Lucky Win For Svidler in Round 5 Candidates’, Anand Still Leads
“You normally don't get as lucky as this. It's beyond belief what happened today,” said Peter Svidler after his win against Veselin Topalov in round 5 of the 2014 FIDE Candidates’ Tournament in Khanty-Mansiysk. The grandmaster from St Petersburg was under huge pressure out of the opening, but his opponent started playing badly and even lost. Vishy Anand maintained his half-point lead drawing Dmitry Andreikin in a Berlin Ruy Lopez. The point was also split in Karjakin-Mamedyarov and Kramnik-Aronian; the latter game ended with two bare kings and mutual smiles.
Photos © Vadim Lavrenko courtesy of the official website
This year's Candidates’ Tournament is under way for just five rounds, but already it is becoming a historic event. The spectators have nothing to complain about, with lots of drama and very exciting games, sometimes larded with many mistakes, and sometimes of the absolute highest quality. In today's round only Peter Svidler managed to win, and so the Russian grandmaster joined Levon Aronian and Vladimir Kramnik in second place, half a point behind Viswanathan Anand.
In today's round, especially the game between the two pre-tournament favorites, Aronian and Kramnik, was really exciting. Luckily there were some spectators this round, but not many.
@GaliyaChess) March 18, 2014
Galiya didn't have to stay long, because her boyfriend, Sergey Karjakin, drew after about 2 hours and 45 minutes with Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. The Muscovite didn't get much out of the opening, a Bb5 Sicilian. “1...c5 and 2...d6 is not his main weapon. Considering the fact that he had a lot of time before this tournament and that he has three seconds here, I was sure that he was prepared very well! That's why I decided to go for Bb5,” said Karjakin.
Mamedyarov said about the opening: “Me and Sergey are both on minus one, so... I think it's a very good opening for both, to play chess, it's very interesting. 3.Bb5 was a big surprise for me.” But he knew what he was doing, and Black equalized completely with his 21st move.
At the press conference Karjakin was asked why he didn't take more risks. He replied: “I don't think I didn't risk anything at this tournament. I played some sharp games before, but it is chess and I'm trying to play the best chess as I can.”
Vishy Anand was the next player to score a comfortable draw with the black pieces - in fact the second half of the game he was slightly better. Dmitry Andreikin had prepared well: he had even looked at a game Topalov-Anand from 11 years ago! Anand: “During the game I was sure he hadn't seen [it] because it was so long ago!”
Anand was happy with a number of maneuvers, and he grabbed some sort of initiative with a surprising “knight fianchetto” on move 17. But it wasn't much. “I'm trying but I didn't see anything concrete,” said Anand.
Svidler-Topalov was a wild game, and really exciting to watch, but objectively speaking it wasn't very good. Svidler got outprepared with White, then Topalov spoilt everything and it should have been a draw, but the Bulgarian chose a wrong square for his monarch, which ended up in a mating net. He got away with being just one pawn down, but it was lost nonetheless.
Svidler started his press conference by saying: “You normally don't get as lucky as this. It's beyond belief what happened today.”
About his failed opening he said: “My approach to the opening was... I was actually thinking during the game how to describe what I'm doing here, and the polite word is naivety. Veselin is kind of known for his opening preparation and he enters a line which I have supposedly refuted in my game against Antoaneta Stefanova, and clearly he knows something. And also, knowing Veselin, it's not to make a draw.”
And indeed, Topalov got a very nice position by trading queens and castling queenside. “I liked this trick with long castle. That was more or less the idea, but when I got it I started to make one mistake after another.” Svidler: “I was very surprised that I was not losing by force, and then very strange things started happening.”
For long I didn't play so badly,” said Topalov. “Not in any best game collections. For both of us to be honest,” said Svidler, adding: “I played badly but Veselin played a horrible game. I'm sorry but that's what it is. This is not my achievement.”
Kramnik-Aronian was the game the chess fans probably looked forward to the most, and it certainly didn't disappoint. From a rare sideline in the Queen's Gambit Declined, White got a nice attacking position - isn't this what Torre Attack players are hoping for?
“White has a nice plan and quite a serious initiative. Of course the position is complicated but I really liked it after Ne5 and f4,” said Kramnik. Aronian reluctantly admitted that White had good chances out of the opening: “It's interesting. Normally the [white bishop on b2] is on the other diagonal, going to e1. I was curious to see... maybe it was not so easy to play.”
While Kramnik was building up his attack on the kingside, Aronian was trying to find counterplay on the queenside. The game seemed to be going towards a climax, and with both players having little time on the clock, it seems that Kramnik could have won somewhere - but it was never completely clear.
The rook ending that came on the board was probably always a draw but there were some tricky lines to calculate, because some pawn endings were drawn, and others were winning. In the game the players, while smiling at each other, played on until there were only two kings left.
Kramnik: “I cannot say I'm disappointed. The quality of the game is important to me and this game was very interesting.”
Tomorrow we'll have Aronian - Andreikin, Anand - Karjakin, Mamedyarov-Svidler and Topalov-Kramnik. That last one will attact most attention, because ever since the Toiletgate affair in 2006, these two players haven't shaken hands before or after their mutual games.
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 5 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.