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Corus 2007 r2

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Just a thread so you can get your comment on during the round. Official site here. Kramnik-Shirov is a potential highlight considering their history of great games. I'm doing live game radio on Chess.fm with GM Miguel Illescas and we'll be following the games as well as talking a lot of Kramnik. Broadcast starts a few minutes before the games at 7:30 so I can recap round one and preview round two. I'm sure we'll have more than one full game today, so there should be some competition for the daily game prize this time. Ban the draw offer!

UPDATE: Well, they listened! If there were any draw offers today they sure weren't accepted. An amazing six decisive games and it looked very close to seven for long time. In a comic twist, the only draw was Radjabov-Karjakin, dropping yesterday's sole winner into the massive pack of seven (!) players on +1. Illescas and I were getting excited about a 7/7 bloodbath, but Karjakin found a theoretical draw in Q+p vs R+p to save the half point. Has there ever been a 7/7 round at Corus? There was another 6/7 a few years ago, round 10 in 2003.

Still, it was a remarkable day of chess, with most of the wins coming from the favorites in convincing fashion. The star game was Kramnik's absolutely signature squeeze of Shirov. It was marred by a silly blunder at the end and by Shirov's bizarre time management (he used an HOUR on 7..c6), but it was a classic control game from the world champion. The 18.Ne1 maneuver put Black on the critical list and Shirov never had a speck of counterplay. Effortless. Anand won a far more spectacular affair against Motylev when the Russian sacrificed three pawns and then a piece but couldn't back it up. They followed a Radjabov-Anand poisoned pawn blitz game from last year, and we were all surprised Motylev thought he had enough compensation. But he got great play and near the end he could have gone for a repetition with 28.Rxg7+ and either didn't see it or didn't see Anand's refutation of his 28.Qf2? A tragic finish to such a wild game. I'm not really sure what he missed at the end.

Topalov was cruising to a typically brutal bashing of van Wely's Najdorf when he took a strange pass to play defense with 23.b3 and the Dutchman was right back in the game. 23.Qd3 was the expected blow. But van Wely quickly returned the favor by missing 26.Bxc5! leading to 27.Qh6! and Topalov issued no further pardons. The finish is pretty as van Wely thought he might have a mate swindle with a queen sac. He thought wrong.

So the top three players in the world scored fairly quickly and three more wins were to come. Aronian was next to win, as all of Ponomariov's pawn weaknesses popped at once in his time trouble. Carlsen's enterprising exchange sacrifice against Navara backfired but not before a double blunder. 31..g5?? allowed an instant win for Carlsen with 32.c6!, exploiting how the last two moves had protected the white queen and unprotected Black's. Carlsen had plenty of time but used just 30 seconds to miss his chance to win instantly. White still should have had enough activity to draw after that but he played very poorly against Navara's pawn pushing and lost.

Finally it was Svidler's turn to get a win against Tiviakov. It looked like this one could be the first to finish when Svidler prepared to offer a couple of pawns for attack against Tivi's Scandanavian. But the gambit was declined and Svidler had to settle for a large positional advantage. He converted this into a passed b-pawn that ended up winning the game. Radjabov got what looked like a winning position with queen for rook and bishop, but Karjakin made it to an endgame and found a blockade by giving up his bishop. Illescas and I weren't sure it was a theoretical draw but tablebases confirm it and Black held it easily. No time at all today, but it will be interesting to see if there is a win at all in the position after 35.Qxe4.

van Wely is the only player with a bagel in the A Group. Comically, all of the games in the B Group were drawn today. Bizarre. Maybe now that everyone is on the board they will get over their nerves. Bu Xiangzhi saved his bacon with the cute 30..Nd5! to fend off Smeets. Stellwagen-Werle continued the day's theme of sharp material imbalances. T Kosintseva found a miracle draw repetition against Georgiev in a crazy endgame with three connected passers for each side that ended abruptly. Down in the C Group, 12-year-old Hou Yifan missed a winning tactic pointed out by the computer: 22.Bxf4 Rxf4 23.Nd5! wins the exchange. Instead she went on to lose to Krasenkow (trying the same tactic a few moves later to little effect). Nepomniachtchi rejected van der Wiel's kitchen sink attack to win again and take the C lead.

I had a lot of good on-air discussion with Miguel Illescas about working with Kramnik, the Elista match, and the latest cheating allegations. He's also a fantastic commentator. He did a great job explaining the various plans and possibilities without getting too deeply into fantasy variations. Very instructive stuff. (His Spanish site is Ajedrez21.) I'll put up a separate item on our chat items later. I'm back on Chess.fm tomorrow with Joel Benjamin. If it's all boring draws again it must be his fault! Videos and more from Corus at the Chessvibes site, formerly Doggers Schach.


Today Topalov will show his world class. Yesterday was his warm up period. Poor Van Welly will suffer a heavy defeat.
At the same time Kramnik will obviously draw. Much more interesting will be the battle of the youngsters. Will Carlsen surprise them all?

have to agree with mig.... sofia rule must be applied. But how then will Kramnik get points?

I also agree with the sofia rule...but don't just blame kramnik, it takes 2 to make a draw

Announcement: "Broadcast starts a few minutes before the games at 7:30 so I can recap round one and preview round two."

Reality: more then 10 minutes late, no excuse at all.

Motylev-Anand - Black is 3 pawns up in 10 mins... amazing! Someone is going to look stupid when this one ends...

Anand does not have developed pieces. Motylev has positional advantage. Anything can happen.

Hi Mig, Please relay a few juicy comments from Illescas about the WCC here on the dirt. I am only a guest on the ICC. Thanks!

Krasenkow blundered against Hou but she didn't notice it. Nor me, but Fritz did.

Carlsen - Navara, both missed 32. c6 ending the game instantly.

Carlsen played 32.a5 in under 30 seconds. Playing too fast, but still has a solid plus.

Well Carlsen played c6... just on move 35 and now has a potentially lost position, but will most likely end in perpetual by Black.

Vintage Kramnik against Shirov... Staggering clarity and simplicity.

Vintage, except for the little matter of Shirov allowing a little combination and resigning on move 34. Very un Shirov like.

The position was technically lost after move 26. White will win the b4 pawn sooner or later. To repeat: just see how K squeezed the win with simple piece play and without leaving counterchances. You will learn something; I know I have.

Very good play by Topalov and Radjabov too, although the latter still has a lot to do...

I think Kramnik's win was the most convincing of the big three's today. Too bad it ended with a blunder, but Kramnik would very likely have won that anyway, especially factoring in Shirov's time trouble. Very enjoyable to watch. Anand was probably close to lost somewhere speaking objectively/computerly, in practical terms of course it's very different.

I just hope someone gets video of Carlsen-Navara post mortem. I want to see Carlsen go Doh! on move 32.

This is the first tournament in a long time that Topalov didn't start in the hole 0:2...


It's a passed pawn party in Svidler-Tviakov: 5 passed pawns total! Svidler's 2 look better than Tviakov's 3 however.

Radja-Karjakinj is theoratically a draw. Shake hands, fellas!

I am confused by the draw in Georgiev - T. Kosintseva. How can this not be winning for black?

Looks like today Radjabov's game will be the only one NOT decisive!

Looks to me like Svidler missed an earlier win by not playing 41Ra8 (...Rxa8; Nxa8 followed by the march of the b-pawn, winning the N) instead of Ra1 as played. Am I missing something here...?

Thank you, Mr. Shirov. I feel better knowing I am not the only one losing to knight forks.

why did shirov think for an hour on move 7??? The answer may be because this is what KGB told him. They always act the same way.
However, this time no one can stop Topalov.

Elitsa, you're hired -- lead cheerleader.


It was really nice to see lots of exciting decisive games today. I especially liked Anand winning with the poisoned pawn!

jean-michael: White draws with 50.Rd7+ -- 50...Kg8 51.Rd8+ repeats, 50...Kf8 51.Nh7+ and 52.Nf6+ repeats, 50...Kg6 51.Rf7 threatens mate with 52.f5+, and in this line 51...Rf2 52.Kg4 threatens 53.h5+ and mates. I haven't checked this with a computer or anything, but I think that's why it was agreed drawn.

Mig wrote : UPDATE: Well, they listened!

yep, yep !

Beautiful game by Kramnik! The guy can apply a squeeze like no one else (except Kasparov, maybe). Each of his moves has the cold feel of a mathematical theorem.

Jean-Michel: White has forced perpetual check. 50.Rd7+ Kf8 51.Nh7+ Ke8 52.Nf6+ Kf8 or 50...Kh8 Rd8+ 51.Kg7 or 50...Kg8 Rd8+ Kg7. Moving Kf6 or Kh6 would result in mate.

I guess i was beaten to it lol.

Check 24.Bh5 Qf5 25.Bxg7 with a computer. This seems to give at least great winning chances for Motylev with correct play. (For one thing, 25..Kxg7?? loses and 25..Nc5! is forced.) Of course, the objective truth about such a position has rarely much to do with results in practical play - nobody will play even close to perfectly here.

A very interesting day of chess and an excellent online broadcast on ICC by Mig (first time I had a chance of hearing his voice, don't know why I expected a much lighter tone but actually he is closer to bass than to tenor!) and Illescas.
Just the right thing on a Sunday to distract you from the stress of everyday life.

Did Kramnik even his score against Shirov in classical games today?

Mig, the draw of Radja is STILL interesting. I've learned something from it. This kind of draw IS not boring at all so I think we had 7 amazing games (not 6 like you mention).


I didn't say it was boring at all. The word "amazing" refers to the number of decisive games.

Today Topalov will show his world class. Yesterday was his warm up period. Poor Van Welly will suffer a heavy defeat.
At the same time Kramnik will obviously draw. Much more interesting will be the battle of the youngsters. Will Carlsen surprise them all?

-- Posted by: elitsa at January 14, 2007 06:04

Boy were you right.

nice commentary.

mig's articles are fantastic. great fun to read, wonderful touch with humor.

but during commentary today with illescas, he was definitely talking too much. illescas was great to listen to and always had good stuff to say, but was frequently being interrupted or not being allowed to interrupt.

clearly, commentary skills are acquired; mig needs to calm down a little, slow down and listen more and perhaps use his speaking time to gently probe the grandmaster expert. when relaxed, the sense of humor that is so apparent in his writing may also find its way to his commentary .. we hope !!

Thanks for the feedback. My role on the radio show is to be the host and to start talking when Illescas stops. Dead air is the cardinal sin and so I'm going to be talking a lot. Note that Miguel was controlling the boards and the moves, not me, and he had full discretion to analyze to his heart's content. The problem is that ceaseless analysis is boring and gets either confusing or redundant. I.e., jumping around from game to game to game with superficial remarks or spending so much time on one position that you get too far afield from the game.

As far as commentary skills, it's tricky with two people, especially when they haven't worked together before. It can take months or years to develop a natural rapport. I've only done this four times total now, three times with Benjamin and once with Illescas. It's definitely something that gets better over time, but it's definitely a process. I certainly note differences and areas for improvement each time out. One downside is that we've changed systems since I did two games of the Fritz match. We're trying to figure out the smoothest way to handle the transitions from game to game so it syncs with our commentary.

Any I'm definitely not trying for calm or gently anything! I'm trying to bring energy and enthusiasm to the show and to the concept in general. I think it should be more like radio that's about chess than chess on the radio. Sports radio needs some emotion, though it's not easy at 7:30am...

Full power to you, Mig !

I guess it is my fault for growing up with cricket commentary rather than (American) football or WWF :)

But you are probably right about rapport. Today's session with Joel was much much smoother, though perhaps a little less focused in terms of deep(er) analysis. But then intelligent *entertainment* seems to be what you are aiming for: so it definitely worked.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on January 14, 2007 5:20 AM.

    Corus 2007 r1 was the previous entry in this blog.

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