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Lame in Linares

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Well I guess it had to happen. Right after I touted the fighting spirit evident in this year's Linares supertournament, the players come back from a rest day and turn in a combined total of 62 moves. If you subtract the moves already known to theory, they contributed just 20 moves. And this after a rest day. Ugh.


A great advertisement for computerchess. :-)

And I thought it was Kasimīs rest day.

Which demonstrates once again that the players regard these "great" tournaments as little more than exhibitions. Can you imagine Kasparov playing a simul during a Candidates Match?

Well I was going to disagree with greg's comments, but Kasparov giving a simul during Linares?! What else can one thing but what he said?

* think

Not that I think it was a good idea in this case, especially compounded by the short draw that followed today, but giving simuls and other exhibition appearances during tournaments is quite common. Karpov did so during Linares one year, and there used to be a blitz tournament during Wijk aan Zee. In Dortmund the players played blitz against fans on a free day! (A great idea, I think.) Karpov once flew to another city for a EuroDisney exhibition and flew back to the tournament, after requesting his game be postponed!

Sometimes such extracurricular activities are mandated by the organizers. Others are optional, others are commercial and individual. All of the players in the US Championship are required to make an appearance on one of the off days if requested. Usually one of the reasons sponsors will take on tournaments is to promote chess in the area.

I don't begrudge players any chance to make money; it's hard to come by in chess. But taking on a commercial simul during a prestigious event is a bit of a smack to the organizers, especially if you don't show your best in the tournament. On the other hand, 1) Kasparov is leading and 2) Vallejo didn't give a simul that I know of.

One possible factor is that there aren't big appearance fees this year; it's all in the prize fund. If conditions aren't so plum, it's more up to you what you do with your time. It's your money you are risking, after all. Still, simul or no it was a lame draw.

As for exhibitions and candidates matches, there is precedent there too, so don't get carried away. I know the players were trotted out for simuls and other appearances in several Buenos Aires candidates matches, and also one of the tournaments there Fischer played in. It's possible most were before or after the events, but I know one was during a match. Of course they had longer matches, adjournments, and more rest days back then.

FIDE should make a simple rule change -- in multiple time-control events the only draws allowed prior to the first time control are those that happen via stalemate on the board. No offers allowed prior to that period.

If a couple of GM's want to embarass themselves by playing 1. Nf3 Nf6 2. Ng1 Ng8 3. nf3 ... for 40 moves, let 'em.

honestly i really dont think yesterday's draws were a big deal. anand tried, but couldnt get anything, which is not surprising considering he was black against adams. pons is just trying to survive now (understandably), and he killed the game and leko had nothing more to play for. As for Kasparov, I think he was even slightly worse when he agreed to a draw, and what was there to play for in that position?? I think regardless of the simul, Kasparov's Ruy is increasingly toothless, when he plays to prevent the Marshal. As for Topalov, he had equalised with ease against the great kasparov, and surely couldnt harbour hopes of a victory anymore?? This really was a case when the positions on the boards were dead drawn, unlike the first round.

Well, that about sums it up! d just gave almost every reason for why we need move minimums. In modern chess those are all reasons to draw, so they should be taken away. Knowing that if you have white you can just get away any time by offering a draw is ridiculous. Even had Topalov thought he had a significant advantage he might have agreed to a draw, since it's not in the program to beat Kasparov with black.

You can't reach a dead drawn position in 13 moves, and if you try your punishment should be playing it out till move 40. No more undeclared rest days. Open tournaments are somewhat of a different thing since you paid an entry fee, but even then this culture is pernicious.

heh..mig i agree with you generally, and hate short draws myself, but somehow yesterday i wasnt too incensed. maybe it was cos i was really busy at work and didnt have much time to check the games anyway :-) As for 13 move draws, in my case it can be dead lost in 13! :-) and i do think Topalov would have played on had he had any substantial advantage but of course I dont pretend to have ESP! i'm really curious tho, with kasp and the Ruy. Whenever I have seen him in recent years actually get a chance to play the Ruy, and he wants to avoid the Marshal, he looks as dangerous as a baby with a single milk tooth. any thoughts on that Mig??

I dunno, more an impression than reality perhaps, although such maneuverings don't seem to attract him much. He certainly was quite good in the Ruy back in the old days against Karpov. He always plays the anti-Marshall. He doesn't really face 1..e5 that often. In the past few years he has three wins against seven draws, no worse than against 1...c5. He's also been playing 1.d4 more often.

yes, that's exactly my point!! Against Karpov he redefined the Ruy, which was amazing considering how karpov had more or less owned the Ruy, and scored some amazing victories. But against Karpov he didnt have to worry about the Marshal, he never plays it and I think almost always played an early d6. However if he has scored 3-0-7 in recent years as you say with the anti marshal lines, i guess its an illusion. I dont have a database and couldnt check for myself.

Well, of course, they regard these tournaments as exhibitions. On some days Adams wants to exhibit a draw, on some he wants to exhibit a loss. Kramnik likes to exhibit being sick and having an off tournament. Vallejo and Radjabov traditionally don't like to exhibit so much so they don't exhibit as hard as Anand and Leko. And until we see Kazimdzhanov play Topalov in a tournament in which the winner has a possibility of a championship shot, we will never know who the better chess player is. The exhibitions of great fighting chess that occur in these tournaments about as often as in championship matches are actually pre-planned the day before by both competitors for maximum stage effectiveness. On the other hand, there has never been a short draw or lack of fighting in a championship or candidate's match (probably because there has been like two of the latter in the past decade). Now if you will excuse me, I am having an off day. Does anybody know what the Klitschko brothers are doing?

Well - I'll repeat my constant refrain again - pay players to win games and they will. Why destroy the logic of chess? You can't force players to play interesting games just because there is a move limit. What about short perpetuals? A ton of those exist! You can induce a change but you cannot mandate it. Make it more profitable to win rather than draw and you will see, "Money changes everything!"

As for 'free' days leading to draws: if I were young again you would be lucky to see me stagger in and avoid the time forfeit after the 'free' day! Aren't 'free' days supposed to be 'free'? Why would you waste it trying to find playable lines in a chess game? Someone with access to accurate information should do a study on this and I would not be surprized to find an upsurge in draws the day after a break - except in computer tournaments!


Just to point out that they would not have to play this up and down knight game you mention for 40 moves, as it is a draw by 3fold repetition by move 4!! I think that precisely to avoid this kind of sillyness is that the draw verbal offer option should remain.

More seriously, I think we should cut these guys some slack. It has been a very good tournament so far and it seems to me perfectly natural that there be lapses of relative calm. In some sports it even adds to the thrill. As long as these calm periods not become the norm, I am perfectly happy with them.



3fold repetition by move 4? Not by Rakshasas' rules it's not. "Only draws before 1st time control are by stalemate." :)

I used to think that these three tournaments - Corus, Wijk, and Linares - were regarded by players as the Wimbledons of chess, but now you guys seem to be right. Especially in comparison to Candidates Matches. These tournaments still have fighting spirit (aren't we just coming off a fantastic Corus?), but it's just not the same kind that we have been spoiled with in the past. I think a possible explanation is that chess is in some sort of transition stage in terms of personalities. Kasparov, arguably the greatest of all time, is getting old, Anand is rapidly approaching his #1 position, and you've got a bunch of other guys (and girl) above 2700. There's going to be a changing of the guard pretty soon. I think what chess needs is a crazy player to shake things up again. Another Fischer to make it interesting. Another bitter superpower rivalry (not to mention a credible title) to make it worth fighting for.


Ashton --

Corus and Wijk are the same thing. Did you mean to add Dortmund to your list?

Yes thank you... damn corporations! That's another thing I want to rant about. It's not the Microsoft/Time Warner/Al-Jazeera Bowl, it's the Orange Bowl!

Anyways yes, Dortmund is the one I'm talking about.


I think Ashton has chosen a poor target here. Corus ( remember they used to be called Hoogevens ) must be the greatest sponsor in chess history, and one of the greatest in any sport. If any company has earned the right to be a generic name in the chess world, they have.


excuse me for asking this question (off topic) but I don't know where to ask.

Is there any TV coverage on Spannish (or other) stations? And if you have details, at what time?



You are right. My original argument was not against corporations, especially the precious few which have devoted anything at any time to chess. That was a silly sidenote.

GK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OMIGOSH!!!!!!! What a game against poor Kasim! With black against d4, took the intiative with ridiculous ease and never looked back. fact of the matter is, there is nobody to touch him. Anand and leko are close, but are only leading the pack of contenders. I think there are 3 mini hierarchies at the top. Kasparov occupies one by himself, Anand and Leko occupy the next. Topalov, Adams, Moro and Kramnik the next.

Is something wrong with the official Linares website?

All of a sudden, starting yesterday, all I get is a message in spanish to the tune of "We are having problems."

The Linares Website seems to be in "standby mode" for extended periods of time.

Ok, Kasparov is old and going downer. And yet he is still the best! Can you imagine any other SGM willing to sacrifice the exchange in such a position (against Kasim)? Maybe only the entrepreneur Topalov, certainly not Leko. Kasparov still sees a lot on the board and plays dynamically like nobody else.

While I agree with your conclusions, since the exchange sac was the first new move of the game it was undoubtedly preparation. It's still an ingenious concept and the beautiful finish wasn't preparation, but it's easier to play such things when you know going in that you have good compensation with excellent practical attacking chances.

Truly a spectacular game, many nice nuances like 26..g6. And it's remarkable that the e-pawn could be such a force.

Before every tournament I'm going to predict that Kasparov is washed up. Sometime in the next thirty years I'll definitely be right.

And now we know why Kasparov plays simuls during tournaments. From his opponents he picks up little ideas like yesterday's exchange sack that he can spring on his tournament foes.

Concerning the game Kasim-Kasparov.
Kasim's first mistake was to rush with winning the exchange. The simple Qe2 instead of Bc5 looks strong. The whole line is not that well studied yet.
I know Garry likes to play the old intimidation game, claiming that everything had been prepared at home, but I think more often than not he finds things over the board, things that other people miss or don't have the guts to go for. Possibly, that's what happened.
Great game anyway.

Linares Trivia, Lamest Records (apologies if duplicated elsewhere):

1. Winless players: Visier, '79; Garcia Gonzales, '81; Adorjan, '85; Nikolic, '88; Gulko & Sokolov '89; Ljubojevic, '90; Speelman, '92; Jusupov, '93; Beliavsky, '94; Ljubojevic, '95; Leko, '00; Leko, '01; Pons, '04.

2. Only players to go winless and still win a Linares: Ljubojevic, '85; Leko, 2003.

3. Fewest wins to win: Kramnik & Kasparov, 2000; Kramnik, 2004; two wins.

4. Most losses in one tournament: Kamsky, 1991, with 10.

5. Most tries before winning Linares:
Anand ->91->92->93->94->97->98* (winning on sixth try) and
Kramnik ->93->94->97->98->99->00 (also winning on sixth try).
Timman ->83->85->88
Leko ->99->00->01->03
* last number is year winning Linares.

6. World Champions who never won Linares: Khalifman & Ponomariov.

7. Fewest World Champions in same tournament (past, present, future): 0. Linares 1988

8. Only Knock-out World Champion to win: Anand

9. Only player to score the most wins in the tournament and still not win: Beliavsky with 7 wins in 1991, finishing 3rd.

10. Most losses in the tournament by a World Champion: 4. Spassky, '90; Karpov, '91; Anand, '94.

11. Only player to lose more than one game and still win: Leko, '03, with 2 losses. All other winners lost one or were undefeated.

The boss is back in the game. I have criticised Kasparov a bit on this messageboard because I was very disappointed for his first draw with Peter Leko in the first round. I have also criticised him for his change of style etc. Now I take it all back. The win today against Adams shows very clearly who is the best chessplayer and +5 says it all. This is the Kasparov we are talking about when we discuss about the best chessplayer of all time. Kramnik, Leko, Anand, Topalov haha. They are all patzers when we talk about the good old Kasparov. I will not be surprised if Kasparov goes for the kill against Anand tomorrow and we have +6. Come on lets see some fightingchess.

sometimes i play chess but i usually get my ass kicked but o well i bet i could beat kasparov at ultimosaM chess for sure

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on March 2, 2005 7:22 PM.

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