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FIDE Candidates Tournament 2014 (14)

Anand confirms his triumph leaving his rivals searching for answers

Svidler and Anand along with FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov at the start of the final round. Photo ©

Svidler and Anand along with FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov at the start of the final round. Photo © | http://candidates2014.fide.com

The final day saw the coronation of Viswanathan Anand as the winner of the Candidates tournament in Khanty-Mansiysk and a surprise second placed finisher in Sergey Karjakin who came right from the basement to almost topple him but still finish in a creditable second place. Anand goes on to play Magnus Carlsen for the title in what is scheduled to be a match in November. For me Anand showed great ring craft throughout, his career has been filled with such pressurised tournaments and he used that experience fully to avoid the melt downs that happened to almost all his rivals. He was only in trouble against Karjakin in round 13 which was a game that started with him being the one with it all to lose, later when defending the pressure also settled on Karjakin who suddenly had chances to win the event himself. Karjakin eventually allowed a forced draw when he thought it was a winning try. If Anand maintains this return to form he should be in better shape than in India to challenge Carlsen. Whether that will be enough is another question.

Anand admitted that he wasn't really in the mood to play having achieved victory but that he didn't want to finish with the bitter taste of defeat in the final round. His opponent Peter Svidler also seemed happy to draw the line under an event which hadn't gone his way. The played a Ruy Lopez Marshall where both players seemed to know it should finish in a draw. "basically the most prevalent feeling right now is a feeling of a huge wasted opportunity because I think I played, at least in the first half, very interesting chess and I had chances in almost every game and I think a lot of what went wrong in this tournament were what you would maybe call unforced errors"... I kept on making strange mistakes in situations where I shouldn't have and because of that a tournament that could have been very interesting from my point of view finished a minor disaster." was Svidler's summation of his tournament.

Vladimir Kramnik finished the event with a short accurate draw against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. Most of the interest was in his confirmation of the story that it was he who finally persuaded Anand to play "We really spoke about it in London and Vishy was unsure by that time. I advised him to participate because I really thought he had a chance and I just told him so.... Also I think he has all chances to win the match against Carlsen. I had similar crises, so I know what was happening inside him."

Veselin Topalov finished the event with a draw against Dmitry Andreikin. Topalov said "It could have been worse but in general I think except Anand and Dmitry I don't think anyone can be very happy with his play. I mean all the others are more or less losers [before Karjakin's win] none of us got even close to threaten Anand in fact that's the whole tournament you know."

The final game of the day saw a clearly dispirited Levon Aronian go down to another loss and finish near the tail-end of the field. He had a good position out of his unusual opening but his heart really wasn't in it and he "missed everything" in time trouble and ended up with a miserable position and was ground down after many hours. His opponent Sergey Karjakin was very pleased with his +3 in the second half and he could have won the event had he converted the day before (although no doubt today's game would have been completely different too). "Yeah I didn't really play well, so." Aronian.

Notes to the final round of play in the PGN section. I will try and catch up with Round 13 next week.

Final Standings: 1st Anand 8.5/14 2nd Karjakin 7.5 3rd Kramnik 7 4th Mamedyarov 7 5th Andreikin 7 6th Aronian 6.5 7th Svidler 6.5 8th Topalov 6

Round 14: FIDE World Candidates Tournament is concluded

Official Round 14 Press Release by the Media Centre of the FIDE World Candidates Tournament

Viswanathan Anand concluded the FIDE Candidates Tournament with a draw against Peter Svidler for a total of 8,5/14 points. FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov made the honorary move for the World Championship qualifier.

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Vladimir Kramnik also had a relatively quick draw, while Veselin Topalov and Dmitry Andreikin split the point only after 69 moves of play.

In the longest game of the day Sergey Karjakin defeated Levon Aronian with black after seven hours of play.

With this victory Karjakin emerged clear second with 7,5 points. On shared third place are Kramnik, Mamedyarov and Andreikin with 7 points each. Svidler and Aronian and on 6,5 points each, while Topalov is last with 6 points.

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov was involved in some of the sharpest games of the previous rounds, but today he decided to go for the positional Qc2 line in the Nimzo-Indian Defence. As he admitted at the post-game press conference, he was already feeling tired.

Vladimir Kramnik happily entered his pet line 7…dxc4. Instead of the common retreat 11.Qc2, white accepted to trade the queens on move 11. The players commented afterwards that this exchange meant that the game will be drawn.

The play continued until most of the pieces were removed from the board and draw was signed on move 30.

Having already qualified for the World Championship Match, Viswanathan Anand felt no pressure ahead of the game with Peter Svidler, but he still “didn't want to finish a good tournament with a defeat”.

Anand allowed the Ruy Lopez Marshall Gambit, stating that he wanted to test the new ideas by Fabiano Caruana. Svidler in his turn followed the plan of Rustam Kasimdzhanov – 14…Qf6.

Many pieces were exchanged and white was hoping to further trade the rooks and play a B vs N endgame with pawns on both sides of the board. However, before he could do that, black succeeded in clearing all pawns from the queenside.

Draw agreed on move 34.

Dmitry Andreikin's treatment of the Berlin Ruy Lopez was rather original as he quickly expanded with the pawns on kingside and in the center.

It was a strategy with considerable risk and Veselin Topalov rushed to open up the play to exploit black's weaknesses. White managed to snatch a pawn but his own structure was slightly compromised. He proceeded to force the exchange of the rooks hoping that he could get something in the endgame with minor pieces.

Topalov pressed for a long time but couldn't do harm to Andreikin's fortress. It is rare occurrence that Levon Aronian opens the game with 1.e4. Another surprise was his relatively modest approach against Serey Karjakin's Sicilian defence.

Black played all the logical moves, even succeeded in locking the white bishop on b1, but then a small inaccuracy handed a pawn to white.

In order to shift the trend, black gave up the exchange to destroy white's structure and win the pawn back.

White's reaction was not the best, he handed the material back and even fell under attack. The material was already reduced and it was not easy to exploit the weaknesses around the white king.

Only in the 7th hour of play white cracked under pressure and dropped a piece for pawn. He tried to compensate with the advanced passer, but black was quick to force the exchange of the queens and finally clinch a victory.

FIDECandidates 2014 Khanty-Mansiysk RUS Thu 13th Mar 2014 - Mon 31st Mar 2014
Leading Final Round 14 Standings:
RkSNoNameTiFEDRtg12345678PtsTB1TB2TB3
16Anand ViswanathanGMIND2770* *½ ½½ ½1 ½½ ½1 ½½ ½½ 10357.25
22Karjakin SergeyGMRUS2766½ ½* *0 1½ ½½ ½0 1½ 1½ ½0351.75
34Kramnik VladimirGMRUS2787½ ½1 0* *1 ½½ ½½ ½½ 00 17349.25
45Mamedyarov ShakhriyarGMAZE27570 ½½ ½0 ½* *1 ½0 11 ½½ ½72348.00
51Andreikin DmitryGMRUS2709½ ½½ ½½ ½0 ½* *½ 10 ½1 ½7248.50
67Aronian LevonGMARM28300 ½1 0½ ½1 0½ 0* *1 ½½ ½345.00
73Svidler PeterGMRUS2758½ ½½ 0½ 10 ½1 ½0 ½* *1 0½346.00
88Topalov VeselinGMBUL2785½ 0½ ½1 0½ ½0 ½½ ½0 1* *60242.25

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