Dream Start for Vladimir Kramnik at the Candidates 2018!

The FIDE Candidate Tournament 2018 in Berlin had a spectacular start. We saw several decisive games in the first three rounds. Vladimir Kramnik seems to be extremely motivated and well prepared for the tournament as he is the sole leader with 2.5/3 points, after defeating Alexander Grischuk and Levon Aronian in round-1 and round-3 respectively!

Kramnik is followed by Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Fabiano Caruana with 2.0 points. While, it’s been a bad start for Wesley So, as he has lost 2 out of his 3 games.
vladimir kramnik fide candidates 2018 berlin

(photo: World Chess)

The Twitter Battle between Anish Giri and Magnus Carlsen!

The reason for Kramnik’s great start could be the fact that Anish Giri is working with him, seconding Kramnik during the Candidates. When it came to public, the World Champion Magnus Carlsen posted the following tweet:

(Carlsen subtly referring to Giri’s victory against Kramnik in the Tata Steel Chess in January 2018)

Giri replied with his tweet:
anish giri tweet candidates carlsenA few days before the Candidates, MVL wrote an article, in which he said “In my opinion, Vlad is probably the player in the world who best understands chess. You can show him whatever position, his instincts will seldom let him down. He will always find what the evaluation of the position is and which plan to adopt.” And this did not interest Magnus Carlsen.

Giri (Kramnik’s second) backed up MVL with his tweet:

And it seems that Carlsen lost it, as he tweeted……..

… to which Giri responded with:
anish giri tweet candidates carlsenThanks to this Twitter War, it seems that Giri is motivated to make sure that Kramnik wins the Candidates, as it’s been a dream start for the Russian! What do you think – could it be Kramnik vs Carlsen for the World Championship?  🙂 Please, share your thoughts in the comments below.
designFinally, let’s take a look at some of the interesting games from the starting rounds. Please, take the tests seriously and try to find the best moves. After that, you can check the complete games below:

Black has a passed pawn. Can you find the winning plan for Black?

White has the perfect placement for his pieces. How should he proceed here?

White’s isolated d4-pawn is targeted by Black’s pieces. How would you play here as White?

It’s only the third round and it’s only the 15th move, and Kramnik has already gone aggressive against Aronian. Can you find the winning plan for Black?

After calculating, you can check the complete games below:

P.S. Who is your favorite to win the Candidates and why? 🙂 Please share your thoughts with us in the comments below. You can also cast your vote in our YouTube Channel’s Community page – click here!
how to analyze chess games

  • Jim Vinci

    It will be Fabiano Caruana, not Vladimir Kramnik, who will win the Candidates Tournament. I will go even further to predict that Fabiano will dethrone Magnus Carlsen and be the first American to win the world chess championship since Bobby Fischer did 46 years ago.

    Go Fabiano!!

    • Hi Jim,
      This would be the most thrilling scenario for sure.

      Kramnik plays well in candidates tournaments but he rarely plays well against Carlsen.

      • Jim Vinci

        Hi Igor,

        I am not just saying this because I am an American citizen, although there is nothing wrong with a little patriotism!. I truly believe that Fabiano is the best player of all of challengers (and even better than Carlsen), although I have also been very impressed by Mamedyarov, who I did not know much about before this tournament. He is an underrated player who I believe will give Fabiano the toughest time. Neither player has lost, and Mamedyarov completely crushed Kramnik in today’s game. Both Fabiano and Mamedyarov are strong attacking players who find ways of advancing and coordinating their pieces in enemy territory, and patiently creating an initiative, all of which you teach in your lessons. In fact, I have become a stronger player because I apply these principles combined with careful planning..

        There are now eight games to go, and we shall see if my prediction comes true. I definitely enjoy watching the games and seeing how my move choices match up to those of the top players in the world!!

        Enjoy the battles!!

        • Hi Jim,

          You should be commenting the event! 🙂 I totally agree with your judgement.
          Let’s see how it will turn out in the final (most bloody) rounds.

          • Jim Vinci

            Well enough of my predictions!! One thing that the candidates match has shown me is the human side of grandmasters. All of them have blundered, and some of the blunders have cost them either a half point or a full point. What is most impressive however is their ability to produce reasonable (not necessarily optimal) moves in time trouble.

          • male Gupta

            thanks alot igor you also agree that carua is a gretachess player

      • male Gupta

        yeah i agree with igor sir lets see who will challnege world champion magnus carlsne this year and in future i hope that igor will challenge him

  • male Gupta

    both can win the candidates i think anish giri would win the match of war of twitter of magnsu carlsen sir thanksa ltlo for the article igor sir youa re the best what do you think about it .???

    • RCA_moderator

      It is good to have little bit of Twitter banter. It will help chess popularity.

      Prasaadh | Support

      • male Gupta

        yeah sure thanks

  • Lovro Glavina

    good start for kramnik in first three rounds, but then he lost to fabiano, and now fabiano is the leader. I guess we cannot predict anything for sure early on because anything can happen really. My best bet goes to fabiano though. He had bad tournament at Tata Steel but it seems he’s back

  • Ding

    Hii Igor , in weak Squares concept after I place my knight on weak square after exchanging it’s main defenders now I have simple plan to penetrate weak Squares by placing pieces on those squares however it is sometimes becomes difficult to use can you suggest any particular way or idea what to do in such situations ??

    • Hi Ding,
      Firstly, you described the concept clearly, which makes me believe you understand and can implement it. This is great.

      As for your question, not always you can place your knight on a weak square instantly. In this case:
      a) Keep this as your long-term plan. For example, in Ruy Lopez it takes a long time for White knight-b1 to be brought to Black’s weak squares d5/f5. The maneuver could be Nb1-d2-f1-e3-d5/f5.
      b) Keep pushing (attacking). This will force opponent’s pieces to take defensive roles, and will enable you to realise your plan.

      • male Gupta

        thanks a lot sir igor for the reply.of this message.what do you think about rb ramesh the indian coach collaboration with nutur.com. https://nurtr.com pre enroll is cost is 10000rs and it will start from april??

  • Ding

    Hii Igor Smirnov, I am studying Your course “Positional understanding” course for the last 1 and half month.Now I have thoroughly prepared Thinking system with anti blunder technique, understood each and every chess Principle & ideas related to each and every piece.I have gain lot of basic knowledge from your course which is not provided in any other authors book .I would like to Thank you for your courses whole Heartedly .Now I will prepare Attacking skills by studying your course (How to beat stronger opponents) for at least 1 month. Meanwhile I have only 1 problem from the course which is still confusing to me.Ques1)How to take aim on Disconnected backward pawns like pawns on C4 ,B2 and A4 .here we have a simple plan to attack these pawns but I need a proper guide on how to use our pieces and what should we have to avoid ?

    • RCA_moderator

      Thanks for your appreciation of our courses.

      Regarding Backward pawns, if there is a backward pawn on c2, you can try to open the c file and attack the pawn with your rooks. Also you can put your knight on c3 as an outpost since c3 with be unprotected.

      Prasaadh | Support

      • male Gupta

        thanks alto sir what do you think about sergey karjakin to the best next challenger to magnus carlsen thansk he has beaten kramink in round 9 of fide candidates with h4 move???

        • RCA_moderator

          It is a good win for Karjakin. I personally think Mamedyarov has a good chance even though he is half a point behind Caruana. He has been in a really good form lately.

          Prasaadh | Support

          • male Gupta

            yeah thanks alot sir for the reply thanks a lot

  • Anup rajawat

    hii Igor , I just want to know regarding Attacking principle .If you can attack -do it ! This is the principle of attack However if our particular attacking not forcing opponent to go back but allowing opponent to come forward in that case we should avoid attacking move or we just follow the main principle — if you can attack-do it. ?

    • Hi Anup,

      If your ‘attacking’ move doesn’t force an opponent to go back, most likely it’s not an attack really. In this case you should look for other candidate moves.

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