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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. 

31644 reads 188 comments
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Comments


  • 5 months ago

    polinerio

    What the hell is Kramnik doing? I don't understand how he can play the opening so poorly as black. Unfortunately I don't think anyone in this field can beat Carlsen right now, so who wins doesn't change anything. I think Anand is in better shape now than during the Wch match, but I am pretty sure the next Carlsen - Anand match (if Anand qualifies) will be very much the same as the previous one.

    Anand is a huge favourite now and is most likely going to win the tournament, as long as no meltdown happens, which I doubt. 

  • 5 months ago

    3kush3

    Kramnik tror at han vet alt, sier Magnus Carlsen.
    - Kramnik thinks he knows everything.

    - Det er veldig imponerende hvordan Kramnik lirer av seg forskjellige varianter og så videre, og det er ikke så lett å gjennomskue hvis man ikke kan gamet ordentlig selv. Men hvis man ser litt dypere, er det ofte bare tull, sier Carlsen.
    - It’s very impressive how he throws around different variations, and it’s not easy to see through it if you don’t know the game well enough yourself. But if you look a bit deeper, it’s often just nonsense.

    --Magnus Carlsen 

  • 5 months ago

    chessyjayesh

    eagerly waiting for the insight and update of this post of today

  • 5 months ago

    3kush3

    IMO Cramnik relies on preparations too much and struggles with unknown lines as shown in this tournament..

  • 5 months ago

    chessyjayesh

    tiger now wait and show them in wcc 2014 .....sry but I'm seeing bloodbath is enjoying by anand

  • 5 months ago

    BigChessEnthusiast

    Dramatic Mamedyarov vs Aronian: http://goo.gl/A8JLKN

  • 5 months ago

    sixtyfoursquares

    Anand Shocks the World and Rocks!!

    Anand first shocked the World by not playing well in the recent past; and then lost his World Championship Crown to Carlsen.

    Now again he is shocking the World by playing real Chess and leading the Candidates Tournament 2014; as of date!!

    Anyone who has written off Anand; should reconfigure their thoughts.  There is a reason why Anand did not retire; and hopefully he will prove his point in times to come!!

    Good Luck to Anand!!

  • 5 months ago

    jazz_227

    And something more... Nakamura should definitely be in this tournament

  • 5 months ago

    Vingore

    Carlsen will easily defeat Anand.  Carlsen is far above the other top players.  His endgame play is science fiction.  Playing against him must be a complete nightmare for his opponents.

  • 5 months ago

    Drakodan

    Anand won't necessarily have an easier time if he goes up against Carlsen with a sharper, more tactical mindset. Look at Carlsen's records against other top GMs. He tends to have a very positive record against players with a more explosive, tactical style such as Nakamura and Morozevich. Possibly unsound tactical play is NOT the way to take Carlsen.

  • 5 months ago

    jazz_227

    I thought Aronian was the man but he does not have the "bronze cojones". The Indian tiger surprised me and generally speaking I think he performs better than any other, with rich ideas and solid play.But I believe he can not return on his throne and we will all witness a bloodbath by Magnus in November.

  • 5 months ago

    rahulbcp

    Fishy fans, Don't celebrate.. Technically Chokronian and Crapnik can still make comeback. Sorry for my Hinglish. Don't drink too much. I haven't taken, really I swear. Anyway once again merry Xmas. Happy Birthday.

  • 5 months ago

    sreeramadasan

    Cerebral

    I agree with you

  • 5 months ago

    IndianHarry

    It seems Aronian end his career as one of the strong chess player as like Bronstein and Korchani. I feel bad to a good player like Aronian. I feel still Anand not playing in his full potential, Since Anand is a strong, solid and tactical player. Till now he playing solid and strong but he is not showing his tactical ability. 

    Anand is a right choice to challenge Carlsen. Since he had a Universal style he can play any type of position.

    I don't think Kramnik is a good choice coz he is not a tactical player his a super solid defensive player.

    Topalov not at all a chance against Carlsen. Since Carlsen will wait and see Topalov self destruction in the game.

    Aronian his a good player but he had some problem if his apponent start to give defend and counter his attacks.

    This is just my analysis.I feel Anand is a good bet against Carlsen but age plays a big role, if Anand find his tactical ability again then Carlsen have no chance, Since Anand tactics are more complicated to solve on board.  

  • 5 months ago

    kclemens

    Kramnik looked pretty much unrecognizable there- seemed to me like he was just two pawns down for almost nothing for the majority of the game. I was rooting for him or Aronian but hats off to Anand who is playing really well. It looks like the tactical precision has returned to Anand's game- that series of checks to win the pawn in the endgame was nice as were his middlegame operations. I'm not among those wailing about draws in this tournament, but Aronian may be haunted by his quick draw with Anand yesterday. He had a relatively sharp middlegame (he loves that stuff, right?) and a chance to hang a zero on the leader and drew, then lost to an opponent he crushed the first time around. I don't think Anand is afraid to "play the scoreboard"- if I had to make a prediction I think he will draw with Mamedyarov to rest up for Kramnik (probably another draw), then target his last three opponents, all of whom seem a step behind him this tournament. It would sure be something if he took back his title- that would put him in really rarefied air

  • 5 months ago

    chessyjayesh

    jokes apart but really i'm very very happy for anand .......a great match by the tiger of india. .. karminik and levon loses r like cherry on the cake

  • 5 months ago

    in_prasad

    @Cerebral

    +1

  • 5 months ago

    karunakar1987

    carlsen knows wounded tiger is far more dangerous

  • 5 months ago

    LaughingCoffin

    Another crazy Candidates Tournament..

    This format is without any doubt, the best one.

    I have to say that I'm shocked to see Anand in the leading seat after 9 rounds.. And he is leading by a full point too.. Carlsen vs Anand rematch would be REALLY fun to watch ! Although, I still want Kramnik to win..

    It should be a thrilling spectacle to the end, I think ! Can't wait to see how is it going to play out in the last 4 rounds!

  • 5 months ago

    Cerebral

    Go Vishy!!! This time Anand will CRUSH Carlsen! Mark my words. Anand lost the last time because of nerves. He was not mentally prepared, and felt intimidated by Carlsen. Not his year.

    Headline: Vishy wins back his crown - New World Champion! Sorry, Vishy haters.

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