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

14015 reads 71 comments
10 votes


  • 6 years ago


    Kramnik will win the candidate matches, but eventually lose to Anand in the match play due to Anand being a superior player.

  • 6 years ago


    Luv that zuzwang position with Kranmilk!

    Luv how the bishop couldn't move because of that awesome mate 2!!

  • 6 years ago


    Kramnik will win

  • 6 years ago


    Not a good day for DGT clocks.

  • 6 years ago


    Didn't know Grischuk also plays poker. Thus I am rooting for Kramnik and Kamsky.

  • 6 years ago


    In the final game did Radjabov just resign in the last game because a draw loses the match anyway? The final position looks drawn to me.

  • 6 years ago


    Epleomatic, if the matches were 100 games long, I think the results would be very close to respective elo ratings eventhough elo system isn't perfect.

    Since the this is only 4 games short, every minor mistake makes a significant difference, and thus, shorter the matches get, higher the chances become for the underdog.  

  • 6 years ago


    ei always believe kamsky will win against topalov... and he did with exciting and tense games. kamsky will go on to challenge anand for the title. their 3rd match meeting and it would be great! go kamsky!

  • 6 years ago


    empleomatic, I thinkl FIDE ratings are good as a good way of quantifying the general strength of a chess player, but when you pit two players against each other, ratings wont necessarily determine the outcome, some players are better at some things than others, and if you match a lower rated player who is good at one aspect of the game against a higher rated player who happens to be weak on that certain aspect, the lower rated player might be able to exploit this weakness to his advantage more often than not.

  • 6 years ago

    FM VPA

    Congrats- who made it to the semisKiss

  • 6 years ago


    The first results of these Candidates Matches 2011 are a great surprise. If we checked the ELO rating of the 8 participants we can see that only 1 player of the first four major ELOs, V. Kramnik, classified for the next round, whereas THREE (03) of the chess players with the lower ELOs ratings, Grischuk, Gelfand, and Kamsky (2733, the lowest ELO) are the match winners and do classified for the next round. Then, the logical question is: What the ELO rating of FIDE is useful for?

    Cheers! for the winners!   

  • 6 years ago


    Its good to see Kamsky who was born in Kazan doing so well in front of his many family relations who still live in Tatarstan

  • 6 years ago


    Gonna predict Kamsky beats Gelfand and Kramnik beats Grishchuck (Though I really want to see Grishchuck win that match, don't like Kramnik at all, myself.) Rooting for Kamsky to win it all! Though I don't see any of the guys left beating Anand next year...

  • 6 years ago


    Although I hope Kramnik makes it to the match with Anand, part of me is dreading a return of the Berlin Wall every game.

  • 6 years ago


    I think this is unfair to Aronian. He generated very concrete winning chances in both his games with white. Honour to Grishuk for defending so well in difficult positions, but it can hardly be said that Aronian played drawish chess hoping to reach the rapid games.

  • 6 years ago


    Go Gata!!! Be the first since Bobby Fischer to challenge a world champion!

  • 6 years ago


    Don't act so surprised by the outcome of Grischuk-Aronian:  they're both renowned blitz players, and Aronian's win at Amber is almost a non-issue as blitz is not the same as rapid.  A 20-minute chess game is not the same as a 5-minute game!

  • 6 years ago


    I am now rooting for Gata Kamsky to go all the way!!!  Maybe Nakamura can be his second when he faces Anand.  What an exciting year that would be for US Chess!

  • 6 years ago


    i think this is a cunning russian conspiracy as  kirsan ilyumzhinov the mafia  is the current Fide president...

  • 6 years ago


    The general consensus is that the malfunctioning helped Kramnik, which was failing to progress despite his advantage. Radjabov was also short of time, but his task was relatively simple (Kramnik was just woodshifting while thinking and he only had to wait) and he didn't really needed it, while Kramnik needed to find a costructive plan.  Still it is of course hard to blame Kramnik, he has no responsability in what happened.

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