Anand & Cmilyte take early lead at Botvinnik Memorial

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage

xxxVishy Anand is leading the Botvinnik Memorial in Moscow, Russia after the first day of play. The World Champion scored the only win during the first three rounds. In this new type of rapid event, where Magnus Carlsen, Levon Aronian and Vladimir Kramnik also play, the players give explanation to the audience during and after the games. Viktorija Cmilyte leads the women's section ahead of Elina Danielian, Humpy Koneru and Tatiana Kosintseva.

General info

The Botvinnik Memorial rapid tournament is another event with which the Russian Chess Federation is commemorating the 100th birth anniversary of former world champion Mikhail Botvinnik (17 August 1911 - 5 May 1995). It takes place September 2-3 at the Center for New Technologies Digital October, the former Red October chocolate factory in Moscow, Russia. It's a 6-round double round robin with 25 minutes and 10 seconds increment on the clock. There's a men's section with the current world's top 4 (Magnus Carlsen, Vishy Anand, Levon Aronian and Vladimir Kramnik) and a women's section with Humpy Koneru, Tatiana Kosintseva, Viktorija Cmilyte and Elina Danielian. [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"159","attributes":{"alt":"","title":"","class":"media-image","typeof":"foaf:Image","wysiwyg":1}}]] The revolutionary aspect of this event is that during the round the clocks are stopped several times, and one of the players gets a microphone to explain what's going on. His opponent wears ear-phones so that he won't learn about his opponent's plans. (Anish Giri, who was watching the live video, told us that he really enjoyed it but wondered whether the players were good at lip reading!) Botvinnik Memorial The opening ceremony took place just before the first round, and Mark Gluhovsky of chess magazine 64 took the opportunity to give the Chess Oscar to Magnus Carlsen. In a short speech on stage, the Norwegian said:

Thank you very much. It's a great honour to receive this award once again, the second time in a row. I'm very honoured that my tournemtn results are rated as high as this, especially in a year where there was a World Ch match Thank you everyone, who voted for me!

Carlsen speeches Then all eight players were invited to choose a copy from a pile of books about Botvinnik, and on the first page the lot number was put. Vishy Anand got number 2, Magnus Carlsen number 4, Vladimir Kramnik number 3 and Levon Aronian lot number 1. The first round immediately saw a fascinating game between Aronian and Carlsen. In a 4...Ba6 5.b3 b5 Queen's Indian White burnt his bridges on the queenside to go for a classic f4-f5-f6 + Qg5xg7 mating attack, but Black defended nicely, using tactics based on his passed pawn. Aronian-Carlsen Moscow, 2011 Diagram 1 Instead of taking back on b3, Aronian went 22. f6!? which was answered by 22... Qxc5!. Showing no signs of surprise, Aronian rather quickly answered with the stunning 23. a4!? (23. Rxc5 bxa2 24. Qg5 a1Q+ 25. Rc1 Qxc1+ 26. Qxc1 h6 was Carlsen's point) and shortly after, he stood up to look at the other boards. Although we're not sure whether the Armenian had missed 22... Qxc5, it reminded us of a story by the great Dutch author Godfried Bomans. In his 'Tips for a beginner' (De Volkskrant, January 20th, 1962) he wrote about what do after committing a blunder.

Godfried BomansRub your hands immediately, as if you're really hoping he'll take the rook. The man will become distrustful. He will start using time. That's already something. If he takes the rook, you'll whistle in surprise. This will make him nervous. He'll watch you, and you'll answer his gaze by looking at him pityingly. 'Yes, chess is hard,' you will say. The remark 'Well, well, still?' might be even better. This implies that there were dozens of possibilities, which he missed. Very good is also: 'Yes, it IS possible...' which will make him start thinking what else was possible. The next move has to be played immediately. Then you will stand up and stroll gently through the playing hall, like if you're having a close to winning position. When you return, the man will still be thinking. He's looking for something that's not there and there's nothing more exhausting. This is the moment to pat him on the back. 'Afterwards we'll analyse,' you comfort him, 'you had no alternative.' Then you fill a pipe and start enjoying it. Ten to one that his next move will be weak. He's embroidering on a fictitious pattern, of which only you possess the secret. It doesn't exist, and that's why it's so strong. (...)

Carlsen's next move wasn't weak, but Aronian's strategy seems to have worked anyway as his opponent probably missed a win just before he allowed a perpetual check. Carlsen vs Aronian Vishy Anand avoided Vladimir Kramnik's Berlin Wall with 4.d3 but couldn't claim an opening advantage around move 15. Lots of exchanges followed, until a dead drawn rook ending appeared on the board. In the next round the fans witnessed another typical Kramnik 3.0 game: the former World Champion yet again sacrificed a full piece for interesting compensation! After 17.Kf1 the clocks were stopped and Carlsen told the audience:

I generally have no idea what’s going on. I’m a piece up, but he has two pawns and my pieces aren’t developed. Nevertheless, I think my chances aren’t bad, but please don’t hold me to that opinion later.

Unfortunately, for the non-Russian speaking online audience, the Kramnik's commentary wasn't translated into English. However, you can read it here. The other game in round 2, Aronian vs Anand, was the only decisive game on the first day. The World Champion played Gata Kamsky's favourite Schlechter/Grünfeld set-up and equalized rather comfortably. In fact in the ending that was reached, Black was already better and Anand finished it off with powerful play. In round 3 Carlsen also played the Berlin against Anand and also equalized easily. It was a short and rather dull game, although just before the end Carlsen missed a good chance. His 21...Rf6 was more or less a blunder, where 21...Nxb2 just wins a healthy pawn. Quite remarkably, Kramnik vs Aronian was a Sicilian Dragon (it started with 1.Nf3 g6 2.e4 c5). White quickly won a pawn and reached what looked like a technically winning position, but with some nice knight manoeuvres, Black managed to double the white pawns on the queenside and with active piece play he saved the game.

Botvinnik Memorial

Anand (here showing his win against Aronian) leads after the first day

The women's tournament sort of mirrored the men's section, with only one draw and five decisive games! Reigning European Champion Viktorija Cmilyte is leading with 2/3 after starting with a loss against Elina Danielian. You can still watch the complete day on video here. It's well worth watching as the commentary during the games is a very interesting novelty. Don't miss Humpy Koneru's smile when she's watching and listening to Anand speaking, and Kramnik with ear-phones!

Games men's section


Game viewer by ChessTempo

Botvinnik Memorial 2011 | Men | Results day 1

Botvinnik Memorial 2011 | Men | Round 3 Standings

Games women's section


Game viewer by ChessTempo

Botvinnik Memorial 2011 | Women | Results day 1

Botvinnik Memorial 2011 | Men | Round 3 Standings


More from PeterDoggers
Gender Bias Research Shows Parents, Mentors Shortchange Girls’ Chess Potential

Gender Bias Research Shows Parents, Mentors Shortchange Girls’ Chess Potential

Nepomniachtchi Repeats Levitov Chess Week Victory

Nepomniachtchi Repeats Levitov Chess Week Victory