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Tal Memorial 06 r7-8

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A critical round as co-leaders Ponomariov and Aronian meet. Ponomariov has simply been playing the best chess of the event so far while Aronian has been a little wild but occasionally spectacular - and a little lucky against Carlsen. Speaking of, the boy wonder has white against the other co-leader today, Peter Leko. Gelfand and Svidler haven't been very ambitious so far but maybe they'll surprise us in today's game. Grischuk-Shirov is a matchup that has produced a number of great games in the past. Shirov, like Mamedyarov and Carlsen, has yet to score a win. Morozevich-Mamedyarov is the other encounter. Live games here, official site.

Update: Round 7 was full of interesting games and a few narrow escapes. Leko let Carlsen off the hook after reaching an almost comically dominating endgame position. Morozevich's endgame miss against Mamedyarov was even more surprising. The clearest win for White is probably 75.d7 and the knight can hold one of the kingside pawns in several ways. Gelfand beat Svidler in a theoretically important game. It's not just Kramnik who plays 1.Nf3! Grischuk won his second in a row with a spectacular win over Shirov. He got three pawns for a bishop and ran his pawn mass up the board to win. Great stuff.

Garry Kasparov stopped by the tournament hall during round 7, his first visit to a supertournament as a spectator. He watched with Motylev and a few other strong young Russians, several of whom he was embarrassed to admit he didn't recognize! He also did some online commentary. A few photos of his visit are here, others at 64 here.

Round 8 is shaping up to be another of all draws. Oddly, Aronian-Grischuk was a non-game draw. (Attn those nominating Aronian for the Alekhine spirit award.) Shirov-Gelfand also ended a little early, although at least they swapped a lot of pieces first. Carlsen gave Ponomariov a tussle but couldn't find a way to break through. Svidler is looking for a win against Morozevich in the only game still going. ... Svidler wins in 80 to move back to an even score. Leko, Ponomariov, and Aronian still lead on +2. Ponomariov-Leko will decide things in tomorrow's final round.


Aronian is behind on clock. Is he getting tricked in opening... again?

interesting "Grunfeld" in Gelfand-Svidler

Any news from the tournament ? I can no longer connect to the site.

Aronian seemed lost after the Ne4 of Pono (another case of deep home prep, and non-game btw)

Earlier the Pono-Aronian game had been listed as a draw. Since then I haven't been able to establish a connection.

Ponomariov - Aronian 1/2 25
All other games continue after the first time control


Has the relay been lost? Can't access official site, and Playchess hasn't been updating moves.

www.letsplaychess.com seems to be continuously feeding moves. I have no ideas where they get them.

Pono-Aronian. draw
Gelfand - Svidler, 1-0. pretty game.

Carlsen - Leko, Leko is pushing
Grischuk - Svidler, Grischuk must be winning
Moro - Mamedyarov, Moro is pawn up in 2N + 5p vs N + B + 4p. Hard to say if he can win. Probably not.

What price a 2N -v- P finish in the Moro game, I wonder?

Moro does like the tactical route, doesn't he? Both sides have queened - can't quite see the win myself but I wouldn't be surprised if there were one. But surely Moro must have been winning earlier somehow without going for this long forced line? I wonder even if he was tricked and overlooked ...h3?

Evidently there wasn't, then. Q + N -v- Q but Shaka's queen has escaped.

Moro must have missed ...h3, I think. That's modern chess for you, I guess - back in the days of adjournments we'd have seen a flawless execution of the winning process for the anthologies, assuming I'm right and there was one.

More fire to the our discussion about endgames. Even for a human, moves like Mamedyarov's Nb1?? (which got him easily into a loss position) and the way Morozevich missed a win (instead of a simplified position, he went for a more complicated one, which result in a draw) ... I guess this says a lot on the way modern grandmasters prepare.

It seems that the some of youngest ones (with exception of Aronian, Ponomariov, Jakovenko- as quoted by Misha here , etc) like Moro, Mamedyarov, Carlsen, Nakamura, have trouble in this department.

Coincidentially, we are talking about players who strive for complications, for creating tension in the board, confident to outplay/confuse opponents because of superior in calculating skills, when endgame play involves more understanding, strategy and knowledge, rather than pure calculation (with human limits).

Moro is not a youngster anymore. It remains to see if Mamedyarov, Carlsen and Nakamura modifies their style when they becomes 20+ years.

We currently have in the top world more sucessors of Janowsky, than sucessors of Rubinstein or Smyslov.

Why I mention Janowsky? His chess style, together with his classical quote:

"I detest the endgame! A well played game should be virtually decided in the middlegame -D. Janowsky"

Morozevich blew the win indeed (at least one time, probably more). Mamedyarov could save the game with the exact move 78..Bb5!

If instead 78..Bc6?, as in the game 79.Ne6 gxh4 80.Nd4+ Kg4 81.Nxc6 h3 would have followed but then 82.Ne5+! Kxg3 83.Nf3!! Kxf3 84.d7 h2 85.d8=Q h1=Q 86.Qa8+.

Impressively held, by him as well as Carlsen.

Sandorchess is wrong, at least in respect of Morosevich. It is a common mistake to think of him as a tactical wizard, but he has an impressive list of excellent endgame victories - just look at his games from the last few years. No top player can live with sparse endgame technique. But those of us who are human (and don't let every game evaluate by computers and lose respect of outstanding players) may make mistakes.

Sandorchess is not only wrong, he just doesn't know what he is talking about. First, Morozevich is from another generation and cannot be listed alongside Carlsen and Nakamura -- that's just idiocy. Not to mention a different class. Second, Morozevich is among the best of today's elite in the endgame department! He has _endgame_ victories over no less than Kramnik himself, and with the black pieces at that!!!

Well, Kramnik is not that good an endgame player. Of the current generation, no one is a good endgame player

dcp23, what difference does it make what color pieces you have in the endgame?

Kramnik is absolutely the best ending player out there. Who remembers the stalemate themed draw he played where he perpetually checked with a rook? Was that against leko?

I must say I was wrong in putting Morozevich in the same category as youngsters (I just put him due to his style, not because of his age), but claiming "He has _endgame_ victories over no less than Kramnik himself, and with the black pieces at that!!!" is not an argument to support whether Morozevich is or not a good endgame player.

(By the way, dcp23, what is the meaning of "with the black pieces" to judge the endgame quality of a player?)

To be precise (some of you might have better knowledge or arguments, glad to hear them!)

1) No human (not even Capablanca, Smyslov or Karpov) can say it is a perfect endgame player.

2) As a matter or fact, there is no mathematical definition to distinguish when the "middlegame" ends and where the "endgame" starts, it it more a sort of common agreement in the chess community.

3) Having defeated one strong player by precise endgame play is not a way to prove the corresponding player is an good endgame player; virtually every grandmaster has done this at least once. On the other hand, losing a drawn endgame or drawing a winning endgame is not a way to proof a player is a not strong endgame player; every grandmaster has experience this in the past.

4) So, under which circunstances a player can be catalogued as a strong or weak endgame player?

Why for example Dvoretsky once quoted Topalov as a weak endgame player, despite the fact the played memorable endgames in San Luis (with the exception of his missed win against Anand) and he was pressed this year known players in this area to score victories? (I would dare to say that precisely this has been one of the keys for Topalov's improvement from the old days) Why would we acknowledge Kramnik or Ponomariov as strong endgame players? When Misha mention us on Jakovenko as strong endgame player, when some others mention Aronian, or Shirov, etc, what does they mean?

Given that this post is too long, I would just say that several words and sentences come into consideration: (a) "Technique" (b) "When they have lost in an endgame, what was the cause: Bad understanding? Lack of "elementary knowledge"? Wrong strategic play? , or simply a one move blunder due to "unusual" circunstances. (c) Stability (quoted by Dvoretsky: "Unfortunately, most players - even some very strong ones - have not done the proper homework, and as a result, their endgame understanding is chaotic and
insecure.") (d) "When they have won in endgames, how these endgame were won (tactical combinations, knowledge, ...) ?"

5) I have a question. What is exactly making the negative difference with respect to the past in the "average" endgame ability of top players?

- Is the progress of chess programs and online chess? Less book reading and more practice? (this remembers and quote about John McEnroe on tennis: "I’m sure he must have kicked himself quite a few times for not developing into the greatest of all time. He believed in improving by playing games, that’s why he played a lot of doubles along with singles, but he ignored practice."

- Is the huge amount of opening knowledge that distracts players for spending more time in endgame?

- Is that claim of "negative difference" -that some here had attribited for example to the end of adjournements- is actually false and the real reasons are more due to the style of a lot of current top players?

BTW, I missed the reference and had a typo. That quote about McEnroe was given by Mats Wilander, who believed that McEnroe had the maximum potential among everyone of the greatest players, but couldn’t fulfill it, so he explained the reason. Apologies if that if completely off topic.

Actually, on the specific topic on round 7: Check the nice victory of Grischuk against Shirov in a Rossolimo with early knight sac 11.Nxf7, and precise play. I must say Gruschuk missed winning chances against Leko after a strong opening novelty (featuring a exchange sac later on in move 19) and he also had winning chances against Mamedyarov using another novelty, and he convincingly defeated Svidler... interesting, excellent opening preparation, but he is only +2-2=3 in the tournament.

And a technical victory of Gelfand over Svidler. What kind of opening is this???? (maybe I am wrong and this is known, I used to play 3.cxd5 in this position) Reminds me of the unsuccessful 2.Qh5 experimented by Nakamura, with the essential difference that Gelfand's idea 3.Qa4!? (then 3..Bd7, so the queen moves again to b3), should have a purpose, rather that a simple experiment, as this game demostrated. I would like to see more comments about the games of this round.

Oh, my god. For the reader, I realize Gelfand idea is actually well known. I was asking somebody who told me actually he was familiar with this until move 8. My preliminary idea is that I liked 18. Nb6 by gelfand, and positionally black did not have a lot to do ... that would explain the move 23.. Nd7 from Svidler which I consider to be a blunder. After knowing that I missed known theory, my only conclusion is that Gelfand featured a novelty which may confuse Svidler, because positionally the game went down for him (reminds me the second victory of Topalov in his recent match against Kramnik).

Comments on Grischuk-Shirov? The knight sac and the pawn avalanche... (I am more familiar with this opening and I remember played 8. f4 in online blitz games and always considered this cood for white, so I don't know if there was a novelty before move 11).

The opening in Gelfand-Svidler is analysed in detail by Khalifman in 'Opening for white according to Kramnik 1a'.

I suspect the main reason why the present generation is ‘weak’ in technical endgames is that these endgames now arise after six hours of exhausting play and in what is essentially a rapid playoff. I suspect that, say, Botvinnik would have struggled in the same conditions.

Gelfand - Svidler
According to Gelfand on www.64.ru Svidler introduced the novelty 11...Bc6, but the position after 19.Nb6 is already critical for Black. After 19...Ra7 Gelfand took a long time for playing 20.Rfd1 since he calculated 20...a5 21.Qa3 Be4 and then the exchange sac 22.b4. He was quite surprised by Svidler's 21...Bh6 and wondered why he had not played 22.Rd6 Bf8 23.Rd2.
Later Svidler sacrified a pawn but could not gain compensation. He blundered playing 26...Bg7 when 26...Ra8 was better. The last practical chance was 30...e5 trying to exploit the bit weakened white king.
(sorry for my bad English)

It's not necessary to apologize for (near?) perfect English. :-)

Absolutely not, especially since it brings us interesting comments we'd otherwise not have learned.

Maybe we should try the odd thread in Russian. Then we'd really see some grammar to apologise for, I suspect.

Anyone seen any online comments on Moro-Mamedyarov? I'd be very surprised if White wasn't clearly winning at some point.

Yesterday Kasparov and Motylev were commenting, it's a pity that the official site was down so often.
http://www.64.ru/?/ru/articles/item=1378 covers some of these comments.
Kasparov said it's more likely a win after move 44.
Comment after 65.g3
57.e5 seems to be premature. White could calmly strengthen his position, for instance 57.Kb4 with the idea Ka5 and maybe the king can march to c7. But even now the position looks winning.
76...g5 is a strong move. 76...Kf5 probably lost due to 77. Nd5 g5 (77... Kg4 78. Kf6 Kg3 79. Kg5 +-) 78. Ne3+! Kg6 (78... Ke4 79. hg +-) 79. d7 +-
Some more Kasparov fotos:

Isn't the endgame in Carlsen-Pono draw? Sacing a knight is always a choice.

Sandorchess wrote (Nov 14 23:01):
- Is it the huge amount of opening knowledge that distracts players for spending more time in endgame?

Nick de Firmian told me the opening is the only phase of chess he studies. Must be the most bang for the hours spent.

So for grandmasters, even tho spending time improving one's endgame skills would be beneficial, it may be less beneficial than endlessly studying the openings instead (your openings, and your opponents' variations).

Endgame skills may take a back seat in traditional chess, where the same start position is used for all chess games.

- - - - - - - - -

(Article from ChessBase.com 2006/10/30):

Who was The Strongest Chess Player of All Time?
Computer Analysis of World Chess Champions
by Matej Guid & Ivan Bratko

The general approach of Guid & Bratko might be better able to answer the question raised by Sandorchess:
Are the endgame skills of today's grandmasters inferior to the endgame skills of grandmasters from say the 1950's - 1960's?

The theory is that today's computers have provided a new mountain of openings data not available in the 1960's. The recent technologies may be siphoning time and effort away from endgame study, to the opening phase.

Gene Milener

In Today's AM New York, an inside source is quoted as saying that during their honeymoon ( Britney Spears and Keven Federline )"They did nothing all day but have sex and play the odd game of chess."

Am I wrong or is this tourney a bit boring because guys from the western countries are missing (except Carlsen)? A provoking thesis (Championship of Moscow with inventations).

Gene, such an analysis comparing the endgame skills of today's players to those of prior errors might not tell us anything. Botvinnik and Smyslov always had adjournments where they could study the game more thoroughly than they could at the board. Any analysis would have to take the adjournment rules for a given competition into account. Anything AFTER the adjournment wouldn't help.

Playing for the adjournment also led to the odd game where one side gets an advantage, and then stalls until adjournment time. I believe the Donner-Smejkal game from the 1975 Wijk aan Zee tournament that featured something like 20 straight king moves by both sides. The kings weren't going anywhere, they were just shuffling around. Smejkal (I'll try to remember to confirm it was Smejkal later, but I know I have the right tournament and that Donner was White) had won a pawn, but wanted to figure out how to break through during adjournment. So he started shuffling his King around. Donner had no constructive plan, so he started shuffling HIS King around as well. In fact, Smejkal had to worry about repeating the position three times. BUt Smejkal moved very quickly, as did Donner, so many moves took place before the 5 hour adjournment took effect.

That's rather an extreme example, but a computer analyzing that might give Smejkal a bad grade 20 moves in a row, not knowing what the circumstances were. (And a human can only laugh at the contestants for an absurd sequence of moves.) So I don't think such analysis would be terribly helpful.

Prior _eras_, not prior errors.

>In Today's AM New York, an inside source is quoted as saying that during their honeymoon ( Britney Spears and Keven Federline )"They did nothing all day but have sex and play the odd game of chess.">

any .pgn and pictures from this tournament ?

"any .pgn and pictures from this tournament ?"

[Event "Britney Spears's latest marriage"]
[Site "Los Angeles"]
[Date "2004.09.20"]
[Round "who knows"]
[White "Spears, Britney"]
[Black "Federline, Kevin"]
[Result "0-1"]

1. g4 e5 2. f4 Qh4#

Icepick wrote (Nov 15 17:29):
Gene, such an analysis comparing the endgame skills of today's players to those of prior errors might not tell us anything. Botvinnik and Smyslov always had adjournments where they could study the game more thoroughly ...

... odd game where one side gets an advantage, and then stalls until adjournment ...

Excellent points.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on November 14, 2006 6:57 AM.

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