Anand Draws, Secures Rematch With Carlsen for World Championship
GM Viswanathan Anand held a worse ending against GM Sergey Karjakin in round 13 of the FIDE Candidates' Tournament, clinching first place with a round to spare. He is the only player with a plus score. Second-place GM Levon Aronian lost against the Trompowsky to bottom-seed GM Dmitry Andreikin, meaning no one is within a margin to overtake Anand. In the other games, GMs Peter Svidler and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov drew. In a battle of two former World Champions, GM Vladimir Kramnik won by taking advantage of Veselin Topalov's endgame error.
Photos © Vadim Lavrenko, Kirill Merkuryev & Anastasiya Karlovich courtesy of the official website
Full report by Peter Doggers:
For reasons both annoying & funny (I actually got locked out of my house for a couple of hours in the middle of the night!) this full report appeared much later than I (and surely you) would have liked. Apologies for that!
On Saturday the chess world saw one of the most remarkable comebacks in chess ever: 19 years after he qualified for his first world title match, at the age of 25 against Garry Kasparov, Vishy Anand, now 44, qualified for his sixth match, which will be his second with Magnus Carlsen. To win that one would complete it, but taking into account Anand's bad form in the past few years, it's fair to speak of a comeback!
Anand clinched the tournament being armed with something he had lacked in recent years: confidence. Starting with a win against the player he had the most problems with, Levon Aronian, was a great start and then he played a very good game against Shakhriyar Mamemedyarov, which must have given him the positive emotions he needed to return to the form he showed in e.g. Mexico 2007.
Right after finishing his game with Karjakin, the relief and happiness could easily be read from Anand's face.
And it's a well-deserved victory. The standings table shows a remarkable situation after thirteen rounds: five players are on 50%, and two have a minus score. Only Anand is doing well, with a plus three score. He is the only player who hasn't lost - in fact all other players have lost at least two games. It's been a very hard-fought tournament, and only one player was stable and strong.
Magnus Carlsen, who joined Peter Heine Nielsen for the live commentary on the tournament website, said about Anand: “I think he's played very well. He hasn't made many mistakes. He's been rock solid in the openings and played consistently.”
Anand himself said: “Today... it was funny. For the whole tournament I was only watching Levon, because he was the closest, but then a few days ago I realised that both Sergey and Peter have this possibility: to beat me, win another game, and tiebreak. Then I realised that even with a one-point lead the last two rounds were going to be very, very difficult. This is what happened today.”
“I was very happy and very pleasantly surprised with how I played and with my results. Before the tournament I didn't know what to expect but it went ridiculously well.
The game with Karjakin was quite a tense one in fact. With a irregular setpup Karjakin managed to get some advantage and then an extra pawn. Anand decided to liquidate to an ending with BNN vs RN with four pawns each on the kingside, which he eventually managed to hold.
“Today was a bit close. It was the one day that I was a bit shaky.”
At the press conference one of the journalists asked Anand about his decision to play the tournament. (After the Chennai match he had expressed his doubts, but later he signed up anyway.) Anand revealed that Kramnik had played an important role in his decision:
“I wanted to feel good about playing; I didn't want to just turn up automatically. I hesitated; I wanted some time. So how did it go... Well Kramnik, in London, he had one of the most ridiculous games of all time against Hikaru [Nakamura], which he lost, and the, though he had beaten me the previous day, I thought OK, after this game I have to cheer him up a bit. So I called him and said: do you want to go for dinner? We agreed to go for dinner and so... anyway the plan was for me to cheer him up, but in the end he started to cheer me up. He started to [ask] well why don't you play, and so on. He wasn't the only reason I played but he was persuasive!”
To the question “Are you tired of playing World Championship matches?” Anand had a clear answer: “No!”
A few reactions on Twitter:
Today Anand showed what his plan with Carlsen was supposed to look like, had it worked. :) #Candidates2014— Anish Giri ( @anishgiri) March 29, 2014
Amazing! Reminds of Botvinnik's comebacks, but Mikhail had rematches up his sleeve, while Vishy had to fight for his right #Candidates2014— Natalia Pogonina ( @Pogonina) March 29, 2014
Congratulations to old rival & friend Vishy Anand on winning the Candidates! I didn't believe it possible but you can't argue with results!— Garry Kasparov ( @Kasparov63) March 29, 2014
As a retiree, nice to see the oldest player playing well and finishing first! Carlsen will be a much higher mountain to climb, of course.— Garry Kasparov ( @Kasparov63) March 29, 2014
The draw between Peter Svidler and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov was actually the first game to finish in the penultimate round. In a 6.Ne3 Ng4 Najdorf, it seemed that Svidler was bit better prepared (“I forgot my analysis.” - Mamedyarov), but as soon as the game reached an ending he wasn't exactly sure how to continue. The players reached a rook ending where White was slightly better, but Mamedyarov played accurately enough to hold it.
On paper Levon Aronian was the slight favorite to win, but he couldn't live up to the expectations, losing his third game in round 13 to Dmitry Andreikin. His reaction to Andreikin's opening surprise (the Trompovsky!) wasn't too impressive for commentator Carlsen: “There are many ways of equalising against the Trompowsky, but this isn’t one of them.”
But it wasn't that bad - at the early stages of the ending Aronian could still have equalized, and even in the rook ending he could have been more tenacious. Only after a mistake on move 33 it was clear that Black was going to lose.
Aronian didn't really have a good explanation for his disappointing result: “I don’t really feel tired. It’s hard to say. This time I feel much better than in London, but for some reason the level of my play is more or less equal, the same.”
Andreikin was obviously happy: “No, I'm ready to play. Of course I want to go home very much to see the baby, but if there would be a tournament like this in one month, I would play with pleasure.”
The round also saw the second controversial encounter between Vladimir Kramnik and Veselin Topalov. Between all the tweets about the Karjakin-Anand game, there was one about this game:
@SilvioDanailov) March 29, 2014
The game was quite an interesting fight, but not without mistakes. In the end Kramnik managed to take revenge for his loss against this opponent in the first half of the tournament.
During his commentary, Carlsen gave some comments about Kramnik. Whereas the World Champion was somewhat critical about recent comments, he was very positive about the young Kramnik: “I've been reading up on Kramnik's My Life and Games. I have to say I'm impressed. He's still a great player, but the player he was when he was young was really, really impressive.”
About Kramnik's comment that players are not blundering against him like they do against Carlsen, the Norwegian commented: “Maybe he doesn't make enough of an effort to find ideas even in very simplified positions. If you don't make that effort then people are not going to crack under the pressure to make mistakes.”
FIDE Candidates’ 2014 | Pairings & Results
|Round 1||13.03.14||15:00 MSK||Round 8||22.03.14||15:00 MSK|
|Round 2||14.03.14||15:00 MSK||Round 9||23.03.14||15:00 MSK|
|Round 3||15.03.14||15:00 MSK||Round 10||25.03.14||15:00 MSK|
|Round 4||17.03.14||15:00 MSK||Round 11||26.03.14||15:00 MSK|
|Round 5||18.03.14||15:00 MSK||Round 12||27.03.14||15:00 MSK|
|Round 6||19.03.14||15:00 MSK||Round 13||29.03.14||15:00 MSK|
|Round 7||21.03.14||15:00 MSK||Round 14||30.03.14||15:00 MSK|
FIDE Candidates’ 2014 | Round 13 Standings
The 2014 FIDE Candidates’ Tournament is an 8-player double round robin with 4 rest days. The dates are March 13th-31st, 2014. Each day the rounds start at 15:00 local time which is 10:00 CET, 04:00 EST and 01:00 PST. The winner (Anand) will have the right to challenge World Champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway in a world title match which is scheduled to take place in November 2014. | Games thanks to TWIC