Candidates Rd9: Decisive Round?!

by Alejandro Ramirez
3/23/2014 – It could all be decided in Khanty-Mansiysk. Anand holds an effective 1.5 point lead over the field as he beat Topalov while Mamedyarov bested Aronian in a crazy game and Kramnik self-destructed easily against Karjakin. With Aronian being down one point with the worse tiebreak, it seems very unlikely that someone can catch the Indian player. A rematch seems in the works.

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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.

Round Nine

Round nine – 23.03.2014, 15:00h (GMT+6)
Karjakin Sergey
1-0
Kramnik Vladimir
Andreikin Dmitry
½-½
Svidler Peter
Anand Viswanathan
1-0
Topalov Veselin
Mamedyarov Shakhriyar
1-0
Aronian Levon

Daniel King shows the highlights of round 9

Karjakin dashes Kramnik's chances to quickly catch up to Anand

Karjakin, Sergey 1-0 Kramnik, Vladimir
Karjakin played a sideline against Kramnik, one that is seen very rarely at the top level. This paid off very handsomely as Kramnik inexplicably blundered as soon as move seven. 7...dxc4?? simply left him down a pawn and his position did not have even the slightest bit of compensation. It is strange to think even what he missed, as most of the lines were rather obvious.

Now trailing by 1.5 points Kramnik seems to have few
chances to challenge Carlsen for the World Title this year

Karjakin made his win a lot harder than he should have, eventually reaching a double rook endgame up two pawns that he had to figure out how to win, but he managed in the end.

Karjakin won an important game. Topalov lost an important one.

Andreikin, Dmitry ½-½ Svidler, Peter
Probably the least interesting game of the round. Svidler seemed to obtain a slight advantage with Black in the recently popular h3 Najdorf, but he didn't play the most accurately and the endgame fizzled into a draw in a situation where potentially Svidler could have tried to press on.

Andreikin's opening did not net him anything but a bad position

Svidler's games have been up and down and many
could have had a very different result than they did

Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar 1-0 Aronian, Levon

[Event "FIDE Candidates Tournament 2014"] [Site "Khanty-Mansiysk"] [Date "2014.03.23"] [Round "9"] [White "Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar"] [Black "Aronian, Levon"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E20"] [WhiteElo "2757"] [BlackElo "2830"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro"] [PlyCount "87"] [EventDate "2014.??.??"] [EventCountry "RUS"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. f3 O-O 5. e4 d5 6. e5 Nfd7 7. cxd5 exd5 8. a3 Bxc3+ 9. bxc3 f6 10. exf6 Qe8+ $5 {Technically not a new move just yet, but the idea the Aronian brings to the table is interesting and exciting.} 11. Qe2 Qf7 $5 {The point. Black improves his queen and threatens ideas involving Re8. It is uncomfortable to face this in a real game, over the board.} 12. fxg7 { Mamedyarov didn't think too long before accepting the challenge head on.} Re8 13. Be3 Nc6 {Objectively speaking it is difficult to find a move for White.} 14. Qd2 $1 {A good practical decision.} (14. f4 $5 {Has the idea of quickly playing Nf3 and Ne5, but this is not so easy.} Nb6 15. Nf3 Bg4 $1 {and already there are too many threats to defend against.}) 14... Na5 15. Rb1 Nb6 16. Rb4 { White is sacrificing the exchange but it will Mamedyarov that has the compensation. With both kings being unsafe and Black's structure being questionable the position is very hard to evaluate.} Nac4 17. Bxc4 dxc4 $5 { Interesting but not the strongest.} (17... Nxc4 18. Rxc4 dxc4 19. Kf2 Bf5 $13 { is simlar to the game but the queen is not so exposed on d5.}) 18. Rb5 Bf5 19. Kf2 (19. Re5 {was interesting and ambitious, but it seems that neither side really wanted the material, instead they wanted to play with the initiative.} Nd5 20. Ne2 Rxe5 21. dxe5 Re8 $13) 19... Nd5 20. Rxd5 Qxd5 21. Ne2 {The players reached the position in which Black is up an exchange anyway. Here it is very difficult to evaluate or even give a plan for either side. However Aronian's venture was less than successful.} a5 $2 {The start of a wrong plan. I initially liked this idea but it is far too slow and far too ineffective.} 22. h4 b5 23. h5 {Mamedyarov tries to force Aronian into taking on g7, which will weaken his king permanently. On the other hand, if he doesn't take h6 might seal a decisive passed pawn.} b4 24. cxb4 axb4 25. axb4 Qb5 {Black has managed to open some files, but it is unclear what exactly he accomplished by doing so. Also bad news for Aronian was his time situation; he only had about 15 minutes left by this point to make the remaining 14 moves.} 26. Re1 {Normal development is sound and strong. It is possible to spend a long time calculating alternatives, but I like Mamedyarov's approach.} Bd3 27. Nf4 Ra3 28. d5 $1 $18 {A very important move. With the bishop coming to d4 White will threaten all sorts of mating attacks against the king. Also important is the fact that now e6 is defended for the White knight.} Bb1 $5 {Tricky, but Mamedyarov finds a precise response.} 29. Kg3 $1 {The computer spout some Qd4 move, but pay no heed. This move is accurate and easy.} c3 30. Qc1 $1 { Extremely strong.} (30. Qd4 {is probably also winning, but it requires calculation.} c2 31. Ne6 $1 Rxe3 $1 32. Qf4 $1 (32. Qxe3 Qxd5 $13) 32... Qb8 $8 33. Qxe3 Qxb4 {and White should win somehow but there is nothing immediate.}) 30... Rb3 {The only move, but Black's rook is extremely awkward.} 31. Bc5 (31. h6 {was also possible, immediately threatening Nh5 type of ideas.}) 31... Rxe1 32. Qxe1 Qd7 33. h6 $1 Qf7 34. Nh5 (34. Qe5 $1 {Was the most accurate, but Mamedyarov's method is good enough.} Bf5 {Nh5 has to be stopped obviously.} 35. Nh5 $3 {is a ridiculous computer win} (35. d6 {is more natural. The pawn cannot be taken because Qd6-f8 would be unstoppable, so Black is completely lost.} c2 36. Nh5 Qxh5 37. Qd5+ Qf7 38. Qa8+)) 34... Bg6 35. Qe8+ Qxe8 36. Nf6+ Kf7 37. Nxe8 Ra3 38. Nf6 (38. b5 {also possible} Ra8 39. Nxc7 c2 40. Be3 Rd8 41. Kf4 {is too many pawns for Black to handle.}) 38... Ra8 39. g8=Q+ Rxg8 40. Nxg8 Kxg8 41. Kf4 {White's plan is actually very straightforward. The computers dont like this continuation but actually this is logically an obvious win, White has too many pawns and too many of them are passed.} Bd3 42. Ke5 Kf7 43. Be3 Bf1 44. g4 {Did Aronian resign prematurely? No he did not.} ( 44. g4 Be2 45. d6 {This move is in essence unavoidable.} cxd6+ 46. Kxd6 Bxf3 47. g5 {and the king simply pushes the pawn on the b-file and wins the endgame. } (47. b5 $4 {is the only thing to avoid.} Bxg4 48. b6 Bf3 49. Kc7 Kg8 {and this endgame is a known draw} 50. b7 Bxb7 51. Kxb7 $11 {White cannot make progress. But of course Mamedyarov would not fall for this.})) 1-0

Mamedyarov delivered a huge blow to Aronian

The Armenian simply pressed too recklessly and is
now far from winning the tournament

Anand, Viswanathan 1-0 Topalov, Veselin
This game was instrumental to the tournament. Anand obtained a pleasant position from the opening, an unusual version of the h3 Najdorf. His pieces seemed better prepared to attack his opponent's structure. This in turn transformed into an endgame in which White's queen and bishop were superior to his opponent's, not to mention that the structure favored White. Anand's advantage was small but stable.

A very bad decision by Topalov was to play the move 31...h6? With an exposed king and a nearly zugzwanged position, Topalov was forced to shed a pawn and go into a surely losing queen endgame. Anand's technique wasn't absolutely flawless but it was good enough to bring home the victory.

Anand is effectively up 1.5 points over his competition - Aronian's tiebreak is worse than his

Date Round English commentary German commentary
March 25 Round 10 Daniel King/Simon Williams Klaus Bischoff

Aronian must win all his games to try to pressure Anand. Can he do so? How will he attempt to bounce back from a tough defeat? Join us in the 10th round on March 25th (notice that the 24th is a free day for the players).

Games of the round:

Click on drop-down menu for all games

Standings after nine 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
0-1
Aronian Levon
Svidler Peter
½-½
Anand Viswanathan
Kramnik Vladimir
1-0
Mamedyarov Shakhriyar
Andreikin Dmitry
1-0
Topalov Veselin
Round eight – 22.03.2014, 15:00h (GMT+6)
Kramnik Vladimir
½-½
Andreikin Dmitry
Svidler Peter
0-1
Karjakin Sergey
Topalov Veselin
½-½
Mamedyarov Shakhriyar
Aronian Levon
½-½
Anand Viswanathan
Round nine – 23.03.2014, 15:00h (GMT+6)
Karjakin Sergey
1-0
Kramnik Vladimir
Andreikin Dmitry
½-½
Svidler Peter
Anand Viswanathan
1-0
Topalov Veselin
Mamedyarov Shakhriyar
1-0
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 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.


Topics: Candidates 2014

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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vasyapupkers vasyapupkers 3/25/2014 10:44
Anand is a hero of all 30+. It's absolutely inspiring to see his come back, his willpower.
Go Vishy!
LetsReason LetsReason 3/25/2014 04:04
I believe Anand was simply psyched out by Carlsen in the WCC. Even if he cannot take the title back from Carlsen, he is at least telling the world he is clearly second best. I wish him the best in getting a rematch and regaining the title.
genem genem 3/25/2014 01:23
DOWN WITH MATHEMATICAL TIE-BREAKERS
Seems like the use of a mathematical tie-breaker is draining away a bit of the excitement from this excellent Candidates' tournament. It tells us that Aronian cannot really catch Anand even if Aronian finishes strong and catches Anand in points. The math tie-break is telling us the outcome of an end-of-tournament tie in points *before* we have reached the final few rounds.

It would be more exciting if a kind of tie-break was used that did not foretell the winner, such as a Blitz playoff, which would not begin to break the tie until *after* the primary phase of the tournament was complete.
Superdash Superdash 3/24/2014 05:44
What??? Anand won? next World Chess Championship will be Carlsen-Anand................AGAIN? so boring !!! Carlsen will crush vishy one more time for sure.
TairyHestikles TairyHestikles 3/24/2014 05:05
OK Kramnik. Got all the bugs outta your system now and your buddy Vishy is keeping the seat warm. Hurry up and destroy them all!
jamesclavel jamesclavel 3/24/2014 03:14
nice games
still chances for Kramnik
go Kramnik !
Clubberlang Clubberlang 3/24/2014 11:16
Here's what FIDE says:

3. 7 Tie-breaks
If the top two or more players score the same points, the tie will be decided by the following criteria, in order of priority:
a) The results of the games between the players involved in the tie.
If they are still tied:
b) The total number of wins in the tournament of every player involved in the tie.
If they are still tied:
c) Sonneborn - Berger System.
iSeeThis iSeeThis 3/24/2014 08:33
This shows that Anand has never been underdog. It really was Carlsen the real deal last year.
Blackacre Blackacre 3/23/2014 05:39
I don't understand your statement, with respect to Round 9 of the Candidates Tournament, that Anand is now one point ahead of Aronian and has the better tiebreak. I thought that the first tiebreak, as it was last year, is that if players are tied on points, the one with the most wins prevails. Right now, Anand has three wins and no losses, while Aronian has three wins and two losses. If Aronian were to win his next two games, and Anand to draw his next two games, then they would both have seven points, but Aronian would have five wins to Anand's three and the better tiebreak.
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