Candidates’ R6: Topalov beats Kramnik, Svidler Self-Destructs vs Mamedyarov

  • PeterDoggers
  • on 3/19/14, 8:11 AM.

Viswanathan Anand can enjoy another rest day as the tournament leader in Khanty-Mansiysk. In the sixth round of the 2014 FIDE Candidates’ Tournament he drew with Sergey Karjakin in a Berlin Ending, and saw his main rival Levon Aronian fail to convert a winning ending against Dmitry Andreikin. Veselin Topalov defeated Vladimir Kramnik in their first classical game since January 2008. Peter Svidler continued his roller coaster tournament by giving away a better position in just three moves against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov.

Photos © Vadim Lavrenko & Anastasiya Karlovich courtesy of the official website

Whether it was planned or not, fact is that Veselin Topalov and Vladimir Kramnik hadn't played a serious game ever since their famous encounter in 2008 in Wijk aan Zee, where the Bulgarian uncorked the shocking 12.Nxf7!? in the Anti-Moscow variation. Since then, they only met at the board in three Amber tournaments and at the 2009 Zurich jubilee event (also rapid).

In all these games there was no handshake, and unfortunately today it became clear that things haven't changed between the two super grandmasters. At the start of the game Kramnik and Topalov avoided eye contact, and there were two separate press conferences. 

Like in 2008, it was Topalov who took the initiative right from the start, and again he won! In a 5.Bf4 Queen's Gambit Declined, the world #4 played the remarkable 8.Be5 which he actually called dubious afterward. “There should be several ways [for Black], but I thought it was interesting for one game. The position is interesting and very deep, maybe for him today it was too deep.”

Somehow Kramnik went astray early on. The 14th World Champion again didn't want to go into detail as to where exactly it had gone wrong for him, but it must have been around move 10 already.

Commenting on the game, Kramnik emphasized his opponent's computer preparation: “I didn't play the opening very well and my opponent had prepared very strongly. I underestimated some things in the preparation. I wouldn't like to say now what exactly. Then I wanted to deviate from some sharp lines which were obviously analyzed by my opponent. I wanted to get some play and not lose against some computer analysis. On the other hand my position was very unpleasant and my opponent played the first line of the computer the whole game so I think I didn't really have chances. Of course I tried to keep in the game and tried my best, but still the position was very unplesant. It happens. Maybe I can say that it was not my day.”

Tournament leader Vishy Anand drew his third game in a row. Against Sergey Karjakin he was the first to try out the Berlin Ending in this tournament, but he faced a very well prepared opponent.

Anand played one of the most topical lines with 9.h3 Ke8 10.Nc3 h5 11.Bf4 but Karjakin had not only played this with both colors; he had also spent quite some time on the position that came on the board after 21 moves! Still it was White who was playing for two results, but quite soon Anand couldn't find a way to make progress.

Sticking to his beloved Grünfeld might make him a bit too predictable, and so today Svidler played a new opening: the Leningrad Dutch. For a first outing it went pretty well, mostly because his opponent avoided the main lines. 8.b4 is “not a very good move,” said Mamedyarov, “but I hoped it will be a very interesting game.”

Black was fine after 21...b5 but after White's next move Svidler went “completely brain dead for about twenty minutes,” as he put it himself. As it turned out, both players had missed the move 22...Qd7, which gives Black the advantage. “This means that the whole concept was correct and I just went completely crazy."

His next move was also somewhat weird, but Svidler's 24...h6 was just inexplicable. “There are no words to describe this. I have no idea what this is. I would very much like to unsee this, make me unsee this,” Svidler said. Mamedyarov had no trouble wrapping up the game.

Meanwhile, Levon Aronian had reached a winning position against Dmitry Andreikin and so the world #2 was virtually in shared first place with Vishy Anand.

But that didn't happen: Aronian spoilt it, and had to settle for a draw. “By accident I survived until the endgame,” said Andreikin. There it was Aronian's frustration which prevented him from winning.

And so Anand is still half point ahead of Aronian. Andreikin, who is in last place, said: “I saw all the variations that were shown in the analyses. I have the problem in this tournament that I see everything but I still don't play the best moves.”

Thursday is rest day. On Friday we will see the last round of the first half, with the games Karjakin-Aronian, Svidler-Anand, Kramnik-Mamedyarov and Andreikin-Topalov. 

For more tweets, don't miss Eric van Reem's Chess in Tweets!

FIDE Candidates’ 2014 | Pairings & Results

Round 1 13.03.14 15:00 MSK   Round 8 22.03.14 15:00 MSK
Andreikin ½-½ Kramnik   Kramnik - Andreikin
Karjakin ½-½ Svidler   Svidler - Karjakin
Mamedyarov ½-½ Topalov   Topalov - Mamedyarov
Anand 1-0 Aronian   Aronian - Anand
Round 2 14.03.14 15:00 MSK   Round 9 23.03.14 15:00 MSK
Kramnik 1-0 Karjakin   Karjakin - Kramnik
Svidler 1-0 Andreikin   Andreikin - Svidler
Topalov ½-½ Anand   Anand - Topalov
Aronian 1-0 Mamedyarov   Mamedyarov - Aronian
Round 3 15.03.14 15:00 MSK   Round 10 25.03.14 15:00 MSK
Andreikin ½-½ Karjakin   Karjakin - Andreikin
Svidler ½-½ Kramnik   Kramnik - Svidler
Topalov ½-½ Aronian   Aronian - Topalov
Mamedyarov 0-1 Anand   Anand - Mamedyarov
Round 4 17.03.14 15:00 MSK   Round 11 26.03.14 15:00 MSK
Mamedyarov 1-0 Andreikin   Andreikin - Mamedyarov
Karjakin ½-½ Topalov   Topalov - Karjakin
Aronian 1-0 Svidler   Svidler - Aronian
Anand ½-½ Kramnik   Kramnik - Anand
Round 5 18.03.14 15:00 MSK   Round 12 27.03.14 15:00 MSK
Andreikin ½-½ Anand   Anand - Andreikin
Karjakin ½-½ Mamedyarov   Mamedyarov - Karjakin
Svidler 1-0 Topalov   Topalov - Svidler
Kramnik ½-½ Aronian   Aronian - Kramnik
Round 6 19.03.14 15:00 MSK   Round 13 29.03.14 15:00 MSK
Aronian ½-½ Andreikin   Andreikin - Aronian
Anand ½-½ Karjakin   Karjakin - Anand
Mamedyarov 1-0 Svidler   Svidler - Mamedyarov
Topalov 1-0 Kramnik   Kramnik - Topalov
Round 7 21.03.14 15:00 MSK   Round 14 30.03.14 15:00 MSK
Karjakin - Aronian   Aronian - Karjakin
Svidler - Anand   Anand - Svidler
Kramnik - Mamedyarov   Mamedyarov - Kramnik
Andreikin - Topalov   Topalov - Andreikin 

FIDE Candidates’ 2014 | Round 6 Standings

# Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Pts SB
1 Anand, V 2770 2893 1 ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ 4 11.75
2 Aronian, L 2830 2819 0 ½ ½ 1 1 ½ 3.5 10
3 Topalov, V 2785 2778 ½ ½ 1 0 ½ ½ 3 9.5
4 Kramnik, V 2787 2770 ½ ½ 0 ½ 1 ½ 3 8.75
5 Svidler, P 2758 2772 0 1 ½ 0 ½ 1 3 7.75
6 Mamedyarov, S 2757 2770 0 0 ½ 1 ½ 1 3 7.75
7 Karjakin, S 2766 2703 ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ 2.5 7.5
8 Andreikin, D 2709 2658 ½ ½ ½ 0 0 ½ 2 6.5

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. 

20240 reads 65 comments
3 votes


  • 3 years ago


    Topalov & Kramnik: poor sportsmanship, no matter how well they play chess. Shame on both!

  • 3 years ago


    Topalov should win this tournament. 

  • 3 years ago


    A good science.

  • 3 years ago


    The computer is just a tool for learning chess. It cood be like learning from a book or a better player. You cannot blame someone for using it to understand more deeply one position and not just copying the moves from the restroom.

  • 3 years ago


    10 of the 24 games with a decisive result. That's 42%!  A high number for an event of this caliber, which makes it exciting for the fans. 

  • 3 years ago


    Anand needs to win not draw games as World number 2 Aronian is catching up fast the way 15:00  in MSK is what gmt???

  • 3 years ago


    'Wicked_Soul' wrote

    We've seen another example of how computers have ruined classical chess (see Kramnik's comments). Without some changes (Fischer random, perhaps), chess will simply fade away as a favorite game.


    I understand the sentiment here, but actually, it may be just the opposite. This is quite an entertaining tournament so far, with the human element a key factor. Mistakes made by some of the players, like Aronian and Svidler, are providing the 'human drama', which makes it most interesting. If eight computers were playing each other, spectators would probably be bored to death by a string of endless draws. Automobiles move a lot faster than people, but we still want to see people race each other......

    Anyway, Svidler is to be commended for his novelty, the terrific term 'unsee'! I wish I could 'unsee' most of my games Wink

  • 3 years ago


    Tense battle of old rivals,Topalov vs Kramnik:

    Aronian vs Andreikin:

  • 3 years ago


    I'll stick with my opinion that Kramnik and Topalov should behave in a different fashion when playing each other.

    As the late Svetozar Gligoric would say: "I don't play against my oponent, I play against the pieces."

  • 3 years ago


    Kramnik is indeed a sore loser, full of excuses. Don't think he has a chance against Magnus. Aronian is great, but can't hanlde the tension.  Magnus does not have much to worry about in this cycle.

  • 3 years ago


    kramnik is such a sore loser

  • 3 years ago


    Svidler is this year's Ivanchuk!

  • 3 years ago


    Topalov is making a real comeback. Ithought he would be permanently out of the top the past few years.

    But I hope Aronian wins the tournament.

    This is a tough tournament and Magnus was even lucky to win the previous candidates.

  • 3 years ago


    Aronian and Kramnik have the best chances at cracking Carlsen it seems, judging from their recent performances.

  • 3 years ago


    With the displayed inconsistency of most players, I think Anand will draw the rest of his game and still winning the tourney. 

  • 3 years ago


    I bet, Topalov didn't shake Kramnik's hand nor offerred to shake his...

  • 3 years ago


    Anand is playing solid and drawish lines now, seems his plan is to play safe with draws, and in later rounds pasively beat the ones who will desperately need to win the game instead of drawing. This technique works obviously well in the candidates where everyones aim is to become first and just going down from 3rd to 4th or 5th does not matter much.

  • 3 years ago


    anand prepard very well for this tournement...

  • 3 years ago


    I remember watching endings of the games live on YouTube. All games were impressive. You could see the tension on the GMs faces, you wait for their moves anxiously. Too bad for Aronian - he made several bad moves in a row. I hope he recovers and plays the next game well. May the best player win!

  • 3 years ago


    We've seen another example of how computers have ruined classical chess (see Kramnik's comments). Without some changes (Fischer random, perhaps), chess will simply fade away as a favorite game.

Back to Top

Post your reply: