Candidates’ R10: Kramnik Blunders, Loses to Svidler

  • PeterDoggers
  • on 3/25/14, 6:35 AM.

Vladimir Kramnik blundered terribly and lost his white game to Svidler in round 10 round of the 2014 FIDE Candidates’ Tournament in Khanty-Mansiysk. With the other three games ending in draws, Viswanathan Anand kept his one-point lead over Levon Aronian while Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Sergey Karjakin and Peter Svidler are one and a half points behind.

Photos © Vadim Lavrenko, Kirill Merkuryev & Anastasiya Karlovich courtesy of the official website

As long as things stay more or less the same, Viswanathan Anand can be happy, and that's basically what happened on Tuesday in Khanty-Mansiysk. Kramnik vs. Svider, decided by a blunder, was the only decisive game of the round and as a result these two Russian top GMs switched places in the standings. Svidler joined Mamedyarov and Karjakin in shared third place (they have a 50% score), while Kramnik dropped to “minus one” and sixth place, shared with Dmitry Andreikin. Veselin Topalov is still last, with “minus two”.

Meanwhile, a certain fashion model will be one curious chess fan following this event. He could even check out a website from a national newspaper today.

In what wasn't the most exciting round of the tournament, the tournament leader was the first to finish his game. Anand drew with Mamedyarov in a game that started as a 6.h3 Najdorf. It is truly the rage these days, but also logical in this situation as White is more solid than in other lines.

After Black had castled queenside (not your every-day Najdorf!) he was at least fine. White had to find the accurate Bg2-f1-e2 maneuver to avoid getting worse. At first Mamedyarov avoided a move repetition, but soon it became clear that Black wasn't better either.

“It was a normal game and a normal draw. It is clear that today I had to win today and this opening gave some play, but of course at such level of play, if your opponent doesn't want to win and doesn't want to lose, then with White it is very difficult to win and with Black especially. When I realized Vishy was not against a draw, I realized it was impossible for me to win today,” said Mamedyarov.

“It's not very difficult - all moves make my position worse, except repeating!” smiled Anand. Whatever I could have tried, it's too late here. I misplayed something, I mean Black had easy equality, which is something. It was too easy for me as well to make this choice.”

Soon afterward Karjakin and Andreikin also drew their game. In a Sicilian Taimanov, the queens left the board rather quickly and White had a doubled g- pawn. Pushing it to g5 gained some space and with the open h-file it seemed that White had a slight edge but Andreikin's prepared move 11...f6! put an end to that thought.

“I wanted to get a playable position and play chess but I didn't manage because my opponent was very well prepared. There are four more rounds ahead so everything is possible,” Karjakin said.

For his game against Kramnik, Svidler repeated his new opening, the Dutch, which he had played before against Mamedyarov. Both players had to think from the very start when Kramnik's rare move 3.e3!? was answered by 3...b6!?.

White's space-grabbing 4.d5 push was a principled reply, as Svidler pointed out: “If [this] is good it might even end the game but I think I'm surviving.”

A few moves later Black was close to equality, until he played the inaccurate 9...Bc5. It was intended to make a quick e3-e4 for White unattractive, but later Svidler realized that e3-e4 never really worked anyway. The other problem was that the move allowed 10.Bd2!, and from that moment White was getting the advantage. “White got everything he wanted out of the position,” said Svidler.

Kramnik continued well, but just when he thought he was winning, he was losing. His move 32.Rd4 was a terrible blunder that allowed a simple tactic: Black won an Exchange and a pawn, and it was basically over immediately.

“A very, very big gift obviously,” said Svidler. Kramnik couldn't really explain what had happened. “As you see, I'm blundering horribly. Perhaps it's tiredness. I can't say I played a bad game today, I played normally and still I blundered in just one move. Perhaps it's tiredness, although I feel fine. I don't know.”

Aronian-Topalov then ended in a draw, but not without some excitement. In a Chebanenko Slav, Topalov equalized rather easily and even got some slight chances when Aronian played the careless 22.Rd6. Allowing a knight to d4 was “really, really stupid” (Aronian) and now it was White who had to start thinking about equalizing.

With the accurate 28.a4! Aronian kept things under control and he was happy to see Topalov almost overplaying his hand with 30...g5. The Bulgarian quickly realized what he had done, and now it was his turn to be careful. “When I missed 31.Re2!, which is quite a simple move in fact, I thought I should calm down and play solid moves.” The queens went off the board and White had a tiny edge, but it was nothing special.

Asked about his chances, Aronian said: “It's an exciting tournament... Let's see if it stays exciting for me and not for the others.”

The next round will be absolutely crucial for Anand, who plays Kramnik with the black pieces. For Aronian, who is black against Svidler, it's about time to start winning again. The other games are Andreikin-Mamedyarov and Topalov-Karjakin.

More tweets on the 10th round at Chess in Tweets

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 ½-½ Andreikin
Svidler ½-½ Kramnik   Kramnik 0-1 Svidler
Topalov ½-½ Aronian   Aronian ½-½ Topalov
Mamedyarov 0-1 Anand   Anand ½-½ 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 10 Standings

# Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Pts SB
1 Anand,Viswanathan 2770 2893 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½1 6.5/10
2 Aronian,Levon 2830 2800 10 1 1 ½ ½ ½½ 5.5/10
3 Mamedyarov,Shakhriyar 2757 2779 1 ½ 1 0 1 ½½ 5.0/10 24.75
4 Karjakin,Sergey 2766 2765 ½ 0 ½ ½1 1 ½½ ½ 5.0/10 24.25
5 Svidler,Peter 2758 2766 ½ 0 0 ½0 ½1 1 5.0/10 23.25
6 Kramnik,Vladimir 2787 2726 ½ ½ 1 10 ½0 ½½ 0 4.5/10 23.00
7 Andreikin,Dmitry 2709 2741 ½ ½ 0 ½½ ½½ 1 4.5/10 22.00
8 Topalov,Veselin 2785 2703 ½0 ½½ ½½ ½ 0 1 0 4.0/10

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. | Games thanks to TWIC 

19254 reads 92 comments
2 votes


  • 3 years ago


    the magic number is 9.0/14 and that is if aronian wins the next 3 games! Anand just needs 1 win and 2 draws to close out the tournament. However, most likely is if he draws all 3 he should still be comfortable; I can't envision Aronian winning all 3.

  • 3 years ago



  • 3 years ago


    Im a vishy fan but i think anand's peak in power was during the gary kasparov and vishwanathan anand showdown

  • 3 years ago


    Can anyone have an idea what aronian was carrying in yellow plastic bag?

  • 3 years ago


    Anand is playing well consistently, and no one else is. He is obviously the favorite with only a few rounds left. If he wins I will gladly admit I was wrong. I still can't believe he has much chance of beating Carlsen, but based on this tournament probably no one else does either.

  • 3 years ago


    Anand is ahead of Aronian on tiebreak, and will surely continue to play rock solid, taking zero risks. Very hard for Aronian now. Time to get ready for another Carlsen/Anand tourney!

  • 3 years ago


    chessdog .. lol chill :D "chess Reporter" khi khi khi khi

  • 3 years ago


    What I can obsevrve in this candidates is a clear change in the attitude of Anand. In last WCC against Magnus from the very begining, I cud see his nervousness during the games. This time he is so cool and just enjoying chess. It's totally a different attitude. U can see it during the games or during the press conference. And a performance rating of around 2900 says that this guy has a lot of potential. Well, what happened with Kramnik is really unfortunate at this level of Chess. If Anand maintains this attitude he might give a tough time to Magnus too in November. Among youger players Karjakin is playing great I think. Aronian's blade has lost its shine quite a bit and surely it's not a performance expected of a worthy challenger. I like this forum and reading peoples' awesome comments here :)

  • 3 years ago


    Anand has climbed back to 3rd in the World in the Live Ratings, behind only Carlsen and Aronian.  It would take a historic collapse by him and a similar comeback by Aronian to overtake him now.

    Aronian is showing signs of Ivanchuk Syndrome, where a great player's nerves sabotage his chances in qualifying for a title match.

    Kramnik's play has been of generally the highest level - except for a few very strange and weak moves.  This has not been a characteristic of his play in the past, which is why he has been at or near the top for over 15 years.

  • 3 years ago


    well sad PDUBYA..

  • 3 years ago


    Chessdogblack :  man what rubbish .. u looks fool to me... lol .. funny ppl

  • 3 years ago


    @ EP: While Kramnik is more blunder-prone than other super GMs, I do find it amazing that he's thorwing away perfectly good games just like that. He's definitely shaken by his losses, and that's an unfortunate trait to have at this level; Carlsen regularly bounces back from not-so-great tournament results (at the start of the tournament), but here, Kramnik surely can't do the same (horrible psychological blow)...

  • 3 years ago


    Who could have expected Kramnik to play so badly in these Candidates? He was one of the favs heading into this. Anand is the only consistant player here, and deserves to win this. The only way he could loose is by a meteoric meltdown, or Aronian winning 3/4...not going to happen. Looks like Thor vs Anand 2.

  • 3 years ago


    coooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooool anand.......

  • 3 years ago


    Could someone tell me what are the red moves in the chess games above? Slightly confused? 

    Is it the better moves or the bad ones?

  • 3 years ago


    Who else thinks that Kramnik's blunder is an indirect result of the Topalov game?  Losing a grudge match like that has to eat you for a while.

  • 3 years ago


    Anand may just be the second strongest player in the world right now. He's back in form. Let's see if this form remains.

    But Carlsen is even better than Kasparov was so it will be very tough for Anand to win back the crown even if he wins the candidates tournament.

  • 3 years ago


    So after playing terrible chess since losing the WC crown, Anand comes back with this? Atta boy!

  • 3 years ago


    PDubya: "What this shows is any of these guys would have been thrashed by Carlsen last year, and Vishy is still clearly #2 when it really counts."

    It doesn't show that conclusively, but it does suggest that. Certainly it throws a blanket on the notion that Anand is far weaker than Aronian or Kramnik, and that playing a match against Anand was just a warmup for a much tougher match against one of those characters. Anyway, there's no doubt that Anand has earned a rematch. Good for him. I wonder if he will do any better against Carlsen this time around. As I get used to the idea of a rematch, I begin to appreciate the ways in which it is interesting enough.

  • 3 years ago


    yureesystem: "It is amazing Anand might win this! :)"

    Might? I'd give it about 95% probability. Say what you will about Anand, but no one should doubt that he is good at achieving draws. And if he can do that in the remaining games, one other player (out of Aronian, Karjakin, or Svidler I think) will have to win 3 out of their 4 remaining games. After being stuck on 50% or +1 up to this point. Sure, it's mathematically possible, but who would bet on it?

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