Candidates – Round nine postmortems

3/26/2013 – Magnus Carlsen magically survived a powerful novelty by Vladimir Kramnik in a Catalan; Peter Svidler and Alexander Grischuk played the most spectacular game of the tournament so far; after six and a half hours of play, Vassily Ivanchuk scored his first win of the tournament; and Boris Gelfand defeated Levon Aronian in a game that was critical for the tournament standings. Postgame press conferences.

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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 nine postmortems

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

The setup in the IET playing hall in London

The spectators, equipped with the Samsung ChessCasting tablets

Kramnik-Carlsen ½-½

Magnus Carlsen is the sole leader after nine rounds at the FIDE World Chess Candidates’ Tournament. On Monday the Norwegian drew with Vladimir Kramnik (Russia) while co-leader Levon Aronian (Armenia) lost to Boris Gelfand (Israel).

Kramnik got a nice advantage in a Catalan: “Actually it was my preparation for Kazan; I was about to play it against Radjabov in 2011 but finally for some reason I decided to play something else. Since that time I was keeping it and nobody played it. This 11.Qc2 and 12.Rd1 is kind of a new set-up; it’s quite dangerous I believe.” Carlsen: “I didn't know the details too much of this line. I more or less had to figure it out over the board. It’s not so easy to play and the way I played, he got a stable advantage so I probably did something wrong. I was just trying to find a good plan which I probably didn’t succeed in doing.”

After 13.Nc3 White was “just better” and after 20.Qe3 it was “getting really critical for Black” (Kramnik) but then, starting with 22…Re8, Carlsen found a key defensive idea (and perhaps even the only move): 25…Nd5!. Almost by force an ending with rooks and opposite-coloured bishops came on the board where Kramnik’s extra pawn wasn’t worth much. “It just seems to work by millimetre,” the Russian said two times at the press conference.

“Of course Magnus is a very strong player, a very strong defender. I don't say that I missed any win today but I was better in the opening, had a very nice position and then… it seemed very close. It’s a bit disappointing of course,” said Kramnik. Carlsen about defending this game: “I thought it was dangerous but the good thing for me is that most of the time I had to make only moves. Then in a way it’s easier.”

Svidler-Grischuk ½-½

Peter Svidler, fraternising with CHESS Magazine editor John Saunders

Peter Svidler and Alexander Grischuk played the most spectacular game of the tournament so far. The latter went for the ever-interesting King’s Indian Defence, and like in his game against Radjabov, Svidler played the Sämisch variation. Then, on move 12, Grischuk came up with an absolutely stunning novelty that involved a long-term piece sacrifice.

At first Svidler was “very worried”. “In a practical game (…) every move will be a torture.” English grandmaster Matthew Sadler, who lives in The Netherlands but spent his weekend with family, joined the commentary for a while and said: “I was counting the pieces and I must have counted them at least ten times!”

Svidler went for a long think, played an interesting sequence of moves and then felt he was winning. “Of course I missed 19…h3. After that I realized the game continues.” Eventually White got three minor pieces for his queen, and Svidler still felt that “White should be better somehow”, but “it became a bit too messy for my liking”. In time trouble he might have missed some ways to make Grischuk’s life harder. Just after the time control Black had created so much counter play that Svidler had seen enough and accepted his opponent’s draw offer.

Ivanchuk-Radjabov 1-0

After six and a half hours of play, Vassily Ivanchuk scored his first win of the tournament. He got a pleasant advantage out of the opening against Teimour Radjabov, who played what could be dubbed the “Accelerated Lasker Variation” of the Queen’s Gambit Declined. For a moment commentator Nigel Short thought that Radjabov had perhaps accidentally played Lasker’s Nf6-e4 one move too early, but in fact the Azerbaijani spent five minutes on it. Radjabov: “It was a long torture somehow. I got this unpleasant position, I mixed something in the opening and I got this slightly worse position where you always have to stand. I didn't have so many counter play ideas.”

Both players were not sure if the ending was really lost for Black. “Maybe I didn't have to change the knights as then the position became really easy to play for White. There’s maybe no direct win,” said Radjabov. Instead of his preparation, as suggested by Kramnik in an interview, Radjabov blamed his inactivity for his disappointing play thus far: “I should have played in one of the recent tournaments, but my family situation did not allow this. You can see that the players who played in Zurich didn't start very well, but now they are all in good form.”

Gelfand-Aronian 1-0

The game between Boris Gelfand and Levon Aronian became quite very important for the tournament standings. In a Queen’s Gambit Declined that turned into some sort of Stonewall position, around move 25 Aronian missed a tactic and lost an important pawn. Computers don’t like his 26…Bf7, a move Gelfand didn’t expect: “Here I think Levon is in trouble.”

However, according to the Israeli Black wasn’t lost yet. “After 32…Rd3 I don’t know if my advantage is so big, but 32…h5 is a blunder.” Aronian, who had to skip the press conference because of a drug test (which Carlsen, Kramnik and Svidler also had to perform), said he had missed 28.e6 and then “completely forgot about this 33.f5 stuff”. However, just before the time control Gelfand missed a quick win, and a double rook ending came on the board. “Fortunately I have this plan of a king’s attack,” said Gelfand, who won the ending without too much trouble. It wasn’t an easy game for him, though. “I think for me it was more difficult because I played with my very close friend and he is leading the tournament. But we're professionals and we have to play our utmost in each game.”

Current standings

Pictures by Anastasiya Karlovich and Peter Doggers

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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
-
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.

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.


Topics Candidates
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