Candidates’ R14: Karjakin Second After Beating Aronian, Anand Undefeated
Viswanathan Anand, who had already clinched tournament victory on Saturday, finished undefeated at the FIDE Candidates' Tournament. In the last round the Indian drew with Peter Svidler to reach a final score of 8.5/14. He didn't lose a single game, like Tigran Petrosian at the 1962 Candidates’ in Curacao. Sergey Karjakin, who defeated Levon Aronian in the longest last game of the tournament, finished in second place.
Photos © Vadim Lavrenko, Kirill Merkuryev & Anastasiya Karlovich courtesy of the official website
As was kind of expected, Vishy Anand finished his successful tournament in Khanty-Mansiysk with a relatively quick draw with Peter Svidler. He said he picked a line that would involve zero risk: “I thought in the Marshall I should be able to get some fairly dry position which wouldn't pose too many challenges because clearly I wasn't in the best state of mind, I mean you're still euphoric and so on.”
Inspired by some recent games by Fabiano Caruana, Anand chose the 12.d3 variation and managed to get a very slight edge in an ending: that of bishop vs. knight. It could have been something tangible, if Svidler hadn't found a concrete way to force the draw.
It was a game that didn't matter much anymore, but Anand did prepare for it. He said: “It has its challenges. You need to decide what you're aiming for, what you're going to play for. It's very easy to drift in these situations. I mean, despite the fact that I would have won anyway, you don't want to... A loss always leaves a sour taste in the mouth.”
“Today morning was very easy. I woke up at six o'clock... It was quite turbulent. (...) Last night was easily the one with the least sleep.”
Congrats to @vishy64theking on a spectacular win and comeback. Carlsen and Anand's roles have oddly reversed a year later.— Fabiano Caruana ( @FabianoCaruana) March 30, 2014
Looking back at his tournament, Svidler said: “The most prevalent feeling right now is the feeling of huge wasted opportunity. I think at least in the first half I played very interesting chess and I had chances in almost every game. I think a lot of what went wrong in this tournament were what you call unforced errors on my part.”
At the press conference Anand was asked which of his games he liked the most and whether it could be included in his best games collection. In his reply he first mentioned the game against Andreikin:
“I actually saw this rook sac line, 41.Rc4.
and now I saw that every move attacking his queen allows Nb4+, Nxd5 and takes e7. And of course as soon as I go home, the computer instantly shows Rb5. It's a pity to miss it by one move. If I had found that move, and I played that line, even if I would have won in some other way let's say, I would have put that one in.”
Anand, who moved back up to #3 in the live ratings, was also very happy with his win against Topalov, and with his first win ever against Levon, with White. “Besides being a nightmare for me, he is a nightmare with the black pieces!” He added: “It's not really that I'm choosing something; I liked all my wins.”
It was clear that Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Vladimir Kramnik also had had enough chess. The two played a rather insignificant draw in a 4.Qc2 Nimzo-Indian:
At the press conference Kramnik was asked to compare his tournament with that of last year's. He said: “Last year I played more games than in any other year in my chess career, actually. It was a very tough year and I probably simply didn't recover fully from this year, although I physically feel pretty well, even now. I don't have a problem with physical shape.
But there is a certain thing like mental energy, nervous energy, which I feel I was lacking a bit. With me I know very well when it happens, I start to make blunders. This is very typical for me. I start to have this problem with nervous energy. So that was the case, that was the big difference. The second difference is a matter of... You know, you need a little bit of luck, a little bit of wind in your back, and I think in London at some point I had it.”
Veselin Topalov and Dmitry Andreikin followed suit: another draw - but only after 69 moves. In a rather interesting 4.d3 Berlin Topalov got an extra pawn in an ending with RBN for both sides, but it was a doubled pawn and not worth much. The Bulgarian did try it for a long time, even though the position after the time control was already a “positional draw”, according to Andreikin.
The longest game of the tournament was the one that finished the last: Aronian vs. Karjakin. It started with a bit of a bang: Aronian played 1.e4! Best by test according Bobby Fischer, but the Armenian GM rarely plays it.
Avoiding further theory, Aronian played 2.Nc3, 3.Bc4 and 4.a3 in a Sicilian, and it worked out pretty well. White was slightly better after the opening, and clearly better when Karjakin erred on move 18. “I was quite happy that I managed not to lose immediately and I got some play.”
@NastiaKarlovich) March 30, 2014
However, Aronian got into timetrouble and spoiled everything. He “started to blunder things”, in his own words, and although material was equal after the time control, White's weak king was a permanent worry. After the second time control Karjakin found the right plan, and it became clear that White's position was beyond repair. Karjakin finished it off with accurate play.
Generally quite impressed by Karjakin. He's determined, practical and calculates well & still quite some way from his peak. #Candidates2014— Jonathan Rowson ( @Jonathan_Rowson) March 30, 2014
It was a very good second half for Karjakin, who went from minus two to plus one. “I'm happy. I showed good chess, I like it,” was his simple summary. Aronian, who even went to a minus score in the final round, said: “I didn't really play well. I can't really explain why I was making some of the decisions during the games. I hope I have been giving away all my losses and I won't lose more this year.”
The actual prize fund doesn't seem to be mentioned on the tournament website. The official regulations say: “The total minimum prize fund of the Candidates Tournament amounts to 420,000 euros. The amount is net and cleared of any local taxes. The money prizes shall be allocated as follows (minimum in euros): 1. € 95,000, 2. € 88,000, 3. € 75,000, 4. € 55,000, 5. € 40,000, 6. € 28,000, 7. € 22,000, 8. € 17,000.”
Since all prize money would be divided equally where players had the same score, if these are the actual prizes, the distribution would be:
1. Anand € 95,000
2. Karjakin € 88,000
3-5. Kramnik, Andreikin and Mamedyarov all € 56,667
6-7. Aronian & Svidler € 25,000
8. Topalov € 17,000
The difference between a win and a loss for Aronian and Karjakin in the last round was € 63,000 - a pretty expensive game!
A former FIDE World Champion, who worked with Karjakin in Khanty-Mansiysk and used to be a second of Anand, tweeted:
Both my students did ok in #Candidates2014 :)— Rustam Kasimdzhanov ( @kasimdzhanov) March 30, 2014
Don't forget to check out Chess in Tweets one more time!
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 14 (Final) Standings
The 2014 FIDE Candidates’ Tournament was an 8-player double round robin with 4 rest days. The dates were March 13th-31st, 2014. The winner (Anand) has 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