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Dortmund 07 Begins

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It's again time for the powerful sprint that Dortmund has become in recent years. Round one is today. Apparently the live games appear 15 minutes after the rounds begin at 1500 local time, 9am EDT. Eight players, seven rounds, two rest days. The field: Kramnik, Anand, Leko, Mamedyarov, Carlsen, Naiditsch, Gelfand, Alekseev. That last qualified from this year's Aeroflot, an excellent tradition I'd love to see other supertournaments take up. Kramnik's participation was in doubt due to a health scare, but it's now been confirmed he's playing in what has long been "his" event. He tied for first with Svidler last year with +2, his seventh clear or shared first in Dortmund.

With hurricane Kasparov leaving town tomorrow I'll be updating more often. Lots to catch up on.

Update: Mamedyarov beats Naiditsch in the only decisive game of round one. Hard to see 7.Be2 as the novelty of the year, but hey, whatever works. The big Kramnik-Anand showdown was one of those Kramnik Slavs that is either a minuscule endgame edge for White or nothing much at all. This one was the latter.


The live coverage is supposed to start 15 minutes *after* the rounds begin.

If I remember correctly they use a 15-minute delay also at the screens on-site as part of the anti-cheating measures.

I think that Evgeny Alekseev might have a break out tournament here. Probably not many have heard of him but yet he is still in the high 2600s.

After 18 moves whites in Kramnik-Anand look like from a Fischer random!

I wonder, if the game is over, will they also wait 15 minutes before showing that on the site?

Seven rounds and only two rest days?! I guess player with the best condition will win.

Very subtle irony, Arlauk.

Is Kramnik smoking again? "Respiratory" trouble is ominous in someone who's had a cigarette habit in the past.

7 rounds is just too short.
It's not great for the sponsor as well ...
Why did they agree to it?

It seems that at the top level the move ...Na5 in the Guioco Piano with Ng5 might be simply a free pawn for white these days. Was it Short who made a similar statement? Looks like people have to seek salvation down the labrynth of ...Nd4(...b5) lines? Or maybe ...Bc5 is simply the best move. Not saying this means much at the lower levels.

I predict this is going to be a boring event. Anand, Kramnik, Gelfand and Leko will soon be playing in the WC and they will be displaying their most innocuous openings here. Alekseev will be overawed by the unfamiliar 2700+ enviroment and will hope to draw everything.
Whatever excitement there will be has to provided by Mamedyarov and Carlsen.

yes playing 2 knights at Dordmund seems a little odd...

Generally speaking, this is always a more conservative tournament because of the players the organizers tend to invite. However, it also has some of the higher quality less error-prone chess, which more than compensates for it, to me.

Does anyone have any details on the item from TWIC entitled "Topalov gets a world championship match"? From what I can tell, this move to clarify some of the vagueness of the odd cycle have now become even more confusing. Is he playing a match to challenge the winner of Mexico, or will he play Kramnik? Or both? etc.

I can't believe this! This is a FIDE PR guy saying it! It is BOTH. Read it again. BOTH. The clown who threw mud at chess is now reward for his shenanigans.

Topalov, without entering any Cycle whatsoever gets:

1. World Championship match against Kramnik (in case Kramnik wins the Mexico tournament)

2. a "wild card" into an extra match against the winner of the FIDE World Cup (who previously was supposed to challenge for World Championship!)

Can you imagine this! Topalov don't have to take part in the World Cup! He is automatically seeded into the finals to decide the World Championship challenger! How must other players feel if this is true? They play 15 games, and for the winner what should have been a card to a world championship match is now changed into another candidates match, against Topalov who gets a free pass!


This is so absolutely infuriating, and impossible to accept.

Everyone hate Topalov. NOW. (And Ilymzhinov).

All the decent chess players must now urge Kramnik to boycott Mexico City and keep the Classical title to himself. Ilymzhinov led, corrupted FIDE can not be trusted with it.

If you want to read it yourself, here's the link to the Fide announcement:

I get the distinct feeling Mig better catch up on his sleep now. hmmm. USCF elections and now this?

good thing its been a "slow" chess news week.

oops. Definately my bad. Graabbed old Topy-kramnik by mistake.
my disbelief clouded my pea brain.
Mig feel free to edit right out this and prev.(please !!??!!)

'Mig' wrote:
{The big Kramnik-Anand showdown was one of those Kramnik Slavs that is either a minuscule endgame edge for White or nothing much at all. This one was the latter.}

'ttbacf' wrote (at June 23, 2007 10:51):
{After 18 moves whites in Kramnik-Anand look like from a Fischer random!}

'JaiDeepBlue' wrote (at June 23, 2007 15:51 ):
{I predict this is going to be a boring event. Anand, Kramnik, Gelfand and Leko will soon be playing in the WC and they will be displaying their most innocuous openings here.}

'Kramnik' said (http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=3894):
{To defend the title after less than one year after you have won it is quite difficult ... chesswise (because you are running out of ideas which you used in the previous world championship match)}

- - -

Nobody is running out of opening phase ideas in chess960.
Quite the opposite, the grandmaster community has yet to discover principles and techniques for best play from 959/960 start positions. No other area of chess still offers so much rich new learning.

"According to the regulations if GM Kramnik wins the WCCh tournament in Mexico City 2007, a match between GM Kramnik and GM Topalov, the current and the previous world champions, will take place in 2008. In that case, the winner of the Kramnik-Topalov match will play against the winner of the 2007 World Cup."

Can someone explain this to me ? Either Kramnik isn't considered being the WC at the moment, or Mexico isn't a WCCh tournament ?

It seems Kramnik could have pressed on with the immediate 25.Bc3!

after eg
25. Bc3 Bxc3 26. Qxc3 Qd6 27. Qd4 Qxd4 28. exd4 Nc6 29. Bxc6 bxc6 30. Kf1 Kf8 31. Ke2 Ke7 32. Kd3 Kd6 33. Kc4 black will run out of pawn moves and white will be able to get the opposition on the q-side.

and after 25. Bc3 Nc4 26. Bd4 b5 27. b3 Nd6 28. Bg2 Qd7 29. a3 Ba5 30.
Qc6 Qxc6 31. Bxc6 white can also press on.

Wow! Yesterday I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw http://www.chessdom.com/news/topalov-wcc . Topalov included in the WCC cycle!?!?!?!? Now it is also on FIDE http://www.fide.com/news.asp?id=1388 . I can only say wow.

Of course Topalov is included in the next cycle. He always was, unless he excluded himself. The problem is that he is getting special privileges for no other reason than Danailov shouting like a madman.

Catpower: Yes, that is a point of not playing Qc8+ before Bc3 - you save the check for a better purpose. Then if 25.Bc3 Bxc3 26.Qxc3 Ng4 is not possible as _then_ you have Qc8+.

Black can't allow that pawn endgame but it seems the alternative after 26.Qxc3 is simply losing a pawn (in various ways). However, perhaps 25..Nc6 is solid as 26.Bxc6 bxc6 27.Bxb4 Qxb4 28.Qxc6 Qxb2 29.Qxa6 Qb1+ 30.Kg2 Qe4+ 31.Kf1 Qb1+ 32.Ke2 Qc2+ 33.Kf3 Qf5+ is a draw. This was impossible in the game.

Is the match Kramnik gets against the Mexico winner still a title match? It is not presented that way, rather simply as a qualifier for the 2009 WCh match.

Kramnik never demanded that, but surely he won't just sit quiet if it is taken away.

Topalov has the full right to participate. I am happy for him. He plays beautiful chess and must be there. Sooo goood

Kirsan has made his first move to bypass puppet Kok/Global Chess...I had always found this to be inevitable given what happened in the past.

It turns out the WCC in Mexico is qualification wo plays against Topalov :) That sounds about right, he is the best player at the moment and he deserves the final directly.

This is a perfect opportunity for Kramnik to destroy Kirsan.

Imagine the heat in Kirsan's ass if Kramnik now withdraws from the Mexico tournament?

Imagine how pissed the Mexican organizers must be now that the whole thing has turned into some sort of elimination tournament - including the World Champion! - to determine a challenger for Topalov?

This is f*****g unreal!

It worth noting that Topalov gets to play his match for $150,000 (yes, that's right - one hundred fifty thousand dollas).


It is logical, Topa is the best, even Kramnik should qualify to experience his might. Kramnik had the chance and refused 1 000 000. Now let him play Mexico, Topa can wait.

On the other hand Topa had similar program - San Luis, Elista and then were supposed to be Mexico and qualifications. So they just switched places. Now lets see how the "world champion" will behave.

Mexico is not a qualification tournament to play Topalov; the World Cup in Siberia is. If Aronian would win there again, I'm not so sure that Topalov would win the match.

Still. If Kramnik doesn't win Mexico, he has to beat the world champion (winner of Mexico) to qualify for the next match. Topalov "only" has to beat the winner of the World Cup, who is weaker than the new world champion.


Well, at least the nonsense about "The Russians do everything to keep the title to themselves", "Kramnik gets all the favors", "FIDE is biased against Topalov" will stop.

It's ok, if Topalov has to play an 8-game match, that only gives "the best" two-three games to stop playing like he usually does at the beginning of these things.

The original demand by Bulgarian federation was to have Topalov put directly into Mexico as the ninth man. Then they found out Sasikiran and Nisipeanu weren't going to be playing.


You might try learning from standard chess first. It is pretty audacious for you to advertise a link to a book you wrote considering...

Forget about the "Topalov clause". It may be unfair but it is a one-time-only thing.

What is important is we are back to having matches for the WC. The World Cup winner (which I believe is a match-play championship) against the best tournament player, the winner of a match between these two against the World Champion? Wow! That would be fantastic excitement for chess fans, and a good way of determining a real champion, not just the the winner of one more super-tournament like Mexico.

Ok so Topalov gets one more chance than he should, fine, if he takes that chance good for him and if he doesn't then we can all forget about him, there will be no more chances for him. The important thing is that this is a WC format that actually makes sense for the long term, once this Topalov silliness is over with.

There are only two possible outcomes:

1) Topalov wins the WCC.
2) The dirty rotten cheaters cheat him out of it. (See the final game of Elista 2006, where brain-wave tampering made Topalov hang a rook).

Did Anand ever have any fighting spirit ?

From Chessbase:

"For those of you who are still confused we will try to describe two possible scenarios:

1. Kramnik wins Mexico, Radjabov wins the World Cup 2007. In this case Topalov plays Kramnik in 2008, and Radjabov plays the winner in 2009. Both are full world championship title matches.

2. Anand wins Mexico, Radjabov wins the World Cup 2007. In this case Kramnik gets to play Anand in 2008, and Radjabov plays an eight-game Challenger's Match against Topalov for the right to challenge the winner. The winner of Kramnik-Anand plays the winner of Radjabov-Topalov for the world championship in 2009.


Unbelieveable. Why is Topalov getting this privileges that are totally against fair play and fair and equal competition?

Didn't he come last in Linares? Other top GMs must be shocked. This must be fought tooth and nail.

NO MORE CORRUPTION. This is sickening for true chess lovers.

Topailov, first change your nick. It is as ridiculous as your statements. Second, the one that got all the privileges (including free stay for 5 hours in the toilet) was Kramnik. Topa was deprived of playing, now he returns. And we are all happy!!!!!!

"Well, at least the nonsense about "The Russians do everything to keep the title to themselves", "Kramnik gets all the favors", "FIDE is biased against Topalov" will stop."

You don't really believe that :-)

"Did Anand ever have any fighting spirit?"

He lost a catastrophic match to Kasparov in 1995, but has recovered nicely. He's been in the top five since then, and 12 years later is world number one. Compare with Nigel Short.

One doesn't have to behave like King Kong to have fighting spirit.

Acirce, I did believe it, but I was proven wrong immediately by various posters.

As a long-time Vishy-fan it is simply hard to accept his drawoffer today in a position where he must have been able to try a squeeze without risk (?).

Can Kramnik win this? The black king is a bit far away, so when white king marchs to black pawns...one of them might fall.

This new FIDE plan is plain stupid!

Just imagine the situation:
(1) Kramnik wins the Mexico tournament and Topalov is waiting there to play against him. It appears like Mexico Tournament becomes a "qualifier" for Kramnik and Topalov is getting the treatment of a World Champion! Just remember, the FIDE knockout where Anand won and Karpov was aiting for him to play the WCH match. Sounds similar isn't it except then Karpov was FIDE Champ! Com'on FIDE guys we all know you are a bunch of iodiots. You need not show samples every few months.

This one situation makes the whole cycle a joke.

(2)What happens to the other 7 guys who fail to win in Mexico, do they get to participate in 2007 World Cup to at least get a chance to challenge Topa for the Challenger match?

Guys I think these new rules will pan out like this: 1) Kramnik wins in Mexico - there aint a cat in hells chance he will agree to play Topalov 2) Kramnik loses in Mexico then wins a match against the Mexico winner - there aint a cat in hells chance he will agree to play Topalov. In either of these scenarios what can FIDE do - declare Topalov the world champion???

I am certain Kramnik will carry on as if nothing has happened and make no comment until he has won Mexico or won a match against the Mexico winner. Then everything will be changed again.

"In either of these scenarios what can FIDE do - declare Topalov the world champion???"

Wouldn't surprise me any.

One thing is sure, Topalov has more influential friends than one certain retired chess legend...

More influential or far less scrupulous?

I wonder what happens if say Kramnik Svidler and Morozevich withdraw from the Mexico. Maybe some others would join, like Aronian and Leko.
The players need to be very deceisive otherwise after a year like this we will be asking to bring the knock-out back. 

A few years ago, I was claiming here on this site that Kramnik was the strongest active player, that Kramnik was amongst the best 3 or 4 players ever with Kasparov and Fischer, that he was the only legit world champion and that he was a clear class above everybody (since his head to head records were positive at that time against Anand, Topalov and ... Kasparov as well).

Today he's undisputed world champion, has a performance of almost 2850 since he came back from his illness, wins almost everything, and his head to head records against Topalov and Anand are improving. His rating is rushing back to his previous >2800 rating, and just as a reminder, since his comeback to chess in the olympiads in Turin 2006, Vladimir has played 43 games and has lost only two (+13 =28 -2, two losses against Topalov in Elista).

Kramnik is back to his 2000-2002 level, when he had his 82 in a row undefeated games. Kramnik, world champion 2000 - ?

"Guys I think these new rules will pan out like this: 1) Kramnik wins in Mexico - there aint a cat in hells chance he will agree to play Topalov 2) Kramnik loses in Mexico then wins a match against the Mexico winner - there aint a cat in hells chance he will agree to play Topalov. In either of these scenarios what can FIDE do - declare Topalov the world champion???"

The problem there is, people can feel free to ignore FIDE's declaration of any champion, like we all did when we recognized Garry Kasparov as WC from the time he broke off, during his defense against Nigel Short. We also ignored the dubious claims of Alexander Khalifman and Ruslan Ponomariov to the throne of Lasker, Capablanca, Alekhine and Fischer, on the basis of winning a single tournament with some 6 and 4-game matches tacked on.

I have a prediction - I doubt that Kramnik will win Mexico, though he will be near the top and he will still be (in my opinion) the best player in the world. In an inane setup like this, Kramnik has to worry not only about his mistakes, but the mistakes some people (think Morozevich) might make against some of his chief competitors, who can pick up some free points. One of these rivals will probably hit a hot streak and win on +3 or +4. Anyway, that's not the end of the prediction. I would almost bet money that Fide's Great Leader will try and screw Kramnik, make up some b***s*** story or pretense that Vlad 'found conditions unacceptable' or whatever, and he'll be denied the match with the winner of Mexico. Then Kramnik will have to prove he's been screwed, and his claims to the crown are going sound more hollow, by having compromised his position playing in this tournament for all the marbles. It'll be a mess, that's for sure. I can't wait.

This Mexico thing is a bad idea - I think the WC should always be decided by a match.

Actually, Kirsan voted against

Kramnik will win Mexico. Then he can (if he so chooses) refuse to play a match with Topalov who will get the FIDE WC title for free, the one he already had. Well done, FIDE!

Comments about Kramnik being unable to win Mexico are simply silly. Amongst active players, Kramnik is the most successful in tournaments. 3 Linares, 7 Dortmund, and a few other >cat19 events.

Of course, that doesn't means that he'll win. Just means that he has good chances. Out of the present players, I'd say that Kramnik has the best chances, followed by Anand, then Aronian comes third and Morozevich fourth, and the four other players have 0% chances. Leko can't win such a tournament (too many draws), Gelfand and Grischuk are a class below, and Svidler can do well but will never finish above 3rd or 4th place.

Regarding Topalov's participation.
First of all, he has chosen the approach where the Elista loser does not participate in this cycle. But he still has a chance to play a revenge if Kramnik wins in Mexico.
And the saying that he may not participate in the next cycle is just silly lye. He can play in next Cup as Anand and Kramnik may if they do not win the title.
I am not a big fan of Topalov as chess player. I agree that he is one of the best OTB, and many find his style attractive. I myself prefer more positional style, may be, because I play corr chess, not OTB. But every time I watch his games I just can't forget he is the biggest jerk of the decade. And this influences my bias agains him. And some of his fans bring their 2 cents to this bias, also :-(

WHy isn't there more of an outrage over this?

If Kramnik wins Mexico, the Winner of 2007 World Cup should play Kramnik.

If Anand wins Mexico, Anand and Kramnik play a World Championship match, which preserves the match tradition. (There is a precedent, Capablanca took part in the New York 1927 Candidates tournament, winning it in style, but losing the title match to Alekhine who finished distant 2nd). While Anand and Kramnik slug it out, the rest of the players go through a long qualification cycle to decide the next challenger... The challenger to Topalov for a right to play in the next World Championship match!

The loser of Anand Kramnik would be out of the next cycle, but there, in a priviledged position would wait Veselin, the scumbag.

The funniest thing would be Kramnik winning Mexico, then Topalov losing the title match against Kramnik, only to be automatically paired into the next candidates final.

At the same time Danailov oversees the Chess Grand Prix, which is now supposed to find the other player for the candidates final. But there will also be a FIDE World Cup, right?

So these two play against each other, for the right to play Topalov?

Could someone tell me what Topalov has done to deserve all this? That joke of a match challenge couple of weeks after the previous match had ended? The threats of sueing FIDE and taking the case to Lausanne? The way he dragged chess through the mud in Elista with his sick and twisted innuendo about Kramnik?

Why are we, the chess public, just passive observers to this show? Where are the top GMs to oppose and protest this? These corrupted news have been out for two days now.

There should be a reaction.

Everyone should see how corrupted and dumb this all is. Just unbeliveable.

Yet Topa will play and beat everybody.... Topa is the best and he is a nice guy, I have an autograph from him. You dont? Maybe that's why you do not like him. Topa you are the best!

Take your trolling elsewhere pfu=marca. This is a serious matter. Our game is corrupted to the core at the top, and it is just allowed to continue year after year. The decisions can become more and more bizarre and nothing happens. Is it any wonder that chess was much better off 30 years ago? Just look at the FIDE presidents of the years gone by. Olafsson, Euwe and others. Campomanes was a crook and Ilymzhinov is even worse and now there is a gang of them with Makropoulos et all.

Listen, these worthless chess countries that have 2-3 players on the ELO list should not get to vote. The chess countries were overwhelmingly behind Kok, but Kirsan got the worthless chess countries to vote for him. It's like the same worthless countries in the UN voting Zimbabwe to head the United Nations Development Program, even if bit less serious. But for a chess player it is serious, so sfu pfu.

opailov, are you Mig? If so update your blog instead of talking rubbish. There is important stuff going on, Kramnik and Anand are playing and you are talking about Topailov, Kasparov a bulls*it like that. Seriously, what's the matter? Topa is the best, accept it. Or you have complex from people bating you at chess and that is why you do not like champions?

According to Kirsan himself, Kramnik as the World Champion is member of the FIDE Presidential Board. I wonder if board member Kramnik knows about this WC cycle development at all, that comes out of the blue. Moreover, the timing seems suspicious, the Tallin board meeting coincides with Dortmund. One of those dirty inside tricks that perpetuates FIDE's incompetence?

Just wondered what happened to the Fide ethics committee hearing (contradiction in terms perhaps) into Topalov's interview stating Kramnik cheated to win the elista match by receiving outside assistance (saying it happened even in the rapid games remember)


Topalov/Danailov found a way to say dirty things but still keep themselves out of the reach of law.
Topalov has always denied that he said that Kramnik cheated, he's only saying that he had some doubts that the cheating was possible. I think that's what he will be saying again if the ethics committee hearing ever happens.

@topailov the disgrace: just stop watching and following chess

Back 1998 Karpov the reigning FIDE Champion was waiting for about 3 weeks to see who would emerge from Groningen Knockout tournament (like World Cup) to challenge him for the FIDE title. Anand was victorious and he had to relocate in a day or 2 to Lausanne to play Karpov. Karpov won in rapid games. Anand was completely exhausted after the knockout phase and was clearly not himself in Lausanne - yet he managed to draw the classical games. Karpov had the nerve to say that he had no advantage - on the contrary, The Challenger had had time to 'play himself into form' and he himself was waiting 'rusty'...

Be that as it may, I remember the outrage the decision to give Karpov this advantage was met with. But at least Karpov was the FIDE Champion. (Kasparov was of course the REAL Champion.)

Now FIDE has chosen to give Topalov not only one but TWO chances (ok, the match against Kramnik depends on the fact whether Kramnik wins Mexico or not) to RE-enter this WC-cycle from which he was excluded by a CONTRACT he and his manager signed along with Kramnik and FIDE. The question is why? Topalov is no champion, so why the privileges? Why does #2 get such advantage concerning the WC-title, when #1 has to slug it out with the others? And personally to me it is not actually about #2 vs. #1 issue, but simply about the fact that for no reason FIDE has chosen someone to be their golden boy and hand him - against previous contract - two more chances, two shortcuts to fight for the title. This is extreme injustice towards everyone else.

Why would Kramnik tolerate this kind of breach of agreement? Why would the future winner of World Cup 2007 accept another obstacle on his way to the title match? FIDE is proving once again that they are completely irresponsible. Perhaps Kramnik should break away to preserve the tradition of the World Champion Title and let FIDE have fun with Topalov and Danailov.

Plus, Danailov's scheming means he's managed to link the Grand Prix to the world title, forcing the top players to play in Sofia - with whatever tricks he can come up with to help the players he manages.

You look at history and wonder how tin-pot dictators ever become so powerful - well here it is in chess in miniature. All that's needed is a bit of indifference, division and greed.

Eh? The Grand Prix is not Danailov's. That's the Grand Slam. There may or may not be overlap, but as things stand now they certainly aren't one and the same.

Ah, ok - it's more complicated than I thought! ;)

"Eh? The Grand Prix is not Danailov's. That's the Grand Slam. There may or may not be overlap, but as things stand now they certainly aren't one and the same."

OK, so Danailov's "Grand Slam" consists of 4 (or 5?) Elite events. The players finishing in the top(is it still 4?) qualify to play in an additional Event. Would THAT event be called the "Grand Prix"? If not, it would be hard to imagine that there would not be some overlap, as then the Grand Prix would merely consist of the less prestigious events. Of the Grand Prix were too inclusive of events, then that tend to result in the top finishers being the most active, rather than the strongest players.

In any event, FIDE has managed to screw the Mexico City event organizers, the 7 Candidates participating in Mexico City, and Kramnik himself. The status and prestige of the event has been effectively downgraded. It is a World Championship tournament in name only, since under no scenario will a champion be determined without having to play a new match to "ratify" the result.
If one of the 7 players of the field were to win the event, not only would he have to defeat Kramnik in the rematch, but then he would need to soon play another match against the winner of the Topalov match. And Kramnik is forced to play in this World Championship tournament. If he wins, he qualifies for the "privilige" of playing Topalov in a match. If he loses, he must then play and defeat the winner of Mexico city, and then play a match that will probably be against Topalov. Only then will FIDE consider the Championship cycle "Closed", and the title Unified.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on June 23, 2007 5:31 AM.

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