Chess24 Sopiko Scotch

FIDE Candidates 2016 (7)

Karjakin and Aronian draw to retain the Candidates lead at the half way stage

Sergey Karjakin and Levon Aronian both admitted to playing poorly in a strange game that finished in a draw in 31 moves. The result meant that the pair continued to share the lead after round 7 as the tournament enters its second half.

Karjakin played the King's Indian Attack but was surprised by 6...a5 and played a whole series of second best moves including the rather crude attacking 14.Qh5 before putting the brakes on. Aronian avoided the standard 16...Bf6 with a nice edge and played 16...Bd7 because he overestimated his attacking chances. The players exchanged queens on move 28 and agreed a draw a few moves later.

Hikaru Nakamura won the only game of the day defeating Veselin Topalov in a very sharp and confusing struggle where Topalov gave up a piece for sufficient compensation. After Nakamura avoided a draw by repetition with 31.Nd1 the hidden 31...Qf5 might easily have turned the tables. Instead the following move 32...Kh7 was an outright blunder and Nakamura won shortly afterwards after neutralising Topalov's final swindle attempts. It was also announced that Nakamura will lose 10% of an winnings for failing to attend the round 6 press conference.

Anish Giri looked sheepish after his short draw against Viswanathan Anand. Giri was move ordered into an unfamiliar position and rather than go into a position that was likely computer analysed by Anand decided discretion was the better part of valour playing toothless 12.Bxf6 after which the game slowly drifted to a draw.

Peter Svidler put on a brave face after another great opening wasn't converted into a full point. Svidler was almost certainly winning against Fabiano Caruana but his opponent found a whole series of only moves to stay in the game after allowing a lethal looking attack down the h-file. Svidler had a vastly superior endgame but it was very difficult to calculate, eventually after mutual inaccuracies the game was drawn.

Notes to all the games in the PGN section.

Round 7 Standings: Karjakin, Aronian 4.5pts/7 Anand 4pts, Caruana, Giri 3.5pts, Svidler, Nakamura 3pts, Topalov 2pts

Round 8 Pairings Sunday 20th March 2016: Svidler-Karjakin, Caruana-Nakamura, Aronian-Giri, Topalov-Anand

FIDE Candidates 2016 Moscow (RUS), 10-30 iii 2016 cat. XXII (2778)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
1. Karjakin, Sergey g RUS 2760 * * ½ . 1 . ½ . ½ . ½ . 1 . ½ . 2882
2. Aronian, Levon g ARM 2786 ½ . * * ½ . ½ . ½ . ½ . 1 . 1 . 2878
3. Anand, Viswanathan g IND 2762 0 . ½ . * * ½ . ½ . 1 . ½ . 1 . 4 2830
4. Caruana, Fabiano g USA 2794 ½ . ½ . ½ . * * ½ . ½ . ½ . ½ . 2775
5. Giri, Anish g NED 2793 ½ . ½ . ½ . ½ . * * ½ . ½ . ½ . 2775
6. Svidler, Peter g RUS 2757 ½ . ½ . 0 . ½ . ½ . * * ½ . ½ . 3 2730
7. Nakamura, Hikaru g USA 2790 0 . 0 . ½ . ½ . ½ . ½ . * * 1 . 3 2726
8. Topalov, Veselin g BUL 2780 ½ . 0 . 0 . ½ . ½ . ½ . 0 . * * 2 2619
Round 7 (March 19, 2016)
Karjakin, Sergey - Aronian, Levon ½-½ 31 A05 Various
Giri, Anish - Anand, Viswanathan ½-½ 31 D37 QGD 5.Bf4
Svidler, Peter - Caruana, Fabiano ½-½ 45 A35 English Symmetrical
Nakamura, Hikaru - Topalov, Veselin 1-0 39 D12 Slav Defence

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