Karjakin Beats Anand, Moves To Clear First At Candidates'

Karjakin Beats Anand, Moves To Clear First At Candidates'

| 44 | Chess Event Coverage

Sergey Karjakin is the clear leader after four rounds of play at the Candidates' Tournament. Today the Russian GM defeated Viswanathan Anand to reach 3.0/4.

Only a slightly colder day in Moscow (the temperature went a few degrees below zero) the Candidates' Tournament was visited by quite a few strong players: Ian Nepomniachtchi, Maxim Matlakov, Ildar Khairullin and also the well-known trainer Mark Dvoretsky.

It's now also easier for amateurs to attend the tournament. The Russian Chess Federation, as a partner of Agon in the organization of the even, has requested 30 tickets daily to be distributed to people who either have no funds to buy the tickets themselves, or aren't tech-savvy enough to get them online.

They won't have access to the best area of the venue though: the VIP box, which has a great view over the players, with a glass window in between. Besides Zurab Azmaiparashvili, whose official title at the event is “FIDE Supervisor,” there's quite a few people there who don't seem to have any relation with the chess world.

Whether amateur, grandmaster or VIP, the visitors certainly could enjoy another good round of chess. Another round with just one decisive game, one theoretical duel, and one blunder.

Check out IM Danny Rensch's full review of all the Round 4 Games:

After 13 years since his first game against the Indian legend, Sergey Karjakin finally got rid of what the Germans call Angstgegner. As it turned out, he had never ever managed beat Vishy Anand, whether it was classical, rapid, or blitz.

But today he won, and made it look easy.

Karjakin defeated Anand for the first time. | Photo courtesy of FIDE.

Starting with 1.Nf3 d5 2.e3!? Karjakin, not a bad theoretician himself, decided to circumvent most of Anand's preparation. As he pointed out himself, Karjakin had done something similar at the previous Candidates' Tournament against Anand, when he played a setup akin to this one but with d2-d4 included.

Showing ultra-modern chess, the Russian combined his positional setup with an early h2-h4. Quoting our super GM commentator Maxime Vachier-Lagrave: “These last few years, the "h move" has been one of the main sources of novelties as White doesn't need to castle anytime soon and in general asks some un pleasant questions to the king.”

Anand countered with an early ...f5 and then allowed hanging pawns, which became a bit of a problem when he traded more pieces with the somewhat odd 18...Ba6. After that it was “easy to play,” said Karjakin, and he proved it.

For what it's worth, with this result Anand is now the #2 Indian player, dropping below Pentala Harikrishna on the live ratings list. A historic development, if this remains the case!

The Karjakin-Anand press conference courtesy of WorldChess.

The quickest of the three draws was Hikaru Nakamura vs Anish Giri. Yes, again Giri. As our member ZarkoUcinci put it, he is finding really original ways to draw.

The players followed quite a bit of theory in a topical line of the Semi-Slav, which included a game by Giri — with the white pieces. That was a win over Alexei Shirov, 1.5 years ago in Hoogeveen. Shirov later played another game in that line, but again with little success.

Giri improved on these games, but still saw his king dragged to f6 as early as move 22. Guest commentator Daniil Dubov claimed that he was the one who showed this line to Giri a few year ago.

Giri was put to the test, but passed it. | Photo courtesy of FIDE.

At the press conference the Dutchman made the impression that he remembered everything from preparation, but vaguely. “The moves are so natural and this position [after 26.Nxf7] occurred to me right away,” he said, adding that it “looked familiar.”

As it went, the game quickly finished in a perpetual with two white knights close to the black king. “Like any opening really, you just have to prepare and hope your opponent doesn't know the best continuation,” said Nakamura.

A good try at least! | Photo courtesy of FIDE.

The Nakamura-Giri press conference courtesy of WorldChess.

Giri's name was dropped by Peter Svidler, who drew his game with Levon Aronian. “In this line Anish Giri has been the architect of White's successes,” the Russian GM started his explanation of the Four Knights line in the English.

Meanwhile Dubov called 1.c4 the move of the future. “No Berlin and no Grünfeld!”

Aronian improved upon Giri-Anand, Bilbao 2015, which White won quickly, but Svidler had expected and prepared for the novelty. After a more or less forced sequence the players reached an endgame where White had good compensation for a pawn. 

Svidler trying to remember the details of his homework. | Photo courtesy of FIDE.

After two inaccurate moves Aronian was worse. Nepomniachtchi and Matalkov were rather excited about Svidler's position after 25.Rb4!, and Dvoretsky said: ”not a dead draw yet!” But then Svidler was the one to miss the most dangerous continuations and on move 41 the point was split.

The Svidler—Aronian press conference courtesy of WorldChess.

On his 41st birthday Veselin Topalov indeed got a present from his opponent. In a Giuoco Piano Fabiano Caruana refuted a huge oversight by his opponent, but then failed to see a rather simple move that would have decided the game quickly.

The players gave remarkable reasons for there errors. Topalov said he forgot about a white pawn on g2, and Caruana had simply miscounted the remaining pieces in a certain variation. It can happen to the best...?

The Caruana—Topalov press conference courtesy of WorldChess.

2016 Candidates' Tournament | Round 4 Standings

# Name Fed Rtg Perf Pts SB
1 Karjakin,Sergey RUS 2760 2966 3.0/4
2 Aronian,Levon ARM 2786 2861 2.5/4
3 Giri,Anish NED 2793 2783 2.0/4 4.50
4 Svidler,Peter RUS 2757 2779 2.0/4 4.00
5 Caruana,Fabiano USA 2794 2782 2.0/4 3.25
6 Anand,Viswanathan IND 2762 2780 2.0/4 3.25
7 Nakamura,Hikaru USA 2790 2688 1.5/4
8 Topalov,Veselin BUL 2780 2584 1.0/4
A narrow escape for Topalov on his 41st birthday. | Photo courtesy of FIDE.

Round 5 pairings: Giri-Svidler, Anand-Nakamura, Topalov-Karjakin, and Aronian-Caruana.

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.

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