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FIDE World Chess Championship Candidates London 2013 (9)

Carlsen leads after hugely dramatic London Candidates Round 9

Vassily Ivanchuk beat Teimour Radjabov but it was Carlsen's draw and Aronian's loss that was most important. Photo © Ray Morris-Hill.

Vassily Ivanchuk beat Teimour Radjabov but it was Carlsen's draw and Aronian's loss that was most important. Photo © Ray Morris-Hill. |

Magnus Carlsen has qualification for the World Chess Championship in his own hands after surviving a big test with black against Vladimir Kramnik in the nineth round of the FIDE Candidates on 25th March. Carlsen goes into the rest day with all his games against his major rivals out of the way and a half point lead. Playing Kramnik with black was always going to be tricky and Carlsen's decision to allow the Catalan which his opponent would always know better than him seemed very risky. Kramnik played the rare 11.Qc2 and got a very nice position that not many players would have enjoyed saving as black. Carlsen's precision is amazing and after 22...Re8! and 25...Nd5! the worst was over. Neither player could point to a better chance for white so a draw was a very fair result but not what Kramnik needed. I said if Carlsen had any lead after this game he would win the tournament and I see no reason to change my mind.

Whilst Carlsen was drawing Levon Aronian was trying to beat Boris Gelfand with black. Aronian equalised soon enough but not more than that yet wanted more. 25...Rxd4 was his idea which seemed to be based on a miscalculation. 27...Bc4 hit two pieces but 28.e6! suddenly left him in desperate straits. Gelfand was in time trouble and didn't finish things off immediately but was still winning on move 40 and converted on move 60. A huge blow to Aronian's chances who still has to play Kramnik all be it with white. Not always the most expansive Gelfand gave a great press conference alone, he was obviously very happy with this win. Indeed his press appearances like his chess have improved round by round in the last few days.

Peter Svidler and Alexander Grischuk both desperately needed a win and after Grischuk's amazing piece sacrifice 12...Nxc4 in the Saemisch King's Indian they got a results producing position. However sadly for their mutual chances it was a draw. I'm not sure how they even assessed the positions to play the game but they generally did superbly well. Svidler probably was getting on top near move 40 but things were still not easy at all. I loved Grischuk's comment when Svidler tried to say he was starting to get control around move 35. "Is this everything under control?". Anyhow Grischuk managed to get his f-pawn moving fast and won material but the resulting position was only slightly better for white and Svidler thought it prudent to accept his draw offer.

Vassily Ivanchuk may have the reputation of playing everything and in any style but his best results have come when he plays technical chess. I'm quite sure there is no one to tell him what to do but if he could have confined himself to classical chess and no time trouble Ivanchuk might even have been a force in the event. Today a dispirited Teimour Radjabov played a Lasker Defence to the Queen's Gambit, and probably none too accurately. Ivanchuk took a small technical advantage and ground him down in 76 moves. Radjabov showed class in turning up to the press conference and admitted that personal reasons had stopped him playing much recently and that now he was clearly paying for this lack of practice.

Round 9 Standings: Carlsen 6pts/9, Aronian 5.5pts, Kramnik 5pts, Gelfand, Grischuk 4.5pts, Svidler 4pts, Ivanchuk 3.5pts, Radjabov 3pts.

Rest day Tues 26th March 2013. Round 10 Pairings: Wed 27th March 2013: Carlsen-Gelfand, Aronian-Ivanchuk, Radjabov-Svidler, Grischuk-Kramnik.



Kramnik-Carlsen. Photo © Ray Morris-Hill

Kramnik,Vladimir - Carlsen,Magnus [E06]
FIDE Candidates London ENG (9.1), 25.03.2013

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.g3 d5 4.Bg2 Be7 5.Nf3 0-0 6.0-0 dxc4 7.Ne5 Nc6 8.Bxc6 bxc6 9.Nxc6 Qe8 10.Nxe7+ Qxe7 11.Qc2!?

Magnus Carlsen


Vladimir Kramnik

Position after 11.Qc2!?

[11.Qa4 is by far and away the most common move here but Kramnik's choice seemed to put Carlsen more or less on his own.]

11...e5 12.Rd1

[12.dxe5 Qxe5 13.Qxc4 Be6 14.Qd3 Rad8 15.Qe3 Qh5 16.f3 Rfe8 17.Qf2 Bc4 18.Nc3 Nd5 19.Re1 Nxc3 20.bxc3 Qb5 21.e4 Rd3 22.Bf4 Rxc3 23.a4 Qa6 24.Rec1 Rxc1+ 1/2-1/2 Papaioannou,I (2628)-Beliavsky,A (2656)/Novi Sad SRB 2009/The Week in Chess 782]

12...Rb8 13.Nc3 h6 14.dxe5 Qxe5 15.Bf4 Qe7

Magnus Carlsen


Vladimir Kramnik

Position after 15...Qe7

"Yes I thought it was dangerous but the good thing for me was that most of the time I had to make only moves." - Carlsen.

16.Rd4 Be6 17.Rad1 Rb6!? 18.Qd2 Kh7! 19.f3 Rfb8 20.Qe3 Rxb2 21.Rxc4 R2b7! 22.Ra4 Re8!

Magnus Carlsen


Vladimir Kramnik

Position after 22...Re8

[22...Ra8 23.Bxh6]]


[23.Bxh6 Now this line doesn't work. 23...gxh6 24.Rh4 Ng8 25.Qe4+ Kg7 26.Qxb7 Qc5+; 23.g4 was something Carlsen wasn't sure about at the board.]

23...Rxa7 24.Qxa7

"It's almost lost but I don't see how." - Kramnik.

24...Qb4 25.Be5

[25.Qd4 c5 26.Qd3+ Kg8 "And black is already very well settled." - Kramnik.]


Magnus Carlsen


Vladimir Kramnik

Position after 25...Nd5!

The only move in this position. Kramnik saw it but thought he might find something once they got here.


[26.a3 Qb3 is completely equal. (26...Qc4 also possible - Carlsen.) ; 26.Ne4 Bf5 Carlsen which seems best. (26...Qb6+ "I didn't even like Qb6+" - Kramnik. 27.Qxb6 cxb6 when this is going to be very hard for white to win.) ]


"Just seems to work by a millimeter but it's working." - Kramnik.


[27.Rxd5 Qe1+ 28.Kg2 Qxe2+ 29.Qf2 Rxe5 draw.]


Magnus Carlsen


Vladimir Kramnik

Position after 27...Qc4

"I thought Qc4 was just the best." - Carlsen.

[27...Bxa2 28.Qc2+ Kg8 29.Qxa2 (29.Bxg7 Qb3! 30.Qxb3 Bxb3 31.Rb1 Kxg7 32.Rxb3 Rxe2 and black's split pawns even aid his defence. This ending actually crops up quite a lot in some recent lines so this fact is important to know.) 29...Rxe5 should also end in a draw but Carlsen's move seems clearer. 30.Rd8+ Kh7 31.Qxf7 (31.Qc2+ g6 32.Kg2 and whilst white can grind away Carlsen would have held this comfortably too.) 31...Qb6+ nets a rook for black.]


[28.a4 was given as a better chance for white afterwards but it actually forces an interesting idea. 28...Bc6 when black will not lose. 29.Kf1 Qe6 30.Re1 Bxa4]


Carlsen forces a drawn position by the simplest route.

[28...Bc6 is a computer move that is actually virtually equal for black.]


[29.Rd4 Qb3! 30.e4


30.Rxd5 Qxd5 31.Bxf6 Qd1+ 32.Kg2 Qxe2+ 33.Kg1 Qe1+ with a draw. (

33...Rg8 and black can at least try for a while.) ;


30.Bxf6 Qe3+ 31.Kg2 Qxe2+ 32.Kh3 Be6+ mates for black.;


30.Rg4 Bf7 only move but black is winning!; 30...Qe3+ 31.Kg2 Be6 and black is winning]]

29...Bxc4 30.Bc3 Rxe2 31.Rd4 Bb5 32.Bb4 Re3 33.Kf2 Re2+ 34.Kg1 Re3 35.f4 Re2 36.Rd6 Rc2 37.g4

Magnus Carlsen


Vladimir Kramnik

Position after 37.g4

My only chance is to push pawns but I'm not in time. - Kramnik.

37...Bc6 38.Bd2 Bf3 39.h3 Ra2 40.Bb4 Rg2+ 41.Kf1 Rh2 1/2-1/2



Svidler-Grischuk Photo © Ray Morris-Hill

Svidler,Peter - Grischuk,Alexander [E81]
FIDE Candidates London ENG (9.2), 25.03.2013

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.f3 0-0 6.Be3 c5 7.Nge2 Nc6 8.d5 Ne5 9.Ng3 h5 10.Be2 h4 11.Nf1 e6 12.f4 Nxc4N

Alexander Grischuk


Peter Svidler

Position after 12...Nxc4

Both players need wins but this is an amazing idea not to have been played before.

13.Bxc4 b5 14.Bxb5

[14.Nxb5 exd5 15.e5 dxc4 (15...Qb6 16.Nxd6 dxc4 17.exf6 Bxf6 18.Nxc4) 16.Nxd6 is probably not worse for white.]

14...exd5 15.e5

"This I didn't even repeat (prepare?) because I thought no human will play like this only crazy guy." - Grischuk.


[15...Bg4 is probably more precise.]

16.fxe5 Bg4 17.exf6!

Alexander Grischuk


Peter Svidler

Position after 17.exf6

Grischuk had prepared up to here but hadn't considered this move.

17...Bxd1 18.fxg7 Kxg7 19.Bxc5 h3

"I thought I was completely winning but of course missed h3. If black doesn't have h3 here he can just resign of course. After Bg4 I never take on f8 I just play Bd4+ and Ne3." - Svidler.

[19...Bg4 20.Bd4+ Kg8 21.Ne3 and white's pieces should be too much in the long term.]


[20.g3 Bf3 21.Rg1 Rb8 and Svidler is right in thinking that white is in difficulties. 22.Bd4+ Kg8 23.Ne3 f5]

20...hxg2 21.Rg1 gxf1Q+ 22.Kxf1

Alexander Grischuk


Peter Svidler

Position after 22.Kxf1

"I think I should be better here but how much I'm not entirely certain." - Svidler.


"I thought Qh4 was the best move. Once again I think our ideas during the game will just be completely wrong in most cases." - Svidler

23.Rg2! Rfd8 24.Rd4

"I'm not at all sure about my choice." - Svidler. "I wanted to mate because I didn't understand why you started to move the rooks." - Grischuk. "If I somehow switch them all over to the kingside I will give mate".

[24.Bd4+ Kg8 25.Rd3 Rg3 is my next move here - Svidler. 25...Rd6 26.Rgg3 Qxh2 27.Rh3 Qf4+ 28.Ke2 f6 is already better for black.]


[24...Qh6 Svidler thought this stronger than Qh5 and it looks equal.; 24...Qf6+ 25.Rf2 Qe5 26.Rdf4 d4 27.Rxf7+ Kh6 28.R2f3 dxc3 29.Rh3+ Kg5 30.Be7+ Qxe7 31.Rg3+ Kh6 32.Rxe7 c2 33.Rc3 Rd1+ 34.Re1 Rf8+ 35.Ke2 "It all hangs on the bishp on b5 controls the e8 square otherwise black would be winning." - Svidler but both players seem to have got here! 35...Rf5 36.Rxc2 Rxe1+ 37.Kxe1 Rxb5 38.Kd2 pawn up for white with winning chances]]

25.Rf4 d4!

"If black allows Bd4+ then mate will follow very, very fast." - Svidler.

26.Bxd4+ Rxd4 27.Rxd4 Rb8

Svidler missed Rb8 and now Grischuk seems right back in the game.


[28.Rgd2 "I thought you would play Rgd2 and agree a draw, a4 looked incredibly dangerous." - Grischuk.]

28...a6 29.Bxa6 Qf3+?!

Alexander Grischuk


Peter Svidler

Position after 29...Qf3+

"This position I'm fairly certain is much better for white." - Svidler.

[29...Qf5+ "In this position black had a very important Qf5+" - Svidler who was probably right to think something was wrong but it seems the problem is another move. 30.Rf2 Qh3+ 31.Kg1 Rxb2 32.Rd3 Qg4+ 33.Kf1 Rb3 although this would be terribly hard to play over the board for white with all his pieces scattered.; 29...Qe5! "Ah that would have been a bit unpleasant" - Svidler who had this computer move pointed out to him after the game.]

30.Rf2 Qh1+ 31.Ke2 Rxb2+

"I couldn't believe my eyes" - Grischuk on this line which starts to look good for white.

32.Rd2 Qc1 33.Kd3 Rb6 34.Bc4 Rd6+ 35.Bd5 Rd7

Alexander Grischuk


Peter Svidler

Position after 35...Rd7

"Is this everything under control?" - Grischuk. "Rd7 kind of threw me I only expected f5" - Svidler.


[36.Rb2 Rc7 37.Rbc2]

36...f5 37.Rd4 Kh6 38.h4

[38.Rd1 Qb2]

38...Rc7 39.Bc4 Qf1+ 40.Re2 f4 41.Kc2 f3

Alexander Grischuk


Peter Svidler

Position after 41...f3

and black will win the rook but white will be very safe however it's uncertain if he can push on to a win. Svidler probably should play on.

[41...f3 42.Ree4 Qg2+ 43.Kb3 Rb7+ (43...f2 44.Rf4 Rxc4 45.Rxc4 f1Q 46.Rxf1 Qxf1 and white can't possibly lose and may be able to push his a-pawn.) 44.Nb5 Qg1 45.Kc2 f2 46.Rf4 Qa1 47.Bd3]




Gelfand-Aronian. Photo © Ray Morris-Hill

Gelfand,Boris (2740) - Aronian,Levon (2809) [D37]
FIDE Candidates London ENG (9.4), 25.03.2013

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 Be7 5.Bf4 0-0 6.e3 Nbd7 7.Be2 c6

[7...c5 1/2-1/2 Edouard,R (2664)-Karpov,A (2616)/Cap d'Agde FRA 2012/The Week in Chess 939 (31)]

8.0-0 Nh5

[8...a6 0-1 Kempinski,R (2528)-Wojtkiewicz,A (2563)/Internet ICC 2000 (48)]

9.Be5 f6

[9...g6 1-0 Kempinski,R (2528)-Wojtkiewicz,A (2563)/Internet ICC 2000 (86)]

10.Bg3 f5 11.Be5 Nhf6 12.h3 Nxe5 13.Nxe5 Nd7 14.f4 Nxe5 15.fxe5 Bg5 16.Qd2 Bd7 17.Rac1 Rc8 18.a3 Kh8 19.b4 Be8 20.Bd3 Rc7 21.Ne2 Bh5 22.Nf4 Bxf4 23.exf4 Rd7 24.Qe3 dxc4 25.Bxc4 Rxd4?!

Levon Aronian


Boris Gelfand

Position after 25...Rxd4


26.Bxe6 Bf7


27.Bxf5 Bc4 28.e6!

Levon Aronian


Boris Gelfand

Position after 28.e6

Most probably this is what Aronian missed now he's in desperate trouble.

28...Qd6 29.Rfe1 Re8 30.e7 Bf7 31.Rc5 g6 32.Bg4 h5 33.f5!

Levon Aronian


Boris Gelfand

Position after 33.f5!

Absolutely killing.

33...Kg7 34.fxg6 Bxg6 35.Bxh5 Rd3

Levon Aronian


Boris Gelfand

Position after 35...Rd3


[36.Qg5 this wins immediately but Gelfand was very short of time.]

36...Qxe5 37.Rcxe5 Bxh5 38.Rxh5 Rxa3 39.Rf5 Rd3 40.Re4 Rd7

time control but unfortunately for Aronian he's still lost.

41.Rg4+ Kh6 42.Rf6+ Kh7 43.Rf7+ Kh6 44.Rgg7 Rd1+ 45.Kh2 Rf1 46.Rh7+ Kg6 47.Rhg7+ Kh6 48.Rh7+ Kg6 49.Rfg7+ Kf6 50.h4 Ke6 51.Rg4 Kf5 52.Kg3 Re1 53.Rf4+ Ke6 54.h5 Rxe7 55.Rxe7+ Kxe7

Levon Aronian


Boris Gelfand

Position after 55...Kxe7

Converting to a standard Rook and pawn ending which is trivial for a player of Gelfand's technique to win.

56.Kh4 b6 57.h6 Rh1+ 58.Kg5 Ke6 59.Kg6 Ke5 60.Rf5+ 1-0

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 ½ ½ 1 . 1 . 1 . ½ . ½ . 6 2907
2. Aronian, Levon g ARM 2809 ½ ½ * * ½ . 1 0 ½ . ½ . 1 . 1 . 2868
3. Kramnik, Vladimir g RUS 2810 ½ ½ ½ . * * ½ . ½ . ½ 1 ½ . ½ . 5 2832
4. Gelfand, Boris g ISR 2740 0 . 0 1 ½ . * * ½ . ½ . ½ . ½ 1 2794
5. Grischuk, Alexander g RUS 2764 0 . ½ . ½ . ½ . * * ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ . 2781
6. Svidler, Peter g RUS 2747 0 . ½ . ½ 0 ½ . ½ ½ * * ½ . 1 . 4 2748
7. Ivanchuk, Vassily g UKR 2757 ½ . 0 . ½ . ½ . ½ 0 ½ . * * 0 1 2708
8. Radjabov, Teimour g AZE 2793 ½ . 0 . ½ . ½ 0 ½ . 0 . 1 0 * * 3 2652
Round 9 (March 25, 2013)
Kramnik, Vladimir - Carlsen, Magnus ½-½ 41 E06 Catalan
Gelfand, Boris - Aronian, Levon 1-0 60 D37 QGD 5.Bf4
Svidler, Peter - Grischuk, Alexander ½-½ 41 E81 King's Indian Saemisch
Ivanchuk, Vassily - Radjabov, Teimour 1-0 76 D37 QGD 5.Bf4

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