Greengard's ChessNinja.com

Corus 2007 r10

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Preview: It's not quite the home stretch yet, but Topalov would come very close to putting the tournament away with a win over Carlsen today. The teen has looked very shaky at times. Radjabov has white against Svidler and we'll see if he puts his head into another lion's mouth. Karjakin-Anand could be lively based on recent history, but really I'm expecting a peaceful day. Tomorrow is a rest day. I'm live on Chess.fm with GM Joel Benjamin.

UPDATE: A very strange round that epitomized the uneven quality of the chess at Corus this year. The depth and freshness of the preparation on display was prodigious on just about every board. Unfortunately, in three cases it led to quick draws and in two cases embarrassing routs. Only two games got past the third hour and one of those ended with a brutal swindle.

The Rook Anti-Defamation League would like to have a word with Mr. Topalov. The world #1 played – guess what – an exchange sacrifice in the opening against Carlsen. It's just the latest example of the powerful and sharp opening work the Bulgarian has been displaying in abundance over the past two years. After the game he credited his second Cheparinov with the find. Carlsen's reaction bordered on panic, giving up a knight for two pawns and ephemeral chances with his rooks. When those turned out to be ghosts he resigned on move 26. Horrible. I get the feeling the Bulgarian team scours the openings looking for exchange sacs and starts there. Great stuff, although it wasn't much tested in this one. The databases show a game from 1929 with this line but between two weak players. Topalov mentioned this in his post-game press conference.

The win puts Topalov in the lead by a full point because second-place Teimour Radjabov wanted a quick day off with white and got it against Svidler. It's hard to think of another reason for repeating this line, which Svidler faced Kramnik at Corus two years ago. There he blundered and lost, but Radjabov didn't wait to see if he'd do that again and offered a draw early. Maybe he was expecting something else in the opening? Weird and very lame.

Anand took the next step on his comeback with another semi-repeat game. Yesterday he went through 20 moves of last week's theory to beat van Wely. Today Karjakin tried the white side of a Najdorf line he had with black last year. This line really doesn't seem to offer anything for White. He gets rook and knight vs queen and no chances against steady play. Morozevich beat Volokitin in this endgame with white at Biel last year, but needed black magic to do it. Anand needed just a few minutes on his clock to get to a winning position and he soon broke down White's attempts at a blockade. Black missed a few ways to end the game promptly, but it wasn't much in doubt. Really miserable from Karjakin, who drops back to an even score that is better than his play.

So some rosy red cheeks got slapped around today. Anand moves back to +2 and is in striking distance of the podium considering his last three pairings. The final round pairing of Radjabov-Topalov keeps things interesting but it would be nice to see the Azerbaijani show the fight he had at the start. Wishful thinking? Poor van Wely. He got a winning position when Aronian hung a piece but then ran into a very pretty cheapo in mutual time trouble. White's ..Rh5 was logical enough but it was practically the only non-winning move in the position! Great trap by Aronian, who stays in the hunt at +2 with the draw. Shirov-Ponomariov was largely a repeat of their game from the Tal Memorial a few months ago. White's improvement was enough for an extra pawn but the opposite-colored bishops made for an easy draw.

Macauley Peterson brought over David Navara to talk to us on Chess.fm after his short draw with Tiviakov. He admitted his nerves have been a serious problem so far but didn't sound disappointed with his score. I asked him about his development over the past year but he didn't think it was anything special. Funny coming from someone who is doing about as well in the A this year as he did in the B last year. He was a late replacement when Morozevich dropped out. Still three players without a win and three without a loss. Thursday is an off day and then I'm back live on Chess.fm for the last three rounds with GM Larry Christiansen.


Svidler's performance frankly makes one think there might be something in this notion of drug-testing in chess.

And Carlsen hasn't been much better - what on EARTH was he doing?! Apart from apparently not having seen Topalov's topical exchange sacrifice before in spite of (one hopes) preparing this opening, he then gives up a piece for more or less nothing and loses straightaway.


What are you insinuating?

Are you saying Svidler and/or Carlsen are on drugs? Performance-diminishing drugs at that? Do you actually read what you write, ever?

Chess players have bad days at the chessboard. You know, kinda like you at the keyboard...

Perhaps they should intentionally level the playing field by mandatory administration of drugs. Get all the players stoned first and then see how well they do--a test of one's ability to focus despite intoxication. Plus the short-term memory loss might cut down on the number of games that are basically twenty-move-deep opening preparation. It'd be fun!

And they say Americans don't get irony. How wrong can they be?

How does Anand win after 61.Rd1?

"And they say Americans don't get irony. How wrong can they be?"


"Perhaps they should intentionally level the playing field by mandatory administration of drugs. Get all the players stoned first [...]"

The first sentence is more correct without the word 'should' . They are playing in Netherlands, you see.

Nice backpedal. And that is not irony...

At least you are an expert at *something*.

And Who says I'm American?

Devils Advocate, get a sense of humour...

Don't know what Carlsen was doing- that was pretty poor. Karjakin didn't do the youngsters' cause much good either- going down at a rate of knots. To lose as white after playing 60 odd moves at breakneck speed isn't too clever...

Don't know what to make of Anand- he has fought back with a couple of wins after his defeats. Defeats seem to knock the stuffing out of him, both psychologically and in terms of results. Having fixed 1 out of 2 isn't bad, but based on the Chessvibes video from the previous round, you sense he isn't that interested. Compared to greats like Karpov and Kasparov, who seem to fight harder after defeats, he hasn't done too well in the past, so maybe this is a slight improvement.

He does have an easy looking finish and 2.5/3 would give him +4, which is not a bad score (should be good enough for outright 2nd). He'll be disappointed, but given that he only got 6 whites and had to face his two biggest rivals as black, it would be a performance anyone outside the top 2 would be pleased with.

How does Anand win after 61.Rd1?

Posted by: truffaut at January 24, 2007 10:28

I was asking myself the same thing. I'd have tried 61...Qg7 and then to b2 to grab the a pawn. If 62.Rd2 then Qa1 (the queen may even be immune on b2 for a while) hits h1 and a2 and something has to give. I guess that white will try to set up a fortress, but black would have all teh chances. Someone with a silicon beast will tell me where I've gone wrong here...

The knight appears to be too short range a piece for this ending.

Just think Karjakin played much too fast.

Use of some special certain drugs would probably make everyone's brains go faster. The question is by how much?

Let's see how it affected our candidate on whom this drug was tested*:
ELO(Jul_2006) = 2813;
ELO(Jan_2005) = 2757;

But the ELO scale is non-linear... so let us make some rough assumptions that:
1) brain activity is proportional to number of points scored against opponents of a fixed strength in a large number of games
2) average rating of opponents for someone at that level is 2700

Now expected scores for a player rated 2813 would be 65% and for a player rated 2757 would be 58%

This thesis on brain research concludes that brain activity can increase by roughly 7% even for that 0.1% of the poppulation that already uses 99.9% of their brain.. by the use of the new wonder drug ____(Danailov - please type name here) .. .and as for the remaining 99.9%..

* Name withheld for confidentiality
** Please consult your physician before use

What colour does Topalov have against Kramnik please?

here come the trolls... Its open season against poor Topalov, but gawd forbid that he question somebody spending almost more time in the lavatory than at the board..

Does anybody here know if:

1. Topalov or team Topalov's ever provided a log of Kramnik moves, time spent and bathroom trips versus top line of whatever type of software they believe he is using as well as time and difficulty setting they used to create the line?

2. Topalov ever stated what Kramnik's official reasons/excuses were for going to the bathroom?

3. Going to the bathroom or away from the board a lot is typical Kramnik behavior, present at other tournaments, such as Corus?

4. If the reasons/excuses given by Kramnik (medical condition, likes to think in a private settings) were true at other tournaments where he played well? And especially if he played poorly at the tournament(s), did he still go to the bathroom a lot?

Providing the answers to these questions would seem to me to be actual "questioning" of Kramnik's actions. The approach chosen by Team Danailov has alternated between goading and foaming at the mouth.

Back to the tournament, this seems like prima proof of the fact that certain GMs just don't play as aggressively as others in non-title tournaments. Svidler and Kramnik have been content with early draws, even in positions with plenty of opportunities. Topalov is seeking to win as many games as possible and so are some of the other youngsters. Anand...well, let's just say he is demonstrating why he is so good at finishing second.

If they had only asked why Kramnik was very often in the lavatory, nobody would have mind. That was a very legitimate question.

But then, without any proof at all, there came the stories about "80% of his moves matches Fritz", "There was internet connection in the lavatory" and "He cheated, even in the rapids.".

Topailov asks us to believe that Kramnik more than 10 times an hour

1. Goes to the lavatory
2. Climbs on the toilet seat
3. Tears down the ceiling
4. Plugs in a device (although there were strict searches before the games) in a cable that has no internet jack
5. Gets some quick hints from a KGB man
6. Unplugs the device, restores the ceiling without a trace
7. Plays the awfully strong move of Fritz/KGB

I'm also wondering why he kept going to the lavatory that often, but the theory that he was secretly smoking cigarettes seems far more plausible to me than the theory above.


We Americans prefer "explained" irony.

Topalov has played wonderful chess, as usual. It must be really irritating to some people.


You don't have it quite right. The KGB men were chess retards giving Kramnik substandard moves. That is why Topalov was able to play better chess than Kramnik at Elista.

Yes, even Topalov haters would have to admit that Topalov really and truly is the only one consistently playing any real chess.

"Nice backpedal. And that is not irony..."
What does he have to backpedal from, your lack of comprehension?

"At least you are an expert at *something*."
Meh, at least he is an IM, expert enough. :)

"And Who says I'm American?"
Would you prefer he simply called you retarded?

Nobody is irritated by the inspiring play of the chessplayer Topalov, I guess. He sets a positive example by trying every single game.

Unfortunately the person Topalov seems to lack some important human qualities. Which is indeed really irritating to some people.

Who? Topalov? Oh, you mean Topailov! 'The entity' has also played considerably higher percentage of comp moves than other participants. So I guess that is bound to be 'wonderful chess'... Too bad the entity smeared its own face with insults towards Kramnik - specially when themselves seem much more suspicous in that sense - so I don't give a 'scheisse' for his/their 'chess' anymore.

"Anand...well, let's just say he is demonstrating why he is so good at finishing second."


just like he did in 2004, right ?

Ooops Loek van Wely throws away an otherwise well deserved victory over Aronian with 38.Rh5?? Ok there was timetrouble but this allowed Aronian to play one of his cheap tactics as he once called them and equalize.

Carlsen making it very easy for Topalov today. I doubt whether he prepared the sacrifice but 24...R8c1 followed by Rc4 was necessary to prevent white from freeing his rook so easily.

"Back to the tournament, this seems like prima proof of the fact that certain GMs just don't play as aggressively as others in non-title tournaments."
What are "title" tournaments? To my knowledge there have been only two "title" tournaments in history, if that term is meant to describe tournaments which lead to WC titles. Given that the protagonists of the first tournament are not playing here, which is "prima" obvious, and quite a fe who did play in the second arent either, I dont understand this comment at all. Exactly which GMs dont play aggressively?

Corus, Linares, and Dortmund, with no WCC implications, are the equivalent of "exhibition" tournaments. It is wonderful that Fischer, Kasparov, and Topalov always seemed to bring their "a" game to such events.

But it is hardly surprising many other prefer to save their innovations and energy for WCC-linked events. Bringing back the old zonal-interzonal-candidates structure would be the best way to encourage "fighting chess."

Let's finish with this "Topailov"/"entity" business. It really is quite childish.

As computers are now stronger than humans, its not surprising that the only human playing strong moves has a 'considerably higher percentage of comp moves than other participants'. By the quality of their chess, they sure as hell aren't using them, that's obvious!

Why are people imitating such a childishly insulting spelling as "Topailov"? So funny Mr. Grinhard.

Topalov is a great and fighting player.

"Topalov has played wonderful chess, as usual. It must be really irritating to some people."

For the record, I am not one of them. I wrote my previous post more in jest since even a lot of people seem to feel something is wrong somewhere (Khalifman included)... I am curious as to what made Topalov's strength shoot up so suddenly. Did he start doing something differently, or he just started working harder on openings or did he get inspiration/enlightenment or...? Has anyone ever asked him in an interview as to how he suddenly became so strong??

If you look at the other players like Kramnik or Kasparov or Anand their very special talent was identified from the start.... Topalov was never spoken of in the same breath as those guys till very recently.. and now he is beating them all (even beat Gary in their last game, remember..)

I agree with you about the zonal-interzonal-candidates structure (with modifications), Greg.
However, Fischer and Kasparov did pretty well in these WCC-linked events, too, despite not 'saving' themselves for them (Curacao 1962, when Fischer was 19, being the sole exception). And Kramnik did not do very well in such events, failing 3 times before 2000, as well as 2 failures in FIDE KO Championships.
Topalov is not yet at the Fischer/Kasparov level, but he sure is the 'Kasparov' of this tournament. If he can keep this up, he may well get there.

GSCA (Linares, Corus, Bilbao and Mtel Sofia organizers) announcement on www.chessvibes.com is interesting. Just note the condition that the top 4 ranked players must participate in all 4 or none. It is another way of Danailov (oraganizer of Mtel Sofia) trying to disrupt Kramnik's plans, who would like to skip Sofia tournament where the environment could be very hostile for him (Kramnik).

"I am curious as to what made Topalov's strength shoot up so suddenly. Did he start doing something differently, or he just started working harder on openings or did he get inspiration/enlightenment or...?"

If you go to chess metrics, you'd see that Kasparov too had a performance jump in 1988-1990 of about 50 points, at age 25-27 ; Anand in 1997-1999 (at age 28-30), Korchnoi in 1977-1980 (at age 57)... It's not extraordinary to gain 50 rating points at age 30, especially when you stop to be at the wrong end of Kasparov brilliancies at every tournament.

"I am curious as to what made Topalov's strength shoot up so suddenly. Did he start doing something differently, or he just started working harder on openings or did he get inspiration/enlightenment or...?"

Interesting. The question that has always been bothering me was why Toplaov's strength dropped temporarily after ~ 1996.

To this Mikhail Golubev gave a convincing explanation on the chesspro.ru forum. Unfortunately, my Russian is not good enough to translate it quickly.

The latest Yuri Vasiliev article on chesspro is funny. Maybe Russianbear would wish to translate it; it is partially in response to the Khalifman’s attack against Topalov that russianbear found worth the effort to translate.

StringTheory: I totally agree with you. I have been writing about this for quite sometime now.

Topalov's sudden rise is suspicious. An article from Chessbase: "Goichberg said the older methods of cheating were easier to spot, but there are signs to indicate when someone may be using a computer program.............Another signal is if a player shows a significant improvement over a short period of time, something that is rare among adult players".

His team wanted to throw the garbage on Kramnik because he was probably deprived of this external support at Elista, which he manages to get in other places including Sofia. Otherwise, why would they wanted to have the follow-up World Championship match in Bulgaria out of all the places. Why can't it be a neutral venue?
Anand was asked to play at the World Trade Center, New York against Kasparov and Kramnik as a second. It took two Ks to beat the then young Vishy.
To me, Topalov's team didn't trust Kramnik because they were genuinely scared of him being able to get assistance which they couldn't get in the first place. From another perspective, it is certainly not a good sign to make two many bathroom trips anyway. So Kramnik also has to be blamed.

If they are truly good, why couldn't they play well when it comes to Rapids? I think, for the good of chess and to get TV publicity and make the sport really appealing to the mass, reduce the time limit by at least 1/2. In cricket for e.g., puritans complained a big deal against the faster version of the game (which still takes 8 hours)when it was first introduced, but such complaints were quickly put aside. The faster version called "One Day Cricket" is so appealing to the general public and is watched by billions around the globe. They have World Championships only for the faster version. The same holds good for Rapid Chess too.

The Rapids (not Blitz) will also greatly reduce, if not eliminate, the external influence (illegal use of computers, sign language etc.) and people won't have time for seeking help either.

To me, it appears that the so called chess champions- Topalov, Kramnik play poli'tricks' than genuine chess. Whenever the top players can't play well under tighter time control, one needs to take a closer look at their chess.

- Gans

To those who are not fully introduced to Topa's life as a chess player. Till 2005 Topa has never had a coach to work with him but despite this he is in top 10 of the world and 2700+ Elo rated player for almost 10 years. As soon as Topa and Silvio started to work with Cheparinov results were obvious - better openings, various opening lines and a good preparation in common. Thats obvious - Topa is more constant player at the moment but he has always been a very, very good one.

Gibraltar with Adams and Korchnoj is going on right now. Hikaru is there too.

as a Brit, you are quite familiar with irony when it comes to Americans.

Thanks Vasil Mihailov. What you've written is the first normal explanation of this that I've seen anywhere.. ie, one not dealing with use of Fritz, transmitters, chemicals, coded messages sent from someone in the audience, etc..

I actually suspected that it might have something to do with working with Cheparinov (don't like Danailov enough to give him any credit :) but I wasn't aware that Topa had never worked with anyone till then... still all I am saying is that his rise has been sensational and he seems to have gone from just a very good player (like: Svidler, Leko, Moro,.. etc) to a being in a class of his own.. the unofficial WC champion for me

Topa has always been a very good and talanted player but he needed to be constant. Actually, working with Cheparinov both players got benefits of that.

Topalov is the one who plays the best chess.
This is obvious enough but how about the much hated Danailov ?

Isn't remarkable that he can bring $2 mil to the table ? Not only a big mouth but also an effective business-man too. A rare sight in the kirsanian-- wishful thinking prone-- world of chess.

More power to these guys. That's the way thing should go : real games and real money.

"At least you are an expert at *something*."
Meh, at least he is an IM, expert enough. :)

International Moron?

Now I see....

Thanks for clearing that up, Mondo.

Vasil Mihailov: "Till 2005 Topa has never had a coach to work with him"

Cheparinov's assistance seems to be a major turn in Topa's career, but aren't you exaggerating a bit? First of all he's long had Danailov, a not too bad IM as a trainer, but already in his childhood Topalov had a good chess educational background:

"[W]hat contributed to Rousse's [Topalov's hometown] club the most was the teaching system created by International Masters Petko Atanasov and Ivo Donev. As briefly mentioned earlier, they were the trainers of GM Veselin Topalov, whose talent exceeded everybody's expectations by entering the top 5 (and hopefully becoming a World Champion one day). In 1988 Topalov became the World Champion for 12 and younger (master at the time) and left Rousse's team in search for greater glory in international tournaments for men..."

Quoted from the site http://www.creativechess.com/Lessons/lessons.htm

Read Khalifman's remarks. The translation is good. The stuff regarding Topalov's facial expression and the alleged use of drugs would be pretty funny if it wasn't for the sad realization that we see just the opening salvo of what's yet to come from there... Of course, one can throw a stink about it, if emulating those other guys who pick on every word and act like raped, but I think the time has come to take the high road and not look back.


here come the trolls... Its open season against poor Topalov, but gawd forbid that he question somebody spending almost more time in the lavatory than at the board..

--Posted by: d at January 24, 2007 10:55

Here, here.

Topalov has played wonderful chess, as usual. It must be really irritating to some people.

--Posted by: raindeer at January 24, 2007 11:28

Yes, this is what I expected at Elista: the typical powerhouse Topalov treatment. Instead his play was marred by all of those god-awful ??-blunders.

Now Topalov is playing without making those terrible blunders and what is the result? Undefeated +5 after 10 rounds, +5 =5 -0, an outstanding performance thus far.

I hope he wipes out Svidler on Friday and clinches first.

Title tournaments are

a) round-robin tournaments in which championship is at stake: Hague, San Luis, Mexico
b) round-robin tournaments in which the winner will get to play the champion: Curacao, Zurich, Dortmund 2002
c) tournaments that are part of WCC cycle: Interzonals, World Cup
d) for the point I am making, match-format candidates and championship cycles are also title tournaments

The GMs who aren't playing aggressively in Corus 2007, and the two names that come to mind for me are Kramnik and Svidler have done well when the title was on the line (the former in his matches against Kasparov and Topalov, the latter finishing tied for second in San Luis). Here, their games end early in interesting positions, which still have a lot of possibility. I look at how Svidler and Kramnik's game end and I think, you are not in a losing position, you have some initiative, you are 20 moves into the game...*sigh*.

Come to think of it, Kramnik having not so many draws in Elista was due to him playing Topalov, who rejected early draws and made mistakes as games went on, not to any change in style or aggressiveness. And I don't remember Svidler's play in San Luis at all, which tells me it probably wasn't very memorable (+1.5). So maybe their A game would still only get them a +1.5 or so in this format.

And to give my 2 cents to the discussion of Topalov's fast rise:
Once I asked Topalov (must have been 1999-2000) what it takes to be the best in chess? what he needs to do to become the best? At that time he was lingering at rank 7-10 and was not winning tournaments the way he had been doing in 1996 when he reached #4 in the world.

He said "I need to work much harder. It takes 8-10 hours a day of preparation. It is a very hard work. And you know I often want to do other things - go out, have fun"

"How much hours a day you spend in preparation now?" - was my next question.
"About 4 and I need to get my desire back"

Doesn't he want to be the best, I asked him then.

"Well yes, but 10 hours ... and it is not guaranteed that will take me there"

In 2004 he sounded like a man "with desire". With Cheparinov on board and working 8-10 hours a day, don't be so amused of his rise. I truly believe that he works harder than the others and he has bigger desire to be the best.

Kasparov retirement just catalyzed the process of “freeing the spirit from the bottle”.


I think Topalov became so strong because he is not afraid to lose. Losing is how you learn. Capablanca said that he learned more from his handful of losses than anything else.

Most of the top players (Leko, Kramnik, Svidler, etc.) are afraid to lose. That's why they play short draws against each other, because they are -both- afraid of losing.

But when you are afraid of losing, you are also afraid of improving! And because Topalov plays out the double-edged positions and nearly equal endgames, he learns when he loses them. And as a result, he improves! The others do not improve because they are afraid to lose.

Think of the Leko-Kasparov game from Linares 2005, when Leko was down a pawn in an attacking position against Kasparov's Najdorf. He bailed out with a quick draw. Just imagine how much he would have learned if he had continued his attack, win or lose. But no, Leko was afraid of losing so he took the quick draw. This fear of losing is exactly why Leko will never be #1 and Toplaov is.

R10 updated added to the main item. You may now return to the regularly schedule slander.

Yes, Topalov has certainly had trainers before, but he himself has attributed his recent success to the formation of 'team Topalov', to Danailov taking over every aspect of his life, and to Cheparinov dedicating himself to opening preparation on his behalf. I can believe it too. Short's greatest success - his run to the Candidates final and victory over there over Karpov (or was that the semi-final; anyway you know what I mean) - was achieved after the formation of a similar team led by Kavalek, who famously declared that he used to tell Nigel 'when it was time to piss'.

Either tiring of this treatment, or being naturally a graceless breadhead (your call) Short of course fell out with Kavalek over money, and found himself being slaughtered by Kasparov, but during that period he played the best chess of his life.

Much the same as Michelle Smith used to say, of course (if anyone remembers her). But still.

And Topalov of course was Kasparov's bunny, which Kramnik never was. It's natural too that his rating would improve relative to Kramnik's once Gazza retired.

Topalov's had a following wind in this tournament, but he's played very well for sure. It's a shame he revealed himself as such an utter knob at Elista, but there it is. Until he grows up and apologises he'll always be like Alekhine - fine player but regrettably a racist cretin. (or in Topalov's case, paranoid raver). And indeed the same goes for Danailov - undoubtedly he has energies which could be doing the chess world some good. Instead, his main achievements are persuading Ponomariov not to play Kasparov, almost wrecking Elista and making himself and his charge a laughing stock in the eyes of much of the world.

Topalov's rise in chess is one thing, Accusing Kramnik of cheating is a whole different ball of wax.

That is what people are upset with him/Danilov about... Not his play.

Egad - it seems I owe Svidler an apology. Shipov's site (the Russian comes out scrambled on my machine) had him blundering horribly and losing. But presumably the corrupt text must have been pointing out that this could have happened (maybe it was how he lost to Kramnik in this line previously?) and that in fact a draw was agreed earlier.

In 2000, Kasparov and the arbiter handled the bathroom situation so discretely and professionally that the chess public wasn't even aware that there had been a problem until it came out six years later. They were professionals acting with dignity. Contrast those who contaminate every Daily Dirt thread shouting "Bathroom! Bathroom! Bathroom!"

A number of Russians (including Kasparov) made or repeated allegations that Topalov had been cheating. Kramnik never did. To (hopefully) protect all parties from unsubstantiated allegations that had marred San Luis, Kramnik, Topalov, and Kirsan agreed on anti-cheating measures at Elista. Professional, dignified.

Following Topalov/Danailov's absurd post-Elista allegations, Team Kramnik has responded once, saying the allegations were beneath comment.

I agree with Dimi that Khalifman's absurd allegations against Topalov should also be treated with silent contempt.

Mig, I thought Kempinski played this same exchange sacrifice last year? I suppose if I wasn't so lazy I could get out Megabase and TWIC and check, but a normally reliable poster said so.

The Rook Anti-Defamation League would like to have a word with Mr. Topalov.

Damn, that's too funny, Mig. :-)


round-robin tournaments in which the winner will get to play the champion also include Candidates 1950 (Budapest), Candidates 1956 (Amsterdam), and Candidates 1959 (Bled-Zagreb-Belgrade).

Dortmund 2002 was not a round robin. It was an obscenity.

In the only way that success could be defined at San Luis, that of coming first, Svidler was not at all successful. He never seriously challenged for first place.

Corus, Linares, and Dortmund, with no WCC implications, are the equivalent of "exhibition" tournaments. It is wonderful that Fischer, Kasparov, and Topalov always seemed to bring their "a" game to such events.

--Posted by: greg koster at January 24, 2007 12:04

Yes, Fischer, Kasparov, and Topalov play like true World Champions, like Alekhine did. They would simply not allow you to take 1/2-point away from them.

Not in my DB of the Mega and the last year or two of TWIC. Everyone played 10.Nd2 except in that 1929 game. Maybe it's missing that exact game, happened before. But Topalov also said it hadn't been played at a decent level before. Maybe Kempinski played it somewhere out of the databases or it was just something quite similar. It's a recently popular line.

In 1996, or thereabouts, Kasparov said that he considers Topalov his likely successor. Then they played a demonstration match in Sofia, which Kasparov won with a margin. I might be slightly off on the years, but anyway, then Topalov virtually disappeared from the picture. I didn't care about chess either.

People's lives do not follow a linear ascension. There are so many other factors involved.


gmnotyet said :
Yes, Fischer, Kasparov, and Topalov play like true World Champions, like Alekhine did. They would simply not allow you to take 1/2-point away from them.

I agree 100%. Topalov games sometimes remind me of Fischer. The opponent is playing proper moves, nothing seems to be wrong ... but ... suddenly he is losing ...

I cannot blame older accusations of cheating (although of course he is definitely NOT cheating) : the guy is playing in his own league, almost like a computer. We are lucky that we can watch him : he never gives the game up !!


I was not trying to attempt to list every round robin candidates final in history, just give a few examples.

The first stage of Dortmund 2002 was a two-group round-robin. I don't like how they scheduled it either, but that's irrelevant.

In San Luis it was hard for anybody to challenge Topalov for the first slot. Being second to Roger Federer often indicates playing phenomental tennis. Svidler coming in second at San Luis is one of his top results to date and was above where most people expected him to finish.

Looking at earlier videos Carlsen seems to be late quite often.

Against Topalov he even looked sleepy !

I have noticed earlier pictures eg. from the Tal memorial where he looked tired early in a game.

No more Childrens Channel in the evenings at the hotel room Carlsen, please!

why do people care how a certain player is off the board? if Topa is an a-hole, fine he's an a-hole. u wouldnt get an arguement from me on that. but on the board he is the best current player. his games are more exciting to watch. he fights for wins, even with black. he doesnt have short draws, etc.

people who dont mind that players dont even try to win (short draws) i compare to the little girl next door who likes an actor cuz he's cute, not becuase he's a good actor.


Yes, Topalov is clearly the hardest working man in chess. And then everyone wonders why he does so well, like it's some kind of mystery.

Being a Kramnik fan, I am dissapointed at his lack of 'interest' in this tournament as exhibited by his play.

Topalov, in spite of all his personality shortcomings, has played well to this point and deserves to be lauded for that.

If anything, this makes it clearer, based on recent history, that Topalov is a better tournament player and Kramnik the better match player, and that makes sense: To win tournaments, you must take on a certain amount of risk, whereas match play calls for tempered, careful play.

Good luck to all.

"I agree 100%. Topalov games sometimes remind me of Fischer. The opponent is playing proper moves, nothing seems to be wrong ... but ... suddenly he is losing ..."

Am I the only one who completely disagrees? The games of Topalov to me usually have more than a few errors on his opponents part, the style is nothing like Bobby's and I can't recall many of "nothing seems to be wrong to sudden Topalov-brought on catastrophe" moments.


I have said for many years that it is borderline criminal that Kramnik receives a World Champion's appearance fee for this crap, e.g., a 17-move draw against the lowly-rated Motylev.

They should just stop inviting Kramnik to tournaments since all he cares about is WC matches.

gmnotyet--(when are you going to change your handle to gmatlast?)

World championship match victories over top ranked players Kasparov and Topalov, six years apart, is "true world champion" material. And I suppose you'd have to call Botvinnik a "true world champion" as well, even though he hardly played at all aside from his WCC matches.

Tournament victories over somewhat lesser lights are exciting. (See Bent Larsen or the early Robert Fischer.) But few people remember the top-rated player of 1907, 1927, 1947, or 1967; and the 1993-2005 FIDE champions are similarly non-descript. Topalov needs to grab himself a long-match title before history will regard him as a "true world champion."

@Yuriy Kleyner:

I was not talking about Topalov's style but his fighting spirit.

Fischer, Kasparov, Alekhine, and Topalov are similar in that they all fight in almost every game as if their life depended on it.

Looks like the Topa Mania started again. Ouch.
Suggestion to Mig: Have you ever thought about writing an article about the speed the games are played today? We know that Anand always played fast (even in losing positions), but today's players are All playing very fast. 20 moves in 30 minutes isn't an exception. The only old school guy seems to be Shirov. He plays like in the eighties and is much slower than the others.
Surprsing enough that today's game van Wely - Aronian ended in a time trouble shoot-out before the first time control.


If player A is an a-hole, that doesn't affect most of us and our response may/should be limited to simply disliking the guy.
If player B conducts a smear campaign against another GM or makes baseless accusations of cheating against somebody, that stains the game of chess, has slanderous effect on other player's career and affects how future tournaments will be conducted.
If player C makes disparaging remarks about members of a certain race or physically assaults other people, I believe that is immoral and we should care; our response should go beyond simple like/dislike.

The "best current player" was beaten by Kramnik in a match, with the odds of "one more white to Topalov" and delivered a dismal 2645 performance in Essent. Let's wait for more before we anoint him with this title.

It seems too obvious to be said, but I really do wonder whether some of the dimmer posters realise it at all. All this Kramnik-only-draws stuff arises from a fundamentally different approach to the game. Kramnik believes, like many GMs and particularly many of the Russian school, in playing correctly, in seeking the truth. With Black, he considers that the Petroff is the most correct opening, so that's what he plays. If it allows White to draw, well so what? White should be trying to demonstrate his edge.

Topalov's approach is different: he wants to win every game and he doesn't care (apart from practical considerations) whether his play is correct or not.

By and large the stronger the player the more able they are to appreciate Kramnik's approach rather than Topalov's. For anyone below mid-ranking GM strength there's really no point in trying to play 'correctly' because you are so far from being able to do so it's ridiculous. Of course that's no reason why weaker players should enjoy Kramnik's play - de gustibus non est disputandum, as they say in Bulgaria - but at least they should try and understand and respect his motives. Dissing the play of the best chess player presently around isn't big or clever (for example this scared-to-lose stuff merely tells one immediately that the speaker has no idea about the game).

If it is true that Black can neutralise 1 e4 easily with the Petroff, that would be a very fundamental discovery about chess. We ought to be witnessing a fascinating battle around that theme: Kramnik has been playing the Petroff more or less exclusively for some years now, and White players have had every opportunity to show their ideas. To a certain extent we are, but in this tournament we're not, either because no-one has any fresh ideas for White at this level, or more likely because they calculate that it makes more sense simply to get by Kramnik and show any ideas they have when they have more chance of success. You will not see short draws from Kramnik with White, or at least only when his play goes wrong and someone equalises completely as Carlsen did. You could see that wasn't his plan - it's obvious from the post mortem video how frustrated he was.

Oooh, a new Kasparovsaid. (Dimi's above about Topalov being Kasparov's successor.) I don't recall such a statement and it would surprise me if he said that. Topalov is only ten years his junior and Garry didn't do much successor talk back then, especially not about his peers. I can remember a few statements about Kramnik having clear world championship potential. I've been wrong on these before, but I do like to source as many Kasparovsaids as I can. One hears the most outlandish things.

Kasparov did make a few "worthy successor" comments about Topalov's results and style after he retired. I'd be interested to see anything from the 90's.

rdh, you can't blame fans for liking what they like. It's not as simple as saying that if you don't enjoy Kramnik's play it's because you don't understand it, or his motivations. Knowing that Kramnik plays black to draw and white for safe advantage doesn't mean you can't find that approach boring and say so. Fans speak from the heart and don't have an obligation to see everything through the eyes of others. If Tal had played like Petrosian he wouldn't have been a legend no matter how much he smoked, drank, and wrote. Everyone appreciates things on their own level and that appreciation is valid on that level.

Kudos on the Topalov post above, btw.

Mig, I distinctly remember an interview with Kasparov in a Bulgarian newspaper (do not think just a journalist rephrasing it) in which Kasparov said something like this: "For awhile I considered Topalov to be my likely successor..." "...but he is not doing so well lately".

I mean, it's not really important, least I have a desire to lie, but this happenned sometime in 1996-99.If it is really an issue, I'm sure you can ask the big one, I'm sure he can easily confirm/refute that (considering his memory capacity).



have you considered the tag of georgealready? After all, it was his post and not your comment that I was arguing with in the post to which you are responding.


I am not sure there is such a Russian school or that Kramnik is a truth seeker...an explanation of Kramnik's excellent technical skills and aversion to risk make his style a natural fit for him and puts an Ocham's razor through any sort of complex psychological motivation.

Mig, I am confident Kasparov said after Topalov won Novgorod(?) in 1996 that there had previously been only three contenders for his crown (Anand and Kramnik but I can't think who else - Ivanchuk) but that Topalov had now joined the club.

OK, I will spoil you. He was quoted in New in Chess 3/96, page 14, as saying that there were only five players he could see as serious contenders, the above three plus Karpov and Kamsky. And that with the chess he is now playing Topalov has joined the club. That was Amsterdam, I see, not Novgorod. So OK, I was confident but I was wrong. Not bad, though.

I don't blame anyone for liking what they like - I thought I said that? But this Kramnik-is-a-scared-little-weenie stuff is pathetic. He didn't beat the great Kasparov - something Topalov could never, ever, have done - by being scared to lose.

At least people should make an effort to appreciate what they're seeing. If they don't they just stamp themselves as fools.

The "best current player" was beaten by Kramnik in a match, with the odds of "one more white to Topalov"

--Posted by: Yuriy Kleyner at January 24, 2007 15:28

There they go again, the Kramnik supporters calling Elista an "odds" match because Kramnik won by only the slimmest possible margin, 3-2 in classical.

If Kramnik had won decisively, say 4-1 or 6-0, we wouldn't be hearing about any of this odds match nonsense, would we?

Anything to make Kramnik's narrow victory seem more decisive than it really was.

Yah, not bad. I know that one, but the distinction between contender and successor is a clear one. He was complimenting their level. Only when tykes like Radjabov came up did Garry really start to talk about the inevitable and use words like successor.

I'll dig up he actual numbers some time but I remember doing a poll in 2000 (probably pre-London) asking readers to vote on "who will be the dominant player from 2000-2010". I believe Kasparov got the largest share, followed by Anand and probably Kramnik. Radjabov was in there too, I think. I doubt Topalov's name came up.

Yuriy - obviously there are many Russian schools. But this notion of correctness and of a draw being a good result with Black is perceived by most western chess literature as being commoner in Russia than here; one associates Timman and Larsen in their day with being the antipodes of it (and even more so Miles). Kramnik's 'I can't play moves that hurt my eyes' and 'a painter simply paints' comments were getting at the same sort of thing, I think. Of course it's an over-simplification, but I do think there's a fundamental truth there.

rdh, nobody is disputing the enormous and proven quality of someone like Kramnik. He can play lazily like now (just married, I see) or be very dangerous when pressed against the wall. It's just that his style can only be appreciated by the true students of the game. And that is not a minor thing if you consider that a sport is an entertainment and very few are in the elite group to actually appreciate what is going on to the fullest. This ancient debate occurs in most areas -- "the purists" vs. "the popular". The growth, if that's the intention, favors the second group...



I appreciate Kramnik's style. I just do not like how he phones in his Black games, like today's 17-move draw against Motylev.

Kramnik gives 100% when he has White. Why can't he do the same with the Black pieces?

I am not asking him to play in a risky fashion but Kramnik acts like playing Black is such a huge handicap that a draw is a great outcome.


Nice post at 15:29.


When the play of the world champion, one of the more accurate players in chess history is "boring" to legions of players, maybe it's time to make a change, as they do in every other sport.

Introducing a new opening setup or two into the mix would bring back the freshness and excitement of 19th century chess. No rules would change, no chessbook or game collection would be rendered obsolete, and games would once again start on Move One rather than on Move Thirty.

If we'd been playing "random" chess for 400 years, how many people would now vote for restricting the game to just one opening setup and ultimately achieving draw-rates of 75% or so in world championship play?

Yes, I'd also credit Kramnik's style at least as much to risk-aversion as to a search for truth. I've noticed a tendency in players to retroactively formulate a "chess philosophy" that explains why the playing style that comes naturally to them is philosophically justified.

Note also that there isn't a single chess "truth." It's not like Shirov knowingly goes for inferior situations; he just goes for unclear situations where he has a better feel for the "truth." Kramnik, on the other hand, prefers less complex situations where his grasp of the "truth" of the position is better.

I wonder if some people have actually considered the idea that if a grandmaster thinks it is best for him to take a quick draw with black, and that grandmaster is a 3 time reigning world champion, maybe he knows what he is doing. It seems to me that it is rather presumptuous to criticize such decisions by Kramnik.

About Topa's progress - PART II
For those who think that Danailov helped TOpa as a coach till 2005 you must consider that chess skills of Silvio are much lower than his current elo of 2400+, trust me! Silvio is a dull player, helpless as a trainer but a good businessman. For so called "chess proffesionals" the above statement is as true as the sunrise every morning from the east. A president of any country would never be involved to participate in event which is organized by man with no respect. Keep in mind that the president of Bulgaria, who supports the re-match of Elista is a member of the communist party in Bulgaria /for those who seek politics in chess/ and connected to Russia as mush as you want.
Secondly I want to remember that TOpa has always been a sharp player, a risky one and he could hardly stop pushing in his game. This fact cost him losts of losses. Remember Topa-Leko match 2004 I think. Its cool that now he can control this animal chasing instinct in him and when its a draw position, its a draw - no more risks and fault pushes.

It's not presumptious to criticize Kramnik if you don't like his style. It's a statement of preference so you are arguing at cross-purposes. You're telling people who like Christina Aguilera that they shouldn't say Strauss is boring. People don't have to couch issues of preference with "I think" or "to me" because this is obvious, or should be. Bothering to debate these necessarily simplistic criticisms is the stupid part.

DaneDude: No more Childrens Channel in the evenings at the hotel room Carlsen, please!

I surely hope nobody pushes these kids to do that. They probably need some development outside of the chess openings in order to be well rounded individuals. Because not all them look that way…

We used to play tons of chess when we were kids. I bought two chess sets in my son's school recently, hoping to get them interested instead of that Pokemon thing. But when the teenage years arrived, most of our game was reduced to trying to push the rook on the f-line.

Also -- I know we're mixing topics here left and right, but can someone expand on what does Khalifman mean exactly when he refers to Carlsen lacking a "school". Does it mean that this super-talent never got the tutelage and nourishment during his chess development from a major coach? Something like Botvinik schooling Karpov, Kasparov, etc. How could he develop so far and so fast without a some schooling then? Talent alone?


Mig, I don't mind Christina Aguilera people saying Strauss is boring. What I find a little strange, however is when people say something like

[I think] Kramnik should have played on.


[I think] Kramnik should be more agressive with black.

My response to that is: oh yeah? Well, KRAMNIK thinks Kramnik should have taken a draw. And KRAMNIK thinks the way Kramnik plays with black is fine. And since Kramnik is the 3 time reigning world champion, Kramnik knows best what is good for him - at least as far as chess-related decisions are concerned.

Well, I am of the opinion that Kasparov is the greatest chess player of our time, that he chose his peer, himself, and that Kramnik is todays worlds best match player.
The planet will see more people playing chess. And those people will be Borg. And resistance
will be futile.
Now that is irony!

Funny you should say that, Dimi. I'm not sure what you're responding to, but last night I talked with Garry about a book of Capablanca writings he's reading. (Something like "Capablanca in his own words" in Russian. A large compilation of excerpts and articles.) In one of them Capa talks about the importance of a well-rounded education for success in chess. Very interesting stuff I hope to track down in English or Spanish.

Khalifman's comments echo many I've heard the senior class (over 35, say) of Soviet/Russian players say about the new generation of youngsters. That they lack a firm basis of positional understanding and technique that was deeply impressed on players coming up in the semi-mythical Soviet school by generations of trainers. Part of it is systematic, in my understanding, and other aspects are content. I.e. work ethic and then the broad range of types of positions any aspiring young candidate was expected to master in the middlegame and endgame. Garry often refers to a mistake as a "lack of chess culture" or something like that.

Talent and the huge amount of preparation that can be done with computers can substitute for a lot of that and accelerates development tremendously. But it can also leave a lot of holes behind, so the theory goes. Carlsen was well-coached early by Agdestein, no doubt. And there is also a healthy dose of prejudice toward the Soviet/Russian side in such comments, which is only natural. Still, there is the feeling that super-tots like Carlsen are tossed into the arena asap for fame and fortune at the cost of seasoning that would allow for steadier, more well-rounded growth in the long run. This new generation is much more about playing almost constantly and a computer-influenced lack of dogma. Soon there won't be any others to compare them to, so it's hard to compare directly.

Imagine Kasparov having been unleashed on the world as a 12-year-old. I'm sure he would have jumped up the ranks very quickly and gotten a ton of press and invitations. But would he have had the grounding to deal with Karpov later without those extra four years with Botvinnik and tough sessions with coaches? Fischer is the counter-example, I suppose, of someone who raised his game to the top level by pure trial in combat and individual study.

Talking about Danailov's approch to computer assistance, if you analyze today's Topa game with a machine (I did with Shredder) you will discover that ALL of Topa's moves from 14.Qxc3 to 26.h4 are also preferred by the the machine. 100% correspondence. On the other hand Carlsen's moves are mostly not even on top three position.

Fischer had Jack Collins even when he was about 16, already playing at the interzonal. He also read a great amount of Russian chess literature.

I think this lonely fighter image is mostly mythical about certain players. The way I see it, geniuses and lesser talents find what they need; when they need a coach they find them, and when they need to work alone they are not afraid to do so.

Is it true that Kasparov offered to train Carlsen, and Magnus declined saying that he doesn't want to go the Russian way?

I don't think Collins was exactly in Botvinnik's league, with all respect to the man. Very different story.

Train Carlsen? Oh, the Barden thing. With a full-time political career and his book coming out in several languages all over this year Garry's not exactly putting out a coaching shingle. To my knowledge they had one brief session and I'm probably not even supposed to talk about that. Any offer would have been to provide coaches or the occasional joint analysis. Maybe Yuri is getting bored with the Kosintseva sisters...

To me it seems like Kramnik's win over Topalov in Elista was a fluke. Topalov is clearly the best player in the world at the moment. He must've been rattled by the way the first two games of that match went. Had he been a little more fortunate and won the second game and/or drawn the first one (both of which he normally should have) I am sure that he would've defeated Kramnik by a margin of about two points.

Fluke? Let's get something straight. At the board, Kramnik defeated Topalov 6-5, despite having one fewer Whites. In the rapids portion, Kramnik defeated Topalov to win the title. Do we hear a theme here? Yes, the theme is this:

Kramnik defeated Topalov.

So get over it.

People have been talking about schools in chess and the "truth" of the game like the game is some philosohy form and not a finite (albeit huge) problem.
The Russian school was the best until about 15 years ago. Then computers emerged that played better than humans. Using computers is the natural way of preparation today - they are just better. The goal of chess is to win and in this sense computers play most "correct" chess of all that we know today.
In any case, chess is more or less a game of memorizing patterns. So it is not a big surprise when players who dominate are players who spend the most time memorizing positions and opening. Why is Topalov so much better than the rest today? No big surprise - he uses computers in his opening preparation to set up traps for his opponents, has great memory to remember all that, and then after reaching a position out of the opening a computer has shown to be superior, he has enough chess talent and technique to finish off the game.

The "best current player" was beaten by Kramnik in a match, with the odds of "one more white to Topalov"

--Posted by: Yuriy Kleyner at January 24, 2007 15:28

There they go again, the Kramnik supporters calling Elista an "odds" match because Kramnik won by only the slimmest possible margin, 3-2 in classical.

If Kramnik had won decisively, say 4-1 or 6-0, we wouldn't be hearing about any of this odds match nonsense, would we?

Anything to make Kramnik's narrow victory seem more decisive than it really was.

Posted by: gmnotyet at January 24, 2007 15:57

Firstly, Mr. gmnotyet, remind yourself the chess voting public did not give Kramnik a chance in hell of winning that match. So your 'sour grapes' is completely understandable.

Secondly, as the record stood, he defeated Topalov at the board during the classical match. Had the forfeited game been played instead of +1 for your boy Topalov, Kramnik may have won outright by +2.

Thirdly, even given the immense pressure placed upon the defending CHAMPION (who beat Kasparov, I remind you) by your boy Topalov, he STILL managed to defeat your boy in rapid games.

A champion is a Champion if he wins by a landslide or by the thinnest of margins. Your Boy Toplaov had to use forces outside of the chessboard to garner the tying point in the match just to force it into OT.

There are no Kramnik apologists, but there are plenty Toplaov whiners it seems still unable to wash the sour grapes taste from their palettes.


I want to see most is the match between Kasparov vs Topalov in 20 games.

Topalov lost a match that went wrong for him from the very beginning and continued that way. A few things:
1. Kramnik did not have one less white - he did not show up for a game and lost. You can't decide which games of a match you show up for especially after your opponenet has already spent the energy to prepare for them.
2. Topalov was no less pchycologically disturbed than Kramnik after all that happened. He was a victim of his manager Danailov, who I agree is scum. Topalov should not asociate with such people and have a normal manager like say Kramnik's.
3. The fact the he lost the rapids means nothing since this is a CLASSICAL chess match.

Topalov is a fine player - a class above the field at present. If he plays another match against Kramnik I am willing to bet lots of money that he would win.

and just for the record - I do agree that Topalov's team played dirty at Elista. It was despicable.
However, when talking about chess strength, you can't deny the world's number 1.
Topalov has been consistently playing better than Kramnik over the last two years. That's why I said Kramnik's win at Elista was fluky and illogical. Topalov should normally win 3 out of 4 such matches.

For me the real WC and best player in the world is Shirov. He defeated Kramnik head to head, and of course we know that Kramnik was stronger than Kasparov whom he beat in their only match.

Aslo, Shirov has a true champion's style; he plays extremely well in matches but doesn't care much about tournaments. He knows what's important.

For me, the real WC is Michal Krasenkow. He is Polish, for one thing.

I think I read Kasparov's interview where one of the questions was whether he was asked to train Carlsen. Kasparov said that he was asked to look at some games, he did and said the kid will turn out alright. And that was it.

This is what I remembered from chesspro.ru ( I think).


has a little different version of what I think is the same interview, that may have been recorded by multiple people:

-Garry, they said you were going to help Magnus.
-What do you mean "help"? They asked me, so I came and spent some time with him. He sees the variations and sees the board.

-Will he be the world champion?
-Hard to say. He will be a contender. I think he is more solid than Karyakin.

Miguel at January 24, 2007 19:14: "Topalov is a fine player - a class above the field at present. If he plays another match against Kramnik I am willing to bet lots of money that he would win."

I think some people already lost a lot of money after the first match.

Dimi, 'school' in English in this context does not mean literally school, as in an educational establishment. It means a group of people coming together, perhaps quite loosely, with a common aim, usually artistic. Thus in painting one speaks of the Flemish school, or in literature the Bloomsbury school. So I think what Khalifman is getting at is not so much a question of formal education as informal, growing up surrounded by (more than one) really strong players, having strong rivals in ones junior years to discuss ideas with, being able to watch and learn from very experienced and strong players from a young age, and so on.

I agree with those who say that Kramnik's win was not massively convincing. I don't agree that what happened was Danailov's fault and not Topalov's. Nor do I think it is true though that the shenanigans disturbed Topalov. I think Topalov probably was genuinely disturbed and even perhaps allowed absurd suspicions to get to him (something his team should have tried to calm down, and perhaps did but failed), but that had happened before the handbags. For Kramnik to keep his composure and go on playing well in the circumstances was a massive achievement, especially for someone like him, who I judge would not be able to feed off it in the way that Korchnoi, or in a different field McEnroe, could.

Having said that, it's childish to point at the ratings and say that Topalov has a higher rating so he must be the favourite in a match. We know that Kramnik's rating is lowered by the fact he doesn't push with Black. One thing that did happen in the match is that Kramnik was outprepared quite often. That might happen again, but it might not. Also, Kramnik was playing a new opening which he obviously had a slight lack of feel for, which was why he reacted so badly to Topalov's novelty in game nine. That might not happen again either. And, as Kramnik pointed out, Topalov lost because of his character weaknesses; he overpressed sometimes, he was too impatient in quiet positions and his nerves let him down. These aren't new weaknesses. Whether Topalov could address them in a rematch would be fascinating. The sad thing is that thanks in part to Topalov's ludicrous behaviour and his failure to grasp how unacceptably he's behaved, we're probably not going to get the chance to find out.

Mig wrote: "Carlsen was well-coached early by Agdestein, no doubt."

The impression I got from Agdestein's Carlsen biography, «Wonderboy», was that Agdestein's coaching consisted primarily of picking out and lending him chess books, in addition to a handful of once-a-week analysis sessions.

One example of his coaching mentioned in the book. Agdestein happens to drop by the local chess club, spots Carlsen playing a game, notices that Carlsen mishandles a rook ending, casually mentions that he should take a look at Muller & Lamprecht's «Fundamental Chess Endings».

Mig - Chessbase give the details of the Kempinski game. Incredible for Carlsen not to be prepared for this. This isn't 1907, after all.

"For me the real WC and best player in the world is Shirov."

It's extremely modest of him to play below his strength at Corus, then.


This era of Kramnik & Topalov has bolstered the theory that the skills needed to win matches are much different than the skills needed to win tournaments.
The FIDE rating is nice, but it is a little over-rated.


As another poster wrote, the two players also highlight the differences between...
(KK) the Kramnik philosophy of seeking moves that are correct in minimizing the weaknesses in one's own position
(TT) the Topalov philosophy of seeking planned complications that are difficult to refute over the board even tho they can be refuted during home analysis.


Tournaments are many. Suppose Topalov continues to win this tournament by a large margin (a full point or more). And maybe Topa wins another.

Those victories will naturally give people reason to post doubting remarks about the claim that the Mexico 2007 tournament winner is somehow more deserving of being considered the new WCChamp more than is Topalov. Mexico's only reply is to point to paperwork signed by Kirsan and Mexico. Mere paperwork.


Topailov's formal $2 million challenge for a re-match with Kramnik was a long shot. Topailov made the challenge anyway because it sets the stage for Topalov to issue another challenge right after Mexico 2007.

Ironically, his being excluded from Mexico 2007 gives Topalov a big advantage in his quest be finally become the WCChamp.
Topalov will have to defeat one opponent. Kramnik will have to defeat 7 simultaneously to retain.

Gene Milener

rdh: The sad thing is that thanks in part to Topalov's ludicrous behaviour and his failure to grasp how unacceptably he's behaved, we're probably not going to get the chance to find out.

rdh, c'mon man, you're no lawyer, you don't think like one. Kramnik should kiss Danailov's hand for making him rich! For 250 Euro a game in Corus, no wonder Kramnik doesn't want to make more than 5 moves... Kramnik may not want to play Topalov again, but his wife will make him. Mark my words.


Ernest, yes, Shirov is modest, he has a nice character. Isn't it wondeful to have such a champion!

Gene_M, despite being a Shirov fan, I also adhere to Karmnik's phylosophy of stryving to play only corrct games. I'm getting better at it lately, especially since I found out that the shorter my games the more correct they are. Me and my buddy have now played ~1000 10-move games and I have selected among them 20 "perfect" games - my moves from move 6 until move 10 are 100% top Fritz moves. Would you like to have a look? I wouldn't mind posting them for everybody to enjoy them.

BTW, Gene, I find the end of your post quite diturbing. You seem to suggest that winning a tournament (i.e. defeating 7 simultaneously) is more difficult than winning a long match (defeating one opponent), even if that one opponent has defeated 7 other simulatenously.

"gmnotyet--(when are you going to change your handle to gmatlast?)"

Shouldn't that be "gmneverwillbe?" I suspect this is the same troll who posts as "notyetagm" (neverwillbeagm) on chessgames.com.

To return to actual chess, Karjakin's play against Anand was really bad. To mention just a few moments:
(1) Bxb5 looks wrong instead of say Rd7
(2) His b3 was even stranger considering that he could have played h5 himself (idea g6 with serious back rank problems for black)

"DaneDude: No more Childrens Channel in the evenings at the hotel room Carlsen, please!

I surely hope nobody pushes these kids to do that. They probably need some development outside of the chess openings in order to be well rounded individuals. Because not all them look that way…

Admitted, this was a silly comment. I had just also earlier noticed that he looked tired and uninterested early in a couple of games.

Thinking a little about it, I surely don't envy these youngsters their huge talents with all the implications. But I guess this goes for other things as well, not only chess.

I agree on some of the young super-talents not looking well rounded yet. But this is of course just an impression, as I have never been near any of them. And how many of us would, today, consider ourselves as having been well rounded in our middle teens ?

As someone else points out, the relation between Agdestein and Carlsen would probably not be considered as a teacher-student relation with Russian chess standards.

I don't know the nature of his work with the Danish GM Peter Heine Nielsen. He has been playing a lot the last couple of years I think. Perhaps too much ?

rdh, this is with regard to your comment on playing styles and how Kramnik's style is deemed boring by the majority because they dont have sufficient playing strength to understand it. Since you're British, and appear to have had a classical eduation, I would like to draw a parallel with English literature. First consider Milton's poetry, which is perhaps the culmination of a harmonious style, where everything flows together smoothly, every phrase and syllable forms a cohesive whole, and the overall impression is of a beautifully constructed symphony. This is true not only of his famous long poems like Paradise Lost, but also of shorter poems like Lycidas, or smaller fragments and sonnets. Consider now the poetry of John Donne, where the style is completely different, with seemingly random and irrational deviations from the metre and an overall stylistic convention seems to be absent. However when you as a reader delve deeper and actually understand the construction and decipher the elaborate makeup, your breath is swept away by the true beauty of the poetry, and consequently the genius of its author. Admittedly this is a tough task, and not always rewarding, partly because the references are so obscure, and partly because Donne doesnt always suceed, but when everything comes together, it's as if a vista has opened before your eyes, and you can only marvel at the wit and genius of the man. As a reader you dont have to be able to write at the level of Milton and Donne to appreciate the work of either, and certainly you can have an individual stylistic preference which nobody else can dictate, but is the result of something resonating inside you.
Parallels are fraught with difficulties, but Kramnik's play to me is similar to Milton's; harmonious, everything fits together perfectly, a gentle accumulation of advantages which is an inexorable tide against even the strongest players when everything comes together. To me the greatest exponent of the "Donne style" in Chess is Tal. He understood the harmonious style but rebelled against it, and often achieved a level of creativity which less gifted players can only marvel at. To me, as an individual, the achievements of Tal in Chess overshadowed those of everyone else, not just because he chose a sort of metaphysical path, but displayed mind boggling brilliance along the way. That's just my stylistic preference; I appreciate the Petrosians and the Smyslovs, but I am left speechless by the Tals and Kasparovs. That I prefer Topalov's play to Kramnik's has nothing to do with "not understanding" Kramnik's play. I sometimes dont understand either's but that's not the point.

d, I admire your analogy. Personally I feel there is something rather more of the flashy about Topalov’s play (or indeed Tal’s) than about Donne’s poetry, and that probably it rewards less analysis rather than more, but still.

But of course some people will prefer one style and one another – if anyone says that Kramnik’s style is boring to them, how can anyone else disagree? It’s this nonsense about Kramnik being scared, or owing some duty to fans or sponsors not to play the Petroff (or worse still to play out these terribly equal positions his White opponents have been heading for), or a poor ambassador for the game, or whatever, that annoys me. Of course I ought to recognise that there are fools in every walk of life and more so on the internet than most other contexts, and that they are best ignored, but somehow, like Terence Reese, ‘I can generally be trapped into expressing an opinion’.

This last is also a drawback of Kramnik’s as a politician: Topalov is much better at trotting out banal but crowd-pleasing remarks. The more I see of him the more forcefully he reminds me of the late and loathsome Princess Diana. Ribbons for Bulgarian nurses, indeed. It truly wouldn’t surprise me to see him on the board of a landmine charity and visiting AIDS children in hospital any time now – if Danailov thinks it would be a good idea, of course.

I think Topalov's progression can be explained by training and preparing extensively with computer programs like Fritz over the past years. It explains his improved and computer like accuracy and tactics and his sharp and refreshing opening ideas.

Apart from that he has always been a very strong and tactical player that goes out to win every game.

Kramnik has similar experience with computers ao from his matches with Fritz and in his case it has led to an improvement in his more positional style of play. I am certain the strong opening novelty Qf1! in his game with Anand was developed with Fritz or more probably Rybka.

If Kramnik wants to win tournaments like Corus he has to put more effort into his games with black and not take days off with easy draws with white.

But who says he wants to win? The guy's just married :)

rdh: […] this nonsense about Kramnik being scared, or owing some duty to fans or sponsors not to play the Petroff […]

This is not necessarily true. If the great virtuoso, eagerly anticipated by many, comes to the stage, ends up pulling a short kletzmer tune for 5 minutes then walks away -- there will be a number of unhappy people.

Don't underestimate the little people. Those hopeless cases are the ones who create traffic, keep buying books and subscribing to chess newsletters. If it was left only to the cognoscenti, the field would shrink...


Catpower, according to Kramnik in the press conference a3 was the novelty rather than Qf1 ( a fairly standard manoeuvre, surely?).

Dimi: chess is not a solo performance, nor is it only an art. Requiring the participants to play to the gallery is the death of any sport - that way wrestling lies.

rdh, certainly, I fully concede that the analogy is not completely applicable, but I'm glad you appreciate my point. About being a good or poor ambassador for the game, I cant speak for others, but to me its not about playing style so much as the "sporting style". Kramnik is a great Chess player, great enough to wear the mantle of a Chess king, but not a sporting king. If a World Chess Champion is simply about creating a harmonious masterpiece every now and then, certainly, he's more than demonstrated his champion status. But if its also about success within a sporting context, with its associated considerations of stamina, staying power, courage in competition, and simply winning more often than not, Kramnik falls some way short.

Dane Dude wrote: "I don't know the nature of his work with the Danish GM Peter Heine Nielsen. He has been playing a lot the last couple of years I think. Perhaps too much ?"

I agree. And it is too bad for Carlsen, that he has to play Linares next month, and btw also a candidates match against Aronian later this spring.

After two winless tournaments he would need a break or to play in a sub-elite tournament, where he could gather some confidence.

Let me see if I understand this correctly.

Topalov hires a guy Chiparinov who sits around with a computer all day looking for exchange sacs in the opponents previous games.

He finds one and runs the computer on it.

hands it to Topalov who was sleeping the entire time. Topalov plays Chiparinov's find and everyone says Topalov is a genius.

If there is any genius in Topalov it is his willingness to do as Kasparov did. Which is to hire a full time player to run computer programs looking for sacrifices in their openings.

The sac against Carlsen was easy. Even the computer shows the sac to be favoring Topalov and that is with best complex play by Magnus. Of course Magnus never saw it so he does not play the computer best moves and goes down quickly.

Where is the old days when Fischer without a computer found all his own moves. I just do not see what Topalov did as showing any great playing by Topalov. Sure the moves were wonderful. But it was all home preparation and memorization. Where is the inspiration of Tal or the genius of Fischer. Players who never used a computer.

This is why Topalov could not beat Kramnik. His computer jocks could not find any big gasping holes in the chess lines that Kramnik was using. Kramnik plays carefully and smart. Kramnik is much more a chess player than Topalov.

I am also dismayed by the correlation between Topalov's play and the computers. How come Topalov collapsed so much recently against Polgar and others.

I am personally shocked that people speak words of support for a person like Topalov after his terrible behavior at Elista. Not me. I remember the type person Topalov has shown himself to be and I will not support him or his behavior again.

I did go into Elista supporting him. But I soon saw the truth with Danailov and their behavior. He will not get my support back.

I will only support people who display class like Kramnik, Anand, Magnus, Judit and many others.

I believe when we support people with behavior problems like Topalov and Danailov then we are hurting chess. I will not support people who disrupt chess as a sport. I do not support Kirsan either.

I consider my support to be precious. I dont pass it out lightly. I reserve my support for those who display they deserve support. I reserve it for those who are good for chess.

Frank H, so Topalov was sleeping when Cheparinov was finding moves for him? The entire time, you are saying? My god! Good that you told me, I'll give him no more precious support either. There aren't many guys left like Kramnik who would work on their moves on their own, hiding in the toilets if necessary to be alone.

Frank H,

If it was that easy, there was no need for Topalov. Cheparinov could have played the moves himself. Indeed, you could have. That it hasn't been this easy shows that there is a component to chess besides punching moves into Deep Fritz.

Sab, I see of course that your prefer cheap remarks to discussion, but nonetheless, if you choose to read interviews with Topalov you will see that he himself has described many times how he sleeps while Cheparinov works, and how he has more energy these days because of it, and this has helped him. Kramnik's seconds, by contrast (like Kasparov's) have always stressed that their boss produces most of the ideas and their role is to check them (see the chap interviewed on chesscafe, whose name escapes me for the moment - is it Nalbandian? - and also comments by Bareev in the past). Of course these are fine distinctions in what is basically the same process, but from all one can tell Topalov is less responsible for his own opening ideas than the other two. Which would only reflect the general opinion that Topalov's trumps are energy and hard work rather than a deep intuitive understanding of the game (deep by the standards we're talking about, that is). Contrast Kramnik's amateurish effort at computer preparation in Brissago. (in fact, another reason which might well have been mentioned to explain Topalov's present rise is in the ever-increasing use and importance of computers. It's clear that Kramnik is not good at the purely routine work involved - he's said so - and that Topalov by contrast has no inhibitions and is willing to throw himself into using the things in whatever way it takes to give himself the best chance of winning. The more important computer preparation becomes, therefore, the more strongly Topalov will perform.)

d, I strongly disagree with your analysis of what identifies a champion. The qualities you identify are precisely what go to make a highly rated player who falls short of being a champion. Being a champion in any sport is being about being able to rise to the occasion when it counts. In this Kramnik, since 2000 at least, has been supreme. Courage in competition he has in bucketloads - it took great courage to play the way he did against Kasparov in 2000, again to beat Leko in the last game when everything seemed lost and again to pull himself together and continue against Topalov both after the disgraceful lost point, and further when all seemed lost again after game nine. Physical stamina he doesn't have for sure - I don't see this as a supreme quality in a champion. It leads to becoming perennial winner of the Order of Merit but never winning a major (yes, Colin Montgomerie, I mean you).


Cheap remarks, and loathsome too, are yours against a person expressing support for the Bulgarian nurses in Libya. A public figure in a sport that has caught Libyan attention could perhaps really help them. Or maybe you have applied your IM-ly legal brain and found them guilty.

Not at all, gg, from what little I have read they've been treated appallingly, as you would expect of course from a place like Libya. If it turns out that Topalov has been supporting their cause for a long time, or that he's discussed with the campaign for their release whether it would be helpful for him to wear this ribbon (for one day only, wasn't it?) then of course I would applaud that. I suspect however that it's a publicity stunt designed like much of what he does to win the applause of the masses.

I always have my slight doubts about these campaigns about citizens suffering injustice abroad, though. After all, I don't suppose either you or I has studied the evidence much beyond what newspapers choose to report. There's always a bit of a whiff of racism (or nationalism) about them - your justice isn't as good as our justice; that sort of thing.


I don't have to read Topalov's interviews, I believe you (plus, just like you I am more of a writer than a reader). BTW, this must be a typo:

"...Topalov's trumps are energy and hard work..."

right? You probably meant "energy as a result of good sleep", didn't you?


rdh is trying hard to defend Kramnik as a player, and does so to the point of becoming ridiculous as when he says that it took courage to trade Qs (come up with the Berlin defense) against Kasparov--yeah sure. But perhaps he confuses this with Topalov playing (and winning) with the Sozin against Kasparov's Najdorf at Topa's first Olympiad.

Anyway, I know the feeling.

Defending Kramnik as a chess player is as difficult as defending Topalov as a person in relation with his cheating allegations. There is some ( 10% or less) truth in both such stances but not enough to make a sound argument.


im not a GM, and i doubt 99.9% of posters here are. the point of appreciating the beauty of a short draw with black makes no sense at all.

we as amateurs and fans enjoy watching chess being played out.
personalities and off the board antics aside... what would u rather watch Svidler v Kram, or Svidler v Topa?
Svid v Kram would likely be a 20 move draw just barely (if at all) out of book.
Svid v Topa would involve actual effort by Topa to win, not just to neutralize, probably exchange sacs to gain attacking chances, etc, etc.
what fan would actually say, "that was an awesome game to watch" when the players played 20 book moves without deviating and agreeing to draw when they both see that the other has memorized the same opening with the opposite color???
i have no problem with lableing Kram the champ, he won the match, he deserves it.
but to admire a the style of a super GM whos goal is to neutralize as black and draw over a super GM whos style is to be aggressive and go for thw win i just dont get.

Ovidiu: "Defending Kramnik as a chess player is as difficult as defending Topalov as a person".

Kramnik the chess player doesn't need to be defended, His results speak for themselves. Kramnik is the best player of his (post Kasparov) generation.

When I was taking multicalculus in undergrad, I had a horrible professor who, everybody in the class felt, failed to explain the material to his students. I had to rely on memorization and study guides written by others. I worked hard on memorization and formulas/approaches designed by others.

It is certainly possible to work hard in chess while not working hard on designing new ideas or understanding theory.

Trading queens by itself is neither courageous nor uncourageous, Ovidiu. You don't seem like an idiot; why do you persist in such crass comments?

The courage involved was in backing Kramnik's own judgment against the world, which at the time pretty much held that the Berlin was an inferior defence which gave White excellent prospects and Black a cramped game with no compensation. Karpov, for example, referred to it as 'obsolete' in 1988.

I wasn't speaking about Topalov - he has courage too in a way; what he doesn't yet have is steel. But if we're going to compare these things, let's remember Kramnik's game in 1996 against Kasparov where he met Kasparov's own innovation in the Meran with a speculative piece sacrifice for two pawns and went on to win.

Neither am I a GM, JC. I don't get any great thrill out of a short draw either. The Petroff produces battles as interesting as any opening - if White has ambition. When he doesn't, I agree it's dull. My only point is that people should try to understand what they're watching and why. And Topalov's style is great. If only he hadn't behaved so absolutely unspeakably in Elista and even more unforgivably since, I'd enjoy his games just fine.

Well done rdh, your talking the most sense on this blog...

Quick question,

How do draw offers work at super GM level? If I understood him correctly, rdh said in an earlier thread that the person who made the last move was always the one to make the offer. Is that true?

The attitude "I don't like how X(normally Kramnik and Leko) plays" seems to me rather childish. If someone wants to improve in chess, it is necessary to understand and learn from both. Kramnik is probably the most sensitive evaluator of positions ,at least in positions that hover about equality. When he has energy, in many positions that most GMs would consider equal, he manages to push them home or at least make the opponent feel uncomfortable. In other positions, he takes a position most people feel is significantly worse (Berlin defense) and holds it. Since he plays these "equal positions" from both sides, of course he makes draws. But I rarely see him agreeing in a truly sharp or unbalanced position. Of course, many people, such as myself regretably, have no ambition to improve. But I think that Kramnik and Topalov perfectly illustrate the richness of chess and to appreciate that, we must see the beauty of both of their styles.

Same as any level, Yuriy. You make your move, offer the draw, and then press the clock. So if the opponent accepts, the last move is made by the player who made the offer.

Of course you can’t always rely on this – if one player is trying to win rook and pawn against rook and decides to stop trying he may break the accepted etiquette and simply offer a draw while it’s his move (never while it’s his opponent’s move, unless perhaps the players know one another well). And I suppose the same may go for some very obviously drawn position reached earlier in the game.

Yuriy, I understand now. Silvio is the equivalent of your professor who cannot teach well; that's why when Topi had only him to help him, he didn't do so well. Cheparinov is like your smarter classmates, who despite the bad professor were managing to figure out approaches. He works hard while Topi is soudly asleep (rdh, is he snoring too; I wouldn't be surprised from such a rude person). Once he wakes up, though, Topi starts memorizing the ideas generated by Cheparinov. Of course, being not very smart himself, Topi has to work very hard, just like Yuriy did to assimilate the ideas his peers.

--It was, of course, not Kramnik but Kasparov who swapped off the queens in the London 2000 Berlin Defense games.

--Would the Topalov fan club prefer that Topalov stopped playing the Berlin?

--Kramnik's 2000 strategy with black reminds me of Topalov's 2006 strategy with white: step off the beaten track, play lines regarded as "inferior", and challenge the opponent to figure it out over the board.

Wow, sab, your knowledge of my calculus class as well as relative intelligence of everybody involved in it is amazing. Now if only one could say the same about your understanding of the fact that "working hard" is not the same as "designing new theoretical approaches".

You know, I never even said that Topalov does/does not memorize the ideas of others. I merely said that if he does, he doesn't work hard.


So is the etiquette broken at the Corus level? I keep finding comments like "players agreed on a draw" which of course means nothing since one of them has to offer the draw first.

Come, Greg, that first point is a bit unworthy. White's Qxd8+ is regarded as his only serious try against the Berlin itself, and certainly on move eight.

I don't follow you, Yuriy. One of them offers, the other accepts. Then they've agreed. Reports don't normally go into who offered and who accepted.

The English phrase you've quoted doesn't imply that anything different happened from what I've described as the normal etiquette (in fact I think it's more than etiquette; it's actually in the rules).

Sorry, rdh, let me try to explain (and I didn't mean that they vary from the etiquette). When they say "players agreed on a draw" it gives equal involvement on the idea to both plaeyrs. There is even some sort of a consensus-based negotiation implied. Whereas in reality of course one guy decided to offer the draw and the other one decides whether he wants to go home with half a point in hand or if he thinks the position promises something more.

"Trading queens by itself is neither courageous nor uncourageous, Ovidiu. You do seem like an idiot; why do you persist in such crass comments?"

I fixed your typo rdh. You misspelled do.


I understand that white must swap queens in the Berlin, but I had in mind the "point" behind Ovidiu's comment: If someone must be "blamed" for the Berlin queen swap, should it be white or black?

If it's black's job to equalize, then isn't white "to blame" for playing 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 allowing the Petroff? Or for playing the Ruy, allowing 3...Nf6 and the subsequent queen trade?

And when the offer is accepted, they agree that splitting the point is best for both of them. IE agreed to draw...

If the Berlin is so boring, and Kramnik is so stupid... Why did Garry insist on playing the ruy after he knew the Berlin was being played?

He had nothing better prepared?

Is in the rules indeed, rdh. Offering a draw when it is not your move is "disturbing the opponent".
I have had to point this out to people (when they do it the third, fourth.... time).

Kramnik beat Kasparov.
Kramnik beat Leko.
Kramnik beat Topolov.
Kramnik is the unified world champion.
Like it or not.
Enough said.

"Posted by: greg koster at January 25, 2007 14:13
Is in the rules indeed, rdh. Offering a draw when it is not your move is "disturbing the opponent"."

Well, you can only offer a draw after you made a move, therefore it's never your move when you máke the offer.


Your argument is with Charley, not me.

If I hear that two countries agreed to a peace treaty, I imagine the two of them discussed the idea, and decided it was best for both of sides. I do not imagine that one of them proposed the idea and the other agreed to it. If I thought the latter, I would certainly consider the country who proposed the peace treaty to be more in favor of ending the war, especially if it does so repeatedly. The term "agreed to draw" to me conjures to mind an idea of the two GMs talking the game over, looking at the board together and agreeing that the game was drawn in theory. Imagine reading "Aronian offered to split the point after 18 moves, and Svidler accepted" and you will get a different feeling.

Imo it was truly poor match strategy by Kasparov to continue to try and crack the Berlin against Kramnik. I think this was basically the reason he lost the match. Mig I would be interested to hear Kasparov's take on that. Why didn't he switch to 1.d4 and see if he could find holes there?

I think we can all agree that by sitting down at the board and allowing "1. e4" Kramnik was to blame for the Berlin.

On a serious note, if you play "1. e4" and your opponent chooses "e5" I can't really think of anybody doing anything but "Nf3" on this level of chess. Which allows Black to choose between Petroff and Ruy Lopez (one hardly sees the Italian or the Scotch anymore). So modern Super GM opening book essentially allows Black to choose either Petroff or Berlin as long as opponent plays "1. e4".

Yuriy Kleyner said: "Which allows Black to choose between Petroff and Ruy Lopez (one hardly sees the Italian or the Scotch anymore)."

Which is really too bad... You would think that with all the opening work (with a good engine) going on behind the scenes, someone would be able to find some interesting and less-well-trodden lines in some of the more romantic openings... (King's Gambit anyone?)


PGN files suggest that out of the 8 games in the 2000 match where Kasparov had white, 1. d4 was tried 3 times. That of course is little excuse for Kasparov going for Berlin again with nothing new to offer.

Knowing Kasparov's tendency to meticulously prepair for his opponents, to what can we attribute this failure? Well, how about to the fact that Kramnik was known for Petroff, not Berlin, prior to this match. Mark's excellent TWIC describes the utilization of Berlin Defense in the first game of the match as "relatively rare".

Game 3 saw Kasparov get pretty good position with Berlin. Game 9 and 11 saw Kramnik deviate from the old line first, once flat out of Berlin and once into innovation on move 9. Perhaps Kasparov had something prepared but Kramnik thwarted his plans? Or was there simply not enough time to prepare something for the Berlin now, in the middle of the match? Game 13 was a short draw which Kasparov said he needed after a tough battle the day before (sometimes it pays to press advantage).

Games 5, 7 and 15 were closed openings.

Frank H., I wish it was that easy -- have someone prepare lines for you and you just play. Hey, you and I could try that, right?

I’m sure that the role of Cheparinov in helping Topalov and how that enhances his own carreer hasn't escaped on any of them. I do not know what the deal is, but there must be something.

Two consecutive pieces by Yurii Vasiliev from Chesspro.ru dealt heavily with Topalov and Danailov. The one about the 'sad eyes' was written in a jocular way, but definitely bordering with insulting. In the Bulgarian forums bunch of guys got into a discussion and asked their Russian wives (where available) to read it and get the nuances. I did the same with my wife (half-Russian, journalist and Slavic philologist) read it and get a feel for the tone of it. Anyway, it was even more damning on Danailov, but today’s piece included an interview where they joked around some more. They touched on the subject of drugs.

Where is Russianbear, the greatest translator of them all when you need him?

Interestingly, after some more analysis on the Anand game, Topalov says that Black had some counter play that definitely would have made the job of White much harder -- rook on D6 and Q on D7 (I haven’t looked at it). Anand has a history of defending much harder positions against Topalov in the past.


Yuriy said:

“I worked hard on memorization and formulas/approaches designed by others. … It is certainly possible to work hard in chess while not working hard on designing new ideas or understanding theory.”

And later:

“You know, I never even said that Topalov does/does not memorize the ideas of others. I merely said that if he does, he doesn't work hard.”

Hm, let me see if I can crack this logic gem. So, when Yuryi works on memorizing the ideas of others (who, btw, he does not consider smarter than him), he works hard. It is therefore possible to work hard in chess even without designing new ideas. However, if Topalov does it, he does not work hard. Tough… Any help somebody?

Today's Vasilyev article:

Serious Inaccuracy

Words only cause trouble. You never know what kind of response they will get.

A topic which arose out of an innocent observation over the sad eyes of Veselin, I think titillates the minds of those who still don’t want to acknowledge the tournament successes of the Bulgarian GM.

But I, of course, shouldn’t have joked so stupidly and diretly on this dangerous subject.

And now, in this piece, in order to make up for my fault, I turn to the heroes of my scandalous (as it turned) report from Round 9.

First I approach the ex-World Champion’s manager, Silvio Danailov.

Since Silvio and I are familiar since the Moscow Olympiad of 1994, and actually since Linares 1994, we address each other informally.

Silvio, are you taking me to court for libel on Topalov and you personally—in my previous piece?

No, but I do want to invite you to the traditional supertournament in Sofia. That’s one. As far as your piece where it says that I am used to scare little children and that I sell “green lemons,” it contains one considerable inaccuracy.

Which one?

{Some statement about food preference. More jokes on the subject follow, from both men}

Thanks, I will take that into consideration.

After Topalov won another game (this time beating Magnus Carlsen) I approached Veselin with whom I have a great relationship and said that some Bulgarians are angry over my report from round 9.

--Well, not everybody has the same sense of humor. Please don’t get upset. And never read guest books.

Ok! Then please answer some detailed questions.

--Please, go ahead.

What do you think about pharmacology, doping, stimulators?

We had doping control in Elista. The results were sent to Moscow, they said they had a license. But I read in Bulgarian papers that they only got the license two months after the match. That should be checked. I am not sure that information is true.

Oh, that’s not what I am talking about. Do you take any stimulators, medications during regular tournaments?

I can tell you that I played here many times and I always want to sleep. Earlier I did. And my diet is like that. Morning a cup of strong coffee. And a second cup before the game. And soda. During the game. Also one green sour apple

Do you drink a lot of soda during the game?

One bottle.

Two liter bottle?

Are you joking? One little bottle, one glass worth.

And that’s it?

And that’s it.

And does it help?

Well, my blood pressure is normal. And before it used to be very low. Actually I hate to soda. But here I have to drink it.

Do you take any medication?

Aspirin, when I have a headache.

Have you had a headache during Corus this year?

Not during Corus.

And how do you feel overall?

After the match in Russia my neck and back were in pain. I woke up once and my neck was hurting. That kind of stuff usually goes away pretty fast, but in my case I still feel it.

It’s called “otlezhal” {literally layed off} in Russian. You just had an uncomfortable pillow.

It’s everything put together, stress and such…

Have you ever taken drugs?

I smoked a hookah twice, don’t know if that’s a drug.

And what was the effect?

I laughed for half an hour.

Any plans for the weekend?

The usual. I am actually quite calm. The rating should rise.

A lot?

If I finish +4, they should add 7 points. If +5, 12. Overall everything is going better than expected. Everybody falls into Ivan’s preparation…Even resign prematurely.

Did Anand resign prematurely?

Didn’t have time to look during the game, too much of a battle. It’s clear that white has an advantage, but there was still a lot of struggle to come. The best defense is to put the rook on d6, the queen on d7 and stand. But that’s not that easy.

So he shouldn’t have resigned?

I don’t think he should have. It seemed right after the game that white has a large advantage. But I am not sure I could beat a computer in such a position. I can’t tell you by what percentage I am better, but Anand has managed to defend harder positions against me in the past. Not that black are building a fortress, but at some point I would have to go into exact calculations.

So after you left the game, you had a strange look because you weren’t sure why he resigned?

Actually I understood why he didn’t like his position. And it seemed like I had a comfortable one, but then I understood that I resigned too early.

And why do you have such sad eyes?



I don’t know.

Are you excited when viewers and experts award you prizes?

I like it when the public likes my games.

What about money?

It’s not the kind of sum of money that’s worth talking about.

Too small for you?

Yeah, it’s change.

The last time you got the prize you laughed, why?

I thought it was a bit too much. I was uncomfortable.

And if you get a prize for today’s win over Carlsen, then what?

I don’t deserve much credit for this victory. Ivan did this analysis for himself…

So if they accidentally award the prize to you, you will give it to Ivan?

Yep, I will give it to Ivan.


whoops that was just a typo: I meant "I merely said that if he does, he does work hard.”

BTW, the article is from here:


It also has a few photos, the captions to which I did not translate.

Good job Yurii, you're tha man!

I started futzing around to translate it, but wasn't sure on a couple of words.


It seems to me that chesspro.ru should start translating some of their stuff if they want to extend their reach -- an intern from the University can do that for extra credit.



Yeah Kasparov played a few 1.d4's but I still feel he got obsessed with breaking down the Berlin wall and in the end only banged his head against it.

Mig did Kasparov ever speak about this?

Yuriy Kleyner: "On a serious note, if you play "1. e4" and your opponent chooses "e5" I can't really think of anybody doing anything but "Nf3" on this level of chess."

Ivanchuk plays those funny lines regularly, King's Gambit or even 2 Bc4 occasionally. He also plays the Scotch a lot. Although I don't know if you consider him being "on this level" - he plays a lot of second rate tournaments (by top standards).

And thanks for the translation.

My apologies, I completely misstated the way draws should be offered.

Topalov using KO pills?
Some people ask me: Is Topa using KO pills?, and I say "Maybe". His last victories against Anand and Carlsen who both pulled "an Andersson" led to many questions. There is some evidence because as criminalists say: He had the opportunity. Remember, he was sitting at the same table as his opponents and - with a move of his hand - some pills went into Carlen's orange juice bottle.
Don't forget, Topa also had a motive to do so - the Corus check.

Hmm, what is the evidence the criminalists would infer given the opprtunity to do something while alone in the bathroom?

Linux fan,

You are right, but you partially prove my point.

1. This stuff is rare.
2. For people who use them it's a lifelong commitment--it is hardly a thing to switch to in the middle of a match if you don't play it.
3. Chucky tends to play it against lower level players and
4. not get particularly good results against top level with them. The only reason for Kasparov to try something else would be to go for the win. He already had a guaranteed draw with Berlin.

About the cheating issue:
Cheating is going to be increasingly harder to catch. Technology is making spy stuff smaller and more efficient. We can argue till the cows come home about whether Topalov cheated or Kramnik. But unless we're able to catch some one red handed, the record will stand.

Cheating is very serious. If it continues unchecked, chess as we know it will be dead. The need of the hour is to suggest ways of stopping cheating.

My suggestion is to have spectators watch the moves on a large monitor. The moves should be displayed say 10 minutes after they're played on the board. Ditto the internet. Moves to be relayed 10 minutes after they are played.

"d, I strongly disagree with your analysis of what identifies a champion. The qualities you identify are precisely what go to make a highly rated player who falls short of being a champion. Being a champion in any sport is being about being able to rise to the occasion when it counts. In this Kramnik, since 2000 at least, has been supreme. Courage in competition he has in bucketloads - it took great courage to play the way he did against Kasparov in 2000, again to beat Leko in the last game when everything seemed lost and again to pull himself together and continue against Topalov both after the disgraceful lost point, and further when all seemed lost again after game nine. Physical stamina he doesn't have for sure - I don't see this as a supreme quality in a champion. It leads to becoming perennial winner of the Order of Merit but never winning a major (yes, Colin Montgomerie, I mean you)."
I didnt mean phyisical stamina, but the ability to fight. Look at Tal's performances when he was one step from dying. Kramnik has demonstrated some fight three times according to you. A true champion would not have backed down from the match everybody wanted to see, a Kasparov rematch. His running was more indicative of pussilanimity than courage, but we'll agree to disagree.

Small point. As I recall KAspy tried 1.c4 a couple of times against KRamnik and got no where. KRamnik may have been privvy to Gazza's Scotch prep for match v Anand.
I also think a few months later he failed to break down KRamnik's Berlin and it wasn't till the following year that he won in a must win last round in Astana that he got the better of the Berlin.

Actually, d, this romantic popular notion that Tal fought in every game is completely untrue. He was by no means averse to the odd short draw; he recounts in his autobiography how he and Petrosian were criticised for a short draw, and says that this angered them, and that they decided to show how to really draw without a fight, and 'over our next two games we spent a total of ten minutes; not more'.

You are bringing in a new argument with this stuff about Kasparov's claim to a rematch. Suffice it to say that I don't agree. If Kramnik was going to grant the privilege of a match to any one of the several players who would no doubt have liked it (as opposed to his perfectly honourable efforts to put in place some kind of process to find a challenger) then it should have been not Kasparov but Shirov.


Agree that Kramnik's self-control at the Elista press conferences, and his subsequent victory in the match were the marks of a champion.

Courage is tested when the other guy is playing a good deal better than you. Can you keep your head on straight and keep fighting?

--Kasparov in the Karpov matches? Yes.
--Against Deep Blue? No.
--Against Kramnik in 2000? No.

Before their London match, Kasparov and Kramnik agreed that there would be a qualifier to pick the next challenger. Kramnik faithfully adhered to that understanding. Kasparov, on the other hand, made it clear he wanted no part of any qualifer, no matter what the format.

The correctness of Kramnik's decision to proceed with a qualifier was borne out by the the 2004 match, where Leko put up a far stronger battle than Kasparov had in 2000.

Yuriy - thanks for the translation. Sorry to be dim, but this is a spoof interview, right?

Dimi - I gather some Topalov shill has a book out in Bulgaria today calling Elista from Topalov's point of view?

Also, rumour has it that those who know Topalov are saying that according to him in fact Danailov ran the whole show in Elista and that Topalov knew little about it, and only subsequently has Topalov made the decision to stand by the stuff. Any hint of that on, for example, Bulgarian forums?

"Actually, d, this romantic popular notion that Tal fought in every game is completely untrue." On the contrary, it is completely true. If you own his autobiography, you will know that he says he only played for a draw with white (against Korchnoi, his most difficult opponent) only once in his life, and he felt deeply ashamed. If Kramnik had similar feelings, he would have died of shame by now. When playing with black, most surely he would have first tried to equalise, especially when the magic power of his piece moving wand had waned. And certainly he took a few short draws, but it was rarely in positions with life where he could have played for an advantage.

"You are bringing in a new argument with this stuff about Kasparov's claim to a rematch. Suffice it to say that I don't agree. If Kramnik was going to grant the privilege of a match to any one of the several players who would no doubt have liked it (as opposed to his perfectly honourable efforts to put in place some kind of process to find a challenger) then it should have been not Kasparov but Shirov."
HAHA, this is rich, and generally indicative of the complete lack of logic in the vast majority of your posts. Firstly, its not a new argument, it relates to his courage in competition. Secondly, Kasparov wasnt "any" opponent, he was the one who had handpicked a Kramnik who lost every qualification match he had played until then. He was of course happy enough to grasp what fell into his lap. Thirdly, why Shirov? Shirov had already won against him. It was Kasparov who presented the possibility of a unique match-up, which would have jacked up interest in Chess to a Fischer era level.
"..perfectly honourable efforts to put in place some kind of process to find a challenger"
Tell me, exactly what did he do? I know the ACP declared an already existing tournament to be a qualifier, but what were Kramnik's "honourable efforts" to put together a "process"?

"The correctness of Kramnik's decision to proceed with a qualifier was borne out by the the 2004 match, where Leko put up a far stronger battle than Kasparov had in 2000."

ROFL!.. where can I start.. How about your ability to predict the outcome of what never took place? If you could only extend this ability to knowing the future, you wouldnt be posting here, you would be paying Kramnik for private lessons from the billions you would make playing the stock market..

What's the ACP got to do with anything? Leko had already won the qualifier almost one and a half year before the ACP even existed. Jesus, the ignorance around here is mind-boggling.


No. They are joking around, but the interview is completely for real. Vasilyev is asking the questions and Danailov at first and then Topalov is answering them.

sorry, whatever it was called then. What's in a name.. As for ignorance, I am glad to be enlightened by you. Had I not read one of your posts, I wouldn't have known that Sweden was a police state with frequent demonstrations of police brutality, despite living there for 5 years.


1. When do you say Kramnik has been playing for a draw with White? Not in this tournament, that’s for sure.

2. You are naïve about Tal rarely taking draws as Black in positions with life where he could have played for an advantage. Compare Polgar-Tal 1991 with Ponomariov-Kramnik Corus 2007.

3. Dortmund was not an existing tournament (at least there was an existing tournament in Dortmund, but this event was created for the occasion). As for a process, what on earth do you think Dortmund and the Prague agreement were? Apart from involving himself in the negotiations for those, Kramnik also gave up the champion’s traditional right of draw odds (for the proposed final after the semi-finals envisaged by Prague). When did Kasparov ever do that?

4. Why did Shirov deserve a chance – surely you’re joking? He qualified unpaid for a world championship match which never took place. He had a far, far better claim to a title match than Kasparov.

It comes down to, on the one hand, Kasparov and his fans saying ‘I’m the best! You should play me.’, and on the other hand everyone else saying ‘we want a go and we want a decent process set up to determine a challenger.’

Perhaps the most absurd aspect was Kasparov’s hypocrisy both moral and commercial; (i) having spent years railing about how unfair it was being forced to give Karpov a rematch, he then wanted one himself, and (ii) having just negotiated a contract which didn’t give him a right to a rematch and which gave Kramnik (fairly enough) the thin end of the purse, he then decided he ought to get a rematch after all. If he’d wanted this clause from the start, who knows how different the commercial terms agreed might have been?


Ah, OK. Weird. Generally this Vasiliev is an Ilyumzhinov lapdog, yes?

In Prague, Kramnik agreed to play the winner of Kasparov/Ponomariov - and yes, without draw odds - for unification just half a year (!) after he was supposed to play the Dortmund winner per the Einstein agreement. And people still claim that he wanted to "sit on his title forever", "avoid Kasparov desperately", and all this rubbish that the facts so easily refute. It's not Kramnik's fault that Einstein failed to live up to their obligations and that FIDE messed up their part of Prague.

1. Wow, there's actually one tournament where Kramnik didnt play for a draw with White? Horray! Lets all bow down!
2. Sure, lets do that! Compare the game of a dying Tal who would breath his last within a year to that of a healthy young player in his prime! Dont all laugh (or cry) at once now..
3. It was an existing tournament. And wow again! Kramink involved himself in the Prague agreement negotiations! Man, what an achievement! It was somebody else's suggestion, and loads of GMs took part. Still, given that its Kramnik I suppose it was a huge achievement. I was though looking for examples of looking for corporate sponsorship, initiating dialogue (such as Seirawen did with the Prague proposal, some activity other than turning upto a meeting and puuting his signature on paper.
4. No, it wasnt about Shirov not deserving a chance, it was about Shirov not having to prove anything since he had already beaten Kramnik. He did indeed have a far better claim to a title match, but a better claim than Kramnik, not a better claim than Kasparov.

"No, it wasnt about Shirov not deserving a chance, it was about Shirov not having to prove anything since he had already beaten Kramnik."

Yes, exactly. He didn't have to prove anything, since unlike Kasparov he had actually won a World Championship qualifier very recently.

My own opinion on this is that Kramnik had a moral obligation NOT to give Kasparov an automatic rematch, and to his great honour, he refused to give in to the pressure.

Holding a qualifier - you know, the thing they had actually agreed on before the match - was the best option considering the circumstances. But if Kramnik "owed" anyone a match, it was Shirov.

1. At the moment, of course, you have instanced exactly no examples of such a thing.

2. I might reply that if you're well enough to play, you're well enough to play. But anyway I wasn't criticising Tal, just refuting your romantic moonshine about how he hardly ever agreed to a draw even with Black in positions where there was still lots of play. In fact he also says in his autobiography that he will let the reader into a secret, that when he is offered a draw early on, he is more likely to accept. Later once the battle is joined he more often declines, he says (not 'never', you notice).

3. Kramnik is not a businessman: he's a chess player. What are you talking about - obtaining sponsorship and so on? Don't be ridiculous. That was Braingames' job. He negotiated with them, signed up a contract with them and left them to it.

4. Of course Shirov had a better claim to the 2000 match than Kramnik. But Kramnik was offered it, and he said yes, and why not? I think most people would have done the same. The fact that Shirov had previously beaten Kramnik gives him a better claim to a title match, not a worse one. It's not about 'proving anything', it's about becoming the world champion.

You were mistaken, by the way, in saying that Kramnik had lost every qualification match he had ever played. He beat Yudasin, for a start. But hey, whatever, we're bashing Kramnik here, let's not bother with the facts, as you said above.

Actually I spoke too soon! Take todays game against Radjabov as an abject, pathetic example of Kramnik playing for a draw with white.

Vasilyev has been a very respectable chess journalist in Russia for many years. He is on very friendly terms with many people: all his interviews with Kirsan, Kramnik, Topalov and Danailov indicate so. He is a big proponent of Kirsan-style unification, was the one who announced Mexico last year and announced Kirsan's "Kramnik is going to play" stunt this year.

This article was in many ways a response to the article the day before where Vasilyev said something to the effect of "Topalov looks drugged".

I would like to see more proof of that than him agreeing to draw in a position where he has no advantage.

There are examples, of course. Like Kramnik-Morozevich, Corus 2005, quick draw in 11 moves. That's a game that had no importance for the tournament, and Kramnik was ill (as Chessbase reported). That is the kind of exceptional circumstances where Kramnik, or any other strong player, might not play for a win even with White.

(Forgot to add that Kram-Moro was a last-round game. Kram was +1 and had no chance of winning.)

I want to make sure I understand this, rdh and acirce, you are saying Kramnik doesn't tend to draw more and more easily than other GMs?

Yuriy, is this not the same Vasiliev who produced some laughable stuff in support of Ilyumzhinov, all about how he had been a genius in dozens of fields as a child, had strangled serpents with his bare hands in the cradle, and had once played linebacker for the San Diego Chargers before deciding to give up his football career because it wasn't fair on the other players? (I may have exaggerated slightly). I don't see how anyone could remain respected after that, or is this sort of thing expected in Russia?

d, you are making yourself look a fool, quite possibly rightly, of course. If you think Kramnik could have thought of no better way of making a draw with White against Radjabov than introducing an interesting opening novelty, I suggest you are mistaken. The obvious approach if he wanted a draw was simply to offer one. Radjabov's a pragmatic lad.

Well, don't say I started this...

Here we go again with Greg Koster and rdh coming up with their usual dishonest arguments.

"Kasparov on the other hand, made it perfectly clear he wanted no part of any qualifier no matter what the format" - Koster
Please stop twisting things, Greg.
As I conclusively proved on this blog several months ago, Kasparov made NO demands for special favours BEFORE the announcment of a ridiculous format for the Dortmund qualifier on 15 July 2001. Neither Greg, rdh, or anyone else ever came up with anything to show that he did despite a challenge from me to do so. He was quite prepared to play in a reasonable qualifier until then.
Only AFTER this announcement of a ridiculous format did Kasparov start making noises about alternative arrangements - which of course was quite a reasonable thing to do now.
So can we stop this dishonesty once and for all, please.

"perfectly reasonable efforts to put in place some kind of process to find a challenger" - rdh
Dortmund was Kramnik's only 'effort'. Prague came along later and was nothing to do with a positive effort from Kramnik.
Kramnik's 'perfectly reasonable' effort was to insist on a qualifier that was to a great extent modelled on the FIDE KO Championships which Kramnik himself had previously condemned. Far from being 'perfectly reasonable', this was just rank hypocrisy. This was almost certainly done in the hope that Kasparov would be too disgusted to play in it and thus not become Kramnik's challenger.

Jeez, what a waste of time it is arguing with you guys. Why don't you create your own blog and take it over instead of trying to take over Mig's all the time?

"you are saying Kramnik doesn't tend to draw more and more easily than other GMs?"

No. Of course he does that more than some other GM's. More than Topalov, for example, that much is obvious. But then there are tons of GM's who are just as draw-prone or more. I have often made the point that there is no reason to single Kramnik out in this regard. Yes, he is World Champion, should be held to higher standards, yadda, yadda. Good, then I hope at least the similar Leko bashing will end!

He took a blow when he did that, but the rest of the stuff I mentioned about him is also true:

he has many years of legitimate chess coverage in Russia behind him, still works for ChessPro and his interviews with Kramnik are also filled with affection and cordiality.

Don't forget, btw, in Kirsan-Kok election, Russian government might have put pressure on Vasilyev to show support for the Russian national.

I don't think he often plays for a draw with White, as d is suggesting, and I don't think he often agrees a draw with Black in equal positions with fighting prospects either. He readily plays openings which may lead to very equal positions very quickly, but that's not the same thing.

I came up with a simple formula for something we shall call excitability factor. For every game GM completes in a tournament with a decisive result or in which at least 40 moves are played, he gets 40 points. For each draw that goes under 40 move he loses a point for each move before 40 not played. So, if you draw in 60, win one and then draw in 12, you get 40+40-28 52 points. I feel that this formula allows to see who plays out the positions and penalizes those who don't play out the most by the largest penalty. It also gives a compensation for short draws to those who have long draws or decisive games. So, here are GMs ratings through 10 rounds of Corus:

Van Wely: 299
Shirov: 298
Topalov: 292
Anand: 234
Navara: 227
Radjabov: 217
Karjakin: 172
Ponomariov: 169
Motylev: 164
Carlsen: 113
Tiviakov: 55
Aronian: 24
Svidler: 23
Kramnik: 4

While Kramnik is not that far off from some other GMs he is certainly on the drawish side and on the side of the GMs who tend to draw early when they do.

--The fact that Dortmund was a pre-existing tournament is, of course, irrelevant. Had the Dortmund format been comprised of the world's top eight players playing 12-game knock-out matches who would have cared that its format was "pre-existing?"

--I believe Mig has said that the Dortmund format was irrelevant to Kasparov's decision; he just did not think he should have to play a qualifier.

--The Dortmund format culminated in four-game matches between the top dogs. If they had more money, perhaps they could have had six or eight game semi-final and final matches. Dortmund does not have Kirsan's money. Those complaining about the Dortmund format might reasonably be asked what better format was possible, given the limited resources, to determine which of the eight candidates should become the challenger.

rdh, your stock argument when your befuddled mind is overtaxed is to call somebody a fool. Look in the mirror old son, and you'll see the biggest fool.

Chris B, 'conclusively proved' and 'repeatedly shouted' are not the same thing.

I suggest that you have absolutely no idea to what extent Kramnik was involved in the negotiations for either Dortmund or Prague.

The simple move-counting approach is badly flawed. If you want a draw as Black, you should not be punished for achieving that easily in 17 moves instead of having to fight for it in 47. It's a fact that Kramnik gets easier draws simply because he is a much better player than the overwhelming majority of the other GM's. One, because he is better at equalizing with Black. Two, because his opponents respect his strength. If Radjabov offers a draw in move 15 as Black, his opponent is less likely to accept than if Kramnik does.

Mig already did this, he called it the Chicken factor. Kramnik scores on the chicken end of course.
ChrisB, thanks, you're absolutely right, but its impossible to argue with rdh, if he's proved wrong, its because the other side is argued by a 'fool'. As for Koster.. where to start? :-)

The difference between us, d, is that I accompanied my insult with an argument; one which you very wisely choose not to address.

rdh, in all of your posts from day 1 to now, you dont have a single valid point, though of course plenty of arguments


1. On the other hand, an earlier draw is typically less of a drawish position. Most 17-move positions that are drawn still have more room to play than 47-move positions that are drawn.
2. If it was simply a matter of strength, then other top GMs would also be towards the bottom, and Motylev and Tiviakov would be closer towards the top. It might be true that you can't compare Van Wely and Topalov's excitability factor but certainly you can compare Anand, Topalov and Kramnik's.
3. Of course, no mathematical formula simplifies and dismisses a lot of minor factors. You get a clear picture for the sake of eliminating the details.
4. Motivation of course is ignored in statistics like these. If you try to draw and I draw because I have no initiative we are ranked the same. But if I draw because I have no initiative today, then my rating will be compensated by the other games I play. You on the other hand will continue to get the same numbers.


I only capitalised three words to emphasise the importance of this point - a point you and Greg either do not seem to understand or choose to ignore. As for proof, where are all these demands from Kasparov before 15 July 2001? The reason nobody has produced any is that they almost certainly do not exist, so I guess it's pretty hard to do so.
Kramnik was only reluctantly dragged into the Prague negotiations because of the outcry that his format had produced and because how hollow his title was going to look.
As for Dortmund negotiations, what negotiations? The Dortmund format was a complete surprise to everybody - nobody was aware of it beforehand (see Seirawan's articles) so how could it have been negotiated?


If Kramnik genuinely did not have the money to organise a proper qualifier, then he should have said he would play the winner of a match of the two players apart from himself who were truly head and shoulders above everybody else at the time - Kasparov and Anand. I am sure Kasparov would have found this acceptable.
But even with limited resources, Dortmund could easily have been improved.
In the first place, before the semi-final, they had 2 unequal groups of 4 players playing a double round robin (ie 6 games) with the top 2 in each group qualifying. Surely far more sensible, and a lot less subject to chance, would have been to have a single round-robin of all eight players with the top four qualifying. Seven games. So they saved one round. I'm sure this must have saved them heaps of expense!
But of course monumentally more sensible would have been to make the whole thing a double round-robin like Mexico - that would not have taken longer than Dortmund took (14 games versus the 14 games that Topalov and Leko played at Dortmund [with Topalov having to play a two-game rapid playoff in addition].

I have not seen this Mig comment, and don't know where to look; nor do I have hours to search. If you can produce it for me, I would be grateful. It would be interesting to see if it's based on a Kasparov comment before or after 15 July 2001. If it is before, based on evidence, and reasonable, I would certainly take it into consideration and be prepared to eat some humble pie if it looks ok.

FFS, Chris B, of course Dortmund was negotiated. Between Braingames and the organisers, between Braingames and Kramnik, between the same parties and the sponsors.

In fact according to you Kramnik insisted on the format. Next you say he wasn't actually involved in the negotiations. Which is it?

Well, of course there were negotiations between Kramnik and his sponsors.
But the impression given by you was that there were extensive negotiations between Kramnik and the affected players (as at Prague), which there manifestly were not.
The whole thing was sprung on Kasparov and everybody else. I am glad that you have now in effect admitted that this was the case.

Keene of Braingames designed the format. Kramnik approved and accepted it (and in doing so, must have known the consequences). Once it was announced, the Kramnik camp (= Kramnik basically) despite a huge outcry, absolutely insisted on retaining it apart from a pathetic concession of increasing the semi-final from 2 games to 4 games.

'perfectly reasonable'. Yeah, right.

Rubbish. I never said there were any negotiations between Kramnik and Kasparov or any other players who were invited to Dortmund.


No, you did not in so many words, and neither did I say you did. I said you gave that impression. You did this by linking Dortmund and Prague as if they were more or less an equivalent (the 'process') and in effect implying that Kramnik was looking out for players' interests in both cases. Readers not in the know would not know the difference. Of course you legal types are good at doing this sort of thing.

It would be nice if you would stop splitting hairs and address some of the other points I made. Like where's all this stuff saying that Kasparov was making demands before 15 July 2001?

rdh: I learned about that book from Chessbase. "Toilet War: A Chess Drama in 13 Acts". I did not see an advertisement for it on the Bulgarian sites. I've had enough of that crap. No matter which side one stands on the Elista events, the subject has lost its intelelctual intrigue completely. It's like reading the yellow press, stories of zombies, etc. It has become stupid. It's just not interesting.


Sort of, Dimi. I would still be interested in an unvarnished version of actual events, but of course I'm not going to get one.

Chris B: I've lost track of what remark I never made I'm supposed to be defending now. Your point is that Kasparov never demanded a rematch until after Dortmund was announced, at which point he started yelling for one instead, and Kramnik understandably told him to take a hike. Is that it?


It's not hard. All you have to do is scroll up the page a little bit. Or you could type in 'Ctrl' plus 'F' and enter the word 'process'.

As for the rest of your post, I think the fact that Kasparov was not demanding a rematch 'until after Dortmund was announced' is in itself seriously significant seeing that you, Greg and acrice regularly imply that he was demanding one from the word go. Well, thank God we've got that far at least!
But he did not absolutely demand one afterwards either. He did strongly and justifiably suggest that something reasonable needed to be done.
What happened next was that Seirawan came up with his 'A Fresh Start' proposal. This was that Kramnik and Kasparov both played in quarterfinal World Championship matches along with 6 others. Kasparov agreed to do this. So this is 'demanding a direct rematch', is it? Kramnik, of course, absolutely refused, thus forcing a perversion of 'A Fresh Start' into the Prague agreement. I said all this months ago, but of course you chose to ignore it.

So I guess that's most of 'it'. A pretty significant 'it', is it not?

ChrisB, very well said, and thanks, I had lost energy to argue these points.

Kasparov was strangled in 2000. And another WCC match loss to Kramnik would have put a huge dent in his legacy. Nonetheless, I don't believe Kasparov feared a rematch.

Kramnik reduced Kasparov to offering 15-move draws with white in 2000, and I don't believe he feared a rematch, either.

But Kasparov was Kasparov and Kramnik was the world champion and neither man felt obliged to make the slightest concession to bring off a rematch.

Kramnik never asked Kasparov what sort of qualifier he would agree to. Kasparov never demanded a specific qualification format, never offered to help find sponsorship for such an event.

The suggestion that either of these great champions was "afraid" of the other proceeds naturally from the mentality of 14-year-old boys for whom everything comes down to a test of manhood.

Chris B, I simply cannot follow what you're saying about 'process'. I dare say everyone can decide whether Dortmund can or cannot be described as a 'process for finding a challenger', but if you don't like it substitute some other word.

Why you, Seirawan, or indeed Kasparov, ever imagined for one moment that Kramnik would accept a proposal that saw him starting in a quarter-final like no other world champion in history is quite beyond me.

Frankly I don't know whether Kasparov ever demanded a rematch or not. What I do know is that his various supporters today endlessly whinge about the fact he didn't get one.

NYTimes Kasparov interview. November 18, 2000:

Looking ahead, Mr. Kasparov said that he wanted a rematch with Kramnik and that he believed that it was a ''matter of honor'' for Mr. Kramnik to accept his challenge, particularly because Mr. Kasparov had not insisted that there be a rematch clause in the contract for the first match.

In an earlier thread (Daily Dirt of April 10, 2005 at 16:17) a poster suggested that Kasparov would rather run his mouth than take on the challenges of winning Dortmund and beating Kramnik.

Mig replied that such a charge was absurd when Kasparov had just won ten straight major tournaments. Mig also said:

"Kasparov probably wouldn't have participated in ANY qualifier because he didn't feel he should have to. I disagree with him on this.

But he also stated several reasons he found Dortmund unsatisfactory, probably only bothering to do so because 1) he knew saying "I won't play in any qualifier" sounded bad and 2) he wanted to invalidate Kramnik's title and future challenger. Aren't those reasons, both derived from Kasparov's statements, enough? Certainly they are deserving of criticism."

In case people want context for my words, whence they were snipped:


Btw, it's not really Kasparov supporters who are on about it, certainly not anymore. It's just a Kramnik bashing device so they can call him a chicken. Debate such people at your peril.

Oh, it's going to be good when it turns out the only way Kramnik will play in Mexico is if he is guaranteed a quick match with the winner if he doesn't win. Garry's head will explode.

As a staunch defender of the long-match tradition, one would expect Kasparov to argue that the Mexico tournament would at best function as a "pretend" championship; a de facto qualifier for the "real" World Championship involving WC Kramnik.

rdh: "Why you, Seirawan, or indeed Kasparov, ever imagined for one moment that Kramnik would accept a proposal that saw him starting in a quarter-final like no other world champion in history is quite beyond me."
Try this one out for size: Kramnik was LIKE no other world champion. Other champions qualified to pkay the incumbent, Kramnik did not qualify, not by omission I might add, but by losing. Is that so hard to understand?
Mig: "Btw, it's not really Kasparov supporters who are on about it, certainly not anymore. It's just a Kramnik bashing device so they can call him a chicken. Debate such people at your peril."
Well I cnat speak for others, but in my case its not a Kramnik bashing device, its a "Kramnik is not the second coming" device.

Koster: "Kramnik reduced Kasparov to offering 15-move draws with white in 2000, and I don't believe he feared a rematch, either."
I think he did, judging by his actions.

Well, d, of course before 1948 nobody qualified at all, so when you say Kramnik was not like any other champion, I suppose you meant to say that he was like only about half of them. But of course it's true enough what you say; maybe Kramnik took that into account when he agreed at Prague to start in the semifinals.

Of course the fact that Kramnik hadn't qualified for a title match would be no reason at all to grant Kasparov a rematch (as we now seem to have estabished that Kasparov was demanding). If anything it would be a reason either to play Shirov or to establish a process for identifying a challenger.

rdh, what was Kasparov's logic for granting Kramnik a match? That he would provide the best competition and hence generate the most interest. Try and reason on from that; if you fail I will be sorely disappointed by the quality of a British Law degree.
As for pre 1948.. well, we improved from that, and moved forward. Kramnik's title was moving backwards.

"rdh, what was Kasparov's logic for granting Kramnik a match? That he would provide the best competition and hence generate the most interest."

This is only relevant if you think Kasparov was right to begin with. If he was wrong, and the title shot actually belonged to the guy who managed to qualify, than this applies after 2000 as well.

you mean Kramnik was never the champion?

Yes, he was (still is), but it was wrong to give the title shot to him instead of Shirov.

I thought you agreed with this.

Similarly, it would not have been right to give Kasparov a match for free instead of holding a qualifier as planned. I don't believe in "two wrongs make a right..."

ah! I see what you mean! Kramnik got a title shot wrongly, but afterwards, everybody needs to adhere to the (non existing) rules religiously! Kramnik got religion on qualifiers, AFTER he screwed the system, not before. Why did he (and you) not get on this high horse before, and refuse to play? After all, even better than 1 wrong is no wrong!

Kramnik didn't screw the system, Kasparov and others did. That is not Kramnik's fault. It was already "1 wrong." He accepted when it was already clear that Shirov was out of the picture. And the whole idea of the Braingames offer was to return to a real qualification system afterwards. Giving a shot for free to Kasparov of all people would have been as despicable as it was that Shirov never got his.

"Giving Kasparov a shot for free"?

Common acirce... Kasparov dominated the rating list and most tournaments in 2001-2004. That wasn't enough? And it was enough that Leko won a tournament in Dortmund?

Kramnik was just chickening away from Kasparov exactly as he will be doing now with Topalov...

"And it was enough that Leko won a tournament in Dortmund?" Yes.

On a lighter note, Kasparov has now officially become a GM.


Greg, Mig,
Thanks for those references.
I apologise in advance if this post is rather long. I will try to be as concise and direct as possible.

Greg, kudos for finding that New York Times Kasparov interview of 18 November 2000 (did you find it on Google?). I would like to expand what you quoted a little bit:

"Looking ahead, Mr. Kasparov said that he wanted a rematch with Kramnik and that he believed that it was a "matter of honor" for Mr. Kramnik to accept his challenge, particularly because Mr. Kasparov had not insisted that there be a rematch clause in the contract for the first match.
He also said he believed that it would be the most marketable match and therefore the easiest one to raise money for. He said that although he had not spoken formally to the British organisers of the match, The Brain Games Network, they had indicated that there would be a rematch."

I think in the context of the latter part of this quote, Kasparov is not coming across as so demanding. It would appear from the way this whole quote reads that Braingames was not going to organise a qualifier, but simply another World Championship match. In which case, Kasparov (as far the strongest player apart from Kramnik himself) is in effect saying he ought to be first in line. Which is not unreasonable.

In fact, I am rather puzzled by this whole quote, because in Seirawan's 'From a Fresh Start to a New Dawn', he says "As part of the BGN contract, both Kasparov and Kramnik had committed themselves to accepting a candidates' qualifier event to determine a Challenger for the winner in the next cycle". This interview took place only 2 weeks after the end of the match [2 Nov 2000], so perhaps the dust hadn't settled yet. I don't know.

So maybe, maybe not. One swallow does not make a summer, so is there any other evidence yay or nay up to the time of the Dortmund announcement (15 July 2001) that Kasparov was demanding a rematch?

In this respect the following may be relevant:
I was discussing this same issue on Chesscafe's Bulletin Board in September 2002. A Kevin Bonham, who seemed to be one of the best informed posters on that board had had an anti-Kasparov position, but considered my arguments and had this to say in the end:
"Comments by Kasparov claiming that Kramnik was "morally obliged" to play a rematch, and fearing for the future of the World Championship "tradition" if this did not occur, were in wide circulation at that time [February 2001]. However the only original source for these I can find is an interview on the Kasparovchess website dated 30 Jan 2001, and this source shows that Kasparov was generally taken out of context in the reporting of his comments. While claiming Kramnik was "morally obliged" to rematch him, he still was not ruling out participating in a qualifying cycle of some sort at that stage. So I'll retract the harsh things I said about Kasparov in 444-4..."

So it would appear that this 30 Jan 2001 interview is probably the only other comment to go on up to 15 July 2001. The Kasparovchess website is no longer on the Net, but this interview can be found under www.kemmunet.net.mt/chessmalta/newsletters/mar2001.pdf
[it took place 2 days after the end of the Corus 2001 tournament which ended 1.Kasparov 9/13; 2.Anand 8.5/13; 3-4 Kramnik, Ivanchuk 8/13, etc]

I quote the relevant part:
" ...or he [Kramnik] can seek a possibility of creating a system parallel to FIDE's, i.e. a structure that would let someone challenge him. Kramnik made all the necessary statements about the necessity of establishing a correct qualification cycle. And I do support him, of course, though in certain questions I do not completely agree with him. For example, I still believe that his moral duty is to play a rematch, but...moral categories are disputable. Our opinions differ and...that is his right.
However, except for this moral duty, Kramnik has to support the legitimacy of his title by means of creating a system that would provide the strongest candidate with a right to challenge him. To all appearances he did not come to an agreement with Braingames; at least so far we have heard nothing of the money or of the cycle, though all these questions were stipulated for in the contract."

So here we can see that although Kasparov is going on about "moral duty" [and I do not agree with him on this], he says that Kramnik has a right to a different opinion. This does not look like a DEMAND for a rematch to me (Kasparov is stating his preference), or a refusal to play in a qualifier. If Kramnik had offered a reasonable qualifier, Kasparov would have been hard put to justify not playing in it on the strength of this. What Kevin Bonham says seems pretty spot on to me.

In the sentence before Mig's quote that you give, Mig says "...but why don't we just go with what the parties say in public...". Up to 15 July 2001, this seems to have been all that Kasparov did say in public.

On 15 July 2001 came the Kramnik camp's announcement (without any discussion with other players) of the deeply unsatisfactory format for Dortmund.
My own immediate reaction was 'Kasparov can't play in this!' (I was in no way anti-Kramnik until then.)
Mark Crowther said [ http://www.chesscenter.com/twic/twic349.html ] "This seems to me a huge missed opportunity. They have the organisation in place to run a double round robin all-play-all candidates which I'm sure would be looked forward to with relish. This is almost a copy of the FIDE system."
[At 14 rounds, a double round robin would not have taken longer than Dortmund actually did, so there can be no excuse from the resources point of view.]
Seirawan, in 'From a Fresh Start to a New Dawn', Part 1, says
"Just as with FIDE's format, the Dortmund system of short matches was fundamentally flawed. Kasparov was incensed and reacted angrily. He would certainly not play in Dortmund..." [The format certainly DID make a probably decisive difference.] "I too was shocked at the Dortmund format. I could not understand how Keene, with his great experience and intimate knowledge of world championship cycles, could have proposed such a silly format."
Or, from 'A Fresh Start': "FIDE's knockout tournament has unfortunately shown itself to be what its critics have suggested, ie a lottery, whereas the Dortmund organisers have announced that they would be using the same FIDE format of accelerated matches to pick a challenger. Why a bad idea for determining the world champion should be duplicated by a rival set-up is beyond my understanding."

Kramnik is not stupid and must have known all this. It is very difficult to avoid the conclusion that he was trying to prevent Kasparov from becoming his challenger. In view of this, any talk now by Kasparov of a direct rematch hardly seems unjustified.

The response came nearly 2 months later (6 September 2001) from Owen Williams, Kasparov's manager [http://www.chesscenter.com/twic/owenbrain.html ]
What he says looks pretty reasonable to me:
"As we analyse the BGN offer, it is transparently calculated to obtain a quasi-legitimate challenger for Kramnik. Somebody ranked between #4 and about #12 in the world. Let's be blunt: no effort is being made to find the top challenger...Compare Kramnik's not-so-subtle avoidence of the top challenger with the actions of Garry Kasparov from 1985 to 2000 when he consistently played the strongest and most dangerous opponents."
And a pretty good prediction: ...and this will haunt Kramnik as he searches for future respect."

Let us come now to Mig's comment. I quote it here:
"... but why don't we just go with what the parties say in public instead of your telling us how Kasparov felt and why he did what he did. Kasparov probably wouldn't have participated in ANY qualifier because he didn't feel he should have to. I disagree with him on this.
But he also stated several reasons he found Dortmund unsatisfactory, probably only bothering to do so because 1) he knew saying "I won't play in any qualifier" sounded bad and 2)he wanted to invalidate Kramnik's title and future challenger. Aren't those reasons, both derived from Kasparov's statements enough? Certainly they are deserving of criticism."

Mig, I know you are a busy man and all that; that you are probably sick of this whole argument; and perhaps I have banged on about it too much; but can I ask you:
In view of my foregoing analysis does this comment apply to Garry's attitude BEFORE 15 July 2001? The written and cyberspace evidence doesn't really seem to support it to me, so if it is so, is this something that Kasparov told you verbally? Or does the comment only apply as at after 15 July 2001? What Kasparov statements are these reasons derived from? The Owen Williams response? But this was after 15 July 2001.
Would Kasparov really have refused a reasonable qualifier before 15 July 2001 - eg a Candidates series such as Anand qualified from to play him in 1995; or winner of a match between him and Anand?

If this only applies after 15 July 2001, then I think it is most unfair for anyone to claim that Kasparov was DEMANDING a rematch from the word go until the announcement of a deeply unsatisfactory format to determine a challenger. And afterwards would be more or less fair enough as it was plain that Kramnik wouldn't defend his title properly.

I would be greatly interested in your answer, and I guess there is not much point in further debating this issue until we know.

"On a lighter note, Kasparov has now officially become a GM."

On the same day that Karpov and Zaitsev had become IMs, no less. Karpov must be so proud of his rival and his teacher.

The problem is, there is no way to know any of it, at least not to a degree that will make anyone happy. Even Garry can't say for sure now what he would have done under X, Y, Z hypothetical situations, that's why he always jokes, "that's too many "ifs" for FIDE" when such things are discussed. I can only give my impressions based on knowledge then and now. No, he never said "I will never play in a qualifier." Why box yourself in like that?

Who knows, IF firm sponsorship and guarantees had materialized for a Kramnik match with the Dortmund winner and/or IF a more rigorous system had been used there or elsewhere, maybe he would have played. But I think the chances were next to zero, which was, is, just my opinion. People here want to use all this stuff for political points for or against K or K, ad infinitum. But it was real life and we don't know what would have happened because even the principals don't know what they would have done and the probably didn't know then, at least not for sure.

Kramnik didn't screw the system, Kasparov and others did. That is not Kramnik's fault. It was already "1 wrong."

Certainly not. If he hadnt accepted the offer to play Kasparov immediately, Shirov wouldnt have been screwed. It was the Kasparov Kramnik match taking place that that screwed Shirov. If he had said: "sorry, my principles are too high, I know I am not a worthy qualifier because I lost to the person over whom you are now offering me a rematch. Besides, he won, and didnt get paid whereas I did. How pathetic would it be if I accepted another payday now?" Did anybody force him to play? No, he was thinking of numero uno then. If he hadnt played, surely eventually Kasparov would have played Shirovm even for lesser money.

Oh, surely, surely.

All I'm saying is, he aint a saint. Annoys me no end when people paint him as such. A saint would have done the above

Well, all you're saying apart from he was frightened of Kasparov, he screwed the system, he was behind these false accusations against the wonderful Vesko, and lots of other garbage I could trawl up from your posts if I could be bothered.

rdh, no, that's not what I said. Read my posts again. As for garbage, that's what you write. Have fun!



Kasparov-Shirov collapsed. Then, because GK's offer lacked a financial guarantee, Anand declined. If Kramnik had subsequently declined on "moral" grounds, Kasparov would probably have cobbled together a financial guarantee and re-approached Anand.

Rolling into the year 2000, Kasparov had gone five years without a title defense. Somehow I don't think Kasparov or the chess world would have sat still for another half-decade or more waiting around for a fairy princess to show up with funding for a Shirov match.

Kasparov's qualifier had crashed, Anand had declined. As the top-rated available contender, Kramnik had a moral obligation not to duck Kasparov's challenge.

"All I'm saying is, he aint a saint."

If that's all you are saying we wouldn't have had this argument. Or any argument.

But whatever. All I'm saying, then, is he's not the devil ..

If that's all you are saying we wouldn't have had this argument. Or any argument. But whatever.

Thanks for the reply, Mig.

I think it's a case of 'we don't know', then. So it seems to me that extreme positions cannot be taken on this. I cannot claim that Kasparov definitely would have taken part in a reasonable qualifier, and I don't think that Kramnik supporters can claim that before the announcement of a deeply unsatisfactory qualifier on 15 July 2001 that Kasparov was demanding a rematch and definitely wouldn't have.

I have (and never did have) no hesitation in saying that if Kramnik had offered a reasonable qualifier and Kasparov had then refused to take part in it, then I would have supported Kramnik's position and considered Kasparov in the wrong.

However, the announcement of the deeply unsatisfactory format for Dortmund of course immediately killed off any chance that Kasparov would play in a qualifier. ('Kasparov was incensed and reacted angrily. He would certainly not play in Dortmund' - Seirawan.)
Kramnik must have known that this would be the outcome, of course. Yet, despite a big outcry, he refused to budge on it. Especially seeing he did not qualify for his own challenge (as d says), you think he could have cut some slack. The reason was not economic. A double round-robin ('A huge missed opportunity' - Mark Crowther) would not have taken longer than Dortmund actually did.
So why didn't he? The only reason I can see is that he was trying to prevent Kasparov from becoming his challenger. If any Kramnik supporter can come up with any other valid explanation, please let me know! If none is forthcoming, then I think we are perfectly entitled to call Kramnik a chicken and conclude that he was actively trying to avoid Kasparov.

With Dortmund, then, Kramnik is not offering reasonable conditions for the defence of his title. This is something that Bobby Fischer was justly stripped of his title for in 1975 [yes, he beat them to the gun by resigning first, knowing that this was going to happen, but this is just a technicality]. Kramnik's classical title therefore cannot be recognised as valid after 2002.

Sorry, Kramnik supporters, the tradition of the 'classical title' is not being broken by Mexico 2007. In terms of validity, this title already ceased to exist in 2002.

Implying that Kasparov objected to the format in the way that he would have preferred a double round robin sounds odd to me and runs counter to what I've heard.

"Keene started by saying that he had personally proposed an 8 player double round robin as his preferred option. He discussed this with Kasparov and Owen Williams at a lunch after the match against Kramnik last year. According to Keene he "rejected it since he [Kasparov] claimed opponents could gang up on him and cheat thus eliminating him"."

http://www.chesscenter.com/twic/even2001.html (scroll down). He has also said this on chessgames.com, if I recall. If somebody believes that Keene is not telling the truth and has evidence to the contrary, please provide it.

This is of course a known type of criticism of tournaments instead of matches. (Fischer, Curacao, etc) A WC tournament is simply abhorrent - a qualifying tournament would IMO be acceptable but only barely. For all its flaws, Dortmund did keep the match system, even with short matches, and was in this regard way better than a tournament would have been. Any significant modification of this system to the better WOULD have been an economic problem.

And I'm sorry to say that your personal opinion on what are "reasonable" conditions has any bearing on the validity of Kramnik's title. If subjectivity enters the equation at all, it has to be a question about overall recognition, not that of a small minority.

Neither has it anything to do with being a "Kramnik supporter" or not, which I'm also sure you know.


I mean the Dortmund system was better than a pure tournament. It started off by two 4-player round robins from which you qualified to the semifinals by finishing 1st or 2nd.

Even in light of the criticism of tournaments, if you are the best player you should be able to finish on the upper half.

It was as an attempt to please Kasparov that the semifinals were extended to four games. Note that in Owen Williams' press release explaining why the Dortmund invitation is turned down no reference is made to the format.

"two 4-player round robins"

Double round robins, that is.


Very much agree that a round-robin is a poor format for determining a WCC contender.
--It is an ideal format for collusion.
--A relatively inferior "Larsen-type" player could win such an event by drawing (or even losing to) the top dogs while beating the snot out of the tail-enders. It certainly makes sense that Fischer and Kasparov would object.

At Dortmund, the semi-final and final four-game matches eliminated both these problems. Four game matches are better than Kirsan's two-game mini-matches. They are not as good as the five-game "matches" played in 1948. They are also not as good as any number of imaginary formats which would have been possible with more funding.

But if a double round-robin format is "reasonable", then Dortmund is "more reasonable."


We may agree, here.

--Kasparov did demand a rematch.
--Kasparov never identified the type of qualifier that would satisfy him.
--Kasparov never indicated that he would play a qualifer at all.

Mig's suggestion that Kasparov probably would not have played in any qualifier is the best available evidence on the question. (Can anyone find a better source?)

But no one with any sense would call him a "chicken."


In reply to your 3 posts (and to a couple of points that Greg made):

I have seen your questions to Keene, and his replies, on 3 Feb 2007 on chessgames.com. Good of him to reply; interesting information.

My understanding is that Kasparov did not have a rematch clause in the contract because he considered such a clause unfair, having suffered this way himself against Karpov (this was why the 1986 match had to be played). It is amazing that some criticise Kasparov for this generous gesture - one can only imagine what criticism his enemies would have made if he had included one! [I believe there was no such clause for the 1995 Anand match either.]

I hadn't realised that Kasparov wanted a rematch so badly so soon. I accept this. My take on this is that Kasparov did not expect to lose the match so hadn't really thought about it, but this having happened, reality hit home, and - being human - naturally you would prefer a rematch and not be interested in a qualifier. But this is not to say that he said he would definitely refuse to take part in one (though as Mig says, you would not box yourself in like that).
Kramnik, of course, was quite within his rights to insist on one, and I have no problem with this. It is the nature of the qualifier that the Kramnik camp came up with that I query.
One of the things that I cannot understand, and never did, was why Kasparov did not specify in the contract what format of qualifier was acceptable and what wasn't, and in this he was remiss. Again I presume that he did not expect to lose the match; and if he did lose, would have expected Kramnik, who after all he had been on close terms with for a decade, to come up with something 'reasonable'. [or a 'correct qualification cycle'...'a system that would provide the strongest candidate' - kasparov interview 30 january 2001.]

I will concede that my opinion of Kasparov's conduct in this whole affair is not as high as it was. However, I think his comment in the 30 Janurary 2001 interview "Our opinions differ and...that is his right." is the litmus test. To me, he did not seriously cross the line; and on the strength of this comment would have been hard put justifying not playing in a 'reasonable' qualifier.

In the Owen Williams press release, I would think that the comment 'As we analyze the BGN offer, it is transparently calculated to obtain a quasi-legitimate challenger for Kramnik. Somebody ranked between #4 and about #12 in the world. Let's be blunt: no effort is being made to find the top challenger' is an indirect reference to the format. Possibly indirect because it had already been discussed earlier: 'one of Kasparov's major objection, a two-game semifinal, has been changed to four games' [ http://www.chessbase.com/index.asp?offset=-1 ]
So it would seem to me that the format was a major part of the reason for the rejection (or at least a good reason to do so).

So what is 'reasonable', and what sort of qualifier would have been 'acceptable' to Kasparov (or at least one he could not refuse to participate in if he was not to incur public disfavour)?
I would suggest the formats that Kasparov himself arranged to defend his own title with, and which had been generally accepted from 1965 to 1998 - i.e.
Match(es) of at least 10 games, and if there is more than one match, at least 3 months between them. Surely this is the only real way to run a proper, serious qualifier. Isn't it? Be fair. (especially in view of your own comments.)
Following this then, it seems to me that the Kramnik camp should have provided one of the following 3 options, depending on what funding they could arrange:

(1) A match of about 14 games between Kasparov and Anand (the two players who apart from Kramnik himself were far stronger than anyone else at the time). If Anand wouldn't or couldn't play because FIDE committments, then Shirov could have been given some compensation for the 1998 injustice.
I don't see that this would have been an economic problem as compared with what Dortmund cost.

(2) Semi-finals of 12 games and a Final (3 months or more later) of 14 games with Kasparov and Anand seeded into opposite halves of the draw.

(3) Quarterfinals, Semis, and Final as Kasparov had organised in 1994. With Kasparov, Anand and Shirov seeded.

Regarding the Keene comment about Kasparov rejecting a double round robin:
It is true that with the USSR dissolved the 'ganging up' problem is much lessened. Nevertheless it is still theoretically possible - friends can gang up, for example the Curacao scandal was not a Soviet plot, but was arranged between three friends. So I think Kasparov was within his rights to reject a double round robin.
He having done so, it is hard to imagine why the Kramnik camp, if it was genuine and serious, would have looked at anything other than a Kasparov-Anand match if they did not have money for more.

Regarding the Mark Crowther comment, I presume it was already known that Dortmund would not be a single match. In that case a double round robin certainly would have been the best option - as Keene himself says.
Note, too, that the 4-game Semis and Final of Dortmund are even worse than the FIDE KOs, which had a 4-game Semi and a 6 game Final.

Coming now to Keene's justification for Dortmund:
He says: "as for the nature of the qualifier it was specifically designed to minimise the prospects of a chance result or ganging up ie to maximise Kasparov's ability and willingness to participate...Dortmund actually leant too far in trying to eliminate the element of chance for the strongest player"
Hmm, I have to take serious issue with these comments.
In the first place, Dortmund did have a tournament component, two groups of four playing a 6 game double round-robin. So this immediately negates the 'ganging up' comment. In fact any ganging up in a 6 round, 4 player event would probably have rather more severe consequences than in an 8 player, 14 round event.
As for chance result, I would say that the chances of Kasparov coming below second after only 6 games ('but how can you have a favourite when only 6 games are played'? - Mig, 2002.) would hardly be less than him not coming first after 14 games. And then there would still be two short 4 game matches against strong opponents to come! (and remember, the initial proposal had only a 2-game Semi!)

But just to prove it's not just me saying this, I refer you to an analysis done at the time (14 April 2002) by Jeff Sonas called 'Championship Chessmetrics Analysis' [ http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid+260 ], which is a very good read.
In this, Sonas analyses 13,000 different World Championship formats.
The FIDE KO system came out ranked 12,671 and Dortmund at 10,945!! A Curacao type event of 8-player quadruple-round-robin (28 rounds) came out 3rd. Sonas doesn't give where a 8-player double-round-robin (14 rounds) comes, but given where Curacao comes, it must almost certainly be in the top 100, and certainly in the top 1000. Compare this with 10,945!!
So it is clear that Dortmund is vastly (not just a little) inferior to a 8-player double round robin. Surely Keene would have understood this, and understood that Kasparov would have too. 'Eliminate the element of chance'? I really don't think so.
Sonas also says that if the 6 round group part had been made into another 4 game mini-match this would have improved the format. And of course, this would have entirely eliminated the 'ganging-up' possibility. So why wasn't this done? Perhaps it was because it would look too entirely like the FIDE KO then. [The reason Dortmund comes out ahead of FIDE above is that FIDE is dealing with 128 mostly not so top players, wheras Dortmund is dealing with only 8 top seeded players.]

Let's look at some of the comments on Dortmund:
"This is almost a copy of the FIDE system" - Mark Crowther
"The format has come under severe criticism because the round-robin preliminaries and the subsequent two rounds of four-game matches are perilously short." - Sonas
"The top two finishers in each group would play four-game elimination matches based on FIDE's own elimination format! Just as with FIDE's format, the Dortmund system of short matches was fundamentally flawed. Kasparov was incensed and reacted angrily. He would certainly not play in Dortmund. I too was shocked by the Dortmund format. I could not understand how chess grandmaster Keene, with his great experience and intimate knowledge of world championship cycles, could have proposed such a silly format...why a bad idea for determining the world champion should be duplicated by a rival set-up is beyond my understanding." - Seirawan
"From BGN we've gone to BTN (Better Than Nothing), but nothing would actually be better than dragging the traditional title down to the FIDE KO level." - Mig Greengard [ http://mark-weeks.com/chess/a2a3$wo5.htm ] (near bottom; a postscript to a Mig interview of Kasparov 19 March 2002.)
Are Mark Crowther, Sonas, Seirawan and Mig all wrong?

It is very hard to see how Keene could possibly have thought that there was any chance at all that Kasparov would have accepted a format so close to the FIDE knockout one (indeed if Kasparov would have accepted either this or the double round-robin, it surely would have been the latter). At the very least he must have had serious doubts, and if this was the case, why didn't he consult him? (the initial discussion where Kasparov rejected the double round-robin was very early in the piece and no consultation took place after that.)
And Kramnik had participated in one of the FIDE KO's (Las Vegas 1999, getting knocked out in the quarterfinal by Adams), so he knew how chancy these things were.

I have tried to look at this thing from the other point of view, but I just cannot see any explanation other than avoidance of Kasparov, or truly massive incompetence. As I do not believe Keene is that incompetent, there can only be one conclusion.
Can you (or Keene) offer any other?

Chris B, wonderful analysis. Thanks

Given that Kasparov had said he wouldn't play in a double round robin, I should have thought if Kramnik wanted to dodge Kasparov the simplest thing to do was to arrange one of those, no?

Other than that, your suggestions seem to be drawn entirely from cloud-cuckoo-land. They amount to saying that a match cycle should have been organised with Anand, who as it transpired refused to participate in the cycle at all, and/or that Kramnik should magically have whistled up funding for exactly what Kasparov had failed to find funding for - a Gazza-Shirov match, only this time without even the title at stake. And assuming Shirov would have played (didn't he too refuse to play Dortmund, or have I misremembered?)

Back in the real world, if Gazza had only swallowed his pride and concentrated on winning Dortmund, we'd all be a lot better off.

Williams' comment is laughable: Kramnik was the number one, Anand wasn't going to play in any pirate cycle, Gazza wasn't going to play in any cycle if he could help it - picking the best from numbers 4 to 12 seems about right.

Frankly your analysis is only going to seem wonderful to acoltyes like d (who might better have rephrased his post as 'exactly what I wanted to hear - thank you').

I have made a conscious effort not to get drawn into vitriol. The likes of rdh will always use personal insults and snide comments to start a flame war, because they dont have any valid comments. If you look closely at rdh's last entry for example, its peppered with unfortunate phrases like "cloud-cuckoo-land" calculated to raise ire and draw somebody into an argument which is not based on any fact or reason. This is called trolling, in case anybody wondered..


At some some point, the idea of imaginary qualifiers involving individuals who won't play and money that doesn't exist moves beyond "fanciful" into "cloud cuckoo-land".


You should read d's last post carefully. You really do seem to have an attitude problem. Is it really necessary to go ballistic any time someone writes something you disagree with? If you have a point to make, why can't you make it politely?
Personally, I don't think that everything you write on this blog is rubbish; sometimes you make some good points; and some of your game analyses are appreciated.
However your contemptous attitude, constant putdowns and general ill-temper make it unpleasant and difficult to have a discussion with you. Do you behave like this in court?
Also, I do not claim that I will always get everything right. For various reasons, one is sometimes in a relative hurry to get something posted and you do not always think of everything. So a little tolerance would not go amiss.
And I did not tailor my post to what I thought d wanted to hear. These are my own independent thoughts. If d found sense in them, then he's entitled to say so.

You raise a couple of reasonable points. I will try to answer them:

I would think that Anand would not have considered playing in a such a mickey-mouse event as Dortmund as being worth having a bust-up with FIDE. If he had been offered proper one-on-one matches it could have been different. I understand that one of the reasons Anand did not in the end agree to a match with Kasparov in 2000 was a suspicion that he would not get paid, like Shirov; also I believe his relations with Kasparov were not too good at the time. However I think his relations with Kramnik were good, so he might have trusted him. Might have been worth a try anyway.

Shirov did play at Dortmund - he was knocked out in the semi-final by Leko.
You could have a point about funding for a Shirov match (although wouldn't both players be more interested in where a match win would get them, rather than worrying too much about a big payday?). In that case, Kramnik might have had to go to a Semi-final and Final System. If he could not establish sufficient funding for this, then he should have admitted that he was unable to establish a proper qualification cycle and agreed to do what everyone - including Keene - wanted, and play a return match with Kasparov.

Regarding your comment about arranging a double round-robin, well no, because as that was already a known Kasparov position then it would have looked deliberate and they couldn't have had that.

But in fact, apart from this, why the hell didn't they??
Let's get real. Kasparov had severely criticised the FIDE KOs. There was NO chance that he was going to play in what effectively was one. They MUST have known this. Do you agree??
I myself think that Kasparov was too quick to dismiss the double round-robin option. It seems to have occurred in a fairly informal setting (at a lunch after the match) so possibly (I am speculating) it could have been a somewhat off-the-cuff comment rather than an entrenched position - possibly at this early stage Kasparov may not have yet properly come to terms with his defeat. Be that as it may, if Kasparov had been confronted with that option at Dortmund, I think there is some chance, fairly small admittedly (maybe 25%?), that he could have played under protest. After all, it is not such a bad option; Kasparov could have been reasonably sure of winning it; and the 'ganging up' possibility was probably not acute enough to be too significant at that time.
But perhaps that was what they were afraid of...After all, 25% is more than 0%.
I, for one, know that if this had been on the table and he had refused, I would have been rather p****d off with the guy, and so would quite a few other people have been, I would say.
If Kasparov was in fact the fly in the ointment, then why on earth would they give him the moral high ground and a perfect excuse to refuse to play by insisting (even after severe criticism from all quarters) on such an idiotic format? This would seem to speak of the most monumental incompetence. And why would Kasparov have been so incensed when he first saw the format (Seirawan)? Wouldn't he have been delighted? Or was this just a big act?

I do not say that this fiasco was 100% the Kramnik camp's fault. Kasparov has to take a bit of the blame. More communication would have helped. But as the Kramnik camp were devising the system, the ball was in their court to do the communicating. Why didn't they?
In general, one has the feeling that if Kramnik had been as forthcoming in taking on the strongest opposition as Kasparov had been after 1993, there would have been a rematch.

Until the Danailov antics in Elista, there was quite a lot of anti-Kramnik feeling around. If Kramnik's such a nice guy, where did all that come from? Surely the Kasparov propaganda machine can't have been that effective. I would suggest most of it originated from this Dortmund business. If it wasn't deliberate, they sure made a hell of a mess of it.

Re Williams comment:
Actually, Kasparov was still number one on the rating list; and they had sure made definitely certain he wasn't going to play. And Williams no doubt had to go as low as #12 because Dortmund had made everything so random that #12 would have had nearly a good a chance of winning as #4.

Thank you, too, for comments and arguments. Nice to know that someone can 'understand' what I am saying.
I well appreciate your earlier comment about not having the energy to argue these points! It sure takes plenty!
Keep up the good work!

Apologies to anyone who tried them, for mistyping two of the URL's in my last post. Correct are:

Sonas' Championship Chessmetrics Analysis:

The Mig 2002 comment:

Also the Kasporov major objection comment given in the first link in my previous post is about halfway down the page.

rdh evidently works at expressing himself as concisely as possible. In a busy blog that's a much-appreciated courtesy. Skipping over his occasional? frequent? crankiness is easy and recommended.

Koster, speak for yourself. Coming up with soundbites that dont mean anything is certainly concise, but hardly recommended. I personally appreciate meaningful and fact filled logical analyses rather than rdh's ill advised attempts at cynical humour, designed to show himself in a sophisticated light, but which really highlight his complete ignorance and shallow mind. Some people are witty enough to be amusing in this manner (clubfoot springs to mind) but rdh certainly isnt. Your posts are mostly restricted to partisan expressions of support for a few, mostly posting pathetic drivel like you do, and putdowns for the rest. COncise, certainly, but not recommended.

Scolded by d and Chris B! I writhe in shame.

I should have remembered Shirov was at Dortmund recently, though, since I annotated Shirov-Leko therefrom only the other day. Age, I expect.

On the subject of conspiracy theories in general, it’s always a warning sign when you find yourself saying, ‘well, yes, of course they could have done THAT instead to achieve their goal, but that would have been too OBVIOUS. Everyone would have seen the conspiracy then. Whereas what they did was so fiendishly CUNNING that everyone missed the conspiracy. Everyone except me, that is. I wasn’t fooled. I wonder why everyone else can’t see it.’

It is this point that the whole deliberately-designed-to-freeze-Kasparov-out hypothesis has now reached.

Well, rdh, it would appear in a concurrent thread (2007 Moscow Open - at 12:45 on 7 Feb 2007), you were scolded by Mig as well. In fact, this is not the first time you have been scolded by Mig. Nor the second. It seems that Mig finds it necessary to scold you regularly. Still, I guess nothing would shame you.

Not so much a conspiracy theory as simply an unavoidable conclusion by a process of elimination!
-Presumably it couldn't have been incompetence because they stubbornly refused (apart from a minor change) to change it after severe (and near universal) condemnation which clearly pinpointed its inadequacy.
-And if they were after a 'quickie' qualifier to save money, well this is not on either for a proper, SERIOUS qualification cycle, which is of course, as your friend Greg has often pointed out, a series of Candidates Matches such as held from 1965 to 1994. If Kramnik could not raise the money for these, then he should have handpicked the strongest challenger as Kasparov did in 2000 (from which action Kramnik himself was the beneficiary).
So beats me, rdh. Please then give us YOUR reason as to why they adopted and stuck to the idiotic Dortmund format.

'I wonder why everyone else can't see it'. Excuse me? How come so many people, probably a considerable majority, had the suspicion that Kramnik was avoiding a rematch? Where did that idea come from then? Please do explain.

To show how silly the Dortmund format was, I shall give some of the absurdities that did actually occur.
[Greg can skip this bit as logical analysis obviously overstrains his attention span.
And Greg, to do a proper analysis sometimes does take a bit of space, surprising as that may seem to you. And yes, this is a busy blog, but this thread isn't, as you well know. I'm a bit puzzled, like really, as to what sort of pleasure you get from making misleading and destructive comments; it's not a very nice trait, you know - maybe you should reflect on that.]

The Dortmund event was held 6-21 July 2002 (16 days in all).
There were two groups of four, each playing a double Round-Robin (6 games). The top two in each group qualified to play in 4-game Semi-final matches; winner of Group 1 playing runner-up of Group 2, and winner of Group 2 playing runner-up of Group 1. The two match winners played a Final match of 4 games. Ties broken by a 2-game rapid playoff (etc).
Participants of the groups (with 1 July 2002 Ratings in brackets) were:
Group 1: Topalov (2745), Gelfand (2710), Shirov (2697), Lutz (2650)
Group 2: Adams (2752), Bareev (2726), Leko (2717), Morozevich (2716)
Group 1: Topalov & Shirov 4 , Gelfand 2.5, Lutz 1.5 (Shirov won playoff 1.5-0.5)
Group 2: Bareev 4, Leko 3.5, Adams 2.5, Morozevich 2
Semi-finals: Topalov drew Bareev 2-2, winning playoff 1.5-0.5; Leko beat Shirov 2.5-0.5
Final: Leko beat Topalov 2.5-1.5

Questionable and absurd things:
(1) Ivanchuk had been invited, but FIDE wouldn't let him play (he had a contract with them). Instead of going to the next person on ratings to replace him, the organisers put in the German Champion, Lutz, who was about 50th on the rating list. While this no doubt was popular with the German sponsors, the event was supposed to, um, be some sort of proper qualifier to find a challenger to the World Champion.

(2) The average rating of Group 1 was 2700.5, while the average rating of group 2 was 2727.75. This is a considerable difference. Group 2 players would have had every right to feel aggrieved.

(3) Before the tournament even started, it was guaranteed that two players that would be eliminated from the Semis [from Group 2] would be higher rated than one of the qualifiers [From Group 1]!!
True, the selections of the groups were decided on earlier ratings (but even then they were far from even), but this just goes to show how hazardous it is to split things into groups. Far more sensible would have been to have this phase as a single round-robin. Or even a third mini-match of 4 games would have been better according to Jeff Sonas info. And in this option, the 2 days saved could have been added to the Final, thus at least making this as long as the FIDE KO (6 games).

(4) The highest rated player of the eight (Adams) did not qualify for the Semi-final.

(5) The eventual winner, Leko, drew his first game and lost the second and looked out of the Semis. [ie after just one loss.] Only by a desperate effort, winning his last two games, did he scrape in.

(6) From Group 1, Topalov and Shirov had to have a playoff for first and second. Leko was second in Group 2, but was considered stronger than top-placed Bareev, so therefore both players probably preferred to lose the playoff!! How absurd can you get? Both players said that they would prefer to toss a coin, but the organisers forced them to play. Shirov 'won' the playoff. But some wags suggested that the real playoff (or a coin toss) occurred earlier in secret.

(7) Topalov had to play the entire 16 days without a break. Going into the final against Leko, he had played 12 days in a row, and Mig at the time said he looked like a used dishrag. Leko, on the other hand, had had two rest days before the final, while thanks to the gambit of coming second in his group, instead of 1st=, he had another after the group stage.
Kramnik, questioned about the lack of rest days, made the inane comment: "the players had to earn their rest days". The whole thing was obviously just a big joke to him.

If anything was drawn from "cloud-cuckoo-land", it was this format. Small wonder Kasparov refused to play. It reminds me of the experiments that they had in the 19th Century and the first decade of the 20th. Fine for a bit of fun, but a serious event to find the challenger for the classical title? In an interview on 8 May 2005, Kramnik said "The knockout world championships of FIDE have experimental character". What on earth did he think Dortmund was?

Chris, I don’t hold much of a torch for the Dortmund format. Of course including Lutz was absurd. Of course the play-off was ridiculous; of course there should have been proper rest days.

On the whole though these demonstrate reality rather than anything else, certainly an anti-Kasparov plot. Sponsors only have so much money and they like a bit of home interest. I doubt Kramnik thought to himself, ‘Now, how can I ensure Kasparov doesn’t qualify: I know – no rest days for anyone who finished tied first in a group – that’ll teach him.’.

As far as I can make out most people think Kramnik should have just granted Kasparov a straight rematch, which we agree would have been wrong. Your notion that instead Dortmund was a Baldrick-like plan to make sure Gazza didn’t qualify seems to be unique to you.

But the main point is that it didn’t matter. Kasparov had already ruled out playing in a tournament and according to Mig would in fact have refused to play in any qualifier. Fine. We agree that was a stupid position and was strictly Kasparov’s problem. A fairer critic might think that managing to get him to agree to Prague was the best that could be expected of Kramnik.

rdh, (and perhaps Koster if he's lurking somewhere, waiting to get in his sycophantic expressions of support or condemnation), here's an important difference between a logical analysis and mind numbing drivel. If somebody analyses the recorded behaviour of somebody (i.e. a fact) and then draws a conclusion about his motives based upon a balance of probabilities (such as Chris B above), that is a logical analysis. If somebody uses an ability to mind read (proven only to himself of course), and uses that as a basis for a pronouncement, that is mind numbing drivel. For an example of this, look at your statement above: "I doubt Kramnik thought to himself, ‘Now, how can I ensure Kasparov doesn’t qualify: I know – no rest days for anyone who finished tied first in a group – that’ll teach him.’"
Of course convincing to you, because after all you know what Kramnik thinks, but rubbish to the rest of us.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on January 24, 2007 7:02 AM.

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