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No Lamb In Linares

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Make a few comments and get punished by Caissa. Say how tough Kasimdzhanov is to beat and he loses two in a row. Say Vallejo Pons is playing more aggressively but may wreck the event with his losses and he plays a 13-move draw with white and then wins one. At least the part about Kasparov kicking some butt worked out.

The drawing percentage is up to 70%, but you don't notice it so much when 1) there's a clear leader to watch and 2) the wins are evenly spaced so you get one each round. The race is now for second place. Anand has the inside track with whites against Vallejo Pons and his favorite customer, Adams.


It a good job Kramnik chickened out or he would have got a severw beating

yep, very appropriate title, tho i guess unintended. The lamb didnt turn up for the proverbial slaughter..

and i'm sorry to be pontificating, but i think Anand showed just why there is a difference between the very top players, and the good. Just clear, strong play when presented with an offbeat line.. kasim is outa sorts, but my word what an exhibition.

No unintended title. Was looking for a play on the "Lame In Linares" of a few days ago. "Lambasted In Linares" was the other choice. Yes, spend too much time on this junk...

If Anand beats Kasparov Wednesday in Linares maybe God isn't dead after all. --Nietzsche

I think you mean "the gods", Hindu that is. I've always hoped that if there is a god he has better things to do than pay attention to our sports events despite being constantly invoked by all sides.


"Mig: I think you mean 'the gods', Hindu that is. I've always hoped that if there is a god he has better things to do than pay attention to our sports events despite being constantly invoked by all sides."

I agree squarely, except with respect to the "the gods" remark. It is a Western World legend to think that Hinduism has many gods; in fact, Hinduism states that all these "gods" are simply different manifestations of the supreme God (Bramhan). Not very different from the Christian's theory of Holy Trinity: God (Father), Jesus(Son) and Holy Ghost are three manifestations of just one God.

(Chess comment to prevent this post from being moved/deleted for dwelling solely on religious content): Looks like Kazim was not that unbeatable after all, he's got to learn a lot from 1999-Kramnik or Leko. I am disappointed that he was unable to secure a draw against Anand with white, Anand is typically not superaggressive when playing with the Black pieces against 2650+ opposition.

It was a pathetic game by Kasimdzhanov, one of the worst seen in Linares. He shuffled his queen around like a patzer, praying for a draw offer that never came. At least Vallejo Pons' brutal loss to Topalov showed some fight. He was even better at one point.

Seems to me that religion has come even into "Daily Dirt". Ha ha. Very nicely said, Mig. As someone posted on the ninja messageboards, the world would be a better place without any religion or God than it is right now. Curiously, I never understood why God has to be an integral part of a religion.

The second round-robin only proves that Kasim is not there yet. I am afraid the winner of the next KO would be outside of top 100 and would still play in Linares.

"The second round-robin only proves that Kasim is not there yet. "

Not that simple - his rating list position and lack of credibility implies that adversaries don't respect him as much, and go for the kill against him more often instead of taking a short draw. This attitude on the part of the other players has a significant psychological impact on a player's performance. As an illustration, if Kramnik were in Kazim's place and wanted an easy draw, all he had to do was offer it in move 10 and Anand would have accepted. Unfortunately Kazim does not gather the same respect from Anand as Kramnik does, even if their playing skills were comparable.

How many people have said that a good chunk of Kasparov's strength comes from his intimidating his adversaries? Shirov and Anand would probably agree as they can't seem to find their game against him (OK, in the first Linares game Anand did very well - first time since 1998 where I see Anand better than Kasparov in a game).

Let's not forget Kazim came even out of matches against Ivanchuk, Grischuk, Topalov (4-game match) and Adams (6-game match) in the KO. These are not a group of four tourists. But maybe the faster FIDE time controls were what did it for Kazim, arguably the 3rd best Rapid player in the world?

Random thoughts...

ahem.. murali what have u been smoking today? there is something called "occam's razor" which is a very useful principle of economy. Duck test version of it goes like this: if something quacks like a duck, looks like a duck, and even tastes like duck, chances are it is a duck. There's such a thing as over analysing..

"There's such a thing as over analysing..."

What is a blog good for anyway?

Kasim's tournament went to the dogs after his first loss (to Vallejo). The Anand game he played particularly badly, but what about his ...d5? against Adams (the game he eventually drew) and Nd5?? against Garry? Those were terrible mistakes too. You might say Kasim has spread his gifts more or less evenly and his collapse didn't distort the the tournament.
Speaking of bad games, remember Topalov-Anand? A 2500 guy shouldn't have let Vishy escape from that horrible endgame position. What was Topalov thinking (Be7-g5??). Combined with his earlier collapse against Leko, Topi just gave away some easy points.
If not, the tournament could have had a different winner.

It is funny to note that Yermo beat Topalov in Corus 1999, in what I believe was their last OTB confrontation.

Crazy day in Linares today (round 12). Kasparov demolished Adams with black in a spectacular game. Topalov stomped Kasimdzhanov, who has fallen apart completely. Anand pushed too hard against Vallejo Pons and was losing, then completely lost. In a winning rook endgame Vallejo Pons allowed a draw instead of playing a relatively simple (what else was there?) winning maneuver with two rooks and three pawns on the board. Bizarre.

It takes some of the steam out of the final rounds. Unless Topalov wins again tomorrow against Vallejo Pons, definitely possible, a Kasparov-Anand draw means the last-round Topalov-Kasparov game is irrelevant for first place. But with a 25,000 Euro (I think that's around a million dollars under the Bush economy) diffence between each of the first four prizes, there is plenty of incentive anyway.

I also hope Anand and Topalov stay ahead of Leko. After ten straight draws it would be a shame if he were rewarded at the end. (As when he and Kramnik drew ALL their games in Dortmund.) Root for karma!

yeah mig, i think your opening remarks for this thread are spot on. No sooner than I lavish praise on Anand does he go and play a shocker of a game. Only thing worse was Vallejo Pons not seeing that win at the end. Can a 2685 GM not see that????? There's still hope for me!

Kasp on the other hand played the kind of game that leaves you just marvelling at the man's genius. believe you me folks, we are lucky to be alive in this Chess age, that we can see Kasparov play such games live, from thousands of miles away. Long live the boss.

It didn't take long after Anand-Vallejo ended before the conspiracy theories came to life.
But much better players than Vallejo make maybe even worse errors. See Radjabov-Kasparov or Kasparov-Bacrot (*both* misplayed a simple pawn ending there) from last year.

I think that seems to happen a lot, at least a lot more than you would expect. Do (some) top players tend to ignore endgames in their study compared to opening preparation and such? If so it seems intuitively strange considering how many half points that are just thrown out of the window like that.

And yes, Kasparov's game was truly spectacular. To a lot of us Adams seemed to get an almost crushing attack but it seems to have been an optical illusion.

Just didn't get 22.Nb3?? What was the idea even if 22..Nxc2 hadn't been there? Adams was worse at that point but that move just looked completely desperate.

ouch, i have a horrible grammatical mistake. should have read: "no sooner do I ... than ..." :-(

didnt know there were conspiracy theories. btw, even if u dont know the theory for that position, is rd2+ and rd7 hard to find?

No, it would normally not be hard to find on that level. That's why I shook my head in disbelief when 66..Kb1 was played and it petered out in a draw.
But maybe the manouevre was a little counter-intuitive if you don't know about the idea. I don't know. (Yermo critizised both sides' endgame play severely on ICC, maybe he has a comment.)
Anand and Vallejo are friends, that's what fueled the theories about foul play. But as I said, this kind of thing does happen from time to time even on higher levels.

omigosh!!!! Topalov has been seeing too many bullfights in Spain! How did he do that against a 2686 GM?? Topy looks like he's here to stay in the top 3. If he had ONLY been a bit more careful against Leko..

"If he had ONLY been a bit more careful against Leko.."

or Anand. Though it should be noted he got lucky in both games against Adams. According to Sergei Shipov their minimatch should have been 0.5-1.5 or 0-2 in Adams' favor.

Oh My God! Is chesscenter.com playing with me? Did Topalov catch Kasparov? Somebody please confirm this would-be wonderful news for me. It's been around 9 years since Topalov chalked up a 1-0 on #1. I have no idea what to do with myself at this point.

Too bad the second tie-break is number of black wins. But Kasparov deserves the tournament victory more than anyone else, so I don't feel too bad. At any rate, bravo VesTop!!

Extremely weird that Kasparov allowed that pawn endgame, wasn't it!

Really bizarre. I was commentating the game and while we didn't even look at the pawn endgame, Black had comfortable drawing possibilities with the queens on. Kasparov must have been sure the pawn endgame was drawn; he just dived right in. Total hallucination. Really a shame to spoil such a great tournament like that.

Kasparov still wins first place on tiebreak formula, and they all knew that going in, which is sort of lame. Should keep them secret. First tiebreak is most wins, second is most wins with black. So Kasparov wins, Topalov second. Definitely a moral victory for Topalov though, despite the ugly nature of the game. Not his fault Kasparov blundered!

Anand lost to Adams! Some irony that Leko is the only undefeated player this year.

Yeah, and if Leko draws he will have been the first in history to draw all his games in Linares. I alsoo don't recall a tournament where the only undefeated player was also the only one without a win.

Even if Kasparov were allowed to take the 1st place trophy on tiebreaks, I think the 1st-2nd prize money should have been split. I bet Topalov does not care about the trophy but he could use 12,500 euros. Not to mention that it is unfair to reward Kasparov with that much extra over Topalov when they ended the tournament tied.

Ah, and it just occurred to me that if Leko indeed draws Paco, the tournament scores will be:

Kasparov: 8.0 (+4)
Topalov: 8.0 (+4)
Anand: 6.5 (+1)
Leko: 6.0 (0)
Adams: 5.5 (-1)
Paco: 4.0 (-4)
Kazim: 4.0 (-4)

Perfectly symmetrical! And Kazim without a win.


Results among the Top Four:
+1 Anand
= Leko and Topalov
-1 Kasparov

Games with white among the Top Four:
Topalov--one win, two draws (57 and 70 moves)
Anand----one win, two draws (45 and 24 moves)
Kasparov-no wins, three draws (31,22 and 22 moves)
Leko-----no wins, three draws (26,24 and 19 moves)

Games with black among the top four:

= Anand and Leko (three draws)
-1 Kasparov and Topalov (loss and two draws)

Linares Records (some lame):

1. No World Champion ever went winless except Kasimdzhanov.

2. No reigning World Champion lost 4 games, or more than 2 games for that matter, except Kasimdzhanov.

3. Karpov still holds the record for the oldest player to win Linares (1994) at age 42. Kasparov turns 42 April 13.

4. Topalov breaks the record for most tries before winning Linares, at 7: 94->95->97->98->99->04->05. Anand and Kramnik took 6 tries. Topalov turns 29 in 5 days (March 15).

5. Youngest player ever to win Linares: Ivanchuck at 19 in 1989.

6. Youngest player ever to appear in Linares: Radjabov at 15 in 2003.

7. Oldest player ever to appear in Linares: Kortchnoi at 53 in 1985.

5. Most World Champions (past, present, future) to appear in same tournament: 4, in '93, '94, '00, '03.

6. First try winners: Christiansen, '79; Karpov, '81; Ivanchuk, '89; Kasparov, '90.

7. Most wins in the tournament: Karpov with 9, in 1994.

8. Most tournament victories: Kasparov with 9.

9. Classical World Champions who never won: 0, they all won: Spassky, Karpov, Kasparov, Kramnik. Tal, Petrosian, Botvinnik, Smyslov, and Fischer never played in Linares.

10. No player drew all their games except Leko.

11. Leko also holds the record for going winless more than once: 2000, 2001, 2005.

Correction: point 11: should read more than twice. Ljubojev went winless twice: '90 and '95.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on March 5, 2005 11:01 PM.

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