Candidates R2 – Radjabov, Aronian draw first blood

3/16/2013 – With the ghost of a drawfest from the previous Candidates cycle, and the sedate first round, Carlsen’s quick draw with Kramnik caused some consternation. This was soon dissipated as Gelfand missed a deadly Bh6+ and succumbed to Aronian, while Radjabov concluded a deadly vice against Ivanchuk for the second point. The Candidates is certainly heating up. Now with GM analyis.

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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 two express report

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

The start of the second round was inauspicious to say the least. In no time at all, Magnus Carlsen and Vladimir Kramnik had exchanged queens, and pieces were flying off the board in pairs as if there were no tomorrow. The draw at move 30 was no surprise, and after the slew of draws the day before, the phantom of a draw-fest began to weigh on everyone’s mind. In the previous Candidates, 90% of the games had ended in draws; surely there was no way such a thing could happen again, right?

The answer soon became a clear no, much to the relief of the fans. Aside from the tense action on the three boards, Teimour Radjabov held Vassily Ivanchuk in a deathly grip and it seemed impossible he would miss this chance to score first blood.

In the meantime no one seemed to really understand what was going on in the game between Alexander Grischuk (above right) and Peter Svidler, while Levon Aronian and Boris Gelfand seemed like a probable draw.

Except that life had other plans, and despite a fairly balanced endgame, slightly better for Aronian due to his extra doubled pawn, lightning struck. The former World Championship challenger inadvertently stepped in the line of Aronian, and a sniper shot Bh6 was all it took. The commentators were in shock, and with a second pawn the result was no longer in debate. First blood had been drawn.

[Event "FIDE Candidates"] [Site "London ENG"] [Date "2013.03.16"] [Round "2"] [White "Aronian, L."] [Black "Gelfand, B."] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A88"] [WhiteElo "2809"] [BlackElo "2740"] [Annotator "Zura Javakhadze"] [PlyCount "69"] [EventDate "2013.03.15"] 1. Nf3 c5 2. c4 Nc6 3. Nc3 g6 4. e3 {After the humble draw in the first round, Aronian tried to reach the goal with less-known theory.} Nf6 5. d4 cxd4 6. exd4 d5 7. cxd5 Nxd5 8. Qb3 Nxc3 9. Bc4 Nd5 (9... e6 {is also possible} 10. bxc3 Bg7 ) 10. Bxd5 e6 11. Bxc6+ bxc6 12. O-O Be7 (12... Qd5 13. Qc3 f6 {I think this idea is also quite wholesome for Black.} 14. Bf4 g5 15. Bg3 Be7 16. Rfe1 Kf7 17. Rac1 Bb7 18. Re3 Rhe8 {0-1 Pantsulaia,L (2575)-Short,N (2698)/ Istanbul 2012/CBM 151 (42)}) 13. Be3 Qd5 14. Rfc1 $1 {Levon starts demonstrating a very high technique. It's still much to fight, but the opened lines for both rooks and the good knight against the passive white-squared bishop gives White a stable advantage.} Qxb3 15. axb3 Bb7 16. Ne5 O-O 17. Ra4 Rfd8 18. Nc4 Bf6 19. Na5 Rd7 20. Rb4 Ba6 21. Nxc6 Rb7 22. h3 Kg7 23. Rxb7 Bxb7 24. Ne5 Bd8 25. b4 Rc8 $2 {The fatal mistake! Gelfand misses a very delightful trick, which directly decides the game. The black pieces lose coordination like a painting of Picasso. The king is cut off from the game and the black-squared bishop has nowhere to go after g4.} ({Instead of an extra pawn, Aronian still would have worked a lot to prove something in case of} 25... Bd5) 26. Bh6+ $1 Kg8 (26... Kxh6 27. Rxc8 Bxc8 28. Nxf7+ Kg7 29. Nxd8 $18) (26... Kf6 {doesn,t work because of the same motive} 27. Bg5+ $1) 27. Rxc8 Bxc8 28. Nc6 Bf6 29. b5 Bd7 30. g4 g5 31. h4 $1 gxh4 32. g5 Bxc6 (32... Bg7 33. Bxg7 Kxg7 34. Nxa7 $18) ( 32... Bh8 33. Ne7#) 33. bxc6 Bd8 34. Kg2 Bc7 35. Kh3 1-0

The second decisive result came shortly after as the young Azeri did his country and sponsor proud by converting his large advantage into the full point to join the Armenian in the lead.

[Event "Candidates"] [Site "?"] [Date "2013.03.17"] [Round "2"] [White "Radjabov, T."] [Black "Ivanchuk, V."] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A88"] [WhiteElo "2793"] [BlackElo "2757"] [Annotator "Zura Javakhadze"] [PlyCount "68"] [EventDate "2013.01.12"] [SourceDate "2013.01.13"] 1. d4 d6 2. Nf3 g6 3. c4 f5 {Always unpredictable, Ivanchuk tried Leningrad System at this time.} 4. Nc3 Nf6 5. g3 Bg7 6. Bg2 O-O 7. O-O c6 8. Rb1 Ne4 9. Qc2 Nxc3 10. bxc3 e5 (10... Qa5 11. c5 dxc5 12. Qb3+ e6 13. Bf4 Re8 14. Ne5 cxd4 15. cxd4 $36 {Giri,A (2517)-Reinderman,D (2560)/Hilversum 2009}) 11. dxe5 $146 {Surprisingly this natural move is the novelty and probably a serious step in the theory of this variation.} ({According to my database} 11. Rd1 { was the only move played before this game .} e4 12. Ng5 h6 13. Nh3 g5 14. f3 d5 15. Nf2 Kh8 16. cxd5 cxd5 17. c4 $36 {1-0 Kramnik,V (2788)-Nakamura,H (2708)/ Wijk aan Zee 2010}) 11... dxe5 12. Ba3 Rf7 13. Rfd1 Qe8 14. e4 f4 15. Rd3 $1 { Getting out of potential pin from the g4-d1 diagonal and strengthening pressure on the d-file.} fxg3 16. hxg3 Na6 17. Ng5 Rc7 18. Bd6 Bf6 19. Qd2 $1 { The black-squared bishop plays a more important role in attack than just an exchange - especially when the black rook doesn't have a wide choice where to go} Rd7 20. Bh3 Rg7 21. Bxe5 $1 $18 {Radjabov decides the game with a very elegant strike !} Bxe5 22. Rd8 Bxh3 23. Rxe8+ Rxe8 24. Nxh3 Nc5 25. Qe3 Bd6 26. f3 Ne6 27. Kg2 g5 28. Nf2 h5 29. Qxa7 Bc5 30. Qa4 Rf8 31. Nd3 h4 32. Qa5 b6 33. Rxb6 $2 {After spending the whole game in an excellent way, the Azeri granmaster still gave chances to his opponent.} Bxb6 $2 $138 {Of course it's unhuman to calculate all these bizarre variations with some seconds on your clock, but} ({after the strange} 33... g4 $1 {Black amazingly survives due to unavoidable perpetual checks!} 34. f4 (34. fxg4 Rxg4 35. Nxc5 Rxg3+ 36. Kh2 Rf2+ 37. Kh1 Rf1+ $11) (34. Nxc5 $4 gxf3+ 35. Kf1 hxg3 $19) 34... h3+ 35. Kh1 ( 35. Kf1 Rh7 $1 36. Nf2 h2 37. Nh1 Rd7 {and already White is the one who should make a draw} 38. Qa4 Bxb6 39. Qxc6 Rd1+ 40. Ke2 Rxh1 41. Qxe6+ Kh7 42. Qe7+ Kg8 43. Qe6+) 35... Rd8 36. Nxc5 Rd1+ 37. Kh2 Rd2+ 38. Kg1 h2+ 39. Kh1 Rd1+ 40. Kxh2 Rh7+ 41. Kg2 Rd2+ 42. Kg1 Rd1+ 43. Kf2 Rh2+ 44. Ke3 Re1+ 45. Kd3 Rd1+ $11) 34. Qxb6 hxg3 {Ivanchuk lost by time, but anyway the rest wouldn't be difficult for a player of Radjabov's caliber.} 1-0

Wrap-up analysis from London by GM Daniel King

You can watch both games develop and reach their climaxes in the following section of the live video commentary by IMs Lawrence Trent and Malcolm Pein. It is really worth watching.

At 14:00 min Aronian and the clearly dejected Gelfand join Anastasiya Karlovich for the press conference, and at 18:00 min the Armenian joins Lawrence Trent to discuss the game on the electronic chessboard. You should definitely watch the section starting from 25:45 into the video, where Levon discusses the deadly 26.Bh6+! slot, which essentially gave him the game and the point. At 29:00 minutes the analysis is over and the commentators turn their attention to the Radjabov-Ivanchuk game.

At 45:50 we catch the press conference with Peter Svidler and Alexander Grischuk. The highlight is at 49:30 min when Grischuk says: "I spoilt Peter's plan because it was clear to me that his plan for the tournament is 2-0 against me and then twelve draws and pray that nobody scores more than plus two, and now this plan is spoilt!" – to which Peter Svidler, well versed in British sitcoms, says: "I have a cunning plan, my lord" (Baldrick's catch phrase to Lord Blackadder).

You can watch the press conference with Teimour Radjabov. who had just beaten Vassily Ivanchuk from 57:30 min. It starts with a sound problem, but don't panic, you can hear Teimour and Anastasiya speaking from 58:28 on.

In spite of dreadful complications that left spectators and pundits bewildered, Grischuk and Svidler eventually drew. Both Levon Aronian and Teimour Radjabov have taken the early lead in a Candidates tournament that is now heating up.

Pictures by Ray Morris-Hill

Official broadcast

Live commentary provided on the official site by IMs Malcolm Pein and Lawrence Trent

There is also an overview of the playing hall and the boards

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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
-
Magnus Carlsen
Vassily Ivanchuk
-
Levon Aronian
Peter Svidler
-
Teimour Radjabov
Vladimir Kramnik
-
Alexander Grischuk
Playchess commentary: GM Yasser Seirawan
Round 4 March 19 at 14:00
Magnus Carlsen
-
Alexander Grischuk
Teimour Radjabov
-
Vladimir Kramnik
Levon Aronian 
-
Peter Svidler
Boris Gelfand
-
Vassily Ivanchuk
Playchess commentary: GM Daniel King
Round 5 March 20 at 14:00
Vassily Ivanchuk
-
Magnus Carlsen
Peter Svidler
-
Boris Gelfand
Vladimir Kramnik
-
Levon Aronian
Alexander Grischuk
-
Teimour Radjabov
Playchess commentary: GM Yasser Seirawan
Round 6 March 21 at 14:00
Peter Svidler
-
Magnus Carlsen
Vladimir Kramnik
-
Vassily Ivanchuk
Alexander Grischuk
-
Boris Gelfand
Teimour Radjabov
-
Levon Aronian
Playchess commentary: GM Chris Ward
Round 7 March 23 at 14:00
Magnus Carlsen
-
Teimour Radjabov
Levon Aronian
-
Alexander Grischuk
Boris Gelfand
-
Vladimir Kramnik
Vassily Ivanchuk
-
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.

Links

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