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Remember the Candidates

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I usually think of that as in "Remember the Alamo," but another step forward has been taken, or at least another step: the press release! FIDE has announced the candidates matches to be held in Elista May 26 to June 14, 2007 with prize funds of $40,000, back up from the $15,000 several sources reported they had cut it to. (Which would have been less than some players eliminated in the Khanty-Mansiysk interzonal received.) Two rounds of six-game matches and tiebreaks will be played consecutively with five rest days in between for the eight first-round winners.

This is all great news, although we shouldn't get so carried away with happiness that we forget these matches were scheduled to take place last October and were moved at the last minute, leaving the players with holes in their schedules and a lot of uncertainty. FIDE is like a husband who brings you flowers after smacking you around. "Sorry about that black eye, baby. You know I really love you. Now where's my vodka?" Speaking of vodka, it's Friday night!

Here is the original candidates announcement, by the way. You can follow the travails by searching for 'candidates' on the left.

1.Levon Aronian (ARM) - 16.Magnus Carlsen (NOR)
2.Peter Leko (HUN) - 15.Mikhail Gurevich (TUR)
3.Ruslan Ponomariov (UKR) - 14.Sergey Rublevsky (RUS)
4.Boris Gelfand (ISR) - 13.Rustam Kasimjanov (UZB)
5.Etienne Bacrot (FRA) - 12.Gata Kamsky (USA)
6.Alexander Grischuk (RUS) - 11.Vladimir Malakhov (RUS)
7.Judit Polgar (HUN) - 10.Evgeny Bareev (RUS)
8.Alexei Shirov (ESP) - 9.Michael Adams (ENG)

Exciting! I'm not 100% sure of the second round but it should follow standard KO pairings. So the winner of 1-16 faces the winner of 8-9, etc. The final four qualify for the Mexico City world championship tournament that starts September 12 (not Sept 11 as the FIDE press release says; trying to get that fixed). I'd say Aronian got a raw deal against Carlsen as 16th seed. The teen will probably be 50 points stronger in May than he was in October!


"The teen will probably by 50 points stronger in May than he was in October!"

If he comes up with novelities like Bf1 (against Gelfand) he will not reach the fifth game.

This is fantastic! The Candidates matches, to me, are more exciting than the world championship itself. Seeing all those strong personalities squared off in a series of gladiatorial matches -- excellent! Any idea how long each match will be?

If any husband brings me flowers, he's the one who's going to get smacked around!

Great news, but the end of May is still quite a ways away and one never knows with FIDE. I certainly hope the matches take place, but I can't kick the scepticism just yet.

I LOVE candidate's matches! Bring 'em on!

Vassily Ivanchuk is ranked 6th in the world as of 2006/10, according to the FIDE.com website. His rating is listed at 2741.

Yet Ivanchuk is absent from the list of 16 candidates.

Nor is Ivanchuk already seeded into Mexico 2007 (his San Luis 2005 finish was not high enuf).

*** Why is Ivanchuk not participating?

Gene M,

The direct seedings into candidates matches are based on the average ratings from July 2004 and January 2005 (!!) and Ivanchuk missed out by half a rating point (Bacrot averaged 2713.5, Ivanchuk 2713). Five players are seeded that way plus eleven qualifiers from the last world cup.Four players (Anand, Svidler, Morozevich and Kramnik) are seeded directly into the Mexico 2007 final.

See earlier articles on DailyDirt or http://www.chessbase.com/eventarticle.asp?newsid=2791 and related postings at Chessbase for lots of criticism and comment (and incredulity) and this system.

I hate to play the cynic, but wake me up when the games actually begin...

Candidates matches to finish with a tourney championship? This is ridiculous. Kramnik will not play on it for sure.


Is Garry the mysterious "Raffael" on Playchess? Speculating drives me nuts...

To Photos:

This cirle of WCC has been planned when San Luis finished and has not changed since...

Kramnik definetly knew this before playing in Elista. He has no excuse for not playing.

"Why is Ivanchuk not participating?"

He was in the "interzonals" last year in Kanty Mansysk, but was eliminated by Cheripanov (0,5:1,5).

Go Judit! Though she hasn't beaten Bareev in about 10 years, so this is a tough match for her...

I know this strictly belongs to the previous thread, but I couldn't resist sharing this lovely account of Tal, by Leonard Barden:

"I treasure my first sight of Tal, at the 1958 Munich Olympiad. He amassed a huge score by brilliant play, spent hardly any time at the board, and toured the hall preparing his nightly radio reports while his opponent thought. He was a real genius."

>Is Garry the mysterious "Raffael" on Playchess? Speculating drives me nuts...>

About 90% of the Playchess visitors are 90% sure he is Garry Kasparov, about five percent think it is Svidler, some think it is Anand, Vaganian or even Bobby Fischer. By far the most common chat line seen on the server is "Who is Raffael?" »

And here a game by Raffael :

Raffael - Comp Fritz,D [B52]
4m + 1s, unrated, 02.07.2006

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bb5+ (d4) 3...Bd7 4.Bxd7+ Qxd7 5.c4 (0-0) 5...Nc6 6.Nc3 (0-0) 6...Nf6 7.d4 cxd4 8.Nxd4 Qg4 9.0-0 Qxd1 10.Rxd1 Nxd4 11.Rxd4 Rc8 12.b3 g6 13.Rd1 (Bb2) 13...Bg7 -0.10/14 8 14.Be3 Nd7 -0.11/14 16 15.Rac1 (Bd4) 15...a6 -0.09/12 16 16.Nd5 (Ne2) 16...h6 -0.10/13 16 17.f3 (b4) 17...e6 -0.16/14 11 18.Nb4 (Nb6) 18...Ke7 -0.39/14 13 19.Rc2 (Bf4) 19...Rhd8 -0.48/13 10 20.a4 (Nd3) 20...Nc5 -1.14/13 6 21.Rb1 f5 -1.08/13 9 22.exf5 a5 -1.04/13 4 23.Na2 gxf5 -0.90/12 3 24.Nc3 (Nc1) 24...d5 -1.35/12 6 25.cxd5 (Bxc5+) 25...Nd3 -1.73/12 4 26.Bd2 Rc5 Raffael resigns (Lag: Av=0.49s, max=0.9s) -2.21/11 3 0-1

If the Tal Memorial is any indication, Magnus better bone up on his theoretical endings before he takes on Aronian again.

great game by comp Fritz D

seems that Pono tried to improvise a g5 and f6 opening but it ended in badly in his blitz game against Leko.

>great game by comp Fritz D

yes quite impressive,

weakening first the center with 21..f5 then breaking through with 24..d5 to open the c-file all followed ( typical in such positions) by the combined on attack on c3 along the c-file and along the dragon bishop Bg7 diagonal

"raffael" helped by pointlessly pushing
a2-a4 pawn and weakening his position (also typical reaction when you don't know what to
do : just push pawns and weaken your otherwise equal position}..afterwards Fritz got the the b3 weakness to attack right from its own strong square (c5) with the knight

at any rate, impressive play by Fritz, comps seems to have no problems in handling/combining many thematic ideas at the same time

Chess is not the most creative discipline. Therefore "Raffael" only can be a top professional these days, not Fischer or Karpov. Kasparov is a reasonable choice.

"Raffael" is Aronian.

If Aronian wins the Tal Memorial Blitz he might be the truth.

Don't know why, but in my mind I've found Ponomariov to lack humour. John's like above (http://rsport.netorn.ru/enot/potemkin/enot/foto097.htm) suddenly made me like the guy a lot!

Sorry to disappoint you, but Mr. Potemkin surely does a lot of editing... :)

by the way of editing pictures misha,

have a look at Kramnik pants (online with Hensel's right hand elbow) in a picture of him and his manager published by chessbase.com during the Elista match

netlink :


the title of the picture is "Vladimir Kramnik and his manager Carsten Hensel", the news was "Elista 2006: World Championship Crisis" in 29.09.2006

"mystery of the bathroom trips" solved ?

Does Kramnik have indeed a serious bladder problem and indeed a bathroom close always, rather than cheating with Fritz ?

Not being a doctor, can't tell you much except for the picture is surely genuine.

Regarding the Candidates matches - somebody correct if I am wrong - but I believe that in the good old days the Candidates matches were played in different cities. Wouldn't it be better to do it that way? I am sure some companies in Norway would like the idea of sponsoring Carlsen-Aronian in Norway or some French corporation Bacrot-Kamsky in France.

E. Canal, usually yes. (The only exception I can think of right now is Kasparov-Korchnoi and Smyslov-Ribli, semi-final matches both in London, if memory serves). But generally the matches were not held in the country of one of the participants, except, of course, for the not infrequent USSR-USSR pairings.

There was one cycle where a load were played in Canada somewhere at the same time – St John, maybe? And I recall watching Speelman-Timman and Karpov-Yusupov on stage together in London – 1989/1990 or so?

They've had them in the same place quite a few times before, in recent history, winner mentioned first:

Gelfand - Adams, Wijk aan Zee 1994
Anand - Jussupow, Wijk aan Zee 1994
Kamsky - Van Der Sterren, Wijk aan Zee 1994
Salov - Khalifman, Wijk aan Zee 1994
Kramnik - Yudasin, Wijk aan Zee 1994
Timman - Lautier, Wijk aan Zee 1994

Kamsky - Anand, Sanghi Nagar 1994
Gelfand - Kramnik, Sanghi Nagar 1994
Salov - Timman, Sanghi Nagar 1994

The PCA did it too, in New York in 1994:
Adams - Tiviakov, New York 1994
Anand - Romanishin, New York 1994
Short - Gulko, New York 1994
Kamsky - Kramnik, New York 1994

And with Linares in the next round:
Kamsky - Short, New York 1994
Anand - Adams, New York 1994

It must be noted that 1994 was truly the year of the Match.

Going back historically, in the 1993 cycle, events were held in the same place too:

Short - Gelfand, Brussels 1991
Timman - Kortchnoi, Brussels 1991
Jussupow - Ivanchuk, Brussels 1991
Karpov - Anand, Brussels 1991

Short - Karpov, Linares 1992
Timman - Jussupow, Linares 1992

In the 1990 culminating cycle, there was a combination of events in 1 place, and those in another:

Jussupow - Ehlvest, Saint John 1988
Hjartarson - Kortchnoi, Saint John 1988
Portisch - Vaganian, Saint John 1988
Timman - Salov, Saint John 1988
Short - Sax, Saint John 1988
Speelman - Seirawan, Saint John 1988
Spraggett - Sokolov, Saint John 1988

Then broken up:
Karpov - Hjartarson, Seattle 1989
Timman - Portisch, Antwerp 1989
Jussupow - Spragett, Quebec 1989

Then back together again:
Karpov - Jussupow, London 1989
Timman - Speelman, London 1989

Everything in the previous WCh cycles were broken up by city, with the exception of Kasparov - Kortchnoi and Smyslov - Ribli which happened in London in 1983, and half the 1965 cycle, where Tal - Portisch and Larsen - Ivkov happened in Bled, while Spassky - Keres happened in Riga, while Geller - Smyslov happened in Moscow.

So it looks like with 2 exceptions, matches were always awarded to different cities after the knockout matches were introduced in 1966. After St. John, Canada in 1988, the events were broken up one other time, which were the matches immediately following that round. From there on out, the matches were held in the same place.

Thank you, John! Proof that my knowledge of chess history peters out somewhere in the 80s...

Tournaments. Are. Not. World. Championships.
A supertournament in Mexico is great. If they want to consider its winner the candidate final, I don't like that method so much, but I can live with it. But tournaments are not world championships. Kramnik isn't dead, and he isn't refusing to play, so there's no excuse for this crap.

Regarding Tal as phone cheater:
During his first match with Botvinnik (1960) he spent a lot of time walking on and off stage, and once, when he was near the fireman post, he happened to hear the fireman's phone ringing. He took the call, and heard some anonymous chess fan asking how the game proceeds for Tal. He said "Not good". The fan asked him to try to evaluate the position deeper. Tal said "I try, but it does not come out". Finally the caller asked whom he is talking to, and got an answer: "Tal".
What would happen if Botvinnik had Danailov as his manager? :-)


Hilarious! Thank you!

greg, wanna another one?
At some meeting one of the younger chess players behaves arrogantly and in a self-satisfied way. Someone tells him: "How you dare, there are live legends here".
Dead-drunk Tal raises his head from the table where he was yawning and pronounces: "hardly alive".
Petrossian, who had cancer, gets insulted.

Oh, that is a sad story.

can we pls have a thread for Tal anecdotes? Perhaps its a bit late, but surely we are allowed to indulge a bit even after the 70th birthday of the greatest Chess player in history?

greg, Tal was a very-very kind person and a friend of Petrossian, afaik. He meant himself when saying "hardly alive". He was drunk :)

I'm glad they are having the matches. But its just bizarre to then throw the winners and others together in a big tournament.
Its like running air through a micro filter and then thinking you will further refine that air by having it blown through a fishing net.

From "Mameluk" on chessgames.com:

"Kirsan visting Czech republic was just on Czech TV in sport news!? and said that the tournament in Mexico will be the last tournament and then he wants to create system - one year World Cup (probably the great KO system?) and second year classic long match. Which means there will be some completely another system:)"

If I understand correctly, I think this is great. Then Kramnik will probably agree to Mexico and no revolutionary changes will have to be made (no sponsors or participants screwed). The match format is saved although with one single interruption in 2007 which we can live with just like we survived 1948. Everybody wins.

I'd prefer to see some details before getting too excited. Just because a format has a match doesn't mean it's any good. We can do without another 'cycle' like Kramnik-Kasparov 2000.

Anyway, Kirsan's ramblings can't be taken too seriously.

Kirsan wants it "democratic", of course. The World Cup, or whatever it's going to be called, will surely be part of a qualifying system. Anyway, I thought it was interesting. This is a way it might all turn out for the (under the circumstances) best.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on November 17, 2006 4:49 PM.

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