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World Cup Final Match

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Who says Alexei Shirov is playing well? He missed a mate in 208 in his first semifinal rapid tiebreak game against Sergei Karjakin! How does a supposed endgame expert miss a forced win with rook and bishop versus two knights requiring just a few hundred perfect moves? Good grief. Yes, the computers are eager to throw away the extra black pawn to reach the 6-piece tablebase win, 50-move rule be damned. Shirov was more practical but still couldn't break through the miraculous defense by Karjakin's two knights. Incredible. According to the bases, Shirov came as close as mate in 28, but it was soon back over 100. This after a spectacular, double-fisted battle in the Sveshnikov, Shirov on the black side in a line he played against Jakovenko a few months ago.

Caissa is usually unforgiving regarding missed opportunities. I fully expected Shirov to somehow lose with white in the second game as punishment for failing to convert the first. But he who is in tremendous form can spit in the face of fate and Shirov dominated the second game as well, coming out with an extra pawn in the Marshall and winning an endgame with a couple of extra pawns and a marauding king. This is Shirov's second win in a row in Khanty-Mansiysk with this 17.Qxd5 Marshall line. He beat Jakovenko with it just three days ago. It was the first time he'd required tiebreaks to move on, an impressive stat even though he's been the rating favorite in all of his matches so far. The win put him into the four-game final match that begins on Thursday, December 13.

Shirov's opponent got an extra day off. Brooklyn's finest, Gata Kamsky, disposed of Magnus Carlsen with deceptive ease. After drawing quickly with black against the Norwegian teen's surprise Scotch, Kamsky demolished the Petroff in game two. Kamsky's well-known avoidance of main opening lines was on display in both games and this time it worked very well for him. In particular it's nice to see some more offbeat stuff against the Petroff, which has been rock solid in the main Nxe5 lines. Carlsen underestimated White's kingside attack and was forced to give up the exchange, after which Kamsky mopped up with his usual technical precision despite time trouble. It looked like Carlsen just ran out of gas in this match, but Kamsky, like Shirov, has been making it look easy against just about everyone so far.

It's great to have the two players showing the best chess arrive in the final match, not always the case in these KO events. Both players are in devastating form, undefeated and with 2800+ results so far. Shirov has won endgames as well as his traditional tactical brilliancies. Kamsky has looked like the streamroller of old on occasion, requiring little home-region Siberian luck. Kamsky's nerves are legendary and he'll need them against Shirov over the four games. I swapped a quick email with Gata, who has been working hard with his second, Israel's Emil Sutovsky. He said he knew the final would be tough and that Shirov has been playing the best chess of his life, considering his recent tournaments. I teased him about being a nightmare opponent for both Kramnik and Anand, having won matches against both of them in the past, but of course it's too early to talk about that, as Kamsky reminded me. Hey, a Brooklynite's gotta dream, right?

Both semifinal winners were twice the age of their opponents, so let's hear it for the old guys. Kamsky and Shirov came up as juniors in the USSR together despite Shirov being two years older. They were raised on the Karpov-Kasparov world championship matches that must have seemed like eternal re-runs from 84-90. Kamsky soon left for more opportunities to play in the USA and was quickly one of the game's great prodigies. Shirov also established himself as an elite player and both were in the top ten by 1993. They faced each other 17 times in elite events before Kamsky retired in 1996. Shirov was +3 in classical play, Kamsky +1 in rapid (and +2 in blindfold, which shouldn't be a factor in Khanty-Mansiysk, unless Kirsan gets another bright idea). They've only played once since Kamsky's return in 2005, a crushing win for Shirov at last month's Tal Memorial. They split two wins at the following blitz world championship. More in a bit...

... Both finalists have already covered the rent money for 2008 and then some. The loser of the final match gets $80,000, which is real money back in the US if not much against the Euro these days. The winner gets $120,000 and what one would expect to be a lucrative match against Veselin Topalov for the right to play a match for the world championship against the winner of next year's Anand-Kramnik championship match. On the other hand, you can bet Shirov is going to make sure the check clears before leaving Khanty-Mansiysk, just in case. He's been on the wrong side of match victory before, Kramnik in a 1998 match to qualify for a WCh match against Kasparov only to be stiffed on both the match and the money. This will make the Spaniard a sentimental favorite for many, especially if he ends up in a match against Kramnik -- the guy who, despite that loss to Shirov, ended up facing (and beating) Kasparov in 2000.


A very nice match to look forward to.. Its probably fair to say that the two best players made it to the finals.

Even at that level, GMs require more than a 30 secs on the clock to see a mate in 100, or even a mate 28.

Best of luck to both players. May The Fire rule.

Oh, come come. Even the lower GM's can see a quick mate in 28 or 100. And as we all know it gets easier when there are fewer pieces on the board, so Shirov really had no excuse.

So now you might be asking yourself why satire is so hard to detect... But I have a solution! Let's all text code it in red from now on.

Best of luck to both players. Both of them. Especially the Fire guy or whatever... wait, I mean both.

:) samus,

I did not miss the sarcasm there, but there _are_ a certain species of Fritz wielding patzers who can't "believe" Shirov missed it !


Any news from the Anand - Kramnik match?? Rumor has it that Anand wants to play the winner of the world cup directly.

I'm not sure that Kamsky is that much of a nightmare opponent for Anand - he seemed to exorcize the ghost of the Sanghinagar debacle by winning in the PCA cycle. on the other hand, Kamsky has beaten him twice since the comeback.

"Any news from the Anand - Kramnik match?? Rumor has it that Anand wants to play the winner of the world cup directly."

Well, I'm sure that he would **prefer** to play his good "customer" Shirov, or even Kamsky, rather than Topolov, or (especially) Kramnik.

He could challenge Shirov to a Match, but given the way that Shirov is playing, he ought not expect a repeat result of their previous match.

Sure, let him play the Winner of the World Cup first. Heck, it would even be OK the give Topalov the next crack at Match. But before the next WC cycle commences, Anand better "man up" and stake his Champion's Title in a Match with Kramnik.

He's wriggling like an eel, trying to avoid a Match with the 2nd best player (by results, ELO is now a toss up).

Anyway, before we worry about all of the matches that WON'T happen, let's enjoy the match that will commence Thursday.

Ha ha, now that would be funny if Anand played the World Cup winner directly, leaving Kramnik and Topalov out in the cold as they thoroughly deserve. Would Kramnik play Topalov for their version of the Title then??

Of course, this would mean that everything would be a disaster. But it pretty much is anyway. Nothing will ever get sorted until we get rid of this total moron Ilyumzhinov.

Spaniard versus American. Who says the Russian school dominates chess?

We are all hoping Kamsky wins, not because of any dislike of Shirov, but because we want to see Silvio Danailov and Rustam Kamsky go head-to-head! (Yes, I know Rustam is not around any more, but it is still a delicious thought!)

It would be great irony if Shirov got a shot against Anand directly! Leaving Kramnik in the same positions he was in in ´98


Indeed, I wish that would happen actually! Unlike Hatton-Mayweather, Topalov and Kramnik have unfinished business...

GO SHIROV!! His games have been wonderful to watch so far. And wouldn't it be sweet to see Shirov massacre Topalov. And since he already has won against Kramnik I think a match against him and Anand would be really nice. Shirov was dumped and Anand was just left out while the other ones were using their "claims" leaving the title to rot.

Excellent comment, gg!

I've read over and over about the impoverished state of most chess players, even GMs, but I'm wondering what the guys at the very top of the profession are pulling in annually. Are there any numbers out there? Also, what kind of compensation do seconds receive? Just curious...

Excellent final from my perspective. It's nice to see Shirov back in the hunt after getting the shaft in '98, and it's great to see Kamsky still at the top of his game even after taking time off for law school.

Both candidates are deserving, but I have to pull for my fellow American and lawyer. Go Gata!

Let's look at Kramnik's "undeserved," "privileged" match with Anand.

The Mexico City tournament was obviously (not obvious enough for some folks) a de facto qualifier for a WCC match with Kramnik. But set that aside.

Kramnik is a three-time (and counting) long match champion with victories over Kasparov and Topalov. He finished second to Anand at the Mexico City WCC. He and Anand have set up shop in the top three for the past decade or so. He's the current ranking co-leader.

Topalov recently lost a match to Kramnik.
Shirov/Kamsky will have qualified through one of Kirsan's dreaded knockout lotteries.

So if Kramnik is undeserving, who, exactly, is deserving?

Greg, go and read Chris B's comments from about 100 other threads, and you will find all your comments answered. All the best, and read carefully please.

Let me try to state the question more clearly.

Set aside all wouldas, couldas and shouldas. As of today, or as of the conclusion of Shirov-Kamsky, if you prefer, who is most qualified for a match with Anand?

I agree, Greg Koster. In fact, I'd say that I've seen nothing that explains how Kramnik has got unfair treatment to play Anand. The match-play lineage Kramnik represents is still unbroken and resides with him. It can only be won or lost through match-play. Having Anand play Kramnik si the most expedient and efficient way to tie up the one remaining loose end. Were Anand to try to organise a match with someone else (and who would that be, and how would his eligibility be determined?), his right to do so -- and the meaning of the title gained thereby -- would not be legitimate.

Topalov is the one I dont understand. I know Dimi has tried to explain it to me, but I still don't see how someone who LOST a match-play championship (for a title he never owned) suddenly gets special rights in the next cycle -- what, for old times' sake?

winner of Shirov-Kamsky. Surely that's obvious if you "Set aside all wouldas, couldas and shouldas"

Kramnik has only WON one long match. He tied another one and beat Topalov 2.5-1.5 in rapids. Big whoop.


The cases of Topalov and Kramnik are perhaps similar in that Kirsan's decision to award them their respective matches was probably influenced by non-chess factors. In Kramnik's case--Russian politics. In Topalov's case--Danailov's cash or similar considerations.

It is this similarity which seems to confuse Dimi and his young friends.

As these folks readily acknowledge, Kirsan bought the FIDE presidency, has no particular moral authority, is a sort of "thug.'

And as these folks also acknowledge, the most qualified players should contend in a match for the WCC. As was stated a few posts back, the most qualified players for the WCC are obviously Anand and Kramnik.

So our problem is, how do we get a thug to do the right thing? We find a bigger thug, a "persuader." In Kramnik's case, this may have been done.

--Kramnik's title shot was Al Capone telling the neighborhood punk to be nice to the old lady.
--Topalov's shot was Capone telling the neighborhood punk to beat up the old lady.

Nice story: an American Muslim with an Israeli second about to play a Russian from Latvia representing Spain.

Gens una sumus.

Of course the World Cup winner is most deserving of a title match against Anand. Why is Topalov even in there? It is just so random.

Evan, I've asked that same question before, regarding the approximate
earning potential of the top Chess dogs. Got no answers. After reading
some and talking to others, my believe is that the WCC contenders can
make a good grab with a title game. For the rest Chess can only be
explained as a deep calling, but not necessarily the way to live a
fancy lifestyle or attract finicky wives... Kamski can certainly make
much better in a NY law firm than by playing Chess. He could make so
much as to finance his own title-match, skipping the qualifying
rounds. :-)


On that tired subject of who "deserves" what -- now it's all like a
couple of whores fighting over the moral highground. I think that the
WCC cycle has been "massaged" quite too many times for anyone to seek
that moral highground anymore... Anyway, Greg Koster and Theorist --
Chris B. was quite eloquent in explaining these things. I made many a
try, tackling different angles. You don't agree -- that's Ok, we move
on. The one part that you can't explain is why Kramnik never objected
in time the contract of what followed after Elista? Why is it that
only after he captured the title, all the "but this and but that" arm
twisting started? What if Vishi starts to play that game now --
probably he should... He needs a "good manager" for the job.

Anyway, I am tired of arguing with the Kramnik cultists -- no more on
that. Every thread turns into the same familiar mess. Instead, we
should just enjoy the spectacle of what comes ahead -- I see some
spicy Chess in the making!!


Greg, any sane fan would obviously love to see the Anand-Kramnik match, purely as a matter of sport. No other players still active have dominated the game as long as they have. My only regret is that the match, at 12 games, isn't long enough.

The main complaint is that Kirsan keeps changing the rules. The originally announced reunification plan made no mention of an automatic rematch for Kramnik should he fail to win the Mexico City tournament. Perhaps it should have; but it didn't.

Some players oppose the concept of an automatic rematch on general sporting principles, as well as the selfish reason that it reduces other people's chances to play for the title. But one can certainly sympathize with their view when the re-match is bolted on to rules that didn't originally mention that possibility.

In one sense, the Anand-Kramnik match is likely to generate more public interest in the game than any match in quite a few years. But the match owes its existence to yet another mid-cycle rule change.

Since Kamsky's comeback in 2004, both Shirov and Kamsky have a +0-4 record against Topalov. So it's the same record in decisive games, in the same time period. Danailov must be pleased with the outcome of the world cup.

I always felt Kramnik should never have played in Mexico. Topalov should have replaced him and then a match between Kramnik and the winner of Mexico. If for whatever reason Anand V Kramnik doesnt happen then the schism re-opens and it's back to multiple world championship claimants..........
Such a sorry mess. By the way has Anand beaten any top 3 player in classical format since game 8 v Garry in New York. Cant be too many anyway. I dont expect it to be a great match as I much prefer clash of styles. I expect 1-0 KRamnik with a load of draws if it does happen


Mid-cycle rule changes are generally bad news.

But the change resulting in the Kramnik-Anand match actually made sense:
--it maintains the continuity of the match title and,
--it neither denies nor delays anyone's title shot.

"I always felt Kramnik should never have played in Mexico. Topalov should have replaced him and then a match between Kramnik and the winner of Mexico."

Kirsan was boxed in by his previous commitments. FIDE's agreement with the Mexico sponsors stipulated that they were holding a WC tournament, with the then-reigning champion in attendance. Of course, many of us believe that that's no way to determine a champion in the first place, and apparently Kirsan now believes that too—this week, at least.

But having sold the tournament as a world championship, he couldn't just turn it into a qualifier without risking that the whole thing would blow up. If someone has paid to put on a WC, that's what they expect to see, not a mere qualifier. If professional chess is ever to regain its credibility, events have to happen as advertised.

"The only part that you can't explain is why Kramnik never objected in time [to] the contract of what followed after Elista."

I can't understand why you can't understand, Dimi.

In politics one often agrees first and announces later. Kirsan and Kramnik probably had a nod-and-a-wink understanding all along that Kramnik would play a match with the Mexico winner. The announcement was delayed to assuage the Mexico City sponsors, to disguise the reality that their tournament was a WCC match qualifier.

"What if Vishi wants to play that game now?"
If Vishi fights for the match title, reasonable time controls, a sane, stable candidate-selection process, no rematch for Kramnik if he loses the Anand match, no draw odds, and a playing site agreeable to both parties, then more power to him.

"Some players oppose the concept of an automatic rematch on general sporting principles, as well as the selfish reason that it reduces other people's chances to play for the title. But one can certainly sympathize with their view when the re-match is bolted on to rules that didn't originally mention that possibility."

There is a case to be made for opposing an automatic Match (not *re*-match, since Kramnik did not lose his Title to Anand via a Match format. Indeed, if Anand HAD already defeated Kramnik in a Match, there would not be any clamor for a re-match). In practice, the only player whose Title chances are harmed is Anand. If he loses to Kramnik, he will have lost his Title midway through the FIDE Cycle, rather that at the scheduled end of it. The Kramnik--Anand match will be crammed, so to speak, into the current cycle, and the World Cup winner (Shirov or Kamsky) will get their title shot against Anand (or Kramnik, if that Match is played, and Kramnik is defeated)....as long as they are able to get past the extra obstacle of Topalov.
Players like Leko and Morozevich opted out of the World Cup because they resented the fact that if they won, they would be required to play an Extra match vs. Topalov, just to get the chance to play for the Title. Kramnik's match priviliges didn't materially impact their prospects for getting a title shot.

Apparently the contract that people cite didn't mention the possibility of a re-match. It was not originally included, nor was it specifically, explicitly *excluded*. After the Toiletgate fiasco, Kramnik had both the Unified title and the support and sympathy of most of the Chess Community (outside of Bulgaria, at least). Maybe Kramnik ought to have stuck to principle, and made the argument that FIDE breached their contractual obligations during the Elista Match with Topalov, and that therefor he was freed from the obligation of playing in Mexico City. Anand would have won, but it would have been even more of a stretch to argue that he had defeated Kramnik in the process--if Kramnik was not even a participant.

There is only one "good" solution to the mess that started 15 years ago: Anand must play Kramnik in a Match of length. That way, the winner of the match will be the person who has manifestly defeated the 2nd best player in the World. The are other scenarios which might be in the best personal interests of Anand, but the Anand--Kramnik match is in the best interests of Chess.

Hopefully, Carlsen will become World Champion soon, since he is untainted by all of the machinations of the past 15 years.

Greg, your original argument is ridiculous. By that logic, who was the most qualified to play Kramnik at the end of 2001? Kasparov by a country mile. Yet this is something you will deny to your dying day.
One gets tired of correcting your crap. Can't you disappear somewhere else?

I agree with much of what has been said above (Greg, DOug, Marc). I think the relationship that most of us would like to see between FIDE and the world title is one in which FIDE understands that it has been entrusted with the custodianship of the world classical chess title. In reality no-one "owns" the title: neither FIDE nor the current incumbent. The job of FIDE (in this respect) is to protect the legitimacy of the title. It exists to make the title plausible, to provide mechanisms for its transfer: to safeguard it, in other words.

I think a shift in mindset from "ownership" to "custodianship" would be very helpful in determining how FIDE should proceed with "its" title.

"In politics one often agrees first and announces later. Kirsan and Kramnik probably had a nod-and-a-wink understanding all along that Kramnik would play a match with the Mexico winner. The announcement was delayed to assuage the Mexico City sponsors, to disguise the reality that their tournament was a WCC match qualifier."
Given Kirsan's reputation, it is likely that Kramnik insisted on more than a "wink and a nod" understanding.

There probably was an actual *written* contract which gave Kramnik the right to a Match vs. the Winner of Mexico City [Anand], which was negotiated either prior to the Elista match with Topalov, or prior to the resumption of the Match (for Game 6).

Even before the Match, Kramnik had the better bargaining position with Kirsan, in comparison to Topalov. FIDE already "owned" Topalov's Title, which had had won "only" via a Tournament format in San Luis. The trick was to induce Kramnik, the owner of the "Classical (Steinitzian line)" Title, to stake his title in a unification match, which entailed that, win or lose, FIDE would be able to administer the valuable property of the now Unified Title.

Kirsan was probably willing to make accomodations and concessions to Kramnik, which he did not make to Topalov. However, it was not really prudent to make a public announcement, prior to the Match, that would manifestly demonstrate that Kramnik had secured different--and superior--terms that what Topailov had negotiated. Kirsan would naturally have an incentive to make announcements concerning FIDE's rights, and the players' obligations, but would not have been too keen about volunteering information about agreed upon concessions to the players, or FIDE's contractual responsibilities,

It made sense to reveal provisions in the Kramnik contract only in the event that they became operative: That is, only if Kramnik won. If Kramnik lost, the right to a match vs. the Mexico City winner would have been moot. Moreover, Kirsan probably made the concessions because he believed that that would, in fact, be moot! He was inclined to believe that Topalov would beat an out of form (in feeble health) Kramnik, and so extra inducements were justified for the purpose of getting Kramnik to stake--and lose--his title.

"Greg, your original argument is ridiculous. By that logic, who was the most qualified to play Kramnik at the end of 2001? Kasparov by a country mile."

This is true as far as it goes, but incomplete.

In 2000, the two world titles were split. The title that Kasparov held went by whatever rules the title-holder set. (Ironically, this was a return to the system that existed before FIDE!) Kasparov basically hand-picked Kramnik as challenger, even though he had lost the qualification match to Shirov. Then, he foolishly failed to put an automatic re-match into the contract. Kramnik, at that stage, surely would have agreed to it, as Kasparov was the one with all the power.

Anyhow, after he won the title, Kramnik inherited the same power, namely, the power to do whatever he damn well pleased. Though naturally we fans would have liked to see that match, Kramnik was under no obligation to accept it.

Well, when it came time to finally unify the two titles (after several other attempts had failed), Kramnik used what remained of his power to negotiate the best possible deal for himself. Good for him. As long as chess is going to operate this way, you can only tip your hat to someone who makes the most of it.

And as a side benefit, this match also removes the last vestige of a line of champions decided through tournaments, a method that most chess fans regard as inferior. This, of course, assumes that FIDE is finally done deciding championships in a tournament setting, which they say it is, but with Kirsan one never knows.

So which is best -- the title goes by "whatever rules the title-holder set" (allowing the champ to hand-pick the challenger) or that it goes by "whatever rules a recognized organization [FIDE] set" (allowing the organization to establish formats of which you may disapprove)?

Neither of these is ideal. Both can be, and have been, abused. Ridiculous knock-out tournaments (at least Mexico was a double round robin of legitimate candidates); some champs ducking the strongest challengers or insisting on onerous conditions.

Choice of the lesser of two evils.

Who cares if it's a single person or an organization setting a bad rule? Is a rapid knockout ladder any better because a thousand idiots vote that it's a good idea?

Everything that Greg said in his post is true. But people like Chris B. don't want to actually read and acknowledge what it says. They have no argument, so resort to personal attack. A typical stratagem.

Oh, without question it's better when the rules for the title are set by a sanctioning organization. Those rules were reasonably consistent from 1951 to 1997, when FIDE went to the knockout system.

The rules were not consistent. They were just reasonable. That's because FIDE was a reasonable sane organization. From 1997 onward, the fact that it was an organization did not prevent it from coming up with a series of horrible to not very good systems.

DOug, your analysis above is quite precise and on the money in terms of the technical aspects of the negotiations/agreements, etc. that might have taken place. As you note, it all boils down to bargaining power.

The question is -- why is all this wrapped in some ill-fitting moralistic drabs by the one side of this process who actually exercised the greater amount of undue influence when it is so obviously apparent that a lot of arm twisting had taken place. And is Anand not justified to do the same now? (If he can, of course, which I seriously doubt).


Kirsan's actions are consistent with a desire to get Kramnik off the chess throne and thus evade some of the Russian political leverage/interference.

First there was the the Elista "loser skips Mexico" provision, obviously aimed at Kramnik.

And now if Kramnik survives Anand he'll hold the title only a year before having to take on the Topalov-Shirov/Kamsky winner. But giving Kramnik more chances to fail also gives him more chances to succeed and strengthen his hold on the title. And we get two WCC matches in two years. So who's complaining?

Next FIDE meeting agenda:

1. Figure out how much and whether to fine Nigel Short for saying "poopies".
2. Figure out why is all this wrapped in some ill-fitting moralistic drabs by the one side of this process who actually exercised the greater amount of undue influence when it is so obviously apparent that a lot of arm twisting had taken place?
3. Figure out what the hell "why is all this wrapped in some ill-fitting moralistic drabs by the one side of this process who actually exercised the greater amount of undue influence when it is so obviously apparent that a lot of arm twisting had taken place" means in English.

Poll: Who are you rooting for the W Cup 2007 final, Shirov or Kamsky?


I am rooting for whichever player is less wrapped in some ill-fitting moralistic drab by the one side of this process who actually exercised the greater amount of undue influence when it is so obviously apparent that a lot of arm twisting had taken place.

The solution for this mess is to hold a tournament with Anand, Kramnik, Topa and the winner of Shirov-Kamsky. All play all 4 times. Each player will play 12 games. Fair and square. Anand is the current world champion full stop. The next world champion will be the winner of this super tournament full stop.

ed, that's the best damn proposal I've seen so far! It doesn't hurt
for us to fantasize a bit that sanity may be regained at some point.

Just the one stumbling block -- "where" will that event take place?? I
think NYC is a good place.


If Kamsky were to win his match against Shirov then obviously NYC would be out; but what a great idea Ed. If it were to be organized without all the political mumbo jumbo (good luck), what a great opportunity and publicity for chess world wide. Unfortuneately, FIDE is at the helm and something that simple is too complex for them.

Guys, quick post, just to spell out something pretty obvious.

Which would have been better for the chess world... for a kid like Carlsen to win the championship, or Kamsky?

Carlsen, young, photogenetic. Previously sponsored by MICROSOFT. Likes spots. Nice, supportive family.

Kamsky... brought up under the Soviet System. Father used to hit him if he didn't play well enough. Threatened to kill his opponents. Maybe an OK person underneath... but the baggage...

Obviously Carlsen.

With Shirov it's a different comparison. Still brought up under the Soviet system, but at a younger age more outspoken, independent. Always a natural attacker, exciting player. Wronged by a lot of things in his life... like his exwife... and getting his laptop stolen off him just after he finished the first draft of 'Fire on Board'...

(Just imagine if that had happened to me! The world would have never experienced 'Playing to Win'...)

Wronged by Kasparov and Kramnik too. Truly ripped off by that, but Kramnik walks away with the crown in the end.

It would be a remarkable story if Shirov manages to win the World Cup after all this... and he will be a tougher challenger for Topalov too.

"And is Anand not justified to do the same now? (If he can, of course, which I seriously doubt)."

Justified or not, Anand is certainly going to try to wring concessions out of FIDE. I agree with you that Anand is unlikely to succeed in gaining anything substantive. If he doesn't want to play, a replacement can be found for him readily enough.

As for your question: I don't think that the situations are truly analogous: Kramnik held the "Classical" Title for 7 years, while Anand has held the "Unified" Mexico City Title for about 2 months.

Kramnik was induced to stake his Title in a format where he was vying against 7--not just one--Challengers, and where the odds of success were against him, in that it was likely (as indeed it turned out) that somebody from the field would garner more points than him. Thus, the change in format to a tournament WC was specifically to Kramnik's disadvantage. Ironically, even though Anand is a tournament specialist, his chances of successfully defending his title are higher in a head to head match, than they would be if he were playing in a tournament against 7 other players.
We have to reckon that as Champion, and assuming that he is the best player in the world, that his chances of winning in his match against Kramnik are at least a little better than Kramnik's.
In other words, Anand's chances of victory in a Kramnik match would be somewhat over 50%.
Anand may be the best tournament player in the world, and therefore the most likely player to finish in First Place in an Elite level tournament. However, the odds are still against him: it is more likely that one of the 7 players from the field would finish ahead of him, in any given event.

If we look at Anand's past record--even in just the post-Kasparov era--has he been finishing 1st in 50% of the Super-GM tournaments that he's played in?

Thus, all things being equal, Anand benefits from being able to defend his title via a Match format. If Anand thinks that his chances of success in a Match against Kramnik are not good, then one must ask why?

Finally, put aside the question of Anand's personal interest, I believe that it is in the best interests of Chess to have a match between the two strongest players to determine the successor to the Classical line of titleholders.
If the situation were reversed, and Kramnik had won Mexico City, and Anand was the won who had defeated Kasparov in matchplay, then I'd be arguing that Kramnik ought to be willing to play a match against Anand.....

For what it''s worth, if Anand has the guts to play a MAtch vs.Kramnik, then I'll be rooting for him to prevail.

DOug, I agree that playing a match against Kramnik is quite daunting, but I don't think Anand lacks the guts to do it. And, if it does really happen (one never knows these days), I expect some very, very interesting chess.

"By the way has Anand beaten any top 3 player in classical format since game 8 v Garry in New York. Cant be too many anyway...."

Brian get your fact right, I think Anand has positive score against Kramnik and Topalov after that period ( or do you think they are not in Top 3 ?)

What is all this talk about Anand and Kramnik being World Champions? Shirov won the right to play Kasparov by beating Kramnik. Kasparov ducked him and played Kramnik instead because the money was right. I view Kramnik as nothing more than Shirov's second in that match and when he beat Kasparov the title should have defaulted to Shirov.

I have a question: If Shirov wins (I am rooting for him, although I like both players), can his place in the ACP give him some support in order to get better conditions for the match against Topalov? I mean, I consider a match in Sofia does not guarantee equal conditions, but maybe he can demmand a match in Spain (where both players live or had lived - I don't know if Topalov still lives there), for example.

Anil there is just no way you are right about Kramink(in classical chess), not that I have the database to prove it. I am sure that he has won some games though.

A quick search and I found the following for Anand vs. Kramnik and Anand vs. Topalov with long time-controls, since 1996 WC match (excluding draws):

Anand 11-9 over Topalov

Kramnik 6-5 over Anand

Anand beat Topalov:
Dortmund 1996, Corus 1998, Linares 1998, Corus 1999, Linares 1999, Corus 2003, Linares 2005, Mtel 2006, Mtel 2006, Linares 2007, Linares 2007

Topalov beat Anand:
Corus 1996, Amsterdam 1996, Dortmund 1997, Dortmund 2001, Dortmund 2001, Corus 2004, Mtel 2005, Mtel 2006, Corus 2007

Anand beat Kramnik:
Amsterdam 1996, Tilburg 1998, Belgrade 1997, Dortmund 2004, Mtel 2005

Kramnik beat Anand:
Dos Hermanas 1996, Las Palmas 1996, Dos Hermanas 1999, Dortmund 2000, Dortmund 2001, Corus 2007

Am I missing any?

ERRATUM: Should read "since 1995 WC match", not 1996.

Dan, these stats are interesting, but spread all over the years show
you that these guys are so even that an insurance agent would get
shortness of breath trying to decide the odds... Clearly Kramnik has
got the "match strategy", but the other guys knowing that will
certainly work their ways along those lines in the "entire year" time
remaining until the next "big games"...


Now here is another point -- it appears that the next major WCC games
are way out there in terms of time (1 year). Yet they are still too
soon according to ancient traditions... Kramnik (and Kasparov!) fans
were telling me that defending the title every 3-4 years against
hand-picked opponents is perfectly Ok (because they did it this way in
the 19-th Century in the Paris coffee houses). Well, is it really?
Considering that we're in Century 21 and such young prodigies as
Carlsen and Karjakin are knocking at the door today, should we be
bound by the rules of long dead Chessplayers? Or we should rationalize
the process to reflect "our times". In that respect the Grand Slam is
a great idea that will keep us entertained while the Steinitz fans go
to the cemetery trying to decide the best format for the WCC title in
the next N years.


"Nice story: an American Muslim with an Israeli second about to play a Russian from Latvia representing Spain."

Shirov is originally Latvian, no? Since when was he Russian? Kamsky is a Tartar (born in Siberia) and Sutovsky is originally from Baku, Azerbaijan.


There are lot's of Russians living in Latvia. And Alexei Shirov does not sound Latvian to me...

Thanks Dan for the post re Anand's wins. Most of his wins over Topa were when he (Topa) was not top 3. I didnt think he had so many wins over Kramnik. My impression of Anand's tourney strategy is to draw with the very top players and win against the lower ranked. This contrasts with Kramnik's (inferior) tournament strategy of trying hard to win with white and drawing with black regardless of the opponent. Kramnik's tournament strategy requires no modifications for matchplay......

PS I dont recall any long time control victory for Anand over Kasparov since game 9 New York (i could be wrong)

After WWII, a lot of ethnic russians emigrated to Latvia. They were getting the nice jobs in Latvia (Stalin's policy). After Latvia's independence in 1989, there was a lot of tension between the ethnic latvians and russians. The ethnic russians were denied citizenship. That was one of the reasons why Shirov emigrated to Spain.
Nowadays, the ethnic latvians and russians are living more or less in peace in Latvia.
I did not know that Kamsky was a muslim. I thought he was an atheist, like most intelligent people.

That "rumour" on Anand wanting to play the winner of the WC directly - while delicious irony if he plays Shirov bypassing Kramnik- is unfair to Leko and Morozevich as both refused to play because of Topalov waiting at the end for them.

Is anyone else stuck on 30. Ne2? The transmission does not seem to go beyond this point.

Also, I never read that Kamsky was a Muslim; Tatars are not all Muslims. Also, even if he were, it is unlikely he has ever paid attention to his religion.

Why is it "unlikely" that he ever paid attention to his religion?

And don't forget folks, tonight on What Not to Wear: Ill-fitting Moralistic Drabs. (I remember when they were all the rage in Paris...but then along came the mini-skirt!)

Brian, I'm sorry I only had 15 minutes to tabulate this data for you. If you'd like to look up who was in the top 3 at the time of each tournament that Anand has played in the past ten years, feel free.

In the meantime, at least six of Anand's wins against Topalov were when Topa was within a stone's throw of the very top ("stone's throw" is vague but easy to look up; "top 3" is arbitrary but tedious to look up).

"That "rumour" on Anand wanting to play the winner of the WC directly - while delicious irony if he plays Shirov bypassing Kramnik- is unfair to Leko and Morozevich as both refused to play because of Topalov waiting at the end for them."

Anand will play Kramnik. Beating the guy that beat Kasparov is the last puzzle piece needed so that Anand can be mentioned in the same sentence as Tal, Spassky, Fischer, Karpov, etc. And he's probably not going to get a better shot at it than the shot he has now. Of course, I am not suggesting that victory is assured (it will be quite a challenge), but he has nothing to gain by ducking the opportunity. There is no other match opponent he could defeat that would cement his legacy like Kramnik. And if he loses to Kramnik, he just keeps doing what he's always done. I also suspect that there will be better money for a Kramnik match than for anyone else.

I don't have any sympathy for Leko or Morozevich. Yes, the "free" match given to Topalov may be unfair, but Leko and Moro don't gain anything by sitting on the sidelines. All it means is that they are denied this chance to feed at the trough.

I'm already a Kamsky fan, but I would have even more respect for him if he really is a practicing Muslim. Not that I believe in that religion, but it would be nice to know that he trusts in something bigger than himself and a game. Most intelligent people realize that, so it wouldn't surprise me.

Thanks Dan - you're the man...........

Is the Topalov match set for Sofia? Maybe thats why Leko and Moro want nothing to do with it.

After Danailov's performance in Elista, any reasonable player would have serious concerns about playing a WCC-related match in Sofia.

stendec: Most intelligent people realize they have to trust _insert_random_religion_here_ ....ok....Makes perfect sense to me...

Meanwhile, back to the actual final going on. Any comments on the draw or is it just much more interesting to debate the same thing for the 12756th time:-(

Jeeeezz (I'm almost intelligent, now)

greg: "After Danailov's performance in Elista, any reasonable player would have serious concerns about playing a WCC-related match in Sofia."

Actually, I think that Danailov is more likely to behave well in Sofia than abroad, because at home his antics would reflect badly on Bulgaria and would embarrass the sponsors he had woo'ed himself.

"Is the Topalov match set for Sofia? Maybe thats why Leko and Moro want nothing to do with it."

I have to think the purse (even for the loser) would be hefty, and it would give them at least a puncher's chance of facing the Anand-Kramnik winner. That, I should think, would be worthwhile enough to make the match compelling, even if it were in Sofia.

In any case, I do not think the location has been set, and I have to figure that the World Cup winner will have some leverage as to playing conditions, and so forth.

relatively easy drawn by Kamsky I thought. I'm waiting to see the analysis on the critical line Kamsky (and Shirov) had a long think on and decided not to enter, 30.. Re4. May be obvious of course :-)


think twice before becoming ironic :
Shirov : 100% ethnic russian (born in latvia, then
part of the USSR), educated in
soviet/russian chess school
Kamsky : son of tatar father and russian mother,
born in siberia, educated in
soviet/russian chess school

So, the influence of Spain/USA on the chess intelligence of Shirov/Kamsky is 0 = zero !!

SO YES, russian chess school is still dominating !

For those who don't know :
+/- 30 % of latvian population consists of ethnic
russians, Shirov is one of them, it's ridiculous to deny this.
"Alexei Shirov" is by no means a latvian name;
his mother tongue is russian.
The same goes for some well-known "ukrainian"
players as Karjakin and Ponomariov : ethnic russians born in the ukraine, the first in crimea,
the second in Donetsk region, where ethnic russians are very numerous.

Question for Russians or anyone else who knows--how is националность inherited? Is it patrilinear? If Kamsky's father is Tatar and his mother Russian, what is he? And I mean officially, like, if he had a Russian passport what would it say?

Didn't see much fire from Shirov today. Gata played solidly as usual. Then again what can one expect from the well booked Ruy.

Tomas: "I'm almost intelligent, now"

Hmmm...perhaps if you'd bothered to keep up with the previous posts you would see the sarcasm in echoing Mefisto's gibberish. Welcome to the blog anyway.

It seems that if Kamsky has a chance of winning, it is going to have to come in the longer games.

ouch..sorry. Proves your point, then. The correlation between religion and intelligence is insignificant:-)


Yes, patrilinear by the official rules in the USSR.

Kamsky became a GM after he moved to the USA.

Is there such a thing as the American chess school in the first place? Even Fischer's approach was hailed as a "Communist" maximalistic drive by the Soviets.

how about nakamura's individual training with comps?! maybe that is our chess school...

Anybody heard of ovidiu? He is not around today. Strange. I've missed his funny stuff...

You actually think that Ovidiu is funny?

Where is the Migley?

Seriously, Mig! Without the daily show or colbert, this place is my bi-daily or better source of snark!

Kamsky said many, many years ago in an interview that he was Muslim. Whether he is practicing or not is something he will have to reveal, but why is this a point of concern? The same issue came up when Kasimjanov (a Muslim) won the FIDE Knockout, but I believe we can say they are moderates. How many chess players are practicing their religion? Some are, but most do not appear to be very religious.

Very often being christian, muslim or jewish is just a cultural thing being part of some social and family traditions. It defines wedding ceremonies and funerals for example - when I lived in one muslim country (ex soviet republic) all the muslims I knew drank vodka and ate ham sandwiches.

I'm not a GM I will admit, but anytime I play a 3 0 blitz game online and I spot my opponent has a mate in 208, I will just resign.

It's only common courtesy I think, bad bad Shirov ;)

Chessville has this contribution:

"According to Moslem Law it is an Abomination to play at Chess. The prophet has declared all the Entertainments of a Moslem to be vain, except three, viz.: the breaking-in of his horse; the drawing of his bow; and the playing or amusing himself with his wives. Several of the learned, however, deem the game of Chess to be allowed, as having a tendency to quicken the understanding. – The Hectaya"

so you are trusting in something bigger than yourself? an elephant? a T-Rex?

The religion of a player is totally unimportant.
Let's stop discussing the ethnic origin and religion of chess players.

> Spaniard versus American. Who says the Russian school dominates chess?

Kamsky was born in Siberia and Shirov in Latvia, both come from former Soviet Union. So yes, I would say Russian school is still important.

> Spaniard versus American. Who says the Russian school dominates chess?

Shirov was born in Latvia, Kamsky in Siberia, both parts of the former Soviet territory. So the answer is yes.

Kamsky is what he feels he is ; nationality is nothing but a shred of paper.
I do believe ethnic origin / religion is important, because it's more personal and complex
than nationality.
It would make sense to mention them more often
instead of the usual superficial (USA),(RUS),(UKR),...

For those who do not know the history (and because there seems to have been some criticism of Estonians and Latvians on this blog):

The area of the Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) was never part of the Slavic heartland, and very few ethnic Russians lived there prior to WWII. Russia annexed, by conquest from Sweden, Estonia and northern Latvia in 1721. Russia acquired southern Latvia and Lithuania in the infamous third partition of Poland in 1795. Russia lost these areas at the end of WWI in 1918, and the Baltic States became independent.
In 1940, while Germany and Britain & France were busy fighting each other, the USSR illegally occupied and annexed the three Baltic States. Hitler conquered them from the USSR in 1941 on his invasion of the USSR in that year; and the USSR conquered them back from Hitler in 1944.
Stalin's treatment of the Baltic peoples was appalling. In 1940-1 and 1944-53, at least 10% (perhaps more) of Estonians and Latvians were executed or shipped off to Siberia. Another 10% fled. Keres, who was safe in Sweden, must have been a very loyal man to his wife and children to have voluntarily returned to Estonia in 1944 after the Russian reconquest. He paid a heavy price, and could have lost his life.
After WWII, Stalin flooded the Baltic States with ethnic Russian immigrants to better secure the area for the USSR, much like China is now doing with Tibet. Narva, Keres' birthplace, for example, is now almost entirely peopled by ethnic Russians.
When Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania regained their independence in 1991, they not unnaturally did not give these Russian immigrants and their descendants citizenship because the original Russian occupation of their countries was illegal; and had they been able to say what happened to their own countries, would not have allowed these immigrants in.
Shirov is in the unfortunate position of being a child of one of these Russian immigrants. The treatment of these ethnic Russians is of course not good by Western standards, but one can understand where the Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians are coming from - and their treatment by the Russians 1940-1, 1944-1991 was infinitely worse. With Putin turning Russia back into a dictatorship, the Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians must be nervous about having a 'fifth column' in their midst.
To me, the ideal solution would be for a worldwide fund to be raised to repatriate these ethnic Russians back to Russia under decent circumstances. But we may dream, of course.

Sorry but dreaming of repatriating ethnic russians from the baltic states (why stop there chris what about all the ex russian republics) is frankly like dreaming of repatriating all the ethnic africans or indians from Britain. There are people who dream of that and giving them money to go - they are racists and vote for the British National Party. People who are born and brought up in a country have every right to regard themselves as full citizens.

Well said Andy. anyone any chess related news ??

Shirov did it again!
14...g5 has put the board on fire.

By that logic, Chris B, most of the Muslims in India are either descendants of Arab/Turk invaders from the 11th century onwards or "converts" - i look forward to your suggestions on "repatriating" them - all 100 million of them.

wow, Shirov has come to play.. 2 pawns sac'd so far..

now a full rook, soon to become only an xchg I think..

Chris B.: I am sure we can find out that you could be repatriated somewhere. Speaking about 10% of Estonians and Latvians - did not they help kill 100% of all Jews and a lot of Russians. If my history is not all wrong a healthy majority of them was on the Nazi side in WW II.

I remember the great Bobby Fischer suggesting that all blacks should return to Africa and all whites to Europe......proof positive that you can be a chess genius and have an IQ of 187 and still be a total moron.
How far in history do you want to go? All those who suggest these forced repatriation ideas, even half-seriously, should be derided very promptly and treated as the fools they are.

Hardy Berger (or anyone else with the 411):
I've repeatedly seen posts regarding Fischer having an IQ in the 180s. Where did this information come from? Just curious...

Your IQ just tells you how good you are in IQ-tests.

Fischer IQ: Fischer did chess only. No other education whatsoever. Those who adore Carlsen should have that in mind. I prefer Kamsky with his law degree to any uneducated 'prodigy'. I am sure that we should not look to chess players for moral guidance and social grace.

oh man... Shirov outsmarted himself :-(

Cool game by Kamsky, but what, oh what, was Shirov thinking of? What a way to play at such a moment.


22.-Qxf6 seems bad as the continuation gave white the decisive f-pawn march for free. Instead 22.-Qg4 was right and black seems to have no worries.

Ooops Shirov did it again...his cheapos may work against people like Jokeomenko but Kamsky just laid the smacketh down...all hail King Kamsky

Z.D: It is great that Kamsky is back after his studies, and I hope Carlsen will get an education as well. But please don't call him uneducated before he is able to make that decision.. He is still in high school. Two more years before he can choose what to do.

Shirov is Shirov. He just can't sit and wait, make a calm move like 13...Bd7 and play for equality.
I've ventured a lot of sucessful Kh8,g5,Rg8 attacks in my favorite coffee house.

I saw it as a knife's-edge game by both players. They were both way down on the clock, so both were effectively playing the last dozen-or-so moves at rapid time controls, and it was Shirov who fumbled.

It is a misconception that all IQ tests are rated on the same scale. Traditionally, the average person is 100, but some IQ test have 110 or higher as their average score (and may have different standard deviations). So unless everyone takes the same proctored tests in the same conditions scores are somewhat irrelevant. Someone who gets a max score of 150 on one test may have a higher IQ than someone who scores 187 on another. Besides, high IQ is meaningless if you are an idiot.

Shirov shouldn't have played with fire.

I was only suggesting an agreed exchange, where it is reasonably possible, and to the benefit of all. Greece and Turkey did such an exchange after World War One, and the relations between these two ancient enemies were thereafter good until problems arose over Cyprus and oil in the Aegean sea.
I would frankly suggest a similar exchange between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Do people have a better suggestion for avoiding wars?
Let's be realistic, ethnic origin does mean something to a lot of people and there are tensions when people of different ethnic origins are mixed together.

Z.D. - The majority of Estonians and Latvians did not kill Jews and Russians. There were a few Nazis and Jew killers such as probably Ozols, but these were the exception. Countries like Holland and Belgium had a few Nazis too. And occupied France's record on Jews was nothing to be proud of either.
The orientation of Estonia and Latvia was towards the Western democracies. But given only a choice between Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany, the latter was the lesser evil to them. They did not fight for Nazi Germany, but rather very much against a Soviet re-invasion of their countries in 1944. But be assured that they had no illusions about Nazi Germany - they knew that Hitler wanted to annex their countries for himself.

Whatever. I am not wishing to have a slanging match about politics or religion.


I was rooting for Shirov but am afraid the match is over for him now. Even if he wins with White tomorrow, not an easy task by any means, he will have Black in the final game. Very impressive performance by Gata in this world cup I must admit.

Difficult to understand - for this Shirov fan, at least - why he would agree to a draw in the final position of the 3rd game, with those connected passers on the q-side, instead of continuing with, say, Kf1. Did he see some winning attacking prospects from Black, or was he just short of time...(but I thought the time control was at move 40)? Sure, it must've been depressing that Kamsky'd fought back to give himself counterchances in game 3, but that's to be expected; and now Shirov's in the position of having to win with Black, a tough prospect. Plus he'll have to wonder what would've happened if he'd continued instead of agreeing to the draw. A disappointment to his fans, I'd say; unless there's some concrete reasons/variations someone can show for the draw, seems like a psychological letdown on Shirov's part...but in that event maybe he's not prepared to be the challenger to the challenger [Topalov] anyway. Kudos to Kamsky for his tenacity under fire, and here's hoping Shirov can recover and give his best (which it seemed like he was doing until the end of this game) in game 4.

After Kf1 there's Re8 with a winning attack for black, according to the commentator on Chesspro.

But forget about Kf1 -- why does Shirov move Kg2 in the first place? Why not 38Nc3 or something else that does not open the door to the perpetual threat?

While a couple of people have posted on the pros and cons of IQ testing (I am of the opinion that both IQ and education mean little when common sense is lacking), I still don't know where people get this "fact" that Bobby Fischer had an IQ in the 180s. I'm not saying he didn't, I'm just curious as to where this information came from.

Yep, Nc3 was better than Kg2, but remember they're playing in serious time trouble, and Shirov was also very close to losing - so a draw's not the worst result.

Didn't Shirov win a must-win game with Black against Adams recently?

"Speaking about 10% of Estonians and Latvians - did not they help kill 100% of all Jews and a lot of Russians. If my history is not all wrong a healthy majority of them was on the Nazi side in WW II."

Heh, perhaps one can say that about the Russians, too. After all, the Soviet Union signed the Peace pact with Nazi Germany a week before WWII started, One might say that WWII (in the European theatre, at least) started because of the pact, which divided Eastern Europe into pieces for the taking.

Probably (as you claim) about 10% of the populace of the Baltic countries were serious and willing collaborators with the Nazis, with blood on their hands. They deserve what they got. But Stalin was was never too discriminating when it came to rendering group punishment; many basically innocent people were sent off to Siberia, above and beyond those who were active supporters of the Fascists.

The Russian invasion of 1940 caused many of the Latvians and Estonians and Lithuanians to view the Germans as "liberators". It didn't take long for most of them to become disenchanted with the Germans.

"Sorry but dreaming of repatriating ethnic russians from the baltic states (why stop there chris what about all the ex russian republics) is frankly like dreaming of repatriating all the ethnic africans or indians from Britain. There are people who dream of that and giving them money to go - they are racists and vote for the British National Party. People who are born and brought up in a country have every right to regard themselves as full citizens."

The problem is that you have two fundamental rights that can, in certain cases, conflict. Simplistic formulations and stark declarations are not very helpful in analyzing the merits of a particular situation.

On the one hand, you have the Ethnic Russians in Latvians, who ought not be disenfranchised. On the other, ther is an imperative to ensure that the Latvian people have genuine self-determination. Otherwise the culture will simply get overwhelmed and subsumed by those of Russian nationality.

Given the history of Ethnic cleansing, and outright mass murder which was perpetrated by the Russians, one might say that those Russians who moved into Latvia were serving the role of colonists. That is, they served a military function by consolidating the Soviet occupations.

One must be guided by seeking to find the lesser of the evils, and I think that the stronger argument can be made that the Ethnic based definitions of citizenship is preferable to the destruction of Latvian identity.

While two wrongs don't make a right, sometimes the 2nd wrong redresses the more grievous injustice.

If, for example, Chinese need to leave from Tibet in order for a free and independant Tibet to come into being, then so be it.

The way to proceed is to examine each specific circumstance on a case by case basis, and then try to determine how to make an accomodation that is minimally disruptive, while achieving the most practical benefit.

DOug - very good posts. This is pretty much what I was trying to say.

I would only suggest that the number of the populace who were serious collaborators with the Nazis (in terms of being Jew/Russian killers) would have been well under 10% (or else it was an initial reaction to the horrors that they themselves had suffered).

Finland fought against the USSR [on the German side if you like] 1941-4, but she is not generally regarded as having been a bad guy of WWII. She fought for the same reason - previous unprovoked aggression and spoilation by Stalin's USSR.

That such an upright person as Keres felt obliged to play in the Nazi wartime tournaments shows the plight of the Baltic peoples at that time. Keres was probably also obliged (perhaps against his will) to play in the USSR Championship of September/October 1940, and the USSR Absolute Championship of March/April 1941. While at the same time his country was being looted and thousands of his countrymen were being shipped off to Siberia.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on December 11, 2007 7:36 PM.

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