Top seed and World No.2 Levon Aronian of Armenia overcame Sergey Karjakin of Russia in the seventh round to join Viswanathan Anand in the lead on 4.5 points from seven games.
At the mid point of the FIDE Candidates Tournament in Russia, Aronian and Anand are leading with 4.5 points and behind them are Kramnik 4; Svidler 3.5; Topalov, Andreikin, Mamedyarov 3 each; Karjakin 2.5.
In a sharp variation of the Ruy Lopez, Berlin variation, Anand lived little dangerously sacrificing a queen for a rook and minor piece. When black was threatening to win a pawn, Svidler returned the rook for a bishop and draw the game in 38 moves.
Otherwise, it was an interesting day with every other game ending decisively. Seven more rounds remain to be played in this 8-player double all-play-all. From tomorrow, the players will play each other with the reverse colours.
Andreikin grabbed a pawn in exchange for loss of the castling right and Topalov unexpectedly crashed to a quick defeat.
Aronian outplayed Karjakin in a 53-move ending. Aronian picked up two pieces for a rook and dominated the game.
Kramnik’s 54-move win over Mamedyarov was a hard to understand complicated stuff which started with the former having his bishop trapped in the edge of the board.
The results: Svidler drew Anand, Karjakin lost to Aronian, Kramnik bt Mamedyarov and Andreikin bt Topalov.
Peter Svidler-Viswanathan Anand
Round seven, Ruy Lopez, Berlin variation, C65:
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. d3 Bc5 5. c3 O-O 6. O-O d6 7. Nbd2 Ne7 8. Re1 c6 9. Ba4 Bb6 10. d4 Ng6 11. h3 exd4 12. cxd4 d5 13. e5 Nh5 14. Nf1 Nhf4 15. Bc2 f6 16. Ng3 fxe5 17. Bxg6 Nxg6 18. Bg5 Qc7 19. Nxe5 Nxe5 20. Rxe5 h6 21. Bh4 Qf7 22. Nh5 Be6 23. Re3 Bd8 24. Rf3 Qxf3 25. gxf3 Bxh4 26. Kg2 Rf7 27. Rc1 Raf8 28. Rc3 Bg5 29. Ng3 Re7 30. b4 a6 31. a4 Bd7 32. Qb3 Kh8 33. b5 cxb5 34. axb5 Bxb5 35. Qxd5 Rd7 36. Qe4 Bc6 37. Rxc6 bxc6 38. Qxc6 Rxd4 1/2-1/2