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No-Name Offense

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The Russian championship superfinal at the end of the year is going to see a lot of new names, at least new outside of Russia. A pack of under-2600 players qualified out of the championship in Tomsk. I haven't seen dates for the final yet - last year it was over Christmas. The seven qualifiers include the winner, Inarkiev, who took clear first with a solid 6.5/9 score that illustrates how strong and hard-fought this event was. All the other qualifiers had six points, with Najer being left out on tiebreaks. The others include Tomashevsky, who was the only sub-2600 player to make last year's superfinal, where he finished last with 4/11. Rublevsky won ahead of Kramnik, Svidler, Morozevich, et al.

This year those big guns will also be joined by relatively low-rated members of the Russian youth movement that hasn't really shown much in the past few years. I believe Ian Nepomniachtchi is just 16. Khismatullin, Vitiugov, Alekseev, and Grigoriants are all in their early 20's. (Khairullin, also around 16 years old, finished with 5.5.) That is, all younger than Alexander Grischuk, the only Russian born after 1980 to hit the top 10. It's a stark contrast with last year's event, won by veterans Bareev and Khalifman. Perhaps this largely ignored generation of Russian players is ready to make a belated impact. Give or take a few months and unknown exact birth dates, there are currently no Russian players under 21 rated over 2580. Amazing. zakki points out below that the 20-year-old Tomashevsky is over 2580, so back to my original thought of 2600. He's the only Russian on the FIDE top-20 juniors.]


I love chess. And I love this blog. Although I have absolutely nothing to contribute to this thread. If anyone wants to insctruct me in the ways of Caissa'a glory (by waxing me in a few blitz games), send an invite on the ICC to TheKnightRider.

Well, everyone went on playing tennis now in Russia ;-)

I love playing chess, and I love eating fried bologna sandwiches.

I love eating fried bologna sandwiches while playing chess.

Go figure.

It has been 15 years since Boris Yeltson replaced Mikhail Gorbachov. Presumably state funds for chess were sharply reduced not too long after that.

So chess sociologists should now be able to begin assessing the impact those funds were having all along. Mig's post today is the kind of comparisons that might answer the question.

That IS amazing – how many under 21s are there over 2580, I wonder, and how many are from the ex-Soviet states? Radjabov, Areshchenko, Efimenko and Karjakin come immediately to mind but I’m sure there are many more.

Deeply ignorant question; when they say it’s the 59th Championship, is that counting in succession to the old USSR Championships, or to a championship of Russia (RFSFR or something?) which has been running all these years but we never noticed in the West in the old days?


Tomashevsky is the only Russian on that list, and is in fact rated over 2580.

Kramnik and Morozevich both mentioned this problem in recent interviews, when asked why the Russian team perfomred so badly at the Olympiad.

For Kramnik see:

for Moro:

rdh - a smart question! The official counting is very odd indeed, and it was debated a lot in the press. If one counts old Russian championships (Chigorin times) plus USSR championships plus modern Russian championships, the number is definitely much higher.

Interesting - the latest issue of "64" I have, #8, has something on this theme. The recent championship of Peterburg was won by a couple of these youngsters - Vitiugov and Khairullin. In the required post-tournament interview, Vitiugov annotated his best game, talked about his result, and then unloaded:

- With the Editors' permission, I would like to express myself on a painful subject. After the Russian Team's unfortunate performance in the Olympiad, once again there was talk about the national reserve team, and especially about our talented youth. And somebody dredged up that expression, "a lost generation" again, with much weeping & wailing (again!) about how we got no karjakins or karlsens in Russia no more.

We have no reserve-players [i.e., younger] on the Team, not because the young players are lazy, or untalented, or just no good: it's mostly because they have to fend for themselves. From my own experience I can tell you that the first time in my life I was sponsored to a prize tournament was in February of 2006, and this was entirely due to the efforts of (Vladimir) Bykov, the unique chess organizer who has transformed "Finek" into a supporter of many chessplayers throughout Russia.

You must admit it's tough to get one of those sky-high ratings, when you only play in one or two official tournaments, where you must be sponsored either by your federation or by a sports committee. You certainly understand that the idea of getting to the necessary tournaments on your own, financially, is just not on - pff, I've seen more believable romance novels than that....


Enough - now, how about trainers. Who's going to pay for them? The only choice for athletes is to seek out sponsors - and thee's damned few of them. Well, you shouldn't be surprised that our top young headliner, Zhenya TOmashevsky, is only 2594, while some Czech nobody named Laznicka is 2602.

To close my little rant, I'd like to give a little farm proverb, but with a contemporary meaning: if you sow nothing, nothing is what you'll reap.

"Czech nobody named Laznicka" ??? that's very insulting.

Grudge match!

I like Mig's idea for funding yearly prizes, but maybe the fund should promote chess grudge matches--

Russian Hope--Czech Nobody
Mig-Sam Sloan
Azmai-Spanish cop

Greg Koster-Kasparov

I've retired from serious chess.

Funny that you would call 1646 serious chess.


It's highly unfair, if not downright trollish, to base your estimate of my chess strength on a small sample of "youthful" games from 1988.

I'll have you know I'm undefeated in Peru, Ecuador, and Bolivia. And highly skilled players listening to my analysis and watching my internet games have been stunned, dumbfounded, and amazed.

Greg "B-Class" Koster:

Didn't peg you as a comic. My mistake.

Your record is quite amazing. I am likewise undefeated in those countries. In fact, I have only been defeated in 3 three countries! For that matter, only 1 GM has ever beaten me. I guess that being undefeated in Peru is something you and I share. Blood brothers.

You take your opinions far too seriously. Lighten up or the trolls will get you.

Nepomniachtchi is born in 1990, and won the U-12 world championship ahead of Magnus Carlsen a few years ago.

The point about affording to go to enough FIDE-rated tournaments seems valid, even though the number of russian GMs should make it possible to arrange strong (and FIDE-rated) tournaments at many locations IN Russia. But it's a huge country...

greg you forgot another match: aronian-gormally. they would play... fighting chess.

well that would be round 2.

they already played Gormally - Aronian on a dance floor.

I think that Greg is taking a light hearted shot at Mig's USCF rating again.

With regard to Tomashevski’s rant, are conditions for junior players any better in Georgia or Azerbaijan, say, or indeed the Ukraine? Certainly the Ukraine does seem to have a bit of a production line, and one does see signs of support – the Momod team at the European Club Cup, for example, and Areshchenko/Efimenko/Lahno are seen abroad much more often than equivalent Russian players. But does Pantsulaia have so much more opportunities? Radjabov I have the impression has succeeded by his own talents rather than being the head of a school, although I stand to be corrected. And of course someone – the Azeri government?- has stumped up a million whatevers to get Radjabov the Topalov match.

Not familiar with the details but Radjabov is in fact getting very strong support from Azeri government including the million dollars you mention.

Todd, this blog has passed chess to another dimension ! We can share views and argue about subjects !
This is very good. Let's enjoy chess all together !

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on September 12, 2006 8:39 AM.

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