Candidates Rd6: Spoilt opportunities

by Alejandro Ramirez
3/19/2014 – Aronian "went mad" and wasted a decisive advantage against Andreikin. Svidler obtained a clear edge against Mamedyarov using the Dutch (!) but he blundered and lost the game. Meanwhile, Topalov cheekily used a dubious variation against Kramnik who did not respond in the best way. The Russian confused himself and lost his way. Anand smiles, he retains his lead.

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The FIDE Candidates Tournament is taking place in Khanty-Mansiysk (Russia). The first round will start on Thursday, March 13 at 3 p.m. local time, the final round is on Sunday, March 30, 2014. The event is a double round robin (14 rounds). The time control is 120 minutes for the first 40 moves, 60 minutes for the next 20 and 15 minutes for the rest of the game plus an additional 30 seconds per move starting from move 61.

The tournament will determine the challenger who will face the reigning World Champion Magnus Carlsen in a title match later this year. The prize fund is 600,000 Euros (= US $832,000), the first place 135,000 and last (8th) place 25,000 Euros.

Aronian casually strolls by a couple of grandmasters
playing what some dubbed as the "Aronian variation"

Round six

Round six – 19.03.2014, 15:00h (GMT+6)
Aronian Levon
½-½
Andreikin Dmitry
Anand Viswanathan
½-½
Karjakin Sergey
Mamedyarov Shakhriyar
1-0
Svidler Peter
Topalov Veselin
1-0
Kramnik Vladimir

Daniel King shows the highlights of round 6

Andreikin: a man that is counting his lucky stars

Aronian, Levon ½-½ Andreikin, Dmitry

[Event "FIDE Candidates Tournament 2014"] [Site "Khanty-Mansiysk"] [Date "2014.03.19"] [Round "6"] [White "Aronian, Levon"] [Black "Andreikin, Dmitry"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "A11"] [WhiteElo "2830"] [BlackElo "2709"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro"] [PlyCount "96"] [EventDate "2014.??.??"] [EventCountry "RUS"] 1. c4 c6 2. Nf3 d5 3. g3 dxc4 4. Bg2 Nd7 5. O-O Ngf6 6. Qc2 Nb6 (6... b5 7. Nd4 Bb7 8. Nxb5) 7. Na3 Be6 {A line that is growing in popularity for both sides.} 8. Ne5 $5 {And a fabulous new idea. To be fair, the alternative 8.b3 also scores very well while the older moves don't score nearly as much.} Qd4 9. Nxc6 {This is White's point. Nothing else makes sense in the position.} bxc6 10. Bxc6+ Kd8 11. Nb5 $1 {An important intermezzo} (11. Bxa8 Nxa8 {doesn't give White any compensation for the material.}) 11... Qc5 12. Bxa8 Qxb5 (12... Nxa8 13. a4 a6 14. d4 Qb6 15. Nc3 {And White seems to be better.}) (12... Bf5 13. Qc3 Qxb5 14. a4 {Sadorra-Holt, 2013. This game ended in a win for White.}) 13. Bg2 Bd7 14. b3 (14. a4 $1 {During the broadcast I really liked this move.} Nxa4 (14... Qb3 15. Qxb3 cxb3 16. a5 Nc8 17. Ra3 Be6 18. d3 $16) 15. d3 cxd3 16. exd3) 14... e5 (14... e6 15. Bb2 Bd6 16. Rfc1 cxb3 (16... Ke7 17. bxc4 Nxc4 18. Bxf6+ {This is of course the key difference between 14...e5 and 14...e6 and why the former is superior.} (18. Qxc4 Qxb2)) 17. axb3 a6 18. e4 $18) 15. Rb1 $5 (15. Bb2 Bd6 16. Rfc1 Ke7 17. bxc4 Nxc4 $15 {Black is consolidating his material in this variation.}) 15... cxb3 (15... Bd6 16. bxc4 Qxc4 17. Qxc4 Nxc4 18. Rb7 Bc5 19. d3 Nd6 20. Rb8+ Bc8 21. Ra8 Kc7 22. Be3 $16 {This endgame certainly seems very unpleasant for Black. The march of the a-pawn is hard to stop and his pieces are uncoordinated.}) 16. Rxb3 Qxe2 {Risky, but taking this pawn is very useful in many variations. There isn't any clear way of refuting this.} 17. Ba3 $1 {A strong move, clearing away a defender and allowing the rook to directly attack the a7 pawn.} Bxa3 18. Rxa3 Qc4 19. Qb1 $5 {Keeping the queens alive and exploiting the fact that Andreikin had little time left.} (19. Qxc4 Nxc4 20. Rxa7 Re8 21. a4 e4 {should be approximately equal. White has the better side of equality though.}) (19. Qb2 Qd4 20. Qxd4 exd4 21. Rxa7 { Black might have enough to hold this position also but again White's position is easier to play.}) 19... Ke7 20. Rxa7 Qd4 21. Rb7 Na4 $6 {A very awkward move } (21... Nbd5 $1 22. Re1 Ra8 $11) 22. Rc1 (22. Rb4 $1 Qxd2 (22... Qd6 23. d4 $1 e4 (23... exd4 24. Re1+ $18) 24. Rc1 Re8 25. Bxe4 Nxe4 26. Qxe4+ Kf8 27. Qb1 { And White holds a small plus, but nothing special.}) 23. Rd1 Qc3 24. Rxd7+ Nxd7 25. Rxa4 {looks pleasant for White but still Black must have some resources.}) 22... Rd8 23. h3 $5 {Played after a decent think, the move passes the ball into Black's court and challenges him to do something; an interesting psychological trick.} Kf8 (23... Nc5 24. Rb4 Qd6 $11 {seems perfectly fine for Black.}) 24. Qb3 e4 $2 {A bizarre move simply weaking his pawn on e4 and allowing Aronian a flurry of tactics.} (24... Ne4 25. Bxe4 Qxe4 {seems harmless for Black.}) 25. Rc4 $1 Qd5 26. Qb4+ (26. Rb8 Rxb8 27. Qxb8+ Ke7 28. Rxa4 Bxa4 29. Qb4+ Qd6 30. Qxa4 Qxd2 31. Bxe4 $4 (31. Qa7+ $1 Kf8 $2 32. a4 $16 ) 31... Qe1+) 26... Kg8 27. Rd4 $1 (27. Rxd7 Qxd7 28. Qxa4 Qxa4 29. Rxa4 h5 { is very close to a draw.}) 27... Qc6 $2 (27... Qc5 28. Bxe4 Qxb4 29. Rdxb4 Nc5 30. Rb8 Rf8 31. Bg2 {is very unpleasant for Black, but still with chances.}) 28. Rbxd7 $2 (28. Bxe4 $1 {This move won directly, even though some calculation was required.} Qc1+ (28... Qe6 29. Rbxd7 {now this is the same variation, with a much better execution.} Rxd7 30. Qb8+ $1 Ne8 31. Rxa4 $18) 29. Kh2 Nc5 30. Rb8) 28... Nxd7 29. Qxa4 (29. Qe7 $1 Qf6 30. Qxf6 gxf6 31. Rxa4 Nc5 32. Rc4 Ne6 33. Bxe4 {gave better practical chances.}) 29... Qxa4 30. Rxa4 Nf8 {It's possible that Black has sufficient chances to defend the position, but regardless Aronian makes it much easier on Andreikin.} (30... f5 31. Rd4 Kf7 32. d3 exd3 33. Bc6 Ke7 34. Rxd3 Nc5 35. Rxd8 Kxd8 {looks ugly for Black.}) 31. Rxe4 $2 {Completely incomprehensible.} (31. Bxe4 {Was obviousu and difficult to deal with.} Rxd2 32. Ra8 (32. Ra7 g5 33. a4 Kg7 34. a5 Ne6 35. a6 Nc5 36. Bc6 Ra2 37. Bb5 Kg6 38. Rc7 {was another try.}) 32... g6 33. a4 Kg7 34. a5 Ne6 35. a6 Ra2 36. Bd3 Nc5 37. Bf1 h5 38. h4 Ra4 39. Ra7) 31... Rxd2 32. a4 Ra2 33. Bf3 g6 34. Kg2 Ne6 35. Rc4 (35. Bd1 Nc5 36. Rc4 Nd3 {already shows how bad White's position can get.}) 35... Kg7 36. Bd5 Kf6 37. Re4 Ra3 38. Bxe6 fxe6 {Transposing into a surely drawn endgame.} 39. Rf4+ Ke7 40. h4 h5 41. Re4 Kf7 42. Kf1 Ra2 43. Ke1 Kf6 (43... Ke7) 44. Kd1 {With a clever little trick. White's hoping that sacrificing a pawn on the kingside and bringing his king forward will net him something.} Ke7 (44... e5 45. f3 (45. f4 exf4 46. Rxf4+ Ke5 $11 47. Rb4 Ke6 $11 (47... Kd5 48. Rb5+ Kc4 {also should work, actually.})) 45... Ra3 46. Ke2 Ra2+ $11) (44... Kf5 45. Rf4+ Ke5 46. Kc1) 45. f4 Ra3 46. Kc2 Rxg3 47. Rd4 Re3 48. Kb2 e5 {Aronian will be kicking himself late today for sure. He had plenty of opportunities to win this game and missed all of them.} 1/2-1/2

"I went completely mad" - Levon Aronian

Anand, Viswanathan ½-½ Karjakin, Sergey

A little energy before the game helped Karjakin
put all of his pieces in defensive positions

Anand prepared a long variation against the Berlin endgame, but Karjakin responded in the most logical and ultra-solid way. The Indian player was unable to prove any kind of advantage and the players agreed to a draw in a position that already seemed completely locked up by Black's passive but untouchable pieces.

Solid chess brings keeps Anand in the lead

Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar 1-0 Svidler, Peter

The gladiators in post-mortem

This game was certainly as strange as it gets. Svidler played the Dutch instead of the Gruenfeld, already a surprise. Mamedyarov played very erratically and managed to be worse after only 20 moves of chess. Svidler had a powerful continuation with a timely 22...Qd7! which would have left him with a powerful initiative. Instead of that he got himself in a position where it was difficult to find a move, and he blundered a pawn and his king safety with it.

Mamedyarov simply kept up the pressure and a cute tactic before entering the opposite colored bishop endgame gave him three passed pawns and sealed Svidler's fate.

Svidler came out for the kill, got the advantage but made too many mistakes

Topalov, Veselin 1-0 Kramnik, Vladimir

No handshake between these two.
Kramnik is about to make the antipositional 10...f5!?

[Event "FIDE Candidates Tournament 2014"] [Site "?"] [Date "2014.03.19"] [Round "6"] [White "Topalov, Veselin"] [Black "Kramnik, Vladimir"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D37"] [WhiteElo "2785"] [BlackElo "2787"] [Annotator "Chirila Cristian"] [PlyCount "81"] [EventDate "2014.??.??"] [SourceDate "2014.01.04"] {As I predicted yesterday after Topalov's loss against Svidler, he came back to work with a completely different mindset. The cards were out on the table and his hand wasn't looking very good, he knew that and decided to bluff a little bit today. And who better to bluff than probably his biggest rival in the chess world? We all know the "deep" history these guys have (the infamous Toiletgate comes to mind).} 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Be7 { Queens Gambit Declined on the board, one of the most solid openings against d4. I am myself extremely frustrated everytime I try to find an advantage for white in this opening.} 5. Bf4 (5. Bg5 O-O 6. e3 h6 7. Bh4 Ne4 (7... b6 8. cxd5 Nxd5 9. Bxe7 Qxe7 {the opening phase is still not done but white is usually struggling to find an advantage}) 8. Bxe7 Qxe7 9. Rc1 c6 10. h4 {This is the biggest attempt for an advantage in recent years. The move was played by Aronian (who else?) 3 years ago against Harikrishna and has since been analyzed extensively. I myself tried it twice before going to 5.Bf4 to look for something.} (10. g4 $5) 10... Nd7 11. g4 Nxc3 12. Rxc3 g6 13. g5 h5 $13) 5... O-O 6. e3 Nbd7 7. c5 (7. a3 $5 c5 8. cxd5 Nxd5 9. Nxd5 exd5 10. dxc5 Nxc5 11. Be5 Bf6 (11... Qb6 $5) 12. Bxf6 (12. Be2 Bxe5 13. Nxe5 Qd6 $13) 12... Qxf6 13. Qd4 $14 {/=}) 7... Nh5 8. Be5 $5 {This is the mindset I was talking about. Topalov himself claimed this move is a dubious try, but over the board it can prove too "deep" for the opponent (Topalov's press conference was quite acid)} c6 (8... f6 9. Bg3 c6 (9... Nxg3 10. hxg3 f5 11. Bd3 g6 12. b4 $14 {I prefer white's position, his space advantage on the queenside can prove suffocating for his opponent}) 10. Bd3 f5 11. Ng5 Ndf6 12. Be5 $14 {Steinitz,W-Chigorin,M 1-0 This game was played over 100 years ago!}) 9. Bd3 g6 (9... f5 10. h4 {was probably what white had in mind, once again Topalov's preparation is impressive } Nxe5 11. Nxe5 Nf6 12. h5 $13) 10. h4 $146 (10. O-O {was too peaceful for Topalov}) 10... f5 (10... b6 $5 11. b4 a5 12. a3 Ba6 {This is the standard sequence of moves, black wants to get rid of his "bad" white square bishop and organize an offense on the "a" file after doubling with Qa8} 13. g4 Bxd3 14. Qxd3 axb4 15. gxh5 $13 {I can only assume that Topalov had some similar lines in his preparation, only him and his seconds know the exact details though.}) 11. Bh2 b6 (11... Bxh4 {taking the pawn is a brave decision when you are facing such a well prepared opponent. I don't blame Kramnik for not accepting the trojan horse} 12. b4 Be7 13. b5 $44) 12. b4 f4 $2 13. O-O (13. Bxf4 $5 Nxf4 14. exf4 bxc5 (14... Rxf4 15. h5 bxc5 16. hxg6 hxg6 17. bxc5 $16) 15. bxc5 Rxf4 16. h5 g5 $13) 13... a5 (13... fxe3 14. fxe3 Bxh4 15. b5 Bg3 16. bxc6 Nb8 17. Qa4 $36) 14. b5 {At the press conference Topalov already claimed to be winning here} bxc5 15. bxc6 Nb8 16. Bb5 Ba6 (16... cxd4 17. Qxd4 Bf6 18. c7 Qxc7 19. Nxd5 $16) 17. a4 Qc8 (17... Nxc6 18. Bxc6 Bxf1 19. Bxa8 Bxg2 20. Kxg2 Qxa8 { could have been an interesting try for counterplay}) 18. dxc5 Nxc6 19. Nxd5 exd5 20. Qxd5+ Kh8 21. Qxc6 Qxc6 22. Bxc6 Rac8 (22... Bxf1 23. Bxa8 Bxg2 24. Kxg2 Rxa8 25. c6 $18) 23. Bb5 Bxb5 24. axb5 Bxc5 25. Rxa5 {White is winning, good technique will do the job} fxe3 26. fxe3 Bxe3+ 27. Kh1 Rc2 (27... Nf6 { regrouping his pieces would have been a more resilient defense} 28. Rb1 Nd5) 28. Rb1 Rfc8 29. Raa1 Bb6 30. Be5+ Kg8 31. Ra6 Be3 32. b6 Rc1+ 33. Rxc1 Rxc1+ 34. Kh2 Rb1 35. g4 Bf4+ (35... Nf4 36. b7 Rxb7 37. Ng5 Ra7 (37... Kf8 38. Rf6+ Kg8 39. Bxf4 $18) 38. Rxa7 Bxa7 39. Bxf4 $18) 36. Kg2 Bxe5 37. Nxe5 Nf4+ 38. Kf3 Ne6 39. b7 Rb3+ 40. Kf2 Rb2+ 41. Ke3 {A great comeback for Topalov after yesterday loss. And an extreme boost to his confidence and and his ego, beating your biggest rival after such a dominating game can give you wings, I wouldn't be surprised to see a highly confident Topalov in the next games.} 1-0

"I played this move, 9.Be5 which is objectively dubious, but I thought for one game it was ok.
It was pretty deep, maybe for him too deep" - Veselin Topalov

Cristian Chirila - Guest Commentator

Former World u-16 Champion and currently a grandmaster finishing his studies at the University of Texas at Dallas, Cristian is an ambitious chess player. Find out more about Cristian, including his chess lesson services, biography and games here.

Games of the round:

Click on drop-down menu for all games

Standings after six rounds

Photos from the official website

Schedule and results

Note: the games are played at 3 PM local time, which is 10 a.m. CET (Paris) and 5 a.m. EST (New York). Click here if you are uncertain what that means for your local time.

Round one – 13.03.2014, 15:00h (GMT+6)
Andreikin Dmitry
½-½
Kramnik Vladimir
Karjakin Sergey
½-½
Svidler Peter
Mamedyarov Shakhriyar
½-½
Topalov Veselin
Anand Viswanathan
1-0
Aronian Levon
Round two – 14.03.2014, 15:00h (GMT+6)
Kramnik Vladimir
1-0
Karjakin Sergey
Svidler Peter
1-0
Andreikin Dmitry
Topalov Veselin
½-½
Anand Viswanathan
Aronian Levon
1-0
Mamedyarov Shakhriyar
Round three – 15.03.2014, 15:00h (GMT+6)
Andreikin Dmitry
½-½
Karjakin Sergey
Svidler Peter
½-½
Kramnik Vladimir
Topalov Veselin
½-½
Aronian Levon
Mamedyarov Shakhriyar
0-1
Anand Viswanathan
Round four – 17.03.2014, 15:00h (GMT+6)
Mamedyarov Shakhriyar
1-0
Andreikin Dmitry
Karjakin Sergey
½-½
Topalov Veselin
Aronian Levon
1-0
Svidler Peter
Anand Viswanathan
½-½
Kramnik Vladimir
Round five – 18.03.2014, 15:00h (GMT+6)
Andreikin Dmitry
½-½
Anand Viswanathan
Karjakin Sergey
½-½
Mamedyarov Shakhriyar
Svidler Peter
1-0
Topalov Veselin
Kramnik Vladimir
½-½
Aronian Levon
Round six – 19.03.2014, 15:00h (GMT+6)
Aronian Levon
½-½
Andreikin Dmitry
Anand Viswanathan
½-½
Karjakin Sergey
Mamedyarov Shakhriyar
1-0
Svidler Peter
Topalov Veselin
1-0
Kramnik Vladimir
Round seven – 21.03.2014, 15:00h (GMT+6)
Karjakin Sergey
-
Aronian Levon
Svidler Peter
-
Anand Viswanathan
Kramnik Vladimir
-
Mamedyarov Shakhriyar
Andreikin Dmitry
-
Topalov Veselin
Round eight – 22.03.2014, 15:00h (GMT+6)
Kramnik Vladimir
-
Andreikin Dmitry
Svidler Peter
-
Karjakin Sergey
Topalov Veselin
-
Mamedyarov Shakhriyar
Aronian Levon
-
Anand Viswanathan
Round nine – 23.03.2014, 15:00h (GMT+6)
Karjakin Sergey
-
Kramnik Vladimir
Andreikin Dmitry
-
Svidler Peter
Anand Viswanathan
-
Topalov Veselin
Mamedyarov Shakhriyar
-
Aronian Levon
Round ten – 25.03.2014, 15:00h (GMT+6)
Karjakin Sergey
-
Andreikin Dmitry
Kramnik Vladimir
-
Svidler Peter
Aronian Levon
-
Topalov Veselin
Anand Viswanathan
-
Mamedyarov Shakhriyar
Round eleven – 26.03.2014, 15:00h (GMT+6)
Andreikin Dmitry
-
Mamedyarov Shakhriyar
Topalov Veselin
-
Karjakin Sergey
Svidler Peter
-
Aronian Levon
Kramnik Vladimir
-
Anand Viswanathan
Round twelve – 27.03.2014, 15:00h (GMT+6)
Anand Viswanathan
-
Andreikin Dmitry
Mamedyarov Shakhriyar
-
Karjakin Sergey
Topalov Veselin
-
Svidler Peter
Aronian Levon
-
Kramnik Vladimir
Round thirteen – 29.03.2014, 15:00h (GMT+6)
Andreikin Dmitry
-
Aronian Levon
Karjakin Sergey
-
Anand Viswanathan
Svidler Peter
-
Mamedyarov Shakhriyar
Kramnik Vladimir
-
Topalov Veselin
Round fourteen – 30.03.2014, 15:00h (GMT+6)
Aronian Levon
-
Karjakin Sergey
Anand Viswanathan
-
Svidler Peter
Mamedyarov Shakhriyar
-
Kramnik Vladimir
Topalov Veselin
-
Andreikin Dmitry

Playchess commentary

Date Round English commentary German commentary
March 21 Round 7 Simon Williams/Daniel King Oliver Reeh/Merijn van Delft
March 22 Round 8 Daniel King/Yasser Seirawan Oliver Reeh/Karsten Müller
March 23 Round 9 Simon Williams/Alejandro Ramirez Oliver Reeh/Merijn van Delft
March 25 Round 10 Daniel King/Simon Williams Klaus Bischoff
March 26 Round 11 Alejandro Ramirez/Irina Krush Klaus Bischoff
March 27 Round 12 Daniel King/Yasser Seirawan Klaus Bischoff
March 29 Round 13 Daniel King/Irina Krush Klaus Bischoff
March 30 Round 14 Daniel King/Yasser Seirawan Klaus Bischoff

Links

The games are being 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.



Grandmaster Alejandro Ramirez has been playing tournament chess since 1998. His accomplishments include qualifying for the 2004 and 2013 World Cups as well as playing for Costa Rica in the 2002, 2004 and 2008 Olympiads. He currently has a rating of 2583 and is author of a number of popular and critically acclaimed ChessBase-DVDs.
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