Tournoi des Candidats au titre mondial 2014
Candidates, 6th round : Aronian misses his chance !
The 6th round is also the last round before the second rest day. All players will try hard to score. After the 5th round where all four Russian players had white , they now must defend with the black pieces.
The first game to be over was the one between Anand and Karjakin.
Anand changed his first move again by using 1.e4 which didn't bring him a positive result in the first round against Kramnik. True to himself, Karjakin chose the Berlin solid defense against the Spanish .
Unlike Andreikin in Round 4 (who played 4.d3), Anand chose to give a shot at the theoretical debate of the early ening coming from the first moves of the Berlin defense. Until the 19th move, Karjakin had already played the same game both with black and white !
It is the former World Champion who'll change first, with 20.Rxd8+, which is a novelty, but it didn't really change the position's evaluation. Therefore, after a few precise moves, Karjakin completly equalized and the game ended in a draw.
Anand still retains its leadership position with this draw, since Aronian missed a big opportunity to beat Andreikin and catch Anand back.
It seems very unlikely that Karjakin could get back in the race to the victory, as he seems to have difficulties in obtaining unbalanced and winning positions.
Mamedyarov and Svidler played a very interesting game, though it seemed odd to some extent.
On the opening, while the Russian abandoned his usual Grünfeld Defence in favor of 1 ... f5 (Leningrad Dutch), Mamedyarov chose the rare 8.b4 to counter it. Although this move doesn't give white big winning chances, he admitted during the press conference that he wanted to avoid his opponent's preparation.
The game therefore quickly deviated in unknown territories, and the middle game became very tactical, with opportunities for both sides. Positions where both players excel !
At this moment, black could hold his position together with 22 ... Qb7 ! Svidler commited several successive errors (especially Qc8 h6 ? which inexplicably abandons the pawn g6), and offered a completely winning position to Mamedyarov.
Mamedyarov had to be very precise but still found the beautiful final blow 31.Rg5 ! which transposes into a final crazy opposing couloured bishop winning colors, and forced his opponent's resignation.
Mamedyarov thus catches his opponents, and both are now in ambush with 50 %, a point behind the leader, Anand .
Much of the attention was focused on the game between Topalov and Kramnik.
Their relationship is very tense since the "Toiletgate" episode in 2006. Not surprisingly, there was no handshake at the start of the game.
From a chess point of view, this game was their first one since 2008.
As often, when faced with 1.d4, Kramnik chose to play a queen's gambit declined with 4 ... Be7. Topalov was the firts to deviate by using the rare 8.Be5 move. The Bulgarian described it as " dubious" but interesting as a surprise weapon. He was right.
The Russian giant will replied originally and sharply, but the bad 13 ... a5 move left a very good advantage to Topalov. After 27.Kh1, the position is lost, and Topalov converted his advantage with ease.
Topalov joins Mamedyarov and Kramnik with 3 /6.
Aronian had a golden opportunity to catch Anand up by playing Andreikin.
He started with the Reti opening. The world number 2 made a theoretical "sacrifice" by sacrificing his two knights against a rook and a pawn, but had big compensations on the weak king which had to move on the d8 square. The game delved into a complicated middle game where Aronian seemed to hold his share of chances for winning quickly and brillantly.
The white rooks dominated the board until the bad 27...Qc6 could have been refuted by the decisive 28.Bxe4. The Armenian decided to make a safer and more human choice, but technical difficulties had to be coped with afterwards.
It's still unclear whether Aronian made the right choice with 38.Bxe6, or wether Andreikin just played perfectly the ending. They shared the point 10 moves later .
Therefore, Anand reached the second rest day with a half point ahead of Aronian, and one (the latter who came back strongly after the early chaotic tournament) whole point of Kramnik, Topalov, Svidler and Mamedyarov.
Anything can still happen !
Chess Anyone provides professional analysis for everyone, for free. Here is the annotated game between Topalov and Kramnik. Learn more...