Thursday, 21 March 2013

2013 Candidates, Round 4: Radjabov-Kramnik

Vlad Kramnik was telling us the other day at a press conference that the 14 rounds of the 2013 Candidates were immeasurably tougher than the 24 rounds of the 1953 event in Zurich, and one of his quips in support of this notion was that the 1953 guys only had two openings, the Nimzo-Indian with e3 and the King's Indian Defence.

Kramnik: secured an edge with Black but couldn't convert

As someone who was around in 1953 (though a tad young, at six months old, to follow the chess) I didn't feel he was being entirely fair on Smyslov, Bronstein, Keres, and co. So I enjoyed the irony of seeing him play the first of those two defences against Radjabov. (And, who knows, the Azeri may play the other one against him in their return game.)

Radjabov: “I probably mixed up some things in the opening"

Apologies - I find it quite hard to enthuse about this game. It lasted a good long while, 50 moves, but failed to ignite. If we look at it on the official website's games analysis page, where each move is followed by a Houdini analysis engine assessment, we find that those assessment varied from 0.19 in favour of White (on move 10) to 0.28 in favour of Black (after White's 40th move). The arithmetic seems to back up the general impression of caginess.

Radjabov felt that he got nothing out of the opening (Kramnik agreed). The Azeri described it as a "dream position for Black", which was perhaps an exaggeration as he was able to defend it quite comfortably in the long run.

Report on official site

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