Greengard's ChessNinja.com

Go Go Linares 2005

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Linares starts today. We have a big one in the first round, with Leko with white going for his first-ever win against Kasparov. In an effort of carefully camouflaged hackery, I've repackaged a Corus review that never ran and combined it with a Linares preview. These events tend to be so tight that picking a favorite is a bit silly. When one point separates the top three players, a bit of luck in one game means more than all the carefully considered factors.

I'm more interested in having every player score at least one win. It would probably be even better if every player also had at least one loss! This year they finally put the money into the prize fund instead of appearance fees. With tens of thousands of dollars on the line you probably won't see many 11-move draws in the final round.

The official site should be showing the games live. If I can work the scheduling out I'm going to try to do some commentary, audio or chat, at Playchess.com. You can download a free 30-day client or (plug ahead) get a somewhat simplified six-month trial client with a subscription to ChessNinja.


I love the strong chess at Linares WHEN they decide to actually play chess. I hope this year's decision to weight the monetary compensation more on performance, and less on appearance fees will help the games.

I don't understand the need to constantly exaggerate. Every Linares tournament is a goldmine of great, fascinating chess on the highest level. 2004 was certainly no exception. But people have to go on and on about the small minority of the games that were short draws.

The official site is currently showing games from last years' Linares; I recognize Vallejo-Kasparov.



linares good link for broadcast at top rigth online


15 moves of theory,
10 moves of fighting chess and...
draw??? In practically won position for black!

Real shame. Or some "Linares virus"?

Who cares how it ended? I enjoyed the game and the struggle. Why not talk about that instead of being negative? They had, together, about 20 minutes left when the draw offer was accepted. If they use that much time it means it was a very real effort no matter the number of moves.

I know Kasparov doesn't owe me anything and I know that a painter paints and all that garbage.

But if Kaspy wants sponsors for a world championship rematch someday, he hurt his case today with that cowardly draw in an obviously playable, probably winning position.

When K and Leko play, I want to see great ideas in tough positions, not a truncted draw. And when a painter paints my house, he'll finish the job or the county contractor licensing department will hear about it.

I can't agree, acrice. I did enjoy the game - thats why I'm so disappointed. Real effort? Are You telling us that it's too much effort to conclude one single game?

I hope it's a flu or something.

Corus and Linares are not "Grand Slam" events (as in golf or tennis). Corus and Linares are baseball spring training or football pre-season games. The chronic "lack of fighting spirit" in these events proves it.

If today's Leko-Kasparov game was part of a Candidates match, the player needing a win would have fought on.

Many of us could name the reigning world champion for any year since 1886. But few could name the winners of more than a dozen past tournaments. Bring back the world championship cycle!

Kasparov disappointed today. Time trouble or not, he was near winning, and had very little chance of slipping into a lost position after ...Qb5; in fact, there were a number of ways for Leko to lose on the spot. I am mystified by his post-2000 habit of accepting draws while better or winning.


26..Qb5 27.f4 d5 28.Rxd5 Bxd5 29.Rxd5 Qc6 30.f5 doesn't look completely clear to me, still unbalanced and possibilities for both sides. Not sure 26..Qb5 is the best move, maybe 26..Qe6.

Obviously Kasparov's position was clearly better, but not winning, very often we tend to forget that it's not the same to play that position, which was quite complicated that analyzing it with fritz at home, and it's quite easy to miss some tactics even for a super-GM when he has less than 30 secs per move. Indeed if he had no practical chances Leko wouldn't have offered a draw or Kasparov wouldn't have accepted if he did not think he was risking by playing on.
In fact, I was also disappointed that they didn't continue the game, but I completely agree with acirce. It was quite an interesting one, and it can't be considered a short draw in my opinion as it lasted 4 hours in spite of being only 26 moves and half of them theoretical.

Maybe Kasparov has gotten a tremenduos big respect for Leko after his draw against Kramnik in the wc-match. After all, Kasparov has many times taken easy draws against Kramnik. This proves that every time the topcontenders in a tournament meets the almost obvious result is a draw. This is bad for chess and the public that feeds it. Some people defends this draw-offers and says respect the players and so on. And they mean that this is tactic. I can not see either respect or tactic about this. The players earn a lot of money on their profession and I can not see why taken a draw before the game is clearly drawn at any mean can be tactic especially when you have the better position and have equally much time left as your opponent. Chess is a game about win or lose. If you always play for a win in any position as long as a draw is not obvious the result will always show who is the best player. Maybe the players are to afraid of losing but that is part of the game. Hope it will be better in this tournament.

Re Leko-Kasparov: Playable, probably winning position for black?! Obviously better? I know most of you are trolling, but if you are serious you need to turn off your idiot computer and try to find a good line for Black. The computers are all excited by the extra pawn, but Black's position is not all attractive or easy to play. Black's development is terrible, White has pressure on the d-file, and there is no simple way for Black to break the bind.

Of course it's just the sort of unbalanced and unclear position I wish people would continue with, but this is not a bundle of joy for either side. Leko sees he's a pawn down with no clear attacking continuation. Kasparov sees he's under pressure with no clear way to exploit his pawn. He also has black against one of the top competitors, so he accepts Leko's draw offer. Ironically, since Kasparov prefers attacking and Leko enjoys defending, if they had colors reversed the game likely would have continued!

Unfortunately that's the state of chess today. They think they have more to lose by playing on than to gain by drawing.

Mig, you are not arguing with me (or Fritz) but Seirawan and Short, among others.

And after line given by acrice (Qb5) black has exchange and white has no pressure on d file anymore. And it is white that has to find a good line to continue, right?

I agree: thats the state of chess today. But its still a shame.

Heh, yes, Garry's dear friends Nigel and Yasser! I saw quite a bit of live commentary. I haven't analyzed it deeply but I agree that in theory Black has an advantage (at least more than White does...), but when time is low it's more an issue of which side is easier to play.

Even after playing his rooks to e8 and d8 to prepare d5, Black has to be careful with the exchange sac of just playing Rd5. After, say, 26..Qb5?! 27.Ne2 (to prevent ..c3 later), 27..Rfe8 28.Rd5 Bxd5 29.Rxd5 I don't see Black making a lot of progress. White is going to get a monster knight on d5 and if that happens, combined with his annoying passer on b6, he might still be down on material but his position will be much easier to play.

But of course I think they both should have played on! Garry is usually pretty hard on himself about such things (well, it's also part of the "of course I was winning!" ego trip) so if there is a concrete line for Black to do well here he'll be the first to give it.

Mig, what is the problem with 27...Qb5 with the obvious threat of d5. I can't find a good reply and am too tired to use my idiot computer. Obviously there is something I am missing that Kasparov saw. What is it?

You say Ne2 okay I'll have to look at that

Ah, one more thing.
Mig wrote: ...this is not a bundle of joy...

Sorry to hear that Kasparov, my childhood idol, doesnt love unclear or unbalanced postions anymore.

Yes, in London 2000 Kasparov learned from the new generation. He has definitely become more pragmatic and more boring since then, although at least he has the valid excuse of age. Taking a draw with black against one of the other favorites in an unclear position where it's easier for you to make a mistake probably isn't something he would have done even two or three years ago.

Yes, Ne2 to go to c3 and then d5 after giving up the exchange on d5. Black can play ..d5 immediately, giving up a pawn to free the e7 bishop, but White is still going to get that knight.

Mig's line is logical and waits for a refutation. 27.f4 in mine is obviously pretty stupid, I was just thinking in terms of 27..d5 straight away.

Seirawan suggested 26..Qe6 I believe, "and black is just much better. I don't get it. Maybe Garry's clock really was lower? Disgusting!"

"in London 2000 Kasparov learned from the new generation"

I agree, Kramnik is the one to blame for todays draw.

I dont believe much in the exchange sacs like 26....Qa4 27 Rd5 Bxd5 28 Rxd5 A sample line being 28...Qc6 29 Ne2 Rb8 3o Qd2 Rxb6 and black will be active in the b-line before white gets to use the d5 square.

27 Qa3 i cant refute though.

26 ... Qb5 27 Qa3 Rfe8 and Black will have the pleasant choice of ...c3 or ...d5 next move.


Thanks for the post. (That's GM Peter Heine Nielsen, I believe.) Yah, I think 26..Qa4 (threatening ..d5 and ..Bb4) is too optimistic after 27.Qa3. After 26..Qb5 27.Qa3 doesn't work because of ..c3 or even ..d5!? Qxe7 c3! and White is crushed. But 27..Ne2 looks like a fine answer so far.

Seirawan's (as reported) 26..Qe6 looks fine, but I don't know what it does to make progress. White is still going to play Ne2-c3 and be very hard to beat. Perhaps Black can push the a-pawn down the board to shake things up. If White grabs it having the a-file open can only be good for Black.

I don't call it blaming Kramnik for anything today, at least not directly or per se. People were talking about the change in Kasparov's attitude at the board and there's no question (since he has said it himself) that he learned from Kramnik in 2000 how effective such pragmatism can be. He doesn't celebrate it, but a combination of age and tough opponents who don't take undue risks means Kasparov can't force his will the way he used to. So instead of exhausting himself on every position he will try to maximize so he doesn't miss wins the way he did last year.

It's sad, of course. I would like to think this wouldn't happen in the final rounds. Maybe we can clone Topalov?!

I agree with the general verdict that the final position is just unclear. White has definate compensation, despite some engines thinks black is winning.

Larsen once said you should only resign, when its obvious for the spectators why you do it. Applying that rule on this draw, would mean it was a bit premature I would say. But Larsens standards are tuff to follow.

What was so pragmatic in 2000? Kramniks style was just anti-Kasparov from my point of wiew. Especially avoiding all kinds of computer preperation was clever.

In matches saving energy dosent make much sense as so does the opponent, but generally in tournaments the concensus seems to be like a tight pokerplayer, only act being dealt a very promising hand.

What he says:

“The time of pragmatical market has come. What is your company worth? How much do your stocks cost? And now to chess world came champion who symbolizes this cynical and pragmatical approach. Many don’t like the style of Kramnik’s games, which give no pleasure to people.” – Garry Kasparov

“This is the way I play. I always search for the best move, but this way there is a chance to lose. A chance for greatness and a chance for disaster.” – Garry Kasparov

What he does:

Leko: Draw?
Kasparov: Okay.

Yes, we should definitely dedicate at least 50 comments of condemnation after every single game he draws. And you wonder why Kasparov still gets all the attention. Haven't seen a cross word about poor Leko, who had white! I agree, Kasparov chickened out today. He may have had good reasons for doing so, but a chicken draw is still a chicken draw.

I'll refrain from quoting of of Greg's hundreds of comments excusing Kramnik from every type of fight-free behavior. I'm sure he'll post more as soon as Kramnik is back in "action." Why have standards when you can have two?

The latest commentary from Kasparo-world, the planet just beyond Bizarro-world:

If Kramnik agrees to a short draw in a lifeless position, it’s..... gutless. And we discuss the “chicken-factor.” But when Kasparov agrees to a draw, a pawn up in an interesting position, it’s excusable and ...... sad:

“...this is not a bundle of joy for either side.”

“Unfortunately that's the state of chess today.”

“...at least he has the valid excuse of age.”

“ it isn't something he would have done even two or three years ago.”

But who’s responsible for teaching Kasparov (who played the most boring match of all time in 1984 when Kramnik was nine-years old) to play boring chess? The evil Kramnik!

“Yes in London 2000 Kasparov learned from the new generation. He has definitely become more pragmatic and more boring since then...”

Yes, its sad.

You must have missed the part where I said it was a chicken draw. I guess you don't play chess, but there are different types of draws and different types of situations. There is also the matter of hundreds of games over years and years. The attempt to conflate a single game into something more than a game is silly. When we talk about Kramnik we don't talk about one game or even one tournament.

When I gave reasons for why Kasparov might have agreed to the draw it's because with him such reasons are necessary. He doesn't regularly do it, which is why so many people here are making a big deal of it. You, as you so often do, have to dig back 20 years to his first Karpov match and two games from London. Had Kramnik had black yesterday it wouldn't have made a blip on the radar, just another short, pragmatic draw from the artist who paints what he wants to paint.

So it's doubly disappointing. A short draw in an interesting position and one from someone who has done so very rarely. If Kasparov does this for the rest of the tournament and for the rest of his career, it would be tragic. One of the reasons I rail about Kramnik is that has done precisely that, and by choice, not because of age or circumstance. He didn't used to play like this and he could change.

The world’s top grandmasters deserve respect for their talent and for their judgment of when their health, tournament position, time trouble, inability to focus, physical energy or any other factor inclines them toward a draw.

If the top players agree to too many draws it’s lazy, unproductive and disrespectful to simply call them “chickens.” Encourage a system that will give them something to fight for. Bring back the world championship cycle. If the nature of the game itself contributes to too many draws then add a FischerRandom position to the game every couple years. Nothing inconsistent in all that.

I’ve never criticized Kasparov for agreeing to draws. I do criticize Kasparov for agreeing to lifeless draws in the Karpov matches, the first half of the Anand match, the last computer match, the Kramnik match, and in yesterday’s Leko game when it suits his purposes, but condemning others for doing the same thing when it suits theirs. It’s hypocritical, pure and simple.

It is unfair and unworthy of the great Kasparov nation to condemn and ridicule an action of this or that top player, but to excuse and lament that same action when it’s performed by Kasparov. (And yes, I saw that after excusing and lamenting in your first four posts on the topic you eventually shifted gears and started calling it "chicken" in your fifth. I'd rather have you excuse and lament across the board than to "cry chicken" across the board. But you can't have everything.)

greg, its good to count sometimes. Kramnik has made his career from pragmatic draws. Kasparov has made his career from fighting chess. Hence Kasparov deserves the benefit of doubt when he does make a pragmatic draw. If he continues to do this, I'll split his career into 2 stages, and revere his career upto now, and put his career FROM now on a par with Kramnik's. But lets wait to see whether he makes a habit of it shall we?

Do you think Kasparov would have continued if the score for a win would have been worth more than two draws but less than three draws (somehting like 1.25 pts for a win and 0.5 pts for a draw)?

Apparently, Nigel Short called this game a "ludus interruptus"...

I have to confess that I didn't quite understand the fuss about "short draws", but this explains it all... ;-)

In a statement released this morning, the Spanish Chess Federation disclosed why Linares has an odd number of players, giving a bye to one player each day: "We want Vallejo, for the rest of his life, to be able to truthfully say he was leading Anand at Linares."

...and anyway, only seven pictures fit across the top of our website."

I'm not sure Nigel Short should be so harsh about the Leko-Kasparov round 1 draw. I vividly remember at least one
game from the 1993 World Championship match where things were heating up in a Sicilian (Nigel was white) and suddenly
the game was agreed drawn around move 30-35.

I enjoy Mig's Basic Chicken Factor formula and have applied it the Leko-Kasparov game. If I understand the formula correctly, and have done the math properly, I get Leko having a BCF of 7.3 and Kasparov with a BCF of 3.7. Both players were, according to these numbers, a little chicken.

I'm certainly not gifted enough at chess to know if the position was "winning" for Kasparov or not, so I didn't include that in the calculations.

The one factor not included in the BCF formula is the shortness of remaining time. Perhaps Mig could update the formula.

amen to the following Mig comment:

'Maybe we can clone Topalov?!'

Even though he lost to Anand today, I thought it was a great fighting game!

I think we saw today the reason for Kasparov's "I need a nap" draw with Leko yesterday. It was so he could go all out vs Kasim. Ironic that Kasparov played on for another dozen moves or so when it was very clearly heading towards a draw vs Kasim, but was quick to pull up lame in a more sharp and undetermined position vs Leko.

It's all about perception of greatness with Kasparov. Any result vs Leko save for a miniature loss could probably be acceptable to Kasparov's need of the public's perception of his greatness. A draw still leaves the feeling that Kasparov could still be number one. Since he had the pawn advantage, he might have only scored .5 in the tournament, but his "percieved greatness score" by the public was probably closer to .6 (i.e. 'he had better chances if he pushed' is all he needed to accomplish vs a talent like Leko).

But vs Kasim, nothing short of the perception that he was expected to score around .70 points (i.e. the perception that he would win 70% of the points) was needed, and he probably pulled it off with a Rook vs Bish&Pawn advantage, especially since he took the few extra moves to show that only he had chances at the end. Yes, chess does not give .70 point increments, but as a PR score chess fans do.

Kasparov probably has two contests going on in any tournament he enters - the tournament itself, and the individual matchups, the perception generated from those going a long way for him "expecting" shortcuts to the WC Title. With that in mind, a vitory by Anand over him, regardless of the final tournament standings, is probably the most interesting thing to watch for in terms of how this event will affect future WC attempts.

I for one will be glad when the two biggest hypocrites, one in chess and one in chess 'journalism', no longer warrant or can demand special attention and their preachy bufoonary will be seen as just that. So go Anand.


I think Anand is the only one in this tourey that the defanged Kasparov we're seeing can hope to beat.

Remember that Kaspy 0wnz Vishy, especially in Linares.

The final move in Anand-Topalov Ka1 was quite unusual. You'd never think that Ka1 without a capture is a move that demonstrates white's superiority. Does anyone have other examples of White finishing a game with Ka1?

p-k4 gosh I sure wish I had your powers of ESP. Knowing somebody else's mind so clearly must be a great gift. And a burden too, like with Spider Man and Super Man. Be sure to use your gift wisely

It's excruciating to have to stick up for Kasparov and Mig in the same post, but you leave me no choice.

If you criticize Kasparov for a timorous draw versus Leko then you've got to applaud him for pushing hard on a slight advantage versus Kasim. You accuse Kasparov of putting on a show. But fighting hard to the end of a chess game is the kind of show that lots of folk will pay for and that more GMs should stage.

For providing a forum for the exchange of chess ideas Mig deserves credit. And there's something ungentlemanly about using a man's own forum to call him names. It takes a bit of work, but the points you want to make can surely be made in an informative, respectful way. Each time you call Mig a name in this forum he demonstrates his graciousness and magnanimity by not deleting it.

Now I'm going to be sick.

Mig wrote this at chessbase.com after the 2nd round of Linares 2005 :
"It didn't take long for Vishy Anand to settle in. He was the unfortunate player to get a wasted rest day to start the event. (Daily Dirt wag Greg Koster suggested that this was done by the Spanish organizers so Paco Vallejo could be said to be ahead of Anand in Linares, if only for a day. That makes about as much sense as any reason for having seven players.) [...] "
Wonder if the now world-famous Greg will like that? Probably since my online dictionnary says "wag [wæg] : A. noun 1 wag, wit, card = a witty amusing person who makes jokes"... LOL. And BTW: nice plug, Mig !

it must be the end of the world. Maybe Mig and Greg are alter-egos?

Kasparov got an 0-1 today, which I think is the first time he's actually beaten Vallejo at Linares. Usually he scores his full points against Anand and Shirov.


No, he beat Vallejo with white in either 03 or 04.

His only win last year was against Vallejo.

Kaspy has to beat Vallejo beacuse he can't beat World Champion Qosimzhnow and Shirov isn't there. With his pathetic form, the only other full point he can get is against Anand.

Too bad that Kramnik isn´t playing, since this tournament is the closer you can get to a real WC. Since FIDE has gone mad, why not give up unification nightmare and call the winner World Champion 2005? BTW, just being provocative, I think that Kasparov will win, followed by Kazimdzhanov and Leko.

Brain, that's tosh.

Pathetic form? We'll see about that. I still expect him to score +2 and tie for first.

I also really would like Kasimdzhanov to have a good showing here. He deserves it probably more than any other player here. He arose from relative obscurity only to have his biggest opportunity denied to him when Kasparov called it quits. First and foremost, I pray for Kasparov, but Kasim is up there too.

Pathetic form? Nobody else has has three winning or near-winning positions in three games so far, and he is on +1, tied for first. I'll be surprised if he goes less than +3, tied for first with Anand or Leko. And he could easily drop +5 if he keeps catching everyone out on preparation.


I expect someone at Corus to avoid the English Attack against Kasparov. He just knows too much about that line. I cannot remember him dying in that opening and all the big kills against him have come by people avoiding that line Ivanchuk, Rublevsky or in the case of Judit Polgar, Kasparov for some reason met e4 with e5 and got smashed.

Also I was reading some earlier posts and Brian's caught my attention. The painter being discussed is obviously not the painter for your house. He is an artist. The artist has no contract to you and neither does Kasparov, Kramnik nor any other player.

Wow what a game by Kaspy against Adams.. Adams fought like a tiger but the champ played like he used to for decades, when getting a draw with black against him is well nigh impossible.. Long live Gary Kimovich!

4 great positions in his first 4 games, and converted 2.. Hmm... stories of his demise seem to have been greatly exaggerated..

Well, he should have drawn with Vallejo and should have won against Kasimdzhanov, so karma was on the ball. Not to get giddy, but Kasparov has white against Anand on Monday with a chance to practically put the tournament away with a win. +2 has won the tournament two years in a row. A 1.5 point lead would be practically insurmountable.

Leko has white against Kasimdzhanov after a rest day, so if he's going to make a move now's the time. He has black against Kasparov and Anand in the second half, so points are going to be hard to come by.

Does he really have White tomorrow? And finish with three blacks? I was thinking maybe that was a mistake and that he really has Black tomorrow and White in round 13.

Kasparov that is

Yah, that's bizarre but it seems to be the case. Not sure how or why that's possible.

I don't know about beating Anand but even if he can draw and keep beating up on the weaker half of the tournament(say by taking Kasim and Vallejo for a ride in the second half) things look really good for him. A loss with white against Anand looks improbable and he has already had black against Leko. The key game will be black against Anand.

True, although Kasparov's score with black against Anand is no worse than with White. In the past few years in Linares Kasparov has won three games against Vishy with black and lost none.

perhaps this "could have had 4/4" issue has already been beaten to death, but isn't it another way of saying that his preparation is extraordinarily good?

I wish we could have seen what Kasparov had in mind in that old Anand-Karpov line in his game against Vallejo. That line was thought to be quite busted for Black.

Regarding todays game between Anand and Kasparov I am pretty sure that we will have a draw or maybe that Kasparov can win. Anand can´t beat Kasparov and with white he will be glad with a draw. Kasparov who has begun to play more like Kramnik (don´t take any risks, wait for your opponents misstakes, don´t take any risk in the opening and so on) and accepting draws in playable positions will accept the draw-offer when Anand pull forward his hand. I still regard Leko as the only real threat to Kasparov. But Leko seems tired after his win in wijk and if he will have a chance for winning Linares he must win against Kasimdzhanov today.

re Vallejo-Kasparov, someone said 13..Nd5 is a supposed improvement on Karpov's 13..a6.

And btw, Kasparov definitely has Black today, in spite of the original schedule as shown on the official page.

We now take the thread back to discussion of Linares 2005. I've saved all the Kasparov/ChessBase jihad posts so if you'd like them posted elsewhere email me about it.

Great games today. It looked like Kasparov wasn't getting enough compensation for Anand's pawns, but somehow he scammed a way out. It looked like White could have safely poached the e4 pawn at some point, but I haven't looked at it closely. Still, sometimes these things look more like voodoo than chess.

We'll soon be passing the 10-year anniversary of Anand's last classical chess win over Kasparov, which is totally bizarre. It's like giving odds when they play in a tournament together when sometimes you lose and sometimes you draw against your main competitor.

Vallejo Pons is getting in my nerves with all these losses. When one player gets hammered like this it screws up the balance of the event. I almost preferred it when he was playing the Berlin and drawing everyone (bite my tongue!). I guess if I say that I can't criticize Kasimdzhanov for being overly solid. I rather thought he'd spice things up.

"I've saved all the Kasparov/ChessBase jihad posts so if you'd like them posted elsewhere email me about it."

My suggestion: add a new daily dirt post, let the text be "Kasparov/Chessbase Jihad fest that I have nothing to comment on", and place all the posts in there. This way it won't feel like censorship.

(Short comment to prevent this post from getting moved or deleted like the others): Rustam has got to be the most boring player on the planet - guess he learned something from Leko/Kramnik 1999-2001. And like the old Kramnik, he is the new unbeatable player: Ivanchuk, Grischuk, Topalov, Adams, Leko, Anand, Kasparov... My prediction for him in Linares: 12 games, 12 draws. If Linares had a rapid component I would put my money on Kazim at Betsson.

I truly hope I am wrong and someone gets to defeat this guy. It is enough that he stole the FIDE title and any chance of British or Bulgarian sponsorship for unification. Argh!

Yeah I was just thinking the same that Kasim is a regular chip off the old block! Nice rating gains for twelve draws though! Even better would be ten draws a win over struggling Vallejo and another win over Adams.

Also Kasparov was dumb to bring out the Sveshnikov against big Anand today. He has probably spent the last month savoring over this Qa4 move after his debacle in this opening in Wijk. He is lucky as hell to get away clean

It seems a little unfair to Kasimdzhanov to blame him for holding his own in his first tournament of this caliber. In fact, with the first half of this tournament almost over, he has drawn Kasparov, Adams and Leko, all in games in which Kasim had Black. Anyone who thinks that this is easy to do (including the super GMs among you) should try it sometime.

Although all of Kasim's games so far have been draws, his games with Anand, Topalov, Leko and Kasparov could fairly be called "fighting draws," and even his shorter games against Vallejo Pons and Adams were well-played draws in which neither player was able to get an advantage.

It's possible that Kasim will do worse in the remainder of this tournament than he has done so far. It's also possible that he will do better. I for one am pretty impressed with his play up to this point, and hope that he does manage to win one or two games. But even if he ends up with a minus score, I think he's shown that he can play at this level and that those who were predicting a blow-out in the canceled match against Kasparov may have been exagerrating a bit. (I still think Kasparov would probably win such a match, but I don't think it would be completely one-sided. Kasim is tough to beat!)

The top places in Linares are still up for grabs and, due to the prize structure, I think we can anticipate an exciting second half to what has so far been a hard-fought tournament.

'Although all of Kasim's games so far have been draws, his games with Anand, Topalov, Leko and Kasparov could fairly be called "fighting draws" '

Yeah, but Chessbase, TWIC and the Spanish journalists all said that Kazim was worse in those games, but "played solidly and defended well and held the draw". Credit Kazim's opponents for those "fighting draws".

"Kasim is tough to beat!"

I agree, that is precisely my point - he is tough to beat just like Leko and Kramnik, but boring as hell. Do you like a world champion that is "capable of drawing anyone in the world"? Good qualification for a WC indeed.

Just to add to my last post, it didn't please me that Kazim eliminated ALL of Ivanchuk, Grischuk, Topalov and Adams in Rapid matches. And now, 6 draws in 6 games in Linares. Way to go.

I was really expecting more aggression from Kasimdzhanov. More Bologan-in-Dortmund than Khalifman-in-Linares. To be fair, has undeniably played well, and it's hard to go on the offensive against superior players.

The "head-down" mentality is tempting in these situations though, and understandably. Vallejo Pons spent his first years in Linares trying not to get killed. He played to draw with White and played stodgy defenses. But when he didn't - switching from the Berlin to the Sicilian in the middle of one event and losing three after drawing his first blacks - he got hammered.

Now Vallejo's rating and profile are higher, he isn't so worried about whether or not he belongs at the board with these guys. So he confidently trots out sharper openings and plays more actively. The result? -3 and counting. There's a difference between the guys who live in and out of the top ten and the rest. Preparation and resiliency, apart from that little talent thing. If you're playing your absolute best and get off to a good start, you can be Bologan winning Dortmund. But most of the time you're going to get killed.

To defend my countryman Bologan also played brilliantly in Wijk many active games, many victories, and inevitably a few loses. He steps it up when he plays with these guys and was a welcome addition to elite tournaments even though he may not be so stiff against competition of his own rating or higher

omigawd what a game between the goliaths!! Titanic struggle. I like rapid games, but Linares so far (many games) has been a beautiful illustration of why people hanker after classical time controls so much! They're a great spectacle!

Has it really been so long since Anand beat Kaspy?? How about Anand beating Kram anybody know?

Mig, I don't really disagree with your post, other than to say that to use the word "superior" to refer to the other players in respect to Kasimdzhanov might be slightly unfair in some instances, and the description of his play as "heads down" is, in my view, not very generous. But my point was partly that Kasimdzhanov's performance so far should be considered in the light of his inexperience with tournaments of this level. Looking scores of the other participants in their first Linares tournament, I found the following:

Anand = 6/13
Topalov = 6.5/13
Adams = 5.5/14
Leko = 6.5/14
Vallejo Pons = 5/12
Kasparov = 8/11

Of those scores, only Kasparov did better than break even in his first tournament, and I'm not sure his score can be fairly used in a comparison because, at the time of his first Linares, he had already been World Champion for 5 years and had enormous experience with top-level chess. Of the remaining players, only Topalov broke even (i.e., as Kasim is on track to do), and Anand scored -1, Adams scored -3, Leko scored -1, and Vallejo Pons scored -2 in their first appearances. So if Kasim manages to break even in this tournament (of course we don't know the final score yet) he will have had a very respectable (even good) result for his first Linares. I for one hope that he has just been "warming up" in the first half of this tournament and finding a level of psychological comfort, and that he will play more aggressively in the second half. But even if he doesn't, I think his performance needs to be considered in context.

Murali, I'm not sure exactly what your point is. I guess you don't like Kasim and you don't like draws. But I would draw a distinction between hard fought, well-played draws and short draws without much fight, and I think Leko and Kramnik are mainly criticized for the latter, not the former. So to compare Kasim to Leko and Kramnik based on his performance so far in this tournament seems to me to be a little inaccurate. And giving the credit for the fighting draws only to Kasim's opponents seems a bit strange to me.

I also don't really understand your statement that Kasim has been worse in all of his fighting draws. He had black against Kasparov, Leko and Anand, and I think that only against Kasparov was his position ever more than slightly worse, which is normal at this level with the Black pieces. And I'm not sure why you think that he was ever worse in his game with Topalov, as the game appeared to be pretty balanced throughout.

I don't mean to overstate Kasim's performance. Like Mig, I am personally a little disappointed in his performance to date, but that's really only because my expectations (hopes?) for him were so high. I think objectively, when you consider his performance in the context of his relative inexperience and the strength of his opponents, he is playing quite well. And I think he's playing interesting chess, and I personally enjoy well-played fighting draws just as much as violent, rather one-sided victories (e.g., Topalov's over Vallejo Pons).

Anyway, we should probably at least let Kasim finish his first supertournament before we draw our final conclusions about his performance.

Note that this isn't Kasimdzhanov's first supertournament. He played in the Corus A group in 1999 and 2002. His rating is actually lower now than it was in 2001, when he cracked 2700. He's also played in several category 16 events in the last year or two.

I don't think he's playing badly at all, but looking at the games he is definitely playing conservatively.

I now see that I have to defend the FIDE- champion Kasimdzhanov. This guy is really playing fighting-chess and how can somebody be superior to him if they can´t beat him. On the paper maybe everybody else in this tournament have higher ratings than him but what has this to do with superiority. Kasim is the only one that has some sort of title in this field including Kasparov and ok I agree that this title isn´t worth much but it is still something. He beat many strong players when he won the Fide- championship and foremost he has very good nerves. He proved that he was best when there really was a title at stake and that is what it really takes to be a real champion. Of course there is much left in Linares but if he plays as stable as he has done so far I don´t suspect a minus score and that is a very good achievment for a very first Linares-tournament. Go Kasim.

Although worn down by Tuesday's off day, our Linares supergrandmasters nonetheless competed strenuously for the coveted Luis Rentero Fighting Chess prize.

Vallejo-Leko...14 moves. 7 new moves
Kasparov-Topalov...21 moves. 7 new moves.
Adams-Anand...28 moves. 14 new moves.

When asked about his speedy cessation of hostilities against the World's #3, a defensive Garry Kasparov retorted. "At least I fight harder than Kramnik. Sometimes that dude's too lazy to even take the pieces out of the box."

isnt it true that kasp gets almost nothing out of the opening when he plays any kind of anti marshal line in the ruy?? Why bother with the Ruy when he gives Black a draw 16 moves into the game??? Anybody has any statistics on his results with and without anti marshal lines?

I'm just an amateur, but even I can usually play more than 25 moves in a chess game.

And since I'm out of book by move 5, That makes at least 20 non-theory moves. Perhaps the world's top grandmasters could learn something from me.

Today, Leko and Vallejo played 13 moves of a c4 opening and then quit before the middle game. Something I know from my amateur chess experience is that most games are decided in the middle game, so it's not surprizing that you will play a lot of draws if you stop before the middle game starts. That's one thing they could learn.

I noticed that nearly all dead-end jobs are all low-paying and require the poor sucker to put in a full 8 hours. I never saw a McDonald's employee goof off.

I also noticed that nearly all power jobs are all high-paying and require the lucky bastard to put in a few hours of pretend work before teeing off for 18 holes. About half of the CEOs I know of are dumbasses and criminals and completely incompetent in their jobs. The recently fired HP exec, Fiorna Carly, for example, did what any monkey can do, and did it incompetently, and still managed to get millions in severance for firing the best of the best of HP employees. Then there are the Worldcom and Enron CEOs - if they serve time it will be a short sentence at some country club prison.

In light of today's games, if these elite are so smart, their high rating and all, why are they chessplayers? They goof off like CEOs. They should become CEOs, make the real moola, fire the best of the best, pretend to be competent, and goof off at the Playboy Mansion. They could commit crimes for fun while they're at it. Oh wait, they're smart. CEOs are dumbasses - nevermind.

Oh yeah, now I remember. The sponsors should pay these players minimum wage. That will force them to put in the full 8 hours.

i suppose one doesn't become pro chess player to make money, but because one loves chess and is good at it. Just because we don't always find their games entertaining isn't grounds for comparing them to incompetent ceos...incompetence is not what is to blame here.


Yeah, you're right, sacateca. I must apologise to dumbasses, incompetents, and chessplayers everywhere for the slight of comparing them to CEOs. Only thing worse is a CEO with an MBA. At least Carly only has a degree in Medieval History, which makes her an expert in creating/managing serfdoms.

greg: ' When asked about his speedy cessation of hostilities against the World's #3, a defensive Garry Kasparov retorted. "At least I fight harder than Kramnik. Sometimes that dude's too lazy to even take the pieces out of the box." '

Kasparov has his short draws, but Kramnik is way worse, and that is precisely what Kasparov is claiming in the quote above. Kasparov plays for 17 moves, Kramnik 13. Kasparov gives out 4 lifeless draws in a tournament, Kramnik gives out 8. Kasparov produces a handful of interesting games, Kramnik paints one great picture and rests the remaining days. Kasparov does not need to be perfect to criticize Kramnik's lifeless play, he just needs to be "less lifeless". And he is.

Finally, I would like greg to give me ONE reason to like Kramnik other than "he defeated Kasparov in 2000 fair and square". Please don't use his brilliant match draw against Leko as a reason.


Bless your heart for defending Kasparov for the "Kramnik's a lazy dude" quote. Next time I invent a quote I'll make sure its so silly that nobody could believe it was actually said. Sorry.

Why do I like Kramnik? Have you ever seen the movie "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly?" The movie's villain is a short, nasty, double-talking braggart named Tuco who says stuff like:

"Whoever double-crosses me and leaves me alive, he understands nothing about Tuco."

"I like big fat men like you. When they fall they make more noise!"

Then along comes the tall quiet guy...

"Then along comes the tall quiet guy..."

Is this a reference to Kramnik? He gives interviews regularly, where he declares things such as "In Prague I made the most concessions", "I don't want to play the winner of Kasparov and the FIDE champion, let Kasparov join the best in the world in a qualifying cycle to produce a challenger for me", "A painter simply paints and does not have to please anyone". It is his right to give such declarations, it is my right to prefer a player who wins tournaments and displays superiority over his counterparts.

I would have much more respect for Kramnik had he beaten Leko convincingly in their match. As I see it, since 2000 Kramnik has not done anything to deserve "having the best in the world compete to produce a challenger for him" - I don't want to see a reincarnation of Botvinnik.

BTW, when the next FIDE list comes out Kramnik is likely to come in fifth behind Leko and Topalov. Maybe it is because he was afraid of crushing the opposition and refused to play in the Russian Chess Championship and Linares, thereby foregoing several easy rating points. You were right greg, there is your quiet guy...

Or maybe Kramnik - according to greg, the supreme altruist in the world of chess, the only one who truly cares about giving all players an equal chance at the title - is just too busy working with the ACP to come up with a fair, all-inclusive cycle that will produce an uncontested unified world champion. He has no time for tournaments anymore.

Hail Kramnik, the Messiah in charge of saving the chess world from its current state of chaos!

I liked Tuco better anyway.


--At Prague, sitting world champion Kramnik gave up the champion's draw odds. Who made a greater concession?

--"Let Kasparov join a qualifying cycle..." this was the rule for the five deposed world champions from 1963-1993. It now seems fair to just about every top GM except one.

--"I prefer a player who wins tournaments and displays his superiority..."

We have three great yearly tournaments: Corus, Linares and Dortmund. Let's review what's been happening there since 2000.

+ played
- did not play

Corus Kramnik + Kasparov -
Linare Kramnik - Kasparov +

Corus Kramnik + Kasparov -
Linare Kramnik(1) Kasparov(2)
Dortm Kramnik + Kasparov -

Corus Kramnik + Kasparov -
Linare Kramnik(1) Kasparov(3)
Dortm Kramnik + Kasparov -

Corus Kramnik - Kasparov -
Linare Kramnik - Kasparov +
Dortm Candidates-Kasparov declines invitation.

Corus Kramnik(3) Kasparov(1)
Linare Kramnik - Kasparov +
Dortm Kramnik + Kasparov -

Since 2002, excluding the 2002 Dortmund Candidates, the two men have had thirteen opportunites to play in the Big Three Tournaments. Kramnik has played nine times. Kasparov six times. Head-to-head Kramnik won twice (2003-2004 Linares) Kasparov once (Corus 2001).

Since 2000.

Let's update Greg's stats with some more numbers, shall we?

Corus Kramnik (4-7) Kasparov -
Linares Kramnik - Kasparov + (no results yet, sorry)

Corus Kramnik (6-8) Kasparov -
Linares Kramnik(1) Kasparov(2)
Dortmund Kramnik (1-2) Kasparov -

Corus Kramnik (4-8) Kasparov -
Linares Kramnik(1) Kasparov(3)
Dortm Kramnik (2-3) Kasparov -

Kramnik appears to have had some impressive performances: +1 in Linares in 2003 and 2004, and 1-2 in Dortmund 2004. But...

- in 2003 he was first tied with Leko at +2, with Kasparov half-a-point behind at +1.

- in 2004 Kramnik was 1st at +2 undefeated, Kasparov was second at +1 undefeated - as in 2003, a half-point difference separating Kramnik and Kasparov.

- in 2004 Kramnik was 1-2 in Dortmund by drawing ALL oh his classical games and losing a Rapid playoff to Anand in the final.

I think those 4-7, 6-8 speak a lot more than a 0.5 point advantage over Kasparov in Linares.

In time, I agree Kasparov has shown very little in 2003-4, so he's gotta prove himself once more. But now that he is playing again, what do we see? Clear undisputed 1st in the Russian Championship, currently leading in Linares 2005 (having had a better position in all games except against Anand and Topalov). Meanwhile, Kramnik had been avoiding chess by refusing to play in the Russian Champ and in Linares. He did play in Corus 2005 - what was his final ranking again?

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on February 23, 2005 1:41 AM.

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