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FIDE Candidates Tournament 2014 (7)

Aronian joins Anand in the lead following hard Candidates Round 7

Levon Aronian finally joins Viswanathan Anand in the lead after losing to him in round 1. Photo ©

Levon Aronian finally joins Viswanathan Anand in the lead after losing to him in round 1. Photo © | http://candidates2014.fide.com

The half way stage of the FIDE Candidates finished with Viswanathan Anand and Levon Aronian leading on 4.5/7 half a point clear of Vladimir Kramnik. This was an emmensely important day for Kramnik who could have been almost commpletely out of the running instead of just half a point behind.

The first game to finish was a fine win for Dmitry Andreikin against Veselin Topalov. Andreikin was in last place so he was obviously a target but Topalov went very wrong misjudging that Andreikin could get his king safe.

Viswanathan Anand looks to have got much of his confidence back and he came quite close to a win in his game against Peter Svidler. Anand came up with a really good novelty that placed Svidler under real pressure and forced him to think for 40 minutes, his longest think in many years. Both players were forced to calculate long and difficult variations after that but Anand just couldn't find his way to the end of the winning line starting with 20...Rxf2. Both players seemed quite pleased with the general quality of their work today and Anand in particular seemed really back to his old self.

Levon Aronian had a fine win with black against Sergey Karjakin who now goes into last place alone. Aronian took a small advantage into a winning endgame which still was not at all easy to convert but he won it convincingly in the end. Karjakin said he felt he had to make a move today, odd given his choice of opening, but in general I think making a move against the highest rated player probably isn't very wise.

Had Vladimir Kramnik lost and Viswanthan Anand won Kramnik would have been two points behind and almost completely out of the running. Kramnik started with a favourable opening but most probably he didn't have the winning position he was claiming because he didn't have the variations to back it up. When the position became crazy it was Mamedyarov who played the better moves. After first time control Mamedyarov worked hard and almost found his way to the win but missed an important detail (he in fact made the losing moves almost instantly) and quickly had to resign. An amazing turn around.

Make no mistake this was an extremely demanding game to play and the mistakes, as were all those seen today, were after hours of very hard chess. In spite of all the opening preparation the players are continuously finding themselves in taxing middle-games. That may be a trend even after the event finishes. There may have been a lot of mistakes today but we also saw a huge number of critical positions in a fantastic day's play. Many top players can play theory well, here we're seeing people tested very hard outside preparation.

Things could be interesting if Kramnik finally qualifies as Mads Stostad's interview with Magnus Carlsen published today featured some quite spicey talk about Kramnik. Some of the original quotes are below in the body of the article.

For Mamedyarov he would have been in contention had he won and this is a second huge disappointment in the event for him but he's clearly incredibly dangerous.

Notes to today's games in the PGN in the body to this article. Lots of comments and lines by the players it took an awful lot of work.

Round 7 standings: Anand, Aronian 4.5pts, Kramnik 4pts, Svidler 3.5pts, Topalov, Andreikin, Mamedyarov 3pts, Karjakin 2.5pts

Round 8 Sat 22nd March 9am GMT Kramnik-Andreikin, Svidler-Karjakin, Topalov-Mamedyarov and Aronian-Anand.

Carlsen quotes on Kramnik from the NRK interview with Mads Stostad

"Kramnik thinks he knows everything."

"It's very impressive how he throws around different variations, and it's not easy to see through it if you don't know the game well enough yourself. But if you look a bit deeper, it's often just nonsense."

"He plays with great principle. Probably the biggest difference between me and him is that he makes a lot of mistakes. He often thinks that he is right, while it is I am the one who is right."

"A 13 year old Magnus Carlsen bought every word he said. Not the 23 year old me (with a smile)."

"He's very confident. He's not afraid of anyone. He doesn't think I'm better than him, he doesn't think Aronian is better than him. He actually loses a bit against Nakamura, but he certainly doesn't think Nakamura is better than him)."

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 . ½ . ½ . ½ . 1 . ½ . 2872
2. Aronian, Levon g ARM 2830 0 . * * ½ . 1 . ½ . ½ . 1 . 1 . 2863
3. Kramnik, Vladimir g RUS 2787 ½ . ½ . * * ½ . 0 . ½ . 1 . 1 . 4 2817
4. Svidler, Peter g RUS 2758 ½ . 0 . ½ . * * 1 . 1 . 0 . ½ . 2772
5. Topalov, Veselin g BUL 2785 ½ . ½ . 1 . 0 . * * 0 . ½ . ½ . 3 2718
6. Andreikin, Dmitry g RUS 2709 ½ . ½ . ½ . 0 . 1 . * * 0 . ½ . 3 2729
7. Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar g AZE 2757 0 . 0 . 0 . 1 . ½ . 1 . * * ½ . 3 2722
8. Karjakin, Sergey g RUS 2766 ½ . 0 . 0 . ½ . ½ . ½ . ½ . * * 2668
Round 7 (March 21, 2014)
Kramnik, Vladimir - Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar 1-0 54 D38 QGD Ragozin
Svidler, Peter - Anand, Viswanathan ½-½ 38 C65 Ruy Lopez Berlin
Andreikin, Dmitry - Topalov, Veselin 1-0 27 D30 Queen's Gambit (without Nc3)
Karjakin, Sergey - Aronian, Levon 0-1 53 C65 Ruy Lopez Berlin

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