Candidates Tournament 2014
Candidates Round 10 : Anand manages, Aronian doesn’t strike and Kramnik breaks down
One rest day doesn’t seem to be enough at this stage of the tournament and this 10th round showed that the players were not well rested enough.
Only one player can afford to simply manage his tournament, while all the other players don’t have a choice but to win their games to try and maintain any kind of suspense…
Mamedyarov is one of these. Facing Anand with the black pieces, he chose the Najdorf (his other pet opening being the Ruy Lopez Breyer, but that would clearly have been a bad choice against his Indian opponent). Anand decided to repeat the 6.h3 move which had given him an important win over Topalov in the previous round, but Shakhriyar was well prepared and after 11…Nxd4 12.Bxd4 e5!? he took the e5 square for his pieces.
Vishy decided to play solidly and the position became balanced as the weak d6 pawn was compensated by the strong e5 knight and the bad white squared bishop. It was however difficult for both players to create any play and they signed the draw on move 30.
This is an excellent result for Vishy, who maintains his advantage and his favorable tiebreak over his main rivals in the standings.
Aronian could have taken advantage of this draw to come back to ½ point distance to Anand, but he had to beat Topalov to achieve this.
The Bulgarian player chose the solid Chebanenko Slav with 4…a6, after which Aronian went for the solid 5.e3. Both players followed theory until Topalov was the first one to surprise his opponent by choosing 10…a6-a5 instead of 10…Bxc3 followed by Nee4, which was seen in the Sargissian-Tomashevsky game from the last European Team Championship. Aronian thought for a while at this point and decided to go for a3 followed be e4, which gave him a visually preferable position as he had a space advantage, but in fact it is only equal as Black’s position is solid and well organised.
Topalov is going to play c6-c5 to break White’s control over the centre and take advantage of Aronian’s somewhat uninspired play to install a very strong knight on d4, which will quickly be replaced by a pawn after the knights exchange.
So Black has a slight advantage, but it is probably not enough to win as White’s position is solid. Both players therefore decided to agree on a draw, which doesn’t really help any of them!
The Kramnik-Svidler encounter is the game of the day, which is annotated by the Chess-Anyone team.
The Karjakin-Andreikin game further highlighted Karjakin’s problems. In the Taimanov variation he went for the rare 7.Qd3?!, but Andreikin was obviously not surprised as the two experts of this line are his countrymen Ian Nepomniachtchi and…Sergey Karjakin!
Karjakin is going to innovate in the move order by going for 10.g4, but the players will eventually transpose to a Karjakin-Mamedyarov game from 2009, where White didn’t get anything… And our current game will not differ from that!
Sergey spent almost 30 minutes on this 12th move(!), but Black’s plan of playing Nd7-Nc5-a5-Ba6 seems a bit slow and White can hope to obtain a slight advantage.
Around move 25 White had a slight advantage thanks to the weakness of the a5 pawn and to the possibility of creating a distant passed pawn, but both players soon decided to repeat the moves.
This was another disappointing game by Karjakin, who proved once again that he was not well enough prepared to compete for the tournament victory.
See the game Kramnik - Svidler annotated by the Chess Anyone's team : click here.