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Leko-Adams Rapid Match

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If you aren't too distracted by the Miskolctapolca Cave and Thermal baths or the Junior Men's Handball World Champoionship [sic] you should check out the eight-game rapid match between Peter Leko and Michael Adams in Miskolc, Hungary. June 2-5. Adams is famous for his nerves of steel in rapid play (he was ranked #1 on the rapid list for quite a while). Leko is no slouch of course, and didn't play at the recent Mtel. If I were a betting man, I'd go with the Hungarian on his home turf. Both will play in Dortmund next month.


Admas is superb for this kind of play - my bet is on him.

Did Leko just walk into a mate in one?

It is a Brissago virus. I hope they find a cure soon:-))

Yeah, let's hear Leko after the game: "I still haven't recovered from Brissago..."

I would give Leko a small edge due to home court advantage. Of course I am also bias for obvious reason :) By the way, only one person can make this excuse: "I still haven't recovered from Brissago..."

Best wishes,
Susan Polgar

Good lord, what was that about?? What an unabashed self-promoter! It's like that bizarre credit on the back of the Tusk record...

She's a busy girl! What of it?

Go Leko!

"Did Leko just walk into a mate in one?"
Posted by: acirce at June 2, 2005 11:00 AM

Adams was threatening Qh8 mate and so other than sacking the Q to live for few more moves, this was it.

Funny, I could swear he had ..Kg8 saving himself, especially since that would lead to the same position as two moves ago! But OK maybe that was the part he missed.

Second game also a disaster. There are a couple of roles being reversed here -- Adams is playing like Hydra, Leko is playing like Kramnik!

OK. This Brissago virus is for real. Were those the two worst games of Leko's career or what? Some aliens are doing some good body-snatching.

We are "paying the piper" for having had too many great players in a row (Fischer, Karpov, Kasparov). Where else is there to go but down for awhile?

noyb isn't much of a polemicist but the post has an element of truth: Kasparov was probably right when he said that after him, the world's best player would not always be champion. My vote goes to Ivanchuk without the nerves, but his career is defined by great performances with nothing on the line. It may be a generation before someone sticks out like GK.

"We are "paying the piper" for having had too many great players in a row (Fischer, Karpov, Kasparov)."

I wouldn't draw such sweeping conclusions from Leko's two rapid losses on the same day. He had a bad day....so what? It would take more than one event--to say nothing of a single day of a single event--before one could conclude that there has been any diminution of Leko's skills.

Kramnik is another story. He has been playing below his peak rating for quite a while now. That conclusion rests on his performance at many events over the last few years, not just one. On the strength of that evidence, we can safely say that he is no longer the player that took the championship away from Garry Kasparov.

Who's to say when the next super-dominant player will arise? Maybe in 20 years. Maybe next year. Maybe never.

"On the strength of that evidence, we can safely say that he is no longer the player that took the championship away from Garry Kasparov."

Is that a fact? Then what name does he use and whose body has he snatched? Whatever the case, he's champion, remember? And he defeated Leko, the player for whom you're making excuses. And the title of World Champion is undiminished.


You have made the strongest argument ever, yes, Kramnik IS the same person.

BTW he did not defeat Leko, it was a draw. But Kramnik had good days and played good chess there, that's true.


Kramnik didn't defeat Leko. He drew the match with Leko. Barely.
Topalov and Anand are the fun guys to watch now.

Why wouldn't the worst tournament result ever by a world champion diminish the title? Why wouldn't one clear tournament first in five years as champion diminish the title? These things don't remove the crown, but they obviously tarnish it after three consecutive world champions who were the undisputed best players in the world. This isn't a crime and it's not Kramnik's fault, but not blaming him for not being the best doesn't make it less true or less important concerning the relevance of his title.

If his were the only title and if there were a clear qualifying system, as was the case with Petrosian, it wouldn't much matter. But only die-hard loyalists would say Kramnik finishing last in events doesn't hurt his chances of raising sponsorship and preserving his relevance in the face of the San Luis tournament and the classical championship system proposed by FIDE. In times of uncertainty people turn to the rating list and tournament results. It's a matter of "more legitimate than," when it comes to getting sponsorship.

Under a system that wouldn't matter, but now it does. If he can't put together a credible qualifier and match on his own, and if FIDE doesn't play ball with him, Kramnik's not going to have much. And if he doesn't win events and isn't in the top five on the rating list, FIDE isn't going to bother with him unless he can bring a lot of money to the table. FIDE turned to Kasparov in 2002 because they (and sponsors) thought their own title wasn't credible with a de facto number one wandering around outside the fence. It turns out there wasn't even money for that, at least not on the scale they wanted. Now they must be more realistic and San Luis reflects that.

I wish Kramnik luck in getting money together so he can make FIDE an offer they can't refuse. I would love to see succession preserved. But losing definitely makes that harder. Just look around here. If Kramnik were winning fans would be clamoring for a match and San Luis would be reduced to a side-show. And sponsors like fans.

I sometimes forget there's an international audience here, and casual English expresions may not mean the same thing everywhere.

Yes, obviously Vladimir Kramnik is still the same physical person who holds the title of Classical World Champion. However, his results over the last several years suggest that he is no longer playing champion-calibre chess.

Obviously, he will retain the title until he either defaults (as Fischer did) or loses to a challenger (as Kasparov did). But since title defenses are rare, in the meantime we have only his results in other venues to go by, and lately those results haven't been pretty. His match against Leko was surely the most unimpressive title defense in chess history.

Just out of curiosity, Mig.

You did not give the answer to the trivia question. When was the last time that a world champion had a negative score?

Does anyone know the 4th game result? I am so gald that Adams won 3 in a row!

Yes.When there is no system or too many quasi-systems , the ratings do matter.BTW, Anand and Topolov at 2788 each are now the No.1/2 active players in latest FIDE rating updates(Not finalised yet, though) followed by Leko at 2763.It is silly to assumes the winner of the tournament which includes these guys has any less crdibility or marketability than kramnik and his title.Agreed, Topo and Leko were there in Dotrumund qualifier too.But they were not then what they are now.Now they along with Anand carry equal if not more weightage than kramnik for sponsorers and chess fans alike.
Some argue FIDE WC is more a strong tournament than a WC match.The format resemble Linares.There is truth in it, yet the very fact that if any of those top-3 win, he will have more credibility as their victory was backed by series of strong performances before.

sorry it is -glad-(spelling mistake)

Why do sponsors care about a player's performance in Linares or say Sofia? They simply look for the reigning World Champion? If you like FIDE it is Ok. Aha, but how can you call a Linares type tournament champion a World Champion? There is no other way for FIDE but to accept a match with Kramnik. Otherwise a FIDE champ. will be like any other previous FIDE champions with less credibility. It does not unite the Chess world.

Ah sorry. Trivia question: Before Kramnik scored -2 in Sofia, when was the last time a reigning world champion had a negative score in a classical tournament?

Answer: never.

Adams - Leko 3:1, at least according to the official site. So Leko came back with a win at last.

Anyway, it would have been premature to draw far-reaching conclusions from a few rapid results. Some of the shortest losses in his career, but it's rapid chess, so what? Let's wait and see how he performs in Dortmund.

BTW the polemy about the WCC and 'credibility' resembles very much the pre-1948 times, when there was no clear system. Like who was a 'worthy' challenger and who 'still needed to prove himself', whether Lasker was 'dodging' opponents, etc.

Misi, thank you for the update. Do you know any site, I can watch the games live? Thank you.

Ryan: "Why do sponsors care about a player's performance in Linares or say Sofia? They simply look for the reigning World Champion?"

In real life, I'm afraid, sponsors look to many factors, not just that someone can make the nominal claim of being the reigning champion. Remember, sponsors' motives aren't entirely altruistic. If the challenger or the champion is tarnished, the value of the product is diminished.

"There is no other way for FIDE but to accept a match with Kramnik. Otherwise a FIDE champ. will be like any other previous FIDE champions with less credibility. It does not unite the Chess world."

Mig's point, with which I agree, is that at some point Kramnik must either play by FIDE's rules, or organize an alternative cycle. If Kramnik keeps losing, he'll have trouble finding sponsors who take him seriously.

You can watch the games here:
There is a Hungarian and an English version, too.


This was indeed the first time a reigning world champion ever posted a minus score in a tournament of classical chess. Of course, world champions have managed minus scores many times in matches; that's generally how you stop being world champion! Notable in this regard were Max Euwe with a -6 score in 1937, Mikhail Tal with a -5 score in 1961, Wilhelm Steinitz with a -5 score in 1894, and Emanuel Lasker with a -4 score in 1921. There were a few cases where a champion scored -1 or -2 in a team match, but those were typically very short events and not overly significant.

Prior to Mtel 2005, I can find eight examples of world champions posting even scores in a classical tournament lasting six games or more. In descending order of average opponents' rating (these are Chessmetrics ratings, by the way), here are those eight performances:

#8 Alexander Alekhine scored 7/14 at AVRO 1938 against 2734-rated opposition
#7 Vladimir Kramnik scored 5/10 at Dortmund 2004 against 2709-rated opposition
#6 Vladimir Kramnik scored 6.5/13 at Corus 2004 against 2706-rated opposition
#5 Garry Kasparov scored 5/10 at Horgen 1995 against 2694-rated opposition
#4 Tigran Petrosian scored 9/18 at Santa Monica 1966 against 2694-rated opposition
#3 Tigran Petrosian scored 8.5/17 at Moscow 1967 against 2682-rated opposition
#2 Anatoly Karpov scored 6.5/13 at Buenos Aires 1980 against 2648-rated opposition
#1 Anatoly Karpov scored 3/6 at Manila 1976 against 2636-rated opposition

And just now, at Mtel 2005, Vladimir Kramnik scored 4/10 against 2745-rated opposition.

So prior to this latest tournament, the distinction of having the worst result in a classical tournament was probably held by Karpov, either at Manila 1976 or Buenos Aires 1980 (depending on whether you consider a six-round tournament to be significant enough). The question is whether Kramnik's -2 performance against significantly stronger opposition really is less impressive than Karpov's even score at Buenos Aires 1980. You have to consider the strength of opposition. All ten of Kramnik's games were played against top-20 opposition, whereas more than half of Karpov's games were against opponents not even in the top-40 in the world.

My Chessmetrics performance ratings consider the strength of opposition and also place greater signficance on longer events. They represent the rating we would assign to a player if we knew of no other results, besides how they did in that one event. Kramnik had a Chessmetrics performance rating of 2660 at Mtel 2005, significantly ahead of both Karpov at Buenos Aires 1980 (2639) and Karpov at Manila 1976 (2601). It was also ahead of Mikhail Tal's 2650 performance rating in scoring -5 in his 1961 match against Mikhail Botvinnik (ranked #9 in the world at the time). Thus although it was indeed a historic result, the first time a world champion has ever managed a minus score in a classical tournament, I would stop well short of calling Kramnik's result the worst performance ever by a world champion.


(and some links to those events on Chessmetrics)

Buenos Aires 1980:

Manila 1976:

Moscow 1967:

Horgen 1995:

Using the same figures provided by Jeff Sonas, and not trying for a moment to second-guess his excellent analysis, one has to look at the fact that Karpov was rated No.1 in the world at the moment of his two worst performances and so he was not perceived as undeserving of his crown as Kramnik now is being seen. In the same way, Petrosian was No. 2 in the world during Moscow 1967 and he had convincingly defeated Spassky just before Santa Monica 1966. Kramnik's poor image is the result of his several years of being overshadowed by Kasparov, Anand, and now Topalov.

Excellent work as usual, Jeff.

Sorry, but I don't get too excited about rapid matches, even between top GMs.

Jeff, although rating performances favour Kramnik, the fact remains that Karpov ended on an even score, and Kramnik ended on a negative score.
My "sixth sense" tells me that a negative result has to be a worse result...


Grandmaster A plays in the Under 1600 section of the Chicago Open and scores 50%.

Grandmaster B scores -2 at Linares.

Which is the worse result?

Why play hypothetical games when we have real results to compare? We don't need ad absurdum when we have reality. Remember reality? Karpov scored 3/6 at Manila. Kramnik scored 4/10 at Sofia. Who had the worse result? Maybe you should ask Kramnik if he would prefer an even score in a weaker tournament to a negative score in a stronger one. I'm sure he would, as would most any elite player. (Actually, they seem to pay more attention to the games themselves. Okay score with bad chess can feel worse than bad score but some good chess efforts.)

A weaker player, a big rating underdog, might be relatively content with a low score but a good rating performance in a very strong event, but negative is negative.

As for bad results, we can go beyond points and TPR. Losing four games, finishing last and playing two of the worst blunders ever render this a silly discussion. Clearly the worst WC result ever. Karpov's Manila result was in a six-round tournament and he lost one game and finished second. Buenos Aires was much more the disaster for him, three losses and middle of a large pack.

Anyway, I only just realized that this is under the Adams-Leko item and not an Mtel item. Sigh. Perhaps we can move it back there. Thanks.

I hear Leko's favourite team is Liverpool...

Well he copied them pretty well!

But no hope for penalties...

Nice... 3 consecutive wins for Leko, and now it is 3-3. Not a single draw at this level is very strange. They play chess just for fun and didn't show their real ideas.

"Why play hypothetical games when we have real results to compare? We don't need ad absurdum when we have reality."

Koster's point is dismissed here, yet the post continues with

"Losing four games, finishing last and playing two of the worst blunders ever render this a silly discussion. Clearly the worst WC result ever."

..indicating that the blogmaster will twist Sonas' analysis where necessary in order to kick this horse to death. The discussion is thus labelled "silly", yet the WC must be further abused before the matter is dropped. Impressive sophistry, but we still have reality: Kramnik is World Champion and Kasparov is assaulting the Kremlin with a pea shooter. Which is the worse result?

Clubfoot, why is Kramnik World Champion and not Fischer? Both chickened out when they ought to face the strongest challenger... And at least Fischer is still "undefeated"...

Seems Giannis misunderstood something basic here. Karpov qualified to play Fischer and Leko qualified to play Kramnik. Fischer didn't play Karpov but Kramnik played Leko.

Where was Jeff's analysis twisted? And arguing TPR in the face of -2 vs an even score IS silly. But I guess all this interest means it deserves its own item. Discussing the worst WC result in the 120 year history of the title is not gratuitous abuse, especially since in this case it is relevant for Kramnik's ability to get sponsorship.

Most importantly, Leko and Adams deserve their own thread. Liverpool Leko is endeavoring to save my prediction after losing the first three. Adams is rarely outplayed in the Lopez, making Leko's last two whites particularly impressive. Or maybe it's Sofia fatigue setting in? I do wish Leko had played 39.Rg3 in game four, an amusing move putting both rooks in take of a pinned bishop on consecutive moves.

Dear acirce, Karpov indeed qualified to play Fischer but "Leko qualified to play Kramnik"? Yeah right, in a qualifying event without Kasparov's participation...

giannis kasparov was invited but he didnot play in dortmund so its not kramniks proplem

You can't blame anyone but Kasparov himself that Kasparov chose not to participate. Trying to blame Kramnik for that is just nonsense. Sorry to keep the discussion off topic though. This thread is apparently about Sofia. Yeah, I agree. Why in the world would you take the strength of the opposition into account when evaluating a performance? Has anyone ever heard about such a silly thing?

Dear Mimo & acirce,

Kramnik was also invited to play in Argentina and he chose not to play. So Kramnik can blame no one but himself for losing any legitimacy left to his title (if any). And his recent results just come on top to confirm the obvious: he is no longer considered as "world champion" by the vast majority of chessplayers...

about kramnik not playing in argntina its the thing that any one in his place would do he defeted kasparov and become wc and defended it against leko why should he start on the same level with other players ? its just like these 2 matches never happend insted he made the right thing by saying he is ready to play the argantina winner no one can ask him any thing more

about his result evey chess player had a bad period in his life kasparov him self had a bad period during 2003 and 2004

Giannis, you're right, he doesn't play in the FIDE World Championship, so he won't be able to lay any claim on the FIDE World Champion title. Doh. But since when is that what we were discussing?

Don't confuse your own opinion with the "vast majority"'s. That's the oldest trick in the book. Start with "Everyone knows that...", or "everyone agrees that..." and then add your own personal opinion.

It may be "the oldest trick in the book" but it's also what comes out when discussing with active chessplayers and chess fans: Kramnik may be a good painter but he is far from being any kind of "world champion"... name it FIDE, classical, alternative, artificial or whatever.

And the real hard question: is any top-10 GM currently interested to lay any claim in Kramnik's "title"? Of course not, because no serious sponsor would ever back an unofficial event. And when I say "serious sponsor" I don't mean tobacco dealers (i.e. Dannemann), etc.

Kramnik would have never succeeded in funding any kind of qualification cycle, that's why he is trying to use FIDE's world championship as a qualifier for his fantasy match.

giannis,from what i can see people who attack kramnik attack him with and without reson they accuse him of being afraid of kasparv while his best results seems to happpen in kasparov participateing ,people accused him of running the pragua agreament while it was fide who faild to do his part.

this is getting rediculs

most top ten players played in the candidat tournment except anand and kasparov
and kasparov tried to get his title back through fide and anad just said if he wins argantina he is ready to play amtch against kramnik so saying that most players dont consider him wc is pointless

Dear Everybody,

it is beyond any reason to talk about Kramnik's WC title. He is the ACP world champion. Period. He has defeated Kasparov and drew Lékó to be WC. The FIDE WC is another story. He doesn't have to participate at FIDE world championship, because he is already a champ at another assosiation. It's exactly like pro boxing.

It seems to be sure, that he isn't the best player of the world, but it has nothing to do with WC titles.

Anyway, this topic is about Lékó-Adams rapid match...

when was the last time Leko played six games without draw?


See, this event highlights the problem with the anti-draw mentality. People everywhere are proclaiming this match to be so great because there has not been a single draw yet. Meanwhile, these were six of the most terrible games ever played by two Super-GMs, with 2000-level blunders everywhere. I would much rather see a well-played draw than players dropping pieces to easy tactics or destroying themselves in endgames which are drawn. I don't find blunders to be exciting.



Now Markopolous clearly saying Prague..."In reality, it was conceived to get Kasparov back in the official world championship arena. The agreement considered Kramnik’s interests, and it considered Kasparov’s interests."
This was what majority believed from the beginning, though Kasparov, Mig and their fans etc.. tried their best to convince us..that this agreement has everything to do with Chess betterment, player's intrests blah..blah...Mig went on to ridicule how Anand lost out the race at Moscow and how this proposal was the best, one could get.These lies continued for years..till Kasparov retires.While I never liked Prague idea as it was utterly one sided, undemocratic,benefitting only a handful still..I am pretty much surprised to hear from the same guys how Kramnik can be ignorable, Prague can be forgetable etc..Well there is consistancy though.There is no Kasparov now.Who cares Kramnik or other players for that matter?

folks this was a RAPID match. blunders are much more evident in rapid matches, even between super GMs

I personally disagree about preferring to see drawn games without blunders. I just find them boring, period. I don't play chess to seek perfection- I play to WIN. I am willing to take chances at losing if it gives me more chances to gain a victory. I could care less if I hold a draw- to me that is just about as bad as a loss.

So much for the "Brissago virus" and "paying the piper." Leko equalized in compelling fashion.

As I noted upthread, "I wouldn't draw such sweeping conclusions from Leko's two rapid losses on the same day. He had a bad day....so what?"

The chessbase post noted that Leko "realised that he would have to work on his opening repertoire before Dortmund and Argentina." Hmmm...this is a remarkable admission.

Come on, people.
You may not like Kramnik’s style (I don’t). You may think that Kramnik’s play have declined a lot after beating Kasparov in 2000 (I do). You may be a Kasparov fan (I am) and think that Kasparov deserved a direct rematch (on this point, I am in doubt).

But one point is not in doubt: Kramnik IS the legitimate classical champion.
Now it is up to him to prove the worth of it.

OK, Mig. I will go to the topic of the thread.

Yes, perhaps Leko had just one bad day. It happens even with super-GMs. And yes, blunders happen with rapid chess. But I have the impression that on the whole Adams still performed somewhat above Leko.

My patzer’s opinion is that Leko could be a very daring player, if he just put some effort on it. Some time ago, I happened to read an old note from Spassky about Petrosian. Basically, Spassky said that Petrosian had in fact an enormous tactical skill, he just preferred to use this skill to eliminate the opponent’s chances before creating his own, but he could easily be an attacking player if he wanted to. I wonder if something similar could be said about Leko.

Dear Giannis,
There are very easy answers to your hard question: Dannemann is much more serious and respectful sponsor than Colonel Kaddafi or corrupted Argentinian governor.

Dear Vlad Kosulin,

I really don't know how corrupted Kaddafi or the Argentinian governor are. Probably as much corrupted as Bush, Blair, Putin or Berluskoni. But still, I would prefer Berluskoni or the Argentinian governor sponsoring chess than any kind of tobacco pusher...


I wonder why the talk of Leko aiming to become more dynamic. His current style has taken him to the cusp of the championship of the world, so why change it? Okay, so spectators might prefer to see some Shirov-type attack developing, but who was really the greater threat to the crown? Morozevich is another fan favorite because of his style, but I doubt he will ever find consistency in order to become a serious threat to win the title. Leko has an ideal style for match play, because he is difficult to beat, and he has already established himself to the degree that he does not need to worry about having bad tournaments damage his credibility. (The same should be said of Kramnik; the man beat Kasparov in a match, allowing Garry not even one win as he dethroned him, and should thus answer to no one with regard to whether or not he is a legitimate world championship-caliber player.) By some people's arguments, one would think that Petrosian was never worthy of the world title, either. It is beyond time to stop speaking of excitement and start speaking of who is the better player when in peak form if we are to speak of world champions.



Well Maliq as you yourself noted when talking about Morozevich, consistency is a major consideration. It may be that Moro in peak form is better than Kramnik or Anand at peak form but that is not too relevant in most books.

I never had the intention to criticize Petrosian or Leko, and I don`t think that I did it (who am I to do it, anyway?)

I just suggested that both of them could play with a different style, if they wanted.
It does not necessarely mean that they would do better that way.

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