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FIDE World Chess Championship Candidates London 2013 (2)

Aronian and Radjabov take lead after London Candidates Round 2

Teimour Radjabov (and Levon Aronian) were the only players to attend the sponsors Socar's party on Friday night and they both won in round 2! Photo © Ray Morris-Hill.

Teimour Radjabov (and Levon Aronian) were the only players to attend the sponsors Socar's party on Friday night and they both won in round 2! Photo © Ray Morris-Hill. |

The London Chess Candidates to decide a challenger for Viswanathan Anand saw their second round on Saturday 16th March. Before the round the fixture of the day was that between Magnus Carlsen and Vladimir Kramnik but this turned out to be a damp squib. Carlsen remarked that he often gets into trouble against Kramnik and today his choice was "harmless" allowing Kramnik to quickly and efficiently equalise and a draw was agreed on move 30. Kramnik commented that he felt happy to reserve his energy for more important rounds to come in a long contest and that he felt +4 (maybe even +3 more wins than losses) would be good enough to at least share first. Kramnik told fans not to worry and that the next three rounds would be very hard fought. Carlsen is often a slow starter and having played what no doubt he regards as his two main rivals I'm really expecting more starting with Round 3. Levon Aronian scored the first win of the event. He also chose a very conservative opening with white against Boris Gelfand with few losing chances and then started to press. His 25.b4 was a good move but also was played with the specific intention of trying to provoke 25...Rc8? with which Gelfand obliged him after which the attractive 26.Bh6+ gave him a winning position. Peter Svidler might be good friends with Alexander Grischuk but he's been awfully harsh on him over the board. Today a positional Ruy Lopez saw, according to the players, the advantage lie with Grischuk at first and then Svidler before they liquidated to a draw. Afterwards Grischuk, with fairly dark humour, suggested that he had messed up Svidler's tournament strategy of beating him twice and drawing the rest and hoping no-one else would score higher. Finally Teimour Radjabov won a very strange game against Vassily Ivanchuk, one that has to really worry the veteran's supporters. Rajdabov talked about the impossibility of predicting what Ivanchuk would play and even if he had prepared the Leningrad Dutch wouldn't have been at the top of his list. As it was Ivanchuk's play was extremely disjointed. 8.Ne4 looks a bit risky at this level and after 12.Ba3 Radjabov looked on top, 16...Na6 looked a further error and around move 25 Ivanchuk was down to a second a move and completely busted. Nominally 33.Rxb6? is an error that should have led to a draw but it's impossible to play seriously when your opponent's flag is inevitably going to fall as it did for Ivanchuk just a move later. Round 2 Standings: Aronian, Radjabov 1.5pts/2, Svidler, Kramnik, Carlsen, Grischuk 1pt, Gelfand, Ivanchuk 0.5pts. Round 3 Sun 2pm Gelfand-Carlsen, Ivanchuk-Aronian, Svidler-Radjabov and Kramnik-Grischuk.

Aronian 1-0 Gelfand

Boris Gelfand summed his play up as "I didn’t play well I guess". Levon Aronian admitted he played a variation that gave his opponent virtually no active chances but which has the reputation of being drawish. Aronian found a little something but in a rare admission he won the game by luring his opponent into falling into a cheap trap. Gelfand should have seen it but didn't.

Levon Aronian

Levon Aronian. Photo © Ray Morris-Hill

Aronian,Levon (2809) - Gelfand,Boris (2740) [A04]
FIDE Candidates London ENG (2.1), 16.03.2013

1.Nf3 c5 2.c4 Nc6 3.Nc3 g6 4.e3 Nf6 5.d4 cxd4 6.exd4 d5 7.cxd5 Nxd5 8.Qb3 Nxc3 9.Bc4 Nd5 10.Bxd5 e6 11.Bxc6+ bxc6 12.0-0 Be7

Boris Gelfand


Levon Aronian

Position after 12...Be7

"Generally this line is considered a drawish line. White is in control but then the game ends in a draw. You're right it looks visually very good for white but in reality if he had defended better it should have been a draw." - Aronian.


[13.Bf4 Qd5 14.Qxd5 cxd5 15.Ne5 f6 16.Nc6 Bd7 17.Rfc1 g5 18.Bg3 h5 19.h4 gxh4 20.Bxh4 Bxc6 21.Rxc6 Kd7 22.Rac1 Rhc8 23.Rxc8 Rxc8 24.Rxc8 Kxc8 25.f4 Bd6 26.f5 exf5 27.Bxf6 Kd7 28.Kf2 Bf4 29.Kf3 Bd2 30.Kg3 Ke6 31.Be5 Be1+ 32.Kf3 a6 33.Bc7 Bd2 34.Bf4 Bb4 35.a3 Be7 36.b4 Kd7 37.Bd2 Bd6 38.a4 Kc6 39.Bg5 Bxb4 40.Kf4 Be1 41.Kxf5 Bf2 42.Ke5 h4 43.Bd2 Bg3+ 44.Kf5 Bf2 45.Bc3 Kd7 46.Ke5 Kc6 47.Kf4 Kd6 48.Kf3 Bg1 49.Kg4 Bf2 50.Kf3 1/2-1/2 Jakovenko,D (2732)-Gelfand,B (2736)/Eilat ISR 2012/The Week in Chess 937]

13...Qd5 14.Rfc1 Qxb3 15.axb3 Bb7 16.Ne5 0-0 17.Ra4 Rfd8

Boris Gelfand


Levon Aronian

Position after 17...Rfd8

"I had the feeling in the opening that Rfd8 was a little premature." Aronian.

18.Nc4 Bf6

[18...Rd5 19.Rca1! c5 20.Rxa7 Rxa7 21.Rxa7 cxd4 22.Rxb7 dxe3 23.Nxe3]

19.Na5 Rd7 20.Rb4 Ba6 21.Nxc6

Boris Gelfand


Levon Aronian

Position after 21.Nxc6


[21...Rc8 22.Rc3 (22.Rb8 Rd5 23.Rxc8+ Bxc8 24.Rc5 Bd7; 22.Nb8 Rxc1+ 23.Bxc1 Rd6 and black is fine. Aronian.) 22...Rdc7 (22...e5 23.h3 exd4 24.Bxd4) 23.Nb8 Be2 24.Nd7 and white still has something.]

22.h3 Kg7 23.Rxb7 Bxb7 24.Ne5 Bd8

"After Bd8 I was thinking which move should I play to provoke Rc8" said Aronian after the game.

[24...Rc8 25.Ra1 a6 26.b4 (26.Ra4 a bit unpleasant for black - Aronian.) ]


Boris Gelfand


Levon Aronian

Position after 25.b4. What's that rule about not playing for cheapos?


[25...Bd5; 25...Bb6 26.d5 Bxd5 (26...Bxe3 27.fxe3 Bxd5 28.Rc7 Kf6 29.Nd7+ Kg7 30.b5 looks promising.) 27.Bxb6 axb6 28.Rc7 Rf8 29.b5]

26.Bh6+! Kg8

[26...Kf6 27.Bg5+ Kxg5 28.Nxf7+ Kf4 29.g3+ Kf3 30.Re1 although Aronian hadn't seen this.]

27.Rxc8 Bxc8 28.Nc6 Bf6 29.b5!

Boris Gelfand


Levon Aronian

Position after 29.b5!

Really strong as black's king is perminantly cut off.

29...Bd7 30.g4! g5

[30...a6 31.g5 axb5 32.Nb8 Bxd4 33.Nxd7 Bxb2 34.Kf1 and the king is in time.]

31.h4 gxh4 32.g5 Bxc6 33.bxc6 Bd8 34.Kg2 Bc7 35.Kh3 1-0

Radjabov 1-0 Ivanchuk

Teimour Radjabov didn't pick his opponents choice of the Leningrad Dutch but he got a very nice position early and a winning one quite soon afterwards. Radjabov had about 12 minutes left for the last 15 moves before move 40 and Ivanchuk only seconds when he launched a desperate counter-attack. Computers show that Ivanchuk had a pretty much forced draw a move before his flag fell but Rajdabov was in blitz mode just making sure Ivanchuk's flag fell. Radjabov will take the win but this was poor from Ivanchuk.

Vassily Ivanchuk

Vassily Ivanchuk. Photo © Ray Morris-Hill

Radjabov,Teimour (2793) - Ivanchuk,Vassily (2757) [A88]
FIDE Candidates London ENG (2.4), 16.03.2013

1.d4 d6 2.Nf3 g6 3.c4 f5 4.Nc3 Nf6 5.g3 Bg7 6.Bg2 0-0 7.0-0 c6 8.Rb1 Ne4!?

This variation is pretty risky.

9.Qc2 Nxc3 10.bxc3 e5 11.dxe5

[11.Rd1 e4 12.Ng5 h6 13.Nh3 g5 14.f3 d5 15.Nf2 1-0 Kramnik,V (2788)-Nakamura,H (2708)/Wijk aan Zee NED 2010/The Week in Chess 794 (44)]

11...dxe5 12.Ba3! Rf7


13.Rfd1 Qe8


14.e4 f4 15.Rd3 fxg3


16.hxg3 Na6?

Vassily Ivanchuk


Teimour Radjabov

Position after 16...Na6?

[16...Bf8 17.Rbd1 Rd7 18.Bxf8 Kxf8 19.c5 Rxd3 20.Qxd3 Bg4 21.Rb1 Qe7 22.Qd6 Qxd6 23.cxd6 Bxf3 24.Bxf3 b5]

17.Ng5 Rc7

[17...Rd7 18.Rxd7 Bxd7 19.Rxb7 h6 20.Nf3 c5 21.Qe2 is good for white.]

18.Bd6 Bf6 19.Qd2 Rd7 20.Bh3 Rg7 21.Bxe5 Bxe5

[21...Bxg5 22.Qxg5 Bxh3 23.Bxg7]

22.Rd8 Bxh3 23.Rxe8+ Rxe8 24.Nxh3 Nc5

Vassily Ivanchuk


Teimour Radjabov

Position after 24...Nc5

Ivanchuk's position was both desperate on the board and on the clock. He ended up needing to play 15 moves in 15 seconds and not surprisingly failed.

25.Qe3 Bd6 26.f3 Ne6 27.Kg2 g5!

At least trying to set problems. Radjabov had a few minutes left here.

28.Nf2 h5 29.Qxa7 Bc5 30.Qa4 Rf8 31.Nd3 h4 32.Qa5 b6 33.Rxb6?

Vassily Ivanchuk


Teimour Radjabov

Position after 33.Rxb6?! Doesn't matter what you play if your opponent's flag is going to fall.

Rajdabov had gone into blitz mode here knowing that Ivanchuk couldn't possibly make time control at move 40.



[33...g4 34.f4 h3+ 35.Kh2 Rd8 36.Nxc5 Rd2+ draws]]

34.Qxb6 hxg3

Flag fall.


Carlsen draw Kramnik

Kramnik talked about maybe +3 and almost certainly +4 winning this event and yesterday said he's just playing at the moment and that only in the final rounds would he start thinking about objectives such as the final placings. I'm guessing Carlsen was slightly disappointed not to cause any difficulties for Kramnik but would have had this game down as a priority for a point. We'll know what kind of shape Carlsen is in when we see what he does as black against a wounded Gelfand with black tomorrow. Likewise Kramnik started with two games with the black pieces and I'm guessing his true ambitions can be guaged better after his first white against Grischuk.

Vladimir Kramnik

Vladimir Kramnik. Photo © Ray Morris-Hill

Carlsen,Magnus (2872) - Kramnik,Vladimir (2810) [A33]
FIDE Candidates London ENG (2.2), 16.03.2013

1.c4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e6 6.Bf4

Vladimir Kramnik


Magnus Carlsen

Position after 6.Bf4

"A rare move but I believe it's quite harmless." - Kramnik.

6...d5 7.e3 Bb4 8.Be2

[8.Nxc6 1/2-1/2 Eljanov,P (2697)-Grischuk,A (2746)/Ningbo CHN 2011/The Week in Chess 872 (30)]


"If black decides to play 8...0-0 9 0-0 he could be worse. This move I knew was a very strong equaliser." - Kramnik.

[8...0-0 0-1 Zhigalko,A (2589)-Vachier Lagrave,M (2711)/Warsaw POL 2012/The Week in Chess 945 (69)]


[9.0-0 Nxd4 10.exd4 and black is not worse.]

9...Qxd1+ 10.Rxd1 bxc6 11.Bxc4 Nd5!

Vladimir Kramnik


Magnus Carlsen

Position after 11...Nd5

"Otherwise white would enjoy a slight advantage due to the c6 pawn." - Kramnik


[12.Be5 f6 13.Bd4? (13.a3 Ba5 14.Bd6 Kf7 15.0-0 Bxc3 16.bxc3 Nxc3 17.Rd3=) 13...c5]


Grabbing a pawn on c3 gives white a dangerous initiative.

13.exf4 Bxc3 14.bxc3

Now there are too few pieces for anyone to have an advantage.

14...Ke7 15.Rb1 Bd7 16.Rb7 Rhb8 17.Rfb1 Rxb7 18.Rxb7 a5!

Vladimir Kramnik


Magnus Carlsen

Position after 18...a5!


19.Bd3 h6 20.h4 Kd8

[20...a4 followed by Ra5 was Kramnik's other plan in this position.]

21.Kf1 Kc8 22.Rb1 Rb8 23.Rxb8+ Kxb8 24.Ke2 Kc7 25.Ke3 Kd6 26.Kd4 c5+ 27.Ke3 Bc6 28.g3 f6 29.a3 e5 30.fxe5+ Kxe5

They reach move 30 in a dead drawn position.


Grischuk draw Svidler

Grischuk and Svidler are good friends yet fight hard against each other. I can only take their word on the course of the game which was a heavyweight Ruy Lopez. Apparently 13...Bg4 isn't the best, Grischuk threw away a "big advantage" with 20.h3 (I presume Ba3 is the move) and Svidler threatened to be better but Grischuk simplified accurately for the draw.

Alexander Grischuk

Alexander Grischuk. Photo © Ray Morris-Hill

Grischuk,Alexander (2764) - Svidler,Peter (2747) [C88]
FIDE Candidates London ENG (2.3), 16.03.2013

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0-0 8.a4 b4 9.d4 d6 10.dxe5 dxe5 11.Nbd2

[11.Qxd8 Rxd8 12.Bg5 Kf8 13.Bxf6 (13.Nbd2 Nd7 14.Bd5 Bb7 15.Nc4 f6 16.Be3 Bc5 17.Nfd2 Bxe3 18.Rxe3 Nb6 19.Nxb6 cxb6 20.c3 1/2-1/2 Ye Jiangchuan (2681)-Zvjaginsev,V (2650)/Moscow CHN 2004/The Week in Chess 510) 13...gxf6 14.Bd5 Bb7 15.Nbd2 Na5 16.Bxb7 Nxb7 17.b3 Nd6 18.Kf1 Rab8 19.Re3 Rb6 20.Rd3 Rc6 21.Rc1 Ke8 22.g4 Rc3 23.Ke2 c5 24.Nb1 Rxd3 25.cxd3 c4 26.Rxc4 Nxc4 27.dxc4 Bf8 28.Nbd2 Bh6 29.Nf1 Bf4 30.Nh4 Kd7 31.Nf5 a5 32.h4 Rg8 33.Kf3 Rd8 34.h5 Rg8 1/2-1/2 Svidler,P (2735)-Aronian,L (2675)/ICC INT 2004/The Week in Chess 529]


[11...Bg4 1-0 Sulskis,S (2562)-Beckhuis,G (2353)/Vienna AUT 2008/The Week in Chess 720 (54)]

12.Qe2 Qe7 13.Nc4 Bg4?!

Peter Svidler


Alexander Grischuk

Position after 13...Bg4?!

14.c3 bxc3 15.bxc3 h6

Svidler was somewhat concerned about this position according to the official press report.

16.Bc2 Qe6 17.Ne3 Bxe3 18.Qxe3 Na5 19.Nd2 Qc6

Peter Svidler


Alexander Grischuk

Position after 19...Qc6


"I quickly got a big advantage but I spoilt it in one move, I was almost winning there," said Grischuk according to the press release. Their press conference was only broadcast towards the end.


20...Be6 21.Qg3 Nd7 22.Rb1 Rfb8 23.Ba3

The position looks equal.

23...Nc4 24.Nxc4 Qxc4 25.Bb4 a5 26.Bd3 Qa2 27.Ra1 Qd2 28.Red1 Qf4 29.Qxf4 exf4

Peter Svidler


Alexander Grischuk

Position after 30.Be7


Apparently if anyone it was black was the one pressing according to the players but this move seems to have been accurate and starts a liquidation to a draw.

30...Re8 31.Ba3 Bb3 32.Bb5!

Now there is a forcing sequence leading to a draw.

32...Bxd1 33.Bxd7 Bc2 34.Bxe8 Rxe8 35.f3 Rd8 36.Be7 Rd7 37.Bh4 g5 38.Be1 Rd1 39.Rxd1 Bxd1 40.c4 Bxa4 41.Bxa5 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. Aronian, Levon g ARM 2809 * * . . ½ . . . . . . . 1 . . . 2999
2. Radjabov, Teimour g AZE 2793 . . * * . . . . . . . . ½ . 1 . 2941
3. Carlsen, Magnus g NOR 2872 ½ . . . * * ½ . . . . . . . . . 1 2809
4. Kramnik, Vladimir g RUS 2810 . . . . ½ . * * ½ . . . . . . . 1 2809
5. Svidler, Peter g RUS 2747 . . . . . . ½ . * * ½ . . . . . 1 2787
6. Grischuk, Alexander g RUS 2764 . . . . . . . . ½ . * * . . ½ . 1 2752
7. Gelfand, Boris g ISR 2740 0 . ½ . . . . . . . . . * * . . ½ 2608
8. Ivanchuk, Vassily g UKR 2757 . . 0 . . . . . . . ½ . . . * * ½ 2585
Round 2 (March 16, 2013)
Aronian, Levon - Gelfand, Boris 1-0 35 A04 Dutch System
Radjabov, Teimour - Ivanchuk, Vassily 1-0 34 A88 Dutch Leningrad
Carlsen, Magnus - Kramnik, Vladimir ½-½ 30 A33 English Symmetrical
Grischuk, Alexander - Svidler, Peter ½-½ 41 C88 Ruy Lopez Closed

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