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. 

53650 reads 188 comments
10 votes


  • 3 years ago


    Can somebody tell me what carlsen meant by " beating aronian purely on technique". Some examples will be appreciated.

  • 3 years ago


    From the day one he (Anand) shown his class ,  I never seen him down at any position in the whole tournament..  He deserve ! Well done Anand ..

  • 3 years ago


    Looks like the Tiger has got his roar back.  

  • 3 years ago


    anand will win this nov world championship 2014....he will give revenge to carsen this end of the year..

  • 3 years ago


    Well said Estragon :).

  • 3 years ago


    Anand is certainly "in the catbird's seat," with a full point lead, better tiebreaks against Aronian, and three Whites in the last five games.


    It was always a mistake to underestimate him, as he has been among the world's elite for over two decades.  And he may in fact feel liberated by not having to prepare to defend the title in a match, and so being able to approach the tournament without reservations or distractions.

    He might be able even to give Carlsen a better fight of it in a rematch, but it is difficult to envision Anand recapturing the title.  Carlsen just doesn't make the mistakes other players make.

  • 3 years ago


    sixtyfoursquares: "And dont forget he is the most experienced playing Magnus Carlsen; as he is the only one who has till date played a World Championship match with Magnus Carlsen."

    For me that's the only problem with a Carlen-Anand championship match: It's a re-run. I'd rather see something new. But oh well. And you're right that Anand has absolutely earned it according to the rules of this whole thing.

    fdimul: "He lost in WCC probably just that he did not want to give credit to political game play in Chennai."

    If anyone believes this, I have a bridge to sell them.

    TanyaKeziah: "This tiger from Madras is going to shred the new cheetah from Norway in the next WC match."

    This imagery seems a little too violent. This is chess, not whatever bloodthirsty jungle stuff you have in mind.

  • 3 years ago


    If Anand beats Kramnik today, the tournament is a done deal. Though, they will probably draw.

  • 3 years ago


    Judging by the posts,these pathetic Anand haters don't even know when to giveup.

  • 3 years ago


    I sincerely hope the final headline will read:

    Shocking Anand; wins Shocking Candidates Tournament 2014; Shocking the World!!

    I presume the word "Shocking" in the present articles headline has been used to mean "something happened which was UNEXPECTED"!!

  • 3 years ago


    i wonder what's so "shocking" about anand winning and aronian losing !

    seems to be normal nowadays. 

  • 3 years ago


    Carlsen will easily defeat Anand.  Carlsen is far above the other top players.  His endgame play is science fiction.  Playing against him must be a complete nightmare for his opponents.

  • 3 years ago


    Anand is playing great!

  • 3 years ago


    Karjakin has found his feet with back-to-back wins, so has a definite shot at catching Anand, especially if he can somehow win against him in Round 13.

    If he makes it to the World Championship, he has a good chance against Carlsen. Their lifetime head to head is: Carlsen vs Karjakin +3 -1 =11 

  • 3 years ago


    ADMINISTRATOR: Please fix the site for Firefox Browser.

  • 3 years ago


    also I think an Anand-Carlsen rematch will be far more "exciting" than last years match. I feel Carlsen was playing extremely solid, and "boring" (to the layman anyway) because he just wanted to win. Vishy had been stagnating for a couple of years and Carlsen took advantage of it. Now Vishy has nothing to lose. It would be a very different match imo. Go Vishy!

  • 3 years ago


    such exciting chess! 

  • 3 years ago


    people: i have one thing to say.. Anand-Carlsen is boring? omg.. Anand-Kramnik would be SUPER boring then!! i don't even agree with what i am saying but come on.. Aronian could make it interesting but he cannot hold a match, playing a lot of games in a row. Kramnik Carlsen would be the most technical, drawish boring match ever, where Carlsen would win because he knows better.

  • 3 years ago


    If you watch Anand playing chess here.   He is playing as if he is playing with school kids.   He does not even see the chess board most of the times.  When  his move is to be made he just sees the position once on the board and just analysis it in the air looking somewhere else.  Then when it is his opponents move he just walks away and also watches other players game.  He is just relaxed and when he takes on Carlsen outside India he could bring in skill out and surprise Carlsen. 

    He lost in WCC probably just that he did not want to give credit to political game play in Chennai.

  • 3 years ago


    Also notice Anand is wearing his lucky sweather again! There must be some magic in it! And he does look like a Tiger in that sweather, LOL!

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