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Corus 2006 r12

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Topalov-Anand a 23-move draw, albeit one with a diverting liquidation finish. Anand used 17 minutes. Topalov maintains his half-point lead. In tomorrow's final round Anand has white against Gelfand and Topalov has black against Leko. For the sake of keeping it interesting let's hope Leko pushes to get himself to a plus score and reclaim some street cred by beating the champ.

Anand and Gelfand have a long history. The Israeli GM used to give Anand fits when he was first entering the elite. I believe the quote by Vishy after another loss, in the 1993 Interzonal was "I hate losing, but I really hate losing to him!" The score used to be +4 for Gelfand, but of course Anand went on to become Anand and has long since more than evened the score. I don't think Gelfand has beaten him since that game.

Kamsky wins again! As I mentioned in my ChessBase notes yesterday, despite the steep number of atrocious losses, only Topalov and Anand have more wins than Kamsky! Karjakin also has four. That's really an amazing stat. He barely survived the opening in most of his losses, but when he gets to a decent middlegame he's been lethal. Today he absorbed Mamedyarov's pawn sac and consolidated impressively to extract the point. Put it this way, Kamsky has as many wins as Sokolov, Mamedyarov, Tiviakov, Bacrot, and Aronian combined. Of course not losing is perhaps greatest the test of top-level chess today (which is why it can be so boring). But winning a game at this level is simply not easy. Once Kamsky gets his openings in shape, watch out.

It should be noted that since he's obviously rusty everyone is trying to beat him, which in turn can make the games sharper and give him more winning chances. But four is four.


The Topalov-Anand draw is of course understandable on many levels (they maintain their tournament positions, it is a good result for both, the final position was drawish etc.) but it really does highlight the necessity for top quality matches. We need to see more than one Topalov-Anand game every few months (where the chances of them drawing are always likely to be relatively high). We need to see them trying to break each others openings in a series of games played consecutively. Tournaments are not enough!! I want more!!!

I a 'perfect' chess world when for a draw will be granted only 1/4 the current situation will look like this:
Score (with 1/2 for a draw)
1 V. Topalov 8.5
2 V. Anand 8
3 S. Karjakin 7
4 B. Gelfand 6.5
5 M. Adams 6.5
6 V. Ivanchuk 6
7 P. Leko 6
8 S. Tiviakov 5.5
9 L. Aronian 5.5
10 L. van Wely 5
11 E. Bacrot 5
12 G. Kamsky 4.5
13 S. Mamedyarov 4
14 I. Sokolov 4

Score (with 1/4 for a draw)
1 V. Topalov 7.25
2 V. Anand 6.5
3 S. Karjakin 5.5
4 B. Gelfand 4.75
5 M. Adams 4.75
6 V. Ivanchuk 4.5
7 G. Kamsky 4.25
8 P. Leko 4
9 L. Aronian 3.75
10 L. van Wely 3.5
11 E. Bacrot 3.5
12 S. Tiviakov 2.75
13 S. Mamedyarov 2
14 I. Sokolov 2

Score Score Draw
(1/4) (1/2) 'effect'

1 S. Tiviakov 2.75 5.5 2.75
2 S. Mamedyarov 2 4 2
3 P. Leko 4 6 2
4 I. Sokolov 2 4 2
5 B. Gelfand 4.75 6.5 1.75
6 L. Aronian 3.75 5.5 1.75
7 M. Adams 4.75 6.5 1.75
8 L. van Wely 3.5 5 1.5
9 S. Karjakin 5.5 7 1.5
10 V. Ivanchuk 4.5 6 1.5
11 V. Anand 6.5 8 1.5
12 E. Bacrot 3.5 5 1.5
13 V. Topalov 7.25 8.5 1.25
14 G. Kamsky 4.25 4.5 0.25

Group B is going to have an interesting last round. Almasi has the better position going into the round, half a point ahead of Motylev and Carlsen. However, he also has the tougher game, with black against Cheparinov. Carlsen has black against Lahno and Motylev white against Koneru. Maybe it will be a 3-way tie? And I have no idea who tiebreaks favour. :-P


Boba, what you propose is far from a perfect approach. In fact, it is the single worst of the approaches to have gained a following in the chess world. A draw is a legitimate result, and there should be NO adjustment in the way a draw is scored on a crosstable. It is STUPID to try to eliminate draws by penalizing players for achieving a perfectly reasonable result. The M-Tel approach is a good one, and other ideas that have been tinkered with have experienced some success, and this is the direction in which people should be looking when trying to solve the problem of lifeless draws. A "perfect" chess world provides one point that is up for grabs in a game, with one player taking it all or the point being split; other approaches don't even begin to make sense because they penalize one player for drawing over the other, and your approach is even less reasonable, with not even a full point in the offering.



What about eliminating just a few of the draws. it will increase the wins a little and I dont think have too much damage to the game.

for example under consideration would be things like

allowing the king to be captured.
allow the king to move into check and lose.
no stalemate. the king must move into check and lose.


I am not saying all must be adopted but consideration and discussion of some seems to be in order.

maybe the winning percentage of games can be pushed up by say 10% that would help a lot in my opinion.

of course any change in rules would require discussion and testing out first to make sure there are not problems.

another idea is that if someone ends up with only a king then the other side immediately wins.

Yeah Kamsky!

Those suggestions are absolutely ridiculous. Not much more to say there.

Oh no, not another "draws are bad we must kill them" thread.

By the way, winning 4 games in Wijk is always an achievement. (Heck, wasn't there a quote about Anand that he's always going to get his 4 wins in Wijk?)

He's playing Tiviakov last round (who has played the most pathetic chess I've ever seen), so probably a draw is likely. Here are his Elo changes if anyone is curious.

Win = 5.5/13 = -5.2 Elo points
Draw = 5/13 = -10.4 Elo points
Loss = 4.5/13 = -14.3 Elo points

Oh no, not another "draws are bad we must kill them" thread.

By the way, winning 4 games in Wijk is always an achievement. (Heck, wasn't there a quote about Anand that he's always going to get his 4 wins in Wijk?)

He's playing Tiviakov last round (who has played the most pathetic chess I've ever seen), so probably a draw is likely. Here are his Elo changes if anyone is curious.

Win = 5.5/13 = -5.2 Elo points
Draw = 5/13 = -10.4 Elo points
Loss = 4.5/13 = -14.3 Elo points

I rather considered the ¼ score for a draw not as a penalty for one but a bonus for a win! It also would be necessary in chess tournaments with buy-in option to pay twice bigger fee ;-) And I am ‘open’ for the modification when only draw for white will be scored ¼ but for blacks stays ½.

'It is STUPID to try ...'

Why? I did. It is easy to see that 1/4 for a draw leaves current 6 top positions unchanged but highlights ‘fighting’ spirit at the bottom ;-)

Maliq, I 'offered' a full point for a win in my calculations. By the way, no rules are changed - just calculation ;-)

The claim that a draw must be given points is itself dubious. It is quite ok to score only wins. Boba how would the ranking be if you considered ONLY the wins? Will it resolve the ranking more or less clearly (compared to 1/4 or 1/2 for draw)?

How about weighting the 1/2 point by the rating difference such that if two players A & B draw, and are not equally rated, then the higher rated of the two gets less than half and the lower-rated gets more than half, the "less" and "more" being proportional to their mutual rating difference? How will that work, for example, in this tournament?

In my humble opinion, the existence of draw as a result that awards equal point to both players is the SOLE cause of chess plaeyrs not fighting in EACH game as keenly as they are in fact capable of. Equal-point for a draw is also the SOLE reason CHESS has not become not as popular amidst the public as it can be.

Hi Ashok,

I would not go that far - then we will need to weight a win of a 'weaker’ player against a ‘stronger’ one (even I would treasure wins of today’s Carlsen as much more valuable then his next year ones (assuming he will play same chess players).

Non system is perfect and I am not asking to change it but reconsider that draw is exactly half as valuable as a win. This days risk must be scored as well – if we speak about chess being a sport and tournament being a competition.

By the way, I wonder, is any computer chess engine is designed / configured to actively look for a draw in a game?

Is it just me, or has 1. d4 not been looking like a very impressive winning try in this tournament?

Sorry for the offtopicness, but it appears my "draw discussion" tolerance level has been breached, and I am forced to vent a few random thoughts:

Sometimes a draw is a just result.

Chess players are clever, it two players REALLY want to draw they will construct a game of 30,35,40 or whatever no. of moves are required.

Professional chess players have VALID reasons for offering and accepting draws that non professionals don't really understand. "The positition was unbalanced, difficult, he offered me a draw, it would have meant certain 2nd prize, but I decided to try and draw blood, for the fans! Sadly, in a difficult position I lost on time." Banker : "I applaud your courage, by the way, we're repossessing your house"

When Tiger lays up on a par 5 instead of trying to drive over the water with a fairway wood thus guaranteeing first place it is applauded as sound "commercial" golf - not shouted down as the action of a big girl's blouse.

Count your blessings: A test cricket match can last 5 days(!) and end in a draw.

This argument has been around for years and is the chess equivalent of squaring the circle. Those of you with grey beards will remember that Fischer got FIDE to introduce the "no draw before 30 moves" rule. The first major player to break the rule : Bobby Fischer - uttering the immortal line :

"Those rules are for the Communist cheaters, not for me."

(thanks, I feel better now)

A win tomorrow by Anand and he will join the 2800-club at 2803.

A draw tomorrow by Topalov and he will tie Kramnik's peak ELO at 2809, a win will put him at 2814.

For one thing, the idea of giving a half point between two players for draws will make the impetus for throwing games that much higher. What you are proposing is virtually equivalent to the 3-1-0 scoring system that has been discussed so many times before.

Well, the thread is not about scoring system but about a way to reward a GAME and not ELO system. To put it simple: is Kamsky better off on 7th or 12th position at the current tournament? At any rate and scoring system ;-) I wish him to win tomorrow!

I agreed with Stuart's position that incresing the frequency of matches would naturally force the players to fight more. Kasparov attracted sponsors to chess by demonstrating his superiority over all comers, Topalov by winning San Luis and now with an almost guaranteed win at Corus could take the same path if he could indeed play Kramnik and follow that with a traditional cycle culminating in a match against the strongest challenger. If he played his way through that minefield his rating would approach the lofty heights enjoyed by Kasparov we would all hail the new King and he just might get the leverage to bring a new big money sponsor on board. So good luck to BK or Karpov and a return to a democratic FIDE.

How interesting thread... Forums on Internet are like democracy : everybody can post, everybody can vote and... and I'm not certain it's the best system.
With George Bush, president of the USA from 2000 to 2008, with such "clever" discussions about draws in chess, with such clever remarks like - for instance - John Fernandez saying that "Tiviakov has played the most pathetic chess I've ever seen" ... who's that guy? 2163 fide!!! Oh my god, I wish I could, once in my life, play such "pathetic" chess like Tiviakov.
John Fernandez, you probably never achieved a draw against a titled player, so how can you say such stupid things about 2700 players?

... last, about Kamsky : he has played a bad tournament, and despite of his huge talent he'll probably need to build a full opening repertoire (which will take him a few years) to have chances to get back to his young years level.

Kamsky deserves his position in the tournament. Furthermore, Kamsky is Russian ... as almost 90% of the US top 100, he is from former US block.

Therefore, all those US "patriotic" feelings sound totally false, ridiculous, misplaced...

I am sure John Fernandez has beaten a titled player given that a titled player is only 137 points above him. In any case, your personal attacks aside it is clear that Tiviakov has taken the attitude that 1/2 is the highest he can attain from these games and then gone about getting the draw against everyone.

Kamsky has not had a bad tournament he has had a successful tournament. His results against players rated higher than himself that have been playing against their equals while he was retired from the game are amazing and speak to his huge talent.

Today I had a blast watching him work at putting the pressure on Mamedyarov and then converting the win with black. Yesterday was the same VanWely made a mistake and a win for Kamsky was the right way to finish the game.

On one hand we moan about games like Anand and Topalov played (who was surprised at the draw!)and on the other criticise the players who don't take the safe path and play for a draw if they even sniff trouble.

Does anyone really believe that it would have been impossible for Kamsky to convert even one of his losses into a draw? I don't believe that. I think he knows full well that his openings need work and played them out with a fighting spirit now he can analyze them for improvement.

Ruslan, I think you are on very thin ice.
John F. is a better chess player than me.
I have drawn a GM in a tournament game.

I leave the rest to your imagination.

(It hardly needs saying that if "titled player" extends to the lower levels, I have quite a few positive results against FMs, and I am sure John F. has many more.)

Real americans speak americanish?

Ruslan, we root for people who moved, were born or came here because it is america...everyone is included...

Ruslan, you idiot.

First, about my credentials, I've got dozens of wins and a few dozen draws vs. titled players in slow tournament play. You'll easily find many of my GM draws in common databases (draw vs. Ibragimov, draw vs. Kosashvili, draw vs. Schmaltz, etc., although I must admit I do not have a 40/2 tournament victory over a GM.) I have many IM victories and FM victories in the same databases. Go over them and enjoy, fruitcake.

Secondly, yes, Tiviakov is playing pathetic chess. Let's look at each of his games, shall we?

Round 1 - White vs. Adams. Plays an amazingly boring line in the Spanish and by move 26, reaches a position a GM would give me a draw in.

Round 2 - Black vs. Bacrot. Gets smashed in an Accelerated Dragon (this Nc2 plan working well in Maroczy positions these days.)

Round 3 - White vs. Van Wely. Again, makes no effort to win in a 2. c3 sicilian. Drawn in 25 moves.

Round 4 - Black vs. Mamedyarov. Mamedyarov almost Bugs Bunnies himself, but gets enough counterplay to hold a draw. Closest Tiviakov has come to winning in this event.

Round 5 - White vs. Sokolov. Again, vacuum mode commences, drawn in 34 moves in a Worrall Spanish.

Round 6 - White vs. Topalov. A 2. c3 Sicilian where Topalov tries for the win. Tiviakov does well to hold Topalov with White, getting down to K+N vs. K. Drawn in 61.

Round 7 - Black vs. Gelfand. Tiviakov holds on in a QID which seemed to be going bad for him. Draws in 30 moves.

Round 8 - White vs. Karjakin. Goes into vacuum mode again, except this time Karjakin makes some weaknesses which lets Tiviakov try to make some winning attempts. Still not enough, drawn in 44 moves.

Round 9 - Black vs. Aronian. QID where Aronian plays hard for a win but Tiviakov holds on well. Drawn in 52.

Round 10 - White vs. Ivanchuk. Exchanges pieces like crazy in a Worrall Spanish, getting into an even Knight ending on move 25. Drawn in 40.

Round 11 - Black vs. Anand. Plays the Scandinavian and does well to keep Anand from biting his head off despite being slightly worse most of the game. Drawn in 50.

Round 12 - White vs. Leko. Plays the Bishop's Opening, doesn't even try for an edge. Drawn in 23.

So out of 12 games, I can only find 2 games where Tiviakov even makes an attempt to win the game. Total score, +0 =11 -1. It isn't the score so much as the fact that he seems only interested in exchanging pieces in this event. Draws happen, lifeless play, however, is another thing.

Well, FIFA does have a scoring system in their World Cup Group play, whereby they award 3 points to teams if they win, and only 1 point if they draw. However, it is much easier to throw a chess game, where an agreement need only be between 2 (or 3) players, rather than between 2 teams comprised of a couple of dozen individuals.

If 3 players colluded in a event, they could set an arrangement whereby Player A would agree to lose to Player B, who in turn would lose to Player C. Player C would then lose to Player A. All three players would get 1 point from 2 games, along with "rest days". How is that any better for chess than having fightless draws? Maybe they can concoct brilliant combinations, and play the games according to a "Script"??

With respect to the Fernandez comments about Tiviakov. It is hard to condemn Tiviakov for his draws with Black. Given that his opponents tended to be higher rates, and have the advantage of the 1st move, it is up to them to press for an edge, and try to gain a win. However, his White repetoire has been anemic. In Tiviakov's defense, he is more of a technician than a tactician. In an elite event, the chances of winning through a positional grind are remote. The fault for Tiviakov's play lies mostly with the organizers, for inviting him. If he were to try to conjure up a super sharp gambiting style (with the White pieces), it is likely that his score would be substancially worse than it now is.


That's a very interesting interview with Tiviakov taken after the Anand game (in Russian). He talks about the reasons why he chose to play Scandinavian against Vishi (because in the Scandinavian "chess starts on move 5", unlike the Sicilian) and he also says is that in 8 of the 11 games he played thus far, he had an advantage and 2 of them he was winning - but he has trouble converting because he doesn't have much practice playing with classical time controls so he gets very tired by the end of the game.


Go Kamsky!
Go Topolav
Go Anand
Go Adams
Go Carlsen

Since rooting for someone is borne out of patriotism I guess I suffer from multi-patriotic personality disorder.

I like Topalov because he brings so much energy to the game. Our club was a buzz about his Aroninan game

I root for Anand becuase . . . I like him
I root for Adams because I have anglophile tendencies

I root for Carlsen because---wow!
I root for Kamsky for the same reasons I rooted for Martina Hingis in the Aussie Open

BTW---I voted for Bush. I like voting.

Don wrote:
I like Topalov because he brings so much energy to the game. Our club was a buzz about his Aroninan game
I root for Anand becuase . . . I like him
I root for Adams because I have anglophile tendencies
I root for Carlsen because---wow!
I root for Kamsky for the same reasons I rooted for Martina Hingis in the Aussie Open
BTW---I voted for Bush. I like voting.

Life is full of paradoxes! In chess you root for the smartest and in politics for the dumbest :)

P.S. No offence, mate...


Funny how the draw-issue raises its ugly head now that the American Gata K got on a little winning streak! A few rounds ago no one cared...Now the Americans would like to raise Gata a bit higher in the standings even by changing the rules. C'mon! Cut it out! I don't think even Gata would be in favour of such. Chess is a great game and there's no need to disrupt that by changing the value of a win/loss and a draw. Draw is an ok result. Anyway glad to see Gata ending the tournament on a more positive note though...

On the other hand when someone mentioned Tiviakov...he has truly been pathetic. The guy considers himself as a top-pro? Haha...After this tournament he simply should not play in events of such high standard. If he doesn't have balls now he won't later either. (Balls only grow until certain age!??). And Mamedyarov....The guy is what 20? And is playing just for the draw?? Time to take a time-out from top-class events and let the balls grow. He's young and still has some hope. In this tournament the organizers when choosing these two players to participate stuck their shovel in a deep pile of crap...so to speak! Of course it was hard to know all this beforehand.

Anyway, a lot of fighting also in the tournaments (A,B,C) and fortunately a few lazy fightless eggs can't rot the whole basket this time: all in all great tournaments in Holland again! Definitely one of the highlights in the annual chess calendar! Keep up the good work!


Mr X

Woke up early to watch the last round of Corus, supposedly to have started an hour earlier ... but no relay %$@%& !!!

Anyway, Happy New Year of the Dog! A dog does not watch chess games on the net, BTW! Happy dog!

Hi All,

It might be fair to cut Mamedyarov a little slack. He was a late invitee and probably had little time to prepare. There seems to a lot of agreement about how critical opening preparation is at the Super-GM level (Ah, Kamsky!), and he might have felt more confident with a little more time.

Also, he is only 20 - hard to blame him for trying to prove that he can survive and compete at this level, so its understandable if he's playing a little close to the vest to find his footing.



Mig: How can you possible be Gary friend and root for Kamsky?? :)

I am not sure if this should be considered trolling..its just an observation..and since so much has been written about Kamsky and American's rooting for him..

errata: replace 'Gary friend' with "Gary Kasparov's friend" in above post.

sorry, multiple posting b'coz of server error.

Considering a draw is respectable result I then stay 'rooting' for Kramnik ;-) and championship match vs. any tournament to eliminate the 'draw effect' under any scoring system.

Hmm, it appears that after all the Kamsky love and Tiviakov hate, Caissa decided to address the balance issue...Kamsky - Tiviakov 0-1.

Life is funny.

By the way, Anand seems to be winning against Gelfand. Anand plays fantastic chess, his only mistake in this tournament was to forget to play against Kamsky.

As Kasparov said, Kamsky's victory over Anand shows more of Anand's character than of Kamsky's level.

Uh oh... I don't criticize Kamsky's chess level. Even now, he's huge. His performance at the world cup was fantastic. And his 2745 rating 10 years ago showed how strong he was, he's a pure genious. But even if he's a pure genious, I read to much ... patriotic comments about him on this site.

Same thing here in France, a lot of people support Bacrot.

Don, I'm like you, I support Kasparov, Tal, Topalov, Shirov, Carlsen, Karjakin, Karpov, I don't give a damn about their origins.

Go Anand, Go !!! An equal result with Topalov would be fair, they are equally strong. A match between Topalov and Anand would be the best thing for chess today, with such huge champions !!!

Another fantastic game by Anand. Topalov 9, Anand 9, both are one point and a half ahead of the field. Third is an impressive Ivanchuk and Adams (back in business after a very bad year). Can Anand find one million dollar to play against Topalov?

Congrats to Anand for winning the last round and catching up to Topalov. I can't remember the last time Anand found the energy or mood to win a last round game of an elite event. I guess he tried against Polgar last year but couldn't pull it off!

While Kasparov had a negative psychological effect on Anand, Topalov seems to be inspiring Anand to do more. 4 wins with Black? Amazing Anand...

Thanks Topalov :-)

With the 2800 rating and the first tournament after San Luis on the line, this game was just a must win. I am glad he managed to do it.

Did Tivi's brilliant play against Gata make someone here eat crow?
I love Gata and I couldn't care less for Tiviakov, who always struck me as a calculating type and all-around boring individual, but truth to tell he had a much better tournament than Kamsky.

Didn't bother me too much, Yermo. I figured Gata was one opponent would actually imbalance the position enough to create winning chances for both sides.

Better tournament? Sure. My attack was aimed at the amazingly insipid form of chess he was playing, basically trying to squirrel away a draw every round. I didn't say his plan wasn't effective.

Funny, I removed a sentence from the main item before posting because it was a little off topic. It was something to the effect that while Tiviakov finished two points ahead of Kamsky and made an even score, there is little doubt that Kamsky contributed more chess to the event even if we discard the four or five ugly one-sided losses. Tiviakov played a few nice defensive efforts and some nice opening prep against Anand, but other than that he barely made a blip on the radar. Who would you invite back for next year?

I think that making an even score in such an event has to be considered a success for Tiviakov no matter how you slice it. Were the games really that boring? In a few cases, yes but for example the game with Sokolov had some interesting moments, the game with Mamedyarov was fine, the game with Kamsky was tense, not to mention the games with Topalov and Anand. I guess what it boils down to is the fact that his narrow repetoire as white is rather anemic and doesn't really do much versus the very best in the world. Moreover, these offbeat lines are not really good surprise weapons since he plays them in every game! But the fact is, those are the openings he has played his whole career and against normal opponents they work fine. From this point of view, to change his openings just to meet Topalov and say all of the sudden I am going to bring out the mainline Sveshnikov against Topalov without any prior experience would be just suicide.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on January 28, 2006 10:56 AM.

    Corus 2006 r11 was the previous entry in this blog.

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