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Leaders with Slippery Fingers

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[R4 podcast and cool podcast with video up at ICC.] Strange happenings in Sunday's 4th round in Mexico City, and they can't all be explained by the loud music throughout the city on Mexican Independence Day. Both leaders failed to convert positions that fit their specialties. Anand missed several chances to put away Morozevich in a position with an extra passed pawn and tactical shots all over the place. Kramnik passed up a strong plan against Grischuk for a superior technical endgame that he almost certainly didn't get the most of. So instead of extending their lead over the pack, both settled for draws and stay at +1 heading into the first free day on Monday.

The one win was by Aronian over Leko and it was also strange affair. A Maroczy Bind Hedgehog went through the usual meandering maneuvers with no action expected for another dozen moves. Out of nowhere Aronian played e5 and Leko felt it necessary to give up a piece for two pawns. He never approached compensation and Aronian mopped up efficiently to score the full point. Macauley Peterson asked Leko if his 7+ hour marathon the day before against Gelfand had affected his play today. "Obviously it didn't help," he said, but he added that he should have been able to concentrate regardless. Overall he called the game, "a nightmare." Indeed. Like any fan of open games I consider the Hedgehog something of a disease in need of a cure. But it was freakish to see one of the world's most solid players blow up like that.

Speaking of diseases, will someone please do something about the Petroff? Crikey. There was only one today, Gelfand's third in four games. He held Svidler easily despite a slow-motion maneuver that was just asking for a smackdown. (..Qd7-c6-d7-e6) There was no smackdown.

Morozevich and Anand played a very rich middlegame after a typically sharp Meran opening. GM Benjamin theorized that Anand has sharpened his black repertoire for this event. I wondered if it was due to memories of watching Topalov run away with the San Luis world championship in 2005. Anyway, it's good Anand can play to win with black because he's been in trouble with white both times. Against the Petroff, no less. Here he outplayed Morozevich and seemed to have things all but locked up with an extra passed c-pawn. Anand is one of the game's great finishers in dynamic positions so it was disconcerting to see him flounder and fail to notch a deserved win here. Black dropped his impressive e4-f5 pawn pair and suddenly there were three results possible. Anand was poised to win the game again with some nice rook maneuvers against the exposed white king. 55..Rdd2 would have established vicious mating threats. Anand had time, but he seemed oblivious to the idea of doubling rooks on the 7th. Moro's brilliant defense was also a factor of course. 56.Be7 and 57.Kg4 confused the issue enough that Anand decided to force a perpetual. 58..hxg5 was playable, not to mention the Fritzy 58..Rg8!? Is Anand going to play himself into form or are these glitches portentous? +1 and a share of the lead isn't bad for so many complaints.

Speaking of +1 and complaints, Vladimir Kramnik's trademark Catalan and technical voodoo failed him today against Grischuk. 11.a3 sent Grischuk into an unprofessional time sink that left him over an hour behind on the clock by move 20. Kramnik, meanwhile, reeled off his moves instantly, including the risky-looking pawn grab 13.Qxc7. Grischuk reacted well at first, but eventually he made a few inaccuracies that gave Kramnik the edge. It looked like he would calmly collect the black a-pawn and then start up the grinder with his extra pawn. Grischuk was down to two minutes when Kramnik used over 15 on move 38. After all that thinking Kramnik went for a safe endgame edge instead of keeping more active chances with 38.Qa2 or the complications of 38.Qa4 Qb1 39.Bf1 Rxh2. The B vs N endgame did look very good for White, however. Kramnik dumped the c-pawn to dominate the knight and gain time to infiltrate with his king. The consensus among the various kibitzing GMs and IMs on the ICC, including Kamsky, Nakamura, Kogan, and Ginsburg, was that 50.e3 was too conservative and that 51.h4 tossed away the last good chances to win. 50.Bg8 was the expected move, with the majority predicting a win for White. It's hard to argue with a Kramnik with time on his clock in such positions, but he does occasionally err on the side of caution even in technical positions. This game reminds me of the first of his 2006 match against Fritz, when more aggressive play in the N vs B endgame would have won. Of course it will take a while to determine if White had a win for sure, but the draw in the game came so quickly it was shocking. Surely 50.Bg8 h6 51.Bf7 offered better chances for Black to go wrong. 51..Kc3 52.Bxg6 Kd2, headed to e1, is an interesting try.

Monday is a rest day. Anand and Kramnik lead on +1. Aronian, Morozevich (who have participated in all four decisive games), Gelfand, and Grischuk are on even. Svidler and Leko trail on -1. A very tense event so far, with several notable opening novelties as well as plenty of nervous play.

Rogers has the goods at CLO. Btw, there will be a computer match between Rybka and Zappa in Mexico City during the WCh. Starts on the 20th. More info here.


Maybe both Anand and Kramnik (as also Leko, who lost) were tired after their marathon the previous day.

- Kapalik

It's definitely a setback for Vlad not to have brought home the full point. He's used up 3 whites already so the margin for error is quite small. On the otherhand he's got good positions the last 3 games. I still think he's the strong favourite

how long have the players have been in Mexico? I know that whenever I go over to the US west coast with an 8 hour time difference from Europe, its 1 full week before I can recover from the jet lag. The effect is worst around about days 2, 3 & 4. Its impossible to shake off, and most of the time I'm attending a conference like a zombie. Placing chess even slightly jet lagged must seriously affect the standard.

If they are lagged then it was silly for them to turn up just one week before. I think Kotov recommends turning up a fortnight before or something!

I wonder what other, more aggresive, openings Kramnik intends to play. Certainly he didn't hire Van Wely for the Catalan or the Petroff.

Does anyone has the list of the seconds here?

I'm not sure about this.
This german site has a list of seconds:
However I read that both Grishuk and Gelfand work with their Elista teams in México:

That would be
Gelfand: Pavel Eljanov and Alex Huzman.
Grischuk: Andrey Schekachev and Dmitry Jakovenko

thank you, Reyk..

who is Alexei Kusmin?

> who is Alexei Kusmin?
english transliteration probably is 'Kuzmin'

It would be interesting to see what Kasparov has to say about the Kramnik-Grischuk game. I think he came up with the winning plan quite quickly after that Kramnik-Deep Fritz game.

Anand: "It's a shame what I did today", "After 30...Rc7 it's just winning [for Black]...it's pretty bad technique not to win this [endgame]."

Kramnik: "The question is how many wins did I miss? 5, or maybe 7. So of course it is a big disappointment for me that I did not win this game."


At least they can both console themselves that the other also failed to win...

Will we see any Sveshnikov from Kramnik? He's got a few more black games than white left. I had Anand as the favorite, but if he gives away wins like that he's in trouble. Still, his play with black thus far has been really impressive. Where's Leko at? His chess hasn't been the same since the Kramnik match in '04.

Which pronunciations are correct: LEH-ko or LAY-ko; mor-roh-ZEH-vich or mor-roh-ZAY-vich or something else?


"Which pronunciations are correct: LEH-ko or LAY-ko; mor-roh-ZEH-vich or mor-roh-ZAY-vich or something else?"

AFAIK just LEK (sounds similarily to "tech") - O (short; sounds the same as second "o" in "boston") and MORO (second "o" sounds the same as in "Leko") - ZE (as in "Zed") - VITCH (as in "witch", but with "v", as in "vice", instead of "w").

Here's hoping Kramnik finishes undefeated but in second-place behind Anand; setting up a Kramnik-Anand WCC match.

Successful matches against Kasparov, Leko, Topalov and Anand would be quite a legacy.

Unfortunately the Russian plot probably involves Kramnik finishing second to one of the Russians. Or is Kramnik supposed to win, I forget.

Crickey?? Crikey!

Greg K - you might be confused by the scenario in which Kramnik ties for first with three others in Mexico and then gets to play a match against himself. (So much fine print in these rules.)

That would certainly provide some high-quality technical chess derek.

R4 podcast wrapup and also cool video up at the ICC:


http://www.chessclub.com for full index and video.

Thanks for switching the podcast to MP3 format.

Morozevich is pronounced MoroZEvich, with each vowel sounding as it would in Spanish. Does that help? I have noticed that generally in Russian last names that end in -ovich or -evich, the emphasis falls on the syllable preceeding the vich.

Thanks, Yuriy. Appreciated.

Also, thanks, Languy.

AFAIK just LEK (sounds similarily to "tech") - O (short; sounds the same as second "o" in "boston")

That would be correct if his name was Leko. But in Hungarian it's Lékó. The "é" is pronounced as in English "lay" and the "ó" as in "row".

AFAIK just LEK (sounds similarily to "tech") - O (short; sounds the same as second "o" in "boston")

That would be correct if his name was Leko. But in Hungarian it's Lékó. The "é" is pronounced as in English "lay" and the "ó" as in "row".

If you really want to get the pronunciation right, look at this video of stupid Hungarian celebrities talking about Lékó:


They mention his name several times, e.g. at 1:05 and at 1:18.

Svidler and "smackdown" in the same paragraph ?!

Svidler and "smackdown" in the same paragraph ?!

Svidler and "smackdown" in the same paragraph ?!

So far Kramnik is lookging very impressive. If he continues to play like he did during the first four rounds I have no doubt he is going to win Mexico and just wait to paly the winner of Topalov vs Whoever.

Why do I have a feeling we will see 2 more Petroffs today? If Anand or Leko don't beat the Petroff today, it will be Petroff thematic tournament from now on. I expect Leko to come up with some sort of a substantial novelty against the Petroff. Its been 3 years since Leko have been trying to break Kramnik's Petroff and it is about time he thought of something major.

Lékó put a lot of pressure on Kramnik's Petroff just a few months ago in Dortmund. At one point I even thought he'd win.

As for Anand-Svidler, Svidler's never played the Petroff before, has he?

Anand-Svidler usually have a penchant for the Marshall.

Heh, Lékó plays the Bishop's Opening.

Well, a normal Giuoco Piano now.

acirce: you are right about Svidler never playing a Petroff. I don't know what I was thinking.

Svidler does play the Marshall that is another topical anti-e4 line that is somewhat of a drawing weapon - so that's what he played.

Leko's Bishop opening shows he wants to win, I think. Apparently, he thinks that offers more chances than 2. Nf3 and the Petroff.

>That would be correct if his name was Leko.
>But in Hungarian it's Lékó. The "é" is
>pronounced as in English "lay" and the "ó"
>as in "row"."

>If you really want to get the pronunciation
>right, look at this video of stupid Hungarian
>celebrities talking about Lékó:
>They mention his name several times, e.g. at
>1:05 and at 1:18."

So as far as I can hear, it's closer to "leko" than "laykow", but maybe the sound quality is messing things up? Anyway, it's rather very softened "e" and semi-closed "o".

For Morozevich, I wasn't precise. In cyrilic it's "Морозе́вич", so it's not a slav "e" as in "Zed", but not "mor-roh-ZAY-vich" as well. That "ze" is closer to english "tier", just much shorter.

I am surprised that you are surprised that Kramnik isn't converting good positions. Remember: he's only playing for second place. He most certainly doesn't want to win this event and have to play Topalov again. If he's really smart he might even get to 'annoint' the winner (read his next world championship match opponent) by dexterously dolling out half-points to the right people at the right time.

Mr. Tony
Get a life.


Kramnik may not be really smart, but he's never posted the same message four times.

Predictions are always more interesting before the fact; so please let us know who Kramnik is annointing.

Personally handling Danailov's distraction campaign after Game 4, Kramnik found the time and energy to defeat Topalov. He's probably not worried about whether he could do it again without such distractions.

Greg Koster said, "Personally handling Danailov's distraction campaign after Game 4, Kramnik found the time and energy to defeat Topalov. He's probably not worried about whether he could do it again without such distractions."

In his DVD Kramnik says the same thing in that he'd be better prepared for Danailov's actions if he had to do it again. He hopes he doesn't have to deal with them, but will be prepared this time. I'd prefer if he prepared by having one of his boxing friends give him a few pointers :-) but I'm barbaric.

My introductory Russian class tells me that "o" in Russian is pronounced always one of three ways: "oh", "ah", and "uh".

It is pronounced "oh" if and only if it is the vowel in the *stressed* syllable in a word or name.

It is pronounced "ah" if it is *not* in the stresed syllable but is in either the syllable immediately before the stressed syllable or the first syllable of the word.

It is pronounced "uh" in all other cases.

In "Морозевич", transliterated "Morozevich", I agree with an earlier poster that the stressed syllable comes just before the "vich". So the "e" comes as "YAY", or "AY". The first "o" is in the first syllable of the name, hence is "ah" technically. The second "o" comes just before the stressed syllable, hence is also "ah". Thus: Mah rah ZYAY vich. But Russians may say the name quickly, changing the first "ah" to "uh" as a result: Muh rah ZYAY vich.

It is certainly NOT De Firmian's Mor ROH zuh vich. Even less is it Mig's Morris SEV ich. (I could be wrong, but university instructors of Russian, and textbooks, and some native Russians, support what I have said here.)

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on September 17, 2007 3:00 AM.

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