Anand Beats Aronian in First Round Candidates’ Tournament

  • PeterDoggers
  • on 13/03/14, 06:11.

Former World Champion Viswanathan Anand went off to a good start at the Candidates’ Tournament in Khanty-Mansiysk. At 44 the oldest player in the field, he defeated top seed Levon Aronian in the first round from a Ruy Lopez, trapping his opponent's knight. The other three games ended in draws.

All photos courtesy of the official website

The 2014 FIDE Candidates’ Tournament was officially opened on Wednesday at the concert and theater hall “Ugra-Classic”. In his opening speech, FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov called Khanty-Mansiysk the “mecca of chess”, referring to the many top events that have been organized before in the Siberian city 1900 km north east of Moscow. 

A scene from the opening ceremony

Earlier, at a press conference, Mr Ilyumzhinov didn't stay all too objective when he remarked:

“Let's pray for the chess crown to return to Russia.”

The tournament - one of the most important of the year, as it will provide the challenger for Magnus Carlsen in a world title match in November - took off on Thursday at 15:00 local time. Khanty-Mansiysk is five hours ahead of Central Europe (and GMT+6) so for European chess fans the games can be watched in the morning, while the USA wakes up to see the results. (You can find the live games here.)

The first round started with a quick draw between Dmitry Andreikin and Vladimir Kramnik, the two finalists of the 2013 World Cup. The game immediately made clear that we're dealing with eight players who have spent the last couple of months locked in a room with human and silicon assistants, perfectionizing their repertoires. It was a highly theoretical line in the Nimzo-Indian which both players had analyzed until the ending.

“I was expecting almost anything against 1.d4,” said Andreikin, who is the youngest player in the field - one month younger than Sergey Karjakin. He deviated from a game Mamedyarov-Kramnik on move 21 and traded queens, but after Black's accurate 24...Rd8 it was almost equal.

At the press conference Kramnik revealed that, to prepare for the event, he had spent some time in Ukraine - a delicate location taking into account the recent turmoil in the country. “We stayed at the house of my second Zahar Efimenko in Zakarpattia. My mother is Ukrainian and my brother was born there, so it wasn't that exotic.”

The press conference with Andreikin and Kramnik, hosted by Nastja Karlovich and Anna Burtasova

In the other three games the tension among the players could clearly be seen, which prompted Anish Giri to tweet:

It was probably this tension which made Sergey Karjakin and Peter Svidler go for a move repetition in what was still quite a lively position. At the press conference Svidler apologized for it, adding “it's not easy to play [such a sharp middlegame] after not having touched the pieces for four months”. 

The full pairings for the tournament were published more than a month in advance, and so there was plenty of time to prepare for this first round. But sometimes even that is not enough. Svidler said: “This 8.f4 was very likely to happen and of course it was the one thing I forgot to repeat this morning.”

For Karjakin, who revealed that he is working with one of Anand's former seconds, GM Rustam Kasimdzhanov, it was similar: “It was very likely Peter would play like this, but after 9...Ng4 I didn't remember what to play.”

During the press conference of Karjakin and Svidler, the game between Shakhariyar Mamedyarov and Veselin Topalov also finished in a draw. Despite the symmetrical pawn structure, the ending was quite interesting. With a king that couldn't castle, Black's plan of ...Ne4 and ...f5 (making ...Kf7 possible) made sense but after the game Topalov seemed to prefer putting the knight on a4 instead.

The Bulgarian, who won a similarly strong tournament, the FIDE World Championship, in 2005, started a tactical sequence on move 19 but almost lost control of the game. He had missed an important detail, and a few moves later White was doing very well - in fact Mamedyarov felt he was winning. But then Topalov “woke up” and started calculating better, defending the position by tactical means.

Mamedyarov and Topalov discussing some lines

It was not all draws. Vishy Anand and Levon Aronian, the only two players who had been active until February, faced each other and it was the Indian who won the game. He managed to get a plus in an Anti-Marshall when his opponent underestimated the plan of d3-d4 and Nf3-e5. After 23.c4 Anand got the feeling that he didn't just have a slight advantage, but a clear advantage. Aronian got in serious time trouble (he had about a minute for his last four moves) and had his knight trapped.

“I think I was trying to take it too simple. I underestimated that White has this strong idea with Ne5 after which I think I didn't quite recover,” said Aronian. “For some reason I was considering some tricky things instead of calculating anything serious.”

The win must be at least somewhat comforting for Anand, who lost his world title in November and couldn't show great results in subsequent tournaments. At the same time he is warned: despite his win, he needs to play even more accurately because his 38th move was in fact not good - “careless”, as he said himself.

Anand grabs an early lead in Khanty-Mansiysk

World #5 Fabiano Caruana tweeted after the round:

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 - Andreikin
Karjakin ½-½ Svidler   Svidler - Karjakin
Mamedyarov ½-½ Topalov   Topalov - Mamedyarov
Anand 1-0 Aronian   Aronian - Anand
Round 2 14.03.14 15:00 MSK   Round 9 23.03.14 15:00 MSK
Kramnik - Karjakin   Karjakin - Kramnik
Svidler - Andreikin   Andreikin - Svidler
Topalov - Anand   Anand - Topalov
Aronian - Mamedyarov   Mamedyarov - Aronian
Round 3 15.03.14 15:00 MSK   Round 10 25.03.14 15:00 MSK
Andreikin - Karjakin   Karjakin - Andreikin
Svidler - Kramnik   Kramnik - Svidler
Topalov - Aronian   Aronian - Topalov
Mamedyarov - Anand   Anand - Mamedyarov
Round 4 17.03.14 15:00 MSK   Round 11 26.03.14 15:00 MSK
Mamedyarov - Andreikin   Andreikin - Mamedyarov
Karjakin - Topalov   Topalov - Karjakin
Aronian - Svidler   Svidler - Aronian
Anand - Kramnik   Kramnik - Anand
Round 5 18.03.14 15:00 MSK   Round 12 27.03.14 15:00 MSK
Andreikin - Anand   Anand - Andreikin
Karjakin - Mamedyarov   Mamedyarov - Karjakin
Svidler - Topalov   Topalov - Svidler
Kramnik - Aronian   Aronian - Kramnik
Round 6 19.03.14 15:00 MSK   Round 13 29.03.14 15:00 MSK
Aronian - Andreikin   Andreikin - Aronian
Anand - Karjakin   Karjakin - Anand
Mamedyarov - Svidler   Svidler - Mamedyarov
Topalov - Kramnik   Kramnik - Topalov
Round 7 21.03.14 15:00 MSK   Round 14 30.03.14 15:00 MSK
Karjakin - Aronian   Aronian - Karjakin
Svidler - Anand   Anand - Svidler
Kramnik - Mamedyarov   Mamedyarov - Kramnik
Andreikin - Topalov   Topalov - Andreikin

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.

Letto 19423 volte 73 commenti
6 voti


  • 3 anni fa


    anand is the best candidate.

  • 3 anni fa


    : )

  • 3 anni fa


    @zenomorphy Too many questions! Laughing Let's just say I'm happy with what happened in the past year, and I'm planning to continue just what I've always done - that's why wanted me!

  • 3 anni fa


    @PeterDoggers: Peter, I feel you are clearly one of the finest acquisitions by and that ChessVibes lives on in your contributions here. You manage to create a following wherever you go brother. Do you miss the independence & unique format of ChessVibes, like the cool video interviews with the who's-who of the chess world (and will more of the same be forthcoming here), not to mention your free & unfettered ability to talk "chess politics" sans the ravenous responses evoked in the excellent reporting & innocuous (by comparison to the explosive thread) article "Kasparov Granted Croatian Citizenship"? Was the readership there somehow more tolerant & unique, perhaps "worldly" or in your view, maybe a sampling of a "Euro-chess-perspective", less threatened, more universally exposed? Though we here are surely predominantly happy & aware of the contributions you bring as an accepted chess-insider and feel blessed to have you, do you miss it and your old fans express missing you, ...the colorful, unique free-flowing format? Thank you Peter for your work ethic, clearly carried over to Some of us may be unaware of all you bring, ...yet know that many are and appreciate you. Hey, ...with a FIDE rating still above 2200, why no title Peter? Oh, ...and do you still enjoy the wonderful privilege of reporting & working from your home in Amsterdam? ;') Bedankt Peter voor je vele talenten hier!

  • 3 anni fa


    "I didn't remember what to play.” I thought they use thinking in order to play the moves, but it seems they have to "remember" the moves. What a shame. Maybe chess games should be longer, in an isolated room with no computers neither signal in it, a bed and a kitchen, and let the best player win! hahaha

    Tell you what, you want a thinking game, put two 800 rated noobs there and you will get pure thinking game. GMs memorize lines because it reduces uncertainties of calculating positions. Its efficient and practical. There is enough novelty in chess already so why not remember some stuff and free your brain to calculate the real new stuff. Your statement is as rediculous as saying that remembering our way home is less noble than using a map everytime we need to find our way home.

    Also seeing that you use the Sicilian, Scotch, and Caro kann book lines its kind of ironic that you don't memorize those openings but have to consult a chess dictionary every time you play blitz online.

  • 3 anni fa


    "The 2014 FIDE Candidates’ Tournament was officially opened on Wednesday" in "Khanty-Mansiysk the “mecca of chess”, clearly & admittedly "in the Siberian city 1900 km north east of Moscow."

    Really? Why? We're warmer (double entendre intended!) places closed? I echo FM guaranga! Nonetheless, best-of-luck to the fine players in their quest! Peace!

  • 3 anni fa


    May the best player win and may he be Anand :-)

  • 3 anni fa


    I think the fact of the matter is that ' Wishy ' is a very different player when Carlsen is not around. A nice draw with black for him today.

    Aronian off the mark.....what was his opponent thinking in this game?'

  • 3 anni fa


    what a former world champion for...

  • 3 anni fa


    Nice win by Anand

  • 3 anni fa


    Aronian is at least one class up from the rest. In the end, he will smile in the pole position.

  • 3 anni fa


    "I didn't remember what to play.” I thought they use thinking in order to play the moves, but it seems they have to "remember" the moves. What a shame. Maybe chess games should be longer, in an isolated room with no computers neither signal in it, a bed and a kitchen, and let the best player win! hahaha

  • 3 anni fa


    Svidler apologized for it, adding “it's not easy to play [such a sharp middlegame] after not having touched the pieces for four months”.  What a lame excuse! Imagine Mike Tyson says something along these lines: "After 4 months of hiatus from boxing I wasn't feeling comfortable smashing that nose... Sorry..."

  • 3 anni fa


    come on ananand....

  • 3 anni fa


    Aronian plays great under pressure during the team championships, playing with and for his country. But he does have touble in the Candidates. 

  • 3 anni fa



  • 3 anni fa


    Looks like the rumors of Anands death are greatly exaggerated.  Nice win for the former World Champion.

  • 3 anni fa


    Congrats to Mr. Anand!

  • 3 anni fa


    @ MSC157 -- Nice catch!

  • 3 anni fa


    Vishy should wear that shirt more often. 

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