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FIDE World Chess Championship Candidates London 2013 (8)

Leaders Carlsen and Aronian draw in otherwise decisive Candidates Round 8

Kramnik won the game of the day against Peter Svidler. Photo © Ray Morris-Hill.

Kramnik won the game of the day against Peter Svidler. Photo © Ray Morris-Hill. |

The FIDE Candidates Round 8 saw the field slightly close in on the leaders Magnus Carlsen and Levon Aronian after they drew a fairly dull game. Carlsen didn't try very hard with white against Kramnik earlier on and today he played a very well known Catalan variation that he must have guessed his opponent knew better than him. Aronian himself didn't expect Carlsen to try very hard and both players believed after Aronian's new move 15...c6! black is at least equal. The players swapped pieces off and even though Carlsen strangely prolonged the game by turning down a draw offer on move 31 the game was quietly drawn 10 moves later. Carlsen has to play Kramnik with black in Round 9 and will play for a draw and then one can suppose he will try and run for the line with wins against players he has less problem with. Aronian too has to face Kramnik and will otherwise be trying for many wins. Vladimir Kramnik thought that his escape against Boris Gelfand might be the start of the luck he needs to get back into the event. Today he surprised Peter Svidler with a rare move 14.Kc2 (an old idea he first had in his match against Kasparov in 2000) in the Gruenfeld and Svidler found the resulting position extremely unpleasant as Kramnik had so many ways to try for a win. No doubt the game should be drawn with best play but delivering that is a very tricky proposition for black. Kramnik broke through and won in fine style. Kramnik can catch Carlsen by beating him in Round 9. Boris Gelfand had a very shakey start and a big miss the day before but had steadied his ship. Today he played a really brilliant piece of preparation, one entirely counter to the first choice of a computer. Gelfand's 13...e5 was known but his 14...b6! was not and almost immediately white has to try and find a way to draw something Gelfand pointed out was not at all easy to do. White's problem was the knight on b3 and light squared bishop turn out to be terribly placed and Gelfand brought the point home extremely smoothly. 28...Qd7 was a very nice way to cause the collapse of white's position. Alexander Grischuk said he knew he had to win today or his tournament was over. The game was in two halves. Up to 18.Rfb1 it was a fascinating dual in an Accelerated Dragon with Vassily Ivanchuk. At that point Grischuk knew he wasn't better but decided to keep things complicated so he played the ugly but not really that bad 18.Rfb1. Ivanchuk had some time (24 minutes) here and almost any sensible move would do. Instead he used 15 minutes to go down to 9 minutes and gave Grischuk the winning chances in a time scramble he needed. The remaining part of the game was a car crash as Ivanchuk had just 17 seconds left by move 32 and lost on move 39 in a wreck of a position. Grischuk gave his press conference alone as Ivanchuk was shown pacing around in the tournament hall. Later Ivanchuk said he was tired and just couldn't force himself to move. People will have to try and beat Ivanchuk now and of course that contains terrible risk. Ivanchuk was diffident about playing the Candidates in a Gibraltar interview and seems to have done no specific preparation. One wonders if he should have given up his place to be replaced by someone desperate to play if he felt like that, especially as the rest of this event could turn out to be terribly painful for all concerned. Round 8 Standings: Carlsen, Aronian 5.5 points, Kramnik 4.5pts, Grischuk 4pts, Svidler, Gelfand 3.5pts, Radjabov 3pts and Ivanchuk 2.5pts. Round 9 Mon 25th March 2013: Kramnik-Carlsen, Svidler-Grischuk, Ivanchuk-Radjabov, Gelfand-Aronian.



Carlsen-Aronian. Photo © Ray Morris-Hill

"As in the whole tournament, you don't really want to lose any game, but this one particularly. In this tournament situation it would mean a lot. You have to try and take your chances when you can," said Aronian.

"In general with Black in such tournaments that's the way you play. You try and play solid and if there are chances, you take them, otherwise… You know, the players here are so strong that it's not easy to win any game," said Carlsen.

Carlsen,Magnus - Aronian,Levon [E06]
FIDE Candidates London ENG (8.4), 24.03.2013

1.c4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.g3 d5 4.Bg2 Be7 5.d4 0-0 6.0-0 dxc4 7.Qc2 a6 8.Qxc4 b5 9.Qc2 Bb7 10.Bd2 Bd6 11.a3 Nbd7 12.b4 Ra7 13.Nc3 Qa8 14.Nh4 Bxg2 15.Nxg2 c6N

Aronian, Levon


Carlsen, Magnus

Position after 15...c6!

Carlsen didn't know this move and realised quickly he had no advantage at all.

[15...e5 16.Be3 Rb7 17.Rfd1 Re8 18.dxe5 Bxe5 19.Rac1 Rbb8 20.Nf4 Nb6 21.Bd4 Nc4 22.a4 c6 23.Bxe5 Rxe5 24.Nd3 Rh5 25.Nf4 Re5 26.Nd3 Rh5 27.e4 Re8 28.Qe2 Qc8 29.f3 Rh6 30.Qf2 Nd7 31.Ne2 Rf6 32.Nef4 Rd6 33.axb5 1/2-1/2 Cheparinov,I (2710)-Harikrishna,P (2692)/Leon ESP 2012/The Week in Chess 940]

16.Rac1 a5 17.Ne4 Nxe4 18.Qxe4 Rc8 19.Nf4 axb4 20.Bxb4 c5 21.Qxa8 Raxa8 22.dxc5 Bxc5 23.Nd3 Bf8 24.Rxc8 Rxc8 25.Rb1 Ra8 26.Bxf8 Kxf8 27.Rxb5 Rxa3 28.g4 h6 29.h4 Ra2 30.Kf1 Ra1+ 31.Kg2 Ra2

Aronian, Levon


Carlsen, Magnus

Position after 31...Ra2

With a draw offer which Carlsen turned down on the grounds there was no harm in playing on for a few more moves.

32.Kf3 Ra3 33.Kg3 Ra2 34.e3 Rd2 35.Nf4 g6 36.g5 hxg5 37.hxg5 Ke7 38.e4 Rc2 39.f3 Rc5 40.Rxc5 Nxc5 41.Ng2

Draw agreed.




Kramnik-Svidler. Photo © Ray Morris-Hill

Kramnik,Vladimir (2810) - Svidler,Peter (2747) [D85]
FIDE Candidates London ENG (8.3), 24.03.2013

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 Bg7 7.Nf3 c5 8.Be3 Qa5 9.Qd2 Nc6 10.Rc1 cxd4 11.cxd4 Qxd2+ 12.Kxd2 0-0 13.d5 Rd8 14.Kc2

Peter Svidler


Vladimir Kramnik

Position after 14.Kc2

A very unusual choice that Kramnik turned down for his match against Kasparov but later realised might cause problems for black. Svidler thought about it for some time.



Svidler plays a new move in this position but he has clearly walked right into Kramnik's preparation.

[14...Na5 15.Bg5 (15.Nd2) ]

15.Nxe5 Bxe5 16.Bc4 Bd7 17.f4 Bd6 18.Kb3 f6 19.a4 Rdc8 20.h4 Rab8

[20...Bc5 21.Bxc5 Rxc5 22.Bb5 Rxc1 23.Rxc1 Rc8 24.Rxc8+ Bxc8 25.a5 is pretty terrible for black.; 20...h5 21.g3 Bc5 22.Bxc5 Rxc5 23.Bb5 Rxc1 24.Rxc1 Rc8 25.Rxc8+ Bxc8 again is very hard for black.]

21.Bb5! Bxb5

[21...Rxc1 22.Rxc1 Bxb5 23.axb5 a6]

22.axb5 a6 23.b6 Kf7

Peter Svidler


Vladimir Kramnik

Position after 23...Kf7

[23...h5 "Here I'm kind of one tempo short but if I play 23....h5." - Svidler. 24.Rhf1 "and I'm not sure how the king crosses the f-file now. This was boring me but maybe I should have gone for this anyhow." - Svidler. 24...Rxc1 25.Bxc1 Bc5 The problem here is you're not even threatening to take. - Kramnik. 26.Ba3 (26.e5 Rd8 27.Kc4 Rc8 (27...Bxb6) ) 26...Bxa3 27.Kxa3 Rc8]


Svidler should probably find a way to a draw but it is very tricky.


[24...gxh5 "My plan was to take gxh5 immediately." - Svidler who afterwards thought that he should have just done this. 25.Rce1 Svidler. (25.Rxh5 Kramnik 25...Rxc1 26.Bxc1 Rg8 27.e5 fxe5 28.fxe5 Bc5 (28...Rg3+! 29.Kc2 (29.Kc4 Rg4+ 30.Kd3 Bc5 31.Rxh7+ Kg6 32.Rh6+ Kf5) ) 29.Rxh7+) 25...Rg8 26.Rxh5]

25.hxg6+ Kxg6

[25...hxg6 26.Rxc1 Is just incredebly unpleasant - Svidler, lost I think - Kramnik.]


Peter Svidler


Vladimir Kramnik

Position after 26.Bxc1


"I thought white has to do something quiet and I will play Bc5 the next move." - Svidler.

[26...h5 is a big alternative. 27.f5+ f5 I'm not worried, Svidler. (27.Be3 Rg8 28.g3 Kf7 29.Bf2 Rh8 (29...Kg6!?) 30.Bd4 e5 31.fxe5 fxe5) 27...Kf7 28.Rxh5 Rg8 In this position you will never even exchange the bishops. - Svidler.; 26...Bc5]

27.g4 h6 28.Rh5 Kf7 29.e5 Bc5 30.e6+ Kf8 31.Rh4

Peter Svidler


Vladimir Kramnik

Position after 31.Rh4

White is winning as he has too many threats.

[31.Ba3 leads to a rook endgame which doesn't seem to be winning. 31...Bxa3 32.Kxa3 Rxg4 33.Rxh6 (33.Rh3 Rxf4 34.Rc3 Rd4 35.Rc8+ Kg7 36.Re8 Rxd5 37.Rxe7+ Kg6 38.Rxb7 Re5 39.Rb8 Kf5 40.b7 h5 41.Kb4 Rxe6 42.Kc5 Re7 43.Kd6 Rf7 44.Kc6 h4 45.Rh8 Rxb7 46.Kxb7 Kg4) 33...Rxf4 34.Rh8+ Kg7 35.Rc8 Rd4 36.Rc7 Rxd5 37.Rxe7+ Kg6 38.Rxb7 Rb5 39.e7 Kf7 40.Rb8 Kxe7 41.b7 Kd6 42.Rf8 Rxb7 43.Rxf6+]


[31...Bxb6 32.Ba3 Bd8 (32...Bc7 33.Rxh6 Kg7 34.Rh3 Re8 35.f5 Be5 36.Rd3) 33.f5 Rh8 34.g5 fxg5 35.Rc4]

32.f5 Rd8 33.Bxh6+

It's all over.

33...Kg8 34.Kc4 Bxb6

[34...Rc8 35.Kd3 Bxb6 36.g5 wins]

35.g5 Bf2 36.Rg4 Kh7 37.gxf6 exf6 38.e7 Rc8+ 39.Kb3 Bc5 40.Rc4 1-0


Boris Gelfand

Boris Gelfand really showed what a class player he can be against Radjabov. Photo © Ray Morris-Hill

"Somehow I didn't find a way to execute the g4-g5 plan. I was surprised that I had to play for equality. I was only right about my estimation, not about my moves."

"I know that I am better and I know what I have to do, that's why I played very quickly. The problem is on white's shoulders." - Gelfand

Radjabov,Teimour - Gelfand,Boris [A33]
FIDE Candidates London ENG (8.1), 24.03.2013

1.Nf3 c5 2.c4 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e6 6.g3 Qb6 7.Nb3 Ne5 8.e4 Bb4 9.Qe2 d6 10.f4 Nc6 11.Be3 Bxc3+ 12.bxc3 Qc7 13.Bg2 e5

Not new but only really playable at this level until black finds 14...b6! "I like the concept because it cuts two pieces." It leaves white with bad pieces and bad pawns.

14.c5 b6!

Teimour Radjabov


Boris Gelfand

Position after 14...b6!

An excellent novelty which caused Radjabov trouble almost straight away. "Mostly great preparation, it's my strong quality. Any computer would show you c5"

[14...Bg4 15.Qb5 a6 16.Qb6 Qxb6 17.cxb6 Be6 18.0-0-0 Ke7 19.Rd2 Rhd8 20.Rhd1 a5 21.f5 Bc4 22.Bf3 a4 23.Na1 h6 24.g4 Ra5 25.g5 hxg5 26.Bxg5 Rc5 27.Be3 Ra5 28.Bg5 1/2-1/2 Ftacnik,L (2568)-Kovacevic,A (2582)/Khanty-Mansiysk RUS 2010/The Week in Chess 830; 14...dxc5 15.Bxc5 exf4 is just horrible for black.]

15.cxd6 Qxd6 16.0-0 0-0 17.f5 Rd8 18.Rfd1 Qa3 19.Rxd8+ Nxd8 20.Bg5 Ba6 21.Qd2 Qe7 22.Rd1 Nb7 23.Bf3 Rd8 24.Qc1 Rxd1+ 25.Bxd1 Nd6 26.Bxf6 gxf6 27.Qe3 Qc7

White's position is absolutely desperate.

28.a4 Qd7!

Teimour Radjabov


Boris Gelfand

Position after 28...Qd7

29.a5 Nxe4 30.Bc2 Qb5 31.Qf3 Ng5 32.Qg2 bxa5 0-1


Alexander Grischuk

Alexander Grischuk gambled to keep his tournament going and was rewarded with Vassily Ivanchuk again completely mishandling his time. Photo © Ray Morris-Hill

Grischuk "Very few people know but the last time I won a game in the World Championship or the Candidates matches or tournament with the classical game, it was 6 games and 25 or 26 games ago. Because I beat Gelfand in the Mexico World Championship with like 5 rounds to go or 6 and then 14 games in Kazan without a win then 7 games here."

I give the timings of the moves for Ivanchuk to show how desperate his time trouble was and when it really started.

Grischuk,Alexander (2764) - Ivanchuk,Vassily (2757) [B35]
FIDE Candidates London ENG (8.2), 24.03.2013

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.Bc4 Qa5 8.0-0 0-0 9.Bb3 d6 10.Nd5

"Nd5 is a rare move and I saw that black was struggling in some game, I think Bacrot played with black and he was struggling" - Grischuk.

10...Re8 11.Nxf6+ Bxf6 12.c3 Ne5

Vassily Ivanchuk


Alexander Grischuk

Position after 12...Ne5

"Here was a critical moment whether I can play f4 or not and I spent a lot of time." - Grischuk.

[12...Bd7 13.f4 Qc7 14.Nf3 Na5 15.Bd4 Nxb3 16.Qxb3 e5 17.fxe5 dxe5 18.Be3 Be6 19.Qc2 Bc4 20.Rfd1 b5 21.Qf2 Bg7 22.Rd2 h6 23.Bc5 a5 24.b3 Be6 25.Rc1 Ra6 26.b4 axb4 27.cxb4 Rea8 28.Rcc2 Qc6 29.Bd6 Qxe4 30.Re2 Qf5 31.Bxe5 Bc4 32.Re1 Rxa2 33.Rxa2 Rxa2 34.Qd4 Qc2 35.Qg4 Qf2+ 36.Kh1 Bxe5 0-1 Aldokhin,I (2375)-Seliverstov,V (2377)/Moscow RUS 2012/The Week in Chess 906]


[13.f4 Acutally looks good but Grischuk couldn't quite find his way through it. 16.Bf4! in his line looks like it is the way. 13...Ng4 (13...Nd7) 14.Bc1 (14.Bd2 is fine for black. 14...Qc5 (14...Qb6) ) 14...e5 15.fxe5 dxe5 (15...Qxe5 "I could not find a win after 15...Qxe5." - Grischuk. 16.Rf4!? (16.Bf4 Qxe4 17.Qd2 (17.Nb5!) 17...Qe7 18.Nb5) 16...h5 17.h3?! (17.Bd5! Houdini 17...Qe7 18.h3 Ne5 19.Qb3 (19.Qf1 Bg7) 19...Bg7=) 17...g5!) 16.h3 exd4 17.hxg4 is winning for white.]


[13...Nd7 was expected by Grischuk.]

14.Nc2 Nd3 15.Qf3 Be6 16.Bd4 Bxd4 17.Nxd4 Bc4

"The next critical moment was here. Rfb1 looks completely awful." - Grischuk. Here Grischuk had 20 minutes left and Ivanchuk 24 minutes.


Vassily Ivanchuk


Alexander Grischuk

Position after 18.Rfb1

[18.Bxc4 Qxc4 19.b3 Qxc3 20.Nb5 (20.Qe3 Rac8 with only a draw and for me draw was the end of the tournament - Grischuk.) 20...Qc2 21.Nd4 Qc3]


So Grischuk's strange move had an effect Ivanchuk down to 9 minutes.


Now Grischuk joins him with 10 minutes left for more than 20 moves.

19...Bxb3 20.axb3 Qb6 21.Ra3

"Here I'm already slightly better." - Grischuk with 9 minutes, Ivanchuk 7.

21...a6 22.Rd1 Rac8 23.Nc2 Qxe3 24.Nxe3 Nd7 25.f3 Kf8

Ivanchuk just under 3 minutes left, Grischuk 7 and a half.

26.Kf2 Rc6 27.g4 e6 28.h4 Ke7

Grischuk 6 minutes 20 seconds, Ivanchuk 1 minute 26.

29.Ra5 Rec8 30.Kg3 h6 31.Rd2 Nc5

Grischuk 5 minutes 26 Ivanchuk 20 seconds for 9 moves.

32.Ra3 a5

Ivanchuk 17 seconds left.

33.Nc2 Ra6

Ivanchuk 11 seconds left.

34.Rd1 Rca8

Ivanchuk 8 seconds left.

35.Nd4 Kd7

Ivanchuk 6 seconds left.

36.Nb5 e5

Ivanchuk 4 seconds left.

37.b4 axb4

Ivanchuk 3 seconds left.

38.cxb4 Ne6

Ivanchuk 2 seconds left.


Vassily Ivanchuk


Alexander Grischuk

Position after 39.Nxd6

Grischuk 1m:58, Ivanchuk lost on time and his position is now very bad. Grischuk thought his behaviour was very correct even though there was a temptation to try some dirty tactics in Ivanchuk's bad time trouble.


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 . 1 . 1 . 1 . ½ . ½ . 2919
2. Aronian, Levon g ARM 2809 ½ ½ * * ½ . ½ . ½ . 1 . 1 . 1 . 2935
3. Kramnik, Vladimir g RUS 2810 ½ . ½ . * * ½ . ½ 1 ½ . ½ . ½ . 2821
4. Grischuk, Alexander g RUS 2764 0 . ½ . ½ . * * ½ . ½ . ½ . ½ 1 4 2785
5. Svidler, Peter g RUS 2747 0 . ½ . ½ 0 ½ . * * ½ . 1 . ½ . 2751
6. Gelfand, Boris g ISR 2740 0 . 0 . ½ . ½ . ½ . * * ½ 1 ½ . 2750
7. Radjabov, Teimour g AZE 2793 ½ . 0 . ½ . ½ . 0 . ½ 0 * * 1 . 3 2692
8. Ivanchuk, Vassily g UKR 2757 ½ . 0 . ½ . ½ 0 ½ . ½ . 0 . * * 2646
Round 8 (March 24, 2013)
Carlsen, Magnus - Aronian, Levon ½-½ 41 E06 Catalan
Kramnik, Vladimir - Svidler, Peter 1-0 40 D85 Gruenfeld Defence
Grischuk, Alexander - Ivanchuk, Vassily 1-0 39 B35 Sicilian Defence
Radjabov, Teimour - Gelfand, Boris 0-1 32 A33 English Symmetrical

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