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Cap d’Agde 06 Quarters

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The official Cap site didn't update all the results of the final round of the group stage but the Europe Echecs site has it all, including the tiebreaks and who goes forward and who goes home. Karpov recovered from an embarrassing start and showed some competitive fire to finish with 3.5/7 and squeak into the playoff in Group B for the third and fourth of the four spots. In what is clearly an anti-Karpov conspiracy, the French sites show Karpov losing both his final games instead of winning them, but the PGN is correct. But it was Zhao Xue who continued her excellent run, qualifying with Bacrot ahead of Karpov and Koneru. They join Volokitin and Carlsen out of Group B.

It was a rather miserable affair for Karpov, who has won this event multiple times, but it's time to give the 55-year-old a break and stop celebrating these "upsets" and just be happy when we get flashes of brilliance. It's hard to believe he recently shared first with Kasparov over Polgar and Korchnoi in blitz and then got dusted by Koneru and Zhao Xue, but getting old ain't for sissies, as the saying goes.

Group A averted playoffs when Sebag held off Stefanova in B+R vs R. It's not fair to analyze these things when they're on 10 second increment, which was probably responsible for both sides blundering late after excellent technical defense by Sebag. She lost the 3rd rank defense but the former women's world champion from Bulgaria missed her chance in turn and it finished in a 123-move draw. Heavy favorites Karjakin, Radjabov, Fressinet, and Harikrishna move on.

The quarterfinal matches should be fun. Karjakin is the heavy favorite over Zhao Xue. Then it's Carlsen-Fressinet, Radjabov-Bacrot, and Volokitin-Harikrishna. Fressinet is the old man of the group at 25. Live quarterfinal action should be here at 14:30 local time. That's 8:30 EST. They don't play the matches at the same time, so it's eight hours of broadcast over two days. There are a lot of nice little interviews in French with the players all over the site. Also some good video clips, but even those in English are dubbed over, so get your Fronch on. (Lucky for me I've been practicing to keep up with my barely speaking, but bilingual, nephew.) Almost all these youngsters say they work 6-7 hours a day on chess and want to become world champion. 13-year-old Negi of India, the youngest player and the current youngest GM in the world, is a little more circumspect and says he's not thinking of such titles just yet.


Does Karpov need to play on?

From a financial perspective, the answer is probably no, he could retire from chess and live off his earnings and from what else he does.

From a psychological perspective, the answer is possibly yes, chess is possibly still the most meaningful activity for himself.

Does chess need Karpov to play on?

Definitely not, the audience and posterity prefer to remember him as one of the greatest of the game ever.

Korchnoi had some embarrassing results in the early to mid-80's. He could have retired, too.

Retiring to do something else (Kasparov) is OK, taking competition less seriously (Karpov) is OK, giving one's all (Korchnoi) is always appreciated.

Palmer loved to play golf; Nicklaus couldn't bear to compete when he had zero chance of winning. Both attitudes are valid.

One could cite less desirable examples....

In the long run, some poor results late in his career won't hurt Karpov's legacy. Does anyone remember how Babe Ruth or Willie Mays ended their careers? It wasn't pretty.

Like Mig said, I'd rather see Karpov play and give the youngsters occasional lessons than have him fully retire.

Then again, a final 10-game retirement match against Korchnoi would be a good event too.

Someone who was ranked #1 or 2 for almost 25 years has nothing to be ashamed of.

I agree, there is something exciting about seeing former greats play the game even when they're past their prime. Being an individual sport (or game if you prefer), chess affords this opportunity without the player being worried about "bringing down the team", or putting pressure on the coach to play someone based on their reputation rather than current skill level. Just don't retire and come back twice like Jordan...

And let's not forget that we non-professionals who compete actively ourselves, appreciate the golden opportunity to personally cross swords with these great old-timers and thereby share a tiny fragment of their immortality.

Gufeld played in (and won) a US Open late in his life, Lein plays regularly in open events in the US, Jussupow played in the recent World Open, both he and Beliavsky played in last year's HB Global. Yudasin, a two-time WC Candidate, presumably is well past his prime but plays somewhere just about every weekend. Korchnoi is so active, he may play in open events too (in Europe), although I haven't checked that. I don't think Karpov plays in open events in either the US or Europe, but he does a lot of other promotional stuff that brings him in contact with the chess masses.

Korchnoi and Gufeld in the same paragraph! Korchnoi would be 'thrilled'...

What a nice victory by Zhao over Karjakin!

Indeed impressive. Karjakin has been playing excellent chess in the qualifier, so for Zhao to seize a must-win situation showed real determination.

Does anyone know the tie break rules?

Korchnoi certainly plays open events: he played at the Isle of Man last year, for example.

Have there been changed in the playing schedule? Carlsen--Fressinet was supposed to be on now, but instead we are having Radjabov--Fressinet, which was scheduled for Tuesday.

Here's a video clip in which Korchnoi shows the kind of attitude you need in order to keep going for ever!
Looks like Sofia had flagged him in a completely lost position, which can be annoying, of course ...

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on October 29, 2006 11:31 PM.

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