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FIDE Candidates 2016 (12)

Anand loses, Caruana draws and Karjakin wins in Candidates Round 12

The FIDE Candidates tournament reached the final rest day with no clear favourite to challenge Magnus Carlsen after 12 of the 14 rounds. There were key changes at the top however with Viswanathan Anand and Sergey Karjakin reversing their results from Round 11. Karjakin and Caruana now lead on 7/12 half a point clear of Anand. Karjakin has an advantage in the tie-break if the current standings remain the same but with two gut wrenching rounds to go it's not a big edge yet. The three players on 6 Anish Giri, Peter Svidler and Levon Aronian are running out of rounds to catch the leaders in spite of being just one win away.

First to finish was Hikaru Nakamura against Anand. Anand had got back into a share of the lead after a fine win against Karjakin in round 11 but his woes with black continued. Anand has won 4 games with white and lost 3 with black. Today he just didn't get out of the opening. The 1.c4 e5 English has been a major opening topic in this event. Nakamura produced a sharp position and after 11.b4 a critical position arose, 11...gxh4 is about equal for black, Anand's plausible 11...Bb6 is pretty much losing. They were both on their own after 13...Nd4 but 14.d3 is excellent, 14...exd3 was better than the game and indeed Nakamura's intended 15.Nf3 Nc2! would have left the game wide open but 15.Qxd3 is still good for white. After that Nakamura ruthlessly exploited his advantage. Anand will almost certainly need at least 1.5/2 to win the event. Not really a failure of nerves from Anand but just a very difficult opening surprise to deal with.

The reverse happened to Karjakin, his opponent Veselin Topalov went very wrong in a sharp Sicilian with 17...Rc8 which just loses the exchange for nothing when for instance the sensible 17...Bf6 was about equal. Karjakin was a little unsteady in realising his advantage but brought home the point in 35 moves.

Joint leader Caruana got little or nothing as white against Aronian and gradually drifted into trouble. He was still probably within the margin of the draw for the rest of the game apart from the computer suggestion of a rook sacrifice 38...Rxd3! which probably nets a pawn but was almost impossible for a human to play.

Svidler and Giri both desperately needed to win but instead Giri equalised after 16 moves with black. Svidler drifted into trouble and had to enter a rook and pawn endgame a pawn down, he suffered, but held comfortably enough.

Round 12 Standings: Caruana, Karjakin 7pts, Anand 6.5pts, Giri, Svidler, Aronian 6pts, Nakamura 5.5pts, Topalov 4pts.

Rest day Saturday 26th March

Round 13 pairings Sunday 27th March 1pm GMT: Caruana-Svidler, Aronian-Karjakin, Topalov-Nakamura, Anand-Giri.

FIDE Candidates 2016 Moscow (RUS), 10-30 iii 2016 cat. XXII (2778)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
1. Caruana, Fabiano g USA 2794 * * ½ . ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ . ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ 7 2835
2. Karjakin, Sergey g RUS 2760 ½ . * * 1 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ . 1 ½ ½ 1 7 2835
3. Anand, Viswanathan g IND 2762 ½ 0 0 1 * * ½ . 1 . ½ 1 ½ 0 1 ½ 2809
4. Giri, Anish g NED 2793 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ . * * ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ . 6 2776
5. Svidler, Peter g RUS 2757 ½ . ½ ½ 0 . ½ ½ * * ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ 6 2781
6. Aronian, Levon g ARM 2786 ½ ½ ½ . ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ 0 * * 1 . 1 ½ 6 2776
7. Nakamura, Hikaru g USA 2790 ½ 0 0 ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 . * * 1 . 2745
8. Topalov, Veselin g BUL 2780 ½ ½ ½ 0 0 ½ ½ . ½ ½ 0 ½ 0 . * * 4 2650
Round 12 (March 25, 2016)
Caruana, Fabiano - Aronian, Levon ½-½ 67 C84 Ruy Lopez Centre Attack
Karjakin, Sergey - Topalov, Veselin 1-0 35 B90 Sicilian Najdorf Variation
Svidler, Peter - Giri, Anish ½-½ 85 A29 English Four Knights
Nakamura, Hikaru - Anand, Viswanathan 1-0 26 A29 English Four Knights

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