Tournoi des Candidats au titre mondial 2014
Round 5 : Svidler's back !
This 5th round was very peculiar. Indeed, besides the duel between the two extremes of the ranking all the games opposed two opponent's with the same number of points! That's why each protagonists could have put one of his direct contender a whole point behind.
Chess Anyone takes a look on this 5th round which, if it wasn't so bloody (only one victory), was really exciting for the chess players we are.
First, let's start with the game Svidler-Topalov. Each players were sharing the 4th-5th place with 2/4.
In this game, Pete opts for 1.e4 and, first surprise, Topalov answered by 1...e5. It follows (as usual at this level) a Spanish where the Bulgarian played the rare 5...Bc5 !? Svidler seems surprised whereas “Topi” is well-prepared, and takes a big advance on the clock after 13...0-0-0! and 14...Ne5! His position seems a little bit better but remains very complicated and requires a lot of precision.
We will quote Svidler during the press conference : “We both won't include this game to our best ones” to understand that both players weren't satisfied about their middlegame play. Eventually, it's always the one who makes the minimum of inaccuracies who usually wins the game (or here, the battle of the middlegame) and after 25 moves, Svidler obtains the bishop pair without any compensation better than a weak pawn...tripled on the f-file.
Svidler transforms the nature of his advantage in a Rook + opposite couloured Bishops endgame with a pawn up and two passed pawns on c and h. After an energy-less defense, Topalov resigned on move 48 and Svidler bounced back to the pursuer's groupe with +1 and 3/5 at half a point from Anand.
Today's clash opposed World n°2 and 3 : Levon Aronian (with Black) and Vladimir Kramnik. It was very important for the tournament since each players were sharing the 2nd place, at half a point from Anand.
The game quickly deviated from what we could expect because after a Queen's Gambit, Vladimir prefered to put aside his Catalan and systems with Bf4 or Bg5 for the tame 4.e3. The game followed a development close to the Colle-Zukertor with the Knight on c3.
After 15 moves, the pawn's structure became symmetric. However, the position was easier to play from Kramnik's side thanks to his space advantage. Aronian soon came with a lot of difficulties (like in each of his games with Black pieces in this tournament) after a very risky g5 in front of his own King.
The game became very tactical as every Kramnik's pieces were attacking the Kg8, but the Armenian defended in a cold blooded manner. After 28.Ng4, Kramnik revealed that to him “It was almost time to resign”, but it was far from being clear. And this is the time were Aronian blundered with 33...Bxd5?
However, Kramnik was under a great time pressure and despite the winning line he saw with 35.Rg1, he didn't thought it was safe enough and eventually prefered to enter into a Rook endgame with a pawn up. Indeed, he reckoned, he would have acceptable chances to win this endgame but it revealed to be quite easy to defend for Aronian and the players agreed on a draw on move 60 after a great fight.
Andreïkin-Anand was particularly interesting since it was a match between the leader and the latter. And given that Andreïkin was White, he could bounce back in the tournament and stop the former World Champion as he could lose and get stuck into his bad shape.
Andreïkin chose to begin with 1.e4 as in round 3 against Karjakin, and faced a Berlin again. We remember he already got nothing from the opening against the Russian, that's why he deviated from his previous game with 5.Bxc6 (a move we seen for instance during the match Anand-Carlsen) in order to obtain a position typical from the exchange Spanish. His ambition was clear, he didn't really want to profit from Anand's opening choice but go into a playable position.
After 25 more or less logical moves (White opened the Queen side while Black put his pieces in the center), Anand gets rid from his doubled pawn. He now have his light-squared Bishop versus White's Knight in an opened position, that is to say a small advantage. However, he didn't find the correct moves to put a real pressure before the time control and took the draw prematurely on the 42nd move.
If Andreïkin clearly showed with his opening that he didn't prepare something on the Berlin defense, Anand seemed satisfied to draw with a slightly better position whereas he could have put more pressure on his opponent. We hope this won't affect his final result since he is playing for the 1st place.
Finally, the game Karjakin-Mamedyarov which, we have to say it, was the less fascinating of the day. It was probably due to the tournament's situation as both players were sharing the 6th and 7th place with 1,5/4.
With white, the young Russian played 1.e4 and after a Sicilian defense with 2...d6, ran into the fashionable line : the Canal-Sokolsy with 3.Bb5+. This line is one of Magnus Carlsen's favorite weapon, in order to force Maroczy's position without the ligth-squared Bishop.
Indeed, this is what happened in the game and after a lot of exchanges, initiated by 12.Nd5, the protagonists entered into a Queen+2 Rooks middlegame. Hopefully, Karjakin showed that he hadn't lose all his ambitions and tried to push a maximum, “like Magnus”, trying to play on the weakness e7 (that kind of middlegame has been recently won in Bundesliga by the french Etienne Bacrot against the young Dutch Anish Giri).
White eventually won the a6 pawn, but Black's activity was too important. After a very precise defense from Mamedyarov, Karjakin couldn't really expect to win and both players agreed on a draw on move 31.
After this 5th round, we can now see a split in the ranking between those in a good shape and those in a bad shape since there's a full point between the 4th and the 5th player of the tournament !
Will the following of the tournament confirm this tendency ?
Kramnik against Aronian is annotated by our team : click here.