Sergey Karjakin and Levon Aronian lead race to challenge Magnus Carlsen
Friday 18 March 2016 16.38 EDT
Russia’s Sergey Karjakin, aged 26, and Armenia’s Levon Aronian, 33, are joint leaders with 4/6 as the 14-round world championship candidates in Moscow reaches its halfway mark this weekend. That could prove unwelcome news for Agon, the commercial arm of the global chess body, Fide. Agon has denied live coverage of the games to other chess websites and is suing four of them it alleges broke the embargo. The real prize in this offboard battle is less Moscow in March than New York in November, when Norway’s national hero Magnus Carlsen, 25, will defend his crown.
Agon would like to spark mainstream media interest in the world title match, and the ideal way to do so would be for the brash US champion, Hikaru Nakamura, or the other American Fabiano Caruana, who learnt his early chess skills in Brooklyn, to qualify as the challenger.
Unfortunately for these hopes both Nakamura and Caruana have made huge tactical blunders and are struggling. Nakamura’s unsound knight sacrifice against Karjakin was featured in last week’s puzzle while he lost a rook ending to Aronian through touching his king and having to move it. Caruana drew a piece up against the Bulgarian tailender Veselin Topalov.
Scores after six rounds are Karjakin (Russia) and Aronian (Armenia) 4, Vishy Anand (India) 3.5, Anish Giri (Netherlands) and Caruana (US) 3, Peter Svidler (Russia) 2.5, Nakamura (US) and Topalov (Bulgaria) 2.
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– GM Susan Polgar