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Showing posts with label magnus carlsen. Show all posts
Showing posts with label magnus carlsen. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Carlsen Survives Kramnik: Video

Here's the press conference video featuring Magnus Carlsen and Vladimir Kramnik after their amazing game in Round 9 at the London Chess Candidates 2013. A draw - coming back from a lost position - gave the World No. 1 sole lead in the tournament. Five more rounds have to be played. The host is Anastasiya Karlovich. Play resumes today - Wednesday, March 28 - and you can watch live at the official website from 7.30 pm India time.

Candidates R9: Carlsen in Sole Lead

Magnus Carlsen is the sole leader after nine rounds at the FIDE World Chess Candidates’ Tournament. On Monday the Norwegian drew with Vladimir Kramnik (Russia) while co-leader Levon Aronian (Armenia) lost to Boris Gelfand (Israel). Peter Svidler and Alexander Grischuk (both Russia) drew an amazingly complicated game and after 6.5 hours of play Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukraine) scored his first win, against Teimour Radjabov (Azerbaijan).
With the second half of the FIDE World Chess Candidates’ Tournament well under way, the interest in the tournament is growing, both online and at the IET in London. Every day both the number of spectators in the playing hall and journalists in the press room is growing, and many local grandmasters can be seen at the venue. Gawain Jones, Daniel King and Luke McShane have been frequent visitors and on Monday GMs John Nunn, Matthew Sadler, Jon Speelman and Simon Williams came along. They all witnessed another great round in which the big game was world number 2 Vladimir Kramnik against world number 1 Magnus Carlsen.

Kramnik got a nice advantage in a Catalan: “Actually it was my preparation for Kazan; I was about to play it against Radjabov in 2011 but finally for some reason I decided to play something else. Since that time I was keeping it and nobody played it. This 11.Qc2 and 12.Rd1 is kind of a new set-up; it’s quite dangerous I believe.” Carlsen: “I didn't know the details too much of this line. I more or less had to figure it out over the board. It’s not so easy to play and the way I played, he got a stable advantage so I probably did something wrong. I was just trying to find a good plan which I probably didn’t succeed in doing.”

After 13.Nc3 White was “just better” and after 20.Qe3 it was “getting really critical for Black” (Kramnik) but then, starting with 22…Re8, Carlsen found a key defensive idea (and perhaps even the only move): 25…Nd5!. Almost by force an ending with rooks and opposite-coloured bishops came on the board where Kramnik’s extra pawn wasn’t worth much. “It just seems to work by millimetre,” the Russian said two times at the press conference.

“Of course Magnus is a very strong player, a very strong defender. I don't say that I missed any win today but I was better in the opening, had a very nice position and then… it seemed very close. It’s a bit disappointing of course,” said Kramnik. Carlsen about defending this game: “I thought it was dangerous but the good thing for me is that most of the time I had to make only moves. Then in a way it’s easier.”



Peter Svidler and Alexander Grischuk played the most spectacular game of the tournament so far. The latter went for the ever-interesting King’s Indian Defence, and like in his game against Radjabov, Svidler played the Sämisch variation. Then, on move 12, Grischuk came up with an absolutely stunning novelty that involved a long-term piece sacrifice.

At first Svidler was “very worried”. “In a practical game (…) every move will be a torture.” English grandmaster Matthew Sadler, who lives in The Netherlands but spent his weekend with family, joined the commentary for a while and said: “I was counting the pieces and I must have counted them at least ten times!”

Svidler went for a long think, played an interesting sequence of moves and then felt he was winning. “Of course I missed 19…h3. After that I realized the game continues.” Eventually White got three minor pieces for his queen, and Svidler still felt that “White should be better somehow”, but “it became a bit too messy for my liking”. In time trouble he might have missed some ways to make Grischuk’s life harder. Just after the time control Black had created so much counter play that Svidler had seen enough and accepted his opponent’s draw offer.



The game between Boris Gelfand and Levon Aronian became quite very important for the tournament standings. In a Queen’s Gambit Declined that turned into some sort of Stonewall position, around move 25 Aronian missed a tactic and lost an important pawn. Computers don’t like his 26…Bf7, a move Gelfand didn’t expect: “Here I think Levon is in trouble.”

However, according to the Israeli Black wasn’t lost yet. “After 32…Rd3 I don’t know if my advantage is so big, but 32…h5 is a blunder.” Aronian, who had to skip the press conference because of a drug test (which Carlsen, Kramnik and Svidler also had to perform), said he had missed 28.e6 and then “completely forgot about this 33.f5 stuff”. However, just before the time control Gelfand missed a quick win, and a double rook ending came on the board. “Fortunately I have this plan of a king’s attack,” said Gelfand, who won the ending without too much trouble. It wasn’t an easy game for him, though. “I think for me it was more difficult because I played with my very close friend and he is leading the tournament. But we're professionals and we have to play our utmost in each game.”

(Report Peter by Doggers/Photos by Anastasiya Karlovich)

Candidates R8: Carlsen, Aronian Lead

Magnus Carlsen of Norway and Levon Aronian of Armenia are still tied for first place after eight rounds at the FIDE World Chess Candidates' Tournament in London. The leaders of the tournament faced each other over the board on Sunday and drew a Catalan game in just an hour and a half. Vladimir Kramnik of Russia, who beat his compatriot Peter Svidler in a Grünfeld, is now one point behind the two. Like Kramnik, Boris Gelfand of Israel won his first game of the tournament. He defeated Teimour Radjabov of Azerbaijan by adopting the strong positional concept 13...e5! in an English game. For the third time already in this tournament, Ukrainian Vassily Ivanchuk lost on time, in this round against Alexander Grischuk of Russia.
 


On Sunday the second half of the FIDE World Chess Candidates’ Tournament started with a big game: Magnus Carlsen versus Levon Aronian, the two leaders of the tournament. In the first round they drew against each other, and if either player would have won this one, he would have been “huge favourite”, as Carlsen put it the day before. One reason is that if two players tie for first place after the last round, the first tie-break rule is the individual result.

Somewhat expectedly, neither player wanted to take too much risk and as a result the game quickly petered out to a draw. “I thought that Magnus was not going to take much risk and play solid,” said Aronian. Carlsen: “I was just trying to play more or less solidly, trying to put some pressure without taking too much risk. It felt like the natural thing to do in such a situation. He played precisely in the opening.”

Thanks to good preparation Aronian quickly equalized in a Catalan. However, in a very equal ending Carlsen declined a draw offer, somewhere around move 33: “I thought there was no harm in playing a few more moves. But at that point both of us knew what was going to happen anyway!”

As the players explained, such quick draws are part of the game: “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.

(Report Peter by Doggers/Photos by Anastasiya Karlovich)

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Candidates R7: Carlsen, Aronian Lead


In what was the shortest round of the FIDE World Chess Candidates’ Tournament so far, Levon Aronian of Armenia and Magnus Carlsen of Norway maintained their 1.5 point lead over Russians Vladimir Kramnik and Peter Svidler. Against Teimour Radjabov of Azerbaijan, Carlsen needed to sacrifice an exchange to wear off dangerous threats against his king, which proved to be sufficient. Aronian got a small positional advantage against Alexander Grischuk of Russia, who saved himself by going for active defence. For a moment Kramnik was in big trouble, but he escaped with a draw when his opponent Boris Gelfand of Israel refrained from playing actively on move 19. Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine and Peter Svidler of Russia played the shortest draw of the round in a Scotch game that quickly turned into an endgame.



In the seventh round of the FIDE World Chess Candidates’ Tournament all games were finished in less than four hours. It’s hard to believe, though, that the participants were trying to be ready in time for the Chess Boxing event which is taking place at London’s Scala Club on Saturday night. Especially Magnus Carlsen and Levon Aronian have something better to do, on the night before they will play each other for the second time.

Less than three hours into the round, Vassily Ivanchuk and Peter Svidler were in the middle of an interesting ending when they suddenly agreed to a draw. “I didn’t expect the Scotch, and he probably didn’t expect long castles,” is how Svidler explained the time spent by both players in what was a theoretical opening variation. “It was a new position to me. I was trying to understand what was going on, and trying not to blunder something,” said Ivanchuk.

The players quickly reached an ending where White had a rook, bishop and knight with five pawns against two rooks and seven pawns for Black. Because neither player could really play for a win, the move repetition was a logical finish. Not satisfied with his play in the previous two rounds, Svidler said: “I don’t particularly mind equalizing and making a draw against a very strong player.”

The FIDE Candidates' Tournament is taking place March 14th-April 1st, 2013 at IET London, Savoy Place. It is sponsored by the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) and organized by AGON and the World Chess Federation (FIDE). Games and information can be found at http://london2013.fide.com.

Standings after Round 7
1.Magnus Carlsen 5
2.Levon Aronian 5
3.Peter Svidler 3.5
4.Vladimir Kramnik 3.5 
5.Teimour Radjabov 3
6.Alexander Grischuk 3
7.Vassily Ivanchuk 2.5
8.Boris Gelfand 2.5

Sunday pairings round 8
1.Magnus Carlsen-Levon Aronian
2.Teimour Radjabov-Boris Gelfand
3.Alexander Grischuk-Vassily Ivanchuk
4.Vladimir Kramnik-Peter Svidler



Report by Peter Doggers/Photos by Anastasiya Karlovich

Friday, March 22, 2013

Candidates R6: Carlsen, Aronian Lead

By winning in round 6 Levon Aronian (Armenia) and Magnus Carlsen (Norway) increased their lead at the FIDE Candidates' Tournament to 1.5 points. The score was opened by Carlsen who beat Peter Svidler (Russia) from the black side of a Closed Ruy Lopez. Aronian profited from a blunder by Teimour Radjabov (Azerbaijan) in the 7th hour of play. In a Closed Catalan, Vladimir Kramnik (Russia) sacrificed an exchange and then a piece, but despite getting into time trouble yet again, Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukraine) defended well and held the draw. Alexander Grischuk (Russia) and Boris Gelfand (Israel) drew an exciting 3.Bb5 Sicilian.
 
So far the FIDE World Chess Candidates’ Tournament has received amazing response from chess fans all over the world. During the first six rounds over 265,000 unique visitors from 194 countries have visited the official website. Over 70 international journalists have requested press accreditation and almost all British media have covered the tournament in one way or another. One example is the BBC, who have already done three different items on Magnus Carlsen!

On Thursday the top seed score quite a smooth win against Peter Svidler. In a more or less standard Ruy Lopez position, the Russian grandmaster decided to “try something new” with his move 15.Bc2. He thought that he should have played h2-h3 earlier, perhaps instead of 17.Ne3. His play in that phase was “based on a miscalculation”. A few moves later Svidler was “already struggling” until he missed 33…Qe4! which decided the game immediately. He did have a small compliment to his opponent: “As usual the conversion phase went quite smoothly.”
 

As computer engines pointed out, Carlsen in fact missed a strong move earlier on: 25…Bxh3. “At this point I was just thinking that straightforward moves were good enough for a huge advantage,” said Carlsen, who is more than satisfied after six rounds of play. “I’m very happy. I’ve had four blacks so far and I feel that I’m playing at a decent level so… as I said before: I am where I need to be. We’ll see what happens from here.”

One of Carlsen’s main rivals, world’s number two Vladimir Kramnik, lost further ground by drawing with Vassily Ivanchuk. Once again the Ukrainian got into serious time trouble. “I had to spend some time in the opening because the position was very dangerous and of course I understood that every little mistake can lead to a loss,” said Ivanchuk.

Kramnik came up with a nice positional exchange sacrifice and then did away with another piece to create a dangerous attack on the enemy king. But it was just not enough: just when his opponent needed to make 13 moves in only 1 minute and 4 seconds, the former World Champion had to go for a perpetual check.

The game was so complicated and interesting that during the press conference Kramnik impatiently asked if the press room’s laptop could run an engine. After it was switched on, he grabbed the mouse and said: “I don’t know if I had anything. Let’s see what the guy says.” The players and host Anastasiya Karlovich had a good laugh about some of the amazing moves that were suggested by the machine. For sure Kramnik was also trying to find analytical support for the difficult decision he had to make on move 30...
 

About the tournament situation, Kramnik said: “I just have bad luck. I quite like my play but the ball is just not getting into the goal. Yesterday I was very close to a win, and today again... It was just amazing that I was not checkmating him. I’m afraid that if I don’t repeat moves I’m just lost. It would be a gamble because he is a very good blitz player. I am not happy about the way the tournament is going but I don’t think I can blame myself. The only thing I can do is continue to show good chess and hope that at some point I will have luck on my side.”

Alexander Grischuk and Boris Gelfand played the Rossolimo Sicilian (3.Bb5), a line which the Israeli got on the board many times last year in his World Championship match against Vishy Anand. About his seventh move Grischuk said: “Unfortunately Boris was very well prepared for this rare line.” After the opening the Russian grandmaster lost a pawn and then he had to "fight for the draw", but he managed to get the game sharper. With little time on the clock for both players at the second time control, Gelfand decided to repeat moves.

Teimour Radjabov versus Levon Aronian was a relatively quiet Ruy Lopez. “I thought I had a decent position out of the opening and lots of time on my clock, so I thought I should pose some problems for Teimour,” said Aronian, who seemed to get an advantage after White’s pawn push 24.g5. Kramnik, who joined the commentary team when he was finished and even took the time to look at this game, said: “This g4-g5 looks like a nervous move. It seems people are a bit nervous here, especially the young guys!”

With a weakened king position Radjabov had to be careful, and he was for a long time. “I should say that till the very last moment he was defending very well. Only through luck I managed to break his resistance,” said Aronian. The Armenian could profit from a blunder by his opponent on move 53 and thus scored an important point.

After six rounds Carlsen and Aronian have 4.5 points (or “plus three” in chess slang), which is 1.5 point more than Svidler and Kramnik. Grischuk and Radjabov have 2.5 points and Ivanchuk and Gelfand 2. Friday is a rest day. Saturday, March 23rd at 14:00 GMT the seventh round will be played: Carlsen-Radjabov, Aronian-Grischuk, Gelfand-Kramnik and Ivanchuk-Svidler.

The FIDE Candidates' Tournament is taking place March 14th-April 1st, 2013 at IET London, Savoy Place. It is sponsored by the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) and organized by AGON and the World Chess Federation (FIDE). Games and information can be found at http://london2013.fide.com.
Report by Peter Doggers/
Pictures by Anastasiya Karlovich

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Candidates R5: Fireworks, but 4 Draws


The standings didn't change after Wednesday's fifth round of the FIDE World Chess Candidates’ Tournament in London as all games ended in draws. Facing his own favourite Grünfeld, Peter Svidler (Russia) got a winning position against Boris Gelfand (Israel) but after wild complications the game ended in a draw. Magnus Carlsen (Norway) also played the Grünfeld and for the first time he was under pressure, against Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukraine), but eventually he held a knight ending a pawn down. Vladimir Kramnik (Russia) got his chances in a Réti against Levon Aronian (Armenia), who held an opposite-coloured bishop ending two pawns down. The last game to finish was Alexander Grischuk (Russia) versus Teimour Radjabov (Azerbaijan). In a 5.Bf4 Queen's Gambit Declined White also got very close to a win but with a bishop sacrifice the Azerbaijani held his own.

The fifth round of the Candidates tournament had a comical start. In two games the Grünfeld Defence came on the board: Peter Svidler versus Boris Gelfand and Vassily Ivanchuk versus Magnus Carlsen. And quite remarkably, after the move 3…d5, which defines this opening, both Svidler and Ivanchuk started to think! It seemed that the Ukrainian was waiting for Svidler to move, while Svidler needed to think of a good way to play against his own favourite defence…

Well, in fact the grandmaster from St. Petersburg had found an interesting idea (7.f4) together with his seconds Nikita Vitiugov and Maxim Matlakov shortly before the game. “It looks incredibly ugly and that was one of the main reasons for playing it because I thought Boris might decide he has to play for an advantage now,” said Svidler. Gelfand didn't react well, on the contrary. Afterwards the Israeli said that he hadn’t played the opening so badly in his entire career. “This move 8…Bg4 is a disaster and 10…c6 may be even worse.”

However, after reaching an overwhelming position ("In a tournament like this I'm very unlikely to get such a position again"), Svidler wanted to force matters and “started sacrificing pawns left and right”, as Grischuk put it. Gelfand reacted very well and even got the upper hand, but after some more complications he decided to offer a draw just before the time control. He explained it as follows: “Draw offers are a psychological game. If White would decline then the pressure would be on his side and maybe he would take too much risk. People underestimate this; they are crazy about the number of moves and statistics but here it’s real psychology!”

Also in that other Grünfeld game it was White who got a clear advantage. Ivanchuk played strongly and created problems for his opponent, which meant that for the first time in this tournament, top seed Magnus Carlsen was under serious pressure. “It was a very difficult game. I tried to be creative in the opening. He responded well and I was worse, so I decided to sacrifice a pawn in order to get into an endgame which I thought I could hold,” said Carlsen.

For a moment the Norwegian even played for a win; at move 31 Ivanchuk, who was again short of time, offered a draw. Carlsen declined: “At some point I even got optimistic which was completely unfounded and I had to fight to save the game. I just underestimated his possibilities. It was an unprofessional and bad decision to play on.”

Also in the game between the world’s number two and three, Vladimir Kramnik and Levon Aronian, White got excellent winning chances. Aronian’s problems started after his risky pawn push 13…b5. “This was probably asking for too much.”

Kramnik then found the strong idea of pushing his f-pawn and sacrificing his a-pawn along the way. He managed to break open the centre, but then missed a strong continuation which was pointed out by computer engines. Nonetheless, after the time control the Russian reached a very promising ending. “I don’t know what the computer says but I have a feeling I missed a win,” said Kramnik, and Aronian agreed with him. During their press conference the two top grandmaster showed numerous amazing variations to the (online) spectators, and after about half an hour they still didn’t find a win for White, despite being two pawns up in an opposite-coloured bishop ending.

Most of this press conference was in fact watched by Alexander Grischuk and Teimour Radjabov in the press room as well. Their game finished shortly after that of Kramnik and Aronian. It was the same story here: Grischuk got close to a win, but failed to convert the full point. In the 5.Bf4 variation of the Queen’s Gambit Declined, the Muscovite was very much in control: “I think I got a completely winning position but I should not have let Black sacrifice on c5. I underestimated that."

With his 34th move Radjabov managed to change the nature of the position completely and at the same time he got his opponent rather confused. “I thought I was checkmating but 36…h5 was cold a shower," said Grischuk. Eventually a complicated ending was reached where Radjabov had three passed pawns against a knight for Grischuk, but there the Russian decided to force the draw by liquidating to an equal rook ending.

And so after five rounds the standings are the same with half a point more for each player. Aronian and Carlsen are tied for first place with 3.5 points while Svidler is the only player with 3. Kramnik and Radjabov have 2.5 points, Grischuk has 2 points and Gelfand and Ivanchuk are in last place, with 1.5 points. Thursday, March 21st at 14:00 GMT the sixth round will be played: Svidler-Carlsen, Kramnik-Ivanchuk, Grischuk-Gelfand and Radjabov-Aronian.
Statistics: From the start of the tournament till round 5 over 200,000 unique visitors from 185 countries came to the official site. 

Report by Peter Doggers/
Pictures by Anastasiya Karlovich

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Candidates R4: Aronian, Carlsen Lead


In Tuesday’s fourth round of the FIDE World Chess Candidates’ Tournament in London Magnus Carlsen of Norway caught Levon Aronian of Armenia in first place. Carlsen beat Alexander Grischuk of Russia in a Ruy Lopez Berlin, while Aronian was held to a draw by Peter Svidler of Russia in a Queen’s Gambit Accepted. The two oldest participants, Boris Gelfand of Israel and Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine, drew a very interesting game that started with the rare Chigorin Defence. Teimour Radjabov of Azerbaijan and Vladimir Kramnik of Russia drew a Nimzo-Indian that was always more or less balanced. 

After enjoying their first rest day, on Tuesday the eight top grandmasters returned to the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) at Savoy Place for the fourth round of the FIDE World Chess Candidates’ Tournament. It was also the first day that, in the commentary room, host IM Lawrence Trent was joined by former World Championship contender GM Nigel Short. Throughout the tournament, online spectators can follow the games while watching and listening to live commentary simultaneously. In the playing hall, the audience enjoys a similar experience thanks to Samsung tablets which are waiting for them on their seats at arrival.


The first game to finish was a relatively short draw: tournament leader Levon Aronian split the point with Peter Svidler after 31 moves. In this game, Svidler showed once again that he has come to London very well prepared. The grandmaster from St. Petersburg successfully employed a rare line of the Queen's Gambit Accepted in which Black actually hangs on to his c-pawn with an early ...a6 and ...b5. 


“During the game I was trying to remember what my intention was, but I failed," said Aronian. According to Svidler, his opponent didn't play the most dangerous plan: "This is actually not such a straightforward line but with some precision Black tends to equalise if White goes for the pawn grab. I suppose the critical lines are somewhere where White ignores the pawn for a while."

Svidler's 10...Rb8 instead of 10...Ra7 is a new idea (played only once before) that involves a long-term pawn sacrifice. It worked well, and Svidler equalised quite comfortably. "It's nice to have half a rest today. Somewhat nicer for me than it is for Levon I'm sure but for me it's fairly nice," said Svidler.

A bit more than 3.5 hours into the round, Magnus Carlsen won his second game of the tournament to catch Aronian in first place. In the popular Berlin variation of the Ruy Lopez, his opponent Alexander Grischuk started spending a lot of time early on. An important moment was 17…f5, a move disliked by Carlsen. “I missed a lot of things with this move. I completely overestimated my position. I still think Black is fine but [during the game] I thought Black was better,” said Grischuk. One of Black's problems was his bad bishop on f8 – the reason why his position looked better than it was.



To make matters worse, Grischuk’s disadvantage on the clock started to grow. After making his 21st move, Grischuk had only 4 minutes and 24 seconds left on the clock for his next 19 moves. It was just impossible to reach the time control without making mistakes, and Carlsen profited from these mistakes by not paying attention to his opponent’s time trouble too much. As he said after the game, he was “just trying to play well”. And he was never really worried: “Obviously there are threats but I felt that I always had enough resources to parry them. You can never be absolutely sure but I thought that I had enough play on the queenside to counter whatever threats he could muster.”

Only two players are older than forty in this tournament: Boris Gelfand and Vassily Ivanchuk. Both 44, these chess legends must have played over a hundred games against each other. Gelfand referred to this when he expressed the following nice words about his opponent: “Each game is very interesting and always a big lesson for me. Probably it’s one of the reasons for our chess longevity: when you play such a great player so many times, it gives you so much experience and knowledge – it helps a lot!”

As so often, Ivanchuk played a rare opening set-up. With Black he went for the Chigorin Defence (1.d4 d5 2.c4 Nc6) and it took Gelfand a few minutes to decide on which line to play. In a position that looked a bit better for White, on move 22 a very nice piece sacrifice was found (and played instantly!) by Ivanchuk. After some wild complications White ended up with an extra bishop on h2 that was completely out of play, and there Black could force a perpetual check.

The last game to finish, between Teimour Radjabov and Vladimir Kramnik, was a Nimzo-Indian game that always looked fairly equal. “I think I got a very nice position out of the opening and it’s also very easy to play. I had this very simple plan of trying to attack these hanging pawns but of course White is also very solid. It might be equal and maybe it’s a matter of style, but I would take Black in this position, it’s easier to play somehow,” said Kramnik. The Russian was happy with his manoeuvres, and thought he was pressing. “But Teimour seemed to defend very well.”

Radjabov agreed that he got “nothing out of the opening". “I probably mixed up some things in the opening, how I got this position without the two bishops. It’s kind of a dream position for Black.” But the Azerbaijani managed to avoid serious mistakes, and so Black’s advantage was never more than symbolical.

After four rounds Aronian and Carlsen are tied for first place with 3 points while Svidler is the only player with 2.5. Kramnik and Radjabov are on 50% with 2 points, Grischuk has 1.5 points and Gelfand and Ivanchuk are still in last place, with 1 point. Wednesday, March 20th at 14:00 GMT (India time 7.30 pm) the fourth round will be played: Ivanchuk-Carlsen, Svidler-Gelfand, Kramnik-Aronian and Grischuk-Radjabov.


The FIDE Candidates' Tournament is taking place March 14th-April 1st, 2013 at IET London, Savoy Place. It is sponsored by the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) and organized by AGON and the World Chess Federation (FIDE). Games and information can be found at http://london2013.fide.com.
Report by Peter Doggers

Photos by Anastasiya Karlovich

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

BBC Chess Video with Carlsen, Paulson

BBC presenter Ros Atkins takes on World No. 1 Magnus Carlsen in the studio and has a brief chat with London Fide Chess Candidates' organiser Andrew Paulson. The strongest tournament of its kind - the 2013 Candidates Tournament - is being held from March 14 to April 1, 2013, at the IET, Savoy Place, London. FIDE and AGON – the World Chess Federation’s commercial partner – are staging the event. The Prize Fund to be shared by the players totals €510,000. The winner of the Candidates will become the Challenger to Viswanathan Anand who has reigned as World Champion since 2007. The main sponsor of the Candidates Chess is State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic SOCAR. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Candidates R3: Aronian in Sole Lead


Levon Aronian is the sole leader at the FIDE World Chess Candidates 2013’ Tournament after three rounds of play. On Sunday the Armenian grandmaster beat Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine, who overstepped the time limit for the second day in a row. In what was a very exciting round, co-leader Teimour Radjabov of Azerbaijan lost to Russia’s Peter Svidler in a Sämisch King’s Indian. Magnus Carlsen of Norway beat Boris Gelfand of Israel with Black in 57 moves from the old Cambridge Springs variation of the Queen’s Gambit Declined. Russian grandmasters Vladimir Kramnik and Alexander Grischuk drew a Grünfeld game in 35 moves. 
Two and a half hours into the third round of the FIDE World Chess Candidates’ Tournament a remarkable situation occurred: in all four games, between the two contestants there was a time difference of about an hour on the clock. Thanks to their preparation Peter Svider, Vladimir Kramnik, Magnus Carlsen and Levon Aronian enjoyed a big time advantage against Teimour Radjabov, Alexander Grischuk, Boris Gelfand and Vassily Ivanchuk respectively.

In the case of Grischuk, however, this was nothing special. The 29-year-old Muscovite is the reigning World Blitz Champion and known for getting into time trouble quite often in his classical games. At the press conference his opponent noted that things could have been even worse. Kramnik: “At some point when Sacha was thinking, I was trying to compete with Peter Svidler, I mean, who would have more advantage on time!”

Their game started with the Fianchetto Variation of the Grünfeld. Because many moves were quite logical, Kramnik’s preparation went as deep as move 21, when he felt he had a slight advantage. At some point Grischuk had to give up a pawn, but his piece activity offered enough compensation. “Sacha played very correctly. I am not sure if I had any improvement on what I played,” said Kramnik afterwards.

Poor Vassily Ivanchuk lost on time for the second day in a row. The Ukrainian is known for his wide opening repertoire, and today he tried his luck with an opening that’s popular at club level: the Torre Attack (via a Trompovsky move-order). Levon Aronian responded well to his opponent’s aggression, and his wonderful 19th move gave him a big advantage. While his opponent’s clock was ticking away Aronian actually didn’t play that convincingly, but he won anyway.

“Today I just tried to play some creative game but probably for practical reasons it was a bad strategy. 31.c4 was a nice move but there I realised that even if he would start to give me material with every move I would still lose on time,” said Ivanchuk, who will in fact turn 44 tomorrow. Asked how he will spend his rest day, the Ukrainian replied: “I will try to completely not think about chess!”

Like Ivanchuk, Teimour Radjabov got in huge time trouble with only a few seconds left to make his last three moves before the first time control. The Azerbaijani did manage to reach move 40, but he failed to save the game. Just after the opening, his favourite King’s Indian, he needed to think a lot. Radjabov: “I was not so much surprised, but in general I forgot the lines I had seen there. I just mixed everything up.”

Svidler arrived in the press room both relieved and happy about how his opening went. He played the 5.f3 (Sämisch) variation and got exactly what he had prepared. “It’s very nice to get a position like this with also an hour and a big advantage on the clock. The game was mainly decided in the opening because I got such a huge advantage. The combination of the position I got and also the clock pressure that was on Teimour here, that together made his situation quite difficult.”

The chess fans were spoilt with yet another win at the end of the day. After two quick and uneventful draws, top seed Magnus Carlsen managed to beat Boris Gelfand with Black. In this game it was the Israeli who spent lots of time. “It’s a rare line, a very original position. The pawn structure isn't determined yet. I had to think about the best way to configure it,” said Gelfand.

With his last move before the time control (40.h5) he gave his opponent unnecessary practical chances, and when the queens were traded Carlsen’s two passed pawns on the queenside decided the game. “I’m very happy to win and now that Levon won his second game… it’s still early in the tournament but it’s good to keep pace,” said Carlsen.

After three rounds Aronian is the sole leader with 2.5 out of 3 while Carlsen and Svidler are in shared second place with 2 points. Kramnik, Grischuk and Radjabov have 1.5/3 while Gelfand and Ivanchuk are in last place with 0.5/3.

Monday, March 18th is the first rest day. Tuesday, March 19th at 14:00 GMT the fourth round will be played: Carlsen-Grischuk, Radjabov-Kramnik, Aronian-Svidler and Gelfand-Ivanchuk.

The FIDE Candidates' Tournament is taking place March 14th-April 1st, 2013 at IET London, Savoy Place. It is sponsored by the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) and organized by AGON and the World Chess Federation (FIDE). Games and information can be found at http://london2013.fide.com.

Report by Peter Doggers
Pictures by Anastasiya Karlovich

Monday, February 4, 2013

Tata Steel Chess: Anand Finishes Joint Third, Carlsen Claims Crown

Levon Aronian congratulates Magnus Carlsen (right) as World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand looks on. (Photo: Tata Steel Chess Press)

World champion Viswanathan Anand suffered a shocking last-round defeat against Wang Hao of China and had to be content with a joint third finish at the 75th Tata Steel Chess tournament in Wijk Aan Zee, The Netherlands. 

Having done decently so far, Anand ran out of steam in the last round and was outplayed by Wang Hao. Anand remained at sixth spot in the world rankings and stands to gain seven rating points from his efforts.

Magnus Carlsen of Norway completed the formalities of winning the crown after surviving a scare against Anish Giri of Holland. Carlsen was pushed to the wall but salvaged a half point to match Garry Kasparov's best ever 10 points out of a possible 13 in this tournament.

Levon Aronian of Armenia ended second on 8.5 points after a draw with out-of-sort Fabiano Caruana of Italy. Anand with eight points in all tied for the third spot with the other winner of the day -- Sergey Karjakin of Russia.

After a spate of draws in the last round, Peter Leko of Hungary finished fifth on 7.5 points, half a point more than Hikaru Nakamura of United States who played out a draw with P Harikrishna in his final round game.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

London Chess Classic 2012: Viswanathan Anand signs off with draw with Carlsen

World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand finished his campaign with a draw against Magnus Carlsen of Norway in the ninth and final round of London Chess Classic here on Tuesday. Anand ended the tournament on nine points and had to content with a fifth place finish among nine contenders as Carlsen emerged as the clear winner on 18 points under the soccer-like scoring system in place here.

Vladimir Kramnik of Russia finished second after an easy draw as black against Michael Adams, who ended joint third. Kramnik scored 16 points in all, while Adams ended on 13 points along side Hikaru Nakamura of the United States. Nakamura was involved in the lone decisive game of the day. The American accounted for Brit Luke McShane.

Must-Watch Carlsen Chess Video: I have a Lot to Learn!

On Saturday, December 8th Magnus Carlsen broke Garry Kasparov's chess rating record of 2851.By drawing with Hikaru Nakamura at the London Chess Classic, the Norwegian player will be certain of an Elo of at least 2856 on the January 1 FIDE rating list. Here is a must-watch video produced by ChessVibes in which Carlsen talks about the game and about breaking the record.

Magnus Carlsen Wins London Chess Classic 2012



World number 1 and highest rated chess player in history Magnus Carlsen, winner of the London Classic winner 2012: Detailed report to follow.

2012 London Chess Classic Round 6: Anand Blunders against Adams


World Champion Viswanathan Anand fell prey to an inexplicable blunder in a perfectly balanced position and went down to Michael Adams of England in the sixth round of London Chess Classic at the Olympia in London.  After a fine victory in the previous round against Gawain Jones of England, the Indian ace survived some anxious moments in the middle game before equalising completely and just when the experts had given up declaring the game a 'sure-draw', Anand lost track, and lost in no time.

Magnus Carlsen of Norway stretched his lead to three points by defeating highest ranked woman Judit Polgar of Hungary. Under the soccer-like scoring system, Carlsen took his tally to a whopping 16 points out of a possible eighteen, and the world number one is sitting pretty with just two games to come for him.

Friday, December 7, 2012

2012 London Chess Classic Round 5: Anand Beats Jones; Carlsen Leads


World champion Viswanathan Anand ended the winless draught by defeating Grandmaster Gawain Jones of England in the fifth round of London Chess Classic. Under pressure to score a victory, Anand outclassed Jones and finally recorded a win after 17 Classical Chess games. Magnus Carlsen of Norway continued with his top form to beat Michael Adams of England. Vladimir Kramnik accounted for Luke Mcshane to complete the English rout in the fifth round while American Hikaru Nakamura coasted to a win against the world’s best woman player Judit Polgar of Hungary.

The victory took Carlsen to an astonishing thirteen points from four games in the soccer-like scoring system in place here. Kramnik remains on the toes of the leader with eleven points in his kitty and the rest of the field is now far behind.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

2012 London Chess Classic Round 4: Anand Holds Kramnik to Draw; Carlsen Leads


World Champion Viswanathan Anand's hunt for an elusive victory continued as he was held by the former challenger Vladimir Kramnik of Russia for a draw in the fourth round of London Chess Classic on Tuesday. Wednesday was a rest day. The fifth round resumes on Thursday with the following pairings:

Vladimir Kramnik - Luke McShane
Gawain Jones - Vishy Anand
Mickey Adams - Magnus Carlsen
Judit Polgar - 
Hikaru Nakamura


Earlier, on Tuesday, another draw statistically meant that Anand hasn't won for 17 classical games in a row, including four matches in the last World Championship, the Final Masters tournament where he finished winless and three games in the Classic here.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Carlsen beats McShane, cracks all time high rating


World number one Magnus Carlsen of Norway cracked all-time high ratings, defeating Luke McShane of England in the first round of the London Chess Classic at the Olympia here.

The rating for Carlsen stood at 2851.2 points in the unofficial live rating portals which means that the Norwegian has cracked the all-time high rating record of 2851 held by former world champion and his former trainer Gary Kasparov of Russia.

On what turned out to be a perfect opener, all the four games in the nine-players round robin tournament ended decisively and the biggest upset was recorded by Hikaru Nakamura of United States who defeated World number two Levon Aronian with black pieces.

With Nakamura calling the shots, Vladimir Kramnik turned out to be another winner of the day at the expense of world's top woman player Judit Polgar of Hungary. 
The all-decisive-games record was kept intact by a late-benefitting Michael Adams of England against compatriot Gawain Jones. World champion Vishwanathan Anand had a rest day in the opener as he drew number one in the official drawing of lots.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Play Carlsen as World Chess Team this Weekend!

Two special chess events will take place this weekend as part of the Gran Fiesta UNAM 2012. The first event will be the Torneo Cuadrangular where Carlsen will meet Lazaro Bruzon, Judit Polgar, and Manuel Leon Hoyos. The tournament is a knockout event composed of mini-matches. On Friday at 17:30 local time (00:30 CET, 18:30 EST) the World number 1 will meet Lazaro Bruzon in the first semi final. Polgar and Leon Hoyos play at the same time on Saturday. The 3rd-4th place mini-final is Sunday at 11:00 local time, while the Grand Final of Torneo Cuadrangular starts at 17:00 the same day. The second event of Carlsen takes place the day of the mini-match Polgar – Leon Hoyos. At 12:00 local time Carlsen will play against The World in simultaneous games. The tournament will be a variant of vote chess. Three GMs will be suggesting what they consider to be the best moves in the game, while the audience will choose between them in a given time frame. Magnus will play on two boards, one of them against 2000 players in the Sala Magna Nezahualcoyotl, while on the other against thousands of internet spectators. To complete his visit in Mexico, Carlsen will give an open press conference at 12:00 the day after the Carlsen vs The World games. Official website of the competition

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Norway Chess 2013: Magnus Carlsen Special Promo Video

Are you planning to play at the Norway Chess 2013 Festival? Think about it! Here's World No. 1 Magnus Carlsen in a great promo video.



Music video with Magnus Carlsen playing chess on The Pulpit Rock in the Norwegian Lyse fjord in the Stavanger region.
Produced for Norway Chess by Genesis Film.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Magnus Carlsen Wins Sao Paulo-Bilbao Chess Masters; Vallejo-Pons Announces Retirement

The world No. 1 Magnus Carlsen has won tonight in Sao-Paulo Bilbao Chess Masters Final on Saturday night. The first section was played in the last week of September in the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo. The Norwegian Grandmaster's victory comes after a thrilling tiebreak played against Italian Grandmaster Fabiano Caruana. 

The direct duel between the top two players after 10 rounds was scheduled after both Carlsen and Caruana drew their games with Levon Aronian and Francisco Vallejo respectively. Carlsen went into the tiebreaks as a clear favourite. Carlsen confirmed his superiority in the Alhondiga Bilbao by winning both the games of the tiebreak.


Final standings:
• Magnus Carlsen: 17 points (champion)
• Fabiano Caruana: 17 points.
• Levon Aronian: 11 points.
• Sergei Karjakin: 10 points
• Viswanathan Anand: 9 points.
• Francisco Vallejo: 6 points.



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