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Candidates R13 – Kramnik draws, Carlsen wins

by Albert Silver
3/31/2013 – Another heart-stopping round. Vladimir Kramnik had a very nice position and looked right on the path to victory, in his game against Boris Gelfand and in the tournament. This because Magnus Carlsen had a very drawish position on his board against Teimour Radjabov. But the latter blundered in the endgame and Carlsen drew level with Kramnik. The event goes all the way to the wire.
 

From March 14 to April 1, 2013, FIDE and AGON – the World Chess Federation’s commercial partner – are staging the 2013 Candidates Tournament for the World Chess Championship 2013. It will be the strongest tournament of its kind in history. The venue is The IET, 2 Savoy Place, London. The Prize Fund to be shared by the players totals €510,000. The winner of the Candidates will become the Challenger to Viswanathan Anand who has reigned as World Champion since 2007. The main sponsor for the Candidates is State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic SOCAR, which has sponsored elite events chess in the past.

Round thirteen report

After the gut-wrenching events of round twelve, the question on everyone’s mind was whether Magnus Carlsen will be able to yank the win from under Vladimir Kramnik. The most probably scenario for that to happen is if the young number one were to outscore the Russian by half a point and beat him on the second tiebreak: number of wins. Still, the former World Champion could simply deny this were he to win as well.

The venue: the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) in London

Round 13 March 31 at 14:00
Teimour Radjabov
0-1
Magnus Carlsen
Alexander Grischuk
½-½
Levon Aronian
Vladimir Kramnik
½-½
Boris Gelfand
Peter Svidler
1-0
Vassily Ivanchuk
Playchess commentary: GM Daniel King

In spite of the understandable focus on the leaders’ games, the other two games were not denuded of interest. Alexander Grischuk tried to take advantage of a frail Levon Aronian, weakened by the unexpected rut he had run into, and despite keeping a solid initiative for most of the game, was unable to set up a knockout punch. They drew.

Peter Svidler had similar designs on Vassily Ivanchuk, as the latter has not only been unable to maintain any consistency, and his tournament will be mostly remembered for his dramatic victory of Magnus Carlsen, as well as the astounding number of games lost on time. In the post-game conference, Svidler explained that his choice of play had been designed around psychological analysis more than chess. He felt that the Ukrainian would be steering for a principled continuation, and that is why, in a French Advance, he deliberately went for a very double-edged continuation at the cost of a pawn. Although he had great play for his risk, he never needed to work out the hardest lines as Ivanchuk’s flag fell on move 30.

Vladimir Kramnik’s game against Boris Gelfand was easily the most exciting of the day, despite the pyrotechnics in Svidler-Ivanchuk, since so much hung on its result. The opening was a Fianchetto Gruenfeld but somehow the transition to the middlegame went sour on the Israeli as he found himself trying to avoid disaster. After 23.b5! the Russian was suddenly in the driver seat as he broke through on the queenside, positioning his pieces with his legendary precision. The cost came at mutual time trouble with enormous complications for both, and though he dealt what might have been a death blow with 32.Nxf7!, the computer precise 36.g4!! eluded him and by the time control his edge was mostly gone. He tried to keep his chances alive, understanding how valuable a win would be, but Boris Gelfand, the great defender he is, held fast and a draw was concluded.

When Kramnik and Gelfand shook hands, things did not look so bad for the Russian. Aside from Jeff Sonas’s calculations predicting a 65% chance for him to win the event, Teimour Radjabov’s game against Magnus Carlsen looked about as lifeless as the Gobi desert. The situation of the two players was crystal clear. Radjabov knew that Carlsen had to play for a win at all costs, and the question was whether he would be able to weather the Norwegian storm. This was compounded even more by the fact that even a casual glance at Kramnik-Gelfand for much of the game, would show that his Russian rival might end it all that very day with a win.

Carlsen remained true to himself, and his style, and may have missed some attacking chances earlier on, but tried to keep a simple, yet complex middlegame/endgame going. It seemed quite hopeless as the Azeri held on, refusing to buckle, but little by little the pressure built and the strain got to him. It brought to mind a proverb in Portuguese that goes, “Agua mole em pedra dura, tanto bate até que fura”, which translates roughly as “Soft water will keep on beating against the hard rock until it wears through”. Sure enough, the chinks in Radjabov’s armor began to appear, and on move 80 he stumbled fatally for a historic and miraculous win for Magnus Carlsen.

Summary by Albert Silver, pictures by Ray Morris-Hill

GM Daniel King analyses the game Radjabov vs Carlsen

Current standings

So what are the odds now? Jeff Sonas explains

With one round left, the tiebreak situation has clarified completely: if Magnus Carlsen and Vladimir Kramnik finish in a tie for first place, then Carlsen wins the tiebreak because he will have one more win than Kramnik. So all of the previously Sonneborn-Berger complexities, dependencies upon other games, etc., are no longer relevant.

Kramnik needs to pull ahead of Carlsen in order to win the tournament, and has the great disadvantage of playing Black in the final against Vassily Ivanchuk, while Carlsen has the white pieces in the final round against Peter Svidler. So everything hinges upon the outcome of those two games. It is possible to simulate millions of possibilities, and to quote odds of each player winning the tournament. But these are not as trustworthy because the two games are not independent: obviously Carlsen and Kramnik will be paying close attention to each other's games, and certainly adjusting their own plans accordingly. But the simple calculation tells us this:

Carlsen's chances in Round 14
Win 37.4%
Draw 60.4% Loss 2.2%
Kramnik's chances in Round 14 Win 24.1% Draw 63.8% Loss 12.1%

And it is easily seen from this, that the tournament odds have become:

Carlsen wins outright
36%
Carlsen and Kramnik share first place, and Carlsen wins the tiebreak (more wins)
48%
Kramnik wins outright
16%

Carlsen therefore now has an 84% chance to win the tournament, and Kramnik has a 16% chance to win the tournament.

Replay all games of the round

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Schedule and results

Round 1 March 15 at 14:00
Levon Aronian
½-½
Magnus Carlsen
Boris Gelfand
½-½
Teimour Radjabov
Vassily Ivanchuk
½-½
Alexander Grischuk
Peter Svidler
½-½
Vladimir Kramnik
Playchess commentary: GM Daniel King
Round 2 March 16 at 14:00
Magnus Carlsen
½-½
Vladimir Kramnik
Alexander Grischuk
½-½
Peter Svidler
Teimour Radjabov
1-0
Vassily Ivanchuk
Levon Aronian
1-0
Boris Gelfand
Playchess commentary: GM Chris Ward
Round 3 March 17 at 14:00
Boris Gelfand
0-1
Magnus Carlsen
Vassily Ivanchuk
0-1
Levon Aronian
Peter Svidler
1-0
Teimour Radjabov
Vladimir Kramnik
½-½
Alexander Grischuk
Playchess commentary: GM Yasser Seirawan
Round 4 March 19 at 14:00
Magnus Carlsen
1-0
Alexander Grischuk
Teimour Radjabov
½-½
Vladimir Kramnik
Levon Aronian 
½-½
Peter Svidler
Boris Gelfand
½-½
Vassily Ivanchuk
Playchess commentary: GM Daniel King
Round 5 March 20 at 14:00
Vassily Ivanchuk
½-½
Magnus Carlsen
Peter Svidler
½-½
Boris Gelfand
Vladimir Kramnik
½-½
Levon Aronian
Alexander Grischuk
½-½
Teimour Radjabov
Playchess commentary: GM Yasser Seirawan
Round 6 March 21 at 14:00
Peter Svidler
0-1
Magnus Carlsen
Vladimir Kramnik
½-½
Vassily Ivanchuk
Alexander Grischuk
½-½
Boris Gelfand
Teimour Radjabov
0-1
Levon Aronian
Playchess commentary: GM Chris Ward
Round 7 March 23 at 14:00
Magnus Carlsen
½-½
Teimour Radjabov
Levon Aronian
½-½
Alexander Grischuk
Boris Gelfand
½-½
Vladimir Kramnik
Vassily Ivanchuk
½-½
Peter Svidler
Playchess commentary: GM Alejandro Ramirez
Round 8 March 24 at 14:00
Magnus Carlsen
½-½
Levon Aronian
Teimour Radjabov
0-1
Boris Gelfand
Alexander Grischuk
1-0
Vassily Ivanchuk
Vladimir Kramnik
1-0
Peter Svidler
Playchess commentary: GM Alejandro Ramirez
Round 9 March 25 at 14:00
Vladimir Kramnik
½-½
Magnus Carlsen
Peter Svidler
½-½
Alexander Grischuk
Vassily Ivanchuk
1-0
Teimour Radjabov
Boris Gelfand
1-0
Levon Aronian
Playchess commentary: GM Maurice Ashley
Round 10 March 27 at 14:00
Magnus Carlsen
1-0
Boris Gelfand
Levon Aronian
1-0
Vassily Ivanchuk
Teimour Radjabov
½-½
Peter Svidler
Alexander Grischuk
0-1
Vladimir Kramnik
Playchess commentary: GM Yasser Seirawan
Round 11 March 28 at 14:00
Alexander Grischuk
½-½
Magnus Carlsen
Vladimir Kramnik
1-0
Teimour Radjabov
Peter Svidler
1-0
Levon Aronian
Vassily Ivanchuk
½-½
Boris Gelfand
Playchess commentary: GM Chris Ward
Round 12 March 29 at 14:00
Magnus Carlsen
0-1
Vassily Ivanchuk
Boris Gelfand
½-½
Peter Svidler
Levon Aronian
0-1
Vladimir Kramnik
Teimour Radjabov
½-½
Alexander Grischuk
Playchess commentary: GM Daniel King
Round 13 March 31 at 14:00
Teimour Radjabov
0-1
Magnus Carlsen
Alexander Grischuk
½-½
Levon Aronian
Vladimir Kramnik
½-½
Boris Gelfand
Peter Svidler
1-0
Vassily Ivanchuk
Playchess commentary: GM Daniel King
Round 14 April 1 at 14:00
Magnus Carlsen
-
Peter Svidler
Vassily Ivanchuk
-
Vladimir Kramnik
Boris Gelfand
-
Alexander Grischuk
Levon Aronian
-
Teimour Radjabov
Playchess commentary: GM Maurice Ashley

The games start at 14:00h = 2 p.m. London time = 15:00h European time, 17:00h Moscow, 8 a.m. New York. You can find your regional starting time here. Note that Britain and Europe switch to Summer time on March 31, so that the last two rounds will start an hour earlier for places that do not swich or have already done so (e.g. USA). The commentary on Playchess begins one hour after the start of the games and is free for premium members.

Links

The games will be broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 12 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.

Editor and writer at ChessBase News. Lives in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
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Topics Candidates

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