I have decided to do a little research and to compile a list of the biggest blunders made by top chess players in the world for last 20 or so years.
If you think that 2700 – 2800 rated players and the World Chess Champions don’t blunder at all, or if their blunders require a microscope (aka Houdini) to be spotted you definitely need to read this!
Note: the blunders are not sorted by their sizes, since it’s difficult to judge whose missed mate in one is a bigger blunder: Carlsen’s or Kramnik’s.
Chess Blunder #1. Magnus Carlsen – Merab Gagunashvili
Carlsen decided that saving a pawn is more important than preventing the checkmate, so he played
65. e5?? and ofcourse got mated 65…Rc1#
White to move
Chess Blunder #2. Larry Christiansen – Anatoly Karpov
L. Christiansen never became a world champion, but he has beaten one in just 12 moves. In this game Karpov played 11…Bd6?? without and sense of danger. Now Christiansen is winning a piece with a nifty queen fork 12. Qd1. Karpov did not bother to continue the game and resigned immediately.
position after Karpov played 11…Bd6??
Chess Blunder #3. Deep Fritz – Vladimir Kramnik
Kramnik offered a queen exchange to a German computer program Fritz, by playing 34…Qe3??. I bet the computer did not take long to find mate in one, which Kramnik has missed: 35. Qh7#.
position after Kramnik played 34…Qe3??
Chess Blunder #4. Donchev – Topalov
In this position Topalov missed a simple discovered attack with a check by Dimitar Donchev: 19. Nh6+ winning the queen. Black resigned a move later.
position after Donchev played 19. Nh6+!
Chess Blunder #5. Anatoly Karpov – Matthew Sadler
In this game Karpov did not notice a subtle threat after Sadler played 12…e4. Karpov responded with pawn capture via 13. Rxf7?? losing his queen to a pawn (!!) 13…exd3.
White to move
Chess Blunder #6. Garry Kasparov – Vladimir Kramnik
In this game Kramnik offered a queen exchange once again playing 35…Qf8?? but here he did not get mated in one like in the game before. That still loses the game though, 36. Bd7+ winning the queen.
position after Kramnik played 35…Qf8??
Chess Blunder #7. Vladimir Kramnik – Wang Hao
Wang Hao missed a two-move tactical hit by Kramnik 26. Qb8+ followed by 27.Qb1 winning the rook via the fork.
position after Kramnik played 26. Qb8+
Chess Blunder #8. Pablo Lafuente – Shredder
In this game the player who blunders is surprisingly… a computer. After the bishop exchange 19.Bxb7 Shredder calculated its variation 20 moves ahead and interestingly enough decided to ignore the white’s bishop whatsoever. Shredder played 19…Rfd8?? not regaining the material. Laufente won some 30 moves later. The Shredder’s lose was later explained as ‘hash tables error’, with one in a million chance.
Shredder about to play 19…Rfd8??
Chess Blunder #9. Alexander Morozevich – Boris Gelfand
In this game Gelfand played 30…Rd6?? missing the hidden pin and tactical hit by Morozevich ended the game quickly 31.Rxe4 winning the knight.
position after Gelfand played 30…Rd6??
Chess Blunder #10. Peter Heine Nielsen – Sergey Karjakin
Here Karjakin played 100…Kg5?? hanging the rook. Nielsen was happy to finally finish off this long game with 101.Nxa1.
Karjakin is about to play 100…Kg5??
1. Grandmasters and World Champions are human. They do make mistakes and blunder like 1500 rated players… not as often though.
2. Computers can blunder too! That was actually a big surprise for me.
Which one in your opinion is the biggest blunder from these 10?
The image of Kasparov is taken from the public domain.
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