Mig 
Greengard's ChessNinja.com

2005 FIDE WCh r5

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Pairings: Svidler-Topalov 0-1, Polgar-Morozevich 1/2, Adams-Kasimdzhanov 1/2, Anand-Leko 1/2. Topalov leads with an amazing 3.5/4, Svidler is a half-point behind. That makes today's game between them a biggie. They've played three classical games in the past two years, two draws and a win for Svidler at Corus in 2004, though Topalov has a +1 score if you go back to 1998-99. They drew an exciting game in Dortmund this year. Adams-Kasimdzhanov is a rematch of the 2004 FIDE WCh final. Anand should try to get back on track against Leko so we'll soon find out if the Hungarian's form is back or not.

Off-day trivia: Topalov stayed with his routine of breakfast in the hotel, a walk, and preparation. He also bought a chaturanga-themed chess set. Svidler and Adams ate in the center of town and did some shopping. Anand and Morozevich walked around the lake - not together. Leko and Polgar ate in the hotel with their analysis teams.

75 Comments

Do this guys usually analyze and prepare full time in their free day off, or do they really relax and go to the pool? When you say Polgar ate in the hotel with the analysis team, it sounds to me like "ok, 15 minutes for lunch, and back to the semi-variation ??? on the najdorf in move 23 after 22... Qa5" :)

Do you know who the analysis teams of the players consists of ?

Personality and habit are the biggest parts of it. They do what they always do. As for analysis, their seconds are working full time and how much time the player spends with them often depends on how much critical stuff their seconds have turned up for the next day's game.

For some reason it's been hard to find out who is in San Luis with the players. I emailed Nigel about finding out. Coverage will improve dramatically in a few days when some guys from ChessBase go there Wednesday night.

Svidler-Topalov Real drama! 1/2-1/2
Polgar-Morozevich 1-0
Adams-Kasimdzanov 1/2-1/2
Anand-Leko 0-1
Leko strikes back!

With my almost zero correct predictions so far, here i go again:
Svilder - Toppy 1-0 (this much is certain!)
Polgar - Moro 0-1 (this is also certain!)
Adams - Kasim 1-0 (sorry, Rustam, but Adams needs to rush)
Anand - Leko 0-1 (Leko is simply the best when he's on the mood, Anand's shaky if his opponent doesn't happen to walk into his homecooked ambushes utterly unawares)

I believe Peter Heine Nielsen is Anand's second.

I know Adams game with his girlfriend and it wouldn't surprise me if he brought no one else. He has used John Emms in the past.

Any chance Kramnik is returning the favor and acting as Svidler's second in San Luis? ;-)

I meant Adams came with his girlfriend.

Mig great tidbits, you're providing better coverage from offsite than the onsite slacker.

moro has +4 against Polgar and never lost I think? Maybe they'll both be so miserable that its a draw. Am still hoping for something for the ages from Moro, but the operative word when you're a Moro fan is patience!

d,

Not to take anything away from Mig and certainly not to condone the poor coverage at the main site, being onsite has it advantages, but also brings with it tremendous challenges not to mention less than ideal conditions in some press rooms (smoke-filled). When I've gone to cover events you are sometimes confused at to whether you should be interviewing somebody, going to the analysis room, working on content, following the game in the playing room, networking with journalists, getting something to eat(!), etc.

From the comfort of an office or home (with a nice connection), it can be liberating not to be so overwhelmed with the event. Onsite, it is hard to keep up despite being glued to your computer most times. Of course, this problem is minimized when you have a team, but if you're solo, it's tough. I have found the variety of offsite coverage for WCC to be quite good, but of course we can't add the color that someone onsite can. GM Short seems to be pressed for time in his reports and may be finding out that reporting on an event onsite brings with it a tremendous set of challenges.

The problem on-site is you are in a constant dilemma between collecting information and processing/posting information. You can interview and analyze and schmooze all day and night but you have to cut it at some point and relay to the world. Discipline and practice are required, not to mention a total lack of sleep, especially if you are also, say, commenting live, webmastering, and photographing. I don't think I've averaged more than four hours of sleep during any of the events I've covered on-site, especially the ones where I'm working for the organizers and doing my own stuff as well. My so-called sleep pattern at the last US Championship was 5am to 9am if I was lucky. If I'm not doing live commentary I will even try to sleep through the first hour of the games; that's the slowest part of the day! Having to run in and start the live broadcast was a hitch there, but I eventually found a workaround.

One of the biggest issues (I have found) is the timeliness vs. quality dilemma. That's a tough one. You can get a quality report, but if it's too old, then it loses its value rapidly. However, you cannot leave people with a mere flash report for too long before they want details.

Chess journalism is NOT easy. It is much harder than covering most sports... by far.

A small stylistic comment. The audio for chess.fm suxors, whereas the audio for playchess is pretty stellar.

Dear ninjas,

At: http://www.fide.com/news.asp?id=821 you can find some brief analysis of mine, for download, on the WCC in San Luis.

If you have the free time to read it, hope you enjoy it.

Best regards, IM J.P.

So Mig, are you implying that Short`s coverage on Chessbase News so far has been crap? Are Chessbase going to sack him a la Sunday Telegraph?

At last someone else has woken up and smelt the coffee . . .

Short's "analysis" inspired me to write some of my own...

Is playchess.com server down, or it's just me?

The man is unstoppable!!! Topalov 1 0 Svidler

Sounds like Karpov in Linares 1994

OMG. I looked at the final position of Svidler-Topalov on chesspro.ru. How did he do that?!
Sacateca - keep picking Topalov to lose. It's like a good luck charm.... :-)

How are the other games going?

Anand-Leko is the only game still going. The other two games were draws. Anand has a rook and knight vs. bishop and knight for Leko.

I'm adding the results to the pairings at the top of the item when I learn them. But since I'm not always watching, if you are watching live, post results here if no one else has. Polgar-Moro 1/2, Adams-Kasim 1/2, Svidler-Topalov 0-1, Anand-Leko continues, should be drawn.

Anand-Leko =

It's looking more and more like Kasparov, symbolically losing on the day of his retirement, truly passed the torch to Topalov.

Mig, Modafinil should be your friend during tournaments. :)

"It's looking more and more like Kasparov, symbolically losing on the day of his retirement, truly passed the torch to Topalov."

That is interesting, though to be frank Kasparov displayed almost flawless chess during his domination. Topalov, on the other hand, wins with a combination of traits from Lasker, Tal and Kasparov:

1 - Like Lasker, he gets into inferior positions that nevertheless make his opponent feel uncomfortable

2 - Like Tal, he playes speculative and objectively unsound sacrificies.

3 - Like Kasparov, he seems capable of intimidating his opponents to a blunder (this is one is still to early to claim, I doubt Topo has even a fraction of Kasparov's intimidating power)

Still, IMO what matters is a win, and if Topo can keep at the top of the rating list with this style of chess, he is the best in the world. i.e. results speak for themselves.

You forget one-
4 - He calculates and punishes tactical errors like Fritz.

Nigel Short would do well to stop trying to impress us with his vocabulary in his reports. Rather than sounding like an educated man, he comes across like a pretentious kid with a thesaurus. Don't use a big word when a small one will suffice...err...will do. ;-)

i think Toppy losing is just a matter of time, though must say his victory over Svidler was more convincing than some others.
Perhaps this just shows how unreliable a tournament is to determine WC...Toppy is a great tournament player, but i doubt his abilities in matches. Say what you will about quality/fighting chess, but WC should be the one who plays quality, tournaments are a different breed, though of course a worthy WC also wins some of those. (i just recently realized the dynamic differences between matches and tournaments myself)

What it comes to Short, doesn't seem to me like he's trying to impress anyone. He just has a different sense of humor which doesn't go down well with people used to seinfeld or sex and the city type uncivilized garbage.
(And the only people i've ever heard of complaining about the use of 'big words' (eh?) are the ones who have trouble using/understanding/learning them)

By the way, how is "Topalov" pronounced? TOE-puh-loff? Or Tuh-PAH-luff? Or some other way?

I'd put it less pompously than sacateca - Short is a Brit, and Brits have different sensibilities than Americans when it comes to what's pretentious vs. what's not (however, I've read that some Brits also consider Short to be a blowhard, but I think there's still a cultural difference).

I find Short highly amusing, because I think that his vocabulary has become (whether intentionally or not) his trademark. It's just something he does. You just know that a Short article is going to make you scramble for your dictionary; it's part of the package.

It'd be nice if he gave more analysis.

Yeah, I do get a bit tired of Sacateca always insulting people. We have trouble understanding or learning big words, eh? Actually it has more to do with proper, good writing technique, which if he studied it would teach him that simplicity and clarity is golden, while the constant use of 'big words' is just pompous. MIG would tell him that it is the same thing with building web sites- you don't use lots of flash and fancy stuff when you can make it simple and nice.

Perhaps after this tournament i will have to give serious consideration to re-evaluating my opinion on Kramnik's title's legitimacy. i will swallow the bitter pill and admit finally that he is the real WC, because this is just no way to determine one and Garry is still out of the picture.
Would someone seriously think that Svidler, if he happened to win, would be a genuine WC (and i mean WC as in the best player in the world, not the one with the most impressive sporting successes)? Or Polgar?

i think not, and i'm starting to understand why some people were saying that tournament is not really the way to decide WC...candidate matches were more reliable i suppose. Someone like Toppy can win a tournament or two, on account of "luck", but that doesn't make him by far the best player. Matches bring out true colours more reliably.

At least i hope the winner plays a match with Kramnik. As much as i dislike his antiques, his bulliness and hypocrisy, he did beat Kasparov, even if i don't like the way he did it. He didn't just win a shaky (but exciting) tournament.
So, i admit i've been wrong so far claiming that the winner of this tourney would be the legitimate WC over Kramnik...i see the light about the format now.
Can't wait for the candidate matches to begin again...

knight_tour: i'm hardly insulting people if i tell you the sum of my experiences. What about people insulting Nigel? Why don't you complain about that? Why don't you complain that it's an insult to say that Nigel is trying to impress people, or that he doesn't understand the words himself, or that he is not doing a good job...along with countless little attacks on his personality/ability. What is that about?
Majority of people saying those things wouldn't be intelligent/coherent enough to warrant Nigel's attention.

i always find it much more insulting when people say whatever comes to their heads because whatever is being said or done seems to threaten their comfort and challenge their unfounded opinions. But hey, that's just me.
You go on caring about sporting aspects and lightning strikes and never mind about quality, content or anything else that might be viewed as requiring taste and intellect.

Sorry, i forgot to say one thing, about journalism. The very reason that it's usually advisable to use easy words and simple expression is because magazines and newspapers aim for popularity, over quality. If they were generally intelligently written, general public wouldn't understand them and sales would drop.
Nigel, it seems, does things his way, which i find preferable, there is way too much comformitism and popularization in (y)our society. Everything is blanded and neutralized to the point that so that it will not, even by accident, educate, confuse or challenge anyone at all. When something does, there's hell to pay for whoever causes it. But nevertheless, that has never stopped it from happenings. Read some Egon Friedell and learn about the history of cultural degradation..
Mikhail Botvinnik said: "i don't give a damn about what most people think, i'm used to thinking with my own mind."

awright sac ...i'm sub ave player ... sat there and watched Nf3+ and imploded ... go ahead ... give us an analysis... is that book? ... yours?... give me the link... and pretty please guys... if it is book let sac handle it... thanks.

But it IS insulting to many of us when you accuse us of only loving speed chess and results above quality, simply because we give our opinions that we are happy with much of what we are seeing in San Luis. And it IS insulting to many of us when you state that we are unlearned or afraid of big words. I actually enjoy Short's writing while still understanding that simplicity does make for the best writing. I am not unhappy with what Short is writing, because I have other sources to read about this tournament, so I find what he writes to be a breath of fresh air from all of the plain analysis I see elsewhere. You could just make you points much better if you tried not to make statements that generalize about people in a negative way.

Anyhow, I am glad you are coming around on seeing that Kramnik, despite his recent poor results, is the true world champion. As many of us have been saying for a long time, the best way to determine a classical world champion is the old way of zonals, interzonals, candidate tournaments, candidate matches, and then a world championship match. Someone needs to beat Kramnik in a true world championship match before his title can be taken from him. We should ALL clamour for a true world championship cycle!

knight: Thank you for explaining what you meant. i have not meant anyone who is simply happy with the tournament when i've talked against people who prefer entertainment over quality, but against the ones who have explicitly said that they don't care about quality when the games are "this exciting".
Some games in the tournament have been of high quality, and most others haven't been so bad that one should complain. But Toppy's play has been extremely unsound, and i'm just complaining about him leading now.
i'm also disappointed at Adams clearly lacking willingness to fight or push hard, he has the ability to play good quality games but seems to refuse to. Maybe it has something to do with him coming with only his gf...

Sorry to those who feel that i've insulted them, that hasn't been my intention.

Thanks Sacateca. It is hard sometimes when you have mixed feelings about things. I love watching the chess in this tournament, flaws and all, because it is human in an age of computer perfection. If endgames get played poorly, well this is a reflection, in my opinion, of getting rid of adjournments, which I believe most of us are glad to see gone. I am sad to see FIDE keep trying to promote false world titles rather than truly restore the real cycle. That is what I don't like about this tournament. I would have been far happier to see them call this a candidates tournament, and include a few more deserving players such as Ivanchuk. They also needed to restore a true cycle. Then, once the winner played Kramnik, we would pretty much ALL be happy!

Words like "catastrophe, archaeology, iconoclast, heterodox" are not difficult to understand (if you are a Greek) :-)

If the winner of this tournament gets challenged by Kramnik to a match sponsored by Brissago, I think he would be a sucker to turn it down and I think the chessworld would love to watch it.

Sponsored by Brissago? Is there a realistic basis for such a supposition or are you just fantasizing?
That would be wonderful indeed, coz i've been quite pessimistic about Kramnik's chances of finding a sponsor..

Is there a realistic basis? Sorry but :x

;)

As Janice (from Friends) would say: "Oh. My. God." Topalov is unbelievable, long may he eat whatever puts him into this shape. What really endears his play to me is the sheer quality of it. His talent is such that he can steer the game into murky complications, knowing that he is going to outcalculate anybody and everybody. Walking that fine line, ignoring rules and themes that lesser mortals would consider sacrosanct, just because his play is of a much higher quality than theirs, and he knows he can match them. Toying with 2700+ GMs. Wow. This dude rocks.

Moro played a nice game, beautiful middle game play. Watching his middle game and how he conjured up an advantage from the Phillidor reminded me once again why I'm in awe of his genius. He's another guy whose play is of the utmost quality. If only he was in better shape here :-(

d,

I would agree with you to a great degree. However, I believe Topalov has an incredible feel for imbalanced positions and does not rely as much on calculation. Anand, on the other hand, is known more for his calculating ability (and with speed), but nevertheless Topalov's play is inspiring. He presents so many problems for opponents. It remains to be seen whether he can maintain the pace.

i don't exactly agree it's toying with the others when they for one reason or another always seem to miss the best moves against him.
i'm in awe of Moro's talent, too...but why does everyone else say that Moro had an advantage except Short who said that Polgar had an advantage in the middlegame? What am i missing?

In fact, Topalov is a hybrid of a calculation machine and vampire (for the latter ask Ivanchuk).
It is not an easy task ot beat such a creature :).

About Topalov's play, all I can say is that since the appearance of Kasparov on the Chess scene in the early 80s, after a long, long time, we have a player who has the confidence to play for a win with Black.

-Amit

Topalov playing BIG chess is not news... remember the last FIDE championship? Topalov played stunning chess - very aggressive and efficient.

Remember Kasparov saying that his best game was against Topalov. It was equal to saying "it was the most satisfying moment of my career" - so if World's best player ever(?) says he's best GAME was against Topalov that must mean something.

petrel

I think it's the second one: Tuh-PAH-luff. And with his first name, the accent is on the last syllable: Ves-eh-LEEN. That's one Bulgarian's take on the name. However, I've had experiences with native Europeans pronouncing stress patterns differently from each other. That's why I say "I think."

sacateca

Your opinions are totally valid and I respect them. But I'm trying hard to figure out why Topalov's "lucky" kind of chess winning tournaments doesn't translate into good prospects in a match. Yeah, matches have the reputation for being conservative and error-free, but c'mon, Kramnik-Leko in Brissago? It didn't strike me as a match that could have caused any error because nobody was pressing. It seemed like they were just sitting back, waiting for things. I'm not saying that's bad, but nobody really forced their personality on to the opponent, so a delicate shuffling of pieces and hand-shake later, we have quality chess.

Why does that matter? You don't explicitly state it, but there's the implication that Topalov's "unsound" play will get slapped down by players like Kramnik in a match situation. Fair enough. I disagree strongly, because of Topalov's results this year. I mean, it's not like you concentrate any harder on a game in a match than you do in a tournament. What, those tournament games in Wijk, Sofia, and Dortmund didn't matter to Kramnik? He can't punish unsound play in tournaments, but somehow he can do so in a match setting? Does he still have a cold? Last time he played a gutsy, uncompromising player in a match, he lost (Cazorla.) And Kramnik DID punish Topalov in Dortmund for that ridiculous Catalan opening experiment. Topalov rolled the dice, and lost there. He also rolled the dice in Wijk and Sofia, and won those games. Am I to believe that somehow, in a match environment, Kramnik would definitely fare better than 1 out of 3 risky Topalov novelties? Maybe he would, maybe he wouldn't. But GMs have pride in any setting, and I can't believe they would put in subpar efforts in "shaky" tournaments, or in matches would somehow elevate their game to a new level.

Apologies for extrapolating a little more than you wrote, but that was more emotion than logic on my part. I know you weren't making a judgment about the strength of any player at all, you were just commenting on process. That's fine. And I think Topalov would play Kramnik in a unification match 'cause he knows he can beat him now.

Now all Topalov has to do is not lose this tournament and make this post irrelevant.

michael: You make very good points, and if Topalov would really win a match against Kramnik, i would have to admit he has not been simply lucky. However. In a tournament, you play any given opponent at most twice, and such a system doesn't test which of the players is actually better, not when the results from one tournament to another don't show clear domination.
If i understand correctly, in tournament you have to play every game for a win, unless you're for example leading and can't risk losing, because in you must collect points, whereas in a match you can wait for the correct moment to strike, after all, +1 in the end is enough to win, when everything falls into place and your opponent has taken the path you wish.
Few and far between are such players like the greatest ex world champions (Fischer, Kasparov, Karpov, Botvinnik, Alekhine, maybe others but i know mostly of these few) who can do well both in tournaments and matches. In a tournament Toppy wins because his opponents also have to risk and play for a win, whereas the same game in a match they would not risk as much, when for example Toppy has gotten some initiative from the opening.
Of course, this is all looked through a magnifying lense to extract the details, and shows subtly in individual games, but i think it's there.
By no means i meant that Kramnik-Leko was an ideal match, many games were very boring and after two hours of watchign the opening all of a sudden came the result -, i wasn't any happier than anyone else. But especially the last game was simply amazing the way Kramnik dominated, truly high quality play from him.
Also, don't forget, for a match Kramnik, and anyone else, would prepare specifically against Toppy, being well tuned for his style of play. In a tournament he seems to be the only one playing like that now, and it's hard for others to adjust to it, because they are also playing against everyone else.
Well, there you have it, my reasoning as to why Toppy's style wouldn't give good results in a match. i've said it before that the greatest aggressive players, Tal, Kasparov and Fischer, never played as unsoundly as Toppy does, or at least only did so against opponents they knew couldn't punish them.
In any case, i am very excited about the prospect of a match between Kramnik and winner of San Luis...and would wish Kramnik to crush him, if it's Toppy, Anand or Svidler (sic!) as now would seem most likely.

I notice that some people dislike Topalov's style, so they already started making theories about how the winner of this tournament is worse than Kramnik.

Topalov would have no chance against a computer with his unsound play, but humans have some difficulty averting his unsound sacrifices. If this style secures him 1st place in a tournament, then he is a better player, regardless of how many blunders were committed along the way (which is, after all, an only-too-human trait, which Topalov neatly exploits).

Btw, Toppy would never walk over the likes of Kasparov, Fischer, Botvinnik the way he's now walking over everyone in San Luis...that's why i can't help but be slightly disappointed at the form or technique of some of my favourite players.

Murali: i fail to see how winning a tournament makes one the best player around, life really is not that simple. If you want to "keep it simple", you may, but it might not mean very much.

Sacateca, perhaps Topalov might also adjust a bit.....

Toplaov "unsound"? That's a joke. Which of his sacrificies in this tournament was "unsound"?
BTW, one expert opinion. GM Shipov at chesspro.ru comments that now Topalov plays like Kasparov, Fisher and Alekhine IN THEIR BEST YEARS.

sacateca

Good stuff, I appreciate you sticking to your guns. I concede all your points because they're sound. I'm just choosing to empasize other aspects of why I believe Topalov would beat Kramnik. Ultimately, I'm pinning my hopes on the fact that Topalov represents something new to the game at its highest levels, and that it will lead to the championship. Regarding those attacking players you mention, they were all great of course. With Tal, I always felt like he was after your king, and you couldn't stop it. With Fisher, there was a clarity to his purpose and plan, and you couldn't stop it. With Kasparov, he was just awesome, and you really couldn't stop it. Kramnik in good form is unbreakable, and in my opinion, the best chess player in the world. But I don't think that great form is ever coming back to him.

With Topalov, it's not clear what his plan is. It seems like he's constantly comparing and contrasting many positional and dynamic tactical elements at once, and it's all over the board. All the grandmasters do this, but the positions he excels at show those dichotomies in the extreme, and that's why I want this player to be more than a footnote in the history of chess. Can it be ugly at times, absolutely, like the way Kramnik slapped him in a Sicilian Najdorf in Linares '04 and Catalan '05. But then you get the other games which are fascinating if not perfect, and there seem to be a whole bunch of them falling into Topalov's lap ever since Tripoli '04. I don't think that's an easy match for Kramnik. Semifinalist in Tripoli, clear third Wijk, Tie-1st Linares, 1st Sofia, Tie-2nd Dortmund, I hope he wins this tournament and plays Kramnik, and destroys him! :-)

Good luck to him against Polgar today.

"Murali: i fail to see how winning a tournament makes one the best player around"

If it were just one tournament sure, but he already has Linares, Sofia and (possibly) San Luis in his lap. All of them tournaments with the very best in the world. But you claim that 1 match victory in 2000 is more important than 3 super-tournament victories in 2005.

"Btw, Toppy would never walk over the likes of Kasparov, Fischer, Botvinnik the way he's now walking over everyone in San Luis"

Tal crushed Botvinnik (and the rest of the world) when at his "unsound" best. Even Fischer struggled mightily against Tal in their early encounters...Fischer and Botvinnik favored clarity over complications just like most modern day world class GMs. No one walks over Kasparov, what does that have to do with anything?

The point is that Topalov is not "unsound". He is favoring complications, material imbalances, and the initiative over more traditional positional considerations. Intentionally. In this brand of chess, results are the only metric that matters. Its not like hes swindling IMs, hes beating up on the best in the world. Hes creating positions that maximize his strengths, just like Tal. Calling him unsound is ridiculous....he may not meet the Fritz definition of perfect play but he is consistently giving himself winning chances and doing an excellent job of converting. What more can a carbon based life form ask for? If you need perfectly sound play I'm sure there are some postal tournaments out there to follow...What does "sound" play even mean (exactly)? Don't take risks? No double edged positions? Petroffs only?
If Topalov doesn't get thoroughly out prepared, and if he can keep his energetic play up over the course of a match (big ifs) Kramnik will be in big trouble.

Bulfighter: i didn't say Toppy's sacrifices were unsound, but the overall method of his play. Also i don't know why i would believe GM Shipov over my own eyes. Of course, he's much better a chess player than me, and probably understands things about chess i don't, but this is a conceptual thing depending on not only chess knowledge. i would not argue with GM Shipov on what to play...overall, people tend to rely too much on "experts" and think too little for themselves. Please argue against me yourself by what you understand and don't use authoritative comments to make your point. And if you merely mean that you trust GM Shipov's assessment better than mine, you are welcome to do so, but don't expect to topple me over with your trust.

michael: So we agree to disagree. Thank you, for once i understand why someone would think differently than me. Now we just need Toppy to play a match with Kramnik to see which of us is right..

Ahh, i always forget something...yes, Toppy's impressive tournament record? True, it is impressive, and it seems that out of these players in San Luis right now, he might be the legitimate winner...but not the legitimate WC, in my view :)

rwgambit: Calling Toppy's play and subsequent win over Leko in this tournament, for example, anything but unsound would be extremely strange. Also at least two others of his victories were less than brilliant, like Adams making a clear mistake/blunder...and what about his victory over Moro?

Again, whats your definition of "unsound" play? His style of play, the style he uses intentionally, is tailored to his ability to win complex/unclear positions. Yesterday, Svidler was certainly no worse after the dust had settled in the late middlegame but he had alot of problems to solve. Topy entered this kind of position on purpose. Sure, Topys going to lose to accurate defense sometimes but my point is that he is taking calculated risks and giving himself the best chance to win. Until he starts losing alot games, how in the world can you call his strategy unsound? Nobody produces brilliancies every game and everyone benefits from outright blunders on occasion. By being aggressive and sharp, Topalov puts himself in a position to benefit from his opponents "blunders" on a more regular basis. Hes causing the blunders, so to speak. Again, exactly like Tal in his earlier years. Fortune favors the brave.

i hear you, yet i still prefer a different style. However, i do love Tal, for i see poetry in his play that i fail to see in Toppy's.
But the major point of my grievance with his style is that he would not win if the best were there (though i consider Tal brilliant, i never thought he was as good in chess as Fischer). Or if even those who are there were in good form (i recognise the validity of objections to this point, yet they do not refute it completely).
This to me tells me of the reduced quality of the tournament, especially given the high expectations.
Other players are producing some high quality masterpieces. Kasim's positional win over Anand comes to mind first, the best game i've ever seen from Kasim. The point is not that Anand could've played better, but that Kasim never put himself in severe danger.

Please understand, that i am not result-oriented nor do believe in the virtues of result-oriented thinking. Toppy gets results, and if you want results, then he's your man obviously right now. i predict however, that not in the long run. Result-oriented thinking will always fail at some point.

Botvinnik would never have played into a bad position simply hoping to come up as the winner because of complications...that is an attitude i like, especially in the WC.

Saceteca -

As usual (insert giant sucking up sound), Mig sums my previous points up best with "Hardly hari-kiri after such expert swordsmanship by Topalov."

Tal is my favorite all time, I agree with your poetry statement. I also agree that Fischers total body of work is better but Tals magical run to the title and general longevity certainly puts him on a short list of best ever....(sorry, wrong thread). I think a match with solid/sleep inducing Kramnik would be a great test for Topalov but I'm getting ahead of myself.

Certainly Kasims win was very impressive because of its risk free nature...I prefer Topalovs efforts against Anand and Svidler but thats just a personal preference for attacking games. No question Topalov will have some tactical shots blow up in his face...we'll see if he tries to sit on his lead (based on his choice of the Berlin defense today, that may be exactly his intention).

Sounds like you probably like Karpov alot too (I don't mean that in a bad way!) who played many a risk free win in his boa constrictor like fashion.

"Botvinnik would never have played into a bad position..."

so... playing "into bad positions" seems to be the key to success! what a naughty boy this topy guy is to be the first to find out!

omigosh. Topy is playing with all of us. he makes a mockery of stereotyping. The Berlin? Perhaps showing that if he feels like it, he can take the Kramnik route, the easy, low quality route. Seems to have effortlessly won a pawn and equalised. He seems to be able to do what he wants, when he wants. Would love to see an Anand - Topy match, just for the quality of the Chess.

I don't think anyone would claim that the win against Leko wasn't lucky. Leko lost the game and Topalov did nothing special to win it. However,in the other games, you say that Topalov was in danger(Adams, Anand, Svidler) and in a way he was but in the same way that his opponent was in danger. He played difficult, "risky for both" positions against these three and outplayed them all. To me it is these types of positions which test the quality of the player. That Topalov has won(or so nearly won) all games like this against such giants of chess is unbelievable. Against Polgar not so much and against Moro not so much. These wins were more or less one sided and consequently more dependent on Topalov's opponents misplay then his own ability.

i admit that most players in San Luis aren't up to match Toppy's play as they fail to punish him for it, which makes him the best player there and worthy tournament winner, i would never claim otherwise. In this tournament he is the best right now.
As for WC with these credentials? WC of hard times for chess, maybe, if he were to subsequently beat out-of-form Kramnik in a match. But nothing yet shows that he'd be among the great World Champions, nor even that he would become one.
i am constantly taken aback by seeing _everybody_ sing Toppy's praises, it's like mass hysteria.
Garry says that he is playing chess, that's fair enough, and i can agree with that. His opponents are not playing chess but are letting Toppy walk over them while shuffling pieces around.
This is double-edged. Of course, this is a major positive trait in Toppy, but on the other hand, it doesn't exactly flatter him that he is beating opponents who refuse to play the game. This is the worst quality WC competition ever (which is not to say the tournament has been of terrible quality overall, just not worthy of WC status), right beside the KO tournament in Libya.

Toppy's victory over Polgar was nice, she deserved the contempt of Berlin Wall, as she is unable to play the board and plays what she wants, but hardly a masterpiece, again.
Personally, i appreciated most the game Adams-Morozevich, a very well played game from both parties, worthy of the draw result.

Chess needs Garry now more than ever to save us from these second rate WC candidates, and to bring back quality to attacking chess.

Adams-Morozevich? Adams blundered a position which just had to be much better for him and nearly lost. For me Svidler-Leko or Anand-Polgar was nearly a perfect game from the winner but the loser played weakly. Perhaps Kasim-Anand is the game of the tournament so far?

Yes, at least we can agree that so far Kasim-Anand has been most impressive in the whole tournament.
In Adams' defense, he got into time trouble and simply failed to find the best moves, while Moro was able to take advantage of his inaccuracies in neutralising Adams' winning chances, as it should be. Accurate play was needed from Adams in the defense but i never thought Moro was really winning.
i've never seen Adams play that proactivelly, exchanging his queen for rooks and looking for dynamic play. At some point in this tournament he just has to win some.

Sacateca,
I can see that we are nearly on opposite ends of the spectrum. I say nearly because I too love to see the art in chess. However, I truly believe that the whole point of chess is to win. Therefore I do care more about the ability to generate results than I do for perfection. I play to win always, and thus I take risks. I am punished for this quite often, but I do not despair, for it is only the pursuit of winning that I deem important in chess. When I draw a game (a rare happening) I consider it nearly as bad as losing, simply because I failed to win.....the whole point of the sport of chess.

if topalov and kasparov were to play a match today I am sure positive that Topalov would crush Kasparov into the dirt. absolute crush beyond belief.

Kasparov got out just in time.

Kramnik is a joke.

knight_tour: Yes, i will never forget Smyslov summing it up as him making 40 good moves and if his opponent can do the same, the game will end in a draw. Those words i could identify with, and could only manage to wince in disdain when Topalov said he doesn't care if his style brings losses (if i interpretated correctly the attitude he was trying to express with it), which is exactly the opposite than trying for quality of play.
Smyslov was, btw, also a phenomenal quality player, i find it very hard to understand some of his subtle moves, though his reign was short and i'm not certain about his tournament successes. Same, of course, goes to Spassky.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on October 3, 2005 8:42 AM.

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