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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. 

31249 reads 188 comments
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Comments


  • 5 months ago

    NM Petrosianic

    strange games this round, full of ideas, i like it!  i'm rather surprised by the oversights though maybe this happens more in strange positions

  • 5 months ago

    LeeCooper78

    Looks really good for Vishy. He is playing what he knows best - solid chess, no unnecessary risk and pushing for the win when the chance comes along.

    Also, his rivals look really bad in this tournament. After 8 rounds Levon is on +1 and Volodia on even, so at the moment everything goes his way.

    One can't be hugely surprised about Levons play - yes, we did expect some more consistency, but he respects his style of play - complicated positions with lots of play. Usually it goes more his way, but these are Candidates, best folks in the world minus Magnus, no guarantees.

    Volodia is a real disappointment - as Grisha said, he is completely un(der)prepared as black. Two straightforward losses (Topalov and Karjakin, two tough draws (Svidler and Anand) and one easy draw (Andreikin) - that's a score you don't expect from a favorite. The decision to keep himself out of the tournament practice before Candidates was obviously wrong.

    If Vishy wins he mustn't make a mistake and isolate himself again - it is so obvious that he missed tournament chess. That goes for Magnus also - if he doesn't play his form will drop.

    And that's generally good for chess fans - people want to see World champion playing tournaments and not just waiting for the world title match.

  • 5 months ago

    yogiOK

    Anand being on top is a slight surprise to me, but one that I am very content with. He has been a true gentleman to the game, as are Levon Aronian and others. Vishy is an amazingly talented player, who may have needed to be coaxed to play a bit more ambitiously. Kramnik was my pick at the beginning and there is still much great chess to be played. This is all just great for Chess!!

  • 5 months ago

    Chess_Prophylaxis

    People can speculate and argue conjecture all day long on how good Anand was and currently is.  Anand fans need to lick their wounds and take it easy.  

    Bottom line, Carlsen rarely loses now-a-days due to his superb skills in all facets of the game.  Whoever wins the candidates has a tough uphill battle regardless of their past (which is completely irrelevant).  All that matters is the present, here and now.  Carlsen is world champion and won against Anand fair and square.  A re-match will result in another Anand obliteration.  While anything can statistically happen, it is very highly unlikely Anand will even win the candidates let alone win back the world championship against an unstoppable force such as Carlsen.

    Regardless of who wins the challenger's spot, Carlsen will crush the next three or four challengers before he even breaks a sweat.  He has many years of "world chess champion" ahead of him.  Look at his record against the top players in the last two or three years.  He has proven himself without question.    

  • 5 months ago

    Ranger_Squad

    when i see below comments...i think chess is a solved game..but unfortunately it is not ..so dont start giving player a god like status..they are far away to solve the entropy in chess..on a lucky day like in last year candidate carlsen qualified even after loosing last round bcoz kraminik also lost on the same day.

  • 5 months ago

    CP6033

    Nick_Chong you are right gaurav_knight there is not need to call people who don't like Anand Stupid! You evidently have a lot to learn. Indeed Anand fans have good reason to be happy, If Aronian and Anand had switched places I would do the same! However Carlsen is a monster, one of a kind, and is like the great Kasparov. Would you like to be reminded when he last lost a game? He didn't lose on in the WC, he won the Sinquefield cup with no losses 3 wins 2 draws. He actually lost to Fabiano Caruana in the Tal Memorial, but had no other losses. As for being the best of all time that is ridiculous. Garry Kasparov probably was. I am probably wasting my time, but anand has no lessons to teach Carlsen, and will most certainly not beat him if he does win the candidates.

  • 5 months ago

    Nick_Chong

    There is a mistake on the Parings & Results table here

    Round 9 Aronian loses.

  • 5 months ago

    gaurav_knight

    For all stupid Anti-Anands;

     

    No one matches his skills probably in the chess history. During his golden days, he was kept away from the World tiltle for sooooo long time because of Kasparov-Fide clash. Otherwise he would be by far 10 times world champion or even more. When he was already on a decline in his age & play, (aged 36 !!!) still made it when given chance in 2008 & sustained it continuously. 

     

    Now being 43 years old, being world champion 5 times in all possible formats (unique achievement in the chess history), having so many mesmerizing almost superceding era of tournament wins, what is left to achieve & subsequently for remaining motivated?

     

    Here comes Carlsen a fresh, hungry player. So it was not Carlsen who won....it was Anand who lost! Now its the time for the world to see in 2014, how Anand teaches Carlsen some unlearned lessons.

     

    There was & is Anand, with so many Achievements but hugely modest, polite & humble. And there is Carlsen...just one world championship & so much of proud & arrogance.

  • 5 months ago

    CP6033

    RGDS There is still 5 more rounds to the candidates, and although Anand will likely win, he could next round lose his lead. Also it is ridiculous to think that he will come back to defeat Carlsen in a WC, though it is always possible. Anand was at one point very good, but he couldn't compare to kasparov. He had his reign after Kasparov's time, and now he is getting older, and has to face Carlsen (if he win the candidates), These super GM's are all amazing, far far far better then i could even dream of being. As i said in my earlier comment, we'll wait and see, you can cheer now and say Anand is going to regain his title, that's fine, but i seriously doubt it will happen.

  • 5 months ago

    PeterDoggers

    No, I never said that.

  • 5 months ago

    chess_pune

    Anand Winning is Shocking for Western media ?

  • 5 months ago

    RGDS

    Anand is going to win Candidates; then beat Carlson; AND SHUT MOUTHS of critics.

  • 5 months ago

    mebingmathew

    Anand is a classic player for the 1st 3 hours of the game,but now a days after that he looses focus and does some serious blunder. And this was the secret of Carlsens victory..he won most of the matches in world championship after 67 moves about 4 hrs after thr start of the game....the more you make anand to sit in front of your board,the more is the chances of winning..

  • 5 months ago

    Akshay2013

    There is no need to put Anand down just because he wil supposedly get crushed by Magnus. Thats like saying because he beat him once and he is higher rated he will completely obliterate Anand or Aronian. Anand is playing well and the next WCC should be fun to watch.

  • 5 months ago

    melvinbluestone

    "I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!"

                                                                                   Captain Renault


    Good for Vishy! I'd like to see him play Carlsen again. Not to take anything away from Magnus' achievement, but it was like Anand didn't even show up in last year's WCC match.

  • 5 months ago

    fabelhaft

    "Current top 10 players except the oldies are not good in endgame"

    Carlsen not good in the endgame?

  • 5 months ago

    GabrieleMiceli

    In my opinion Anand is already among the chess legends. Even if he should lose again to Carlsen

  • 5 months ago

    3kush3

    Unbelievable the hatred Anand gets from Patzers most of whom have started watching chess in the last 2-3 years when Vishy has played the worst chess of his career now he is prowling back some fools are up in arms..Do yourself a favour and watch Chess.com videos
    http://www.chess.com/video/player/greatest-chess-minds-viswanathan-anand-part-3 

  • 5 months ago

    Adrian_Kinnersley

    I wonder whether Carlsen is pleased by this, and whether Anand will find anything better against Carlsen than what he had last year. Anyway, it doesn't matter so much -- as much as I'd like to see Carlsen-Aronian, or even Carlsen - Kramnik, neither Aronian nor Kramnik is really earning the right to challenge in this tournament.

  • 5 months ago

    BigChessEnthusiast

    Dramatic Mamedyarov vs Aronian:

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

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