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Chess Candidates Tournament, Berlin 2018

by Boris Schipkov

The World Chess Candidates Tournament 2018 took place in Berlin (Germany), 10th-28th March.
1. Fabiano Caruana - 9 out of 14 scores, 2-3. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Sergey Karjakin - 8, 4. Ding Liren - 7.5, 5-6. Vladimir Kramnik, Alexander Grischuk - 6.5, 7. Wesley So - 6, 8. Levon Aronian - 4.5.
Fabiano Caruana will play vs World Champion Magnus Carlsen in the World Chess Championship in London (England, the United Kingdom), 9th-28th November 2018.

Crosstable of the World Chess Candidates Tournament, Berlin 2018
Pl Name Rating Ch Ra 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Points T
1 Caruana,Fabiano 2784 103 ** 0 1 1 1 11 9  
2 Mamedyarov,Shakhriyar 2809 23 ** 1 0 1 1 8 54.75
3 Karjakin,Sergey 2763 75 1 0 ** 1 1 01 8 54.75
4 Ding,Liren 2769 43 1 ** 7.5  
5 Grischuk,Alexander 2767 -3 0 0 ** 01 1 6.5 44.00
6 Kramnik,Vladimir 2800 -41 0 0 0 10 ** 11 6.5 41.50
7 So,Wesley 2799 -65 0 0 0 ** 1 6  
8 Aronian,Levon 2794 -139 00 10 00 0 ** 4.5  

Average Elo: 2785. Category: 22.

Round 14, 27.03.2018
Grischuk-Caruana 0-1. The Russian Game. With counterplay. Fabiano outplayed the rival in the endgame.
Aronian-So 1/2. The English Opening. A quick draw.
Karjakin-Ding 1/2. The Spanish Game. 27.Nd5? was a mistake, and Liren won a pawn with the strong 27...h3+! and obtained a small advantage.
Kramnik-Mamedyarov 1/2. The Catalan Opening. Vladimir sacrificed a pawn, so Shakhriyar had slightly better chances after 22...c6, but then Vladimir had good compensation, a draw.
Chess Candidates Tournament, Berlin 2018. Round 14 Games

Round 13, 26.03.2018
Mamedyarov-Grischuk 1-0. The Gruenfeld Defence. With equality. Alexander made a mistake, 34...Nxb5? and lost, though he had two queens. 34...Nf5= was better.
Ding-Kramnik 1/2. The English Opening. Liren had slightly better chances in the opening, but in the middlegame Vladimir won two pieces for a rook and attacked on the kingside with pawns ...g5 and ...h5. Liren defended well, a draw.
So-Karjakin 1/2. The Nimzo-Indian Defence. A draw in 39 moves.
Caruana-Aronian 1-0. The Spanish Game. Fabiano obtained a clear advantage. However Levon tried to shut the door with a bishop sacrifice. Bang bang! Then he could have played 31...Nxb4! to activate the rook after 32.cxb4 Rd4=. 31...e4? was a mistake, so Fabiano had a huge edge and won with a rook sacrifice, 39.Rxh6+!. Bang!
Chess Candidates Tournament, Berlin 2018. Round 13 Games

Round 12, 24.03.2018
Grischuk-Aronian 1/2. The Spanish Game.
Karjakin-Caruana 1-0. The Russian Game.
Kramnik-So 1/2. The Queen's Gambit Declined, Exchange Variation with 5.Bf4.
Mamedyarov-Ding 0-1. The Semi-Tarrasch Defence.
Chess Candidates Tournament, Berlin 2018. Round 12 Games

Round 11, 23.03.2018
Ding-Grischuk 1/2. The Queen's Gambit. A draw in 96 moves.
So-Mamedyarov 1/2. The Catalan Opening.
Caruana-Kramnik 1/2. The Semi-Slav Defence.
Aronian-Karjakin 0-1. The Catalan Opening.
Chess Candidates Tournament, Berlin 2018. Round 11 Games

Round 10, 22.03.2018
Grischuk-Karjakin 1/2. The Catalan Opening or Bogo-Indian Defence. A draw by threefold repetition
Kramnik-Aronian 1-0. The Italian Game. Levon took the initiative on the queenside with 13...a5 and 20...c5. However Vladimir attacked on the king's wing and won after the bad 36...Qc7??, 36...Rg7= was better.
Mamedyarov-Caruana 1/2. The Catalan Opening. Shakhriyar grabbed a pawn, but Fabiano had compensation - two bishops.
Ding-So 1/2. The Queen's Gambit Declined. Liren grabbed a pawn, 10.Bxc7, then Wesley took a pawn back, 18...Qxg5, a draw.
Chess Candidates Tournament, Berlin 2018. Round 10 Games

Round 9, 20.03.2018
So-Grischuk 1/2. The Spanish Game.
Caruana-Ding 1/2. The Bogo-Indian Defence. White could have won with 66.Nf8+.
Aronian-Mamedyarov 1/2. The Catalan Opening.
Karjakin-Kramnik 1-0. The Queen's Gambit.
Chess Candidates Tournament, Berlin 2018. Round 9 Games

Round 8, 19.03.2018
Grischuk-Kramnik 1-0. The Queen's Gambit Accepted. Alexander had an extra pawn in the endgame and won. 68...Bd7 was better.
Mamedyarov-Karjakin 1/2. The Catalan Opening.
Ding-Aronian 1/2. The Catalan Opening. Liren grabbed a pawn, but then Levon won a pawn back.
So-Caruana 1/2. The Russian Game. Fabiano grabbed the exchange, but Wesley defended well and drew.
Chess Candidates Tournament, Berlin 2018. Round 8 Games

Round 7, 18.03.2018
Grischuk-Mamedyarov 1/2. The Ragozin Defence. With counterplay. A quick draw by threefold repetition.
Kramnik-Ding 1/2. The English Opening.
Karjakin-So 1-0. The Nimzo-Indian Defence.
Aronian-Caruana 0-1. The Ragozin Defence. Levon riskily sacrificed two pawns to try to attack on the kingside and lost after mistakes.
Chess Candidates Tournament, Berlin 2018. Round 7 Games

Round 6, 16.03.2018
Caruana-Grischuk 1/2. The Modern Benoni.
So-Aronian 1-0. The Spanish Game.
Ding-Karjakin 1/2. The Catalan Opening. Liren sacrificed a pawn. A quick draw by threefold repetition.
Mamedyarov-Kramnik 1-0. The Semi-Tarrasch Defence.
Chess Candidates Tournament, Berlin 2018. Round 6 Games

Round 5, 15.03.2018
Aronian-Grischuk 1/2. The Modern Benoni or King's Indian Saemisch System. A sharp fight, Levon could have won with 29.Qxc8+.
Caruana-Karjakin 1/2. The Catalan Opening.
So-Kramnik 1/2. The Semi-Tarrasch Defence. With more or less equal play.
Ding-Mamedyarov 1/2. The Catalan Opening.
Chess Candidates Tournament, Berlin 2018. Round 5 Games

Round 4, 14.03.2018
Grischuk-Ding 1/2. The Semi-Slav Defence. Alexander sacrificed a knight, 12.Nxf7, after errors he could have won with 22.Bh4+.
Mamedyarov-So 1/2. The Nimzo-Indian Defence. White had slightly better chances thanks to the strong bishop.
Kramnik-Caruana 0-1. The Russian Game. Vladimir riskily sacrificed a piece, almost outplayed the rival in the endgame, 44.d8Q+ was better, but made mistakes, 58.Kb1? and 59.Rd1?? and lost.
Karjakin-Aronian 0-1. The Ragozin Defence. Levon grabbed three pawns.
Chess Candidates Tournament, Berlin 2018. Round 4 Games

Round 3, 12.03.2018
Karjakin-Grischuk 1/2. The Italian Game.
Aronian-Kramnik 0-1. The Spanish Game. Vladimir tried to develop the initiative on the king's wing with 9...g5!, stormed the white citadel and beautifully won.
Caruana-Mamedyarov 1/2. The Sicilian Defence. Fabiano attacked on the kingside with g4-g5, Shakhriyar counterattacked on the queenside with 12...b5.
So-Ding 1/2. The Spanish Game, Marshall Attack.
Chess Candidates Tournament, Berlin 2018. Round 3 Games

Round 2, 11.03.2018
Grischuk-So 1-0. The Spanish Game. Again Alexander attacked on the kingside with the rook, 21.Rg4!, but here he successfully won the black bishop and the game.
Ding-Caruana 1/2. The Catalan Opening. Fabiano sacrificed the exchange for a pawn.
Mamedyarov-Aronian 1/2. The Nimzo-Indian Defence. A quick draw, 24 moves.
Kramnik-Karjakin 1/2. The Spanish Game. A long draw, 55 moves.
Chess Candidates Tournament, Berlin 2018. Round 2 Games

Round 1, 10.03.2018
Kramnik-Grischuk 1-0. The Queen's Pawn Game. Unclear. Alexander fianchettoed two bishops and chose a risky plan with an attack on the kingside with the rook, 22...Nxd5 was better. Vladimir outplayed the opponent in the ending.
Karjakin-Mamedyarov 0-1. The Spanish Game, with the rare 3...g6. Shakhriyar obtained an edge in the endgame due to the passed b-pawn.
Aronian-Ding 1/2. The English Opening. 10.Bd3 is a novelty (in Budczies-Vogt, Bochum 1990 White played 10.Rh3). Levon had a small advantage, but 15.Rh3 and 19.Rb2 were better, a draw by threefold repetition.
Caruana-So 1-0. The Bogo-Indian Defence. With counterplay on the queenside in the opening, but in the middlegame Fabiano took the initiative in the centre and on the kingside with 26.e6 and beat the rival.
Chess Candidates Tournament, Berlin 2018. Round 1 Games

Games CT 2018 (56, pgn)
The Opening Ceremony - 9th March 2018.
Schedule, games: March 10-12; 14-16; 18-20; 22-24; 26; 27; tie-break 28. The Closing Ceremony - 28th March 2018.
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 World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen in London (England, the United Kingdom), 9th-28th November 2018.

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