Mig 
Greengard's ChessNinja.com

Leko Wins Corus 2005

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I'll have a long wrap-up at ChessBase.com soon, but wanted to kick-start the topic. It was a remarkably balanced event other than the bottom falling out for Morozevich and Sokolov. Leko was the only undefeated player, Sokolov the only one without a win. Like just about everyone I considered Anand the favorite, although I am on the record here as saying Leko would be my pick "if Anand were hit by a bus." He wasn't, but somewhat fittingly he lost to Leko.

Topalov was dazzling as usual, but you can't lose two games (another prediction that worked out for me) and win an event like this. Overall a spectacular tournament full of fighting chess and exciting games. The last round was a bit of a let-down; most of the games barely left theory. Kramnik's 11-mover with white against the out-of-form Morozevich is particularly vexing. At least van Wely got his first win. Karjakin won the B group, although the way he's going he might have been invited to the A group next year anyway!

55 Comments

Another prediction that you had right was "Corus won't bore us". I'm looking forward to seeing some of the annotations in various magazines (e.g. UK's chess magazine, and US's Chess Life---if Chess Life has room for the games after they've placed in all their ads and announcements which seem to take up about half their space :-)

[gratuitous plug] Don't forget the Corus annotations in Black Belt! Jen Shahade annotated Ponomariov-Polgar last week and I've done a few games and endgames. We even had Kramnik-Sokolov in White Belt. I imagine Hikaru Nakamura will find an interesting game from the A group to annotate for next month, unless he picks one of his own games from Gibraltar. Why wait for print magazines?! [/plug]

So many of us have complained about the excessive number of short non-fighting draws in high profile tournaments. Have you addressed the Perfunctory Last Round problem? I can think of no sport or competitive event where the last quarter or last period is not usually the most exciting round for the spectators (except maybe baseball). But in chess, when the last round begins, the wise spectators will likely head for the exits. There are many reasons for this, but can you think of some incentive which might induce all last round players to look as if they were alive?

Ok Mig. Gratuitous plug successful. I just signed up. :-)

Kramnik more or less told New In Chess--using the most staggeringly fatuous arguments ever seen in any field of human activity--that he has no qualms about accepting tournament fees to not play chess. I accept his claim to the world championship title, but his brutal idiocy makes me sorry I have to, and there's no point whatever in having him back at Wijk aan Zee...

http://chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=2154

Were a new FIDE rating list to be computed today based exclusively on the Corus results, the new player ratings would be:

Anand: 2789 (+3)
Leko: 2764 (+15)
Topalov: 2760 (+3)
Kramnik: 2752 (-2)
Adams: 2742 (+1)
Polgar: 2732 (+4)
Svidler: 2727 (-8)
Grischuk: 2718 (+8)
Morozevich: 2717 (-24)
Ponomariov: 2704 (+4)
van Wely: 2687 (+8)
Short: 2673 (-1)
Bruzon: 2665 (+13)
Sokolov: 2662 (-23)

Morozevich was the biggest rating loser, beating Sokolov by one point!

Compare the above results with the current rating list:

Kasparov: 2804
Anand: 2786
Topalov: 2757
Kramnik: 2754
Leko: 2749
Morozevich: 2741
Adams: 2741
Svidler: 2735
Polgar: 2728 (inactive)
Bacrot: 2715
Shirov: 2713
Ivanchuk: 2711
Grischuk: 2710
Bareev: 2709
Dreev: 2704
Ponomariov: 2700
Gelfand: 2696
Akopian: 2693
Vallejo Pons: 2686
Sokolov: 2685

which would change to:

Kasparov: 2804
Anand: 2789
Leko: 2764
Topalov: 2760
Kramnik: 2752
Adams: 2742
Polgar: 2732
Svidler: 2727
Grischuk: 2718
Morozevich: 2717
Bacrot: 2715
Shirov: 2713
Ivanchuk: 2711
Bareev: 2709
Dreev: 2704
Ponomariov: 2704
Gelfand: 2696
Akopian: 2693
Vallejo Pons: 2686
(...)
Sokolov: 2662

Kramnik would fall to number 5, and the top three would be changing again (with Leko taking third place). Also noticeable is Polgar's rise to #7, probably the highest in her career. Of course, there is still Linares and whatever other tournaments these people participate in (Shirov should gain a few points from his latest tournament), though in Linares I expect:

1. Kasparov to change very little
2. Anand to lose a bunch (his style of rarely playing for a win against the top ten will not cut here)
3. Leko to gain a few
4. Topalov to lose a few (though, with nemesis Kramnik out of the picture he might not have a guaranteed loss...)
5. Adams to change very little
6. Kasimdzhanov and Vallejo to gain several for being underdogs in an always drawfest tournament.

My guess for draws: 73%

Kramnik would have gained a bunch had he played since this is where he thrives (+2 enough for unshared first place). Polgar in Linares would have been lovely to complete an 8-player field, though I would have expected her to be at the bottom of the crosstable.

Let's see how all these predictions turn out.

Murali has brought an interesting point regarding Anand. I tend to agree...he never seems to go for a win against tougher opposition. Even in Corus, he played safe sedate draws against Kramnik, Topalov, Polgar. I am not saying he doesnt have the capability or anything..but just that he would rather beat the tail of the field and draw with the top guns and win. It is different in match conditions...where he *has* to beat them. It would be nice to see him playing aggressive chess against the top teners too. Personally I am a little disappointed with Anand's performance here. A really good result here would have closed the gap with Kasparov much more.

aswath, spot on. I also cant avoid that feeling of slight disappointment with Anand's play. He does win some nice ones now and again against the top guns, but this seems less to do with an aggresive approach and more to do with his opponents play. But I do think this is a bit of a kick for him. He cant enjoy Leko's comments that Anand is not better than him, especially since Leko beat him the last two times at classical TCs. I hope he'll be back to teach a few lessons to Leko soon, at Linares.

Ha! Vindictive is one thing Anand isn't. No, the man has no taste for revenge. If he did, he would have tried to beat Kramnik at least once since 1998. Since then, Kramnik has beaten him 2 or 3 times in classical TC without suffering a single loss. Though I suspect Anand sees no difference in classical and rapid TC, and in the latter he has beaten Kramnik consistently.

Anand has a pragmatic approach to chess: if by move 20 he does not have a clear advantage (alt - if his opponent does not blunder by move 20) he offers a draw (Kramnik can also be accused of the same approach).

For this reason, I admire Kasparov, Leko and Topalov much more than the above two guys.

I think it's unquestionable that Anand's high ELO rating is an artifact of his extremely aggressive time management against significantly inferior players. There's nothing wrong with this; in fact, it's one of the most exciting spectacles in the game when he has someone on the mat near move 40. You can really only get away with it if you're the best pure calculator alive. But it shouldn't be surprising when he comes up slightly flat against very tough opposition.

The thing is, you are left with this bad taste in the mouth because (at least in my case) it appears as if he can do a bit more with a little more effort. He has this breathtakingly smooth positional style when he's on song, coupled to a devastating calculating ability, and he seldom seems to really fundamentally misunderstand a position. Its more the odd blunder here and there which causes his losses. But he always seems to take the easy way out against the creme de la creme.. What are his lifetime scores against people like Kramnik, Leko, Topalov and Adams??

Hey guys,
Let's give the "boring draws" complaints a rest for a few days. Play over the Corus games. Tons of exciting chess.

Relax. These aren't kneejerk "boring draws" complaints; we all agree that Corus delivered plenty of drama. Comparing and contrasting individual styles is a natural thing to do after an exciting supertournament...

Murali,
What a crap I am listening from you.3 of Anand's 4 wins are against 2700+ players in WAZ.Compare this with 2 for Leko and 1 for Kramnik.
Anand looses a bunch in Linares???And Kramnik would gain(if he plays)????.I pity your chess knowledge.Despite winning Linares ,Kramnik infact lost ratings there.+2 doesn't give you a bunch to add if you are at 2770+ nor would +1 takeaway a bunch.
When was the last time there was any match of atleast 8(or atleast 4) games between Anand and any of Kramnik,Kasparov and Leko.10 years?(no that was only with Kasparov) 15 years or 20 years?Infact never.
Unless that happens,it is ridiculous to the core to say--Anand doesn't try to beat somebody blah..blah..blah...Well, Kasparov may be an exception.
Most of the games between Anand-Leko are now-a-days decisive .In last two years Anad has +2-3 gainst Leko.What the hell one could conclude out of this, other than they are pretty much equal.(Leko's win in Linares was his first ever against Anand, for that matter!!).I dont remember one single decisive game between Kramnik-Anand in last 3 years.(The fateful Dotrumund 2001 was the last).And it is +3 for Anand in rapids in this period.
Anand performance in WAZ was not all that bad.He scored his quota of 4 wins as usual.And it could have been easily 5 wins, had he been a bit more careful(Loek).And how about leko-Bruzon game.It was offered on a platter to Leko.Anand and Leko played at pretty much equally in WAZ.While it means a great job by Leko, it is disappointing for Anand.The difference is in our expectations.

Maybe it is because Anand plays many of his games in less than an hour thereby effectively giving a top ten GM 2:1 time odds ??

Guys, the way Kramnik is falling, from 2, to 3, to 4 and now in the next rating list he will be # 5, I am interested in predicting how soon he falls out of top 10 !

-- Amit

I predict that Kramnik will fall out of the top 10 about the same time that Amit enters it.

The accusations against Anand fall flat in the
face of facts. Also the stats are pretty much affected by one bad performance in Dortmund.

In Corus 2005, he defeated Adams, Pono, and Moro and lost to Leko. Not the signs of a player who goes for draws against top players. It is difficult to play for a win against Kramnik.

One problem with Anand's play of late is his tendency to concentrate too much on the rating. That was seen in the Olympiad as well as in Corus. He seem to be trying to make sure that he doesn't lose rating points and sometimes plays safe instead of being his usual aggressive self. However, can't complain much as this strategy seems to be working and his rating has been moving up.

Regards,
Kapalik

I for one am not accusing Anand of anything. Just a bit disappointed somehow. I guess its a measure of his enormous talent that when he turns in a 2800 performance, it can still be below expectations.

Greg,
You, for one, seems to have taken Kramnik's slide, quite personally! Did you notice that Kramnik has lost some 50 rating points in last 3 years, and that also at an age when a player is supposed to be peaking!

--Amit

Since Kasparov has lost even more points per game played, when do you think he'll fall out of the top 5?

You ar right about the boring last round. It happens every tournament. I have an idea: let's lose the last round in the next super-tournament. Have the the tournament end on the second last round!

acirce,

Kasparov would be out of top 5, in another 10 years! But did you happen to notice the age of Kasparov, he is already past his best days and Kramnik should be peaking at this age, your logic is more like comparing Ronaldinho with Maradona :)

-- Amit

more like john terry or darren campbell with Maradona, if you consider their playing styles as well..

Amit: Yeah, so while we might be expecting Kasparov's decline to continue due to his age, there is no similar reason to believe it about Kramnik.

How can Kasparov's decline continue before it's even began? If his current form is result of decline...perhaps i should start declining, too.

Well, Linares is soon..

sacateca

Acirce,

Well, if loss of some 50 rating points and dropping from #2 to #4 (and soon to #5 in March, with Leko's Corus performance), is not a good enough reason then what else do you look for ?

--Amit

Oh, I didn't realize that worked linearly. So if he loses 50 rating points in 2 years he should be expected to lose another 50 in another 2 years or what? I tried looking at it from another viewpoint than deterministic statistical extrapolation, sorry about that.

Not that rating points mean that much anyway. They are just very rough approximations of playing strength. If he played Anand and Kasparov exclusively he would still be around 2800.

acirce, is there anything difficult in what Amit was saying.Kramnik, the so called WC,lost 50 points in 3 years at an age where he should be at his peak(or near peak).His rating very much reflect his results in past 3 years.Comparisons with Kasparov are irrelevent.He too lost 50 points, but that was from an astronomical 2850 rating.Added to that even after such a loss he is still no.1 and may continue to be so for some more time.And he is a decade older to Kramnik.
Kramnik at 2752 is almost at his alltime low in recent memory and there are a bunch of guys within 10 points difference to him.I think this is deffinately a concern for Kramnik and supremacy as the so called WC.Anand somehow cameout of similar situation well and I believe Kramnik will follow suit.I have little doubt Anand,Kramnik and now it seems Leko are the future NO.1 rankers.

pavani, your points are? Amit was laboring under the assumption that Kramnik's decline is going to continue. I questioned that, nothing else. When you say "Kramnik will follow suit" and mention Kramnik among the future No.1 rankers it seems you agree with me.

Got you.I feel whatever facts Amit has thrown about Kramnik's decline are generally true.I don't think he means it to say Kramnik's decline will continue forever.His inention to guess when will he fall out top-10 , doesn't appear to me anything more than harmless chiding of Kramnik.Which I believe he deserves for now.This was how I felt about Anand too, 3 years before.
And whatever I predict about the future--are based on my conviction that Kramnik, like Anand, is too strong a player to slip in that way.I don't rule out the possibility of slipping close to 10th in between, though.

Pavani, Acirce,

Chiding Kramnik, that's what my intentions were, but Acirce jumped to deterministic statistics (Now, I am chiding a Kramnik-fan!)

Well, I think that Kaspy, Anand, Kramnik, Leko are definitely a cut above the rest of the Chessplayers (Ivanchuk was also in the same league but his psychological problems overtook his chess talent). But the point is, is Kramnik trying hard enough or is his style failing him to achiev what he is capable of.

--Amit

Amit,
You seem to be a humble truth-seeker, a rare commodity around here.

Kramnik is a highly rational creature. A decade ago when the FIDE cycle collapsed the ticket to a world championship match was a high rating. So Kramnik made himself almost unbeatable within his repertoire, jacked up his rating, and got himself a championship match, where with black he shut out Kasparov and with white achieved four winning positions in the first five games.

As world champion waiting on challengers, Kramnik doesn't need to fight for rating points. Like Botvinnik before him, Kramnik can sit back and work on his game, saving his best opening innovations for his title defenses. In the four years since winning the title, Kramnik has expanded his opening repertoire, opened up his game, and taken more risks. He can use the great tournaments as "pre-season games" to test out his ideas without worrying overly much whether he loses a game here or rating points there.

If you believe Kramnik has "declined" over the past four years I strongly encourage you to venture over to Betsson during Kramnik's next title defense and bet heavily on his opponent.

Greg,

That is very well put. Your argument makes a lot of sense and it is surprising that most fans and critics don't get it - that Kramnik's style, preparation, and focus is geared towards macthplay and retaining the WC that he won from Kaspy. He doesn't care about rating points and tournament results as they don't have anything to do with the WC. He won it from Kaspy and needs to defend it at regular intervals. He did it after a gap of 4 years and hopefully will do so again within that time.

Kapalik

Nice to have such low standards from players and fans. Players, particularly rational ones, do not tailor their play to improve a single match result every four years, even were such an absurd thing possible. Back in Botvinnik's day, maybe, but tournament play and rating have been paramount for a decade. You play chess to the best of your ability to win the events you participate in. Coming up with bizarre rationales for Kramnik's mediocre tournament performances doesn't help.

Of course Kramnik's style (don't risk, don't lose) is better suited to match play. You could say the same thing about quite a few conservative players. So? It doesn't mean we should be kind to them when they agree to short draws in tournaments or say that losing rating points and finishing in the middle of the pack is okay because Kramnik doesn't care. It's precisely his not caring that drives me and many others crazy. The world champion should want to dominate, to win each game and each tournament, to set a positive example. I don't blame him for not winning every event, but not trying and then saying he doesn't have to try is obscene. Fans agreeing is sad.

Karpov understood that he needed to dominate the tournament circuit after he was handed the world championship title when Fischer defaulted. With the situation in the past ten years, flawed (or no) qualifiers, dual titles, etc., emphasis moved to tournament success and the rating list. Even Kramnik's stated goal at the London 2000 post-match press conference was to overtake Kasparov on the rating list. Going on now about how it's all irrelevant is ridiculous.

Kramnik doesn't need to be excused for his style or for mediocre tournament results. But that doesn't mean we should all hail the new Petrosian when we know he could do more with his immense talent.

Thank God Kramnik doesn't care about what some spoiled fans (and Kasparov-affiliated journalists) sit around and think a world champion "should" do and what attitude he "should" have. I think he should do exactly what pleases him and fits his personality and his aims. Like it or not, but don't tell him he should be someone else.

I for one think a relaxed attitude about such matters is quite sympathetic. Definitely much more pleasant than Kasparov's arrogance and bragging.

Yes, losing is great! Screw wanting to win, that's for, umm, arrogant people! It's better to not care about winning and be pleasant. Hail mediocrity! A painter paints, and people should damn well buy whatever it is I paint.

Of course we can talk about "should." The world champion is a public figure with the potential to play an important role in a game we all care about.

Yes, we were spoiled. We were spoiled by 30 years of world champions who thought winning was important and that they owed something to the game (and fans) that gave them so much.

Well, obviously Kramnik wants to win. And he doesn't play tournaments with the aim to lose. That much is pretty clear.

That he doesn't seem to give it so much importance is secondary. He wouldn't be able to dominate la Karpov and Kasparov, or anything near it, anyway. He's just not good enough. He's at most the "first among equals". Not that I even think that at the current moment. He might even be the "last among equals" inside the KALK group.

But being World Champion shouldn't be a punishment that gives you an extra burden to bear, extra duties and obligations towards "chess fans" and the "chess world". If anything a champion ought to be *more* respected, not less.

You have to earn that respect. Not by winning, but by trying. As I said, I don't blame or criticize Kramnik for not winning. His style isn't sharp enough to put up the +4 scores that Anand, Kasparov (and now Leko!?) are capable of. But it really bothers me to have someone at the maximum player position come out and say his results don't matter, that how he plays is irrelevant, that what fans and sponsors think doesn't matter. I firmly believe in the public figure role a champion can, and should, play to promote the game.

You can almost hear Garry's voice:.
"Absurd," "bizarre," "obscene," "ridiculous".

After Kasparov ripped up the championship cycle you'd hope his obligations to our great game would have moved him to put it back together. (A far less prominent individual, Kramnik, phoned the Dortmund organizers, organized a meeting or two, and turned Dortmund 2002 into a Candidates match.)

Even if Kasparov's obligations to chess weren't enough to move him to rebuild the cycle, rational self-interest should have done so. After the close shaves in the Karpov matches [13-11, 12.5-11.5, 12-12, 12.5-11.5] a prudent individual would set up a new cycle in case he lost the crown. But Kasparov didn't do that.

After losing the crown, Kasparov foreclosed any possibility of collaborating with Kramnik on a possibly improved Dortmund 2002 format by refusing to budge from his rematch demands. Rather than working with individuals trying to organize the fairest Candidates event possible within the financial constraints, Kasparov threw in with the scoundrel Ilyumzhinov, and his crapshoot, Jew/Israeli-excluding FIDE "cycle."

And rather than work responsibly for the re-establishment of the cycle he (and Short) destroyed, Kasparov and associates have been engaged in a remorseless campaign against the man who soundly defeated Kasparov in the 2000 title match. The purpose of this campaign was initially to bully Kramnik into a rematch. That effort having failed, Kasparov's purpose changed to de-legitimizing Kramnik and his title (and thereby enhancing Kasparov's drooping World's #1 ranking) by:

1) Claiming Kramnik's win in London was "fortuitous". Kramnik-as-black completely shut down Kasparov. Kramnik-as-white achieved four winning positions in the first five games. It was fortuitous that Kasparov's defeat wasn't much worse than it was.

2) Claiming Kramnik's win in London was due to Kramnik playing boring, "unprincipled" openings, and that the match was boring. Kramnik-as-black played the Berlin four times. Like any opening, the Berlin can be interesting if you bring new ideas to it. See Svidler-Morozevich Corus 2005. Kasparov, Anand, Kramnik, Shirov, and Leko have all played the Berlin. The Berlin is no less "principled" than the Petroff, the Caro-Kann, or any other opening black uses when content to draw. The most boring moments of the match were when Kasparov-as-white agreed to two fifteen move draws. Sergei Shipov characterized the Kramnik-as-white half of the match as some of the most exciting chess in world championship history. The contemporaneous reports on the match fully convey its excitement.

3) Denigrating the Classical World Champion's title by lumping it in with the title holders from the FIDE crapshoots. Kramnik defeated Kasparov in a 16-game match. He defended his title against Leko, the winner of a Candidates competition to which all the world's top players were invited, in a 14-game match.

4) Kramnik plays too many short draws.
This isn't the age of Steinitz-Chigorin. World Chess Championships for many years have been full of "boring" drawn games. Kramnik-Leko 2004 had its share of unforgettable chess. Kramnik's play at Corus 2005 was full of fight. It's the easiest thing in the world to tell other people how to conduct their business. I'd prefer that Kramnik use wild gambit openings and play every drawn game down to king v. king. (I could use them to work on my endings.) But who knows how healthy this man is, or how much physical and mental energy he has available? Is it so crazy to think that just maybe he's making the best possible use of his personal resources? The man is devoting virtually his every waking moment to the game he loves, not out there selling or endorsing very many chess products, not savaging other players, just studying and playing chess, and, a few months after his title defense, committed to the re-establishment of a fair and principled championship cycle.

Appreciate his wonderful talent and the games he's produced, and, please, find someone worthier of your scorn.

Thanks for the copy-paste from your other 400 posts, Greg, but you're still off-topic and around 80% wrong on the facts, which, admittedly, is an improvement. Attacking Kasparov doesn't provide an answer to the role a chess world champion can play and whether or not Kramnik can and should play such a role instead of abdicating.

You are trying to change the topic because you can't defend your arguments about Kramnik. Asking someone to care about his sport and its fans is not unreasonable. You are still living in the 2000 match, which has nothing to do with anything. Kramnik beat Kasparov and drew with Leko to retain his title. WE KNOW THAT. MOVE ON. Join the current interesting discussions without all the pointless regurgitation. Every comment about Kramnik cannot be answered with "But Kasparov..." See if you can do it. Try. Bet you can't do it.

Let's hope Kramnik didn't spend too many of those waking hours you know so much about preparing for his last-round game against Morozevich at Corus. You seem to be quite the psychic, somehow knowing Kramnik is doing all these things without any evidence.

Heh, turning Dortmund into a candidates event. That was a good one. Hey, I just turned Linares into a candidates event! They don't even have to know about it. Whew, that was hard work, I need a rest, maybe a few months. Wait, I have one burst of energy left to say "a new cycle is very important" in an interview. There, I'm committed to the establishment of a cycle. Damn, I'm exhausted.

I agree with Mig, don't defend Kramnik by comparing him to Kasparov. Look at Leko: he won Dortmund 02, drew his match with Kramnik and now finished Corus a full 1.5 points ahead of Kramnik. How can one claim that Kramnik is now better than Leko? Because he defeated Leko in Linares 2004? Or because he was second in Dortmund (ahead of Leko) by drawing virtually all his classical TC games?

I think Kramnik's claims to WC would be a lot more legitimate if he had won his match against Leko instead of having to rely on draw odds to retain his title. At least he can claim a precedent: Botvinnik was arguably even worse, delivering mediocre performances in tournaments, drawing or losing his first-year WC matches and winning them the following year thanks to an automatic rematch clause.

Who was the most unfairly favored champion in the history of chess? Botvinnik? Karpov? Lasker (theories suggest Schlechter needed a +2 in their match to quench the title)?

Murali: I agree that a discussion about Kramnik doesn't have to do with Kasparov per se -- but he is connected. The negative attitudes towards Kramnik from certain troublemakers aren't just something they picked up in a vacuum. To a large degree it's chess politics and Kasparov is part of it.

Problem now, however, is that so many people just hate Kramnik so intensely and unreasonably that it wouldn't matter what he did. They just throw out their desperate insults and hate no matter what. Not talking about this messageboard, but there are far less civilized debates going on.

The good thing is that he has integrity enough to ignore the lynch mob.

The biggest obstacle to progress in the chess world is not that its World Champion agrees to an eleven-move draw when, according to Chessbase, he's suffering from the flu and the results of the game would have no impact whatever on the tournament outcome.

The biggest obstacle to progress in the chess world is that the game's biggest name refuses to lead, follow, OR get out of the way.

According to Anand himself, he plays for a win whenever he has white pieces except that when he is playing against Kaspy and Krammy (& sometimes Leko)!
He is very good against everybody else. I see him scoring +3 in Linares, and beating Kasparov in a game first time after 1995.

Didn't Kasparov's last statement imply he is "getting out of the way"?

Muralimu,
Before the end of the Linares 2005 tournament you will hear Kasparov say, "I'm not getting involved in world championship politics, but if I was, this is what should happen....."

If journalists ask for his opinion, which they no doubt will, Garry is entitled to sharing it. That is different from establishing his own chess organization to compete with FIDE or ACP, which he implies he will not do.

Of course, staying out of chess championship politics does not mean he will be part of the next reunification process. If he chooses to stay out but does well in tournaments, people will claim reunification without Kasparov is not legitimate and we are back to the pre-Prague scenario.

BTW, I'd rather have Kasparov play tournaments and do well but not be part of reunification, than have him "get out of the way" and give up on chess altogether.

Kasparov's statement that he's staying out of world chess championship politics is meaningless at best, just plain false at worst. He'll be "politicking" for the optimum (for him) championship cycle format by and through Chessbase, Mig, sponsors, the press, and anyone else who'll listen.

Maybe the four years Garry wasted trying to "cut to the front of the line"--obstinately trying to bully Kramnik into a rematch, then getting into bed with Ilyumzhinov--will influence him to abandon his "me-me-me-me" attitude and work for (or at least not obstruct and criticize) a system that's fair to all the top players. We can hope.

I would be surprised if either Kramnik or Leko would reveal novelties they may have had in Dortmund 04 right before thier WC match. Are we to think he was not studying the Russian defense by the time of Dortmund? That said Kramnik probably wasn't holding much if anything back in WAZ. He seemed to play very good chess. It didn't win the torunament for him but those are the breaks and there are breaks in chess topurnaments, just ask judit Polgar after she beat Topalov.

Mig you did say we are spoiled by 30 years of champions who cared about chess. Greg responded to this comparision.

Are you saying Kasparov felt he needed to win not for himself but for chess fans? Well then thank him for winning the Russian super final for me. I'm flattered.

I don't think we can judge champions selfishness by thier win lose record. Not to accuse Kasparov of anythign but I believe if he really wanted to do something for chess he would say yes Kramnik is the real world champion and Chess needs a legitimate world champ cycle. He would be happy to compete in a legitimate cycle for the title Kramnik now holds. Its not living in the past its living in the present. Chess was hurt and continues to suffer becasue he refuses to partipate in any qualifier. Thats just my opinion.

I also think Kramnik is very respectfull of sponsors. He acually apologized for not being better prepared at linares 04. (a tournament he won) I'm not going to talk about how other champions in the past 30 years have treated entitiies that spent money on chess, because that *is* the past. I'm just saying Kramnik is a real gentleman and has shown he really cares about chess and not just himself. Why do we have to attack him so much?
OK he drew against Moro in the last meaningless round of WAZ. He did this after playing almost all his rounds to dead draws that even I could see was a draw. Is that why we claim he has no will to win? Is this why are going to blame him for everythign thats wrong in chess?

He is right not to care about what chess amatures think of his chess style. Do you think Kasparov cares what amatures think of his style? Even if he thinks taking a draw will help his chances to win a tournament that too is his decision and as long as the rules allow it is far from a character flaw. Sure we can second guess whether he should take a draw in any given position but a bad decision on that hardly shows he is selfish.

Bobby Fischer was a "fighter." He said he was motivated to play so he could destroy other peoples egos. Is he the psychological profile we want all champions to model? Count me out.

Kasparov's "fighting style" is a poor recompense for the devastation he's wrought on the chess world. The young Kasparov was the beneficiary of a wonderful world championship cycle built upon the dedicated work of countless individuals over several chess generations. In 1982 there were three(!) interzonal tournaments involving 42 players. Kasparov won the Moscow Interzonal, and candidates matches against Beliavsky, Korchnoi, and Smyslov to win his shot at Karpov. For the next decade, with some monkeyshines here and there, the cycle continued to give every chess player in the world a shot at the world title and gave the world an undisputed chess championship match every two years.

Then Kasparov destroyed it. And as a consequence we're following a handful of tournaments-leading-to-nothing instead of watching Anand, Leko, Topalov, Adams, Morozevich, Karajkin, Nakamura and an entire generation of players fight through interzonals and candidates tournaments for THEIR shot at the title.

Kasparov deserves all the "acclaim" that would be accorded the New York Yankees if they replaced the pennant races and the World Series with tournaments and an occasional one-on-one championship versus a hand-picked opponent.

The main problem with chess isn't a lack of fighting spirit. The chess world was doing just-fine-thank-you during the six years of Petrosian's reign. The main problem is that the most prominent name in chess refuses to cooperate on an equitable footing with those trying to re-establish a fair and principled cycle; a cycle which would give every chessplayer the same shot he himself enjoyed as a 19-year-old phenom.

In 1993 Kasparov (along with Short and, later, many other players) tried to save the chess world from FIDE and after several years the dream failed. For Greg, this was an unpardonable sin and it would be better had Kasparov never been born, better if his games never existed, etc. I disagree. Poor recompense? Some chess lover.

Greg, your information is way off. Perhaps you don't remember the chess world after ten years of Karpov and how revolutionary Kasparov's chess seemed in the early 80's. And what does "doing fine" mean when the world championship was being played for a few thousand dollars? And every two years?! The cycle was three years, but thanks to the FIDE-cancelled 84 match and the rematch clause handed Karpov, they played four matches in four years.

Fischer and later Kasparov brought big money into the game. Ask the top players today if they'd rather have a cycle and no money or the current situation of no cycle but significant tournament prize funds. Of course I - and they - would rather have both.

Certainly the '93 breakaway indirectly contributed to the current chaos, but the destruction of the traditional cycle was directly due to Ilyumzhinov and FIDE. They could have continued with the traditional system in 1993 and they could start a new cycle tomorrow.

Something people also forget is that it was SHORT, not Kasparov, who had the initiative of breaking with FIDE. Kasparov happily agreed (not that *that* renders him any less responsible...).

Yet I don't blame people if they forget to mention Short, since he no longer has any perceptible influence in "chess championship politics".

Well, it's hard to criticize Kasparov for a lack of results given that he's been on hold for two years trying to get a match with one person or another. Saying he's not willing to play for the crown is silly. He's done nothing but try to play -anybody- for a shot, even the likes of Ponomariov and Kasim, neither of whom are really top ten material.

Kasparov should deliver in Linares this year; after all, he's done match prep for Kasim (and has no reason not to use it), nearly always gets 1.5 in Linares vs. Anand, and while his favorite whipping boy (Shirov) isn't on this year's list, he can take heart from the presence of Leko (who plays decisive games), and Topalov (same).

Now if only he could get something against Vallejo Pons - what is it with him drawing the tail enders in tournaments the past few years? Beats Anand, Kramnik, but can't get a full point vs. Vallejo or Sadvakasov?

V

Kasparov did match prep for Kasim? I doubt it.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on January 30, 2005 3:56 PM.

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