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Tal Memorial 06 r3

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All five games were drawn in the second round but several of the games were a lot of fun. Leko-Grischuk saw a sharp exchange sac from the Russian out of the opening and loads of accurate aggression. Some of my old buddies from KasparovChess are running the official site and there are a few interesting items up. There was a mistaken threefold repetition draw in Morozevich-Carlsen, explained by arbiter Gijssen on the site here. There are clearly a few moves missing from the released PGN so we can't see it, but it's an incredible error.

Ponomariov, Gelfand, and Aronian still lead on +1. None of the leaders meet in today's third round but there are quite a few fire vs ice matchups. Let's hope we get steam and not fizzle. Live here.

Update: Aronian blunders his queen against Svidler and loses in 24 moves with White. Ponomariov beats Morozevich with a nicely engineered endgame breakthrough to move into the clear lead. Carlsen-Mamedyarov included a fireworks sequence that fizzled into a neat repetition draw. Shirov didn't back down and took on Leko's Marshall, but after the Hungarian played the latest tiny ("critical" no doubt) improvement on move 20 Shirov settled for a repetition. Grischuk was building an interesting plus with a pawn sac against Gelfand's Petroff but apparently missed ..f5, which blunted the attack and took the fight out of the young Russian.


Is Carlsen going to make a full point today? Looks like Shaka did something wrong (after move 20).

Ice prevails. Draw in Shirov - Leko 1/2-1/2.

another scandal with Geurt Gijssen, now in Tal Memorial, Moro vs. Carlsen. See chessbase for details.

Did you notice that Gijssen did not respond to Seirawans brutal demolition? So he accepts all that Seirawan said as true and valid. That is a good sign.

But if that all be true, how is it possible for him to work as arbiter any longer?

He did reply to it, somewhere or other. (chesscafe.com?). But anyway Chessbase themselves were forced more or less to retract Seirawan's article, not surprisingly, since it was nonsense. (I'm assuming you mean his rant about the Kram-Top thing, not some other article I haven't seen).

I can't work out if Mamedyarov's going to resign any moment or whether he's had the whole thing under control.

Seirawan's article was a piece of trash. He himself acknowledged that he hadn't read the playing regulations before he composed the article. Seirawan was corrected not only by Gijssen but also by Pavel Tregubov, president.

Mamedyarov in a position to claim a draw by repetition now! Oh karma, karma. What's the odds on that?!

'piece of trash' is a bit strong: Seirawan was describing an ideal world in which the match regulations were drawn up properly instead of KirsanWorld, and in that context was quite useful. Although of course it would have been better to read the actual regulations first so that he could make explicit what he was doing: one would like to think YS was a bit embarrassed. And certainly he was wrong to attack Gijssen as he did and owes him an apology.

Oh and I think you mean Macieja, by the way, rather than Tregubov.

Major blunder by Arionan without time trouble. You would have seen it in blitz.

Gijssen blunders, Aronian blunders, we all blunder. So what.

I wonder if he did blunder, or allowed it for the crowd? He was surely gone anyway.

Although clearly he didn't see it awhile back whereas Svidler did.

He's very good with this Grunfeld, this Svidler fellow, isn't he?!

It's possible he made the move for the gallery. With a pawn down in a position like this you have to resign in any case.

Radjabov was also very surprised Carlsen didn't play on, although he said Mamedyarov would probably have held.

El Svid's been leading something of a charmed life lately with black. Of course he knows what he's doing, but this game falls in with his Dortmund wins as requiring not a lot beyond holding the sword for his opponent to fall on. Amazing at this level.

Shredder says Carlsen had an advantage +1.2 if he'd played 24.Qxh7 instead of 24.Rb8+.

A general impression, not backed up by facts is that Svidler is very good against woolly 2700 players like Moro (and maybe now Aronian)- like Mig's description. It is a valid way to play these guys...

Another blunder by Moro now. Loses a rook against a knight. Why people say Topalov blunders so often? ;)

Is it me, or has the site frozen? And just in a position where I can't understand why Moro's last move (29....Rb5) wasn't a blunder as well.

Nice game by Svidler even without the losing blunder Aronian's position looked difficult. A good advert for the Grunfeld by the away - seemingly very slight innacuracies by Aronian and Svidler was doing well. Maybe 16 c4 would have kept white fine instead he delayed this 2 moves .... Is there any other top 20 player who regularly plays the Grunfeld?

That explains it then - site had fallen over, 29...Rb5?? was never played.

Moro could still be going down though.

> Is there any other top 20 player who regularly plays the Grunfeld?

Probably no. Leko and Ivanchuk played the Grunfeld regularly some years ago, Shirov used it in his match against Kramnik. But today ...

This wasn't a classical Grunfeld I would say. The thematical c5 for black was played in move 22.

Well, Svidler defeated Aronian in a Grunfeld (I guess the only conclusion is that Aronian lack understanding in this kind of position against an experienced Svidler) in only 24 moves. Actually, I imagine Aronian was so dissapointed with his opening play in this game that he decided to blunder at the end just to lose faster and think in next game instead.

Ponomariov defeated Morozevich to become the sole leader of the tournament with 2.5/3 (and Morozevich in last place with 0.5/3). I might not be an expert, but my impression after a time of following grandmaster games in the last years is that Ponomariov's is one of the best endgame players in the world today (maybe adding Kramnik and Anand in the list). I am not thinking this for today, is something that I have thought in the past (am I correct?).

"Ponomariov defeated Morozevich to become the sole leader of the tournament with 2.5/3 (and Morozevich in last place with 0.5/3). I might not be an expert, but my impression after a time of following grandmaster games in the last years is that Ponomariov's is one of the best endgame players in the world today (maybe adding Kramnik and Anand in the list). I am not thinking this for today, is something that I have thought in the past (am I correct?)."

I think this was still a middle game. Pono took advantage of the retarded pawn f7. I don't think Moro played this very good. His defense is not famous.

I can't understand Gijssen's blunder. In this age of technology, he could have used a comp to check Carlsen's claim (of course, without inviting Carlsen for the analysis!). Instead he went about it in an old-fashioned way?!


I'm not a fan of Gijssen, but in this case there's not much to say because both players generally agreed with the draw. These things only become interesting if one player wants to continue.

Dear Freitag,

With respect to the Ponomariov game, you are right, this game was decided around moves 29, 30 and that is the reason I quoted: "With respect to the I am not thinking this for today, is something that I have thought in the past"; in other words, even if this game was not an example, I couldn't resist to say something good about Ponomariov (which I consider under-rated in fans opinion), now that got his second victory in the tournament.

It is my perception that Ponomariov is stronger in the endgame that most of the top players and when in a game commentary you see something like: "White is in advantage, now is just a matter of technique to concrete it", in the likes of Ponomariov, Anand, Kramnik, you can almost certainly say that is true.

But other top players you cannot be sure if their endgame play is insecure (and stable) or not. I have seen Morozevich (I remember in Corus), Topalov, Mamedyarov, as examples. A representative example to me is the endgame between Topalov and Mamedyarov (the one that Topalov won) in Essent some weeks ago. I was following the game online and my first impression was: "What is Mamedyarov doing?". Of course, I have not the level to judge, but the fact is that a likely drawn position was turned lost in ten moves.

Once Mark Dvoretsky mentioned that even among the top players it is posible to appreciate weaknesses in endgame play.

So, for people who know much better, which top players can be regarded as very good (stable) endgame players? How much the technology and internet era is affecting the endgame skills of youngest stars (it seems to me that this is something you still should study in books, not in front of computers or "practicing a lot in internet games")?

I think you should add Jakovenko as one of the world's best endgame players. This guy has a natural talent for endgame.

Completely off topic--for which apologies--and not dirt--for which humble apologies--but I came across this remark when studying endgames: "Let us examine three positions by Capablanca with his evaluations in the ten-point scale". Has anyone ever heard of this "ten-point scale" before in connection with endgames. Evidently it does not have to do with material balance, but rather is an estimate of endgame advantage. It is a completely new idea to me, but I would like to know more about it.

"Ice prevails. Draw in Shirov - Leko 1/2-1/2."

Who was fire and who was ice? Shirov has looked tame in all three rounds...

Hey, Shirov was ready to go for double exchange sacrifice tonight, but Leko didn't give him a chance (...Be6 - Rxe6!?). At the post-game commentary for the press, Shirov recalled Leko's old nickname 'Equalizer', as Peter was notorious for drawing the positions of any kind - superior, inferior, or equal.

The tendency is to break the opponent in the middle game. If you look at today's games some did not reach the time control. They do not care much about endgames. Aronian was demolished by Svidler in 25 moves. Bad luck? or Bad understanding? No time for endgames.

Soltis devoted one of his "Chess to Enjoy" columns to that topic, about a year ago. He pointed out that levels of technique considered normal for strong GMs a generation ago, are beyond the capabilities of even today's super-elite (and gave some highly convincing examples). Fast time controls got part of the blame, but even more it was the absence of adjournments; the great players of the past all said they really learned their endgames while analyzing their adjourned games.

Two recent examples I just happened upon:

1) Topalov-Kramnik, Dortmund 2001: K+N+2P vs K+N+2P. Black's much better King position proved decisive. But one move before resigning, Topalov missed a defense that would have held the draw, according to Benko's column in the October Chess Life, page 51. (A reader sent in the drawing line, which he found with a computer.)

I seem to recall seeing another column very recently that dealt with mistakes GMs make in R+P endings, and I think it showed several positions from games between Kasparov and Karpov. Sound familiar? I can't remember now where (or even if) I actually saw it.

2) Najer - Ehlvest, in round 8 (next-to-last round) of last year's HB Global Chess Challenge. White had a straightforward win with R+3P vs R+P and then would have been in position to tie for 1st (or even take clear 1st), depending how things went in the final round. But despite having plenty of time, Najer allowed an elementary sequence where Ehlvest got to either queen his lone pawn or force perpetual check.

Hi Misha, I'd like to ask you something, could you mail me please? doggy [at] doggers-schaak.nl.

I wouldn't say Anand was famous for his endgame technique; after all he famously lost R + 3 plus a pawn against R + 3 with the defending rook perfectly placed against Leko. I would say Kramnik was very good, but he also lost a criminally drawn endgame against Leko in Brissago. Maybe Leko's better than we think at this stuff?

But to be sure one has to remember the old guys were playing after adjournments.

Leko, Ponomariov and Kramnik are technical- positional players ( capablanca-type) and this type of player seem to like and have talent for simple, "logical", positions.

On the other hand combinative-tactical type as Moro, Grischuck or Topalov play well such postions only to extent they already know them because they have forced themselves at home to study them from books in order to compensate for their natural inability in such positions.

This is not in general true. Possibly the best endgame player is Shirov, despite the fact that he is very agressive.

Note, that this is not my opinion, but an opinion shared by many top GM's.


Yes, Jakob! After playing such a move, I could happily retire from chess.
(Yes, yes, the contingency is remote, I know!)

Shirov's "Bh3" was nice and exactly the kind of shot that a tactical player as Moro, Shirov etc. is always looking for.
The result of such approach being winning 1 and losing the other 99 endings while Karpov, Pono or Kramnik do the other way around.

"Bh3" is exactly what technical play isn't about.

Tactical chess is not about looking for unsound panacea onboard. Bad coffeehouse chess is about looking for that genius move which will change the game and win you fans, in spite of a thousand variations that refute it.

Positional chess is very often result of hard work at developing your technique. Not intuitive undersanding of simplified positions. Those who want to group players as "positional" and "tactical" would be wise to remember how little actual similarity there is between Karpov and Kramnik. Or Shirov and Morozevich.

I'm not even sure why Gijssen even broached the idea that the Morozevich--Carlsen game ought to continue. After all, both players agreed to the result, and signed the scoresheets. The Game is over. Even though Gijssen's erroreous ruling (that the repetition claim of Carlsen was valid) was the decisive factor leading to the players' mutual decision to end the game as an agreed draw, it simply isn't possible for the players to go back--even if one or both of them desired to resume the game. So, Gijssen compounded his error by allowing for the possibility of making another error, an error that was only averted (rendered moot) by Moro's departure from the tournament hall.

Ponomariov is a superb endgame player, but I'm not sure that I'd include him in the ranks of Kramnik or Anand. Or even Kar[pov (still) Gelfand, and Ivanchuk. Frankly, endgame prowess garners fewer and fewer points in the modern professional chess world, so it is less important than it used to be. Hence, endgame knowledge is not emphasized, since studying the openings and training in middlegames is more productive. If Endgame skill does not translate to ratings points, it could well be that some of the best Endgame technicians have ratings in the 2600s. On the other hand, in order to be a World Class player, you have to have a World Class Middlegame--a Middlegame that features Top Level tactical skill.

Is it just me or do a lot fewer games seem to go to endgame these days compared to say the eighties?


You often see it said that Shirov is very strong in the endgame, although I must say that the evidence for this is not clear to me. I'd back Kramnik against Shirov heavily in a match starting from twelve equal queenless positions. But I would have thought that even if true this was an exception to a tendency which is generally true. (although Korchnoi might be another such 'exception').

Yuriy K is right though IMHO that this whole idea of classifying players into two (or some small number) groups is not very helpful.

I've always thought ...Bh3 was an overrated move. Given enough time frankly I think that to overlook it would be a fairly shocking miss for a top ten GM or even lower. I'd certainly back GB's Keith Arkell to find it, for example: it's a common enough type of trick in promotion races (and I would say precisely a part of what technical play is about, although I suspect we are merely using the word 'technical' differently: I mean it to mean something like the giving of accurate expression to fairly obvious ideas and aims, whereas I suspect Ovidiu has in mind the feel for where the pieces should go in what Kotov called 'simple' positions, which is not properly called 'technical' in my language.)

I remind you that Shirov has the best scor against Kramnik from any other player. This is no accident. It is because of being a good attacking player, he also plays good endgame. I seriously doubt that Kramnik would beat Shirov in a 12 games of queenless chess..

Bh3 is indeed a very nice move, but this was not the reason I said that Shirov is a great endgame player..

Btw, have you noticed that the Bh3 of Shirov was played against Topalov and that the best Kasparov game was also a victory against Toplav (that pirc..)? Quite funny:)

True, but certainly at Caorle he mainly won in complications rather than in simpler positions. The only other game I can recall is the famous Baltic with ...Re4!!, where this was also true. How much have they actually played since say 2000? The Shirov of today I'd hesitate to back against anyone much, but of course he was stronger in 1998; indeed I'm not sure he's ever recovered from the whole episode.

According to the endgames. You have to recall that the players from the eighties had the opportunity to make "Haengepartie", means the game was continued the next day after several hours of play. Therefore the could study the game in the evening with their seconds.

rdh, we have to remember the full story of gijssen in Elista here.

First Seirawan wrote some faulghty thing, then gijssen wrote some silly justification, and then came it, the "powerful volley [Chessbase]" where seirawan compared gijssen obviously to a compliant servant of nazi.

When will the errors of Gijssen and the scandals bound to him ever stop?

I don't think that Seirawan pulled out a powerful volley with his comment, but I cannot remember he said something about nazis. (??)

it is obvious from his wording he aimed at that

Well, I definitely disagree that ..Bh3 is more "tactical" than "technical", rdh explains that well, but I also strongly doubt that it would have been that easy to find!

>have you noticed that the Bh3 of Shirov was played against Topalov and that the best Kasparov game was also a victory against Toplav (that pirc..)? Quite funny:)>

yes and actually most chess websites give as the best game of Karpov, "Karpov's Immortal", the one against Topalov, played in that phenomenal
Linares '94 ( Karpov reached then-- for a short period of course--the highest strength that anyone has ever reached in chess before and since, except of course the comps as Fritz or Rybka nowdays)

Topalov is going to enter the chess history as the best "supporting actor" ever. He has managed to make the greats to appear really great by contrast. There have always been such "2nd-violin" players for Fischer, Tal, and Spassky to beat and show off their skill in style but Topa is the guy for our times. Let's hope , for instance, that Mamedyarov will become what he
has "promised" recently in the first game at Essent.

[Event "04, Linares Ftacnik"]
[Site "04, Linares Ftacnik"]
[Date "1994.??.??"]

[White "Karpov Anatoli"]
[Black "V Topalov"]
[ECO "A33"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. Nf3 cxd4 4. Nxd4 e6 5. g3 Nc6 6. Bg2 Bc5 7. Nb3 Be7 8. Nc3 O-O 9. O-O d6 10. Bf4 Nh5 11. e3 Nxf4 12. exf4 Bd7 13. Qd2
Qb8 14. Rfe1 g6 15. h4 a6 16. h5 b5 17. hxg6 hxg6 18. Nc5 dxc5 19. Qxd7 Rc8 20. Rxe6 Ra7 21. Rxg6+ fxg6 22. Qe6+ Kg7 23. Bxc6 Rd8 24. cxb5 Bf6
25. Ne4 Bd4 26. bxa6 Qb6 27. Rd1 Qxa6 28. Rxd4 Rxd4 29. Qf6+ Kg8 30.Qxg6+ Kf8 31. Qe8+ Kg7 32. Qe5+ Kg8 33. Nf6+ Kf7 34. Be8+ Kf8 35. Qxc5+
Qd6 36. Qxa7 Qxf6 37. Bh5 Rd2 38. b3 Rb2 39. Kg2 1-0

The reply of Seirawan, I think was far from good. The arbiter, correctly, just ignored him.

Of course in cases of extremes, such as executing people, we should bent the rules. But not allowing one player to use a private (as opposed to common) toilet does not qualify! Simple. He is arbiter, and is supposed to follow the rules unless something extreme happens (ok in our case that would not be to kill Kramnik but say that the appeal comitee said to take one pawn off the initial position. Even in that situation, the response should have been to resign as arbiter, which of course would cause the nesecary delay).

If he had refused to continue the game, he may be a hero in your eyes, but most likely would not be invited by any serious organisor, since he would have done his job wrongly.

He also makes the (cheap) comment about overuling the decision of the comitee. It is indeed true, that after the whole issue became political, (Putin, Zukov, the president of Bulgaria..) Kirsan, as president of FIDE, (with common aprroval) he changed the rules (and became president of the comitee). But this is clearly not for an arbiter to decide. Is far beyond what he can do. Kirsan said that the scor is not final, obviously to keep prospects open in view of negotiations. Later, it became apparent that this would not stand in court and they gave the point to Topalov.

Just think of an example. Someone is convincted to death, and the guard of the prison disagrees with the decision. He cannot do anything. If the issue becomes political, the president may be able to interven and stop the execution.. (even if in first place it was the jury and not the president to decide).

As a final note. His recent mistake at Tal memorial, was indeed a serious for arbiter mistake (unlike his elista behaviour, who wass perfectly ok). You have also to keep in mind that (a) he is humman (b)extremely rarely a 2700 player makes a false repetition claim. He was 99% sure that Carlssen was right.

I have note that people tend to judge very quickly. Now one mistake and he became a very bad arbiter. Also Polgar won in Essent, she is the world champion, Ponomariov won an excellent game, he must be one of the bests... Just relax and not judge so quickly. It is not statistically reasonable to draw conclusions for small sample.

I'm looking now at Karpov-Topalov, Linares 1994 with an engine running. Much to my surprise, Fritz (and it's only Fritz 8!) picks 20.Rxe6 instantly, although initially it prefers 21.Qd5 to Karpov's brilliant follow-up 21.Rxg6+! (but it evaluates those two moves as nearly equal, at first at least). Scary how much these computers see.

I think all of these performances come from the pre-MTel 1 era, when nobody considered Topalov #1 and most of them even before Dortmund 2002, when he first set forth claim on being among the world's best four-five players.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on November 8, 2006 3:38 PM.

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