Aronian Crashes Out In Kazan

  • SonofPearl
  • on 9/5/11 11:50.

There was high drama in Kazan today as the favourite for the event tumbled out, and another was quite possibly saved by a malfunctioning clock.

Aronian started badly against Grischuk, losing the first rapid game with the white pieces but he hit back immediately to level the scores in game two.

After a draw in the third game, Grischuk upset the odds in game four and broke Armenian hearts as the knocked the world's #3 rated player out of the Candidates.

Grischuk won the last tie-break game to knock out Aronian







Where did it all go wrong? Aronian crashes out of the Candidates



Even greater drama was to come in the other tie-break match, where Kramnik and Radjabov were still inseparable after drawing all four rapid tie-break games.  Radjabov finally broke the deadlock to win the first blitz game, meaning that Kramnik had to win the next game or be eliminated.  After 60 moves of the second blitz game a draw seemed on the cards, but then something incredible happened - the electronic clock malfunctioned!

What happens now? Kramnik and Radjabov look to the arbiter for a decision



After a break of several minutes, during which time the problem was resolved, the players sat down again to resume the game and incredibly Kramnik found a way to win and stay in the match!

After this remarkable stroke of serendipity, Kramnik held his nerve to take the next two blitz games to qualify for the semi-finals.





A determined Radjabov on his way to winning the first blitz game





Radjabov resigns and Kramnik saves the match





[UPDATE: A translation of the post-game press conference by Kramnik and Radjabov is available at the excellent Chess In Translation website. It includes discussion of the malfunctioning clock incident. Thanks to mishanp in the comments!]

The players now have two days rest before the semi-final matches start on Thursday 12 MayKamsky faces Gelfand, and Grischuk faces Kramnik. Games start at the usual time of 3pm in Kazan (11:00 UTC, 07:00 Eastern).

Live coverage and more is available at the official website, and live video of the playing hall is available here.  Look out for announcements of more coverage here at!

So we now know that the next challenger for Vishy Anand's world title will either be:

  • a Brooklynite...
  • older than Anand...!
  • a semi-professional poker player
  • or Kramnik again!

How are your own predictions going so far? Is your favourite still in the contest? Who do you want to win, and will any of them have a chance in a world championship match with Anand?


All pictures are screenshots from the official website's excellent live video coverage

Leído 14005 veces 71 comentarios
10 votos


  • hace 6 años



    it must be possible to make principled alternative stances on what format suits chess qua Candidates Matches the better, without being reduced to whimpering about favorite candidates missing out. Reading mishanps’ translation of the post-match interview with Kramnik and Radjabov, you can see how often Kramnik stresses and underlines the element of chance involved in these events.

    And yes, I agree that since all the contenders observe the same set of rules it is “fair.” But that is completely beside the point. We could also envisage qualifying matches for WC in soccer where all teams observes the rules saying, for instance, that the matches be played in the format, say, of 10 times 9 minutes instead of 2 times 45 minutes. That would be “fair,” right? Since all teams observed the same set of rules. But would it be fair to soccer? I strongly doubt it. I am sure you would agree with me. 

    My stance is that it is not fair to chess itself that these Candidates Matches are held in the format they are held, in fact as unfair as it would be to play soccer by the format of 10 times 9 minutes. Now read the interview again and reflect on what Kramnik is actually saying. He says: “This is all about chance."

  • hace 6 años


    In broadcast events like these, it's particularly valuable to know Russian or to have kind people like mishanp translate from Russian for the majority of players who don't know that language.  I was lucky for having learned Russian as a kid, in order to be able to get access to quality chess literature (which otherwise was a scarcity) in the Eastern European block.

  • hace 6 años


    How is the last game (the game that ended with Qd2+) a win for black ??

  • hace 6 años


    By the way, the score of the last blitz game is actually 1/2-1/2. The live broadcast at the official site indicated it's 0-1 but actually Radjabov's hand was a draw offer, and he didn't "let his clock flow" as chessbase claims and lost on time, he offered a draw before his clock went off and Kramnik shook his hand, accepting the draw.

    Kramnik's offical site also mentions it's a draw.

  • hace 6 años


    Its absurd to see people criticizing the present format...they should know that ALMOST all the participatng players agreed that its one of the best(if not the best) format adopted for a long time..i think people are critisizing the format only because their favourite players have been kicked out of the candid(well, i can understand the pain:-) ) and another reason is that the players who have advanced are not as per their WISHLIST(here aronian certainly topped everyone's wishlist)...if aronian and topalov the two top rated players were the semifinalist in place of kamsky,grishchuk and gelfand(lower rated than aronian and topa ) then there would not have been so much cry over the format....PEOPLE SHOULD UNDERSTAND THAT THE RULES WERE SIMILAR FOR EVERY PLAYER..THOSE WHO EXHIBITED BETTER SKILL AND NERVE,EMERGED AS whats wrong with that???? WE SHOULD GIVE CREDIT TO KAMSKY,GRISCHUK AND GELFAND FOR THEIR REMARKABLE PERFORMANCE AGAINST THE TOP GUNS...
  • hace 6 años


    Thanks mishanp, if you could find out from the local media if Aronian was sick like he sounded, we would appreciate it. Smile

  • hace 6 años


    Thanks for the comments/link! If anyone was wondering, I considered doing the same for Aronian - Grischuk, but their press conference was cut-off when Kramnik & Radjabov started another blitz game. I'll probably translate some of that when Russian reports appear about it.  

  • hace 6 años


    Good game for GM Alexander Grischuk...

  • hace 6 años




  • hace 6 años


    @ mishanp - a million thank you's! I've updated the news item to include a link to your translation. Cool

  • hace 6 años


    mishanp, you are simply the best! I was thinking about that today, but I concluded no it's too good a wish to come true! THANK YOU

  • hace 6 años


    I've translated the whole of the Kramnik - Radjabov post-match conference into English. Highly recommended!

  • hace 6 años


    kain tayo lahat, aronian is out so it easy to anand now to prepare.

  • hace 6 años



    this “Fast and Furious” scaffolding of this ultra-important chess event produces as unreasonable as unnecessary measures of chance that you can’t call it ‘worthy.’ It is as if the providers wanted and set out for increasing the randomness of the outcomes. That’s the only way this gives sense: I mean, if they really set out to reduce the levels of chance as much as possible, then coming up with this format is just plain tomato.

    It is not like you can put up whatever format and automatically call the eventual winners worthy. Try transpose that onto other sports and just imagine the funny results. No, this recent format of the Candidates Matches is a shame to the very idea of chess.

    Please keep in mind that I am not trying to troll the 4 that advanced, nor to displacedly express my regrets as to the other 4 that did not advance; it is a matter of principle, and what thus is involved is the battle for what chess is essentially, and what it is not (or what it should not be). Thus I also respect MCs decision; it must have been a tough decision to make, but the honorable prevailed: out of a deep understanding of what chess is all about, this young Magnus sided to keep chess intact and not compromising his integrity by entering this chess-jeopardizing circus. 

  • hace 6 años


    Funny games under psychological (and time) pressure!

  • hace 6 años


    I think it was unfair for people to think that Grishuk had caused an upset by defeating Aronian(the so called favourite,he actually deserved to be the favourite but along with Kramnik,someway somehow Kramnik was considered to be a lesser favourite than Aronian,perhaps because of aronian' high rating plus his string of strong performances but aronian has been one of the strong 2700+ for the past decade(since 2005 I think) but other than that what brilliant legacy does he carry?).And he has been having his string of performences for quite sometime only unlike someone like kramnik who has stood the test of time for pretty long.Let's do a 1 on 1 comparison for all the players with aronian.

    First Gelfand with Aronian.What are the main qualities/legacy(as some people want it for the sake of rating and all) of Aronian which make him much more superior to gelfand?.Gelfand is actually more or less like anand.he is old,solid and a excellent chess player.The only thing that could have give aronian the plus was his age but even then Gelfand defeated Mamedyarov who I think(I'am not 100% sure) is younger than Gelfand.Even Gelfand is master of openings,so openings would not have been a plus for aronian.I don't consider Aronian to be superior to Gelfand.Plus Gelfand has experience which plays a vital role in such matches.

    Second mamedyarov(big name,by the way!).Well I think Aronian has stood to be the better player than Mamedyarov(Not just for rating which I don't give a lot of concern but rather on performences) but when it comes to the chess board mamedyarov is a very strong player and along with his rating he has shown himself to be a strong player for quite sometime.So both of them are near to equal but somehow aronian is perhaps slightly better because chess is after all a game of skills which i think aronian posseses more than shakhriyar.Plus Aronian has the capability to mainatain his cool even in the most extreme conditions which is what shak does not posses to a great a extent.

    Third Topalov.I think it would have been the best and the most exiting pairing of the tournament!I can't even imagine topalov to be a lesser player than aronian.He doesn't need to be justified.

    Fourth kamsky.Well here comes a big debate.He is such a under rated player that it is quite uncomfortable for me to compare him with aronian.He has been one of the strongest if not best players in the top circuit but for some reason his no of successes have not been up to the mark/expectation.Perhaps it's something with psychology(I don't know).I will like a strong player(or a master) to do this comparison for me because i find it quite difficult to say that aronian is better than kamsky.openings have been a bit of a plus for Aronian and vice versa for Kamsky(and perhaps psychology as well but I'am not sure)But again he has passed the test of Topalov(who was the favourite against Kamsky) so kamsky had his own chances.After all that's why kamsky has passed to the next level while aronian's out.So perhaps the result speaks for itself.Nevertheless even I don't how correct my comparison is between aronian and kamsky.You decide!

    Fifth Grishuk.I don't see any way in which Aronian is anyway superior to Grischuk .Not even psychology or in keeping cool of mind.Remember even in the first game between them(not the tiebreakers) Aronian was the one who had winning chances but could not convert it only because of a wall named as Grischuk.He has all the calibure required for being called a world class player.And the result of their match shows that.Aronian had good chances in most of the non tiebreaker matches but grischuk was the one who held nerves and forced tiebreakers.

    Sixth radja.Well radja has been a rising player for now and Aronian has been able to make far more impact in the chess world than radja so perhaps he Aronian would have been a favourite(and perhaps the better player) against him.But we should not forget that radja made Kramnik pass through a severe test before kramnik qualified.And perhaps without malfunctioning of the clock he could have even won(After all he was ahead in tiebreakers!).If Kramnik had to do so much work against Radja(By the way,Kamsky and Radja were two of the most underrated/least favourite players of the tournament) then why should we take it for granted that Aronian would have defeated Radja?

    Finally Kramnik.The only reason because of which levon was a greater favourite than Kramnik was because of their(both Aronian and kramnik) tournament results for quite sometime.(especially last year).It all started for Kramnik when he was in Dortmund.He was the favourite to win that tournament but fared pretty bad.The main blow came when he lost to Ponomariov.After that people started to consider that Kramnik's day are over and he is not capable to play the top guns of the game anymore (rubbish!).Kramnik has stood the test of time  more than anyone in this tourney.In chess,experience is also a factor which Kramnik has at its best.In experience comes such factors such as fairing pretty bad in tournaments but Kramnik is not going to be upset to such things.But we ordinary people felt that his days are over.In my opinion Kramnik and aronian are fairly matched at the present moment and I think both deserved to have the title of being favourites.And no matter who says what it's actually Aronian who has been eliminated while Kramnik has passed on to the next round(Even though I know the current system of choosing candidates is flawed and sometimes gives the less deserving man the chance to qualify ,but still it's kramnik not aronian who has qualified).

    Finally in my view all the four men who are into the semis have showed that they deserved to be into the semis and this achievement of theirs should not be disregarded just by saying "the fide system is flawed,and gives the weaker players the chance etc etc"(Even though it's true)their credit should not be taken away from them.Gelfand,Kamsky,Grischuk and Kramnik got what they deserved.

  • hace 6 años


    @WGM Natalia Pogonina,

    thanks for your kind response. Yes, I meant live commenting live games in English. I do find that troublesome. For me personally, to be way sure! But what about, and immeasurably more important, attracting the young folks all around the world? If there is not more of an international coverage of these great events, one can’t even hope for spreading the chess. I question the pedagogy of this. And those most implied here are, beyond doubt, the non-Russian countries: why on earth is there not fully adequate coverage of these fine events in other languages??

  • hace 6 años


    Despite being aware of the "don't feed the trolls" maxim, I'm too amused by GrandMasterVaughan's comical remarks.

    If you've a spare minute, do check out his latest live game for just one example of how the current WCF Champion handles 10 minute blitz against 1400s. Also note that it was "abandoned" instead of resigned. Ah heck, I can't resist one more, I do love a missed mate in 1.

  • hace 6 años

    WGM Natalia_Pogonina

    @rubenshein "For the rest of the world" - check out

    Or, if you mean the commentators (live video), then yes, it's an issue. Point taken, when I have time I will try to find out why there is no English version. Maybe they simply believe that live games + video is enough for any English-oriented website to broadcast the games and try to concentrate on what they do best, i.e. comment in Russian?

  • hace 6 años



    I agree. The format of the Candidates Matches 2011 is a scandal, way too whimsical and flukish to call forth the one true and deserving contender. Vishy must be both relieved and dismotivated. Initially, I was not sure whether MC was right about his decision not to partake in the thing, but now after seeing the initial rounds I must say that this postmodern chessic “Fast and Furious” is simply undermining what chess is all about. (This said not to disrespect or belittle the fantastic quality of all the involved contenders, obviously, but I do think that most or even all of the contenders now realize the unreasonably high levels of chance and therefore the laughably inadequate format of these Candidates Matches.) 

    Also, it is a scandal that the only language platform that follows the whole thing is Russian. Fine for the Russians I suppose, but what about the rest of the world??

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