The first half of the candidates tournament has come to an end. Starting tomorrow, the players will be playing each other again, but with the colors reversed. Yesterday’s round was rather unsuccessful for the Russian players, but today all local players had White pieces and had decent chances to score some points. The struggle was very intense, and it resulted in one of the most fighting rounds.


The ChessPro editor Max Notkin joined the press-center today. This is his first time in Khanty-Mansiysk. Peter Svidler and Maxim Matlakov were very happy to see Maxim Gennadyevich.


The Appeals Committee before the start of the round.


Jaime Kenmure, the Chief Arbiter’s assistant.


Marina Makarycheva of NTV Plus took the central position on the board.


Arbiters and media: Takis Nikolopoulos, Hal Bond, and Anastasia Karlovich.


Veselin Topalov was quite active before the game. First he talked to Silvio Danailov…


Then he discussed something with Takis Nikolopoulos…


And then doublechecked his opponent’s name.



Peter Svidler was also busy. First he had a briefing with his second Maxim Matlakov.


Then talked to the Appeals Committee member Vladimir Barsky.


And then exchanged jokes with the Chief Arbiter.


Sergey Karjakin brings this foreign juice for the second time.



Sergey’s orange mood made Vladimir Kramnik smile.


Soon Kramnik’s opponent Levon Aronian arrived. The arbiter asked him whether he walked to the playing hall. “Yes, – confirmed Levon, – the weather is very nice”.


The Armenian grandmaster prefers more traditional drinks.



Tradition or modern developments?


Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Vladimir Kramnik greeting each other.



There were some problems with the clocks, but it was fixed quickly.


The situation in Anand-Svidler made Kramnik look interested.


Veselin Topalov also decided to examine it…


…As well as Sergey Karjakin. Curiously, Sergey and Levon played the same opening, and the games followed the same course until the move 6.


Peter went for a walk and also got interested in another game.


It was worthy of attention indeed: Dmitry Andreikin carried out a very interesting idea of transferring the king on the queenside.


Blindfolded chess: Vishy Anand.


Blindfolded chess: Sergey Karjakin.



Dmitry Andreikin scored his first win at the tournament, but said it doesn’t change the big picture, and the result was achieved mostly thanks to his opponent.


Vishy Anand: “I don’t like to answer questions about a tournament that is still running”.

Peter Svidler: “I should learn from the master. I have this terrible habit of actually answering people’s questions. Probably I should stop doing that”.


Levon Aronian: “I had my usual plans for the game: obtain a playable position, and if I don’t, end the game before 8 pm and go play football. We play in different places in Khanty-Mansiysk – local Armenians and my team, and there are always plenty of players”.

Sergey Karjakin: “I wanted to play a fighting game tonight. I’d choose a different strategy if I had +1”.


Vladimir Kramnik: “After the time control I was hoping for a draw, but before that it was very difficult to assess the position, everything could change in one move. Before 38. Ra8 I thought I play risk-free, but after that got lost. Of course I was very lucky in this game”.

So, the first half of the candidates tournament is over. The leaders after seven rounds are Viswanathan Anand and Levon Aronian, and tomorrow they are playing each other. Vladimir Kramnik moved to a clear third place. Other participants are behind, but tomorrow they’ll have a chance to correct their first round mistakes.

Photos by Eteri Kublashvili, Anastasia Karlovich, and Kirill Merkuriev.



One thought on “Slaughterhouse-Seven

  1. Finally Aronian(4.5) and Kramnik(4) showed their strength and becoming front runner with Vishy (4.5).
    After first round, Aronian is at his best. Kramnik is still inconsistant, but to win 7th round is aewsome
    Vishy’s performance till now is the best in past two years and he is a real threat to seeded players. He has definitely came out of the sluggish past perfrmances.Though He is a bit defensive after leading the pack in 6th and 7th round.
    Both Vishy and Arionian will have four Whites out of seven and that may decide the final outcome. a score of 8.5 be OK to be the winner.

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