The 14 Most Amazing World Championship Blunders

The 14 Most Amazing World Championship Blunders

| 28 | Tactics

Magnus Carlsen won the 2014 world championship match in game 11 today to defend his title. 

But the sixth game of the Carlsen-Anand match made waves around the world.  

Some chess journalists rushed to christen the astonishing mutual mistake of these two great players "the biggest blunder ever made in the world championships."

But is it true? I tried to remember all the notorious blunders that happen in the world championship games, and in my opinion the sixth game of the 2014 championship barely makes the Top 10.

photo by Mike Klein.

Here I am going to share my list of top 14 blunders, but please remember that it is not a scientific research, and your list of top blunders could be totally different.

I used two major criteria to distiguish a blunder from just a big mistake:

1. The refutation of a blunder should be simple. If in order to prove that a blunder is indeed a blunder you need to calculate a 10-move long variation, then it is not a blunder in my book.  It is just a miscalculation.

2. The resulting position of a blunder should be a clear-cut. In other words, if you show the whole sequence of moves after the blunder to a really low-rated chess player and he has no clue why you call it a blunder, then it is not a blunder! 

Let's take for example the following famous game.  Try to find the best continuation for White:

Was it easy for you? If yes, than you did much better than the world champion, Anatoly Karpov.

via the guardian

As you could see, Karpov missed a forced way to win the game and the whole match! Had he found the correct sequence of moves, chess history would have been totally different.

But to me this game doesn't meet the criteria #1 to be called a blunder, so I call it a miscalculation. A big miscalculation with enormous consequences, but still just a miscalculation.

Now let's take a look at another game from the clash of the same titans:

The evaluation of the final position is absolutely obvious for...Kasparov. But  many club players might still call the position unclear. Karpov missed this variation as well and played 39...Kg6?! after which "Black's win is not that obvious," according to Kasparov.  Here is how the game ended:

As you could see, White's gross mistake changed the evaluation of the position from White is winning to Black is winning.  But since my criteria #2 wasn't met, to me it is not a blunder, just a miscalculation!

Now, without further ado, let me present my top 14 world championship blunders!


Surprisingly, the great technician Tigran Petrosian didn't convert his material advantage and the game was eventually drawn!


If in the previous game Petrosian couldn't convert an extra exchange, here the whole rook was not enough for the world champion to win the game!

Just an amazing comedy of errors!


Check back next week for more of the top 14 world championship blunders.


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