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FIDE Candidates Tournament 2014 (11)

Anands closes in on Candidates qualification after 11 rounds

Anand in a very good move after his draw against Kramnik. Photo ©

Anand in a very good move after his draw against Kramnik. Photo © |

Viswanathan Anand held a very comfortable draw against Vladimir Kramnik in what was the last serious threat to his qualification. Anand has white in two of his last three games and remains the only undefeated player in the tournament. The chasing field didn't managed to close the gap either as all the games were drawn. Anand is on 7 points, Aronian 6 and Mamedyarov, Karjakin, Svidler on 5.5 these are the only players with any chance to qualify. Karjakin plays Anand with white in round 13 and Svidler has black against him in the final round 14.

Vladimir Kramnik candidly admitted that he didn't even get to sleep until 6am on the morning of the game following his terrible blunder against Svidler and already regarded his tournament as over. He played an old idea in the Catalan and almost immediately lost faith in it over the board after some early accurate play from Anand. Kramnik put the breaks on with 18.Bxa7 which brought about quick simplification and a draw.

Both Peter Svidler and Levon Aronian needed a win today but their game was a draw in a Symmetrical Reti. Svidler's best chance came after he had given up hope for an advantage as 23...Be7?! should have been punished with 24.e4 when white would have had some advantage.

Dmitry Andreikin and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov drew a reasonably interesting open Catalan where Mamedyarov knew the theory a bit better but was in slight danger of being worse at a couple of points.

The only game that could have finished decisive was that between Veselin Topalov and Sergey Karjakin in an English where Topalov took the game into a slightly favourable ending. He tried to complicate coming up to the first time control and Karjakin found a fine defensive exchange sacrifice which turned out to provide him with winning chances instead. The position after 42.a4 is one for the endgame books. The position after 45.g4 may be winning for Karjakin with the suggestions 45...Bg1 (Kamsky) and 45...a3 (L'Ami) both probably doing the trick with breaks a3, h3 and e4 combining to be too many threats to meet. After 45...Bf2 it seems white can just get his pieces in the right positions. Very tough to work out at the board or even off it.

Notes in PGN and the official bulletin in the body of the article.

Round 11 standings: Anand 7pts, Aronian 6pts, Mamedyarov, Karjakin, Svidler 5.5pts, Kramnik, Andreikin 5pts, Topalov 4.5pts

Round 12 pairings: Anand-Andreikin, Mamedyarov-Karjakin, Topalov-Svidler, Aronian-Kramnik

Round 11: All games drawn, Anand still in full point lead

Official Round 11 Press Release by the Media Centre of the FIDE World Candidates Tournament

All four games of the 11th round of the FIDE World Candidates Tournament ended in draws.

The first to split the point were former World Champions Vladimir Kramnik and Viswanathan Anand. Peter Svidler and Levon Aronian, Dmitry Andreikin and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, followed the suit around the first time control.

Sergey Karjakin was pressing for a victory against Veselin Topalov, but the Bulgarian was alert to parry all the threats.

Round 11 standings: 1. Anand 7; 2. Aronian 6; 3-5. Svidler, Mamedyarov and Karjakin 5,5; 6-7. Kramnik and Andreikin 5; 8. Topalov 4,5.

Possibly the toughest challenge for Viswanathan Anand in the last four rounds was the game with black against Vladimir Kramnik.

It wasn't a great surprise that Kramnik opened with the Catalan, which brought him so much success in the past.

The line with 7.Ne5 is considered innocuous, but Kramnik wanted to play something that he is familiar with. In an over-the-board inspiration he decided to go for the rare 11.Na3, which he analysed some years ago.

Anand continued in the regular manner, by quickly advancing the c-pawn to clear the files and achieve counterplay with heavy pieces.

A temporary pawn sacrifice helped black to clear the queenside and reach an easy draw.

Peter Svidler

Peter Svidler. Photo ©

The game between Peter Svidler and Levon Aronian started as a Reti but soon the pawns were arranged in the shape of Slav Exchange variation.

Black solved the problem of the light-squared bishop and this helped him achieve good play on the queenside.

The structure was symmetrical but there were still plenty of resources for either player.

Svidler marked 22.b4 as a mistake after which black succeeded in trading the heavy pieces on the c-file. Both players agreed that 22.Rc2 was a better try, when black would probably start preparing a break with e5.

After the queens went off, draw was signed on move 33.

Andreikin against Mamedyarov

Andreikin against Mamedyarov. Photo ©

Dmitry Andreikin and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov also explored the Catalan opening. White inadvertently followed in the footsteps of former World Championship Challenger Boris Gelfand, but already by move 20 he was down to less than half an hour on the clock.

Andreikin admitted that he was surprised in the opening and had to spend lots of time to find the best moves.

White made a break by advancing c4-c5, but black exchanged all the pawns on the queenside. On a positive note, white obtained a pair of bishops.

The resulting endgame 2B vs B+N and four pawns on the same flank should be equal, but still some precision was required from black.

Mamedyarov recollected that Kramnik and Gelfand held similar endgames, but he didn't feel entirely at ease in today's game. Nevertheless, he managed to trade more pawns and draw was finally agreed on move 46.

Veselin Topalov

Veselin Topalov. Photo ©

Veselin Topalov and Sergey Karjakin played the Double Fianchetto Hedgehog, following for a while their earlier game from 2012 World Rapid Championship.

Topalov was the first to deviate by advancing his pawn to g5. In the battle for the long a8-h1 diagonal both players maneuvered their queens to the corners of the board.

The queens and three pairs of minor pieces were soon exchanged. Black tried to create an outside passed pawn on the h-file, while white concentrated his efforts on breaking through on the queenside. 

While white was throwing his pawns forward, black seized the opportunity to trade a rook for the bishop and doubled passed pawns on the a-file.

Despite being an exchange up, white remained passive because black always threatened to advance the passers.

Eventually white stopped both pawns with his king and rook and black couldn't find a way to activate his own king to make a decisive impact on the final outcome. Draw in 57 moves.

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 ½ 1 ½ ½ . ½ . ½ ½ ½ . ½ 1 7 2879
2. Aronian, Levon g ARM 2830 0 ½ * * 1 0 1 . 1 ½ ½ . ½ . ½ ½ 6 2799
3. Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar g AZE 2757 0 ½ 0 1 * * ½ . 1 . 0 . 1 ½ ½ ½ 2772
4. Karjakin, Sergey g RUS 2766 ½ . 0 . ½ . * * ½ 1 0 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ 2766
5. Svidler, Peter g RUS 2758 ½ . 0 ½ 0 . ½ 0 * * ½ 1 1 ½ 1 . 2772
6. Kramnik, Vladimir g RUS 2787 ½ ½ ½ . 1 . 1 0 ½ 0 * * ½ ½ 0 . 5 2725
7. Andreikin, Dmitry g RUS 2709 ½ . ½ . 0 ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ * * 1 . 5 2738
8. Topalov, Veselin g BUL 2785 ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 . 1 . 0 . * * 2707
Round 11 (March 26, 2014)
Svidler, Peter - Aronian, Levon ½-½ 33 A07 Barcza System
Kramnik, Vladimir - Anand, Viswanathan ½-½ 31 E06 Catalan
Andreikin, Dmitry - Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar ½-½ 46 E04 Catalan
Topalov, Veselin - Karjakin, Sergey ½-½ 57 A15 English counter King's Fianchetto

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