Reports | September 03, 2011 0:54

Anand & Cmilyte take early lead at Botvinnik Memorial

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



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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.


Szoker's picture

Incredible players !

Woman chess once again proved, that its definitely more of an attacking game than men's chess.


Arctor's picture

Want to see the ultimate in attacking chess? Go watch a game at your local club...

Zeblakob's picture

MC showed his superiority over Anand.

TMM's picture

Yes, that must be it, considering Anand has 2/3 and Carlsen 1.5/3.

S3's picture


S3's picture

b.t.w. I was most impressed with Magnus newest gift to chess; a technique that involves throwing a glass of water to your opponent in a critical position (game vs. Anand). His advantage did increase right away, but unfortunately it wasn't enough for the win. Maybe he should have used orange juice.

NT's picture

S3 - is it captured on video on RCF?

S3's picture

yes, but even I believe it really was an accident ;) Don't tell anyone though

BlunderSuck's picture

Poor Zeblak,

Me I understand you, you were talking about this game, not about historical record...

Peoples are frustrated...let's do the revolution

Juan's picture

TMM just talked about today (well... yesterday...) results not historical...

BlunderSuck's picture

please stop trolling.

Do I have to specifie wich games at wich moves...

Fireblade's picture

Aronian looked out of form today.Carlsen let him off the hook but Anand was not so generous. He seemed to suffer in the game with Kramnik as well.

track's picture

lots of patzers defending carlsen. he chickened out of what would have been the highest rated wch match had he qualified. the fact is he wasnt sure he could get past kramkin, aronian and then if he did then anand. so he prefers outlasting anand, hoping he will wither away by the next cycle. of course the patzers wont acknowledge that.

Peter Doggers's picture

Calling others patzers somehow always makes a very patzeresque impression.

ebutaljib's picture

Right you are. And the patzer doesn't even realise that if Carlsen had participated in the Candidates he wouldn't have faced Aronian and/or Kramnik ;)

track's picture

sure carlsen can use whatever defense from whichever muppet. so keep going on :)

George's picture

Carlsens superiority is probably why he chickened out of the WC qualifiers

Chris In St Maur's picture

Carlsen is chickening out just like Fischer who was absent from the World Championship cycle from 1962 until 1970 - he didn't like the Candidates Tournament format because, as he said "The Russians Have Fixed World Chess". Which is why the Candidates Matches were instituted.

With the illuminated friend of Gaddafi heading FIDE, the qualifying cycle seems to change regularly in mid cycle (perhaps it depends which alien he just met). It's a Knockout, sorry an all-play-all, no this week people will qualify from the World Cup, no it's a match system. Totally incoherent & against the best interests of chess. Khalifman & Kazimdanov & Pono are undoubtedly very strong players, but I don't honestly think they are in the same class as Lasker, Capablanca, Botvinnik, Smyslov, Tal, etc.& I don't they would claim to be either.

I"m sure Fischer would chicken out of the current system too !

S3's picture

You didn't mention the latest champions; Topalov Kramnik and Anand; I am sure they only got the title because of the format eh?

Fireblade's picture

I am not sure if Topalov belongs to that list !

Juan's picture

Topalov hasn't ever been a WC.

ebutaljib's picture

Let's say that Kramnik did participate in San Luis 2005. Would you consider Topalov as Champion in this case?

bhabatosh's picture

Fischer was great for sure but he was probably afraid of ultrasolid Karpov. There must be fear of loosing the title , otherwise why someone would decline to play ?
Karpov was not Taimanov , Fischer would complain about formats when he will face Karpov etc.
Same here , there is hardly any diff. between current great players like Anand , Kramnik , Aronian , Carlsen , Topalov etc .. Even though I hate Topalov but I included him in this list since he was very dominant for couple of years and we can not write him off yet. Point is if anyone is complaining too much about the format and rest of the 90% or more players feel it is better to try better chess instead makes more sense.
There won't be a single format that will keep everyone happy , rather than only withdrawing it would be appropriate if these guys participate. For me personally when I will think I am the best in my work I am not going to withdraw from competition ...

daniel7472's picture

At that time Petrosian was much more solid then Karpov, in game style I mean.
Besides Karpov was playing e4 and even the games were not in great attacking style, still they were quite open.

gg's picture

The weaker the player the more happy with a format that makes it less certain that the strongest player wins. But I think the complaints about Carlsen withdrawing from the knockout had more to do with it being Carlsen than anything else. No one complained about Nakamura, Kramnik and Topalov withdrawing from this World Championship cycle by refusing to play the World Cup qualifier. OK, Kramnik still has a chance to get a spot by rating depending on how well Karjakin will do the upcoming months, but the other two have definitely refused to participate in this cycle.

S3's picture

I guess players who try to create an aura of invincibility are always complaining about the format when they realize their winning chances are slim.
But they should first get the title before making demands about qualification and title defense.
I prefer the guys who made it to the title without all these off board politics.

delapnjo's picture

is Anand as good as Lasker?.. your guess is as good as mine.

ebutaljib's picture

LOL! What you wrote about Fischer and his resons to not participate makes no sense.

Cycle 1958-1960 (Candiddates are played as tournament): Fischer participates

Cycle 1961-1963 (Candiddates are played as tournament): Fischer participates

Cycle 1964-1966 (Candidates are played as matches): Fischer doesn't participate

Cycle 1967-1969 (Candidates are played as matches): Fischer drops out

Cycle 1970-1972 (Candidates are played as matches): Fischer refuses to participate in the zonal tournament. Then USCF "bends" all possible rules with blessings from FIDE President to get Fischer into the Interzonal anyway. And don't give us the fairytale how Benko gave his spot to Fischer. No player can give his spot to anybody. Yes, a player can decline but then this vacant spot is taken by the next player in line, and that would be William Lombardy who finished 4th in that US Championship. If he would decline also then the Interzonal ticket would go to 5th placed Donald Byrne, and so on.

So based on this you are trying to sell to us that Fischer refused to participate because of the format??? In the cycles that he didn't participate there was nothing to protest about. Fischer refused to participate because he was mentally unstable and because of this acted like a little spoiled child. And that is it. Instead of Interzonal ticket he needded treatment.

tordynna's picture

Stop this bullshit . If you cannot show any respect for these great players ,
then you should stop following chess .
Its not a sign of intelligence to mock people who have achieved something
that is totally beyond yourself .

hc's picture

I would say his post was mocking the OP rather than Carlsen.

Mac's picture

whats with the bad language ? People can mock as they please. Thats what fans do

Mauricio Valdés's picture

Has Kramnik turned his back on his beloved Petrov Defense?
Vladimir seems to play Ruy Lopez against 1.e4 lately!

Bardamu's picture

He played his other beloved defence against e4, the Berlin. This is not new, it's one of his main weapons since his match with Kasparov. (although he did play it before that occasionally.

Septimus's picture

He is an expert in the Berlin variation of the Ruy Lopez, but of late, people are hacking away at the wall. It does not seem so impregnable as before.

blueofnoon's picture

Boys, show some respect to the great Mikhail and play French Winawer, Caro-Kann or Queen's Gambit Declined! :)

OK, he played Nimzo a lot too, but not this way...

mishanp's picture

Yep, my favourite is:

"Aronian, playing white, made a gross blunder with the overoptimistic 22.f6. Carlsen’s reply 23. Qxc5 is easy to find, but the world number one threw away his windfall with 35. Rxf6 leading to a forced draw."

Once upon a time 23.Qxc5 (especially played during a rapid game!) would be given "!!" and win a brilliancy prize, but I guess computer-aided chess reporting has rather altered the picture. For what it's worth the once super-GM Evgeny Bareev and his GM co-commentator Sergey Makarychev didn't see the queen sac until it was played. Afterwards there was a funny discussion about body language and Aronian standing up after 23.a4 being a way of demonstrating to his opponent that everything was under control and Carlsen had missed something...

luzin's picture

as of late, i have problems with chessvibes pages loading. Very often they don't load at all and i have to stop them and refresh 2-3 times before they finally load. sometimes it is only the game viewer that refuses to load, but sometimes even the text does not appear to my screen.
i have dsl connection, so that should not happen, and it does not happen with any other site.
Anyone else facing the same problem?

luzin's picture

On another note, chessbase reports get worse and worse. Their piece on Botvinik Memorial is titled "comedy of errors" and goes on: "Check out the incredible blunders, oversights and missed opportunities of these grandmasters."!

Poor Friedel must be using Fritz automatic analysis -or whatever it is called-.

voor's picture

Those that can, do...Those that can't, mock.

track's picture

those that can do. those that cant chicken out

tanc's picture

Carlsen got absolutely slaughtered today.... losing all 3 games to Aronian, Kramnik and Anand.

I can't remember the last time any world ranked #1 finished last in a tournament and not winning a single game (!).

He definitely woke up on the wrong side of bed today.

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