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Shocking 9th Round Candidates’: Anand Wins, Aronian & Kramnik Go Down

  • PeterDoggers
  • on 3/23/14, 7:15 AM.

Sunday was a pretty good day for Vishy Anand. In a shocking 9th round of the 2014 FIDE Candidates’ Tournament in Khanty-Mansiysk, the ex-World Champion defeated Veselin Topalov, while his closest rivals Levon Aronian and Vladimir Kramnik both lost, to Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Sergey Karjakin respectively. With five rounds to go, Anand effectively has a 1.5 point lead over Aronian because he will win a possible tiebreak on mutual result.

Photos © Vadim Lavrenko & Anastasiya Karlovich courtesy of the official website

Last year's Candidates’ Tournament was definitely one to remember, and especially the last couple of rounds. This year the tournament is no less exciting, while the players (well, except for one!) seem to be losing their nerves even earlier. Teimour Radjabov, who participated last year, summarized it as follows:

It all started quietly, with a draw between two Russian participants who are not playing a major role at this point. From a 6.h3 Najdorf, Dmitry Andreikin and Peter Svidler quickly reached an equal ending and when the last rooks were traded, and the necessary thirty moves were played, they called it a day.

But so much was happening on the other three boards, it was just crazy! The first sensation was Vladimir Kramnik getting into serious trouble against Sergey Karjakin. OK, it can happen, but right from the opening? Which was... a London System??

By then Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Levon Aronian were involved in a terribly sharp 4.f3 Nimzo-Indian, while Vishy Anand and Veselin Topalov were also playing 6.h3 Najdorf, where White had a slight edge.

Mamedyarov-Aronian was the first to finish, and it was the top seed in this tournament who went down. He knew more about the opening than his opponent, but as we've seen in this tournament, this does not guarantee success. 

Mamedyarov found the important maneuver Ra1-b1-b4, and then Aronian missed the critical move 16...c5! which is probably good for Black. An excellent positional exchange sac followed, and with three pawns plus an increasingly dangerous attack, Mamedyarov was well on top. The players didn't mention from which position Black was losing, but it's clear that it was very difficult after 28.d5.

A big blow for Aronian, who said: “I was blundering things the whole game. These positions are generally my style but today I think I underestimated the complexity of the position.”

Mamedyarov played a really good game. He said: “I had nothing to lose. I just play chess. I played risky but it's good chess. I don't know if it's right or not, but this is how I play.”

Anand took full advantage with another clean win, against Topalov. In a reasonably normal Sicilian, the Bulgarian's 13...f5 wasn't good. According to Anand, it didn't work in this type of position because White's pawn block f4-g5-h4 was restricting the e7 bishop too much.

It was also the type of position where, as an exception, Black winning the e3 bishop for a knight didn't bring him much. And then Topalov somehow missed 18.Nxe4, when White ended up with a “dream French position” (Anand).

It seems that Anand missed a quicker win (30.Qa7!) but after Topalov's inaccurate 31st move he could reach a technically winning ending by pushing both his h- and a- pawn to the fifth rank.

By then Kramnik was still fighting for his life, but after the opening disaster he never really got back into the game, despite getting a temporary bind on the light squares. Karjakin reached a double rook ending with two extra pawns, which needed some precise move to win, but he managed.

“It wasn't really a game,” said Kramnik, referring to his blunder on move seven (which turned out to be a novelty).

And so Kramnik is 1.5 points behind Anand, but he will face the Indian with the white pieces on Wednesday in round 11, so anything is possible. About the tournament situation Kramnik said: “So far Vishy is playing by far better than the others and that is why is leading. It's that simple. And also he is not blundering.”

“It was a good day, certainly. I think it's nice I get a rest day tomorrow and I'm looking forward to that,” said Anand. Two of his compatriots are already looking forward to Anand-Carlsen, Part 2:

It seems like we're dealing with an Anand who is playing close to his level of Mexico 2007 and Bonn 2008. Strong chess, no big mistakes. He hasn't been in a single really bad position so far. It's been a long time since he's played at this level for nine games in a row. The big question is: can he keep it up for five more rounds?

FIDE Candidates’ 2014 | Pairings & Results

Round 1 13.03.14 15:00 MSK   Round 8 22.03.14 15:00 MSK
Andreikin ½-½ Kramnik   Kramnik ½-½ Andreikin
Karjakin ½-½ Svidler   Svidler 0-1 Karjakin
Mamedyarov ½-½ Topalov   Topalov ½-½ Mamedyarov
Anand 1-0 Aronian   Aronian ½-½ Anand
Round 2 14.03.14 15:00 MSK   Round 9 23.03.14 15:00 MSK
Kramnik 1-0 Karjakin   Karjakin 1-0 Kramnik
Svidler 1-0 Andreikin   Andreikin ½-½ Svidler
Topalov ½-½ Anand   Anand 1-0 Topalov
Aronian 1-0 Mamedyarov   Mamedyarov 1-0 Aronian
Round 3 15.03.14 15:00 MSK   Round 10 25.03.14 15:00 MSK
Andreikin ½-½ Karjakin   Karjakin - Andreikin
Svidler ½-½ Kramnik   Kramnik - Svidler
Topalov ½-½ Aronian   Aronian - Topalov
Mamedyarov 0-1 Anand   Anand - Mamedyarov
Round 4 17.03.14 15:00 MSK   Round 11 26.03.14 15:00 MSK
Mamedyarov 1-0 Andreikin   Andreikin - Mamedyarov
Karjakin ½-½ Topalov   Topalov - Karjakin
Aronian 1-0 Svidler   Svidler - Aronian
Anand ½-½ Kramnik   Kramnik - Anand
Round 5 18.03.14 15:00 MSK   Round 12 27.03.14 15:00 MSK
Andreikin ½-½ Anand   Anand - Andreikin
Karjakin ½-½ Mamedyarov   Mamedyarov - Karjakin
Svidler 1-0 Topalov   Topalov - Svidler
Kramnik ½-½ Aronian   Aronian - Kramnik
Round 6 19.03.14 15:00 MSK   Round 13 29.03.14 15:00 MSK
Aronian ½-½ Andreikin   Andreikin - Aronian
Anand ½-½ Karjakin   Karjakin - Anand
Mamedyarov 1-0 Svidler   Svidler - Mamedyarov
Topalov 1-0 Kramnik   Kramnik - Topalov
Round 7 21.03.14 15:00 MSK   Round 14 30.03.14 15:00 MSK
Karjakin 0-1 Aronian   Aronian - Karjakin
Svidler ½-½ Anand   Anand - Svidler
Kramnik 1-0 Mamedyarov   Mamedyarov - Kramnik
Andreikin 1-0 Topalov   Topalov - Andreikin 

FIDE Candidates’ 2014 | Round 9 Standings

# Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Pts SB
1 Anand,V 2770 2898 ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ ½1 6.0/9
2 Aronian,L 2830 2801 ½ 1 10 ½ 1 ½ 5.0/9
3 Kramnik,V 2787 2762 ½ ½ 10 1 ½½ ½ 0 4.5/9 20.50
4 Karjakin,S 2766 2771 ½ 0 1 ½ ½ ½1 ½ 4.5/9 19.50
5 Mamedyarov,S 2757 2780 0 1 0 ½ 1 1 ½½ 4.5/9 18.75
6 Andreikin,D 2709 2738 ½ ½ ½½ ½ 0 1 4.0/9 17.75
7 Svidler,P 2758 2726 ½ 0 ½ ½0 0 1 4.0/9 17.00
8 Topalov,V 2785 2689 ½0 ½ 1 ½ ½½ 0 0 3.5/9

The 2014 FIDE Candidates’ Tournament is an 8-player double round robin with 4 rest days. The dates are March 13th-31st, 2014. Each day the rounds start at 15:00 local time which is 10:00 CET, 04:00 EST and 01:00 PST. The winner will have the right to challenge World Champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway in a world title match which is scheduled to take place in November 2014. 

32571 reads 188 comments
10 votes

Comments


  • 6 months ago

    IcemanJr

    Lol... "Smack! in the face" to the losers who thought Anand was a goner. He is still one of the best there is. Carlsen should start his preparation if he knows what is good for him.

  • 6 months ago

    ChessMN16

    @drsbhatia: According to http://www.chess.com/forum/view/general/tournament-performance-rating

    Magnus's performance rating in the previous Candidates tournament was 2860 (he lost two times). 

  • 6 months ago

    arunk_chess

    Go Anand...go..........:)

  • 6 months ago

    Faizan_khan

    " azatartsakh "

    You should start English Spoken classes .. :p World needs u ... Hope so Mr Garry comes to learn u .. :p

  • 6 months ago

    azatartsakh

    Technically if is wrong. Correct is whether. Omitting is not wrong. It's just more concise. 

  • 6 months ago

    steve_bute

    "Not sure Kasparov's grammar is weak or you are an retard"

    Normally, we don't over-analyze twitter comments for grammatical correctness. BTW, you forgot an "if".

  • 6 months ago

    azatartsakh

    Not sure Kasparov's grammar is weak or you are an retard

  • 6 months ago

    kbkrishna004

  • 6 months ago

    BigChessEnthusiast

    Dramatic Mamedyarov vs Aronian:

     

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=poDUl2FsAmU

     


     

    Anand vs Topalov: the Tiger is definitely back!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vouOq9iwBis

  • 6 months ago

    chessrook1234

    Anand wins more money if he finishes first here plus his runner up money in WCC...both those add to more money than Carlsen WCC win..so, there was a plan. Magnus will be routed in November. 

  • 6 months ago

    drsbhatia

    NakaMura Did not qualify

    Out of 8 people, 7 are pre-destined:

    Loser of championship (anand), top two available rated palyers (Karj, Aron) finalists of world cup and grand prix (Kramnik, Andreikin, Topalov and Mamy) and one wild card >2700 elo which is organiser's choice.

    Since organiser was Russia, was it a surprise that they chose Svidler who was 7 time russian champion

    I do miss Nakamura, Grischuk, Sasha and Gelfand but they simply did not qualify

  • 6 months ago

    D_Ostwald

    Nakamura must be pulling his hair out to not be a participant in this match ... !

  • 6 months ago

    kalyandd

    Karminik - Anand Very likely Draw

  • 6 months ago

    GeniusKJ

    I think Kramnik is tired. It's now pretty much between Anand and Aronian. If we have a surprise, it may be from Mamedyarov, who is capable of getting many wins due to his risky, aggressive style. Though, I don't think Shak will be able to catch up to Anand.

    I think today's game is critical for Anand. Losing to Kramnik would change the situation completely. But a victory over Kramnik basically seals the deal!

  • 6 months ago

    orionBR

    What a bloodbath! it's almost over. The next four needs to score a +3 in 5 games compared to Anand to topple him out of the 1st place. With the current form, Anand would easily get 2.5/5. That means (one of the)the next four needs to get 4/5, which is a daunting task.

    But then, anything can happen :)

  • 6 months ago

    TerryMills

    It is an exciting tournament for me; full of suprises; unexpected results; great players making questionable moves; all inspiring stuff

  • 6 months ago

    ExchangeMaster

    i have a funny feeling that Anand will squeeze through as the winner of this tournament if things goes on like this

  • 6 months ago

    kalyandd

    Still early days. Not yet safe to speculate. Anand has put himself under pressure. Recall last year's candidate and even this year it may go down to wire

  • 6 months ago

    vishytheking2014

    Turlet- it means at the highest level of the game it is mostly your opponents errors that leads to victor it is not easy to outplay someone of aronian's caliber which Anand did..where shak simply took advantage of aronians mistakes,Anand just outplayed him.

  • 6 months ago

    drsbhatia

    Anand's performance in this tournament has been close to 2900. While his best ELo has been around 2820 some years ago, this performance, if continues, may be an equal challenge for MC who stands at 2880 and performs sometimes, higher. I wanted to see what was MC's performance when he won last candidates. Can anyone help?

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