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

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

| 49 | Chess Event Coverage

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. 

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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. 

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