World Candidates 2013-4: Carlsen surges!

Round #4
Tuesday, 19 March 2013

GM Nigel Short was in the commentator’s booth. Photo by Ray Morris-Hill.

Preview: After the first rest day, Levon Aronian seems to be the most fit for the occasion as he has played energetically in the first three rounds. Both Magnus Carlsen and Peter Svidler are coming off of impressive wins to let the Armenian know that he won’t simply run away. In fact, Svidler will have a chance to stop Aronian’s march in this round. In the meantime, Carlsen will face Alexander Grischuk, a player trying to find his form. The two have only played seven classical games with Carlsen at +1.

Teimour Radjabov and Vladimir Kramnik will pawn off in only their 16th encounter. The Russian is on +2 with 17 draws (11 consecutive including Istanbul Olympiad). Gelfand-Ivanchuk will be a tough fight as both seem to be off form a bit. If Ivanchuk loses a third game, that could become a big psychological blow.

2013 World Championship Candidates
March 15th-April 4th, 2013 (London, England)
Round #4
4.1 Carlsen
4.2 Radjabov
4.3 Aronian
4.4 Gelfand

Overview: The inevitable has happened. Magnus Carlsen has closed the gap on the field by winning against Alexander Grischuk in a rather smooth game. In this game, white essayed the Ruy Lopez avoiding the complications of the Berlin and got a very comfortable position for his pieces. Meanwhile black played 17.f5?! which became came under fire in the post-mortem.

Magnus Carlsen on the march! Photo by Ray Morris-Hill.

Magnus Carlsen is on the march with two straight wins.
Photo by Ray Morris-Hill.

Grischuk then conjured up complications after sacrificing an exchange for rook penetration. Carlsen remained cool as a cucumber and simply repelled the attack. GM Nigel Short and IM Lawrent Trent came up with a number of fantasy variations and there were variations where black had chances in some variations (including a queen sacrifice on g2 with 30…Qxg2+). Dogged by time pressure, Grischuk was unable to find any complications and Carlsen simply consolidated and collected the point.

Gelfand-Ivanchuk was a wild affair coming out of the Chigorin Defense and an even wilder game ensued with unbalanced and dynamic play. It appeared that black had a lot of activity and that white’s kingside pieces were sitting idle. This slothful treatment of the position almost cost Gelfand the full point as Ivanchuk bore down on the queenside.

The engines screamed 25…exd5 when they spit out 25…Rc2!? as a better alternative, but it does not seem to grant a winning initiative. Despite being a piece up, Gelfand could not use his advantage to protect his king and had to yield a three-fold repetition. These two veterans are back on the right track.

The final position says a lot about the tone of the game… rather equal throughout.

In Radjabov-Kramnik, it looked as if someone’s head would fall, but the game ended peacefully. One thing coming out of this game is an instructive lesson of how to play against hanging pawns. White was not able to create any space with a pawn thrust as black stayed very active.

Aronian-Svidler was never in any doubt… a rather uneventful draw. Svidler’s 10…Rb8 was a part of home preparation involving a long pawn sacrifice. This may not have been a good result for Aronian as Svidler had no problems and the final position is proof.

In the post-mortem, Svidler stated,

“It’s nice to have half a rest today. Somewhat nicer for me than it is for Levon I’m sure but for me it’s fairly nice.”

Svidler will not be able to rest much. He has Gelfand tomorrow and Carlsen BEFORE the second rest day. It was noted that Svidler looked to be in great physical condition. He will need his extra stamina as both will be tough encounters. Each game in round five will have its own subplot… Ivanchuk-Carlsen, Svidler-Gelfand, Kramnik-Aronian, Grischuk-Radjabov.

Videos by Macauley Peterson.

Video by GM Daniel King.

Official Site:
Photos by Ray Morris-Hill:
Drum Coverage:


Magnus Carlsen, 3/4 (+2 -0 =2), Levon Aronian, 3/4 (+2 -0 =2), Peter Svidler, 2.5/4 (+1 -0 =3), Vladimir Kramnik, 2/4 (+0 -0 =4), Teimour Radjabov, 2/4 (+1 -1 =2), Alexander Grischuk, 1.5/4 (+0 -1 =3), Boris Gelfand 1/4 (+0 -2 =2), Vassily Ivanchuk, 1/4 (+0 -2 =2)

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