Candidates: Draw at the top

by Klaus Besenthal
3/23/2018 – Fabiano Caruana had to face his most persistent pursuer in Berlin, Shakriyar Mamedyarov, in the tenth round with the black pieces. Both players wanted to win the game and thus take a huge advantage into the remaining games, but ultimately played to bare kings. The tournament is still completely open at the top. On the other end of the standings table, Vladimir Kramnik staged a small comeback after several bruising defeats, by winning against Levon Aronian. Both the remaining games, Ding Liren vs So and Grischuk vs Karjakin were drawn. | Photo: Niki Riga

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Kramnik still kicking

Three draws, including between the top two leaders Caruana and Mamedyarov meant no change at the top of the standings. Caruana clings to a half point advantage with four rounds to play. But one of the other big stories of the tournament has been the rollercoaster ride of "Big Vlad", who has been involved in the most decisive games of the tournament — four losses but now after beating Levon Aronian for the second time this tournament — also three wins. The Armenian is on the verge of becoming the first player to be mathematically eliminated.

German football legend Felix Magath scored the winning goal in the 1983 European Team Championship, and is also a chess fan | Photo: World Chess

Mamedyarov ½-½ Caruana

ChessBase contributor IM Marco Baldauf explains in detail in his game commentary how the two top players today tried to secure an advantage, but in the end were unsuccessful: 


GM Daniel King also takes a crack at it for his Power Play Chess channel

Kramnik 1-0 Aronian

Vladimir Kramnik had a lot of plans for this tournament — you could see that easily from his furious start. As the fortunate beneficiary of the wild card, he received a fresh chance to vie for the highest title once more. But his enterprising play has ended in catastrophe one too many times, and Kramnik's win today is but cold comfort. Barring a miracle, he's out of the running to face Carlsen.


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In the actual DVD Bologan covered all answers by Black against 3.Bc4, especially 3...Bc5, presenting all relevant possibilities for White.

Grischuk ½-½ Karjakin

The game today between the two Russians was somehow lacking on both sides, that absolute will to win, to grab the very last (Karakin) or perhaps penultimate (Grischuk) chance of winning the tournament:


Ding Liren ½-½ So

A tenth draw in the tenth game for the Chinese Ding Liren, who is thus all but out of the race for the Carlsen challenge. Wesley So had already cratered at the beginning of the tournament, and in light of this the game between the two was not the most exciting, although there was a certain imbalance after the opening:


Day by day, draw by draw, Ding's chances of winning the tournament quickly wane | Photo: World Chess

Standings after ten rounds


All games of round ten


Round-up show with GM Simon Williams

Translation from German: Macauley Peterson


Klaus Besenthal is computer scientist, has followed and still follows the chess scene avidly since 1972 and since then has also regularly played in tournaments.


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