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FIDE World Chess Championship Candidates London 2013 (6)

Aronian and Carlsen take control of London Candidates after 6 rounds

Magnus Carlsen and the rival he picked out Levon Aronian share the lead on 4.5/6. Photo © Ray Morris-Hill.

Magnus Carlsen and the rival he picked out Levon Aronian share the lead on 4.5/6. Photo © Ray Morris-Hill. |

The 6th round of the FIDE Candidates tournament in London saw Magnus Carlsen and Levon Aronian open up a 1.5 point lead over the rest of the field. Whilst Aronian pointed out that they hadn't even reached the half way stage it is surely quite a statement that the two pre-event favourites have opened such a gap. Magnus Carlsen won very easily against an out of sorts Peter Svidler. Whether Svidler was disturbed by messing up a huge position the day before or whether that was simply a sign that he was starting to miss things is unclear but against Carlsen he had a very bad day. Carlsen pretty much equalised straight out of the opening. 17.h3 was probably the best but 17.Ne3 may be OK but it more or less commits white to playing 20.d4 which Svidler decided was unplayable when he got there because of 20...exd4 21.Be4 Rxa5 with a big advantage to black however 21.Qe4 may not be at all so clear and if so Svidler should have gone for that. As it was Svidler's position became almost immediately hard to play and Carlsen bashed out some very strong positional moves very quickly and Svidler's position fell to bits. Vladimir Kramnik was also fancied to do well before the event and has come close to winning several games but just hasn't got the ball in the back of the net as he put it. He was obviously incredibly frustrated both at the end of his game against Ivanchuk and in the press conferences but hasn't ruled himself out just yet. Kramnik sacrificed the exchange to open up Ivanchuk's king (and who was in severe time pressure) but couldn't break through against very accurate defence. Ivanchuk had one minute left at the end to make 10 moves but Kramnik couldn't see any way of even making it difficult for Ivanchuk and was in danger of just losing if he tried too hard. Levon Aronian won a long struggle against Teimour Radjabov which looked destined to finish in a draw. Aronian put a lot of practical pressure on Radjabov and the sheer calculation workload and a second set of time pressure finally brought a blunder and a very sudden finish. Alexander Grishuk blundered against Boris Gelfand but somehow found some practical chances and eventually secured a draw. 36...Rxa2 seems to have been winning for Gelfand but he suddenly found himself in severe time pressure with three moves in 30 seconds to reach move 40. Round 6 Standings: Carlsen, Aronian 4.5pts/6. Kramnik, Svidler 3pts, Grischuk, Radjabov 2.5pts, Ivanchuk, Gelfand 2pts Rest day Friday. Round 7 Sat 23 Mar 2pm: Carlsen-Radjabov, Aronian-Grischuk, Gelfand-Kramnik, Ivanchuk-Svidler.

Peter Svidler lost to Magnus Carlsen

Peter Svidler lost to Magnus Carlsen

Peter Svidler lost to Magnus Carlsen. Photo © Ray Morris-Hill

Svidler,Peter - Carlsen,Magnus [C84]
FIDE Candidates London ENG (6.2), 21.03.2013

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.d3 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.a4 b4 9.Nbd2 0-0 10.a5 Be6 11.Nc4 Rb8 12.c3 bxc3 13.bxc3 h6 14.Re1 Qc8 15.Bc2

[15.Ba4 Bxc4 16.Bxc6 Bb5 17.Bxb5 Rxb5 18.c4 Rb7 19.d4 c5 20.d5 Nh7 21.Qc2 Qd7 22.Bd2 Ng5 23.Nxg5 Bxg5 24.Bc3 h5 25.Ra3 Rfb8 26.h3 g6 27.Kf1 f5 28.Ba1 Kh7 29.Rf3 f4 30.Ra3 Bd8 31.Ke2 g5 32.f3 Kg6 33.Bc3 g4 34.hxg4 hxg4 35.Rh1 g3 36.Kd3 Bf6 37.Raa1 Rh8 38.Rxh8 Bxh8 39.Rb1 Rxb1 40.Qxb1 Qa4 41.Qc2 Qxc2+ 42.Kxc2 Bf6 43.Kd3 Bh8 44.Kc2 Bf6 45.Kd3 Bh8 46.Kc2 Bf6 47.Kd3 1/2-1/2 Leko,P (2737)-Adams,M (2722)/London ENG 2012/The Week in Chess 933]

15...Rd8 16.Qe2 Bf8

Magnus Carlsen


Peter Svidler

Position after 16...Bf8


A mistake based on a miscalculation according to Svidler but in fact this move is probably just fine as I think he missed something good in his line.

[17.h3 "I should have played 20.h3 here and wait for one more move." - Svidler who thought that g6 would follow as black also "doesn't have too many active plans." 17...g6 18.Ne3 better than the game.; 17.d4 "I can play d4 but it never looks particularly good. Black has many obvious good reactions to it so that wasn't very inviting." - Svidler.]

17...d5 18.exd5 Nxd5 19.Nxd5 Rxd5

Magnus Carlsen


Peter Svidler

Position after 19...Rxd5. Having planned 20.d4 probably Svidler should have played it.


"White is already struggling here and I couldn't see a way to equalise." - Svidler. In fact having planned 21.d4 he should play it.

[20.Qe4 is a computer suggestion that neither player seemed to consider during the game b ut it still looks fairly bad for white even when the lines are given as equal. 20...Bd6 (20...f5 21.Qe2 Rc5) 21.d4 f5 22.Qe2; 20.d4 exd4 21.Qe4! and white's play has made sense. (21.Be4? "and I thought I was doing OK here but black simply takes on a5 and that was kind of unfortunate." - Svidler but he seems to have missed a strong move here: ) 21...g6 22.Ba4! Qb7 23.cxd4 with anyway much better play than in the game.]


"It was more or less enough to centralise my pieces." - Carlsen.


White's problem is that once he has misplayed this position it's actually quite hard to restore some order to his position.


Carlsen was playing very fast here.

22.Bb1 Qd7 23.Be3 e4

[23...Rxb1 24.Raxb1 Bxd3 was what the computer wanted but Carlsen couldn't quite make it work and nor did he see the need to do so.]

24.Nd4 Nxd4 25.Bxd4

[25.cxd4 exd3 26.Bxd3 Bxd3 27.Qxd3 Rbb5 "Objectively close to lost" Svidler and Carlsen agreed.]


Magnus Carlsen


Peter Svidler

Position after 25...exd3

"At this point I was thinking just straightforward moves were just good enough for a huge advantage." - Carlsen.

[25...Bxh3 Both Carlsen and Svidler laughed at this computer suggestion. Of course they didn't consider it.]

26.Bxd3 Bxd3 27.Rxd3 c5 28.Be5

Svidler felt he was lucky to even have this move.

28...Rxd3 29.Bxb8 c4 30.Be5 Bc5

It may be possible for white to resist better here but this is a truly miserable position added to which Svidler was short of time.

31.Rb1 Qd5

[31...f6 32.Bd4 was Svidler's hope during the game but his position is still much worse.]

32.Rb8+ Kh7 33.Qh5?!

A last throw of the dice. There are threats. Svidler was very short of time.

[33.Re8 Hanging tough was objectively the best move probably.]


Magnus Carlsen


Peter Svidler

Position after 33...Qe4

Now white can resign as Svidler admitted after the game. "Bf2 is a threat I can't really meet." - Svidler.

[33...Qe6 was expected by Svidler when he thought he had options but in fact he's completely busted here too. 34.Kf1 seems forced. (34.Bxg7 Qe1+ 35.Kh2 Bd6+ is mate.; 34.Bf4 Rd5 35.Qf3 Qe1+ 36.Kh2 Bxf2) 34...f6 35.Bd4 Bxd4 36.cxd4 Rxd4]

34.Rb2 Rd5 35.Re2 Qb1+ 36.Kh2 f6

It's a piece with no compensation at all.


Teimour Radjabov lost to Levon Aronian

Teimour Radjabov lost to Levon Aronian

Teimour Radjabov lost to Levon Aronian. Photo © Ray Morris-Hill

Radjabov,Teimour (2793) - Aronian,Levon (2809) [C65]
FIDE Candidates London ENG (6.1), 21.03.2013

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.d3 Bc5 5.c3 0-0 6.0-0 Re8 7.Nbd2 a6 8.Ba4 b5 9.Bb3 d6 10.Re1 Be6

[10...h6 11.Nf1 Bb6 12.Ne3 Be6 13.Bxe6 fxe6 14.Nc2 d5 15.Be3 Bxe3 16.Nxe3 Qd6 17.Qc2 Rad8 18.h3 d4 19.cxd4 Nxd4 20.Nxd4 exd4 21.Nf1 Nd7 22.a4 c5 23.Nd2 Ne5 24.axb5 axb5 25.f4 Nc6 26.e5 Qd5 27.Ne4 c4 28.dxc4 bxc4 29.Nf6+ gxf6 30.Qg6+ Kf8 31.Qxh6+ Kg8 32.Qg6+ Kf8 33.Qh6+ Kg8 34.Qg6+ Kf8 35.Qh6+ 1/2-1/2 Vachier Lagrave,M (2710)-Almasi,Z (2707)/Beijing CHN 2011/The Week in Chess 893]

11.Nf1 Bxb3 12.axb3 d5 13.Qc2 h6 14.Ng3

[14.b4 had to be played if white wants to have at least equality according to the players.]


"In my opinion after 14...a5 white is the one who has to try and equalise the game. I was thinking Teimour was trying to achieve equality with active play." - Aronian.

15.h3 Qd7 16.Be3 Bf8 17.Rad1 Rad8 18.Nf5 Qe6 19.g4 dxe4 20.dxe4 Ne7 21.Rxd8 Rxd8 22.Ra1 Ra8 23.c4 b4

Levon Aronian


Teimour Radjabov

Position after 23...b4

Radjabov wasn't sure he was worse after achieving this. He thought this position was "normal play."

24.g5 hxg5 25.Nxg5 Qc8 26.Nxe7+ Bxe7 27.Kh2 Ra6 28.Rg1 Nd7 29.Qe2 Rg6 30.Qh5 Nf6 31.Qf3 Rh6 32.Ne6 Rh7 33.Ng5 Rh4 34.Rg2 Qd7 35.Rg1 g6 36.Bc1 Qe8

Levon Aronian


Teimour Radjabov

Position after 36...Qe8


Maybe this not the best but Radjabov was in a time scramble.

[37.Qg3 Rh5 38.Qf3 Kg7 (38...Nd7 39.Ne6! "I actually blundered this" - Aronian missed this idea in his calculation of the position "I don't think I would have missed it but there's always a chance." - Aronian.) ]

37...a4 38.bxa4 Qxa4 39.Bc1 b3

Radjabov was annoyed he allowed this.

40.Qg3 Rh5 41.Qd3

[41.Nxf7 Kxf7 42.Qxg6+ Ke6 43.Bg5 Qe8 44.Qf5+ Kf7 45.Qf3 Rh8 46.Qxb3 c5 with some practical chances for the piece but Radjabov wasn't satisfied it was enough.]

41...Qc6 42.Be3 Rh4 43.Kg3!

"43. Kg3 I forgot about I was very annoyed when it [appeared]" - Aronian.

43...Rh8 44.Kh2 Kg7 45.c5 Qa4 46.Qc3 Re8 47.Qd3 Rd8 48.Qc3 Qb5

Levon Aronian


Teimour Radjabov

Position after 48...Qb5


After the game Radjabov was dissatisfied with this move "closing the rook."

[49.Kh1 was better but the white's position is still under pressure. 49...Nd7 50.Rd1 Ra8 (50...Rh8 51.Kg2) 51.Nf3]


Radjabov missed this move.

50.Qc1 Nh5 51.Nf3 Qb4?

Levon Aronian


Teimour Radjabov

Position after 51...Qb4

"This Qb4 is a ridiculously bad move and after it probably white is close to equalising." - Aronian.

[51...Rxe3 Aronian thought he had to be winning here and this seems to be the best chance. 52.Qxe3 Bxc5 53.Qc3 Nf4+ with much better chances than after Qb4.; 51...Bxc5 "Doesn't work for black." according to Aronian who was frustrated by this. 52.Bh6+ Seems the very best answer. (52.Qxc5 Nf4+ 53.Kg3 Ne2+ 54.Kg2 Qxc5 55.Bxc5 Nxg1 56.Nxg1 Rd2 57.Ba3 c5 and white may struggle to a draw.; 52.Nxe5 Rxe3 53.fxe3 Qe2+ 54.Kh1 Bxe3 55.Qxc7 Qf2 56.Rxg6+ Kh7 "I had this feeling this shouldn't work, I don't know why." - Aronian and even in this final position white is slightly worse at least.) 52...Kg8 53.Nxe5 Rd6 54.Qc4 Qxc4 55.Nxc4 Rf6 56.Rf1; 51...Qa4 was an alternative way of seeking the advantage.]


Aronian would like to go back and play the exchange sacrifice he turned down on the last move but "Here I cannot even get that position." - Aronian.

52...Qa4 53.Nxe5?

Levon Aronian


Teimour Radjabov

Position after 53.Nxe5?

Radjabov couldn't even reconstruct the thought processes that went into this terrible blunder. He suggested he wasted too much time earlier on calculating things that didn't appear on the board. "Here Teimour had a tragic blunder after Nxe5. I got lucky here." - Aronian.

[53.Qe2 Rd8 54.Rc1 and white is equal.]

53...Qxe4+ 54.Nf3

[54.Kf1 Qxe5 55.Bh6+ Kf6 protecting the queen is presumably actually what Radjabov missed.]


A sudden end.


Vladimir Kramnik drew with Vassily Ivanchuk

Some Kramnik comments from his interview with Laurence Trent.

"Of course I'm really not happy with the way it's going, the tournament, but I don't think I can blame myself for it just. I just hope I can keep on showing good chess and at some point I will get luck on my side. Out of the last two games I think I should have won at least one. But it just didn't happen somehow. It's not lost yet, the fight for the first place, I still feel I just have to manage to keep the level. But of course it's a bit more difficult for the older guys."

"In general what I want to say about the tournament is in general I think it's an absolutely great tournament, a lot of incredible, interesting games, of course you could expect it because everyone is really trying their best and everybody is playing for a win, it's really so far a great tournament."

Vladimir Kramnik drew with Vassily Ivanchuk

Vladimir Kramnik drew with Vassily Ivanchuk. Photo © Ray Morris-Hill

Kramnik,Vladimir (2810) - Ivanchuk,Vassily (2757) [E10]
FIDE Candidates London ENG (6.3), 21.03.2013

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.g3 Bb4+ 5.Bd2 Bd6 6.Bg2 Nbd7 7.0-0 0-0 8.Qc2 c6 9.Nc3 dxc4 10.Rfd1

[10.Bg5 0-1 Maheswaran,P (2292)-Sangma,R (2357)/Visakhapatnam IND 2011/The Week in Chess 891 (45)]

10...Qc7 11.Ng5 Be7

[11...h6!? 12.Nge4 Be7 13.Bf4 Qd8 14.Nxf6+ Nxf6 15.Ne4 Nd5]



12...e5 13.a5 exd4 14.Bf4 Bd6 15.Rxd4 Bxf4 16.Rxf4

[16.gxf4!? Given that Ivanchuk was starting to get short of time already perhaps Kramnik should have tried to keep the tension here and he did think about it a bit.]

16...h6 17.Nf3 b5!? 18.axb6 Nxb6 19.Rxf6!?

Vassily Ivanchuk


Vladimir Kramnik

Position after 19.Rxf6

Kramnik thought this was strong and Ivanchuk had about 4 minutes left but unfortunately for Kramnik it's only good enough for a draw.

[19.Nd4 Nfd5 20.Nxd5 cxd5 21.e4]

19...gxf6 20.Nd4 Bd7!

Kramnik thought this the only move.



21...Kg7 22.Bxc6 Bxc6 23.Nf5+ Kg6 24.Ra5

[24.Nh4+ is a draw but Kramnik really desperately needed to win.]

24...Rh8 25.Qd4 Rag8 26.Rc5

Again looks very strong.


Again the very best from Ivanchuk.

27.Qf4 h5!

Vassily Ivanchuk


Vladimir Kramnik

Position after 27...h5

Now Ivanchuk had just over a minute left to make move 40. Kramnik thought for a very long time trying to find anything that could continue the game without just losing.

28.Nh4+ Kg7 29.Nf5+ Kg6 30.Nh4+ Kg7 31.Nf5+

Probably a fair result.


Alexander Grischuk drew with Boris Gelfand

Alexander Grischuk drew with Boris Gelfand

Alexander Grischuk drew with Boris Gelfand/ Photo © Ray Morris-Hill

Grischuk,Alexander (2764) - Gelfand,Boris (2740) [B30]
FIDE Candidates London ENG (6.4), 21.03.2013

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 e6 4.0-0 Nge7 5.Re1 a6 6.Bf1 d5 7.d3 d4 8.e5 Nd5 9.c4

[9.g3 1-0 Zvjaginsev,V (2656)-Bocharov,D (2618)/Irkutsk RUS 2010/The Week in Chess 825 (90)]

9...dxc3 10.bxc3 Rb8 11.Bb2 b5 12.Nbd2 Be7 13.Ne4 0-0 14.Rb1 Nb6 15.Ba1 Bb7 16.c4 b4 17.Qd2 a5 18.Qf4

Grischuk liked his position here. "But here I started to make stupid moves I think." - Grischuk

18...Nd7 19.Qg3

[19.h4; 19.Rbd1 a4 (19...Qc7 20.Qg3 f5 (20...a4 21.Nd6 Ba8 22.d4 cxd4 23.Nxd4 Nxd4 24.Bxd4 b3 25.axb3 (25.Nb5 Rxb5 26.cxb5 bxa2 27.Ra1 Bd5 28.Rec1 Qb8) 25...Rxb3 26.Qf4 "Here is not what I want." - Grischuk.) ) ]



20.h4 a4 21.h5

"I started to play quite stupidly." - Grischuk.

[21.Nd6 is OK here. 21...Ndxe5 (21...b3 22.axb3 Rxb3 23.Rxb3 axb3) 22.Rxe5 Nxe5 (22...Bxd6 23.Qxg7+ Kxg7 24.Rg5+) 23.Qxe5 Bf6 24.Qxc5]

21...h6 22.Qg4

[22.Nd6 Ndxe5]

22...Qc7 23.Nd6?

Boris Gelfand


Alexander Grischuk

Position after 23.Nd6

"I thought somehow I would bring a rook to g4." - Grischuk.


"Boom I can resign pretty much." - Grischuk.

24.Nxe5 Nf6 25.Qd1

[25.Nb5 Rxb5 26.Qg3 Rbb8 27.Be2 Bd6 28.f4 Kh8 29.Bd1 Rfd8 30.Qf2]

25...Bxd6 26.Qxa4

[26.Re3 Ne4]]

26...Nxh5 27.Qd1 Nf6 28.Ng4 Nxg4 29.Qxg4 e5 30.f4 Rbe8 31.Re3 f6 32.Rbe1 Qf7

[32...e4 33.g3; 32...Bc6 33.Qg6 Ra8 34.fxe5 Bxe5 35.Bxe5 fxe5 36.R3e2 (36.Qe6+ Rf7 37.R3e2 Re8 38.Qg6 Qd7 39.Rxe5 Rxe5 40.Rxe5 Qd4+) 36...Qd7]

33.f5 Bc6 34.Rh3

"Here I thought I found a good plan. But forgot about the clock and almost lost on time somehow." - Gelfand.

34...Kh7 35.Bb2 Ra8

[35...g5 "Maybe g5 simply." - Gelfand.]

36.Bc1 Rg8

36...Ra2 seems to win out of hand.

37.Re2 Bf8

"Then I realised I had 30 seconds left for three moves." - Gelfand.

38.Rf2 Re8 39.Be2 e4

Grischuk's problem is that nomatter where he puts his queen he's blocking lines of attack to h6.

[39...g5 Gelfand wondered about this again: 40.fxg6+ Rxg6 41.Qh4 Qg8 42.Rh2 f5 and maybe black is again better.]

40.Qh4 exd3 41.Bh5 Re1+ 42.Rf1 Rxf1+ 43.Kxf1 Qe7 44.Rxd3 Qe5 45.Qg4

[45.Bg6+ Kh8 46.Qg4 Bd6 47.Qe2 Qa1 48.Rxd6 Qxc1+ 49.Rd1 Qg5]

45...Be8 46.Bg6+

[46.Bxe8 Qxe8 47.Qe2 is very close to a draw but Grischuk plays for a trick. 47...Qf7 can be tried with some small hopes for an advantage. (47...Qxe2+ 48.Kxe2 g6 is equal.) ]

46...Bxg6 47.fxg6+ Kh8 48.Rd7 Bd6

Boris Gelfand


Alexander Grischuk

Position after 48...Bd6

Grischuk completely missed this move. "Here I was lucky it's a draw." - Grischuk.

[48...Qa1? This is Grischuk's trap. 49.Qf4 and mate or catastrophic loss of material results.; 48...Be7 49.Qf4 Qe6 50.Rd2]

49.Bxh6 Qa1+ 50.Kf2 Qxa2+ 51.Kf1 Qb1+ 52.Kf2 Qc2+ 53.Kg1

[53.Kf1? Qd3+ 54.Qe2 Qxe2+ 55.Kxe2 Re8+ 56.Kd2 gxh6 57.g7+ Kg8 58.Rxd6 Kxg7 59.Rc6 Re5 with an extra pawn and good winning chances for black.]

53...Qb1+ 54.Kf2 Qb2+ 55.Kf1 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 . 1 . 2964
2. Aronian, Levon g ARM 2809 ½ . * * ½ . ½ . . . 1 . 1 . 1 . 2979
3. Kramnik, Vladimir g RUS 2810 ½ . ½ . * * ½ . ½ . ½ . ½ . . . 3 2790
4. Svidler, Peter g RUS 2747 0 . ½ . ½ . * * ½ . 1 . . . ½ . 3 2798
5. Grischuk, Alexander g RUS 2764 0 . . . ½ . ½ . * * ½ . ½ . ½ . 2729
6. Radjabov, Teimour g AZE 2793 . . 0 . ½ . 0 . ½ . * * 1 . ½ . 2714
7. Ivanchuk, Vassily g UKR 2757 ½ . 0 . ½ . . . ½ . 0 . * * ½ . 2 2673
8. Gelfand, Boris g ISR 2740 0 . 0 . . . ½ . ½ . ½ . ½ . * * 2 2665
Round 6 (March 21, 2013)
Kramnik, Vladimir - Ivanchuk, Vassily ½-½ 31 E10 Blumenfeld Counter Gambit
Svidler, Peter - Carlsen, Magnus 0-1 36 C84 Ruy Lopez Centre Attack
Grischuk, Alexander - Gelfand, Boris ½-½ 55 B30 Sicilian Rossolimo
Radjabov, Teimour - Aronian, Levon 0-1 54 C65 Ruy Lopez Berlin

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