Black Is OK At The Candidates

Black Is OK At The Candidates

| 19 | Chess Event Coverage

And they're off! The Candidates started their campaigns today in Kazan to find the next challenger for Vishy Anand's World Chess Championship title.

The favourite to win according to the pundits and our poll is the popular Armenian Lev Aronian.  Aronian had the white pieces today in his quarter-final match with Russia's Alexander Grischuk, and achieved a promising position against the Grunfeld Defence.

Aronian turned his advantage into a pawn, and looked set to convert it to a victory, but mutual time-trouble and some tenacious defending by Grischuk ensured that it slipped agonisingly away.

Aronian at the press conference after the game...




Gata Kamsky surprised Veselin Topalov with the rare 6. a4 and 7. a5 line against the Bulgarian's Najdorf Defence.  However, Topalov tried an interesting exchange sacrifice and eventually his strong bishop pair proved enough for equality.

Topalov in thoughtful mood...




Vladimir Kramnik played the ultra-solid Lasker variation of the Queen's Gambit Declined, and an uninspired Teimour Radjabov failed to make even a scratch on the black position, agreeing a draw after just 25 moves. Is Radjabov planning on getting his wins by counter-punching with black, or is he seeking rapid playoff games?

All smiles from Kramnik at the post-game press conference




Shakhriyar Mamedyarov sprung a minor surprise with 1. e4 and Boris Gelfand returned the favour with a Sicilian Najdorf rather than his solid favourite, the Petroff.

Gelfand might have regretted that opening choice as Mamedyarov quickly gained the upper hand, but the Israeli recovered to earn a vital draw.

Mamedyarov rueing a missed chance?




The second games of the 4-game quarter-finals take place tomorrow at the same time (15:00 in Kazan, 11:00 UTC, 07:00 Eastern in the US).

Live coverage and more is available at the official website, and live video of the playing hall is available here.

Also, look out for coverage coming soon at Chess.comTV!


Pictures from the excellent

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