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CHESS CFT 2014

The Candidates Tournament

By Carolina Blanco

The Candidates Tournament was an eight players double round-robin event played over fourteen rounds in all. It was held in the Russian city of Khanty-Mansiysk between 03/13-03/30/2014. The winner, Anand Viswanathan, will now challenge Magnus Carlsen in the World Championship that is to take place in November 2014. The World Championship is now going to become an annual event. The eight players selected for this event were chosen for a variety of reasons.

Viswanathan Anand: He has been world chess champion no fewer than 5 times and qualified by being the finalist of the 2013 World Championship.

Vladimir Kramnik: He has been at the top level for two decades now. He beat ex-world champion Garry Kasparov when he was at the height of his power. He qualified by winning the 2013 World Cup.

Dimitry Andreikin:  He was World Junior Champion in 2010; however, his route to the top has been quite interesting. Most of the time, against better players, Andreikin plays a waiting game. He holds his fort and lets the opponent make a mistake. He qualified by being runner up at the 2013 world cup.

Veselin Topalov: Topalov in Bulgaria is like Sachin in India! And not without reason! The Bulgarian has shown his class ever since winning the strong 2005 San Luis Tournament so he is not new to this double round robin format. He qualified by winning the FIDE Grandprix 2012-2013.

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov: Characterized for his quality of sharpening the play by making unconventional moves, Ehile has not proven he has the necessary skills to consistently beat players such as Kramnik, Aroinian and Anand; however, there can be no question that he had the capacity to beat any of them on his day. He qualified by being the runner up at the 2013 World Cup.

Levon Aronian: Characterized for being an easy going and calm person, Aronian is considered the best Armenian chess player since Petrosian. He is number 2 in the world ranking after Magnus Carlsen. He was the favorite to win this competition.  He qualified based on FIDE rating.

Sergey Karjakin: Karjakin is famous for becoming the youngest grandmaster in the world at the tender age of 12 years and 7 months. Many prodigies have come and gone but this record still remains intact. In fact, when Ruslan Ponomariov won the FIDE World Chess Championship in 2002, guess who was his official second for the tournament? The twelve-year-old Sergey Karjakin. Unfortunately, he has been unable to break past that last barrier that would make him a favorite contender, though it does bear mentioning that in 2013 he won the Norway Super GM tournament ahead of Carlsen himself, and on the Norwegian’s home turf no less. He qualified based on FIDE rating.

Peter Svidler: Peter Svidler knows that age is not on his side (he is 37 years old); however, he is the current Russian Champion with a record seven titles and has been at the absolute top for close to 20 years now. Let’s not forget how he dismantled Magnus Carlsen in the high intensity last round of Candidates 2013. He is this year’s organizer’s wild card.

Now let’s see a of game of Vishy in round 3 in which he was already taking the early lead in this competition.

Note: Click on the opening move to open the chess board.

Note: Comments by GM  Alejandro Ramirez

This game was instrumental to the tournament. Anand obtained a pleasant position from the opening, an unusual version of the h3 Najdorf. His pieces seemed better prepared to attack his opponent’s structure. This in turn transformed into an endgame in which White’s queen and bishop were superior to his opponent’s, not to mention that the structure favored White. Anand’s advantage was small but stable.

A very bad decision by Topalov was to play the move 31…h6? With an exposed king and a nearly zugzwanged position, Topalov was forced to shed a pawn and go into a surely losing queen endgame. Anand’s technique wasn’t absolutely flawless but it was good enough to bring home the victory with 1 point ahead of the closest follower and a performance of 2845. All the world is excited to see a rematch between Anand and Carlsen in which the Indian lost his crown last year!

Final Results

Rank SNo. Name Rtg FED 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Pts Res. vict SB
1 6 GM Anand Viswanathan 2770 IND * * ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 0 3 57,25
2 2 GM Karjakin Sergey 2766 RUS ½ ½ * * 0 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 1 ½ 1 ½ ½ 0 3 51,75
3 4 GM Kramnik Vladimir 2787 RUS ½ ½ 1 0 * * 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 0 1 7 3 49,25
4 5 GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2757 AZE 0 ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ * * 1 ½ 0 1 1 ½ ½ ½ 7 2 3 48,00
5 1 GM Andreikin Dmitry 2709 RUS ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ * * ½ 1 0 ½ 1 ½ 7 2 48,50
6 7 GM Aronian Levon 2830 ARM 0 ½ 1 0 ½ ½ 1 0 ½ 0 * * 1 ½ ½ ½ 3 45,00
7 3 GM Svidler Peter 2758 RUS ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ 1 0 ½ 1 ½ 0 ½ * * 1 0 ½ 3 46,00
8 8 GM Topalov Veselin 2785 BUL ½ 0 ½ ½ 1 0 ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ 0 1 * * 6 0 2 42,25

 

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