Candidates R08: Caruana is back!

3/20/2016 – Levon Aronian drew Anish Giri, while Veselin Topalov got into a bit of trouble against Vishy Anand but managed to draw. Fabiano Caruana beat his compatriot Hikaru Nakamura when both players launched attacks against the enemy kings. The game between the two Russians, Peter Svidler and Sergey Karjakin, was the most interesting of the day. We have pictorial and video impressions in our round eight report.

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The 2016 FIDE World Chess Candidates Tournament is a 14-round event, which determines the next Challenger to Magnus Carlsen's title, is taking place in Moscow from March 10–30. Eight players, including six of the World’s top-ten rated grandmasters. The time control is 100 minutes for the first 40 moves, 50 minutes for the next 20 moves and then 15 minutes for the rest of the game, plus an additional 30 seconds per move starting from move one. The guaranteed prize fund is US $420,000.

Candidates round eight – Caruana is back!

Report from Moscow by Sagar Shah

Round 8, Sunday 20 March 2016
Svidler Peter
Karjakin Sergey
Caruana Fabiano
Nakamura Hikaru
Aronian Levon
Giri Anish
Topalov Veselin
Anand Viswanathan

GUM – a beautiful department store building directly facing Red Square in Moscow

Where is the Candidates tournament held? How is the playing venue? Where is tournament hall and where is the commentary room? Where do the journalists sit and where do the seconds of the players follow the games?

The entire venue of the Candidates 2016 is shown to you in this video. At the end there is also a clip of players entering the tournament hall. In short, if you are at home and are badly missing the fact that you are not in Moscow for the Candidates, then this video is for you!

This is going to be an extremely exciting second half of the tournament. As we move towards the last six rounds, we notice that only one point separates the top five players in the field. Levon Aronian and Sergey Karjakin are lead with 5.0/8, Vishy Anand and Fabiano Caruana are right behind them on 4.5/8 and Anish Giri is within a striking distance with 4.0/8. It’s true that Peter Svidler too has his chances on 3.5/8, but with every winning opportunity that he is misses it is becoming increasingly difficult. The eighth round turned out to be life changing one for one player, and that was Fabiano Caruana.

Fabiano Caruana – Hikaru Nakamura 1-0

Something about Rustam Kasimdzhanov’s mood made us believe that Fabiano was going to win today!
By the way the white spots in picture are not dirt specks on the lens, but snowflakes!

Fabiano has been having quite a topsy-turvy event – piece up against Topalov, pretty bad position against Svidler, Benoni experiment against Aronian and so on. Finally in the eighth round he played a clean game to beat Hikaru Nakamura. Our first question to the readers is:

Which opening do you think this position arose from?

It looks sharper than a Sicilian, but guess what – it was an Anti-Berlin! And by the looks of it, it seems as if Black is the first one who has reached the enemy king’s gates. But Fabiano knew that it was extremely important not to touch any of his kingside pawns. He hadn’t seen exactly this same position in his home preparation but had gone through similar ideas which helped him during the game.

Caruana just moved his rook from h1 to g1, and it won’t be an exaggerating to say that this turned out to be the winning move. Black took the pawn on a2 but the white king sat snugly on a1 behind the black pawn (reminds me of a poem that I wrote five years ago). In the end White’s attack broke through and Hikaru could do nothing better than to resign the game.

Hikaru Nakamura has been completely out of sorts in this event and every new idea
that he comes up with has been refuted pretty well by his opponents

But the good thing is that he is smiling and enjoying the process of playing chess.
And that’s why Nakamura is such a great player.

[Event "Candidates 2016"] [Site "?"] [Date "2016.03.20"] [Round "8"] [White "Caruana, Fabiano"] [Black "Nakamura, Hikaru"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C65"] [WhiteElo "2794"] [BlackElo "2790"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [PlyCount "65"] {No one could have imagined that this game transpired from an Anti-Berlin. It looked more like the sharpest line of the Sicilian.} 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. d3 Bc5 5. Bxc6 {In his game against Anand, Hikaru said that he was happy to get his knight to d4. Well, if that was the case then Caruana didn't want that knight to exist.} dxc6 6. Nbd2 O-O 7. Qe2 {Anand is the main founder of this move, having played it against Giri and Kryvoruchko.} Re8 8. Nc4 Nd7 9. Bd2 Bd6 10. O-O-O {We have been following Perez Candela-Sargissian. There the Black player played c5, but Nakamura went for the queenside expansion with b5.} b5 11. Ne3 a5 12. Nf5 a4 13. Bg5 f6 {Provoking f6 so that the g-pawn has a hook to open up the kingside.} (13... Nf6 {doesn't look so great. The pin is irritating and the g-pawn anyway comes down the board.} 14. g4 h6 15. Bh4 $40) 14. Be3 Nc5 15. g4 Be6 16. Kb1 b4 {It seems as if the black forces are going to reach White's gates faster, but because Caruana hasn't moved any of his kingside pawns this might not be so easy to break for Nakamura. In fact after the game Hikaru said that his plan of b5-b4 looked like bad judgement.} 17. g5 b3 $6 {Unbelievably this natural move turns out to be an error.} (17... Bxf5 18. exf5 a3 19. b3 e4 $13 {is the direction in which Nakamura should have been looking.}) (17... Kh8 $5 {Tucking the king in the corner too looks like a logical choice.} 18. Rhg1 Bxf5 19. exf5 a3 20. b3 e4 21. Nd4 (21. Bxc5 exf3 $19 ) 21... fxg5 22. Bxg5 Qd7 $15) 18. Rhg1 $1 {[%cal Gh1g1] A fantastic move by Caruana. He had studied similar postions before and had come to the conclusion that it makes sense not to touch any pawns on the kingside.} bxa2+ (18... bxc2+ 19. Qxc2 $16) 19. Ka1 Bxf5 20. exf5 a3 (20... Kh8 21. Nh4 $40) 21. b3 {Black is already in trouble. Nakamura had planned e4 here, but it doesn't seem to work.} Na6 {This seemed like the only way to continue the game. But even then White has a huge edge.} (21... e4 $2 22. dxe4 Rxe4 23. Rd4 $1 Rxd4 24. Bxd4 $18 ) 22. c3 {This maintains the advantage and is pretty strong. Caruana found it after 30 mins of thought.} (22. d4 $1 {would have been stronger as after} exd4 23. gxf6 dxe3 (23... Qxf6 24. Qc4+ Qf7 25. Rxg7+ $1 Kxg7 26. Rg1+ Kf8 27. Bh6+ Ke7 28. Re1+ $18) 24. Qc4+ Kh8 25. fxg7#) 22... Bf8 23. Nd2 fxg5 24. Rxg5 Nc5 25. Rg3 $1 {With moves like Bxc5 and Ne4 coming up, Black is completely lost.} e4 (25... Nxd3 26. Ne4 $18) (25... Qxd3 26. Qxd3 Nxd3 27. Ne4 Nf4 28. Nf6+ $18) 26. Bxc5 Bxc5 (26... exd3 27. Qg4 $18) 27. Nxe4 Bd6 28. Rh3 (28. Rxg7+ Kxg7 29. Qg4+ Kh8 $19) 28... Be5 29. d4 Bf6 30. Rg1 Rb8 (30... Kh8 31. Qh5 Kg8 32. Qxe8+ $18) (30... Bxd4 31. Rd3 (31. cxd4 Qxd4+)) 31. Kxa2 Bh4 32. Rg4 Qd5 33. c4 1-0

Daniel King on Round 8: Caruana vs Nakamura

Levon Aronian – Anish Giri

Anish Giri and Sopiko Guramishvili make their way to playing hall

Levon Aronian comes to the playing hall with his friend.
Can any of our readers recognize who Levon’s second is?

Nothing terribly exciting happened in this game. The players decided to repeat the first fourteen moves from their game in Zurich 2016. Aronian came up with a new idea. He hadn’t done any deep homework but had just found a move that keeps the position alive and went for it.

Aronian played 14.f3!? In the previous encounter Aronian had gone for 14.f4 and this was met with b6! and Bb7. Hence, the Armenian’s top priority today was to prevent the freeing move b6 but it didn’t really help as Anish got that move in anyway after a while.

“I would have been scared if I got a similar endgame against Kramnik,
but against Levon I was never really tense!” – Anish Giri in the press conference!

[Event "Candidates 2016"] [Site "?"] [Date "2016.03.20"] [Round "8"] [White "Aronian, Levon"] [Black "Giri, Anish"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "D43"] [WhiteElo "2786"] [BlackElo "2793"] [PlyCount "80"] 1. Nf3 d5 2. d4 Nf6 3. c4 c6 4. Nc3 e6 5. Bg5 h6 {Are we really going to witness the sharp Moscow System?} 6. Bxf6 {Not today! Aronian opts for the safer system.} Qxf6 7. Qb3 dxc4 8. Qxc4 Nd7 9. e3 g6 10. Ne4 {This move has been played in only one game until now. Which game is that? Read on to find out!} Qe7 11. Ne5 Qb4+ 12. Qxb4 Bxb4+ 13. Ke2 Be7 {Now here's the fun fact. This same line was played by Levon and Anish against each other at the Zurich Rapid 2016!} 14. f3 $146 {[%cal Gf2f3] The first new move of the game. In the previous encounter Levon had played f4. Now he tries to improve with f3.} (14. f4 $6 {The main reason why f4 is not such a great move is because of} b6 $1 15. Kf2 (15. Nxc6 Bb7 16. Nxe7 Bxe4 $19 {The knight on e7 is trapped.}) 15... Bb7 16. Rd1 Rd8 17. Be2 O-O 18. Bf3 c5 19. Ng3 Nxe5 20. dxe5 Ba6 21. Ne4 Bd3 22. Nf6+ Kg7 23. Nd5 exd5 24. Rxd3 d4 25. exd4 Rxd4 26. Rxd4 cxd4 27. Ke2 f6 28. Kd3 fxe5 29. fxe5 Rc8 30. Rd1 Bg5 31. Ke4 Be3 32. Rd3 Kf7 33. Ra3 Rc7 34. Be2 Ke7 35. Ra4 Bc1 36. Rxd4 Bxb2 37. Rc4 {1/2-1/2 (37) Aronian,L (2792)-Giri,A (2798) Zuerich 2016}) 14... Rg8 {In order to play f5 at some point.} 15. Rc1 { All of Levon's ideas have been made with the sole purpose of preventing the move b6. If he can prevent Black from playing that he can harbour ambitions of an advantage because the c8 bishop is passive.} f5 16. Nxd7 (16. Nd2 Nxe5 17. dxe5 Kf7 $15) 16... Kxd7 17. Nd2 b6 {Black got in the move b6. True he is slightly passive, but the two bishops compensate for that.} 18. Kf2 Bb7 19. h4 Rac8 20. f4 Bf6 21. b4 Rg7 22. Be2 g5 23. hxg5 hxg5 24. fxg5 Bxg5 25. Bf3 Ba6 26. Nc4 Bxc4 ({Maybe Anish could have tried to wrest the initiative with} 26... c5 $5 27. bxc5 bxc5 28. d5 Re8) 27. Rxc4 f4 28. e4 Be7 29. a3 e5 30. dxe5 Ke6 31. Ke2 Kxe5 32. Rh5+ Bg5 33. Bg4 Rd8 (33... Rcc7 34. Kf3) 34. Rxc6 Kxe4 35. Re6+ Kd4 36. Rh3 {This looks a little scary for Black, but Anish has it all under control.} Kc4 37. Bf5 Re7 38. Rxe7 Bxe7 39. Rh7 Bd6 40. Rxa7 Re8+ { With the rook coming to e3, Levon saw no reason to continue the game and accepted the draw.} 1/2-1/2

Did they synchronize the dress code?

Interview with Levon Aronian

Sagar Shah: You decided to repeat the same line that was played in Zurich 2016 rapid.

Levon Aronian: Yeah, I thought it is an interesting position to play. Optically it felt that White was better, but I didn’t play precisely. I feel it – there was more in the position.

So, you had prepared this 14.f3 idea in detail at home?

Not really. I just knew that f3 is an idea in the position. You are putting your king on f2 and just continuing to play. It’s an interesting position.

Are you consciously trying to play more endgames in this tournament?

I just want to any kind of positions as long as I have a chance to fight for an advantage. It doesn’t really matter whether it’s endgame or middlegame.

Can you tell us something about the j’adoube incident from your point of view? (For what Nakamura had to say, you can check out this video interview with Hikaru)

[After some thought] I don’t mind him doing what he did. I think Hikaru is a good person. I am good friends with his parents. It happens in the heat of the moment. It’s normal that such things happen in such a high profile event.

What did you tell him because that is not audible on the video?

I don’t remember. It’s difficult to remember because you are in a moment of huge stress. I don’t think it was anything offensive. That’s for sure.

You are 5.0/8 right now, so how do you think things have gone for you in this event?

It’s a great opportunity for me to be here. So I am trying to show that I deserve this chance.

The j’adoube incident between Nakamura and Aronian promises an exciting last round of the event

Peter Svidler – Sergey Karjakin

Peter Svidler discusses some final opening ideas with Maxim Matlakov at the start of the round

We know who Karjakin’s second is (Potkin), but who is the third person?!!

It won’t be wrong to say that both the players went back home with some sadness as well as some joy. But Karjakin was the one who lost out on a big opportunity because he was completely dominating out of the opening.

One look at the g2 bishop should be enough to convince you that this position is winning for Black. Sergey took the pawn on h3 which in itself wasn’t the error. He missed that White could play Qe5 when things were spiraling out of control and the g2 bishop had been liberated. Peter not only got a decent position but slowly began to outplay Karjakin. Towards the end he had a completely decisive advantage but he wasn’t able to convert his chance.

[Event "Candidates 2016"] [Site "?"] [Date "2016.03.20"] [Round "8"] [White "Svidler, Peter"] [Black "Karjakin, Sergey"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "A29"] [WhiteElo "2757"] [BlackElo "2760"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [PlyCount "99"] 1. c4 Nf6 2. Nc3 e5 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. g3 Bb4 5. Bg2 O-O 6. O-O e4 7. Ng5 Bxc3 8. bxc3 Re8 9. f3 e3 10. d3 (10. dxe3 d6 $44 {[%csl Rc3,Rc4]}) 10... d5 11. Qa4 $146 {Peter thought for a while before making this move. Was it not home prepared? Well, he thought for a while but not long enough to make it an over the board novelty. He might have been recollecting his analysis.} (11. Qb3 { has been the main move in the past.} Na5 12. Qa3 c6 13. cxd5 cxd5 14. f4 { leads to interesting positions.}) 11... h6 {Karjakin made this move quickly, which meant that he was prepared for Peter's novelty!} 12. cxd5 Nxd5 13. Ne4 f5 14. Nc5 f4 {This was all preparation.} (14... Nxc3 15. Qb3+ Nd5 16. f4 Nce7 17. Nxb7 Bxb7 18. Qxb7 $16) 15. Bb2 Rb8 16. c4 {This was the first position where Karjakin sank into thought. He was happy because he had not studied this move and felt that it must be a sub-standard reply.} Nde7 (16... Nf6) 17. g4 { Peter knew that in effect he was burying his bishop on g2 with this move. But he was so afraid of the attack on his king that he decided to close the kingside.} (17. d4 fxg3 18. hxg3 (18. d5 gxh2+) 18... Nf5 19. d5 Nxg3 20. dxc6 Nxe2+ 21. Kh2 Qh4+ $19) 17... b6 18. Ne4 Be6 19. g5 $6 h5 $6 (19... hxg5 $1 20. Nxg5 Nf5 $3 21. Qxc6 (21. Nxe6 Rxe6 $19 {[%cal Ge6g6,Gf5h4]}) 21... Qxg5 $19 { and it's game over.}) 20. Rfd1 Nd4 21. Bxd4 Qxd4 22. Qxa7 Qd7 23. Qa3 h4 24. Qc3 Bf5 25. h3 {[%csl Rg2]} Bxh3 $6 {A very simple question to ask is: what was the need of taking the pawn on h3. The bishop is just dead, so why give it an opportunity to wake up. Karjakin thought that Bxh3 by White is not possible right now. And if he can just retreat the bishop and play h3 then he would be completely winning. But he missed Peter's next move.} 26. Qe5 $1 (26. Bxh3 Qxh3 $17 {[%cal Ge7f5]}) 26... Ng6 27. Qd5+ Be6 28. Qxd7 Bxd7 29. Kh2 $1 {And just like that the bishop on g2 can now hope for a new life on h3! By now the position is quite complex and can go either way.} Ra8 30. Bh3 Bxh3 31. Kxh3 Ra3 32. Rdc1 Rea8 33. Rc2 Kf7 34. d4 Rd8 35. d5 Ne5 36. Rb1 Kg6 $6 (36... Ra6 { It was important to prepare for the move d6 here.}) 37. d6 $1 {Svidler is alert and takes over the initiative.} cxd6 38. Rxb6 Kh5 39. Nxd6 Rda8 40. Rb5 Nc6 41. g6+ $1 Kxg6 42. Rc1 $1 {Transferring the rook to g1.} Kh7 (42... Nd4 43. Rg1+ Kh7 44. Rb7 Rg8 45. Rg4 Nxe2 46. Nf5 $18) 43. Rg1 R3a7 44. Rg4 Kg8 45. Rh5 {White is completely better at this point.} Ne7 46. Rgxh4 Ng6 47. Rg4 Nf8 48. Rxf4 Rxa2 49. Rfh4 (49. Nf5 g6 50. Nh6+ Kh8 51. Re5 Rxe2 52. Ng4 {followed by Nxe3 gives White definite winning chances.}) 49... g6 50. Re5 {And before things went out of hand Svidler agreed to a draw. Both players can be happy as well as sad with the result. Karjakin was winning after the opening and Svidler had a dominating position towards the end.} 1/2-1/2

The most amazing thing about Sergey is that even after a long game he is full of energy.
He gives interviews to every journalist in great detail and is extremely down to earth.

Veselin Topalov – Viswanathan Anand

With the help of his second Grzegorz Gajewski (left), Vishy Anand has come up
with an interesting opening system against 1.d4

“I did not expect you to play this same opening again!” These were the words of Veselin Topalov in the press conference after the game. So what exactly is this opening that Anand has employed against Anish Giri and Veselin Topalov in back to back rounds and made two easy draws?

First of all Black begins in a well-known Queen’s Gambit Declined style by putting his pawns on e6 and d5 and knight on f6. He then deploys his other knight on d7 before committing the dark squared bishop. The bishop then moves to b4 changing the entire essence of the opening from the Queen’s Gambit Declined to a Nimzo Indian or a Ragozin. Without getting into too many technicalities, the conclusion is: this system has no real name as it has not been played at the highest level by top players. Anand is the first one who has put in a lot of effort to develop these ideas from scratch. And that is the reason why his opponents are unable to find a suitable antidote against it. The five-time World Champion has worked on it for months and his in-depth preparation cannot be refuted by Topalov in just one day. Hence, Vishy was confident enough to play it for the third time in this tournament.

When you make moves like 11.b3 in the opening,
you must agree that something has gone wrong for you!

20.Nf4 was a weird decision by Veselin. He not only spoilt his pawn structure but also gave his opponent a working queenside majority. Anand held the edge for quite some time but was unable to break through.

[Event "Candidates 2016"] [Site "?"] [Date "2016.03.20"] [Round "8"] [White "Topalov, Veselin"] [Black "Anand, Viswanathan"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "D37"] [WhiteElo "2780"] [BlackElo "2762"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [PlyCount "101"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Nbd7 {Such is Anand's faith on his opening, he tried it against Aronian, then against Giri and now once again against Topalov. That's the thing with Anand: once he believes in his opening preparation he is not afraid of his opponents' novelties.} 5. Qc2 {Topalov made this move that was played by Giri as well. He got up from his chair and Anand replied instantly.} Bb4 6. cxd5 (6. a3 {was Anish's choice.}) 6... exd5 7. a3 Bxc3+ 8. Qxc3 Ne4 9. Qc2 {Until now players are following the game between Sakaev and Eljanov from Dagomys 2009. But now Anand deviates.} O-O 10. e3 Re8 11. b3 $5 {[%cal Gb2b3] This doesn't seem to be too ambitious. After that Black can equalize without too many difficulties.} (11. b4 {If you wanted to develop the bishop on b2 then why not b4? Well then the b4 pawn could become a weakness after} a5 12. Bb2 axb4 13. axb4 Rxa1+ 14. Bxa1 Qe7 $15) 11... c6 12. Bd3 Nf8 13. Bb2 Bf5 14. O-O (14. Nd2 Qg5 $15) 14... Qf6 15. Ne5 Nd6 { By exchanging the light squared bishops, Vishy is mainly aiming for a position where he would have a knight against the b2 bishop. That would give Black an excellent position.} 16. Rae1 Bxd3 17. Nxd3 Qg6 18. f3 $5 {The thing about Topalov is that he always likes to play actively. Here he is looking for the right moment when he can break in the centre with e4 and at the same time takes that square away from the d6 knight.} f6 19. a4 Ne6 20. Qd2 (20. Ba3 Nf5) 20... h5 $5 {In some ways securing the f5 square for the knight.} 21. Ba3 Nf5 22. Nf4 $6 {[%cal Gd3f4] This move is completely illogical. White exchanges the knights and leaves himself with some weaknesses. Why would White want to defend an inferior endgame voluntarily from an equal position?} Nxf4 23. exf4 { The resulting position looks mildly in Black's favour. The main reason being that the knight is better than the bishop and Black's pawn structure is better than White's.} Rxe1 (23... h4 $1 {Securing the f5 knight was also possible.}) 24. Rxe1 Re8 25. Rxe8+ Qxe8 26. Kf2 {Anand has those micro edges and he has the right to press in this position.} Nh6 27. Qd3 b6 {This is a very responsible decision. On one hand Black is weakening the c6 pawn but on the other he is preventing the move a5 followed by Bc5 which would paralyse his queenside majority. It is always a tradeoff and Vishy chose the move b6. Turns out that the c6 pawn was the reason why he couldn't really make much progress. What would have happened if Vishy would not have played b6 is a completely different story.} 28. Bb4 Qe6 29. Qc2 Kf7 30. Ba3 Qd7 31. Bb4 Nf5 32. Qd3 g6 33. g3 Ng7 {White doesn't have too many active possibilities. Black on the other hand can try to use his queenside majority by having the knight on e6 at some point. Right now it doesn't seem possible because Ne6 is met with f4-f5, but can Black prepare it is the question.} 34. Qe3 Kg8 (34... h4 35. g4 $11) ( 34... Qe6 {might have been the best move.} 35. Qxe6+ (35. Qc3 h4 $17 36. g4 f5 37. g5 Qd7 {and the position has changed in Black's favour.}) 35... Nxe6 36. Ke3 c5 37. dxc5 bxc5 38. Ba3 f5 $15) (34... Ne6) 35. Qd3 Kh7 36. Kg2 Qf5 37. Qc3 (37. Qxf5 Nxf5 {would definitely be some progress for Black.}) 37... Qe6 ( 37... Qb1 {was possible, but as Vishy said in the press conference with three moves to go until the time control he didn't want to let things spiral out of control. In any case it was just a draw.} 38. Qxc6 Qb2+ 39. Kh3 Qxb3 40. Bf8 Qxf3 41. Qxf6 (41. Qc7 $2 Qf1+ 42. Kh4 g5+ $1 43. fxg5 fxg5+ 44. Kxg5 Qf5+ 45. Kh4 Qg4#) 41... Nf5 42. Qf7+ Kh8 43. Qf6+ $11) 38. Qd3 a5 39. Bd2 Qf5 40. Qc3 Qe6 41. Qd3 Qf5 42. Qc3 h4 {Vishy shuns the draw and tries to play for a win.} 43. g4 Qb1 {The queen has made her way into the enemy camp, but without the knight she cannot do much.} 44. Be3 (44. Qxc6 Qd3 $19 {The bishop on d2 will drop.}) 44... Qd1 45. Bf2 Qe2 46. Qe3 Qxe3 47. Bxe3 Ne6 48. Kh3 g5 49. f5 $1 ( 49. fxg5 fxg5 {might be a tad better for Black, although a draw here looks most likely.}) 49... Nf4+ (49... Nc7 {being overambitious might make it completely bad.} 50. f4 $1 $16 {It's White who has the chances to play for a win now.}) 50. Bxf4 gxf4 51. Kg2 {There is no way to break through and hence the players agreed to a draw.} (51. Kxh4 $2 c5 52. dxc5 bxc5 53. Kh3 c4 $19) 1/2-1/2

Players after the game usually pop in a few of the refreshments
to keep up their energy levels for the press conference and interviews

There is a shop in the tournament venue setup by AGON and FIDE which sells chess souvenirs. Here you can see iPhone covers, pens, broaches, bottles and postcards, all with the AGON logo on them.

There are also T-shits, bags, and all of this is available at affordable prices

WGM Elmira Mirzoeva (right), who works as a reporter and correspondent for the
Russian National Television channel, is seen here with the photographer of this report,
Amruta Mokal [picture by the official photographer of World Chess website]

5+0 – no increment! That’s the classical way of playing blitz!

Grandmaster Igor Naumkin came to the hall to kibitz the games

We hope for some “eye candy” encounters in the ninth round of the Candidates!

All photos by Amruta Mokal of ChessBase India

Standings after eight rounds

Pairings and results

Round 1, Friday 11 March 2016
Karjakin Sergey
Svidler Peter
Nakamura Hikaru
Caruana Fabiano
Giri Anish
Aronian Levon
Anand Viswanathan
Topalov Veselin
Round 2, Saturday 12 March 2016
Svidler Peter ½-½ Topalov Veselin
Aronian Levon ½-½ Anand Viswanathan
Caruana Fabiano ½-½ Giri Anish
Karjakin Sergey 1-0 Nakamura Hikaru
Round 3, Sunday 13 March 2016
Nakamura Hikaru
Svidler Peter
Giri Anish
Karjakin Sergey
Anand Viswanathan
Caruana Fabiano
Topalov Veselin
Aronian Levon
Rest day, Monday 14 March 2016
Round 4, Tuesday 15 March 2016
Svidler Peter
Aronian Levon
Caruana Fabiano
Topalov Veselin
Karjakin Sergey
Anand Viswanathan
Nakamura Hikaru
Giri Anish
Round 5, Wed. 16 March 2016
Giri Anish ½-½ Svidler Peter
Anand Viswanathan ½-½ Nakamura Hikaru
Topalov Veselin ½-½ Karjakin Sergey
Aronian Levon ½-½ Caruana Fabiano
Round 6, Thursday 17 March 2016
Anand Viswanathan
Svidler Peter
Topalov Veselin
Giri Anish
Aronian Levon
Nakamura Hikaru
Caruana Fabiano
Karjakin Sergey
Rest day, Friday 18 March 2016
Round 7, Saturday 19 March 2016
Svidler Peter
Caruana Fabiano
Karjakin Sergey
Aronian Levon
Nakamura Hikaru
Topalov Veselin
Giri Anish
Anand Viswanathan
Round 8, Sunday 20 March 2016
Svidler Peter
Karjakin Sergey
Caruana Fabiano
Nakamura Hikaru
Aronian Levon
Giri Anish
Topalov Veselin
Anand Viswanathan
Round 9, Monday 21 March 2016
Topalov Veselin   Svidler Peter
Anand Viswanathan   Aronian Levon
Giri Anish   Caruana Fabiano
Nakamura Hikaru   Karjakin Sergey
Rest day, Tuesday 22 March 2016
Round 10, Wed. 23 March 2016
Svidler Peter   Nakamura Hikaru
Karjakin Sergey   Giri Anish
Caruana Fabiano   Anand Viswanathan
Aronian Levon   Topalov Veselin
Round 11, Thursday 24 March 2016
Aronian Levon   Svidler Peter
Topalov Veselin   Caruana Fabiano
Anand Viswanathan   Karjakin Sergey
Giri Anish   Nakamura Hikaru
Round 12, Friday 25 March 2016
Svidler Peter   Giri Anish
Nakamura Hikaru   Anand Viswanathan
Karjakin Sergey   Topalov Veselin
Caruana Fabiano   Aronian Levon
Rest day, Saturday 26 March 2016
Round 13, Sunday 27 March 2016
Caruana Fabiano   Svidler Peter
Aronian Levon   Karjakin Sergey
Topalov Veselin   Nakamura Hikaru
Anand Viswanathan   Giri Anish
Round 14, Monday 28 March 2016
Svidler Peter   Anand Viswanathan
Giri Anish   Topalov Veselin
Nakamura Hikaru   Aronian Levon
Karjakin Sergey   Caruana Fabiano

Roundup broadcasts

ChessBase is doing roundup shows at the end of each round of the Candidates.

Here is the full schedule of future broadcasts – you need to be a premium member to watch

Roundup Commentary Schedule

Date Day Round English German
21.03.2016 Monday Round 9 Simon Williams Klaus Bischoff
22.03.2016 Tuesday Free day Summary Yannick Pelletier  
23.03.2016 Wednesday Round 10 Daniel King Klaus Bischoff
24.03.2016 Thursday Round 11 Simon Williams Klaus Bischoff
25.03.2016 Friday Round 12 Daniel King Oliver Reeh/Karsten Müller
26.03.2016 Saturday Free day Summary Yannick Pelletier  
27.03.2016 Sunday Round 13 Daniel King Klaus Bischoff
28.03.2016 Monday Round 14 Yannick Pelletier Klaus Bischoff


Discussion and Feedback Join the public discussion or submit your feedback to the editors


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kiathong kiathong 3/21/2016 09:46
No idea who took the video, but am extremely grateful that you did. (and for the excellent commentary as well) Really get an insight into how tournaments are conducted :)
ulyssesganesh ulyssesganesh 3/21/2016 06:35
no update of round 9 of the candidates so far! disappointing!!
great win by vishy! come back at the right time...peaking at the right time!
JureDalmatinsko JureDalmatinsko 3/21/2016 05:42
Hope Caruana's first win might be the first of seven!
But still like Topalov's attacking style!
Justjeff Justjeff 3/21/2016 05:04
Those "T-shits" must have been painful to produce.
fistoffury fistoffury 3/21/2016 03:20
Good coverage and detail by the author. Chess authors everywhere should follow this style.

Chessbase tech - the arrow keys don't function at all and perform bizarre actions. This has been this way since a long time. Time to fix it?
libyantiger libyantiger 3/21/2016 02:22
let them make the world champions as a simultaneous between all candidates against carlsen ....and carlsen will beat them all
vladivaclav vladivaclav 3/21/2016 12:22
Summary of rd. 8: American No.1 swept American No.2 off the board :)
Pionki Pionki 3/21/2016 09:17
Estoy sorprendido de que juegan en el piso quinto. Pensaba de que todo esto tiene lugar en el sótano de un edificio.
jajalamapratapri jajalamapratapri 3/21/2016 06:08
The venue looks like a dump ready for demolition
sidbis sidbis 3/21/2016 04:14
Very nice first video about the Candidates venues. Congratulations!
Coolblunt Coolblunt 3/21/2016 12:03
Giri is the new Leko.
JohnTVian JohnTVian 3/21/2016 12:03
I think the most interesting move between Caruana Fabiano and Nakamura Hikaru was 14. Be3...
Mithrull Mithrull 3/20/2016 11:18
So Giri the only player without a decisive result. Shocker!
Queenslander Queenslander 3/20/2016 10:36
@algorithmy: Carlsen himself admits Aronian has outplayed him more often than anyone (and he is currently co-leading with +2), so I think you need to add Levon to your select little group of worthy world championship contenders.
Rational Rational 3/20/2016 10:20
The trouble with tournament is that someone like Topalov or Ivanchuk or other back markers 3 years ago are total wild cards who influence the result for the top place while having little stake in it themselves.
However a tournament is a far more fascinating event than a series of matches IMHO
DELTAMAX2020 DELTAMAX2020 3/20/2016 10:06
no matter who wins at the end, canditate system is much better than the world championship matchs.FIDE should bring back the 24 games system back.
Rational Rational 3/20/2016 09:58
@bill alg. That's assuming Caruana's answer is true, I am sure he is too shrewd to just answer these dumb journalist's questions honestly. These guys are used to having post mortems where they are probing ,hiding the truth , showing off to each other.
MJFitch MJFitch 3/20/2016 09:42
Giri's record is not perfect, it 1/2 perfect lol :-)
VVI VVI 3/20/2016 09:33
Folks, it will be Anand again winning the candidates.
His game has been pretty steady. The others have been lucky at times.
algorithmy algorithmy 3/20/2016 09:03
Be it Katjaken or Caruana, and let's see a decent world championship match, other players will be a piece of pie for carlsen!
Depsipeptide Depsipeptide 3/20/2016 08:28
Aronian-Giri: A quiet Semi-Slav gave Anish his eighth draw in a row. Still six more chances to make an impression.
Svidler-Karjakin: Peter pressed with White in a line made famous by K-K battles a century ago. A fighting draw, one more Black cleared by Sergey.
Topalov-Anand: Veselin's opponents will now be thinking- why did you go crazy against him and play normally against me?! Anand was better but it was not enough and he missed the chance to go 2-0 in this minimatch.
Caruana-Nakamura: Game of the round. Even a Berlin can lead to attacks on both kings. Conspiracy theorists might say Hikaru who has no hope left lost to his countryman.
Bill Alg Bill Alg 3/20/2016 07:45
Caruana is too honest. By answering questions like "how far was it your opening preparation?" he is giving away information for free.
flachspieler flachspieler 3/20/2016 07:20
@handikap: the table is after round 7. The tournament is double round robbin
with altogether 14 rounds.

One general question: Why is information from the candidates tournament so sparse?
Do the organizers require (high) fees for transmission?
bolter41 bolter41 3/20/2016 07:18
Caruana bubbling up, Nakamura sinking down!
handikap handikap 3/20/2016 06:57
there is an error in the final table...Caruana has only remis...