Round 12 (of 14) of the Candidates took place earlier today (yesterday for those of you across the pond), and it was a major round. We'll get to that later tonight or sometime tomorrow, but for now it's time to get caught up on preceding rounds' action. Here are some of the major story lines from rounds 7-11.
1. Caruana Awakens. Fabiano Caruana drew his first seven games, the entire first cycle, but since then he has won twice and shared the lead after 11 rounds. He defeated Hikaru Nakamura in round 8 (promptly killing the latter's chances after he defeated Veselin Topalov in round 7) and then knocked Viswanathan Anand out of a tie for first in round 10. Caruana could have been the sole leader, as he was clearly winning against Topalov in round 11, but a very big mistake on move 38 let his opponent escape.
2. Anand's Roller Coaster. Anand sometimes gets into drawing ruts, but not here. He won in round 1, lost to Sergey Karjakin in round 4, beat Peter Svidler in round 6, beat Levon Aronian in round 9, lost to Caruana in round 10 and then got revenge by defeating Karjakin in round 11. That made him the co-leader with Caruana, or almost so. Because he lost their mini-match he is in fact behind him - if they finish the event tied for first it's Caruana who qualifies for the title match with Magnus Carlsen.
3. Aronian's Sinking Feeling. Aronian often comes into Candidates' events as one of the favorites, and invariably and inexplicably, something bad happens and he's out of the running before the final rounds. Sadly, this is happening once again. He was tied for first after eight rounds with a +2 score, but starting in round 9 it all fell apart. First he lost to Anand, against whom he has a great score in games that don't matter and a very bad score in games that do. In round 10 he had a significant advantage against Topalov, but squandered it and was even on the verge of getting into trouble before making a draw. Finally, round 11 was a disaster. Once again he had a clear advantage, this time against Peter Svidler, and not only did he let Svidler off the hook, he even lost the game. That was Svidler's first and so far only win in the event, and for Aronian the death blow to his hopes of qualifying for the world championship.
As for other storylines, I'll leave them to you to decide on your own. Meantime, here are the games of rounds 7-11, most of them annotated.