World Candidates 2013-8: Kramnik is coming!

Round #8
Sunday, 24 March 2013

Magnus Carlsen won against Levon Aronian, but the two share joint 1st after four rounds. Photo by Frits Agterdenbos of ChessVista.

This was one of two games Magnus Carlsen won against Levon Aronian last year. This game at 2012 Tata Steel and 2012 London Classic catapulted Carlsen over the rating ELO record, but Aronian looks to close the gap. Photo by Frits Agterdenbos of ChessVista.

Preview: This is the most important game of the tournament thus far. The two leaders will face off in a gladiator battle in the eighth round. Levon Aronian is in good form and Magnus Carlsen is coming off a lackluster performance nearly losing against Teimour Radjabov. It appears that Aronian is well-prepared for this event, but Carlsen seems to be muddling through. We will see if Carlsen’s opening will hold up. The winner of this match will be in a good position.

Can Vladimir Kramnik break through? It’s getting late. Photo by Ray Morris-Hill: https://raymorris-hill.smugmug.com/

As the tournaments wears on, players will have a greater sense of urgency and that moment has come for Vladimir Kramnik. He has not won a game and came close to losing to Boris Gelfand last round. He hasn’t seemed stable and seems a bit out of character (i.e., game versus Ivanchuk). He faces Peter Svidler who is in top shape despite losing to Carlsen. This is nearly a must-win situation for Kramnik but if either wins, they will be on the heels of the leaders.

Grischuk-Ivanchuk and Radjabov-Gelfand are pairings of tail-enders, but all are capable of winning a couple of games and upsetting the tone of the tournament. Radjabov has played rather well, but none of the others are inspiring hearts as of yet.

2013 World Championship Candidates
March 15th-April 4th, 2013 (London, England)
Round #8
#
Name
Flag
Rating
Result
Name
Flag
Rating
8.1 Carlsen
2872
½-½
Aronian
2809
8.2 Radjabov
2793
0-1
Gelfand
2740
8.3 Grischuk
2764
1-0
Ivanchuk
2757
8.4 Kramnik
2810
1-0
Svidler
2747

Overview: The field has tightened. While Carlsen-Aronian was drawn, Vladimir Kramnik powered to victory by grinding down Peter Svidler into mush. Out of a Grunfeld, white got a slight advantage after early queen trade. As Kramnik tightened his grip and grabbed more space, Svidler’s piece got tangled until he was facing an unstoppable pawn mass in the center of the board. A powerful display by Kramnik with a picturesque ending. He pulls within one of the lead and plays Carlsen in round nine.

Kramnik played the crisp 37.gxf6! and after 37…exf6 (After 37…Kxh6 38.fxe7 black is crushed) then 38.e7! Rc8+ 39. Kb3 Bc5 40.Rc4 (threatening 41.Rxc5). Black resigned since massive losses are imminent.

Video by Macauley Peterson.

A very interesting discussion in the Sicilian Dragon ensued in Grischuk-Ivanchuk. The game had an unusual line 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 g6 6. Be3 Bg7 7. Bc4 Qa5!? Ivanchuk was able to plant a knight on d3, but Grischuk just played around it. White was slightly better, but the game appeared to be headed for a draw when Ivanchuk’s time pressure lead to his undoing. After 36…e5?? 37. b4! axb4 38. cxb4 Ne6 39. Nxd6! and Ivanchuk overstepped time in a completely lost position.

Bad break for Vassily Ivanchuk who overstepped the time limit for the third time. Photo by Ray Morris-Hill: https://raymorris-hill.smugmug.com/

Boris Gelfand was coming off of a near-win and was playing the newlywed Teimour Radjabov. The game was an English which resembled a Sicilian. White got the two bishops but closed the kingside with 17.f5 and suddenly his pawns became weak. It was amazing how quickly Radjabov’s position collapsed. After 30…Qb5! 31. Qf3 Ng5 there were simply too many threats. White resigned after 32.Qg2 bxa5. White could do nothing.

Official Site: https://london2013.fide.com/
Photos by Ray Morris-Hill: https://raymorris-hill.smugmug.com/
Drum Coverage: https://www.thechessdrum.net/blog/2013/03/15/2013-world-championship-candidates-london/

Video by GM Daniel King.

Standings

Magnus Carlsen, 5.5/8 (+3 -0 =5), Levon Aronian, 5.5/8 (+3 -0 =5), Vladimir Kramnik, 4.5/7 (+1 -0 =7), Alexander Grischuk, 4/8 (+1 -1 =6), Peter Svidler, 3.5/8 (+1 -2 =5), Boris Gelfand 3.5/8 (+1 -2 =5), Teimour Radjabov, 3/8 (+1 -3 =4), Vassily Ivanchuk, 2.5/8 (+0 -3 =5)

Daaim Shabazz

Daaim Shabazz is the founder of The Chess Drum, while serving as a tenured faculty member of Global Business & Marketing at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida, USA. He holds a B.S. Computer Science from Chicago State University, an MBA in Marketing and a Ph.D. in International Affairs & Development, both from Clark Atlanta University. He has served the journalist community for more than 30 years and still competes in tournaments occasionally.

One Comment

  1. 2013 World Championship Candidates
    March 15th-April 4th, 2013 (London, England)
    Standings after Round #8
    #
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    1
    2
    3
    4
    5
    6
    7
    8
    Pts.
    1
    Carlsen, M
    2872
    ½½
    ½
    1
    1
    1
    ½
    ½
    5.5
    2
    Aronian, L
    2809
    ½½
    ½
    ½
    ½
    1
    1
    1
    5.5
    3
    Kramnik, V
    2810
    ½
    ½
    ½
    ½
    ½
    ½
    3.5
    4
    Grischuk, A
    2764
    0
    ½
    ½
    ½
    ½
    ½
    ½1
    4.0
    5
    Svidler, P
    2747
    0
    ½
    ½0
    ½
    ½
    1
    ½
    3.5
    6
    Gelfand, B
    2740
    0
    0
    ½
    ½0
    ½
    ½1
    ½
    3.5
    7
    Radjabov, T
    2793
    ½
    0
    ½
    ½
    0
    ½0
    1
    3.0
    7
    Ivanchuk, V
    2757
    ½
    0
    ½
    ½0
    ½
    ½
    0
    2.5

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