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Pamplona 2006

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Anyone else notice that Pamplona 2006 started yesterday? It's their strongest event ever, a quick sprint of a round-robin with eight players. Morozevich is the top seed, followed by Alexei Shirov and Dmitry Jakovenko. Shirov won the only decisive game of the first round, playing a super-theoretical Sveshnikov to beat journeyman Oleg Korneev. (Appearing next at the Waffle House rapid quad in Poughkeepsie. Seriously, the man is everywhere.) Daily Dirt poster mojo must be directed to support our man Shirov. No live games, but PGN is up. Just go to the "Masters A" menu on the left.


I hope the organisers realize their website sucks big time. EVERY tournament has live coverage nowadays, except theirs.

Strangely the link doesn't work with the extra slash at the end of the url.
So it should be:


All four games were decisive in round # 2:

Morozevich wins with Black, Jakovenko beats Illescas, Bauer defeated Korneev (who has started off 0/2), and Shirov loses to Wojtaszek (whoever he is). Easy come, easy go...I sure hope that Alexei regains his consistancy.


Round 2 on 2006/12/23 at 16:00
SNo. Name Rtg Res. Name Rtg SNo.
8 GM LAZNICKA Viktor 2596 0 - 1 GM MOROZEVICH Alexander 2747 5
6 GM SHIROV Alexei 2720 0 - 1 GM WOJTASZEK Radoslaw 2630 4
7 GM BAUER Christian 2585 1 - 0 GM KORNEEV Oleg 2657 3
1 GM JAKOVENKO Dmitry 2671 1 - 0 GM ILLESCAS CORDOBA Miguel 2620 2

Round 3 on 2006/12/24 at 16:00
SNo. Name Rtg Res. Name Rtg SNo.
2 GM ILLESCAS CORDOBA Miguel 2620 - GM LAZNICKA Viktor 2596 8
3 GM KORNEEV Oleg 2657 - GM JAKOVENKO Dmitry 2671 1
4 GM WOJTASZEK Radoslaw 2630 - GM BAUER Christian 2585 7
5 GM MOROZEVICH Alexander 2747 - GM SHIROV Alexei 2720 6

And of course, Moro-Shirov is tomorrow. Too bad this is single-round, as I would be interested (and probably more interested) in Shirov-Moro.

Wojtaszek plays the 1st board of the Hamburger SK in the German Bundesliga. So far he played three rounds where he won against Andrei Volokitin and Zbynek Hracek. He drew his game against Konstantin Landa.

Here's his debut in the Bundesliga:

[Event "Bundesliga 2006-7"]
[Site "Hamburg GER"]
[Date "2006.11.17"]
[Round "7"]
[White "Hracek, Z."]
[Black "Wojtaszek, R."]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "B90"]
[WhiteElo "2614"]
[BlackElo "2630"]
[PlyCount "56"]
[EventDate "2006.10.28"]
[EventType "team"]
[EventRounds "15"]
[EventCountry "GER"]
[Source "Mark Crowther"]
[SourceDate "2006.11.20"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 e5 7. Nb3 Be7 8. Qd2 Be6 9. f3 O-O 10. O-O-O a5 11. Qe1 Qc8 12. Bb5 Na6 13. Kb1 Nc7 14. Bd3 a4 15. Nc1 a3 16. b3 d5 17. Nxd5 Ncxd5 18. exd5 Nxd5 19. Bd2 Bf6 20. Be4 Rd8 21. Nd3 Qc7 22. Bxd5 Rxd5 23. Qe2 Rc8 24. Bb4 e4 25. fxe4 Bg4 26. Qf2 Bxd1 27. Rxd1 Qe5 28. Qxf6 Rxd3 0-1

In Pamplona he deviated from that game against Shirov:

[Site "Pamplona"]
[Date "2006.12.23"]
[Round "2.2"]
[White "Shirov, A."]
[Black "Wojtaszek, R."]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "B90"]
[WhiteElo "2720"]
[BlackElo "2630"]
[PlyCount "62"]
[EventDate "2006.12.22"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 e5 7. Nb3 Be6 8. f3 Be7 9. Qd2 O-O 10. O-O-O a5 11. Kb1 a4 12. Nc1 a3 13. b3 Ra5 14. Bc4 Bxc4 15. bxc4 Qc8 16. Qd3 Nbd7 17. Nb3 Ra6 18. g4 Rc6 19. g5 Ne8 20. Nd5 Bd8 21. Nd2 Nc5 22. Qxa3 Ra6 23. Qb2 Na4 24. Qb4 Nc7 25. Nb3 b5 26. c5 Nxd5 27. exd5 Bb6 28. cxb6 Nc3+ 29. Qxc3 Qxc3 30. Rd3 Qc4 31. Rc1 Qa4 0-1

Please forget that comment that Wojtaszek played differently against Shirov. It was of course Shirov who really deviated from that Bundesliga game.

Polish GM Radoslaw Wojtaszek was born 1987, making him 20 years old. Major accomplishment so far: he won the 2005 Polish Championship. His rating recently crossed 2600 and is still climbing steeply. He is currently #11 on the FIDE list of Juniors.

Well, who has played through Moro-Shirov? Who can explain it to me? Man, chess is so boring, isn't it.

If you can read Russian, go here -http://www.crestbook.com/?q=node/215

Gotta say I like moro-bauer more. bauer - d4, Bf4 "let's play some super-duper boring stuff take a short draw and go home" moro - Bg4! "I am gonna eat your heart for breakfast!"

moro - Bg4! "I am gonna eat your heart for breakfast!"


Anyone know what happened in the big Round 5 showdown between Morozevich and Jakovenko?

R5 morozevich-yakovenko at first sight would appear like moro is wiping the board with yako. However in the end is yet another starling demonstration that even superGMs do not know how to play rather simple endgames.

Morozevich's game against Jakovenko is once again a confirmation of two well known facts: Why Jakovenko is regarded as one of the best endgame players in the world; but specially (as discussed many times, the most recent his games against Mamedyarov and Ponomariov in Tal Memorial) the weaknesses of Morozevich in that department; this time, it wasn't enough for Moro to have three extra pawns in a moment (and not precisely isolated ones); initially I imagined Moro was in a big time trouble, but he insisted 43 (!!) moves in a theoretical K+Q vs K+R endgame; the only reason for this would be he was the one who was not in time trouble (and maybe was trying to force a blunder from Jakovenko).

With 30 seconds added for every move, time trouble should not be of any significance for a strong GM in such an elementary endgame. But my guess is nerves rather than lack of knowledge in this case.

Only patzers think that Q vs R is easy winning (elementary) endgame.

How many winning moves did Morozevich miss in the Q vs R endgame? This should make an interesting story at chessbase.com when they break out the tablebases.

I thought the Russians GMs were well trained in this stuff! Now that is -two- of them, Morozevich and Svidler, who have failed to win the endgame Q vs R.

Q vs R is an elementary endgame. Whether it's easily won depends on who you are.

Q vs. R may be "elementary" in some sense of that word, but it is not at all simple from an unfavorable position against a strong defense. The so-called "third rank defense" is not easy to crack, for example, and requires some precise and unusual maneuvers.

Dvoretsky notes Svidler's failure to win this endgame against Gelfand in 50 moves at the 2001 World Championship, although Svidler was apparently in some time trouble with a 10-second increment, and suggests that the endgame be practiced against a computer.

Karsten & Mueller note that computer databases "showed that it was quite difficult to win [Q v. R] if the defender played precisely." I also seem to recall some American GM (maybe Walter Browne?) failing to win this endgame against a specialized computer program in the '80s.

One possible test for whether an endgame is easy to win is to study it for 1 hour and then try to win it against a strong chess engine with tablebases, and some time pressure (say 25 minutes for 50 moves). I doubt many people below GM strength could beat a strong computer with tablebases in this endgame from a neutral position without more preparation than that, and I suspect that even some GMs would need more than 1 hour of study to be sure of beating the 50-move rule.

Of course, Morozevich is a auper-GM and we hold him to a higher standard. But even super-GMs get tired, and 30 seconds per move is really not enough time to calculate all the possibilities in such an endgame, or to dredge up your memories of an endgame you studied for a few hours ten years ago.

- Geof Strayer

Geof is a strong player, so I won't add much to his remarks on Q vs R, other than to expand on the historical anecdote he alluded to involving Walter Browne.

In the late 1970s (yes, it was that long ago) some programmers in California succeeded in creating the very first chess tablebase, which was K+Q v K+R, all possible positions. Since the endgame texts of the time described it as a rather easy job to win, akin to mating with B+N (or even simpler), said programmers were surprised to see how difficult it actually was. A single small slip could add 6 or 8 moves to the number required to force mate or win of the R; so that 2 small slips from a relatively unfavorable starting position might be enough to push the fastest remaining win beyond the 50-move threshold.

Eager to test their finding in practice, they set up a money-match with the strongest active player in their geographic area, GM Walter Browne. This would have occurred in 1980 or perhaps a year earlier. (I have somewhere a copy of the Northern California chess magazine from that time, that described the match and the discoveries that set the stage for it.)

I don't remember many details, other than Browne got the superior side, and wasn't able to win all the games (I think he did win a few, but I don't recall what proportion, or how many games were played altogether).

Anyway after that, informed people never again viewed K+Q vs K+R as "simple."

K+Q v K+R is certainly not an easy endgame to win in practice. In my games it appeared only once and I drew it quite comfortably (playing with K+R) against the guy of an equal strength (around 2200). The guy wasn't very happy.

Yesterday I've got curious how hard it REALLY is to win. So I did exaclty as Geof suggested: studied it for 1 hour with tablebases, then played against the comp. Well, that way it's a piece of cake. Once you know how to crack 2 key positions (one involving the third rank defense and one involving rook near the king (the one that Yakovenko employed), the win becomes automatic.

The thing is that this endgame is extremely rare, so players are not well prepared for it. And winning it UNPREPARED is really hard. Besides, psychologically and practically it's much easier to defend, because you know that your position is objectively lost, so you have nothing to lose anymore.

Oh c'mon. Give me a break - this endgame is really really easy. I do not see it being more complicated than KBN vs K (i.e. trivial if you now just a few positions). Just a bit of study mind you. And some of us did just that when Svidler failed to score against Gelfand. When 2 ppl play that is not exactly man vs. HAL. It's not that the Rook guy gonna play by the tablebase (and even then is soooo simple). If you saw how Gelfand or Jakovenko did it - very human like moves. Nothing special. It really says a lot about Svidler and Moro play. They did not know and failed to find it over the board (though Moro was really close but missed the Queen triangulation at the very end). C'mon!

It's certainly at least a bit harder than B and N; the difference is that there is skill involved in the defence as well. Of course GMs have also failed with B&N, including, unthinkably, Epishin. I don't know if it's charitable to say that he must have been drunk or not. I bet he was shortly afterwards, mind.

The Browne story was that he lost the first match, $1,000 I believe, and demanded double or quits in a rematch a week later. He went away and studied it day and night for a week, came back and tried again. Accounts now vary: my memory had him failing again, but I read some quasi-authoritative source recently which said he made it on move 50 exactly. Of course you have to remember that in those days one had to study it out of one's own head; the third-rank defence simply wasn't known.

My theory is that people of equal strength at the game itself differ quite widely in their ability to play these positions with very few pieces. It doesn't seem to run along calculating/intuitive lines, nor necssarily to be a question of study, but I've noticed it several times.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on December 23, 2006 12:49 PM.

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