Candidates’ R12: Missed Chances For Anand, Topalov Beats Svidler
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In a tense 12th round at the 2014 FIDE Candidates’ Tournament in Khanty-Mansiysk Vishy Anand drew his game with Dmitry Andreikin, but could have won. In the only decisive game of the round, Veselin Topalov defeated Peter Svidler and so Anand is still a point ahead of Levon Aronian. Sergey Karjakin and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov have half a point less.
Photos © Vadim Lavrenko, Kirill Merkuryev & Anastasiya Karlovich courtesy of the official website
The 2014 Candidates’ Tournament seemed in danger of ending very quietly, but in today's 12th round all the tension and the excitement returned! At the end of the day Topalov had easily defeated a below-par Svidler, Kramnik took a repetition in a position where he had chances against Aronian, Karjakin heroically defended with just 13 seconds for 6 moves and tournament leader Anand drew with Andreikin, missing several wins.
Obviously it was that last game that attracted most attention. Andreikin's cunning plan of following one of Carlsen's games in a Caro-Kann didn't really work out: after Anand deviated from that game and centralized his pieces, Andreikin didn't get enough counterplay. “This position was unpleasant. Maybe I mixed up something in the opening because Black should push c5 earlier,” said the Russian grandmaster.
White could push his d-pawn all the way to d6 (“a Delroy on steroids” - Jonathan Rowson) and there Anand saw his advantage growing. “The position is very complicated but suddenly I started to feel that I'm just much beter here.”
@anishgiri) March 27, 2014
@Pogonina) March 27, 2014
Things really started to go his way when Anand found the strongest move 26.Nh5 where there were several attractive options. Right there his position was clearly winning, as the chess fans armed with an engine quickly spotted. 27.d7 Qc7 28.f5 and 28.Ng4 Re6 29.f5 were winning lines mentioned by commentators Peter Heine Nielsen and Viktorija Cmilyte as well.
Tiger is Hungry!! #Candidates2014— Harikrishna ( @HariChess) March 27, 2014
@reachvsara) March 27, 2014
Instead Anand chose a different way. It wasn't bad, but more difficult. Meanwhile, Andreikin was putting up good resistance, finding annoying moves such as 32...b5! and 38...Na4+! Anand only saw the latter one after playing his 37th move, and suddenly things were very complicated. Luckily for the Indian he could reach the time control without problems, and for his 41st move he had the pleasant choice of taking the draw or continue playing.
Vishy´s 41st move seems very important to me, a matter of confidence, if he plays there for a win, he is ready to meet Carlsen.— Paco Vallejo Pons ( @Chessidharta) March 27, 2014
For a while Anand left the board to watch the Mamedyarov-Karjakin time scramble ("They were shaking so I wanted to check out why they were shaking!"), and then he returned to the board, and took the draw.
“I decided not to tempt fate. I was already very tired; the game had already taken quite some energy,” Anand said. “I didn't see anything terribly clear.”
Andreikin: “The game can be divived into two stages; in the second I played terribly and then I was saved by a miracle.”
The game between Aronian and Kramnik would normally have been a critical one at this stage, but this time around it didn't feel that way with Kramnik already out of contention and Aronian being behind a full point - but effectively more, because of the first tiebreak rule.
The two chess giants played the Exchange variation of the Queen's Gambit Declined, and Aronian started becoming active on both flanks. Around move twenty the position became more dynamic, which was good news for Aronian, who really needed a win.
Then, on move 27, he pushed e3-e4 which he would later describe as “a strategically very risky decision.” Kramnik could have gotten the upper hand, but the Russian GM had enough, and repeated the moves.
Topalov beat Svidler, and he did so quite easly. In a Taimanov Sicilian White got a nice positional plus, which grew into a serious advantage when Svidler “started missing stuff”. He concluded: “The result is perfectly deserved.”
Mamedyarov and Karjakin played a razor-sharp line from the Nimzo-Indian, and it soon became clear that it was the latter who was better prepared. Around move twenty he felt he was doing well, but there he made a mistake. Karjakin: “Black's position is better but one should find precise moves.”
The tournament situation also played a role: “In this position I thought Anand would win his game so I wanted to play for a win. Perhaps I overpressed.”
Karjakin needed to invest a lot of time on the clock, while Mamedyarov took over the initiative. But then the Azerbaijani made a typical mistake: he played too quickly in his opponent's time trouble. “I didn't expect him to solve all the problems,” he said.
But Karjakin, who is the reigning World Rapid Champion, managed. With 13 seconds left for six moves, he simply played six good moves and then he was even a pawn up in a double rook ending. That wasn't difficult to draw for Mamedyarov, though.
At the press conference, perhaps realizing he was becoming the closest threat to Anand, Karjakin was irritated about what happened.“First I'd like to mention that this is a stupid time control. Why do I pay my money to the Association of Chess Professionals if they don't protect the players? Besides, I agree with Vladimir Kramnik who spoke about the tiebreak here. The mistakes of London are just repeated and I don't understand why.” Even though all the players have signed their contracts, and knew the rules in advance, it does seem to be a legitimate question.
Anand is still very likely to win the event and qualify for the World Championship, but the situation could have been even more comfortable for him. If he had converted his game today, he would have needed only a draw out of his last two games. Now, for instance if he loses to Karjakin on Saturday and draws his last game, Karjakin can overtake him by winning his last game because the tiebreak would be in his favor.
First we'll have another rest day, and then let's see what Saturday will bring, with the games Karjakin-Anand, Kramnik-Topalov, Svidler-Mamedyarov and Andreikin-Aronian.
By the way don't miss Chess in Tweets!
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 12 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 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