Candidates R4 – Carlsen joins Aronian in the lead

3/19/2013 – The World #1 proves again that he can win any type of position. A powerful dark squared blockade enabled Magnus Carlsen to be safe in the kingside while his knights tore apart the weakened structure on Alexander Grischuk’s queenside. The other three games of the round were drawn, which meant that Carlsen and Aronian are now tied in the lead with 3.0/4 points. Full report with GM commentary.

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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 four report

By GM Alejandro Ramirez

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

Aronian-Svidler
Black sacrificed a pawn to simplify the queenside and create strong pressure on the remaining a-pawn. This paid off as White had to eventually give it back and a dull draw was reached. It seems Aronian was simply caught off preparation and that he did not expect this variation of the Queen’s Gambit Accepted, especially since Svidler plays the Gruenfeld almost always.

Gelfand-Ivanchuk
A bizarre opening led to a bizarre game. White had a bishop stuck on h2 the entire game, hitting its own f4 pawn, meanwhile on the other side Black sacrificed a piece for counterplay, and although it was almost enough to win, Ivanchuk missed his chance and had to settle on a draw.

[Event "FIDE Candidates 2013"] [Site "London"] [Date "2013.03.19"] [Round "4"] [White "Gelfand, Boris"] [Black "Ivanchuk, Vassily"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "D07"] [WhiteElo "2740"] [BlackElo "2757"] [Annotator "Ramirez,Alejandro"] [PlyCount "70"] [EventDate "2013.??.??"] [EventCountry "ENG"] 1. d4 d5 2. c4 {The Chigorin, an unusual guest in high level chess!} Nc6 3. Nf3 Bg4 4. Nc3 e6 5. Bf4 Bxf3 6. gxf3 Bb4 7. e3 Nge7 8. Qc2 dxc4 9. Bxc4 Nd5 10. Bg3 h5 11. h3 Qd7 {White emerged with the pair of bishops, a good central structure and good prospects out of the opening. His next move however is a little questionable, as it does not put enough pressure on Black.} 12. O-O-O ( 12. a3 $1 Bd6 $2 13. Bxd6 Qxd6 14. Ne4 Qe7 15. Rg1 $16) 12... O-O-O 13. Ne4 Kb8 14. Kb1 (14. Bb5 {and crippling the c-pawns seemed like a more logical idea to me.}) 14... h4 15. Bh2 Bd6 16. f4 f5 17. Ng5 Na5 18. Be2 Rc8 19. Qd2 Bb4 20. Qd3 c5 $1 {A bold move, that was almsot forced. Without this rupture Black's postion would've been confined to passivity.} 21. dxc5 Rxc5 22. e4 Rhc8 {The point, of course; taking on e4 was impossible.} (22... fxe4 $2 23. Qxe4 {and every Black piece is hanging.}) 23. Rc1 (23. exd5 {was critical, without accepting the 'gift' White will find himself in some problems.} Rxd5 24. Qf3 Rxd1+ 25. Rxd1 Qxd1+ $1 26. Bxd1 Nc4 27. Kc2 Nd2+ 28. Qc3 Bxc3 29. bxc3 Nc4 { leads to a very strange endgame. Black has less material but White has lots of issues with coordination and his pawn structure is terrible.}) 23... Nc4 24. Rxc4 Rxc4 25. exd5 exd5 $2 {Allowing White back into the game.} (25... Rc2 $1 { The computer says this wins, but why it does is beyond me. Feel free to explore the variations with your engine, or wait for the entire explanation in the next ChessBase Magazine!} 26. a3 Bxa3 $1 27. bxa3 Qa4 $1 28. Bd1 Rc1+ 29. Ka2 Qa5 30. dxe6 Qb6 $19 {is just a sample variation.}) 26. Qb3 Qc6 27. Bxc4 dxc4 28. Qf3 Qb5 29. Qe2 Re8 30. Qc2 c3 31. bxc3 Bxc3+ 32. Qb3 {Black's initative compensated for the knight, but now it is coming to an end and forcing the draw is mandatory. A very strange and entertaining game.} Qd3+ 33. Qc2 Qb5+ 34. Qb3 Qd3+ 35. Qc2 Qb5+ 1/2-1/2

Carlsen-Grischuk
The World #1 proves again that he can win any type of position. This time his powerful dark squared blockade enabled him to be safe in the kingside while his knights tore apart the weakened structure on Black’s queenside. Black’s bishop on f8 proved to be useless the entire game and after some desperation sacrifices Grischuk had to resign. The game seemed very one-sided as Magnus was never in any real danger.

Ready to play the world's number one: Alexander Grischuk of Russia

[Event "FIDE Candidates 2013"] [Site "London"] [Date "2013.03.19"] [Round "4"] [White "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Black "Grischuk, Alexander"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C65"] [WhiteElo "2872"] [BlackElo "2764"] [Annotator "Ramirez,Alejandro"] [PlyCount "73"] [EventDate "2013.??.??"] [EventCountry "ENG"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. d3 {Carlsen avoids the Berlin with this move. The setups with an early d3 are becoming more and more popular.} Bc5 5. c3 O-O 6. O-O d6 7. h3 a6 8. Bxc6 (8. Ba4 b5 9. Bb3 {transposes to a line that is supposed to be ok for Black. Carlsen instead tries to punish the late a6 move by changing the pawn structure.}) 8... bxc6 9. Re1 Re8 10. Nbd2 d5 $5 11. exd5 Qxd5 {What's more valuable here? Black has a strong pair of bishops and activity, but his structure is ruined... people sometimes call this a 'dynamic balance'.} 12. Nb3 Bf8 13. c4 Qd6 14. Be3 Nd7 15. d4 e4 16. Nfd2 a5 17. a4 f5 18. c5 Qg6 (18... Qe6 {would have delayed the knight jumping to c4 for an extra move that Black could have used in his own attack.}) 19. Nc4 Nf6 20. Bf4 (20. Ne5 $2 Rxe5 $1 {A strong exchange sacrifice that was no doubt Black's idea.} (20... Qh5 $2 21. Qxh5 Nxh5 22. Nxc6 {and there is no compensation.}) 21. dxe5 Nd5 {And Black is following up with f4 and a huge intiative. Not exactly what Carlsen was bargaining for!}) 20... Nd5 21. Qd2 Be6 22. Nbxa5 { White's coordination is not the best now, but the blockade on the dark squares allows him to snatch this pawn without retaliation.} Reb8 $6 (22... Nxf4 23. Qxf4 Qf6 $1 {Gave more chances. Now Black is preparing g5 at an opportune time and is targeting d4.}) 23. Ne5 Qf6 24. Bh2 {The compensation is dwindling, and Black becomes desperate.} Rxa5 25. Qxa5 Rxb2 26. Rab1 Ra2 27. Qa6 e3 28. fxe3 Qg5 29. Re2 $1 {The point of White's 27th move.} Nxe3 30. Nf3 Qg6 31. Rxa2 Bxa2 32. Rb2 {White has, as they say, the material and the compensation.} Bc4 33. Qa5 Bd5 34. Qe1 f4 35. Bxf4 Nc2 36. Qf2 Bxf3 37. Rxc2 {Carlsen yet again makes a very complex position look easy.} 1-0

GM Daniel King analyses the game Carlsen vs Grischuk

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Radjabov-Kramnik
The Karpov variation of the Nimzo Indian has been tested time and time again. Kramnik’s Ng4 venture is nothing new, and it forced Radjabov to concede his light squared bishop, but at the same time he was able to get in his c4 push so he wouldn’t be blockaded on that square. After much maneuvering nothing exciting happened, and the game fizzled out.

Pensive: former World Champion Vladimir Kramnik with 2.0/4 points

World number four Teimour Radjabov, also at 50%

Nigel Short helping out with commentary in round four

Current standings

Pictures by Ray Morris-Hill

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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
-
Magnus Carlsen
Peter Svidler
-
Boris Gelfand
Vladimir Kramnik
-
Levon Aronian
Alexander Grischuk
-
Teimour Radjabov
Playchess commentary: GM Yasser Seirawan
Round 6 March 21 at 14:00
Peter Svidler
-
Magnus Carlsen
Vladimir Kramnik
-
Vassily Ivanchuk
Alexander Grischuk
-
Boris Gelfand
Teimour Radjabov
-
Levon Aronian
Playchess commentary: GM Chris Ward
Round 7 March 23 at 14:00
Magnus Carlsen
-
Teimour Radjabov
Levon Aronian
-
Alexander Grischuk
Boris Gelfand
-
Vladimir Kramnik
Vassily Ivanchuk
-
Peter Svidler
Playchess commentary: GM Alejandro Ramirez
Round 8 March 24 at 14:00
Magnus Carlsen
-
Levon Aronian
Teimour Radjabov
-
Boris Gelfand
Alexander Grischuk
-
Vassily Ivanchuk
Vladimir Kramnik
-
Peter Svidler
Playchess commentary: GM Alejandro Ramirez
Round 9 March 25 at 14:00
Vladimir Kramnik
-
Magnus Carlsen
Peter Svidler
-
Alexander Grischuk
Vassily Ivanchuk
-
Teimour Radjabov
Boris Gelfand
-
Levon Aronian
Playchess commentary: GM Maurice Ashley
Round 10 March 27 at 14:00
Magnus Carlsen
-
Boris Gelfand
Levon Aronian
-
Vassily Ivanchuk
Teimour Radjabov
-
Peter Svidler
Alexander Grischuk
-
Vladimir Kramnik
Playchess commentary: GM Yasser Seirawan
Round 11 March 28 at 14:00
Alexander Grischuk
-
Magnus Carlsen
Vladimir Kramnik
-
Teimour Radjabov
Peter Svidler
-
Levon Aronian
Vassily Ivanchuk
-
Boris Gelfand
Playchess commentary: GM Chris Ward
Round 12 March 29 at 14:00
Magnus Carlsen
-
Vassily Ivanchuk
Boris Gelfand
-
Peter Svidler
Levon Aronian
-
Vladimir Kramnik
Teimour Radjabov
-
Alexander Grischuk
Playchess commentary: GM Daniel King
Round 13 March 31 at 14:00
Teimour Radjabov
-
Magnus Carlsen
Alexander Grischuk
-
Levon Aronian
Vladimir Kramnik
-
Boris Gelfand
Peter Svidler
-
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.

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