Shocking 9th Round Candidates’: Anand Wins, Aronian & Kramnik Go Down

  • PeterDoggers
  • on 3/23/14, 7:15 AM.

Sunday was a pretty good day for Vishy Anand. In a shocking 9th round of the 2014 FIDE Candidates’ Tournament in Khanty-Mansiysk, the ex-World Champion defeated Veselin Topalov, while his closest rivals Levon Aronian and Vladimir Kramnik both lost, to Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Sergey Karjakin respectively. With five rounds to go, Anand effectively has a 1.5 point lead over Aronian because he will win a possible tiebreak on mutual result.

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

Last year's Candidates’ Tournament was definitely one to remember, and especially the last couple of rounds. This year the tournament is no less exciting, while the players (well, except for one!) seem to be losing their nerves even earlier. Teimour Radjabov, who participated last year, summarized it as follows:

It all started quietly, with a draw between two Russian participants who are not playing a major role at this point. From a 6.h3 Najdorf, Dmitry Andreikin and Peter Svidler quickly reached an equal ending and when the last rooks were traded, and the necessary thirty moves were played, they called it a day.

But so much was happening on the other three boards, it was just crazy! The first sensation was Vladimir Kramnik getting into serious trouble against Sergey Karjakin. OK, it can happen, but right from the opening? Which was... a London System??

By then Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Levon Aronian were involved in a terribly sharp 4.f3 Nimzo-Indian, while Vishy Anand and Veselin Topalov were also playing 6.h3 Najdorf, where White had a slight edge.

Mamedyarov-Aronian was the first to finish, and it was the top seed in this tournament who went down. He knew more about the opening than his opponent, but as we've seen in this tournament, this does not guarantee success. 

Mamedyarov found the important maneuver Ra1-b1-b4, and then Aronian missed the critical move 16...c5! which is probably good for Black. An excellent positional exchange sac followed, and with three pawns plus an increasingly dangerous attack, Mamedyarov was well on top. The players didn't mention from which position Black was losing, but it's clear that it was very difficult after 28.d5.

A big blow for Aronian, who said: “I was blundering things the whole game. These positions are generally my style but today I think I underestimated the complexity of the position.”

Mamedyarov played a really good game. He said: “I had nothing to lose. I just play chess. I played risky but it's good chess. I don't know if it's right or not, but this is how I play.”

Anand took full advantage with another clean win, against Topalov. In a reasonably normal Sicilian, the Bulgarian's 13...f5 wasn't good. According to Anand, it didn't work in this type of position because White's pawn block f4-g5-h4 was restricting the e7 bishop too much.

It was also the type of position where, as an exception, Black winning the e3 bishop for a knight didn't bring him much. And then Topalov somehow missed 18.Nxe4, when White ended up with a “dream French position” (Anand).

It seems that Anand missed a quicker win (30.Qa7!) but after Topalov's inaccurate 31st move he could reach a technically winning ending by pushing both his h- and a- pawn to the fifth rank.

By then Kramnik was still fighting for his life, but after the opening disaster he never really got back into the game, despite getting a temporary bind on the light squares. Karjakin reached a double rook ending with two extra pawns, which needed some precise move to win, but he managed.

“It wasn't really a game,” said Kramnik, referring to his blunder on move seven (which turned out to be a novelty).

And so Kramnik is 1.5 points behind Anand, but he will face the Indian with the white pieces on Wednesday in round 11, so anything is possible. About the tournament situation Kramnik said: “So far Vishy is playing by far better than the others and that is why is leading. It's that simple. And also he is not blundering.”

“It was a good day, certainly. I think it's nice I get a rest day tomorrow and I'm looking forward to that,” said Anand. Two of his compatriots are already looking forward to Anand-Carlsen, Part 2:

It seems like we're dealing with an Anand who is playing close to his level of Mexico 2007 and Bonn 2008. Strong chess, no big mistakes. He hasn't been in a single really bad position so far. It's been a long time since he's played at this level for nine games in a row. The big question is: can he keep it up for five more rounds?

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 - Andreikin
Svidler ½-½ Kramnik   Kramnik - Svidler
Topalov ½-½ Aronian   Aronian - Topalov
Mamedyarov 0-1 Anand   Anand - 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 9 Standings

# Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Pts SB
1 Anand,V 2770 2898 ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ ½1 6.0/9
2 Aronian,L 2830 2801 ½ 1 10 ½ 1 ½ 5.0/9
3 Kramnik,V 2787 2762 ½ ½ 10 1 ½½ ½ 0 4.5/9 20.50
4 Karjakin,S 2766 2771 ½ 0 1 ½ ½ ½1 ½ 4.5/9 19.50
5 Mamedyarov,S 2757 2780 0 1 0 ½ 1 1 ½½ 4.5/9 18.75
6 Andreikin,D 2709 2738 ½ ½ ½½ ½ 0 1 4.0/9 17.75
7 Svidler,P 2758 2726 ½ 0 ½ ½0 0 1 4.0/9 17.00
8 Topalov,V 2785 2689 ½0 ½ 1 ½ ½½ 0 0 3.5/9

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. 

53605 reads 188 comments
10 votes


  • 3 years ago



    I think English because this is time of aftermatch discussion which should be in English.

  • 3 years ago


    About a picture of Shakhriyar and Levon talking. I am wondering what language do they talk? Russian or English?

  • 3 years ago


    @in_prasad - Firstly, you didn't even have the attention to detail or personal pride to make an effort to spell out my name properly.  Secondly, "give me a break" is an english phrase meaning, you are exhausting me with your nonsensical drivel.  Finally, I can judge anything in this world I want, as long as I use facts and objective analysis.  Many people analyze the world on a daily basis in their jobs, their home life and even in basic interactions.  Everyone is constantly analyzing the world from the lens which is their perspective and forming thoughts.  Based on your reaction to the objectivity in my last post and the fact you are from India, speaks volumes about your intentions on this forum.  Keep your comments objective.  I have quite enjoyed Anand over the years and I do think he is an amazing player.  I just think his time is past based on his dismal performance drop since 2012 or so.  It has been a slow decline due to age combined with a young new generation of upcoming challengers who are hungry for the title themselves and comfortability of having the title for so long.  This happens in every facet of life; the changing of the guard, so to speak.  Out with the old, in with the new. 

    To the general populace still reading these comments, I think the major issue here is (in this forum) a cultural one.  India supports their contender voraciously, and many of these posters have no class.  You "diehard" Anand supporters should take a page from his book and show the same class he does.  Those here who find it ok to trash someone through the anonymous internet, have some personal issues they need to work out with a therapist.

  • 3 years ago


    @ IndianHarry

    The articles are the same because they are written by the same person. Peter Doggers writes articles for both chess sites...and he is the founder of chessvibes

  • 3 years ago


    Aronian and Kramnik will leave Anand on 3rd place after the tourney is over.

  • 3 years ago


  • 3 years ago


    Dramatic Mamedyarov vs Aronian:


    Anand vs Topalov: the Tiger is definitely back!

  • 3 years ago


    Always fun to watch my fellow GMs

  • 3 years ago



    U begged " Pls give me break". Fine.. break given. Now get lost and dont show ur face.


    Now pls excuse. Lets njoy fair discussion.

  • 3 years ago



    If anyone raises issue of racism it ain't negativity.anand was written off in candid..but now when his haters see that he is going to win this.they crying that an and can't win against Carlson.this is ridiculous

  • 3 years ago


    Just 5 more rounds! Don't lose this oppurtunity Anand!

  • 3 years ago


    Magnus Carlsen is the current World Champion - fact.

    Challenger to him is being decided by the Candidates Tournament 2014 - fact.

    As of today Vishy Anand has the best chance to win the above Tournament - fact.

    All chess players would love their favourite chess player as on date to challenge Magnus Carlsen - fact.

    Performance in the Candidates Tournament will select the Challenger - not ones likes or dislikes - fact.

    Let us all enjoy the games of chess being played; one by one!!

  • 3 years ago


    @deepakpalan -"Anand lost to Magnus , not because of lesser technical abilities, but because, he was afraid of Carlsen and as such was more circumspect throughout the tournament."

    Please, give me a break.  Anand had very little technique in the WCC match.  Carlsen embarrassed him and even Vishy admitted he was underprepared especially in the long endgames against Magnus.  Your quote diminishes the amazing technique of Magnus Carlsen.  This is ludacris and proves you have no credibility when speaking.

    @Heisman2 - I couldn't have said it better myself.  Bravo and great job articulating all the main points of the issues in this forum.

  • 3 years ago


    The tournament proves, there is no much difference in the tehcnical capabilites of the participants in that, the winner is the one , who makes less mistakes on the day or holds his nerve. It is not like the Kasparov or Fisher era, where the champion was miles ahead in technical competance over the nearest rivals. Even for that matter, the current world champion Magnus is beatable regardless of his ratings. Anand lost to Magnus , not because of lesser technical abilities, but because, he was afraid of Carlsen and as such was more circumspect throughout the tournament. He did not take chances, whereas Carlsen did. The moment Carlsen attacked, he probably panicked and made blunders but i guess , Anand must have learned his lessons of not relaxing and taking chances whenever it is there for the taking. Otherwise, it is back to square one. 

  • 3 years ago


    I've been getting into chess for the last 6 months or so, so I'm far from an expert or a historian. However, from reading various articles/comments, my take is that few, if any, hate Anand. What's really annoying at times are his fans, though. Crying racism over some perceived slight against him when it isn't substantiated just brings a whole extra level of negativity to the discussion. Saying it is a slight against him to put the word "Shocking" in the title of the article because it implies it is surprising that he won is another example of just twisting the situation to what you want it to say; the reason the round was shocking was not only he won but also his two closest rivals both lost. Also, why would anyone have had reason to expect him to do well in this tournament when he has generally played poorly over the last 2 years and age is working against him? HUGE props to him for stepping it up as he has thus far. If those who support him can stick to that narrative instead of bashing perceived "haters" then I think everyone may be better off.

  • 3 years ago



    You're quite wrong. Anand is very well liked, and highly respected by both his peers and by the chess public. I'm a big fan on Anand. However, some people feel they've already seen Carlsen vs Anand, and they want something different.

    Kasparov and Fischer are revered in a different way because they were two of the strongest players ever. This is nothing against your champion, so relax and enjoy the tournament.

  • 3 years ago


    whats up with this standings-table ? Why Karj and Mame has 8results after 9 rounds ?

  • 3 years ago


    i think topalov may be ivanchuk ths time - he cant win, but can decide the winner. 

  • 3 years ago


    I don't understand what makes anand haters to hate him.anand is very humble and a true he can't be hated for his personality like Mr Kasparov or other players who like to throw kasporov era anand has dominated the chess arena...his close rivals like kramnik or topalov are very far from anand when compared their achievements with anands achievement.anand has won 5 wcc in diffrnt formats.add to that various high level tournaments and awards....but still some people including journalists also always try to prove him like an ordinary and  average player..this is height of racism...if anand were a Russian or american he would have surely earnt more accolades and more respect..

  • 3 years ago


    Lol... "Smack! in the face" to the losers who thought Anand was a goner. He is still one of the best there is. Carlsen should start his preparation if he knows what is good for him.

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