Greengard's ChessNinja.com

2006 WCh Match

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ChessBase has an item on the press conference with Topalov and Ilyumzhinov announcing the world championship match between Topalov and Vladimir Kramnik. The first of the twelve games will be played September 23. The shrinkage to 12 games is discussed, if not convincingly. The point of a long match is to be different from tournaments, so I don't think much of Topalov's comparison. Twelve games is *not* serious. But it fits in with the plan to devalue the championship title that Ilyumzhinov put into play in 1997 after he came into power. The winner will be dropped into another championship tournament, a la San Luis, scheduled for Mexico in 2007.

This fact was no doubt part of Topalov's decision to play. As pointed out during the last, failed, negotiations, he needs to strike while his star is high. He has no better than a 25% chance of winning the next tournament, so this guaranteed payday makes sense. He'll make more in this match, win or lose, than he did when he won the title in San Luis ($240K). The players get $400,000 each regardless of the result, which is bizarre on the face of it but is entirely in keeping with the wholly pragmatic nature of the encounter for both players.

As currently planned, the loser will have to wait until the 2009 cycle to get back into the title fight while the winner defends his title in Mexico. It's comical to be discussing 2009 when the 2005 cycle is currently stalled like a traffic jam of three-legged camels. The disappeared candidates matches aren't on the agenda of the upcoming FIDE Congress. All eyes are on the Kramnik-Topalov match instead. I'm happy about the match, but announcing Mexico 2007 without mentioning that the candidates match announcement is over a month overdue is obtuse. I'm sure they'll find a way to get the loser into the 2007 mix, especially if it's Topalov.

An early report said there wouldn't be rapid tiebreaks, but I'm sad to see that was incorrect. There will be rapids and blitz in case of a drawn match. The good news is that no one has draw odds, which would have been a huge advantage in such a short match. (See also: "Brissago")


May I suggest that The Daily Dirt start a trend by mentioning the true amounts of money the players will receive? USD 400,000 each, to be precise.

FIDE gets a rather nice appearance fee for not playing.

The same share of prize money regrdless of the result is interesting. It is, no doubt, still beter to win the match from a financial point of view, as the title itself reaps additional rewards from endorsements, invitations, etc.

So, what happends if Kraminik actually wins this ? He will say, yeah FIDE wasn't that bad actually and plays in all futher fide events (until he looses his title) ?

I don't know about trends, but I've always "deducted" the FIDE tax from the prize funds, at least when I've remembered. See the last World Cup items, for example, and listing $240K above for Topalov in San Luis instead of the announced $300K. I just deduct 20% from anything FIDE says.

In this case I was under the impression it was a $1.2M fund, but now I see it's $1M. Corrected above. I could swear there was a "players will receive $500K" in one of the earlier reports.

Kramnik basically has nothing to lose in this match. Most people who I've seen interviewed don't respect his title anymore so at least he gets some $$$$$$ while he still can.

Post-war WCC matches set for 24 games.

Usually the leader after 12 games wins the match:
1957 Botvinnik-Smyslov
1958 Smyslov-Botvinnik
1960 Botvinnik-Tal
1961 Tal-Botvinnik
1963 Botvinnik-Petrosian
1966 Petrosian-Spassky
1972 Spassky-Fischer
1986 Kasparov-Karpov
1993 Kasparov-Short

Sometimes the leader after 12 games can only draw the match:
1987 Kasparov-Karpov
1951 Botvinnik-Bronstein

Sometimes a match drawn after 12 games becomes decisive after 24:
1969 Petrosian-Spassky
1985 Kasparov-Karpov

Once a match drawn after 12 games was also drawn after 24:
1954 Botvinnik-Smyslov

At no time has a player leading after 12 games been behind after 24 games.

Isn't it depressing to see how the player who played the most amazing chess in 2005 starts bs'ing around just after he gained the title... :o((

btw: Does anyone know how originally the number of 24 games was decided?

Neither Kramnik nor Topalov expressed any complaint about the length of the match, so there is no ambiguity about that aspect of the match. Personally speaking,i think that the matches should not be very lengthy (24 matches, for example is too much). For in a such match, physical and mental endurance is weighted more than it should.I speculate that after 15-16th game the rest would be a kind of torture for the players, especially for the fragile Kramnik...

I m looking forward for the match and i hope to see in action a fit and healthy Kramnik.

Sorry for being an obnoxious pedant, but if the prize fund were $1.2M, each player would receive $480K...

Very interesting statistics Greg. Of course, playing 12 games is psychologically very different to 24 games. My fear would be that if it takes 2 or 3 games with each colour for players to warm up, we could be past the half-way point when each game increases with significance and maybe the players become less inclined to take risks. Against that, maybe Topalov will take risks regardless, which could be Kramnik's best chance of winning.

My other fear with a 12-game match is that it gives little opportunity for players to change direction if they need to (i.e. opening choice, style of play etc.) especially if faced with something that takes a little time to crack (I'm thinking of something beginning with "B" and rhyming with "erlin Defence"!). Actually if Topalov and Kramnik both play the Berlin Defence, I would be very happy for the match to end after 12 games. Perhaps FIDE could make this a 6-game match if they choose that opening...


Give me twelve games as exciting as the Berlin played in Kasparov-Kramnik game 3.

For the chess public a long-long match can mean more credility in determining a worthy champion. But take an older or frailer man scoring 8-4 after 12 games, but who is worn down and loses a 24-game match. Who's the better player?

For the players, a long-long match means less money earned per game and more expense for seconds and other needs.

A long-long match also means more expense and more difficulty attracting sponsors. (London, Brissago, and Kasparov-Kasim were semi-long matches, two of which featured Kasparov, and even THEY had problems attracting sponsors.)

There are many good reasons for a 24-game match, and I agree with all of them. But historically, a player leading after twelve games usually wins a twenty-four game match. A twelve-game match is a reasonable, if somewhat regrettable compromise between credibility and expense.

Greg: Thank you.

I am still wondering who is putting up the $1 million prize fund. if it is Kirsan and he loses his election then what happens to this match.

Has the money already been put into a bank for safe keeping for the players.

All this talk about the match seems silly if the match never takes place.

Someone should have asked Kramnik if the Brissago match should have been 12 games. Better, ask Leko.

K-K 1990 was tied after game 12.

Where are these old, frail men? We have a young, frail one, but if you aren't healthy enough to play the event, the event shouldn't suffer. Of course Kramnik's poor health and Topalov's famous stamina and strong tourney finishes were part of the equation.

Of course eventual match winners will often be ahead after 12 games. Stronger late is usually stronger early, although just from memory I can recall at least four modern matches that were tied after game #12 and several more that were tied at some point AFTER game #12, which is just as relevant. Kasparov was trailing in 1987 after game 23... But no one says the stronger player only shows himself after X games. It's about credibility, and allowing for true match play with all the richness, texture, variety, adaptation, and psychology it entails.

If you give up on those things you may as well play eight games. The eventual winner of most WCh matches in the modern era was ahead after eight most of the time too. K-K 85 was the only one that comes to mind immediately where the eventual winner was behind after eight. But go back and look at the excitement that would have been lost had matches been truncated at 12. Kasparov losing three in a row to Karpov, for example. Korchnoi coming back by winning 3/4 to tie Karpov in 78. The final games of Seville. Things do happen after game 12.

And this is a rather pointless line of debate anyway. The players know they are playing a 24 game match so the entire experience is different. They experiment in opening, try various ploys, etc. You have time to learn, to adapt, and as a result of all this work the big matches push chess forward in various ways. Unfortunately this occasionally led to short draws, but move minimums should be put into effect.

Basically, if we don't draw a line in the sand somewhere we don't stand for anything. 20 games is a long match. Ten whites. Anything shorter is starts to sacrifice what we love about long matches in the first place. It's not just about finding a winner or KO's and round-robins would be just as good.

"Basically, if we don't draw a line in the sand somewhere we don't stand for anything."

Yes, an excellent principle, and like most people here I wanted a long match, but in this case who are "we"? The players both have professional managers, and have agreed that they wish to play a twelve game match with tiebreaks. If they had wanted a 24 game match I doubt they would have been told they couldn't have one.

FIDE could have told them to play a long match or nothing, and if they wouldn't do that excommunicate the pair of them and start again. I don't think that would have been very well received either.

"We" is in this case probably the chess public. We can choose whether to accept the winner of this match as a genuine undisputed champion. Personally I shall do that, despite some misgivings and even if the match goes to tiebreaks.

The real nonsense is of course that the winner can only retain his title by winning a round robin in 2007. Suppose that Kramnik wins the match but fails to win the tournament. He will then justifiably say "I'm still the undefeated match champion" and we'll be back where we are now. I have a feeling that something sensible may happen before then, but it's hard to be entirely confident.

I agree with Nick. From the moment that both players have agreed to that condition, without leaving a shadow of doubt that things should be different, what we can say is nothing more than our personal desideratum.
On the contrary what is hot to debate is the question, what happens after the Kramnik-Topalov match. I suspect that if Kramnik wins then he would claim the title for another 5-6-7 years, despite his performance and results along this time, creating thus a new circle of ambiguity. The only loser would be for another time, chess...

I agree with Nick.

Anyway, Kasparov-Kramnik was 16 games and nobody complained...

The reality is that 24-game matches don't have any sponsors and $400,000.00 is still much more than poor Shirov got for his match against Kaspy.

Compromises are often necessary and professional chessplayers don't have too many choices.

Let's hope the match takes place and the games are exciting.

The most significant declines in the number of WCC games came under Kasparov's stewardship. Kasparov-Short (24). Kasparov-Anand (20). Kasparov-Kramnik (16).

FIDE's grand zonal-interzonal-candidates--WCC scheme was rendered pointless by the defection of the world's best player. Some years later that player bitch-slapped two natural, big-pockets sponsors, IBM and Intel. In the ensuing chaos, we ended up with two or more world champions and very little chess sponsorship.

In this most sponsor-averse climate, Kramnik dropped the WCC game total to (14). And Kirsan, who stepped into the sponsorship void, who pays the piper and calls the tune, dropped it to (12).

Chess has long been in a bad way, folks. We're not in a position to be drawing lines in the sand or turning up our noses at 12-game WCC match. How to advocate for an eventual return to the 24-game standard? By moaning and wailing that this match isn't good enough and that we might as well return to knock-outs and tournaments? Or by celebrating and promoting the upcoming match?

Well said, Greg!

I've said before that I don't believe "unification" is necessary as I believe Topalov to be the true champion. As a chess fan, I'm happy to see two top players playing a match against each other (though Topalov - Anand would be my match pick of current active players). Things will certainly be very neat if Topalov beats Kramnik, but here is a nightmare scenario.

Kramnik wins the Topalov-Kramnik match (he does after all have greater match experience). Topalov is thus eliminated from the 2007 World Championship Tournament. Kramnik does not win the 2007 World Championship Tournament (his style does not seem so effective for tournament play). Let's say Anand (undoubtedly a worthy player) wins this. My guess is this happens:

Anand says he is World Champion as he won the 2007 World Championship Tournament. Kramnik is not World Champion because he lost the 2007 World Championship Tournament. Topalov is not World Champion because he lost to Kramnik.

Kramnik says he is World Champion because he is still undefeated in his classical line of chess matches which stretches back to the last unified champion (Kasparov). Anand is not World Champion because he has not beaten Kramnik in a match. Topalov is not World Champion because he lost to Kramnik.

Topalov says he is World Champion because he won the 2005 World Championship Tournament, he is the current strongest tournament player in the world and he has not been given a chance to defend his title. Anand's title is tainted because he did not beat Topalov (indeed Topalov was not given a chance to play). If FIDE has decided that henceforth all World Championships will be decided by tournaments, Kramnik's match victory over Topalov looks irrelevant.

What is particularly frustrating about this doomsday scenario, is that no-one could really criticise any of the above players for taking the above stances (they all have their own best interests to look after) and once again FIDE looks like the culprit for orchestrating and presiding over an absolute shambles.

Good points, Stuart.

However, as with all things FIDE, it is very easy to criticize without offering solutions.

In your opinion, how can FIDE generate the money needed for holding the "traditional" qualifying candidates cycle (interzonals and candidate matches) plus the World Championship match, WHILE paying professional chessplayers the amount of money THEY THINK they deserve?

No easy answers there, my friend. The sad reality is that chess doesn't generate enough money on it own, so it always needs figures like Ilhuzimov and Campomanes to make ends meet.

Does anyone remember the "glorious" days of FIDE under Campomanes? He was as hated as Ilhuzimov is hated today. The crisis didn't begin under the present administration (even though it was made worse by Kaspy's unethical beaviour and total disregard for the damage his actions could do to chess, but that's an old story).

The bottom line: you make chess marketable, you have solved all its problems. Until then, it's just moaning and bitching that only leads to more moaning and more bitching...

From the various reports, I get the definite impression that the player contracts forbid either player from participating in any other purported world championship arrangement.

So if Kramnik beats Topalov and fails to win the 2007 WCC tourney, he's out of luck. (Well, they're both out of luck.) Kramnik could point out that he is undefeated in "long" matches, but by that argument, so is Bobby Fischer.

The rules for this match highlight both players' insecurities. Kramnik has always said that a long match is the way to decide a world championship. But if he beats Topalov, he is obligated to put his "title" back on the line in 2007, in a format that is not favorable to his chances.

Meanwhile, Topalov is accepting a format that, if he loses, would leave him on the sidelines until 2009, while players rated far below him get to face Kramnik in Mexico City.

why is it so difficult to bell the cat? Why cant someone ask Kirsan straight up what is happening to the candidates matches. At least for The Right Move campaign, it is a fair question to ask. Also, why arent the players involved making any noise about it? Is everyone just waiting for the election to play out to see which side is buttered?

The winner of Kramnik-Topalov can call himself the last classical champion; that title will fall dormant if FIDE pursues its WCC Tournament format plans.

If FIDE someday wants to revert to the long match format, Kramnik (or Topalov) both honorable gentlemen, would ask FIDE for the right to "defend" the defunct title. But if asked to start at square one with everyone else, they would politely go along.

I expect the candidates are all assuming that unless some real sponsor drops out of the sky they will be offered mediocre terms to play in Elista. Could be worse.

Fide should auction the candidates at Ebay. I would surely bid a couple of thousands to get Carlsen-Aronian! This kid is amazing, did you guys see game 2 against van Wely? Great attacking game.

Frankly if it is true that so far there hasn't been any sponsor for the candidates it just shows that Fide and players have too high expectations about how much these matchs are worth. Solution: lower the price until the market clears.

I can't help but laugh when reading how fiercely Mig attacks a 12 game match in contrast to his spirited defense of a US Championship system based on a Swiss lottery followed by a mini-match of rapids. Oh, and that didn't pay out the guaranteed prizes.

But there's a world of difference in prestige and seriousness between a world championship and a US chess championship--or at least Mig thinks there should be.

Kramnik at this present time knows he can't beat Topolov. If he were still at his top form it would be dicey and he would be well aware of that. If he really tought he was still in the same league as Topolov and Anand, I doubt seriouly that he would have committed to an agreement that will have him waiting until 2009 to have a possiblity of regaining the crown.

Kramnik knows exactly how atrocious his results have been the last 3-4 years. He may be free of the pain-killer addiction in time, but I think he's getting out while the getting is good. $400,000.00 may not be what it used to be, but for someone with a "minimalist lifestyle" it's still a nice chunk of change. His only real concern is with Ilyumzhinov's still being around in October to sign that check.

Since I don't want to take the time to look for typo's, I guess I should get spell-check or something similar?

I um, like this rule for the K-T match. From http://www.fide.com/news/download/annexes/ga2006/annex21.pdf

"Once a player has completed ten (10) moves, no claim can be made regarding incorrect piece placement, orientation of chessboard or clock setting. In case of reverse King and Queen placement, castling with the King is not allowed"

That rule's for the tiebreak games.

Loser of Kramnik v Topalov should go into the 2007 tournament and there should be a match between the winner of both KvT and tournament winner for the title

The US Championship used to be determined by a long match. It does not seem fair to say that the world championship should be determined by a match and be so content to allow almost anything for the us championships.

I personally would like to see a return to a US Match Championship. that way Nakamura would have played a match against Onischuk for the real championship. it seems very lame to skip over Nakamura. the present system shows no respect for the champion or the championship. Our Champion should have respect which is shown by a Match.

Really what is the reason we do not have a US Match Champion.

By the way, I think the real crime is that almost everyone of the public does not even know that the US Championship used to be a Match Champion.

The same will happen at the world level. People will forget about a Match champion after awhile. Kirsan will win this war against chess fans. He will consolidate all power under himself. the minor countries with no chess players will control chess in the world.

Total Insanity as Chess follows everyone into One Flew Over the Coocoo's Nest.

If we want to see change then we should clean up our act here in USA. We should be demanding a Match US Champion. Anything less smacks of hypocracy.

When was the last time the US Championship was a match championship? Not since Marshall. Reshevsky, Evans, Fischer won in round robins, most all of the US Championships have been invitational round robins or swisses.

There is a couple of questions not answered yet.
1. Who brought the money and how real are these funds?
2. What will happen if Kirsan loses the elections if the money was brought by him, and what will happen with the match if he wins elections, because it is obvious he just needs this match to look real before elections, but after elections he can easily change his mind as he already did before.


Please recognize that Kirsan is a brother creature. He is a child of God, just doing the best he can like all the rest of us. Before you criticize a fellow creature, just sit down and think. Just. sit. Down. And. Think.

How do you think Kirsan will feel when he hears that you're accusing him of waging a war against chess? How do you think he'll feel about being called a hypocrite? Have you considered HIS feelings?

People who criticize others are often covering for their own inadequacies. Is that what you're doing?

There is a better way, Tommy. If you'd like some counseling outside of this blog, please get in touch with "Chesstraveler" or "Clubfoot."

But Kirsan says


Greg koster

I have gone up and down this thread and dont see anything of what you speak. Maybe you have mixed me up with someone else.

Are you also using the handles Chesstraveler and Clubfoot ???

I find it so nice and loving that you want to help me. but help never works unless you wait until asked. So I will put you down in my little black book and when I need some help I will ask you for it. Until then I know you will wait in silence since you seem to be so loving and understanding.

Has anyone read the New Yorker article about Kirsan? It makes him sound like a loon (and I don't know that I'd dispute the claim).

Vlad wrote:

There is a couple of questions not answered yet.
1. Who brought the money and how real are these funds?
2. What will happen if Kirsan loses the elections if the money was brought by him, and what will happen with the match if he wins elections, because it is obvious he just needs this match to look real before elections, but after elections he can easily change his mind as he already did before.


Legitimate questions, Vlad. I have no answer for either one! I guess it is Kirsan's money.

That said, people should not be get too excited about a new FIDE under Bessel Kok (in the rather remote case he wins). Why?

Kok is the man who never delivered his promised Prague business plan. to this day, he has never offered a coherent or believable reason for his failure.

Kok is the man who was in charge of the GMA for several years, without much success. Why did he abandon it? What happened there?


That said, I honestly don't know what's better: Kirsan's crazy, but "somewhat guaranteed" money (translation: the money eventually finds its way into players pockets, but never the way it was announced!) or Kok's promises of a "better future" without any guarantee other than his dubious word...

Food for thought.

I don't use a handle, tommy, I foolisly use my first and last name. I hope you will apologize to me for accusing me of posting under various names.

...and I hope that you will apologize to Clubfoot and Chesstraveler for suggesting that they are me, a vicious insult if I ever heard one.

Under your handle, 36 posts down from the top, I see the sentence, "Kirsan will win this war against chess fans." A few lines later I see that I erred, and that your accusation of hypocrisy is not against Kirsan, but against others, who are, nonetheless, fellow creatures equally deserving of our sympathy and compassion.

Just when I think I'm out, they pull me back in.


Now your in Tommy's "little black book"; that has to be frightening in more ways than one. With that in mind, I certainly hope that love has its limits.

I believe that Tommy's great spiritual awareness transcended such a mundane and shallow expression as apology eons ago.

I think Kirsan is a big enough man to be able to handle criticism without falling apart.

I would welcom the idea of a match US champion. A colossal struggle between 2 chess titans in a battle for chess supremecy in the US! Well perhaps that's overstating it a bit but I think a duel between 2 candidate champion players would generate more interest than the current system, especially if Susan Polgar were to qualify.

Well this is pleasant. Thank You chesstraveler. He seems to be happy or at least not angry with me.

And I guess Mendrys feels Kirsan is a big boy.

I will be happy to apologize for anything I have said that is wrong or evil or terrible to Greg and everyone else.

Now Greg I hope you will not mis construe what I say. Carefully I want to say that I dont think apologies are worth anything. they are usually worthless. People say "I am sorry" and then they go out and do the same thing again.

What has value is that the person makes a real effort to change himself and really is truely determined to never do that thing again. NEVER. of course he might fail because he is human. but he really tries hard to change himself so that he will not do it again. This has value to me.

second I would like to say that there is real value in doing things "wrong". it allows the person to observe himself and see what his actions are. the actions are a reflection of what that person must work on to heal in himself.

so let us take judging. that seems to be an idea of interest to you. let us say that I judge. that tells me that I still have more spiritual work to do. does that mean we all should go out and judge now because tommy made a judgment?? or does it mean that tommy is still not fully spiritually enlightened. I know I am not totally spiritually enlightened. I am however, spiritually awake. this always preceedes enlightenment.

Let me summarize it this way. I still make judgements but I am aware of it all the time. this helps me to allow it to dissapate its power and eventually my judgments will end slowly and quietly over a long time. slow but sure.

by the way, I am aware of myself and my judgements. that is what being awake is all about in some ways. I am awake to see what I am doing and thinking and feeling all the time. Those who are not awake are not aware of their own self in the same way. Here is another way to look at it. there is a part of me that observes myself doing things. that part of me that is doing the observing is the real me. that part doing the stuff like judging is not the real me. bye the way same for everyone.

The spiritual path is not to abrupty control oneself and never judge. no. the trick is to observe myself judging and NOT judge myself as less than. and the judging of the ego will slowly lose its power. if I were to get frustrated when I judge and say I did wrong. then that would strengthen my ego and I will never get free from my ego.

so now we understand each other. My path is to observe myself and not observe or judge you. and your goal is to observe yourself and not observe or judge me.

dont you like that. pretty cool. I say.


I think your post is a none-too-subtle cry for help from Dr Greg, but unfortunately he did not ask for inclusion in your black book, suggesting instead that you contact chesstraveler and me. So until Dr Greg resumes house calls, I recommend that you be medicated against your will until you awaken from your spiritual wakefulness.

Pro bono, although chesstraveler may opt for a service charge.

tommy What a load of gas.

I believe in my laughter I may have soiled myself.


Carl: Remember that the main issue is not to avoid soiling yourself, but to observe that you are doing it, and let it slovly loose its grip on you (preferably in the shower).


Carl: Remember that the main issue is not to avoid soiling yourself, but to observe that you are doing it, and let it slovly loose its grip on you (preferably in the shower).


A round of applause for Q!

Tgg said:
"That said, people should not be get too excited about a new FIDE under Bessel Kok (in the rather remote case he wins). Why?

Kok is the man who never delivered his promised Prague business plan. to this day, he has never offered a coherent or believable reason for his failure.

Kok is the man who was in charge of the GMA for several years, without much success. Why did he abandon it? What happened there?

That said, I honestly don't know what's better: Kirsan's crazy, but "somewhat guaranteed" money (translation: the money eventually finds its way into players pockets, but never the way it was announced!) or Kok's promises of a "better future" without any guarantee other than his dubious word..."


Tgg, let's please stick to the facts. Please read the interviews on "rightmove06.org" in which Mr. Kok gives reasonable explanations for the Prague agreement and the lack of professionality of the commercial FIDE-people. So, Mr. Kok has indeed offered a more or less coherent and believable reason for a failure.

Of course it's well known that Kasparov blew up the GMA. Why blame Mr. Kok for it?

Tgg, I share your opinion that by now Mr. Kok hasn't a ghost of a chance to become FIDE-president. Not because of his credibility or professional qualifications and attitude etc. but because of the lack of democracy and the weird structure of the FIDE. (Read the article 'Elections 2006: Who controls FIDE?' on "chessbase.com/index.asp").

I believe Mr. Kok will be a blessing for the chess community if the wins in Turin. Like the famous Dutch soccer teams of the seventies he seems preferring to die in beauty than to use dirty tricks. Misja Tal-style.

Worldwide there is clearly a division in opinion between 'West' (Western-Europe, Canada, USA, Australia) and 'East/South' on a bunch of matters. If the Turin-elections are held under the same conditions as in the past (bribery, false statements) and if plain politics again wins from competence and professionalism, a schism between West and the rest isn't unthinkable.


Kirsan a big person? C'mon. Lenin and Stalin were big persons. Kirsan is not even of Al Capone level, IMHO. He is just a dirty servant of Eltsin/Putin epoch who are not big persons either, they just temporarily took big posts.

Typically, I prefer posts that stick to chess. However, I must admit that some of the non-chess posts above were hilarious. Sofia will be here soon, LW.

Yeah, you guys cracked me up. By the way since I seem to have become the de facto movie maven on Dirt, I should point out that chesstraveler's initial post in this thread ("Just when I think I'm out, they pull me back in") has a double meaning.

The movie reference is easy to miss because the comment itself fits into the present context so perfectly. But it is also one of the greatest movie lines ever. Michael Corleone says it at a key point in "Godfather III". He says it in frustration, upon realizing that as an unintended consequence of his sincere effort to go straight (change direction from a mob boss to a global investor leading a takeover bid for a publicly traded Italian bank company), a new group of enemies has mobilized and hired assassins to kill him and do other ugly things.

I can hardly stop laughing. this is getting to be fun. I notice that some people here are beginning to awaken and be more aware. this is great. Carl Chapel says:

"tommy what a load of gas.

I believe in my laughter I may have soiled myself."

I believe you. I am laughing just as hard with you. I will have to remember that statement.

"what a load of gas."

that is too funny.

tommy of course this begs the Q. if I was not an awakened soul would I have even known the difference between an unsoiled or soiled condition. Also would I have known it was I,myself that was laughing.

In the 23rd century scholar bots will pore over this thread in search of a clue why mankind went extinct.

Just spotted a Dow Jones newswire column today by my old pal Jim Murphy that by coincidence relates to tommy's comments on this thread and the responses.

In the interest of raising the tone of the debate, I paraphrase the opening paragraphs below (There's no link because I don't think the story is available online to non-subscribers.)

Plato quoted Socrates as saying, "The unexamined life is not worth living." I've always liked that assertion (says Murphy), but at the same time I have always abhorred the implications. Such as: "1) Socrates has in his view examined his own life and found it worth living, whereas he's not so sure about yours, 2) Socrates can't read minds but he can tell by looking at you that you slide through life with all the self-awareness of a house plant, 3) And so on.
. Beware of those who repose in high altitudes and pass judgment on others. Except me, of course."
(end of quote/paraphrase)

Throughout a lifetime of conversation and discussion, Socrates continually examined his own beliefs and those of his companions.

Jim Murphy's comments about "those who repose in high altitudes and pass judgments on others" may indeed fit tommy. But refering to Socrates in that manner is awfully silly.

Oy. Anybody who doubts that Socrates didhave a high opinion of himself and low of others probably never read a word of his writing. "Apology," which is backed by outside of Plato sources is sufficient proof. The reiteration that "all I know is that I know nothing" didn't prevent Socrates from passing judgement on the views of others or referring to himself as the wisest man in Athens.

The beliefs that Socrates criticizes in "Republic" and elsewhere are largely those of his opponents. Not of him or those who agreed with him. Those are rarely subject to serious criticism in his writing.

That said, I still like the guy.

The last letter from Alexei Shirov is somewhat interesting and gives very provocative point of view on chess ethics, IMO:
Mr. Shirov definitely needs to fresh his mind from anger caused by Mr. Kasparov's 2000 play with Kramnik if he wants to come back on top.
He is PROFESSIONAL player. If he can't find sponsors as rich as Kramnik can, or can't get GM as strong as Svidler is, to serve as a second, this is Alexei's problem, not a matter of ethics. IMO.

All issues of politics & justice aside, there's nothing more exciting for the chess enthusiast than a match for the world championship. Topalov's victory in San Luis was impressive and well deserved, but it wasn't a match. Kramnik v Topalov, 12 games for the title is what its all about. As for the length of the match, 12 games is perfect. Prepare your best stuff, and come out fighting.

I'll be watching!

In view of Jon's post, I felt it was important to distinquish Socrates from Tommy.

The Delphic oracle named Socrates the wisest man in Athens. Socrates understood this to mean that he was wise because he knew that he knew nothing. Tommy, on the other hand, knows that he knows alot: "If you truely [sic] would like to transform your life, please contact me outside this forum and I will be happy to point out guidance that will help you to transform your life."

Socrates was forever questioning, criticizing, poking, prodding, evaluating, judging. Tommy, on
the other hand, says, "My path is to observe myself and not observe or judge you."

Jon's post notwithstanding, I'm just not seeing the comparison between Socrates and Tommy.


Let me get this straight, you disagree with the theory that Socrates didn't really poison himself and instead waited 2000 plus years to repost on this forum as Tommy? With all due respect, that Tommy and Socrates are one and the same person, posting in different manner, should be obvious to everybody.

I think Socrates fits Murphy's description of "those who repose in high altitudes and pass judgements on others." As you put it, he was forever questioning, criticizing, poking, prodding, evaluating, judging, and I can think of other synonyms for "passing judgement on others". And yet, when it came to his own views, all of his dialogues seemed not to start from an open inquisitive mind but derive from a pre-established conclusion in mind that he is trying to drive his opponent to. He had a lot of ideas for how to govern a state and he virulently advocated them. For a man who said he knew nothing, he seemed to be convinced of a whole lot.

I don't know enough about Tommy to know what description he fits or does not. So my judgement of the statement was limited to whether it applies to Plato's teacher or not.

Hey guys, Tommy and Socrates in the same breath? I have no idea what illegal sustances your sharing with one another, but can I have some?

Also Jon, Another movie quote that I find some what fitting here: "I'll have what she's having."


So you would argue that Tommy is actually a more straightforward man than Socrates. (Assuming they are, indeed, two different people.)

Both Tommy and Socrates are convinced they have acess to "the truth". Tommy tells you this upfront. Socrates tells you in a more subtle, sneaky way.

Socrates claims that he "knows nothing" and that he is simply seeking out wiser men to learn the truth. But he then confutes and confounds these "wiser men"... making a show of discovering in the course of conversation what he actually knew all along...that he, more than anyone else, holds the true ideas.


substances...just send it, chesstraveler
General Delivery

Pithy and accurate letter by Alexie Shirov regarding the WC on Chessbase. http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=3079
I couldnt agree more with him. Only in Chess can this happen..

I see multiple references to Tommy in this thread. Who the hell is Tommy?

Socrates reposed in high altitudes and passed judgement on others. Whether his judgements were correct or not is a whole different issue and one which I am not prepared to answer since I don't claim to know what the universal truth is or even that it can be defined in a pithy soundbite.

Returning from dropping off the wife and kid at the mall, in the car I heard a Bloomberg Radio interview with Greg Washinski (sp?), a sports writer talking about his new book, "The 101 Worst Ideas in the History of Sports."

Topping his list was the "overtime shoot-out" which I assume is used as the tie-breaker in pro soccer and, he said, is slated for use in the National Hockey League this coming season. He said it degrades the deciding portion of a great team sport, into a "skills contest." What does that sound like?

Another unstated analogy to our sport that I picked up was his comments about Pete Rose. He said letting Rose into heaven (Cooperstown) is even worse than letting in the steroid-cheaters, because Rose, as a manager who gambled money on baseball game results, could have fixed entire games by manipulating the lineup or pulling other hidden managerial moves that fans wouldn't be aware of. Then he said when fans get even a slight inkling that a game's outcome may have been pre-arranged, they won't come any more. Sounds familiar.

(Hmm...mention of Pete Rose brings up another chess analogy. I guess those of us who feel whenever we read about Bobby Fischer the way the goose feels when its owners are 3/4 of the way through the process for turning its liver into pate -- now we have someone to commisserate with. Never thought of this before, but there must be a great many baseball and other sports fans out there who feel that way when they read about the Pete Rose controversy for the 1.97 billionth time.)

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on April 30, 2006 8:58 PM.

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