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FIDE Candidates Tournament 2014 (5)

Anand leads, Svidler wins and Aronian escapes against Kramnik in Candidates Round 5

Topalov against Svidler was the only decisive game of the day. Photo ©

Topalov against Svidler was the only decisive game of the day. Photo © |

The fifth round of the FIDE World Championship Candidates in Khanty-Mansiysk in Russia saw another very tense day of play which left Viswanathan Anand still leading by half a point.

Leader Anand had the better side of a draw against tail-ender Dmitry Andreikin. Anand on the black side of a Ruy Lopez (Andreikin thought a Sicilian more likely) got a small advantage but not enough to win. No real missed chances and Andreikin brought home the draw.

The game of the day was the game between the two pre-event favourites Vladimir Kramnik and Levon Aronian. In a Queen's Indian Kramnik went for a Stonewall Attack which he felt was very favourable for him. It certainly initially led to sharp play and Aronian didn't do anything to calm things down either however at some point white's attack became extremely serious. 21...f5 was one defensive idea and Kramnik's suggestion of 22...Rc7 with the idea of 23...Bc8 looks very sensible too. Instead Aronian went on the counter-attack with 23...b5 and play became extremely complicated. Aronian got a running e-pawn, Kramnik a raging attack and it seems a winning position but with minutes left on the clock it was not possible to calculate the possibilities properly. Kramnik chose a safe pawn up in an ending but Aronian managed to hold the draw.

Peter Svidler was the only winner of the day but it didn't look like that at the start. Svidler showed "naivety" in repeating a variation of the Ruy Lopez where he won very comfortably before. Svidler should have suspected something was coming against a player as well prepared as Veselin Topalov and sure enough he was hit with a risky idea which took him completely by surprise and Svidler soon stood much worse. However Topalov then misplayed it completely in just a very few moves and left Svidler with the better position, It was only after 26...Ka6? that this advantage become permanent and Svidler brought home the full point fairly convincingly after that. Svidler was deeply dissatisfied with his play but a point is a point and Topalov having had a solid start did not play at all well today.

"You normally don't get as lucky as this. It's beyond belief what happened today." Svidler.

Sergey Karjakin played the 3.Bb5+ Sicilian against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and got pretty much nothing out of the opening. Both players already look to have settled on just getting a respectable score which for first timers and players likely to appear again may not been an unreasonable goal.

Round 5 Standings: Anand 3.5pts/5, Kramnik, Aronian, Svidler 3pts, Topalov, Karjakin, Mamedyarov 2pts, Andreikin 1.5pts

Round 6 19th March 9am GMT: Aronian-Andreikin, Anand-Karjakin, Mamedyarov-Svidler and Topalov-Kramnik.

Annotated games in the PGN section and the text and photos from the official press release below.

Round 5: Svidler defeats Topalov, Anand still on top

Official Round 5 Press Release by the Media Centre of the FIDE World Candidates Tournament

Peter Svidler bounced back after yesterday's loss by winning against Veselin Topalov in round 5 of FIDE World Candidates Tournament. At the same time Viswanathan Anand preserved the lead after splitting the point with Dmitry Andreikin. 


Kramnik-Aronian. Photo ©

Kramnik and Aronian played a wild match that eventually settled in a draw after six hours of play. The first game to finish today was a peaceful draw between Sergey Karjakin and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov.

After five rounds Anand remains on top with 3,5 points. Kramnik, Aronian and Svidler share the second place with 3 points each. A full point behind are Topalov, Mamedyarov and Karjakin. Andreikin remains last with 1,5 points.

Sergey Karjakin against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov

Sergey Karjakin against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. Photo ©

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov attempted to play the Naidorf Sicilian, which is not very common in his practice, but Sergey Karjakin circumvented with the Bb5 check and the Moscow variation.

White's 12.Nd5 allowed massive exchanges at black's convenience who was just on time to strike the pawn chain with 15...b5.

Black could even allow the luxury of giving up a pawn to activate his heavy pieces. Draw was signed on move 31.

At the press conference both players agreed that Mamedyarov's 21...a5 was very strong, practically securing a draw.

Anand against Andreikin

Anand against Andreikin. Photo ©

Despite the unpleasant experience with Berlin Ruy Lopez in the World Championship Match in Chennai, Viswanathan Anand himself adopted the opening with black in the game against Dmitry Andreikin.

Andreikin employed the system with early Bxc6 and Be3, championed by his compatriot Ian Nepomniachtchi. But Anand was already familiar with the plan, having earlier defended black against Topalov.

The main battle was on the queenside where white was attempting to break to the 7th rank. Anand, however, played quickly and confidently, while Andreikin was burning his clock.

Black constantly had a small pull, but white held the position together and the draw was signed on move 43.

Veselin Topalov

Veselin Topalov. Photo ©

Veselin Topalov revived a line in the Ruy Lopez Møller Defence that was previously considered dubious. His 10...exf3 appears to better than the committal 10...Bxf2+.

The surprised Peter Svidler spent lots of time to accurately navigate the resulting sharp position. After move 14 he actually thought that he is losing. But he treated it well and even emerged with slight advantage.

A couple of imprecise moves by black, namely 26...Ka6 and 28...Ne5 were enough to get him in trouble. The combined force of rook and two bishops harassed the stranded black king until white was able to trade down to the winning endgame with the passed h-pawn.

Vladimir Kramnik

Vladimir Kramnik. Photo ©

The start of the game between Vladimir Kramnik and Levon Aronian was quiet as it can get, but it didn't take long before white started piling his pieces towards the black king.

Kramnik already has the experience of blasting the opponents off the board after a seemingly modest setup (for example against Van Wely). Aronian responded with counterplay in the center.

Levon Aronian

Levon Aronian. Photo ©

White forced the opening of the long diagonal, which looked immensely dangerous for black. Luckily for him, Aronian had a strong trump in the advanced e-pawn.

With the help of the temporary queen sacrifice black succeeded in simplifying the position down to an equal rook endgame.

Kramnik pressed on but to no avail as Aronian played precisely to hold a draw.

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 * * ½ . 1 . . . ½ . . . 1 . ½ . 2922
2. Kramnik, Vladimir g RUS 2787 ½ . * * ½ . ½ . . . 1 . . . ½ . 3 2838
3. Aronian, Levon g ARM 2830 0 . ½ . * * 1 . ½ . . . 1 . . . 3 2843
4. Svidler, Peter g RUS 2758 . . ½ . 0 . * * 1 . ½ . . . 1 . 3 2847
5. Topalov, Veselin g BUL 2785 ½ . . . ½ . 0 . * * ½ . ½ . . . 2 2704
6. Karjakin, Sergey g RUS 2766 . . 0 . . . ½ . ½ . * * ½ . ½ . 2 2687
7. Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar g AZE 2757 0 . . . 0 . . . ½ . ½ . * * 1 . 2 2700
8. Andreikin, Dmitry g RUS 2709 ½ . ½ . . . 0 . . . ½ . 0 . * * 2618
Round 5 (March 18, 2014)
Kramnik, Vladimir - Aronian, Levon ½-½ 60 E10 Blumenfeld Counter Gambit
Svidler, Peter - Topalov, Veselin 1-0 48 C78 Ruy Lopez Moeller Defence
Karjakin, Sergey - Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar ½-½ 31 B52 Sicilian Rossolimo
Andreikin, Dmitry - Anand, Viswanathan ½-½ 42 C65 Ruy Lopez Berlin

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