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Fabiano Caruana vs Viswanathan Anand
Tata Steel Masters (2020), Wijk aan Zee NED, rd 8, Jan-19
Queen's Gambit Declined: Ragozin Defense (D38)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jan-19-20  Fanques Fair: Andand was winning , but it seems that tiredness affected his play. Caruana is an incredible resourceful player, but here he won by luck and age.
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: could this have been home prep by Caruna, the initial exchange sac?
Jan-19-20  sudoplatov: Caruana was doing well until 37.Qf6+. As mentioned above, 37.Nf6 was better. Sometimes the Good Homer nods both ways.
Jan-19-20  fisayo123: These are the sort of games that can push Anand to retirement. Brutal , brutal loss.
Jan-19-20  parmetd: One of the worst played games by a former world champion ever?
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <parmetd>
<One of the worst games played by a former world champion ever?>

How can we determine that? There are lots of bad losses by former world champions.

H Faehndrich vs Steinitz, 1897

Botvinnik vs Lasker, 1936

Riumin vs Capablanca, 1935

Bogoljubov vs Alekhine, 1937

Euwe vs W J Muhring, 1947

Botvinnik vs Geller, 1969

Shall I go on? Or maybe create a game collection "bad losses by former world champions"?

Jan-19-20  ndg2: The first big gaffe was 44..Kf6 instead of 44..Nb3. The tactics with Bd7 threatening Be8 in case the black king would take the knight on g5 should have been obvious to Anand but sadly weren't. It was still won for black but more gaffes were yet to come.
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: Sorry for the (recurring) chess blindness, but not 49...Kxf7?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gregor Samsa Mendel: <An Englishman>--According to the Silicon Oracles, 49..Kxf7 would have been good enough for equality, but so was Anand's 49..b5. Anand's fatal error apparently was 52..Ra1; evaluations after ..Ra6, ..b4, and Ra4 were all at 0.00.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <An Englishman: Good Evening: Sorry for the (recurring) chess blindness, but not 49...Kxf7?> No particular reason, I think: <49...Kxf7> draws as well as the game move. Black advantage is gone by this time. Perhaps chagrined Black was still trying for a win and chose the more complex position?
Jan-20-20  Ulhumbrus: After 45 Bd7 the black rook is overworked. If it has to stop f7-f8/Q it cannot then take the bishop. 44...Kf6 makes the rook overworked by leaving to it to task of covering f8 after which it cannot cover d7 as well.
Jan-20-20  sp12: Why didn't Anand take the pawn 42...Nxd4??
Jan-20-20  WorstPlayerEver: 43... Rxe6 44. Nxe6+ Kxf7 completely winning for Black.

Anand consequently played beginners moves until he finally was lost. Which is a accomplishment on its own.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: ***

Thankfully you get games like this between two humans not matter how good they.

Some may want blunderless chess following their computer top moves. I thrive on games like this. It's OTB chess with a clock ticking and human mind evaluations switching back and forth.

"Am I'm I stop or allow a perpetual.."

Vishy was last the blunder and lost.

"One of the worst played games by a former world champion ever?"

Not even close. Caruana set tactical two movers from the moment he sacced the exchange, suddenly when there is none on the board the defender sees some more and OOPS!. It happens all the time...not often at the top level...but it happens.

How about an ex world champion making a blunder so bad that his opponent actually considered offering him a draw because he felt sorry for him.

Keene vs Botvinnik, 1966 (kibitz #13)

Jan-20-20  Ulhumbrus: In my previous message <...leaving to it to task...> should read <...leaving to it the task...>
Jan-20-20  parmetd: <beatgiant>

That's true beatgiant and I already have a collection of all those losses and more together and this one still seems the worst to me. However, it may just be recentcy bias so I will have to check back in a year. Still of course you are correct there is no way to objectively measure it so it will always be a subjective call.

Jan-20-20  WorstPlayerEver: <Sally Simpson>

Botvinnik mixed up two moves, that's something different than playing an endgame like a beginner. Blunders do happen.

Jan-20-20  parmetd: I think it's more the amount of blunders here... and each one of them is on the level of 1200 elo which we all know Anand is one of the all time greats.

As Peter Svidler said on air, "This game can be called nothing other than an unmitigated international disaster... all the worse that it happens before the rest day as now Anand probably won't be able to sleep for nearly 2 days considering this is the worst game probably of his whole professional career."

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: ***

Hi parmetd,

That is not all Peter revealed in that vid.

I was told too watch the vid at: 05:04 in.

I was not keen but did it anyway. (the Svidler voice, I have to take it in small doses.)

Here (Vishy to play)

click for larger view

44...Kf6 is displayed on the vid screen

Gustafsson asks if it is a blunder, Peter says 'No' and starts analysing 45.Nh7+ going into a Knight v Knight ending.

45.Bd7 is shown as played. (45...Kxg5 46.Be8 1-0 ) a smiling Peter says 'It is so easy to fall into that.' (He too missed it. But you must always consider the commentator is not playing so will miss the occasional shot.)

ndg2 says: 'The first big gaffe was 44..Kf6 instead of 44..Nb3.'

Anand failed to spot a two move promotion tactic after that he went into haywire mode. Any experienced OTB player will tell you that the shock of missing a trick like that can really unsettle you.

ndg2 adds: '..It was still won for black but more gaffes were yet to come.'

Correct. There speaks a player who knows blunders comes in pairs.

After missing Bd7 you would expect another blunder to follow.

And now we have a reasonable explanation why more gaffes came rather than saying Vishy played the entire ending like a 1200 player. Vishy displayed all the traits of a player losing the thread and that happens to them them all.


Still think I'm up for the Botvinnik blunder. It was game over in one move, even a poker faced player like Botvinnik could not hide his emotions. '....At which point Botvinnik gasped, raised his hand to his forehead, and resigned.

Been there, I'm sure all of us who have played OTB have. Maybe that is why I can relate to it so much.


Jan-20-20  MordimerChess: Anand was really well prepared in the opening. But later he missed many chances for win. In critical situations he had also drawing chances. I think the game was too intense and 50 years old Anand couldn't keep so crazy pace for so many hours. There are a lot of really crazy lines, total madness on the board. So it's understandable for me.

From more interesting moments that would win the game, I would say: 43...Rxe6 instead of Rd8
44...Ne4+ instead of Kf6 differs from obvious Nb3 48...Rc8 instead of obvious Rb8 is interesting

Also I like the line:
37. Nf6 Rxd4 38. Qf7+ Kh6 39. Ng8+ Kg5 40. Ne7 Kf4 41. Kh2! otherwise Kg3 would be insane..

Wow... too much for one game. I analyzed the game and created the video:

But WARNING!! It's 40 minutes long! And I could make the 3 hours video about many more lines. Total crazines... if you are not a chess fanatic watch on x1.5 speed :D

Jan-21-20  WorstPlayerEver: <Been there, I'm sure all of us who have played OTB have.>

<Sally Simpson>

But not all of us became world champion, nor did we put Caruana in the lead atm!

So your argument is that of a drunkard in a case of hit and run.

Premium Chessgames Member
  moronovich: Good summary <Sally> !
Premium Chessgames Member
  ajk68: Winning this endgame is intriguing. One may wonder how white promotes a pawn. It would appear that the black rook can shuffle on the back rank and capture any pawn that promotes. However, an eventual Bc6!, followed by a sacrifice of the d-pawn (on d8) allows for Be8, blocking the path of the rook. This allows for a promotion of pawn on the kingside.
Jan-31-20  DrGridlock: Great game to analyze, even with the endgame bobbles.

The highlight of the game is certainly the exchange sac by Caruana 16 Qxf5. To the question, "is it sound?" one could reply: "it certainly isn't unsound!" Fat Fritz gives an eval of 0.00 after the sac, so each side has something. Interesting is the option Caruana chose after the exchange sac. On move 17

Fabiano Caruana - Viswanathan Anand 1-0, Tata Steel Masters 2020

click for larger view

he has two options: Ne5 and Bd3. The biggest difference between the two is whether or not White gets to castle. After:

17 Ne5 Qb6
18 Bd3 g6
19 Qf4

Black has a check with his queen on a5:

19 … Qa5+

which forces the white king to e2.

Playing Bd3 before Ne5:

17 Bd3 g6
18 Qf4 Nb3
19 o-o

gives white's king the chance to castle.

Fat Fritz likes either continuation, but it's an interesting window into Caruana's thinking that he chose the increased king safety option for the game continuation.

Premium Chessgames Member
  master8ch: Why not 46...Kxf7, leaving White with two pieces hanging and no way (that I can see) to save them both?
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