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The Other Chess - Roundup

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Some tournaments we have looked at and at least one we haven't just finished. Something of a pity so many happened at once. Vassily Ivanchuk duly romped home (assuming one can duly romp, it sounds like a type of square dance) at the Capablanca Memorial. He won his last two games to finish with an great 7.5/9, two points ahead of the field. Dominguez and Gashimov stayed in equal 2-3 with 5.5. The last rounds were marred by quite a few non-game draws. The top three players were undefeated. This was one of those odd tournaments in which black won many more games than white. Eleven wins for the second player versus six for white.

The standings didn't change much in the final rounds of the Bosna 2007 tournament either. There were only two decisive games in the final four rounds. Sergei Movsesian hung on to his lead to win the event by a full point ahead of local boy Borki Predojevic. Big favorite Alexander Morozevich finished =3-4 with Ivan Sokolov. Nigel Short finished on -1 but at least had a few nice wins to compensate while Timofeev was in the cellar with three losses and no wins. Hmm, here black won eight games and white just four. But this is more normal for a Morozevich tournament. He won three games, all with black. He lost three games, all with white. Black is OK!

As you would expect, there was a lot more action in the Somov Memorial "Youth Stars" event in the Russian town of Kirishi (near St. Petersburg). A strong field of a dozen top young players came together for this one. Top seed Nepomniachtchi of Russia put on a sprint in the middle after a slow start, winning four in a row. But he later lost a game and had to share first with Mamedov (Azerbaijan), world junior champ Andriasian (Armenia) and Negi (India), who was the early leader. The Belorussian player Zhigalko was a spoiler. He gave Nepo his only loss and beat Negi in the final round to prevent an impressive solo victory by the 14-year-old Indian. (Just to make sure the world hadn't gone insane, I checked and here white won 25 and black 13. Whew.)

China fulfilled predictions by running away with the 1st Women's World ("World Women's" sound wrong to anyone else?) Team Championship held, fittingly, in Yekaterinburg. Of course it's hard to run away using the stultifying match point system and the only difference on the scoreboard was China's match win over runner-up Russia. But on board points it was total domination: 30.5 of a possible 36! Russia scored 23.5. Amazing. (Results are under the "Championship" menu.) They also beat Russia 4-0 in a match that had Russian team trainer Yuri Dokhoian (yes, Kasparov's long-time second) tearing out his little remaining hair. Tairova managed to lose an endgame with an extra pawn and the bishop pair, no easy feat. Regardless, the dominance of the Chinese players was again amply demonstrated. And this was far from their A-Team. I'm sad to see young star Hou Yifan playing in these events. She scored seven wins and lost a game in the Georgia match to a nice attack by Javakhishvili. Still, the 13-year-old needs to be playing 2600's, not 2400's. This was her second women-only event in a row and she's been higher rated than all of her opponents in both.

The rules and regulations that selected the teams in Yekaterinburg for this new event are here at the FIDE site. Is/Was there a women's continental team championship for the Americas? The marvelous Olimpbase website has some clarifications. Shouldn't the USA have been there as the 4th place finisher in Turin? Did they not send a team because of the US Championship? I thought I'd heard something about this but don't recall where.

Chris Bird reminds us that the massive Chicago Open took place over the long weekend. Milov and Shulman shared first place with Milov taking the official title by winning an armageddon blitz game. Both scored 6/7. Shulman was one of 16 GMs there, many sprinted from the US Championship in Oklahoma. Gagunashvili, Izoria, Erenburg and Aveskulov. That last, Ukrainian GM Valeriy Aveskulov, has become a nemesis for new US champ Alexander Shabalov. He's beaten him twice in the past few months, including in the last round in Chicago. You can replay some of the games at the MonRoi site here.


I thought the US did not send a team because of the combination of short notice given about the event and there was no room in the USCF budget to send a team.

Hmm, so many black wins is not totally insane. Sometimes the player with the white pieces just over-presses which gives black the opportunity for the full point. I have scored many victories with the black pieces because of this.

It seems the mystery of the US not playing in the "World Women's" event should be directed to Susan Polgar. I am sure if someone asks she will be happy to enlighten us of the reasons. Maybe someone can post a question on her blog about it.

Mig, you forgot about the Chicago Open that took place the last weekend. It was won by GMs Milov and Shulman and there were at least 16 GMs taking part in the Open.

Website is http://www.chesstournamentservices.com/chicago/

You're right, I did forget, and I was just checking the results the other day before talking to Shaba about something else. But all that final info wasn't up yesterday; it still didn't have all the round nine results. Thanks for the quick work and the reminder. I'll update the item.

Very generous of you to include a Monroi link in your article. I think I would have told them, "No problem, I'll add "Monroi" to my spam filter and we just won't talk about you at all anymore."

For shame, greg. That would have cost us the DonKingitudinous apology of Mr. Blo in the other thread. It was tempting though. So was the thought up putting up a big "Why does MonRoi hate elves?" banner on the homepage. (Satire gets broad immunity where common sense may not.) But somebody had to play the grown-up in this and it looks like it had to be us for once. Rather tragic when you think about it. Anyway, life is too short and I need all available headspace. I don't want to spare any for tsuris. Why, I'd hug Azmai's shiny pate right now.

Good point. It's been a hard day, but reading Mr. Blo's inspired "...colossally comical and cantankerously cloddish at best" lifted my spirits.

Chris Bird? Mig, why don't you concentrate on chess instead of talking about things you don't understand?

I was interested to read coverage of the Chinese win, including the Maia Chiburdanidze interview, implying that the Chinese win was due to hard work rather than exceptional talent. It seemed to be a thinly veiled put down. (FWIW, that's my impression of Koneru Humpy as well - a slogger, rather than a genius.)

Ashish, with all due respect, that was not the impression I got from Maia's interview at all! When she said the Chinese work harder at chess than anyone else, I believe she meant it, and it wasn't a cheap shot. She's 'been there and done that,' she doesn't have to take cheap shots at anyone.

Have you been following the research David Shenk has been doing in preparation for his new book about "the genius in us all?" He has published some very interesting research at his blog, to the effect that in most cases of "genius" it is not inherent (genetic) at all, but due to hard work, effort, and concentrated study and "purposeful" learning on the person's part. Chess and mathematics are prime examples of two areas where such "genius" can be readily quantified. It is not so much "inherent talent" that determines chess success as it is stubborness (perseverence), dedication (will power), and unrelenting hard work and effort. Not many people (particularly not adults) are willing to put forth that kind of unrelenting effort. As much as story-spinners and publicists would like us to think so, no one came out of the womb holding a pawn. The Chinese women are better because the Chinese government has deemed it a worthy effort (for whatever reasons) for the past 20 yeas or so to fully support and subsidize players who show that determination to learn and go higher and love chess from an early age. In the "old" days under the old Soviet empire, they did the same, including Soviet Georgia. Maia herself is a product of that system, as she readily acknowledges.

Talking about MonRoi and Canada, I would like to mention an event that has been kind of invisible to big sites. I have seen it published only at chessdom (a european based site or seems so??). http://previews.chessdom.com/canadian-open-2007 . It seems like a milestone event for Canadian chess, really important GMs are coming. Well, I do not know how will Short do after Bosna, but I am happy for chess in Canada in general. I will be back there on time for the event, now I am backpacking around Spain;) Cheers

Janet, this is because, in my opinion, the word 'genius' is used far too easily. I believe the word genius should be reserved for those who truly are born with obvious gifts far exceeding those of normal people. People like Morphy or Capablanca for instance, who don't seem to have to work hard to become the best in the world at something. I have met a few people like this, who just easily take to something new as if they were born to it. Hard work will take many people to the top, but it doesn't mean they are geniuses.

Knight_tour you forgot Tal!!

And Anand? He said in a recent interview that (paraphrased) getting to number five in the world was easy, but getting from there to number one was really hard work.

On the subject of other events - what does the board think of the Bulgarian Chess Federation's plea to FIDE that Topalov be allowed to play in Mexico (reported on ChessBase yesterday)?

Topalov played in a qualifier against Kramnik to play in Mexico and lost. The rules were explicit in stating that the loser would not qualify for the next WC. End of story.

You reap what you sow.

knight tour is well out of line. How do you know what is innate and what is worked for? Isn't one facet of genius the capacity for hard work? Do you really think that any of the top people in any field get there with little or no effort? Man, that argument for defining genius is so tired

I agree with al in principle, but including Topalov and making Mexico a qualifier to the title match with Kramnik is the decision that makes most sense from any angle. That, of course, means that Kramnik does not play Mexico.

Otherwise, everything should proceed as agreed and Topalov is (kind of) eliminated.


No, working hard is not an element of genius (as it is generally related to IQ). I'd go on and on, but that is just too much hard work.

I am not out of line, bob- it comes from lots of experience and even common sense. And it doesn't even have to apply to geniuses. Haven't you ever been in a class where everyone is learning the new material for the very first time? You will see a few people that struggle; the majority that do ok, and there will be one or two who just seem to 'get it' naturally without even trying. I know it doesn't have anything to do with hard work because I did it myself, getting 'A's in most classes without ever having to crack a book (and no I am not a genius). There is a lot of political correctness that tries to act as if everyone is just the same and only hard work makes any difference - that is just wrong.

Re the M_ _ _ _ _ thread:

I sorta understand closing down the thread. But the loss of that wonderful Goldner post ranks with the burning of the library at Alexandria.

With regard to Stendec and knight_tour, I did not mean that working hard is itself an element of genius, but that working hard is ultimately necessary to be thought a genius. You could be very gifted, but lazy, and this would hinder you as much as a lack of basic ability. Surely being thought a genius must be the combination of ability and hard work. Only certain highly gifted individuals can apply themselves to the extent that they achieve a high level. I am not saying that everyone is the same, or that hard work is the only factor involved. But the old myth that certain individuals "just have it" seems to downgrade their achievements, since "having it" is only the first step, and the rest is up to the individual to develop.

Mig. Since I'm late reading the blog and the other thread is closed, let me say here how I admire the way you dealt with those childish legal threats: professionalism that MonRoi should take as an example, if and when they decide to limit the damages of this stupid anti-PR campaign of theirs. Cheers.

And that doesn't mean - of course - that I condone the idiotic bloggers who used this occasion to express their Canadophobia or Quebecophobia...

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on May 30, 2007 9:17 AM.

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