Candidates R13: It's Karjakin or Caruana!

by Sagar Shah
3/27/2016 – Hikaru Nakamura played a solid Queen’s Gambit Declined against Veselin Toplaov, equalized quickly, won a pawn the game in 40 moves. Viswanathan Anand vs Anish Giri was a draw in 52 moves. Sergey Karjakin managed to draw in a dangerous position against Levon Aronian in 101 moves, while Caruana-Svidler turned into a 50-move-rule drama that ended on move 116 in a draw. Full report with postgame interviews and indepth analysis.

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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 thirteen – Express report

Round 13, Sunday 27 March 2016
Caruana Fabiano
Svidler Peter
Aronian Levon
Karjakin Sergey
Topalov Veselin
Nakamura Hikaru
Anand Viswanathan
Giri Anish

Daniel King on Round 13: Caruana vs Svidler and Aronian vs Karjakin

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Fabiano Caruana – Peter Svidler 0.5-0.5

Peter Svidler: The only guy in the tournament who is playing the Ruy Lopez more often than the Berlin!

Svidler equalized after the opening without any particular difficulties. But an impatient break in the centre with d5 gave Caruana a clear advantage. Caruana misplayed it and Peter held the edge, which was once again handed over to the American due to a tactical oversight. Caruana won a pawn in the endgame and kept grinding. Svidler at the right moment gave up his bishop for all of white’s pawns to take the game into rook+bishop vs rook endgame. On the 102 move Svidler went wrong and handed over a winning Philidor position to Caruana.  Fabiano still had 14 moves left to win and with best play he could have mated Svidler or won his rook on the 50th move. “I have studied it many times but never seem to remember how to win this endgame!”, was Fabiano’s statement after the game. The game ended in a draw and a heartbreak of some sorts for Caruana.

[Event "Candidates 2016"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2016.03.27"]
[Round "13"]
[White "Caruana, Fabiano"]
[Black "Svidler, Peter"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "C84"]
[WhiteElo "2794"]
[BlackElo "2757"]
[Annotator "Sagar Shah"]
[PlyCount "231"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 {Two games in a row for Caruana against the Ruy
Lopez. These days it is normal to expect the Berlin starting with 3...Nf6.} 4.
Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. d3 {Caruana plays 6.d3 variation, the same as he did
against Levon Aronian in the previous round.} b5 7. Bb3 d6 ({Aronian's} 7...
O-O {was met by Nc3 in the previous round.}) 8. a4 Bd7 9. c3 O-O 10. Bc2 b4 11.
Re1 Re8 12. Nbd2 {Leko-Caruana and Karjakin-Aronian are the two main games
that have reached position.} Bf8 $146 {First new move of the game. But
definitely not prepared at home. Both the players were take quite a lot of
time to make their moves.} (12... Na5 {had been previously played.} 13. cxb4
Nc6 {and the b4 pawn falls.}) (12... Rb8 {has also been played.}) 13. a5 g6 14.
Bb3 (14. d4 bxc3 15. bxc3 exd4 16. cxd4 Bg7 {is what Black is looking forward
to.}) 14... Be6 15. Ba4 Bd7 16. Nf1 {Caruana isn't interested in going d4
immediately. Instead tries to strengthen his position with Ne3.} h6 17. Ng3 {
At first sight this move looks pretty illogical as the knight on g3 is sort of
dominated by the pawn on g6. However, White's idea now would surely be to
break in the centre with d4.} (17. Ne3 {With ideas of going to d5 and c4 looks
natural.}) 17... bxc3 18. bxc3 Bg7 19. h3 {Caruana is taking it slow. He wants
to maintain maximum pressure in the position before committing to anything.} (
19. d4 {was of course possible.}) 19... d5 $6 {Peter loses his patience and
breaks in the centre but this is exactly what Caruana was looking for. This
completely justifies the placement of the knight on g3 as it gets to the e4
square.} 20. exd5 Nxd5 21. Ne4 $1 Nb8 (21... f5 22. Qb3 Nce7 23. Nc5 $16) 22.
Bb3 (22. Qb3 {was also possible.}) 22... Be6 23. Bd2 ({A very weird but quite
strong move was} 23. Nc5 $5 {sacrificing the c3 pawn.} Nxc3 24. Nxe6 Rxe6 25.
Qc2 Nd5 26. d4 $1 exd4 27. Rxe6 fxe6 28. Qxg6 $18) 23... Nd7 {Black has
limited the damage to some extent by controlling the c5 square.} 24. Ba4 $6 (
24. Qc2 {with the idea of d3-d4 was better way to proceed.} f5 $6 25. Qa2 $14)
24... f5 $1 25. Ng3 c5 {Black is already doing completely fine.} 26. Bb3 (26.
Bxd7 Bxd7 27. Qb3 Be6 $15) 26... Qc7 27. h4 N5f6 $11 28. h5 f4 (28... c4 $5 {
an extremely strong positional move.} 29. Bxc4 (29. dxc4 f4 30. Ne4 Nxe4 31.
Rxe4 Nc5 $1 32. Re1 Bg4 $19) 29... Bxc4 30. dxc4 f4 31. Ne4 Nxe4 32. Rxe4 Nc5
33. Re1 g5 $17) 29. Bxe6+ Rxe6 30. Ne4 Nxh5 31. d4 Qc6 $1 32. Qb3 c4 $1 $17 33.
Qa4 Qd5 $1 {With a serious of accurate moves Black has wrested over the
initiative.} 34. Rad1 Rae8 $2 {A bad mistake by Svidler which changes the
evaluation of the situation from better for him to better for his opponent.} (
34... Rf8 35. dxe5 Nxe5 36. Nxe5 Rxe5 $17) 35. dxe5 Nxe5 36. Nxe5 Rxe5 37. Bxf4
$1 Qb5 (37... Rxe4 38. Qxe8+ $1 {This is the move which Svidler saw just in
the nick of time. Or else he would have had to resign!} Rxe8 39. Rxe8+ Kf7 40.
Rxd5 $18) 38. Qxb5 Rxb5 39. Bd6 {White is better now with an extra pawn.} Kh8 (
39... Rxa5 40. g4 $18) 40. g4 Nf6 41. Nxf6 Rxe1+ 42. Rxe1 Bxf6 43. Re8+ Kg7 44.
Bb4 Re5 45. Rc8 Re6 46. Rc7+ Kg8 47. Rxc4 $16 {Caruana is a pawn up but as the
game shows, the conversion into a win is not at all easy.} h5 48. Kg2 Kf7 49.
Rc5 (49. gxh5 gxh5 {the passed h-pawn gives some counterplay.}) 49... hxg4 50.
Rc7+ Ke8 51. Rc4 Kd7 52. Rxg4 Be5 53. c4 Bc7 54. Kf3 Rf6+ 55. Ke3 Re6+ 56. Kd3
Rf6 57. Ke3 Re6+ 58. Kd3 Rf6 59. Rg5 Rxf2 60. Rxg6 Rf3+ 61. Kc2 Rf5 62. Rxa6
Kc8 63. Kd3 Rh5 64. c5 Kb7 65. Rg6 Bxa5 66. Bxa5 Rxc5 {The notorius bishop+
rook vs rook. Svidler defends this well for a while but soon goes astray.} 67.
Bb4 Rc6 68. Bd6 Kc8 69. Kd4 Rb6 70. Kd5 Rb7 71. Rg8+ Kd7 72. Bc5 Kc7 73. Rg6
Kd7 74. Rh6 Kc7 75. Rc6+ Kd7 76. Bb6 Ke8 77. Bd4 Kd7 78. Rd6+ Kc8 79. Ke6 Kc7
80. Ra6 Rb5 81. Ra1 Kc6 82. Rc1+ Kb7 83. Kd6 Ka6 84. Rc6+ Ka5 85. Bc5 Rb7 86.
Kd5 Kb5 87. Bd6 Ka4 88. Ra6+ Kb5 89. Ra1 Kb6 90. Rc1 Kb5 91. Rc6 Ka4 92. Bc5
Kb5 93. Rd6 Ka4 94. Kc6 Rb8 95. Rd3 Rc8+ 96. Kd5 Rd8+ 97. Bd6 Rc8 98. Ra3+ Kb5
99. Rb3+ Ka4 100. Rb4+ Ka5 101. Bc5 Rh8 102. Rb7 Ka4 $2 (102... Ka6 {is the
easiest way to draw} 103. Rb2 Rd8+ 104. Kc4 Rc8 $11) 103. Kc4 $1 {It is the Philidor position and everything is in place. But can White win in 116 moves?}
Rh4+ 104. Bd4 Rh5 {The enemy rook is already on the first rank so it is time
to take rook from one side to the other.} 105. Bf2 {This is incorrect. The
right way to remember it is the bishop should be defended by the rook. So you
should play Bf2 when your rook is on b2.} (105. Rb2 $1 Rh3 (105... Ka3 106. Re2
$1 {Threatening a check on c5.} Rh4 107. Re6 Ka2 108. Re1 {and it is game over}
) 106. Bf2 $1 {The rook defends the bishop and the bishop controls the h4
square. This is the ideal formation.} Rf3 {Once the rook has been forced to an
inferior square on the third rank it is time to improve your bishop with a
tempo.} 107. Bc5 Rf4+ 108. Bd4 Rf3 109. Rb4+ $1 {This check is crucial.} Ka3 (
109... Ka5 110. Rb7 {is immediate curtains.}) 110. Rb6 Ka2 111. Rb2+ $1 {
Important intermediate check.} Ka3 112. Re2 {Threatening Bc5+. Keep an eye on
the move counter - it is still not 116 moves!} Ka4 113. Be3 $1 {Blocking the
rook.} Ka3 114. Bc5+ Ka4 115. Ra2+ Ra3 116. Rxa3# {And wins on exactly the
50th move! This analysis proves that Caruana not only theoretically had a
winning position, but if he made all the accurate moves then he would have won
the game within the 50 moves rule.}) 105... Rg5 {The rook moves to the better
square.} 106. Rh7 $2 {Crucial wastage of time.} Rg4+ (106... Rb5) 107. Bd4 Rg5
108. Rh8 Rb5 109. Ra8+ Ra5 110. Rb8 Rh5 111. Bf6 (111. Rb2 {as shown above was
the right way but it is already too late now.}) 111... Ka5 112. Bc3+ Ka6 113.
Bd4 Rh6 114. Be3 Re6 115. Rb3 Rc6+ 116. Kd5 {So many twists and turns! Just
like a Hollywood movie!} 1/2-1/2

The moment when Peter Svidler played 102...Ka4 and realized he lost the draw ...

... only to have it returned by Caruana on move 111

Caruana was keeping an eye on the Aronian-Karjakin game. In the 14th round he will have to do something similar
 with the Svidler-Anand encounter (check the end of the article to understand the tiebreak situation)


Levon Aronian – Sergey Karjakin 0.5-0.5

What are the others doing?! Levon Aronian checks out games on the big screen

It was a beautifully played game by Levon. Through nimble manoeuvres he was able to obtain a clearly superior position. However, the position was so complicated and filled with so many possibilities that it was impossible for Aronian to calculate everything in the limited time that he had. As is usual with Sergey, he just didn’t give up. He fought on and on, finding compensation for his missing piece and defended that inferior position to hold the draw. “It is like you are in the process of making a beautiful painting and then you just throw the brush away!” was Aronian’s way of describing how the game went for him. Sergey on the other hand was pretty much happy with the outcome.

[Event "Candidates 2016"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2016.03.27"]
[Round "13"]
[White "Aronian, Levon"]
[Black "Karjakin, Sergey"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "A29"]
[WhiteElo "2786"]
[BlackElo "2760"]
[Annotator "Sagar Shah"]
[PlyCount "202"]

1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. g3 d5 5. cxd5 Nxd5 6. Bg2 Nb6 7. O-O Be7 8.
d3 Be6 9. a3 O-O 10. Be3 {This was already played by Aronian against Jon
Ludvig Hammer in Norway Chess 2015.} (10. b4 {is of course the natural follow
up but Aronian goes for Be3.}) 10... Qd7 11. b4 f6 12. Ne4 Nd5 13. Bd2 a5 14.
Nc5 (14. b5 Nd4 $15) 14... Bxc5 15. bxc5 a4 16. Rb1 Rfb8 17. Qc2 (17. e4 Nde7
18. Be3 Bb3 19. Qd2 Rd8 {And White isn't able to get the d4 break.}) 17... Nde7
18. Rb2 Bb3 19. Qb1 (19. Rxb3 axb3 20. Qxb3+ Kh8 {is surely not enough
compensation.}) 19... Kh8 20. Rc1 Na7 $1 {Played after a long think. The
knight will be well placed on b5 and the other knight could go to c6. This
Nc6-a7-b5 is a great manoeuvre by Sergey.} 21. Bb4 {The main idea of this move
is to clear the d2 square for the knight on f3.} Nb5 (21... Nec6 22. Nd2 Nd4
23. Nxb3 Nxb3 24. Rc4 $11) 22. Nd2 Bf7 $6 (22... Nd4 $1 23. Nxb3 (23. Re1 Bd5
$15) 23... Nxb3 24. Rc4 c6 $11) 23. e3 $1 {Taking the d4 square under control.
Around this point Aronian was very happy with his position.} Bg6 24. Ne4 Nd5
25. Be1 Nxa3 $6 (25... c6 {was more solid, but here White has an interesting
exchange sacrifice with} 26. Rxb5 cxb5 27. Nd6 $5 Nc7 28. Bb4 $44 {White White
has full compensation for the missing exchange.}) 26. c6 $1 {Of course this
was prepared before hand by Aronian.} Qe7 (26... Qxc6 27. Qa1 $1 $18) 27. Qa2
bxc6 28. Rxc6 Bf7 29. Rc5 $1 {This move is not so easy to see but is extremely
strong. A lot of factors are at work here and the lining up of the g2 bishop
against the a8 rook is one of the reasons why White is clearly better.} (
29. Ng5 fxg5 30. Rxb8+ Rxb8 31. Bxd5 Be8 $13) (29. Nd6 cxd6 30. Rxb8+ Rxb8 31.
Bxd5 Qb7 $1 $17) 29... Nxe3 $6 {This sacrifice looks scary for White} (29... f5
30. Ng5 $1 Qxg5 31. Bxd5 $18) (29... Nc3 30. Qxa3 Rxb2 31. Qxb2 Nxe4 32. Bxe4
Qxc5 33. Bxa8 $18) (29... Rxb2 30. Qxb2 $18) (29... Nb5 30. Rbxb5 Rxb5 31. Rxb5
$16) 30. Qxa3 (30. Rxb8+ Rxb8 31. Qxa3 Nc2 {This was the move that Levon was
afraid of} (31... Nxg2 32. Kxg2 $16) 32. Qc1 $1 {This move gives White a
clearly better position.} Nxe1 (32... Nd4 33. Rxc7 Qd8 34. Kf1 $16) 33. Rxc7 $1
Qf8 (33... Qd8 34. Rxf7 $18) 34. Qxe1 a3 35. Qa1 a2 36. Nc3 $18) 30... Rxb2 31.
Qxb2 Nxg2 32. Kxg2 a3 33. Qb7 Qd8 34. Qxc7 Qxc7 (34... a2 35. Qxd8+ Rxd8 36.
Ra5 Rxd3 37. Ra8+ Bg8 38. Nc3 Rd8 39. Ra5 h6 40. Nxa2 $16) 35. Rxc7 Bd5 (35...
a2 36. Bc3 Bd5) 36. Rc5 (36. Kh3 a2 37. Bc3 a1=Q 38. Bxa1 Rxa1 39. Rc8+ Bg8 $11
) 36... a2 37. Bc3 Bg8 {At first sight it may seem that the position is just
winning for White as he has extra piece against the pawn. However, it is not
true. Black can defend this because the a2 pawn is just too strong.} 38. Ba1
Rb8 39. Ra5 (39. Rc1 Rb1 40. Rf1 Rb3 41. Nc3 $16 {and White is able to
preserve the d3 pawn which makes a huge difference.}) 39... Rb1 40. Bc3 Rd1 41.
Kf3 Rxd3+ {Now Black's defensive chances have improved by leaps and bounds as
he has two pawns.} 42. Ke2 Rd8 43. f4 {Aronian was pinning his hopes on this
move.} (43. Ke3) 43... Bc4+ 44. Kf2 exf4 45. gxf4 Kg8 46. Nd2 Bf7 47. Ke3 h5
48. f5 Rc8 49. Ne4 Bd5 50. Rc5 Rd8 51. Nd2 Bf7 52. Ra5 Rc8 53. Ne4 Bd5 54. Nc5
Re8+ 55. Kd3 Rd8 56. Bd4 Re8 57. Kd2 Ra8 58. Rxa8+ Bxa8 {This endgame is just
dead drawn.} 59. Ke3 Kh7 60. Kf4 Kh6 61. Ne6 Kh7 62. Nf8+ Kg8 63. Ng6 Kf7 64.
Ke3 Bc6 65. Bb2 Bd7 66. Ke4 Bc6+ 67. Kd4 Bd7 68. Nh4 Ba4 69. Ng2 Bc2 70. Ne3
Bb1 71. Kc3 Kg8 72. Nc2 Kh7 73. Nd4 Kh6 74. Bc1+ Kh7 75. Kb2 Kg8 76. Bd2 Kh7
77. Bb4 Kg8 78. Bc3 Kh7 79. Kc1 Kh6 80. h4 Kh7 81. Kd2 Kg8 82. Ke3 Kh7 83. Kf4
Bd3 84. Nc6 Kg8 85. Nb4 Bb1 86. Na6 Kf7 87. Nc5 Bc2 88. Ne4 Bd1 89. Ng3 Kg8 90.
Ke3 Bc2 91. Bb2 Kh7 92. Kf4 Bd1 93. Ne4 Bc2 94. Nd6 Kg8 95. Ke3 Kf8 96. Kd4 Ke7
97. Kc5 Kd7 98. Bc3 Bd3 99. Kd5 Bc2 100. Ne4 Bxe4+ 101. Kxe4 Kd6 {A complete
defensive masterpiece by Sergey!} 1/2-1/2

Levon Aronian in the press conference, clearly disappointed after the 101-move draw

His amazing defence is the reason why he is at the top right now

Veselin Topalov – Hikaru Nakamura 0-1

Topalov - Nakamura was the battle between the 7th and 8th placed players where the American came out on top

Topalov opened the game with 1.d4 hoping for an interesting King’s Indian by Nakamura. But the American was in a solid mood and played the Queen’s Gambit Declined. Right out of the opening Hikaru equalized and also got a slight edge. But it wasn’t sufficient to play ambitiously for a win. However, Topalov’s poor form in the tournament continued and he couldn’t keep the balance in the game. He let Nakmura win a pawn and also double his rooks on the seventh rank. The rest way just easy! Nakamura can now fight for the top spots in the tournament. As for Topalov, as he said after the game, “I just want this tournament to end!”

[Event "Candidates 2016"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2016.03.27"]
[Round "13"]
[White "Topalov, Veselin"]
[Black "Nakamura, Hikaru"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "D37"]
[WhiteElo "2780"]
[BlackElo "2790"]
[Annotator "Sagar Shah"]
[PlyCount "80"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Be7 5. Bf4 O-O 6. a3 {The idea of playing
a3 before e3 is to discourage the Nbd7 move. Nbd7 now can be met with Nb5.} c5
7. dxc5 Bxc5 8. e3 Nc6 9. cxd5 (9. Qc2 {is the main line of this variation.})
9... exd5 (9... Nxd5 {is played more often by Black. Play might continue
something like} 10. Nxd5 exd5 11. Bd3 {which has already been played by
Topalov against Morozevich in San Luis 2005.}) 10. b4 (10. Be2 {looks normal
but allows Black to break in the centre with} d4 11. Na4 Bb6 12. exd4 (12. Nxb6
Qxb6 $11) 12... Bxd4 {This might not be such a huge edge for White.}) 10... d4
$1 {Nakamura is extremely alert and breaks right away in the centre.} 11. exd4
Bxd4 12. Nxd4 Nxd4 13. Be3 Nf5 14. Qxd8 Rxd8 $15 {Even though White has the
bishop pair, this position is completely favourable for Black thanks to his
developmental advantage. a7-a5 break looks strong and also Be6 followed by
Rac8 is not so easy to meet.} 15. Be2 Nxe3 16. fxe3 {Hikaru sank into deep
thought as to how he should use this small advantage that he has got out of
the opening. It is definitely an edge but not so huge and hence accurate play
is of paramount importance.} Ng4 $5 17. e4 (17. Bxg4 Bxg4 {is a pretty sad
position. The bishop is definitely superior to the knight and 0-0 is met with
Rd3.} 18. O-O Rd3 $17) 17... Be6 (17... Ne3 18. Kf2 $11) 18. O-O Ne3 19. Rfc1
Rd2 20. Bf3 (20. Kf2 Nc4 21. Ke1 Rd4 $15) 20... Rad8 21. e5 b6 22. Ne4 Rb2 23.
Re1 Nc4 (23... Nc2 24. Re2 $13) (23... Rb3 $5 {renewing the threat of Nc2 is
pretty strong.} 24. Re2 g6 $17) 24. Ng5 h6 25. Nxe6 fxe6 {Once the e6 bishop
is exchanged Black doesn't really have so much of an edge.} 26. Rac1 Rd4 27. h3
b5 28. Rc3 Rdd2 29. a4 a6 30. Bb7 Nb6 31. axb5 axb5 32. Be4 Nc4 33. Rg3 Re2 $15
34. Ra1 $2 (34. Rxe2 Rxe2 35. Bc6 Rxe5 36. Rc3 {Black has better defensive
chances here.}) 34... Nxe5 35. Ra8+ Kf7 36. Bh7 g5 37. Bg8+ Kf6 38. Rf8+ Kg7
39. Re8 Ng6 40. Bxe6 Nf4 {The bad tournament for Veselin continues.} 0-1


Hikaru has been looking like a completely new player in the last two rounds

"Playing solidly with black is the biggest lesson I have learnt at this event"

Viswanathan Anand – Anish Giri 0.5-0.5

After doing it on previous two occasions – winning with the white pieces, could Anand do it once again? To beat Anish Giri in this tournament is close to an impossible task. It was a must-win game for Anand if he had to have any chances of winning this tournament. Vishy chose the Guioco Piano and the players repeated the first eight moves from the game Anand versus Aronian from the ninth round of this tournament. On the ninth move Anand unleashed the novelty – 9.Bg5. Vishy had a chance to gain an opening advantage, but he made an inaccurate move and suddenly the initiative was with black. Anish played well, slowly but steadily increasing the pressure. Anish, who is usually very solid and careful decided to let things spin out of control today. He sacrificed his bishop for two pawns and unclear compensation. For the first time in the game it seemed as if Anand had the chance to win. But the position was extremely complicated and the time on the clock was ticking down. Vishy made a few inferior moves and ended up in an inferior position. But the Indian kept finding important resources and after 52 moves the game ended in a draw.

[Event "Candidates 2016"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2016.03.27"]
[Round "13"]
[White "Anand, Viswanathan"]
[Black "Giri, Anish"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "C54"]
[WhiteElo "2762"]
[BlackElo "2793"]
[Annotator "Sagar Shah"]
[PlyCount "103"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 $5 {In their previous encounter where Anand had
white, he went for Bb5 and Anish was just impenetrable in the Berlin. It is
a natural choice try the Guioco Piano once again.} Bc5 4. O-O Nf6 5. d3
d6 6. c3 a6 7. a4 Ba7 8. Na3 Ne7 {This exact position was reached between
Anand and Aronian in the ninth round. Vishy had now gone Nc2. In this game he
deviates with the more active Bg5.} 9. Bg5 $146 c6 (9... Ng6 {looks like a
natural move. But Giri figures that there is no need to worry about the
doubling of his f-pawns.}) 10. Nc2 O-O 11. Nh4 $6 {Anand goes for this
interesting idea of launching a kingside attack with taking on f6 and
transferring the queen to h5 but this allows his opponent to break in the
centre.} (11. Bxf6 $1 gxf6 12. d4 {looked like a very logical and tempting way
to play for White.} Bg4 13. Bb3 f5 14. exf5 e4 15. Ne3 Bh5 16. g4 $18 {is just
an illustrative line but take on f6 followed by d4 looked pretty strong.})
11... d5 12. exd5 Nexd5 (12... cxd5 {Also looked pretty good as after} 13. Bb3
Bg4 $1 14. Qd2 Nc6 $1 $15 {Black is better.}) 13. Nf3 Qd6 (13... Bg4 14. h3
Bxf3 15. Qxf3 $14) (13... Re8) 14. Re1 {White is posing small problems for his
opponent. This mini problem of defending e5 is not so easy to solve.} Bg4 (
14... Re8 15. d4 $5 e4 (15... exd4 16. Rxe8+ Nxe8 17. Ncxd4 $14) 16. Ne5 {
is some initiative for White}) 15. Bh4 {The bishop plans to go to g3 in order
to increase the pressure on the e5 pawn.} (15. h3 Bh5 16. g4 e4 $1 (16... Bg6
17. Nxe5 Nd7 $5 18. d4 Nxe5 19. dxe5 Qc5 20. Qe2 Bxc2 21. Bxd5 Qxd5 22. Qxc2
Qf3 $44) 17. d4 (17. dxe4 Qg3+ $19) 17... exf3 $15) 15... Rae8 16. h3 (16. Bg3
Nh5 $15) 16... Bh5 17. Bg3 Nf4 $1 18. Bxf4 exf4 19. d4 c5 $1 $15 {It was
extremely important to open the bishop on a7. Black has a slight edge.} 20. Be2
cxd4 21. Ncxd4 Re4 {White's position is solid enough to withstand the attack
by White. But the ability to improve the situation solely lies in Black's
hands.} 22. Qc2 Rc8 (22... Rfe8 23. Bd3 Rxe1+ 24. Rxe1 Rxe1+ 25. Nxe1 $11) 23.
Rad1 Bxf3 {A highly committal decision by Anish. But it was not for nothing.
He had spotted a tactic. Of course, armed with computers we can immediately
say that the sacrifice was incorrect. However, during the game it looks
extremely tempting.} 24. Nxf3 Bxf2+ $5 {Objectively this is incorrect. But
with the approaching time pressure and also seeing the competitive importance
of the game, this looks like an excellent practical try.} 25. Kxf2 Qb6+ 26. Kf1
(26. Nd4 Rxd4 $17) 26... Nh5 27. g4 $1 {The only way for White to
fight for an advantage. Of course, Anish saw this coming, but in any case
winning two pawns looks like a good bet.} (27. Nd4 Ng3+ 28. Kg1 Rxd4 29. Rxd4
Qxd4+ 30. cxd4 Rxc2 31. Bd3 Rc8 32. Re7) 27... fxg3 (27... Ng3+ 28. Kg2 {
is absolutely nothing.}) 28. Bd3 (28. Rd4 $5 {was the best move and one which
is not at all easy to see.} Rxd4 (28... Rce8 $5 29. Qd2 Nf4 30. Bd3 Rxe1+ 31.
Nxe1) 29. Nxd4 Qxd4 30. Bxh5 $18 {Black has to resign.} (30. cxd4 Rxc2 31. Bxh5
g6 32. Bd1 Rxb2 33. Re2 $16 {is better but not yet completely winning.})) 28...
Rxe1+ (28... Rf4 29. Kg2 $14) 29. Rxe1 Nf4 30. Nd4 (30. Bxh7+ Kh8 31. Nd4 g6
$13) 30... g6 31. Be4 $6 (31. Qd2 Nxd3 32. Qxd3 Qxb2 33. Qxg3 $14) (31. Re3 $16
) 31... Qf6 $1 32. Bf3 (32. Kg1 Nxh3+ 33. Kg2 Nf4+ $11) 32... g2+ (32... Qxd4
33. Re8+ Kg7 34. Rxc8 Qe3 35. Bg2 Nd3 {This doesn't work due to} 36. Re8 $1
Qxe8 37. Qxd3 $16) (32... Rc5 {Vishy thought that this was extremely strong.
But the engine finds a nice refutation.} 33. Qe4 $1 g2+ 34. Kg1 Nxh3+ 35. Kxg2
Nf4+ 36. Kf1 $18) 33. Bxg2 Nd3+ 34. Nf3 Nxe1 35. Kxe1 b5 36. axb5 axb5 37. Qe4
Rb8 38. Qd4 Qe6+ 39. Kf2 Qb3 40. Ne5 $6 (40. Qd2 $1 b4 41. Nd4 Qc4 (41... Qa2
42. cxb4) 42. Bf3 $11) 40... Qxb2+ 41. Kg1 Rc8 42. Qf4 $6 (42. Nc6 $5 Qb1+ 43.
Kh2 Qe1 44. c4 bxc4 45. Ne5 $13) 42... Qa2 $1 43. c4 (43. Nc6 Re8) 43... Qa7+
44. Kh2 bxc4 45. Bd5 Rf8 $2 (45... Kg7 $5 46. Nxf7 Qa2+ 47. Bg2 Rf8 48. Qe5+
Kxf7 49. Kg3 $1 {Bd5+ is quite srong.}) (45... Rc5 $1 46. Qd4 Rc7 $1 47. Qxa7
Rxa7 48. Bxc4 Kg7 49. Nxf7 Rxf7 (49... Rc7 50. Nd6 Rc6 51. Ne8+ Kf8 52. Bb5 Rc5
53. Ba4 $17 {with a most probable draw.}) 50. Bxf7 Kxf7 51. Kg3 {is a
tablebase draw.} Ke6 52. Kg4 Kf6 53. h4 h5+ 54. Kf4 Ke6 55. Ke4 $11) 46. Qf6 $1
Qa2+ 47. Kg3 Qa7 (47... Qa3+ 48. Kh4 $18) 48. Kg2 (48. Kf3 Qa3+ 49. Ke4 Qa7 50.
Bxc4 Qa4 51. Kf4 Qb4 $1 {Only move.} 52. Kg4 h5+ 53. Kg3 $11) 48... Qa2+ 49.
Kf3 Qa3+ 50. Kg4 Qa7 51. Kf3 Qa3+ 52. Kg4 {With this draw Anand's chances to
qualify for the World Championships came to an end – and Giri made his 13th
consecutive draw.} 1/2-1/2

The two discussed for a long time after the game

In the press conference Anish said of a line Anand dictated: "I saw that during the game!"

Anand: "I show him a line and he says he saw it during the game..."
Very entertaining press conference, well worth watching.

Watch the 18-minute press conference

Anish: "Are you messing with me?!!"

Standings after thirteen rounds

So what are the options for the final round tomorrow? Here are the pairings:

Round 14, Monday 28 March 2016
Svidler Peter   Anand Viswanathan
Giri Anish   Topalov Veselin
Nakamura Hikaru   Aronian Levon
Karjakin Sergey   Caruana Fabiano

Tie break scenarios: Either Karjakin or Caruana will win, Anand cannot

The first tiebreak is head to head encounter and the second one is most number of wins.

And this is how the tiebreak scenario works – we confirmed everything with the Chief Arbiter and his assistants. Karjakin and Caruana play against each other in the last round and only one amongst the two have a chance to win the tournament. The one who wins the game becomes the champion and the Challenger.

However, in case of a draw it becomes complicated. Both Sergey and Fabiano reach 8.0/13. If Anand draws or loses to Svidler, then Sergey Karjakin is the champion because head to head is equal between him and Caruana (1-1), but Sergey has more wins, which is the second tiebreak.

However: if Vishy wins against Svidler then things change completely, because all three would be on 8.0/13. Then the three players are a group in head to head encounters, and Caruana has 2.5/4 (1.5 against Vishy and 1 point against Karjakin) while Karjakin has 2/4 (1 each against Vishy and Caruana). Then Caruana wins the tournament.

Who do you think will challenge Magnus Carlsen?

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
27.03.2016 Sunday Round 13 Daniel King Klaus Bischoff
28.03.2016 Monday Round 14 Yannick Pelletier Klaus Bischoff


Topics: Candidates 2016

Sagar is an International Master from India with two GM norms. He is also a chartered accountant. He loves to cover chess tournaments, as that helps him understand and improve at the game he loves so much. He and is the co-founder and CEO of ChessBase India website, the biggest chess news outlet in the country.
Discussion and Feedback Join the public discussion or submit your feedback to the editors


Rules for reader comments


Not registered yet? Register 3/28/2016 05:26
@ivan3ivanovich makes a very good point about the winning format (see a few comments above mine) 3/28/2016 04:51
Wow, two epic draws! And that Vishy Giri press conference really is lovely, both in terms of the analysis (some awesome endgame piece coordinations and zugzwangs there) but also the characters of the players themselves, their enthusiasm, Vishy's humour... Loved it! :)))
Rational Rational 3/28/2016 02:15

Amazing Caruana missed his chance in the rook and bishop vs rook ending. English GM Keith Arkell has supposedly won this ending about 16 plus times in games ( he grinds out lots of ending wins in opens - I have been one of his victims). Interesting that Caruana missed it as he is so well trained and can clearly remember line after line of openings There is a video on you tube of Svidler losing this ending before in a blitz/rapid vs Carlsen.
Also in Jonathan Hawkins' book he goes into this ending in depth, saying that mastering it gave him confidence , though I think Hawkins' book is quite lacking in many areas, this is an interesting idea. Though this game shows you can be 2800 without mastering R!B vs R
ivan3ivanovich ivan3ivanovich 3/28/2016 11:17
For all of you arguing about the tie-breaking format - Stop it!

This is the same tie-breaking that is used in every other sport on this planet! This is the same rule as in the World Cup of Soccer, World Championship in Ice Hockey, in Handball, and thousands more tournaments.

It is a world standard recognized by Fide, by the Olympics, by FIFA, by IIHF and hundreds of sports organizations. Stop your bickering and enjoy the chess being played instead.

For those that want's to see blitz games as a tie-breaker - That's stupid, there are special tournaments for blitz, this is about classical chess. You wouldn't want a marathon decided by 100 meter dash would you?
sicilian_D sicilian_D 3/28/2016 10:01
come to think of it... given the rate at which Carlsen wins, might be better to leave him out of the candidates anyway? Then at least we have fighting candidates like this one... ;)
Hawkman Hawkman 3/28/2016 08:53
The USA vs the USSR! It's the Fischer vs Spassky Cold War Showdown all over again! ;) j/k Yes, all of that was completely wrong, but the possibility of an American in the WC is exciting.
kartik_ramkumar kartik_ramkumar 3/28/2016 06:47
Anand disappoints...he had lots of golden chances to win the tour...he lost 3 matches(with naka the worst loss)..he would have atleast drawn any 2 games of the lost 3!!!he would have won the tour just by drawing the losing games..he himself the reason for making this very long bad time he will face...!!! any way karjakin will be too easy for carlsen than caruana..
airman airman 3/28/2016 06:18
If the tiebreaks are as the article writer says then if Anand wins there will be another controversy in the chess world.
Every other sport on the planet handles that first tie break a different way. Even the term "HEAD TO HEAD" seems pretty clear. You look at the Three head to head match ups independently, not as a three way tournament. Which eliminates Anand and sends the other two to the second tie breaks.
I sure hope the article writer is incorrect.
Kasperian Kasperian 3/28/2016 05:54
@DeepGreen - Giri may not. But if somehow he becomes the world champoin it would be impossible to de-throne him.
DeepGreen DeepGreen 3/28/2016 05:17
You can do it Giri! Only one more draw to reach a perfect 100% draw rate in this tournament ;)

Like I said before the tournament started: Giri will never be world champion, because he doesn't play for wins when he really needs to. You don't win the candidates by playing draws only. Giri lacks that killer instinct that makes players such as Carlsen a winner, because he dares to take risks in order to win.

As for Anand: He can no longer win the tournament, and that's good news, because nobody (well , apart from some diehard Anand fans) would want to see another Carlsen - Anand match. The winner will be Karjakin or Caruana. If one of them wins, Anand won't be able to catch them, even if he wins the last round. If it's a draw and Anand wins his game, Caruana will win, because he defeated Anand.
thlai80 thlai80 3/28/2016 05:08
@Raymond Labelle, lol ... but it was Anand who handed Karjakin the win in their game, so Caruana can easily claim Anand causing the complication in the 1st place. Actually if Anand had drawn the game vs Karjakin and not self destruct against Nakamura, he would be leading by 0.5pts.
sco-ish sco-ish 3/28/2016 04:12
Really doesn't matter none of them are going to stand chance against Carlsen
Raymond Labelle Raymond Labelle 3/28/2016 03:28
If C. and K. draw, and Vishy wins, C. will owe Vishy at least a supper in a good restaurant!
Raymond Labelle Raymond Labelle 3/28/2016 03:26
Some did not get it right for the tiebreak. To make it more simple, I will not explain why and just give the scenarios.

C plays K - if the game is decisive, the winner of this game wins the tournament.

If C and K. draw:

- if Vishy wins: C. wins the tournament.
- if Vishy does not win (draw or loss): K wins the tournament.
stephen brady stephen brady 3/28/2016 03:23
First tie breaker is "win against anish giri", but it will always go to the second tiebreaker.
thlai80 thlai80 3/28/2016 03:05
Glad that we will see a new challenger to Carlsen. Emotions had get the better of certain fans for the past weeks where terms like "you are flawed, naive", "idiot to think Anand fear Carlsen", etc when you do not root for their hero.
duvvurioct65 duvvurioct65 3/28/2016 02:20
Than q all players good fighting chess.
sicilian_D sicilian_D 3/28/2016 02:19
Naturally, as an Anand fan, I am a tad disappointed that his last 2 losses hurt his chance this candidate.

Nonetheless, well played to all 8. I didnt follow any of the games today, because, after reading Giri and draw related comments in the previous games, I kinda knew what to expect.

igichev igichev 3/28/2016 02:18
This seems very bizarre that Anand has no chance to win and he's not playing either Karjakin or Caruana in the final game, yet he can affect the outcome based on whether he wins or loses, if Karjakin and Caruana draw.

Head to head tiebreak in a 3 way tie should be "Head to Head" not "Round Robin":
1. Anand vs Caruana - Caruana wins unless Anand beats Karjakin.
2. Anand vs Karjakin - Tie, so Anand is eliminated.
3. Caruana vs Karjakin - Tie, so move to 2nd tiebreak.

Second Tiebreak is Wins:
Karjakin wins over Caruana 3-2.

Simplifier20 Simplifier20 3/28/2016 02:07
Zdrak wrote:
> Chess according to Magnus Carlsen: "In any position, no matter how simple and boring, there are resources to play for a win"
> Chess according to Anish Giri: "In any position, no matter how complicated and exciting, there are resources to play for a draw"

fistoffury wrote:
> Another good one i read a little while back was that Anish was in danger of winning but fought hard to save the draw

Thanks guys!! You really helped me confirmed that Anish is indeed truly the Undisputed King of Draw!!!
genem genem 3/28/2016 01:38
The makers of the tie-break rules chose to say - "Most wins enjoys the tie-break" - instead of saying - "Most draws enjoys the tie-break" - because there IS a genuine problem with the high draw rate (despite those who protest there is no problem).
For tie-breaks, much better would be a couple rounds of Blitz.
Mr TambourineMan Mr TambourineMan 3/28/2016 01:33
Well lets hope for a nice performance in key game Karjakin-Caruana so we have a Winner. If draw. Im as a spectator probably will do as in fotball penalties - turn of the TV (or internet). I dont want to see it.
Rama Rama 3/28/2016 01:19
Anand does have a slim pathway to victory - if he wins his last round game and both Karjakin and Caruana forfeit by arriving one second late (in violation of the zero-tolerance rule) then Anand will win the tournament by 1/2 point!
tkokesh tkokesh 3/28/2016 01:11
Why is Caruana still listed in the crosstable as being from Italy? He has been playing for the United States for almost a year now, and the flag under his name in the photo above is also the American flag.
Truthbe Truthbe 3/28/2016 12:53
jarreth22 : you are right, since Caruana beat Anand he would be winner. I thought, if Anand wins Caruana draws, then both will have equal points. So the one with higher number of wins will win. Anand will have 5 wins, but Caruana only 2.
TMMM TMMM 3/28/2016 12:29
@fixpont: In that case especially seeing Caruana qualify would make for a more exciting match. (And of course, for press coverage it would not hurt to have a match in New York with a US player.)
Petrosianic Petrosianic 3/28/2016 12:14
It's still totally ridiculous that they'd decide a challenger by tiebreak points. They don't even care enough about the process any more to have a couple of Rapids games. The first Candidates Tournament was tiebroken with a 12 game Classical Match.
Aighearach Aighearach 3/28/2016 12:00
I disagree that "the pressure is off" means Anand won't try to win; more often, when the pressure is off the players can play something fun that is in their style, and in Anand's case that might be something a bit complicated with more room for error than he would risk when he's under pressure to win.

Nakamura was talking about it in an interview, the importance of playing solid in an event this strong, instead of taking a lot of chances. Winning in this type of event is done with a lot of draws, and only trying for a win after a mistake.

Also, after 1 round of knowing which country Caruana is from, chessbase went back to their anti-Americanism. He doesn't even speak Italian, you're not making nearly the stand you think you are. He's from Florida. He's also the likely winner, since the tiebreak situation makes it basically an Armageddon game, but with equal time. Does chessbase not even care enough about chess to know who the winner is, and some basic biographical information like, which flag goes next to his name?
Rational Rational 3/27/2016 11:35
Judging by Anand's happy 'the pressure is off 'demeanour in the press conference I do not feel he is going to work hard to try to win with black vs Svidler . So a draw may very well be enough for Karjakin @fixpont's statistics show that either of The possible winners could give Carlsen a close fight . Good luck to both of them tomorrow.
fixpont fixpont 3/27/2016 10:37
Classical games: Magnus Carlsen beat Sergey Karjakin 3 to 1, with 15 draws.
Classical games: Magnus Carlsen beat Fabiano Caruana 8 to 5, with 10 draws.
VVI VVI 3/27/2016 10:28
Pretty disappointing for Anand fans like me that he is out of the candidates regardless of tomorrow`s result.
jarreth22 jarreth22 3/27/2016 10:26
I really don't know how Truthbe can reach the conclusion that if Anand wins his last game and the others draw their game he will win. This article is very clear: in that case Caruana wins. Therefore Anand cannot win this event and won't be Magnus' challenger for the third time.
sranj sranj 3/27/2016 10:20
Now, its Russia vs rest of world.. Both Svidler and Karjakin must draw or win atleast one, or else Caruana goes through..
KevinC KevinC 3/27/2016 10:20
From the link on the official site (3.7 tiebreaks):
KevinC KevinC 3/27/2016 10:18
@Truthbe, how so? Head-to-head is the first tiebreak.
Depsipeptide Depsipeptide 3/27/2016 10:08
Topalov-Nakamura: Poor opening play by Veselin led straight to an inferior endgame. Hikaru ground out the win to reach 50%.
Aronian-Karjakin: Sergey missed some nuances and was in a difficult endgame. Once again he was resourceful, pushed both rook pawns and earned a half point that effectively ends Levon's campaign.
Caruana-Svidler: Both sides had their chances but in the end it was Petr who had to defend a long endgame. The draw leaves Fabi having to play for a win as Black in the last round.
Anand-Giri: Game of the round. Giri played inventively in the middlegame and saceificed a piece. Anand was perhaps lucky to give Anish his 13th draw.
It's Karjakin for choice tomorrow but drawing with White on demand is not a certainty. Remember the World Cup where Sergey and Petr traded blunders?
firestorm firestorm 3/27/2016 10:08
Chessbase actually gives a very clear explanation of who wins in the case of a two-way tie (Karjakin and Caruana) or three way tie- if they are joined by Anand.

Two-way tie: because Caruana and Karjakin did not have a decisive game against each other (tie in first decider- how they did against each other, or in other words, their 2 game mini-match), it goes to number of wins- Karjakin wins the tournament through having more wins than Caruana.

Three-way tie: because Caruana has scored best in the 3-way mini tournament (which is essentially what the tie break becomes), Caruana wins the tournament.

So, it comes down to how it should always be- if you want to win a tournament, the best way to achieve that is the to win the games you have to win. Good luck to all of them tomorrow- they have all produced entertaining chess and entertaining post-match conferences. Giri and Anand were hugely entertaining today, and showed how great chess and chess players can be when they are truly focused on the fascinating aspects of the game.
Truthbe Truthbe 3/27/2016 09:55
If Anand wins last round and, Caruana and Karjakin draw, Anand will the winner of the Candidates. Its a must win for both Anand and Caruna. Else Karjakin will be the winner.
johan1234 johan1234 3/27/2016 09:42
@fistoffury: Lol, nice one😀
KevinC KevinC 3/27/2016 09:42
If I read the tiebreaks right, if Karjakin and Caruana tie, and Anand joins them, Anand is out since both Karjakin and Caruana beat him once. Then Karjakin wins the tiebreak since he has more wins. Caruana must win, or he loses.

Is that how anyone else figures it?