The two players who were taken as underdogs have proved to be the most pivotal in their performance during the first half of the Candidates Tournament. Chess World Cup winner Sergey Karjakin and Wild Card entrant Levon Aronian have brought about a complete turn-around in expectations of the Chess world. A major pre-tournament contender Hikaru Nakamura has been highly disappointing with his performances.
While former World Champion Viswanathan Anand and America’s Fabiano Caruana trail slightly behind the joint leaders.
Sergey Karjakin, Levon Aronian and Viswanathan Anand have all registered two victories in the opening half of the tournament. On the other hand, Nakamura and Topalov have struggled the most so far.
Anand’s fourth round loss to Karjakin put the Madras Tiger trailing after starting the tournament in style. However, the loss did not do much damage as the former World Champion was quick to react with back to back performances. This also includes an overwhelming win over Peter Svidler.
If Nakamura has been unlucky throughout the tournament, then Levon Aronian is certainly the “Lucky one”. Aronian earned his second full point against the American in the sixth round, after Nakamura was forced to move his King (due to a touch). The touch move has been considered critical in leading to the defeat. However, this is not the first time that Nakamura has made such an error.
Nakamura has been unfortunate, and Fabiano Caruana played his best against his American compatriot in the eighth round to move half a point behind joining Viswanathan Anand with 4.5 points.
Levon Aronian (5), Sergey Karjakin (5), Fabiano Caruana (4.5), Viswanathan Anand (4.5), Anish Giri (4), Peter Svidler (3.5), Hikaru Nakamura (3), Veselin Topalov (2.5)
Picture Courtesy: FIDE Candidates Tournament