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2006 Euro Championship

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Seven of eleven rounds of this powerful event have been played in Kusadasi, Turkey. Top-seeded Vassily Ivanchuk is one of three leaders on 5.5/7 after winning his last four games in a row. Fellow old-schoolers Nikolic and Kozul are the other leaders. The Austrian Wiener-Zeitung page has the best charts and results. Keep an eye on Hans De Lange of the Netherlands, who is making a bid for immortality with 0/7.

16 players will qualify for the next step in the world championship process, whatever and whenever that turns out to be. I'm still wondering what's going on with this year's candidates matches. Ivanchuk should be a rating seed under just about any reasonable format, which is why he's taking no chances and playing here. He was the first player not to make the candidates by rating thanks to the use of ancient lists. The diagram is from his win over Turov. He ended any chance of a perpetual not with the wimpy f3 and Qc2, but with 37.Qxf8+! Kh7 38.Qxg7+! 1-0


Should the 38th move be Qxg7+?

Yah, typo, thanks.

Isn't he avoiding mate, rather than a perpetual?

I was referring to the perpetual after Kf1 Qd3+.


Interestingly, Susan Polgar gave a very similar position as a puzzle recently on her blog. Its funny how the same ideas suddenly pop up everywhere you look. Its like learning a foreign language. You learn a new word, and then you keep hearing it everywhere. Did anyone ever use it before?

Before this turns into another "Chucky is back" thread--just want to point out that the nearest rating to Ivanchuk is a full 46 points below him, and the next highest is 59 points below him. My question is, Mig, are there other ways for Vassily Ivanchuk to qualify for the FIDE cycle?

I met Ivanchuk at a tournament in Turkey a few years ago, and he told me he speaks Turkish, and he likes the country. So, even if there were other ways for him to qualify, he probably would still play in this tournament.

Yuriy...your point is good, but I still appreciate the ruthless logic with which The Chuckster rips apart black's hope of tip-toeing to a draw on the light squares. Chucky plays a dark squared symphony with a mighty crescendo!!!

From "just checking", New in chess #5/2004 page 98:
question from New in chess: What is the best chess country in the world?
Ivanchuk: Turkey.

I'm sure Susan Polgar was inspired by by the Ivanchuk game. Perhaps she just changed a few things to keep people from being able to search for the position.

...or more likely so there is no other way for white to stop the mate.

That 37.Qxf8+! is a terrible blow, reminds me of the humongous straight right hand that Mike Tyson unleashed on Francis Botha in Round 5 of their 1999 heavyweight bout.

37. ...Kh7 is like the step or two that Botha's feet continued to take, even as he was already "lights out" unconscious from the waist up.

Chess is so brutal. I don't know how I would be able to show up the next day.

Good Grief, everyone is making like this is a spectacular move. Anyone over 1500 should be able to find the sequence.

Not only is the move not spectacular, as voisovrezin writes, but it is also not even necessary. Even Mig's "wimpy" alternative leaves White up a piece; Turov would likely have resigned after f3 Qxf3 Qc2 anyways.

You've got it right, voisovrezin. This is really elementary.

And as for that next guy who calls Mig wimpy, forget it. Mig is da man! Where would we be without him?

Nobody was nominating it for a brilliancy prize. But it is an unusual and pretty queen sacrifice conclusion, especially since it was a double. Beauty is not only in difficulty. And I posted it because it was from Ivanchuk's most recent available game from the event. You guys really need to take a break.

Not only is this move NOT spectacular, it is a completely HUMDRUM, painfully OBVIOUS, blindingly BANAL, miserably routine queen sacrifice. My heightened AESTHETIC SENSIBILITIES demand much better.

Will an undeserving Ivanchuk win the brilliancy prize for this ROUTINE, HUMDRUM game? Will an outraged, humiliated Turov go ballistic at the award ceremony? Stay tuned!

Not brilliancy prize, but rather "la mas bella" which is Turkish for "three-year old chess reference."

The more serious aspect of this thread brings up an interesting point. For us to consider a chess stroke beautiful, we have to be able to understand it so that we can appreciate it. On the other hand, for most of us, if we can calculate and understand it, then it's probably not that complex and intricate a combination. So what deserves a brilliancy prize? We look at the old moves like Torre's windmill or Capablanca's Queen sacrifice and they are beautiful and stunning, but painfully obvious to today's analyst. I remember once reading a 20+ move account of some combination Tal did in middlegame which starts out looking completely insane and carrying no visible benefit, but the analysis reveals it to be sound. Is the result of one of the battles of two K's less beautiful because it requires five pages of explanation?

Surprisingly, at least for now, chess time and time again provides us with positions which are beautiful to casual onlooker and are backed through explanation of analysis and tactics.

That is a fascinating point Yuriy brings up. A few years ago, while preparing a group lesson I planned to give some friends, I learned that Petrosian did his dissertation about the concept of beauty in chess. If I copied any of what I read I don't have it handy, but I do recall seeing some discussion of how the ideal of beauty (as envisioned by the highest chess authorities) has evolved away from purely forced winning lines -- no matter how spectacular, and no matter how long-winded -- and more toward combinations of a more long-range, strategic nature. This was going on even before our own era; but the rise of computers has of course accelerated the trend, since how can it be "beautiful" if a computer can do it?

For concrete illustrations of human brilliancies that today's best progams still cannot comprehend (for now, at least), I recommend skipping "24" some Monday night and instead taking in Dennis Monokroussos' weekly lecture at playchess.com (the Chessbase server).

Chucky is great, but this game's brilliance must be completely elsewhere since the last moves should be found in a bullet game with 3 seconds each.

I showed the game to an unrated friend of mine. After some seconds of thought he found it out! So the move is indeed obvious...And as far as f3 is considered..when i saw the game,i firstly spotted Qxf8 and then f3! Nevertheless elegance dictates to end the game by a queen sacrifice and not by a defensive move such us f3....

Well, Todd, are you pleased to see that your paranoia has been vindicated? (On the "Topalov Match" thread you said you feared to commment about anything on the board because you'd always get trashed for not understanding anything.)

For some reason people seem to be turning their disdain for the position at Mig. Fwiw, although the sham sac is routine and obvious as people say, I think it was fine to put up the diagram and continuation in the inital post. Mig didn't hype it as brilliant; only Todd and HLM did that.

Jon J.,

I didn't call it brilliant. Brutal, yes.

But if it was so painfully obvious, then why did Black (a grandmaster!) not resign on move 36, or 37 at the latest? Do I hear anyone suggesting that there was a chance that Ivanchuk might not see the double hammer blow. . . and would these be the same people who loudly proclaim that of course they themselves would have seen the conclusion in a bullet game?

There is always a possibility. We can't know whether Turov played on because he himself slipped up or because he was hoping for some luck. Leko didn't resign in the last game of the last world championship match. Kasparov had a horrible blunder in Game 2 of London match. There are other examples of similar blunders and non-resignations by top GM. Especially considering this is move 38.

Heck, forget the hammer. Turov is down a piece and a pawn. I doubt that his decision not to resign is based on pure position evaluation. And if you think Chucky's 37 is not obvious, his 38 had to be after 37. Yet Turov plays on.

Turov in time trouble, perhaps? (Meaning he didn't have enough time to resign. That happens, you know.)

The world is full with chess players who are sooooo strong... Let me tell you a short story. One day, a journalist asked Unzicker why he was, after such a glorious career, still playing chess. Unzicker's answer was "because, after all those years, I am still hoping to win a game against a player that was not ill".

How many of us are able to loose with humility?

Where's the point in criticizing Mig for posting this position? You'd play that move in Bullet with 0.0001 sec? Your unrated dog finds it? Well, the big difference between your chess games and a combination is that nobody tells you, in your games, that there's something to find.

Of course, a lot of people posting here will feel very strong when they analyze GM games with Fritz. A lot of people can find basic combinations when they're asked to search. But, for some strange reason, a very vast majority of those players will lose to me OTB.

Oh no, I'm not a chess star. I'm just 2200. And I consider myself as a total patzer. Most of my moves are blunders, and when I play a good one it's either by error, or it's something that I did read in a book and that I mostly likely don't understand...

At 2200, I could perfectly, in the zeitnot, not notice 38)Qxg7. At 2200 it's quite likely that if I see a totally winning variation I may not look for a better one. And at 2200 I still find this idea esthetic...

Ivanchuk is "on 5.5/7"? First rate, and a bit of jolly all right! Don't know that I'd have plumped for such a prediction.

How about we sum up at: Ivanchuk noticed a simple pretty combination which might have gone unnoticed in zeitnot?

Congratulations to Kozul! Is this the highlight of his career?

I thought today's quiz position in Soltis's NY Post column looked familiar. Thanks to reading here, I was able to devote my all mental energy to the word search puzzle.

Lon, I'm not sure it represents wasted energy (as you imply) to solve positions you've seen before. I think doing so may reinforce the neural pathway, thereby strengthening the recognition of that particular pattern that forms part of the "library" of such patterns that reside in your head and may be retrieved when a position with similar features arises in one of your own games.

FYI, a few months ago I finally got around to taking the main test in Kopec's book, "Test, Evaluate and Improve Your Chess." (the Bratko-Kopec Test). I was surprised to find my score on that test fell within the category of "2400, or IM." I quickly realized what had happened: purely by coincidence, I happened to be (re-)reading Pachman's "Modern Chess Tactics" during the days before I took the test. Turns out that book was a major source of material for Bratko-Kopec: the test includes several positions from Modern Chess Tactics (the test's authors credit Pachman, of course). Naturally these positions not only "looked familiar" to me, but the memories were so recent that I solved all of them very quickly.

The real test is if I retain those memories months or years later so that I retain the ability to "solve" similar configurations should I face them over-the-board. If I do, then perhaps my strength would have legitimately increased through absorbing a portion of the material in the two books; although the 200-gain from my current actual strength that Bratko-Kopec assigned to me, surely represents an overestimate.

I realize that with the above, I am contradicting the position I advocated on some other threads, that recognition of purely tactical patterns does not go to the heart of chess skill, even at amateur levels.

It would be interesting to know what Dr. Kopec (who is both an IM and a professor of computer science) would say about the question -- especially the more theoretical aspects of how computers and humans think. I may pose it to him in conversation the next time I see him; but I will not ask him to read the lengthy discussions that have appeared here.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on April 10, 2006 11:27 PM.

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