Candidates Tournament: Kramnik sets early pace with brilliant win over Levon Aronian

The 42-year-old is now in sole lead after three rounds in eight-player tournament which will decide World Champion Magnus Carlsen’s challenger.

Former world champion Vladimir Kramnik was the talking point across chess groups and social media after he pulled off a surprise win over Levon Aronian in the third round of the Candidates’ Tournament on Sunday.

The Russian took control of the game as early as in the seventh move which surprised Aronian and then pressed on the advantage to register one of the most stylish wins with black.

The eight-player event being played in Berlin will decide who takes on world champion Magnus Carlsen in the title match next year.

According to a report in, the ceremonial first move of the game was made by special guest Francesco Tristano, a piano player and composer from Luxembourg, and he pushed the king’s pawn two squares ahead. And instead of rearranging the pieces and starting play, Aronian went ahead with the same opening.

Even Kramnik was surprised and later said: “I was expecting the pawn to go back to e2 and then something normal to come.”

Victory was in sight of the former world champion by the seventh move. He would later insist that he had studied this position long before and was surprised to get an opportunity to use it in such an important tournament.

The victory meant that Kramnik now leads the pack with 2.5 points from a possible 3 after all other games ended in draws.

GM Wesley So of USA finally managed to get off the mark after two successive defeats having settled for a quick draw against Liren Ding of China.

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