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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. 

31175 reads 188 comments
10 votes


  • 5 months ago


    This is sad! i wanted Aronian Kramnik or Svidler to win, but it doesn't really matter, I almost guaretee that no one doubts that Magnus Carlsen will easily crush Anand should he win the candidates, but still all credit to Anand who is showing some really good playing. However it is worthy to note that it is not only thant Anand is playing well, it is that Aronian is seeming to be under a lot of pressure, and has been suffering. We'll see what happens after the rest day, don't count your chickens before they hatch! Aronian could win tommorow, and Anand could lose, and there is a tie, or Anand could win and be very very close to securing victory in the tournament, only the future will tell us.

  • 5 months ago


    Carlsen endgame science fiction ? Then what you say about Capabalanca ?

    Current top 10 players except the oldies are not good in endgame, Anand and Kramnik plays good end games but they have lost there touch since they used to agree draw before they reach the endgame.

    Nakamura and Moro tactical player ? What type of tactical players i don't understand.

    Tactical players in history Tal, Fischer, Kasparov and Anand. Check this legends games then you guys will see the difference. 

    This guys are simply amazing i love each and every game of this guys.I have most of this guys games in my database.

    Nakamura is a good player but he needs to do lot to be a legend. First thing he should shut his mouth and start concentrating in his game.

  • 5 months ago


    Good show tiger. We were waiting to see you back in WCH.

    Great salute to Mamedyarov. I now can believe that there are lot of creativity in chess and just computer preparations won't enough. Its really amazing how you played against world no. 2. 

  • 5 months ago


    It does not matter who will win the tournament.Neither Aronian or Anand are not a threat to Magnus Carlsen.

  • 5 months ago


    Wow, I gotta say it takes a lot of strength psychologically to recover from the world championship loss and come back so quick to playing top notch chess. Better chess than he ever played during his reign. It seems the tiger from Madras shouldn't be dismissed as an old lion yet.

  • 5 months ago


    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


    look at the similarity round 1 and round 8 (both have 1 win and 3 draw) also round 2 and round 9(both have 3 wins 1 draw) so,may be round 10 have 1 win and 3 draw .(i think anand wins:))


  • 5 months ago


    The round is shocking not because Anand won, but because both of his closest rivals (Aronian and Kramnik), lost! Don't be so butthurt!

  • 5 months ago


    Anand wins and its shocking??!!

  • 5 months ago


    There is really no need to sensationalize the headline. This is typical currently prevalent anti-Anand-prejudice among most journalists. Anand wins, its "shocking", Aronian wins, "Aronian prevails." Much has been written about how & why Anand's time is up and bla blah blah. And now?

  • 5 months ago


    As on today, no one except Anand want to face Carlsen in WC match Tongue Out

  • 5 months ago


    game over. anand gonna take on carlsen again....it's gonna be anand-carlsen rivalry for years to come.

  • 5 months ago


    still more games to go but anand is playing well. if he wins and gos on to beat carlsen would he then go down as one of the greats. i for one hope so because most of the public seem against him.

  • 5 months ago


  • 5 months ago


    Anand is doing very good unlike in the championships.

  • 5 months ago


    Topalov is now last after doing quite good. This is very shocking seeing Aronian and Kramnik go down to players a lot lower than them.

  • 5 months ago


    Anand vs Topalov: the Tiger is definitely back!


  • 5 months ago


    Anand-Topalov: I think Topalov will save the game to draw. Why he don't do to that? I like this game, too difficult to analyze till Anand move b pawn.

  • 5 months ago


    Carlsen's perf rating is often 3000+ so it will be interesting indeed.

  • 5 months ago


    Anand win, aronian defeat + reading baseless analysis/comments by vishy fans is like 5 yrs jail + 2 lakh dollar fine to aronian's fans.

  • 5 months ago


    Perf rating of Anand 2898 in 9 matches...and Carlsen rating is 2881..If he carries his form forward ..Good luck to Carlsen and his fans..

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