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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Anand wins Candidates Chess Easily

RUSSIA: Five-time world chess champion Viswanathan Anand sealed the Candidates tournament title with an effortless draw with Peter Svidler of Russia in the 14th and final round on Sunday.

Having won one of the strongest tournaments of recent times with one round to spare, Anand just didn't want anything to go wrong and went for the draw with white pieces that was for the taking. The Indian ace thus officially earned the right to a rematch with Magnus Carlsen of Norway along with the winner's purse of 13,5000 Euros (a little over Rs one crore).
 
The bidding for Anand-Carlsen II are now open and FIDE, the apex chess body will decide the awarding of this match after receiving all the bids by April 30 this year. The match will be held from November 5-25. (Right photo -- Viswanathan Anand by Kirill Merkuriev/FIDE)

The last day provided mixed games. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov also played out a quick draw as white against Vladimir Kramnik while Veselin Topalov's bid to come out of the last place was foiled by Russian Dmitry Andreikin.

Sergey Karjakin of Russia was the lone winner in the day at the expense of out-of-form Levon Aronian of Armenia. Till the ninth round, Aronian was considered as the likely challenger but then things turned out really bad for the world number two here.

Anand ended the tournament on 8.5 points, a full point ahead of Karjakin who finished a creditable second after a bad start. Kramnik, Andreikin and Mamedyarov finished joint third on seven points apiece while Aronian and Svidler ended joint sixth on 6.5 points in all. Topalov ended last scoring six in all.

Playing the white side of a Marshall gambit out of a Ruy Lopez opening, Anand simply gave no chances to Svidler. The pieces got exchanged at regular intervals as Svidler also could do little and in almost no time the players found themselves in a drawn minor piece endgame. The game lasted 34 moves.

As if taking a cue from Anand, Mamedyarov also wasted no time in taking the half point from Kramnik. For the records, it was the Capablance variation of the Nimzo Indian defense that Kramnik was well prepared in and Mamedyarov got nothing in the queen-less middle game that ensued.

The Azeri decided to go for mass exchanges and had a dead-drawn position on board by move 30 in a Bishop and pawns endgame. The draw was a just result.

Veselin Topalov tried putting in some pressure on Dmitry Andreikin but the Russian who has shown tremendous determination throughout this event despite being the lowest ranked, did not budge. Topalov went for the closed Ruy Lopez when offered to play against the Berlin and got a complicated position in the middle game.

Andreikin found his defense in form of a pawn sacrifice that relieved him of tention as the queens got traded. The extra pawn was only an optical advantage as Topalov learnt and after trying out for 69 moves agreed for the drawn result.

Karjakin played a patient game with black pieces. Aronian went for the Closed Sicilian and the players were in unchartered territory pretty early in the opening. Marshalling his forces on the king side, Karjakin damaged Aronian's pawn structure and waited for the opportunity that came very late.

It was past the sixth hour that Aronian crumbled under pressure, blundered a piece through a tactical skirmish and lost the game after 94 moves. Karjakin, after pushing Anand for 90 moves in the previous round, yet again played the longest game of the tournament that lasted seven hours. -- PTI
Results final round: V Anand (Ind, 8.5) drew with Peter Svidler (Rus, 6.5); Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Aze, 7) drew with Vladimir Kramnik (Rus, 7); Veselin Topalov (6) drew with Dmitry Andreikin (7); Levon Aronian (Arm, 6.5) lost to Sergey Karjakin (Rus, 7.5).

World Chess Candidates Victory: Anand gets 1 crore, Critics get Zero!

Khanty Mansiysk, Russia: Five-time world chess champion Viswanathan Anand proved all his critics wrong and won the Candidates Chess tournament after settling for a draw with Sergey Karjakin of Russia in the 13th and penultimate round here today.
 
Viswanathan Anand drew with Sergey Karjakin in Round 13 to win the World Chess Candidates in Khanty Mansiysk on Friday. One more round is to be played tomorrow, but Anand has an unassailable lead. Photo: FIDE/Kirill Merkuriev

It was a marathon against Karjakin and the rest day did Anand a world of good. The Indian held on to his own in the endgame that lasted more than five and a half hours.

The draw helped Anand reach eight points and he benefited from the biggest upset in the tournament when top seed Levon Aronian of Armenia lost to lowest ranked Dmitry Andreikin of Russia.


On a day that saw Vladimir Kramnik avenging his earlier loss in the tournament against Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan played out a draw with Russian Peter Svidler to seal the fate in Anand's favour irrespective of the results tomorrow.

With Anand on eight points, Karjakin, Kramnik, Mamedyarov, Andreikin and Aronian are now 6.5 points each. Peter Svidler stand seventh on six points while Topalov reamined on 5.5 to fill the last place.

In the last round Anand meets Svidler and the draw could be a likely result as the Indian will play with white pieces. In the game against Karjakin, Anand equalised quite easily with the Queen's gambit declined and had no troubles whatsoever in finding a thematic pawn sacrifice that made his position easier to play.

However, while trying to work out the right path, Anand erred slightly and faced a difficult but possible defense when he parted with two pieces for Karjakin's rook.
The ensuing endgame was easier for Karjakin and the defense was not easy, yet Anand kept finding the right moves and obtained a passed pawn on the king side that proved vital. Karjakin was aware at this point that the fight was over but he played on till 91 moves before signing the peace treaty.

The tournament victory gives Anand the winner's cheque of 135000 Euros (a little over Rs 1 crore) and the right to a match against Magnus Carlsen of Norway who dethroned the Indian champion at Chennai in November last at the World Chess Championship. This rematch will take place sometime in the last quarter of this year. -- PTI

Friday, March 28, 2014

Khanty Mansiysk Chess Candidates: Flight Anand Ready to Land Safely!

Friday March 28, 2014, Khanty Mansiysk (Russia): As he approaches the big game against Russia’s Sergey Karjakin, five-time world chess champion Viswanathan Anand would aim to carry forward his good from into the crucial 13th and penultimate round of the Candidates Chess tournament, here tomorrow.





The oldest competitor in the fray, Anand has thus far outlasted everyone else. The Indian’s tryst with destiny to win the Candidates and earn the right to challenge tormentor Magnus Carlsen is well on track.And Karjakin is one last hurdle that Anand faces with black pieces before he has a white game against Peter Svidler of Russia in the final round.

With 7.5 points in his bag from the first 12-rounds of this double round robin event, Anand has a full point lead over top seed Levon Aronian of Armenia who has 6.5 points.Karjakin and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan are the other two in contention with six points each while the other four players – Russian trio of Vladimir Kramnik, Dmitry Andreikin and Svidler and Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria have an identical 5.5 points.The one point lead for Anand is effectively 1.5 points lead as he beat Aronian 1.5-0.5 in their personal encounter.

The tournament rules specify that in case of a tie for the top spot, the personal encounter between the tied players will be the first consideration to resolve the tie.And since Anand beat Aronian, it is clear that the Armenian will have to score half a point more than Anand if he has to win the tournament. Matching Anand on points is not an option for Aronian.In the scenario, one point from the remaining two games will be enough for Anand to secure the tournament victory even if Aronian wins the last two rounds. The Armenian has a black game against Dmitry Andreikin before he plays his last game against Karjakin.

The history here is in favour of Anand. The Indian ace has never lost to both Karjakin and Svidler in any Classical game ever and this would give Anand a lot of confidence. This fact could also be one of the reason Anand did not “tempt fate” in his own words in the previous round. -- PTI

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Candidates Chess R11: Anand almost Unstoppable, Leads with 1 Point

Khanty Mansiysk: Five-time World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand inched closer to clinching the Candidates Chess tournament title after settling for an easy draw as black against Vladimir Kramnik of Russia in the 11th round here. With just three rounds to go, Anand maintained his full point lead over nearest rival Levon Aronian of Armenia and with two white games in hand out of the last three, there is little that can go wrong for the Indian ace.


Anand is almost there... Only three rounds remain and he has a comfortable 1 point lead over the rest of the field after 11 rounds. Photo: FIDE/Kirill Merkuriev

On what turned out to be a pretty dull day, Russian Peter Svidler played out a draw with Aronian, Dmitry Andreikin signed peace with Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan while Sergey Karjakin held his position against Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria to get a half point.

With all games ending in draws, the leader-board did not see any change apart from the fact that everyone added to their overnight tally in this 600000 Euros prize money tournament that double up as the selection event for the next World Championship challenger.

Anand took his tally to seven points out of a possible 11 and Aronian remained his closest adversary with six points. Karjakin, Mamedyarov and Svidler follow the Armenian a half point behind while Kramnik and Andreikin have five points in all. Topalov is on last spot with 4.5 points in his kitty.

Kramnik chose the Catalan opening with white pieces and the pressure of having lost the last two games weighed heavy on the Russian. Anand opted for a quite and fashionable system wherein Kramnik's attempt to complicate matters did not see the light of the day.

In the early middle game, Anand had a pawn weakness and instead of a passive defense, he sacrificed it for active counter play. Kramnik played on with an extra pawn but had to give it back to release the tension. Soon peace was signed in just 31 moves.

Peter Svidler's approach was cautious against Aronian after the latter parted with his Bishop for a Knight early in a Reti Opening. Playing white, Svidler allowed a symmetrical pawn structure on the board the rooks changed hands on the only open file leading to a level queen and minor pieces endgame. The players did not find a reason to continue after the queens also got traded and the draw was agreed to in 33 moves.

Sergey Karjakin had some chances after defending a slightly passive position for a long time. His opponent Veselin Topalov went for the English opening and faced the Hedgehog set up. Though Topalov had optically better prospects for the major part of the game, Karjakin also hung in there waiting patiently and making the right defensive moves.

After exchanging queens, Karjakin still had an unpleasant position but easier to defend. In his bid for complications, Topalov sacrificed a couple of pawns and Karjakin followed up with a counter rook sacrifice for a Bishop. While Karjakin came out with a miniscule advantage after the tactical sortie, Topalov was equal to the task in defense when situation demanded. The game lasted 57 moves.

Andreikin and Mamedyarov played a long theoretical variation in the Catalan opening where the former played white. The pieces got exchanged at regular intervals and in almost no time a minor pieces endgame was on board. Further liquidation led to another draw. -- PTI



Standings
1 GM Anand Viswanathan 2770 IND 7
2 GM Aronian Levon 2830 ARM 6 

3 GM Karjakin Sergey 2766 RUS 5½
4 GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2757 AZE 5½
5 GM Svidler Peter 2758 RUS 5½
6 GM Kramnik Vladimir 2787 RUS 5
7 GM Andreikin Dmitry 2709 RUS 5
8 GM Topalov Veselin 2785 BUL 4½

Candidates Chess R10: Anand on Course to WC, Keeps 1 Point Lead!

Khanty Mansiysk: Former World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand remained on course for a rematch with Magnus Carlsen of Norway after securing an easy draw against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan in the 10th round of the Candidates Chess tournament.

It turned out to be another good day for Anand as main contemporaries Levon Aronian of Armenia and Vladimir Kramnik of Russia failed to bridge the gap and the Indian ace continues to be in front with a full point lead.

Aronian could not use his white pieces to much use against Bulgarian Veselin Topalov and had to settle for a draw while Kramnik's poor run continued when he failed to spot a tactical stroke that led to a quick loss against compatriot Peter Svidler. The other game of the day between Russians Dmitry Andreikin and Sergey Karjakin also ended in a draw.




Anand remained on course for a rematch with Magnus Carlsen after securing an easy draw against Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan in the 10th round. Photo: Photo: FIDE/Kirill Merkuriev

With just four rounds to come, Anand is sitting pretty training his sights for the next world championship match on 6.5 points. Aronian remains the nearest contender on 5.5 points followed by Mamedyarov, Karjakin and Svidler who all have five points apiece.

Kramnik remained on 4.5 points and he has Andreikin as company while Topalov is at the last spot another half point adrift.

Apart from the match for the next world championship, the winner here also takes home 135000 euros.

Playing with white, Anand stuck to his guns and repeated the moves of his previous round game against Topalov.

The opening went off well for Anand but Mamedyarov was probably not impressed and came up with the equaliser in no time.

The Indian had to exchange the dark square Bishop early and then Mamedyarov followed suit with castling on the queen side leaving the position absolutely level.

Anand tried manoeuvring his pieces to correct squares and once that was done the players just decided to split the points. The game lasted 30 moves.

The shocker of the day came from Svidler when Kramnik simply missed a game changing tactical stroke. It was the Dutch defense as black by Svidler and Kramnik, trying to shy away from the usual, allowed his Russian teammate to equalise easily.

It was in the middle game that Kramnik missed a simple check by the Bishop. The result was huge deficit in the material as Svidler picked up a rook and a couple of pawns for his Bishop and romped home.

Aronian faced the Slav defense from Topalov and the latter had no difficulty in getting a playable position.

The pieces got exchanged at regular intervals and even though Aronian had something to hope for, the position was close to equal for major part of the game. The ensuing rook and minor piece endgame had little chance for either player and the peace was signed in 45 moves.

Karjakin-Andreikin duel was the shortest game of the day lasting 29 moves.

Karjakin went for an early trade of queen in the Sicilian Taimanov but Andreikin was up to the task in keeping the balance. The draw result was guess of every expert. -- PTI

Results after round 10: Vishwanathan Anand (IND, 6.5) drew with Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (AZE, 5); Vladimir Kramnik (RUS, 4.5) lost to Peter Svidler (RUS, 5); Levon Aronian (ARM, 5.5) drew with Veselin Topalov (BUL, 4); Sergey Karjakin (RUS, 5) drew with Dmitry Andreikin (RUS, 4.5).

Pairings Wednesday March 26 Round 11GM Andreikin Dmitry RUS - GM M Shakhriyar AZE
GM Topalov Veselin BUL - GM Karjakin Sergey RUS
GM Svidler Peter RUS - GM Aronian Levon ARM
GM Kramnik V RUS - GM Anand Viswanathan IND

Monday, March 24, 2014

Candidates Chess R9: Anand on Top!

khanty Mansiysk world chess candidates 2014 Round 9 -- India’s Viswanathan Anand regained the sole lead with a sparkling victory over former challenger Veselin Topalov from Bulgaria in the ninth round of Candidates Chess tournament, here today.
Anand demolishes Topalov, takes one-point lead in Khanty Mansiysk at the World Chess Candidates 2014. Photo: FIDE/Kirill Merkuriev

The hard-earned victory proved crucial for five-time World Champion Anand as he took his tally to a six points out of a possible nine.

The equations went for a toss in the ninth round as Shakhriayar Mamedyarov defeated top seed Levon Aronian of Armenia and Vladimir Kramnik suffered a shock defeat at the hands of Russian teammate Sergey Karjakin.

The other game between Russian duo of Dmitry Andreikin and Peter Svidler ended in a draw.

With five rounds still to come, Anand now enjoys a full point lead over Aronian who remained on five points after the debacle.

Kramnik was joined by Karjakin and Mamedyarov on 4.5 points for joint third spot while Andreikin and Svidler are now joint sixth on four points apiece while Topalov is on the last spot on 3.5 points.

To sum things up, Anand is on a roll and will fancy his chances a great deal now.

It was Anand’s day all the way. Up against Topalov’s pet Sicilian Najdorf, Anand did not give much away in the opening as white and retained a minuscule advantage as the game entered unchartered territories.

Topalov decided to go for exchanges at regular intervals while his position remained slightly worse and this was not a good strategy as Anand continued to exert pressure when the game reached queen and minor piece endgame.

The Indian picked up a pawn when Topalov erred and handled the remaining technicalities of the queen and pawns endgame in masterly fashion to script his third victory in the tournament.

Mamedyarov played the spoiler for Aronian and continued with his roller-coaster ride in the tournament. After blundering his way against Kramnik in the seventh round game when he mishandled a won position and lost, Mamedyarov made sure he held on to his own after attaining an advantage against Aronian who was out of sorts in this ninth round game.

Mamedyarov won in 44 moves.

Karjakin continued with his comeback act and defeated Kramnik for his second straight victory. Starting with an ultra-safe approach in the opening, Karjakin capitalised on some erroneous play by Kramnik in the middle game to win a handful of pawns.

The technicalities thereafter were not difficult to handle. -- PTI

Results round 9: V Anand (Ind, 6) beat Veselin Topalov (Bul, 3.5); Sergey Karjakin (Rus, 4.5) beat Vladimir Kramnik (Rus, 4.5); Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Aze, 4.5) beat Levon Aronian (Arm, 5); Dmitry Andreikin (Rus, 4) drew with Peter Svidler (Rus, 4).

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Candidates Chess R8: Aronian, Anand Draw, Lead: Kramnik 1/2 Point Behind

Khanty Mansiysk : Five-time world chess champion Viswanathan Anand on Saturday, gave jitters to his fans before signing an early draw with top seed Levon Aronian of Armenia in the eighth round of Candidates chess tournament here.

Levon Aronian in joint lead after eight rounds. Both have 5 points. Vladimir Kramnik has 4.5 points. Photo: FIDE/Kirill Merkuriev

The draw against Aronian was important for Anand as the Indian ace not only maintained his joint lead with the Armenian but now also has four white games to come in the last six rounds that gives him an edge over others.

Vladimir Kramnik of Russia could not get past the solid defences of a resurgent compatriot Dmitry Andreikin and had to settle for a draw and the game between Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan was also drawn after showing promise of an intense battle.

In the other game of the day, Peter Svidler was fighting hard to salvage a half point against Russian team-mate Sergey Karjakin.

With six rounds still to go, Anand and Aronian have five points apiece and they are followed by Kramnik on 4.5 points. Svidler on 3.5 has an extra ongoing game in hand compared to Topalov, Andreikin and Mamedyarov, who all inched themselves up to the same score.

Karjakin on 2.5 is on the last spot. The stakes are high in the candidates as the winner takes home 135000 Euros as prize money apart from the right to challenge Magnus Carlsen in the world championship match later this year.

It was a very unusual start to the game between Anand and Aronian. Playing white, Aronian came up with a less played manoeuvre on the third move by moving his queen while Anand threw caution to the winds with his next move that could not be found in any existing chess database.

If this was not enough, Anand sacrificed a pawn on his fourth move for sheer compensation and many in fact believed that the Indian had blundered. However, as Anand pointed out in the post-game conference, he had seen the pawn sacrifice and thought it gave sufficient compensation.

Aronian, though a pawn up, did not like his position. "I think I was worse," he conceded later.

As it happened after some routine manoeuvres, the players decided to repeat and the game was drawn in just 19 moves.

Kramnik showed aggression out of an irregular opening once again but Andreikin was up to the task in his defense. With some cold-water treatment, Andreikin even stood slightly better for a while when he captured a pawn and Kramnik had to liquidate to a level endgame at the first opportunity.

Mamedyarov played the Sicilian defense and the game took shape in a variation akin to the Dragon variation. Topalov did not get much and Mamedyarov came up with a piece sacrifice to complicate matters. Not wanting to take any undue risk, Topalov returned the material in time to reach a drawn endgame. The game lasted 32 moves. -- PTI

Results round 8: Levon Aronian (Arm, 5) drew with V Anand (Ind, 5); Vladimir Kramnik (Rus, 4.5) drew with Dmitry Andreikin (Rus, 3.5); Veselin Topalov (Bul, 3.5) drew with Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Aze, 3.5); Peter Svidler (Rus, 3.5) playing Sergey Karjakin (Rus, 2.5).

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Candidates Chess R7: Aronian, Anand in Joint Lead in Khanty Mansiysk

Khanty Mansiysk, Russia: Five-time world chess champion Viswanathan Anand the signed peace with Peter Svidler of Russia in the seventh round to play out his fourth consecutive draw at the Candidates Chess tournament.

But, Aronian played a fantastic game to beat Sergey Karjakin and drew level with Viswanathan Anand. 
Levon Aronian looks on as Shakhriyar Mamedyarov sips some coffee on his way to losing to Vladimir Kramnik. Photo: official website.

In other games, Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria was outdone by Dmitry Andreikin in the big upset of the day while Russian Vladimir Kramnik played a wild, wild game to beat Shakhriyar Mamedyarov.
At the halfway stage, Anand took his tally to 4.5 points out of a possible seven and will have an easier second half wherein he has four white games lined up out of seven. Levon Aronian too now has 4.5 points.

Round 8  
GM Kramnik Vladimir RUS  - GM Andreikin Dmitry RUS
GM Svidler Peter RUS - GM Karjakin Sergey RUS
GM Topalov Veselin BUL - GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar AZE
GM Aronian Levon ARM - GM Anand Viswanathan IND

Svidler was a bit tentative in the closed Ruy Lopez after Anand went for the Berlin defense - the flavour of the season.

The Indian got in to the groove pretty fast with his knights moving to the King side for some rapid action in the early stages of the middle game. Svidler felt the heat but did not give much away.

The critical moment was when Anand could win a pawn which was also suggested by all chess engines albeit hard to judge for a human mind. Anand in the end concluded that it was all a bit "messy", a sentiment echoed by Svidler.

However, the game was far from over as Anand came up with a positional queen sacrifice to liven things up. Svidler knew his chances of holding were high with pawns exchanges and the Russian wasted no time in pushing his brigade forward.

Anand could do little after a timely exchange sacrifice that left him with two rooks for a queen.

"In fact his draw offer was useful, it helped me with my evaluation. Peter (Svidler) is not a devious guy, there are people who will offer a draw in a worse position," Anand said in the post-game conference.

The Indian ace conceded that he was not at his best on Friday.

"I needed a lot of time and calm moves before I can threaten 'f3', I can't do it," he said.

Andreikin caused a sensation at the expense of Topalov who was a pale shadow of himself.

It's been a roller-coaster ride for Topalov in the last three rounds as he lost one against Svidler, bounced back to beat Kramnik and now suffered a disastrous loss against Andreikin.

Topalov went for the Queen's gambit declined as black and faced a side variation. The Bulgarian got a decent opening with a temporary pawn sacrifice but missed the thread as he gave too much weightage to an optical attack against the king.

Andreikin steered his king to safety with a long walk to the queen side and the extra pawn did the damage thereafter. -- Agencies
Standings1 GM Anand Viswanathan 2770 IND 4½
2 GM Aronian Levon 2830 ARM 4½
3 GM Kramnik Vladimir 2787 RUS 4
4 GM Svidler Peter 2758 RUS 3½
5 GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2757 AZE 3
6 GM Andreikin Dmitry 2709 RUS 3
7 GM Topalov Veselin 2785 BUL 3
8 GM Karjakin Sergey 2766 RUS 2½



Thursday, March 20, 2014

Magnus Carlsen Video Chat on World Chess Candidates 2014


World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen just posted on his Facebook Page:
You've asked, I've answered. Here are my thoughts thus far on the FIDE World Candidates Tournament. I sat down with my Manager, Espen Agdestein to discuss. Check it out on the link below:

Candidates Chess: Anand at Crucial Juncture; Play Resumes Tomorrow

Khanty Mansiysk: Placed comfortably on top of the table with a half point lead, five-time world chess champion Viswanathan Anand will enter the crucial phase of the Candidates chess tournament, taking on Peter Svidler after the second rest day in Khanty Mansiysk on Friday.

Viswanathan Anand: Can he set up a second date with Magnus Carlsen? Photo: Kirill Merkuriev/FIDE

From a great beginning to some cautious play, Anand, with four points in his bag from six games, enjoys a half point lead over nearest contender Levon Aronian of Armenia.

It's a closely matched field as almost everyone except the lowest seed Dmitry Andreikin of Russia seems to be in the race for the challenger of the next world championship match against Magnus Carlsen to be played later in 2014.

The eight-player double round-robin tournament has seen a lot of excitement and there are no clear favourites as yet but surely Anand has an edge thanks to his half point cushion.

The stakes are high as apart from a match against Carlsen, the winner will take home 1,35,000 Euros (a little over Rs one crore) as cash prize. The Russian duo of Vladimir Kramnik and Peter Svidler, Bulgarian Veselin Topalov and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan follow Aronian a half point behind on three points apiece and they all have reasons to fancy their chances as the tournament nears the completion of the first half.

Not far behind is Sergey Karjakin on 2.5 points who can not only play the spoiler but also has it in him to pull a few victories to match leaders.

Anand has been in lead from day one. It was the day when Anand showed to the world that he is not finished yet. No one could have asked for a better start than a victory over Aronian. Next followed a draw with Topalov with the Indian ace in absolute control and in the third round was an inspiring performance when Mamedyarov was crushed in all departments of the game.

However, since then it has been a cautious approach by Anand. In the fourth round Kramnik played the Vienna variation wherein the Indian would fancy his chances on another day. The Russian showed better preparation and got an easy draw.

Andreikin struggled a little in the fifth round but did not face many difficulties before drawing with the Indian and then in the previous round, Sergey Karjakin again suffered just momentarily before steering himself to safety.

If the first three games showed Anand in great spirits, the last three have dampened them a little. And the next two games will be most crucial as Anand first meets Svidler with black and then has another black game lined up against Aronian in the eighth round. Should he come out unscathed in the next two, Anand will become a huge favourite for title in Khanty Mansiysk.

After an insipid start that involved four draws and a loss, Topalov came back with a bang scoring over Kramnik in the previous round. The result changed many equations and Kramnik who had looked almost invincible thus far suddenly turns vulnerable.

It was a similar story for Svidler who had come up with some sterling chess till the fifth round. Had Svidler been on track in each round, he would have had at least one point more till the fifth round itself. And the way he lost the sixth round game against Mamedyarov goes to prove that nerves play a major role in big games.

Kramnik crushed Karjakin in round two, missed a winning continuation against Aronian and got the easiest of draws as black against Anand. Things were shaping out well till he met Topalov. The Russian will have to do the hard work over again.

Mamedyarov was written off in the first three rounds that resulted in two losses and just one draw. Thereafter the Azeri has seen a reversal in fortunes complementing his uncompromising style. He will surely want to carry on with the momentum. -- PTI

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Candidates Chess R6: Anand Draws Karjakin, Leads in Khanty Mansiysk

Sergey Karjakin - Viswanathan Anand draw in Round 6. Photo: FIDE (Thursday is a rest day)

Khanty Mansiysk, Russia: Viswanathan Anand remained in sole lead with a third straight draw, signing peace with Russian Sergey Karjakin in the sixth round of Candidates Chess tournament here on Wednesday.

After scoring two victories in the first three rounds itself, Anand did not get many chances for the third day running even as Karjakin had to work hard for the half point. It turned out to be another high-tension round in the candidates that will select the challenger to Magnus Carlsen of Norway in the next World championship match later this year.

Bulgarian Veselin Topalov reacted like a wounded tiger after losing the previous round to Peter Svidler and defeated second seed Vladimir Kramnik of Russia in a fine display while Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan put it across Peter Svidler of Russia to announce his arrival as a contender in the tournament.

Anand remained in sole lead with a third straight draw, signing peace with Russian Sergey Karjakin in the sixth round of Candidates Chess tournament.

If this was not enough, top seed Levon Aronian of Armenia spoiled all the hard work of the first few hours and mishandled a winning position to let Russian Dmitry Andreikin off the hook with a draw. 

After the lopsided round, Anand took his tally to four points and remained a half point ahead of Aronian. While Kramnik and Svidler slipped to joint third spot along with Topalov and Mamedyarov who came back to a fifty percent score.

Karjakin moved to 2.5 points and is now on seventh spot, a half point clear of Andreikin who was simply lucky to survive today. For the first time in Candidates, the main line of the Berlin defense came on board. Anand has not been able to crack it since the last world championship match and today was no different even though Karjakin had to find some right way to equalise.

After the usual trading of queens, Anand got the typical breakthrough on the king side but while that gave him a better control in the king side, Karjakin punctured the other flank by parting with his bishop. Even as Anand's king walked to the center, black's position remained impregnable and the draw was agreed to after 33 moves. -- PTI 


Results Round 6: V Anand (Ind, 4) drew with Sergey Karjakin (Rus, 2.5); Veselin Topalov (Bul, 3) beat Vladimir Kramnik (Rus, 3); Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Aze, 3) beat Peter Svidler (Rus, 3); Levon Aronian (Arm, 3.5) drew with Dmitry Andreikin (Rus, 2).

Candidates Chess R5: Anand Draws Andreikin, Keeps Lead with 3.5!

Khanty Mansiysk (Russia): Former World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand played out an easy draw as black against lowest-seeded Dmitry Andreikin of Russia in the fifth round, but kept the lead at the Candidates chess tournament here.
Viswanathan Anand draws comfortably with Dmitry Andreikin. Photos: FIDE

It turned out to be a no-hassle day for Anand as the Indian was seen pressing for an advantage towards the end of the game. The draw took Anand to 3.5 points out of a possible five and he keeps his half point lead with the end of the first half now approaching near.

Anand chose the Berlin defense, an opening he has not been able to break himself as white for some time and Andreikin employed the closed set up that was on expected lines. The Russian got a slightly favourable position in the middle game but was made to sweat hard for more by Anand who played at a good speed.

It was a mild time pressure for Andreikin that led him into difficulties and Anand was fighting for an advantage towards the end of the first time control. The Russian, however, got his act together just in time to find the path to equality after trading the queens. The peace was signed in 42 moved.

"I was trying but I didn`t see anything concrete, my hope was when his king came out but after the queen exchange its just a draw," said Anand in the post-game conference, adding, "I was very happy with my position in the middle game but it did not become more".

In other games of the day Peter Svidler of Russia defeated Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria while Sergey Karjakin of Russia played out a draw with Azeri Shakhriyar Mamedyarov.

Russian Vladimir Kramnik was close to winning against Levon Aronian of Armenia, but after a long struggle the latter was able to hold his fort together.

With Anand in front on 3.5 points, Svidler, Kramnik and Aronian follow him a half point behind. Topalov, Karjakin and Mamedyarov are on two points each from their five games while Andreikin remains at the bottom on one and a half points.

Svidler came out with a sterling performance to beat Topalov. From a Ruy Lopez Moller, Svidler opted for the variation he had popularised some years back and did not get any advantage.
Topalov`s opening preparation may have worked in his favour, but the Bulgarian did not handle the intricacies as well as he wanted. Svidler got a small advantage first and then his wily manoeuvres ensured that white`s advantage grew in the rook and opposite colour Bishops endgame.

As the position became more difficult, Topalov lost track and blundered in to a hopeless position.

Sergey Karjakin and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov played out a regulation draw. Karjakin did not get anything with his white pieces against the Sicilian defense and the pieces kept getting exchanged at regular intervals. In almost no time, the players reached a heavy pieces endgame where the final result was only a matter of time.

Vladimir Kramnik of Russia was involved in a heated battle against Levon Aronian. The Russian did everything right to attain a dangerous attack with his white pieces but could not force matters as Aronian came up with a stupendous Queen sacrifice.

The position remained better for Kramnik but the Aronian just found the right defense to equality. The longest game of the day lasted 60 moves.

Results round 5: Dmitry Andreikin (Rus, 1.5) drew with V Anand (Ind, 3.5); Peter Svidler (Rus, 3) beat Veselin Topalov (Bul, 2); Sergey Karjakin (Rus, 2) drew with Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Aze, 2); Vladimir Kramnik (Rus, 2.5) playing Levon Aronian (Arm, 2.5). -- PTI

Monday, March 17, 2014

Candidates Chess 2014 R4: Anand Draws Kramnik, Leads with 3 Points

Five-time World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand played out a draw with Vladimir Kramnik in the fourth round but remained in sole lead to stay in contention in the Candidates chess tournament in Khanty Mansiysk.

Anand - Kramnik Draw in Round 4. Official website

Kramnik’s Vienna variation has been analysed extensively and Anand went for a variation which is conclusively drawn. 


The draw took Anand to three points out of a possible four and the Indian remained in sole lead. Kramnik remained in second place on 2.5 and was joined by top seed Levon Aronian of Armenia on 2.5 points. Aronian scored a remarkable victory over Russian Peter Svidler. 

Former World Chess Champion Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria signed peace with Sergey Karjakin of Russia while Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijain scored his first victory at the expense of Dmitry Andreikin of Russia.

With 10 rounds still to come, it's an early call yet. Anand, Kramnik and Aronian might be fighting at the top for a berth as the finalist for the next world chess championship, but the likes of Svidler, Karjakin and Topalov are fighting it through.

Topalov had no difficulties in keeping the momentum against Karjakin in an English opening game while Mamedyarov was at his best for once in crushing Andreikin with white pieces.

Anand is on course to one of the best performances of his life. The field is open yet. Stay tuned to the action in Khanty Mansiysk! -- Staff Writer with PTI inputs

Standings
1 GM Anand Viswanathan 2770 IND 3
2 GM Aronian Levon 2830 ARM 2½
3 GM Kramnik Vladimir 2787 RUS 2½
4 GM Svidler Peter 2758 RUS 2
5 GM Topalov Veselin 2785 BUL 2
6 GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2757 AZE 1½
7 GM Karjakin Sergey 2766 RUS 1½
8 GM Andreikin Dmitry 2709 RUS 1

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Chess Candidates 2014 R3: Anand Crushes Mamedyarov, Takes Leads

Khanti Mansiysk, Russia: Five-time World Chess Champion Viswanthan Anand continued his fine form and crashed through the defences of Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan to notch up his second successive win in the Candidates Chess tournament.

Viswanathan Anand picks up a crushing victory over Shakhriyar Mamedyarov in Round 3. Photo: FIDE 

Not many experts had given Anand a chance coming in to candidates after he lost the World Chess Championship match against Magnus Carlsen of Norway in November last year.


However, the 'Tiger from Madras' has not only proved his critics wrong but has also emerged as a serious contender even though it is still early days in the 14-round tournament.

With 2.5 points in his kitty from the first three games, Anand is now in sole lead. The other games in the eight-player double round robin tournament ended in draws. 

Former World Chess Champion Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria missed out on his chances against top seed Levon Aronian of Armenia while Dmitry Andreikin signed peace with fellow Russian Sergey Karjakin after playing solidly as white. Peter Svidler had the upper hand in the game versus Vladimir Kramnik, but the latter managed to draw.

The fact that Anand's victory came with black pieces was icing on the cake for the Indian. Playing the Modern variation in the Slav defense, Anand had little trouble equalising out of the opening and Mamedyarov was also looking at dynamic possibilities after losing the previous round.

It was in the early middle game itself that Anand sensed his chances. Mamedyarov could not find any way to improve other than king side pawn advances and that met with a timely breakthrough by Anand leaving weaknesses on white's king side.

On move 24 Anand deployed his queen in an attacking position and Mamedyarov realised that he was already much worse. The pressure got to the Azeri Grandmaster sooner than expected as he caved in through a blunder on the 26th move itself. Anand wrapped the issue in 31 moves. -- PTI

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Chess Candidates 2014 R2: Anand Keeps Joint Lead with Kramnik, Svidler

World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand played out an easy draw with black against former World Chess Champion Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria in the second round of the Candidates Chess 2014 in Khanty Mansiysk, Russia, on Friday.

Not missing anything after his fantastic opening round victory against top seed Levon Aronian of Armenia, Anand came up with another emphatic display of positional chess.

The Indian ace moved to 1.5 points out of a possible two, a tally now matched by the Russian duo of Vladimir Kramnik and Peter Svidler.

While the opening day saw only Anand winning and rest of the games ending in draws, the second round was in contrast, as only Anand drew. Vladimir Kramnik cut through the defences of compatriot Sergey Karjakin in great style while Peter Svidler made his 'wild card' look worthy with a crushing victory over Dmitry Andreikin.
Khanty Mansiysk World Chess Candidates 2014: Anand draws with Topalov, stays in joint lead with Kramnik and Svidler. Photo: FIDE/official website

Making sure he won't be far behind after the first round defeat, Levon Aronian struck back with vengeance as he made mince meat of Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan.

With Anand, Kramnik and Svidler in front, Aronian holds the fourth spot on one point along with Topalov and these two have Mamedyarov, Karjakin and Andreikin right behind them with a half point each.

On what turned out to be an easy day as black, Anand opted for a set-up akin to the Slav defense and had apparently done a lot of home-work in the variation. Topalov sank in to a long thought early in the opening while he went about capturing a pawn in the center and Anand was simply on top in preparation as he played much faster.

After winning the pawn, Topalov could not think of anything better than converting to a endgame with Rooks and Bishops still on board but Anand had worked out that this ploy will also lead to a draw only.

Further liquidations led to a drawn rook and pawns endgame and the peace was finally signed with only Kings left on the board. The game lasted 54 moves.

Kramnik showed he is in fine fettle with a brilliant attacking victory over Karjakin, known as the youngest ever Grandmaster in the world. The Queen's gambit accepted by Karjakin as black resulted in a lively position and Kramnik went about his execution with an exchange sacrifice. It was all over in just 39 moves.

If Aronian felt the pressure after losing to Anand, he did not show it and squeezed out a nice victory against Mamedyarov. It was a Ragozin variation wherein Aronian came up with a fine new idea and Mamedyarov's early blunder led to loss of his queen for two pieces. The rest was easy as Aronian won in 44 moves.

Peter Svidler came up with an inspired performance in a Sicilian Accelerated Sveshnikov against Andreikin. Winning a pawn with precise technique, Svidler had little troubles in converting the ensuing rook endgame in to a full point.

Results Round 2: V Topalov (Bul, 1) drew with V Anand (Ind, 1.5); Vladimir Kramnik (Rus, 1.5) beat Sergey Karjakin (Rus, 0.5); Peter Svidler (Rus, 1.5) beat Dmitry Andreikin (Rus, 0.5); Levon Aronian (Arm, 1) beat Shakhriayar Mamedyarov (Aze, 0.5). -- PTI

Friday, March 14, 2014

Chess Candidates 2014: Anand begins with Win Over Top Seed Aronian

Levon Aronian crumbles versus Viswanathan Anand in Round 1 at the Khanty Mansiysk World Chess Candidates 2014. Photo: FIDE

Five-time World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand displayed top form to beat top seed and rating-favourite Levon Aronian of Armenia in the first game of the first round of the Candidates chess tournament in Khanty Mansiysk (Russia) on Thursday.

Anand made most of the offered opportunities and came on top as Aronian proved no match in the complexities that ensued. The Indian ace was seen at the top of his game for the major part of the high intensity game. 

After attaining equality, Anand obtained and edge. The Queens were exchanged on the 22nd move. Eventually, Anand pulled off a nice trap for his opponent's Knight and took home a most valuable point.

The other games were all drawn: GM Andreikin Dmitry RUS - GM Kramnik Vladimir RUS, GM Karjakin Sergey RUS - GM Svidler Peter RUS and GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar AZE - GM Topalov Veselin BUL.

Earlier, the opening ceremony of one of the most important chess tournaments of the year took place on Wednesday. Eight top Grandmasters of the world are competing over three weeks for a 600,000 Euro prize fund and the chance to challenge World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen (Norway).

The line-up consists of the former World Champion Vishy Anand (India), who lost his title only a year ago, 2013 World Cup winner Vladimir Kramnik, 2013 World Cup runner-up Dmitry Andreikin (both Russia), 2012-13 FIDE Grand Prix winners Veselin Topalov (Bulgaria) and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Azerbaijan), two players qualified by rating Levon Aronian (Armenia) and Sergey Karjakin (Russia), and the player nominated by the organizers – Peter Svidler (Russia).
 
The opening ceremony took place at the concert hall Ugra-Classic and was attended by Natalia Komarova, Ukra Governor and Vice-President of Russian Chess Federation, and Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, FIDE President.

“We are just as nervous as the candidates, – said Natalia Vladimirovna. – A chess board has 64 squares. The candidates tournaments are also played for 64 years. Each square of the board saw thousands of combinations, but we nevertheless expect more brilliance and ingenious games from our players. Chess teaches honesty, fairness and respect to the opponent. I’d very much like to see these rules universally accepted,” concluded the Governor.Kirsan Ilyumzhinov noted that Khanty-Mansiysk continues to bring pleasant surprises: “This tournament and its opening ceremony is a great gift to the players. Since 2005 Ugra is recognized as Chess Mecca. Three great champions gathered here today, and together with five other outstanding players they will have to determine a new title contender”.

He also drew attention to the fact that chess in Ugra is not only a professional sport, but a mass sport, and sport in Ugra is highly developed. Ugra representatives recently won four Olympic medals in Sochi, including two gold medals.

The opening ceremony continued with a concert show peformed by Ugra-Classic creative team. The unique 8 ton pipe organ with mammoth bone keys was the center of attention – and chess, of course!

“Life is like chess, it’s just a clever arrangement of pieces on the black and white board”. This quote by writer Oleg Roy was a theme of the show. Enchanted by mysterious sound of organ, the spectators watched a historical show with elements of dance and theater, filled with quotes about the most intelligent game in the world. -- Report via PTI and Official website



Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Viswanathan Anand all set for World Chess Candidates in Khanty Mansiysk

Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia: With odds stacked against him, five-time World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand will look forward to making a grand comeback in the Candidates chess tournament that starts in Khanty-Mansiysk with the first round on Thursday.  
With the weather slated to hit -14 degrees during the week, the heated battles are likely to compensate for them as eight of the world elite compete here to find the next challenger for World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway.

It may be recalled that Carlsen defeated Anand in the last world chess championship match at Chennai by 6.5-3.5 margin to become the undisputed king of the 64-squares late last year.

The eight-player super tournament will be played under double round robin basis and there will be 14-grueling rounds in all before the winner is determined. After a recent decline in form and rating, Anand starts only as the fourth seed in the tournament.

Levon Aronian of Armenia starts as the rating favourite with his ELO touching 2830 points. Russian Vladimir Kramnik who missed winning the candidates by a whisker last year, is ranked second ahead of former world champion Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria.

Sergey Karjakin of Russia is behind Anand and is seeded fifth ahead of seven times Russian Champion Peter Svidler. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan and Dmitry Andreikin of Russia complete the line-up.

With his remarkable current form Levon Aronian is a live threat to all participants and Kramnik will hope to give the Armenian a run for his money. The stakes are high as apart from a match against Carlsen, the tournament has a total prize pool of 600,000 Euros (About Rs. 5 crore) out of which 135,000 Euros is reserved for the winner.

The tournament will be played under Classical Chess rules with 120 minutes for the first 40 moves, 60 for the next 20 and then 15 minutes each with a 30 seconds increment from move 61.

How they got here: 

V Anand: Losing finalist of last world championship The World champion is here as the losing finalist of World championship. If Anand does not win it, he will either have to go through a long cycle or take is rating up significantly to be back in hunt next time.

Levon Aronian: By virtue of his high rating. Aronian did not come good in the last world chess cup but otherwise has been in exemplary form. His victory at the Tata Steel tournament earlier this year was a just indication of his great form. Many Chess buffs are rooting for a match between Aronian and Carlsen.
Sergey Karjakin: High rating. Karjakin qualifies as the second player on rating. He holds the record for the youngest ever Grandmaster in history at 12 years and seven months and has won some of the strongest events. His most recent success was in Norway when he came first ahead of Carlsen himself.

Vladimir Kramnik: Winner of the last World Chess Cup. Having never played in the knock-out world cup before, not many believed Kramnik would last the distance in the seven rounds format. However he made it all look too easy. He might have been around even without the world cup victory but this was certainly the way he wanted to come in. The Russian has been out of competitive chess for some time, as he opted out of Tata Steel as well as the Zurich Classic this year.

Dmitry Andreikin: Runners up in World Chess Cup Andreikin?s second place finish in the world cup was no less intriguing. Slowly but steadily, this 2010 world junior champion is making his presence felt in elite chess. The hallmark is solid play, complemented with deep opening preparation. On his day, a real threat to the best in business.

Veselin Topalov: Winner of FIDE Grand Prix. One has not been hearing much about Topalov since he lost the 2010 world championship match against Anand. Yet, if his performance in the Grand prix is anything to go by, Topalov can belittle everyone else with his uncompromising variety of chess that very few possess. It was not long ago when he was the world champion and this tournament gives him another chance.

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov: Runners up in Grand Prix. Mamedyarov is the most unpredictable player in this field and can serve as the spoiler of the tournament as well win it by sheer power-play. Grit, determination and fearlessness are words that best describe this Azerbaijani.

Peter Svidler: Organisers wild card. It is not without reasons that the wild card is given to Svidler - the seven times Russian champion. Svidler has won it all in the past including the World chess cup and remains a feared opponent. It was he who jolted Calrsen in the last round of Candidates last year and the Norwegian is world champion because Kramnik also lost his game on the same day against Ukrainian Vassily Ivanchuk. A draw by Kramnik would have resulted in a match between him and Anand and recent history would not be the same. -- PTI


(For special features and other reports also visit our partner site www.worldchesschampionship2013.com)

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