Tuesday, 25 March 2014

FIDE World Candidates Tournament

There are ten rounds behind us, and four rounds in front of us in FIDE World Candidates tournament.
It seems that we will see one more match between Anand and Carlsen. Ten rounds is quite a serious material to draw some conclusions, compare this tournament with the last year edition in London, and to compare the performances of the players.
It is also possible to make some predictions about further development and trends in chess.

Here is the table after 10 rounds:

16GMAnand Viswanathan2770IND0331,25
27GMAronian Levon2830ARM0326,75
32GMKarjakin Sergey2766RUS52224,25
45GMMamedyarov Shakhriyar2757AZE5324,75
53GMSvidler Peter2758RUS5½323,25
64GMKramnik Vladimir2787RUS1223,00
71GMAndreikin Dmitry2709RUS1122,00
88GMTopalov Veselin2785BUL40120,75

As the table clearly shows, there is a gap between Anand and the rest of the fields. It has to be mentioned, that Anand already played both games against Aronian, and that he won their mini-match with 1,5-0,5 so that in the case of a tie, he will be in the front of Aronian.
In practical terms it means that in the last four rounds, Aronian has to make 1,5 over Anand.
Is it possible?
Yes it is.
Is it likely?
Of course it is not.
As far as I can see it, much better chance has Svidler or Karjakin, as they played a draw against Anand in the first circle, and they still has to play against him in the second circle. In the case that one of them wins against Anand, and reduce the lead by just a half point in the remaining three fixtures, than that player will be in front of him.
However when saying that, I have in mind that Anand will play against, out of shape Kramnik, tomorrow, and later on with white pieces against Andreikin, so at this point I can see him as a clear winner of the candidates tournament.

It is not only by the facts, that you can see from the table, it is also by the general feeling that nobody plays stable enough to avoid some unnecessary defeats in the later rounds.

Anand is very experienced tournament fighter, and he knows that besides psychological pressure that the lead in the tournaments puts on you, there are positive effects too.
In such an event, where everyone can beat everyone, it is more important not to lose the game, then to win a lot of games.
Anand know this perfectly well, and his early lead gave him an opportunity to play without risk.
He took his chances here and there, and he is comfortably on plus three.

This strategy is not as successful when Magnus Carlsen is in the tournament, as he can go with big plus score, and in order to catch him, you have to put efforts in every single game.
This is the fact that I overlooked when I predicted that Anand will not manage to win the tournament.
I was wrong.

What about other candidates?

Aronian lost the game against Mamedyarov in the ninth round, and that game is according to me, the best in the tournament. He fought well after unexpected defeat in the first round, he even cached on Anand, but the last round defeat costs him hugely.

Mamedyarov had very sloppy start, but later on he improved big time, and showed some beautiful chess.
He was very near to victory against Kramnik too, but he made huge mistake.
As he lost his match against Anand, 1,5-0,5 and he has 1,5 points less than the leader, it is almost impossible to expect that he will now make 2 extra points in the last 4 rounds.

Kramnik played really good in the beginning, and his saved game against Svidler showed what unbelievable potential he has.
However, substantial number of blunders, especially after his loss against Topalov (the game that he would rather not play at all) means that he is not even in a race for the first place.

Svidler is a player who probably played most aggressively in the tournament, but that backfired in some games. he still has a chance, as he will play against Anand in the last round. I will repeat, if he wins and they tie Svidler would be in front...
Karjakin played to cautiously, after his early lost against Kramnik.
Later on he started to play well, and now he is back on 50%.
With some luck, he still has a chance.

Topalov´s only bright moment was his victory against Kramnik.

Andreikin shows that he can play on the same level as the other players, but that he can not play better then them, which one of them has to do in order to win the tournament.
He fights well, and his aim is to avoid the last place.

If we compare this tournament with the tournament in London, we can clearly see that this time, we are not talking about equally successful event.
As the main reason is that in London there was Magnus Carlsen in the field.
Put in Magnus Carlsen instead of Topalov and you can see the difference.
Secondly, Kramnik was in much better form, and he played some great games there.

The third reason was that the tournament in London was in the center of media attention, and it can somehow influence a mood of the players.
However, this very stable and correct format is what chess world needed, so despite being less interesting then London, this tournament should be considered as success.

I have to mention the commentators, on the official web site.
Peter Haine Nielsen and Victoria Cmylite, are quite correct commentators, but their comments depends a lot on computer assessments.
Nothing wrong with them, but from my point of view, commentators should not only explain pure chess events, but also give some entertainment to the spectators.
In that light, I hugely prefer Lawrence Trent and Nigel Short, as the best pair of commentators in the World.

1 comment:

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