Aronian Crashes Out In Kazan

  • SonofPearl
  • on 5/9/11, 11:50 AM.

There was high drama in Kazan today as the favourite for the event tumbled out, and another was quite possibly saved by a malfunctioning clock.

Aronian started badly against Grischuk, losing the first rapid game with the white pieces but he hit back immediately to level the scores in game two.

After a draw in the third game, Grischuk upset the odds in game four and broke Armenian hearts as the knocked the world's #3 rated player out of the Candidates.

Grischuk won the last tie-break game to knock out Aronian







Where did it all go wrong? Aronian crashes out of the Candidates



Even greater drama was to come in the other tie-break match, where Kramnik and Radjabov were still inseparable after drawing all four rapid tie-break games.  Radjabov finally broke the deadlock to win the first blitz game, meaning that Kramnik had to win the next game or be eliminated.  After 60 moves of the second blitz game a draw seemed on the cards, but then something incredible happened - the electronic clock malfunctioned!

What happens now? Kramnik and Radjabov look to the arbiter for a decision



After a break of several minutes, during which time the problem was resolved, the players sat down again to resume the game and incredibly Kramnik found a way to win and stay in the match!

After this remarkable stroke of serendipity, Kramnik held his nerve to take the next two blitz games to qualify for the semi-finals.





A determined Radjabov on his way to winning the first blitz game





Radjabov resigns and Kramnik saves the match





[UPDATE: A translation of the post-game press conference by Kramnik and Radjabov is available at the excellent Chess In Translation website. It includes discussion of the malfunctioning clock incident. Thanks to mishanp in the comments!]

The players now have two days rest before the semi-final matches start on Thursday 12 MayKamsky faces Gelfand, and Grischuk faces Kramnik. Games start at the usual time of 3pm in Kazan (11:00 UTC, 07:00 Eastern).

Live coverage and more is available at the official website, and live video of the playing hall is available here.  Look out for announcements of more coverage here at!

So we now know that the next challenger for Vishy Anand's world title will either be:

  • a Brooklynite...
  • older than Anand...!
  • a semi-professional poker player
  • or Kramnik again!

How are your own predictions going so far? Is your favourite still in the contest? Who do you want to win, and will any of them have a chance in a world championship match with Anand?


All pictures are screenshots from the official website's excellent live video coverage

14023 reads 71 comments
10 votes


  • 6 years ago


    Kramnik's endgame win (in the game with malfunction) was actually a very good display of solid endgame play.  It wasn't at all clear how one can draw this with black, given seconds on the clock.  In a long classical game, maybe; in blitz, unlikely.  So saying that Kramnik was lucky is inaccurate -- he won it by chess rules, though the result and the excitement around the clock may have contributed to Radjabov falling apart in the next two (and final) blitz games.

    By the way, Aronian was the only person of the candidates who had strongly positive score in prior games against Anand.  All others have lost repeatedly to Anand, and in all likelihood can do so again, if they reach a match against him.  With Aronian out, Vishy must be breathing much more freely now -- his likely strongest rival being out of contention.

  • 6 years ago


    aronian was looking v pale in the match, i think grischuk spies put a medical pill in his drink so to take off his focus! carlsen didn't participate bcz he needed rebooting for his silicon system, they are currently upgrading him, and topalov without his cheating computer assitance his level of play dropped off siginficiantly, and kramnik was saved by divine intervention of the clock!

  • 6 years ago


    Right now the highest rated player is Kramnik, I can't see this world championship being any better for him than the last one, but you know what they say, repetition is the mother of understanding. I don't personally think Kramnik will make it to the WC, We've seen what happens to favorites in this tournament ;)

  • 6 years ago


    For all the people who were rooting for Aronian, our thoughts are with you at this time ...

  • 6 years ago



  • 6 years ago


    The best players play in the championships. Magnus is not the best player in the world, much as cocky Aronian found out he isn't worthy of even the 2nd round of the candidates.  Magnus knew he'd be at the wayside of the 4 who did advance.  He is begging Kasparov for some more preparation advice.  

  • 6 years ago


    Wow...the fav Aronian destroyed by an underdog...with only Kramnik left...looks like an easy win for Anand...

  • 6 years ago


    Wow...did Vaughan just call FIDE a joke?  They're not exactly known for being a good federation, but a bigger joke than the WCF and ACA?  Not even close.

  • 6 years ago


    For a start, Kamsky is really a Russian. By saying Kamsky could win the world title for the USA is ridiculous. If that's the case Wilhelm Steinitz was the first official American World Champion and no one really thinks that because most sensible chess players rightly know that it was Bobby Fischer. And it will remain that way until an 'American born' player wins the title. Second, I wouldn't be at all surprised if Alex Grischuk won the whole thing and then beat Anand to win the world title; he's a brilliant attacking player who is vastly underrated as Aronian found out to his cost. And finally all of these candidates matches do not really mean much because Magnus Carlsen is clearly the strongest player in the world when puts his mind to it and his chances of beating all before him were better than good and that includes Anand. Vishy is a fabulous player, a good man, and great for chess, and I think he will hold onto the title if he doesn't play Alex Grischuk. If that happens I think Alex will win the world title.   

  • 6 years ago



  • 6 years ago



    My original comment got deleted...I don't even remember what it said, but that's a first for me (that I noticed).  What do I do now?

  • 6 years ago


    Very disapointing to see Aronian out - since he is the best player there. He looked really unwell, coughing, pale, not himself. Also: four matches favours outsiders as there is almost no room for error.  

    Topalov must be really sufferring- he invested heavily in prep for this, eschewing several tournaments, only to have Kamsky secure his revenge - made more poignant becuase Top had a won game in the last, but could not find the win. 

  • 6 years ago


    gelfand will win, none of this russian stuff lol and anand will beat gelfand in the wcc easily

  • 6 years ago


  • 6 years ago


    Too much hype around the young whippersnappers, who are all too inexperienced to beat their battle-tested elders...the myth of "youth" crushed again.  They got nothing on the old guys (Kamsky almost 37, Kramnik almost 36, Gelfand almost 43, Anand is 41) not when it counts most.  Grichuk, the youngest of those who advanced, substituted for the younger Magnus and beat the younger Aronian.  Age before hype.  I love it.     

  • 6 years ago


    HAHAHAHA these results are great

    PSSSHHH Tapalov and Aronian were flakes anyway

    Go Kamsky X D!


    Aronian would of lost to anand anyway

    pps:If you are saying "this is like a game of bingo", you obviously were just supporting a flakey player ^.^

  • 6 years ago


    chessheromaniac wrote:

    After seeing this results, I think it is right to say that this tournament is a game of Bingo. I am glad that Magnus desided not to play

    I agree.  The weakness of this system for choosing the best challenger has been exposed.  And I'm not saying that because my favorite, Aronian, is out.  There is really insufficient opportunity for the best challenger to rise to the top of the field.

  • 6 years ago


    Only Aronian could have beaten Anand , now I think Anand will hold on to his title and may be retire as world champion

  • 6 years ago


    After seeing this results, I think it is right to say that this tournament is a game of Bingo. I am glad that Magnus desided not to play, and instead focus on chess in bigger tournaments. Aronians "brand" has dropped a lot after this unexpected loose. Anand will probably keep his WC-title easily. I can´t imagine to have a low 2700-player as a world champion.

  • 6 years ago


    Anand is going to defend his title no matter who challenges him this year - he simply is the best.

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