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Chess Classic Mainz 05

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This suite of interesting events starts tomorrow in Germany. The headliner is the GRENKELEASING rapid match of Grischuk taking his turn to put his head into Anand's mouth. There's a legends event with Karpov, Korchnoi, Spassky, and Unzicker, held to celebrate the latter's 80th birthday. Seems like a "friendly," but there is little doubt Korchnoi would love to beat Karpov and equally little doubt that if Karpov wins he will count it on his list of tournament victories. (As others have pointed out, his record was/is so impressive because it was almost exclusively composed of very strong events. In the past ten years he's started counting all sorts of rapids, matches, and rubbish. In that case there would be at least a few players with more career wins by counting small regional events, etc. I've seen Miles suggested as one.)

Svidler will face Almasi in a shuffle-chess match sponsored by FiNet. (Fischerandom, Chess960, whatever.) These gamescores screw up most databases, but the games are often worth the effort. Then there is the mighty Ordix Open with 63 GMs at last count.

I'm using the names of the sponsors of the events because hey, they have sponsors! Mad props to the amazing organizer, Hans-Walter Schmitt. It looks like an great festival, and I can't even read German.

If we're out for something to chew on, the continued proliferation of rapid events like this one is a good topic. FIDE has gone back to classical chess for a few key WCh events, bless them, but many top players play more rapid than regular games now. I think they should be incorporated into the rating formula, although some fans worry this could make the games more boring because there would be more at stake and players could be more conservative.


How many times was Karpov World Champion? Does he pad his resume that way too? :)

Hey Mig!

Why don't you visit (or play in) Mainz? It's a great tournament, well organised, excellent playing conditions... (well being an arbiter in the last two years at this tournament, I might have some prejudice ;-) ).

I remember last year when Yasser Seirawan was absolutely fascinated by the total event.

So, I'd say it's worth to improve your German (or write to HWS and ask for an English version of the homepage).


Paying for my ticket, Alex? I'd love to go, but couldn't even with a free ticket, hotel, and all the beer I could drink. I'm neck-deep in a book project all month, and probably well into September. Weep, weep.

Hey Mig!

Then how about next year? Mainz could be also a nice place to spend holidays. Also, there plenty of chess players around. My experience is that there are more chess players per area than in the US, so one would easily find some guys to play. You even don't need to bring your board in the club (the clubs do have their own material, isn't that nice)? (Enough PR for German chess, I should think)

I plan to be in Mainz next year (could even try to teach you German if you will come ;-) ).

Good luck with your book.

Here's an idea I've long held about ratings that I've never seen put forward, so here goes. The idea would be to incorporate all time controls into one rating by weighting the time controls in accordance to what percentage of a long time control they represent. As a base of 1.00 you could use the traditional classical 7-hour time control (or if you wish to appease FIDE their shorter "long" time control could be the base - say 4 hours based on 60 moves). For purposes of this example I'll use the traditional 7 hour time control.

So, a game played at traditional classical time controls would have a full weight due to it's base of 1.00. A FIDE time control would have a weight of 0.57 (4 hours/7 hours). Rapids would have a weight of 0.17 (70 minutes/420 minutes). Blitz would have a weight of 0.02 (10 minutes/420 minutes).

Or using FIDE time controls (4 hours) as a base of 1.00 (and applying the same 1.00 base to traditional classical time controls) we would get the following weightings: Rapids would be 0.29 and blitz would be 0.04.

Pros and Cons of this approach:

Cons - There could be, as Mig mentioned, some tendency for players to take less risk in shorter time controls once they know that the result of the game will affect their rating. Also, such small weightings for rapids and blitz might trivialize their effects so much that they wouldn't be reflective of the overall strength of a player whose specialty might be in faster time controls. Also, incorporating faster time controls into a holistic rating while at the same time some of these faster time controls are becoming more and more popular with organizers and sponsors may not make this rating relevant in the here and now.

Pros - Avoids the proliferation of rating formulae for different time controls that could lead to irrelevancy (Player A is higher rated than Player B at rapids but lower rated than Player B at blitz, so who's better at G/15?) or confusion (and so who's a better player, A or B). In addition, by establishing a base of 1.00 for weightings, any new time controls that should occur in the future could readily be incorporated into the rating formula. The weightings for rapids and blitz are low enough that they shouldn't discourage most players from taking risks that are common in these time controls. By incorporating all time controls this overall rating would change more rapidly because it would be rating all games at all time controls that players would be playing. At any point in time, the relative popularity of certain time controls would serve to modify the overall rating "toward" the strength of the players at that popular time control.

So, what have I missed?

Can anybody give me the URL for the legends event' site or at least a site that will cover the results? Very curious and hoping to see one of the past world champions win.

Thank you very much, Duif.

Luckily, the Round 2 games of the Chess960 Man vs Machine Event probably won't screw up databases (or Fritzes): Kings and Rooks on the usual squares! There are 18 FRC positions which are like that, from the total of 960.

Here is a PGN you can copy&paste into Fritz and other chess programs to see these "exotic" games:

[Event "CCM5 - Man vs Machine"]
[Site "Mainz"]
[Date "2005.??.??"]
[Round "2"]
[White "Shredder"]
[Black "Almasi, Zoltan"]
[Result "1-0"]
[Annotator "Chess960 (Fischer Random)"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "rbbnknqr/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/RBBNKNQR w KQkq - 0 1"]

1. d4 d5 2. c3 Nd7 3. Ng3 c6 4. e4 dxe4 5. Qf1 e5 6. Bxe4 exd4 7. Qe2 Ne6 8.
O-O Qf8 9. Nf5 Nf6 10. Bf3 d3 11. Qxd3 Qc5 12. Re1 O-O 13. b4 Qb6 14. a4 Qc7
15. g3 a5 16. Qc4 axb4 17. cxb4 Rxa4 18. Rxa4 b5 19. Qh4 bxa4 20. Nxg7 Nxg7 21.
Qxf6 Qd6 22. Qc3 Re8 23. Rxe8+ Nxe8 24. Bf4 1-0

[Event "CCM5 - Man vs Machine"]
[Site "Mainz"]
[Date "2005.??.??"]
[Round "2"]
[White "The Baron"]
[Black "Svidler, Peter"]
[Result "0-1"]
[Annotator "Chess960 (Fischer Random)"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "rbbnknqr/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/RBBNKNQR w KQkq - 0 1"]

1. d4 d5 2. c3 f5 3. Nd2 c6 4. Nf3 Nf7 5. Bc2 e5 6. dxe5 Nxe5 7. Nd4 Qf7 8. f4
Nc4 9. Ne3 Nd6 10. g4 g6 11. gxf5 gxf5 12. Bd2 Bc7 13. O-O-O Bd7 14. Nexf5 Nxf5
15. Rf1 Rg8 16. Qf2 Bb6 17. Rhg1 Rxg1 18. Rxg1 O-O-O 19. Rg5 Bxd4 20. cxd4 Ng6
21. Bd3 Rg8 22. Kb1 h6 23. Rg1 Nfe7 24. Ka1 Bf5 25. Qe3 Bxd3 26. Qxd3 Nf5 27.
Be1 Nge7 28. Bf2 Rxg1+ 29. Bxg1 Qg8 0-1

Btw. 14.Nexf5? was not caused by a bug, but by the horizon effect. For the intended combination (which was quite deep and incorrect), see

As i've said before, i'm no fan of Anand, but it was absolutely stunning yesterday to see Vishy crush Grischuk as beautifully as he did, and all the while most of the audience thinking Anand is losing. It was a simple decapitation.
i've lamented about how players today are all about opening and lacking in technique, but Anand showed me now that he does have technique, too.
Anand became one of my favourites for World Championship title now, along with Morozevich and Adams.

I had a good time reading your blog, Korchnoi never ceases to amaze me, at his age, he could still come up with really interesting chess. It reminds me of Doyle Brunson of poker. (Poker is also one of my strong passions.) Both of them are competing against folks who were not yet born when they started out in their respective fields.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on August 8, 2005 11:08 PM.

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