The 9th round of the FIDE World Candidates Tournament 2016 was held today at the DI Telegraph in Moscow, Russia.

The spectators enjoyed the most fighting day since the beginning of the event as no games were finished before the first time control.

There has been a change on the top as Viswanathan Anand defeated the overnight co-leader Levon Aronian to take his place in the standings.

In the Italian opening white emerged with a slightly better pawn structure. Aronian somewhat carelessly allowed Anand to establish a strong outpost on d5. The resulting double rook ending looked better for white as the more active side, but black put up a fierce resistance. It appeared that black was close to salvaging a draw, but after white got his king to g7 the game was practically over.

Anand vs Aronian
Hikaru Nakamura and Sergey Karjakin had another debate in the Queen’s Indian defence. The American apparently liked Topalov’s 11.Rb1 as he repeated it today. Nevertheless, black was slightly better after the opening thanks to the better pawn structure. Nakamura put his pieces to work in order to complicate the matters. The activity paid off and after correct play from both sides the draw was agreed on move 44.

Nakamura vs Karjakin
Veselin Topalov got a slightly better position in the Anti-Marshall Ruy Lopez against Peter Svidler. Black defended well but at some point he had to concede the pair of bishops and transpose to an ending. Immediately afterwards white made a couple of inaccurate moves which allowed black to quickly stabilize. From then on Svidler had no major difficulties in holding a draw.

Topalov vs Svidler
In the longest game of the tournament Anish Giri and Fabiano Caruana fought for more than seven hours before settling for a draw on move 96.

Giri vs Caruana
Round 9 results:
Topalov – Svidler 1/2
Anand – Aronian 1-0
Giri – Caruana 1/2
Nakamura – Karjakin 1/2

After nine rounds of play Karjakin and Anand are joint leaders with 5,5 points each. Aronian and Caruana share third place with 5 points. There follow Giri (4,5), Svidler (4), Nakamura (3,5) and Topalov with 3 points.

Tuesday is rest day. Round 10 games are on schedule for 23rd March at 15:00 Moscow time:
Svidler – Nakamura
Karjakin – Giri
Caruana – Anand
Aronian – Topalov

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Photos @World Chess