The Candidates Tournament in London is going to the wire of the final round, following a sensational surge from Vladimir Kramnik, in which the former world champion dramatically knocked Magnus Carlsen off the lead at the end of the 12th round.
At the halfway stage, Kramnik appeared to be out of the running with seven draws. But he then hit top form, notching up four late victories, and had a half-point lead over Carlsen going into Sunday’s penultimate round, as he beat Levon Aronian while the young Norwegian world No 1 lost his first game of the tournament, to Vassily Ivanchuk.
Digging deep into his reserves, Carlsen stormed back into contention to qualify to play a world championship match later this year with Viswanathan Anand, with a penultimate round win over tail-ender Teimour Radjabov. He now him shares the lead with Kramnik, who had to settle for a draw in a long and complicated struggle with Boris Gelfand.
Carlsen and Kramnik are tied on 8.5/13 but Carlsen holds the upper hand, as the tie-breaker is decided by most games won, of which (so far) he has five; Kramnik has four. In the final round, Carlsen (white) will play six-time Russian champion Peter Svidler with Kramnik (black) playing the unpredictable Ivanchuk, who notched up the unenviable record of losing his fifth game on time in the tournament to Svidler.
Standings: 1-2. Carlsen, Kramnik, 8.5/13; 3-4. Aronian, Svidler, 7; 5-6. Grischuk, Gelfand, 6; 7. Ivanchuk, 5; 8. Rajdabov, 4.
P Svidler - V Ivanchuk
FIDE Candidates, (13)
1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 e5 c5 4 c3 Nc6 5 Nf3 Bd7 6 Be2 Nge7 7 0–0 Ng6 8 g3 cxd4 9 cxd4 f6 10 exf6 Qxf6 11 Bg5 Qf7 12 Be3 h6 13 Nc3 Bd6 14 Nb5 Bb8 15 Ne5 Ngxe5 16 dxe5 Nxe5 17 Bc5 Nc4 18 b3 b6 19 Bb4 a5 20 Bc3 Bxb5 21 Bh5! g6 22 Bxh8 gxh5 23 Re1 Qf5 24 bxc4 Bxc4 25 Qd4 Bc7 26 Be5 0–0–0 27 Rac1 Rd7 28 a4 Qg4 29 Qe3 h4 30 Qxh6 hxg3 31 hxg3 Bd8 32 Bf4 Re7 33 Bg5 Kd7 34 Bxe7 Bxe7 35 Kg2 Bc5 36 f3 Qf5 37 Qg7+ 1–0