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Interviews a Go-Go

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A set of interesting new interviews and news items from the world's elite has hit the web in the past few days. A few weeks ago Anand spoke about the current world title mess. Nothing new and Vishy is always polite. There's really nothing new to add. It's been a mess for a long time and everybody knows who is who. Some comments from Dortmund winner Viktor Bologan are here at Chessbase.com, from an upcoming Europe Echecs article. A longer Bologan interview by Loeffler and Tischbierek includes this sage advice:

What do you think about the poor showing of Kramnik, Leko and Anand?

Bologan: "This is bad news for these top players: the youngsters and myself played more interesting games. The new faces refreshed the tournament. The truth is that Kramnik and Anand are tired from all these big tournaments. They don´t feel the pressure to perform any more, they need some new challenge."

Word up. That's another reason why the classical world championship cycle is so important. It wasn't just another tournament. The tension, the preparation, and the level of chess simply make it better when it's for real.

Speaking of Kramnik, after his one win, nine consecutive draw result.... ZZZzzzzz huh, oh, sorry, I drifted off there for a moment. Kramnik did an interview after Dortmund and he talks about his style and his increasingly fictional match world championship match with Leko. (NB: The Associated Press has ceased referring to Kramnik as world champion.) Vlady is always thoughtful and interesting, although a couple of things were not convincing. 1) Blaming your opponents for your nine consecutive draws when you are rated 2800 is disingenuous at best. To a certain point I agree when Kramnik says Kasparov wins more because players try hard to beat him and he gets more chances. On the other hand, Kasparov has been wiping people out for 20 years and style does matter. A lot.

2) Kramnik saying he couldn't help much with setting up the Leko match while Einstein was still in the picture doesn't make any sense. It's not as if Einstein didn't need or want help from anyone this side of magic elves. In a perfect world his manager and his sponsors would have found something, but we all know the chess world is far from perfect. He should have been busting his butt to make something happen.

I still think they will end up playing it in Budapest or Dortmund or Paris or anywhere that will pay the organizing bills. They will play with virtually no prize fund (but they'll say it's a million dollars, the big round number du jour). Rob Huntington suggests they pay the loser from the share the winner gets from the unification match against the winner Kasparov-Ponomariov. It would be hard to write a check on that promise, but since Leko and Kramnik have the same manager (Carsten Hensel) it's a reasonable suggestion in a desperate situation. Every day that passes makes the match less marketable, in part because of Kasparov-Ponomariov-FIDE.

1 Comment

Mig stands with those who say the high draw rate in elite grandmaster chess (approx 60%) is not a problem. The stance is that the rate is irrelevant, and that the only draw problem is that some hand-shake draws are short and unfought.
Mig wrote (2008/01/04):
As I've made clear many times, I'm not against draws, just short, non-game draws, and this is the key distinction.

But has Mig contradicted himself?
In Dortmund 2003, Kramnik played 9 draws in 10 games. Half of Kramnik's draws were non-short and were hard-fought. Further, ChessBase.com praised two of Kramnik's short draws as exciting games. And one of Kramnik's short draws was due to his attack stalling on the 3-repetition rule. So...

Why did Mig express extreme zzzzz boredom with these 9 drawn games? (2003/08/21):
Speaking of Kramnik, after his one win, nine consecutive draw result.... ZZZzzzzz huh, oh, sorry, I drifted off there for a moment

Mig's two statements seem to contradict each other. To make sense of the contradiction I guess that maybe Mig's real point is that -- an individual drawn game can be a fine interesting game, but that large groups of drawn games are inherently less entertaining than are decisive games of equal quality.
Worded more simply, the high draw rate in grandmaster chess is a problem after all.

- - - - - -
This contradiction resolution would also explain why google searches of...

exciting decisive site:ChessBase.com

...turn up so many hits suggesting that decisive games are considered to be more exciting than draws.

http://www.chessninja.com/dailydirt/2003/08/ , "Interviews a Go-Go"


http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=1118#results , (2003/08/10)

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on August 21, 2003 3:28 AM.

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