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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



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