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. 

53649 reads 188 comments
10 votes


  • 3 years ago


    The round is shocking not because Anand won, but because both of his closest rivals (Aronian and Kramnik), lost! Don't be so butthurt!

  • 3 years ago


    Anand wins and its shocking??!!

  • 3 years ago


    game over. anand gonna take on carlsen's gonna be anand-carlsen rivalry for years to come.

  • 3 years ago


    still more games to go but anand is playing well. if he wins and gos on to beat carlsen would he then go down as one of the greats. i for one hope so because most of the public seem against him.

  • 3 years ago


    Anand is doing very good unlike in the championships.

  • 3 years ago


    Topalov is now last after doing quite good. This is very shocking seeing Aronian and Kramnik go down to players a lot lower than them.

  • 3 years ago


    Anand vs Topalov: the Tiger is definitely back!

  • 3 years ago


    Anand-Topalov: I think Topalov will save the game to draw. Why he don't do to that? I like this game, too difficult to analyze till Anand move b pawn.

  • 3 years ago


    Carlsen's perf rating is often 3000+ so it will be interesting indeed.

  • 3 years ago


    Anand win, aronian defeat + reading baseless analysis/comments by vishy fans is like 5 yrs jail + 2 lakh dollar fine to aronian's fans.

  • 3 years ago


    Perf rating of Anand 2898 in 9 matches...and Carlsen rating is 2881..If he carries his form forward ..Good luck to Carlsen and his fans..

  • 3 years ago


    - Han spiller alltid veldig prinsipielt. Den kanskje største forskjellen mellom meg og ham, er at han gjør veldig mye mer feil. Ofte er det sånn at han tror han har rett, mens jeg har rett, fortsetter bæringen.
    - He plays with great principle. Probably the biggest difference between me and him is that he makes a lot of mistakes. He often thinks that he is right, while I am the one who is right.

    - 13 år gamle Magnus Carlsen kjøpte alt han sa. Ikke jeg, sier den 23 år gamle sjakkongen med et djevelsk smil.
    - 13 year old Magnus Carlsen bought every word he said. Not me.

    - Han er veldig selvsikker. Han er ikke redd for noen. Han tror ikke jeg er bedre enn ham, han tror ikke Aronian er bedre enn ham og han tror ikke Anand er bedre enn ham. Han taper faktisk en del mot Nakamura, men han tror i hvert fall ikke Nakamura er bedre enn ham, sier nordmannen.
    - He’s very confident. He’s not afraid of anyone. He doesn’t think I’m better than him, he doesn’t think Aronian is better than him. He actually loses a bit against Nakamura, but he certainly doesn’t think Nakamura is better than him.

  • 3 years ago


    What the hell is Kramnik doing? I don't understand how he can play the opening so poorly as black. Unfortunately I don't think anyone in this field can beat Carlsen right now, so who wins doesn't change anything. I think Anand is in better shape now than during the Wch match, but I am pretty sure the next Carlsen - Anand match (if Anand qualifies) will be very much the same as the previous one.

    Anand is a huge favourite now and is most likely going to win the tournament, as long as no meltdown happens, which I doubt. 

  • 3 years ago


    Kramnik tror at han vet alt, sier Magnus Carlsen.
    - Kramnik thinks he knows everything.

    - Det er veldig imponerende hvordan Kramnik lirer av seg forskjellige varianter og så videre, og det er ikke så lett å gjennomskue hvis man ikke kan gamet ordentlig selv. Men hvis man ser litt dypere, er det ofte bare tull, sier Carlsen.
    - It’s very impressive how he throws around different variations, and it’s not easy to see through it if you don’t know the game well enough yourself. But if you look a bit deeper, it’s often just nonsense.

    --Magnus Carlsen 

  • 3 years ago


    eagerly waiting for the insight and update of this post of today

  • 3 years ago


    IMO Cramnik relies on preparations too much and struggles with unknown lines as shown in this tournament..

  • 3 years ago


    tiger now wait and show them in wcc 2014 .....sry but I'm seeing bloodbath is enjoying by anand

  • 3 years ago


    Dramatic Mamedyarov vs Aronian:

  • 3 years ago


    Anand Shocks the World and Rocks!!

    Anand first shocked the World by not playing well in the recent past; and then lost his World Championship Crown to Carlsen.

    Now again he is shocking the World by playing real Chess and leading the Candidates Tournament 2014; as of date!!

    Anyone who has written off Anand; should reconfigure their thoughts.  There is a reason why Anand did not retire; and hopefully he will prove his point in times to come!!

    Good Luck to Anand!!

  • 3 years ago


    And something more... Nakamura should definitely be in this tournament

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