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Linares 2007 r4

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Awright, I've gotten into the Montepulciano and my wife (!) is on a business trip to Atlanta so I'm ready to rip on round three. I was live on ICC Chess.FM for the duration with the mad professor himself, two-time world championship candidate Jon Speelman. Well, not quite the duration. We went off the air assuming that Svidler-Ivanchuk would, as per Peter Leko's prediction, be a draw. Speaking of speaking, I have a quick and sloppy podcast on the round for the ICC here. No preparation, much babbling and enough audible inhaling to be the soundtrack of a Jenna Jameson movie, but a recap it is. I'll rehearse next time.

There was a fair amount to babble about in round 3, and none of it took place in Topalov-Leko. They went through 22 moves of theory to reach the type of inferior endgame guys like Leko and Kramnik actually enjoy. "Just another day at the office," as Speelman put it. Leko duly defended well against the ominous passer on c6 and avoided the traps he envisioned in the oppo-bishop endgame. We spoke on the air with Aussie GM Ian Rogers, who had spoken to Leko after the game, and he said the Hungarian had come up with all sorts of ways White could actually win what looked like a dead draw. It took Speelman, co-author of the excellent Batsford Encyclopedia of Endgames, a few minutes to prove there was more neurosis than fact behind these worries. Dead draw, although Ian did show us a few very pretty breakthroughs if Black makes a few mistakes in passive defense. Kasparov recently made derisive comments about Black's survival chances in this endgame, but passively defending inferior endgames right out of preparation was never exactly his glass of tea.

In his game against Ivanchuk, Svidler replayed his opening against Kramnik at Corus last month. Indeed, the first three rounds of Linares have had at least a half-dozen Corus flashbacks already. This one was more interesting because during Corus I remember discussing with Chess.FM co-host Benjamin what Black's compensation would be if White grabbed the exchange with 13.Qxb7, a potentially poisoned pill he had eschewed the swallowing of until yesterday when Svidler bottoms-upsed the pawn con gusto. His plan wasn't to win the exchange but to grind Black with a mild positional advantage. "Not the soft cushions! Not the comfy chair!" Svidler did a fair job of applying the squeeze treatment but the Chuckster escaped without a scratch. He might have even played for more with 34..Re7. Interesting stuff, although I'm not smart enough to say anything pithy about it right off or inclined to analyze it to death. Peter Leko, perhaps playing the provocateur or just joking, told Ian Rogers while the game was still in progress, "if Ivanchuk was playing white I'm sure he'd win; with Peter I'm not so sure." Zing!

On a less jokey note, Ian mentioned that the mobs of autograph seekers continue to assault the players before and after every round. The auditorium is nearly full to the end of each round. Having played blitz at the sparsely populated Morelia chess club I wonder how many visitors actually play chess, but hey, celebrity transcends Elo, right? The efforts of people like 2007 Mexico City world championship sponsor Jorge Saggiante might yet turn Mexico into a chess powerhouse. Stealing the laptops (and preparation) of top GMs might just be excellent long-range preparation!

Morozevich played a typically creative game against Aronian only to miss several chances to seal the deal and mate. It's even fair to say he missed a chance at immortality on Monday. Aronian played a tricky combination to win a pawn but his open king and the mighty white knight on d4 turned out to be more important. Moro whipped up a devastating attack with 32.f4 and after that Aronian was scrambling to make his time advantage count. With two minutes on his clock Morozevich missed the chance to add a spectacular mating combination to the golden treasury of chess with 38.Qd8+ Kg7 39.f6+ Kh6 40.Kh4!! Qxd4+ 41.g4 Qb4 42.Qf8! Qxf8 43.g5#. To the Fritzniks who were criticizing Morozevich for missing a forced mate, I'll provide the acid test. When I read the position to a "blindfold" Kasparov he went for 38.Kh4 first, which wins but isn't the spectacular forced mate that comes after 38.Qd8+ Kg7 39.f6+ Kg6 40.Kh4!! Qxd4+ 41.g4 Qb4 42.Qf8+! Qxf8 43.g5#. Spectacular! The mate was still there a move later, but Moro's time trouble blocked it from view. 39.Qd8+ Kg7 40.f6+ Kh6 41.Kh4 Qe1+ 42.g3! Qe4+ 43.g4 Qe1+ 44.Rg4. (Not 42.Rg3?? Rf4#.) Sadly, Moro missed both chances and after reaching time control he decided to offer an immediate draw instead of trying to prosecute with his extra knight for two pawns.

It was left to Vishy Anand to score the only win of the day. Carlsen showed a poorly tuned sense of danger and swapped down into an inferior bishop and rook endgame. (17..Kh8! is the rare strong king move in the middlegame.) White probably thought he was getting a quick draw, but Vishy declined his offer to split the point and Carlsen soon found out why. Black had much better chances against White's awkward bishop on c2 and Anand's technique made them all count. It soon turned into a clear demonstration of what Kasparov called "class over confidence." White missed a pretty drawing shot with 27.gxf4 gxf4 28.exf4 Rd2 29.Bg6!= The loss dropped Carlsen back to an even score and lifted Anand to +1, where he joins Ivanchuk in the co-lead.

By the way, Swiss GM Vadim Milov won the Linares-Morelia International Open according to the organizers. The Topalov website was eager to celebrate the "victory" of Topalov's countryman and second, Ivan Cheparinov, who tied with Milov with 6/7. But tiebreaks gave the trophy and double the prize money to Milov, who was announced as the winner. Oy, the Bulgarian nationalists. I don't usually give a single Bulgarian leva about tiebreaks, but when they decide the prize money ($5,000 for Milov, $2,200 for Cheparinov), they matter. The group tied for 3-8 was Stellwagen, Gonzalez, Bruzon, Potkin, Akobian, and Leon Hoyos. Top seed Tiviakov finished out of the money on 4.5.

Mexican papers report that Linares mayor Juan Fernández said that it's very likely that the Morelia-Linares connection will continue in the future. The local Morelia paper has gotten into the prognostication game and says Anand will beat Moro tomorrow. I'm on ICC Chess.FM with GM Larry Christiansen at 4:30pm EST for Anand-Morozevich, Leko-Aronian, Ivanchuk-Carlsen, and Topalov-Svidler.



As of February 8! According to the regulations it's worth an exclam until June. At least I expect to be used to it by then.

Good news for Mexican pickpockets and robbers. Radjabov and many other laptops will come back to Morelia next year!

Today is another day on which Carlsen has a chance. Of course, Chukky is the better player, but those nerves...

Some interesting matchups.

Leko-Aronian: couple of Marshall experts in opposition. Has Leko been allowing it lately? Will we finally see anything good for White against this pesky thing?

Anand-Moro: continuation of their dispute in the Steinitz French? Anand a great master of this for White (remember him beating Shirov in this line to win one of the Avignon titles?), Moro ever-creative in this line for Black.

Topalov-Svidler: Grunfeld Bc4 Exchange, but what will Topalov have against Svidler’s sidelines on move 10? Or will he go 1 e4 for once? Maybe HE has something against the Marshall? Goodness knows the world could do with it.

Ivanchuk-Carlsen: you can never guess what the opening might be with Ivanchuk (something against Carlsen's Sveshnikov?), but a big day for the youngster after his start stalled: can he establish himself mid-table or will a slide gather momentum? For Ivanchuk too a big chance to consolidate himself on plus 2. He really could do with winning this tournament so as to start getting the super-tournament invites again: once they stop flowing it's not easy to start them flowing again: it's probably a bigger event for him than for any other of the players.

Roll on 21.30 UK time.

What a pity Moro-Aronian was. I thought 30 Kh2, ignoring the b6 pawn, was just a fantastic move. (Another rare strong king move during the middlegame!) The queen sacrifice really would have capped a stupendous game. It shows just how hard it is to put the top guys away: you need a powerful opening innovation, a brave positional pawn sacrifice, courage and imagination just before the time scramble and THEN you need to outcalculate Kasparov in the last two minutes of the session. Tough game.

Morozevich really has his work cut for him with black against Anand in Round 4. I mean how can you give a player of Anand's ability Queen Odds ? Yes queen odds. With blacks queen starting on d8, Morozevich obviously doesn't "See" it !

Mig mentioned 34...Re7 in Svidler-Ivanchuk above: Shipov provides his thoughts about his in his notes here:


(basically: another try which White can hold against, I think is the gist of it)

Does anyone know if there are any post-mortem videos of the Linares games?

Wife?? #. Just kidding. Congrats!

Well, there are videos of the Morelia games, Matt. I'd almost say: check Chessvibes first before asking, 'cause we're really thinking about changing our name once more to CBC (Chess Broadcast Corporation) ;-)


I feel awful for Moro, missing that beautiful mate.

The pressure must be so much more intense now on top players. In the old days, if Botvinnik is working on an immortal game against Capablanca, then Botvinnik is the one creating the game, with maybe Tolush or someone in the skittles room trying to predict moves.

But now, Moro has to meet the expectations of thousands of people watching the game (including not a few GMs) and everyone's armed with Fritz. It's like it's no longer Moro's game, but a globally publicized mate-in-6 that everyone knows the answer to, except for him.

Yeah, I'd like to see Ivanchuk receive more invitations to the Elite events. Chukky's rating has often been within the Top 10, so it is a bit hard to understand why he hasn't earned more invites. I doubt that it is because he is asking for too much$$ in Appearance fees. It could be, ironically, that he does not demand a high enough fee, and so convinces organizers that he is not "Elite" enough. Despite (or because of?) playing what seems to be 100 tournament games per year, his chess game seems as strong as ever. Not too many of the other players in Morelia would be willing to step in at the last minute. One wonders whether Ivanchuk makes a habit of traveling to the major events, hoping and waiting to be tapped as a floating reserve, in the event of a Flake out by one of the invitees.

If Ivanchuk starts getting regular invitations to elite events, it will come at the expense of players like Svidler (who doesn't have a strong "brand") or Morozevich (who has never really won events at the Elite level.)

Funny optical illusion on this page http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=3680

Scroll down quickly to the picture of Magnus captioned "The 16-year-old at work..." and until you look closely it appears he is wearing an 18th century frock coat and tie a la Tarrasch et al. Funny.

(P.S. - Love Ian Rogers - a scholar and a gent)

Tsk Tsk!

"The efforts of people like 2007 Mexico City world championship sponsor Jorge Saggiante might yet turn Mexico into a chess powerhouse. Stealing the laptops (and preparation) of top GMs might just be excellent long-range preparation!"

Are you implying Jorge had something to do with that?

This guy Aronian is especially tough to finish off. He is always getting "lucky" because of this.

Heading of this post (and before) are a bit misleading, since it's most about Round 3?

Oh, Moro. Thanks for the beautiful possibility anyway.

Any update on the games? I know Topalov - Svidler is drawn.

I am impressed that unlike the situation in Corus, this time Aronian has been lucky of not being in -2 at this time in the tournament (in Corus he was only close to lose against van Wely, but actually that was due to a one-move blunder in a likely drawn position, which Van Wely answered with a blunder at the next move, allowing Aronian a forced drawing combination).

It is winner's luck? Or probably tiredness from winning Corus? I guess at least one players needed that rest on Tuesday.

Ivanchuk 0 - Carlsen 1

MIG eats humble pie for breakfast, film at 11.

No idea, what Chuko was playing there. 53.Rb5 seems to be a major blunder. He should have made the repetition moves before.
Morozewich also missed Bh6, a move Seirawan proposed.

I am a huge Chuky fan, but I am also very happy for Carlsen, this kid can play Chess. Snooty comments should be laid to rest..

No Chicken Factor for me!
Today is another day on which Carlsen has a chance. Of course, Chukky is the better player, but those nerves...
Posted by: Laj at February 21, 2007 06:12

Carlsen showed the other side of his game for sure. He's terrifically dangerous in these short-range calculation positions, especially in time trouble. I guess Ivanchuk should have taken the draw by repetition, but there's nothing harder in the game than recognising in time that you've fluffed your advantage and it's time to make a draw, especially short of time and in a game you've probably targeted to win. What Rowson would call story-writing.

I felt for Moro; again he played well and in a sense didn't get what he deserved: he surely must have been better. But Anand showed his great ability as well. Larry C called it brilliantly on chessfm: as long as there's some activity Anand's a really fantastic defender: like Lasker he doesn't lose sight of his chances of winning even when he's worse. And he was terrifically quick to see how he could cause Moro the most difficulties in time trouble; not the forcing 37 Nxc4 but Nb4 instead. Black looks fine at move 41 but Anand saw long in advance that he'd be the one with the chances. That sort of Capablanca-like instant assessment has always been his forte.

In fact Leko too showed exactly his best side with his cold-blooded defence. I'd love to know when he first saw he could give up e and d pawns for f to hold the ending in the game - maybe even when he had his long think about 18 a4, and I suspect realised it wasn't as rosy as he'd hoped. Long before the computer-fuelled ICC kibitzers, that's for sure. Tremendous provocation and calculation from Aronian; very much his style too.

Topa-Svidler was very interesting as well. And none of the games had anything like the openings I expected. Is it me or has this been a great tournament so far?

"What Rowson would call story-writing."

What does this mean?

Rowson inveighs in Seven Deadly Sins (or maybe Chess for Zebras) against mapping out too detailed a plan in advance for the game ("he's an attacking player so I'll soak up his initiative and then win in the endgame", or whatever) as he thinks this inhibits the ability to react appropriately to events during the game.

Actually on relection he calls it script-writing rather than story-writing. He does have some theories about the game as a story, but those are different.

I don't think Ivanchuk had a concrete plan, just to double the rooks on the c-file. The position switched when Carlsen got the chance to play the strong Ne5! with the knight coming to c4. And the white knigt was miserably placed on e2.
Yes, the story had a plot point after Ne5. Chuko had to forget his winning plans and fight for a draw, which is the moment you normally get stomachache.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on February 20, 2007 10:04 PM.

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