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Candidates Round 1

Karjakin – Svidler 1/2-1/2
Mamedyarov – Topalov 1/2-1/2
Andreikin – Kramnik 1/2-1/2
Anand – Aronian 1–0

I was thinking I would give my impression from the candidates from time to time, to spark a discussion. I probably will not participate a lot in it.

We have Kramnik and Aronian as BIG favourites, but as we saw in round 1, things are maybe not that easy!

Kramnik and Svidler got draws without big problems it seems.

Anand got a technical advantage from the opening against Aronian, who did not defend well. The moment according to Aronian was that me underestimated 19.Ne5! in this position:

[fen size=”small”]4r1k1/1bpqrpp1/p2b1n1p/1p6/3P4/1BP1BN1P/PP3PP1/R2QR1K1 w – – 0 19[/fen]

And never recovered. John thought Black was close to ok after the exchanges, but I felt White was much better. It seems that for once I was closer to the mark in a technical position.

Topalov messed up in an equal position and was much much worse against Mamedyarov. If White had played something slow like 28.Rc6 here, he would have been close to winning. But Mamedyarov had overestimated his position after 29.Rc7, thinking it was just winning.

[fen size=”small”]r3k3/r3p1bp/1p3np1/1R2Np2/1B6/4P3/1PR1KPPP/8 w – – 0 28[/fen]

28. Ba3? Ra5 29. Rc7 Rxb5 30. Rxe7+ Kd8 31. Nf7+ Kc8 32. Nd6+ Kd8 33. Rxg7

[fen size=”small”]r2k4/6Rp/1p1N1np1/1r3p2/8/B3P3/1P2KPPP/8 b – – 0 33[/fen]

This was where Mamedyarov was heading, but unfortunately Black has a strong move, neutralising White’s advantage.

33…Rd5! 34. Nb7+ Kc8 35. Nd6+ Kd8 36. Nb7+ Kc8 1/2-1/2

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  1. garryk
    March 13th, 2014 at 15:04 | #1

    I’m one of the few that voted “Anand” in the poll.

  2. Mark Moorman
    March 13th, 2014 at 15:18 | #2

    Good call garryK! Any chance that this was a manifestation of the lack of “nerves” GM A mentioned with regard to Aronian?? Maybe Anand is hungry and re-vitalized after Chennai. It is early. Personally—I like Anand, but I think I would not want Chennai II as the next match.

  3. Mike Twyble
    March 13th, 2014 at 15:54 | #3

    I think that Kramnik will be very happy with a draw with black against a difficult opponent. It seems like Anand will be in the mix and means business. If Aronian doesn’t bounce back in the next couple of rounds he might find it hard to get back on terms. Voted for Kramnik and still happy with that call.

  4. garryk
    March 13th, 2014 at 16:06 | #4

    @Mark Moorman
    I tell you this, I know Anand, he’s a good guy but he isn’t hungry to win as we intend in the West. In my opinion during the match he suffered for the lack of motivation, he simply didn’t like the idea to play against an opponent like Carlsen. In this tournament it’s very different and I expected him to perform very well. And I make another prevision. If he’ll have a second chance against Carlsen the result might be different…

  5. Mark Moorman
    March 13th, 2014 at 16:33 | #5

    TY GarryK. I voted for Kramnik. Someone on another thread asked about his virtues. I think GM Neil McDonald put it well: “Kramnik aims for a subtle positional attack that put his opponent’s pawn structure under unrelenting pressure. Nothing serious seems to be happening, but then the defence unexpectedly buckles under, often allowing the creation of a passed pawn which proves decisive in the endgame. It is quite remarkable the number of wins that Kramnik has squeezed out of ‘equal’-looking positions: such is the refinement of technique these days.”
    This is from a book by another publisher. Other books in the series seem quite bad/shoddy, “Chess Secrets: The Giants of Strategy.” I think this is a very good book for low rated player like moi. I think McDonald’s annotated games of Kramnik’s in the book, especially, Kramnik-Aronian (Turin 2006) or Kramnik-Krasenkow (Wijk an Zee, 2003) give one a very good idea of Kramnik’s virtues as a chess champion.

  6. garryk
    March 13th, 2014 at 17:08 | #6

    @Mark Moorman
    Kramnik is a real genius. He knows where to put his pieces, he’s very resistant to materialism because he feels what ought to be played. I admire him and – if Anand will not win – I really root for him.

  7. Topnotch
    March 13th, 2014 at 17:30 | #7

    garryk :I’m one of the few that voted “Anand” in the poll.

    Only now you are brave enough to admit it. 🙂

  8. Topnotch
    March 13th, 2014 at 17:59 | #8

    garryk :@Mark Moorman I tell you this, I know Anand, he’s a good guy but he isn’t hungry to win as we intend in the West. In my opinion during the match he suffered for the lack of motivation, he simply didn’t like the idea to play against an opponent like Carlsen. In this tournament it’s very different and I expected him to perform very well. And I make another prevision. If he’ll have a second chance against Carlsen the result might be different…

    I disagree that Anand lacked motivation during the match against Carlsen. On the contrary, I believe he wanted to win this match more than anything, but his preparation turned out to be completely off the mark and it cost him dearly.

    In an interview following the match, Anand explained he was taken aback that Carlsen in fact had not changed anything about his play or style, and embarrassingly, he was not prepared for this.

    I believe Anand would like a second crack at Carlsen, and agree that if that happens, the re-match could prove to be a lot more interesting than the first time around.

    Tops 🙂

  9. John Cox
    March 13th, 2014 at 19:10 | #9

    Strange turn of events; it’s difficult to imagine what move Mamedjarov thought Topalov might play instead of ….Rd5. Resigns looks like the only other candidate.

  10. Larrave
    March 13th, 2014 at 20:07 | #10

    Many critize Topalov for his play in the late middlegame. But i think when he decided to play Kxd7 he wanted to press for a win and that is what also the english commentators thought. I only remember that Topalov said something like he missed that Na4 after Rb1 does not work. Well it seems Topalov has still the hunger to go all out, but i am not sure if he is at his best at the moment.

  11. Michael
    March 13th, 2014 at 22:37 | #11

    I hope we get to play these lines in GM REP. 1.e4 series
    Conrats Anand!

  12. garryk
    March 14th, 2014 at 08:47 | #12

    @Topnotch
    No, I had no other occasion to tell it before. I’m a great fan of Anand since his youth and I’m proud of this. Apart from the ratings, I judge Anand and Kramnik still well ahead of the others on the understanding of the game.

  13. Johnny
    March 14th, 2014 at 09:02 | #13

    Round 1 has shown that actually any player may win this tournament….

  14. Dilip
    March 20th, 2014 at 13:14 | #14

    Though Iam from India, I vote for Kramnik as he is a genius and of course next Aronian. Aronian’s understanding of positions is tremendous. So logically it should be Kramnik or Aronian

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