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FIDE Candidates Tournament 2014 (4)

Aronian and Mamedyarov win Anand leads after Candidates Round 4

Levon Aronian scored an important win against Peter Svidler. Photo ©

Levon Aronian scored an important win against Peter Svidler. Photo © |

Viswanathan Anand leads the FIDE World Championship Candidates after another interesting day's play in the tournament in Khanty-Mansiysk to decide a challenger for Magnus Carlsen.

Anand had a rather short days work as he entered a Vienna variation of the Queen's Gambit and was out-prepared by Vladimir Kramnik. Pretty much all the life had been sucked out of the position by the time they left theory and Kramnik forced perpetual check. A result that probably suited both players.

Sergey Karjakin played the English for the first time in his life against Veselin Topalov and he was out played to the extent that black didn't have any problems. The Queen vs two Rooks ending didn't leave either side much chance to complicate things. Topalov looks to have settled into the event and perhaps there is more to come. Karjakin looks well prepared but that everything is just a little bit of a struggle.

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov got his first win in rather unconvincing style against Dmitry Andreikin, there seemed a lot of turning points in this game and Andreikin had plenty of chances to draw. It may be the bottom two seeds are destined to finish there.

The game of the day was between Levon Aronian and Peter Svidler in a theoretical Gruenfeld. Svidler didn't hide he'd prepared the variation seen rather deeply, Aronian was selling the line he hadn't looked at it which is a tiny bit difficult to believe. There are detailed notes from the press conference in the PGN file but it came down to a key decision by Svidler as to whether he should try and play on in a complicated position he had researched a piece for pawn up or liquidate to a likely draw.

Magnus Carlsen at the last Candidates seemed content to have four content less games against Kramnik and Aronian and seek his points elsewhere, Svidler decided he would take the battle to him. 31...Qf7 was Svidler's biggest regret after the game and indeed it looks at least equal with chances of being better in some situations, 32...Nf7 was a definite mistake 34...Qd7 was a mistake in that the outrageous computer suggestion 37.Bf6! would nearly have won on the spot but in spite of missing that Aronian's 40.f4! left Svidler defending a miserable position which he couldn't hold.

Svidler was rather pointedly asked about the parallels between his draw from a winning position vs Gelfand and loss to Carlsen that derailed his campaign last time and his draw from being winning vs Kramnik followed by loss to Aronian here. We'll have to see but Svidler seemed a lot less upset than he did last time and he is still in reasonable shape in this event. Aronian as favourite however has got over an early loss, played pretty well today and may now just be getting down to the job of qualifying.

Games with comments from the players in the PGN section and the FIDE press release and photos below.

Round 4 standings: Anand 3pts, Aronian, Kramnik 2.5pts, Topalov, Svidler 2pts, Karjakin, Mamedyarov 1.5pts and Andreikin 1pt.

Round 5 pairings: Andreikin-Anand, Karjakin-Mamedyarov, Svidler-Topalov and Kramnik-Aronian

Anand draws Kramnik, maintains lead after round 4

Official Round 4 Press Release by the Media Centre of the FIDE World Candidates Tournament

Anand-Kramnik press conference

Anand-Kramnik press conference. Photo ©

Viswanathan Anand didn't get advantage from the opening against Vladimir Kramnik and the game was quickly drawn, but the Indian retained the lead after round 4 of FIDE World Candidates Tournament.

In the other matches Levon Aronian outplayed Peter Svidler, while Shakhriyar Mamedyarov won an exciting game against Dmitry Andreikin. Veselin Topalov forced perpetual check to hold Sergey Karjakin to a draw.

Anand is first with 3/4 points, while Kramnik and Aronian are close behind on 2,5 points each. Topalov and Svidler share the 4th place with 2 points each. Mamedyarov and Karjakin are on 1,5 points, while Andreikin sunk to the last place with 1 point.

The game between two old rivals, former World Champions Viswanathan Anand and Vladimir Kramnik, was eventful, sharp and quick.

Kramnik defended with the Vienna Queen's Gambit, which came as a surprise for Anand. Anand said he didn't expect this line, particularly since he himself payed it against Kramnik (in 2003).

After black has infiltrated behind the opponent's ranks with the excellent 18...Qh2, the play became more forced. Black's inspired defence finally brought him reward when he caught the white king in perpetual check.

At the press conference Anand said that he was prepared up until 17.Qd2. He added that 18.Rd3 was forced and suggested that maybe 21.Nb3 was a better try.

Kramnik didn't want to discuss his preparation, he just said that after 4.Nc3 he plays many different moves, 4...Be7, 4...Bb4, 4...c5, and now obviously 4...dxc4. Previously he entered Vienna with black in a game against Grischuk three years ago.

The players didn't want to speculate on which score would be sufficient for the first place (+4 or +5). Kramnik said that the only sufficient score is to actually be just one step ahead of the rest of the field.

Sergey Karjakin

Sergey Karjakin. Photo ©

Sergey Karjakin started the round with 1.c4, which was only fourth such occasion from almost 1000 games with white. Veselin Topalov thought for a couple of minutes before responding with his favourite Reversed Dragon setup.

Later in the game, black played the relatively rare 10...Re8 and then traded the knights on d5. White briefly contemplated the position and decided to double the rooks on the c-file.

In a matter of couple of moves all minor pieces were exchanged. White decided to launch the usual minority attack on the queenside, to which black responded by giving two rooks for a queen and a pawn to unbalance the position.

Karjakin tried to redeploy his rooks to the open e-file, but Topalov was able to take advantage of the weakened light squares and deliver perpetual check.

Topalov against Karjakin

Topalov against Karjakin. Photo ©

At the press conference Karjakin noted that it is curious that he also plays Reversed Dragon with black pieces. He was unhappy about 14.Rc3, after which he didn't have advantage. Topalov added that no matter what white does instead of Rc3, he would still continue with the same plan as in the game.

After 21.e3 Qf6 Karjakin could not find anything convincing. Topalov said that 22...Qg6 was a strong threat. He suggested maybe to delay a4 for one move and play 26.Rb3 first, but it shouldn't change the overall evaluation of the game.

Andreikin and Mamedyarov

Andreikin and Mamedyarov. Photo ©

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov reversed the negative trend by defeating Dmitry Andreikin to leap ahead of the Russian player in the standings.

For third time in four rounds Mamedyarov faced with the Slav Defence. His start was modest, having moved e3 and a3, but soon-after he opened the center with e3-e4. Black naturally struck back with c6-c5.

Andreikin and Mamedyarov

Andreikin and Mamedyarov. Photo ©

White got some pressure after damaging black's queenside structure and pushing b4. From that point on black experienced problems with the weakened light squares and advanced passer on c6.

White's advantage was slowly increasing until he had missed the very strong 34.Qd6 and instead gave a check, because as Mamedyarov admitted, "when you are in time trouble you try to find some cheap tricks".

After 35...f5 white realized that the win might be slipping away from his hands. But Andreikin quickly returned the favour with the weak 37...Kf7 (instead of the correct 37...Kh7 38. Qd6 Qa6).

Mamedyarov soon wrapped up the game.

Peter Svidler

Peter Svidler. Photo ©

Levon Aronian and Peter Svidler did their homework and quickly banged the first 20 moves in one of the lines of the Gruenfeld Indian defence. Svidler prepared a novelty 21...Qa3 instead of the previously played 21...Qa6, which according to him loses by force.

Svidler spent some time to consider 27...Nxd4 and thought that this forced line would lead to a draw. He preferred to fight on and deviated from this move, which was a decision that he regretted later in the game.

After another inferior move, namely 32...Nf7, white started to gradually squeeze the black's position.

The endgame was quite unpleasant and black could only prolong the suffering until move 57.

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 . . . 3 2982
2. Kramnik, Vladimir g RUS 2787 ½ . * * . . . . ½ . 1 . . . ½ . 2845
3. Aronian, Levon g ARM 2830 0 . . . * * ½ . 1 . . . 1 . . . 2862
4. Topalov, Veselin g BUL 2785 ½ . . . ½ . * * . . ½ . ½ . . . 2 2780
5. Svidler, Peter g RUS 2758 . . ½ . 0 . . . * * ½ . . . 1 . 2 2773
6. Karjakin, Sergey g RUS 2766 . . 0 . . . ½ . ½ . * * . . ½ . 2672
7. Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar g AZE 2757 0 . . . 0 . ½ . . . . . * * 1 . 2686
8. Andreikin, Dmitry g RUS 2709 . . ½ . . . . . 0 . ½ . 0 . * * 1 2574
Round 4 (March 17, 2014)
Anand, Viswanathan - Kramnik, Vladimir ½-½ 30 D37 QGD 5.Bf4
Aronian, Levon - Svidler, Peter 1-0 57 D85 Gruenfeld Defence
Karjakin, Sergey - Topalov, Veselin ½-½ 40 A29 English Four Knights
Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar - Andreikin, Dmitry 1-0 42 D45 Anti-Meran Variations

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