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Tot Beats Vallejo

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Spanish nine year old Jaime Santos Latasa beat GM Paco Vallejo in a 12-player simul in León. All the players were in the 7-10 age group. The same kid beat Magnus Carlsen in a simul last year, although that required a piece-hanging blunder by the GM. This one sounded tougher. Can someone find the game?

Anand beats Topalov in the León Rapid final, 2.5-1.5. He won the second game (PGN below) and the rest were drawn.

[Event "XIX Magistral Ciudad de León"]

[Site "?"]

[Date "2006.06.11"]

[Round "2"]

[White "Anand, Viswanathan"]

[Black "Topalov, Veselin"]

[Result "1-0"]

[ECO "C67"]

[WhiteElo "2803"]

[BlackElo "2804"]

[PlyCount "99"]

[EventDate "2006.06.11"]

[EventType "tourn"]

[EventRounds "4"]

[EventCountry "ESP"]

[SourceDate "2006.06.11"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. O-O Nxe4 5. d4 Nd6 6. Bxc6 dxc6 7. dxe5 Nf5

8. Qxd8+ Kxd8 9. Nc3 Ke8 10. h3 Ne7 11. Re1 Ng6 12. Bd2 Be7 13. Rad1 Nf8 14.

Nd4 Bc5 15. Nb3 Bb6 16. Be3 h5 17. Rd2 Ne6 18. Ne4 Bxe3 19. Rxe3 b6 20. Nd4

Nxd4 21. Rxd4 c5 22. Rd2 Bf5 23. Ng5 Ke7 24. Rf3 Be6 25. Nxe6 Kxe6 26. Rfd3

Kxe5 27. Re3+ Kf6 28. Rd7 Rhf8 29. Rxc7 g5 30. Kf1 h4 31. a4 Kg6 32. Ree7 Rad8

33. Ke2 a5 34. Rc6+ f6 35. Rxb6 Rd4 36. b3 c4 37. Ree6 cxb3 38. cxb3 Kf5 39.

Re3 Rc8 40. Rf3+ Ke4 41. Re6+ Kd5 42. Rfxf6 Rc2+ 43. Kf1 Rd1+ 44. Re1 Rdd2 45.

Kg1 Rb2 46. Rf5+ Kd4 47. Rxg5 Rxf2 48. Rg4+ Kd3 49. Re5 Rfc2 50. Rxa5 1-0


well it was the ease with with Anand won that tells the story. Anand has not been playing well and yet he beat Topalov easy.

I say Anand deserves a shot at the WC title in a Match more than Radjabov does.

It gives a boost up to Kramnik in their Match. Maybe Topalov is not so super as most of us are thinking. I only say this because I want to see a good WC Match between Topalov and Kramnik and it should generate more interest if the two are more evenly matched.

I used to think Topalov would blow Kramnik away so easy. Now I think their match is a toss up. either one can win. that is good. I hope for an exciting Match.

Anand is not getting any younger and he deserves a Match shot at the title. Of course that is my opinion and I dont have a couple of million dollars to make it happen. haha.
Posted by: tommy at June 11, 2006 15:56

It is strange, one would think that as popular as Anand is in his homeland, that a national hero could get a government subsidy for a world championship match. I realize that there is much poverty and suffering in that country, but there is also an elite caste who could access that amount quite easily.

I agree with Tommy about Anand's age becoming a factor in the near future and he most certainly deserves a shot before Radjabov. The gist of the matter is currently "money talks" and the rest walks.

Speaking of Radjabov, if he wants to be a world champion this will probably be his best opportunity. As good as he is I believe Carlsen will be "ruling the roost" in the next 5-6 years.
Posted by: chesstraveler at June 11, 2006 16:44

I think Carlsen is overestimated! If you look at history you will see that for a great talant it is easy to get to the the top of chess but not to the very top.The only exception I see is Kaspy, however even he from 1985-1995 was not exactly better than Karpov. It seems that the best years for a chess player is from 30 to 40. For the momeny according to me Topa and Kramnik are there Anand is going out and Leko is coming in.This for are the future 10 years of chess. The next generation is strong but it needs experience.
The biggest tread to this great 4 are Aronian and Pono then Radja and after that Carlsen and Kariakin. Have in mind that all the players I have spoke about are great talants, Kaspy is maybe an inch in front of them all.
For example look at Topa 1996 year he won 16 tourneys at 21 years of age he missed the Oskar by an inch and this is year in which Kaspy, Anand and Karpov were in their prime. Carlsen shows no weaknesses for now but this is not enough as it seems. There is one more thing to reach the very top of chess and it is at least 10 years of experience playing against the very best.
Posted by: Chalgakiller at June 11, 2006 17:22

Chalgakiller: Strange comment. Based on numbers -Carlsen's unofficial rating at age 15 1/2 is ~2680 - he can really only be compared to Fisher and Kaspy as far as his development to date is concerned.

That in itself is worth some exclamation marks.

If you also take into account that the boy only started playing at age 8 1/2, that he attents regular school on a daily basis and that he enjoys chess as a (serious) hobby motivated by his own desires to succeed, there is little evidence to be found that his rating at this age is in any way inflated (as might be suggested for e.g. J Polgar)

Sure he might experience new downturn like he did in the spring of '05. Sure he isn't the favourite if there ever is a candidate's match vs. Arionian.

But if he still enjoys chess at age 21 I agree with chesstraveler's prediction that he is the odds on favourite as world no. 1.
Posted by: simsan at June 11, 2006 19:17

The comment is not strange if one is objective and not a fan. Carlsen for the moment has not yet played in tourney agains the very best. And one more thing the best chess players are not playing chess because it is fun, but because it is their work. Carlsen has to devote his future to chess and this is not a desicion lightly taken from a young man.
Posted by: Chalgakiller at June 11, 2006 19:36

I have read that Carlsen does not "atten[d] regular school on a daily basis". But he is surely intelligent enough to handle that easily.

By the way, who is this player "Fisher" who keeps popping up all the time?
Posted by: Charles Milton Ling at June 11, 2006 19:51

Anand had his shot at the World Championship, against Kasparov.

He played in a cowardly, shameful style...
Posted by: tgg at June 12, 2006 09:31


I'd be interested in hearing more about your claim of Anand's "cowardliness" throughout the 1995 match: particular games, opening choices, moves. Do you not think it "honorable" to play for a draw with black in a WCC match?

You do have to give both men credit for playing under their actual names.
Posted by: greg koster at June 12, 2006 09:39

The claim that Anand's play in his match with Kasparov in 1995 was cowardly is ridiculous. I remember that the match began with 8 draws and then Anand drew first blood, but the draws were not GM draws and many of them extended cutting edge theory at the time.
Posted by: Laj at June 12, 2006 10:43

Anand is still in a pretty bad form. He hardly managed to beat Bruzon - he drew all the 20 minute games and even lost a blitz game with Black. His 18. ...f5? was a poor move in that game. 18. ..Re7 was screaming to be played to prevent Qh5 by white.

Compared to that, Topo dispatched Vallejo with relative ease. Anand beating Topo is not that significant, though he did it in the 20-min game.

Seems like Anand's energy level is quite low these days. Maybe he needs one of these smart pills :-)
Posted by: saguni at June 12, 2006 10:43

The claim that Anand played in cowardly fashion in his 1995 match with Kasparov is quite true. He agreed to a draw with the White pieces after 12 moves when he was behind in the match.
Posted by: DrStrangemove at June 12, 2006 12:14

'Coward' is a strong word. I'd say that Anand was somewhat swayed by Kasparov's title authority. Anand did make some sub-optimal decisions in the match that can only be explained by being fixated on WHOM IS HE PLAYING rather than HOW IS HE PLAYING.
Posted by: Alex Shternshain at June 12, 2006 12:47

Let's not take the results of these games too seriously. They are active games - a little bit of an exhibition. In the big picture, they mean nothing !
Posted by: pundit at June 12, 2006 14:05

Thanks Laj, sag, and doc,

Hard to adequately discuss these topics without citing to individual games and moves.

In the 1995 match after Game 14, Anand was behind 4-1. In Game 15 he conceded a 16-move draw with white. But in Game 17 he fought to a 45-move draw.

In 2000, after Game 12, Kasparov was behind Kramnik 2-0. In Game 13 he conceded a 14-move draw with white. But in Game 15 he fought to a 38-move draw.

There used to be "sick days" in WCC matches. No longer. If a player who's losing a championship match comes to the table with the white pieces, but also with a migraine, or with a severe indispostition, he's better off taking a short draw than playing on and risking another loss.

It's awfully hard for folks separated from these events by many years and thousands of miles to determine who's a "coward."

In the old days I believe one risked being called a coward for opening with the queen's pawn, or for declining the king's gambit.
Posted by: greg koster at June 12, 2006 14:24

No, I believe it's perfectly acceptable to discuss general events and trends without stooping to pencilpushing of the "on move 35 of game 12..." variety, and that such discussion can be quite adequate.

Because if we are to disect every single viewpoint to numbercrunching, the discussion would grind to a halt. For starters, someone should analyze the above-mentioned games and prove that Kasparov indeed "fought" to a 38 move draw with specific analysis. Because it's very hard to discuss the question of "fighting" without citing specific moves. Maybe he just shuffled his pieces at random for 38 moves?

See just how unpleasant the perspective of such discussion is?
Posted by: Alex Shternshain at June 12, 2006 15:29

In Part V of My Great Predecessors pages 459-60 Kasparov says, "Thus my next opponent in the match for the world championship ( New York, autumn 1995) became Anand, and I defeated him in a severe struggle: 10.5-7.5 (+4-1=13)." Personally, if Kasparov calls it a "severe struggle", Anand must have been playing some good chess against arguably the greatest player of all time.
Posted by: chesstraveler at June 12, 2006 18:53


Some folks post only statements they can back up. Yes, I played over games 15 and 17 of Kasparov-Anand again before commenting on them.

There's a reason why some folks enjoy defending their posts with facts and examples and others find it unpleasant: the obligation to defend one's posts with facts and examples tends to cut down on all the b.s. flying around.
Posted by: greg koster at June 12, 2006 21:42

There must be a misprint in the game score.

The FIDE WC and annointed successor to Kasparov played the Berlin...an underhanded, unsportsmanlike, boring, simple-minded, guaranteed-draw opening and LOST?!!
Posted by: greg koster at June 12, 2006 22:45

In fact as I looked at that game with said precursor I said, "anyone who plays the Berlin deserves to lose." He should stick with the Najdorf. Garry's opinion after zipping through the games was that it was very one-sided.
Posted by: Mig at June 13, 2006 07:53

Greg Koster,

your is a legitimate question. Where is the proof that Anand played cowardly? While not the only factor (by any stretch of the imagination), you can see Anand's state of mind in one of the first games (I don't remember exactly which one). I happen to have attended that particular game, here in New York at the now-gone World Trade Center. Anand missed a simple Bh7 sacrifice.

Everyone there saw it - even non-masters. Anand didn't miss it; he just didn't have the balls to play it against Kasparov.


The match was fairly routine. The games were ok, but the result of the match was never in doubt. Kasparov was never pressured (like he was pressured by Short, for example). Don't be fooled by the final result: Anand is a VERY talented player who will not lose 6-0 to anyone. He is good enough that most of his games against Kasparov (or anyone else in chess history) will be closely contested. That doesn't mean he is playing to win. He very seldom lets it all hang out (ala Kasparov, Topalov). He is happy to wait for his opponent to slip and if that doesn't happen, he will be content with a draw.

Anand's problem is not with his chess. It is with his character.
Posted by: tgg at June 13, 2006 09:32

Mig, The correct word is predecessor , not precursor .
Posted by: peach at June 13, 2006 12:08

In Garry's camp throughout the London 2000 match there must have been enough Berlin-bashing-cursing to last several lifetimes. Mig's Berlin-bashing always brings back memories of those interesting times.

But now, Berlin players have to contend with THE CURSE OF MIG: "Anyone who plays the Berlin deserves to lose."

One interesting victim of the curse: Kasparov, whose Berlin has been beaten (various time controls) by Timman, Deep Blue, Judit and Fritz.
Posted by: greg koster at June 13, 2006 13:21


With all due respect, your comments re the "balls" of one of the game's all-time greatest players just aren't worthy of discussion.
Posted by: greg koster at June 13, 2006 13:37


you need not worry. It's perfectly fine if you disagree with my views on Anand (btw/I don't consider him "one of the game's all-time greatest players", either).

It is very possible I'm mistaken. I don't know; after all, "ballsiness" is a very subjective concept...
Posted by: tgg at June 13, 2006 13:54

"Anyone who plays the Berlin deserves to lose" must be the most ridiculous thing I've heard since.. well... not too long ago, but still.
Posted by: acirce at June 13, 2006 14:59

Peja Stojakovic, Donovan McNabb, Jaromir Jagr . . . all have choked when the spotlight was on them or shown lack of focus, intensity and drive in big time games. Call it balls or whatever you want. But that quality in great players can and has been deservedly discussed at length.
Posted by: Yuriy Kleyner at June 13, 2006 15:46

The "ugh" or "he deserves to lose" that goes on in a lot of people's minds when they see Berlin takes away from legitimate observation that the opening is drawish and is more used for defensive purpose by the Black.
Posted by: Yuriy Kleyner at June 13, 2006 15:48

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on June 11, 2006 7:46 AM.

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