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FIDE Candidates Tournament 2014 (6)

Blunders abound as Anand quietly retains his lead after Candidates Round 6

Kramnik and Topalov ignoring each other at the start of their game. Photo ©

Kramnik and Topalov ignoring each other at the start of their game. Photo © |

The sixth round of the FIDE Candidates in Khanty-Mansiysk saw some very tired errors whilst Viswanathan Anand had a low energy draw against Sergey Karjakin to retain a half point lead going into the second rest day.

Anand played a small improvement as white to Ruy Lopez Berlin theory and Sergey Karjakin had to be accurate for a little time before the game was drawn.

Levon Aronian passed up the chance to catch Anand by failing to beat Dmitry Andreikin in an interesting struggle where he got very casual over a number of moves in a winning position and allowed his opponent to escape in the endgame.

If what Aronian did was hard to believe then what to say about Peter Svidler's loss to Shakhriyar Mamedyarov? Svidler got at least equality by using the Leningrad Dutch for the first time. Mamedyarov seems to have struggled against this in the past. A middle position was reaching requiring precise calculation and both players start to struggle. It was Svidler's position that eventually collapsed. After 21...b5 Svidler should stand a bit better. Mamedyarov saw near equality but he wanted more with 22.Qe3 which would have led to a difficult position after 22...Qd7 which neither player saw, 22...bxc4 isn't a great move, 23...Qc8 is awful and is best refuted by 24.Rd1, 24.h4 isn't bad but by 24...Rxa2 Svidler should hold the draw according to both players. Finally 24...h6 is just incomprehensible giving away a pawn for nothing. Mamedyarov wrapped things up very quickly. A strange game and one that might seriously affect Svidler for a few rounds.

The game of the day was the one flagged up before the event, the first classical game between Veselin Topalov and Vladimir Kramnik since 2008. Their bitter match in Elista in 2006 will probably mean they never have a normal professional relationship again. For many year one or both the players seem to have made it clear they wouldn't play in a tournament where the other is competing (although both will play in Norway in June). Neither player offered a handshake at the start or end of play.

The game itself was a damp squib, over almost before it started. Topalov played the very sharp 8...Be5 which he thought objectively not very strong but good enough for one outing. Kramnik mentioned computers and computer analysis many times in his delayed post-game interview. He implausibly claimed he didn't know he had to attend the one with Topalov and returned later presumably to avoid losing 5% of his prize money. Kramnik said he was trying to get the position away from computer analysis as soon as possible and this seemed to have stopped him concentrating on actually playing. First Kramnik played the dubious 10...f5 (maybe 10...Nxe5 is even good for him) probably overlooking the power of 11.Bh2. Then 11...b6?! is also dubious (he must now at least try 11...f4). Most probably Kramnik was already busted and his position collapsed a few moves later. Topalov gave a quite dignified press conference talking just about the game but his manager (or at least helper for this event) Silvio Danailov couldn't resist some rather unedifying crowing about revenge being a dish best served cold on twitter.

After six rounds no-one seems to have made a compelling case that they should to win this tournament. This will suit Anand just fine, he retains a lead he gained early and has barely expended any energy since then in drawing his games. It could all get very tense at the end and anyone on 50% or above can legitimately claim to be still in the race. Or it might be Anand needs just one more win and no-one will be able to catch him.

Notes and comments to the games in the PGN file and photos and report from FIDE are in the body of the article.

Rest day Thursday.

Round 6 Standings: Anand 4pts Aronian 3.5pts, Topalov, Kramnik, Mamedyarov, Svidler 3pts, Karjakin 2.5pts and Andreikin 2pts

Friday Round 7: Karjakin-Aronian, Svidler-Anand, Kramnik-Mamedyarov, Andreikin-Topalov.

Mamedyarov and Topalov victorious in round 6

Official Round 6 Press Release by the Media Centre of the FIDE World Candidates Tournament

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Veselin Topalov won their respective games against Peter Svidler and Vladimir Kramnik in round 6 of Candidates Tournament.

The other two matches, Viswanathan Anand – Sergey Karjakin and Levon Aronian – Dmitry Andreikin, were drawn. Anand must feel  happier as Aronian missed to win and catch him on the shared first place.

After six rounds of play Anand stays on the top with 4 points, while Aronian is close behind on 3,5. Four players are on 3 points each: Kramnik, Svidler, Mamedyarov and Topalov. Karjakin is on 2,5 points and Andreikin has 2 points.

Thursday 20th April is rest day.

Karjakin and Anand

Karjakin and Anand. Photo ©

Another Berlin Ruy Lopez in Viswanathan Anand's game, this time playing white againstSergey Karjakin. Anand confidently entered the famous endgame, blitzing out the first 20 moves.

Karjakin also analysed the line up to 21.Rh1, but his moving was slower as he tried to recollect the exact preparation. He planned to make 23…Nb4 but then he understood that 24.f4 gxf4 25.Bh4+ with next Bf6 would be very unpleasant.

Karjakin and Anand

Karjakin and Anand. Photo ©

Anand tried to prepare f4 but Karjakin placed his pieces on optimal squares and white soon realized that there is no way to make progress. Draw was signed on move 33.

Huge tension was felt in the air ahead of the game between Veselin Topalov and Vladimir Kramnik, their first classical since 2008. Somehow they kept missing each other in the past six years, with exception of the quick games in Melodi Amber events. Even the other participants recognized the importance of the moment and kept glancing at the board on far left.

The game started as a Queen's Gambit Declined where Topalov entered the Bf4 variation and then introduced a novel idea with 8.Be5 and 9.Bd3.

Round 6 Stage

Round 6 Stage. Photo ©

Kramnik responded by pushing his pawn twice to f4 before starting the logical process of undermining white's queenside. However, he probably missed the strength of the tactical blow 19.Nxd5, which allowed white to trade down to the practically winning endgame.

Topalov duly converted the advantage.


Svidler-Mamedyarov. Photo ©

Peter Svidler started with the Dutch defence, an opening that he had planned to introduce during this event. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov was not confused, he didn't take more than two minutes to answer with 2.g3.

Mamedyarov criticized his 8.b4, but he had already tried many different moves in this position and it was time for something new.

Peter Svidler

Peter Svidler about to resign. Photo ©

Svidler believed that black emerged with a good position from the opening, having achieved everything that he hoped for. But then, as he said at the press conference, “his brain stopped working for about 20 minutes”, when he made a couple of mistakes in succession.

Mamedyarov didn't take long to elegantly conclude the game.

Dmitry Andreikin

Dmitry Andreikin. Photo ©

The game between Levon Aronian and Dmitry Andreikin started with Reti opening where the first fight revolved around the black pawn on c4. But then white unbalanced the play by sacrificing two pieces for a rook and a pawn.

Black tried to improve on the earlier games of Dutch Grandmaster Smeets, but white was able to trade a couple of pawns and emerge with an outside passer.

Cracking under pressure, black was forced to give the material back and transpose into an endgame where white had an extra pawn – exactly that passer on the a-file.

But then Aronian rushed to exchange a strong bishop for opponent's knight, probably considering the rook endgame easily winning. However, it turned out that the outcome was unclear, thanks to the black pawn on e6. White was not able to anchor the rook on f4 as there was always e6-e5. Game drawn on move 48.

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 . 1 . . . ½ . ½ . 4 2897
2. Aronian, Levon g ARM 2830 0 . * * ½ . ½ . 1 . 1 . . . ½ . 2818
3. Topalov, Veselin g BUL 2785 ½ . ½ . * * 1 . ½ . 0 . ½ . . . 3 2778
4. Kramnik, Vladimir g RUS 2787 ½ . ½ . 0 . * * . . ½ . 1 . ½ . 3 2769
5. Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar g AZE 2757 0 . 0 . ½ . . . * * 1 . ½ . 1 . 3 2769
6. Svidler, Peter g RUS 2758 . . 0 . 1 . ½ . 0 . * * ½ . 1 . 3 2772
7. Karjakin, Sergey g RUS 2766 ½ . . . ½ . 0 . ½ . ½ . * * ½ . 2704
8. Andreikin, Dmitry g RUS 2709 ½ . ½ . . . ½ . 0 . 0 . ½ . * * 2 2653
Round 6 (March 19, 2014)
Anand, Viswanathan - Karjakin, Sergey ½-½ 33 C67 Ruy Lopez Berlin
Aronian, Levon - Andreikin, Dmitry ½-½ 48 A11 Reti Opening
Topalov, Veselin - Kramnik, Vladimir 1-0 41 D37 QGD 5.Bf4
Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar - Svidler, Peter 1-0 31 A81 Dutch Leningrad

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