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Blitzing with the Stars

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Hello from sunny California. I thought I'd check in again before the annual feasting officially begins tomorrow. Across the country, vast swaths of turkey will fall beneath millions of swords, tens of millions of children will be told to quiet down and behave if they want any pie. Mmm, pie. Pie pie pie pie pie.

Meanwhile, let us give thanks for the incredibly strong blitz world championship (whatever) taking place in Moscow right now. 20 players are battling it out in a double round-robin that includes just about everyone you can imagine winning it other than Aronian, Topalov, and perhaps Kasparov (who still wields a mean mouse in the online blitz world). At the halfway point, with 19 games in the books, Ivanchuk leads with 13.5 in a very hotly contested event. Defending champion Grischuk follows (with wins over both Kramnik and Anand), pursued by Kamsky, Leko, Anand, Kramnik, Morozevich, and Rublevsky. The time control is 4'+2" so there shouldn't be many time forfeits. But there have either been plenty of them regardless or there are quite a few incomplete scores. (e.g. Mamedyarov-Kasimjanov is 0-1 when White still has an extra piece.) The second half is Thursday.

As you'd expect, there have been many spectacular combinations and just as many notable blunders. One of the prettiest examples of the former in the first half took place between the present and former world champions. Kramnik blew Anand out of the water with a nice queen sacrifice in the 11th round, winning in just 21 moves. Black would have had decent chances with 15..Nd7 and castling with a long fight ahead. This isn't exactly a new tactical theme in this branch of the Slav (or any line with your light-squared bishop off the board or on the wrong side of the e6 pawn), but it was still good value. A round earlier Kramnik was on the other side of the miniature coin, losing horribly to Grischuk in 24 moves. There are many errors in the scores, as usual in blitz, especially in the final moves. We can be sure ..Bxf3 Qxf3 was inserted somewhere in Ivanchuk-Kramnik, and it seems unlikely Black resigned on move 19 as he does in the score I have, although his position is definitely unpleasant.

Kramnik-Carlsen has an interesting shot, 34.Bxg7! but Carlsen hung a rook almost immediately, ending the drama. Mamedyarov-Morozevich went in favor of black eventually, but could have finished efficiently after 32..Ncd4! In the game, 35.Rc3 is a pretty move that doesn't come naturally. Mamedyarov continued with his risky Modern/KID lines. Anand hammered him with an exchange sac in the same line Kramnik beat Mamedyarov in at the Tal Memorial a few days ago. Speaking of openings, 1.d4 is still bashing 1.e4 and against e4 1..e5 is still doubling up the Sicilian, although Kamsky and Gelfand are letting fly. From 19 games the Sicilian has five wins against six losses. Meanwhile, 1..e5 has the same five wins but ten losses from 28 games. Only four Petroffs, oddly enough. Glad the elite are going for activity at least in blitz games. In the "other" column, Bacrot and Mamedyarov both tried 1.b3. Bacrot lost to Adams and Mamed lucked into a draw when Kamsky missed a forced mate. Kamsky continued his hoodoo over Bacrot and Anand and even broke the spell against his nemesis Gelfand in the first round. The secret of his success? Playing ..a6 early in just about every game with black, whether it be a Modern, a KID, a Sicilian, or a Slav!

Will Ivanchuk be able to hold on? (Nah.) Will Grischuk defend his title? (Maybe.) Will Anand and Kramnik make a push for the top spot? (Yep.) Will Kamsky continue to stun the world with ..a6 to win? (We can dream.)


Mig, I am curious, did they try to invite Kasparov to play? Would have fared better than Karpov, I believe...

Perhaps interesting for all Garry fans out here. Last Monday he gave a simul close to Antwerp. The report on our ridiculous idea to jump into the car and drive to Belgium (and some decent photos!) at http://tinyurl.com/27yox3

Anand appears to be in a crushing form today. He´ll face Kramnik soon.

Indeed Peter. I was surprised Mig did not talk about Kasparov's simul.

It was live visually on the Net (I knew thanks to chessbase) and it was great to see Kasparov back with his famous grimaces and stares as he thought on his next moves.

One of the participants was a 7-year old boy who blundered his queen on the 2nd move. However Kasparov beat a good number of other CEOs before checkmating the kid. Interesting too is that the 11-year old girl was one of the last to finish.

Unfortunately the connection got bad at the end and I couldn't see the finish.

Nigel Short was commenting to try and spice up the simul. However his reporting abilities left much to desire. He should have prepared some questions when each CEO finished their games.

In any case, it's always good to see Kasparov around a chess board again!

Hello. what is going on in day 2? someone update please.

Wow, Vishy is on a rampage! he has scored 8/10 today so far.

The Berlin! something tells me we will all be seeing a lot of that :)

Quick draw but action on other boards hotting up.

A fighting draw today.

[Event "World Blitz Cup"]
[Site "Moscow, Russia"]
[Date "2007.11.22"]
[Round "30"]
[White "GM Anand, Viswanathan(IND)"]
[Black "GM Kramnik, Vladimir(RUS)"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "C65"]
[WhiteElo "2801"]
[BlackElo "2785"]
[PlyCount "33"]
[EventDate "2007.11.22"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. d3 Bc5 5. O-O d6 6. c3 O-O 7. Nbd2 a6 8. Ba4
Ba7 9. h3 Ne7 10. Re1 Ng6 11. Nf1 b5 12. Bb3 Re8 13. Ng3 Bb7 14. Be3 Bxe3 15.
fxe3 d5 16. exd5 Bxd5 17. e4 {Draw 1/2-1/2} 1/2-1/2

Black certainly wasn't OK in round 30!

Anand in sole lead!

Check out Ivanchuk-Leko (round 35): 215...Qf7+ en prise, stalemate!!

After 36 rounds of 38:

Ivanchuk 24
Anand 23.5
Grischuk 22.5

Ivanchuk-Grischuk in rd 37 - and Anand-Ivanchuk in rnd 38...

who won the Ivanchuk-Morozevich in Round 33? The table shows Ivanchuk but the individual listing shows Moro to be the winner.

Korotylev just ran into a knight fork versus Anand. No updates from Ivanchuk-Grischuk after move 23.

Korotylev-Anand 0-1
Ivanchuk-Grishchuk =

Oh, it's a draw after move 53.

If the table is to be trusted, we now have the grand finale between Anand and Ivanchuk - tied for first at 24.5 points each.

Last round: Anand - Ivanchuk both on 24.5 !

Ivanchuk looks to be winning a piece.

Anand is gone... Chucky world champ.

live by the fork, die by the fork. anand-ivanchuk 0-1!

Ivanchuck won! Anand missed a knight fork by black and lost a rook :-(

Will Ivanchuk be able to hold on? (Nah.)


Ivanchuk Wins. Wow!

Congratulations to Chucky for a deserved victory! kudos to Anand as well for a great comeback.

What are you talking about? According to my calculations, Anand were ahead by one point before the last round. Now they are even on 24.5

to those who label chucky a chocker!! finally chucky kept his nerves in style, that too in a blitz tournament!! congrats chucky...on being the new world champion...and...oh...where is kramnik on that cross table...oh...he is there when you scroll down!!

Good showing by Kamsky (tied for 3rd with Grischuk, maybe?). I guess his opening repertoire is just fine :P

Oh, Kramnik does not even deserve to be WC challenger based on this result. Anand is true WC and Ivanchuk should get the match next year.

Nahh, Anand is not a WC anymore, Chucky is the king

I bet Anand was trying really hard to emulate Susan Polgar's record as the only 'triple crown' classical, rapid and blitz WC in history.

Chessgeek poses a valid question. If Ivanchuk lost against Moro, as the individual listing shows, he and Anand are equal! If he won as the table shows, Ivanchuk is the total winner.

The table has always lagged behind the listings, so I assume that the listings are correct.

The results need clarification. Depending on the correct result of Ivanchuk-Moro Round 33, Ivanchuk may be tied on 24.5 with Anand if he lost against Moro in round 33 as the individual matchup shows his loss.

If that is the case, who wins the tie breaker?

I think chucky should win cause he won the individual encounter. But then i dont know what exactly they use to resolve ties.
Whats the win loss score for both?

Again, depending on Chucky-Moro result, it is 18 wins for both Chucky and Anand if Chucky lost to Moro.

I just dug up the PGN:
[Event "World Blitz Championship 2007"]
[Site "Moscow"]
[Date ""]
[Round "33"]
[White "Ivanchuk, Vassily"]
[Black "Morozevich, Alexander"]
[Result "0-1"]
[Board "04"]
[Input "DGT5127"]
[Owner "Association of chess federations, Moscow"]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 dxc4 5. a4 Bf5 6. e3 e6 7. Bxc4 Bb4 8. O-O
Nbd7 9. Nh4 Bg4 10. f3 Bh5 11. g4 Nd5 12. Ng2 Bg6 13. Na2 Be7 14. e4 N5b6 15.
Bb3 a5 16. Nc3 O-O 17. f4 h6 18. f5 exf5 19. gxf5 Bh7 20. Nf4 Kh8 21. Be3 Bg5
22. Qf3 Qe7 23. Rae1 Qb4 24. Qd1 Rad8 25. Qc2 Nf6 26. Kh1 Rxd4 27. Bxd4 Qxd4
28. Rd1 Qe3 29. Rd3 Qc5 30. Rdf3 Nbd7 31. Nd3 Qd4 32. Qe2 Ng4 33. Rg3 Nge5 34.
Rd1 Qb6 35. Ba2 Bf6 36. Nf4 Bg5 37. Nh3 Bf6 38. Nf4 Bh4 39. Rg2 Nf6 40. Nd3 Qc7
41. Qe3 Rd8 42. Qf4 Rxd3 43. Rxd3 Bg5 44. Rd8+ Qxd8 45. Qxe5 Bg8 46. Qc5 Nd7
47. Qf2 Ne5 48. Rg1 Qd3 49. Rd1 Qh3 50. Qg2 Qh4 51. h3 Bf6 52. Ne2 b5 53. axb5
cxb5 0-1

According to this, too, Moro won!

The final position in the PGN is probably not the final position overall, since the position has plenty of play left for both players.

Strangly enough, the results still does not reflect this, and they have even published an official looking table with places.

Maybe someone forfeited on time, and it looks to be Ivanchuk. I doubt Morozevich would have spent any time on cxb5.

Anand - Sicilian Kan : 0-2 !!
Maybe Vishy should read Khalifman's
'Opening for white according to Anand 8'.

This is the best:"I bet Anand was trying really hard to emulate Susan Polgar's record...." Hahaha...I bet Anand couldn't care less about such things and neither do most of the chess fans. Susan Polgar should not be mentioned in the context of the world's best chess player's. Judit I would understand...

According to crestbook Misha Savinov confirms that Ivanchuk got the clear first one point ahead of Anand. Great performance by Chucky.

Also it seems that recently he greatly improved his psychological strength. He's winning an awful lot of games for all the marbles recently: match with Leko comes to mind, here, a rapid in Odessa. If he wins the World Cup, we are in for 3 fantastic matches: Kramnik-Anand, Topa -Chucky and the winners.

Maybe this has been said before, but it's a pity that Nakamura wasn't invited instead of a couple of Russians I've never heard of and who finished near the bottom anyway.

To all whom this season's greeting is applicable...HAPPY THANKSGIVING! To others where this holiday is not celebrated...Best Wishes!

Couple of russians that you've never heard of weren't invited. They've won their place by finishing on the top in the qualifier that was played the day before (by the way Adams, Kasim, Pono also had to qualify). Nothing prevented Nakamura from playing in the same qualifier.

Like Karpov, Ashish?

"Maybe this has been said before, but it's a pity that Nakamura wasn't invited instead of a couple of Russians I've never heard of and who finished near the bottom anyway."
Posted by: Ashish at November 22, 2007 14:51

And these Russians are...? Apart from Savchenko, who did not finish that close to the bottom, whom have you not heard of?

Didn't know Korotylev and Savchenko. I'm sure that they're wonderful people, and that I've seen their names on a tournament report somewhere - they just seemed much lower profile than the rest of the field, and than many others not in attendance.

Anyway, I stand corrected (thanks, Osbender). They earned their spots, and Nakamura could have done the same.

I see that Korotylev plays the KID. I shall atone for my inexcusable ignorance by studying his games.

"I shall atone for my inexcusable ignorance by studying his games."

you guys make me laugh!

I would have liked to see Nakamura play in the final with a wild card as well. There´s nothing wrong with the "unknown russians" though. If you look at the players who didn´t even qualify, it´s an impressive field.

I agree that it would have been interesting to see Nakamura play in the final. It would surely have been the strongest blitz tournament he had ever played in. If I had to guess, I would put him somewhere around 50 %, but not much more.

Just for fun I did a linear regression between final score vs fide rating with the results from the World Blitz. Regression equation:

Final Score = Rating*0.04 - 90


If you plug in Nakamura's Fide rating of 2648 you get approximately 16 points, which is less than 50%. Naka is such a strong blitz player that I have no doubt he would score more than that though.

Wasn't Svidler supposed to have participated? Other than Nakamura - Radjabov and Aronian would also have been interesting to have in the mix. I'd put Topalov around place 8-10 at best.

Lots of strong players were left behind in the preliminiaries. Tkachiev had a terribly strong draw by the looks of it, but was close to making it.

It's a great shame for chess that such a spectacular event is not used to market the game better.

I read that Svidler fell ill at the very last moment.

Europe Echecs is kicking ass with their video coverage of chess events. Highly recommended.

I hope Svidler will still play in the World Cup.

As for this blitz thing, I don't know why people take it so seriously.

Ok, some guys played some blitz. They had fun. Great!

Congrats to Chucky, the new blitz world champion. Not bad for defending champion Grischuk, sandwiched between the top three players in the world.

Nice pictures again: http://surov-live.livejournal.com/7400.html

The blog author suggests that 215 moves (ending in queen sacrifice and stalemate) in Ivanchuk - Leko must be the world record.

"Maybe this has been said before, but it's a pity that Nakamura wasn't invited instead of a couple of Russians I've never heard of and who finished near the bottom anyway."

Posted by: Ashish at November 22, 2007 14:51

It's true that the majority of Players who comprised the 20 man field in the Blitz Final tournament were invited directly. All of those who were invited had ratings which are higher than Nakamura's, except for former World Champion Karpov.

However, 8 of the players, including the two "Russians [you've] never heard of" (Presumeably, you are referring to GMs Boris Savchenko and Alexey Korotylev) had earned their place in the Finals through competing in a Qualification Swiss System event, comprised of 11 Double rounds. They finished in the Top 8, out of 64 players, and among elite players such as Adams, Ponomariov, Bacrot, etc....

Nakamura would have received an automatic entry in the Qualification tournament, since his rating surpasses 2625. For whatever reason, he chose not to travel to Moscow to play in the event.

It would have been interesting to see in Nakamura could have finished high enough to qualify for the Finals, but I doubt that he would have finished with a Plus score, or managed a Place in the upper half of the Standings. It would have been a challenge for Nakamura to do as well as Savchenko did; he finished with a respectable -4 score.

Nakamura's rating (2648) is lower than Karpov's (2670).

People, or at least this blog, hype him up because he's Japanese/American but he's got no proven OTB rapidplay record against elite players. The last OTB rapidmatch I remember him playing he lost 2-0. To Gelfand.

I think Nakamura would have had about a 50% chance of making it to the main tournament if he had played. Elite players like Akopian and a Chinese player rated over 2700 didn't make it.

Someone thought Nakamura should have been given a wild card to the final. What on earth for? What are his achievements? Being good at 3 0 on ICC?

It was only in the last minute that the reigning world blitz champion Grischuk was given a wild card. Nakamura? Give me a break.

Obviously, Karpov should not have been given a wild card. I cannot comprehend why he got one.

Yes I think the achievement IS being good at 30 on ICC :-)
Whether it will "port" well to otb (where the pressure is so much higher) is debatable but people are asking for Naka's inclusion solely on that ground. So losses to Gelfand or whoever don't count.

I'm not exactly a Nakamura fan and agree he wouldn't have finished much better than 50% against such strong competition, but if you recall what he did in the Corsica Rapids lately... 2-0 against a great rapid player like Kasim is no mean achievement.
However I suspect that a college student might have more important things to do than cross the world to play in a blitz event.

It's not obvious to me why Karpov shouldn't have been given a wild card. He was after all world champion for eleven years and the event is being played in his home town. The former entitles him to a little respect and the latter is a good reason why the organisers would want him to play. Their wishes have to count for something.

Anyone have a link to the 2-game Advanced Chess match between Kramnik and Anand, which I believe is today?


23 ноября в демонстрационном зале ГУМа прошел выставочный матч из двух быстрых партий между Виши Анандом и Владимиром Крамником. Во время игры соперники пользовались помощью компьютеров, предоставленных фирмой Rover.
Обе партии матча завершились вничью.

Draw in both games. Both players used computers??


Even with computer assistance, Kramnik played the berlin with Black?

I respect Kramnik's right to find the truth in dry positions. It's still boring :-(

"Both players used computers??"
No only one of them, genius ....

Even with computer assistance, Anand played 1.e4 with white?

I respect Anand's right to find the truth in dry positions. It's still boring :-(

If you play a wild tactical game with computer assistance it´s computer vs computer.

See, that's the trouble with computers. It always comes down to who has the biggest computer. It's just not fair but size does matter.

At this point I think they should be referred to as human-assisted computer matches.

Interesting phenomena happened at the World Blitz that no one has commented on yet - except for Grischuk, no young player did well.

Why comment on this point? Note what Kramnick said before the event, quoting from Chessbase interview:
Nowadays I only play blitz very rarely, and look on it as just a relaxation, which of course is what it is. In blitz, it is very important to be what they call 'a practiced hand'. I will try of course, and will do a little bit of training beforehand, and try to remember my past triumphs. But playing the younger generation will not be easy. I know that they spend days and nights on various websites, playing blitz. This is interesting, but I do not think it is very useful. I do not do it myself.
end quote

So he was concerned before the Blitz Tmt that the younger players get lots of online blitz practice. Well, it did not seem to help them at all! Look at how well the "oldies" did! Only Grischuk of the younger gen could keep pace.

I wonder about what people think about this, and perhaps it reflects also on the comments about Naka above, and whether online blitz play is relevant.


I think the bottom line is that blitz strength correlates a lot with your normal chess strength. It's not 1-1 correspondence, but it's pretty close. At the moment older generation lives a sort of chess Renaissance. They did well in blitz because they are just better players at the moment.


You may well be right about blitz strength and how it "correlates" to "normal chess strength, but I know and have known quite a few people whose strength is skewed 200 or 300 points either way. It's more than just an anomaly.


Many Grandmasters have stated that they believed too much blitz could be detrimental to the development of their game. I believe I read that Botvinnik was adamant about this.

I played a lot of blitz and quick chess about 10-15 years ago and my traditional rating took a nose dive even though my quick chess rating improved. I guess it just depends on the nature of the individual.

"Nakamura's rating (2648) is lower than Karpov's (2670).
I think Nakamura would have had about a 50% chance of making it to the main tournament if he had played. Elite players like Akopian and a Chinese player rated over 2700 didn't make it."
Yeah, I was taking into account the recent Chess tournaments that are already "in the books", and how they would impact their next *published* ratings. Nakamura had a great result in Spain a month ago, when he won against a very solid field. Likewise, Karpov recently had a dismal result finish clear last (+0 -4 =6; 3.0/10, for a TPR of 2559 )in the "Chess Champions League" event in Vitoria Gasteiz, Spain.

If the name of the "Chinese player rated over 2700" can't be readily recalled, perhaps he ought not be considered one of the Elite. Now that over 20 players sport 2700+ ratings, perhaps the time has come to redefine the benchmarks for determining "Elite" status.

"I'm not exactly a Nakamura fan and agree he wouldn't have finished much better than 50% against such strong competition, but if you recall what he did in the Corsica Rapids lately... 2-0 against a great rapid player like Kasim is no mean achievement.
However I suspect that a college student might have more important things to do than cross the world to play in a blitz event."
I doubt that Nakamura demurred because of a sudden priority that he places on his College studies. this is, after all, Thanksgiving week, and the Blitz tournaments only took a total of 4 days, from 11/19--11/22. Rather, itn is quite likely that Nakamura opted not to play because he thought the chances of success were slim. To even break even with expenses, he probably would have needed to place 10th (for a $3,000) in the Finals.
And if one were inclined to give a generous estimation of his chances, it would still be a 50-50 proposition to do well enough in the qualification event to earn one of the spots in the Finals.

It should be noted that Dof the 64 players participating in the Qualification tournament, the field was comprised of either players who were already going to play in the FIDE World Cup event (and so just needed to arrive a few days early), or Russians, for whom travel expenses would be minimal.

An interesting thing to note (not unexpected though) is that Ivanchuk, Grichuk and Kamsky that finished 1,3,4, are notorious for being always in time pressure..

It seems that being in time pressure they have learned how to play good blitz!

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on November 21, 2007 11:18 PM.

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