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FIDE Candidates’ Tournament 2016 Round 12

Today we have a SPECIAL EDITION of the Game Of the Day video!

&    
GM Alex Yermolinsky       GM Larry Christiansen


Another exciting round in Moscow with two decisive games, which is a good improvement over the quasi-standard only-one-decisive-game trend. Entering round 12, Anand and Caruana were in the lead, followed by Karjakin half a point behind and Aronian at 1 point from the lead. After today's round, we have again a change in the lead, with Karjakin back up together with Caruana.

With two rounds to go, here are the possible scenarios.

As we know, the tiebreaks for this tournament, as stated in FIDE's regulations, are:

a) The results of the games between the players involved in the tie.

If they are still tied:

b) The total number of wins in the tournament of every player involved in the tie.

If they are still tied:

c) Sonneborn - Berger System.

Caruana and Karjakin, who lead with 7 points, drew their first game. This means that the last round's encounter might be decisive.
Should they draw the last game, while still in the joint lead, Karjakin would be the Candidate, as he won 3 games (vs. Nakamura, Anand and Topalov), whereas Caruana won 2 (vs. Nakamura and Anand).
Anand, who currently is half a point behind the leaders, would not qualify even if he tied with Karjakin and Caruana, having lost to both.


Let's see how the round went.

Aronian, like in the last two Candidates' tends to collapse in the second part of the long tournament. Today Caruana opened with e4 and the players went into a Ruy Lopez, but not a Berlin defense, which is quite uncommon these days, to say the least. Both players needed to win, but this wasn't enough to make the game go wild. On the other hand, losing today would have probably meant to put a gravestone on the chances to win the tournament. By move 20, like it seems to be the rule in modern chess, the players were already into an endgame, that for a while seemed to be favorable to Aronian. But Fabiano defended with precision and the players settled for a draw.

 

 

Press conference Caruana-Aronian courtesy of Worldchess.

A Sicilian Najdorf opened the game Karjakin-Topalov, with Sergey going for a sort of Keres attack, with g5, h4 and h5. The Russian went all-in for the attack, in the best Sicilian with opposite sire castle tradition. Topalov did not find the best defense, and found himself in dire straits, risking to get checkmated pretty early into the game. A nightmarish event for the former world champion. At least now he will be able to play the last two rounds without any pressure, since he can't win the event anyway.

 

Giri drew his twelfth game in a row, and pretty uneventfully this time. During the 85 moves of the game, the engines have never given an evaluation of more than a few tenth of pawn in favor of either player. The amazing drawing streak unleashed some hilarity and funny comments on Twitter:

Seventh decisive result for Anand in this tournament, that has been a true rollercoaster for the great Vishy. Today he faced a different Nakamura from the one we've seen playing in Moscow so far. Hikaru was able to pose incredibly complicated problems to Anand to solve already in the opening, at a point that the public wondered if Vishy had been caught out of preparation. We all know how deep and strong Anand's preparation is, but today the old tiger could not find a suitable defense, and got into serious trouble pretty quickly. Nakamura kept the pressure at high levels, with very good moves like 10.e3! and shutting all the doors to Vishy's attempts to turn the tables. At move 15 Anand found himself out of breath already, trying to dodge Naka's bullets (pun intended). Nakamura played brilliantly, winning in a convincing way in 26 moves.

 

Tomorrow is a rest day. Play resumes Sunday at 8AM EDT, 14:00 CET. ICC will have LIVE commentary for the last two rounds!


Two winners today in the GTR contest: Activekinds and Radja! They both were able to get all the 4 results right. Bravo!

Find previous rounds' reports HERE

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