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Mexico City World Championship Begins

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The first round of 14 starts today. The players: Anand, Kramnik, Aronian, Leko, Svidler, Morozevich, Grischuk, Gelfand. Play begins at 1400 local time, 1500 EDT (NY) time, 1900 GMT. After the canceled webcast of the press conference things took another disturbing turn when the opening ceremony was moved from the National Theater to the hotel playing venue at the last second yesterday. As far as I can tell, the pairings aren't even up at the official site, or anything else for that matter. No live game link yet. I fear this is going to be a long 16 days.

The first round: Kramnik-Svidler, Anand-Gelfand, Morozevich-Aronian, Grischuk-Leko. Full event pairings and even a dark video from the opening ceremony here at fideamerica.com. Picture galleries too. Rock on. It looks more like a lost celeb porn tape, but if you look carefully you'll see Kramnik and Vishy joking together. ht Santiago García Ramos. The first four rounds are played on the trot; the first free day is Monday the 17th. Schedule. The time control is 40/2, 20/1, 15'+30" to finish. Perfect.

Mark has a handy page at TWIC with the technical details of the event and some preview data addressing the official site's dubious "strongest tournament ever" claim, including some comments from Jeff Sonas. He also includes the players' classical results against the rest of the field over the past few years.

That chart gives Kramnik a slight edge over Anand. What matters most in my opinion is the level of aggression shown by the players. If everyone comes out fighting hard and there are many decisive games (i.e. nearing 50%), the winning chances tilt in favor of the more dynamic players like Anand and Aronian. If the field turns cautious and there are many short draws, the more conservative players like Kramnik, Leko, and Svidler will have excellent chances till the end. Kramnik has an uncanny ability to control a tournament in this way and Anand hasn't really shown a Kasparov-like ability to push an event in the other direction. (Topalov shows flashes of this but often by losing in the early rounds and requiring a madcap comeback.) I'd say only Kramnik, Anand, and Aronian have chances at +4 in this field. If +2 wins it's going to be a train wreck with tiebreaks and lots of non-game draws.

As ever, Morozevich is a wildcard. His results in category 17+ events are rarely good, but the last world championship event in Argentina was an exception, which is why he's in Mexico. He can beat anyone at any time, and will undoubtedly score more than few spectacular wins. But he usually adds a few big losses as well. My personal hopes are on Aronian to make the tournament interesting. If he comes out fighting and stays aggressive this could be a spectacular tournament. Otherwise I'm afraid that Kramnik, Anand, Leko, and Svidler will try to coast on class, take short draws when possible, and play for wins only when the prep is with them with white. Gelfand and Grischuk may have trouble keeping the pace in this field. I'd love to see Grischuk nail someone early though, it could really turn things over. Early upsets by the outsiders are what would really make for a good show, as usual. Then the favorites would have a rabbit to catch and 22-move draws become less palatable.

The great unmentionable is that Kramnik has much less to play for than the other seven players. The winner of this event is the world champion, but everyone knows he'll have to face Kramnik in a match to keep the title next year and then play another match against someone else very soon after that. Then the cycle settles down, supposedly. If Kramnik wins, he plays a rematch against Topalov and the winner of that plays a match against the Khanty-Mansyisk world cup winner in '09. The mere possibility that Kramnik can directly influence the name of his "challenger" (technically Kramnik would be the challenger) is horrible, so let's hope the compromising potential is kept to a minimum in the final rounds, if only to quell the chatter. A key late-round Kramnik loss to a fellow Russian contender could get ugly in, say, the Indian press. (They'll already be keeping a close eye on the results between the four Russian players.)

So, predictions please, and feel free to relay those of other sites. I went with Leko in San Luis, not expecting Topalov to put on blue and red tights and a cape. I assume at least 50% will vote for Anand, not at all unreasonably, and Kasparov went with the world #1 as well. I'm picking Aronian because I'm not betting any money and because it would mean it was a great tournament. Kramnik next, because while he doesn't really have to win, that just makes him even harder to beat. It's more a question of whether he'll add one to his normal +2 or lose one. I'm always rooting for Vishy, but the second-oldest player in the field will need to play his best to fend off this hungry pack.

So here we go! In the immortal words of Pancho Villa, "¡Andale andale, arriba arriba, vamos, vamanos muchachos, andale!" Or was that Speedy Gonzalez?


Mig, I thought Gelfand is the oldest player ...

Several sites with live commentary: http://susanpolgar.blogspot.com , http://www.chessdom.com , http://chessok.com/
Seems it will be a great show, more and more sites adopt doing live.

Yah, already added "second-" for Vishy. Brain cramp this early.

Full pairings and a dark video clip of the players at the opening ceremony here:


Picture gallery too:


Nobody counts on Gelfand, he is the part of backround picture coupled with Grischuk ;-)

I can't see anyone but Kramnik winning. Obviously his white repertoire needs to keep drip, dripping full points.

It looks like the Force is with Kramnik, since he starts with back-to-back White in Rounds 1 and 2.

And Leko seems to be the victim of some gypsy curse, starting the World Championship with back-to-back Blacks, which could easily mean a disastrous 0/2 start.

Mig, are you planning to come to Mexico at some point?

My view on important factors in the tournament and result prediction based on that.

- Seconds: I feel seconds have a major impact (Kramnik and the whole army that Kaspy had, the Russian super-GM contingent that Kramnik has often had, Cheparinov for Toppy etc.). In that sense, having only Van Wely is a disappointment for Kramnik and evens the advantage that he would have had otherwise (I suppose Van Wely is there because his regular seconds are either competing in Mexico or in the Russian championship).

- Motivation/Aggression: Anand is likely to be motivated and agressive as this is probably his last chance. Kramnik isn't likely to be as he has another chance even if he doesn't win. Leko might want to prove that Brissago was no fluke and Aronian will be hungry too. Gelfand and Grischuk don't expect to win and will at most expect to avoid a negative score. Moro will be aggressive as always and Svidler won't make much effort as always.

- Participants and their strength: Moro and Anand generally do well against lower rated opponents but there are no real bunnies this time except maybe Grischuk. Gelfand may not be good enough to win but he is solid and is capable of punishing excessive aggression or speculative play. Moro and Grischuk have generally done badly against 2750+ opposition).

- Relationships: Most players have good relationships with each other (and there is no one who is really unpopular or hated). Thus we may see too many early draws and not much stretching. This also brings the Russian (or even the Soviet) angle. While I don't think there will be any explicit scheming or match fixing, but close relationship/friendship may result in draw offers/acceptance in unclear or nearly equal positions and players may not push too hard to convert a miniscule advantage and may accept a draw instead.

- Current form: Kramnik is in great form for over a year. Aronian, Moro, and Anand have been good.

Based on the above, my prediction on scores and how they will play:

Anand: +2 (3 wins, 1 loss to either Aronian or Moro)
Kramnik: +2 (2 wins, rest draws)
Aronian: +1 (3 wins, 2 losses)
Leko: +1 (2 wins, 1 loss)
Moro: 0 (3 wins, 3 losses)
Svidler: -1 (1 win, 2 losses)
Gelfand: -2 (3 losses, 1 win)
Grischuk: -3 (4 losses, 1 win)


"Jeff Sonas says "by this measure, the two strongest tournaments of all time were Vienna 1882 ..."

ANY measure that gives such a distinction to an 1882 event is nonsense.

I would like to report my TotoScacco game, where people can predict the results and tun for a daily and a final rankings. There’s also a FIDE like Elo rating system. All for free of course. http://e4e6.com/toto. Over 40 predictions at the moment! And there’s also a prediction for the WCC final ranking, caluclated in real time summing up all players’ predictions. Current standings:

1. Kramnik 9.2
2. Anand 8.5
3. Aronian 7.7
4. Leko 7.4
5. Morozevich 7.3
6. Svidler 6.1
7. Grischuk 5.1
8. Gelfand 4.7

My personal predictions are:

1. Anand (+4)
2. Kramnik (+1)
3. Grischuk (0)
4. Svidler (0)
5. Aronian (-1)
6. Gelfand (-1)
7. Leko (-1)
8. Morozevich (-2)


At the same site, a computer chess match Rykba versus Zappa will be played between September 20th-27th (10 games 60m+20s):


This is a follow-up match to FIDE's "Ultimate Challenge" with Fritz vs. Junior, June 2007. The prize funds is $ 10,000 this time (F-J was $ 100,000).

Let me note that according to your predictions there will be 21 wins and 11 losses ;-)

"everyone knows he'll have to face Kramnik in a match to keep the title next year and then play another match against someone else very soon after that."

DO we know that? FIDE has changed gears in midstream, who knows what they'll do next year?

Nobody counts on Gelfand, he is the part of backround picture coupled with Grischuk ;-)"

The question wasn't who "counts" on him, the question was who is the oldest. Sridhar said Gelfand, and I think he's right.

I think Kramnik will be highly motivated in this event. Yes he has the backstop of a second chance but I don't think he'd be happy to lose the reunified title with an eye on his place in history (the motivation for Anand will be similar). Until the events start we won't know what form the players are in and a case can be made for at least half the field.

My fear for the event is that a major portion of the field has come armed with the Petroff or Berlin Defence to the Ruy Lopez and no new answer has been found. I find that stuff a huge turn off. Otherwise I think there's a chance we'll see some lively stuff.

I was sent the link for the live games by Geoffrey Borg: http://partidas.chessmexico.com/

The idea that Kramnik would be somehow less motivated just because he will get a "rematch" if he doesn't win, something that he can't be 100% certain about anyway, is pretty absurd. Why would he not hate to lose his title!? Also there's the extra motivation of winning a WC _tournament_ as well as a couple of WC matches. That would make him unique among World Champions.

Charles, FIDE is bound by contract and the UEP has already acquired the rights to organize the 2008 match, so it will almost certainly take place no matter what. What would FIDE gain by cancelling it anyway? But it's true, as I said, that nobody can be absolutely sure, which is one reason why it's so absurd to think Kramnik would think lightly about losing the title.

Anyway, Kramnik is the favourite to win this, being simply the best and most convincing player since a good while.

Isn't it ridiculous to even conduct such a tournament that gives a great opportunity for players (especially Russians) to 'fix' the desired outcome? The event is tainted even before the start. Stupid FIDE.

I am surprised that nobody commented on the error made by Chessbase in announcing the draw. The round 9-14 are merely a repetition. According to chessbase, Anand is playing Glefand 4 times and with Leko only once! Ridiculous!

I have emailed them about this mistake. I have never seen such glaring defects in any other professionally handled sport.

- Gans

"Isn't it ridiculous to even conduct such a tournament that gives a great opportunity for players (especially Russians) to 'fix' the desired outcome?"

Umm.... I don't know what you are thinking of, but there is nothing about the Russians that give them a greater opportunity than others to fix anything.


Don't be dense.

Kramnik, the Russians, and FIDE have cleverly arranged this tournament so that Kramnik will fulfill a conspiracy theory no matter what happens:

If Kramnik wins, the Russians tanked. If anyone else wins, Kramnik tanked.

And since Topalov is associated with EVERY top-level cheating accusation, either as accuser or accusee, it's easy to predict that there will be no such accusations at this tournament (unless phoned in by Topalov.)

Well sure, look at Fischer and Curacao. If a Russian loses to another Russian, that's bad. And if they draw with each other, that's bad just the same. It'll be the same here from anyone who needs an exuse for losing. Nothing like covering all the bases.

Vlad K, you might want to count up those wins and losses again more carefully. ;-)

Charles, FIDE is bound by contract and the UEP has already acquired the rights to organize the 2008 match, so it will almost certainly take place no matter what. What would FIDE gain by cancelling it anyway?"

I hope you're right. No particular reason to think it wouldn't happen, but Kirsan's signature hasn't always meant that much (Prague Agreement, anybody?), and he has a tendency to shift gears in midstream, especially when high-rated players complain too loudly. If the UEP has the rights already, that's a hopeful sign.

Anand and Grischuk are the only two that could win this. Hope it going to be Grisch though probably +4 Anand, +3 Grisch :(.

I think the confusion about kapa's predictions arose from the fact that he switched the places of wins and losses for Grischuk and Gelfand.

loomis, I did recount, and got the same 21 vs 11.

very interesting comment Mig, "A key late-round Kramnik loss to a fellow Russian contender could get ugly in, say, the Indian press. (They'll already be keeping a close eye on the results between the four Russian players.)"


I root for Vishy! But Kramnik is rock solid, and the fact that he gets a rematch (unfortunate) will put lesser pressure on him than the others.

go vishy go!


I weighed each player's individual match-up head to head results against each other since January 2006 as though they were playing a 2-game round robin (for example, if Kramnik has 3 draws and a win against Anand, that 2.5/4 translates to 1.25/2) and added up the scores for each player. Here is what I got:

Kramnik 8.83/14
Anand 7.78/14
Morozevich 7/14
Aronian 6.90/14
Leko 6.33/14
Gelfand 6.28/14
Grischuk 6/14
Svidler 5.85/14

Kramnik gets the "drawish" rep because he doesn't play as aggressively against the bottom-enders in the tournament and ends up with less than his share of wins. However, against the players this caliber he has the best face-to-face record and can be counted on to achieve at least as decisive a percentage as his compatriots. My prediction is that unless he stalls out of the gate, he will win the tournament handily. Anand will compete for second. Aronian's finish will depend on how he does in the first two games. Moro will finish 50-ish. Gelfand will surprise a few people. Leko is not going to finish well, he usually doesn't, and his schedule in the last four games is absolute killer. Grischuk will finish last. Svidler on the other hand should be glad there aren't more Grischuks in this tournament because it's against those guys that he typically underperforms, while doing his best against the top players.

I just hope Peter doesn't choose to do his skipping in the bathroom. The sight of Svidler doing jumprope in there would be enough to discombobulate even Kramnik.

I was playing words there. I meant Gelfand is not counted as a real player in the game named "who will win the title".

It's easy to understand why they would sabotage the Prague agreement at that time... they had apparently no intention of returning to the match system at the time, and they risked losing direct control over the title. It's less obvious what they would gain by renewing chaos this time.

Posted by acirce" Why would he [Kramnik] not hate to lose his title!?"

In Kramnik's new Chessbase DVD he talks about his method of reducing pressure on himself in WCC matches. While he doesn't want to lose his title he starts looking at the bright side of losing the title (less pressure at other tournaments, less media attention, maybe have a more relaxed normal life etc), and he ends up thinking, "If I lose the title, no big deal,...the loss could be a good thing". So he ends up going into a match or in this case a tournament without that crippling pressure that says, "I must win", and often ends up causing the player to lose instead.

He admits such an approach is not for everyone, and is aware some may think of this as a loser approach, but he says it works for him and allows him to approach final games (as against Leko and Topalov) with a much more (relatively) relaxed attitude, which then probably gives him better chances at winning.

I was just wondering what would the players be thinking at this point, what would be going through their mind, now that there is roughly an hour left for the first move.

would they be brushing up their preparations, or just relaxing..
what do GMs do in the last minutes before the start of their first game?

pheew..i am nervous and excited.


Interesting. Thanks, Drew! I probably must get that DVD...

Anyone else noticed that the pairings are screwed up at the official site? Kramnik plays Svidler in rounds 1, 8 and 9, whereas he only plays Aronian once... attention to detail people!

Simply more evidence that the Russians are planning to fix the tournament.

Obviously a Russian plot.

Good job, comrades Acircevich and Gregoriy Kosterovskiy.

Interesting choice if games to comment at Russian web sites: crestbook - Moro vs Aronian, chesspro - also Moro vs. Aronian and Grischuk vs Leko.
Nobody cares about Anand and Kramnik, not mentioning Svidler and Gelfand? Or they just do not expect high voltage in these games? :-D
I'd prefer live comments for Anand-Gelfand instead of Grischuk-Leko.

I predict a victory for Kramnik by 1.0 pt or more. Of course, that's not such an unusual prediction, but just wanted to put it down for the record. Anand will be second adn the rest... who cares...

Enjoy the show,


Vlad, the number of wins and losses is the same. As Loomis mentioned, the wins and losses were mentioned in a different order for the last two and that might have created the confusion. In fact, it is not possible for the wins and losses to be different in such a prediction if other data (total of all + and - scores is 0 and individual score) is consistent.


Given the field, I think that Kramnik is the favorite by a good margin. With the exception of Moro everybody else is rock solid, so it will be a low scoring affair, which clearly favors the current champ...

Mark Crowther wrote "My fear for the event is that a major portion of the field has come armed with the Petroff or Berlin Defence to the Ruy Lopez and no new answer has been found. I find that stuff a huge turn off. Otherwise I think there's a chance we'll see some lively stuff."

I'm afraid that Berlin and Petroff might turn out to be the lively stuff in the sea of Marshalls...

You are right. Thanks for pointing this out. I have looked at these 8 lines a hundred of times, and the truth (reversed order for last 2 players) was still not noticed ;-)

What's the significance of Susan posting a photo of a whale diving under water atop the Kramnik-Svidler game?

Hey Mark, what did you think about Anand-Gelfand? :-)

Susan likes whales?

They did it. Made a draw in 23 moves in what looks to me like a complex position with plenty of play left, and chances for both sides. I enjoyed watching the game, but watching Kramnik games often feels like interruptus.

Starting out like a Kramnik tournament.

I'll be very surprised if we see a single Berlin. Kramnik hasn't played it for some years and none of the rest plays it much - Moro and Aronian have played it a bit, both terribly, and I'm not sure any of the others ever have (maybe Anand once).

The only regular Berliner among the top guys these days is Topalov.

Yeah, doesn't it feel like Kramnik has lost faith in the Berlin a bit? At least relatively speaking? The Petrov seems to serve him perfectly well.

All in all a very nervous first round. It will get better.

Didn't Gelfand have 22..Rxf4 ?

When playing 22.Nh2 Kramnik surely had in mind fascinating lines including Ng4, Qe4 and Qh7+...etc.. but then realized that they just wouldn't work properly and then hurried to offer a draw before it was too late.

An example is 23.Rxd4 cxd4 24.Ng4 (actually threatening Nxh6+!) and now just let's say 24..Rb8 or something. Then 25.Qe4!? Bxb5 26.Qh7+ Kf8 27.Nxh6 and Black is nearly lost but has 27..Qb4! with a counter-threat to White's rook and it is still very messy but Black seems to survive. It's possible that Kramnik had seen a line like this one and missed Qb4 at first.

I guess one could say that Krmanik was the winner today. Earlier (another post), I said I was going to root for Aronian (new blood factor). Upon further thought, I think I'll root for Anand. This could very well be his last opportunity for a shot at a legitimate world title. Next time around he's in his 40's. and all the "young guns" will have two more years of experience, or notches if you will, on their belts. So, from my perspective, I think I would like to see the old blood factor supersede the new one more time.

Hey Phil, I had no idea you went for the Willie Nelson look! Love that pic of you in Chess Life!

what I do not understand is why Kramnik missed Bd3. Not just Rybka believes this was the best idea for white, but this move matches Vlad's style perfectly.

Also, I am disappointed in Anand. Looks like he was not ready for long play.
This might be acclimatization issue, of course. We'll see next week.

Seems like because they are playing for the WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP, they should have arrived at least a week earlier to get acclimatized. Not doing this just seems like folly.

woohoo, chess is exciting! Gee these guys really care deeply about the welfare of the game. Can't wait to tune in tomorrow for more swashbuckling 25 move draws.

I'm sure the fans who watched the games live, and who didn't know too much about chess, can't wait to spend another afternoon watching everyone draw without reaching move 30. Bravo FIDE!

About the round 1 games:

Anand - Gelfand
Was Anand attacking or defending? Probably both. Gelfand had the initiative and had he tried 20... Be2! we could have actually seen an interesting game with Anand on the defensive.

Kramnik - Svidler
18.Nb5x would have led to interesting tactics but was probably only good enough for a draw. Kramnik's 18.h4! was much stronger. 19... c5? was giving away a pawn for free but after Kramnik returned the favor with 22.Nh2? the game was drawn. After 22.Bd3 white would have had a clear advantage but apparently Kramnik did not want to win against his friend Peter.

Aronian contained Moro with perfect play and so a draw. Aronian will be the new WC.

Just another boring Spanish game. Draw.

Question to the Russians on this forum:

Is Shipov or any other Russian site giving post mortem analysis on the games?

> Is Shipov or any other Russian site giving post mortem analysis on the games?

in russian (live/post mortem) here:
in english (live and maybe post mortem by others) here:

Anyone read Jacob Aagaard's book review in the latest ChessToday issue?
He talks about Topalov's 'On the edge in Elista' and it seems that at the point of writing he's still under the influence of the book. Hints at supposedly fishy things of Kramnik and Hensel.

Then he concludes:

"On the Edge in Elista is well worth a read, even if all you are left with are more questions than answers. Maybe we do not deserve the answers, maybe Danailov is the bad guy just for asking. But what I feel is that we do not have the world champion that we deserve. We won't get that in Mexico either, of course. The world champion we deserve is Vassily Ivanchuk, a man who cares only about chess. But, alas, the chess world is not ready for such heroes."

Days like round 1 are exactly why I don't bother to watch many games in real-time. I can imagine how lame it would be to sit there for hours after months of hype for this series, only to have 4 short draws.

The only drawback of waiting for the round to end before viewing the games is that the score is known beforehand, as it is usually prominently placed on the viewing page. I think a website that did NOT show the results of the games and did not show the list of moves ahead of time, but rather started the board on move 1 for each game and had you click through to show the next moves one at a time would be a popular niche draw for casual chess fans. A 'spoiler-free' replay if you will. I know I'd be an eyeball to such a site.

In the (now UFC-merged) Pride MMA organization, the referee was allowed to give a penalty to a fighter for lack of aggression, which docked them 10 percent of their prize money, along with a good dose of public shame. All the participants in Mexico deserved such a penalty today, especially considering it was Day 1 of a hyped-up event.

I can't believe that Anand took his white against one of the two players that isn't expected to do too great and promptly drew it. This could cost him later on.

What happens in the event of a tie? Does Kramnik keep his title?

Topalov would better write a book about supposedly fishy things he and his manager are being suspected in since San Luis.
No matter how interesting this book is, I will not bring a penny to his pocket. Ever.

The players are simply too close in strength.
So it will be a big Draw Festival unless they start to fix games.
"I'll let you win brilliantly today, you will return the favour next week, OK?"

It was, as always, fun and rewarding to watch. The games were, as always, interesting. Just because they end earlier than desirable doesn't mean they are suddenly 'boring' or whatever (how can chess on this level ever be boring?). I don't get why it is not obvious that the games contained much interesting stuff as it is even though we would all have preferred if they had went on longer.

I'm just a little disappointed with the level of play, particularly from Kramnik and Anand. But as I said, they all looked kind nervous. It will get better.

btw, http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=4112

"Four draws – sounds boring. But there was a fair amount of tension during the first round of the World Championship in Mexico. And a lot to learn from the games played there yesterday. Mihail Marin dissects the games in his usual intructive style, giving chess amateurs and tournament players alike an insight into grandmaster thought and plans. An analytical lesson you will not want to miss."

Very nice indeed. Marin's annotations are the best. As long as people give these "boring" games a chance...

Well said, acirce.

Still, I am a little surprised Marin missed the possibility of ...Rxf4 in his analysis of Anand-Gelfand. Black is simply much better in that position.

I've noticed Marin missing/leaving out some "simple" tactical shots before as well. It sometimes seems like he is simply not using a computer. Not that big deal really as anyone can find those things with an engine but few can understand or explain the deeper positional concepts.

...well, of course you don't need an engine to find ..Rxf4, or any similar shot, but they help in the process of making sure how good they really are.

Anand said he was not sure if he would have been able to save that position.

acirce: "Disappointing" =/= "Boring". Even Marin points out how much fight was left in 3/4 games and expresses some surprise at the points where draws were agreed to. No one is saying the participants are playing at a high level, but it doesn't mean they aren't chickening out of a fight before it even starts.

Ritch: Thanks for the link, it is closer to what I am looking for than most sites. But ideally, only the board would be present starting at move 0, and as you click one by one, only then would the next move and commentary set appear. In your link, one still can't avoid being somewhat spoiled since the moves are listed and the final score is just a small scroll below. Thanks though.

"... But what I feel is that we do not have the world champion that we deserve. We won't get that in Mexico either, of course. The world champion we deserve is Vassily Ivanchuk, a man who cares only about chess. But, alas, the chess world is not ready for such heroes."

-- Posted by: Linux fan at September 14, 2007 04:33

Glad to see yet another Chucky fan. Hopefully Ivanchuk will conquer his nerves long enough to wipe out his opponents in the next FIDE World Cup in November.

Did I mention that Ivanchuk will be rated 2786 on Oct 1?

Go Chucky!

..well, of course you don't need an engine to find ..Rxf4, or any similar shot, but they help in the process of making sure how good they really are.

Anand said he was not sure if he would have been able to save that position.

-- Posted by: acirce at September 14, 2007 11:43

Yes, I too was amazed that both(!) Anand and Gelfand missed that relatively straightforward 22 ... Re4xf4!, exploiting the ALIGNMENT of the White c1-king and d2-queen along the c1-h6 diagonal to threaten 23 Qd2xRf4?? Bf6-g5, PINNING and winning the White queen for insufficient compensation.

Does anyone have a Rybka eval for the postion after 22 ... Re4xf4! ?


No doubt Anand was grateful to get away with a draw after missing 22...Rxf4, and Gelfand would surely have been pleased to draw with Black against the top seed. Likewise Leko settled for a draw after letting a promising-looking position slip away; Grischuk probably didn't think he had enough to play for a win, and was happy with a draw against Leko. Morozevich-Aronian was clearly headed for a draw, but Kramnik-Svidler was still wide open.

Probably no-one wants to start with a zero next to their name, and I can't really blame them. Let's hope things liven up a bit once the players settle down. In any case, it's certainly too early to write the tournament off as a drawfest.

As I understand it, Marin is giving his initial impressions (at 2am local time!) - the full forensic examination will appear in Chess Base Magazine in due course.

For me, Ivanchuk is the Capablanca to Kasparov's Alekhine - or perhaps Fischer would be a better comparison (note: I'm talking about playing styles, not personalities!). At his best, he makes chess look such a simple and logical game.

Polugaevsky said in Grandmaster Preparation that he tried to approach critical games as though they were no different from the hundreds of other games he had played, to the point where he was not at all concerned about the result (although still playing each individual move as accurately and energetically as possible).

IMHO, Ivanchuk is more like Spassky. Both Capa and Fischer played very accurate chess. Vassily's imagination is much more unpredictable. He is super Morozevich.

Kramnik v Annand = another draw!? How boring. This is why professional chess can't hack it in the mainstream. This sucks! Somebody WIN - ANYBODY. Bring back Capablanca, Lasker, Alekhine... Kasparov.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on September 13, 2007 8:38 AM.

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