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Turin Olympiad 2006 r5

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It's a tight race after four rounds. Only two board points separate the top dozen teams. Leading medal contenders clash today as Russia faces Armenia. That's 2004 silver versus 2004 bronze. Armenia looks a bit overmatched but they usually overachieve in team events and they are always one of the most interesting teams to watch. Kramnik has white against Aronian. Then we have the battle for Asian supremacy as India and China do battle. India has a big rating advantage on the first three boards.

USA continued to move up the table yesterday. They showed their potential by beating the strong Polish team 3-1 with all games decisive � wins on the top three boards. Today they are up against an accomplished young Georgian squad. From a quick glance at the games (now in progress), I see that Kamsky and Nakamura got into the same Slav line on boards one and three. It's a little odd that the board shifting has left Nakamura three blacks to one white so far. You'd think they'd try to get him a few extra whites considering his sharp style, the way they used to do with de Firmian. But things aren't going badly. Team capitain Donaldson might be relying on Nakamura's ability to win with both colors.

Mickey Adams is having a fine event and has the highest performance rating of the Olympiad so far. But they lost to Turkey yesterday despite his win over Gurevich, amazingly enough. Cuba and Brazil are facing off for LatAm honors, but they are playing below my dear Argentina, where Felgaer appears to be coming into his own on board one at last. Dale!



In the round reports, journalists keep refering to one team beating another team. Why does this nomenclature persist when it is game points that count and not match points? Yes, technically scoring 2.5/4 points is a "win," but since wins don't count wouldn't it be more accurate to just say Team A scored 2.5 out of 4 points from Team B? In fact, it is possible that the team with the best match record will not win the whole tournament. As Susan Polgar mentioned on her blog, because of this scoring system it is generally good strategy to keep your best players playing as much as possible -- even to the point of your 2700+ star taking a quick draw on Board 1, to allow your other three boards to be rated as high as possible. (I think Spain adopted this strategy in Round 2, with Shirov.)


Is Bu winning against Anand? Maybe it just looks like it.

The match points actually do count - they are the second tiebreak. All other things equal, two 2.5-1.5 wins are better than one 4-0 win and one 1-3 loss.
The nomenclature "Team A beat Team B 2.5-1.5" is therefore 100% correct.

Can anybody kibitz on the games ?

What in tarnation is Anand playing???

In the battle of the tail-enders, it's Rwanda 2 Pakistan 1, both teams scoring their first points of the games.

Peach, do you mean 'kibitz' as an unwanted comment during the game? Or a real-time view of the current games (e.g. Anand-Bu)?

by my analysis Kramnik is about to crush Aronian, Aronian is having a hard time defending against the passed pawn

Heh, Economics 101 in action: Grischuk (in a better position) and Svidler (in a worse position) both agreed to draws against their Armenian opponents at the same time.
And really, why should they both work hard for the same 1 team point they can get with a pair of quick handshakes?

Realtime view of current games.

Mig, where did you see performance ratings? I'm always interested in who's got the best performance rating, but I didn't see a list anywhere for this event.

wow. the speedy genius has it all covered i think. Anand has come to play!

Log on at http://www.chessolympiad-torino2006.org/eng/index.php
Click "Live Games". Click "Round 5 General." Tadaah! Click on the arrows found beneath the table numbers. A window with current games of the selected countries will be displayed ...

I am at work. I don't want to be looking at a chessboard during work. A blog commentary is a different issue.

I second that, peach.

ok peach, Anand has played what looked like an insanely risky Q sac for R+B+2P and seems to be winning.
Kramnik played his usual Reti/QG stuff and seems to be having a nice ad against Aronian. Moro is playing his trademark extremely original strategic game (with voluntary doubled pawns which he seems to love), which right now seems to be losing to me :-) but i expect him to pull something out of the hat and draw at least.

The website says that Anand has drawn.

also, Nakamura had an early advantage but screwed up and now he is losing badly, he's down a rook for some useless pawns.

Anand-Bu ended in a perpetual check.

i calculated a mate in 12 for Kamsky, that should even out Nakamura's looming defeat

After playing riskily trying to win with black Nakamura is trying to scam a perpetual down a rook but should be lost. Kamsky swapped queen for two rooks and should be winning. Onischuk had a clear plus out of the opening but still has a lot of work to do, although Pantsulaia's king is in the open. Aronian needs a miracle unless there is a way to save his b-pawn I don't see.

Kamsky just won. He had a winning position for a long time. Nakamura looks like he is losing now after appearing to be in control.

No miracle.

Kram won. Moro's opponent seems to be carefully bringing home the bacon, but a few tactics remain.

Come on Kramnik........ Answer all the begrudgers with a good olympiad.......

Kramnik just won(with what superficially seems )effortlessly over Aronian. I thought if Aronian could somehow control the passed c pawn he would win. But Kramnik demonstrated how to use the advanced passed pawn to generate winning pressure.

Aronian resigned to Kramnik. Russia leads 2-1, but Sargissian is better against Moro, so maybe 2-2 in the end.

Kramnik won ... Topalov would be scared...

(Actually, I believe that Kramnik; being fresh, without the tiredness of others, is the big favourite to defeat Topalov in september. While Topalov have spent a year preparing for all other opponents, Kramnik has been training and watching and focusing in the weaknesses if his rival).

The conclusion is that Kramnik problems (and probably health problems, I can't ensure that) are result of the heavy charge he had by the compromise. When Kramnik has no compromise and is the underdog, he is free to play better, we does not feel the pressure... This is the way an outstanding and very talented player acts, not the way an champion acts.

Nakamura's passed pawns win the day I think.

Kramnik just toasted Aronian. Kramnik's current performance rating is 2966 (2.5/3 against 2687 avg). The anti-Kramnik whining after round 4 is just pathetic. I'm sure none of the whiners have *ever* drawn with anyone lower-rated than themselves ...

Save the day rather. And as for the Kramnik bashing, it is silly. The man was the #2 player in the world, most times 10-20 points ahead of Anand, for YEARS. Besides that, Kramnik's match and tournament record against the real #1 (Garry of course) is much more respectable than Anand's. Now I'm not Anand bashing, I'm just saying that everyone has bad strings of tournaments, and at the top level, as Garry often said in interviews, your physical shape has a lot to do with your chess form.

Oh I was looking at the board the wrong way lol. Resign Naka.

Looks like USA will win 2.5-1.5. Onischuk looks good to win, unless he's really low on time. Too bad the Olympiad Website doesn't have the times on the clocks displayed...

Well Nakamura's opponent may screw the endgame and Naka might draw. However, a mate in 16 has been calculated.

Let's try to predict Garry's response if/when Kramnik beats Topalov:

"Match? What match? I did happen to glance at my internet screen while I was on my way to a political meeting---was that what that was?"

"They've played half a match. When they play the other half, then we'll see."

"When a player sits at home and prepares for a year, how can he not win?"

"I told you all along it should have been Kramnik-Anand."

Hikaru has resigned and, it appears, Gata has won. It's all up to Onischuk and Rybka has him up by 5 pawns...

Onischuk won! So, it's USA over Georgia by 2.5-1.5.

Excellent effort by Sasikiran after India squandered the whites. Too bad it ended in a draw.

For some reason, Nakamura is believed to be the big talent and he is known by his arrogance. However, at the end of the day, the "old generation" of Kamsky and Onischuk save the US (even with "supposedly" out-of-form Kamsky thta has defeated a really important opponent as Jobava and scores his second win against a >2600 and after shining in MTel). The boy has still a lot to learn... congrats Gata.

How versatile you all are...

In many threads, I've spent my time sayin' that Kramnik, in a good shape, will crush Topalov, and that he's the stronger active player. Answers were generaly "he's a wimp", "he's 2729", "he's not even worth the top 10", "he has no chance against Topalov" , if simply not purely insultant words.

Kramnik has won Linares 3 times. Kramnik went up to 2811. Kramnik has won Dortmund 6 times in a row. Kramnik has positive scores against Kasparov, Anand and Topalov. Kramnik has defeated Kasparov in a match. So as long as it's possible for him to get rid of his illness, why would it be so surprising to see him play well again, especially at 30 y.o. ?

I am saying the same things that I was saying days, weeks, months ago. But it's really funny to see how, after three good games (which basically prove more or less nothing) how the comments suddenly change from terrible to dithyrambic...

I was saying that those three good games proved nothing. The result in itself proves nothing. But the way Kramnik played shows a lot : he had winning positions against Aronian at move 17, and against Naiditsch at move 15. While going back to his Reti systems, he seems to be putting more pressure with white pieces than he ever did. After all, Aronian is Nr 3 in the world, and has won Linares 3 months ago...

Shall I remind to some people here that Kramnik did set up a kind of funny record, with 80 games in a row played at top level without a defeat. That's why I'm almost certain that for Topalov the match won't be a piece of cake : crushing Kramnik's petroff or Berlin defense has never been easy.

Thanks, Alex, for enlightening me about the tiebreaks. --Howard

Mikhail Tal had TWO unbeaten runs longer than Kramnik's of 82 games. 93 and 86. Also another of 80.

Regarding wins and losses, it's simply a form of shorthand to talk about team wins. Since it's too hard to keep track of all the points all the time, and since it will come down to the last rounds anyway, it's easier to use winning and losing matches as a general measure of success in a round report. It's not as if everyone is counting each half point and would know what 3-1 vs 2.5-1.5 means at the moment. Most reports I've seen do give the scores anyway, especially big wins that really move a team up the table.

Small sensations: Beliavsky lost with white to Adlan (Algeria), Adams held to a draw by Kozlov (Kazakhstan) - England still won 3-1.

The two teams at the bottom of the standings are British Virgin Islands and ... US Virgin Islands - tomorrow we may witness the Battle of the Virgins.

Is Inky playing for either of the Virgin teams?

I'm glad that Kasimdzhanov is pulling through for Uzbekistan. He steals the point when his team needs i the most. Kudos to him, Kramnik, and Kamsky.


Function: noun

1 : a usually short poem in an inspired wild irregular strain
2 : a statement or writing in an exalted or enthusiastic vein
- dith·y·ram·bic /"di-thi-'ram-bik/ adjective

I am no natural fan of Kramnik. He does not have a very charismatic personality and has vey strange views on the chess world and his role in it.

However, it's ridiculous that after he drew with black against a 2600 people were saying he is washed up.

He has more natural talent than any other active player, except maybe Moro.

i don't really like his style in terms of entertainment but he is very strong.

I'm following the Rwandan team, who won a match today despite their first board's dropping a pawn in the first eight moves -again-. They won because Pakistan forfeited the two middle boards, it looks like.

Seriously look back over their games. They are really horrible and funny.

The problem is that with all the broadcast problems, showing crazy moves on the top boards, it's hard to tell when they hang a queen on the bottom boards!

Thanx, Mr Koster, to point out my vocabulary. Ok, maybe for you it's nothing to be proud of, but for me english comes as third language, after russian and french.

Oh and last but not least : to those who once said that I have an anti-american attitude, just think about this point : learning your language is a great step towards your culture.

The score of Naka's game must be wrong. After white's last move (Ke4), black (Naka) wins with d2! Replace white's Ke4 with Rc1+ (or even Kf2), though, and white wins handily. Since Naka resigned, I suspect that white's last move needs to be changed on the official website.

I suspect that after Nakamura resigned the white king was placed on e4 to indicate white victory. :-)


Placing a white king on e4 is the way to signify a white win. Ke4 is likely not a move that was actually made in the game.


Your use of "dithyrambic" was totally appropriate. I was unsure of it's meaning and thought others might be in the same boat.


(a) - Future of chess with Kramnik as champion will consists of slow cycles, interruptions missed participations and "sabatic years"

(b) - Future of chess with Topalov or Anand as champions would be: Exciting duels, lots of tournaments to see the world champion, easier conditions, greater rotation of world champions, shorter cycles, etc.

Conclusion (If a match between Kramnik and Topalov take place):

- Every one wants to see a world chess like (b), but the world chess will continue like (a) (Kramnik is not a champion, but nowadays, is a player capable to defeat sporadically anyone in the world)

So, if you thought from 2000 to 2006 was enough ... fans will take another dosis from 2006 to 2010, until someone younger and fearless could save us from the boredom of the WC (who?)

If the U.S. keeps "winning" 2.5-1.5 they just might end up "undefeated" but out of the medals.

Ruslan, I didn't know the meaning of the word until I saw Greg's later post. (Didn't have time to look it up. Thanks Greg.) That word was a deep reach even for a native speaker, or at least for an American. But then our schools suck, LOL. Anyway, I was impressed.


Invest in a dictionary. "Fact" is not a synonym for "Opinion."

If Kramnik's victory, today, over #3 Aronian holds no interest for you, maybe you ought to take up Nintendo.

Regarding teams "beating" other teams -

Other considerations aside, it's just more satisfying on a visceral level to say that Team A beat Team B.

Throught of that day: Kramnik have been rated 2811 a few years ago, but Topalov is rated 2813 right now. As I learned in elementary school, 2813 is better than 2811, and as I learned in my extensive life experience, "right now" is better than "a few years ago".

I think mourning over an unevitable Topalov loss is a tad premature. Can't you guys at least wait until Kramnik plays 1.Nf3 in the first game?


Prof. Elo would roll over in his grave if he knew you were claiming that player "A" is "better than" player "B" because of a two-point rating difference.

As Kasparov said the other day, there's really no single #1-rated player...Topalov and Anand are too close.

It was crazy to count Kramnik out and it's crazy to say he's a lock.

Of course, Alex, your post makes sense. The problem is that Kramnik was rated 2729 three days ago, 2734 two days ago, and 2740 today. Seems like he's back, he's bad and he's ugly. Hmmm... of course some people will argue that Kramnik has always been ugly, and bad for the last two years ;o)

By the way, it should be noted that from round 2 till round 9 of M-tel tournament, Anand was number one in the world :o)

Yup, with Kramnik gaining a steady 4-5 points a day, he will be rated 3200 by September and is expected to win the WCC match 10.5-1.5.

Unfortunately, Kramnik's dominance won't last forever. There is a new power rising. IM Leighton Williams of Wales (rated 2348) have made the largest ELO gain in the Olympiad so far (an average of 6 points per day), and will overtake Kramnik in less than a year.

Extrapolation is a wonderful thing.

A bunch of photos from r5 and previous rounds available here:

“Yup, with Kramnik gaining a steady 4-5 points a day, he will be rated 3200 by September and is expected to win the WCC match 10.5-1.5.”

Alex S, that was pretty funny. Rolling on the floor in my office.

As for what Kramnik's Olympiad performance so far means in terms of Kramnik - Topalov in September, I'm excited for a wonderful match. I'll be rooting for Topalov, but I used to worship Kramnik years ago too.

I am glad that Kramnik is playing some amazing chess in Turin. He is a great great talent and unfortunately had a very bad year in 2005. Hopefully, he remembers and recollects what kind of a player he was in 2000 and bounces back. I am glad the other guys (Svidler and Moro) did the right thing by letting him to play against Aronian. Good for Kramnik and I am sure, he would make his match with Topalov very interesting. Way to go! :)

It was fun to root for Topalov at Linares, but I've gotten used to rooting against him being an Anand fan. Here's to a resurgent Kramnik and a victory in the match for the Russian.

You guys don't really think a non-Russian is a good idea do you? Besides, if Kramnik was undisputed champion again Gazza might be tempted...

who is Gazza?

Mig sez:
"Mikhail Tal had TWO unbeaten runs longer than Kramnik's of 82 games. 93 and 86. Also another of 80."

The master always showed the way.. And that was while being a part time "morphinist" rather than a "chigorinist".

As for the Kram is the greatest/weakest stuff, I thiink he's playing as well as he ever was, which is a standard that's very, very good. I think he's easily in the top 20 at least in history. Is he the best ever? fiddlesticks. But that doesnt mean we cant be happy he's playing at a high level again. I just love the way he understands and plays these Reti systems. Takes strong GMs apart like putty.

cotdt: "Who is Gazza"

A/ Is somebody formerly known as Harry Weinstein.

How quickly the public forgets...

Which retired prominent chess player has a first or last name that could possibly be reduced to a nickname like 'Gazza'?


(a) Until such time that you exhume Prof. Elo's body and show me that, indeed, he's lying on his stomach, I will keep maintaining that 2813 is greater than 2811.

(b) Also, there seems to be a problem with temporal dynamics. The difference between Topalov and Kramnik is not "only 2 points". There is a 2-point ELO difference between Kramnik IN HIS CAREER BEST of 2001 and Topalov IN HIS PRESENT SHAPE of 2006 (which may or may not be his career best).

To summarize, you need a lantern, a shovel and a time machine to pursue your argument further.

I guess Kramnik is trying to remember the way he use to play chess in order to be prepared agains Topalov. As he only has four months to do that, he is recovering quickly, and with a well planned strategy, which means:

- Like in Manila 92, he initially remembers he can win in Chess Olympiads.

- Then, in Dortmund, he will remember how it feels to have nine or ten draws in a round robin tournament.

When this happens, he will be back in form again to face Topalov.

There is no statistically meaningful difference between 2813 in 2001 and 2811 in 2006. I don't need Professor Elo to roll over in his grave to figure that out.

Do you need Professor Elo to roll over in his grave to figure out in which year will the Kramnik-Topalov match take place? (hint: it's not 2001)

I am very excited about the great successful chess being played by Kramnik right now. He has just spanked two of the four men to win a super-GM tournament in the past year. Let's hope that his bad year is firmly in the past and he will claim a spot in the line of great champions.

Mr Shesterman that is bullet proof logic. So 2811 is Kramnik career best (‘of 2001’ as you say) but Topalov's present 2813 may or may not be his career best? And how do you know that ‘of 2001’ is Kramnik’s career best? How about: Kramnik 2811 of 2001 ‘may or may not be his career best’, eh?

By the way 2809 is Kramnik best published (and the only official) rating. And AFAICT Topalov current rating is 2804 (his best). Things may happen until the next rating update. By the same token Kramnik’s 2809 is overwhelmingly superior to a mere 2804.

Gazza was a great Tottenham and England soccer hero, but also absolutely crazy. And he has been tempted many times, with an astoundingly low success rate...

And while I still root for Topalov, I sincerely wish Kramnik (a lot) more success in his "comeback".


Go to any sports bar in Manhattan and you will find baseball enthusiasts clobbering each other over the head with statistics going all the way back to Babe Ruth and possibly even farther.

However, this crowd is even more obsessed.

Alex, placing the white king on e4 signifies a white win? I never heard that one before, were you kidding?

No, I am not kidding. At the end of the game, players return the pieces to the initial position, then place a white king on e4 (if white won) or a black king on e5 (if black won) -- this serves as a visual reminder to the observers.

It's a common practice in tournaments.

Really? I'm used to the final position being left on the board, with a reversed king to show the loser (or both kings tipped to indicate a draw--and the poor TDs having to reset the pieces at the beginning of the next round...

Of course, this was for demo boards, which wasn't touched in the post-mortem (as the board itself would be).

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on May 25, 2006 10:24 AM.

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