2013 Candidates, Circular 9



Round nine, together with i time over again Peter Svidler honoured me amongst a pre-game chat, over again mainly nearly cricket. I imagine that approximately members of the audience powerfulness take away hold wondered what was happening when, a few moments earlier play was due to start together with inward total persuasion of the audience, the Russian grandmaster of a precipitous took out an envelope from his within jacket bag together with briefly showed it to me. Thanks to Anastasiya Karlovich together with her camera, I give y'all Exhibit Influenza A virus subtype H5N1 together with Exhibit B...

Chess grandmaster from St Petersburg shows me an envelope...

Having seen it, I appear to live maxim "You lucky ******!" (I wasn't)

Now, simply for a moment, let's imagine the inward a higher identify scene took identify approximately 25 or to a greater extent than years agone - a Russian is seen to brandish a bulging envelope inward forepart of a British champaign of written report inward London during the Cold War. How would that take away hold looked? Influenza A virus subtype H5N1 chip suspicious? Had things got out of hand, Peter powerfulness take away hold been deported equally a possible agent or 'undesirable alien', together with I powerfulness take away hold been prosecuted for trying to sell secrets to the USSR. When the jury heard my version of what was truly happening - "if it delight m'lud, he was showing me approximately tickets he had been given for the Lord's Test Match inward July" - it would take away hold been a toss upwardly betwixt me getting a life judgement for treason, or existence detained at Her Majesty's Pleasure equally a criminal lunatic for existence mad plenty to invent a cock together with bull even out nearly a Russian who was interested inward cricket.

But delight believe me, readers, that is the evidently together with unproblematic truth of what was happening inward the photos. Being serious for a minute - give thank y'all heavens the basis has moved on, together with that Russians together with Brits tin forthwith come across together with chat together with demo each other envelopes, etc, without people jumping to conclusions together with imagining John LeCarré scenarios. Not everything is correct nearly the 21st century but this is i matter that has clearly changed for the better.


But (as Harry Golombek was wont to write), turning reluctantly to the chess... circular ix was a cracker. Top billing went to the tally betwixt basis champion Vladimir Kramnik together with articulation leader Magnus Carlsen and, dissimilar the eagerly-awaited Carlsen-Aronian clash of circular eight, this i lived upwardly to expectations.

Kramnik starts amongst his favourite Catalan against Magnus Carlsen

The opening was (as many people in all likelihood expected) a Catalan, together with Vlad Kramnik before long took command amongst a newish move, xi Qc2, which he had prepared for a game against Radjabov inward Kazan inward 2011 but decided against using on that occasion. Carlsen was on his ain from an early on stage together with had to figure it out over the board.

As it transpired Carlsen didn't play the opening likewise good together with was before long confronted amongst a tough defensive project equally Kramnik strengthened his position. It was simply the sort of seat that Kramnik is renowned for winning but MC didn't larn where he is today (top of the rating list) without knowing how to defend bad positions. Like Capablanca, Fischer together with Karpov before, he homes inward unerringly on goodness moves when nether pressure. When he played 22...Re8 he told us he had already envisaged the bright 25...Nd5 which held his seat together, or, rather, tipped it inexorably inward the direction of a drawn endgame. Grandmaster John Nunn, non known for hyperbole or effusive praise, labelled this "a genius move" inward the press room. It was for sure a turning point. Kramnik badly needed a total indicate from this game to build upwardly the leeway betwixt him together with Carlsen (not to advert Aronian) but the pressure level was forthwith on him. He fought hard but Carlsen held the endgame without much trouble.

Magnus Carlsen looks upwardly at the big display board showing all the games after ii or iii moves together with is puzzled to consider to a greater extent than or less the same opening characteristic on each board (or therefore it seems).

Kramnik played a pretty goodness game overall but he couldn't (and didn't) deny that he had been held at bay yesteryear an ingenious together with resourceful opponent. He didn't cover his disappointment. Kramnik remains a indicate adrift of Carlsen amongst 5 rounds left. Of course, he soundless has a run a hazard of clawing dorsum lost ground, but non a real rigid one. For Carlsen's part, he volition live glad to take away hold escaped defeat yesteryear i of his leading rivals together with keep a handy indicate gap betwixt the ii of them.

Vlad Kramnik looks happy: inward fact he had simply recognised approximately friends inward the audience and, moments after this shot was taken, went over to milkshake hands amongst them.


Boris Gelfand together with Levon Aronian larn downward to work.

No doubtfulness Aronian glanced across at the Kramnik-Carlsen game on the other side of the segmentation during the circular and, had he allowed his heed to wander to the scoreboard at the cease of the round, he powerfulness take away hold envisaged a Carlsen loss together with himself leading the champaign at unopen of play. But it proved to live a circular of ii halves: whereas at 'half time', Kramnik appeared to live leading Carlsen, yesteryear the 'final whistle' Carlsen had fixed his problems together with it was Aronian who had succumbed to his start defeat.

The opening was a Queen's Gambit Declined, amongst Gelfand emerging amongst the tiniest of edges based on his extra space. Things started to liven upwardly when Aronian exchanged pawns on c4 together with dared to accept Gelfand's d4 pawn inward telephone commutation for his e6 pawn.Though he gained command of the d-file, Gelfand of a precipitous had a powerful passed e5 pawn.

It powerfulness non take away hold been likewise bad had non Aronian played 26...Bf7 - this looked real suspect - together with Gelfand grabbed the f5 pawn together with thrust his e-pawn to e6. This turned out to live the motility which Aronian had missed together with he forthwith establish himself inward all kinds of trouble. Computers showed that Gelfand powerfulness take away hold wrapped the game upwardly earlier the start fourth dimension command but queens came off together with approximately to a greater extent than technical run was required upwardly to motility 60.

Ultimately Gelfand was non to live denied together with he was clearly elated at the subsequent press conference, having won his 2nd game inward a row together with locomote the most successful thespian of the 2nd stage of the tournament so far. “I think for me it was to a greater extent than hard because I played amongst my real unopen friend together with he is leading the tournament. But we're professionals together with nosotros take away hold to play our utmost inward each game.”


Experienced chess watchers noticed old British Women's Champion Dr Jana Bellin at the venue today together with that meant alone i matter - drug testing. No disrespect to the FIDE 'Drugs Tsarina' herself (who was simply doing her job), but it is of course of teaching a patent absurdity having chessplayers champaign of written report to testing for drugs which assist people run, jump, throw things together with wrestle each other physically but produce bugger all that is of purpose to a mind-sportsperson. However, for diverse reasons (some of which are truly quite sensible), FIDE is affiliated to the IOC together with inward club to comply amongst their rules it is obligatory for people to plow upwardly at official World Chess Federation competitions to accept the p*** out of chessplayers occasionally  (as if they don't produce plenty of that, albeit metaphorically, inward the full general media anyway, y'all powerfulness good live thinking - together with I would grip amongst you).

We were after informed that Carlsen, Aronian, Kramnik together with Svidler had to undergo this pointless indignity, prompting me to wonder (in my irreverent way) why the fluid of the other 4 wasn't deemed worthy of testing. (One recalls that Ivanchuk, inward the past, has been hard to bargain amongst when it comes to the abstraction of the aforementioned substance.) But permit us locomote yesteryear onto to a greater extent than tasteful topics of conversation...


Peter Svidler together with Alexander Grischuk do approximately synchronised form-filling-in...

Peter Svidler, amongst his exam tally tickets inward his pocket, appeared rested together with ready for activity inward this circular but he was before long hitting yesteryear a howitzer from swain Russian Grischuk. Incidentally, I've said it earlier but it's worth repeating - all notions together with allegations of collusion betwixt players of the same soil prevarication dead together with buried amongst Bobby Fischer. OK, it powerfulness take away hold been truthful inward his day, 50 years ago, but it isn't truthful inward the hither together with now. These guys, regardless of soil together with friendship, are all playing equally individuals inward every game with, for the most part, commendable fighting spirit.

Sacha Grischuk's bombshell consisted of a knight sacrifice on c4 inward a Sämisch King's Indian. Peter, similar Magnus on approximately other board, had to pass a long fourth dimension figuring out how to counter a peculiarly unsafe opening innovation. But, equally he said afterwards, he rather welcomed this injection of involvement into the game. His reactions seemed pretty audio on the whole. It was a abrupt sacrifice but he establish an impressive counter, sacrificing his queen for iii tiddler pieces. The computers idea it was equal but human experts rather he was better. An exposed manlike soul monarch made progress difficult, however, together with Grischuk's remaining queen together with rook made plenty of a nuisance of themselves to keep the residue for a draw. Influenza A virus subtype H5N1 real interesting game, amongst lots of tricky tactics to enjoy.


Man at the bottom: for the 2nd twenty-four hours running, Vassily Ivanchuk's trunk linguistic communication was that of a homo who wanted a pause from looking at chess pieces. But finally it all came goodness for him.
The 'boys inward the basement' (if I tin refer to them inward that way) were involved inward the longest game of the day. It was, however, rather one-sided together with must take away hold been a soul-destroying sense for Teimour Radjabov who, amongst Black, was at a disadvantage to varying degrees for the entire game together with could alone sit down together with endure equally his seat deteriorated. And having lost, he establish himself condemned to lastly place. Chess is a fell game.

Ivanchuk looked distracted at the start, equally inward the previous circular but he shrugged it off good plenty equally he got his teeth into an orthodox Queen's Gambit Declined. The game didn't characteristic whatever fireworks but it was a fine illustration of the sort of relentless technical play which is Ivanchuk's forté. For much of the fourth dimension it seemed that he didn't quite take away hold plenty to await to win but he finally outmanoeuvred his opponent inward the endgame.


The laconic Alexander Grischuk, on existence asked at a press conference how he had spent the ease twenty-four hours earlier round seven: "As usual: cocaine, girls, cards."


At the cease of the round, Magnus Carlsen establish himself inward sole start identify for the start time. 1 Carlsen 6/9, 2 Aronian 5½, 3 Kramnik 5, 4-5 Gelfand, Grischuk 4½, vi Svidler 4, 7 Ivanchuk 3½, 8 Radjabov 3.

Tuesday is a ease day. In the terminal 5 rounds, Carlsen together with Aronian take away hold iii whites each, spell Kramnik has two. The i remaining fixture betwixt the top iii is inward circular 12 when Aronian has white against Kramnik. Carlsen's run-in consists of white v Gelfand, dark v Grischuk, white v Ivanchuk, dark v Radjabov together with finally white v Svidler. Carlsen must stay the favourite, but it's non all over yet.
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