A Freeroll and a Roller Coaster

The fourth round of the Candidates had everything that chess fans could hope for. Strong novelties, excitement and heartbreaking blunders, but also commentators with such low energy that you could almost fall asleep. Listening to Svidler’s euphemisms for six hours was just too much for me, so I had to switch it off.

Anyways, let’s start with the novelty. Grischuk prepared a nice improvement in the Moscow Variation, that changed the evaluation of Topalov’s piece sacrifice from better for black to 0.00. Black has many viable continuations, which makes it tough to keep the position under control. Ding chose the wrong one and Grischuk missed the refutation. Nevertheless this opens up a new chapter in the Moscow Variation with lots of new ground to discover.

The game of the day was the clash between the two leaders. Kramnik chose a slow approach against the Petroff to show his class, but he got slowly outplayed on the kingside. After a couple of inaccuracies by Caruana he actually managed to turn the tables, but messed it up again in time-trouble. Since there are so many missed chances on both sides, there is no point in adding computer analysis. In the end Caruana had to win the game twice to score one point.

The honorable mention goes to Aronian who managed to trick Karjakin in a sideline of the Vienna.