Mig 
Greengard's ChessNinja.com

New Kramnik Interview

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There is a new interview with Vladimir Kramnik by Dagobert Kohlmeyer up at ChessBase.com. Some items of interest about his personal opinions and life, not much in the way of news. As several posters in other threads have noted, Kramnik brings up the Prague agreement as a rationale for not playing in Argentina. This not long after saying Prague was dead. But in general I agree with his conclusion, that according to how things were defined before there is nothing to oblige him to play in a unification tournament.

But the situation is changing. Prague died with Kasparov's retirement and FIDE's announcement of the San Luis unification ("unification") tournament. We may speak of the spirit of Prague, doing your level best to unify the title for the good of the game and all the players. Somebody is going to have to bite the bullet. FIDE can have the San Luis winner play Kramnik and continue with a classical cycle, as they have announced. That would be optimal. Or Kramnik can play in San Luis with his title on the line and a classical cycle begins.

There are sacrifices and leaps of faith involved no matter what, but I don't see how things can get any worse than they are now. The schism will persist, perhaps with two classical chess champions, and they will continue to split the small sponsorship pie. Can we trust FIDE to hold the classical cycle? I don't think they would go as far as a bait and switch. One thing is for sure, it will be a lot easier to find sponsorship if it's for THE world championship instead of one of them.

He asks people to check the statistics on the number of draws he plays. Okay. Draw percentage since the start of 2003, not counting blindfold and blitz: Leko 68%, Kramnik 62%, Anand 52%, Topalov 48%.

62 Comments

at least its clear to me that Kramink doesnt understand relativity, neither special relativity nor general relativity. Its the stock response of any layman to say "everything's relative" when confronted with relativity. Which is true, but has nothing to do with Einstein's theories of relativity.

"I don't see how things can get any worse than they are now".

You are an optimist, here is a possible scenario: 1) Anand and Kramnik decline to play the Argentina tournament 2) FIDE declares Leko (the Argentina champion) to be the world champion, 3) FIDE makes no effort to stage a match Kramnik-Leko, 4) The ACP can't produce a cycle and a challenger for Kramnik, 5) Anand dominates the tournament circuit and stays at the top of the rating list with a comfortable lead.

I'm happy to see that Kramnik is committed to preserving the great chess world champion tradition:

"The important thing is that a great tradition that has lasted for more than a century should be continued."

"I am very glad about these circumstances and will work hard to preserve the classical line of the world championship."

I hope so.

Kramnik makes a very good point when he says that "it is right to win the chess crown in a one-to-one match against the reigning world champion".

Once the world champion is seeded into the semi-final stage, there is the possibility that we get a new champion who never had to play aingle game against the old champion.

Severins--

That the WC chain would remain unbroken even if the WC is seeded only into the semi-finals is demonstrated by this imaginary proviso:

"If the wc is defeated in his semi-final long match, the player who defeated him shall become wc, and shall defend his title in the finals match."

A unification scenario: While the 2006(?) knockout event is going on, the San Luis champion plays Kramnik for the title. Whether he beats Kramnik or not, his San Luis status still gets him seeded into the 05-07 semi-finals. If Kramnik wins he gets seeded into the semis as well. If he loses he gets a Candidates slot.

LOL Murali, aren't your scenarios the same as it is right now? Fide WC is Kasimdzanov, Kramnik is the real WC, Fide is making no effort to hold a match between the two and Anand is dominating the tournament circuit?
So the writer is correct in saying it cannot get worse

I think Kramnik would agree he is in a rut over the past 4 years and even if we go back a little further say until 2001(post match)-2004 his percentage is still 62%= by my count (eliminating blitz and players below 2600) my count for Anand 2001-2004 is 58% draws, however my guess is that his data is significantly shifted by rapid games. In any case,the last decisive classical game between the two was Dortmund 2001 with big Vlad taking the game with the white pieces in amazing style.

going back a tad further to 1999 we see that Kramnik has three unanswered wins in classical whereas Anand has a mountain of wins in rapid. Enough of the jobless stats.

>"at least its clear to me that Kramink doesnt understand relativity, neither special relativity nor general relativity."

Great! I've been waiting forever for somebody to explain Einsteins theory to a layman like me! Ok d, go right ahead!

"I don't think they would go as far as a bait and switch".

Speaking of FIDE, how can you rule out anything? Especially, how can you rule out anything senseless and underhanded?

" Draw percentage since the start of 2003, not counting blindfold and blitz: Leko 68%, Kramnik 62%, Anand 52%, Topalov 48%. ".

If this site were slashdot, iwould quickly qualify this as "Insightful" :)

Dear Greg Koster, here is even better scenario: the WC has to defend their title in every game they play. And in case of game loss the winner becomes the new WC. Until they lose, of course :-D

I am pretty sure the "everything is relative" remark was part of a joke, but maybe he just laughed out of nowhere.

sorry una, schools out.. do an internet search, many great sites out there..

DP wrote: "I think Kramnik would agree he is in a rut over the past 4 years...."

Actually, if you read the interview, you'll see that Kramnik does NOT think he is in a rut. At any rate, he is not admitting that in his public comments. What he may think privately, nobody knows. He clearly is delusional about his win/lose/draw percentage.

A fair observation is that Kramnik remains AMONG the world's top players, but at no point has he played consistently like a world champion, except at the one time when it counted: his 2000 match with Kasparov. Obviously he has won tournaments here & there, but if you didn't know he was the reigning classical world champion, nothing in his long-term results would tell you that he has ever, at any time, been the world's top player.

Without question, his victory over Kasparov remains a significant accomplishment, no matter what else he may do. But nothing he did before, or has done since, has backed it up. Kramnik still has time to change history's perception of him, but right now his victory in 2000 looks like an aberration.

Vlad--

Let's backdate your new rule to the end of Steinitz-Zukertort 1886. Find out the first guy to beat Steinitz. Find out who then beat the guy who beat Steinitz, etc. Work it all out and let us know who's the rightful champ.

Kramnik's draws--

Kramnik was asked about the Sofia rule prohibiting quick draws. Maybe he meant to say that he doesn't make too many quick draws.

Greg Koster said: "Kramnik was asked about the Sofia rule prohibiting quick draws. Maybe he meant to say that he doesn't make too many quick draws."

There is probably some ambiguity here. The interview was conducted in Russian, printed in a German newspapaer, then translated into English.

Kramnik is asked what he thinks of the rule at Sofia forbidding quick draws. As translated twice-over, Kramnik says: "I welcome that. I know that certain people accuse me of making too many draws. But that is not based on the facts. They should study my tournament statistics."

As far as I know, tournaments don't keep a separate stat on "quick draws." They keep a stat on draws, full stop. In that department, Kramnik is known for agreeing to more draws than most players at his level.

More so than most players, it would seem the Sofia rule will force Kramnik to play a style that is alien to him. On the other hand, I've no reason to think that Kramnik is unable to play an endgame when he has to. So maybe he's saying, "As long as everybody has to play the games to the end, I don't mind doing it."

Kramnik's quote:

"But that is not based on the facts. They should study my tournament statistics. "

Correct me if I am wrong but, interestingly enough, MIG chose not to give numbers for tournament stats (specifically like Kramnik stated), but also included the match stats. I think the whole point of Kramnik's rationale was the in the highest level competition like the world championship match, players would (a) be stronger (and it is known that the stronger the players, the more likely they are to play to a draw) and (b) would be more evenly matched than in a tournament like Wijk where top GMs play weaker folks. So the whole point was - Kramnik and Leko had more draws than other people because lately they play thougher competition than anyone else (namely, a world championship match against each other).

Why is it interesting? I just took all the games minus blindfold. Oooh, must be a big conspiracy. Leko and Kramnik draw more games, period. Removing 14 from a sample of over 200 isn't going to change that.

Okay, I spent more time on it. I went back another year (to 2002) and I took only classical games and rapid events in which all four players played (Amber). I didn't count the Leko-Kramnik match. It didn't change much.

Percentage of draws:

Leko: 67%; Kramnik: 65%; Anand: 58%; Topalov: 52%

Of equal interest, and perhaps more relevance, percentage of draws that are 25 moves or shorter:

Anand: 52.7%; Kramnik: 37.6%; Leko: 32.7%; Topalov: 24.6%

If you count only short draws with white it tightens up a lot. Anand 17, Kramnik 15, Leko 12, Topalov 9. That may be the most useful stat if you are one of those who accept draws with black are okay, but there are different possible reasons for the big difference in Anand's draw numbers. You could say players are more eager to offer Anand a draw even if they have white against him, or that he is more inclined to accept a short draw with black than the others, or both.

"LOL Murali, aren't your scenarios the same as it is right now? Fide WC is Kasimdzanov, Kramnik is the real WC, Fide is making no effort to hold a match between the two and Anand is dominating the tournament circuit?"

After his 2nd place in Wijk and mediocre performance in Linares I would hardly considering Anand to be "dominating" the tournament circuit.

"So the writer is correct in saying it cannot get worse"

The way things could "get worse" is if Anand starts winning and effectively replaces (now retired) Kasparov.

Put it another way, Kasparov's retirement made things easier since the chess world no longer has a dominating player with enough leverage to demand special treatment. If, however, Anand becomes that dominating player, things will get "worse" again.

Nova has a pretty good explanation of both Special Relativity (motion affects measurements of time and space) and General Relativity (a theory of gravity showing that mass also affects the measurements of time and space).

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/einstein/relativity/

The relativistic part is that outside influences can affect the instrument of measurement, meaning "one second" has a different value for different observers.

This could certainly be applied to chess organizing right now! What is "a world championship," for example, may have a different answer depending on who the observer is, and the outside forces acting on him/her.

Yeah, it's not the REAL "theory of relativity," but it's a decent metaphor.

One could also make a cute mathematical joke about the force that one person perceives as the weight of gravity holding things in place was actually the result of the rest of the chess world accelerating rapidly in an opposite direciton, but I won't. :)

cheers,
duif

p.s. The Theory of Relativity has much more to it, in particular comments on the nature of light, gravity, and forces, but as far as the "everything is relative" comment, it usually comes from the examples of the same measuring device producing different answers in different situations.

Mig, I said it was interesting because you seemed to claim to have done what Kramnik asked for - count the draw percentage, but he in fact specifically said counting tournaments only.

Anyway, like you yourself found out, Anand, for example, agrees to shorter draws even more than either Kramnik or Leko. Yet I don't hear you(or other people) complain about him.

Another interesting and relevant stat - I don't have 2002-2004 tournaments only stats, but I have stats for classical games 2000-2005 (up to 01/05/2005) on littlefish's stat page. And here are the opponent's average ratings: Kramnik: 2724, Leko: 2701, Anand: 2687, Topalov: 2676. Maybe, just maybe, quality of opposition has something to do with greater number of draws for Kramnik and Leko? 50 point difference between an average Kramnik opponent and an average Topalov opponent over the rather large span of 5 years has to be worth something?

If you don't listen, you can't hear. I have often criticized Anand for taking short draws, especially against weaker opposition. He is clearly convinced of the value of a short draw with black against just about anybody.

But there is also the rule - of which I'm not a fan - of not criticizing the winner. Anand wins tournaments, and plenty of them, so you aren't going to hear many people complaining about his short draws along the way. And to win events you must win games. His much lower overall draw percentage is because of so many more wins. This is most clearly reflected on the rating list, where Kramnik has dropped considerably. Again, if you win games, people don't pay much attention to your draws. When you draw all 12 or all 10 of your games, that's another story.

Trying to adjust for rating is something of a red herring because it largely rewards inactivity. (And Kramnik and Leko should be somewhat inflated from their match, btw.) Anand plays in many league events, Topalov is also very active. Of course strength of opposition is a factor in draws, but not one it is helpful to consider if the idea is to promote more chess and more fighting chess.

I don't think Kramnik will suffer unduly in Sofia. Older players might be penalized by being forced to play longer each day, but the under-40 crowd shouldn't worry about it.

I'll be more interested in how the players are affected psychologically by having the draw offer removed from the table. It can only be positive in the long run.

My bad, I indeed hadn't noticed any criticism of yours regarding short draws that was directed at Anand and not Kramnik or Leko. Still, it seems like Kramnik and Leko get attacked - whether it is by you, chessbase or just regular fans - disproportionately. compared to Anand, who, as you calculated, has more short draws than either Kramnik or Leko. In fact - and perhaps it is just me - it seems that about 95 to 99% of complaints about short draws are directed at either KRamnik or Leko.


As for the rules of not criticizing the winner - are you kidding me? Anand a winner? Are you being serious? Kramnik is a two-time world champion - even not all of the 14 world champions were multiple times title holders. Even such greats as Capablanca, Tal and Fischer were only 1-time world champions. Kramnik is already a two time defending world champion and he is only what - 30 years old. Anand, on the other hand, always choked in big moments. Granted, Anand is an amazing rapid and blitz player, but in classical chess, he is a footnote to the Kasparov and Kramnik eras. Anand is five years older than Kramnik, he has failed to win the world championship even once. He played Kasparov in 1995 and embarassed himself. Linares is often considered a sort of tournament world championship of the world. Kramnik won it 3 times (the last 3 times he participated actually). Anand won it just once and that was 7 years ago. Since that time, even getting a second place in Linares has been rare for Anand. Kramnik has 6 Dortmund titles, how many does Anand have? the only classical supertournament where Anand has been ssuperior to Kramnik is Wijk, which is a mixed field tourney that features relative weakies. Yes, Anand is better than Kramnik at crushing relative weakies, but he seemingly always chokes in big-time tournaments and matches. When was the last time Anand won a 20th category tournament? Kramnik won like 4 since 2000 (and there were like 7 of them since 2000).

So attacking Kramnik for drawing chess games because he is not a winner like Anand is kinda like attacking Michael Jordan's turnovers because he is not the winner like John Stockton is. That is - that makes absolutely no sense. If you followed the rule that you yourself stated - that one shouldn't attack the winner, then you would really get on Anand's case, while attacking Kramnik would be taboo.

I don't see how comparing average opponent's rating rewards inactivity. Yes, Kramnik and Leko's average opponent's ratings are somewhat inflated from their match. It is interesting, though, then when I mention that Kramnik didn't want matches to count towards draw stats, you say
removing a sample of 14 out of 200 won't change much. But when I present a different argument about a larger sample - 2000 to 2005, those 14 games now are suddenly such a big factor that you say it inflates their respective ratings. I don't think you are being consistant there. I absolutely fail to see how simple consideration of average opponent rating promotes inactivity. It is not like Kramnik deliberately played fewer games so that he would later have this argument of stronger average opponents than Anand or Topalov. He didn't come up with that argument, I did. So by looking at that stat we are not promoting more inactivity or draws. We are simply looking at a very interesting stat that is clearly not irrelevant in this draw discussion.

And finaly, regarding Sofia predictions, I agree with you. Of course Kramnik won't suffer in Sofia. He is the only guy (other than Kasparov) who has proven he can win XX category tournaments on regular basis. Many consider Anand to be the favourite in Sofia. but I will ask my question again - when was the last time that Anand won a XX category tournament?

Another point just to counterbalance some things that were said about the Kramnik's decline and his "poor" tournament record.

Highest rated tournament of 2000 (the year Kramnik became the world champion) was Linares, XXI category. Winners: Kramnik and Kasparov.

Highest rated tournament of 2001 was Dortmund, XXI category. Winners: Kramnik and Topalov.

Let's skip 2002, since Kramnik didn't play any games that year because of his match with Deep Fritz.

Highest rated tournament of 2003 was Linares, XX category. Winners: Kramnik and Leko.

Highest rated tournament of 2004 was Linares, XX category. Winners: Kramnik.

Hmm, what do all of these tourneys have in common?

P.S.
Highest rated tournament of 2005 will be Sofia, XX category. Winners: ?

Ah, so you've changed to discussing ancient history instead of the 2002- period we were talking about a moment ago. Kramnik used to play sharper chess and was #2 on the rating list. Now he is not. Anand has clearly outpaced Kramnik in winning both games and tournaments in the past few years. He won Dortmund last year as well.

Kramnik was outplayed by Leko and barely drew their turgid match. I don't think anyone could hold that up for him being a big winner. That he holds the title is not relevant in the discussion of draws and why he is called boring. Kramnik's style is ideally suited for matches and strong events where +2 will win a share of first place. We all know this. This is about perception, no? You're saying it's not fair that Kramnik is called boring and Anand isn't, while magically converting all of Kramnik's shared firsts into wins. I believe Kramnik has ONE clear first in the past six years, with most of his shared firsts on +2. Good enough, but you aren't going to escape the boring tag when there's another guy with a half-dozen clear firsts and big scores, or, more accurately, two such guys.

If you count only classical games, 14 is going to have more of an impact than if you include rapid as I did originally. Math is hard. I didn't say it promoted inactivity, as if they would do it on purpose. It statistically rewards it because if you only play in a few elite events the average elo of your opponents will be higher than that of someone who also plays in the Bundesliga against 2600s.

You are purposely missing the point about the draw numbers. Leko and Kramnik draw more often than Anand, that's what has the biggest resonance. The percentage of draws that are shorter than 26 moves (an arbitrary number) is not the same as the percentage of draws.

When Leko and Kramnik draw all their games at Dortmund while Anand wins a few games but has a few short draws, it's obvious Leko and Kramnik are going to take the heat for being boring. That's why perception and observation are more relevant than overall statistics. Do you think it's a global conspiracy that people say Leko and Kramnik are boring? Is there profit in it? Or might drawing 2/3 of their games have something to do with it?

Kramnik and Anand had equal scores at Dortmund 2003. Kramnik had one win and nine draws. Anand had three wins and two losses. They both had four short draws (one against each other), but Anand's were, on average, shorter. So who is going to get a rep for being boring from that line? People aren't going to quibble about whether a draw was 22 moves or 25 moves or 28 moves when one player is drawing 9/10. Anand's draws average 30 moves per game. Kramnik's average 34. Leko's 38! But moving the pieces around for a few more moves isn't what interests fans.

Personally, I think that short draws are serious problem, but not the difference between 24 and 27 moves. 40 or 50 move minimums need to be in place. Draws are part of the game and you can't hold a player's style against him too much. But you can still complain someone is playing passively or even boringly. Fans have a right to be fans and complain about what they don't like. They don't like draws and they like sharp play. So enough with this "Kramnik under attack" stuff. When some top players draw 66% and others (Topalov, Moro) draw 50%, the first group aren't going to find many fans. Style does matter.

Russianbear,

You donít have to use many words to say you very much dislike Anand. Which is obvious not only from this debate, but from other numerous occasions. You can just say it.

duif, both theories of relativity are scientific theories, i.e. precise mathematical models which can be used to make predictions about physical phenomena. They cannot be summed up in a metaphor in a meaningful way, at least not to me, and the one you mention means especially little. It is also the one everybody picks up on, because it is so easy to phrase it, even though it conveys little about special relativity.

to read russianbear's earlier post, one would think that Kramnik is a reincarnation of Capablanca, Tal and Botvinnik rolled into one! On planet Russianbear, maybe he is! To me, he's a guy who has a very good positional sense, and more importantly recognised a chink in the great Kasparov's armour and successfully implemented a strategy tailor made to make use of it. If there had been a structure in place for the WC, he would never even have had the chance to challenge Kasparov. And he's a two time defending world champion with the best tournament record in the world for the past five years?! Wow, must be great on that planet, do they serve free ice cream?

d: I guess on planet d people use strawman fallacies. I never said Kramnik is a reincarnation of Capablanca or Tal
or Botvinnik. I only sited facts that are common knowledge.

Totu: I am one of Anand's biggest fans. Just because I say he chokes in big games doesn't mean I dislike him in anyway. I am just being truthful.

"Kramnik was outplayed by Leko"??
That is certainly not how I remember the match.

Mig: yes, Anand won Dortmund last year. But he needed rapid and bliz tie-breaks to go past Leko and Kramnik. He didn't proved he was superior to them in classical format. And who cares about rapid, really.

As for pure classical tournaments, Anand won two wijks since 2002 and Kramnik won two Linares tournaments. So who is the winner? Need I remind you that Linares featured Kasparov while Wijk didn't. Linares is overall a stronger tournament, noone would argue with that. So how does the fact that Anand beat weakies better than Kramnik makes him more of a winner? Kramnik is a two-time reigning world champion who also is much better than Anand at winning toughest tournaments. How does it make Anand immune to criticism that Kramnik faces on regular basis?

Also, since 2002, Leko has been arguably the best tournament player - he won all 3 major in that stan - Dortmund 2002, Linares 2003, Wijk 2005 and was 2nd in Wijk 2004 and Linares 2004. He fought the world champion toa stalemate in the WC match. And yet he can be attacked while anand is taboo?

Kramnik, and especially Leko were more successfull than Anand in classical tourneys since 2002. So if anyone should be exempt from criticism, it should be Leko and Kramnik, not Anand.

Yes, many of Kramnik's first places have been +2 performances and were shared. So what? They were not shared with Anand. Yes, he always seems to score +2. But that's the whole point about those XX category tournaments - +2 is very often enough to win. And has Anand been winning those tournaments - even with +2 scores? No. He can only win 18th category tourneys like Wijk where he gets +4 against lower half of the table. You claim that such a guy is more of a winner compared to KRamnik who routinely wins each year's toughest tournament ever since he became the world champ.

"It statistically rewards it because if you only play in a few elite events the average elo of your opponents will be higher than that of someone who also plays in the Bundesliga against 2600s." - Well, sure. But also if you are a 2780 playing a lot of 2600s in bundesliga, you win percentage will go up drastically than if you stick to the 3 major supertournaments.

Yes, Kramnik and Leko have more draws than Anand. But they play tougher competition, which is not a small factor. 50 ELO points difference over 5 year span between average Kramnik's opponent and an average Topalov's opponent is amazing. Look at the guys whose ratings are around average Kramnik's opponent. You get people like Adams. Look at the guys whose ratings are around average Topalov's opponent. You get people like Khalifman and Malakhov. Kramnik played 5 years against Adams while topalov ploayed 5 years against Malakhov. Can we blame Kramnik for having higher percentage of draws?

"When some top players draw 66% and others (Topalov, Moro) draw 50%, the first group aren't going to find many fans. Style does matter." - But what about accomplishments and quality of opposition? Topalov and Moro will be mere footnotes in the future chess history books' chapter on Kramnik. If lack of draws was the only thing that mattered for popularity, people below 2000 would be more popular than GMs. Style doesn't matter. Strength does.

Russianbear--

Very nice work.

yes indeed, after so many Kramnik bashing seeing someone who actually defends him is nice.

Relativity for a layman (una piedra (ein stein): pencil and paper)

Background:

Newton's three Laws of Motions (formulated in 1687) are rather obvious
(to us, 21th century's people)


1. Inertia: a) if something is still (doesn't move) it won't move (unless
some sort of force is used) b) if something is moving it will
carry on moving (unless a force is applied)

2. force = mass x acceleration, that is, given that mass is constant (i.e.if
something has(weights) "20g" it will be "20g" always) then the equation
says: some sort of external force will create an acceleration on the "20g"
object proportional to the applied force.

3. force = -force, i.e. an action will have a re-action in reponse always.

These Laws governed the Physics of the 17th,18th and 19th centuries. At the
end of the 19th centuries (ca 189?) it was believed that given some
super-brain (super-computer?) that would describe the motion of
all particles in the universe, then any thing/event in the future could be
easily predicted (including economy, human behaviour and gardening -yeah,
very powerful they were believed to be).

Many questioned this assumption --note however that today there is
such an approach to model earthquakes, climate change, Brownian motion
(gardening) etc etc etc exactly using these recipe (Newtons description of
motion of all particles/entities) with some corrections of course.

Special relativity stretches Newton's Second Law of motion a bit, namely,
regards mass as variable. This in practice was achieved by studying
speeds (velocities) of great magnitude (in the 18th and 19th moving
objects had "reasonable" speeds like 5km/h -man running, 30km/h -a train
or as fast as planets motion: earth: 40,000km/24h =1666km/h). Just at
that time (~1900) speeds of 300,000km/sec (light) or that of atom/molecule/
-atomic particles in general- ~ 150,000km/sec suddenly arrived to the scene,
but in no way their physics could be described
with the original Newtons Second Law. Here Einstein came up and said:
energy = mass x speed-of-light squared. And everything fitted.
QED
Addendum: the "everything is relative" applies in particular when you are
traveling at ~200,000km/sec or so.

I believe, Anand making more excitement clearly shows how many people like marginal (blindfold, rapid, blitz) chess. Unfortunately, he prefers joy to tough competition. This is one of main reasons, IMHO, why he can't really stand vs. Kasparov or Kramnik in top events while doing what he did in Monaco.
As for Moro, Kasparov said in interview after the Russian Champ 2004: Moro always plays uncommon chess. And while this uncommon chess is enough to win something like Biel, this is not enough for the Russian Championship.
As for public opinion about Kramnik, I am positive, it was formed first of all under the strong influence of Kasparov's regular comments on Kramnik being chicken, Kramnik being afraid of playing him, etc. And that was said while Garry himself rejected almost all top sites during last 3 years while Kramnik played (and mostly won) there.
Don't you guys see something similar between Kasparov 2003-2005 and Fisher 1970-1975?
Both asked for exceptional conditions like Bobby's +2 rule, etc., and Garry's direct rematch requests without qualifying.
Both played very irregularly, both were definitely driven by fear of loss while being positive and regularly stating they are much better than opposition. Fischer blamed Russian players and authorities, Garry blames mostly 2 one of them (Kramnik and Putin) for similar reasons. Fischer finished his career by standing vs. U.S. politics. Garry is trying to stand vs. Putin...
Will we see Kasparov next time only in 2025 playing "WC" match vs. Kramnik for 5 million bucks in Serbia?
;-)

Russianbear:

I don't really see why Anand's +2 at Dortmund should be ignored. Kramnik and Leko scored = at Dortmund. Russianbear says that Anand needed rapid and blitz tiebreaks to get past Leko and Kramnik . As if Kramnik and Leko would have made it to the semifinals and finals without the help of rapid and blitz tiebreaks. Kramnik and Leko needed the help of rapid and blitz tiebreaks to get past Bologan and Karjakin. To compare Kramnik's 2004 win with +2 we just need to look at the Linares result of 1994. Karpov won with +9. A much more deserving and universally accepted world champion.

"To compare Kramnik's 2004 win with +2 we just need to look at the Linares result of 1994. Karpov won with +9. A much more deserving and universally accepted world champion."

FIDE champion Karpov was more deserving and universally accepted than PCA champion Kasparov at that time? If you say so.

Dortmund was the worst tournament of last summer(year) that is why we should ignore it.

I don't know why Russianbear churnout same stuff again and again again.Kramnk did win couple of Linares tournaments(since 2002) with +2.But when he failed (like WAZ thrice) he failed big time.In those Linares tournaments Anand didn't play one of them and in the one he played he is just .5 points behind the winner.Is it such a big deal??.What was Kramnik's score in WAZ , and by how many points he was behind Anand 3 times in a row?And who told WAZ is a Cat.18?To my knowledge at least 2 of the last three WAZ's are cat.19 on par with Linares.
Linares 2003 was the only tournament since 2002(out of 6 they played together Linares 2003,Dotrumund 2003,4,WAZ 2003,4,5) where Kramnik is ahead of Anand.Anand leads Kramnik in 4 of them.
Anand score was +21-6 and Kramnik was +13-7 in those tournaments.
Added to that 50+ points drop in ELO for Kramnik vs 30+ ponts increase for Anand.
Only a heavily biased person will say Kramnik is doing better than Anand since 2002.Leko and to some extent Topolov are the real threats to Anand.

I am not even talking about rapids .Kramnik for that matter anyone simply has no chance here anway.

We already know that Anand is doing better against weaker players than Kramnik is. Geez, nobody is arguing about that. But run a tournament with Anand, Kasparov, Kramnik and Leko - all play all say six times - and tell me Anand would be likely to place ahead of Kramnik and I'll laugh my head off.

I really do not understand why Kramnik plays in WIZ. The climate makes him feel ill every time.

"...run a tournament with Anand, Kasparov, Kramnik and Leko - all play all say six times - and tell me Anand would be likely to place ahead of Kramnik and I'll laugh my head off."

I will do the same with my a** off.

peachtree:
"I don't really see why Anand's +2 at Dortmund should be ignored. Kramnik and Leko scored = at Dortmund. Russianbear says that Anand needed rapid and blitz tiebreaks to get past Leko and Kramnik . As if Kramnik and Leko would have made it to the semifinals and finals without the help of rapid and blitz tiebreaks. Kramnik and Leko needed the help of rapid and blitz tiebreaks to get past Bologan and Karjakin. To compare Kramnik's 2004 win with +2 we just need to look at the Linares result of 1994. Karpov won with +9. A much more deserving and universally accepted world champion."
- Yes, Kramnik and Leko advanced past Bologan and Karjakin due to rapid tie-breaks also. But that is exactly my point. The whole tournament, though it was supposed to be at least part classical was really for the most part decided by rapid and blitz tie-breaks. And since we had the discussion on the CLASSICAL supremacy, the rapid tourneys like Dortmund 2004 are hardly relevant.

And I am actually Karpov's fan, even more so than Anand's. I think Karpov's performance in 1994 Linares was the single most amazing performance ever in the history of chess. But still, and I don't mean to diminish it in any way, it was in 1994 when the format was still 14 player single round robin. Karpov got 6 wins from people who finished at places 9-14. Since 1998 Linares changed the format and it is now a double round robin with less players, but the players are the very best (plus a local weakie). So Karpov's performance has to be viewed in the context of the tournament's format, and the tournament was "only" category 18.

pavani, when it comes to spectacular failures, Kramnik's little +1 failures in Wijk aren't anywhere close to some of Anand's. Anand was tied for 7th-9th places out of 14 in 1994 Linares. 6th out of 12 in 1997 Linares. Score of -1, and tied for 6-8 out of 10 people in 1998 Dortmund. And The Mother of All Failures, that mighty -4 showing in Dortmund 2001, where Kramnik won with +3. By the way, isn't Dotmund 2001 the main reason why so many people in this discussion only prefer to count from 2002 on?

But you are right and Kramnik indeed had some problems in Wijk recently. You mention that Anand was close to Kramnik in one of the Linares (2003)tourneys. Close, but not close enough even for the second place. Anand didn't play in 2004 - but it was the highest rated tournament of the year and Kramnik won - I do't see how it can be used against him. In 2000, Anand wasn't even close - Kramnik had +2, Anand had -1.

Anyway, I was only responding to Mig's idea that Anand should be above criticism since he is "the winner" and winners should not be criticized for things like short draws. I pointed out that Kramnik has won much more important titles than Anand. Mig said he only meant since 2002 and that is how we ended up with this post 2002 debate. So, if we consider classical supertournament wins, Anand won Wijk 2003 and 2004. Kramnik won Linares in 2003 and 2004 and I consider those to be a more impressive accomplishments, since Linares was the toughest tournament of the year both years. If we talk about post 2002, I would say that even Leko has been more impressive than Anand in classical tournament play. So I fail to see why Mig considers Anand to be above criticism and yet attacks Leko and Kramnik - since Leko and Kramnik are not winning less, and probably win the more prestigious events.

"To compare Kramnik's 2004 win with +2 we just need to look at the Linares result of 1994. Karpov won with +9. A much more deserving and universally accepted world champion."

FIDE champion Karpov was more deserving and universally accepted than PCA champion Kasparov at that time? If you say so.

Posted by: acirce at May 10, 2005 02:58 PM

acirce:
" At that time " is not something which I said.It is something which you added.

From 2002 where both these guys played...
Anand won WAZ twice outright and clear second once and won Dotrumund once and shared second place once And shared 3rd once at Linares.
Compare this with Kramnik..
Won Linares once(shared),twice second at Dotrumund and hardly in top-5 at WAZ three times in a row.Linares 2003 was the only tournament where Kramnik played better than Anand (up by .5!).This you call better results for Kramnik than Anand.WOW!!!!!
Enough of your twisted logic,Russianbear.I dont care who is your favourite player but Atleast be honest to explain the fact that you changed your favourite player to Anand in a jiffy just to counter a wave of tit for tat replies to your crooked analyses in Chessninja boards sometime ago.
It is not one sigle person's opinion that Anand is better player in last two years,leko is catching up and Kramnik is declining.For that matter goto chessmetric's site and find out your self the bigger picture than the nitty gritties.Anand is next only to Kasparov in last decade..be it elo performance,better ranking, no.of Oscars or the no.of tournament victories.Linares is not the whole and sole of chess world.Infact 2 of the top-3 tournaments in last decade are WAZ.In 2004 it was WAZ , not Linares which has the highest category per that site.I need not tell who won that.

Actually I think Russianbear makes largely valid points but some of his comments are red herrings.
In specific I object to the notion brought up by him and acirce that in a tournament performance if you win,winning it by bashing "weakies" (who in most contexts would be referred to as very strong GM)is less respectable .In every sport I can think of,players or teams do not only compete with a few "elite" players and are not required to compete against other players or teams.In tennis,football,basketball,squash,badminton and just abt any other sport you could care to name,players must compete with ppl even vastly below their standard and HAVE to win because of the format.If Manchester Utd drew 30 games in a season won 6 and lost only 2 they would end up midtable and nobody would buy any arguments that they are a great team because they were difficult to defeat.Of course chess and football are completely different and draws arent a nessecary outcome of equal play in football but nevertheless you have to be able to beat weaker players in every sport and saying chess players ought to be exempt from this requirement when judging their skill is ridiculous.
P.S There is a sport where the elite dont need to fight against lesser players (boxing) and the championshiip situation and general credibility is no better than in chess.

Prabhat
Anand and Kramnik would both beat a "weak" player like Vallejo in long matches, thereby both proving their superiority. Why would it make any difference if Anand scores 8-4 and Kramnik only manages 7-5? Should we infer from this that Anand is better? Or would, maybe, a better way be to actually have a Kramnik-Anand match? I can't see why the top players' results against lesser players are as significant as the results against each other. We already know that they are all better than Vallejo and Kasimdzhanov.

Russian Bear by winner Mig simply means winning more games which Anand does. A Kramnik win is like a blue moon. Of course a Kramnik loss is even rarer. Even so to wait for that one win is less exciting then seeing Anand take out the 2650+ "weakies" and much less exciting then watching Moro run around with his head chopped off every game.

pavani:

"From 2002 where both these guys played...

Anand won WAZ twice outright and clear second once and won Dotrumund once and shared second place once And shared 3rd once at Linares.
Compare this with Kramnik.
Won Linares once(shared),twice second at Dotrumund and hardly in top-5 at WAZ three times in a row.Linares 2003 was the only tournament where Kramnik played better than Anand (up by .5!).This you call better results for Kramnik than Anand.WOW!!!!! " - First of all, Kramnik won Linares TWICE. He also won in 2004, and he got a CLEAR first place. I already explained why a tourney like Dortmund 2004, which ended up being decided by rapid and bliz games (as that is how most players got eliminated) should not be considered when one is discussing classical tournament performance, which was clearly the point of debate, in case you didn't get that. Other than that, Anand won two Wijks and Kramnik won two Linareses. So in terms of being a "winner", which was argued above, Anand hasn't won more classical tournaments than Kramnik. And the tournaments he won a really not on the same level as the ones Kramnik won, as Kramnik's wins were in tournament, which had the highest average rating in their respective years.

"It is not one sigle person's opinion that Anand is better player in last two years,leko is catching up and Kramnik is declining." - It is not one one sigle person's opinion that the ever declining Kramnik is still the favourtie to win Sofia, the highest rated tournament of the year - just read Mig's Daily Dirt article on MTEL Sofia tournament.

"For that matter goto chessmetric's site and find out your self the bigger picture than the nitty gritties.Anand is next only to Kasparov in last decade..be it elo performance,better ranking, no.of Oscars or the no.of tournament victories." - The bigger picture? I'll give you the big picture. The big picture is this: Kramnik is 2-time world champion. Anand has never been the world champion and he embarassed himself in the only match he played. You can't get any bigger picture than the world championships performances. Moving on: the next biggest thing is (like it or not) is Linares and similar tournaments: Kramnik won 3 Linareses, Anand 1. Moving on. Dortmunds - Kramnik 6, Anand - how many? Rating high - Kramnik: 2807, I believe - Anand never reached 2800. Kramnik's best inbeaten streak is 80 games, did Anand ever do anything as impressive? Head to head record in classical games: +5 -3 in favour of Kramnik. Head to head records against Kasparov, the third great of their era: Kramnik +5-4, Anand +3-15. THIS IS THE BIG PICTURE. It is things like chessmetrics, Oscars popularity/beauty contests (that are given to Anand in order to promote chess to 1 billion Indians - noone cares if yet another Russian wins another Oscar, either in Russia or outside) etc. that are irrelevant.

You need to get your priorities straight. Number of world championships won is more important than the number of Oscars won. Beating the greatest chessplayer who ever lived in the world championship match is what counts, not the number of Oscar votes. Number of Linares titles won is more important than the number of Wijks. Head to head record is more important than Chessmetrics.

"Linares is not the whole and sole of chess world." - Hate to break it to you, but Wijk is even less so.

"Infact 2 of the top-3 tournaments in last decade are WAZ.In 2004 it was WAZ , not Linares which has the highest category per that site.I need not tell who won that." - Get a clue. Wijks cannot be higher category than Linares by definition, since Wijk has about 14 players. Most of whom are in the top 20, plus some local weakies. Linares has fewer players (7 recently), but outside of the mandatory local weakie, those are usually the best of the best. Therefore, WAZ 2004 could not be higher category than Linares. Just look at the players. Anyway, WAZ 2004 was category 19, Linares was Category 20. And definitely Wijks cannot be two top tournaments of the decade -that's ridiculous. Wijks are never higher than category 19, while since 1998 Linares is rarely below category 20. The 2 highest rated tournaments since 2000 appear to be Linares 2000 and Dortmund 2001, both category 21 and both won by Kramnik. Isn't it ironic - once you get your facts right, Kramnik dominates even the statistical categories you yourself make up.

Yes Acirce I dont disagree with anything you said but you are missing the point.In ,say, a candidates cycle it would be nessecary for them to play Vallejo(or an equivalent weaker player)before playing each other and they would need to win,which I am sure they would-fine-thats the way a format dictates it.But in a tournament the format demands that if the player is weaker you beat him and prove it-if there are only 2 games you play against a weaker player,you have to win those games,it is not enough that others "know" you would win a long match.
My point is in every sport one has to perform according to the demands of the format,and mastery of the game does not mean a game geared towards facing only opponents of a certain level.
One advantage in this regard of the FIDE Wch KOs are that the top players have to play weakies nd this time real weakies not 2680 "weakies".It would have been better adopt double KO as suggested by Khalifman,but nevertheless is interesting to watch how players who are geared towards only strong opposition cope when having to win against weaker opposition,a nice example being Anand-Touzane 0-1.

I can't believe what I'm reading. We need more Razzle dazzle? Sharper chess is more important than strength. More theatrics and stage presence is key. That way we can all swoon like school girls at a back street boys concert.

In every sport you have the media's little darlings and in every sport it is the player/team who is the most FLASHY. In college football its the teams that always pass the ball for those highlights on the 10 oclock news. Everyone in the press always votes them above the team with the great O and D lines and solid running game. Those flashy teams always run up the score agaisnt realtively weak compettion. But when they meet the solid team head to head its anyones ball game.

Of course chess is no exception. Last I looked at the chess Oscar voting, Kramnik, who defended his title against Leko (who only lost 3 games since dortmund 03 and all to kramnik) and won Linares that year was like 4th or 5th place. These are the guys who cover chess, voting on this right? No wonder chess is so skrewed up.

No theres no conspiracy in that there is no explicit agreement but there is allot of politics and nonesense in how chess is covered. There is allot of favoritism and bias that has nothing to do with a players chess strength.

We have the rating list to determine chess strength. If that's all you're interested in, you don't need to read any further. But most people are also interested in winning tournaments, winning games, attractive chess, personality, and many other things beyond rating points.

"We have the rating list to determine chess strength. If that's all you're interested in, you don't need to read any further. But most people are also interested in winning tournaments, winning games, attractive chess, personality, and many other things beyond rating points."

Kramnik's admirers would be quick to point out that if we count only the events where Kramnik does well he would have the highest rating of all. It helps them that some of these are credible, i.e. match with Kasparov in 2000, match with Leko in 2004, Linares 03-04. I also think if we were to compute ratings based only on games between the top 5 in the past 5 years Kramnik would come out the winner.

Kramnik's admirers say that losing to weaklings doesn't matter, all that matters is the performance against the very best. Kramnik-critics say it is all part of the game, and rating list reflects it.

Murali it is not as simple as losing to weaklings,which would end the debate.He doesnt lose to weaklings,it is just that he doesnt win,but the problem is that you simply cant convince his supporters that if he draws two games with a random 2650 player he has lost one of them,which is in effect what has happened.If they actually saw him as losing games to "weaklings" than they wouldnt be supportive of him,by contrast Morozevich absolutely pulverizes these "weaklings"but has been found wanting at top tournaments ,I.M.O because of his nerves which manifest under pressure(if you have that style and you get nervous you might as well give up), but many people argue that this makes Morozevich less good than his rating suggests and "not elite" however it should be recognized that in the course of a chess career you have to play all kinds of players and ur successes in some tournaments due to style will be offset by poor performances in others due to precisely the same style.And the poor performances and the succeses are equally important and indicative of chss strength.
To be fair though Kramnik bashing is the most cowardly sport going on nowadays among chess fans.Because Anand has also adopted an extremely dry and mechanical seeming approach of late which has brought successs thanks to his relentless accuracy and speed of play,it is very difficult to play against but not any prettier I.M.O than Kramniks style and as has been pointed out on numerous occasions Anand draws more often than Kramnik.I think Kramniks chess changed a lot recently and this change was first in the direction of tedium and even more recently he has switched to e4.He said style is almost universal nowadays,however his less than impressive performances with e4 dont support this.

I suspect his problem is largerly internal-when he has to play tremendous chess-like needing to beat Leko,he produced two very impressive and interesting games-the last two of the WC.The point is he cant bring himself to play aggressive fighting chess unless the situation makes it absolutely imperative

"We have the rating list to determine chess strength." Rubbish. Are you trying to tell us Anand and Kasparov are better than Leko and Kramnik just because they happen to have higher numbers assigned to themselves according to one mathematical formula or another? Sure ratings correlate with strength but just VERY approximately. That is why discussions about strength are interesting at all.

Umm Acirce who are you talking to? Because both Mig and Murali seem to be indicating that the list is not what really matters.

Prabhat, what are *you* talking about?
Mig said what he said. If he doesn't mean that ratings determine strength, why does he say it? But his point was that fans not only care about strength, which is true and we shouldn't. I didn't argue about that.

Ratings are very helpful to make rough cuts btu to say its a way of determining who is the very best is garbage. Kramnik was rated 79 points below Kasparov when he beat him in a match. Kasparov essentially admitted kramnik was in better form and was playign better chess.

There are *numerous* problems with just looking at a rating list that I won't go into again. But the bottom line is if you want to find out who is better between two players they should play a match agaisnt eachother.

Well Nice I don't think that is enough either or any more reliable then a rating list. But the real q is: who really cares who is truly better? All people want to see are many interesting games between great players and the current rating list allows players to maintain their position simply by not playing. This is truly counterproductive and this is what Mig is arguing against.

I think fans of any sport want to know who the best is. It may even be *the* question.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on May 8, 2005 11:55 PM.

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