Greengard's ChessNinja.com

Corus 2006 r10

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Wow. Veselin Topalov is as real as real can get. He played a spectacular game to beat Aronian today. (ChessBase report here, should have my notes added soon.) As has been his pattern, a great piece of preparation followed by further sacrificial play. Truly amazing, and I'm not the only one who's impressed. Kasparov was full of admiration about the game, although I didn't get any variations from him. Maybe tomorrow. If anyone was still thinking that Topalov's rise last year was temporary or flukish, you stand corrected. He's at +5 and picking up speed.

So the Battling Bulgarian now leads by a half point ahead of Anand, who made a short draw with Mamedyarov. van Wely outplayed Leko with the bishop pair and Kamsky duly lost again, to Bacrot. Oddly enough, Thursday is another free day. This will give us plenty of time to drool over this Topalov game. It looks like he's well past being posterized by other players and on to being in the anthologies in bold print.


An awesome win by Topalov!

"If anyone was still thinking that Topalov's rise last year was temporary or flukish ..."

I think that line of thinking may actually apply to Aronian. He has to demonstrate that his rating is not ... flukish as one might put it. I for one still have fate in Aronian.


Topalov played fantastic. Hope he will also give some fantastic interview and analysis to go along later.

Is there a PGN viewer on this site?

Games like that make me want to give up chess. Those guys just aren't human. How can Topalov, who apparently doesn't even know the relative value of the pieces, win game after game.

I give up. Pass the remote, there's probably something on the idiot box.

It is impossible not to be impressed by Topalov. No one is playing more exciting chess today, and no one is doing it more successfully.
Watching his games, I hesitate to call myself a chess player. We use the same board, the same pieces, but there all similarity ends...

Let us put aside all thoughts of a match against Kramnik. Kramnik would have to be in top form to have a chance. He is not, and that is sad. He, too, understands chess in a way I can only admire at a respectful distance...

A match between these two players at their best might be comparable to Capablanca-Alekhine? Botvinnik-Tal?

Good point about Topalov being posterized by other players back a few years ago. I can also
think of two bad losses to Karpov, the first from Karpov's amazing 1994 Linares tournament where Veselin was the victim of several Topalov-like sacrifices, and the second game was from (I think) another Spanish tournament a year or two later where Karpov played a great combination beginning with the move Nf6!! (sorry, I don't have the game in front of me.)

Of course a Topalov-Kramnik match is totally untimely. Kramnik is in the worst form of his life, in contrast with Topalov who...what can i say...he rocks.

Such a match would have been an one man show, without a particular interest and certainly it would harm Kramnik's career. I think he understand this and so no matter the financial and organizational conditions, he will try to avoid it..

I was really bummed when Kasparov lost his last ever tournament game at Linares to Topalov, but now in hindsight, it almost seems like a natural passing of the torch. Garry can rest well knowing this great game is still in great hands.

P.S. Garry, I hope you are doing well and enjoying your retirement. I, for one, still miss your games.

Topalov may be onto the next sea change in chess -- winning by finding routes the computer doesn't automatically recommend. I haven't run through his latest games with Fritz, but his White against Anand's QID in Sofia completely baffled the computer (not rightly accounting for initiative). Topalov's comments in NIC hinted as much. That's preparation. Same for Leko's Qd3! move in his match against Kramnik.

Hmm, modernist, hyper-modern, ... meta-modern? ;)

Kramnik does not expect the rise of Topalov. He avoided Kasparov at any cost because of fear that Kaspy could regain the title easily. He defended his title against no. 7 in the world rank, Leko and luckily got score of 7-7. He told the media that he already proven it to himself and does not need to prove it to anyone. He thought that it is acceptable to chess world, "but" if not he does not care.

But now since the rise of Topalov, the highest rated world champion and acknowledged by each chessplayers the true champ, Kramnik has a big problem. Impressive performance of Topalov vs very poor performance of Kramnik.

Kramnik has to find a way to play the real world champ Topalov at any cost otherwise his media releases as World Champ would continue to be nonsense. He would die like alekhine world champ. The only difference is Alekhine was somewhat recognized as world champ even after his death (though he avoided Capablanca's rematch at any cost too), but for Kramnik?-Maybe his family, friends and manager would.

He gives up both rooks for light pieces and still wins. I sac'd the exchange too the other day and lost. This Topalov guy must be really lucky!


I cannot understand why Kramnik is mentioned so much in a topic called "Corus 2006 r10". Give the guy a break. Let him recuperate and come back....he is still very young.

The word Anand (2nd best player at the moment) is only mentioned twice (now 3 times). This is the match we should be calling for.

Just imagine the quality of chess with 16 games between these 2 awesome players. Kramnik's time will come...do not worry.


I wonder whether FIDE will re-evaluate the value of the pieces of R versus B and N. hehehe
And it will be an interesting statistic to note whether future games (in general) will include many more exchange sacs!

Kasparov is working on a new book: "My great successors, Part 1 (Topalov)", subheaded "Tough time to be a rook". Awesome.

I am truly inspired by Topalov's exciting chess, although I didn't think the 2nd rook sac was so hard to find. The g4 ! follow up to the first rook sac was truly remarkable.

Incidentally I think Anand deserves praise because I am sure in a normal year 5 wins would be good enough at this stage to secure victory. And if I am not mistaken, provided he halves out he will leap over the 2800 barrier which has been a long term goal of his.

How long before Topalov goes 2900?

Finally, all those who say Adams wasn't worthy of candidates place can choke on their beer. I tnink he's playing great. Good to see him back.

All the best


Fantastic games by Topalov !
He IS a real champ like Fischer, Karpov, Kasparov etc. [maybe Kramnik as well].
If he goes on like this he is going to create his own myth...

Not only two sacrifices off R versus light pieces, but it's exactly the same move :-)
Like 2 missiles from the same lauching site. 3...2...1...GO! Re1xe4+ !!

Is there information on the coaches present?

I am mostly interested in does Ivan Sokolov has a helper, or he came alone.

[Event "Corus A"]
[Site "Wijk aan Zee NED"]
[Date "2006.01.25"]
[Round "10"]
[White "Topalov, V."]
[Black "Aronian, L."]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "E15"]
[WhiteElo "2801"]
[BlackElo "2752"]
[PlyCount "87"]
[EventDate "2006.01.14"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 b6 4. g3 Ba6 5. b3 Bb4+ 6. Bd2 Be7 7. Bg2 c6 8. Bc3
d5 9. Ne5 Nfd7 10. Nxd7 Nxd7 11. Nd2 O-O 12. O-O Nf6 13. e4 b5 14. exd5 exd5 (
14... cxd5 15. c5 b4 16. Bxb4 Bxf1 17. Bxf1 e5 18. Bc3 a5 19. a3 Ne4 20. Nxe4
dxe4 21. b4 axb4 22. axb4 Rxa1 23. Qxa1 Qd5 24. dxe5 Ra8 25. Qc1 Ra2 26. Qe3
Rc2 27. Qd4 Qxd4 28. Bxd4 Kf8 29. h4 {Anand,V (2786)-Adams,M (2741)/Wijk aan
Zee NED 2005/The Week in Chess 534/1-0 (42)}) 15. Re1 Rb8 16. c5! (16. a3
Re8 17. c5 Bc8 18. b4 Qc7 19. a4 a6 20. axb5 axb5 21. Nb3 Bf5 22. Bd2 Ra8 23.
Bf4 Qd7 24. Re2 h6 25. Rea2 Rxa2 26. Rxa2 g5 27. Be5 Ne4 28. Qa1 f6 29. Ra7 Qe6
30. Bc7 Bf8 {Bologan,V (2683)-Sadvakasov,D (2635)/Poikovsky RUS 2005/The Week
in Chess 539/1-0 (74)}) 16... Bc8 17. Nf3 (17. h3 Qc7 18. b4 Re8 19. a4 a6 20.
axb5 axb5 21. Bb2 h6 22. Qf3 Be6 23. Kh2 Ra8 24. Ra3 Rxa3 25. Qxa3 Qc8 26. Ra1
Bf5 27. Re1 Be6 28. Ra1 Bf5 29. Re1 Kf8 30. Bc1 Qa8 31. Re3 Qc8 {Karpov,A (2682
)-Sadvakasov,D (2631)/Astana KAZ 2004/The Week in Chess 524/0-1 (68)}) 17...
Ne4 18. Rxe4N!(18. Ne5 Nxc3 19. Qc2 Qc7 20. Qxc3 Bf6 (20... Re8 21. a4
b4 22. Qf3 Bf8 23. Re3 f6 24. Nd3 Rxe3 25. fxe3 a5 26. e4 Be6 27. Qf4 Qd8 28.
e5 Rb7 29. exf6 Qxf6 30. Qxf6 {
1/2-1/2 Kramnik,V (2770)-Leko,P (2741)/Dortmund GER 2004}) 21. Re3 b4 22. Qd2
Re8 23. Rae1 Bxe5 24. Rxe5 Rxe5 25. Rxe5 f6 26. Re3 Bf5 27. Qe2 Kf8 28. h4 a5
29. Bf3 Qd7 30. g4 Bg6 31. h5 Bf7 32. Qa6 Be6 33. h6 gxh6 34. Qxa5 Bxg4 35.
Bxg4 Qxg4+ 36. Rg3 Qd7 37. Qa6 Re8 38. Qf1 Re4 39. Qc1 Rh4 40. a4 Qf5 41. a5
Qe4 42. f3 Qxd4+ 43. Kg2 Qd3 44. Qb2 Rd4 45. Rg4 Qd2+ 46. Qxd2 Rxd2+ 47. Kg3
Ra2 48. Rxb4 Rxa5 49. Rb8+ Ke7 50. Rb7+ Ke6 51. b4 Rb5 52. Rc7 Rxb4 53. Rxc6+
Ke5 54. Rc7 Rc4 55. Rxh7 Rxc5 56. Rxh6 Rc2 57. Rh8 Kd4 58. Kf4 Kd3 59. Rd8 Rc4+
60. Kf5 d4 61. f4 Rc6 62. Rd7 Ke3 63. Re7+ Kd2 64. Kg6 d3 65. f5 Kc3 66. Re6
Rc4 67. Re3 Kd4 68. Re6 Kd5 69. Re1 Rc6 70. Re3 Kd4 71. Re6 Kc5 72. Re1 Rd6 73.
Kf7 Kd4 74. Ke7 d2 75. Rd1 Ke5 {
0-1 Bologan,V (2700)-Sadvakasov,D (2605)/Sochi RUS 2005/The Week in Chess 547})
18... dxe4 19. Ne5 Qd5 20. Qe1! Bf5 21. g4! Bg6 22. f3 b4 23. fxe4!
Qe6 24. Bb2 Bf6 25. Nxc6 Qxc6 26. e5 Qa6 27. exf6 Rfe8 (27... Qxf6!?) 28. Qf1!
Qe2 29. Qf2! Qxg4 30. h3 Qg5 (30... Qh5 31. Re1!) 31. Bc1 $1 Qh5 32. Bf4
Rbd8? (32... Rbc8) 33. c6!+- Be4 34. c7 Rc8 35. Re1 Qg6 36. Rxe4! Rxe4 37.
d5 Rce8 38. d6 Re1+ 39. Kh2 Qf5 40. Qg3 g6 41. Qg5 (41. Qg4) 41... Qxg5 42.
Bxg5 Rd1 43. Bc6 Re2+ 44. Kg3 1-0

Topalov is starting to play like Kasparov. I can think of no higher praise.

wow .... what are all these kh3Nx89.31.Hx2434gfgnf blah blah. I just got dizzy. Please some human comments! We are not Fritz!

IM/FST Jovan Petronic,

Sokolov came with a second, GM Laurent Fressinet.

When will round 10 comments come up on Chessbase?

When will round 10 comments come up on Chessbase?

Here are some human comments!

This was a very exciting game to watch. More exciting for me however was to see Topalov handle the pressure of having the constant pinch of Anand on his cheeks, turn around and produce two spectacular games in a row; that is truly fascinating! He is proving himself to be an elite player, a fighter and a worthy champion. No more burnout in the latter stages of a tournament.

There are still the games with Anand & Leko to come however. Leko may not be in good form, but I do worry for Topalov since he is quite often makes questionable moves against these top guys especially one move from victory. Remember Be5 or the lack of, Topalov v Kamsky at the start of the tournament.

Saying the former means that Topalov still has a lot of room for improvements in my opinion; to reach the ruthless and immediately demolition of an opponent at the slightest sniff of inaccuracy like Kasparov. I look forward to that day and then is when he may become 2900.

A unification of the chess world would be fantastic, but I dare to say Kramnik should be discarded as a challenger. I actually love Kramnik's chess play. Once absolutely beautiful positional ideas and innovations. I believe he had a huge part in Kasparov not playing the Kings Indian or Grunfeld defence too much before his retirement. The guys lacks of play and poor tournament results however, leaves him wanting - he is an absolute disgrace to the chess world and should be sidelined until he starts playing the game of CHESS again.

Topalov is KING, willing to put his reputation on the line and comes fighting no matter what! He plays CHESS for love and not just money. Only an opinion of course, since only Topalov can say for real.

Let me complete this dissertaion by wishing the best for the chess world and the most respectful champion since Kasparov, Topalov!

Any comments to the above send to Richardmle@hotmail.com.


"A unification of the chess world would be fantastic, but I dare to say Kramnik should be discarded as a challenger. I actually love Kramnik's chess play..... The guy's lack of play and poor tournament results however, leaves him wanting - he is an absolute disgrace to the chess world and should be sidelined until he starts playing the game of CHESS again."

If you say that "unification...would be fantastic," then you must want a Topalov-Kramnik match. There is nothing else to unify.

According to the current FIDE rules, anyone over 2700 who can come up with enough money is permitted to challenge Topalov. Apparently, even Bobby Fischer could do it, if he had a sponsor -- but it was clearly designed for Kramnik, as there is no one else that makes sense. All of the other credible challengers are already committed to the existing cycle.

I see nothing to complain about if such a match takes place. It will be a great payday for two fine chess players, and Kramnik's friends are responsible for coming up with the money. If people are willing to pay for it, we (as fans) are beneficiaries. So are the players.

I think it is wrong to refer to Kramnik's recent play as a disgrace. It is obviously sad, but not disgraceful, that his skills have eroded -- especially if, as he claims, it is for health reasons.

Great comments. I have posted links to other annotations of Topalov-Aronian at my blog:

There are already over a dozen excellent sources for notes to this game. I expect more in the coming weeks (and years!)

Mig - I love the site and all the commentary and posts. I must say that I'm astonished at the frequency with which demands for a Topalov - Kramnik match are made amongst the chess-players at this site. Though the last 10 years of the chess world have been reminiscent of boxing (i.e. different titles, champions etc.) and though FIDE has been a disgrace, chess is a much more precise sport than boxing and therefore we have a much clearer idea of who the real champion is. By "precise" I mean that we do not rely on judges to decide who has won a fight or is the best but instead we have tournament results, match results, game results, ratings (though, as Jeff Sonas frequently points out, his rating system would no doubt be preferable to FIDE ratings) so it is possible to have a clear idea of the current form of players and with some objectivity to say who is the best chess player in the world.

To that end, as a chess fan, the matches I would LOVE to see are in the following order:

(1) Kasparov - Topalov (or, if you prefer, Topalov - Kasparov). The greatest player ever against the most recent strongest player and current FIDE champion. The two highest players on the FIDE rating list. Kasparov has not been gone very long. Who would win this match? One thing is for sure, with their similar, aggressive styles it would be very different to the Kasparov - Kramnik match of 2000. For any chess player, this can only be described as a mouth-watering match. Which chess player on earth would not be interested in seeing this?! I wouldn't even care if no title was on the line. Boxing, seemingly justified the desire for a million Tyson comebacks even when he was well past his prime. Kramnik is (and was) no Tyson. Kasparov is (but has not yet faded like Tyson did).

(2) Topalov - Anand. Assuming Kasparov really has retired for good, this is the logical match to see. The two strongest active players. Two very interesting, playing styles. Again, who would win? Topalov may have an edge but who could be sure? Anand has more match experience.

(3) Topalov - (any challenger who has been through a proper qualification process). In effect, this is remembering the good old days when this sort of thing used to be the way things were organised.

Topalov - Kramnik only really gives me the sort of interest as a chess player that any match between two of the world's top players would. I would follow it and be interested but the same would apply to Anand - Kramnik, Topalov - Ivanchuk, Shirov - Leko etc etc. I don't believe Kramnik really has anything left to bring to a "unification". Whilst his win over Kasparov in 2000 was a remarkable achievement, his title has withered away. There is much talk of "FIDE" world champions and "classical" world champions. If I can coin a phrase, to my mind there have been 15 "real" world champions:

13th - Kasparov (85 - 00)
14th - Kramnik (00 - 05)
15th - Topalov (05 - present)

I mean no disrespect to Anand and the other FIDE champions of recent years or to Kramnik (who I hope gets better and plays well again) but I'm sure the above is how chess history will judge events.

Keep up the great work on the site.

Don't count out Adams yet! Two of his remaining three games are against currently postioned 11 and 12. Likely not first but a close second place finish for him is not hard to imagine,

Yes indeed unification would be fantastic and maybe this can be achieved by removing Kramnik from the equation altogether! He is wasting my time, your time and the entire chess worlds' time.

In boxing a champion must defend his title within a period of time or he is stripped of the belt. How can Kramnik pick and choose when he plays and carry on saying he is champion. I see him as a coward and call me callous but I do not believe this farce about an illness. Kasparov played the 2000 WC against Kramnik not in the best of conditions. Kramnik has no excuse, well possibly scared!

Even Kasimdanov is more respectable than Kramnik, in the fact that he is willing to come out and play in tournaments irrespective of whether he loses or not.

Whatever the outcome of this tournament, Topalov has done justice to the boots of Kasparov. And maybe this is not fair to Topalov so I will say that his boots are worthy of a champion. Kr...'s name should not be mentioned ever again for a WC match.

I believe it was Bareev (say that quickly 10 times) that once said, "when playing Kasparov, the pieces seem to move differently." I wonder how many GM's are now thinking that of Topolov?

Garry is probably quite satisfied at this point with his retirement from chess. After all, he did leave on top and with Topolov playing like he is, Garry would definately have some more premature gray.

Once again I will repeat myself,

"Saying the former means that Topalov still has a lot of room for improvements in my opinion; to reach the ruthless and immediately demolition of an opponent at the slightest sniff of inaccuracy like Kasparov."

Topalov is not Kasparov but a much more WC that Kramnik ever was or will be.

I suppose another way of summarising my views about the relevancy of a Topalov - Kramnik match to chess "unification" is that it would be on a par with Topalov - Spassky or Topalov - Karpov. The 11th, 12th and 14th world champions have all faded (which is not to say that such matches would not be interesting, it's just that they would not be relevant to determining the real world champion). A real and credible world championship match should be between Topalov and either the 13th world champion (who is still very strong!) or the potential 16th world champion whomever he (or she!) may be. Of course, Kramnik might become that legitimate challenger to Topalov's title, but as I understand it, all the arguments advanced on Kramnik's behalf for playing a match against Topalov now are based on his past achievements and not his current ones. That for me puts him in the same place as Karpov and Spassky in terms of relevance to the current title of real world champion.

Why do we need anybody to be anybody else? I've played the heir-to-the-throne game too, for fun, but let's not take it too seriously. Topalov isn't Kasparov and he doesn't have to be. He's Topalov, and that's pretty damn good. Kramnik's not even Kramnik anymore, but I don't see why that's even part of the discussion. His accomplishments are on record; he need not apologize for not being other.

Under the system we had a decade ago Topalov's brilliant streak would have been a pretty comet to admire but that would have had had no relevance to the world championship. But he has done everything he is permitted to do under the system we have now. FIDE gave us a tournament, he won it spectacularly. That some people want him to jump through further hoops (a long match, etc.) so they can compare him to players long dead does not make sense to many fans today.

Criticism of Kramnik must also be restrained to his possibilities. I.e., failure off the board to establish a convincing cycle has been accentuated by failure on the board to be the de facto champion. But comparing him to Topalov or Kasparov is apples and oranges. His claims have nothing to do with tournament dominance, rating, or beautiful games. It's just that fewer and fewer people care whether or not anyone has beaten Kramnik in a match. Were he the product of a system, and one that were still in place, it wouldn't be such an issue.

If there is money they will play and everyone will be happy. Topalov will have played a long match. Kramnik will have faced the world's top player and someone who came through a tough event we can view, retroactively, for convenience, as a qualifier. If they don't play, everyone will stick to their own criteria and the world will continue to spin.

As for other matches of interest, there will, I hope, never be a shortage of them. What else would we talk about? But having a legit champion should not be only about facing the player who is interesting enough to raise the money. We have learned the hard way that a system matters. Should, say, Nisipeanu beat Topalov in a challenge match, would we acclaim him as universal champion? Hardly. But should anyone at all, perhaps Carlsen or Kamsky or Grischuk, make it through the candidates matches after qualifying from the World Cup and then beat Topalov in a match, ah, well, hail to the chief. Funny how that works.

As I've expressed many times in the past, I'm a pragmatist on these things nowadays. I'm for classical chess and plenty of it. I'm also for a rigorous cycle and a long-match world championship final. I want Kramnik to have some leverage because he also supports that tradition, but I have little interest in Kramnik himself or his specific claims at this point. I feel he has let down his side of the bargain in several areas, but I'm beyond rancor and I hope he can be part of the solution.

Attempting to invalidate one side or the other makes that solution less likely. For many, nothing is broken. I don't believe that.

Kramnik has let down his side of the bargain in several areas?!

Working in the face of indifference/opposition from the world's largest chess organization and the world most recognized player, he gave the world's best players the opportunity to participate in a qualifier in 2002. He defended his title in 2004. He put together a proposal for a 2006 WCC, evidently accepted by Topalov and shot down by FIDE. Despite health problems evident to anyone looking at photos from the 2005 Russian championship, he's apparently going along with FIDE plans for a 2006 title defense.

His record compares favorably with that of the greatest player in chess history, who was unable to organize a match against the winner of his qualifying event and who let five years elapse between title defenses.

Kasparov may or may not have let down his side of the bargain in 1995-2000. But I certainly maintained interest in Kasparov and his specific claims during this period.

All parties beyond rancor and looking toward a future classical WCC ought to leave off criticizing the last two champions respecting the difficult process of finding sponsorship and organizing a title defense.

Mig, Oooooh, Did someone wake up on the wrong side of the bed this morning? It wasn't that long ago that I asked in jest, whose Kramnik? Your reply was "Mine". Indeed "the world will continue to spin" and at a faster rate than I realized. Obviously, you don't have to respond to this, but I do love your rationale at times.

After all this time, you still haven't gotten the joke? And you even repeat the mistake. My answer was a joke in reply to your use of "whose" (possessive) instead of the correct (I assume) "who's" ("who is") and had nothing to do with anything else, real or imagined.

Mig, Thank you for answering and clarifying my last message. I will be the first to say that I'm not as educated or as articulate as you, or many others on this blog, and I mean that in all sincerity. So in the fututre when I screw-up, feel free to set me straight.

I really do enjoy this blog and personally it's an interesting experience for me. Unfortunately, when it comes to correct grammar and puncuation, I'm most assuredly winging it. I apologize for the erroneous assumption and will try not to be so quick to judge in the future...at least till next time. Thanks

Greg, we've been over this a thousand times. We understand that Kramnik is a flawless golden child and has done everything in his power and worked his fingers to the bone up to 29 hours a day to create utopia on earth for all mankind. Unfortunately, results are what matter. Kramnik didn't organize Dortmund and only the players invited to it had a chance to face him. Not a cycle then and nothing at all since then. That's three and a half years of squat in the organization department. Five, if you start from 2000.

Complaining about FIDE (or Kasparov) doesn't answer these critiques. If you want to be classical champ outside of FIDE you have some work to do. Kasparov failed to put together a second cycle too, of course. (Saying Kramnik compares favorably with the founder of the PCA with its cycle, 95 world championship in NY and millions of dollars in tournaments and prizes is fabulously ignorant.)

What Kasparov did 98-2000 was maintain total dominance and de facto status as world champion and when he was forced to pick a challenger he picked the top guy on the planet, Steinitz-Zukertort style. (A slight fudge, since Anand was there too but declined to play.) This, while still entirely deficient in many ways, at least maintained the claim of the winner to be the top player.

If you aren't going to have a cycle or a system you'd better be number one or at least maintain very credible claims to being #1. Without one of those things you are relying solely on the third and weakest of the legs of the tripod, succession. Petrosian had system + succession but not results. Kasparov had results + succession but no system (as of 1998). Kramnik, starting from 2003, or even 2004 to be kind, has succession but no results and no system. He'd better pedal his unicycle damn fast!

No worries, CT. It wasn't an insult, just a quick joke on a typo. I didn't follow that long-ago thread and never realized anyone took it to mean anything. Although I'm not sure what it would mean!

To say Kramnik had "no results" during 2003-04 is false. In both years, he finished ahead of Kasparov at Linares.

True enough, although I didn't say he had died. But dominance - the point of my argument - it was not. He has steadily dropped down the rating list and middle of the pack finishes have become the norm. The worst tournament result in history by a classical champ at the Mtel in 2005 topped it off. I'm not interested in belittling his play, only to make the point that if he were a politician he wouldn't be running on his record. And to show that comparisons to Kasparov's situation 98-2000 aren't valid from that perspective.

It is great to see that the chess world is not ignorant and willing to sit on their laurels and call themselves champ.

I wonder what is kram...'s match play record?

It is great to see that the chess world is not ignorant and willing to see someone sit on their laurels and call themselves champ.

I wonder what is kram...'s match play record?

Dont wonder about Kramnik's (no. 6 in rank) impressive match record!!

Though he never won any candidate matches at all and defeated convincingly by Shirov in 1998 candidate match, he won luckily against Kasparov in 2000 and got classical world champion title. He deprived then Kasparov, the strongest and the highest rated player of his time to have any rematch because of fear that Kaspy could beat him handily the second time around.

But to prove how good he is, he defended successfully his title against 7th in rank Leko and got an amazing score of 7-7. Kramnik was and is very impressed to himself and told media that he had already proven it to himself and does not need to prove it to anyone, that he is the real world chump. He is lucky somehow that it was the last game, otherwise he might lost the title against Leko I bet.

Now he is for sure preparing and reviewing with computer softwares the moves of the real world champion Topalov for their near future match in a mask that he is sick. With this long preparation against specific person would give him a real big edge against Topalov who plays actively with his brilliance and for review of Kramnik and his top computer programs to find its weaknesses. While Topalov would have shorter preparation with Kramnik's lousy tournament results for his study.

I'm no Kramnik-fan, but calling his win aganinst Kasparov lucky, shows us just what to think of your opinions. No matter what can be thought of his efforts to defend the title, he beat Kasparov in a long match, luck don't enter into it.


Kramnik is the best! He defended successfully his title against next in world rank after him.

What Kramnik did was quite logical, he is no. 6 in world rank so he had defended the title against 7th in world rank. Unless you are upset with him, you would surely like him to have a match against Kasparov or any other players from World rank 1-5 and let him lose the title easily. Kramnik is wise than you thought and would never allow that, as a matter of fact how many years Kasparov had chased him until Kaspy got feed-up and retired??

Though he thought to keep world champ title 'til death like Alekhine and avoid a Capablanca like rematch or opponent, he proved to himself and defended his title to Bogulyobov alike and he was satisfied to the 7-7 result and does not need to prove it to anyone anymore, in other words he does not care if you dont recognized him as a world champ as long as he recognized himself as the world champ.

But actually the 3rd paragraph is wrong, I could sense he cares even when he said "he does not need to prove it to anyone". He knows now that majority of the chessplayers don't recognized him as a world champ and no option for him but to play against the real world champ Topalov.

Kramnik always plan way ahead, when he played against computer program Fritz, his condition is to have a copy of the program in advance first so he could study the program. He successfully got even score 4-4. Now since the match between the world champ Topalov and Kramnik looks inevitable this year, he bailed in 2006 corus tournament with his illness(?) and to study in advance brilliant games of Topalov with the help of his chess programs while Topalov had a handicap, he has nothing to study except recent lousy tournament games of Kramnik.

So watch out there is a possibility that Topalov would have a hard time in his match against Kramnik. Kramnik you're a genius!

Kramnik's career match record against top-level opposition:

1994 - lost 1.5-4.5 to Kamsky
1998 - lost 3.5-5.5 to Shirov
2000 - won 8.5-6.5 against Kasparov
2004 - drew 7-7 against Leko

Overall, two losses, a win and a draw, and a negative score of 20.5-23.5

The rumors of his alleged match dominance are greatly exaggerated.

Ivanchuk knows how to handle the hot boys.


It is indeed tiring to read, for the thousandth time, such commentary as "Kramnik has let down his side of the bargain in several areas."

My point was that setting up a world chess championship cycle is damn hard work, that we therefore ought not be too quick to criticize, and that Kramnik's WCC organizational activities 2000-2005 compare with those of Kasparov in 1995-2000. You appear to agree: "Kasparov failed to put together a second cycle too, of course."

We long-match afficionados and Kramnik fans have to stick together, you know, Mig. Or aren't you a fan anymore?


Boxing didn't "justify" for all those Tyson comebacks. It was the millions of suckers who bought all of the hype created by Don King who justified Tyson's increasingly pathetic comeback attempts. Boxing is much more spectacle than sport now, and the fact that Tyson was well past his prime was of little importance. In the end, folks wanted to see if he would resort to biting, or maybe punching the referee. The competitive justification for promoting a boxing match has long since been eclipsed by gimmicks and promotional angles.

Greg, supporting what I believe in doesn't mean blinding myself to the deficiencies and realities on both sides. I support long matches, but Kramnik would have done much better had he made an effort to organize a cycle. (Earlier sarcasm aside, no such effort was visible. Agreeing to Prague, as sad as that turned out to be, does not count. Kasparov was also led to believe he would be reuniting with FIDE in 1997.) And, obviously, he would have much more leverage with FIDE and with sponsors were he ranked #1.

It's not a question of blaming him for not getting a cycle together or not being #1, it's that his side in the argument is indubitably weakened by these facts. Saying it's not his fault is beside the point even if true. The bargain is this: I'll uphold the classical tradition and in exchange I'll be treated as classical champion. To me, that tradition means a long match against a player who has an unquestionable claim to being the most qualified, in order to prove a degree of dominance.

As I explained above, when "credible cycle" goes out the window, one leg of the tradition is cut off. The strongest leg, in my opinion. Kasparov didn't have it in 98-2000 either. But he had de facto dominance from results and the widely recognized strongest possible challenger in Kramnik. Kramnik has neither of those things.

Again, I'm explaining the weakness of his position, not attacking him for it. Is there anything at all he could have done differently, things under his control? I think the answer is yes, and so assign him a level of responsibility. But even had he done everything possible and played his weak hand perfectly it's quite possible we'd still be in the same situation. This doesn't mean saying that Kramnik is in a weak position is an insult.

It's a little cruel to include results because we operate under the assumption that of course he's trying as hard as he can at the board and you can't fault someone for trying. But there is also the fact that if he were rated #1, or even anywhere in the pack with Anand and Topalov, it would be a largely different debate. Results matter right now, and criticizing a player for poor results isn't being mean. (Well, in light of Kramnik's health that might also be reconsidered.)

The key phrase above was "If you aren't going to have a cycle or a system you'd better be number one or at least maintain very credible claims to being #1." To the logical question, "or what?" the answer is "or you become irrelevant to all but the most die-hard traditionalist when faced with any credible competition, such as Topalov."

I very much hope that the last vestiges of Kramnik's credibility can be used as a bargaining chip or in some other way to get FIDE back to long matches. Or even to organize his own. Why not? I fear that he has fallen too far and listened too much to his own statements to maneuver well enough to achieve this.

Following his victory over Kaparov - and aside from being sidelined partially by post-9/11 complications in 2002 - Kramnik placed at the top of the highest category tournament played in each of the following years: Dortmund 2001, Linares 2003 (second to Leko on tie breaks), and Linares 2004. Forget the rhetoric about "dominance." These are results worthy of a world champion.

One can try to dismiss the Dortmund qualifier that produced Leko's challenge, but its format and field were fully the equal of San Luis. That Kasparov refused his invitation to play at Dortmund was his choice.

As to the import of Kramnik results since the onset of serous illness, argue away.

In terms of how worthy a champion Kramnik was, in many ways one could consider his position after his victory against Kasparov in 2000 as being in a very similar position to that of Karpov after had become world champion in 1975 - namely, both were legitimate world champions, but the majority of chess players did not (initially, at least) believe that Kramnik/Karpov were the best in the world. Three things however distinguish Kramnik's reign from that of Karpov. The first was that (unfortunately for Kramnik) Kasparov stayed on the scene and continued to be the strongest player in the world (unlike Fischer). The second was that notwithstanding Kramnik's tournament successes mentioned above, he did not dominate the chess world and tournament scene in the way that Karpov did. And, of course, the third difference is that Karpov continued to defend his title against legitimate challengers who were indeed the strongest opposition he could face....

I disagree. One clear first in five years doesn't cut it. One? One. A quick placement count since London, 2000 in classical events follows (although I was really only referring to the last few years, when his period as champ after beating Kasparov could be considered "expired": =3-4, 2, =1-2, =4-8, =1-2, =2-3, =6-8, 1! (+2 in Linares 2004), =4-7, =5-6 (last), =6-7, 7.

Dortmund 2004, not counted above, is a tricky one because it was groups then KO. You can call it a second to Anand if you like, but Kramnik played all draws in classical chess and got through on blitz for a performance rating under 2700. Match draws with Kasparov (4 games) and Leko (14) also not above.

All in all, nothing special. One first and two equal firsts in five years. A share of first in one out of every four tournaments? That's not champion talk, unless your champion is Petrosian, and his claims are covered above. Kasparov, Anand, and Leko had better records and Topalov has had more wins in the past year.

More relevantly to my point, Kramnik's results have been getting worse just when FIDE has started, relatively, getting its act together with a real cycle and lucking into Topalov taking off like a rocket. I don't know if Kramnik is still the star to hitch the long-match tradition wagon to. "Who else?" is probably right, but it's not a very happy answer.

Btw, Dortmund 2002 was mini-groups and mini-match KO with rapid tiebreaks. Anand, Ponomariov and Ivanchuk didn't play. (Kasparov didn't play in either event.) I don't think there was anyone not in San Luis with a decent shot at winning it, discounting the two K's who didn't want to be there.

The big flaw with both Dortmund and San Luis was a lack of open qualification. San Luis is a tiny bit better here because it was directly from the rating list and because Kasimdzhanov was there as the winner of a massive event. But a cycle should be about playing in world championship events to win world championship events.

In Kramink matches, Alex Shternshain forgot two results, namely those of 1994 FIDE candidate matches:

1994 Kramnik 4.5 - 2.5 Yudasin
1994 Kramnik 3.5 - 4.5 Gelfand

So the totals are 3 losses, 2 wins, 1 draw; and total games 28.5 - 30.5. With this results added, it looks even worse, as he defeated an opponent whom never regained top status, and lost to a fellow super-GM.

I write this just for the sake of completeness, and to satisfy the Edward Winter that everyone has inside :)

Just wanted to say that at one time Khalifman played this type of chess. Sacrifices of exchange for unbalanced chess. This is not new but it certainly exciting to watch, since being against our numerical rules we are asorbed by the seemingly incredulous move. Yet to sacrifice for control is so logical it should done more often by the "SuperGMs".

Regarding a sacrifice of the exchange for relatively subtle, strategic compensation (i.e. something other than immediate strong kingside attack, or well-known motifs like ...Rxc3 in Dragon or Najdorf Sicilian positions), Rowson in Chess for Zebras made a very interesting observation.

Rowson wrote: "In my experience, most GMs now think of exchange sacrifices as mainstream - no more exciting than exchanging bishop for knight, but this hasn't yet trickled down into other levels of the game."

What is most fascinating about this quote, in light of today's game, is that in the particular game that Rowson used to illustrate his point, the exchange sac was played against him (Rowson) by none other than .... Levon Aronian !! (Aronian-Rowson, French League 2005)

As Dennis Monokroussos observed on his blog, "The game was drawn, but Aronian, despite sacrificing the exchange for no pawns or clear threats, was better and completely at ease about the sac." (The link is: http://chessmind.powerblogs.com/files/aronian_rowson.htm )

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on January 25, 2006 6:18 PM.

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