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Kramnik Wins Dortmund 06

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Okay, he tied for first with Svidler and took the Dortmund title on tiebreaks but I said at the start that +2 would guarantee a share of first in this short event. Kramnik beat Peter Leko in the final round to swap places with him in the standings and claim a share of first with 4.5/7. You'll remember Kramnik also won on demand against Leko in the final game of their 2004 world championship match. After lying quite low for the first five rounds and drawing all his games, Kramnik got a bizarre 15-move win over Jobava in round six and today took down Leko in a rather brief endgame. (Call this the Hungarian Masochist Variation. Almasi has defended this several times with mixed results. It's quite unpleasant.)

You can't call Kramnik's win unconvincing because until the great final round the entire tournament was unconvincing! Nobody really pushed until the end. As Kramnik has shown many times in the past, when the tone of a tournament is conservative he can out-conservative anybody. +2 is his number almost on demand and unless you're going to push hard to score +3 you're going to have to share the podium.

This is noteworthy, however, because it comes after Kramnik's recuperation from illness and a preceding stretch of poor results. He showed great form in Turin and typical Kramnik form in Dortmund. He was never ambitious but only a bit worse for a brief moment, against Naiditsch. That's pretty much vintage Vlady. Let's hope the final round doesn't turn out to be vintage Leko. He's making a habit of these late collapses but I have trouble generating any pity for him. He gets a few points early and then stops playing to win, trying just to hold on – and failing. (See Linares.) To win these super events you have to play every round to win, especially if you've got black against Kramnik in the final round.

Svidler's +2 also leaves a strange impression. His mastery of the Grunfeld and his redoubtable technique produced two wins when Jobava and Aronian overpressed with white. Again, no surprise that a short, conservative event had (tall) conservative winners. Aronian tried desperately to mix things up against Gelfand in the final round and found out the hard way that Gelfand, like his old teacher Tigran Petrosian, plays positionally because he prefers it and not because he isn't a tremendous tactician. This was practically the only tactical game of the event. The win moved Gelfand into =3-5 with Adams and Leko.


"I am sure Mig would say something to the effect that "Kramnik limped to another pathetic victory" regarding Kramnik's first place.

Posted by: greg at August 6, 2006 12:14 "

Spot on, Greg!

What? Are you delusional? I didn't say anything of the sort. Or do you think "spot on" means "to the contrary"? Or is it now being insulting to point out the obvious conservative nature of the play in this event?

Or, speaking of delusional, do you have anything intelligent to say about how this was a tremendous fighting tournament full of ambitious players and exciting games and how Kramnik dominated from start to finish?

It wasn't necessary to "dominate from start to finish" in order to win this particular tournament and Kramnik, who won it many times before, knew it and planned his strategy accordingly. He went there to play good chess and he did that, also to achieve some good result and he did that too, in fact the best result of the lot (shared with his friend Svidler but he takes 1st on tie-breaks), and if that's not enough to impress some people I'm sure he couldn't care less about that.

Exactly. And? Where did I say anything about "pathetic" or anything even remotely critical of Kramnik? You are so desperate to perceive insult you don't even read what I wrote.

I don't get it... why did Jobava resign to Kramnik after 15 moves? Rybka says -.83.. not good, but I have trouble believing that grandmasters would feel so absolutely lost as to resign on move 15 with only a somewhat small disadvantage.

Maybe Jobava threw the game to Kramnik on purpose...

Then again, that's not how GMs normally throw games. It just doesn't seem to add up for me. Oh no, I dropped a pawn, time to resign.

Mig, I fear you simply must live with the fact that some people will read what they would have liked you to write instead of what you did write.
Must be frustrating. My sympathies!

Jobava could have played on, but he's not a computer. It was a huge disadvantage. He was in shock, for one. Two, he's going to lose another pawn and have his king stuck in the middle, down material and position. Black will have two connected passers. Not survivable in the least. A computer might have a chance of holding off a human (probably not Kramnik) through trickery, but it was doubtlessly a lost position and one with no counterplay.

On second thought (Jobava-Kramnik) the computer finds a few interesting defensive tries that aren't just tricks. White might reach a position up the exchange against those two connected passers. Bad, but not dead. But very hard to find and probably not forced. But it's more survivable than I thought.

I'd be rather confident that a computer such as Rybka could hold off Kramnik for a draw in this position. One inaccuracy by Kramnik and the computer WILL end up drawing it. As it stands, -0.83 with a computer is survivable in many positions even against a super-GM, since positions like this require total accuracy to maintain the slight plus. I'm thinking that perhaps Jobava thought his position was worse than it really was.

Jobava was surely psychologically devastated as well. An experienced pro like Leko or Svidler would likely have hunkered down and looked a deeper to see if there was any salvation. But going from white to nearly busted after missing a tactical shot is painful and hard to recover from mentally.

I agree that a computer has decent drawing chances on the clock, but this is also the sort of position they don't evualuate well because of the material imbalance. They tend to underestimate things like the long-term value of Black's connected passers. One of Rybka's main lines is giving up the queen for three minors, for example. This is quite reasonable sometimes, but since the Black king is so safe and his structure so solid, the black side is easily winning despite the -1.00 eval. But 16.Rd3 might lead to endgames with real drawing chances even for a human.

I think it was the game against Gelfand which Jobova tortured a lot. Such a game you can't forget. Loosing a pawn-endgame with 4 pawns each !!! Then in the next game you realize that you oversaw an obvious move and that your gane is completely down! When you are a top GM with a lot of success in the past, it's hard to play on under such circumstances.

Mig: Kramnik's play is "conservative", highly technical, but I have to admire the game against Leko. Who on the world can win such a game with such a small advantage he had after trading the heavy pieces?
Kramnik has no intentions to play wild games. His strength is technique and playing for the truth. This way he can't always be the winner of a tournament but i think he doesn't care. His intention is to play perfect games. Love it or not - you can't blame him for that.


I don't. Nor do I have to enjoy every game and every player and every tournament equally. I have preferences.

That endgame is very tough to defend. Almasi has made a hobby of trying to defend it, with mixed results. It was definitely a great technical achievement by Kramnik, but it was also a major collapse by Leko. If Black doesn't play ..Nf4 on move 31 or 32 he's basically just calmly waiting to die. It's not like a5 is hard to find. Strange.

While i have some sympathy for Leko after yet another late collapse, i can't help feeling he brought it on himself. In his game against Gelfand, who was most likely mentally exhausted from his previous couple of games, he had an opportunity to play a typical, and very dangerous, sacrifice

14.Bxe6! fxe6 15.Nxe6 Qc4 16.Nxg7+ Kf7 17.Nf5, with 3 pawns for the piece, and a great position.

It's very rare for a player of Gelfand's class to allow such a sacrifice, and it was probably a blunder(13...Nc5 looked fine). So in a way, i think Leko didn't deserve to win the tournament after turning down such a 'gift'.

Yep. Kasparov highlights that moment in his upcoming NIC column. It's moments like that, more than obvious errors, that make the difference. Losing a tough endgame to Kramnik is one thing, passing up a strong sac for tame equality with white is another.

That exact sac was tried against Gelfand at the Olympiad and the sac'er was crushed very fast. I am sure Leko had seen that game.

You're probably thinking of Kobese-Gelfand from the Khanty-Mansyisk FIDE KO in November 05. Same sac, slightly different position. With no ..b4 push possible Black's counterplay diminishes. But the sac still wasn't so bad there, either. The 300 rating point difference was more Kobese's problem, alas.

Radjabov played a Bxe6 sac against Gelfand at the Euro Team in 2005 and lost but it wasn't similar to this position. Leko played a Nxe6 sac against Gelfand at Amber this year and lost. Maybe that was the game he had in mind!

Right that was at Khanty-Mansiysk not the Olympiad. I didn't know about those Radjabov and Leko games, with those in mind it's not surprising at all that Leko didn't play it, it would be highly surprising if he did!!

Come to think of it, with everyone rushing to sac something against Gelfand on e6 he probably took the effort to study those lines REALLY well, and now welcomes those sacs from anyone being confident he would prevail.

Kramnik plays a "world championship match" style: A white-pieces repertoire allowing for two results: win or draw. A black-pieces repertoire aimed at holding the draw. It's one reason why Kasparov once called Kramnik the toughest man in the world to beat.

Kramnik's style, however, is unsuited to winning tournaments or piling up rating points and it appears that at some point he decided to leave off giving a damn about either.

It's Kramnik's evident lack of concern about tournament victories and rating points that infuriates a portion of the Kasparov/Topalov legion. That a tournament/rating points--indifferent individual should overcome the tournament/rating points champion of all time is just too much to bear.

Mig's report doesn't much "dis" Kramnik that I can see. For Kramnik, Dortmund was a "tuneup" for his upcoming match. The significance of Dortmund for Kramnik had little to do with winning that event. Had Jobava not blundered, and had their game petered out into a draw, Kramnik would still have achieved his goals:
--In a Category 19 tournament "he was only a bit worse for a brief moment" and
--from a slightly better position he demonstrated the skill and stamina to grind down one of the world's top players.

In the Kramnik match, Game 12, Leko came in for some bashing for agreeing to a draw in a stronger position.

Greg Koster analyze about Kramnik's style is just perfect. By the way, a few months before Kramnik started to perform at his normal level again (2847 at olympiads and 2812 here), I said that he'd keep his title without discussion against Topalov. Now that Kramnik is back in business, now that he shows that he can win Dortmund when it was obvious that he striclty didn't care about the result, now I guess that a lot of people will agree with me about Topalov tiny chances against Kramnik.

Just a little point that isn't really true about what I could read above : for a player whose goal is not to win a tournament, winning 3 linares and 7 dortmund isn't too bad...

Personally, I am thrilled to see Svidler basically win this off of the Grunfeld. That's been my defense for years and it is depressing seeing it get pounded at the highest levels.

Kramnik played a classic Kramnik tournament. He's back. I think that's a good thing. In form, he's one of the three best active players on earth and arguably the most instructive to study (the primary lesson of Topalov and Kasparov is calculate like Rybka and attack like a rabid wolverine, though both are wonderfully good at every aspect of chess).

Bravo Kramnik! Im also looking forward to see Kramnik hopefully winning against Topalov in Elista. This will be a great match.

Strategy my foot. To hold off your energy for winning till the last two rounds, when everybody is playing to draw is risking everything to a degree that Vladimir Kramnik is not known for. Vlad played much better chess in this tournament than he did in 2005, for which he deserved credit. He also didn't play heads and shoulders above the rest, but simply ended up out +.5/tiebreaking everybody which was enough for a victory in a tournament in which many played defensively.

As for white pieces vs black pieces style, that is also rather N/A here. I am getting sick of this garbage being touted. Out of the players who won more than one game in this tournament:
Kramnik: 1 win with white, 1 win with black
Svidler: 2 wins with black
Leko: 2 wins with white
Gelfand: 2 wins with white

Does anybody want to argue that it is Leko or Gelfand's strategy to win with white, draw with black, Svidler's strategy to win with black, draw with white and hold with grey or do we want to face the truth that most players tend to perform better with white and therefore play more aggressively with that color?

I am also interested in explanation of how exactly players use tournaments to tune-up for chess championships if not by playing competitive chess at the top level.

Kramnik's STRATEGY is to get a plus 2? Geezus, guys, what a terrific strategy. That's like saying it's Arsenal's strategy to win by two goals. And when Anand or Topalov gets a plus 2, it's what? A result of hard work and great skill? I am not even going to mention that nobody with such a "strategy" would try to get those goals in the last 10 minutes of the game.

Kramnik attacked Aronian, neutralized Naiditsch, won two games, one through grinding and one through superior debut. He didn't risk himself when it wasn't necessary and didn't shun draws. Now that's vintage Kramnik.


--No one argues that Kramnik "plans" to score +2. The argument is that his style often produces +2 results.

--Yes, everyone plays better with white than with black. But some white players generally keep a draw in hand; others prefer a more unclear game. Some black players play for a draw, some for a win. Surely you've noticed this. The results of a seven-round tournament are too small a sample.

--How do players use tournaments to tune up for championship matches?

If you're the best player in a tournament and your enterprising style will gain you an expectation of four wins at the price of one loss, you'll play in an enterprising style if you want to win the tournament. But if you're using the tournament to prep for a match you'll give up that enterprising style and play, instead, a style where you'll win fewer games, but you probably won't lose any of them. In stockmarket terms you'd "lower the beta" of your games.

I'd argue that Kramnik essentially plays every tournament in "match style." It costs him tournament wins and rating points but when he steps into a championship match he doesn't have to change a thing. It's an artistic decision that irritates some folks but he and his fans seem happy with it.

I don't think there can be much doubt Mig is down on dortmund. The games early on were not unlike Sophia early on. The players started to tire(just like they did in sophia) but not as much as in sophia so there werent as many late round wins. The palyers drew allot in the early rounds when they were fresh and then started making mistakes later. Hence the draw to win table started to shift. These guys can play drawn position out to draws. We don't need sponsors to tell them to prove each time.

7 round tournament. 7 round tournament with two rest days. This Dortmund was a joke.

Aronian is having a horrible time, needs a long break to clear up whatever is troubling him (is it that lass from Turin?). Leko loses the last round game to Kramnik again, Leko is seriously the worst finisher ever. As for the Jobava rookie, this is the last time we'll ever see him in a "big" tournament.

1) I guess Aronian is suffering the effect of being involved with Ms Caoili...

2) Unless you are Shirov, if you have an attacking style and you play Kramnik, psychologically you are dominated. As someone mentioned some time ago, Topalov is playing like Kasparov, so he will be crushed by Kramnik.

Kramnik in chess is similar to Nadal in tennis... he does not have intentions of attacking you, he has the intention of exasperating you ... so, you lose your patience and is the end of the game. He will win the match against topalov just because he knows Topalov is the one who will want badly to win games ... Kramnik will want not to lose them

Maybe it's just me, but this was one of the least memorable supertournaments in recent times. It just never felt like there was much tension, or much at stake.

It's just a shame that the chess fans of the world won't be treated to a match between Kramnik and former world champ Petrosian. Now THAT would be exciting:)

A tournament without Topalov, Anand or Morozevich is really not worth getting all excited about.. especially if it has Kramnik and Leko in it.

I hope Topalov wins his match against Kramnik. I wonder why Kramnik is declared the winner of Dortmund, to make it to the headlines? What is the criteria? Svidler won 2 games with black as far as I can remember.

"I'd argue that Kramnik essentially plays every tournament in "match style." It costs him tournament wins and rating points but when he steps into a championship match he doesn't have to change a thing. It's an artistic decision that irritates some folks but he and his fans seem happy with it."

This comment presupposes that Kramnik is a great match player. To the contrary, his overall track record in matches is even. That is, he was minus two vs Shirov, plus two vs Kasparov, and even vs Leko. Aside from beating Kasparov, I can't imagine that this is what he aspired to.

Comments that he doesn't care about rating points are equally bizarre. He had a very long string of being 2nd in the world, and in fact had once been 1st (albeit briefly). I doubt that anyone gets to that point without great dedication and focus on being the best. He's been down on the rating list the last couple of years, due to his illness, but he's climbing back up again.

These attempts to rationalize every Kramnik performance into some kind of grand strategy are very strange. Like every other ambitious professional, he wants to win tournaments and beat his opponents whenever he can.

Greg Koster :
"it costs him tournament wins" (about Kramnik playing conservative or unrisky chess) : Well again, Kramnik won 3 Linares and 7 Dortmund.

Let's say that the major tournaments are Wijk, Dortmund and Linares. Let's add Sofia 2005 and San-Luis to those. So now please tell me who, amongst Leko, Anand, Topalov, Svidler, or whoever you want, who amongst active players has 10 major titles in the pocket ?

And for all the comments about excitement at chess : any subject you may consider, defending is always easier than attacking. If you play some martial arts like aikido or kendo, the main lesson you'll get out of thoose (apart from beeing able to transform any GM into slices) is that the attacking side breaks the harmony.

From an equal position, any move you make to attack opens a breach to the defender. This is true at soccer (just look at last world cup), this is true at chess (most world champions were defensive players), this is true at boxing (much easier to punch the head of an advancing opponent when your legs are firmly standing on the ground), this is true at any martial art...

Whatever move you do to attack your opponent opens a breach in your defense. Therefore, the stronger player, the stronger character is quite often the one who is able to wait.

Being an attacking player - or aggressive character - may seem brilliant, but it mostly shows a big defect : impatience.
Patient people show by essence a stronger mind. They are balanced. They don't need to prove that they are superior : they basically understand that they CAN'T be superior because their opponent is an human as well.
They just can defend what belongs to them (the draw), and they will get more (the full point) only when their opponent will allow them to do so.

An attacking player really believes that he IS superior, and he NEEDS to be superior to succeed (that was the case with Kasparov who was really way above the field). An attacking player has quite often an overinflated ego (Fischer, Kasparov, Tal, and now Topalov who - remember - said that Kramnik who was rated 60 points below him, didn't deserve any more to play him).

Aggressiveness is an illness. Of course, it's always more interesting to look at ill people, than looking at normal ones. But in my opinion ... I still much rather when the normal guy retains the title.

Ruslan :
"They are balanced. They don't need to prove that they are superior : they basically understand that they CAN'T be superior because their opponent is an human as well.". This is just nonsense, and you contradict yourself in the next paragraph by saying
"An attacking player really believes that he IS superior, and he NEEDS to be superior to succeed (that was the case with Kasparov who was really way above the field)."
For your comment about aggressiveness (that aggressiveness is an illness), it is true in the life but not on the chessboard.


--"Aside from beating Kasparov I can't imagine that this is what he aspired to." Aside from winning the lottery, I don't have a dime.

--Kramnik lost matches to Kamsky and Gelfand in '94, and to Shirov in '98. Then he beat Kasparov in 2000. Maybe he got better.

--I haven't argued that Kramnik is a great match player. But who would you say is a better one?

--Kramnik enjoys winning tournaments and would enjoy becoming the highest-rated player. But he has subordinated those goals, playing a style which gives him the best chance of achieving his primary goal: winning a WCC match.

"No one argues that Kramnik plans to score "+2"."

Mig has several times argued that Kramnik is able to get a slight plus "on demand" and that changes the tournament to conservative gameplay where Kramnik can outconservative anybody.
Dcp23 argued that it wasn't necessary for Kramnik to dominate to win and that he planned accordingly, this was in this thread.

There is an important distinction between: "I don't plan to try to blow out the field" and "I plan to get a slight edge in this tournament and do no more".

"--Yes, everyone plays better with white than with black. But some white players generally keep a draw in hand; others prefer a more unclear game. Some black players play for a draw, some for a win. Surely you've noticed this. The results of a seven-round tournament are too small a sample. "

I am not sure I understand what you mean by keep a draw in hand vs keep an unclear game. People in review of this tournament and other recent Kramnik play have maintained that he somehow is different from other players in relying on wins with white and he tries to draw with black. They have even touted this tournament, which supports no such argument. The correct analysis is that Kramnik is not reluctant to draw when faced with a roughly equal position and plays for the win when he has a more clear advantage. That he is more likely to obtain such a position with certain colors is true. That he would accept a draw or go for the win based on the color he has is not. The most accurate description of Kramnik's style is that he is not overtly risky and a very effective tactician.

"If you're the best player in a tournament and your enterprising style will gain you an expectation of four wins at the price of one loss, you'll play in an enterprising style if you want to win the tournament. But if you're using the tournament to prep for a match you'll give up that enterprising style and play, instead, a style where you'll win fewer games, but you probably won't lose any of them. In stockmarket terms you'd "lower the beta" of your games. "

You ever see an NFL preseason game or a friendly game? Players do no play in such situations "not to lose". If anything, when the game is not for any marbles, you play with maximum risk--try out ideas, test your ability to execute prior or new plans, maybe even throw caution to the wind and let your hair down. When you are playing to prep for a match, you test out your ability to play at the level you expect the match to take place. You do not try to draw in under 30 moves. That provides no preparation for the match whatsoever. If I am playing in a tournament, game or match in which I feel the outcome is not important, I do not try to play with a strategy or style which is designed to minimize my chance of losing.

"It costs him tournament wins and rating points but when he steps into a championship match he doesn't have to change a thing."

Marc above already points out a strong objection to this argument. It is a very easy argument to make because there is absolutely no way to disprove it. If Kramnik is playing badly in a tournament, it is because he doesn't care about winning it. If Kramnik is playing well in a tournament, it is because he suddenly felt like playing well. Rest assured, if I ever lose to Kramnik, it will be entirely due to lack of trying.

Quoted from the FIDE web site:

"Dortmunder Sparkassen Chess Meeting 2006, a category XIX Round Robin supertournament was held July 29 to August 6, 2006 in Dortmund, Germany. GMs averaging 2720 ELO Vladimir Kramnik, Peter Leko, Peter Svidler, Michael Adams, Boris Gelfand, Arkadij Naiditsch, Baadur Jobava, Levon Aronian were playing. Vladimir Kramnik of Russia, Classical Chess World Champion won the GM Supertournament."

Note that FIDE acknowledges Kramnik as the "Classical Chess World Champion"

Yes, well, what else should they do, now that they signed a contract for a reunification match. Must be something to reunite for such a match, no? ;o)

Spent the last month in Russia (St Pete's, not Kalmykia). Was reading a local daily which in the Dortmund intro called Kramnik "world champion according to one of the lines alternate to FIDE's title". Sad that FIDE is acknowledged as the main title, but somewhat humored since I didn't know there were other claimants besides Kramnik and FIDE.

--I don't believe Kramnik fashions any plans re winning tournaments. He goes out there and plays his game and whatever happens happens. As Mig and others have often pointed out, what often happens is +2. Sometimes that's enough to win, sometimes it isn't.

--I guess we agree. Kramnik tends to play on when he has an advantage. With white he has an advantage from the first move. So he finds himself playing on more often with white than with black.

--NFL teams use exhibitions to practice up for the real thing. If your style is early 1960's Green Bay Packers grind 'em football, then that's how you play your exhibition games.

--You're correct. I can't prove that this style is costing him tournament wins or rating points. There is even some evidence to the contrary. When he started opening up his style he started losing.

Greg's correction to my earlier post only strengthens the comment. Kramnik has played five "long matches" (by some definition) in his career, and he achieved a plus score in only one of them. Granted, it was the one that counted most, but it's hard to imagine that this was his career strategy when he's succeeded at it only once. On top of that, long matches are fairly infrequent. Most of Kramnik's bread-and-butter comes from tournament play (and collateral income like simuls and endorsements).

Now, this year's Dortmund tournament probably WAS a tune-up for the Topalov match. Yet, the outcome was very typical of pre-illness Kramnik, so I hesitate to attach any special significance to it. It was simply Kramnik playing in his usual style, which has generally served him well in a wide range of settings.

Greg said, "I haven't argued that Kramnik is a great match player. But who would you say is a better one?" I assume the question is meant to exclude retired players, as otherwise there would be many, including Kasparov, whose overall match records are far better than Kramnik's.

Among active players, the trouble is that long matches are hard to come by these days, since FIDE has gone to knockouts and tournaments to decide most of its recent champions. Kramnik has played more matches than most, with a record of 1 win, 3 losses, and a tie. Overall, you would describe it as unimpressive, if it wasn't for the fact that the lone victory came against Kasparov.

--Even if a GM playing with white can be said to automatically have an advantage, such an advantage is not significant enough to be cause to press on, hence the many early draws with white by GMs.

--The difference is Green Bay Packers do not practice and do not need to practice early draws or playing unaggressively. There is a difference between practicing playing a style which many wouldn't find particularly aesthetic and practicing playing to draw early/avoid complications. If Tournament A is practice for Kramnik, he will not try to escape battle. That provides no preparation whatsoever. There is also no sense in him trying to avoid losing if he doesn't care about winning the tournament.

"When he started opening up his style he started losing."

I think he has blamed that on arthritis.

comments that kramnik is a match player r funny. apart from his win against kasparov in 2000 (when garry blundered a bishop in game one) he lost against Gelfand, Kamsky, Shirov, then he only draw the match against Leko. (and he also didnt beat that comp he played). basicaly of important matches he played he won 1 and lost 3...


The early Green Bay Packers were all about avoiding complications. No fumbles. Few passes. Nothing fancy. Just run, run, run and play defense. That's how they played in the preseason when it "didn't matter". That's how they played in the season itself.

"There is also no sense in him trying to avoid losing if he doesn't care about winning the tournament."

I'm not explaining myself very well.

In a tournament a player can often recover from a loss or two. In a modern top-level WCC match a loss or two might be fatal. Thus a GM whose priority is the WCC might reasonably devote all his waking hours to developing and practicing a repertoire within which he NEVER LOSES a game.

Now let's say our GM earns $1000 for every win and loses $1000 for every loss. If he's the strongest player, he'll want to play as many decisive games as possible. If he wins 10-1, he'll net $9,000.

But what if he's scheduled for an event where he gets $1,000 for winning each game, but he and his family are killed if he loses even a single game?

Maybe he'd say to hell with picking up the odd $1,000 even in the traditional events, and would focus all his energy on developing and practicing a never-lose set of openings.

He wouldn't mind winning games or tournaments along the way, of course. It's just that at every opportunity he'd want to practice NEVER LOSING. He'd pass up openings and continuations where white wins 80% and black wins 20% in favor of openings and continuations where white wins 10% with 90% drawn. If he'd established a clear, safe edge out of the opening he'd play on for the $1,000. Otherwise, he'd take a draw.


A lot of the Packers plays were actually very complicated though they did rely mostly on run, grinding and not on skill plays. Packer Sweep, if I am not mistaking, relied on perfect execution by at least seven players, including incredible accuracy by the guards. But that's neither here nor there.

In chess, again, there is little need to practice ability to draw early or to play a known variation with little opportunity for either side. The most important way of approaching chess tournament as practice, if that is the only way you are approaching it, is testing out your ability to play chess at the high level that games often demand on you. You test out your new developed ideas. You seek variations wherein you might go for the win.

The problem with the scenario you set out is I am not sure how you would practice your family not getting killed. Try to blunder in the opening and see if you can defend the situation? Practice not making blunders? Go for variations where you are on the defensive? Play to your opponent's strength and see if he is able to take advantage and if you are able to defend?

Drawing early really doesn't prepare for you a top-level match. Playing to escape battle also doesn't prepare you for a top-level match. And being able to press for a win against an opponent content with a draw is perhaps the most important quality in WCM, as Kramnik found out against Leko. The more I try to define how you think Kramnik approaches these tournaments the more we come up with the idea of a regular top GM, who is not particularly risky in his opening choices or overall aggressive in his in-game strategy. This GM tries to win games in tournaments and takes each in-tournament game seriously, though perhaps not tearing his hair out over losing an occasional half-point. That sounds like Kramnik and is actually not that far from 90 percent of today's WGM.

While everyone is bashing Kramnik for his match-record they seem to want to ignore the fact that match Kramnik-Judasin ended 4,5-2,5 in K's favour in 1994, Wijk aan Zee FIDE Candidates 1st round.

Surely for a player of his calibre Kramnik has had suprisingly hard time in his matches, but he beat the best player on the planet and that added with fact that while suffering from his illness he still managed to pull even in the last game of their match against (at that time) rock solid Leko means that Big Vlad of the 2000's is a completely different (match)player compared to his young self in 1994.
And when it comes to his +2 results in tournaments: he tries to use his chances and many times he just ends up with +2. I doubt he'd mind a bigger +score... so it is silly to say 'he plans on +2'.

A comment on Kramnik-Topalov (this is the CORRECT order of names here): Kramnik's style is tough on Topa and knowing Kramnik's ability to grind when detecting small errors or weaknesses I predict that Topalov is going to find out what it means to play against the real World Champion.
(Oh by the way, of the two styles I prefer Topalov's! This is Topa's chance to become a real World Champion, but sadly his chances are between Slim and None....and Slim already left the town. ;))

Mr X: "I predict that Topalov is going to find out what it means to play against the real World Champion."

.. and on the other hand, Kramnik is going to find out what it means to play against a deserving World Champion?
- one who doesn't make excuses about illness when he loses, and
- one who is willing to put his title in a match against anyone that FIDE wishes (Radjabov in this case), because he is out to prove that he is the best..

It's hardly surprising that Kramnik's play is so dull and cowardly.. as the saying goes, you can tell a lot about the character of a chessplayer by the way he plays chess..

"on who is willing to put his title in a match against anyone that FIDE wishes, because he is out to prove that he is the best.."

I thought noone could be so naive as to actually believe _that_...

Albrecht von der Lieth: "I thought noone could be so naive as to actually believe _that_..."

Do you mean that you are so 'naive' that you are unaware that Topalov had expressed his desire to play a match against Kasparov? Or that he made no bones about putting his title on the line in a match against Radjabov?

So very unlike Kramnik.. who considers himself the true world champion despite not being able to win against Leko in the match.. as Karpov said when he became WCC, a true champion has to prove it consistently in tournaments (and with his ELO..), and please dont tell me about Kramniks 10 'grand slam' titles.. he has has hardly won anything other than Dortmund.

Kramnik has won 3 Linares, which is still more than Leko (2), Anand (2), Topalov (1) or even Karpov (2).

Kramnik has defeated Kasparov in their match in 2000. Before this match, Kasparov was rated at almost 2850. After this match, Kasparov won Linares 2001 with a three point margin (which was probably his most impressive showing ever).

Therefore, Kramnik defeated Kasparov while Kasparov was at his best level. Defeating the best player ever when he is at his top level shows - at least - some understanding of chess.

Kramnik's overall score in classical chess against Kasparov is positive. Against Anand, Topalov, Leko and Svidler he's positive as well.

After a one year illness, Kramnik is coming back, with a 2847 performance at Turin and a 2818 performance at Dortmund, where he won 7 times.

That's funny to hear the same people saying that Kasparov has won Linares 8 times and is therefore the greatest player ever, whereas Kramnik winning Dortmund 7 times is worth nothing.

And about Kramnik's grand slams, I forgot that he won Wijk in 98, which means that he has won 11 "grand slams", when Anand has won 6 of them, Leko 4, Topalov 3 and Svidler 0.

From 2000 to 2006, Kramnik has won as many supertournaments as Kasparov, and more than anybody else. If you take in consideration that from 2004 to mid 2006 his palmares is blank due to his illness, you should draw logical conclusions about the value of Kramnik's WC title.

Therefore I can't understand why some people still don't consider him as a deserving world champion.

Rouslan: "Therefore I can't understand why some people still don't consider him as a deserving world champion."

For one you have several facts wrong, like Anand having won only 6 of them.

True, Kramnik beat Kasparov. And I may even have called him the true world champion when he did that. But the title is not something you win once and keep for ever. If you refuse to play matches against the strongest players subsequently, atleast you need to prove that you are the best in tournaments. Karpov did that after winning by default. Kasparov and Topalov both not only won the title, they won tournaments emphatically to go with it. That makes them deserving WC's. Kramnik was a deserving WC when he beat Kasparov, because he was winning a lot of tournaments then and his ELO was over 2800. But, all that is ancient history now. Since then, he has hardly done anything that would make me feel proud to call him the world champion.

People are forgetting that Topalov has a bad match record. He only became world champ in a Linares like tourney. It is yet to be seen how he would react in a huge long match playing the same opponent game after game. And also an opponent who is a genius at boring attacking players like Kasparov to death.

I think Kramnik will win the match by a margin of 2 points or more. It's not going to be close, it's going to be a humiliation for Topalov. He has no conception of what he is going to be up against.

After coming back from his illness, which has, according to Kramnik's words, been lasting for the last 3 years, Kramnik instantly plays at his >2800 level.

During all those years, Kramnik has played as many matches as he could. He played a match in 2000, then in 2004, then in 2006. He was ok to play the winner of Kasparov-Ponomariov, of Kasparov-Kazimdjanov, he was ok to play anybody. But even without FIDE's help, he managed to play in 2000, 2004 and 2006, which is no more no less than any other world champion.

Kramnik wasn't responsible for FIDE's mistakes or bad policies. As soon as FIDE gave him the opportunity to play a match against the official FIDE champion, he didn't chicken out and agreed to play. During all those years, he has always been open to play, as far as the match would respect some kind of... chess tradition !!!

He has defended the world champion title till now. Not for himself, but for the chess community. Without him, this title would now be lost. Without him firmly repeating, year after year, that any world champion would have to take the crown from him, there would be no crown any more...

Without Kramnik, your world champions would have been an old Karpov, Khalifman, Ponomariov, Kazimdjanov... So either you consider Kramnik as the world champion for the 2000-2006 era, or you have to consider Khalifman and Kazimdhanov as the official world champs.

Just one more detail. There have been 13 tournaments Cat 20 or Cat 21. From those 13 tournaments, Kasparov has won 6, Anand 1, Topalov 1, Leko 1 and Bareev 1. And Kramnik 3, of course.

And if you consider Cat 17 tournaments and over, Kasparov has won 24 of them, and Kramnik 15. Kramnik has won more of them than Leko, Ivanchuk, Karpov, Topalov, Anand, Shirov, and basically anybody else than Kasparov. Quite enough - to my eyes - to call him the 2nd best player ever.

1) Topalov is much stronger now than a few years back, so dont worry about his previous match record.
2) Even if Kramnik loses, he will have his arthritis excuse. So it is a win-win situation for Kramnik, but not to worry since...
3) Even if Kramnik wins he will only the champion till the next 'San Luis'. There is no way Kramnik can win such a tournament with his typical +2 and two way tie for first place result.
4) Topalov uses both 1) d4 and 1) e4 sucessfully, unlike Kasparov who was mainly reliant on 1) e4 later in his carear and got stuck against the Berlin.

Ruslan, perhaps you might wish to consider another small detail:

Kasparov - 11
Karpov - 9
Anand - 4
Fischer - 3
Spassky - 2
Kramnik - 1
Topalov - 1

This is the number of chess oscars each of them has won... Shouldn't the '2nd best player ever' have won more than just one??

Kramnik 2nd best player ever?? hehe..
lets see... there's at least Kasparov, Tal, Karpov, Fischer, Alekhine, Capablanka, Botvinnik, Petrosian, Smyslov, Bronstein, Euwe (in no particular order) before him.. Perhaps he's stronger than Spassky and Korchnoi. He's a wonderful positional player, but certainly no better than Smyslov or Botvinnik. As for beating Kasparov at his peak.. we would have found out for sure with a return match.. Since that was not to be, what sticks in my mind is Astana.. A wonderful long term pawn sacrifice in a queenless Berlin in quintessential Kasparov style to thrash Kramnik

Please provide a quote where Kramnik ever used his illness as an excuse.

stringTheory, excuse me, but if Kramnik makes +2 in 7 rounds surely in a San Luis type of tournament that would it mean something like +4, eh? And Topalov's +6 the last time in San Luis was just a lucky strike for FIDE: they could start preaching how great a format it was to decide the Championship. Can't wait 'til the next time when it is more likely to end up in a multi-tie with a result of +2 or so. And maybe then even the fools realize that a Championship should be decided in a match. Period.

Not that I can stand Kramnik but... doesn't his +4 at the Olympiad count for anything?


I was referring to the "to prove that he's the best in the world" part.
TOpalov's incentive to play any match coming his way is exactly one: money.
-To prove that he's the best, there would be no need to gibber about how a 60pt rating difference is a fundamental difference,
-there would be no need to brown-nose around Iljumdzijnov.

There would be no need to play a Minimatch against Nisipeanu nor a match against Radjabov.

There would be exactly one thing: Play Kramnik as soon as possible. And it was Topalov who started bitching about rating differences, a too small price fund etc.

Let's just hope that we see a fair and square clean and convincing winner in the upcomming match. And if it's Kram, I sure hope that he insists on a match format for his then-again undisputed crown.

I think that Kramnik was and maybe still is one of the four strongest players of all time. I believe he would have decisively beaten Petrosian, Capablanca, Botvinnik, Symslov, Tal, Euwe and Korchnoi. I think he would have won narrowly against Fischerand we know he beat Kasparov. He has the second highest rating ever I believe. He's won more super-tournaments than anyone but Kasparov. Only Karpov and Fischer have comparable credentials for second best player ever.

He is a rather boring public figure, and his games aren't flashy. He, over his career, has spread his results out rather than having a few brilliant years. Many of his games are quick draws and he is the champion of conservative stock exchange chess. All of this means he doesn't get the admiration/respect you'd think a player of his evident strength would get.

Well Kramnik cannot beat Petrosian, Capablanca, Botvinnik or Tal by definition, because all those great players are dead. In comparing players from different generations, you have to compare each person's performance against his peers. To do otherwise is plain darn silly. He has the second highest rating ever, because of rating inflation, just like currency inflation means my monthly salary would have bought half the nation's land 500 years ago. Unfortunately its worth diddly scot now. Smyslov in his day was a more complete and tactically stronger version of the present Kramnik. How do I know? By comparing his performance versus his contemporaries against Kramnik's versus his. For example, all Kramnik's positional strength was useless against Shirov, who won his match from some pretty tough positions. Subjective opinion of course.


Christiansen has won 2 Linares, does he deserve a title shot now?

no, why should he???

Then again,

yes, indeed, he deserves one!

The reason being: Radjabov hasn't won any "GrandSlam" tournament (not that I'm aware of, anyway). Yet, he is given a title shot for the case that Topalov retains the WCC title from the Kramnik-match.

If a teenie, who's "just another 2700" (of which, let's not forget, there are 19 at the moment, NOT counting Kasparov, and NOT counting Judit Polgar) get's a title shot, someone who's shown his worth by winning two Linares should have a lot more right to give it a try...

"Please provide a quote where Kramnik ever used his illness as an excuse."

Why should he?

He can just mysteriously allude to an illness, then finally admit it after enough poor performances.

Then his fans will make all the excuses for him.

ok people - i agree that Kramnik is a very very strong player and that matches should be used to determine WC's and other obvious stuff... i have nothing against Kramnik's solid style of play either... infact he looks like a nice guy..

so here is why i don't consider him to be a true or deserving WC (and i am sure i am speaking for a lot of people):

1) he did beat Kasparov in that match, but he never proved he was stronger than him. look at the results of their few games after that match or compare their tourament performance or elo ratings if you wish.

2) he did not even have the guts or dignity to offer Kasparov a rematch. It was obvious to everyone that the berlin defence trick was only going to work once. instead of playing meaningless blitz games vs Kasparov in Moscow he should have...

3) tried to do what it is a World Champions moral obligation to do.. which is to show atleast some concern for the good of chess and the chess world. He refused to offer him a rematch to Kasparov.. when it was obvious that he was his main challenger.. why did he expect Kasparov to qualify through a candidates cycle? infact, instead of just thinking about his own title and not compromising with his 'principles' at all, a true WC would have tried to help the chess world have a single world champion. He de-valued the throne and that in turn led to all the spurious knock-out formats used by FIDE

4) he never even managed to qualify through a candidates cycle himself...

5) there is no way to prove this, but i cant help but feel that he even deprived the chess world of a few more years of Kasparov... Kasparov retired abruptly when he realized that there was nothing more that he could achieve in the chess world.. being the #1 ranked player but not the WC, he made a sacrifice (intentionally or not) for the good of the chess world.. with him still around and Kramnik refusing to offer him a match... u can imagine the situation...

PLEASE feel free to dissect and ridicule the above; i have exaggerated at some places to make my points, but only slightly.

'You know you are right' -- Kurt Cobain

Some ridiculous points that I could read above :

Euwe being stronger than Kramnnik ... well in fact when Euwe became (by accident) world champion, Capablanca, Botvinnik, Alekhine, Flohr and Bogoljubow were stronger than him.

By the way, when Alekhine took his title back, it was the most horrible slaughter that could be seen ever in a WC match. Even Fischer-Spassky 72 was more balanced...

Euwe is of course historically world champion, but to my eyes he's the less deserving one. A bunch of players clearly deserved the title much more than Euwe : Ivanchuk, Anand, Rubinstein, Nimzowich, Keres, Korchnoi, Bronstein, Reshevsky, Maroczy, Schlechter, Pillsbury, Janowsky ...

By the way, another interesting data : on chessmetrics.com, you have the "age list" feature that allows you to compare the respective strenght of players at similar ages. If you have a look over there, you'll see that the three most talented players ever are Kasparov, Kramnik and Fischer.

By the way, at 15 years old, the best players were worth 2600. At 16, Kasparov was worth 2700. Carlsen isn't 16 yet and is already clearly worth more than 2700...

If Kramnik wins the match against Topalov, he is contractually obligated to play in the next World Championship Tournament. However, my feeling is that while he will play in the next tournament, Kramnik will clearly state that he does not consider it a legitimate defense of his title. Therefore even if he does not take first place in the tournament, he will still claim to be the world champion until someone beats him in a match.

On another topic...

Look at this: http://www.fide.com/news.asp?id=1079

I especially like the photo; it looks like Kirsan just handed Vladimir an itemized bill for the match and the now he's trying to figure out how he's going to pay for it.
I mean, seriously, does he look like a happy man?!

"it is completely obvious to me that as soon as I regain normal physical conditioning, my rating will improve. My current place in the ratings does not reflect my actual strength as a chess player."--Kramnik to Vasilyev in Sport-Express, April of this year

"But of course these health problems influenced my play and you can see that here I have played much better. In general I think that everything is going in the right direction."--Kramnik at the Olympiad this year

"You just don’t feel well, before the game, during the game, after the game...And in a period of crisis there are several joints which are particularly painful, permanently."--Chessbase interview, March of this year

"I would like to inform the chess community that due to health problems I shall not be able to participate in the Corus Chess Tournament 2006...Solving the present problem within a few months will allow me to come back and enjoy competitive chess at the highest level."
--Kramnik's press release, announcing he is pulling out of Corus, 01/06

On factual matters, Mr. 'stringTheory' is mistaken on several important points.
Rouslan (Ruslan?) is much closer to being factually accurate.

To Yuriy K, I believe Kramnik's contract with Kirsan (technically it is with FIDO) forbids Kramnik from making any ongoing claim to anything called a "World Chess Champion" title; unless Kramnik both defeats Topalov and wins the 2007 FIDE championship tournament (similar to San Luis 2005).

But you and I did not sign contracts. I will consider the winner of Kramnik-Topalov 2006 to be the one and only "Match World Chess Champion", regardless of what happens in any FIDE tournament of 8 players.
Topalov won San Luis 2005 making Topalov the "Tournament World Chess Champion".

Odds are high that neither Kramnik nor Topalov will be the FIDE Tournament WCC title holder at the end of 2007. Tiger Woods is the best golfer, but he loses more major *tournaments* than he wins.
Over the coming decade there will be a parade new Tournament WCC title holders. The historic list of Match WCC title holders does not accept applications from Tournament WCC winners: they should start their own list!

We do not need, and should discard, the modifier 'Classical' in front of WCC.

Gene Milener

I have nothing against Kramnik or his style of play, and he is definitely one of the strongest players in the world.

But really, putting Kramnik, Leko, Adams, and Aronian together in a tournament is not the way to have an exciting time.

If you are not interested in the sporting interest, then of course that is not a problem.

But this was easily the most boring "super-tournament" in my recent memory. And no surprise at all when you look at the invite list.

The organizers got what they deserved.

Ruslan continues his ridiculous comments. Euwe did NOT become WC by accident. He won it fair and square against Alekhine. And the return match was far from a massacre. If anything, Euwe deserved to win that rather than the previous one. Do you base any of your comments on fact? Have you bothered to play through any of the comments? Have you read any accounts of the matches by knowledgeable commentators? Like Gary Kasparov? Euwe was also very, VERY strong tactically.


Thank you.

Hey, Gene--I think you misunderstood me a little bit. I just meant that the mainstream article made it seem like there were many entitites ridiculously disputing the FIDE claim. In reality FIDE has its champion, acknowledged by many as the true champion and chess world has its champion, Kramnik, acknowledged by many as such.

d--fair/square and accidental are not contrary in any way. If one of Wimbledon finalists gets an injury, the other is a champion by all right. But his victory is due to a stroke of fate, not to an accomplishment of his own. Euwe beat Alekhin fair, but it doesn't detract from the fact Alekhin did his preparation for the match in a bar in Paris somewhere. What Rouslan means is that Euwe won because he was the one Alekhin randomly handpicked at that point rather than being a more capable player than Alekhin or the best player in the world at that moment. Such is the problem of that old challenger system.

What appears to be lost on some here is that Kramnik's illness *is* an excuse. It's not as well known as other afflictions but it can, for some people, seriously impact quality of life.

YK bull. Dont pay lipservice to myths perpetuated by ignoramuses without doing some research on your own. I am a great fan of Alekhine, but you cant factor in imponderables, like if he hadnt done this or that. If Gary hadnt been so stubborn and switched openings, maybe he would have beaten Kramnik in London. Alekhine was in no way as incapicitated by drink as he would have liked people to believe. Euwe WAS the deserving challenger then, whether or not Alekhine though he might get a free ride. The return match was by no means a massacre. Play through the games and read some books about it.
As for the English lesson, thanks, but no thanks. There are subtleties inherent in the usage of the phrases that are perhaps beyond your ability to understand.


What can I say but you are right. Alekhin's alcoholism, his depression, his desire to pick easy challengers, all a myth. The +6 score of Alekhine in the return match? Also a myth. As proven by the extensive research, citings and links you provide in your argument.
Again, you miss out on the difference between accidental and unfair. But perhaps civilized behavior and argument is beyond your ability.

YK, fairness is a somewhat subjective term, lets stick to facts. Civilised behaviour?? Perhaps you're referring to yourself in the perceived lack of ability pertaining to same? Civilized argument is precisely what I provided, its a pity you arent capable of same. Providing a condescending and simplistic explanation based on your interpretation of events certainly doesnt qualify.

Alekhine's fondness of alcohol is not a myth, which is why I did not say it is. As for depression, did you conduct a clinical analysis? Perhaps I missed it in the extensive research, citings and links YOU provided. The point is, he had these and other conditions all the time. Euwe beat him because he was strong enough to do so. As for the scoreline of the return match, my point is that the games themselves were not as one-sided as the score would indicate. Or in your book, is only Alekhine entitled to the lattitide offered by extenuating external circumstances? The myth is that an Alekhine exuding alcoholic fumes and paying scant attention to the chessboard was beaten by an opportunistic and undeserving Euwe. The reality is that he was beaten by sparkling Chess on the board by an extremely talented player, with a subtle mastery of tactics and positional play. If Alekhine had devoted 8 hours a day to training and abstained from alcohol for three months before the match might he have won? Perhaps. I find the subject boring, because I dont have the power of divination.
As for links, start by reading GK on his great predecessors, vol 2.

I am siding with d on this issue, though will stick to the issue only. Euwe beat the World Champion fair and square and also had good chances in the second match.

Also if Alekhine was really so superior and really was under the influence of drink (which seems to be debatable), and was able to go off it for the return match, why couldn't he have done so during the first match when the situation was difficult but recoverable.

Euwe's form while he was champion was pretty impressive too. Both match results were seen as shocks at the time.

Munninghoff's biography is also well worth a read.


I am done talking to D, but the issue is worth discussing. I never said Euwe did not beat Alekhine fair. Euwe's strength, focus and knowledge is not being disputed by me. They had a match and Euwe won, completely fair and square. However, the truth of it is that Alekhine picked challengers he thought he could beat, and suffered from alcoholism and depression according to most sources describing the match. So he chose roughly fourth-fifth player that he "knew" he could beat, in Bogolubov and then Euwe. Euwe focused and played his best, at a point when probably most of the men in top ten could beat Alekhine. Therefore, I would argue that assessment of Euwe as becoming champion by accident is fair or at least arguable.
To answer your question, if you are an alcholic or out of shape player you can not just drastically turn yourself around instantly. If you are an alcoholic, you have to make a long effort (and in fact there is a record of Alekhine doing this between the two matches). If you need to focus on chess, you can not just suddenly regain your top chess shape in two days either.
This is the first I hear of Alekhine's win in the second match being a shocker.

Hey! Just realized the good news, Kramnik is really the right man to play against Deep Fritz!!!

Y.K. and D. , about Max Euwe :

Chessmetrics.com (which provides the best historical ratings) shows that Euwe best rating on a :
1 year peak range - 38th best player ever.
2 year peak range - 36th.
3 year peak range - 40th.
4 year peak range - 44th.
5 year peak range - 46th.
10 year peak range - 41st.
15 year peak range - 32th.
20 year peak range - 24th.
Whatever period you pick up, TONS of players who HAVE NEVER BEEN WORLD CHAMPIONS dominate him.

On a 5 year peak range, Alekhine, Botvinnik, Capablanca, Lasker are given 100 points more than Euwe. Whatever way you choose to consider Jeff Sonas data, 100 points is, at this level, a full class ahead.

From his era, on a 5 year peak range, Bogoljubow, Nimzowitsch, Fine, Alekhine, Botvinnik, Capablanca, Lasker, all those guys were ahead of Euwe.

When he became world champion, Max Euwe would have had 7th or 8th world rating. He got the right to play this match by agreement. He won his title against a drunkyard. Of course he hasn't stolen his title, of course the hasn't provided alcoohol to Alekhine, and of course he was right to accept Alekhine's challenge. But this does not makes him the most deserving world champion ever. In his rematch, he was slaughtered. D... you have problems with the word "slaughter" , you feel like it's undeserved? Then ok, Euwe's rematch against Alekhine was the most unbalanced result in a WCC match.

"Euwe was tactically very strong". Jeff Sonas himself admits that his historical ratings are over evaluated, and that 70 years ago, Euwe's 2740 peak value would be worth something like todays 2600 while Alekhine's 2840 value would be worth today's 2700. Even quite strong tactically, Euwe's level is still quite far from Kramnik's level.

The problem is that those guys played 70 years ago. At that time, there were :
1 billion and a half humans on earth.
A few percentage could spend time on chess.
Almost no chess tournaments.
Almost no sports culture, very few people playing chess.
Almost no chess professionnals.
Today :
6 and a half billion humans.
A lot of people can study chess.
A lot of tournaments.
Thousands of professionnals worldwide.
Millions of chessplayers worldwide.
Being the world champion (deserving or undeserving) of maybe 50000 regular chess players with no pros isn't equal to be the world champion of millions of regular chess players with thousands of pros.

Comparing Euwe tactical talents and Kramnik's one is just as ridiculous as comparing any "vintage" tennis player with Rafael Nadal.

You don't even imagine how Edberg, Becker or Borg would just have been ridiculous against Nadal. There's such a PHYSICAL difference ... and I'm talking about tennis player from 75 to 90 compared with today's Nadal, not from tennis players from 1930. The same thing is true at chess as well. Modern tournament practise, opening preparation, databases, memory, specific preparation against individuals, all this requires qualities that are million miles away from the ones that were required to play chess 70 years ago.

Basically, Lasker and Capablanca were the best players when almost no data could be find about chess games. Fischer was the best one to fight with books. Kasparov was the best one with a database. And the qualities involved in their respective accomplishments are so different that nobody could tell how they would have played in "foreign" time eras.

Basically, any tennis player rated around zero would crush any wimbledon winner from the thirties. If you think about it, you'll certainly realize that this guy rated around zero trains certainly more than the best champions did 75 years ago. Basically, I also believe that any 2550+ modern player would crush Max Euwe, and that any 2550+ modern player trains A LOT MORE (and much more efficiently) than Euwe did.

the stupidity of the arguments posted here sometimes makes me laugh ...

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on August 6, 2006 2:56 PM.

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