Candidates R7 – Mercy was the constant

3/23/2013 – Four draws, but the round could easily have had three decisive results. Ivanchuk-Svidler was a lifeless draw. Aronian couldn’t convert a pleasant position against Grischuk. But the highlights of the day were clearly the missed opportunities by Gelfand and Radjabov against Kramnik and Carlsen – one could’ve smashed his opponent’s kingside, the other was simply up an exchange. Round seven report.

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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 seven report

By GM Alejandro Ramirez

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

Ivanchuk-Svidler ½-½

Ivanchuk achieved less than nothing out of this topical variation of the Scotch, and it was only due to Black’s restricted pawns and lack of plan that he was in no real danger. The two pieces that White had against Black’s rook simply had no targets and no dynamic continuations, but since Black couldn’t push forward his pawns the players resigned themselves to a quick draw. Watch the games develop and Svidler's commentary after he was finished.

Gelfand-Kramnik ½-½

Kramnik employs the Karpov variation of the Nimzo Indian again. His maneuver starting with 12… Qb8! gave him at least equality, and things were going well as pieces were starting to get swapped and White’s isolani on d4 would eventually become an attackable weakness. But out of the blue, Kramnik played a strange and very passive move… 18… Ne8?? which would’ve almost instantly lost to either 19. Nfg5! or 19. Neg5! which both crushed the kingside. Instead, Gelfand retreated to d2, defended an inferior position and achieved a draw.

Aronian-Grischuk ½-½

Aronian played a very elegant game, sacrificing a pawn to obtain strong strategical and positional advantages. Unfortunately for him Grischuk also defended well, and Aronian’s inexact 29. Qb5?! was sufficient to let Grischuk simplify into a drawn endgame. Here is their postgame interview:

And here is commentary by our guest analyst IM Zura Javakhadze

[Event "Candidates"] [Site "?"] [Date "2013.03.23"] [Round "7"] [White "Aronian, L."] [Black "Grischuk, A."] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "E18"] [WhiteElo "2809"] [BlackElo "2764"] [Annotator "Javakhadze,Zura"] [PlyCount "85"] [EventDate "2013.01.12"] [SourceDate "2013.03.23"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 b6 4. g3 Bb7 5. Bg2 Be7 6. O-O O-O 7. Nc3 Ne4 8. Bd2 Bf6 9. Ne5 $5 {A very rare continuation which was played by Aronian himself, against Carlsen. It's hard to guess where did he found an improvement, but Grischuk answered 11...c5, instead of 11...d5 like Magnus.} Nxc3 10. Bxc3 Bxg2 11. Kxg2 c5 $5 (11... d5 12. Ng4 Nd7 13. Qa4 Be7 14. Rfd1 Nf6 15. Ne5 Qe8 16. Nc6 Kh8 17. f3 a6 18. Be1 Bd6 19. Rac1 b5 20. cxb5 axb5 21. Qxb5 Rxa2 22. Ba5 Qa8 23. Rd3 Nd7 24. Rdc3 Nb8 25. b4 Nxc6 26. Rxc6 Rb2 27. R6c2 Rxc2 28. Rxc2 { 1/2-1/2 Aronian,L (2816)-Carlsen,M (2843)/Sao Paulo/Bilbao 2012/CBM 151 (44)}) 12. Nf3 (12. Ng4 $5 {is also met in practical play.}) 12... cxd4 13. Bxd4 {The white pieces obviously stands better, which determines his slight advantage, but actually the position is very close to equal. At the same time, if Black makes some inaccuracy, he can find himself in trouble very fast.} Be7 { Changing black squared bishops would obviously favour White, due to the weak d6 square.} 14. Qd3 d6 15. Qc3 $5 {Aronian manoeuvres to force his opponent to weaken some central squares.} e5 16. Be3 Nd7 17. Rfd1 Rc8 18. Rac1 f5 { Grischuk starts the counter-attack on the kingside in proper time.} 19. b4 Kh8 20. c5 $5 {The Armenian grandmaster sacrifices an important pawn for initiative, though the Russian, with precise play, defends without difficulties.} bxc5 21. bxc5 e4 ({Of course not} 21... Nxc5 {because of} 22. Nxe5 Bf6 23. Bxc5 Bxe5 24. Qa3 {with better pawn structure for White.}) 22. Nd4 Nxc5 23. Nb5 Qb6 ({Initially, I thought that opponents would make a peace agreement after the following line.} 23... a6 24. Nxd6 Bxd6 25. Bxc5 Rxc5 26. Qxc5 Bxc5 27. Rxd8 Rxd8 28. Rxc5 g6 $11) 24. Qc4 a6 25. Nc3 Qd8 26. Na4 Nxa4 27. Qxa4 Rxc1 28. Rxc1 a5 29. Qb5 h6 30. Rd1 Bg5 31. Bb6 Qb8 32. a4 f4 33. h4 f3+ 34. exf3 exf3+ 35. Kh2 Bf6 36. Bxa5 Be5 37. Qxb8 Rxb8 38. h5 Ra8 39. Rd5 Kg8 40. Kh3 Kf7 41. Kg4 Ke6 42. Rb5 Bd4 43. Bb6 1/2-1/2

Carlsen-Radjabov ½-½

This game was absolutely wild. Black’s pawn structure was completely shattered before move 10 was even reached, but he had some space on the center and the pair of bishops to compensate. Carlsen put strong pressure on a very weak and doubled c5 pawn, but his kingside was left unguarded momentarily. Radjabov pounced and with the powerful Bg4-xf3 and Nh4 moves he amassed a strong force on the kingside. Carlsen didn’t react the best way, and soon he found himself down an exchange for almost no compensation. However Radjabov, in time pressure, kept misplaying the position until he had no choice but to give a perpetual check and draw the game!

GM Daniel King analyses the game Carlsen vs Radjabov

Commented games coming soon...

Current standings

Pictures by Anastasiya Karlovich

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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
-
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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Topics Candidates
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