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


Fireblade's picture

Kramnik in a recent interview said that Anand is deadly with his knights.Funny today with Aronian the knight on e3 kept the queen,two rooks and two bishops at bay !

JO's picture

Reminds me of a game commentary a decade or so ago by Anand v Polgar - where he said his principal reason for exchanging bishops was not primarily positonal but because he always felt threatened when Judit got play with dual bishops

Fireblade's picture

Guys when garbage talks about garbage end result is 'complete garbage'.Lets leave it at that ;)

harami's picture

exactly. why are we talking about Crowther's report here when there are so many other good reports to talk about?

Crowther has just confirmed that he really hates to see the World Champion crush the elite field :), It is a happy occassion , what else? The play was boring? ofcourse it was boring, what do they expect? deep theoretical disputes in rapid chess? ...I think Mark Crowther will be back soon with his 'exciting' reports... :)

foo's picture

no shit. MC is biased.

Chessfan's picture

Great display by World champion to sweep the field. Many congrats to the King aka Tiger from Madras. The "lightning kid" still turning the heat on at this age. What a player!

Mark Crowther can easily be considered one of the most biased and rude chess commentators after his recent column.

Did he expect computer perfect moves in a rapid match, if so, then I would ask him to supply if there is any rapid tournament wherein all the players perfectly and at all times?

He can safely be ignored for his scathing comments on the play. Aronian too showed his creativity in mounting pressure on Carlsen and ultimately defeating him with a withering attack on his king. It seems Mark Crowther is of "carlsen" fanboys group and he needs a reality check and he needs to assess himself whether he is fit to write a column without bias.

Brandon's picture

Maybe Kasparaov or Fisher can't find 40 odd perfect computer moves in a row, but Feller can! :D

kaushik's picture

ROFLMAO!!!!!!!!!! :D :D

Anand's picture

I do believe that Crowther and Pein are becoming fairly biased in favor of Magnus Carlsen. While Indian fans also seem to be biased towards Anand, they are not journalists or organizers! Its truly a shame that so many chess journalists are not objective. Crowther's garbage comment is totally idiotic.

The most biased chess journalist of all-time is Mig Greengard, who is basically Kasparov's puppet. Susan Polgar is biased towards players she knows, especially So and Caruana. Polgar really dislikes Kosteniuk.

Great to have a site like Chessvibes with no bias from Peter Doggers, Arnie Moll etc... Dennis Monokroussos also seems unbiased.

Thomas's picture

I agree about the Carlsen bias of the London organizers. To be fair or to make the picture complete, there are also Indian (chess) journalists with an Anand bias. The most recent example was mentioned by Dennis Monokroussos: "Anand is stil going strong, while Kramnik is about to retire" (Vlad mentioned that he will probably retire 'at about 40', four years to go ...).

What would Mark Crowther think if others reported on London in a similar fashion? Applying the same standards, one could also call last year's game Kramnik-Carlsen "garbage", but for the organizers (John Saunders wrote the round report) it was "A remarkable escape for the young man from Norway and a tribute to his resourcefulness in an utterly depressing position". You see what you want to see, and write accordingly .... .

PircAlert's picture

Thomas, I don't see a big bias in the newspaper quote to counter and to minimize TWIC bias. Let TWIC be biased, no one cares. What people care is, the champion title Anand holds. The anti-FIDE group will build a opinion against Anand and will then pressure Kirsan and steal the crown from Anand. We can see that from the many failed attempts. If Indian press also indulged or helped in such things, then it is a matter of concern. But it is not so.

mishanp's picture

On Susan Polgar's blog - the frequency players are mentioned there simply reflects how often they show up in Google alerts. Almost any English-language chess news item get copied and pasted e.g. the reason Wesley So's popular is that there are English-language news sites in the Philippines that mention So on a regular basis. You can't really talk about bias.

Anand's picture

Actually, Susan has been promoting Caruana, So and a few others way before they became big and started appearing in google alerts (I used to wonder why Chessbase was promoting Giri so much a few years ago, while Polgar was promoting Caruana a lot). Polgar trained or worked with Caruana in NY at her center if I remember correctly. She also posted a number of articles about her Texas Tech players doing well in other countries, even though most barely cross a 2500 rating.

And most importantly, Polgar is the only chess journalist out there who was pro Topalov despite Toiletgate. It was so obvious how much she preferred Topalov winning!

Once again, Arne and Peter, great job with the unbiased reporting and not getting annoyed at all the pro-Anand Indians out there or all the anti-Topalov Russians out there!

I suspect that the UK group really wants a young player such as Carlsen to succeed. Imagine if Anand had dropped out of a candidates match at around the age of 20 saying he is too good. Say after he won Coru in 1989 or Linares in the early 1990s? He would have been ridiculed. In contrast, TWIC has directly and indirectly praised Carlsen's decision.

Mark has done an unbeleivable job collecting information, but he should probably not comment on it if he wants to be taken seriously.

PircAlert's picture

Indian fans are biased towards Anand or biased against Anand? I would be happy if they are just neutral towards Anand!

tanc's picture

Anand's only mistake in the game v Aronian was that 1 move and that was played when both players were down to 1 minute on the clock and both players had to reel out 2-3 moves a second just to get some time on the clock (if you had watched the game live).

If Mark Crowther wasn't using any computer chess engine, he would never find it in a million years himself even if he was given an hour in an actual game setting. I really dislike commentators like him. Without chess engines to back them up, they're just ordinary players trying to pretend that they're smart.

The truly good game commentators and columnists like GM Sergei Shipov would never diss on players like this and give such scathing comments. Remember a few years ago, when Carlsen misplayed a Rook endgame v Aronian? When endgame expert GM Karsten Muller was probed about it in his interview with John Watson at ICC, even he refused to attribute any blame to Carlsen for not knowing his endgames, saying that it is unfair to put down a fine player like Carlsen. Now, that is classy!

If Mark Crowther has a personal bias against rapid game formats, then he should come out and say so. But this sort of commentary is disgraceful.

Players are not perfect. No one can deal out 40 odd perfect computer moves in a row, not even Kasparov or Fischer in their primes.

It appears the rise in the strengths of computer chess engines has turned some people into "engine experts". Crowther's comments like "Anand defeated Aronian in a game that might easily be described as complete garbage. " only does not him but his chess readers a huge disservice.

Instead of outright dismissing it, there is actually a BIG lesson for many players in that game - it shows how a World Champion defends accurately under a huge mounting attack. Most club players would have wilted if they see 2 Rooks, 2 bishops and a Queen on the kingside with only a Knight on e3 defending all of Black's threats.

PircAlert's picture

That is exactly my sentiment. You described it very well!

S3's picture

:) yes. Unfortunately not in other aspects as Kasparov never ever finished last like this during his entire career.

harami's picture

Its nice to see Crowther report the Victory of World Champion Anand in his blog... that was well done and good behaviour by Mark Crowther overall.. !

PircAlert's picture

I'm sorry I didn't look at the game when I made the above comment. It is winning any case for Anand so it hardly matters if you achieved it with a +1.52 advantage or with a small in computer sense but a solid practical advantage.

Fireblade's picture

LOL So true !

adam's picture

Mark Crowther has no FIDE rating, period.

Nima's picture

Great video. I miss Kasparov!

tanc's picture

To Peter Doggers ,

Anand actually wins 1.5 pts ahead of Kramnik+Aronian, not half a point.. ;)

Peter Doggers's picture

That's what I meant. ;-)

tanc's picture

Not deliberately dissing on any fans in particular but out of curiosity, does anyone know when the last time the #1 ranked player finished last in a tournament and didn't win a single game?

Hope Carlsen recovers quickly from this setback in time for Bilbao.

Congrats to Anand for his tournament win. Glad to see him getting back to winning ways.

Thomas's picture

Carlsen might have done the same in Bilbao last year if the field had been 100% identical - but the presence of Shirov (against whom he scores particularly well) "saved" him to some extent. Yet I don't think the Botvinnik Memorial means much for Bilbao 2011 - after all, it was an exhibition event ... .

To answer your question: The closest but far from perfect analogue coming to my mind is Corus 2009. Top seed Ivanchuk and third seed Morozevich finished at the bottom of the table (but didn't "manage" to remain winless in 13 rounds), second seed Carlsen scored a 'mediocre' 7/13, 11th seed Karjakin (only the Dutch players below him) won the event. [World #1 and 2 Topalov and Anand didn't play]
Of course, fan favorites Ivanchuk and Morozevich were then near their upper Elo limit, and Karjakin was somewhat underrated at the time.

gg's picture

Great to see the thoroughly sympathetic World Champion win the strongest tournament ever, his first tournament win in 3.5 years and that with a huge margin. Undefeated +3 while no other player had a plus score. Aronian finished second thanks to the tiebreak rules and Carlsen finished last, that can't have happened in many years.

Burnett's picture

"strongest tournament ever" these six rapid games??

gg's picture

With an average rating of 2810 it's hard to find stronger events than this one.

Andres's picture


Mathijs's picture

still, rapid is rapid

David's picture

But there is a massive eloinflation so 2810 means not 2800 10 years ago when just one person had such a rating (Kasparov)

gg's picture

It isn't just about rating though, everyone agrees that these four are the strongest players in the world, and it's not a bad top four either. If someone makes a list of the 20 greatest players ever 20 years from now they might all be included on fairly high positions. Of course it's a short rapid exhibition with breaks during the games for the players to comment the positions and not a more serious classical event, but with such a field I bet it still feels very good for Anand to win it in such a brutal fashion.

RealityCheck's picture

1998 "Siemens Nixdorf Duell",Frankfurt Champion

The winner won the strongest rapid tournament of all time

And the winner was?

RealityCheck's picture

To: WC Vishy Anand

Man, you know how to make your fans happy.

RealityCheck's picture

Long live the World Champion Viswanathan Anand !!!

JO's picture

If this was rated - be some big numbers lost and gained.. I don't have enuff fingers, can someone do the math:)

KingTal's picture

Anand += 14.2 - 2831
Aronian += 0.2 - 2807
Kramnik += 2.0 - 2793
Carlsen -= 16.4 - 2807

gg's picture

If rapid was rated Amber would have meant even bigger changes after Carlsen went +8 and Kramnik -3. Aronian and Anand had more "normal" results in their rapid games there, with +3 and +1.

gg's picture

Anand keeps winning also in the mixed blitz, he just won (together with Koneru) against Kramnik and Kosintseva.

AK's picture

It's rapid, but it has more value in my eyes than Biel or Dortmund. Four strongest players in the world going head-to-head with both colors. That's really something.

Chess Fan's picture

True. It is not absolute, but such dominance and such consistency in the fact of such great world class competition means something. But then, it is a World Champion. So, not too surprising, though it makes fans like me happy.

mishanp's picture

I've translated the comments the players made in Russian during the games yesterday here:

I've also included some of what the Russian commentators said e.g. the comment by Evgeny Bareev that Mark Crowther was responding to. To be fair, I'm still not sure Bareev wasn't simply being ironic!

BlunderSuck's picture

From a popularity point of view, does the futur of chess pass by rapid format?

From a fan point of view it was very exciting to watch.

Since there is no ELO pts involve, maybe players are more creative?

BlunderSuck's picture

2 peoples are purists...

gg's picture

Mixed blitz:

1. Anand/Koneru 2.5
2. Aronian/Danielian 2
3. Carlsen/Cmilyte 1
4. Kramnik/Kosintseva 0.5

gg's picture

After not having won a tournament in three and a half years it's quite good to win two in one day :-)

Septimus's picture

If Humpy does not do something drastic, she will end up as a 2100. This kind of beating would surely dent one's confidence.

Chess Fan's picture

I think Koneru Humpy will remain a solid women world #2 behing You HIfan for years to come (of course, I am not counting the greatest ever Judit here).

RealityCheck's picture

Two comments to the commentator M. Crowther.

1. Thou shallt not utter the name Vishwanathan Anand witout its prefix -- World Champion.

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

Good day,


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