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Candidates 07 R1 Day 2

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These boring item titles are getting to me, I must say. It was another fairly slow day at the office today, with three decisive games. It was particularly bad if you were Etienne Bacrot, whose hand was a second too slow to make the final move of the first time control against Kamsky. Holy heck! A few weeks ago at Mtel Kamsky lost on time to Mamedyarov on move 38. Today he got that clock point back in a big way. Amazing. The other two wins took considerably longer. Leko ground SovGiKish GM Mikhail Gurevich into a fine mist in a well-played effort with black. Bareev came close to beating Polgar yesterday and this time his technique didn't let her off the hook. Bareev's rating isn't very impressive these days, but he's crossed the 40-year meridian and is more of a trainer than player these days, he says. But he's probably spent more time in the top ten than Polgar (who hasn't played much herself lately thanks to the birth of her second child in 2006) and is no slouch at all. Bareev does have a tendency to walk into tactical blow-outs on occasion though, so stay tuned.

Polgar ended up with a passive position very quickly out of a recently popular QID line. I think we now know why Ivanchuk and Leko played 12..g6 instead of her 12..d6(?). The black king gets stuck on f8 and White has a lead in development that Bareev coaxed all the way to 1-0. Black had drawing chances with her strong knight on d4, but White kept making progress and the endgame is very tough to hold after 35.f4! Leko beat Gurevich with the silky-smooth technique he's capable of when he gets a position he likes. He won the exchange with a passed c-pawn and won the endgame with surprising ease.

I rode to Coney Island to have a Nathan's hot-dog to celebrate my fellow Brooklynite's first candidates match game victory since 1995. It was not an easy affair, that's for sure. (The game, not the ride.) This one saw some of the strangest time handling I've ever seen at this level. By around move 18 both players were under ten minutes and just a few moves later less than five! Much of this must have been because of the surprise opening from the American. Kamsky was assiduously patching holes in a porous 1.d4 f5 Dutch Defense position (Black usually plays the Dutch with the 1..e6 2..f5 move order but it wasn't relevant against this g3 line) and Bacrot was probably using up time trying to figure out why he wasn't much better. When they both got down to a minute or two they still had a board full of pieces and a dozen moves to go before more 40. That's when Kamsky showed he's still got a lot of talent in those hands and he outplayed Bacrot in the tactics that erupted. 36..Rd5 would have ended the discussion, but the final moves were banged out desperately. When the smoke cleared, the report came in that Bacrot had flagged before making his 40th move. Black has an extra pawn in the final position but it's almost certainly drawn. Unless Bacrot comes back, this game will be added to his list of curious behavior that includes his resignation in a drawn position against Aronian (in a semifinal elimination game!) in the tournament that brought most of the players to these matches, the 2005 World Cup.

Malakhov build up a lot of pressure against Grischuk and would have had very good chances of equalizing their match had he tossed in 20.gxh5 before capturing on d5. Black still had a lot of defensive work to do, however. 48.Nf5+ is another strong winning attempt Malakhov passed up. Instead, Black had just enough counterplay to hold the draw. Mickey Adams could say the same about his game against Shirov. White hung on to his sacrificed pawn but couldn't do much with it -- rather typical of this line. 52..Bf6! holds the draw because 53.Qxc7 Bxh4! 54.Kxh4 Qd2 gets the bishop back with an easy perpetual check to follow. Kasimdzhanov offered a draw against Gelfand instead of trying the shot 23.Bxh6 the fans were hoping for. Annoyingly, Black has it all under control anyway.

Magnus Carlsen came back swinging with the Benko/Volga after his first-round loss to Aronian. These fianchetto lines have been doing very well for White and this was looking like it was going to be another example. But Carlsen was clearly well prepared and banged out his moves instantly the entire time. White must need to push the b-pawn to b5 at some point if he's going to go for a win in this. Instead, Aronian's 15.Nb5 allowed liquidation and a quick draw. Now who is going to take the bet Carlsen won't try the Benko again? (We're also going to see the effects of a gluten-free diet on chessplayers.) Ponomariov was working up an attack on Rublevsky's king after listless play by White. Black seemed to lose the thread with 27..Bd5 instead of the immediate ..Na4, after which tactics abound. Bareev is looking like the class of the field so far, but it's very early yet. Now the real fun begins as the players repeat colors for the first time and opening battle gains more texture.

I'm {heart}-ing the official website much more now because they 1) improved their issues and the transmission was more robust and 2) apologized for the problems on day one. There aren't any guarantees when it comes to technology, but a little friendly communication goes a long way in a community like this. They do commit a few cardinal since of navigation, however. They have links that say "read more" that lead to pages that contain no additional content. And they have links that say "watch live on the official site" that lead to the page you are already on. Sort of a "this way to the egress" sign, web-style. The official site says something about upcoming annotated games, which would be cool. Back to the down side, they are still showing round one results on the main page.

Any info on the players' seconds pop up anywhere? GM Lie is with Carlsen, we know (see "gluten" above). Anyone else confirmed?


Yeah, the Bacrot-Kamsky game sure was a mystery. Both players had horrible time management. You would think they would be extra cautious knowing there is no increment...

mmm, Nathan's hot dogs! That reminds me, the annual hot dog eating contest is coming up at the beginning of July. Watch out for Takeru Kobyashi. That guy is a monster!

Nisipeanu and Surya S Ganguly are seconding Shirov.

I think Motylev is seconding Bareev.
I Could be wrong though. I just saw what looked like Motylev behind Bareev in the Elista pictures.


Aronian: ? (and Arianne Caolli)
Carlsen: Kjetil Lie (and H.Carlsen)
Pono: ?
Rublevsky: ?
Leko: the usual gang
Gurevich: ?
Gelfand: ?
Kasim: ?
Bacrot: none!
Kamsky: none!
Grischuk: ?
Malakhov: ?
Polgar: A.Jussupow
Bareev: ?
Shirov: Ganguly and Nisipeanu
Adams: ?

Seen on the premises: P.Eljanov (might be Pono's) and A.Huzman (might me Gelfand's). Dirtbag is mistaken, there were no photos of Motylev. Behind Bareev was Ernesto Inarkiev, who is acting as an official commentator for the event (thus, if the off. site will actually provide annotated games, the annotations will be his).

Ponomariov: Mikhail Golubev and Yury Kruppa.
Rublevsky: Maxim Sorokin.
Leko: Arshak Petrosian.
Gurevich: Alex Chernin.
Gelfand: Pavel Eljanov and Alex Huzman.
Kasimdzhanov: Said Ali Iuldashev.
Grischuk: (take a deep breath) Andrey Schekachev and Dmitry JAKOVENKO
Malakhov: Alexey Dreev.
Polgar: Jussupov and Goloschapov (the latter is here but I am not sure if he is with Judy)
Bareev: Ernesto Inarkiev.
Adams: none, of course.

Hope it helps. ;)

Sorry, forgot Mikhail Brodsky, who is also helping Gurevich. They are all from Kharkov, you know.

I think the best coverage of the event can be found on Russian sites. Study Russian, Mig! crestbok.com and chesspro.ru provide analysis. russiachess.org provides photos, videos and reports. There are some photos on 64.ru and chesspro.ru as well.
Second best to Russian are Norwegian sites. I saw Carlsens browing the net. Man, Norwegian newspapers have minute-by-minute coverage on Magnus' games. Two journalists from Norway are present in Elista, probably for the first time in the history of humanity. They are really up to something. It is a pity the kid might be going back in four days.
But the Globalchess site, oh well... Annotated games are made every night - for the tournament bulletin (GMs Scherbakov and Yakovich are commenting), but the website doesn't seem to be capable of publishing them just yet, although at some point the miracle will happen.

Yeah, crestbook is amazing. I am usually having so much fun reading and playing out Shipov's notation that I barely have time and desire to follow any other games.

Bareev's opening preparation is amazing so far. But for exactly the reasons Mig mentions above I wouldn't be surprised if Judit whoomps him once or twice before this is over.

Just to add to previous posts, Daniel Fridman is also with Kasimzhanov and Bacrot's flag actually fell after the 37th move, but they bashed out two moves on the board before they could be stopped.

Bareev came close to beating Polgar yesterday and this time his technique didn't let her off the hook. Bareev's rating isn't very impressive these days, but he's crossed the 40-year meridian and is more of a trainer than player these days, he says.

Is it an FIDE rule that you have to stop playing chess at 40? I am 38 and just getting started back after a 16 year hiatus.

"Black usually plays the Dutch with the 1..e6 2..f5 move order..."

huh? you wouldn't do that unless you were hoping for a French..

So Grischuk and Gelfand have seconds who are higher rated than their opponents, and Bareev has a second who is higher rated than himself.

There seems to be an East/west pattern (a decline in quality?) (like in the Eurovision song contest): From the five players who were not born within the historic reaches of the Russian Empire (Leko, Adams, Polgar, Bacrot, Carlsen), none has a second from the top 100, and two have none at all.

Glenn - not to worry. Viktor Lvovich was 38 years old 38 years ago.

i think stringTheory is wrong. 1. d4 e6 doesnt necessarily or even usually transpose into a french. It is the standard technique for essaying the Dutch.

There's this press conference with the American contender


but I can make anything out of it. He looks strangely uncomfortable, so I was wondering what on earth is he being asked to confess? If anyone gave a rough translation I'd be really grateful.

I mean I CAN'T make anything out of it, obviously.

Provided you do not want to play the leningrad variation of the dutch (in which black does not play e6 usually). This line was employed by Kamsky...

By the way the reason it rarely transposes to french, is that most people play (mainly) either e4 or d4, which means that a d4 player is not usually prepared for french (even if the french is not the main oppening of the black player).

The Dutch in Bacrot-Kamsky was fascinating to watch, quite unlike the heavily fortified pawn chains the Dutch often leads to. Like in the Stonewall variations I know it was all about who can advance his e pawn with advantage. But three open files on the queen side looked definitely un-Dutch to me. Is this normal in the Leningrad?

Round, 3 Adams-Shirov.


Have they mixed up the colours ?!

I have no idea whether the Staunton Gambit (1. d4 f5 2. e4) is still considered dangerous nowadays, but once 1. d4 e6 was used to avoid it (e.g. in the Botvinnik-Bronstein match in 1951), although this does incur the "risk" of having to play a French Defence.

Whoa young Magnus has got a promising position against Aronian who just played 14 ..Bf6 instead of the simple Nc6

Whoa young Magnus has got a promising position against Aronian who just played 14 ..Bf6 instead of the simple Nc6

Linux fan;
About Gata interview. I heard it once with sh**ty earphones so sorry for inconsistencies.
He was asked what he's going to do with his camel. Probably in Elista Illumzhinov gave him a present, I dunno. Gata said he doesn't know. They told him "do you know that it is very expensive", Gata soemthing like "mmm, no", they: "its like several thousand $s"(they told that they learned this from someone from United Arabic Emirates), then, they said "we asked Illumzhinov what if Gata wants to sell it, he said : we will be only glad about this".
I think it's very embarassing for Gata for at least 2 reasons: first, he's a chess player who plays candidate matches and is being asked about a camel not his game, his form etc. Second, it sounded (to me at least) that the whole question-stuff was arranged by Illumz. to let the Universe know that he has given Gata a golden camel. The United Arabic Emirates remark was more than ridiculous. Indeed they have asked someone in Elista, most likely-someone has asked them to ask.
All this thing really is pathetic. Instead of having a normal website they give away half-million-costing camels and are proud of it.

The camel was given to Kamsky last time he was there, which was the (final) world championship match against Karpov in 1996. For local media, this may be more interesting than the game.. (most wetern media reported the toilet-gate but few of them the actual games).

As for the website.. It is decent. Games are transmitted, some bios exist. I think the morelia-linares website for example was much worse..

Thanks :)
Now I understand why Kamsky made those facial expressions.

re: The Dutch move order. At the patzer level (and believe me, I know this first-hand!) you play the Dutch because you are playing to win and you want a murky position with some aggressive possibilities. For this you are willing to suffer some dubious positional qualities. When white plays a Staunton gambit, black may be equal but he's in for a boring time of it. There's all sorts of other junk to avoid also, 1.d4 f5 2.Qd3 and g4 and all that. But I am surprised to learn that 1...e6 is standard at this higher level, where you'd expect black to welcome equality or dubious white gambits.

Kamsky all the way!! GO USA!! (I'm european, just happy for the US guys)

Will today's win by Magnus "Capa" Carlsen go down in history as a classic endgame? It was smooth.

A bit early for the classic stamp, but it was beautiful. Magnus played it flawlessly!

I'm glad Carlsen won. Now we might see an angry Aronian. Would love it.

That was one great endgame - from the very beginning with that deep plan involving pushing the h-pawn which nobody understood at first. Very impressive.

Yes this game left a really nice impression. Very well played indeed. I think this might be one of the closest of the matches in this tournament, though I am inclined to believe that Aronian will scrape through

"Adams: none, of course."

i would expect at this level you'd have some help.

what happened to Deep Fritz vs Deep Junior match? I thought it would run in paralell to the candidates but so far I have not seen any reference to it. Does anybody know what is going on?

"Does anybody know what is going on?"

The computer match runs from the 6th to the 12th. We still have about another week to go before it starts.

Mickey is just used to do chess on his own.

Who is Kamsky's second ?

That was one great endgame - from the very beginning with that deep plan involving pushing the h-pawn which nobody understood at first. Very impressive.

-- Posted by: acirce at May 29, 2007 11:41

A very impressive game by Carlsen, indeed. I am looking forward to studying this game with GM notes to improve my endgame understanding.

In the words of Nimzowitsch, a rook having the absolute 7th rank advantage wins again. The "absolute 7th rank" is when the rook not only occupies "7th heaven", the 7th rank, but also confines the enemy king to the back rank as well. The result is that the opponent has to play the endgame effectively down by a piece since his king cannot participate in it.

Kamsky's second is Dromed Bactrian, a local good friend of Kirsan's.

A few interesting notes from second round press conference, per Vasilyev:


Aronian said that he decided to draw early because he didn't know the line very well and smiled bashfully.

Carlsen spent a lot of time on Internet chess sites after the game.

Leko still speaks extensively and warmly about his games, showing complicated and detailed variations and lines, but now seemingly is less extensive about them.

Gelfand, on Vasilyev calling him the favorite in his bracket: "You can be anything you want on paper. But you still have to play chess."

Question for Rublevsky and Ponomariov: "Is it possible that you will split all six games?"

Pono: We don't split, we play. And if we do get a draw, it's after a sharp battle.
Rublevsky, not losing any composure: If two players play well, they could have six draws and I don't think that's a problem.

Bareev, Polgar, Grischuk and Malakhov didn't show up. Apparently ten minutes worth of press conference is mandatory, but a lot players didn't know about it. Grischuk frankly admitted he didn't read the contract.

Surely someone with a name like Dromed Bactrian would be an Armenian, rather than a Kalmyk?

So how does he take his coffee? One hump or two?

Re: Posts by Yuriy and James... :-) heh-heh Thanks for the chuckle.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on May 28, 2007 5:30 PM.

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