Greengard's ChessNinja.com

Anand Interviews

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So that everybody knows it's all Anand all the time around here, I'll give the link to a recent interview with him. There are links on the page to older interviews as well. As Jen Shahade said here a few days ago, Vishy rocks! How long will he be #1? Is it going to be a pack of equals with Topalov and Leko (and Kramnik if he wakes up in time) swapping the top spot for a while?


"Is it going to be a pack of equals with Topalov and Leko (and Kramnik if he wakes up in time) swapping the top spot for a while?"

My god...how boring that sounds!

And with the #1 spot pretty much up for grabs anyway, there is less impetus to make the rating list more dynamic. That's a shame.

The "dynasty vs parity" debate has gone on in all the American team sports (and elsewhere, I'm sure). Dynasties like the Yankees are huge for promoting a sport. (They sell out every park they visit.) In general, it's an all boats rise situation when someone successful and marketable like Fischer and Kasparov comes along. (Tiger Woods, et al.) They get a lot of money, but it trickles down.

A big head-to-head rivalry can also be great. (Lakers-Celtics) Fans identify with one and it really builds interest. One of the sad things about the disappearance of match play is that it's hard to generate that sort of thing. The top players face each other only a few times each year, and as the stats show, tournament wins rarely depend on the games between the top few.

Not to mention how bored top players are when it comes to playing each other (Topalov - and to a lesser extent Leko - excepted). Anand said at least once that he faces the likes of Kramnik, Topalov etc. a few times every year and it is hard to come up with something new every time. Which is why many games (particularly Anand-Kramnik) drift to short, boring, lifeless draws.

Is this a consequence of the huge levels of opening preparation seen today, or can we blame Vishy for not displaying Topalov's energy?

That's one reason it's nice to see Ponomariov and Polgar at the M-Tel next month. At Corus we have most of the top ten plus some wildcards. Great. At Linares we have the top ten in a double-round robin. Great. (Some wildcards lately with Vallejo and an invitee, but mostly super-elite.) So instead of imitating them and trying for a higher category, other events should mix it up more.

It's not like you have to go that far down the rating list to find exciting and interesting players. And they don't always get killed, either. Of course Bologan is the best example, but there are many others. It would also be nice to have consequences for a bad or incredibly boring performance. If you draw all your games or finish -4, you don't come back next year. If you play a half-dozen draws in 25 moves, see ya.

"If you play a half-dozen draws in 25 moves, see ya."

That's right, the organizers have the right to not invite him the following year. But they don't have the right to complain about the draws during the tournament. Remember what Kramnik said? "A painter paints". To add to that, a painter gets paid in advance and the buyer should not complain about the result whatever it might be. The most he can do is not hire the artist again.

"If you draw all your games or finish -4, you don't come back next year." LOL, you've just made mortal some mortal enemies in the Leko-lovers and Morozevich fans. ;-) Even besides them, though, there are a lot of people (myself included) who'd be unhappy if Leko was axed from Linares '06, or if Moro didn't get invited back to Corus. Leko's games may be uninteresting to some, but there's no debating the quality of his play. Definitely top 4-5 in the world, and that's what Linares is supposed to be about, isn't it? The very best chess the world has to offer, even if a couple of short draws have to be thrown in. And Morozevich's style may not have worked this year in Corus, but it did add some excitement and variety to the mix.

As for the original question, I wager we won't see a clear #1 for quite some time. Kramnik, Leko and Topalov will be consistently mixing it up there with Anand for several years, and other players like Adams, Polgar, Grischuk, Svidler, Bacrot, and Bologan will probably get an occasional look-in too. Which will be good for chess IMO. After a decade of getting dominated by one player (Kasparov), our favorite sport needs to see a variety of new faces close to the top.

"A painter paints" How I hate this sentence. It sucks. A tournament is competitive chess, a sports event. Participants are supposed to fight. Period.

Typo: my previous comment should read, "made some mortal enemies," although I'm sure everyone knows what I meant anyway.

"My god...how boring that sounds!"

I don`t know, I don`t find Topalov particularly boring at all.

The painter paints sentence is one of my favorite sentences. I completely agree with it. If Kramnik does not find a position interesting should he be obligated to play for you poison pawn? We all play chess for ourselves and some just have more skill than others. I occasionally offer my lower rated opponents draws when they are sucking the life out of the position (This is the usual try for experts playing 2300's). Yes, I could probably outclass them in about 4 or 5 ours. But it would be a torturous 4 or 5 hours of my life. If it gives Kramnik no pleasure to play out a given position why should he play. You have no right to tell him or me to play the position. No matter that he is world champion and gets paid in proportion to his skill level. If you think you could draw Anand or Leko easily then you can try. I doubt you will last the requesite 25 moves nor could I. I therefore have respect for Kramnik as do Leko and Anand and as should you. I think if he switched back to Nf3 he will get positions more to his taste and would be able to do more. But that is also his choice. People like you that tell elite players how to play their game or that they "suck" really annoy me. The audacity.

I don't find the games of Leko, Kramnik or Anand to be boring, the short draws that they normally play out with one another tends to be real theoratically draws which will definitely lead to a truce no matter how they play on. Lesser players like us ought to learn from their remarkable drawing technique and not brand them as boring 'cause you always learn something from a game of chess played by top players.

Great posts DP. It's simple practical chess. Professional players play tournaments to win and to earn their living.

To keep this up over years the key is to play the tournament to win it as efficiently as possible and plan your preparation around it. The key is to pick your battles. A relatively painless draw with black against a top player is a real achievement and a great way to recharge the batteries for a fight with white the next day. Similarly taking a quick draw so you can manage a fever may make you look like chicken, but can avoid spoiling a tournament. If you have something in reserve for the next event, even better.

Anand and Kramnik have kept this up for years and Leko looks like having the potential to do this too. Itís relatively easy to be a one hit wonder and win a major event, but to keep it up year after year is something else.

Kasparov and Topalov are exceptions to the rule as they fight far more often. Topalov hasnít got the consistent results of the others (I think if he picked his battles a little more he could lose less and still get the same number of wins). Kasparov is a freakÖ

Sorry I meant great posts DP and JZY

Some of you think players are entitled to play as many short draws as they want without the organizer complaining. I am not so sure as long as they are paid appearance fees for playing, apart from their results. Obviously there's no legal enforcement, but we could talk about a moral one. Anyway, if that's not the case some rule must be appointed to prevent this behaviour, as in the tournament to be held in Bulgaria or some other idea.
I also completely disagree with that 'tends to be real theoratically draws which will definitely lead to a truce no matter how they play on'. Sometimes this short draws happen in quite lifeless positions, which would indeed probably end in a draw. But many other times the position could be perfectly played on, but black equalized or even got a a slightly better position and as a result they agree to a draw. I can understand this for tournament strategy or because of special circumstances (tiredness, illness...) if they happen from time to time, but not from a player who makes at least 3 or 4 every tournament. Sometimes they don't play more than 3 or 4 not specially significant new moves from known theory, which is a real shame and can't have any instructional value no matter how strong the players are.
I don't think anyone is trying to tell the players how they should play. At least I am only saying they should play, short draws must the exception and not the rule. In that case I would still prefer some players rather than others depending on their style, but that's just a matter of taste.

A painter doesn't please. A painter paints.

Chessplayer, until organisers stop inviting players who take this approach, players have the right to do this and can't be blamed. Three to four quick draws in a 12 round event is not excessive if they fight in the others. I agree that Kramnik probably fights too little, but often no more than he has to win the event (e.g. Linares 2004).

The organisers' obsession with getting the highest average rating/category possible will ensure that this pattern continues and to be honest, I don't think it's a bad thing.

The record books will show the winners and not the fighters.

Unrelated to any WC structure, our tournaments over the past several years have been little more than exhibitions. In a new WC cycle (let's hope it comes together soon) nearly every game will "matter" and the GMs will play accordingly.

DP - Kramnik won a nice game with his old 1.Nf3 2.c4 against Artur Kogan (2592) today, playing for NAO in the French league. Maybe he has judged that it just isn't good enough on higher levels any more.

Or maybe....

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on April 10, 2005 6:52 PM.

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