Four Draws in Round 11 Candidates’, Anand Closer to Victory

  • PeterDoggers
  • on 3/26/14, 6:52 AM.

In round 11, for the first time in the 2014 FIDE Candidates’ Tournament in Khanty-Mansiysk, all games were drawn. With three rounds to go, ex-World Champion Viswanathan Anand now has excellent chances to qualify for a second world title match with Magnus Carlsen.

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

Magnus Carlsen can almost start preparing for another match with Vishy Anand. After four draws in the eleventh round, it seems quite unlikely that any other player will win the 2014 Candidates’ Tournament, especially since Anand has two more white games in the last three remaining rounds. A different scenario is still possible, but few will expect that to happen.

Today's game against Vladimir Kramnik was a crucial one: Anand was playing one of the pre-tournament favorites with the black pieces.

And indeed, for a moment it looked like Kramnik got something. In a Catalan, he played the virtually new move 11.Na3 (where he had tried 11.Qc2 a year ago against Carlsen!) and Black was left with a (very) weak c-pawn. 

But there, once again, Anand proved to be in excellent shape. He sacrificed the pawn immediately in return for active piece play, and it soon became clear that his judgement was accurate. Black had more than enough counterplay and if anyone it was Kramnik who needed to be careful. At the press conference the Russian GM said he had analysed 11.Na3 a few years ago, but he blamed “old engines” for not seeing the compensation for Black. 

It wasn't a very inspired Kramnik today, and at the press conference it became clear why: he had basically given up after yesterday's dramatic loss. “I was very pessimistic today. I was triple-checking whether I was not blundering anything.”

He described his game with Svidler as “the ultimate game”. “Even if I had won today I don't think I would have made a chance to win the tournament.”

Kramnik then revealed that he isn't sleeping very well in Khanty-Mansiysk. “I think today I broke my record. I didn't fall asleep before six in the morning. I never had a night of more than eight hours. Nine hours would have been a dream - if every round I had slept for nine hours, I would have a 100% score.”

Anand said he got enough sleep, which prompted Kramnik to say: “That's the difference and why he has two more points. I only had bad nights and awful nights! But it's my problem, it's not an excuse.”

This result gave Levon Aronian a chance to get to half a point behind Anand in the standings, but he never got close to an advantage, let alone winning chances. Perhaps his opening as Black (1.Nf3 d5 2.g3 Bg4 3.Bg2 e6 4.c4 c6) was a bit timid?

Aronian: “I was actually planning to play something completely different. During the game for some reason I went for this and I was regretting it a lot. This is the second time I am receiving an unpleasant position with this line. Maybe there is something with me or with the line; I have to find out.”

Andreikin and Mamedyarov also played a Catalan but instead of Bf8-e7, Mamedyarov chose the line 5...c5, which Andreikin hadn't expected. A few moves later the queens were traded and like in Kramnik-Anand, Black gave his c-pawn to spoil White's structure.

To Mamedyarov's surprise, Andreikin managed to keep a slight edge. “Maybe if someone else had played, he would have made an easier draw,” he said at the press conference. But the Azerbaijani did a reasonable job to reach the same result. 

The most interesting game of the round was Topalov-Karjakin. Black played the double fianchetto, and in a well known position Topalov came up with the new idea g4-g5 & Nc3-e4.

After a funny rook shuffle (c8-c7-c8-c7) by Black, both players put their queen behind a bishop (recently dubbed “Réti's Rifle” by IM Arthur van de Oudeweetering) and, like a Wild West duel, these rifles were looking at each other - quite a unique situation.

Well, it was a short-lived visual curiosity as the players quickly went for an ending. Just before the time control Karjakin decided to “fix the draw” by giving an Exchange for two pawns, but after the dust had settled he realized he was better! 

The commentators started discussing possible scenarios - Karjakin could get to a point behind Anand, and the two would still face each other in the penultimate round - but in reality Black was probably never winning. “I was thinking a lot how to make it work but I didn't find it,” Karjakin said.

Or maybe he was? After the game GM Erwin l'Ami tweeted an interesting analysis which is included in the annotations below:

After eleven rounds, with a one-point lead over Aronian who needs to finish half a point ahead of him, it's very clear who is in the driving seat: Vishy Anand. But he is not alone:

By the way don't miss 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 ½-½ Mamedyarov
Karjakin ½-½ Topalov   Topalov ½-½ Karjakin
Aronian 1-0 Svidler   Svidler ½-½ Aronian
Anand ½-½ Kramnik   Kramnik ½-½ 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 11 Standings

# Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Pts SB
1 Anand,Viswanathan 2770 2874 ½ ½ ½½ ½ ½1 7.0/11
2 Aronian,Levon 2830 2796 10 1 ½ ½ ½½ 6.0/11
3 Mamedyarov,Shakhriyar 2757 2772 1 ½ 1 0 ½½ 5.5/11 29.75
4 Karjakin,Sergey 2766 2766 ½ 0 ½ ½1 1 ½½ ½½ 5.5/11 29.00
5 Svidler,Peter 2758 2772 ½ 0 ½0 ½1 1 5.5/11 28.75
6 Kramnik,Vladimir 2787 2730 ½½ ½ 1 10 ½0 ½½ 0 5.0/11 28.75
7 Andreikin,Dmitry 2709 2742 ½ ½ ½½ ½½ 1 5.0/11 27.00
8 Topalov,Veselin 2785 2709 ½0 ½½ ½½ ½½ 0 1 0 4.5/11

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 

15465 reads 70 comments
7 votes


  • 3 years ago


    Why another WC match so soon?

  • 3 years ago


    Aand is about to win in 12th round. So almost he is going to be the challenger.

  • 3 years ago


    Hats off for Anand ! anyway. I think that he will push to defeat Andreikin in the 12-th round today.

  • 3 years ago


    Anand deserves one more shot at carlsen.He had been crowned world champion 5 times and that too defeating some of the best players in his generation(Kramnik,topolov etc.) in match play. He may fail again because carlsen has so much energy in reserve for end games particularly if the game is too long. Tactically anand is second to none even in this generation but age will take its toll.

  • 3 years ago


  • 3 years ago


    Standing table is wrong, some of players have 10, not 11 games... Fix that :)

  • 3 years ago


    I don't think these guys are playing exactly the same game that Carlsen plays. They talk so much about their opening preparation, as though that was what mattered most. And the average length of games seems quite short by Carlsenian standards -- relatively few in this tournament seem to make it beyond move 50 or so, and many stop short of the first time control. Carlsen, on the other hand, is usually just warming up around move 30 or 40.

    So I'm not sure that Anand's win here says much about his ability to give Carlsen a tougher fight in the rematch. Except that he does appear to be in a better psychological state now, as others have observed. But it does say that no one else in this group has a clear claim to be playing on a higher level than Anand. So I suppose that a rematch is fair enough.

    I was rooting for Aronian until he declined to make game 8 with the white pieces against Anand into a real fight. If not for the 'honor' of it, then how about for its importance in the tournament situation at that point? (It would have bee one win that effectively counted as three, giving +1 to Aronian, -1 to Anand, and erasing Anand's tiebreak advantage!)

    I'd still like to see Aronian play a match against Carlsen sometime in the next few years, but I'd like to see him step up and earn it first, which he clearly backed away from there.

    Anyway, at this point in the tournament a lot of players seem kind of checked out. Like they'd prefer it if they didn't even have to look at a chess board for a while. Everyone's ready for this to be over with Anand as the winner.

  • 3 years ago


    In 2013 Carlsen played Anand of 2014 he will play Anand of 2007/8. Thats a huge difference...

  • 3 years ago


    This all goes to show that an in-form Anand is the second best player in the world - PERIOD.

    Can he beat THE MAGNUS this time? Few think so but at least it saves Aronian (especially) from the prospect of being totally embarassed by the WCC had he qualified.

    Lastly it shuts up Kasparov naysayers - Kasparov used to thrash a younger better Anand. So if an in-form older Anand can play 2850+ then Garry must have been easily playing 2900+ chess (at todays rates) at his peak.

  • 3 years ago


    @NIK. I think perf rating indicates at what level the GM is playing at in this tournament. So Vishy is playing as if he were 2874 and similarly Aronian as if he were 2796.

    @ pulp +1

    @ Jazz. You have some dramatic images when you think of chess. :)

    Anyway im not really concerned if Vishy looses to Carlsen. I expect him to lose going by ratings, playing style and their recent WCC match. It doesnt take a genius to call this game right now. The odds are definitely in Carlen's favor. Its OK to loose. But not wanting Anand to be in the finals just because hes going to loose is going against his fundamental right to play and compete fairly. That is what this and all sports are about at the end of the day isn't it. Going by the logic MANU wouldnt be allowed on the pitch against bayern this year. Bayern is the 4k equivalent right now :)

    Anyway now who doesn't like the underdog? the old guy who lost it all--championship, pride, composure (Vishy got bugged with a few press questions also at WCC),confidence? With everybody including his countrymen writing him off. But here he is, for one final swan song. Cmon man give the world some hope.

  • 3 years ago


    Is the "Perf" rating a calculation of actual rating these players will reach after the tournament? Or just a casual approx level of play?

  • 3 years ago


    jazz_227's prediction of a blood bath in Nov is probably representative of the thinking of many people, specially in the western hemisphere.  Anand was predicted to be nowhere in these Candidates either.  Anand can prove people wrong with consummate ease.  That's why he is great.  Losing is not a rare thing.  Everyone does.  To come back like Anand has is indeed rare.  That is what honor is about.  That is what fighting spirit is.  The whole world has learned a lot from Anand's attitude, if not his chess prowess.

  • 3 years ago


    I also remember Carlsen was telling that after he became the World Champion, somebody came up and asked him to sign a book which he politely declined. Guess what that book was about? Botvinnik - Tal 1960 match!

  • 3 years ago


    If Anand beats Carlsen later this year, Carlsen become the youngest ex-champion, beating Tal's record, LOL!

  • 3 years ago


    hero of the candidates touenement....."Anand"

  • 3 years ago


    In the standings what does the Perf Rating supposed to mean?

  • 3 years ago


    I believe that at this time Carsen is the strongest chess player, that's why he is World Champion, but i know that Anand is capable of beating the strongest chess player and once again become a World Champion.

  • 3 years ago


    Let's face it, it doesn't matter who wins  this match, Carlsen is unbeatable!

  • 3 years ago


    Anand just needs to not lose any of his remaining games.#GOANAND

  • 3 years ago


    I think Anand vs Karjakin and Aronian vs Karjakin will be the key matches in deciding this winner of the candidates..

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