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It's Carlsen and Aronian

Levon Aronian
Magnus Carlsen has a habit of finishing strongly in major tournaments. Here a last round win against Hikaru Nakamura enabled him to catch the previous leader Levon Aronian, who drew his game. Aronian had to defend carefully in a long game in order to avoid defeat, and now provisionally becomes the World No.2 for the first time. The other winner was Peter Svidler who beat an out-of-sorts Vladimir Kramnik.

In the key match for the title, Ian Nepomniachtchi sacrificed the exchange for an attack. The pre-round leader, Levon Aronian, was able to exchange queens, but with one pawn plus a good bishop pair in an open position the young Russian had enough compensation. Nepomniachtchi pressed, and won a second pawn, but by this time Black's rooks were well able to meet any threats. Aronian ultimately gave back the exchange for a dead drawn rook endgame.

The winner of Sergey Karjakin and Vassily Ivanchuk had a chance to join the lead, so both players played aggressively. Ivanchuk grabbed his opponent's b-pawn, whereupon Karjakin engineered tactical chances against Black's weakened kingside. Once the queens came off, Black's extra pawn gave him a pull, but his pawns were split and Karjakin was able to blockade.

Viswanathan Anand was able to draw with Black against Boris Gelfand, making it nine out of nine! He had the slightly inferior pawn structure, but was sufficiently active to obtain full equality.

In the all-Russian battle, Vladimir Kramnik played an ambitious combination where he gave up two pieces for a rook, the idea being to leave his opponent discoordinated. Nevertheless, Svidler found the time to snatch the a-pawn and gradually organize his forces. Later the passed a-pawn proved to be a decisive advantage.

Magnus Carlsen undertook to snatch the American's e-pawn, at the risk of exposing his king. However there was no real attack and Hikaru Nakamura found himself obliged to exchange queens. He sought solace in an opposite-bishop endgame a pawn down, but had to give a second pawn to release his king. This proved to be too much, and Carlsen was able to win.

Here is a summary of the final round games:

White Country Rating Result Black Country Rating Moves Opening descri ption
Boris Gelfand ISR 2744 0.5-0.5 Viswanathan Anand IND 2811 29 Queen's Gambit Declined 5.Bf4
Hikaru Nakamura USA 2758 0-1 Magnus Carlsen NOR 2826 58 Queen's Indian Defence 4...Ba6
Ian Nepomniachtchi RUS 2730 0.5-0.5 Levon Aronian ARM 2802 85 Queen's Gambit Declined 5.Bf4
Peter Svidler RUS 2755

1-0

Vladimir Kramnik RUS 2800 44 English Opening
Sergey Karjakin RUS 2763

0.5-0.5

Vassily Ivanchuk UKR 2775 42 Sicilian Kan

The final table: 

Rank Name Country Rating 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Points

Expected

score

Elo +/-
1-2 Levon Aronian ARM 2802 * ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ 4.9 +6
1-2 Magnus Carlsen NOR 2826 ½ * ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 1 5.2 +3
3-5 Sergey Karjakin RUS 2763 ½ ½ * ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 5 4.3 +7
3-5 Ian Nepomniachtchi RUS 2730 ½ ½ ½ * ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ 5 3.9 +11
3-5 Vassily Ivanchuk UKR 2775  0 ½ ½ ½ * ½ 1 ½ ½ 1 5 4.5 +5
6-7 Viswanathan Anand IND 2811 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ * ½ ½ ½ ½ 4.9 -4
6-7 Peter Svidler RUS 2755 0 ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ * 1 ½ 1 4.2 +3
8-9 Vladimir Kramnik RUS 2800 ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ 0 * ½ ½ 4.9 -14
8-9 Boris Gelfand ISR 2744 ½ 0 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ * ½ 4.0 -5
10 Hikaru Nakamura USA 2758 ½ 0 ½ ½ 0 ½ 0 ½ ½ * 3 4.2 -12

At the top, Carlsen's small rating gain is significant, as he is (provisionally) at a higher rating than ever before.

Aronian's six point gain, allied with Anand's four point loss, should see the Armenian overtake the Indian and thus become World number 2.

However, these observations may only be of temporary value, as they could well change in the London Classic which takes place next month.

An excellent coming of age result for Ian Nepomniachtchi who, despite being the lowest ranked, didn't lose a game.

Lower down, after a poor start to the event, Boris Gelfand finally escaped from last place due to Hikaru Nakamura losing two of his last three games.

The biggest loser in the Elo points stakes however was Vladimir Kramnik who shed 14 points and so loses his 2800 status.

Details of the earlier games:

The first round:

White Country Rating Result Black Country Rating Moves Opening description
Hikaru Nakamura USA 2758

0.5-0.5

Boris Gelfand ISR 2744 34 Queen's Gambit Declined 5.Bf4
Viswanathan Anand IND 2811 0.5-0.5 Sergey Karjakin RUS 2763 42 Nimzoindian 4.Qc2
Vassily Ivanchuk UKR 2775 1-0 Peter Svidler RUS 2755 61 Grünfeld 4.e3
Vladimir Kramnik RUS 2800 0-1 Ian Nepomniachtchi RUS 2730 53 English Symmetrical
Levon Aronian ARM 2802 0.5-0.5 Magnus Carlsen NOR 2826 57 Queen's Indian 4.g3 Ba6

The second round:

White Country Rating Result Black Country Rating Moves Opening description
Magnus Carlsen NOR 2826 1-0 Boris Gelfand ISR 2744 38 Slav Defence 4.e3
Sergey Karjakin RUS 2763

0.5-0.5

Hikaru Nakamura USA 2758 43 Sicilian Najdorf 6.Be2
Peter Svidler RUS 2755

0.5-0.5

Viswanathan Anand IND 2811 23 Caro-Kann Advance
Ian Nepomniachtchi RUS 2730

0.5-0.5

Vassily Ivanchuk UKR 2775 76 Sicilian Sveshnikov
Levon Aronian ARM 2802

0.5-0.5

Vladimir Kramnik RUS 2800 49 Queen's Gambit Tarrasch

The third round:

White Country Rating Result Black Country Rating Moves Opening description
Boris Gelfand ISR 2744 0-1 Sergey Karjakin RUS 2763 59 Open Catalan
Hikaru Nakamura USA 2758 0-1 Peter Svidler RUS 2755 48 Grünfeld Exchange 7.Bc4
Viswanathan Anand IND 2811

0.5-0.5

Ian Nepomniachtchi RUS 2730 27 Grünfeld (Russian Variation)
Vassily Ivanchuk UKR 2775 0-1 Levon Aronian ARM 2802 57 Spanish Berlin
Vladimir Kramnik RUS 2800

0.5-0.5

Magnus Carlsen NOR 2826 41 English (Botvinnik) 

The fourth round:

White Country Rating Result Black Country Rating Moves Opening description
Magnus Carlsen NOR 2826 0.5-0.5 Sergey Karjakin RUS 2763 67 Nimzoindian 4.Qc2
Peter Svidler RUS 2755 0.5-0.5 Boris Gelfand ISR 2744 40 Reti Opening
Ian Nepomniachtchi RUS 2730

0.5-0.5

Hikaru Nakamura USA 2758 85 Sicilian Dragon
Levon Aronian ARM 2802 0.5-0.5 Viswanathan Anand IND 2811 60 Queen's Gambit Declined 5.Bf4
Vladimir Kramnik RUS 2800

0.5-0.5

Vassily Ivanchuk UKR 2775 57 Chebanenko Slav

The fifth round:

White Country Rating Result Black Country Rating Moves Opening description
Sergey Karjakin RUS 2763 0.5-0.5 Peter Svidler RUS 2755 26 Sicilian Kan
Boris Gelfand ISR 2744 0.5-0.5 Ian Nepomniachtchi RUS 2730 62 Grünfeld Defence 4.Bg5
Hikaru Nakamura USA 2758

0.5-0.5

Levon Aronian ARM 2802 53 Queen's Gambit Declined 3...Be7
Viswanathan Anand IND 2811 0.5-0.5 Vladimir Kramnik RUS 2800 36 Queen's Gambit Declined 5.Bf4
Vassily Ivanchuk UKR 2775

0.5-0.5

Magnus Carlsen NOR 2826 76 Grünfeld 4.Bf4

The sixth round:

White Country Rating Result Black Country Rating Moves Opening description
Magnus Carlsen NOR 2826 0.5-0.5 Peter Svidler RUS 2755 53 Grünfeld Defence (Exchange 7 .Bc4)
Ian Nepomniachtchi RUS 2730 0.5-0.5 Sergey Karjakin RUS 2763 40 Nimzoindian Defence (4.Qc2)
Levon Aronian ARM 2802

0.5-0.5

Boris Gelfand ISR 2744 40 Queen's Gambit Declined  5.Bf4
Vladimir Kramnik RUS 2800 0.5-0.5 Hikaru Nakamura USA 2758 42 English (Anti-Grünfeld, Qb3)
Vassily Ivanchuk UKR 2775

0.5-0.5

Viswanathan Anand IND 2811 36 Queen's Gambit Declined (Lasker)

The seventh round:

White Country Rating Result Black Country Rating Moves Opening description
Viswanathan Anand IND 2811 0.5-0.5 Magnus Carlsen NOR 2826 29 Grünfeld Defence (Exchange 7 .Be3)
Peter Svidler RUS 2755 0.5-0.5 Ian Nepomniachtchi RUS 2730 58 English Opening
Sergey Karjakin RUS 2763

0.5-0.5

Levon Aronian  ARM 2802 38 Spanish with d3
Boris Gelfand ISR 2744 0.5-0.5 Vladimir Kramnik RUS 2800 48 Queen's Gambit Declined  5.Bf4
Hikaru Nakamura USA 2758

0-1

Vassily Ivanchuk UKR 2775 40 Grünfeld Defence 4.Bf4

The eighth round:

White Country Rating Result Black Country Rating Moves Opening descri ption
Viswanathan Anand IND 2811 0.5-0.5 Hikaru Nakamura USA 2758 33 King's Indian Defence (Sämisch)
Magnus Carlsen NOR 2826 0.5-0.5 Ian Nepomniachtchi RUS 2730 40 Sicilian (Moscow)
Levon Aronian ARM 2802

1-0

Peter Svidler RUS 2755 54 Grünfeld Defence 4.Bf4
Vladimir Kramnik RUS 2800 0.5-0.5 Sergey Karjakin RUS 2763  44 Catalan Opening
Vassily Ivanchuk UKR 2775

0.5-0.5

Boris Gelfand ISR 2744 41 Semi-Slav 6.Qc2

More information from the official site:

http://www.russiachess.org/

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