Mar 24, 2018

Sergey Karjakin is back for a rematch against Magnus Carlsen

Sergey Karjakin is back in contention for a rematch against Magnus Carlsen after defeating Levon Aronian in Round 11 to move within a point of leader Fabiano Caruana, who he plays in Round 12. Alexander Grischuk is level with Karjakin in what has become a four-horse race, after pulling off a great escape against Ding Liren, with the Chinese player now on 11 draws out of 11. Fabiano Caruana and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov drew against Vladimir Kramnik and Wesley So to remain the players to beat.

After a thoroughly uninspired 2017 Sergey Karjakin went into the 2018 Candidates Tournament as the bottom seed, and after two losses with the white pieces in the first four rounds it seemed as though the ratings didn’t lie – few gave him a chance of fighting for a rematch against Magnus Carlsen. We should have known better, though, since in the 2014 Candidates Tournament Karjakin had also started with two losses, the last of which was to Levon Aronian with the black pieces. Then in both cases Karjakin went on to win three games, including beating Kramnik with White and Aronian with Black.

In 2014 that +1 was enough for clear second place, though Karjakin also came very close to beating the winner Vishy Anand in the penultimate game. Anything can still happen this year with three rounds to go.

Let’s get to the game, though, which was another horror show for Levon Aronian. The Armenian no. 1 has now lost five games, including four of his last six, and plummeted out of the live Top 10. The blow has been hard to take, and he’s yet to switch to damage limitation mode. In Round 11 he was absolutely fine with White in a Catalan against Sergey Karjakin, and though Sergey suggested improvements (e.g. 26.Qg4 instead of 26.Qb2 and 33.Qc2 instead of 33.g4) the game was still in the balance all the way up to move 42.

See also:

  • Official website
  • All the games with computer analysis on chess24
  • A look at the Candidates: Mamedyarov, Kramnik, Aronian, Grischuk, Caruana, Ding Liren, So, Karjakin
  • Jan, Peter and Sopiko commentate Candidates
  • Berlin Candidates 1: A stunning start
  • Berlin Candidates 2: Grischuk piles misery on So
  • Berlin Candidates 3: A Kramnik immortal
  • Berlin Candidates 4: Caruana leads after thriller
  • Berlin Candidates 5: Aronian misses open goal
  • Berlin Candidates 6: Mamedyarov and So strike
  • Berlin Candidates 7: Caruana beats Aronian to lead
  • Berlin Candidates 8: Kramnik vs. Kramnik
  • Berlin Candidates 9: Fabi close as Vlad loses again
  • Berlin Candidates 10: Kramnik does it again