Greengard's ChessNinja.com

Bring Back the K's?

| Permalink | 25 comments

When Russia won the Olympiad a few years ago without Kasparov, Kramnik, or Karpov, there was celebration and good-natured singing about how the famous K's weren't needed. With two rounds to go in Calvia, a similarly composed team is on course to finish well behind Ukraine. It will be the first time a Russian team failed to gain the gold medal. (The USSR missed it once.) Ukraine has played very well, but not tremendously well. Second board Ponomariov only has a 50% score. Russia has had lackluster performances from Grischuk and Khalifman (who took a draw with black against Gulko in a position he really should have played out if Russia wanted to push to catch Ukraine).

When the USA lost the Olympic basketball gold medal in 1988 they responded with the Dream Team of top professionals in 1992. I wonder if the Russian Chess Federation, revitalized under Alexander Zhukov, will be able to bring Kasparov and Kramnik together for Russia in 2006. Russia obviously has the talent to win without them, and they played half the event without Svidler, but a K-K-led team with four 2700's would be a sure thing. It would also be quite a spectator draw. Getting Kramnik and Kasparov to play in the name of reclaiming Russia's honor shouldn't be too hard.

Anybody else notice that the big, flashy official Olympiad website has been down for a while? (36chessolympiad.com) I guess everyone just uses the handy tournament results site. They spent a lot of time and money on the official site, so this is a bit weird. Maybe David Llada will clear this up in a few days.


Kasparov and Kramnik on the same team? How would they ever decide who would play board 1? I don't think this will ever happen...

Perhaps one of them will play - that in itself should be enough to secure the gold medal. Ukraine have made a spectacular effort this time - especially Ivanchuk and Karjakin - which they almost certainly won't be able to repeat.

Mig's not the first one I've heard say he's had trouble with the olympiad site, but every time I hear someone say he can't get on, I jump on my computer, go to http://www.36chessolympiad.com and I'm clear-sailing! No problem whatsoever. Wonder what that's about?

I'm guessing the site is more busy on certain times than others...and they just don't have enough bandwidth for the busy times?

It works for me now, but I've tried several times with no luck.

No, it seems to be domain related because I don't even get an error message. I haven't been able to reach it in days. I don't know what changes they made, but it was something dramatic.

Even without Kramnik and Kasparov, Russia should have won. Bareev and Karpov should've played, based on ratings. It is amazing that a country that has 3 out of the top 4 and 5 out of the top 12 rated players will not win it all. Russia has 5 people rated higher than the top Ukrainian player and yet the Ukraine is going to win. Great job by Ivanchuk and Karjakin.

Grischuk and Khalifman played badly. The only people who done what was expected of them were Dreev and, perhaps, Svidler. Morozevich proved to be very fragile. Anyone who thinks this guy may one day be a world champ is kidding themselves. Anyway, if Bareev was on the team instead of Zvjaginsev or Khalifman, Russia would probably win. And if one of the top two K's was playing, it would be a walk in the park for the Russian team - because a presence of Kasparov or Kramnik would make make every board much stronger - perhaps as much as 30-40 ELO points stronger.

i also do not understand how they would decide who would be board 1. that thought popped into my head the moment i read that. i think that kramnik would be a sure asset to the team, but i am not so sure about kasparov. his performance in cesme is, well, 50% against an average 2635 rating, or whatever.

maybe you can credit it to being out of shape, but kasparov didn't seem to perform that well in this team event. if he can't play well in a euro team cup, how on earth will he play well in the chess olympiad? and...this will be in 2006! so much can change the way kasparov plays in a year, or so.

don't get me wrong, kasparov is my favorite player, but i definitely disagree that even with lots of practice on kasparov's part it will be a guaranteed victory. i think the most solid idea would be to have kramnik on board 1, and kasparov on board 2...something that kasparov will NEVER agree to.

Anton Ivanov:
In the team events, we can never be certain which team finally wins overall. So even keeping 3 Ks: Karpov, Kasparov & Kramnik might not guarantee any victory for the team. Look at the USA team. They are doing good and you know their World rankings. Team events as Duif pointed out, depends on lot of factors like pairings etc. Anyway, the top players they don't seem to be interested in the team events.

i know that they wouldn't guarantee victory, i didn't mean to make it sound like i thought that they would. i mean, morozevich had quite a bad spell in this olympiad as he underperformed. it is understandable that the games he lost to (ivanchuk and anand) were difficult games, but he was overestimated for this tournament.

while kramnik and kasparov (in his good form) may be an asset to their team, they cannot guarantee good performances from the rest of their team. take morozevich and grischuk, for example. nyc knight, you're definitely right about them not being interested. i highly doubt that they would agree to playing on the same team, as i'm sure we'd have numerous power struggles on our hands.


The best website to follow is chess-olympiad.com. They have better information there. 36chessolympiad.com is working fine from Calvia.

Best regards,

I think if Russia put together the strongest team possible at this time, such a team would easily win no matter if it had the worst case scenario type of tournament and the next best team had the best tournament it could have. Top 6 Russian players at this point are: Kramnik, Kasparov,Morozevich,Svidler,Bareev and Grischuk. Even if Russia had any 5 (or even 4) of those 6, it would still win easily, I think. But it only had 3. People rated number 1,2 and 5 don't play in the Olympiad. Also, #4 wasn't there for the start of the tournament. But even if Russia only had Bareev, instead of Zvyagintsev or Khalifman, they would have problably win this Olympiad.

You can't say that having Kasparov or Kramnik would still not (virtually) guarantee victory for team Russia. Even in the worst case scenario Kasparov (or Kramnik) would still held his own against the world elite and outdo Morozevich's performance we are witnessing. Morozevich (who wasn't horrible in this Olympiad - but he was just not as dominant as one could expect from #4 in the world) would move down to board 2 where he would face much weaker opposition - no Anands or Ivanchucks on boards 2. Svidler, who did just fine on board 2 would instead be playing virtual unknowns on board 3, etc.

Anyway, if Russia shows no respect to the world by not sending its best players, then it deserves to lose the first place. Ukraine did very well and Karjakin was simply amazing. This Olympiad is turning out to be his first huge international success.

On the subject on who should get the 1st board among Kramnik and Kasparov: there is a Soviet/Russian tradition in these Olympiads that the world champion plays on board 1. This makes sense, since it would be stupid to have the world champion (supposedly the best player in the world) on board 2. So Kasparov would play on board 2 if Kramnik was also playing - unlike some people here I don't think he would have a problem with it. On the other hand hand Kramnik sometimes seems to be so soft and unambitious that one could almost expect to give up board one to Kasparov if they ever were on the team together, given Kasparov's demi-god-like status in today's chess.

Also, participation of Kasparov and/or Kramnik in the Olympiad would go a long way towards promoting chess wordwide. It would be a huge deal for 3-rd world chess countries to play in the same event as Kramnik and Kasparov, or perhaps even play them in person. I can imagine people from obscure chess countries giggling like schoolgirls and taking pictures with the K's not unlike what was going on around the original dream team in basketball in Barcelona. On the other hand, maybe KAsparov and Kramnik didn't want such attention and thats why they are not playing.

Kasparov wants a whole lot of appearance money every time he plays (or does anything else). So olympiad can be ruled out.

Regarding Moro, it is not a question of form. All along in his career he has done very well against weaker players with his creative, agressive, and risky play but that approach doesn't work against the top players who are far more solid and can defend better. We have seen the same in this olympiad.

He is perfect for boards 2 or 3. In fact, he is more more likely to beat a play in the 2600s (or below) that Kramnik, Leko or Anand or anybody else. Hence his high rating (#4). However that also means that he cannot be a world champion as that is not about tournament play but involves beating the top players in match play. That is where SEC is more effective.


Best games:

I am curious what the others think have been the best or most interesting games so far.

Some of the candidates off the top of my head:

Kasim vs Shirov (well played by Kasim against an off-form Shirov)
Anand vs Moro (classic demolition job in a complex game)
Some of the wins by Karjakin, Svidler, Ivanchuk and Akopian have also been impressive.

Any thoughts?


Maybe yesterday's Sasi v. Krasenkow? I do not know if the Q sac was correct but it was quite spectacular

No disrespect to Vishy, but his win today over Macieja was a joke. White is completely winning until he decides to force Anand to play a piece sac that is at least equal. I mean, it's either play that sac or resign. What was Macieja thinking? Just Ne5 instead of Qd1 and Black can resign somewhere around move 20. Bizarre.

I try to avoid analysis threads, but I'll start a new one on games and highlights tomorrow.

I think, the major issue for Kramnik and Kasparov (and all other top players in the world) with playing in Olympiad is their rating. A draw with lowly rated player will kill their ratings and in the Olympiad its quite possible that they might face a team with top board having a rating of 2450-2500.

My suggestion is that FIDE should declare that Olympiad (which takes place every 2 years) games will not be used for rating calculation and will serve as a sports festival to promote chess globally (just imagine the enthusiasm it will bring to the newcomers eager to meet the biggies like, Kasparov, Kramnik, Anand etc.) This will not only promote the participation of all the top players, but also prompt the players to try harder for a result in individual games (without the fear of rating loss, in case they lose!)

Well, for Mig's criticism for Macieja-Anand game, I think its not the first time we see a player play weakly to lose in a complicated position, but its definitely rare to see somebody make such a noise if fans appreciate this game.

Mig, please note that in terms of sheer number, Anand has largest no. of fans on this planet (I need not tell you how many chess followers are there in India!)

I didn't hear anyone saying anything nice about it. I just happened to be going over that game when someone started asking about games. I was just surprised. Really terrible. You don't often see Vishy totally busted in 20 moves. It was as if he just assumed Maceija would eventually screw up. Which he did. Not one for Vishy's next game collection!

To clear things up a bit:
Mig wrote:*What was Macieja thinking? Just Ne5 instead of Qd1 and Black can resign somewhere around move 20*
Bartek wasn't thinking at all, 'cause he had no time to think. He had a few minutes on his clock and Vishy more then an hour. That explains most of it, I guess.

A shame, really. It's odd that in time trouble he went for a convoluted plan instead of a simple one! Just the way the brain works under pressure I guess.

I would add that what happened with Macieja wasn't unusual (getting a big advantage certainly is but screwing up after that isn't). It has been quite common to see lower rated players get a big advantage and yet have the match end up in a draw or loss.

I suppose it has to do with the aura (or the fear factor) and the lower rated player is half lost before the start. And most of the top players can defend very well, which is generally overlooked (somehow the focus is mostly on their home preparation, openings knowledge etc.). We have seen it happen with Kasparov numerous time in the past when he could get away with a draw or win from a lost position. And now Anand is benefiting from the same. His fast play also adds to the pressure.


White completely winning? Resign somewhere around move 20? Totally busted? 21.Ne5 Nxe5 22.dxe5 Qd8 23.f4 and I see a nice White advantage but there is no reason to resign anywhere soon. In fact I highly doubt Anand would have lost at all. (Better player, good defender, very favourable clock situation.)

There's the board and then there's the man. After that sequence Black is strategically lost. Almost no counterplay and the black kingside is full of holes. Whether or not Anand or a computer might have drawn it by some miracle against you or against Maceija is not my point. Anything is possible. Most importantly, it's a sort of idiot-proof advantage.

Cuba's men's team came in 7th! What the hell? I mean, yes, Capablanca, but come on, that was over 50 years ago! What's the story here?

Cuba have Jesus on their team....

Yeah, Mig, it's just that I wouldn't use such strong words about an advantage that is far from decisive. But that's just me and nothing to insist on. To each his own. Peace.

Mig said: "Anybody else notice that the big, flashy official Olympiad website has been down for a while? (36chessolympiad.com) I guess everyone just uses the handy tournament results site. They spent a lot of time and money on the official site, so this is a bit weird. Maybe David Llada will clear this up in a few days."

I am afraid I had nothing to do with the Olympiad website and, to be honest, I experienced the same problems. Moreover, players were not allowed to came into the press room, and the journalists were not allowed to came into the playing room.... So sometimes it was really a mess for us to get the results, since the website used to be down several times per day.

About Anandīs game: I spoke briefly to Macieja right after the game and he told me that he was winning. But Bartlomiej felt confused when Vishy began to play faster and faster. "I had to choose between resingning or playing fast, so I decided the second", said Vishy. And it was Macieja who made a fatal mistake.


Twitter Updates

    Follow me on Twitter



    About this Entry

    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on October 27, 2004 11:55 PM.

    Game and Match was the previous entry in this blog.

    Brain Activation is the next entry in this blog.

    Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.