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Biel Wrapup

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If only so we have a shiny new Biel thread so we can keep on talking about one of the most enjoyable tournaments of the year, the Biel Grandmaster tournament. Morozevich won with a round to spare and saw no reason not to accept Radjabov's draw offer in the final round after ten moves of theory. Less explicable is Radjabov's decision to offer it. Karma took the express train, however, when Carlsen beat Bruzon to tie Radjabov for =2-3. (Carlsen took second on tiebreaks.) Ban the draw offer.

A typically stellar Morozevich explosion in a category 17 tournament, despite the two losses to Carlsen (one a brilliant win for the 15-year-old, the other a blunder by Moro). He failed the match the 8/10 he scored in Biel in 2003. In 2004 he also won with 7.5/10 in a slightly stronger event. It continues to astound that he can only occasionally manage a plus score in supertournaments. But he's always a one-man circus at the board and is devastating with both colors to just about anyone outside the top 10. (Inconsistently devastating to his fellows in it.)

Radjabov looked quite professional in both the good and bad meanings of that word in chess. He beat each member of the second half of the table 1.5-0.5 but took two miniature draws in the final two rounds. Unless he was ill this was ridiculous. Pelletier and Volokitin showed that chess is to be played even when there is little to play for. Local boy Pelletier got off the mat toward the end, scoring his only wins of the event in rounds eight and ten. Bruzon rarely showed signs of life in Biel and finished without a win 1.5 points behind Volo and Pelletier. In the past few years Bruzon has wins over Ivanchuk and Morozevich and he battled Anand to a standstill in rapids and blitz at Leon a few months ago. So chalk it up to someone having to have a bad tournament.

Sweden's Pia Cramling dominated the concurrent women's event in Biel, tha Accentus tournament. The veteran finished 1.5 points ahead of Poland's Monika Socko.


I also think the Carlsen-Morozevich game was brilliant, though Nxc6 was better than bxc6.
27. Bg7?? Bg4!-+ in Morozevich-Carlsen was bad luck for Alex! 27. b4! would have led to great advantage for white. I wonder maybe if he had thought he had played these moves?! I have crossed move orders before myself!

Biel/Dortmund-inspired thoughts from someone who wishes that every draw and every win was played down to where mid-level club players [n.b. I'm not claiming such high rank] could understand the result:

--Short-agreed-draws are absent from tennis, football, golf, etc., because they would drive away the paying spectators. They are present in chess because there ARE NO paying spectators to drive away.

--We who do not contribute to GM earnings have no moral right to criticize GMs who take short-agreed-draws to conserve their energy and strategically increase their chances to earn more money.

--Anti-short-draw screeds from non-paying-spectators are less effectual than the "YOU SUCK! yelled by a baseball fan at a player who loafs to first base on an infield ground ball.

--A graver threat to chess than the short-agreed-draw is the prevalence of the draw itself.

--In most sports it's reasonable to expect an player to exhaust himself in order to win, on average, one of every two games. In highest-level chess, it is unreasonable to expect a player to exhaust himself every time he plays, in even the flattest positions, to win on average one game out of every ten.

--The zonal-interzonal-candidates system forced players to fight for an ever-diminishing number of WCC contender slots and promoted a culture of fighting chess. The present culture of a handful of yearly "exhibition" supertournaments and an obsession with rating points (what else is there to be obsessed about?) is a pale substitute.

--I'll bet Gelfand was glad he'd agreed to a "disgraceful" "joke" of a 19-move draw in a flat position against the classical world champion when he ended up playing two seven-hour, 100-move games in the next rounds.

--Radjabov's short-agreed-draws were indeed "surprising" but can we call them "ridiculous" without knowing why he agreed to them? Has anyone asked him?

--If anti-agreed-draw screaming had any impact on players or sponsors it might be worth doing. Has anyone seen such an impact? Was it short-anti-draw screaming that persuaded the M-Tel tournament to implement the Sofia rules?

--If anti-agreed-draw screaming has no impact on players or sponsors, then it simply becomes bad publicity for chess; highlighting the worst, rather than the best features of the game.

Well done GM Cramling.

Biel was a great tournament.


all three played most games to win. it was hard fought. Moro certainly showed he was the best. although Carlsen did win both games from him. Certainly Carlsen's day is coming very soon. He has a lot of fans because he plays almost every game to win and many of his games are very exciting to watch.

If there was a vote today. I would vote to cut down on the draws at the top level. I dont know the solution but there are many experts who could figure something out if they really wanted to. I think the players like it with so many draws so they oppose any change. but long term they are making a mistake.

Of course we can criticize GM's without contributing to their earnings. Perhaps we can't criticize them for not giving us our money's worth, but we can criticize them for poor sportsmanship and compromising the image and excitement of chess.

And even on that point -- not giving us our money's worth -- we can criticize them indirectly. Remember that the events are ultimately being organized for the benefit of chessplayers worldwide -- i.e., us.

yeah, that's a naive and shortsighted view to say we have no say because we dont pay their salaries. Dont forget that we do contribute in some indirect way at least. Even if live games are free, if a punter clicks on some advertising link on the website and follows up, or is inspired by a Moro game to buy an Engine to analyse the otherwise incomprhensible madness in his games, buys a chess book, buys chess lessons, etc etc he contributes to somebody earning a livelihood from Chess. This surely filters back into the appearance fees for super GMs. The chess public is worth something, even if its far away from the million dollar prizes common place in Tennis and Golf.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on August 4, 2006 8:56 PM.

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