March 20, 2013 1:18:14 am
World No.1 Magnus Carlsens 37-move defeat of Russian Alexander Grischuk took him to the top of the leaderboard along with Levon Aronian at the end of round four of the Candidates tournament in London. Both players have three points from four games with two wins each.
Aronian played out a sedate draw with Peter Svidler,while in a bottom-of-the-barrel game,Boris Gelfand and Vassily Ivanchuk too split the points.
Carlsen,who started Tuesday half a point behind World No.3 Aronian,had not played Grischuk in classical time controls too frequently in the past,with the majority of their contests ending in draws.
In London too,Grischuk has been solid,and his defences hadnt been breached before he came up against Carlsen.
Another draw would not have been a disaster and the Russian opted for the solid Berlin defence of the Ruy Lopez with black.
Carlsen,true to reputation,deviated from theoretical lines early,and though the continuation that arose was fairly unique,Grischuk came up with accurate responses early on.
Carlsens choice of moves had the advantage of offering his opponent a selection of possibilities,almost all of which would either leave him no better,or possibly worse. Though precise early on,Grischuk used up more and more of his time in the process.
As was inevitable,Grischuk began to find it difficult to find the right moves under time pressure,and each minor mistake was coldly and immediately pounced on by the Norwegian.
To Grischuks disadvantage of a doubled pawn was added that of the loss of another sentinel.
Grischuks position was unenviable. He had to find 20 moves in five minutes,and later,16 in three. The blunder duly arrived and Carlsen was up on both on material and time when the Russian resigned.
Earlier,Aronian,who was in sole lead before Tuesday,was not able to use his white pieces effectively,and settled for an early draw against Svidler,who was in joint-second before the game. Svidler deserved part of the credit for the result,and showed good form and preparation,especially with the openings.
Like he did in his win against Teimour Radjabov in round three,Svidler surprised his opponent yet again with the opening choice. He went for the Queens gambit,when Aronian perhaps expected him to go for his favourite,the Grunfield.
Svidler maintained a healthy pace of play throughout,suggesting the game followed a line he was familiar with,and Aronian was content not to push things too much. After major pieces were exchanged in the early middle game,a draw was agreed on after the mandatory 30 moves.
In the game between Gelfand and Ivanchuk,both players came off successive losses,and the game proceeded in correspondingly prudent fashion. Though Gelfand had an edge,neither player had enough on the clock to make much of their positions and the draw was a fair result.
The game between Vladimir Kramnik and Radjabov extended well past the first time control,with the former retaining a minor advantage as black.
The results,round four: Magnus Carlsen (2) bt Alexander Grischuk (1.5) ; Levon Aronian (2.5) drew with Peter Svidler (2); Boris Gelfand (0.5) drew with Vassily Ivanchuk (0.5); Vladimir Kramnik (1.5) vs Teimour Radjabov (1.5),on-going.
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