World Candidates 2013-10: Three-horse race!

Round #10
Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Magnus Carlsen keeping an eye out on his nearest competition,
Levon Aronian. Photo by Ray Morris-Hill.

2013 World Championship Candidates
March 15th-April 4th, 2013 (London, England)
Round #10
10.1 Carlsen
10.2 Aronian
10.3 Radjabov
10.4 Grischuk

Overview: Today was a pivotal turn as only three players have a realistic chance of winning the tournament. Magnus Carlsen, Levon Aronian and Vladimir Kramnik have made the final stage of the tournament a three-horse race as each won their games today.

Carlsen faced a resurgent Boris Gelfand whom he defeated in round three. In this game, Carlsen trotted out the Rossolimo Attack, an opening which he undoubtedly made improvements on after getting a horrible position against Teimour Radjabov after 4.Bxc6. Gelfand also came up with a novelty as black against Viswanathan Anand’s 4.Bxc6 bxc6 5.b3 e5!? so this would be a good discussion. However, Carlsen certainly did not want to test Gelfand’s preparation
and opted for 4.O-O instead.

Boris Gelfand attempted to stop the march of Magnus Carlsen.
Photo by Ray Morris-Hill.

White got a very comfortable position and developed fluidly while Gelfand’s black queen started wandering from her army. While she was away, Black’s forces soon came under assault and the queen would remain imprisoned behind enemy lines for the rest of the game. There were a number of backrank weaknesses that prevented black from being more aggressive.

Carlsen’s 28.Qa5! was a nice motif that forced black to stand down. In a very crisp finale, Carlsen donated a piece after 44.Qf3 Qxf1+ 45.Kh2 to get his steamrolling pawns moving and ended nicely with 45…Qb1 46.b7 Qb5 47.c6 Bd5 48.Qg3 and the b-pawn with morph into another queen.

Teimour Radjabov may be lurking in last place, but he can be a dangerous “spoiler”. Beware. Photo by Ray Morris-Hill.

Levon Aronian got a victory when a beleaguered Vassily Ivanchuk forfeited for the fourth time. IM Lawrence Trent pointed out that these occurrences are not merely time scrambles, but with ten moves short! In this game, Ivanchuk played the improbable Budapest Defense after 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e5 3. dxe5 Ng4 this line has often been used for shock value and certainly Aronian could not have expected such a move.

These types of openings are rarely played at this level and there is a reason why… the gambit did not yield black any initiative. Aronian played 26.g4 Rf4 27.Bf5 attempting to cut off black defenses while launching and attack after 27…Nd5 28.Rh3. This was not dangerous, but with zeitnot creeping up, the Ukrainian blundered with 28…Rh8? and after 29.e3 gxf5 30.exf4 and black flagged in a completely losing position. Shame.

An endgame for the books, black has just captured a piece with 30…cxd4. White has a compromised pawn structure and soon had to give way.

Perhaps the most instructive game was Grischuk-Kramnik as the resulting endgame will no doubt end up in endgame books and databases from henceforth. After a discussion in the Berlin Defense, Kramnik came out with a much better pawn structure and this was made apparent later on. White was forced to go in a losing ending after 29…Nd4! 30.Bxd4 cxd4. In the diagram, black would simply win opposition as white’s pawn structure was totally overextended. Black protected passed pawn served as a diversion and white lost his kingside. Nice technique!

In Radjabov-Svidler there wasn’t much of a discussion in the Grunfeld and a repetition of moves occurred after move 21.

Video by GM Daniel King.

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


Magnus Carlsen, 7/10 (+4 -0 =6), Levon Aronian, 6.5/10 (+4 -1 =5), Vladimir Kramnik, 6/10 (+2 -0 =8), Boris Gelfand 4.5/10 (+2 -3 =5), Alexander Grischuk, 4.5/10 (+1 -2 =7), Peter Svidler, 4.5/10 (+1 -2 =7), Vassily Ivanchuk, 3.5/10 (+1 -4 =5), Teimour Radjabov, 3.5/10 (+1 -4 =5)


  1. I think its human nature to want to see the runner up go down fighting against the best. However, I do think that most people wouldn’t mind seeing a Carlsen v Anand match. I think it would be good for chess. Although, it looks like Kramnik is fighting hard for that desirable spot.

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