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World Cup 2005 r1.1

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The FIDE World Cup in Khanty-Mansyisk, Russia (Siberia) is underway. It's a 128-player knock-out, two-game mini-matches with tiebreaks on the third day. Time control is a speedy 40 in 90' then g/15'+30". Apart from the $80,000 first prize (after the 20% FIDE tax) 10 players will qualify for the second stage of the new FIDE world championship cycle, the 16-player candidates matches. As scheduled those lead to four players going to a final world championship tournament where they meet the top four finishers from San Luis. Yes, this last stage is as idiotic as it sounds. 128 players battling it out for four spots while four get a free ride? Tough qualification that ends in a trivial round robin? Welcome to FIDEWorld.

Anyway, the first round was full of the upsets that fans love and hate. They give us something to chatter about but cutting the best players out early is depressing in a world championship event. Shirov gave up a half point, Ponomariov did so with white. Mamedyarov, fresh from winning the world junior, was the first upset loss, taken down by the Kazakh IM Ibraev. The underrated Chinese flexed their muscles with a win by Li over Vallejo Pons and Hungary's Cao beat Volokitin. Ganguly beat Nakamura to put the hurt on US (and Ninja) chances. Kamsky smoothly beat Zhao. Akopian forfeited against Lane in a no-show.

Games are up in PGN at TWIC. The youngest participant, Magnus Carlsen, beat Azmaiparashvili. Is Vaganian the oldest player at 54? The only female player, women's world champion Antoaneta Stefanova, lost to Ivan Sokolov. The eight American players made an even score on the day. It wasn't much of a day for the LatAm underperros. Granda Zuņiga, Lima, Milos, Vazquez, Matamoros, Needleman, and Flores all lost. Bruzon and Vescovi won. Early contender for move of the day was 32..Be6! by Pantsulaia in his win against Milov. Ugliest loss was probably Minasian blowing a drawn "wrong bishop" endgame against van Wely after inspired defense. 70.g4 was a simple draw. (72..h6! was sweet though.) Damn fast time control. Inarkiev-Khalifman was a wild one to check out (34.Ra1?!?)


FIDE has Cao listed as playing for Hungary.

Yah, he's Hungarian. Had Hao and China on my mind there. Fixed it.

2. Qh5 didn't quite work out against Sasikiran - wonder whether the H-bomb will risk it against Ganguly.


I think Cao Sang is orginally from Vietnam. He moved to Hungary and stayed.

Best wishes,
Susan Polgar


the time control is 90 min for 40 moves + 15 min for the rest of the game + 30 sec for each move starting from move 1.

I highly doubt Nakamura will play Qh5, I think he's done with this move in key games. I believe that he will expect to beat Ganguly in a normal fashion tomorrow, and won't have to resort to such ideas.

from chessbase: " This is to be expected of course since the tournament pairings are based on a folding in the middle. This means that number 1 (Ivanchuk) plays number 128 (Sibariev) just around 500 points less than him."

How do you guys feels obout this seeding thing? I am not really sure, but I think in tennis they do it the same way. Anyway, I think it is a little unfair, in my opinion the pairings should be at random... but then again, that's no good for publicity... well, it's a complex subject.

I strongly agree with the seeding. That's the way it's done in the major sporting tournaments that I can think of: Grand Slam Tennis (which FIDE seems to regard as somewhat of a model), NCAA basketball, etc. No offense intended, but random pairing seems strange and non-transparent.

In the 2nd game between Paragua-Movsesian,Why did Movsesian play the disrespectful 40...Qg2+?

What a jerk.

Nakamura, the end of the Hype? 0-2 against Ganguly.

Nakamura, the end of the Hype? 0-2 against Ganguly.

Nakamura, R.I.P.

Nakamura - Ganguly, 0-2. The end of the hype?...
Funny move by Movssesian indeed. Another interesting draw between Khalifman and Inarkiev. Volokitin out

The official website mentions that Akopian's reason for not coming is "health problems." Does anyone know more about this?

Also, for the first time in weeks, I clicked on the chess.fm audio feed link and wasn't prompted to give an ICC login. The player says they're "off the air" right now...can anyone confirm if chess.fm gave up on the ICC member only listening thing?

In a tournament with huge sponsors putting up money, this is the best way to do the pairings, as it creates better matchups in the most important rounds.

I believe that in tournaments where people pay their own entry to play and the prize fund is supported by the players, that random pairings are correct, so that the playing field is level. (Of course no one else seems to agree with me, since there are basically no tournaments like this and most players seem to have no trouble paying an entry fee even when guaranteed worse pairings than their higher rated competition in the event)

The first FIDE KO (won by Khalifman) followed the 128 vs 64, 127 vs 63, ..., 65 vs 1 approach. The problem with that one is that it is very sensitive to tiny differences in your rating. For instance, in Khanty Mansyinsk, the #65 is Fedorov (2616) and the #64 is Cheparinov (2618), and because of that 2-point difference, Fedorov would have had to face #1 Ivanchuk (2748) whereas Cheparinov would face #128 Sibriaev (2264). You would see a similar effect in what happens between #32 and #33 in the second round, and so on. With the 1 vs 128, 2 vs 127, ..., 64 vs 65 approach you don't see this effect at all, so I'm glad we left behind the 64 vs 128, 63 vs 127, etc. approach.

I like the 1 vs 128, etc., approach very much. Assuming no upsets, all of the matchups within any particular round have roughly the same combined strength. That is, adding the seed numbers together gives you 129 in all first-round matchups, and gives you 65 in all second-round matchups, etc. Seems quite fair to me. Plus, as Greg said, it postpones the best matchups until the later rounds, where you get longer matches and a better show. That's why you see things like the NBA playoffs having shorter "matches" in the early rounds. Of course, in the current FIDE tournament they are all two-game matches so that blows that argument away.

Oops I guess Khalifman actually won the second FIDE KO, because there was the one before, that ended up with Anand winning the KO and getting to face Karpov.

38 out of 64 mini matches decisive, without tiebreaks, in the 1st round. Is that about what you would expect in a tournament like this? I'm guessing it's reasonable to expect that this proportion will decrease as the tournament progresses?

::"Ugliest loss was probably Minasian blowing a drawn "wrong bishop" endgame against van Wely after inspired defense. 70.g4 was a simple draw"::

Whoa! White was a pawn down, and each side had knights on the board in that "wrong bishop" ending. While it was dynamically evenish, it was at no time a matter of missing a "simple draw". (Both sides had passers on opposite wings.)

Also, 70. g4 gets crushed by that same zugzwang-inducing "...h6" move. One line: (Depth=22 -13.17) 70.g4 h6!! 71. Kh3 Kf1 72. g5 hxg5 73. Kg4 Bh4 74. h3 Kg2 75. Kf5 Kxh3 when the issue is plain. But all roads lead to Rome in that position.

What Minasian played gave him the best chance, which was virtual zero in this ending vs a world-class GM.

Next time, eat those scones instead of smokin em, Mig! hehe :)


More proof of the inverse relationship between the quality of analysis and the level of snideness that accompanies it! I'm not sure why you talk about the position with knights on the board. I was referring to the bishop endgame, hence my use of the phrase ""wrong bishop" endgame." I was referring to when the knights were off the board.

I don't know or care about your computer's depth 20, but 70.g4 h6!!!!!! (as many as you like) 71.h4 is still a draw. g5 is next and 71...Bxh4 is obviously a draw. The theory, in case you and your computer have not read any endgame books, is that although the white king can be stalemated, forcing g5 and giving black a knight's pawn, black must capture g5 with the pawn, meaning that the stalemate will still be in effect. Therefore black can never force a knight's pawn without it being an immediate stalemate. Even 69.h4 achieved the same thing in a flashier way.

Some stupid computers will play around with this for a hundred years still insisting Black has an advantage because of the material, but it is a book draw. Just keep the white king in the corner instead of your (and Minasian's) Kh3. Averbach 1, Fritz 0.

You're right, and I'm wrong.

See, I work very long hours in a restaurant, and I don't have the time to look carefully over all the games in these big tourneys. But I do enjoy them. So I run the computer while I make the moves to see if the really great players might have found better alternatives. Since my rating was about 1300 when I used to play (30 years ago), the computer is about the best chance I'll ever have to know at a glance how things stand. But as you pointed out, they are no substitute for understanding chess. What a doozy of a mistake I made!

Im honestly sorry that my comments made you angry, Mig. I was trying to kid around, not be snide or rude. Ive read your columns for years and seen how you sometimes joke with posters, so I figured you would see my comments the same way. Well, not everything works as planned.

Anyway, good luck with the column and take care.

Bill Harris

Angry? Heck, that's me on a good day! But computer analysis sans humility gets my hackles up, admittedly. Especially when it's wrong.

Plus, you had it coming after following up wrong analysis with smoking scones (?!) remarks.

And I think my overreactions (this is far from the first) are due to the fact that I make part of my living from chess analysis. While I very much want it criticized and corrected in the best sense, I can't afford to have it falsely accused, as it were.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on November 27, 2005 10:40 PM.

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