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Corus at the Half

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A very balanced event on paper has proven to be very balanced in practice. Four players are tied for the lead with +2. One of them is Anand, who has won three in a row. There has been a lot of great fighting chess so far. Only three players are without a loss: Leko, Adams, and Grischuk. Morozevich is performing his supertournament disappearing act even more dramatically than usual. His -5 performance has upset the crosstable much the way Timman often used to. (Moro always had a tough time against Timman, so maybe an invisible mantle has been passed.)

There are many games among the leaders to come, plus the always-anticipated Anand-Kramnik tomorrow. +4 is still looking good enough for clear first place in this tight field. Kudos to Ponomariov for some exciting chess. He's showing the fire that earned him the FIDE Ch in 2001 and second place in Linares in 2002.


In "players w/o a loss", by "Kramnik" you mean "Adams".

Yah, fixed it a few minutes ago. Not sure which synapse misfired for that one.

Just another example of your blatantly pro-Kramnik bias :-)

i dont know about you guys, but I thought Corus was outstanding so far. Other than that poor old moro is completely out of sorts (you really must have incredible talent to be so woefully out of form and still bring home the bacon against a 2730 judit polgar) its a remarkably even field and very exciting chess. Kramnik has let his chess do the talking with some superb games after shaking off his initial rust. (Which is much better than what comes out of his mouth, cos his NIC interview posted on chessbase makes me sick. cant imagine that such a smart guy cant see the hypocrisy on his stand on qualifiers.)
Anand is starting to fire on several cylinders too. I can understand that kaspy is sick to his stomach at missing such an event.
Here's hoping Moro gets another victory or two!

Yesterday Kasparov called Morozevich "very dangerous" at this point. He played a solid draw against Topalov and then beat Polgar. With so many losses already he has nothing to lose by playing do-or-die in every game. Another win or two would look like a good bet.

Mig that is fascinating actually! I wasnt sure what kind of opinion kaspy had on Moro cos I've seen a few comments where he seems to trash his play. Lets see what he can do against Kramnik and Leko. Topalov seems to be playing like a man possesed, well earned no 3 rank. Adams is playing his speciality brand of Capablanca Style Chess very well. Leko seems to be in great form. This really is an amazing Corus so far. I guess we can have fun speculating what would have happened had the king been there.

I think Kasparov is right about Morozevich. He is of course entertaining but it is a big difference to play a big event like Wijk aan Zee and to play Biel for example(not that the players in Biel were very weak and of course his wins were amazing). Of course Garry was speaking about the Russian championship which in average Elo was probably not much stronger than Biel but I think his point is really coming into fruition in Wijk aan Zee. Call it streakiness, I'll call it not being as strong as these more classical players.

I have to disagree with 'd' about Kramnik. I think Kramnik made it pretty clear that he acknowledged the less than ideal way in which his qualification to play Kasparov was done. The fact is that Kramnik is absolutely right- a clear cycle needs to be instituted again. When a stand is correct to take then it is correct to take, and you should not disparage it. I admire the stand because it is correct, period. Without a clear cycle we will have no gains for chess. You can have a 'reunification' match, but it will accomplish nothing, for without a cycle there will just be more garbage to follow.

Judit Polgar has a large fan base and I am one of her fans. I was pulling for her to beat Morozevich and figured she had a great opportunity because Moro, with so many goose eggs, was going to take crazy chances to win.

Too bad she lost. I studied Judit's games over the years and I've come to the conclusion that there is a strong Fischer influence in her. Many GMs, in particular Spassky, commented that Fischer had a certain naivete in his play, that he didn't bother to camouflage or hide his plans from his opponents.

The Russian School of Chess is famous for many things, and teaching its students to be sneaky is one of them. Morozevich is Russian, and his 11.Qd3 against Judit was very sneaky. The move looked so innocuous, just a doubling up on the d-line, that it betrayed Judit's sense of danger. The sneaky part of 11.Qd3 was the Q can go to e3 and fork the e and a pawns in some lines.

I think Judit would score more points if she camouflaged her ideas a little more, like the Russian School, and she would lose less if she also paid a little more attention to the sneakiness of the Russians. But hey, who am I to argue with her well-deserved top ten ranking. I'm just saddened to see her underestimate the strength of 11.Qd3.

A great Corus so far. This Corus is different from past editions in that the players seem to press more, take more chances, and reveal big home preparations. One player that I'm particularly impressed with is Ponomariov. In past Corus tournaments, Pono was often at the embarassing end of a crush. Here, he seems to say, "I'm taking control of the play and I don't care who you are." Judit tried to bluff him with a pawn sac on a5 (looks like home prep too) but Pono took it and won. Later in the tournament, Pono faced Kramnik and sac'd a rook - against Kramnik! It's a safe bet Pono will be invited back for Corus 2006.

I'll reserve my last comment on the Cuban GM Bruzon. He plays well enough but he is too slow. He did well in Calvia Olympics and won the 2004 Corus B section, but in Corus A here he seems to suffer psychologically. He has got to do something about his time management problem. I think he belongs in the Corus A, has an even score now, but if he doesn't make waves he and GM Sokolov will be dropped in Corus 2006 to make room for, my guess, GM Nakamura and GM Karjakin.

What a bunch of insightful comments from a guy with a sneaky nick N+Bdblchk! BTW, was your nick inspired by the famous combination Qxg7+ Kg7 Nf5 double check (the bishop on c3 or b2), followed by Nh6 mate? Where did you see, a Pandolfini book?

Oh, that sneaky Qd3 move that led to Polgar's downfall, a fork on e3(!!), damn them devious Russians.
And by the way, Bruzon is soooooooooooooooooo slow. How did he get there in the first place? He won the "B" tournament, OK. So who's winning the "B" tournament this year, Nakamura?
Let's drop out the last two Dutch guys, Van Wely and Sokolov, because they're not making waves.

Altogether, "Late Night with B+N double trouble"
Johnny Carson isn't dead.
Can't wait to get more of your goose eggs.

Before this tournament, i didn't think much of Morozevich, but have become one of his fans now. Even if he has had very bad results, every game he plays is brilliant...he always gets a good position with his unique play, unfortunately most of the time he seems to lack the final punch only and then blunder...perhaps the unique play takes it's toll and he has no more energy left for the final stages of the game? But he's still completely unpredictable, all of a sudden against Polgar he manages to kill!

i hope he will win a few more games, today is a good chance against Sokolov!


Ah Yermo, now you're talkin' in my good ear!

Chess Math

Nakamura wins U.S. Chess Championship (and yes I remember you saying he was going to show his stuff after his earlier sojourns in Europe).

Nakamura then immediately destroys Karjakin in their match.

Karjakin then immediately plays in Corus B - currently 2nd ahead of among others, Onischuk who finished a full point behind Nakamura in the U.S. Chess Championship.

Hmmm. Looks to me like the Corus organizers might be a year behind the times in U.S. chess.

Good Luck to Hikaru in Corus 2006!

Ted Cross, I'm sorry, but that IS the HEIGHT of hypocrisy. Kramnik takes advantage of handpicking to leapfrog over everybody else in spite of the fact that he had lost every qualifier he had played, and now saying that he recognised that it wasnt ideal at the time makes everything peachy?? What a load of bull. Kasparov is self centered, arrogant and cares only about numero uno, but he doesnt hide the fact. Kramnik is exactly the same, except he tries to hide it with some holier than thou attitude, which just makes it worse. And as for his arrogance towards amatuers, where he doesnt care what they think about his games and he's entitled to play what he wants when he wants, sure. No problemo. And I'm entitled to my opinion as an amatuer about what constitutes excting chess to ME. Which means I'll pay to see a Kasp, or Anand or Moro or Topalov game, but I wont pay to see a Kramnik game, unless he's playing one of the others I consider interesting. Its actually a moot point because I personally do consider his chess to be great, but you see my point? How can yo attract sponsorship with that kind of attitude?

Sacateca, I completely agree. I'm fascinated by genius and talent, and somebody who plays so much against conventional schools of thought and ends up with completely playable if not downright winning positions after the opening and middlegame, is an amazing genius. Its like John Donne's poetry to draw a parallel with literature, or liebnitz to draw a paralle with Math, or James Clerk Maxwell, to draw a parallel with Science.

Exactly, d. Morozevich is the antidote to all the row-supergms only playing the squeezed out lines by trying to find yet another novelty somewhere...he's proof that Fischer isn't completely right about conventional chess yet :) Pure genius, true, like only a handful of chess players ever...up there with Fischer, K and Alekhine (yes, my subjective choises for the moment).

Also i believe Kasparov would do something amazing with some familiar out-trotted openings if he gets to play for WC soon enough. Maybe bring back KI!


To Yermo:

I disagree. Before Qd3 appeared, I was kind of happy with her position. Then, after 11.Qd3, I was fascinated with just how innocent-looking yet powerful that move was. No where did I say it was Judit's downfall. You made that part up. What did you want me to do, turn on the silicon and provide pages of analysis? Nobody reads them. The position before Qd3 was deceptive. It was only after Qd3 did I appreciate white's trumps. That defines "sneaky" to me.

I admit, though, the over-generalizations of the Russian School and Fischer etc is over the top, but I just wanted to add more to the Urban Legend of those mysterious Russians. I think it's kind of fun.

Didn't Nakamura win the 2004 US Championship? Didn't he beat Karjakin in a match, lopsided too? Karjakin is in Corus B and in second place. IMO, Nakamura would slice through this year's Corus B had he played. I hope the Corus organizers place Nakamura directly into the A group in 2006.

Maybe I got the wrong impression of Bruzon and his time troubles. Maybe the clocks were wrong. But the games I've seen live the clocks indicated he was always miles behind.

As for Sokolov, I knew he was Dutch but forgot so dropping him is out of the question unless another strong Dutch is available. As for dropping Bruzon, I think there is a reasonable chance if he doesn't outperform Svidler or Morozevich, the two GMs currently in the bottom, because Bruzon is a nobody. I don't deny Moro is the favourite to be dropped but there is still half the tournament left to play.

I concede the point regarding Sokolov, but not the point that Bruzon might be dropped. Svidler and Morozevich still has time to catch him. I concede my comments regarding the Russian School is exaggeration, but not the sneakiness of Qd3. My comment on the Qe3 was just something lazy. When the Q was on d1, I didn't forsee the Q could be a problem if it got to e3. Black's positon looked ok when the Q was on d1. I could have said something less lazy, but you know, a comment like, "there's a fork with Qe3," is not meant to be instructive, just slightly more informative, conversation-wise, than an even lazier, "black looked deceptively ok in the opening."

I answered all of your objections. On the topic of laziness, you wrote two useless paragraphs attacking me and wrote only one useful second paragraph. You added only one new information, that van Wely and Sokolov are Dutch, and the Nakamura isn't in Corus part can be deduced from my post. I can't wait for more insightful goose eggs from a GM either.

Yermo...I often disagree with what N+Bdblchk says too. However, I think your excessively sarcastic reply and your jibe at his nickname was completely uncalled for.

Besides that, the jibe (perhaps unintentionally) also pokes fun at the average chess player. There are many amateurs who would think "the famous combination Qxg7+ Kg7 Nf5 double check (the bishop on c3 or b2), followed by Nh6 mate?" is a great combination. In fact, what is wrong with it? Aren't all chess players encouraged to learn basic mating patterns? This is one of the classic mates. Your comments may serve only to alienate beginner (and maybe not so beginner) chess players.

Aside from that, so what if this particular mate--and other classics--are found in a Pandolfini book? Does this mean that all the other books (a few written by top GMs) in which it appears can be denigrated as well? (yes, I know, you didn't actually say anything against Pandolfini's books but the tone and implication are certainly there). It seems to me that having Bruce Pandolfini include such classic combinations in a book is doing beginners a service.

When I teach my nephews chess they just love seeing these combinations and they practice them over and over again. They keep playing because they like the game, like the combinations, like launching an attack. Perhaps when they're older, if they show interest, I can start them on Dvoretsky, but for now, the classic mating patterns found in beginner books are doing their job.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to run to the library to find a book that supplements Fine's Ideas Behind the Chess Openings. I believe there are a few interesting traps that punish bad moves in an opening I'm teaching my nephews...perhaps Pandolfini's Traps and Zaps might have it. :-)

'd', you simply ignored the whole point I was making. The only thing that matters right now is developing a true cycle. Without one everything else is pointless. If a real cycle is developed and works then money will come from sponsors, because chess will be legit again. You are overly concerned with personalities and blame, while I am merely concerned about chess and could care less about who is playing. The right thing for chess right now is exactly what Kramnik said- a legitimate cycle.

Ted Cross, you misunderstand the whole point I was making, or chose to ignore it. I am merely pointing out Kramnik's hypocrisy. If it served him, he would find compelling arguments for a rematch against Kasparov. I'm not blaming him for this, its every man for himself after all, but I strongly suspect his current stand on qualifiers is because the qualifying road leads to him, and he doesnt have to tread it himself.
Whether or not a legitimate cycle is the correct thing, Kramnik's stance is only driven by his personal concerns. If you think he should be lauded for that, maybe I can interest you in a deal on the Brooklyn Bridge?

After seeing today's daily prize being awarded to Judit Polgar, I am forced to agree with Kasparov that the public awards the prize to the player they like the most, not to the one who scored the most brilliant victory. True, it is charming to see Polgar defeating the leader of the tournament shortly after being a mom, but getting the daily prize when her opponent blundered a piece is no display of brilliancy.

Ok, 'd', the problem is that you see the chess world as 'every man for himself'. It absolutely should not be that way. The cycles and the world title itself should be completey independent of the personalities involved. Rules need to be in place so that if someone tries to remove themselves from a cycle (ala Kasparov and Short) then it is set in stone what happens next. Cycles and world championship titles should not be allowed to be hijacked by anyone. Players should not get to negotiate on major points, such as having a rematch clause. Such a clause is ludicrous and should never be allowed.

Ted Cross, its not a case of just me seeing it like that, sadly that is the way it is. You are talking of a completely different point, about the need to have a proper cycle. I never argued against it. You dont need to convince me of that.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on January 22, 2005 11:51 PM.

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