Caruana Beats Anand, Now Leads With Karjakin At Candidates'

Caruana Beats Anand, Now Leads With Karjakin At Candidates'

| 74 | Chess Event Coverage

Chances have increased that Magnus Carlsen will face a local player in New York in November. Fabiano Caruana today defeated Vishy Anand and leapfrogged the Indian at the Candidates' Tournament's standings.

With their mutual score being even, and having the same number of wins, Caruana now even leads ahead of Karjakin based on Sonneborn-Berger, for what it's worth.

It was slightly ironic perhaps that on Viktor Korchnoi's 85th birthday his long-time nemesis and 12th world champion Anatoly Karpov paid a visit to the tournament. When he was still striving to become world champion, matches were standard for the Candidates.

The two played their first of three matches in 1974: the Candidates' Final. Karpov won with the narrow score of 12.5-11.5 in a match that was also held in Moscow. The rest is history.

Besides Karpov, a few members of the Olympic women's team member attended today (including Olga Girya and Baira Kovanova) and another special guest made his appearance too (and was duly removed from the press room by an unknowing security guard): Joel Lautier.

The former French top grandmaster is now a businessman and happens to live in Moscow. Just before leaving, at the end of the day, he gladly accepted an interview request. By that time the new leaderboard showed that Fabiano Caruana and Sergey Karjakin were the leaders with four rounds to go. Lautier's (slight) favorite: Caruana.

Joel Lautier speaking to

Like in the previous round, local hero Sergey Karjakin maintained his lead with a draw but saw the name of his co-leader change. Vishy Anand joined him for a day, but was substituted by Fabiano Caruana.

With a worse tiebreak against both leaders, does this mean
the end for Vishy Anand? | Photo Lennart Ootes.

The U.S. grandmaster defeated the five-time world champion thanks to excellent preparation and accurate play at the board. (In doing so, he also narrowly surpassed Vladimir Kramnik in the live ratings today!)

The game was one of three games that started with 1.c4 today. The move is rather popular as it avoids both the Berlin and the Grünfeld, as mentioned before. All three games went 1...e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.g3 Bb4 5.Bg2 0-0 6.0-0, and this is where Anand deviated from Aronian-Topalov and Svidler-Nakamura by going 6...e4.

However, it was Caruana who came up with a new setup based on 12.Qc2!? — virtually a novelty. And it seems that Anand's immediate reaction 12...Ne4 was both natural and not the best option. A few moves later White's center looked impressive, and Caruana called his advantage “tremendous.”

Caruana explaining his game to the press. | Photo Lennart Ootes.

Another key moment was move 18, when Caruana couldn't resist a bishop sacrifice on h6. While it was another psychological blow for Anand, our commentator Maxime Vachier-Lagrave felt that it wasn't the best move in the position.

“A move you can either praise or dislike. I actually don't think such measures were necessary and felt that Vishy could have gotten back into the game because of that. But I understand that Fabiano was trying to put directly an end to the game as his attack looks very threatening.”

Caruana briefly spoke to about that bishop sacrifice.

Anand gave back material to reach a slightly worse ending, but quickly made another mistake and then it was just lost.

“Since game with Svidler everything went my way,” said Caruana, who revealed a fun fact: “I get a fortune cookie there every day in a restaurant and usually it's a very good fortune. Yesterday against Anish it was very specific, it said: "I shouldn't be a slave to my emotions today." I never got a fortune cookie which referred to a specific day.  I'm not superstitious but seems to have been true.” 

The Caruana-Anand press conference courtesy of WorldChess.

In the other two games with the English Opening the move 6...d6 was played. Both Aronian-Topalov and Svidler-Nakamura continued in similar fashion, and at some point something funny happened. Nakamura put his queen on e7, which was slightly criticized by Evgeny Miroshnichenko and Ian Nepomniachtchi.

The commentators argued that White can now play his knight to d5, and usually Black has to take but then White goes cxd5 and the knight on c6 doesn't have its best square available: e7. They'd hardly finished their argumentation when Topalov also put his queen on e7! The Bulgarian then walked to Svidler and Nakamura's board and frowned when he saw the similarities. As Svidler remarked, apparently Topalov had forgotten about the huge screen on stage that shows all positions...

The first of those two to finish was Svidler-Nakamura. Two critical moments followed after the opening: for White on move 16, and for Black on move 17. As it went, the game followed a forced sequence that led to a draw based on a tactic.

One of the three 1.c4 games in this round. | Photo Lennart Ootes.

In a short interview with the official channel, Nakamura made a reference to the horrible terrorist attacks in Brussels yesterday. He said that he might spend some more time in the U.S. in the near future, and that he's a bit worried about the upcoming Grand Chess Tour events scheduled for June in Brussels-Leuven and Paris.

Annotations by GM Robert Hess 

The Svidler-Nakamura press conference courtesy of WorldChess.

Aronian-Topalov, the other game in this variation, went on much longer. It was a battle with two faces: first Aronian got an advantage due to a big mistake by Topalov on move 20. Then The Armenian number one missed some tactical things and had to defend himself.

“It's not such a brilliant game, but it's not my first bad game here,” said Topalov. “It's normal.”

Annotations by GM Robert Hess 

The Aronian-Topalov press conference courtesy of WorldChess.

Anish Giri made it to ten straight draws, but today we can hardly blame him. He played with the black pieces against the tournament leader, and drew rather comfortably — a fine result on any day.

Giri & Karjakin at the post-mortem with Ian Nepomniachtchi. | Photo Lennart Ootes.

Asked whether he was playing it safe or caught by Giri's prep, Karjakin answered “a bit of both.” He was planning to surprise his opponent, but then had to face an unexpected move himself: 15...g6. That was a critical moment; with 16.Bb2 the game would have been longer and more interesting, but Karjakin miscalculated some things and then his 16.dxe5 quickly led to an equal endgame.

A brief comment to from both players.

Annotations by GM Robert Hess 

The Karjakin-Giri press conference courtesy of WorldChess.

2016 FIDE Candidates' | Round 10 Standings

# Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Pts SB
1 Caruana,Fabiano 2794 2847 phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½1 ½ ½½ ½ ½1 ½ 6.0/10 29.00
2 Karjakin,Sergey 2760 2850 ½ phpfCo1l0.png 1 ½ ½½ ½½ ½ 6.0/10 28.50
3 Anand,Viswanathan 2762 2816 ½0 0 phpfCo1l0.png ½1 ½ 1 ½ 5.5/10 25.50
4 Aronian,Levon 2786 2811 ½ ½ ½0 phpfCo1l0.png ½½ ½ 1 5.5/10 25.25
5 Giri,Anish 2793 2777 ½½ ½½ ½ ½½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ ½ 5.0/10
6 Svidler,Peter 2757 2745 ½ ½½ 0 ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½½ ½½ 4.5/10
7 Nakamura,Hikaru 2790 2704 ½0 ½ 0 ½ ½½ phpfCo1l0.png 1 4.0/10
8 Topalov,Veselin 2780 2668 ½ ½ ½ ½½ 0 phpfCo1l0.png 3.5/10

Caruana in shared first place now... | Photo Lennart Ootes.
...with Sergey Karjakin. | Photo Lennart Ootes.

With four rounds to go, the tournament has entered its decisive phase. Here you can find the pairings till the end. As you can see, the current leader will face each other in the last round!

Round 11: Aronian-Svidler, Topalov-Caruana, Anand-Karjakin, and Giri-Nakamura.
Round 12: Svidler-Giri, Nakamura-Anand, Karjakin-Topalov, and Caruana-Aronian.
Round 13: 
Caruana-Svidler, Aronian-Karjakin, Topalov-Nakamura, and Anand-Giri.
Round 14: Svidler-Anand, Giri-Topalov, Nakamura-Aronian, and Karjakin-Caruana.

The round 10 video recap by IM Danny Rensch.

The FIDE Candidates' Tournament runs March 11-29 in the Central Telegraph building in Moscow. The total prize fund is €420,000 with the Tashir Group as the main sponsor. The games start 3 p.m. local time, which is 4 a.m. Pacific, 7 a.m. New York, noon GMT or 1 p.m. CET. The winner earns the right to play Magnus Carlsen in November in New York.  phpfCo1l0.png

Peter Doggers

Peter Doggers joined a chess club a month before turning 15 and still plays for it. He used to be an active tournament player and holds two IM norms.

Peter has a Master of Arts degree in Dutch Language & Literature. He briefly worked at New in Chess, then as a Dutch teacher and then in a project for improving safety and security in Amsterdam schools.

Between 2007 and 2013 Peter was running ChessVibes, a major source for chess news and videos acquired by in October 2013.

As our Director News & Events, Peter writes many of our news reports. In the summer of 2022, The Guardian’s Leonard Barden described him as “widely regarded as the world’s best chess journalist.”

In October, Peter's first book The Chess Revolution will be published!

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