Picture provided by WORLD CHESS Press-Office; Evgeny Pogonin

Picture provided by WORLD CHESS Press-Office; Evgeny Pogonin

Anand v Topalov

The game between Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria and Viswanathan Anand of India was a standard Queen’s Gambit. Anand traded off his dark-squared bishop to speed his development, but Topalov eventually caught up. He started to try to organize the standard break of f3 end e4 but then inexplicably gave up the idea and allowed his kingside pawns to become doubled. From that point on, only Anand had a chance to win. Though he pressed for a long time, in the end he could find no way to break down Topalov’s defense and they agreed to a draw. Anand remains on +1, a half point behind Aronian, while Topalov is at -3.

Giri v Aronian

Levon Aronian of Armenia, the co-leader, faced Anish Giri of the Netherlands. The opening was a Semi-Slav Defense and Aronian chose the Moscow variation, in which White gives up the bishop pair in return for rapid development. The players soon traded queens and entered an endgame in which White had more space, but Black had the bishop pair. Though White was able to eventually win a pawn, the endgame with opposite-colored bishops was an easy draw and so the players split the point. Aronian stayed at +2 and, for the moment in the lead, while Giri is the only player in the tournament with a perfect record — he has drawn all his games.

Caruana v Nakamura

Fabiano Caruana of the United States beat his compatriot Hikaru Nakamura to record his first victory of the 2016 Candidates. The game started out as anti-Berlin Defense, which can be very quiet. But the players castled on opposite wings and then launched attacks against the kings. Caruana’s attack proved to be more potent and Nakamura also made some missteps in time pressure. For Nakamura, it was his third loss and dropped him into second-to-last. Caruana is now at +1 and only trails the leaders by half a point. 

Svidler v Karjakin

The game between the two Russians, Peter Svidler an Sergey Karjakin, was among the most interesting of the day with both players having the upper hand at different points. Svidler essayed a strange opening and his light-squared bishop ended up entombed. It seemed that Svidler was close to lost, an assessment Svidler had himself after the game. But Karjakin misplayed the position as well, taking a pawn on h3 that allowed Svidler to free his position. Indeed, it was soon clear that Svidler had the upper hand. Svidler proceeded to outplay Karjakin and Karjakin kept retreating until it seemed that Svidler was on the cusp of victory. But as has happened throughout the tournament, at the critical moment, Svidler missed the correct move and that allowed Karjakin to win a pawn and generate enough  counterplay to insure a draw. The draw allowed Karjakin to stay tied for the lead, while Svidler is at -1, which is almost unfortunate as he has played very well throughout the tournament. 

Read more about the games on worldchess.com