to win. Of course everyone has his own opinion but IF Anand wins, then this will just be the seal on a splendid career. In this tournament they are playing and not saving bullets. So if he will prevail, he will deserve it. Kasparov an Karpov have been on a different planet for years. Anand was and is one of the brightest talent in chess history. I do believe Kramnik could have done fine in this tournament, too. Young talents today are too much like computers, super well prepared but I cannot see the geniuses' spark in their game, like it was with some great of the past. I am not against any of them but I won't complain if Anand will win.