Reports | September 04, 2011 0:35

Anand & Cmilyte winners Botvinnik Memorial rapid

Anand & Cmilyte winners Botvinnik Memorial rapidVishy Anand and Viktorija Cmilyte are the winners of the Botvinnik Memorial rapid tournament in Moscow, Russia. World Champion Anand finished on 4.5/6, one and a half points ahead of Vladimir Kramnik and Levon Aronian. Magnus Carlsen, who lost all three games on the second day, finished last. The duo Anand/Koneru won the mixed blitz event ahead of Aronian/Danielian.

General info

The Botvinnik Memorial event takes place September 1-4 at the Center for New Technologies Digital October in Moscow, Russia. The main event is 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. The revolutionary aspect of this event is that during the round the clocks are stopped and one of the players gets a microphone to explain what's going on. The opponent wears ear-phones so that he/she won't learn about his opponent's plans. See also our first report.

Day 2

The second and final day of the rapid tournament in Moscow had an unexpected scenario: Magnus Carlsen lost all three games. This way he finished last, and didn't win a single game - something very rare for the player with the highest rating in the world! At the end of the day, the Norwegian tweeted: Carlsen tweet Carlsen's first loss probably wasn't all that devastating for him, since the entertainment value was high and his opponent played very creatively. Carlsen-Aronian Moscow, 2011 1. c4 g6 2. Nc3 c5 3. g3 Bg7 4. Bg2 Nc6 5. a3 d6 6. Rb1 a5 7. e3 e5 8. Nge2 Nge7 9. O-O O-O 10. d3 Rb8 11. Bd2 Be6 12. Nd5 b5 13. cxb5 Rxb5 14. Qa4 Diagram 114... Qb8!? Planning the first exchange sacrifice. 15. Nc7 Qxc7 16. Qxb5 Rb8 17. Qa4 Bb3 18. Qh4 Bc2 19. Qc4 Diagram 219... Bb3!? 'No, don't want to win it back, want to control the white squares instead.' 20. Qc1 Qb6 21. Re1 d5 22. Nc3 Rd8 23. e4 d4 24. Nd5 Nxd5 25. exd5 Diagram 325... Rxd5 'Instead I'll just sac another one!' 26. Bh6 Bf6 27. Bxd5 Bxd5 28. Qd1 Be7 29. h4 Qb7 30. Kh2 f6 31. Qe2 Nd8 32. Bd2 Bf3 33. Qf1 a4 Diagram 434. Qh3 h5 35. Ba5 Nf7 36. Qe6 Bd5 37. Qh3 Qb5 38. Bc7 Qxd3 39. g4 Qd2 40. Kg1 Be6 41. Qg2 hxg4 42. Rbc1 Kg7 43. Bb6 c4 44. Qc6 g3 45. fxg3 Bh3 46. Qf3 Qxb2 47. Ba7 Qb3 48. Qxb3 cxb3 49. Bxd4 Bxa3 50. Ra1 Bb4 51. Reb1 exd4 52. Rxa4 Bc5 53. Ra5 Bb6 54. Rb5 Bc7 55. R5xb3 Be5 Diagram 556. Kf2 Nd6 57. Kf3 Be6 58. Ra3 Bd5+ 59. Ke2 Nb5 60. Ra5 Nc3+ 61. Kf2 d3 62. Rxd5 Nxd5 63. Rb7+ Bc7 64. Kf3 Kh6 65. Rb3 Diagram 665... Bxg3! With the idea 66.Kxg3? d2 67. Rd3 Ne3! -+ 66. Rxd3 Nf4 67. Rd8 Nh5 68. Kg4 f5+ 69. Kh3 Be5 70. Ra8 Bf6 71. Ra6 Kg7 72. Ra7+ Kf8 73. Rb7 Be7 74. Ra7 Kf7 75. Ra6 Nf6 76. Kg3 Ne4+ 77. Kh3 Bc5 78. Rc6 Bd6 79. Ra6 Kg7 80. Ra8 Be5 81. Ra7+ Kh6 82. Rb7 Nf6 83. Re7 Ng4 84. Ra7 Bf6 85. Rf7 Kh5 0-1

Aronian vs Carlsen

Aronian vs Carlsen: a fascinating fight

During the live commentary GM Evgeny Bareev called Aronian's second exchange sacrifice against Carlsen "poetic", and the game overall "an absolute masterpiece". TWIC's Mark Crowther wrote about this:

This is really way over the top. Carlsen subsided to a loss in 85 moves after not playing terribly well would be a better summary.

Although we agree that it always feels a bit uncomfortable to see such legendary players making amateurs' mistakes, we don't think Bareev's comment was way off the mark. This event is obviously not intended to produce high-level games in the first place, just like the Amber tournament never was. These kind of events are all about entertainment; a very different approach which you may like or not. In fact the organizers stated specifically in their tournament regulations (PDF here):

1. PURPOSE AND OBJECTIVES The event is held to:

  • Promote and popularize chess in Russia;
  • Celebrate the Grandmaster Mikhail Botvinnik's centenary;
  • Involve children in mass chess functions;
  • Determine the winner.

In this respect it was great to see many kids rushing onto the stage and ask for signatures, just after the last moves had been played. The Russian Chess Federation did a great job commemorating Botvinnik and simultaneously paying attention to the new generation. Back to round 4, in which Anand and Kramnik also drew their second mutual game. In the middlegame Anand was given the microphone and pointed out that the game could have been a Botvinnik Variation (!) but instead turned into a Moscow. A few sentences later Kramnik made clear to Ilya Levitov, who was the host, that he could hear what Vishy was saying. The players were listening to music when their opponent talked, and apparently at that moment one of the songs just finished... In the penultimate round Carlsen experimented in the opening, and was punished for it. He answered Kramnik's 1.Nf3 with 1...b5 and just after the opening he told the spectators:

I don't think I got a particularly good position and now... I'm quite worried, but I'm hoping to... survive.

Well, he didn't. It's not likely that Black can hold the position that was reached after fifteen moves: Kramnik-Carlsen Moscow, 2011 Diagram 7 Anand beat Aronian for the second time, and again convincingly. In a Closed Ruy Lopez the World Champion got a nice, positional plus and then his opponent suddenly went all the way on the kingside (in a last attempt to win the tournament!?), sac'ing a few pawns along the way. Anand had no trouble defending his king and snatching the material at the same time. In the last round it became clear that Carlsen was just not having his day. Against Anand he lost an exchange in a simple manner, and only noticed when it happened: Carlsen-Anand Moscow, 2011 Diagram 729. Ree1? 29. Rxf8+ Rxf8 30. Ng3 Rf2 31. Re2 is about equal. 29... g6 Here Carlsen's face revealed that he had completely missed this.


Carlsen looks surprised after Anand plays 29...g6

30. Ng3 Bf2 Ouch, that was the problem. 31. Rxf2 Rxf2 32. Ne4 Instantly played; White is lucky to have some compensation in the form of a good knight but lost anyway. For Levon Aronian the second day went much better than the first. He finished with a win against Kramnik and so the two shared second place, one and a half points behind Anand.

Duos blitz

After the rapid event on Saturday the players played three more games, in duos, with a time control of 5 minutes plus 5 seconds increment. The duos were: Anand/Koneru ('India' - average Elo 2709) Cmilyte/Carlsen ('Europe' - average Elo 2674) Kosintzeva/Kramnik ('Russia' - average Elo 2664) Danielian/Aronian ('Armenia' - average Elo 2662)

The duos start: 'Europe' vs 'Armenia'

The duos start: here 'Europe' vs 'Armenia'

For each duo the lady had to make the first move, then the man, then the lady again, and so on. Before the start, arbiter Andrzej Filipowicz of Poland explained the following rules, which made clear once more that this whole event was more for the show than for the chess:

The women start, the man continue. The players cannot speak; the only things that are allowed to be said are "Please make a move! or "Faster!". Women are allowed to smile; for men this is forbidden because it looks strange!

Andrzej Filipowicz

Andrzej Filipowicz explains the 'rules'...

Kramnik violating one of the arbiters' personal rules

...and Kramnik violating one of them!

The duo Anand/Koneru first beat Kramnik/Kosintseva and then Aronian/Danielian, to finish with a draw against Carlsen/Cmilyte. Therefore the two Indians won this mixed blitz event ahead of Aronian/Danielian, and so World Champion Vishy Anand managed to win two tournaments in one day.

Games men's section, day 2


Game viewer by ChessTempo

Botvinnik Memorial 2011 | Men | Results

Botvinnik Memorial 2011 | Men | Round 6 (Final) Standings


Games women's section, day 2


Game viewer by ChessTempo

Botvinnik Memorial 2011 | Women | Results

Botvinnik Memorial 2011 | Women | Round 6 (Final) Standings


Games duos blitz


Game viewer by ChessTempo

Botvinnik Memorial 2011 | Duos blitz | Results

Botvinnik Memorial 2011 | Duos blitz | Round 3 (Final) Standings



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Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.


RealityCheck's picture

2. Your o-bitch-uaries are better than your game commentaries.

Good day,

Szoker's picture

Damn !

Carlsen got his ass kicked (yes I know that this is rapid, but thats what happened)

Congrats for the winners.

I see that Anand is still in a good form, you better be scared Mr Gelfand !

Also, big "Hell Yeah" for Kramnik being in a great shape again !

All in all - a very nice tournament.

foo's picture

Is Mark Crowther of TWIC a titled player IM/GM or at least FM)? His notes to calling the games in this tournament 'garbage' is a bit over the top

Fireblade's picture

I am so waiting for Mark Crowther to start playing some 'gems' on the board instead of the 'complete garbage' we see nowadays....Come on Mark show me what you got !

Lobster's picture

Mark Crowther's contribution to chess journalism is immense. He's been busier than a one-armed paper hanger with TWIC for almost 15 years, maybe even longer. My hat is off to the man!

harami's picture

Mr.Mark Crowther has just become the latest addition in Carlsen's rearside cleaners, just like most brits were Fischer's :).. not surprising at all

g9's picture

What the hell with kramnik and his piece sacrifice

gg's picture

Aronian won two very nice games today, the one against Carlsen was just beautiful with the two exchange sacrifices, and then he also won against Kramnik by just slowly outplaying him from a slightly advantageous position.

Pedro Pinto's picture

i'm not sure those were real sacrifices... he was dealing with the mess he was in.
Carlsen may have lost his mind after that game. I would have lost my mind.

gg's picture

Crowther at TWIC was very critical of the games but is harsh considering the type of event it was, he for example calls Anand-Aronian "complete garbage" and isn't much happier with the other games. Aronian played well in tricky positions though, and against Kramnik he showed his endgame skills. Kramnik had a won and a drawn endgame and still it was Aronian that scored 1.5/2. Carlsen on the other hand missed several wins in a way he rarely does even in blitz.

Didac's picture

Yeah, Crowther must be thinking that playing chess is easy, specially when he is relaxed at home with his houdini on.

Me's picture

What a battle. Aronian lost twice against Anand, that is something. Anand was just impressive, really the World Champion, like he is on a different level than any of them.

Aronian also showed some interesting things, when he won against Carlsen and Kramnik (the only lost game of his in this tournament). Also impressive...

john's picture

Carlsen-Aronian was a brilliant positional win for Aronian, a stunning game considering the accelerated time control. I'm only a hobby player but I can certainly see why losing in such a fashion upset the rest of Carlsen's day. The strategic and positional depth of Aronian's play, and the flawless tactical execution behind the win is really something I must applaud.

Congratulations on a fine game Aronian!

jaideepblue's picture

the TWIC comments 'complete garbage etc' - talk about a monkey with an engine!

gg's picture

Yes, I don't think many players would have survived that position against Aronian with so little time on the clock. Aronian had to take risks to win the tournament and had he won that game he would have succeeded. It's easy to look at that +1.52 from Rybka with perfect play by white from move 33 and call it all garbage when both players missed the strongest line (no surprise as wildly complicated as it was).

PircAlert's picture

It is also possible +1.52 may not be objectively winning. If an advanced match (with computer help) was played on from that position by Anand against a hand picked player by Mark Crowther, I wouldn't be surprised if Anand managed a draw.

S3's picture

Monokroussos has been accused of being anti-Carlsen/ realism. Apart from chessvibes (except when Kirsan is involved) whychess and most Russian commentators are ( surprisingly) very objective. A good reader sees through it anyway.

gg's picture

I always found Mono to be rather anti-Carlsen, with comments like his "it's a real shame Carlsen won the tournament" after Wijk 2010. I don't think one should call it a shame that someone wins a tournament just because one doesn't like a player, at the same time it's fun to read Mono just because he doesn't hide his preferences.

RealityCheck's picture

Just picked this refreshing, fun, funny, piece up at the Chess Mind Blog:

"Viswanathan Anand continued his winning ways on the second day of the elite rapid event of the Botvinnik Memorial, following up a draw with Vladimir Kramnik by defeating Levon Aronian and Magnus Carlsen. He wound up with an undefeated 4.5/6 score, a full point and a half more than Vladimir..............................................

As you'll have gathered, Carlsen "castled queenside"; that is, he lost all three of his games (0-0-0) and finished in last overall with just a point and a half."

The last part "castled queenside (0-0-0)" was quite original and funny. Mono's got a good sense of humour.

hc's picture

>> most Russian commentators are ( surprisingly) very objective

I found this to be true too. If you think about it, it's not surprising at all. Most Russian commentators I've seen on the internet are strong GMs who actually know something about chess, not abject patzers like Mark Crowther

S's picture

Maybe he is on the payroll doing some damage control ? You need good spindoctors to explain this "no.1" performance.

PircAlert's picture

3000 rating performance by the world champion! This type of real performance - in a closed circuit event in this case, against closest rivals - is what I think makes Anand the greatest player ever! This is truly a dominating performance.

Congrats Anand for this very impressive show!

Chess Fan's picture

Nice to see Anand finally having a result (he is always playing like a world champion) of a world champion in the three years that is not a world championship match.

SSD's picture

Great show by Anand .. i think Carlsen had an off day and Aronian losing twice in rapids to Anand is also suprising .. but all in all Kudos to Anand the undisputed WC showing just why he is that .. high time for Anand to show his class in tournament play .. looking forward to the masters

track's picture

Blame the organizers for Carlsens poor performance. They could have pulled in a couple of 2700's and used football scoring and all would be well.

PircAlert's picture


Chess Fan's picture

Very Funny!
And I am a fan of Carlsen also (who isn't of his chess playing style and his superlative win results?).

PircAlert's picture

Re:TWIC report.

All Mark Crowther could manage to find was one mistake from Anand in a very complicated game, that too was played at rapid pace, that again was unable to be spot by Aronian? Unlike the past, todays games are scrutinized by depth 22 computer analysis. It seems Mr Crowther desperately wants to make people believe Anand won by luck. But what else can you expect from him? Look at the bias his article alone. He does not call Anand world champion but he inserts a world no.1 title to Carlsen. Pathetic attempt!

Chess Fan's picture

Who is Mark Crowther? I am hearing his name for this first time. Must be famous for his yacking and whining in Europe. Why is he even quoted?
What does it tell of you people that you take his critical, unfair comments seriously over a World Champion?

TMM's picture

[Photo caption: Carlsen looks surprised after Anand plays 29...g6]

You can certainly see his coach Kasparov has had a great influence on him!

RealityCheck's picture

Here, a little something for all the soccer fans:

WC Anand 12 pts
GM Aronian 8 pts
GM Kramnik 7 pts
GM Carlsen 3 pts

As we can all see, there's a very big gap between the World Champion Vishwanathan Anand and the World NoOne Magnus Carlsen.

I hope this example puts things in perspective for all those raining on Vishy's phenominal victory!!

Mort's picture

Umm, its still an unrated rapid tournament. Calm down.

RealityCheck's picture

Just an unrated rapid match you say!? Not when Carlsen wins!

Here are a few of many ridiculous reactions to Carlsens' win at the Artic Security Rapid 2010:

Carlsen beats Anand, wins Arctic Securities Rapid
31.08.2010 – It was a dream final: The World Champion vs the number one rated player in the world. Vishy Anand had scored a near-perfect 5.0/6 victory in the preliminaries, Magnus had finished at 3.5/6. But in the final the Norwegian worked over the Indian GM from the queenside to the kingside, winning the first game and the event.
Chessvibes blogger:
Chess Fan on August 31st, 2010 00:05
"Still any questions as to who is the world number one?"...
A huge event for us....
fgdfd on August 31st, 2010 08
Some people will always be very unhappy about Carlsen being the best player in the world, must hurt to see him show it again and again every time he plays.

gg's picture

Ah, the thread where you stated that Carlsen only could be the best player in the world at a given time if he kept the World Championship title for a 15-20 year period after that time :-)

gg's picture

Hehe, I'm a Carlsen fan and still think it's fun that Carlsen had a bad day yesterday, when I looked in at Chessbomb some were celebrating as if it was the best day of their lives when Carlsen lost his third in a row. After Carlsen's winning Bazna and Biel (and scoring +8 in Amber rapid in the days when rapid meant little) it was good for the anti-fans to have something to be happy about. :-)

Peter Doggers's picture

Mark Crowther is a respected journalist whose value for the chess world cannot be measured, collecting important games on a weekly basis for God knows how long. Although his use of words was quite sharp indeed, one cannot deny that the general level of play was lower than one would expect when these giants play a rapid tournament. And it's ridiculous to criticize him for using a computer to check the games (let alone calling him 'garbage' or 'monkey'); that's part of journalism these days, and it's the reason why journalists can say things about GM games that make sense, unlike in the old days when Timman complained that no journalist ever understood what was going on, and therefore started showing games in the press room in Wijk aan Zee. The main task of the journalist is to interpret the computer's evaluations correctly and never fail to point out the human factors and artistic value of certain 'objectively weak' moves.

PircAlert's picture

I think it is a misconception that the players who play "objectively strong or OK" moves are better than the players who play "objectively weak" moves. It could be just that they didn't create enough complications for one player or the other to commit an "objectively weak" move. If/when such "objectively weak" move games test the real strength of a player by the complications it provides, what is wrong in those games? The old GMs or GMs of the past show anger at such "objectively weak" move games is not because they are looking for some objetivity in those games I believe it is just out of concern for their built image that stand exposed when they will be unable to handle positions they are unfamiliar with.

I enjoy 21st century games than an objectively clean home prepared drawish weak game played out of mutual fear. The objectively clean games prove nothing much, imo.

das's picture

well said pirc

Fireblade's picture

"Mark Crowther is a respected journalist whose value for the chess world cannot be measured, collecting important games on a weekly basis for God knows how long. Although his use of words was quite sharp indeed, one cannot deny that the general level of play was lower than one would expect when these giants play a rapid tournament. And it’s ridiculous to criticize him for using a computer to check the games (let alone calling him ‘garbage’ or ‘monkey’); that’s part of journalism these days, and it’s the reason why journalists can say things about GM games that make sense"

We are exercising the rights of being avid chess fans as much as chess journalists are expressing their opinions of the games.
Sometimes things get heated when the fans are 'offended' and you as part of chessvibes have nothing to do with it.If you allow a 'comments' section to your website you should be prepared to see fans express their emotions which i guess is good for your website.
Bottom like dont be a daddy here or fans will just not feel welcome here...........

Peter Doggers's picture

I was expressing an opinion too, which came down to: a) Mark has an excellent reputation and for a good reason; b) think twice before you use words as 'garbage' or 'monkey' while describing people.

harami's picture

Peter Doggers, As much as i appreciate your taking time to explain the position of journalists to us, it must be made clear that being a journalist, one has to be aware of how to present one's opinions.

From where i come, a complete patzer like Mark Crowther appears an idiot trying to judge the play of one of the greatest players in history. It may be something with the 'british' way of talking, ofcourse nothing is ever inappropriate if you look at it, but given the exposure you say Crowther has, he must surely know how to behave in certain situations.

I do not know if you have seen the other English player, some GM who 'interviews' Garry's best years in youtube..It is another example of a disgraceful conduct in my opinion of any Chess player trying to 'act too smart' in the presence of someone like Kasparov. It may be fine to do so in some places, but overall i think people do not care for such attitude, and find it very rude. It may be matter of cultural interpretation, From where i come from, it is considered cheap of people to pass opinions on experts especially when they themselves know nothing about what they are talking about .

FWIW, i do not care what Mark Crowther or similar journalists write, only that i feel it is important to point it out when necessary.

Thomas's picture

I agree about Crowther's reputation, and he gets (my) praise where praise is due. At face value, doesn't he primarily excel as a "data manager" (compiling and archiving important chess games) and, more recently, tournament organizer - rather than as a journalist in the sense of reporter, story writer or columnist?

Anyway, it must be legitimate to criticize him _at this occasion_ and in the given context. In part, exactly because he is a "Chess VIP", his writing wouldn't have gotten nearly as much attention if it had appeared on some "obscure blog". "Monkey" was, IMO, tongue in cheek - would "patzer" have been appropriate (we are all patzers compared to these super-GMs!) ? "Garbage" was Crowther's own choice, others merely quoted him.

Of course journalists can and should use engines. The issue is - and this doesn't just go to Crowther, but to many "patzers" - that those who hardly had a clue about GM games in the pre-engine period now suddenly pretend that they understand everything, and are as good or even better than the players (who don't have engine assistance during the game).

I fully agree with your last sentence ("The main task of the journalist ..."). [At least for those reporting from a distance - if a journalist is present at the venue he/she should also try to capture and convey the atmosphere, and speak to people on the scene (players, organizers, spectators, ...)] The point is that Crowther failed to do so, and it seems he didn't even try.
And the pro-Carlsen bias, which is clearest to me in his statement on Carlsen-Aronian. According to Crowther, Aronian won because Carlsen played badly - here I prefer Bareev's expert human assessment ... .

Mark Crowther's picture

I don't think it worth getting in a huge slanging match, you're faced with saying something or keeping quiet, I'm acutely aware of my own limitations and give a lot of weight to strong GMs opinions. People should always make their own minds up. All sport is about opinions. But in this particular case there seemed to me to be too many turning points in the game for it to be a good one, but I respect the opposite opinion.

Yes I like Carlsen as a player, but that also applies to Aronian too who I think is a wonderful player and who much to my surprise introduced himself to me a few years ago at Wijk. A total gentleman whose participation in the London Chess Classic is a huge plus.

Anyhow I got work to do now....

S3's picture

We still love you Mark. And thanks for TWIC! I used it for a long time to keep my DB up to date.

foo's picture

Is the problem that World Champion Anand has never bothered to grant TWIC an interview Mark? touchy

Mark Crowther's picture

I have never asked. I really don't do interviews. I probably should try but I don't have the time. Anyhow that's enough of this.

foo's picture

Perhaps you should check some old TWIC's. I am sure you are wrong. Do you remember a small incident when Anand won the 1st WCC in New Delhi/Tehran. Go back and check your biased coverage of that.

tordynna's picture

Suddenly a exhibition rapid is of great importance .
I find it very entertaining , but its just for fun .
Anand is probably the greatest rapid player ever , but its comparable
to be the greatest mini golf player .
I bet he takes lot more pride in being the WC i classical chess .
Get real!

S3's picture

Agreed. But where were you after Amber when people like Celso, thegoldenknight, rogge, gg and other were claiming the opposite ?

gg's picture

I didn't claim the opposite as can be seen from the actual posts, what some were claiming (and I was disagreeing with) after Amber was things like:

"Aronian is on the top in Fast chess, as well as in Blindfold. While Anand is in the top of classical chess. It is just the reality."

"the best one in Rapid was Anand until he was defeated by Levon Aronian. This is not a personal opinion, u can check it here - “Aronian new Rapid World Champ”"

Carlsen had a great Amber rapid, going +8 in an event where Anand is +1 and Kramnik -3 is impressive even if it's "just rapid", just like Anand's win here was impressive.


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