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Candidates Tournament Round 8

  • SonofPearl
  • on 3/24/13, 11:55 AM.

Annotations by GM Sam Shankland
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The most anticipated game of round eight of the Candidates Tournament was the clash between co-leaders Magnus Carlsen and Lev Aronian. A win for either player would be a massive step towards overall victory in the competition.

With so much at stake, there was always a danger that a 'safety first' mindset would prevail, and so it came to pass. Carlsen opted for a solid Catalan set-up and Aronian solved his opening problems with little difficulty.  The Armenian offered a draw just after move 30, but Carlsen opted to play on in a sterile position for another 10 moves or so.

Aronian described 12...Ra7 as "a precise move", allowing his queen access to the a8 square from where it proved very effective on the long diagonal. Carlsen admitted that he wasn't previously aware of the move 15...c6 after which he felt he had no advantage. Asked why he had initially refused Aronian's draw offer, Carlsen simply replied "there was no harm in playing a few more moves".

Orange juice is Carlsen's beverage of choice

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Lev Aronian achieved an easy draw with the black pieces

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Carlsen and Aronian stay as co-leaders after 8 rounds

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Boris Gelfand and Teimour Radjabov both had opportunities to win yesterday, but both had to settle for a draw. Today, Radjabov got into real trouble with the white pieces and behind on the clock as he struggled to find a way back into the game.  His knight on b3 had no future, and his light squared bishop was also a poor piece. Eventually, Radjabov stumbled with 28.a4? and after 28...Qd7 there was no way back.  A terrific game by Gelfand to score his first win of the event!

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Teimour Radjabov had a bad day at the office

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Boris Gelfand scored his first win

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Vassily Ivanchuk continued his self-destruction caused by terrible mishandling of the clock. The rot set in after Alexander Grischuk's interesting idea 10.Nd5 which caused Ivanchuk's first long think. Both players got into time-trouble, as is their habit, but Ivanchuk narrowly failed to make the time control at move 40 and threw away yet another game cheaply.

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Time trouble addict Alexander Grischuk beat...

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...Vassily Ivanchuk, an even worse time trouble addict

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Vladimir Kramnik finally got off the mark, scoring his first win of the tournament against Peter Svidler. Kramnik was well prepared for Svidler's Gruenfeld defence, with the novel idea of 14.Kc2 allowing his king to find a surprisingly safe home on b3. Svidler could find no way to hold back the tide of pawns charging up the board towards him, and resigned before making his final move of the first time control. At last, a vital win from Kramnik to keep in touch with the leaders!

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Vladimir Kramnik: still in the hunt!

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Peter Svidler: a bad day for the Gruenfeld expert

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Tomorrow (Monday) Kramnik will have the white pieces in a vital game against Magnus Carlsen. It's not quite a must-win game for the Russian, but time is running out. A positive result for Kramnik would certainly blow the tournament wide open.

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The standings after eight rounds

Name Fed Elo Pts
Magnus Carlsen NOR 2872
Levon Aronian ARM 2809
Vladimir Kramnik RUS 2810
Alexander Grischuk RUS 2764 4
Peter Svidler RUS 2747
Boris Gelfand ISR 2740
Teimour Radjabov AZE 2793 3
Vassily Ivanchuk UKR 2757

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The 2013 Candidates Tournament runs from 14 March - 2 April in London, with the winner earning the right to challenge current world champion Vishy Anand for the title.

The tournament is an 8-player double round-robin event and the venue is The IET at 2 Savoy Place on the banks of the river Thames. The total prize fund is €510,000 (approx 665,000 USD). 

All rounds start at 14:00 GMT, and the time control is 2 hours for 40 moves, then an extra hour added for the next 20 moves, then 15 minutes more with a 30 second increment to finish.

The official FIDE website coverage is at london2013.fide.com.

Round-by-Round Pairings

Round 1  15/03/13   
Levon Aronian ½ - ½ Magnus Carlsen
Boris Gelfand ½ - ½ Teimour Radjabov 
Vassily Ivanchuk  ½ - ½ Alexander Grischuk 
Peter Svidler  ½ - ½ Vladimir Kramnik
Round 2  16/03/13   
Magnus Carlsen ½ - ½ Vladimir Kramnik
Alexander Grischuk  ½ - ½ Peter Svidler 
Teimour Radjabov  1 - 0 Vassily Ivanchuk 
Levon Aronian 1 - 0 Boris Gelfand
Round 3  17/03/13   
Boris Gelfand 0 - 1 Magnus Carlsen
Vassily Ivanchuk  0 - 1 Levon Aronian
Peter Svidler  1 - 0 Teimour Radjabov 
Vladimir Kramnik ½ - ½ Alexander Grischuk 
Round 4  19/03/13   
Magnus Carlsen 1 - 0 Alexander Grischuk 
Teimour Radjabov  ½ - ½ Vladimir Kramnik
Levon Aronian ½ - ½ Peter Svidler 
Boris Gelfand ½ - ½ Vassily Ivanchuk 
Round 5  20/03/13   
Vassily Ivanchuk  ½ - ½ Magnus Carlsen
Peter Svidler  ½ - ½ Boris Gelfand
Vladimir Kramnik ½ - ½ Levon Aronian
Alexander Grischuk  ½ - ½ Teimour Radjabov 
Round 6  21/03/13   
Peter Svidler  0 - 1 Magnus Carlsen
Vladimir Kramnik ½ - ½ Vassily Ivanchuk 
Alexander Grischuk  ½ - ½ Boris Gelfand
Teimour Radjabov  0 - 1 Levon Aronian
Round 7  23/03/13   
Magnus Carlsen ½ - ½ Teimour Radjabov 
Levon Aronian ½ - ½ Alexander Grischuk 
Boris Gelfand ½ - ½ Vladimir Kramnik
Vassily Ivanchuk  ½ - ½ Peter Svidler 
Round 8  24/03/13  
Magnus Carlsen ½ - ½ Levon Aronian
Teimour Radjabov  0 - 1 Boris Gelfand
Alexander Grischuk  1 - 0 Vassily Ivanchuk 
Vladimir Kramnik 1 - 0 Peter Svidler 
Round 9  25/03/13  
Vladimir Kramnik Magnus Carlsen
Peter Svidler  Alexander Grischuk 
Vassily Ivanchuk  Teimour Radjabov 
Boris Gelfand Levon Aronian
Round 10  27/03/13  
Magnus Carlsen Boris Gelfand
Levon Aronian Vassily Ivanchuk 
Teimour Radjabov  Peter Svidler 
Alexander Grischuk  Vladimir Kramnik
Round 11  28/03/13  
Alexander Grischuk  Magnus Carlsen
Vladimir Kramnik Teimour Radjabov 
Peter Svidler  Levon Aronian
Vassily Ivanchuk  Boris Gelfand
Round 12  29/03/13  
Magnus Carlsen Vassily Ivanchuk 
Boris Gelfand Peter Svidler 
Levon Aronian Vladimir Kramnik
Teimour Radjabov  Alexander Grischuk 
Round 13  31/03/13  
Teimour Radjabov  Magnus Carlsen
Alexander Grischuk  Levon Aronian
Vladimir Kramnik Boris Gelfand
Peter Svidler  Vassily Ivanchuk 
Round 14  01/04/13
Magnus Carlsen Peter Svidler 
Vassily Ivanchuk  Vladimir Kramnik
Boris Gelfand Alexander Grischuk 
Levon Aronian Teimour Radjabov 

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Look out for details of Chess.com TV coverage of the event at this page.

Pictures by Ray Morris-Hill.

13781 reads 85 comments
9 votes

Comments


  • 19 months ago

    ryesudian

    Kramnik and Carlsen will be a killer game tomorrow, I wonder who will win with Aronian still rock solid

  • 19 months ago

    melvinbluestone

    13 hours ago

    'Could there be a super grandmaster thoughtful enough of us lesser players that thinks, "you know what? I'm gonna play out these drawn games just a little bit longer, so that fans of the game can see just a few more quality moves." '

      As John McEnroe liked to gripe "You cannot be serious!"  Sure, a grandmaster's purpose is to give an OTB demonstration on how a draw should be executed, for the benefit of 'lesser players'....... And during the Candidates Tournament, no less.    Get real!

  • 19 months ago

    viche83

    "man's peak brain efficiency is during the age of 18-25 years"


    First of all I would like to know from where you got that information.


    I assume it is derived from the peak body efficiency (which is different from human to human by the way) and then someone made the conclusion the brain as a muscle should work like the body muscles in that case. That is to some part probably true. But...


    Second of all, the peak brain efficiency is a totally different thing from knowledge, intelligence gathered by learning, migrating different aspects to gain a better understanding and so on. Basically your peak brain efficiency has only very little to do with getting better at a certain knowledge based subject.

  • 19 months ago

    LeeCooper78

    @LaskerFan

    With all due respect to psychology books, if man's brain peaks at 18-25 years, I guess a bunch of brilliant men would have to laugh at those books.

    B. Franklin, N. Tesla, A. Einstein, A. Nobel, to mention some. And the best of our own's G. Kasparov, A. Karpov, E. Lasker, V. Smyslov, T. Petrosian... and so on and so on...

    Also putting Aronian, Kramnik and Ivanchuk in the same age...those are three comepletely different generations.

  • 19 months ago

    PhoenixTTD

    I guess it is hard for some of us lower rated players to relate to so many draws.  I looked at my stats and I have 3% draws.  I ususally don't agree to one or repeat moves.  It sometimes happens, but most draws are real like insufficient material or stalemate. 

    Maybe they should stop giving points for a draw.  The only benefit is your opponent does not get a point either.  If your tournament ranking and your elo rating needed a win to improve I have a hard time believing there would be so many draws.

  • 19 months ago

    LaskerFan

    @IM Silman, I stand corrected regarding Aronian (he looks more "mature" in his photos). But for the others with all due respect psychology books say that man's peak brain efficiency is during the age of 18-25 years. After that it starts to fall at different rates for different people.

    @Nimzoroy, @Marcokim, we know Gelfand did not go for a win in the previous round against Kramnik due to time constraint - he felt he did not have enough time to calculate the variations within the time constraint. So we all missed a brilliant finish.

  • 19 months ago

    IM Silman

    @ LaskerFan, who said Aronian, Kramnik, and Ivanchuk are past their primes and mental peaks.

    I feel you should know that Lev Aronian is only 30 and is firmly in his prime. The man is a beast over the board and a very nice gentleman away from it.

  • 19 months ago

    MindWalk

    Remember Capablanca's prediction of the "draw-death" of chess? He even invented a new version of chess with a couple of extra pieces to try to bring something new into chess. And yet...plenty of new ideas have been found.

    Do you think that a record of one win and one loss is better than a record of two draws? That's what the three-point win system says. I can't for the life of me see it myself.

    Why do some people dislike draws' being part of chess?

  • 19 months ago

    Zinsch

    Why do people complain about too many draws in a tournament, where almost 50% of the games are decisive (with the drawn games mostly being highly entertaining) and after a round with only 1 game being drawn?

  • 19 months ago

    Marcokim

    @LaskerFan... I am not sure allowing more time will allow for brilliancies... Kasparov and Karpov drew most of their games during the world championship. A draw just means that neither player could get an advantage because they both played accurately... and one day when GMs start aproaching 2900+, most games will end that way... Fischer predicted this a while ago.

  • 19 months ago

    NimzoRoy

    Too many draws are a big problem - but not a new one. In the 1921 WCH Capablanca scored +4 -0 =10 vs Lasker to win the title. In the NY 1927 International Tnmt he went +8 -0 =12 to win first place, and in the 1927 WCH he lost by a score of +3 -6 =25. Fast forward another half century: In the 1984 WCH Karpov went +5 -3 =40 before FIDE obligingly "cancelled" the match on his behalf.

    So, what does everyone intend to do about the fact that many GMs nowadays are so evenly matched that it's only natural the majority of games will end up drawn?

    Scoring 3 pts per win and 1 pt per draw appears to be one step in the right direction.

    Slowing down the TL and doing nothing else is a step in the wrong direction (IMHO, I have no proof here) because it won't really affect the overall percentage of draws but it will decrease public interest in the game (again, IMHO). BTW I'm all for a 40/150 min TL just like in "the good old days" but I can't afford to put my money  where my mouth is and finance any tnmts at that TL.  Come to think of it, I don't have that sort of money to begin withFrown

  • 19 months ago

    LaskerFan

    You cannot impose tight time-control and at the same time complain about early draws. It is almost a form of discrimination against elder players (Aronian, Kramnik, Ivanchuk are past their prime or mental peaks - otherwise all of them have the talent to win this tournament).

    Modern chess is much more complicated than that of bygone days (opening theory, endgame knowledge, strategy and tactics have much evolved). The time control should be laxed in order to allow brilliancies. Many games produce unsatisfactory or opposite results just because of the time control.

  • 19 months ago

    APawnCanDream

    @mysticete 

    How is that the opposite of what I posted? seems pretty much what I said only in more formal language...

  • 19 months ago

    ClavierCavalier

    I agree with foxychessgirl.  It'd be nice for grandmasters to finish games for us lesser beings.

  • 19 months ago

    Champeknight

    Draws are fine, except when prearranged. On the financial side, it may be justified but on the moral side, it's tantamount to cheating.

  • 19 months ago

    friendjonny

    Mindwalk's totally got it! 

  • 19 months ago

    PhoenixTTD

    Mindwalk, I think the difference is the implied collusion with your opponent.  It appears as though there is an understanding sometimes between opponents in chess that neither are going to get too crazy because they have the same goal.  Using the rules to defeat your opponents is a different story.  Your examples better support playing to make your opponent lose on time rather than for mutual benefit.   The problem is that the draw is too common and it really is not worth half a win because you can have been outplayed and be noticably behind and still draw.  Those who have an edge still fear playing for a win and are willing to give up that edge for half a point.  The 3 point win is a step in the right direction.  Forcing playoffs for a win is better in my opinion.  First it is more exciting for the spectators and chess is in dire need of anything like that.  Second the draw is too big a part of chess already.  People practice for years just to do that.  You are not going to break that habit by rescoring it.  Maybe the tournament should start with a round robin with draws, then break half the field into elimination with no draws. 

  • 19 months ago

    MindWalk

    Of course, that sort of consideration doesn't apply to most draws. Most draws are simply the just outcomes of the two opponents' play over the course of the game.

  • 19 months ago

    NimzoRoy

    I'm with MindWalk on this one

  • 19 months ago

    MindWalk

    Do the same people who complain about quick agreed draws to guarantee prize money also complain about other strategic abuses of rules, like basketball teams' deliberately fouling to stop the clock (or, even worse, to take three-point shots and then foul so that their opponents only get the opportunity to shoot two free throws) or football teams' deliberately throwing incomplete passes in order to stop the clock? And would these same people, faced with the opportunity to take guaranteed money or instead risk it and possibly get much less, really go for broke? Do these same people condemn Who Wants to Be a Millionaire contestants who settle for what they have and go home instead of risking their loss of the prize money on a question they might get wrong?

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