FIDE World Candidates Tournament 2014 – Round 1 Report

The FIDE World Candidates Tournament 2014 started Thursday at the beautiful playing venue in Ugra Chess Academy in Khanty-Mansiysk.
In the short ceremony Chief Arbiter Takis Nikolopoulos and President of Ugra Chess Federation Vassily Filipenko greeted the players and wished them luck. Filipenko made the honorary move in the game Anand-Aronian.

Dmitry Andreikin and Vladimir Kramnik, the World Cup 2013 finalists, were paired one against another in the first round of the Candidates Tournament.

They moved quickly through the opening, in the line of Nimzo-Indian defence which Kramnik used before with great success.


The position quickly simplified into an equal rook endgame and the competitors signed a draw on move 32.

Kramnik commented that as he played the first game with black pieces, he just wanted to avoid a defeat and get warmed up for the tournament. He didn’t want to reveal how deep his preparation was, but he noted that he already had the position after 21…Qe4 in the game against fellow Candidate Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. On that occasion Mamedyarov took a draw with perpetual check.

Andreikin decided to play on because he though that after 24.b6 maybe there are small problems for black. He showed some lines in which white could have obtained advantage, but Kramnik was up to the task and comfortably held the position.

Karjakin - Svidler

In the other Russian derby, Sergey Karjakin and Peter Svidler fought in the Taimanov Sicilian. White quickly expanded in the center, while black looked for his chances on the queenside.

The black knight remained strained on the edge of the board, but it still performed an important function of defending the f5-square.

Apparently neither of the players saw a possibility to create winning chances and the game ended with moves repetition.

The pairings were known well in advance and all participants had more than enough time to prepare for specific opponents. Svidler said that he checked many lines and he thought there was a big probability that this setup will occur. This morning he spent three hours repeating all the variations, but somehow he forgot to look at 8.f4.

Karjakin said that he also expected this line but he forgot the preparation.

Svidler was pleased that he survived the initial assault but he just couldn’t see how to develop the play. He felt stuck. There was an option to open the game with 23…fxe4 24.bxc4 bxc4 25.Ka1 where black would get some counterplay on the queenside, but his knight would still remain out of play. Karjakin suggested 24…Rxc4 as possible improvement and Svidler admitted that he didn’t really look at this as “opening the b-file felt natural”.

Mamedyarov - Topalov

Veselin Topalov defended with Slav against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov who already on the 4th move employed the rare 4.Nbd2.

Topalov proceeded to develop in Gruenfeld-like fashion and quickly struck in the center with c6-c5. The queens went off as early as on move 9, but the game nevertheless remained very interesting.

Black established the knight on a strong outpost on e4 and opened the a-file for the rooks. At the same time white was looking for a chance to invade the 7th rank and attack the opponent’s exposed king.

Mamedyarov admitted that he didn’t get anything from the opening, but after maneuvering the knight to d3 he thought he got some chances. Near the end of the game he thought that he was on the brink of winning, but he just couldn’t finish black off, as there always was some only move that saves the day for Topalov.

In the end the Azeri was forced to drop the ambition and take a draw with perpetual check.

Candidates R1 1

Before the tournament the experts were stating that former World Champion Viswanathan Anand got the most difficult pairing at the start – against the bookmakers’ favourite Levon Aronian.

Anand confidently opened with 1.e4 and soon an Anti-Marshall appeared on the board. After the short delay to insert preparatory moves, Anand snatched the e5-pawn.

Aronian treated the position as “very simple”, as he admitted afterwards, and underestimated the dangers within. After the very strong 19.Ne5 white returned the extra pawn but he kept the bishops’ pair and some positional pressure. At this point Aronian became worried.

Anand believed that he had a small pull thanks to the pair of bishops, but soon he realized that his advantage was much greater. He blasted black’s queenside and relentlessly pursued the black knight until finally closing the net on move 47.


14 thoughts on “FIDE World Candidates Tournament 2014 – Round 1 Report

  1. Wow! Nice tactics by Anand. Loved the position he created out of nothing.

    The use of bishops to nullify the rooks was amazing. Those pawn were an easy prey. That is what happens when you underestimate the position. Anand did a great job.
    Best of luck to him and his team. Keep up the great work.

  2. In such a high class competition one should not predict winner or loser. Vishy can win the championship if he can maintain this standard throughout the match. Hope he will.

  3. Well done Anand! We would like to see you in such a relaxed tactical mood for the rest of the tournament.

    1. congrats Anand keep fighting Be positive & confident u r 5times world chess champ now go ahead for six Fight like FISHER,KASPAROV. & Real VISHY ANAND My best wishes.

  4. I’ve been surprised by Anand’s plus score after 3 rounds. I kind of hope he doesn’t win the tournament because it will be a boring championship match. I don’t think he is dynamic enough to beat Carlsen.

    1. Very negative attitude. Anand is a 5 time world champion and will get his sixth. Who do you want to win the candidate tournament? Aronian? who lacks depth in opening preparation and was completely outplayed by Anand today and in the past. Kramnik? who lost to Anand in the world championship and is always scared of Anand? Or the rest of the patzers (compared to Anand’s standards) who typically travel from one Candidates to another

  5. Go Anand Go – Indian chess fans and chess fans of yours around the world are behind you with their support. We want to see you take on Carlsen in november for the world championship title !!!!

  6. Excellent play by you Anand and Iam sure you will make our flag flying in this tournment
    Good Luck

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