Saturday, April 21, 2018

Candidates Tournament 2018 Highlights: Part 2

It’s been nearly a month since the Candidates ended. Even as I write this, many of the players from the Candidates are fighting in either the US Championships or Shamkir Chess 2018. So I will try to catch up on the backlog of games!

After his defeat by Kramnik in Round 3, Aronian bounced back to win a fine game against Karjakin in the next game. In Round 5, he had an excellent chance to score a second consecutive victory, but a couple of mistakes allowed his opponent, Alexander Grischuk, to escape with a draw.

A draw, but a dramatic game nonetheless:

Poor Aronian would suffer in subsequent rounds, including a tough loss against Wesley So in Round 6. The following struggle saw a pawn sacrifice by So, creating pawn weaknesses and bad piece coordination in the enemy camp that culminated in a fine win by the American:

Suffering alongside Aronian was the oldest player in the field, Vladimir Kramnik. In the same round, the Russian suffered a “hallucination” in his game against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov:

Position after 37. Kf4

In his earlier calculations, Kramnik had wrongly thought that the rook on c7 was on c8. Thus, although he would lose the h4 pawn, he could still win it back after 37... Bc7 38. Rxh4 Rf8+. Except that the rook was not on c8!

"Eyes, you do me wrong today"

With this victory, Mamedyarov, who had been in excellent performance recently, moved up to join Caruana in first place. The Candidates Tournament certainly been producing more than enough exciting games for us!

All that remains is to see whether Caruana and Mamedyarov could maintain their lead for the rest of the tournament, or whether some dramatic upset in the last few rounds would turn the tide…

To be continued…

Part 1:
Part 2:
Part 3:


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