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MTel 2006 Round 3

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When it rains, it pours. Of course I have to do the ChessBase site the day I'm having people over for early dinner. So I'll make this brief. I just put up a quick round three wrap-up. Analysis by GM Marin will follow tomorrow. I just got his round two analysis now, of course.

Anyway, wow! Kamsky beats Anand with black to take the clear lead with 2.5/3! It's all about the Brooklyn, baby. As in his game against Bacrot, Kamsky earned a superior endgame and then converted the point with constant pressure. I doubt that rook endgame was a forced loss, but it was certainly very hard to hold, and impossible after 52.Kg4. 51.Rd5 is a good try, especially since passive defense looks hopeless. I didn't see the game live so I don't know if Anand was blitzing through the endgame as he does too often.

The other games were drawn, but not boringly so. Love the no draw offer rules because I can imagine both of these ending relatively early otherwise and we'd have missed some great chess. So, what to say about the American #1? Perhaps Bacrot and Anand played mediocre endgames to lose, but the point is that he GOT to superior endgames against these guys. Outplaying Anand on the black side of the Ruy is no walk in the (Prospect) park. I was thinking Onischuk should be on board one in Turin because he's so solid, and Kamsky and Nakamura would gobble up points on boards two and three. But Kamsky is making a pretty good case for being back to top-ten status. Okay, it's only round three, but it's exciting.


Kamsky has openings at this tournament. That's the big difference between this and Wijk. Has to be annoying to be Anand. I can't explain some of his moves; it's like he suddenly was playing a different position.

Just the Kamsky psychological aspect I guess. Not that Kamsky's a psychology player like Kasparov, in the "scary" sense, but Anand tends to go loopy, as we know...

Ha, what did I say about Kamsky's rust getting burnt off?
Still, as an Anand fan, not too disappointed - after all same thing happened in Corus, and he went on to win. sometimes anand needs a sharp shock to get him going.

It will be interesting to see because more times than naught, a "sharp shock" sends Anand spiraling downwards. Still a long ways to go, but who would have thought that after just 3 rounds Kamsky would alone in first place?

Unbelieveable. Just simply Unbelieveable.

Go Gata Go

Now I am a fan of both Anand and Kamsky but like I said yesterday I would cheer for Kamsky over Anand but I also cheer for Anand over Topalov.

I am holding my breath in anticipation. It seems it is almost too good to be true that Kamsky has returned to the pinicle of chess. Of course I have to wait and continue every day to see.

Will I be surprised and shocked by a Kamsky win over Topalov Sunday. what could be more exciting than Chess. nothing. Chess is da king of excitement.

Go Gata Go.

I really want a crushing win tomorrow.

Kamsky's opening repertoire is getting more accurate, and therefore his natural talent can show again. Kamsky's top rating of 2740 more than 10 years is certainly some kind of value he can reach again (and maybe overcome).

Oh ... and about negative comments about Kramnik that I could read somewhere else in another thread ... Kramnik is, with Kasparov, the most talented chess player ever. First, Kramnik has the 2nd highest rating ever. Second, he has defeated Kasparov in a (real) match. Third, he's the only one on chessmetrics.com to sometimes be stronger on the age value curve than Kasparov. Point four, when Kasparov was talking about other players, comments like "chesscafe player" or "nervous breakdown player" were common. But about Kramnik, Kasparov's only comment was just "he's very strong".
Wait and see the match against Topalov. A lot of people are sayint that Kramnik has no chances. I think that in this match, Kramnik won't lose a single game, and will put progressive pressure with white until he'll win one game or two.

And about Topalov's overall performance, I think that today, his whole preparation is already going on against Kramnik. I think that he's spending most of his time on searching a way to crack Kramnik's Berlin defense. If he finds nothing, his match will be strictly hopeless.

I can agree with your talent assessment of Kasparov, but not Kramnik. A great player he is, but one of the two most talented ever... I don't think so. His match results are too dicey for that type of status. Yes, he defeated Kasparov but he also got his clock cleaned in a match by none other than Kamsky himself. As far as his going undefeated at this present time in his match with Topolov...nonsense, or as some may say, "fugheddaboudit!"

Welcome back Gata!

Kamsky is awesome! He's a true "chess" player. He never seemed like a particularly crushing player to me, but if you give him a stable midgame position, he'll gradually outplay all but a handful of players from there. He's tenacious, reasonably accurate, and unfazed by setbacks. I saw a comparison to Reshevsky once, which I think is right on the money (although Kamsky seems like a bit less of a strategist than Sammy).

True story: about 12 hours ago, I posted the news of Kamsky-Anand to the USCF issues forum at http://www.uschess.org/forums/ Just the result of the game, the news that Kamsky was in sole 1st with 2.5/3, ahead of Svidler & Anand, and liks to ChessBase & M-Tel.

My post got deleted for irrelevance to the USCF!!! Doubly annoying when one looks at what's inhabiting space now....

Reshevsky a strategist? I think Semmy was a ferocious tactician more than anything. He frequently got into time trouble because he spent so much time analyzing tactical variations.

What Kamsky and Reshevsky have in common is mental fortitude and an unwavering belief in defensive powers. Few players possess their kind of toughness!

Mig, the official Mtel Masters site says that 'Pirates are broadcasting the games' and fingers ICC. Whats the story with that??


It's amazing how many organizers that are not aware of the fact that live games can not be copyrighted.

Well, Reshevsky was an exceptionally strong player, with great tactical vision, but he didn't have an overtly attacking style. Rather, he would play strategically but then opportunistically capitalize on any tactical possibilities that came along. I agree, though, that the major similarity between him and Kamsky are defensive powers and psychological fortitude.

Macuga, about Kamsky being "a real chess player" .... hmmm to tell the truth I can't think of any GM who is not a real chess player.

To all of you : Kamsky was the same guy 10 years ago, three days ago, and today. And he will be Kamsky in the future as well (and I wish him a long and happy life). BUT. But it's a little bit strange to read dithyrambic comments just after a victory against Anand, and to read such harsh critics when he finishes last in a top tournament.

A lot of you are exactly like my wife : she thinks that I'm a superhero when I do something good, and blame me when things go wrong. And I have huge problems to explain her that I'm exactly the same person everyday in my life.

Emotional behavior does not allows to draw objective conclusions. Being a fan of sb (of anybody) does not leads to objective conclusions.

Kamsky is a guy who got up to 3rd world ranking, who probably could at some stage of his career think seriously about the world title, who forgot chess for 10 years, who's back in business, who certainly can lead (and win) a Sofia-caliber event ... like, let's say, any player between 2600 and 2700 (remember Naiditsch ?).

Chesstraveler, before speaking about Kramnik, go and have a look at chessmetrics.com. Look at the players, at their peak average ratings, and you'll see that from 1 to 10 years span, Kramnik is always 7th to 9th all-time world chess player.

If you consider that there is a bonus to old days players (which Jeff Sonas admits to be true), and that Capablanca, Lasker and Botvinnik probably don't deserve their positions, then the conclusion is simple : Kasparov is the all-time best player, and just a step below (with very few points separing them) come Fischer, Karpov, Anand and Kramnik. Well Chessplayer, now please answer me to this simple question : out of Anand, Karpov and Kramnik, who proved able to defeat Kasparov?

So : Kramnik has defeated the best player ever in a match. Kramnik has reached the 2nd highest elo rating ever. Kramnik has won Dortmund 6 times. So yes, Kramnik has lost this match in 1994. And if you even further in the past in his young years, you'll probably find defeats against 2200 players...

Whatever you may think about it ... Kasparov, 2851, Kramnik 2809, Topalov 2804, Anand 2803, Fischer 2785 and Karpov 2780.

... anyway, Kamsky - Svidler, 1-0, and it's almost a miniature. Against the solid Svidler... only thing I can say looking at the game is "wow" :o)

I'm happy for Kamsky, but really that was nothing special. Svidler made a horrendous, unprovoked blunder at move 15 and the game was pretty much over.

Of course, it's when you combine good form with luck you get great results!

... yes, it seems like Nd7 isn't Svidler's best move ever. It was a "novelty" loosing a tempo...

Chess is so easy with Anand. Trapping the knight, a4 a5 a6 Rb8 Rb7 ... is it won?

Ruslan said, "If you consider that there is a bonus to old days players (which Jeff Sonas admits to be true), and that Capablanca, Lasker and Botvinnik probably don't deserve their positions, then the conclusion is simple : Kasparov is the all-time best player, and just a step below (with very few points separing them) come Fischer, Karpov, Anand and Kramnik. Well Chessplayer, now please answer me to this simple question : out of Anand, Karpov and Kramnik, who proved able to defeat Kasparov?"

It is true that only Kramnik defeated Kasparov in a match. But while we're quoting Jeff Sonas, Jeff has said that there are some odd cases in history where one player has a peculiar dominance over another player that wouldn't have been expected based on his performance elsewhere. Kramnik's defeat of Kasparov is such a case. When one look at the two men's careers more broadly, Kramnik's defeat of Kasparov in 2000, impressive though it was, is an anomaly.


I'll speak of Kramnik any damn time I want to. As far as letting chessmetrics do your thinking for you, if he's "7th to 9th all-time world chess player" how does that make "kramnik, with Kasparov, the most talented chessplayer ever"??

What is your definition of talent, to raise him from 7th to 9th to 1st and 2nd? With out it your logic appears illogical. Also, why did you have to drag your wife into this? Your a classy guy.


too funny.

but on a more serious note:

4: Standings after round 4 of 10
: 1 3.5 GM Kamsky (USA 2671)
: 2 3.0 GM Anand (India 2803)
5: 3 2.0 GM Svidler (Russia 2743)
: 4 1.5 GM Topalov (Bulgaria 2804)
6: 5-6 1.0 GM Bacrot (France 2708)
: 1.0 GM Ponomariov (Ukraine 2738)

Standings after round 4 of 10
1 3.5 GM Kamsky (USA 2671)
2 3.0 GM Anand (India 2803)
3 2.0 GM Svidler (Russia 2743)
4 1.5 GM Topalov (Bulgaria 2804)
5-6 1.0 GM Bacrot (France 2708)
1.0 GM Ponomariov (Ukraine 2738)

Off topic but: Until now I was thinking that Onischuk should play Board 1 in the upcoming Olympiad, but with Kamsky playing this well now perhaps he should. I hope Nakamura will show chic in accepting Board 3.

Simple logics : Kramnik = 2nd highest fide rating ever.

About Jeff Sonas and his rating, I have talked with him about this elo bias problem (and about mathematical ways to try to solve it). Have you, Marc Sheperd and Chesstraveler, been talking with him about this point?

The problem is that today, we are 6 milliards and a half. Amongst those people, a lot have time to play as amateurs. Amongst them a few hundred thousands are playing regularly in chess clubs. And amongst them you can find thousands of pros.

150 years ago, there was less than 1 milliard humans. Few people had the time to play chess (because it was industrial revolution or agriculture for almost everybody). Amongst them, maybe you'd find a handfull of pros (and maybe even not).

In a group of 5000 pros, elit of hundreds of thousands of chess club players, equiped with computers, databases, thousands of books and Internet, chances are high that the best players will be much higher above than in a group of 50 enlightened amateurs, elit of a few thousands amateurs, where the best available knowledge was an almost impossible to find Greco's manual...

Therefore, Chessmetrics.com awarding 2750 to Morphy in 1860 is totally absurd. Therefore, the 2820 of Steinitz, almost 2900 of Lasker, Capablanca and Botvinnik are worth much less than today's ratings.

From Fischer to today, the fide rating started. And since then, we now have a (more or less worthy) base to compare everybody's value.

By the way, there are much more alive pro chess players than dead ones. I mean that today, millions of people play chess. If you sum up all the people who have been playing chess from its transformation in Europe (when it become "la rabiosa" in Italian's renaissance, quitting its arabian form, having since there the rook, the bishop and the queen gaining the right to move along columns and diagonals for more than two squares), you'll see that there are much more alive chess players than dead ones (same thing applies for maths, physics, and so on).

Therefore, there are high chances that a high percentage of the greatest geniuses will be found in our times. Those geniuses are Kasparov, Anand, Kramnik, Topalov. Karpov is amongst them, as Fischer. Those 6 guys are very certainly amongst the 7 or 8 best chess players ever, for the simple reason that they were or are world champions over thousands of pros, over hundreds of thousands of club players, millions of cafe amateurs.

4 of those players have crossed the 2800 bareer. And if you take in account the fide elo bias, it's clear that Fischer and Karpov would have crossed it today as well.

The strongest of them all is clearly Kasparov. And Kramnik defeated him. Sooo ...
Call it an anomaly if you wish.
Call it an anomaly to win Dortmund 6 times in a row.
Call it an anomaly to win Linares 3 times.
Call it an anomaly when Kramnik manages to play 80 games at top level without a single loss.
Call it an anomaly to get the 2nd highest all time fide rating.
Call it an anomaly to destroy Kasparov's KI (which kasparov used successfully during 20 years against Karpov, Anand, and everybody else).

By the way, head to head results (without draws, long games only, black and white) between Kasparov, Anand and Kramnik :
Kramnik - Kasparov --- 5 - 3
Kramnik - Anand --- 5 - 4
Kasparov - Anand --- 15 - 3

So it's certainly easy for the average guy to look at today's fide ratings, to look at Kramnik's rating and to laugh. Ah ah ah, world champion, 2729... But before his illness, Kramnik was on his way to achieve something that could be compared only with Kasparov's performances.

And until somebody manages to defeat him in a match, Kramnik is still the world champion. Topalov-Kramnik will be a great event. And if Kramnik is back in just normal shape, I won't put a penny on Topalov.

So please, Chesstraveler, feel free speak about Kramnik as much as you want.

US Olympiad Team should be:


sorry I've made a mistake in head to head results :
Kramnik - Kasparov 5 - 4
Kramnik - Anand 5 - 3

And of course, I forgot something :
Kramnik - Topalov 12 - 5 (1993 till today)
Kramnik - Topalov +5 =5 -2 (2000 till today)
Last time they did play together ? Dortmund 2005. Victory for Kramnik.

Well Chesstraveler, apart from direct head to head results, apart from cat 19 or 20 tournaments, and apart from world championship matches, what should I consider to evaluate a world class chess player?

All it will take for me to say that Gata is back now is for him to beat Topalov or Svidler. Oops. Ok, welcome back, Gata. And congratulations to all of his fans out there.

Ruslan :

Are you the same guy who used to post in the forums as Russianbear?

No Mr Todds, I'm not a russian bear. I'm a frenchy tattooed from the head to the toes. Have you ever seen a tattooed bear? ;o)

Considering all your anomolies and I'm sure your very familiar with that term, I did indicate that I considered him a great player, just not at the pinnacle that you have placed him. In fact, in a nutshell that was then and this is now. Kramnik's biggest hurdle for the World Championship Match won't be his "normal shape" otb, although that too will play a part, but whether he is free of painkillers in dealing with his medical condition. I'm not expressing this in any derogatory fashion toward him, just a fact that he has already admitted to.

Also, you want to use chessmetrics to verify your opinion of this matter, but you want to be selective in that as well. Ruslan, I leave your little world to you, my sympathies to your wife.


I too would like to see Seirawan (one of my favorites) participating, but I don't believe that he's been active enough as of late. A shame.

Ruslan seems hell-bent on eradicating fandom wherever it exists. Many people get pleasure out of being fans. Obviously, this galls him.

Chesstraveler, you are obstinate, and you always want to be right. So, since you want to be right, I'll agree with you.

So :
Kramnik has never achieved 2nd highest rating ever.
Kramnik has never won 6 times Dortmund.
Kramnik has never won 3 times Linares.
Kramnik has never defeated Kasparov in a match, and therefore can claim for zero title.
For some accidental reason, Kramnik played a match against Leko in 2004, which ended in a draw, and therefore Leko retained his Dortmund 2002 champion title.
Kramnik has never had positive score against Kasparov.
Kramnik has never had positive score against Anand.
Kramnik has never had positive score against Topalov.
Kramnik has never set up a record of more than 80 games without a loss.

Kramnik is ill, and will never recover from his illness, neither will he be back at his previous level. Anyway, everybody knows that he isn't doing anything good at chess since he defeated Kasparov. Sorry, since Kasparov slaughtered him in their London match.

Kamsky can stop chess during 10 years, come back and be world champion. But Kramnik will never be able to recover from a 6-month illness. Maybe it's because he isn't american. He's just a poor little russian mujik. Anyway he'll die soon, because his illness won't be treated correctly in a third world hospital in Russia, so let's just forget about him and think about nowadays genuine chess geniuses : Seirawan, Onishuk, Nakamura. They deserve full-time attention because they are American. God bless America. God bless George Bush. And God bless you, the greatest genius of the geniuses.

What's the old expression about the pot calling the kettle black? Never once did I make this out to be Nationalistic. Every regular blooger here knows that your hang-up. Don't even begin to try and "pawn" that off one me. You're pathetic, case closed.

To everyone else: blogger, although blooger may have possibilities. :)

kramnik won against kaspy in a match but only one match...have you guys thought what will happen if there is second match? Though I doubt that kramnik is strong enough.

Thanks to you, Ruslan, since your both serious and funny comments about the chess elite have made my morning tea even more tasteful !

Criticizing Kramnik (and judging his chess level, regardless of the fact that only amators "waste" their time writing about this topic) has indeed become an strange and quite unpleasant habit. Maybe Kasparov himself has a lot to answer in this matter since he has been whining about the end of an era, the unnecessary reunification Kramnik Topalov match and so on, for years now.

One more statistic you might have added to your case : it seems to me, but i am not sure about the precise difference, that Kramnik is as well ahead in his head to head confrontations with Topalov.
Anyway, I wish this match can take place, even if the number of games (12) is a real pity. Kasparov Kramnik 16, Kramnik Leko 14, Kramnik Topalov 12... Let's see... Looks like Iliumjinov will make his point by... 2024 where he'll wrap up the title within a weekend ! All right i am getting carried away ;o)

All the best, Michko


If you read a few posts above,
Kramnik - Topalov 12 - 5 from 1993 till today
Kramnik - Topalov +5 =5 -2 from 2000 till today (which means that Kramnik has won almost half of their games ... not totally meaningless)
Kramnik - Topalov : last game they played 1 - 0 (dortmund 2005 ... so even ill Kramnik can beat Topalov)

If you consider head to head confrontations between 2000 and now, and between elite players, then Kramnik is, on this era, a deserving world champion. Positive score against Anand, against Topalov, against Kasparov ... he defended his title as often as he had the opportunity to do so ... he fulfilled his part of the Prague agreement, was ready to play almost anybody (as well as he's ready to play anybody proposed by fide today).

By the way, from "classical" point of view, title in 2000, first match defense in 2004, second in 2006 ... is not so bad, especially when Kasparov and Illumjinov around him.

And by the way bis, Kramnik hanging to this classical tradition is the only thing that has allowed us, chess players, to keep that tradition till today. Otherwise, we'd had, since 2000, knock-outs and such fantastic world champions like Khalifman and Kazimdjanov. Chesstraveler, you have a short memory.

Last but not least, I sincerely think (and hope) that Kramnik will crush Topalov, or that Kok will do the same with Illumjinov (why not both?). Once this any of those points will be reached, we'll have a good chance to see the world championship match tradition going on again and again. Otherwise, chess will have lost something, and we, chess lovers, will certainly loose something as well.

And ildar,

Kramnik didn't gave a direct rematch to Kasparov. Kasparov didn't gave a rematch to Karpov (he was just forced by the fide).
Kramnik gave a rematch to Kasparov in 2002, in Prague. Kasparov just had to defeat Kasimdjanov, and would have played this reunification match. But strange things are going on in the head of this paranoid man...

In the case of a rematch, whatever you may think, I'm not sure Kasparov would have won. Head to head confrontations between both players don't indicate any superiority for Kasparov. Kramnik was (when Kasparov was active) one of the two or three chess players who have never been afraid of Kasparov (with Lautier, for instance).

In the case of a rematch (since you put that on the table) from 2000 to 2003, I don't see any reason to believe that Kasparov would have found back new ideas in his KI (he has abandonned his main defense weapon till when he quit), and I don't see any reason to believe that Kasparov would have crushed the Berlin defense of Kramnik (it is still considered as perfectly valid today. So valid that Topalov is starting to play it, and it's not impossible that we will see an Elista-Berlin match).

So, as long as Kramnik's defensive weapons are alive, and Kasparov ones are non existent, as long as Kramnik gets not too difficult draws during all the match and Kasparov must swap his defense everyday, I have big big difficulties to imagine how Kasparov would have made better than in London.

Ildar, simple reality : the overall elo performance of Kramnik between 2000 and 2003 is above Kasparovs, and is simply unsurpassed.

ruslan you're deluded. Everybody knows that Tal was the most naturally gifted player ever. :-) As for Kramnik beating Kasparov, Kasparov's performance was more like 2710 than 2810. Which is not to say that Kramnik isnt a great player. He is, and is easily in the top 20 of all time I'm sure. But I would put him behind players like Petrosian, Capablanca and Euwe.

Actually I should add Smyslov to that list. I think Smyslov was a more complete and stronger version of Kramnik.

I love it! Ruslan keeps babeling on with anyone and everyone, yet when I disagree with "him", he accuses me of being "obstinate and you always want to be right." This guy really is a trip. d, I believe the first sentence of your recent first post to be right on the money regarding this guy, and not just in his opinion of chess players.

Oh yah, GM Ibragimov makes one simple little correct statement on the post, and Ruslan goes into this long drawn out diatribe with him. Amazing. Like I said, anyone and everyone.

It's an impossible task to talk with people who listen to what they say, read what they write and are closed to any kind of constructive argument. Blah blah blah, zero facts, just blah blah. I resign.

Past records aren't always a great predictor of match outcomes. Boris Spassky had a career plus score against Bobby Fischer before they met in 1972. Kasparov had a career plus score against Kramnik before they met in 2000.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on May 13, 2006 3:46 PM.

    MTel 2006 Round 2 was the previous entry in this blog.

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