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Radjabov Wins Cap d'Agde 06

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It was Sveshnikov versus Najdorf today and the proxy victory went to the Russian over the Argentine. Radjabov's Sveshnikov is starting to look as bulletproof as Jussupow's old Petroff, but with the decided advantage of having winning chances for black. He held Karjakin with apparent ease in the first game of today's final match in Cap d'Agde. Then it was his turn in an old skool Bg5 poisoned pawn Najdorf played by the Ukrainian current holder of the youngest GM of all time title.

The line they played is renowned for several spectacular games. If you have a minute, check out Bilek-Fischer 62 or Tal-Tolush 56. Heck, even Radjabov-Anand 06 (blitz) is pretty cute. Today's game had its fair share of moments as well as Radjabov played a thematic knight sac on f6 to rip open the black king. A few moves later and the Azerbaijani had put an entire rook on the fire, daring Black to take it and leave his king exposed. Black took everything on offer, overstepping on the final grab 22..gxf6 after which it's hard to find any defense. (Well, it was hard long before that, but at this point it may have become impossible.)

Karjakin offered his queen to save his king and both players missed some Fritzy moves in the entertaining melee, but it was Radjabov's game and spirit all the way. A very attractive game, just what one would hope for from two junior leading lights in a rapid match. It was also a very pleasing event overall with lots of exciting chess. Only three Petroffs were played from 87 total games (two by Koneru, one by Kosteniuk); gotta love this rock and roll generation.

Radjabov may have also had a fire lit under him by his countryman Mamedyarov's win in Essent a few days ago. That pushed him into the top ten – ahead of Radjabov – and he'll have another go at the Tal Memorial supertournament starting on the 5th. In a small but chess-mad pond like Azerbaijan there may not be room for two top guns in town. I imagine it's a little harder to get a few million dollars together for a world championship challenge when you aren't even the top-rated guy in your local club.


Nice final joke, Mig.

I'm a baker. And here in my town, just down the street, there is a baker pretending to be the best of the world. Well maybe he is, but what I can say is that I'm the best baker in my street.

Timor has a big advantage: With some effort, one can hope to remember his name. With "the other guy", it's Mama...wha?? If Radjabov already has his patrons lined up, it'll take a major downward vector in his form to cause them to change their bets. Still, a big win for Radjabov.

Danailov keeps opening his pie-hole, and what comes out is certainly repugnant. Unless and until Topalov finds a way to rein him in, I would hope that the tournament organizers would think twice before inviting the Danailov freak show into their venue. I expect that Rustam eventually cost Gata Kamsky more than a couple of invititations. Topalov ought to suffer the same consequences. Because Danailov takes a huge cut, such a principled stance would really be effective at punishing Danailov.

Doug says "...Because Danailov takes a huge cut, such a principled stance [not inviting Topalov to tournaments] would really be effective at punishing Danailov." True, but is it fair to Topalov - who presumably didn't instigate the allegations against Kramnik, much less the protests - to deprive him of the ability to play?
I'd think it would be fairer - and would also be beneficial to the fans, who after all are the beneficiaries of having the best players play - to simply bar Danailov from tournaments, or issue a "gag" order if he does appear, if that's enforceable (?)(might depend on the country, particular laws, etc.). Maybe that way both Danailov and Topalov would learn a true lesson.

Okay, move it on over. New item on the interview. Don't pollute every new thread with this stuff. Will delete. Thanks.

Congratulations to Radjabov and Karjakin too, who defeated his colleague Carlsen in the semis.

Among the top two Azeri players, I would root for Mamedyarov (although he still has to improve his positional play); by looking at Radjabov's games in tournaments, I see more a solid player with high tactical ability which makes him a tough player (I remember his unambitious play in the Fide World Cups 04,05, looking for draws in the classical games and winning the rapids).

But among those two talents, I guess Radjabov will have more success ... By reading carefully interviews with him (look at Misha Savinov's interviews in Chesscafe and others, for example), it is easily appreciated an hyperinflated ego (just compare with Aronian's interviews, it is completely opposite); certain lack of modesty that reminds me to his highly succesful compatriot Garry Kasparov (even if their styles are very different).

Sandorchess mentions: "...But among those two talents, I guess Radjabov will have more success ... By reading carefully interviews with him (look at Misha Savinov's interviews in Chesscafe and others, for example), it is easily appreciated an hyperinflated ego (just compare with Aronian's interviews, it is completely opposite); certain lack of modesty that reminds me to his highly succesful compatriot Garry Kasparov (even if their styles are very different)." This suggests the question: how possible is it to be successful without a "hyperinflated ego"?!? Of World Champions (and their equivalent), only Spassky, Euwe, Smyslov, Bronstein, and Anand readily come to mind, from what I've heard of their personalities. I think I remember hearing Keres was a pleasant guy, too, & many rate him and Fine as being perhaps the strongest never to win the championship...

This e5 line seems to be coming back into fashion, like many another that was 'analysed to a draw' (or was it a Black win?) back in the good old days.

That was one rocking game, Radj v. Karj.

Mig, we love it when you pass on Kasparov's dismissive comments about the play of ordinary 2700s (as well as his occasional praise). Keep it coming.

About sandorchess comments concerning hyperinflated egos leading to the WC title, I just would like to point out that a WC match just took place one month ago. And I don't precisely have the feeling that the guy with the hyperinflated ego won.

... not even talking about another match that took place in London 6 years ago. During this match, another guy with hyperinflated ego wasn't able to reach a tiny advantage even a single time against the guy with the normal ego.

There were two exceptionally interesting games from this tournament. One is the tactical fight, Radjabov vs. Karjakin. This game actually bears a considerable resemblance to a game from US Championship in 1966, Robert Byrne vs. Larry Evans. In that game, Byrne sacrificed two minor pieces, starting with the thematic sacrifice on f6, in order to force Evans to build a barrier of pawns around his king, and then set up a mating net on the g-file. Evans was forced to give up his queen to prevent this. Byrne won the brilliancy prize for this game, and it should be available at Chessgames.com.

The other game, even more interesting from my point of view, was Bacrot vs. Radjabov. This was a King's Indian that led to a completely blockaded position, in which only one file was open. After 74 moves, only two pawns had been exchanged, and all the pieces were still on the board. The players should have agreed to a draw, but Bacrot tried to break through with an unsound sacrifice, which Radjabov refuted, winning the game on move 97. Positional players who feel most at home in closed positions may enjoy replaying this game online.

Every day that goes by, Teimour just seems to be playing better. I'm from Mexico and I just saw Karjakin beating the **** out of Kosteniuk and Korchnoi here in my country (not to mention Gil Hernández, who was NEVER even competing). Sergey played calmly and fast enough to get their opponents into time trouble in 25' matches; however, though he kept his cool in these matches, he struggles against better competitors.

Radjabov, on the other hand, seems to be quite ready to take on top competition; I'm not quite sure he can win yet, but his development has been steady and consistent. If he keeps up this pace, in one or two years, after a Linares or Wijk an Zee victory, he'll be a consistent tournament winner.

So... is Teimour the next great chess GM? Leko and Topalov showed great promise, but they went down in flames when it was most important, and only Vesselin has been consistent enough to say that he's a challenger. Anand aside, do you think Radjabov could bust into the top 10 and challenge the top chess guys right now?

It's difficult to say from early age performances how will a player compete at top level, especially for his first shot.

For instance, Karpov is right to remember that he was leading 5-0 against Kasparov in their first opposition. Would he have played just one or two better moves (and at that moment he was really ill and exhausted, and in normal physical conditions still by far the best chess player on earth), Kasparov may have never been ... Kasparov. You know what I mean.

So, in other words, Kasparov is the best chess player ever, but he was quite close to be shot down 6-0 for his first (and in this case it could also have been his last one) world championship match.

When you have overinflated ego (Kasparov, Topalov), everything's ok as long as you're successfull. But when you start to loose (reality hitting hard the wall of your mental illness), everything may perfectly end up in shambles.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on November 2, 2006 4:24 PM.

    Cap d’Agde 06 Semis was the previous entry in this blog.

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