2014 World Chess Candidates (Khanty-Mansiysk)

Fédération Internationale des Échecs  (FIDE)

The World Chess Candidates tournament has begun. Eight competitors including former World Champions Viswanathan Anand, Vladimir Kramnik and Veselin Topalov will compete for a right to challenge Magnus Carlsen for the chess crown. Carlsen defeated Anand in Chennai, India last November in a match with high fanfare. This tournament will be followed by millions in anticipation of perhaps a new guard emerging. However, there is a lot of diversity in the field and it will be hotly-contested.

This double round-robin event of the eight qualifiers will feature a time control will be 40/120, 20/60, 15m+30s sudden death. The prize fund is 420,000 euros with 95,000 going to the winner. There will be strict anti-cheating rules and players cannot agree to a draw before Black’s 30th move. More details are given at the links below.

Main Site: https://candidates2014.fide.com/
Regulations: https://www.fide.com/FIDE/handbook/regscandidates2014.pdf
Pairings: https://www.fide.com/component/content/article/1-fide-news/7735-candidates-tournament-2014-pairings.html
Schedule: https://www.fide.com/component/content/article/1-fide-news/7688–candidates-tournament-2014-announcement.html

2014 Candidates Tournament
March 11th-April 1st, 2014 (Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia)
Participants
#
Name
Title
Federation
Flag
Rating
1 Aronian, Levon
(Rating Qualification 2012-2013)
GM Armenia
2812
2 Kramnik, Vladimir
(2013 World Cup, 1st place)
GM Russia
2787
3 Topalov, Veselin
(2012-2013 Grand Prix, 1st place)
GM Bulgaria
2785
4 Anand, Viswanathan
(Immediate Past World Champion)
GM India
2773
5 Karjakin, Sergey
(Rating Qualification, 2012-2013)
GM Russia
2766
6 Svidler, Peter
(Organizer’s Nominee)
GM Russia
2758
7 Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar
(2012-2013 Grand Prix, 2nd place)
GM Azerbaijan
2757
8 Andreikin, Dmitri
(2013 World Cup, 2nd place)
GM Russia
2709
Main Site

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.

14 Comments

  1. Round #1
    Thursday, 13 March 2014

    2013 World Championship Candidates
    March 11th-April 1st, 2011 (Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia)
    Round #1
    #
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    Result
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    1.1 Andreikin
    2709
    ½-½
    Kramnik
    2810
    1.2 Karjakin
    2766
    ½-½
    Svidler
    2758
    1.3 Anand
    2773
    1-0
    Aronian
    2809
    1.4 Mamedyarov
    2757
    ½-½
    Topalov
    2785
    Games

    Anand bolts out front with an impressive win over Aronian!

    Ceremonial move starts the tournament.

    Two of the most personable players in the world, but all was not happy today.
    Photo by FIDE.com.

    The 2014 Candidates tournament is underway and it is the former champion who has bolted out into the lead with a rousing win over the presumed favorite, Levon Aronian. Anand certainly has something to prove after a lackluster performance in his title defense against Magnus Carlsen… in Chennai no less.

    Anand and Aronian went into a type of Marshall Gambit, one of his main weapons. Aronian has been a bit inconsistent lately despite strong performances at Wijk ann Zee and Zurich. Again he starts with a loss, but it is a long tournament. In this game, Anand took advantage of a misjudgment and won a technical ending finally trapping Aronian’s knight.

    The Madras Tiger starts off the tournament auspiciously in a bid for a rematch against Carlsen. In today’s game he looked to be energetic and in form. We shall see what follows.

    Official Site: https://candidates2014.fide.com/

    Video Commentary by GM Daniel King

    Standings

    Viswanathan Anand, 1/1 (+1 -0 =0), Peter Svidler, .5/1 (+0 -0 =1), Vladimir Kramnik, .5/1 (+0 -0 =1), Sergey Karjakin, .5/1 (+0 -0 =1), Veselin Topalov, .5/1 (+0 -0 =1), Shakriyar Mamedyarov, .5/1 (+0 -0 =1), Dmitri Andreikin .5/1 (+0 -0 =1), Levon Aronian, 0/1 (+0 -1 =0)

  2. 2014 World Championship Candidates
    March 11th-April 1st, 2014 (Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia)
    Round #2
    #
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    Result
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    2.1 Aronian
    2809
    1-0
    Mamedyarov
    2757
    2.2 Topalov
    2785
    ½-½
    Anand
    2773
    2.3 Svidler
    2758
    1-0
    Andreikin
    2709
    2.4 Kramnik
    2810
    1-0
    Karjakin
    2766
    Games

    Blood boils in Khanty-Mansiysk…3/4 games decisive

    Peter Svidler gets into the win column.
    Photo by FIDE.com.

    Today’s round saw fighting play as three games saw a decisive result… all white wins. The only draw (Topalov-Anand) went down to king vs. king! Levon Aronian bounced back from yesterday’s loss to Viswanathan Anand to crush Shakhriyar Mamedyarov with a creative queen trap. Peter Svidler outclassed Dmitri Andreikin in a Kalashnikov Sicilian. In a tactical finale, Svidler grabbed space and then grabbed sacrificed material. He ended affairs with the aesthetically-pleasing 28.Rcc1! Kramnik-Karjakin was a weird opening where black got into serious positional trouble. Black had to jettison a pawn and then watch as white ripped open the queen-castled king with 23.Rxc6! and made short work of the young Russian.

    Official Site: https://candidates2014.fide.com/

    Video Commentary by GM Daniel King

    Standings

    Viswanathan Anand, 1.5/2 (+1 -0 =1), Peter Svidler, 1.5/2 (+1 -0 =1), Vladimir Kramnik, 1.5/2 (+1 -0 =1), Levon Aronian, 1/2 (+1 -1 =0), Veselin Topalov, 1/2 (+0 -0 =2), Dmitri Andreikin .5/2 (+0 -1 =1), Sergey Karjakin, .5/2 (+0 -1 =1), Shakriyar Mamedyarov, .5/2 (+0 -1 =1)

  3. 2014 World Championship Candidates
    March 11th-April 1st, 2014 (Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia)
    Round #3
    #
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    Result
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    3.1 Topalov
    2785
    ½-½
    Aronian
    2830
    3.2 Andreikin
    2709
    ½-½
    Karjakin
    2766
    3.3 Svidler
    2758
    ½-½
    Kramnik
    2810
    3.4 Mamedyarov
    2757
    0-1
    Anand
    2773
    Games

    Viswanathan Anand is clearly making a statement in the early stages of the World Candidates Chess tournament in Khanty-Mansiysk. The Indian crushed Shakhriyar Mamedyarov in a game where mistakes were not obvious but white’s position collapsed rapidly.

    An off-form Shakhriyar Mamedyarov did not make a good account of himself in round three. Photo by FIDE.com.

    Black attacked white’s overextended center and weakened kingside to take the full point in 31 moves. Anand has surprised naysayers who thought that his competitive career was behind him. Maybe not!

    Probably the most exciting game of the round was Topalov-Aronian which exploded in the middle game, but ended in a three-fold repetition. Aronian sacrificed a piece for an irresistible attack, but Topalov returned material and held on to split the point.

    Peter Svidler is probably cursing himself for not snaring the full point against Vladimir Kramnik. There was a healthy post-mortem that showed white with winning chances. Kramnik was able to find tremendous resources with 45.e5! f5! 46.gxf5 and black found the saving grace with 46…Rf6!! This was to the delight of commentator GMs Peter Heine-Nielsen and Viktorija Cmiltye. Amazing!

    Not really much of a conversation in Andreikin-Karjakin as pieces melted away quickly and ended in a perpetual check.

    Official Site: https://candidates2014.fide.com/

    Video Commentary by GM Daniel King

    Standings

    Viswanathan Anand, 2.5/3 (+2 -0 =1), Peter Svidler, 2/3 (+1 -0 =2), Vladimir Kramnik, 2/3 (+1 -0 =2), Levon Aronian, 1.5/3 (+1 -1 =1), Veselin Topalov, 1.5/2 (+0 -0 =3), Dmitri Andreikin 1/3 (+0 -1 =2), Sergey Karjakin, 1/3 (+0 -1 =2), Shakriyar Mamedyarov, .5/3 (+0 -2 =1)

  4. 2014 World Championship Candidates
    March 11th-April 1st, 2014 (Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia)
    Round #4
    #
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    Result
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    4.1 Mamedyarov
    2757
    1-0
    Andreikin
    2709
    4.2 Karjakin
    2766
    ½-½
    Topalov
    2785
    4.3 Aronian
    2830
    1-0
    Svidler
    2758
    4.4 Anand
    2773
    ½-½
    Kramnik
    2810
    Games

    Levon Aronian played inspired chess today.

    Levon Aronian is back on track with an impressive victory over Peter Svidler. Aronian lost his first game against Viswanathan Anand and fans were wondering whether the Armenian would flame out of yet another important tournament. Of course not. This is a very long tournament and the way the tournament is going, things could change rapidly.

    Aronian played a novel game out of a main line in the Grunfeld. In fact, Aronian had played the same line against Alexander Grischuk, but made no progress. In this line, black grabbed material and his queen was chased around the board. Aronian seized the initiative after he uncorked 22.Bxf7+! (diagram #1) drawing the black king from his cover of pawns.

    It appeared that Svidler was walking a tightrope and that white’s menacing pawns and active pieces would overwhelm his forces at any moment. After 33.e5 (diagram #2), Aronian’s pawns were rolling up the board, but the Russian was holding by a thread. However, the Russian started to unravel and found himself is a stifling bind. After mutual errors were exchanged Aronian found the knockout punch with 57.Ree6. Svidler’s king never rested after the sacrifice.

    Topalov was not too excited about today’s bout with Karjakin. Photos by FIDE.com.

    Shahkriyar Mamedyarov bounced back after the break to win a nice game against Dmitri Andreikin. The Russian blundered in a tense position with clocks winding down. That put Mamedyarov on the scoreboard for his first win and relegated Andreikin to last place still looking for his first win.

    Anand-Kramnik was a fascinating game, but it appeared to be a long series of prepared moves. The opening sacrifice after 11…Qxc3+ was challenge by black’s centralized king. However, the monarch remained on e8 the entire game and was never in danger. In fact, it was the white king doing a dance… a three-fold repetition was reached a draw agreed.

    Nothing going on in Karjakin-Topalov as the pieces flew off the board and the game ended with a black queen versus two white rooks and bunch of pawns.

  5. 2014 World Championship Candidates
    March 11th-April 1st, 2014 (Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia)
    Round #5
    #
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    Result
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    5.1 Svidler
    2758
    1-0
    Topalov
    2785
    5.2 Kramnik
    2810
    ½-½
    Aronian
    2830
    5.3 Andreikin
    2709
    ½-½
    Anand
    2773
    5.4 Karjakin
    2766
    ½-½
    Mamedyarov
    2757
    Games

    Peter Svidler’s selection as a wildcard in the Candidate’s caused a minor controversy when it left higher-rated players out of the competition. However, there was no doubt that the 7-time Russian belonged in this elite field. He proved his mettle by dispatching of former World Champion Veselin Topalov in a sharp queenless battle. The opening featured novel play with a pawn sacrifice and a middlegame clash of minor pieces exploded as white maintained an initiative against the cornered black king. Here is an account given by GM Alejandro Ramirez.

    A powerful game by Svidler, but the most exciting game was Kramnik-Aronian which went down to king versus king. Both players are expected to compete near the top of the charts for the right to challenge Magnus Carlsen.

    In the following position in Kramnik-Aronian, white has played 31.Ne4-f6+, black would play 31…Qxf6! which was the point of 27…e3! which diverts attention from the white attack.

    After Kramnik’s 22. f5!, the Armenian played a very risky move of 22…g5? The Russian got a very promising attacking position with optimally placed pieces aimed at the weakened black king. White then broke with 27.d5! and the space advantage and when it appeared that black would collapse, he played an opportunistic queen sacrifice after 30…Rc2! 31.Nf6+ Qxf6! to drum up counterplay.

    The point was after 32.Bxf6 e2 black has succeeded in complicating matters. However, he almost threw away his counterplay after 33…Bxd5?! but keep white tied up long enough to prevent further damage to his position. There was a novel conclusion of the game as in the postmortem, they analyzing various rook and pawn endgames. Very instructive!

    Both Andreikin-Anand and Karjakin-Mamedyarov were rather uneventful draws petering out into placid rook endings.

    Anand seems to be in good form. Will he hold onto his slim lead?
    Photos by FIDE.com.

    Official Site: https://candidates2014.fide.com/

    Video Commentary by GM Daniel King

    Standings

    Viswanathan Anand, 3.5/5 (+2 -0 =3), Levon Aronian, 3/5 (+2 -1 =2), Vladimir Kramnik, 3/5 (+1 -0 =4), Peter Svidler, 3/5 (+2 -1 =2), Shakriyar Mamedyarov, 2.5/5 (+2 -2 =1), Veselin Topalov, 2/5 (+0 -1 =4), Sergey Karjakin, 2/5 (+0 -1 =4), Dmitri Andreikin 1.5/5 (+0 -2 =3),

  6. 2014 World Championship Candidates
    March 11th-April 1st, 2014 (Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia)
    Round #6
    #
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    Result
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    6.1 Topalov
    2785
    1-0
    Kramnik
    2810
    6.2 Anand
    2773
    ½-½
    Karjakin
    2766
    6.3 Mamedyarov
    2757
    1-0
    Svidler
    2758
    6.4 Aronian
    2830
    ½-½
    Andreikin
    2709
    Games

    The tournament has turned into a dog-eat-dog world. Veselin Topalov crushed Vladimir Kramnik’s poor handling of the opening. White developed a huge space advantage and broke through on the queenside. The loss is not as disturbing as the way Kramnik has been losing. Generally the Russian is very well-prepared in the opening, but somehow fell behind within the first 15 moves.

    Aronian missed a chance to draw even with Anand. Photo by FIDE.com.

    In the other decisive game, Shahkriyar Mamedyarov beat Peter Svidler in a topsy-turvy Dutch. Svidler got more out of the opening than one would usually get from such an opening. However, the Russian lost his way, but capitalized off of a flash tactic 28.Bf7+! but ended with an improbable 31.Rg5! White gets three passed pawns in a bishop ending. Nice comeback for the Azeri player who seems to be rounding into form.

    Levon Aronian missed a wonderful opportunity after building up a decisive advantage against Dmitri Andreikin. He then made a misjudgement and allowed liquidation into a drawn ending. A golden opportunity missed for Aronian. Because of this, Viswanathan Anand was able to maintain his half-point lead after drawing with Sergey Karjakin.

    Official Site: https://candidates2014.fide.com/

    Video Commentary by GM Daniel King

    Standings

    Viswanathan Anand, 4/6 (+2 -0 =4), Levon Aronian, 3.5/6 (+2 -1 =3), Vladimir Kramnik, 3/6 (+1 -1 =4), Peter Svidler, 3/6 (+2 -2 =2), Shakriyar Mamedyarov, 3/6 (+2 -2 =2), Veselin Topalov, 3/6 (+1 -1 =4), Sergey Karjakin, 2.5/6 (+0 -1 =5), Dmitri Andreikin 2/6 (+0 -2 =4),

  7. 2014 World Championship Candidates
    March 11th-April 1st, 2014 (Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia)
    Round #7
    #
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    Result
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    7.1 Svidler
    2758
    ½-½
    Anand
    2773
    7.2 Andreikin
    2709
    1-0
    Topalov
    2785
    7.3 Karjakin
    2766
    0-1
    Aronian
    2830
    7.4 Kramnik
    2810
    1-0
    Mamedyarov
    2757
    Games

    Official Site: https://candidates2014.fide.com/
    Drum Coverage: https://www.thechessdrum.net/blog/2014/03/13/2014-world-chess-candidates-khanty-mansiysk-rus/

    Video Commentary by GM Daniel King

    Standings

    Viswanathan Anand, 4.5/7 (+2 -0 =5), Levon Aronian, 4.5/7 (+3 -1 =3), Vladimir Kramnik, 4/7 (+2 -1 =4), Peter Svidler, 3.5/7 (+2 -2 =3), Shakriyar Mamedyarov, 3/7 (+2 -3 =2), Dmitri Andreikin 3/7 (+1 -2 =4), Veselin Topalov, 3/7 (+1 -2 =4), Sergey Karjakin, 2.5/7 (+0 -2 =5),

  8. 2014 World Championship Candidates
    March 11th-April 1st, 2014 (Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia)
    Round #8
    #
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    Result
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    8.1 Topalov
    2785
    ½-½
    Mamedyarov
    2757
    8.2 Aronian
    2830
    ½-½
    Anand
    2773
    8.3 Kramnik
    2810
    ½-½
    Andreikin
    2709
    8.4 Svidler
    2758
    0-1
    Karjakin
    2766
    Games

    Official Site: https://candidates2014.fide.com/
    Drum Coverage: https://www.thechessdrum.net/blog/2014/03/13/2014-world-chess-candidates-khanty-mansiysk-rus/

    Video Commentary by GM Daniel King

    Standings

    Viswanathan Anand, 5/8 (+2 -0 =6), Levon Aronian, 5/8 (+3 -1 =4), Vladimir Kramnik, 4.5/8 (+2 -1 =5), Shakriyar Mamedyarov, 3.5/8 (+2 -3 =3), Sergey Karjakin, 3.5/8 (+1 -2 =5), Peter Svidler, 3.5/8 (+2 -3 =3), Dmitri Andreikin 3.5/8 (+1 -2 =5), Veselin Topalov, 3.5/8 (+1 -2 =5),

  9. 2014 World Championship Candidates
    March 11th-April 1st, 2014 (Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia)
    Round #9
    #
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    Result
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    9.1 Andreikin
    2709
    ½-½
    Svidler
    2758
    9.2 Karjakin
    2766
    1-0
    Kramnik
    2810
    9.3 Mamedyarov
    2757
    1-0
    Aronian
    2830
    9.4 Anand
    2773
    1-0
    Topalov
    2785
    Games

    Viswanathan Anand won a beautiful game
    against Veselin Topalov in a Najdorf.
    Photo by FIDE.com.

    Just when you thought we had moved on from middle-aged dominance, Viswanathan Anand has proven that there is still one more stand left before the Carlsen-led youth movement begins. It just so happens that Anand won his game today putting him in a good position to get a rematch with Magnus Carlsen. He leads the field by one point after beating a struggling Veselin Topalov.

    Meanwhile, Aronian lost against a surging Shahkriyar Mamedyarov meaning that he would have to make up 1.5 points to overtake Anand since he has inferior tiebreaks. Sergey Karjakin did upset a fading Vladimir Kramnik who lost a full point in the standings. Andreikin-Svidler had a rather placid draw and the Russian quartet of players seems to be lagging behind. Since half the players in the field are Russian, failing to win would be disastrous.

    Official Site: https://candidates2014.fide.com/
    Drum Coverage: https://www.thechessdrum.net/blog/2014/03/13/2014-world-chess-candidates-khanty-mansiysk-rus/

    Video Commentary by GM Daniel King

    Standings

    Viswanathan Anand, 6/9 (+3 -0 =6), Levon Aronian, 5/9 (+3 -2 =4), Vladimir Kramnik, 4.5/9 (+2 -2 =5), Sergey Karjakin, 4.5/9 (+2 -2 =5), Shakriyar Mamedyarov, 4.5/9 (+3 -3 =3), Dmitri Andreikin 4/9 (+1 -2 =6), Peter Svidler, 4/9 (+2 -3 =4), Veselin Topalov, 3.5/9 (+1 -3 =5),

  10. 2014 World Championship Candidates
    March 11th-April 1st, 2014 (Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia)
    Round #10
    #
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    Result
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    10.1 Karjakin
    2766
    ½-½
    Andreikin
    2709
    10.2 Anand
    2773
    ½-½
    Mamedyarov
    2757
    10.3 Topalov
    2785
    ½-½
    Aronian
    2830
    10.4 Kramnik
    2810
    0-1
    Svidler
    2758
    Games

    A befuddled Vladimir Kramnik seems at a loss for his uneven play losing against a Dutch game.

    Vladimir Kramnik started a new era after beating Garry Kasparov in the famed match in 2000. That seems so long ago, but he seem to become rejuvenated after a stretch of bad results. He won the World Cup to qualify for the Candidates tournament, but has hit a rough patch losing today after a horrible blunder against Peter Svidler. This loss effectively eliminated him from contention as he trails by two full points with only five games remaining.

    Kramnik missed the zinger after 32.Rd4?? Bxh2+! and the game was over quickly thereafter.

    These types of games are devastating because Kramnik had outplayed Svidler throughout the game and his pieces were well-coordinated. However, a quick lapse of attention occurred after 32.Rc4-d4?? when Svidler’s bishop zapped the pawn on h2 netting an exchange. All of a sudden Kramnik was dead lost.

    In the post-mortem press conference, Kramnik rightfully thought he was winning and that his experiment 1. d4 f5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. e3!? b6!? 4. d5!? was a success. He was partially right as his 4.d5!? move tried to take advantage of the black’s neglect of the center. Nevertheless, Svidler corralled the point and sent Kramnik into the doldrums.

    Anand-Mamedyarov was an interesting encounter. Anand essayed the atypical 6.h3 against the Najdorf, a less-active treatment against the fighting defense. In fact, it appeared that the Azeri player came out on top fine in the opening. He had a Godzilla knight on e5 and dynamic play with his strong play on dark squares. However, white stifled play along the c-file and grabbed a bit of space. However the game ended after black had develop a solid juggernaut with very good flexibility.

    With Kramnik fading, is it time for Karjakin to assume the Russian leadership in chess? Photos by FIDE.com.

    Karjakin-Andreikin also saw an interesting try. Against the Taimanov, Karjakin tried the rare 6. Nxc6 bxc6 7. Qd3!? However, the conversation was short and the game turned into a queenless ending. Neither side tested the resulting position and went for a three-fold repetition.

    Aronian-Topalov had tremendous tension and Aronian has a playable position before he admittedly ceded control with 24.Qd1? An off-form Topalov lost patience with 30.g5?! and the Armenian was able to establish a fortress draw against black’s more active pieces.

    Official Site: https://candidates2014.fide.com/
    Drum Coverage: https://www.thechessdrum.net/blog/2014/03/13/2014-world-chess-candidates-khanty-mansiysk-rus/

    Video Commentary by GM Daniel King

    Standings

    Viswanathan Anand, 6.5/10 (+3 -0 =7), Levon Aronian, 5.5/10 (+3 -2 =5), Sergey Karjakin, 5/10 (+2 -2 =6), Shakriyar Mamedyarov, 5/10 (+3 -3 =4), Peter Svidler, 5/10 (+3 -3 =4), Vladimir Kramnik, 4.5/10(+2 -2 =5), Dmitri Andreikin 4.5/10 (+1 -2 =7), Veselin Topalov, 4/10 (+1 -3 =6),

  11. 2014 World Championship Candidates
    March 11th-April 1st, 2014 (Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia)
    Round #13
    #
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    Result
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    13.1 Andreikin
    2709
    1-0
    Aronian
    2830
    13.2 Karjakin
    2766
    ½-½
    Anand
    2773
    13.3 Svidler
    2758
    ½-½
    Mamedyarov
    2757
    13.4 Kramnik
    2810
    1-0
    Topalov
    2785
    Games

    With a tough draw against Sergey Karjakin today, Viswanathan Anand has earned the right to challenge Magnus Carlsen to a return match for the World Championship in November. With one round remaining Anand sits on and undefeated +3 while there are no other scores above 50%.

    An obviously pleased Anand is exchanging pleasantries after clinching a spot to face Carlsen. Photos by FIDE.com.

    Dmitri Andreikin continued to put his stamp on a good tournament by beating Levon Aronian and Vladimir Kramnik beat his nemesis Veselin Topalov after an exchange of blunders. The two still aren’t shaking hands regularly since the “toiletgate” match in 2006. With a draw Peter Svidler has climbed out of last place and faces Anand tomorrow in what will probably be a ceremonial draw.

    Official Site: https://candidates2014.fide.com/
    Drum Coverage: https://www.thechessdrum.net/blog/2014/03/13/2014-world-chess-candidates-khanty-mansiysk-rus/

    Video Commentary by GM Daniel King

    Standings

    Viswanathan Anand, 8/13 (+3 -0 =10), Vladimir Kramnik, 6.5/13 (+3 -3 =7), Dmitri Andreikin 6.5/13 (+2 -2 =9), Shakriyar Mamedyarov, 6.5/13 (+3 -3 =7), Levon Aronian, 6.5/13 (+3 -3 =7), Sergey Karjakin, 6.5/13 (+2 -2 =9), Peter Svidler, 6/13 (+3 -4 =6), Veselin Topalov, 5.5/13 (+2 -4 =7),

  12. 2014 World Championship Candidates
    March 11th-April 1st, 2014 (Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia)
    Round #11
    #
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    Result
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    11.1 Svidler
    2758
    ½-½
    Aronian
    2830
    11.2 Topalov
    2785
    ½-½
    Karjakin
    2766
    11.3 Kramnik
    2810
    ½-½
    Anand
    2773
    11.4 Andreikin
    2709
    ½-½
    Mamedyarov
    2757
    Games

    A champion has to have determination and Anand has shown what made him a 5-time World Champion.

    Viswanathan Anand has inched closer to his rematch with Magnus Carlsen. All games were drawn today, but it appeared as if Sergey Karjakin would break through against Veselin Topalov. It was actually Topalov who took the risk to climb out of the cellar, but it almost cost him dearly. The Bulgarian had a nice space advantage on the queenside and tried to bust through with 35.a5!? bxa5 36.b6. The idea was to drum up play on the queenside with both rooks supporting the passed b-pawn.

    Topalov attempted to lock the position in order to keep an eye on the two passed pawns. He was successful.

    Karjakin sacrificed the exchange for a pawn and tried to win with his two outside passed pawns. The position appeared to be a bit dangerous as black was looking for the opportune moment to sacrifice a pawn with …e4, …Ke5 and invading either flank. Topalov had to play some precise moves to avoid the pitfalls that were lurking. Once he got the rook to h5 and the king to a2, the fortress was completed.

    Svidler-Aronian saw little action in a game where only one set of pawns was traded. Kramnik could not break through with his “Killer Catalan” he was able to hold the balance after Anand’s pawn sacrifice. Anand’s rook activity brought only a level position after 23…Rxa2. An interesting try was 23…Rfc8 since 24.Rfc1? Qxd3! 25.exd3 Rxc1+ 26.Rxc1 Rxc1+ 27.Kg2 Rc2 snaring the queen. Of course white has 24.a3 and only has to withstand the mounting pressure. Not much happened in Andreikin-Mamedyarov, but the young Russian must be pleased with his performance thus far.

    Dmitri Andreikin
    Photos by FIDE.com.

    Official Site: https://candidates2014.fide.com/
    Drum Coverage: https://www.thechessdrum.net/blog/2014/03/13/2014-world-chess-candidates-khanty-mansiysk-rus/

    Video Commentary by GM Daniel King

    Standings

    Viswanathan Anand, 7/11 (+3 -0 =8), Levon Aronian, 6/11 (+3 -2 =6), Shakriyar Mamedyarov, 5.5/11 (+3 -3 =5), Sergey Karjakin, 5.5/11 (+2 -2 =7), Peter Svidler, 5.5/11 (+3 -3 =5), Vladimir Kramnik, 5/11(+2 -3 =6), Dmitri Andreikin 5/11 (+1 -2 =8), Veselin Topalov, 4.5/11 (+1 -3 =7),

  13. 2014 World Championship Candidates
    March 11th-April 1st, 2014 (Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia)
    Round #12
    #
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    Result
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    12.1 Topalov
    2785
    1-0
    Svidler
    2758
    12.2 Mamedyarov
    2757
    ½-½
    Karjakin
    2766
    12.3 Aronian
    2830
    ½-½
    Kramnik
    2810
    12.4 Anand
    2773
    ½-½
    Andreikin
    2709
    Games

    Anand almost scored a full point against Andreikin. Fantastic game!
    This is the Anand people have been missing.

    With Viswanathan Anand in the driver’s seat of the tournament, other players are still aiming for personal goals. With each round, it appears more and more likely that we will see a rematch between Anand and new World Champion, Magnus Carlsen. In today’s games, Anand had an overwhelming position and nearly clinched the tournament, but will have to wait until after the rest day.

    Meanwhile Veselin Topalov won his game to trade places with Peter Svidler, the wildcard nominee. Many fans in the chess world are still scoffing at the fact that several of the top players were overlooked for the wildcard spot given to Svidler. Certainly fans would have gotten quite a thrill to see Hikaru Nakamura, Fabiano Caruana or Maxime Vachier-Lagrave as new blood in the championship cycle.

    Topalov displays the intensity that made him one of the world’s most feared players. Photos by FIDE.com.

    In the next Candidate’s tournament several of the current players will not be back. This may be Vladimir Kramnik’s last run for the title as well as Topalov and Svidler… all have struggled mightily. Today, Veselin Topalov played an excellent positional game in a Taimanov Sicilian. White mounted pressure throughout and black simply collapsed under pressure. With the win Topalov finally gets out of last position.

    The other two games were drawn, but Shakhriyar Mamedyarov nearly got the full point against Sergey Karjakin after getting a strong attack. The young Ukrainian held on and kept his tournament hopes alive before facing Anand in the crucial penultimate round.

    Video Commentary by GM Daniel King

    Standings

    Viswanathan Anand, 7.5/12 (+3 -0 =9), Levon Aronian, 6.5/12 (+3 -2 =7), Shakriyar Mamedyarov, 6/12 (+3 -3 =6), Sergey Karjakin, 6/12 (+2 -2 =8), Vladimir Kramnik, 5.5/12 (+2 -3 =7), Dmitri Andreikin 5.5/12 (+1 -2 =9), Veselin Topalov, 5.5/12 (+2 -3 =7), Peter Svidler, 5.5/12 (+3 -4 =5),

  14. 2014 World Championship Candidates
    March 11th-April 1st, 2014 (Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia)
    Round #14
    #
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    Result
    Name
    Flag
    Rating
    14.1 Mamedyarov
    2757
    ½-½
    Kramnik
    2810
    14.2 Topalov
    2785
    ½-½
    Andreikin
    2709
    14.3 Aronian
    2830
    0-1
    Karjakin
    2766
    14.4 Anand
    2773
    ½-½
    Svidler
    2758
    Games

    Viswanathan Anand

    The final round was a formality. The only uncertainty was whether Veselin Topalov would get out of the cellar and the order of standings. Sergey Karjakin ground down Levon Aronian to finish with (by this tournament’s standards) a healthy +1 score. Only Karjakin and victor Viswanathan Anand finished with plus scores while Dmitri Andreikin, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Levon Kramnik and Aronian finished on 50%, Peter Svidler on -1 and Topalov on -2.

    After his victory-clinching 13th round, Anand reflected on a scenario that occurred after the London Classic. He had asked Kramnik to join him for dinner in an attempt to assuage The Russian’s feelings after losing a tough game against Hikaru Nakamura, the eventual winner. A bit of serendipity occurred when it was Kramnik who was consoling Anand and urging him to play in the Candidates. Anand’s chess results had been abysmal and his defense match against Carlsen was a disaster. Anand credited Kramnik with encouraging him to play in the Candidates. Here is Kramnik’s account:

    Vladimir Kramnik played a role
    in Anand’s success.

    Kramnik: “…I advised him (Vishy) to participate …” “…he has all chances to win the match against Carlsen”. “We really spoke about it in London and Vishy was unsure by that time. I advised him to participate because I really thought he had a chance and I just told him so. The fact is that we are from the same generation of players and we are on friendly terms, so I don’t feel like competing, although he beat me in the World Title match. I am really happy for him. As to me I just didn’t deserve it. If not him, someone else would win, so I don’t regret I advised him to play. I am also happy Vishy could overcome the crises of the recent years of his career – he wasn’t winning competitions, so everyone just buried him. Also I think he has all chances to win the match against Carlsen. I had similar crises, so I know what was happening inside him.”

    Kramnik is referring to a stretch of bad results which was exacerbated by various ailments including his medical condition, ankylosing spondylitis. Of course, Kramnik lost his title in 2007 after Anand won the world championship tournament to unify the title. Since then Anand has been a stabilizing force in the chess world.

    This victory will set the stage for a momentous rematch.
    FIDE’s Kirsan Ilyumzhinov could not be happier.
    Photos by FIDE.com.

    During his reign there were no controversies since the ill-fated “toiletgate” debacle between Kramnik and Veselin Topalov in 2006. A conflict that still results in no pre-game shaking of hands. Alas, Anand has too much class for such behavior.

    Of course, there was the Anand-Topalov match played in Bulgaria where Anand was delayed (due to a volcano) and not given the requested three-day postponement of the match to arrive and rest. He simply would not be drawn into a hostile environment, arrived on Topalov’s home turf and won. The Indian legend has helped to shape a vibrant chess community in India and helped to inspire millions… especially in developing nations.

    Last fall, Anand finally lost the crown to a surging Carlsen in his hometown of Chennai. After his loss, even Anand’s supporters may have felt skeptical about his chances in the Candidates, but the tiger showed up in Khanty-Mansiysk. The tiger will now be doing the chasing as opposed to being chased. Anand has a chance to make history ala Muhammad Ali… without the trash-talking.

    Official Site: https://candidates2014.fide.com/
    Drum Coverage: https://www.thechessdrum.net/blog/2014/03/14/2014-world-chess-candidates-khanty-mansiysk-rus/

    Video Commentary by GM Daniel King

    Standings

    Viswanathan Anand, 8.5/14 (+3 -0 =11), Sergey Karjakin, 7.5/14 (+3 -2 =9), Vladimir Kramnik, 7/14 (+3 -3 =8), Dmitri Andreikin 7/14 (+2 -2 =10), Shakriyar Mamedyarov, 7/14 (+3 -3 =8), Peter Svidler, 6.5/14 (+3 -4 =7), Levon Aronian, 6.5/14 (+3 -4 =7), Veselin Topalov, 6/14 (+2 -4 =8),

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