LONDON (A.W.)—The world’s number two chess player Levon Aronian (Armenia) leads the Candidates Tournament currently being held in London after three rounds. With 11 rounds to go, Aronian has secured 2.5 points, and is half a point ahead of Peter Svidler (Russia) and Magnus Carlsen (Norway), who share second place.
One of the strongest in chess history, this tournament will produce a winner who will challenge world champion Viswanathan Anand for the title.
In the first round on March 15, Aronian faced world number one Magnus Carlsen. The latter had the black pieces, and chose a solid line that soon led to simplifications. A draw was agreed after 31 moves, a standard result between the number one and two in the world so early in the tournament.
In the second round on March 16, Aronian demonstrated deep opening preparation, again with the white pieces, against Boris Gelfand (Israel). Trying to break through a position that has been considered decent for black in recent years, Aronian reached an endgame that didn’t appear to be too dangerous for his opponent, yet he slowly created small problems for Gelfand, demonstrating that the defensive task was not that simple. Finally, Gelfand made a crucial mistake on move 25, and Aronian scored his first victory.
In the third round on March 17, Aronian faced Vasily Ivanchuk (Ukraine), this time with the black pieces. After an unusual opening choice by Ivanchuk, the position soon became complicated, and with very active play, Aronian tried to punish his opponent for launching a king-side attack while the center was still wide open. The plan worked well, and Aronian won the game on move 35.
Round four will be held on March 19.