Marshtowers review: ChessBase Magazine #154

6/10/2013 – Alongside the usual features, such as fine opening surveys (including more very welcome Moskalenko French coverage) and study material on openings, tactics and endgames, three very strong tournaments are given in-depth coverage in the latest issue of ChessBase Magazine. "Anyone who is serious about their chess needs Chessbase Magazine!" writes Sean Marsh in his review.

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ChessBase Magazine #154

By Sean Marsh, Marshtowers

The FIDE Grand Prix (Zug) saw Topalov dominate the field (1.5 points ahead of Nakamura) and Aronian shared first place with Gelfand at the Alekhine Memorial (Paris and St. Petersburg), with the former edging the top spot on the 'most wins' tie-break.

Exciting as those two tournaments undoubtedly were, they still couldn't match the London Candidates Tournament for bloodthirsty drama. The latter rounds saw an exciting two-horse race between Carlsen and Kramnik. Both suffered late defeats and Carlsen went on to win his place in the next World Championship match by way of an unsatisfactory tie-break method.

The best notes are often the players themselves. It was interesting to read Kramnik's own thoughts on an important moment in this game against Svidler.

 

Kramnik - Svidler, London Candidates 2013 (Round 8)

''This position used to be very popular some ten years ago, after my match with Kasparov in 2000. 14 Kc2. A new idea, which I had been studying already more than 10 years ago, but for some reason decided to play it only much later. There were a lot of games played with 14. Ke1, but it seems that, according to modern theory, Black finally managed to find a way to equalise.'' 1-0 (40)

I find it incredible, in this day and age, that an idea can remain behind the scenes for a decade (although I suspect Kasparov still has a few unused novelties tucked away from even longer ago).

Both of the leaders lost in the final round. For Carlsen, it showed he is not infallible after all and the pressure seemed to make him crack. Watching such games live on the Internet won't teach a student much, but a grandmaster's notes, written ''in the quiet of his study'', certainly will. Take a look at this snippet, which really gets stuck into the position to demonstrate that White was still capable of holding the game.

Carlsen - Svidler, London Candidates 2013 (Round 14)

31 f3? (and 0-1, 48) Marin gives 31 Bd5! and says: ''This is not that difficult to spot, but evaluating the consequences requires some effort. 31 ...Bxd5 32 Qxc5+ Kg7 33 Qxd5 Kxh6 34 Qxf7 Ba5 35 Qxe8 Bxe1 36 Qxe5 Bxf2+! 37 Kxf2 Qxh2 with a probable draw. If White interposes his queen to one of the checks, Black can exchange and win the bishop with ...g5.''

Nevertheless, Kramnik couldn't take advantage. Commentators have lazily blamed his use of the Pirc Defence in the critical last round encounter, but there was far more to the story than that. Indeed, Kramnik seemed to stand well in the middlegame, with just the sort of complex position he could use to push Ivanchuk into the time trouble that afflicted him throughout the event.

Ivanchuk changed the course of chess history with an unexpected idea. Who would have correctly predicted White's next move here?

Ivanchuk - Kramnik, London Candidates 2013 (Round 14)

24 g3!? Nxh3+ 25 Kg2 Nhg5 26 Rh1 and 1-0 (47)

GM Gormally, who provides the annotation for the above game, was impressed by the tournament.

''The 2013 Candidates tournament in London, had the most exciting denouement of any tournament I can remember. The brilliant Norwegian Wunderkind Magnus Carlsen, was eventually to stagger over the line, after a war of attrition and nerves that will live in the memory for many years. But it was the Russian Vladimir Kramnik who will perhaps feel most aggrieved - he did not lose a game until the last round, a game we shall now analyse, and his chess was of a very high quality indeed.

There are a lot of ifs and buts, but I would not criticise the format. One player had to qualify, and if there had not existed the tie-break format, and the tournament had gone to play-offs, perhaps you would have had a much more cautious approach from the players, resulting in the veritable bore-fest which was the previous candidates. Clearly this tournament format is the way forward.''

It's good to be able to revisit these games and to enjoy the detailed of expert commentators. With the information boom and strong tournaments coming thick and fast in the international calendar, there's a danger of modern classics being shunted off onto the minor paths of chess history. ChessBase are doing their best to make sure that will never be the case.

Anyone who is serious about their chess needs Chessbase Magazine!

Order ChessBase Magazine here

Sean Marsh is a freelance writer, specialising in interviews and reviews. In the other half of his life he has been a professional chess coach since 1988 and has also served time as a school librarian and Teaching Assistant.


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