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Hello everyone,
The most important tournament in the calendar was without doubt the Candidates Tournament in Khanty-Mansiysk, and so I based my update on important games from that tournament. I've also added the only game the World Champ played after the Zurich Challenge, and Tony Kosten sent me a fascinating game with his own annotations, which I'm glad to share with you.

Download PGN of April '14 1 e4 e5 games

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Spanish - The Marshall Attack with 12.d3 [C89]

Once in a while the top players are ready to play against the Marshall. So, in the game Anand, V - Svidler, P FIDE Candidates 2014, White accepted the challenge.

The diagram position, which occurred after 23...Kf8, saw Vishy introduced the novelty 24.a3. However, White's 27.Rc2 turned out to be too slow and Black equalised without much trouble, when instead 27.Rd1 could have set some problems.

Archangel with the bishop on c2 [C78]

In the game Svidler, P - Topalov, V FIDE Candidates 2014, White introduced a novelty in a rare position.

In the diagram position Svidler played 13.a4, but Topalov reacted well and solved all his opening problems. Moreover, after 16.Na3?! he could even have seized an edge, but started to go astray, and after 18...Rg8? found himself on the defensive. However, from the opening point of view Black's idea with 10...exf3 is good. The ball is now bouncing in White's court.

Archangel with 6...Bb7 [C78]

The World Champion tried to surprise his opponent with a rare system in Carlsen, M - Georgiev, V TCh-NOR Kvalifisering Eliteserien 2014.

In the rare position given above Magnus introduced a new idea, 13.Re1, but Black's reaction was good. However, his later mistakes on moves 14...f6?!, 16...Be7?! and 18...b3?! allowed White to seize the advantage, which Magnus converted with (typically for his games) ease. A relatively easy technical win for the World Champion, though the opening line looks perfectly playable for Black.

Closed Berlin (4.d3 Bc5) with 5.Bxc6 [C65]

In the game Andreikin, D - Anand, V FIDE Candidates 2014, White forced the ex-World Champ to fight against his own opening weapon.

In this already very uncommon position Vishy presented a logical novelty, 8...0-0 instead of Carlsen's 8...Ng4. A well-played game by Anand, who outplayed his opponent from an equal position, but his advantage turned out to be insufficient for a win. The opening line which occurred in the game looks equal.

Closed Berlin with 5.c3 [C65]

The game Svidler, P - Anand, V FIDE Candidates 2014, featured a slightly different setup with 5.c3.

An important novelty was introduced by Anand in the diagram position give above: he played 11...exd4! and suddenly it was White who had to fight for equality. After the natural, but inaccurate 13.e5?! White was already under pressure and a few moves later Vishy missed a chance to win a pawn, allowing Svidler to get back into the game and save half a point. A very interesting game, Black's novelty 11...exd4! is very strong and casts doubt on White's opening setup.

Another game in this system, Karjakin, S - Aronian, L FIDE Candidates 2014, saw both 5.c3 and an exchange on c6 a few moves later.

Here Karjakin introduced the novelty 11.Qb3, but couldn't set Black any problems and after some inaccuracies he even found himself on the defensive. An interesting fighting game in which the Russian player was slowly outplayed. White has to look for a better opening setup and so the ball is now in his court.

Scotch Gambit [C44]

A very old line, which had been popular in the middle of the 19th century, saw light in a recent game Daurell, H - Kosten, T Clermont Ferrand 2014.

Here Black introduced a novelty, in what is already a pretty rare position, with 10...a6 and achieved a promising position. Even though White's play can be improved it's hardly a good idea to play this line with White against an experienced opponent.

Bishop's Opening with 3...c6 [C24]

In the game Van Kampen,R- Li Chao2 the players fought in the interesting and sharp system with 5...a5.

Here White introduced the strong novelty 9.d4, which seems to set Black problems. The game ended in a draw anyway, but it seems that Black experiences some problems after 9.d4! if it's followed by 11.dxe5. Probably it's worth Black trying 8...dxe4 instead.


See you next month, Victor.

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