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Chess Candidates Tournament, Moscow 2016

by Boris Schipkov

The Candidates Tournament 2016 took place in Moscow (Russia) 10th-29th March.
1. Sergey Karjakin - 8.5 out of 14 scores, 2-3. Fabiano Caruana, Viswanathan Anand - 7.5, 4-7. Peter Svidler, Levon Aronian, Anish Giri, Hikaru Nakamura - 7, 8. Veselin Topalov - 4.5. Sergey Karjakin will play vs Magnus Carlsen in November 2016 in WCC.

Crosstable of the World Chess Candidates Tournament, Moscow 2016
Karjakin,Sergey 2760 ** 1 1 0 1 1 8.5  
Caruana,Fabiano 2794 0 ** 1 1 7.5 51.50
Anand,Viswanathan 2762 0 1 0 ** 1 1 0 1 7.5 50.50
Giri,Anish 2793 ** 7 49.00
Svidler,Peter 2757 0 ** 1 7 48.75
Aronian,Levon 2786 0 0 ** 1 1 7 47.50
Nakamura,Hikaru 2790 0 0 1 0 ** 1 1 7 45.75
Topalov,Veselin 2780 0 0 0 0 0 ** 4.5  
Average Elo: 2777. Category: 22.

Round 14, 28.03.2016
Svidler-Anand 1/2. The English Opening. Peter played the manoeuvre Ne1-c2 to attack the dark-squared bishop. A draw.
Giri-Topalov 1/2. The Catalan Opening. With equality... All games of Anish Giri ended in draws!
Nakamura-Aronian 1/2. The Ragozin Defence. A sharp fight.
Karjakin-Caruana 1-0. The Sicilian Defence. An aggressive opening. Fabiano had two bishops, but more weaknesses. 18.e5 was better. 36...Re4? was an error, and Sergey won with a rook sacrifice, 37.Rxd5!.
If Anand draws or loses, then Sergey can draw to win the Candidates Tournament. Fabiano must win the game. If Anand wins, Sergey must win the game.
Chess Candidates Tournament, Moscow 2016. Round 14 Games

Round 13, 27.03.2016
Caruana-Svidler 1/2. The Spanish Game. White had a clear advantage in the ending, grabbed a pawn. The endgame: a rook and a bishop vs a rook. 102...Ka4? was a mistake. White could have won with 105.Rb2. A draw in 116 moves.
Aronian-Karjakin 1/2. The English Opening, 4...d5. Levon grabbed a piece, Sergey had some compensation, the passed a2-pawn. A draw in 101 moves.
Topalov-Nakamura 0-1. The Queen's Gambit Declined, 5.Bf4. Hikaru had nice counterplay. Veselin tried to draw in the endgame, but lost.
Anand-Giri 1/2. The Italian Game. 9.Bg5 was a novelty. Vishy did not play 11.Bxf6!? to damage the pawn structure. but preferred 11.Nh4. However Anish obtained a good game with the central advance 11...d5. A wild fight. Anish had an advantage in the endgame, then Vishy levelled. 45...Rc5 was better.
Chess Candidates Tournament, Moscow 2016. Round 13 Games

Round 12, 25.03.2016
Svidler-Giri . The English Opening, 4...d5. Anish had an advantage, as usual. A draw, as usual.
Nakamura-Anand 1-0. The English Opening, 4...Bb4 5.Nd5. A very interesting game. White was better, because Black had more weaknesses on the kingside, White could attack Black's king. White's dark-squared bishop was a monster.
Karjakin-Topalov 1-0. The Sicilian Defence. Sergey seized space on the kingside with g4-g5 and h4. Veselin made a mistake, 17...Rc8?, better was 17...Bf6. Sergey attacked with 18.h6 and grabbed the exchange, and won.
Caruana-Aronian 1/2. The Spanish Game. White obtained a small advantage. But 47.Ke3? was a mistake, correct was 47.Kf1=, with equality. Black tried to use the h4-pawn. However, a draw.
Chess Candidates Tournament, Moscow 2016. Round 12 Games

Round 11, 24.03.2016
Aronian-Svidler 0-1. The Slav Defence or QGA, like in Nakamura-Svidler in round 3. But Levon played 10.Be3, moved the rook to the kingside with 17.Rg3 to attack. Peter defended well, got an edge in the endgame thanks to the better pawn structure and won.
Topalov-Caruana 1/2. The English Opening. A sharp fight! Fabiano grabbed the exchange, had a huge advantage in the ending. 38...f5 was better, winning.
Anand-Karjakin 1-0. The Spanish Game, 4.d3. White's knights sat on c5 and e5. In the endgame White seized the open file and had a slight edge, after Black's errors had a big edge in the endgame. 36...f5 was better.
Giri-Nakamura 1/2. The Italian Game. White obtained a small advantage, then a clear advantage, made a mistake 50.Nxg7?. 50.Re5 was better. A draw.
Chess Candidates Tournament, Moscow 2016. Round 11 Games

Round 10, 23.03.2016
Svidler-Nakamura 1/2. The English Opening. With counterplay.
Karjakin-Giri 1/2. The Semi-Slav Defence. A theoretical duel. A draw.
Caruana-Anand 1-0. The English Opening. An old system, as in Svidler-Karjakin, but Vishy played 9...exf3. Fabiano seized the centre with d4 and e4, had a small advantage, sacrificed the bishop with 18.Bxh6, grabbed the exchange and won. 15...Nxg3 and 19...Nd5 were better.
Aronian-Topalov 1/2. The English Opening. Almost all preferred the English!
Chess Candidates Tournament, Moscow 2016. Round 10 Games

Round 9, 21.03.2016
Topalov-Svidler 1/2. The Spanish Game. With a small edge to White.
Anand-Aronian 1-0. The Italian Game. With a small edge to White after 24.Nd5. Vishy gradually outplayed the rival.
Giri-Caruana 1/2. Anish played 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.f3 and Fabiano preferred 3...d5 the Gruenfeld Defence. A sharp fight! Anish attacked with h4-h5, and Fabiano sacrificed two pawns. 20...Nc4? was a mistake, after 22.fxe5 Anish had a big advantage. Then 24.Ke1 was better, winning.
Nakamura-Karjakin 1/2. The Queen's Indian Defence. Hikaru played 11.Rb1 as Topalov in round 5, but Sergey produced a novelty, 11...Nbd7. With equality.
Chess Candidates Tournament, Moscow 2016. Round 9 Games

Round 8, 20.03.2016
Svidler-Karjakin 1/2. The English Opening. An old system, a theoretical duel. 16.c4 is a novelty, unclear. I think 16.c4 and 17.g4 are dubious moves, because Black can play ...Nd4 and the white light-squared bishop became bad. The next 16.g5? was a mistake, Peter played badly this day, though he tried to open the way for the bishop. But Sergey continued 19...h5?, 19...hxg5 was stronger with an attack on the kingside. However then Peter outplayed the rival and obtained a clear advantage in the endgame. 49.Nf5 was better.
Caruana-Nakamura 1-0. The Spanish Game, 4.d3. A sharp fight: White castled long, Black castled short. Interesting! Fabiano attacked with 17.g5, but Hikaru counterattacked with 17...b3. White obtained a clear advantage after 21.b3.
Aronian-Giri 1/2. The Semi-Slav Defence, Moscow Variation. From the opening to the complex endgame. With equality.
Topalov-Anand 1/2. The Queen's Gambit, Ragozin Defence. With counterplay.
Chess Candidates Tournament, Moscow 2016. Round 8 Games

Round 7, 19.03.2016
Svidler-Caruana 1/2. The English Opening. Peter tried to take the initiative on the king's wing with h4-h5 and 13.Bh6, then sacrificed the knight to win, had a strong attack. Better were 30.Ra4, 32.Bd7 etc. A draw.
Karjakin-Aronian 1/2. The Reti Opening. Levon played the original 6...a5 and 7...a4. Sergey preferred his usual 10.h2-h4 to attack on the kingside. Levon continued also 12...b5, we see Black's pawn phalanx a4, b5, c5.
Nakamura-Topalov 1-0. The Slav Defence. Hikaru played 8.Rb1 with the idea to seize space on the queenside with b4 and c5, attacked with the typical 15.b5. Veselin gave the bishop with 21...Bxc5, therefore Hikaru won.
Giri-Anand 1/2. The Queen's Gambit, the Ragozin Defence. Anish had a small advantage: two bishops. But then he traded the dark-squared bishop, so Vishy equalized.
Chess Candidates Tournament, Moscow 2016. Round 7 Games

Round 6, 17.03.2016
Anand-Svidler 1-0. The Spanish Game. White was better, Anand attacked on the kingside with 20.Ng5 and won.
Topalov-Giri 1/2. The Benko-Volga Gambit. Anish had good compensation for the pawn, then had an edge in the endgame, grabbed a pawn.
Aronian-Nakamura 1-0. The Queen's Indian Defence. A theoretical duel. White sacrificed a pawn in the opening. In the endgame Levon had the better chances due to powerful rooks. Hikaru took the king on move 74 and had to play (the touch-move rule) 74...Kf8? that was a mistake, and lost.
Caruana-Karjakin 1/2. The Queen's Indian Defence. Almost like in Topalov-Karjakin, but Fabiano preferred 11.a3. A sharp fight! Sergey gave the queen, therefore Fabiano could try to win. A draw after mistakes.
Chess Candidates Tournament, Moscow 2016. Round 6 Games

Round 5, 16.03.2016
Giri-Svidler 1/2. The Gruenfeld Defence. The Fianchetto Variation. Anish had a small advantage.
Anand-Nakamura 1/2. The Spanish Game, 4.d3. With equality. A draw by perpetual check (repetition).
Topalov-Karjakin 1/2. The Queen's Indian Defence. 11.Rb1 is a novelty. White attacked the black hanging pawns.
Aronian-Caruana 1/2. The Modern Benoni Defence. With counterplay. Levon sacrificed a pawn with 20.e5.
Chess Candidates Tournament, Moscow 2016. Round 5 Games

Round 4, 15.03.2016
Svidler-Aronian 1/2. The English Opening. An original endgame. Peter had two bishops, the better chances, but Levon defended well, a draw.
Caruana-Topalov 1/2. The Italian Game, 5.d3. White had a slight, then a big advantage. A draw after mistakes.
Karjakin-Anand 1-0. The English Opening. White fianchettoed his queen's bishop with 5.Bb2, attacked on the kingside with 9.h4. Then White attacked weak pawns in the centre and won the endgame.
Nakamura-Giri 1/2. The Semi-Slav Defence. A theoretical duel. Hikaru tried to attack on the kingside, a wild game. Two knights vs two bishops. A draw by perpetual check (repetition).
Chess Candidates Tournament, Moscow 2016. Round 4 Games

Round 3, 13.03.2016
Nakamura-Svidler 1/2. The Slav Defence or QGA. Hikaru had the strong passed d-pawn (it was Peter's home preparation), but played badly, so Peter obtained an advantage and had an extra pawn in the endgame. Hikaru had to fight to draw. A draw in 64 moves.
Giri-Karjakin 1/2. The Queen's Indian Defence. A draw by perpetual check (repetition).
Anand-Caruana 1/2. The Spanish Game. 11...exd4 is a novelty, with counterplay.
Topalov-Aronian 0-1. The English Opening. Levon grabbed two pawns, and gradually won the game.
Chess Candidates Tournament, Moscow 2016. Round 3 Games

Round 2, 12.03.2016
Svidler-Topalov 1/2. The Spanish Game. The rivals traded pieces. A quick draw.
Aronian-Anand 1/2. The Queen's Gambit, 5.Bf4. Levon had a small advantage, because Anand must defend the c4-pawn. However, then Vishy won a pawn, a draw in the opposite-colored bishops endgame.
Caruana-Giri 1/2. The Spanish Game. In the middlegame White was better due to strong rooks and the e6-pawn. But in the endgame Black had sufficient counterplay due to the passed d-pawn.
Karjakin-Nakamura 1-0. The Queen's Indian Defence. White had a small advantage thanks to the isolated d5-pawn. Hikaru riskily sacrificed a knight and lost.
Chess Candidates Tournament, Moscow 2016. Round 2 Games

Round 1, 11.03.2016
Karjakin-Svidler 1/2. The Slav Defence. With counterplay. Then Peter obtained a small advantage in the endgame due to the better pawn structure.
Nakamura-Caruana 1/2. The English Opening. Looks like Modern Benoni without c5-pawn. White had more space. Two bishops vs two knights. In the endgame Fabiano had sufficient counterplay. A draw.
Giri-Aronian 1/2. The Queen's Gambit, 5.Bf4. A theoretical duel. Anish attacked on the queenside with pawns and obtained a small advantage. The rook and pawn endgames were drawish.
Anand-Topalov 1-0. The Spanish Game. White had a slight advantage. Then Black had a good game, but after mistakes Anand grabbed the a6-pawn and won.
Chess Candidates Tournament, Moscow 2016. Round 1 Games

Games CT 2016 (56, pgn)
The Opening Ceremony 10th March 2016.
Schedule, games: March 11-13; 15-17; 19-21; 23-25; 27; 28; tie-break 29, the Central Telegraph. The Closing Ceremony, 29th March 2016.
Time control: 100 minutes for 40 moves, 50 minutes for the next 20 moves and 15 minutes for the rest of the game plus an additional 30 seconds per move from move 1. The winner will play vs Magnus Carlsen in November 2016.

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