World Candidates 2013-9: Carlsen in 1st

Round #9
Monday, 25 March 2013

2013 World Championship Candidates
March 15th-April 4th, 2013 (London, England)

Round #9

9.1 Kramnik
9.2 Svidler
9.3 Ivanchuk
9.4 Gelfand

Overview: While the Kramnik-Carlsen was a moral victory of the Norwegian who held off the “Killer Catalan”. Carlsen fell head first into Kramnik’s preparation and quickly got into deep trouble. At one point, Carlsen was a full pawn down, but he played very actively to avoid being tied up by the passed a-pawn. He was able to accomplish some material liquidation and while a pawn down, the draw became theoretical. Carlsen is quickly gaining a reputation as being a tenacious defender, but how many lives does the Norwegian have left?

Grischuk-Svidler was the wildest game of the tournament!
Photo by Ray Morris-Hill.

In this position after 19…h3!?!? pieces flying everywhere!

The Svidler-Grischuk drawn game of the round was the wildest! Grischuk sacrificed a piece on move 12, then two more for the white queen. In the diagram white has to cope with an exposed king while black has to figure out a way to prevent white from coordinating his pieces and getting a lock on the position.

The game kept getting more bizarre, but white was unable to prevent the harassment of the black queen. The white pieces huddled around the king, but white had nothing more than to build a fortress draw. What would occur is that black queen would always gain checks on the open board especially with the black king far from danger. Svidler gained ground on the leaders.

Video by Macauley Peterson.

Levon Aronian was attempting to keep pace with Carlsen and was facing a tough hombre in Boris Gelfand. The Israeli was coming off of a good win and with the white pieces he was motivated. The game evolved into a relatively balanced struggle with equal chances. The tension started to build when Aronian started with 24…dxc4 25. Bxc4 Rxd4 26. Bxe6 Bf7 27. Bxf5 but blundered with 27…Bf7? After 27. Bxf5 Bc4 28. e6! the board was cut in half and black forces became disorganized. After seizing the advantage, Gelfand played precisely and ground down Aronian’s forces for the full point. Aronian is still only half-point back with five rounds left. Meanwhile Gelfand is on an even score.

Both players have had a tough tournament… each on the end of three losses.
Photo by Ray Morris-Hill.

In Ivanchuk-Radjabov this was the battle between two hard luck competitors. Ivanchuk had lost three games on time and Radjabov failed to convert against Carlsen and also lost three games. In this 76-move game, it was a relatively even affair throughout, but in an equal rook ending, Radjabov allowed the thread of the position to unravel. After trading a pair of rook, Ivanchuk was able to gain active play and establish an armada of health pawns on the kingside. In the final position 76.f6 wins due to 76…Kxe6 Re8+ and 76…Rxe6 77.Rd8+! winning.

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


Magnus Carlsen, 6/9 (+3 -0 =6), Levon Aronian, 5.5/9 (+3 -1 =5), Vladimir Kramnik, 5/9 (+1 -0 =8), Alexander Grischuk, 4.5/9 (+1 -1 =7), Boris Gelfand 4.5/9 (+2 -2 =5), Peter Svidler, 4/9 (+1 -2 =6), Vassily Ivanchuk, 3.5/9 (+1 -3 =5), Teimour Radjabov, 3/9 (+1 -4 =4)


  1. Carlsen is one of the “LUCKIEST” players i have ever come across..

    He is also one REALLY and EXTREMELY Brilliant and Tenacious defender!!!!

    But how long have we been hearing,..”Carlsen was worse, but he pulled of a draw, or even a win”…..

    This boy is just GOOD!

  2. Chess involves attack, defence, patience etc. and Magnus is clearly good at all aspects. As Tina Turner once belted…Carlsen is “simply the best”. Still a long way to go but he has “nullified” his toughest competition in Aronian and Kramnik. His final five games include three whites (and two blacks against “comfortable” opposition) and that means the schedule is good for him. It is now his to lose.

  3. He is very resourceful indeed. However, some of the bad positions he gets would no doubt have been converted by a technician like Fischer, Karpov or Kasparov if they were playing the stronger side. I can only imagine what Fischer would be saying.

    Carlsen cannot continue to neglect his openings and expect to “save” positions from the brink of collapse. His play against Radjabov and Kramnik is certainly not world championship caliber. However, he is getting results.

    As far as the rest of the tournament, any of the remaining five competitors can become the “spoiler”. Grischuk, Svidler, Gelfand, Ivanchuk and Radjabov are all capable of beating the other three in the field so it will be a thriller. Only one point separates the top three.

    1. I share the same view that players better at coverting technical advantages would do best against Carlsen and would help
      Carlsen’s game to evolve. Fortunately, Carlsen’s youth may allow him time to meet those competitors that will help him by causing him to face the consequences of insubstantial opening play. Historically, a similar observation is observed with Karpov who did not benefit from nor experience playing against Fischer.

  4. What happens from now on will depends a lot on whether Carlsen’s opponents can hold him to a draw or two. Otherwise, I have to agree with Ian, it will be his to lose. In due time, it will be apt to compare him to THE greats, but as of now, I don’t think he’s there yet.

  5. I believe Carlsen will lose at least one game. The other players will certainly not be looking for a draw. For some (like Kramnik, Svidler, Gelfand, Ivanchuk), this may their best shot at the championship (facing Anand), so they’re going to give it all they’ve got.

  6. Up until now, Magnus has skillfully avoided losing a game or two. Now, he will not be taking any risk with his opening choices. I also imagine that he will be playing sharper lines, yet he will also be interested about the ongoing at the other boards to help him decide whether to fight on or settle for a draw. The next few rounds should be more interesting than what we’ve seen so far.

  7. Carlsen will go through undefeated.
    He will struggle against Anand, but I hope that he will be able to beat and become World Champion.

    It will be good for chess to have the World Number 1 as Champion again.

  8. It’s still a close race and with Magnus just a half point in the lead anything can happen. However, if Carlsen wins tomorrow, I anticipate t that the discussion will shift to a battle between a conventional Anand and an capricious Carlsen.

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