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Corus 08 r6: Mighty Magnus

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Magnus Carlsen rolled over Judit Polgar the way 17-year-olds are not supposed to roll over experienced opposition. The win moved him into clear first place with an excellent +3, 4.5/6 score. That's a half-point ahead of Radjabov and Kramnik, who swapped places with Aronian by beating him in a theoretically drawn rook endgame long after playing a spectacular novelty. The third decisive game of the day was Topalov's marvelous turnaround against Leko. "Topalov's really playing great chess," sez Kasparov, and keep in mind the Bulgarian's second win in a row only brings him back to an even score. Official site.

Over the past year we have all marveled at the development of Magnus Carlsen. Since his breakout performance at the elite level at Linares last year the 17 year old has shown he's not interested in any plateau period before hitting the top ten. His semifinal performance at the World Cup has now been followed by a startling initial six rounds in Wijk aan Zee. Polgar got an unorganized position against him today and Carlsen picked apart her pawn weaknesses like Karpov, leaving her no chances. He has a tough test with black against a surging Topalov tomorrow.

Yes, it looks like the trademark Topalov Surge(tm) is underway. He won his second consecutive game today by completely outplaying Leko on the black side of a Sicilian. Leko seemed to get everything he wanted in positional plusses but Topalov kept dynamic chances alive. 28..g3! was a nice bone in the throat move. Leko should have bailed out with 36.Rxe4 instead of allowing the e-pawn to become a monster. Very impressive game from Topalov, keeping things unbalanced and finally finding a way through against the ultra-solid Leko, who had drawn his five previous games.

Kramnik played the novelty of the year, and maybe last year, with the amazing 25.Nc3 in the popular Anti-Moscow Semi-Slav we've been seeing so much of lately. And in a position Anand had declared "lost" for White after winning it from the black side in a rapid game against Radjabov in Mainz, 2006. This move flips that evaluation on its head and suddenly Black is struggling to survive a vicious attack. Kramnik continued to play nearly instantly as Aronian pondered his predicament. It seemed to Jon Speelman on Chess.FM that Kramnik played a little too quickly at several points, missing better attacking chances to move into an endgame that surprisingly wasn't clear at all. In fact, it seems like the four-rook ending is drawn with best play. Nice to have Spess commentating, as he's one of the world's best on rook endings. He showed how Black could defend passively until White was forced to for the famous rook with f and h pawns versus rook, which is drawn.

That's what happened and it looked like Kramnik's beautiful novelty was about to be wasted. Two extra pawns sound great, but actually this endgame isn't terribly hard. (Sez I, the one who doesn't have to play it against Kramnik with my clock ticking after six hours at the board.) You check your heart out and keep your king in front of the pawns. Eventually White has to play both pawns to the sixth rank and then his king can't escape the checks. That's just how it went, but Aronian forgot to play the checks! Kramnik bided his time, not advancing until Aronian's clock was low (no increment at Corus). Black is still drawing after 100..Ra7?! according to the tablebases, but it's much simpler just to keep checking laterally. If the king comes after the rook, the rook attacks the f-pawn. Easy draw. Aronian's brain and/or clock must have been fried. Instead, Aronian had to find a few only moves and he failed to find them. With the rook on f1 just checking isn't enough, but 103..Ra5+ 104.Kc6 Ra7 is still a draw. Nice play by Kramnik and all, especially the spectacular opening idea, but it was also heroic defense by Aronian just to survive that opening detonation. A pity he had to fudge it all in endgame zeitnot.

The other Group A games were draws of varying interest. Vishy was probably worse by the time he offered a draw to Ivanchuk and his Caro-Kann on move 18. van Wely didn't get anything against Gelfand and saw no reason to play chess. Adams defended well against Radjabov's use of the Ruy Exchange in the line that has amusing exchanges but ends up looking like a Berlin. Mamedyarov-Eljanov reached a humorous blockade position that neither could win.

Brooklyn was in full effect in the C Group, where ChessNinja.com newsletter annotator Irina Krush scored her first win, over top seed Caruana. Unfortunately, Fabiano's from Brooklyn! Can't win for losing around here...


What's up with Short's openings this tournament? He certainly seems to be enjoying himself...

Kramnik-Aronian was not a worthy ending; Kramnik playing Aronian on time in a theoretically drawn position. One commentator on Playchess said that Aronian could have claimed a draw once he had less than 2 minutes on the clock. According to FIDE regulations this can be done when the position is a theoretical draw. I bet Aronian wasn't aware of that.

And btw, the novelty of the year is a computer move. Rybka seez it in a couple of seconds...

Catpower wrote:

"According to FIDE regulations this can be done when the position is a theoretical draw. I bet Aronian wasn't aware of that."

Of course not. How can Aronian possibly know half as much about FIDE regulations as a Playchess kibitzer? No way.

Why couldn't Aronian claim a draw because of the 50 moves-rule?

Because, e.g., 68(f4)+50 is more than 72(f5), and 72(f5)+50 is more than 100(f6), etc.

It seems that some people forget that these endgames are drawn "only with best play"...

Okay, fault, and thanks.
I must have misunderstood the rule. I thought it was simply 50 moves after last time a piece was taken (57+50=107).

Is it true that there is no increment in Corus? If it is indeed so, this is a ridiculous miss on the part of organizers.

It is not ridiculous osbender...

In Corus they play with the old time control.
There was no increment in the old time control. However, there is much more time.

2h/40+1h/60+30min for the end of the game. At the final time pressure, when under 2 minuttes, the player can claim a draw if it is a position that cannot be won by the opponent theoretically and he is not making effort to make progress. This however, was not the case in the game Kramnik-Aronian, so Aronian could not have demanded the draw...

It would be foolish not to test your oponent, regardless of Tablebase claiming that the position is a theoretical draw.
The players know that there is no increment, so they have to adjust to that - end of story.


Of course, controls "x mins for the end of the game" are ridiculous at this level (as well as any other for that matter).

First of, this wasn't present in the old "serious" time control. It was popular at expert level. Secondly, it was employed at the expert level because the clocks were analogue, so increment time controls weren't possible. Thirdly, employing such time controls is a sure way to degrade the end of the game and introduce all kinds of possibilities for unethical behavior, accusations in unethical behavior, abuse of power by arbiters, accusations in the said abuse, conflicts etc.

Increment automatically eliminates all these and easily done technically, so why not? This is coming from someone who is rooting for Kramnik btw.

A tremendous demonstration by Kramnik of how to pressure in a 'drawn' endgame, even bringing in the extra otb dimension of the clock.
Catpower could re-read the FIDE regulation: a draw may only be claimed by the defender if the attacker cannot win, even with the co-operation of the defender. There are very few positions like that - KK, KBK, KNK, I think that's it.

Osbender, first of all, I agree that increment could make sense at the final time control (after 60th move). However, I argue that the incapability to manage your time is not an excuse. 110-60=50 This means that Aronian spend 30min in 50 moves in a rook endgame. 50*30sec=25 minutes which is less than the time he actually had. After all, the ability to a play an endgame in 30minutes is something not too hard to ask.

Note that I am NOT a Kramnik fan. Also note, that myself have frequent trouble managing my time and the time control with increment suits me very well. However, I recognize that time-missmanagment is not an excuse.

Finally, correct me if I am wrong, I can recall international tournaments and olympiads having the time control that is used in Corus now (wasn't the Kasparov-Kramnik match also?).

When that time control was used, there were no digital clocks, and there was adjourning games.
Aronian is still capable to (shared) win this.


Unethical behavior is a very relative term, and in this case the only way to apply it here is by saying that the clocks are more a necessary evil than an integral part of the game.

If no increment is to "degrade the end of the game", then so is a one second increment, and three seconds and so on. Where does it end? Who shall be the judge to say that 34,7 seconds is enough to awoid speculations regarding "unhical behavior"?

The point about deadlines is not to provide time, but to provide ends. The rules are the same for everybody, and known to all, which makes it unfair to those winning within the rules, to start debating "unethical behaviour".

You are missing the point Quely. Even with one second increment Article 10 in the FIDE Laws of Chess does not apply and subjective decisions by the arbiter are avoided.

Well, Kramnik played that endgame in 1 hour and 30 minutes! (he had more than one hour of advantage in the clock and at the end he only had 4 minutes left).

I see no reason why this endgame should be a claimable draw. It is certainly better for the stronger side than the initial position, and the mere fact that Aronian, one of the best players of the world, could not hold it, tells that the defending side's practical problems are serious enough.

playjunior: There was a time, that adjourments had been abolished but digital clocks were not yet availiable. At that time this time control was used (take most international tournaments at the period 1996-2002 for example).

What a beautiful way Aronian completely outplayed the KID in the KID!

It seems that Topalov is overpressing against mighty Magnus -- a scary proposition.


For the most of the course of the game, I was thinking it's Radja who is winning...
By the way, Queen Polgar is still suffering from yesterday's loss against Carlsen. Was that exchange of queen for rook pair necessary?

@ g: Wrong - Fide regulations require that after a draw has been claimed under this rule that the opposite party shows the game is won. Since it was a tablebase draw this would have been impossible for Kramnik.

The FIDE rules actually state:
Article 10: Quickplay Finish
10.1 A `quickplay finish` is the phase of a game, when all the (remaining) moves must be made in a limited time.

10.2 If the player, having the move, has less than two minutes left on his clock, he may claim a draw before his flag falls. He shall stop the clocks and summon the arbiter.

If the arbiter agrees the opponent is making no effort to win the game by normal means, or that it is not possible to win by normal means, then he shall declare the game drawn. Otherwise he shall postpone his decision or reject the claim.

b. If the arbiter postpones his decision, the opponent may be awarded two extra minutes and the game shall continue in the presence of an arbiter, if possible. The arbiter shall declare the final result later in the game or after a flag has fallen. He shall declare the game drawn if he agrees that the final position cannot be won by normal means, or that the opponent was not making sufficient attempts to win by normal means.

If the arbiter has rejected the claim, the opponent shall be awarded two extra minutes time.

The decision of the arbiter shall be final relating to 10.2 a, b, c.

And to anticipate further discussion; normal means can only be best play imo.

It cannot be the case...

The starting position is draw with best play. However is rich enouch and if the player does make an honest effort to make progress this is sufficient. The rule, is to avoid players playing random moves up and down to win on time. Is NOT supposed to save you in positions that you could reallisticaly blunder.

I don't think the intention of Article 10 is to give an advantage to the player with little time left.

For instance in todays game, Eljanov cannot stop making moves, let his clock run down from 30 minutes to just under 2 minutes, and then claim a draw because he has a tablebase draw.

Well I would be very interested to have the practical implementation explained by a FIDE official. What is normal play then? Normal mistakes?

But yes, it seems GM's need to study their tablebase endings better. Van Wely is now caught in his second theoretical tablebase draw position this tournament. That's 3 in total. Never seen it before...

You guys don't understand the basics of the rule about claiming a draw. You can only claim a draw when the position is very simple and there are few pieces on the board: e.g. Your opponent has an h pawn that your king is directly in front of and he is moving his king around randomly in an attempt to flag you. Just because something is in the tablebase does not mean it is trivial to draw - GMs blunder tablebase draws regularly. As computers get more powerful, even more things will be theoretically drawn with best play that humans can't reproduce, but we can't expect arbiters to analyze these huge files and judge whether something is drawn enough - it has to be a clear draw that even a 1300 player could understand.

Isn't it a matter of rules and keeping up with progress in chess?

The example of K+h pawn and 1300 elo is completely arbitrary.

For professional, top level chess you could agree that 5 or 6 piece endgames that are tablebase draws should not be allowed to be won on time trouble and are as much theoretical draws as your K+h pawn example.

For a 1300 player there is as much probability of loosing such an endgame with seconds on the clock as for Aronian in his game.

Would that be fair?

Catpower, I don't get your point. Why would it be fair to prevent chess players from playing chess? As far as I can see, your suggestion would just lead to players letting their time run down to two minutes whenever they defended a difficult but theoretically drawn endgame.

When I was told of the rule, I heard the defending player had to be able to demonstrate the draw easily to be able to claim it.

I tend to think in lines of: pawn + bishop vs bishop of opposite colour. If the defending player can demonstrate that he can just move the bishop along the diagonal of the advancing pawn, taking it at the first opportunity, then the claim is good. Nonsensical moves like hanging the bishop or moving it out of the diagonal (barring special cases here) don't factor in.

You can't easily demonstrate a draw from the starting position, and if Aronian could easily demonstrate the draw in the position against Kramnik, he would have lost on the flag and not the position.

The point is that even top players wouldn't be allowed to play on time trouble in tournament games.

Imo Aronian had proved that he understood and could defend this endgame and Kramnik deliberately waited until he had seconds on the clock to force the error.

I wouldn't be content with such a victory and bet Kramnik wasn't proud of it either.

"I wouldn't be content with such a victory and bet Kramnik wasn't proud of it either."

A win on time is just as good as any other: if Aronian ran out of time it was because Kramnik had set him sufficient problems for Aronian to be able to solve them in the time allowed.

Ok one last effort to make my point.

Ofcourse Kramnik was allowed under the current rules to play on and basically win on time.

However, the following is not an unrealistic scenario in modern chess:

Player A 'suprises' player B with a 40 move deep home prepared, computer aided variation.

Player B 'looses track' on move 25 and starts solving the problems on the board - ie playing chess!

By move 80 player A has 60 mins left and player B 2 mins.

The game is a theoretical (tablebase) draw and for the last 20 moves player B has proven that he knows how to hold this endgame.

However, player A deliberately starts playing for player B's time trouble and still clinches the game.

Now, imo classical time control was never intended to play your opponent on time. That's what blitz is for.

So, with modern, shortened time controls, and all this deep computer preparation, wouldn't it be fair to add a 10' or 20' increment per move, once a player has reached his last 2 minutes?

To Quelly,

I'm not debating unethical behavior, I'm debating the ridiculous time control employed by organizers. Indeed, ethics is always relative, and one of the main purposes of increment is to take discussions of ethics out of the picture, together with the necessity for an arbiter to make a judgment call. It seems like catpower also finally realizes why there should be an increment, also his criticism of Kramnik is absolutely irrational.

Now to our concrete situation.
1. This endgame should never be a claimable draw, because it's quite easy for the weak side to go wrong. This endgame would be played out even if both players had 2 hours on the clock.

2. A win on time is not "just as good as any other". If Player A flags Player B in a dead drawn K+R v K+R endgame, there will be an outrage and rightfully so. It's one thing to win on time because your opponent couldn't solve the problems in the time alloted and quite another is to win on time because you can shuffle the rook faster (especially if we are talking about classical time controls).

The real problem of the time control "to the end of the game" is that it puts indisputable points 1. and 2. above in contradiction. Suppose both pawns start at the 4th rank. The game can go on for 200 moves before both pawns advance to the 6th rank and it still wouldn't be a claimable draw. So the strong side can simply play on time without even trying to win it on the board and it still would be wrong for an arbiter to interfere and it would be impossible to call the guy doing it a slimeball since you can't tell whether he is blatantly trying to flag or just looks for a mistake.

That's why organizers of serious events should never employ such time controls, unless we are talking blitz/bullet, of course.

If Kramnik-Aronian was a claimable draw, then why did Aronian misplay it and lose?

Meanwhile, I think Carlsen's draw as Black against a surging Topalov was extremely impressive. Not only can the 17-year-old Norwegian hold his own against the top players, but he's leading this whole danged tournament.

Sorry to post twice in succession, but earlier someone implied that it was a draw because there had not been a capture in 50 moves. The rule is 'capture of a piece or move of a pawn" and therefore the move 66. h6 reset the 50-move counter. By the way, so did the move 107. h7.

Catpower, old chap, you haven't got a clue. The others are right. If you go to chesscafe.com and look up some of Geurt Gijssen's old columns, this situation is discussed in one of those.

Having increments at the finish is not such a clearcut decision either. They mean that the attacker can play on 'for ever' and physical exhaustion becomes more of a factor than it does in a single sharp scramble. They also mean that you can't, for example, have a twenty-minute think, understand the position, and then play quickly after that. Of course arbiters like them because they're easier for arbiters.

Ironic that this ending could have led to the very position Aronian won against Carlsen when Carlsen blundered in a theoretically drawn endgame - conducted during a time scramble with increment, I believe. Did anyone think that was unsporting? Or perhaps that Carlsen was being unsporting when he got his own back by winning Q and P -v- Q with the defender's king in front of the pawn, against Aronian in the Candidates matches. Again on increment, I believe.

Time is not the main factor in defending these endgames. Exhaustion is.

I dont agree with catpower about it being unpsporting of krmanik to play and win on time and buy the way his position wa winning at the end . On yhte other hand those saying there was no basis for a draw claim may not be right either. The fact is the rule is ambiguous. i personally witness Radjabov protest a loss on time on an internet cadet world championship. the arbiter called the game a draw AFTER Radja's time loss on Radjas protest. Radjabovs case was he had been asking for a draw he had less than 2 minutes time and it R + pawns v R + pawns a known theoretical draw "page ... of smyslovs book" the young radja kept saying and finaly his opponent was not trying to win by normal means. My point is this: it was not a mickey mouse drawn ending and and there is a genuine confusion about what amounts to winning my normal means - blatent moving back and forth ok but more subtle versions of this who knows?? If aronina had offered a draw when under 2 minutes had it refused he could have gone to the arbiter and said I have a theoretically drawn anding and here is how you draw it but i will lose it because of tiem shprtage. Tht would have put the arbiter in a very awkward spot indeed. Anyway he should definitely have tried this because the only risk was a small time penalty awarded to his opponent and he may have been able to refuse to sign the score sheet and lodge an appeal if the verdict went against him. Hardcore tactics but no worse than Krams sudden switching of moves to flag Aronian. krams got some form for this he did it to Leko in their rapid match and apologised afterward (kept the point though!)

Cant help but be a bit critical of Aronians prep - he went for this line there is only a few games here and if you switch on Rybaka or Fritz Nc3 pops out immediately and its obviously a prob for black.............

Cak: I did not even broach the subject of arbiters decisions, but rather Obsenders points about discussions of unethical behaviour. Please read what I actually write before attacking. My main point is still that the rules are the same for everybody, and is known beforhand.

Obsender: If you state that "ridiculous time controls" brings forth discussions of unethical behaviour, then you've brought unethical behaviour into the debate. You actually say that the main point of increments is to avoid discussions of unethical behaviour! And silly me thinking it actually had to do with time distribution and more balanced games.

And I believ your point 1 and 2 above to be in contradiction of each other. The only difference between "shuffle the rook faster" and Kramnik-Aronian ending is the degree of complexity. And to solve the two different problems you would need different increments, perhaps 2 seconds and 30 seconds. What then about more complex tablebase draws? would we "degrade the end of the game by only giving 30 second increments when it was a theorethical draw, just extremely hard to find?

Again my main point is: This sort of argument will be relative, no matter which time controls that are applied. And of course: The rules were clear and known before the game started.


You keep twisting slightly my words to make your case, which is quite underhanded tactic in a discussion that brings forth the subject of ethics :).

For starters at no point I argued that "main point of increments is to avoid discussions of unethical behavior". It was one of the points of increment, not the main one, reread what I wrote above.

If you are fine with wins achieved by shuffling the rook in K+R v K+R in Corus, sure, keep defending this time control. I somehow feel that it's not what chess is all about, let along classical chess.

Going back to rdh argument "Having increments at the finish is not such a clearcut decision either...Time is not the main factor in defending these endgames. Exhaustion is. " I feel it's completely fine and sporting to win the game by exhausting your opponent.

The discussion of the proper increment is completely different can of worms. As with any time control it should balance the need to finish the game in reasonable time and provide enough time to play quality chess. Whatever is the right balance is a subject of debate of course.

Obsender: It is not my intention to twist your words, I did reread, and it seem you twisted your own words abit too: I said the main point, you said one of the points, the actual wording was one of the main points... OK, so we disagree, and I appologize for the misrepresentation of what you said.

I see your point about shuffling the rook, but in order to get on the loosing side of that one you must have mismanaged your time, since there are other limitations in effect. So yes wins on time are equally good as other wins.

I do not have strong feelings about this or that time control, what annoys me is when you hint towards unethical behaviour as a result of one.

Chepainov just lost to Short because he didn't want to shake hands twice. Short claimed it and the arbiters ruled 1-0!!

[Event "Corus Chess 2008"]
[Site "Wijk aan Zee"]
[Date "2008.01.20"]
[Round "8"]
[White "Short, Nigel D"]
[Black "Cheparinov, Ivan"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "2645"]
[BlackElo "2713"]
[PlyCount "2"]
[EventDate "2008.??.??"]

1. e4 c5 {1-0 Frederic (To all): Everyone know what happened in
Short-Cheparinov? Frederic (To all): Short tried to shake hands, twice, but
Cheparinov refused Frederic (To all): Short then claimed a win. The arbiters
did not know the rule Frederic (To all): So they all went and checked it out
on the FIDE site Frederic (To all): And there it was explicit: immediate
forfeit Frederic (To all): Nigel is in the press room but says he cannot
explain Frederic (To all): He says he can only speculate: Probably because
Chep is part of the Danailov/Topalov camp and they are upset at something
Nigel said on the Kramnik-Topalov match Frederic (To all): This is the
first time the rule has been applied Frederic (To all): I'll put something
up in half an hour (on www.chessbase.com) Frederic (To all): Nigel said it
was not one of his best games ever, but certainly will go into the collection
of his most memorable games Frederic (To all): Cheparinov said he was
willing to shake hands after they told him he was being disqualified
Frederic (To all): But of course the damage had been done already, it was an
emotional blow} 1-0

(from playchess.)

Cheparinov's forfeit to Short (which will no doubt be protested by Danailov) should serve as a warning to Topalov to shake hands w. Kramnik when they play; or will Danailov take it as a challenge and tell Topalov not to shake hands "on principle"?! If so, is Topalov stupid enough to listen to him? Or will cooler heads prevail? Or will Kramnik refuse to shake?!? Is it a double forfeit if both players refuse?!? How is that scored?? 0-0, like castles?!?!

Is this Danailov sounding out the issues before the Topalov-Kramnik game?

Danailov on Topalov/Kramnik (not) shaking hands in Wijk: http://interviews.chessdom.com/silvio-danailov-january-2008

Mig. I am a white belt subscriber, and I have not been getting the white-belt issues for several months now.

Either start sending them again, or REFUND MY MONEY!!!

I visited this page first time to get info on people search and found it Very Good Job of acknowledgment and a marvelous source of info.........Thanks Admin! http://www.reverse-phone-look-up.net

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on January 18, 2008 2:55 PM.

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