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Championship Talk

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Ah, a nice weekend off before the panic ensues. The Russian championship is underway. Karpov, incensed at Kramnik for stealing his drop-out thunder, waited until the last minute before bailing out to save himself from a beating. With Karpov such treachery is expected by now. He fled the Botvinnik Memorial in 2001 to jump into the FIDE KO. In both cases he attended the press conference first. I wonder what karma will have in store for Karpov this time. In 2001 he was dumped from the KO by Zhang Pengxiang in his first match.

The US Championship is starting in a week. I'm going to be buried finishing the design of official website this week and as of the 22nd I'll be in San Diego to run it. Your suggestions and feedback are very welcome below. It's a hasty job, but it should be a great event and I hope to make the website a lot of fun. We'll have contests and prizes just about every round.


Is the site online already? If not, is it possible to see the "beta" site?

No, not yet. Give it a day or two. It's nothing flashy; it's built for speed.

Karpov is too old to hang around with those kids. It maybe the case that Karpov just doesnīt have the energy Korchnoi has. BTW, I wonder what Kasparov and Dreev, who are playing the Russian Champ, will be doing in 15 years.

It's a question of standards and fear. Nobody knows better than Karpov how good he was and how far below that standard he is today. It's hard to accept that and to lower your expectations and lose to players you know don't know as much about chess as your little finger. Tseshkovsky is/was a great player, but he's in there fighting this week, ten years older than Karpov. Also there is that "luxury" factor. Karpov can afford not to play and to offend the organizers because he is a big name without money problems.

Kasparov will be in the same boat eventually. He'll either have to conserve his energy for short bursts like Lasker did or give up serious play. He has a big ego and won't like losing any more than Karpov does. Playing in rapid events allows you to pretend the results don't matter.

Kasparov's style requires tremendous energy and preparation. He's a calculator who craves concrete lines he can crunch. If you play this way and don't find the best move, you will lose a lot. Karpov, like Smyslov, is a "hand," with a natural gift for position and maneuvering. He was always a pragmatist who preferred a quick good move to laboring over the very best one. The latter types tend to age much better, although the greats adapt well enough to compete. Calculators get into worse and worse time trouble as they age, something we've already seen with Kasparov at 40.

Just curious to know what the oldies would prefer:

FIDE time control where the match gets over sooner or the classical time control where they get more time to think.


I interviewed Lev Psakhis at the Moscow FIDE KO in 2001 and he clearly preferred the former option. He said he liked rapid even better because short bursts of energy weren't the problem, maintaining it for a long time was.

That sounds logical, but from a cursory overview older players start to fade faster in rapid events. Even Karpov, who worked to customize his play for rapid chess and was always one of the fastest players in the world, suffered more in rapids. Korchnoi was in the PCA rapid cup series in the 90's and fared horribly even while he was still winning classical tournaments. But as with most such things, it's individual. Psakhis is one of the few veteran votes for the faster controls I've ever heard.

Hi Mig,

I am one of your great fans, who appreciate your mature comments and good knowledge of your chosen field.

I have a request, I want you to write an article on "How the chess web-sites are created, especially for live transmissions? As you have considerable practical experience and sufficient technical know-how. You can give details (or links) on the technologies that exist today and are generally used to provide a live chess relay, what are the cost factors and can future live chess relay be feasible from an business perspective" I tried to search a lot but could not find any good indicators/guides.

I hope, I am not asking too much and I definitely look forward to your article on the above subject.

By the way, I found your article on chess software graphics/fonts on chessbase very informative and I doubt anybody else has ever written articles on such topics.

Amit Kureel


I really like the DGT interface used for the Russian championships: (1) Easy to navigate, (2) Relatively fast, (3), Shows time remaining, (4) MOST IMPORTANT, it seems to NOT require anything fancy, and hence works over my work's heavily fortified firewall.

These are the things important to me.

Howard Goldowsky

I fully agree with Howard and I want to add one more good feature of DGT, i.e., it is very soothing to the eyes as compared to other viewers, nice colours and does not put any strain on the eyes.

About Karpov's last-minute withdrawal: Is there any indication he may have had a last-minute dispute with the organizers? Perhaps over the size of Kasparov's appearance fee relative to his own? Or maybe because he wanted to reschedule some of his games around other obligations on his calendar? Wild speculation.

Just wanted to add my two cents on time controls - starting to play again in my hrmpha-hrmphas - the faster time controls are nice because you don't need as much energy but (at least at my level) more games have to be played in a shorter period of time so that by the final round the body is just telling the brain to get finished - and this is hard to fight!

One player I thought has aged quite well is Dreev. He's quite old already now isn't he?

He just beat Moro today with the Classical Sicilian (quite a rarity for him).

Mig, aren't you a bit too harsh towards a living legend like Karpov? I guess one doesn't become Kasparov's buddy unless he/she hates Karpov.

Anatoliy Karpov is one of my all-time favorite chess players. I love his playing style. However, as a human being, I think he is repugnant and few of the harsheties I heard in his address were undeserved.

If Karpov would stop being a horrible jerk I'd be happy to perpetuate a nice living legend myth. Of course Russianbear has to associate this with Kasparov for no visible reason. Is it just a copy-paste reflex for you guys now? If you want to defend what Karpov did, do so if you can.

Karpov even had the brass cheek to show up at the tournament today. I didn't think he could sink much lower than abandoning the Botvinnik Memorial (a memorial for chrissake!) for some Kirsan cash and then showing up there on an off day. But I was wrong.

That's the great danger in trashing Kramnik for withdrawing, for the first time(?) in his career because stressed or ill, twelve days before the Russian Championship: "bailed out", "last minute", "unprofessional", etc.

Along comes Karpov. Three years he skipped out of the Botvinnik Memorial. This fall, because of other commitments (??!) Karpov announced his withdrawl from the Russian Championship a few hours before the opening ceremonies??! Should have kept some of those perjoratives in reserve to characterize Karpov's truly indefensible conduct.

Back in the old days, the Karpov-Kasparov rivalry never failed to entertain with its sublime silliness.

A good example of this if found in Kasparov's books on his Karpov matches.

Most world chess championship books have titles like "Capablanca-Alekhine 1927" or Botvinnik-Petrosian 1963" or "Fischer-Spassky 1972". The covers featured, perhaps, the players at the board.

Kasparov's book on the 1985 match is entitled: "Gary Kasparov--New World Chess Champion...with Annotations by Garry Kasparov."
Garry's photograph fills the cover. If you look over Garry's left shoulder on a FIDE banner you can make out four letters of Karpov's name, in Russian.

Kasparov's book on the 1987 match is entitled: "Kasparov--London-Leningrad Championship Games." A cover photograph shows Kasparov seated at the board with Karpov. Well, most of Karpov, anyway. A second photograph, of Kasparov's face, is inset on the cover in such a way as to slice Karpov's head off.

Looking at the covers of these two books you'd get the idea that Kasparov somehow won two 24-game championship without the inconvenience of having another player involved in the process.

I would vote to acquit Mig of the charge of trashing Karpov because of his friendship with Kasparov. A) Karpov's conduct is indefensible on its face, and B) Kasparov doesn't seem to bear Karpov any malice these days.

I think these old war horses, Karpov and Kasparov, finally figured out that the best way to enhance your own legacy is to praise a player whom you narrowly defeated, or who narrowly defeated you.

Let's hope Kasparov and Kramnik can eventually figure this out respecting each other.

Not so fast, Greg, Kasparov took a few little pokes at Karpov today on the phone. Another reason for the detente is that Karpov knows Kasparov is writing a book about him. One, he wants some input and two, he doesn't want to be painted too horribly. Garry has been very high in his praise of Karpov's contributions to chess in our conversations about the books.

As for books, what are the titles of the books by Karpov and Fischer on their world championship conquests? And the books by Spassky and Petrosian? You're making comparisons to ancient tomes that were put out by taking up a list of subscribers. Kasparov's was the first such heavily marketed book for Western consumption. (Fischer obviously would have sold a million, but he didn't write one.) They weren't books of record. And if you know anything about chess book titles you'd know the author rarely has anything to do with them (especially when he's 22 and doesn't have good English). Kasparov had very little to do with his early books other than the annotations, especially the English editions. They were all translated and published far away from Baku. I'm sure they would have been even MORE bombastic and self-promoting if he'd had more to do with them...

For real garbage you don't have to work so hard dissing fine game collections. The first edition of his autobiography is embarrassing. And I always giggle over the photo selection of his earliest game collections. Garry playing football, Garry in the classroom, all painfully staged looking.

Dreev and Anand were both born in 1969. Kasparov is 6 years older; Kramnik is 6 years younger.


It seems like you all forgot Karpov's incident in Benidorm 2003 when he got late to the 1st round and dropped out. Karpov must not be invited anymore to the top chess events for such behavior, actually no one is going to invite him to tournaments like Linares and Wijk aan Zee, and probably he isn't interested too...
Karpov made this decision on Sunday 12th, right after the press conference (at least, that's what press releases say), and if he informed organizers at the same day, they would still have a time to get Khalifman back.... Aslo i noticed that Khalifman was very calm in his interviews- this probably means he received some compensation in $$ from the organizers.
Kramnik's withdrawl reminds me Morozevich's withdrawl from Wijk aan Zee 2004 (he also withdrew from one of Linares if I remember it right).
I can't recall such stories in other sports, I believe only the proper contract between a player and a tournament organizer is the way to prevent such situations.

Live AUDIO coverage of all rounds of the Russian Championship at WCN (www.worldchessnetwork.com)

Good Job, Mig! Keep doing it!

Calling names does not help. It only creates more problems. We still do not know why Karpov chose not to play in the Russian Championship. There must have been some conflict with the Organizers. The truth will be out. So its better not to reach the conclusion soon without knowing the reasons. I dont think he dropped out because of his fear of loosing. I can think of Kramnik like this. Karpov has nothing to loose even if he does not perform well here as we all know that he is retired from active Chess. The full pressure is on Kasparov. He has to win this championship.

I think most sports have had drop-outs at some point. In tennis, Lleyton Hewitt is probably the most recent example. He's also suing the ATP for $1.5 million because he disputes a (much smaller) fine that he was given.


And last year the ATP actually threatened to set up an alternative set of tournaments to the traditional Grand Slam over a money issue, with 80 pros agreeing to play in the alternates.


And of course there have been many football, basketball, and baseball players who have claimed injuries in order not to play during disputes. Or in the case of Dennis Rodman, simply failed to show up.

So it does happen. Although I'll admit that thinking of Karpov as the "Dennis Rodman of chess" is a funny image. :)

Hi all,

I've decided to make this a project this year. I'm translating ALL the Russian-language coverage (from Chesspro.ru) of the Moscow SuperFinal, running through the end of November. As you might imagine, it's slow - especially when you still have to work fulltime AND cook! But I just finished posting the pre-tournament articles, including the GREAT Opening-Day festivities, AND the interviews, and (FINALLY!) Round One! I'm hoping to catch up to the point where I'm only a couple of days behind.

Folks, this is some GREAT annotating - it's a crime that it's not available to anyone besides Russian-speakers. Oops, I guess that would be one-third of all chessplayers on earth... Anyway, I'm going to put this stuff up, see what kind of interest it generates. Tell your friends, OK?

Fluffybunnyfeet...where are you putting your translation? The web-based translation engine had comments like "beating the Caspar with the crank..." (hmm, just who is providing security this time? Poor Garry), so the automatic translation isn't wonderful. I'm looking forward to reading your translation. Thanks for the effort.

Click on FluffyBunnyFeet's name at the end of his note to go to the translation.

Are you doing it for the money or can I call you Madre Teresa of chess? Great job. Iīll tell my Brazilian fellows. If the site gets crowded and you start collecting fees, can I get a small percentage?

PS. I have Bronsteinīs Zurich 1953. One of my best chess books. I am grateful I could read it in English.

What's in a name: Thank you for the info. Wow. Great site Fluffybunnyfeet.

For those of you who are missing a Mig-style (scathing?)report on the
last Kaspy's blunder here is my shot (Warning: mild version):

"Really terrible. Bizarre would be even a better word, however
this is now common place in his games and we are coming sort of used
to it. Yes, Kaspy has produced yet another blunder to the chess world.
Out-of-form? Rust? Age? ? You name it, excuses, excuses, always excuses.
No disrespect to Kaspy, but his draw yesterday with Motylev was a joke.
It might have been an idiotic-proof advantage, but certainly not
Kaspy-proof..Geez..the ex-champ's getting to be best-known as "Blundy"
Kasparov, .. It was as if Motylev just assumed Kaspy would
eventually screw up. Which he did. Not one for Kaspy's next game collection!
...'till the next blunder, dear readers"

A joke? Just because your computer went to +4 doesn't mean it was trivial. (Or else you would post analysis.) White clearly has a winning advantage, but you still have to find good moves when it looks like there are many winning lines. All of Kasparov's moves look logical and normal, not the definition of a blunder. Perhaps not capturing on h5 on move 54 was the strangest, but it also looks crushing.

Kasparov's blunder against Huzman last year was probably the only age/rust sort of error I can think of. He lost to Rublevsky without drama, although he should probably have drawn the endgame. His loss to Radjabov two years ago was ugly, but in a sharp position at least.


I think Chess Fanatic was pulling your chain.

His object may have been to employ the style he thinks you use re Kramnik and others and turn it on Kasparov.

Good one, Chessfanatic! Looks like Mig fell for the bait.

At this rate Kasparov is going, he seems likely to lose rating points. His strategy seems to be to draw with black and try to win with white. + 4 looks difficult at this stage. In the later rounds, he may also be tired because of age (or in touch bcos of practice :)). Dreev and Grischuk seem to be the favorites followed by Kaspy and Svidler.


Seems as if Kasparov rate's is inproving lately. Even though his play hasn't been impressive so far (missing some winners and escaping somewhat luckily from difficult positions), now he seems to be the clear favourite for winning, and he is putting up a decent peformance for the first time in quite a long time.

Yes, at the 2/3 mark (Tuesday is a rest day), Kasparov leads the event with the only +3 score, and if the event stopped now he'd actually pick up 15 rating points or so.

But of course there are still 4 games to play, including Kasparov's games with Svidler and Morozevich. Still +4 is a definite possibility. and even +5 is within reach if he drew Svidler and MOrozevich and won the other two. Not that that's easy, but it's possible.

There was an odd theory floating around today that Kasparov was intentionally getting into slightly worse positions in order to encourage his opponents to take risks, the only hope of decisive games. Seems unlikely, but it is certainly true that his games have been exciting and unpredictable, with even GMs in disagreement as to the probable outcome.

The only uniform consensus: endgames are HARD. :)

I'm dying to hear another "Mig-style" report on Kasparov's decline. I loved the first one!

Cheers, and Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Seth, have a scrupulous look at the games and tell us
about the rise and rise of G Kasparov, a-la-Mig, please.
[Besides, it won't be long for the next blunder, so better
keep yourself quiet 8-) ]

[Hope Kasim will be more brave than these russians:
too much respect for a player who is playing truant
from the geriatric] --said in pure Mig-style :0

Say what you will, Kasparov won the Russian Champs by 1.5 pts. If he had converted all his won positions, he might have won by even a larger margin. In my opinion, he has proven that he still can dominate other top players when he wants to.

I asked in a prior post "What have you done for us lately, Kaspy?" I consider that question answered. Kasparov still plays the most interesting chess of the top players, and the only complaint I have about him now is that he needs to play more. And the main reason I say that it because his games are so fun to watch that I WANT him to play more.

Here's hoping that Kramnik will come to his senses and play the winner of the Kaspy-Kasim match.

Just my opinion.

- Geof Strayer

Kasparov is a fantastic chessplayer. I believe and have always believed he will blow Kasim off the board. (assuming classic time controls) I think many people start to dislike him because some Kasparov supporters feel it is necessary to throw mud at Kramnik and other players.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on November 15, 2004 9:03 PM.

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