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FIDE Candidates Tournament 2014 (1)

Anand beats top seed Aronian in Candidates first round

Anand in deep concentration as he moves in for the kill. Photo ©

Anand in deep concentration as he moves in for the kill. Photo © | http://candidates2014.fide.com

The first round of the FIDE World Chess Championship Candidates tournament in Khanty-Mansiysk in Siberia saw three fairly cautious draws and a single win for the former world chess champion Viswanathan Anand over the pre-event favourite Levon Aronian.

Anand took advantage of some inaccurate play (perhaps 18...h6 was the start of the real problems) just out of the opening against Aronian to score the only win of the round. This was a Marshall style Ruy Lopez where Anand eventually got a very nasty initiative and after 23.c4 Aronian knew he was in quite bad trouble and thought for a very long time before playing the very ugly 23...c6. In the end Aronian gambled in severe time trouble that he would be able to extract his knight after 39...Nxa4, the alternatives would almost certainly have also ended in a loss but in this way the pain was relatively short as the knight was eventually trapped. The result can hardly be called a shock but this was a bad start for the favourite Aronian and his second loss in a row in classical chess having lost the last round in Zurich in that part of the tournament. Anand probably needed this boost after the year he's had and most probably is going to have a lot more luck with his stellar opening preparation against this field than he did against Carlsen. Anand's basic problem has been the tactical inaccuracies that have crept into his game. There was a minor one in this too (38.Rxc6!) but not enough to save Aronian.

Peter Svidler was happy to come away with a draw with black against Sergey Karjakin in a complex Sicilian where he thought he must be considerably worse. Karjakin had many choices and this led him into time trouble and probably influenced his decision to draw the game.

"I'm still reasonably certain I haven't really missed much by not continuing. I felt I was worse for the entire game and I don't think I should be better here. " Peter Svidler

Dmitry Andreikin is a completely self-taught player and a bit of a mystery. Today he chose to follow Mamaedyarov vs Kramnik from Moscow last year. Andreikin's 21.Qf4 novelty didn't surprise Kramnik and the game was soon equal and agreed drawn. Andreikin has had success against Kramnik in the past and said he had a special method of preparing against Kramnik but wouldn't say what it was. Kramnik said he was sure he knew what this was but wouldn't say either. I guess Andreikin's approach is to either to draw or force Kramnik to take risks.

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov seemed pretty disappointed to draw a complex struggle against Veselin Topalov. Both seemed rather downbeat after the game. There were very interesting complications throughout in a game that could have been very dull from the opening if there had been different players.

The four Russian participants have been drawn in such a way that they'll meet in the first three rounds of the two cycles to avoid meeting right at the end of the event. Whilst the players didn't think it necessary they mostly thought as Svidler said "Avoiding even the potential discussion of impropriety is important."

The games in PGN with light annotations are in the body of the article.

Standings: Anand 1pts Kramnik, Andreikin, Topalov, Mamedyarov, Karjakin, Svidler 0.5pts and Aronian 0pts

Round 2 Pairings 9am GMT 3pm local time: Kramnik-Karjakin, Svidler-Andreikin, Topalov-Anand and Aronian-Mamedyarov.

FIDE Candidates 2014 Khanty-Mansiysk RUS (RUS), 13-31 iii 2014 cat. XXI (2770)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
1. Anand, Viswanathan g IND 2770 * * . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 . 1
2. Kramnik, Vladimir g RUS 2787 . . * * ½ . . . . . . . . . . . ½ 2709
3. Andreikin, Dmitry g RUS 2709 . . ½ . * * . . . . . . . . . . ½ 2787
4. Topalov, Veselin g BUL 2785 . . . . . . * * ½ . . . . . . . ½ 2757
5. Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar g AZE 2757 . . . . . . ½ . * * . . . . . . ½ 2785
6. Karjakin, Sergey g RUS 2766 . . . . . . . . . . * * ½ . . . ½ 2758
7. Svidler, Peter g RUS 2758 . . . . . . . . . . ½ . * * . . ½ 2766
8. Aronian, Levon g ARM 2830 0 . . . . . . . . . . . . . * * 0
Round 1 (March 13, 2014)
Anand, Viswanathan - Aronian, Levon 1-0 47 C88 Ruy Lopez Closed
Andreikin, Dmitry - Kramnik, Vladimir ½-½ 32 E32 Nimzo Indian 4.Qc2
Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar - Topalov, Veselin ½-½ 36 D11 Slav Defence
Karjakin, Sergey - Svidler, Peter ½-½ 26 B48 Sicilian Paulsen

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