Chess24 Sopiko Scotch

FIDE World Chess Championship Candidates London 2013 (7)

Aronian and Carlsen still lead after 4 draws in London Candidates Round 7

Magnus Carlsen seemed in trouble against Teimour Rajdabov but maybe it was far more difficult than at first site. Photo © Ray Morris-Hill.

Magnus Carlsen seemed in trouble against Teimour Rajdabov but maybe it was far more difficult than at first site. Photo © Ray Morris-Hill. |

The FIDE Candidates in London round 7 saw all four games drawn but not without chances in three of them. Magnus Carlsen wound up the tension against Teimour Rajdabov creating a very sharp position where he was eventually going to allow a strong kingside attack. Things went wrong for him but probably not quite to the extent that the computers said. Carlsen was well prepared to sacrifice the exchange as he did and he did get more than enough compensation. Carlsen thought he ought to be much worse but only by slow play with something like 25...Be7. Rajdabov's 25...f2 looked like the winning idea but Carlsen found a lot of counterplay. A fascinating yet flawed game that shows just how confident Carlsen is in his own abilities and perhaps provides a better insight into the way Carlsen tries to drag his opponent into trouble than games where this works out. Levon Aronian played very solidly against Alexander Grischuk and eventually found a way to get a nasty initiative. Aronian was further encouraged by Grischuk's time pressure but it was precisely then his advantage entirely disappeared. Boris Gelfand and Vladimir Kramnik discussed a classical isolated pawn position. Kramnik started to become dissatisfied with his position and his 18...Ne8 was a mistake but one that Gelfand couldn't calculate to the end. 19.Nfg5 is winning according to the computers and Gelfand could have played it and tried to make it work move by move but he retreated and the game fizzled to a draw. Vassily Ivanchuk and Peter Svidler discussed a theoretical line in the Scotch and after a short period of potentially interesting play the game was agreed drawn in a position where neither side could make progress. Round 7 Standings: Carlsen, Aronian 5pts/7. Kramnik, Svidler 3.5pts, Grischuk, Radjabov 3pts, Ivanchuk, Gelfand 2.5pts. Round 8 Sun 24th March 2013: Carlsen-Aronian ("I think it's going to be a big game tomorrow. If either of us wins they're going to be big favourite." - Carlsen), Radjabov-Gelfand, Grischuk-Ivanchuk, Kramnik-Svidler.



Carlsen-Radjabov. Photo © Ray Morris-Hill

Carlsen,Magnus - Radjabov,Teimour [B30]
FIDE Candidates London ENG (7.3), 23.03.2013

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 e6 4.Bxc6 bxc6 5.b3 d6 6.0-0 Ne7

[6...e5 7.Re1 g5 8.d3 h6 9.c3 Bg7 10.Na3 Ne7 11.Nc4 0-0 12.Ne3 f5 13.b4 f4 14.Nf1 cxb4 15.Qb3+ Kh8 16.Qxb4 g4 17.N3d2 Ba6 18.c4 c5 19.Qa4 Bc8 20.Rb1 Bd7 21.Qa6 Nc6 22.a3 Rb8 23.Bb2 Rb6 24.Qa4 Qc8 25.Bc3 Nb4 26.Qxa7 Ra6 27.Qxd7 Qxd7 28.axb4 cxb4 29.Rxb4 Ra3 30.Nb1 Raa8 31.Rb5 Rfb8 32.Rd5 Qa4 33.Bd2 Rb2 34.Nc3 Qb3 35.Rb5 Qa3 36.Nb1 Qa1 37.Bc3 Rxb1 38.Bxa1 Rxe1 39.Bb2 Rd1 40.Rb3 Ra2 0-1 Boehnisch,M (2374)-Korchnoi,V (2552)/Velden AUT 2009/The Week in Chess 753]


[7.c3; 7.d3; 7.Bb2; 7.d4]

7...Ng6 8.exd6 Bxd6 9.Nc3 e5 10.Re1 0-0 11.d3 f5 12.Ba3 Be6 13.Na4 Qe7 14.c4

[14.Bb2!? Might be a way to cut across Rajdabov's plan. 14...Bd5 15.c4 Bxf3 16.Qxf3]

14...Rad8 15.Qe2

Teimour Radjabov


Magnus Carlsen

Position after 15.Qe2

"Somehow everything came unexpectadly for me." - Radjabov who spent a lot of time here trying to get Nf4 to work.


[15...Nf4 16.Qe3 Rf6 (16...e4 17.dxe4 fxe4 18.Qxe4 Qf6 19.Bxc5 Bf5 20.Qxc6 Bh3 (20...Nh3+ 21.Kh1 Bxc5 22.Qxc5) 21.g3 Nd3) ]

16.Qe3 f4!? 17.Qe4 Kh8 18.Rad1?!

Teimour Radjabov


Magnus Carlsen

Position after 18.Rad1?!

Did you expect an exciting game today? "I didn't want it to be this exciting. I think from the opening it's fairly unbalanced so it's probably going to be some fireworks eventually." - Carlsen. "Also in general I agree, the position is really unclear black has their trumps, white has these trumps with c5 weakness but black has counterplay on the king's flank and it's very tricky. Of course at some point it's clear at some point white will take some pawn and black will just sacrifice everything on the kings flank. Nh4xg2, f3 and later on you can see if there is a win for any side but certainly it's not an equal line or drawish or something it's really unclear." - Rajdabov.

[18.h3 is not the kind of move that white wants to play as it weakens the kingside ("an incredibly ugly move" - Svidler) but it just seems necessary here. "If I go h3 then it's a normal game." - Carlsen. 18...Rf5 19.d4!? "It's not clear but it's definitely much better than what I did." - Carlsen. (19.Nc3 Rh5 20.Rad1 Nh4 21.Nxh4 Rxh4 22.d4 f3 23.Qxf3 cxd4 24.Bxd6 Qxd6 25.Ne4 Qg6 26.Nc5 Rxh3 27.Qe4 Qxe4 28.Rxe4 Rh5) ]

18...Bg4 19.Rd2 Bxf3 20.Qxf3 Nh4 21.Qe4 f3 22.g3

Teimour Radjabov


Magnus Carlsen

Position after 22.g3

"Here I was thinking there was no special danger because I can sacrifice the rook when the knight gets to g2. That was my plan." - Carlsen.

22...Ng2 23.Nc3

[23.Red1? Qe6 24.Kh1 Qh3 and Rajdabov revealed he was thinking about all sorts of endings when he missed something trivial. 25.Rg1 Rf6 26.Rxg2 fxg2+ (26...Qxg2#! is by far the best.) 27.Qxg2 is indeed equal.]


[23...Qd7 24.Re3 Nxe3 is another try. 25.fxe3 Bc7 26.Bxc5 f2+ 27.Rxf2 Rxf2 28.Kxf2 Qxd3 29.Qxd3 Rxd3 30.Ne4 "and it's not a big deal" - Carlsen.]

24.Re3 Nxe3

[24...Qh6 was also considered by Radjabov but he didn't know whether it was better.]


Teimour Radjabov


Magnus Carlsen

Position after 25.fxe3


"Here somehow I was certain 25.f2 was the move." - Rajdabov. This move looks so tempting but it seems just not to be the best. White may be worse or even losing but that win doesn't appear to be coming fast. Carlsen has got his pieces and pawns well coordinated and the long term weaknesses in black's position are a factor.

[25...Qd7!? 26.Nd1; 25...Be7!? 26.Nd1 "Just to play slowly somehow because I don't know what I can do." - Carlsen. 26...h5!? (26...Qh3 27.Bb2 Kg8 "Kg8 is too much maybe." - Rajdabov who didn't have a clear idea how to go about this even after the game. (27...Bg5 28.Ba3 "Somehow you should consolidate and... I'm not sure I even want to take on e5" - Carlsen who was worried about opening lines.) ) 27.Bb2 Rf5 28.Nf2 Rdf8 29.Kf1]

26.Rxf2 Rxf2 27.Kxf2 Rf8+

[27...Qh3 is an alternative but it doesn't seem radically different.]


[28.Kg1 was the line Rajdabov concentrated on when most probably it is just winning for him. 28...Qf6 29.Qg2 e4]


[28...Qf6 29.Qg2 e4 30.Nxe4 Qa1 31.Nd2 Qxa2?! (31...Be7 32.Qh3 Qxa2 33.Qd7 Qxa3 34.Qxe7 and again a draw should follow.) 32.Qxc6 "and good luck to win this." - Radjabov.]


Teimour Radjabov


Magnus Carlsen

Position after 29.Qh1

"And then suddenly I didn't find anything which maybe means there is nothing." Rajdabov.

29...Be7 30.Ne4 Qg4+ 31.Kd2 Qh3 32.Ke2 h5 33.Bb2 Qg4+ 34.Kd2 Qh3 35.Ke2 Qg4+ 36.Kd2 Qh3 37.Ke2 1/2-1/2



Aronian-Grischuk. Photo © Ray Morris-Hill

Aronian,Levon - Grischuk,Alexander [E18]
FIDE Candidates London ENG (7.4), 23.03.2013

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.g3 Bb7 5.Bg2 Be7 6.0-0 0-0 7.Nc3 Ne4 8.Bd2 Bf6 9.Ne5 Nxc3 10.Bxc3 Bxg2 11.Kxg2 c5 12.Nf3

"Levon played a very solid line with white, just very solid." - Grischuk

[12.Ng4 Bxd4 13.Bxd4 cxd4 14.Qxd4 Nc6 15.Qd6 f5 16.Ne3 f4 17.Ng4 Rc8 18.gxf4 h5 19.Ne3 Qf6 20.Rad1 Rf7 21.b3 Qg6+ 22.Kh1 Qe4+ 23.Kg1 Rxf4 24.Qxd7 Rd8 25.Qc7 Rxd1 26.Rxd1 Nd4 27.Re1 Rf6 28.h3 e5 29.Qd8+ Kh7 30.Qd5 Qf4 31.Rf1 Nxe2+ 32.Kh1 Nd4 33.Rg1 Qxf2 34.Qg2 Qxg2+ 35.Kxg2 Rf3 36.Nd5 h4 37.Re1 Rg3+ 38.Kf2 Rxh3 39.Rxe5 Rh2+ 40.Kf1 Rxa2 41.b4 Kg6 42.Re4 Nf5 43.Kg1 Rc2 44.Rg4+ Kh5 45.Rf4 g6 46.Rf2 Rxc4 47.Nf4+ Kg5 48.Ne6+ Kg4 49.Rg2+ Ng3 50.Kh2 Rxb4 51.Nc7 Rb1 52.Rg1 Rxg1 53.Kxg1 Ne2+ 54.Kh2 Nc3 55.Na6 g5 56.Nc7 a5 0-1 Bogdanovich,S (2286)-Kravtsiv,M (2516)/Odessa UKR 2008/The Week in Chess 697]

12...cxd4 13.Bxd4 Be7 14.Qd3 d6

Aronian wondered afterwards if this was the most precise.


After a solid opening Aronian said that "with Qc3 I made it more interesting."


"I tried to make things unclear but Levon found a very strong plan with 19.b5 and 20.c5 and after it I had to defend." - Grischuk.

16.Be3 Nd7 17.Rfd1 Rc8 18.Rac1 f5 19.b4 Kh8 20.c5! bxc5 21.bxc5 e4 22.Nd4 Nxc5 23.Nb5 Qb6

This was a good move. - Aronian.

[23...a6 24.Na7 (24.Nxd6 Bxd6 25.Bxc5 Rxc5 26.Qxc5 Bxc5 27.Rxd8 Rxd8 28.Rxc5 g6 29.e3) 24...Rc7 25.Bxc5 Rxc5 26.Qxc5 dxc5 27.Rxd8 Bxd8 28.Nc8 (28.Nc6) 28...Bc7]


Alexander Grischuk


Levon Aronian

Position after 24.Qc4

"I think Levon played very well, I think pretty much perfectly until some moment." - Grischuk


[24...Qb7 25.Rb1 Nd3 26.Qe6 and black is lost.]

25.Nc3 Qd8

Aronian agreed he might have gone astray. He thought this might might be tricky for Grischuk in time trouble. "Sasha proved it's his kind of position and he played very well." - Aronian.


"After 26.Na4 a5 it should be a draw." - Grischuk.

[26.Nd5! was best here according to Grischuk. 26...Bg5 27.Bxg5 Qxg5 28.Nf4 Qf6 29.h4 very unpleasant for black. 29...g6 (29...h6 30.h5 Kh7; 29...Rcd8 30.h5 white is almost winning according to Grischuk.) ]

26...Nxa4 27.Qxa4 Rxc1 28.Rxc1 a5 29.Qb5 h6 30.Rd1

Alexander Grischuk


Levon Aronian

Position after 30.Rd1

"I'm thinking Rd1 is a bit stupid. I was getting too comfortable here and then I realised the advantage is gone." - Aronian.

[30.a4!? looks better than the game according to Aronian.]

30...Bg5 31.Bb6 Qb8 32.a4 f4 33.h4

"Here already I have no problems." - Grischuk.



34.exf3 exf3+ 35.Kh2 Bf6

[35...Bd8 36.Be3]]

36.Bxa5 Be5

"I should not lose with such bishop, with such king." - Grischuk.

37.Qxb8 Rxb8 38.h5 Ra8 39.Rd5 Kg8 40.Kh3 Kf7 41.Kg4 Ke6 42.Rb5 Bd4 43.Bb6 1/2-1/2



Gelfand-Kramnik. Photo © Ray Morris-Hill

Gelfand,Boris - Kramnik,Vladimir [E54]
FIDE Candidates London ENG (7.1), 23.03.2013

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e3 0-0 5.Bd3 d5 6.Nf3 dxc4 7.Bxc4 c5 8.0-0 cxd4 9.exd4 b6 10.Qe2 Bb7 11.Bg5 Nbd7 12.Rac1 Qb8 13.Rfd1 Rc8

[13...h6 14.Bh4 Qf4 15.Bg3 Qf5 16.Bd3 Qh5 17.Nb5 Nd5 18.Ne5 Qxe2 19.Bxe2 Nxe5 20.dxe5 Ba6 1/2-1/2 Hansen,L (2574)-Akopian,V (2698)/Novi Sad SRB 2009/The Week in Chess 781]

14.Bd3 Bd6 15.g3 a6

[15...h6 16.Be3 Nd5 17.Nxd5 Bxd5 18.Nd2 Rxc1 19.Rxc1 Nf6 20.Nc4 Bf8 21.Bf4 Qd8 22.Ne5 Rc8 23.Rxc8 Qxc8 24.a3 Qd8 25.Qc2 Bb7 26.Qa4 Qd5 27.f3 a6 28.Qc4 Qd8 29.Bc2 b5 30.Qd3 Bd6 31.Kf2 Qc7 32.Bd2 Qb6 33.Kg2 Bd5 34.Qc3 Qb7 1/2-1/2 Schuster,J (2433)-Vitolins,E (2446)/ICCF email 2008/Corr 2011]

16.Bxf6 Nxf6 17.Ne4 Rxc1 18.Rxc1

[18.Nxf6+ is possible.]


Vladimir Kramnik


Boris Gelfand

Position after 18...Ne8

Of course Kramnik didn't want to do this and understood the risks.

[18...Bd5 19.Nxf6+ gxf6 20.Be4 Qb7]


Gelfand spent almost all his remaining time here trying to work the knight out to a win. He couldn't see his way to the end. It seems the computers think he's winning but it really isn't that simple.

[19.Nfg5 seems the better of the two knight moves but both are promising. 19...g6 (19...h6 20.Qh5 hxg5 21.Nxg5 Nf6 22.Qxf7+ Kh8 23.Nxe6 Qg8) 20.Nxf7 Kxf7 21.Ng5+ Kf6 22.Qxe6+; 19.Neg5 h6 20.Bg6]]

19...Qd8 20.Be4 Rc8 21.Qf1 Rxc1 22.Qxc1 Qc8


23.Qc3 Nf6 24.Bxb7 Qxb7 25.Ne5 Nd5 26.Qc6 Qxc6 27.Nxc6 Kf8 28.Nc4 Bc7 29.Ne3 Nxe3 30.fxe3 Bd6 31.Ne5 Bxe5 32.dxe5

This endgame is just a draw.

32...Ke7 33.Kf2 Kd7 34.e4 Kc6 35.Ke3 Kc5 36.Kd3 1/2-1/2



Ivanchuk-Svidler. Photo © Ray Morris-Hill

Ivanchuk,Vassily - Svidler,Peter [C45]
FIDE Candidates London ENG (7.2), 23.03.2013

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nxc6 bxc6 6.e5 Qe7 7.Qe2 Nd5 8.c4 Ba6 9.g3 g6 10.b3 Bg7 11.Bb2 0-0-0 12.Bg2 Rhe8 13.0-0 Bxe5 14.Qxe5 Qxe5 15.Bxe5 Rxe5 16.cxd5 Bxf1 17.Kxf1 cxd5

Peter Svidler


Vassily Ivanchuk

Position after 17...cxd5


[18.f4 was Svidler's suggestion for a different idea for white and it has been played before. 18...Re3 Svidler's move. (18...Rh5 19.h4 d4 20.Na3 Ra5 21.Nc2 Re8 22.Bf3 c5 23.Be2 Kb7 24.a4 d5 25.Kf2 Rc8 26.b4 cxb4 27.Nxb4 Rc3 28.Rb1 Kc7 29.Bb5 Kd6 30.Rd1 d3 31.g4 Rc4 32.Rb1 a6 33.Nxa6 Rxf4+ 34.Kg3 Rfxa4 35.Bxa4 Rxa4 36.Nb4 d2 37.Nc2 Rc4 38.Ne3 Rc1 39.Rb6+ Kc5 40.Rb7 Re1 0-1 Maiorov,B (2288)-Lukjanenko,A (2422)/Voronezh 2003/CBM 094 ext) 19.Bxd5 c6


19...Rd3 20.Bf3 (

20.Bxf7 Rd1+) 20...Rxf3+ 21.Ke2 Rxf4 22.gxf4 Re8+ 23.Kf2 Re4 24.Nd2 Rxf4+;


19...Rde8 20.Na3 Re2 21.Bxf7 R8e7 with a very sharp endgame.; 20.Bf3 Kc7]


Is mainline theory. "It's very difficult for both sides to do something." - Svidler.

19.Rc1 Kb7 20.Na4 a5 21.Bf3 Kc7N

Peter Svidler


Vassily Ivanchuk

Position after 21...Kc7

[21...Ra8 22.Nc5+ Kc7 23.Nd3 Rf5 24.Bg4 Rf6 25.Ne5 Rd8 26.h4 h6 27.Kg2 g5 28.hxg5 hxg5 29.Rh1 Kd6 30.Nf3 Rg6 31.Rh7 f6 32.Bf5 Rgg8 33.Rh6 Rdf8 34.Rh7 Rd8 35.Rh6 Rdf8 36.Rh7 Rd8 1/2-1/2 Mussanti,D (2316)-Hungaski,R (2379)/Berazategui ARG 2007/The Week in Chess 651]

22.Nc5 Ree8 23.Rc2 Ra8 24.Rd2 Re7

[24...Kd6 25.Nb7+ draw(25.Ne4+ Kc7 (25...Ke7 26.Nc3 Rab8 27.Ke2 and the white king can cross over there may be additional opportunities for white although maybe not so very much.) 26.Nf6 Re6 27.Nxd5+ cxd5 28.Bxd5 with a rook ending Svidler didn't want even though it's probably a draw.) ]

25.Rd4 Rae8 26.Nd3 g5 27.Ra4

[27.h3 f5 and there are no entry points for black. "White has no plan but neither does black frankly." - Svidler.]

27...Kb6 28.Rd4 Kc7 29.Ra4 Kb6 30.Rd4 Kc7 1/2-1/2

FIDE Candidates London (ENG), 15 iii-1 iv 2013 cat. XXII (2787)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
1. Carlsen, Magnus g NOR 2872 * * ½ . ½ . 1 . 1 . ½ . ½ . 1 . 5 2932
2. Aronian, Levon g ARM 2809 ½ . * * ½ . ½ . ½ . 1 . 1 . 1 . 5 2941
3. Kramnik, Vladimir g RUS 2810 ½ . ½ . * * ½ . ½ . ½ . ½ . ½ . 2783
4. Svidler, Peter g RUS 2747 0 . ½ . ½ . * * ½ . 1 . ½ . ½ . 2792
5. Grischuk, Alexander g RUS 2764 0 . ½ . ½ . ½ . * * ½ . ½ . ½ . 3 2739
6. Radjabov, Teimour g AZE 2793 ½ . 0 . ½ . 0 . ½ . * * 1 . ½ . 3 2735
7. Ivanchuk, Vassily g UKR 2757 ½ . 0 . ½ . ½ . ½ . 0 . * * ½ . 2688
8. Gelfand, Boris g ISR 2740 0 . 0 . ½ . ½ . ½ . ½ . ½ . * * 2691
Round 7 (March 23, 2013)
Carlsen, Magnus - Radjabov, Teimour ½-½ 37 B30 Sicilian Rossolimo
Aronian, Levon - Grischuk, Alexander ½-½ 43 E18 Queens Indian
Ivanchuk, Vassily - Svidler, Peter ½-½ 30 C45 Scotch Game
Gelfand, Boris - Kramnik, Vladimir ½-½ 36 E54 Nimzo Indian

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