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Corus 2007 r7

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Preview: Yes, yes, late with the thread again. Sorry, this 7am thing is killing me. How do normal people do this all the time? I'm on live with Brian Wall and GM Miguel Illescas on Chess.fm. Anand-Radjabov is a highlight, also Ponomariov-Topalov in a KID turned Benoni. Official site. Don't miss the video of Kramnik analyzing his r6 win over Anand.

UPDATE: An interesting round with several strange moments. The most important result was Topalov demolishing Ponomariov with black in the Benoni (KID move order). Yay, Benoni! (Shouted to the tune of "Hey, Macarena!") Topalov came out of the opening with the better prospects and then opened lines to get just the type of double-edged attacking position he plays so well. (I now see that the official site report likes White after the opening, but with the e5 square and targets for his c8 bishop, that's about as good as the Benoni gets at the top level.) After wasting some time on the queenside and tossing a pawn, White was already in deep positional trouble before the tactical execution began. Another very strong showing from the world #1 and it moves him into clear second place behind Radjabov.

The leader from Azerbaijan passed his first torture test with flying colors, drawing against Anand with black. Vishy got a lot more pull against Radja's Sveshnikov than he ever saw during their Mainz match. He nursed a small plus all the way through but Black found a way to liquidate into a drawn endgame. The awkward 36.Nc4 was recommended by some spectators as a way of going after the e-pawn. Aronian didn't make any progress against Kramnik. Few players have the patience the world champion does to play these passive, slightly inferior positions so well. (See "Defense, Berlin) But unless White plays hyper-accurate chess for a long time the way Kramnik usually does himself, the edge vanishes. I can imagine Kramnik playing on with colors reversed, for example.

The Russian's defense was the Russian Defense in Shirov-Motylev. Black used his favorite Petroff to go into the same line Karjakin played against Kramnik in the first round. A similar endgame was reached but here they played on for a good 40 moves before Shirov relented. He was probably just happy to finally be playing a position that didn't make him feel like putting his head in the oven. Carlsen is more of the microwave generation and he zapped himself good against Svidler. The game was always headed toward a peaceful result until Carlsen courted trouble with 24.a4. That led to the loss of a pawn and soon Carlsen was engaged to trouble with only desperation tricks on the back rank to hope for. Svidler liquidated into a winning endgame with the pretty 32..e4!, offering a piece. It doesn't look like any of the cheapos with Rh8+ work, but the queen and pawn endgame was lost. Carlsen and trouble are currently enjoying their honeymoon as he has black against Kramnik tomorrow.

In a footnote to round six, there was some consternation that the ChessBase report said Svidler had sacrificed the exchange against Aronian, while during my live coverage with Kaidanov and then later in my instant report here, it was reported as a blunder of the exchange. I was relieved to see the Corus site say: "At the climax of the struggle, Peter, who isn’t in perfect health at the moment (“I seem to make one bad mistake in every game now” -- Svidler) blundered the exchange with 25.Be3?, trapping his own rook on a7." Always glad to have even the smallest evidence of my sanity.


Why does Kramnik like to defend positions with the Bishop buried on h7? The position can have only two possible results.

Win or Draw?

How do this Nepo!!!!!

If one was into these paranoid cheating theories, then I'd say that Topalov's victories against Shirov and now Ponomariov look highly suspicious. Is it possible for a human being to maintain such computerish tactical perfection for a succession of 20-30 moves??

I mean Topalov is accusing Kramnnik because of one move there and one move here and he plays such moves 20 in a row. Those two Indian guys got caught. Who knows these guys are playing for 1000x the money and 100,000 the fame. Are there anti-cheating measures in place at Wijk aan Zee?

Something is a miss..

Why did Pono resign? Couldn't he hold the final position?

sigh. does anyone else find chess.fm broadcast excruciating to listen to... please mig can you not get a better analyst to be your sidekick???? brian needs to retire..

Topalov plays the moves after sitting at the chess board in plain view. Kramnik plays the moves after skulking in the loo half the time.

The two Indian guys were also sitting at the chess board in plain view, and recieving the computer recommendations via a hidden device. How exactly I don't know, but they were caught.

Whether Topalov is an all time top 3 tactical genius (which well could be) or not in anycase the can was first put on the table by the Russians with their whisperings about Topalov, and then blown open by Danailov. It's not going to go away.

Although I'm just entertaining the idea, and not suggesting it's viable (I mean guys like Kasparov mastered such perfection long before computer era) still we are entering an era of chess paranoia, unless we can establish strict, bullet proof measurements against all possibilities of computer cheating. Something for Bessel Kok to work on definitely.

Why does Kramnik like to defend positions with the Bishop buried on h7? The position can have only two possible results.

I'm not sure that he *likes* such positions, but he clearly doesn't feel too uncomfortable defending them. It is the psychology of playing Black; Kramnik is one of the most passive of the Top echelon players, with respect to his playing style as Black.
Karpov used to defend similar positions, and gradually improve his situation, and win the game after much patient maneuvering. However, the players today tend to be a tad better, with respect to the techniques of handling such middlegames and the transitions to endgames. So, White has few practical difficulties in halving the point.

Kramnik's "problem" is that his opponents respect him so much. If Aronian had had that position against a 2600 rated opponent, do you think he would have set on such a peaceful approach. But against Kramnik, he was visibly afraid to take risks.

For Kramnik to score wins with the black pieces his 2700-rated opponents need to be willing to play for the win with the white pieces, as you'd expect them to. But for some reason, Topalov seems to be about the only guy in world chess not satisfied with halving the point.

"If one was into these paranoid cheating theories, then I'd say that Topalov's victories against Shirov and now Ponomariov look highly suspicious. Is it possible for a human being to maintain such computerish tactical perfection for a succession of 20-30 moves??"

Yes, it is. Parodoxically, if the position is very tactical in nature, and for move after move the best candidate move is fairly apparent, then a skilled human tactician would be able spot the same tactics as a Chess Engine.

It has been pointed out before that Topalov's moves tend to be in closer agreement with, say, Fritz, than does Kramnik's.

If the evidence is compiled, and Topalov does indeed have games where he plays the same moves as Fritz, then it still is not evidence of cheating. Rather, it blows a huge hole in the circumstantial "evidence" that Danailov puts forth. That is, it must be rather uncomfortable to make accusations, only to invite the observation that the circumstances involving Topalov are, by their own definition, even more damning.

I wouldn't call what Danailov put forth as "evidence", it was more scatological by nature.

not that it is conclusive, but anyone who has listened to topalove's post morteming will understand that it is his brain doing the 'cheating', by simply being much better than the hapless opponent... look lets just say that he had a bigger 'spoon' when god handed out greycells for chess.

Carlsen belongs at Corus, but his result is not really surprising. Svidler didn't have to play great to beat him in Round 7. Magnus seemed to lack focus. Perhaps Radjabov's quick start was a bit of a shock to him, shaking his confidence that he was a peer, in terms of playing strength.
This event will be good experience for him, though. He bounce back, and be a solid performer in future Elite events.

Vachier-Lagrave won again, and he now has a share of the lead in Group B, with + 3 (5.0/7). He has been overshadowed a bit by Carlsen's rise, and hasn't really notched a significant triumph. If he wins the Corus B Group, it will be a breakthrough result, and give him an Automatic invitation to the A Group, in next year's Corus event. Given that Maxime was seeded 10th out the 14 players in Group B, his current Classification is on of the big surprise stories of the event.
Can he keep up the pace over the last 6 rounds?

Forget Group A, look at Group C. Ian Nepomniachtchi is taking them down one by one. Seeing his total dominance is somehow creepy, yet very exciting. Let's hope it's the first of many.

Ponomariov's play has been a bit stale for the past few games. Indeed, his only victory was against Carlsen. The game was a Benoni tyle position, where Pono wasted time in his attack. By the time that Topalov broke things open, White was already strategically busted. The tactics were probably simple for Topalov to spot.

Topalov rises to +3, half a point behind Radjabov. However, in Round 8, he is White vs. Anand, in Round 9, he is Black vs. Aronian

In Round 12, he'll be White in his grudge match vs. Kramnik, and he'll finish off with Black vs. Radjabov in Round 13.

So, he could either surge into first, or also easily drop back to 50%

It seems Anand gave away his advantage with 36.Qd7?!
After 34.Nc4! Ra2 37. Rb1 Qc2 38. Rg1 Raa8 39. Rb7 Rae8 40.Qd5 white is better.

If Nepomniachtchi were to keep this pace, or something similar, I would see no reason not to enter him in the "A" category next year. I wouldn't be surprised if he could do as well or better than 2 or 3 in the top group at this time. Also the experience would be great for his further development.

I may have been going delusional by the sixth hour of the Chess.fm broadcast, but I managed to convince myself that Navara-van Wely wasn't an easy win after 59..Rc2. Also that 54.Kb6 might have been premature because the king might lose time going back to protect the a-pawn. Looking at it now it seems like just about everything should just transpose and that there is no way to gain, or lose, tempi with straightforward play on both sides. Delusional, I guess.

Computers are somewhat annoying for analyzing this because they are very happy to get to Q vs R in the tablebases with mate in 40. But as we know, that's a very tough endgame to win on the clock even at the GM level, as several recent games have shown. So I'd be happy to see a line in which Q vs R is the best White can do.

Just for clarification, 2 or 3 top participants not placing.

Ah, I think the line I must have been looking at was 59..Rc2 (instead of 59..g3) and now the natural 60.a5 is a theoretical draw, I think. But 60.Ra1! wins. So it made sense to me to play the rook move first, giving White a better chance to screw up. 60.Rb1 also looks good though, so it's probably no big deal. Still, instructive stuff in there.

The daily report on the Corus website is now completely ignoring the B/C groups... wonder if Chessbase will continue to do the same?

I know, I know... the coverage for this tournament has been pretty fantastic but am I the only one who wants to know a little more about the other groups? The B group is strong enough on its own to usually get at least some attention, and the C group has a very interesting group of players. Hou Yifan, Parimarjan Negi and some Russian kid...

"Is it possible for a human being to maintain such computerish tactical perfection for a succession of 20-30 moves??"

First, I would argue that "perfection" is a misnomer. Computers aren't gods.

Second, there are Capablanca WCC games where he would agree with certain engines 100% of the time. Matching a high percentage of moves means nothing, and given the high level of analysis from Topalov in his press conferences, I'm not about to be paranoid.

"Are there anti-cheating measures in place at Wijk aan Zee?"

According to Mark Crowther, there are, and I find no reason to doubt him.

**sigh. does anyone else find chess.fm broadcast excruciating to listen to... please mig can you not get a better analyst to be your sidekick???? brian needs to retire..**

I have to agree with jonethan. Unless the audience is comprised entirely of class E players, a mere National Master like Brian Wall has no business commenting on the games of the world's top GMs. He might as well being commenting on a NASCAR race based on the fact that he has a driver's license. When it comes to a top-flight tournament like Corus, even a nice guy/IM like Bill Paschall wouldn't do as an analyst.

You need to work exclusively with GMs, Mig. With a GM analyzing, now that's entertainment.

This tournament looks like a wake-up call for Magnus and what it takes to reach the next level. He appears from what I've read, to be well rounded with other activities (which is good) that he participates in. After this tournament, I think he has some decisions to make, especially having first hand experience observing a slightly older rival by the name of Radjabov. I know that Karjakin is in it for the long haul, but I'm not sure of Carlsen or Nakamura for that matter. Both are extremely talented, but so are many other young players in this day and age.


By the way, the other day when you mentioned Seirawan and Browne, I wasn't sure what you were refering to at the time. I hadn't read the update yet and it sounded cryptic to me. Anyway, yes he could.

If the current climate keeps up, being accused of cheating will soon become a "badge of honor". I'll be very happy to see Topalov play such chess as to be accused, rather than blundering games away.


The kramnik analysis videos are great. Of course he does not tell many secrets, but its always amazing to hear these GMs analyze. Probably he considers much of what he said pretty obvious, right?

Some of you are supposing the only possible value of a chess commentator is his/her ability to say what is going on in the chess games, and that the commentator's rating is the (only?) measure of their ability to say what is going on.

No one would apply this in other sports. For example, no one supposes that John Madden must play interior lineman, or coach one of today's modern NFL teams, to be able to say useful or interesting things about what is going on in the game. Or that Frank Buck bats .300, or golfs 72, or whatever, to be able to comment on baseball or golf. Or that Marv Albert must get into the ring, or play for the Knicks, etc etc etc.

Never-the-less, it is interesting to consider how some of the commentators might score at this tournament.

Using the win % by rating difference chart by Jeff Sonas here,
one can estimate how the various commentators might fare at Corus 2007.

The average rating is 2719, which means someone rated 2719 would score approximately 50%, which is (only) 6.5 out of 13. (Middling rating = midpack finish)

GM Yasser Seirawan, currently rated 2638, 81 points below the Corus average, would score 5.5 out of 13.

GM Browne, rated 2447, 272 points below the Corus average, would score 3/13.

If Brian Wall is Brian D Wall on the FIDE site rated 2220, 499 points below the Corus average, he is projected to win 3% of his white games and 0% of black, would score .2, or not even a draw.

So is it okay or fair to 'dis' anything Mr. Wall might say, even though he could not even get a draw here? (If this were double-round robin, he might get a draw, statistically.) Has he nothing useful to contribute, in your eyes? I suspect you're being more than a bit harsh.


yah, those videos are worth money. The way he breased over a3 as a simple novelty and didn't go into anymore ideas for the resulting positions- that is fort knox stuff. Keeping secrets.

Yes, if Kamsky or Kasparov is not commenting Mig, you might as well not cover it. lol.

From what is written above, I guess what people want is Deep Fritz lines output live on chessfm.

It's even more obvious when you are following the kibitz on ICC: there, 100% of the analysis is about what is actually happening the board, and is very high level analysis, and there is never jokes, trivia, stupidity, flames, fischer-no-kasparov-is-the-better arguments.

It is important to "know one's audience."

Members of the chess listening public will self-select the commentary which they find congenial. Some want to hear long lines of analysis, but others want to say, "Hooray my hero is winning!" or "Drats, my hero is losing."

Different advertisers might prize different audiences. For example, Chess Informant might pitch its wares on the high level ICC kibbitz, while Pepsi or Levi's might prefer a much larger, younger, less statistically "weird" audience.


"It seems Anand gave away his advantage with 36.Qd7?!"

The Tigers claws need a trim.

I think the rook ending was "almost won" for Anand. Anyway, he hasn't been famous for his endgame technique AFAIK.

"I think the rook ending was "almost won" for Anand."

Could you explain why ?

Isn't Anand already more or less lost? What was he thinking giving that kind of material imbalance to Topalov?

Round 8 thread up...

"Lost" sounds radical at this point, I think.

Up to 19. b4 this has been played before.

I'm sure Brian Wall is a great guy, and for a relative beginner at chess he'd have a lot to teach. Nor am I saying that Kasparov has to be the commentator (though that would be way cool).

Just give me a GM commentator, someone who has spent the greater part of their life looking at a chessboard. Joel Benjamin and the Fed are terrific, even though they're not world-class players. These guys are chess professionals, their intuition is solid, and they have fun, gossipy stories to tell about chess culture.

Mig armed with a computer plus a GM armed with intuition is an unbeatable combo.

I'm listening now to Paschall and Fed, and my wife just said, "That guy has a cute accent. Where's he from, the Bronx?"

I meant that Brian Wall, a master, would be able to teach a lot to someone who is a relative beginner. I didn't mean that Brian Wall is a beginner.

I hadn't worked with or even heard Brian before. We chatted for a while later and he seems a lovely fellow and is definitely a storyteller type. I couldn't get him to analyze the games even under threat of death! I'm obviously not going to have the insight and knowledge of a GM, but I'm willing to talk about what I DO understand and to try and make that interesting and comprehensible to an amateur audience. Some GMs can do that well, others need some interpreting since they are operating on a high level and talking about games that are on an even higher level. Often it's a matter of direction and questioning to focus on useful explanation instead of variations.

I meant no aspersions against Mr. Wall, an enterprising fellow denizen of the chess demimonde. Anyway, I shouldn't complain: GM commentators or no, chessFM and ICC are great, groundbreaking media for chess fans.

It's the first time I hear something like a chess fm! It's nice to have something to do which you really love. I guess it ain't that hard, as long as you have that something!

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on January 20, 2007 10:06 AM.

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