Greengard's ChessNinja.com

Linares 08 r8

| Permalink | 50 comments

[Sorry for the delay. My electricity was out this morning, as it is every year when the snow melts and the cable pipes flood.]

The Linares tournament is back in Spain after a four-day break. Will it ever be in Morelia again? The organizers didn't sound too confident. Almost definitely not next year. Anand just beat Shirov for the second time to move to +3 and extend his lead. Ivanchuk again handled his clock the way a virgin handles a bra hook and flagged making his 40th move against Carlsen. Kudos to the kid for keeping the pressure on and reaching a sharp endgame, although the consensus was that White was better most of the way. Ivanchuk left himself 35 seconds for 18 moves and was of course totally lost when he flagged. Insane. That's Carlsen's third win in four Linares games against Ivanchuk. Radjabov-Leko was a fascinating game with a knight sac by Radjabov that turned into R+B+N+N vs Q+N. This was drawn in mutual fear on move 39 with seconds on both clocks. A pathetic result that instantly becomes a poster child for move minimums. Aronian played the nice 38.Rxe7+! shot against Topalov to avoid nastiness and seems to be getting the better of things in the only game still in progress. (1-0 Aronian after 65 moves. Anand now with a full-point lead over Aronian and Carlsen.)


What does Henrik feed Magnus? I want that too! Is it raisins? Is that the secret??

Game drawn by mutual fear

I like that

> My electricity was out this morning, as it is every year when the snow melts and the cable pipes flood.

Probably that's the price you've got to pay if you want to live in such an exotic location. Maybe we can collect for a power generator, and donate it to your remote jungle village.

Great entertainment in Linares. It's hard to believe we are just past halftime in this tournament. So many things have happened already.

Such a slugfest this has been so far and still complaining about draws? ;)

Shirov does not deserve to be playing at this level!


Shirov just beat Topalov a few days ago. Last time I checked , he is no: 1 in the rating list.

Sorry, I meant no: 7 in the rating list in the above post

Carlsen at +1. I predict +3 from here on out for him and clear first, including his first wins against Anand and Leko.

I listened to macauleys comment on the broadcast today, but chessbase, based on henrik carlsen's blog, says 54 seconds for 12 moves... of course, 4,5 secs in not much better than 2 secs... whatever, while you believe in ivanchuk melting every won position, I used to root for him, at least till morelia... I lost my faith in chucky (something he himself lost many years ago, it seems...) hey, now hes not the killer toy anymore, just a doll who cant handle a wristwatch!
well, just joking, ivanchuk is still awesome... and blitz world champion :)

The Sofia rule would have prevented the Radjabov-Leko ending fiasco. At least, the minimum number of move-pairs before draw offers are allowed should be >= the number of move-pairs demanded for the first time control.

Due to the material asymmetry, years from now anyone who replays the .PGN for this drawn Rad-Lek game will *wonder what the clock times* were (a big part of this game's story).
- - - -

The Ivanchuk flagging argues that the 5 second delay (or additive increment) is *too/unnecessarily skimpy*. Would upping it to 10 seconds ruin the T.Organizer's schedule??

How does a virgin handle a bra hook?


I did well at my first unhooking. Nowdays, I have mastered the slick onehanded technique.

Thank you op and Dondo. Now do you think Radjabov will unhook Topalov's KID today? Or will it be a slav? Or a Najdorf?

" Topalov was joined in Linares by his well-known manager Silvio Danailov" (chessbase)

Wow, Topi had a plus score in Morelia without Danailov's signaling?!

"Wow, Topi had a plus score in Morelia without Danailov's signaling?!"

Beats 50+ trips to the bathroom........

Wow Anang,d's preparation is , not to mention his talent. Right now it seems just below the greats - Fischer, Kasparov, Karpov, etc. By the way if having trouble getting games on official site, chessok.com seems to be working again with evaluations by Rybka every move.

The page shows topalov rabjabov (round 9) agreeing to a draw at a point the tablebases are declaring a win for white. what gives? Is there an error in the game transmission?

Almost certainly a draw was agreed after 54.Kh6. Had Black made another move, it would have been 54...Kf7, repeating.

"54...Ke5" was probably putting K's on (I'm guessing? - not quite sure how the electronic boards work) e4/e5 to signify draw.

Tyler---yes, a "phantom" error that has occurred already 3 times in this event! The game actually ended 54.Kh6 NICHYA as Chesspro.ru where I was following it correctly put it. But the DGT boards use as their signal for end-of-game placing both Kings in the center. This caused 64...Ke5?? to be recorded as a legal move.

The Linares official site http://www.soloajedrez.com/ciudaddelinares/anteriores.html still has this error in Carlsen's games in rounds 5 and 8.

One could write a funny piece about whether ghosts in Morelia and Linares are making moves on the chessboard, and work in something like this debunking of the "Ohio Gas Station Ghost" (which was on a CNN.com front-page sidebar for three whole days!): http://youtube.com/watch?v=RlNynxlZflc&feature=related But actually the moves are being made by the disembodied hands of...the arbiters.


The last Black move was almost certainly not ...Ke5. On a sensory board, when the players agree a draw, they are supposed to put their kings on specific squares to indicate the draw. Probably White offered a draw, and Black accepted, and the players put their kings onto the relevant positions - and I assume one of them is e5 for Black.

Obviously in practice Black would play ...Kf7 to reach a drawn position.

And it has happened again! The move 80...Kd5 accompanying "1-0" in Carlsen-Shirov just now undoubtedly was never played!

Aha - Shirov did not go for the ultimate cheapo with 80...Kd5, either.

Perhaps if it were programmed so that the K of the player NOT ON MOVE had to be moved first?

seems Shirov suffered a brain meltdown in a drawn position with Ke5??

Carlsen is now No 4. in the Live List. Incredible. At Age 17.

Indeed. Ahead of Topalov among others. A couple more wins and he is #3.

So now he has only Anand, Kramnik and Moro in front of him. What a heck of a career to come. He could dominate chess for years.

And he (MC)obviously plays to win. And seems less confined with the established theorethical openings and defencive play, as opposed to many of his "draw expert" co-players, like former expert of negative defence Swede GM Ulf Andersson. Tg (Thank G. !!)

As it is, DGT boards require both kings to be put in the center simultaneously to record the result correctly.

It should however be noted that at the age of 17 Ulf Andersson was known for his fearless attacking play, so things certainly can change as a player grows older. Although it also should be noted that neither Andersson nor his victims at that time were world elite players.

Amazing. Another gift wrapped win in a dead drawn position for Carlsen. Hallmark of a great champion...

That said, Shirov needs to give up the Moller sooner rather than later; it doesn't provide him with good positions, and never really has since the theory has been worked out. If White knows what he is doing, the bishop on c5 doesn't do anything...

Leko's really off form.

I have yet to be impressed by Carlsen's play in this event, even though he's scored well. Aronian has played better chess by far, but (Three!) now gift wrapped wins is tough at Linares.

Three "gift-wrapped wins"? You're delusional, gmc. Carlsen pressured the hell out of Ivanchuk and Shirov and they both cracked. Shirov was always worse; the comps may have said Ivanchuk was better but it was always balanced on a knife-edge. He also outplayed Aronian beautifully.

Carlsen in now the #4-rated player in the world at age 17. Looks like you're going to have to get used to him, gmc.

@gmc: You are using "dead drawn" quite loose. It may have been objectively drawn, but it was a fascinating fight, if Shirov could manage first to exchange all the other pawns (which he did) and then to give his bishop for the passer (which he didn't). Carlsen found tactical solutions to achieve his strategic goal.
"Dead drawn" is imho when there is no way to play for a win.

As a woodpusher, I would have liked to see the end of (R9) Carlsen-Shirov played out.
Presuming 1K1N4/8/2R5/4k3/8/8/7b/8 b (rather than what is posted and caveated by kwr), Depth to Conversion is 19, non-trivial for me. What are the principles involved?

"aronian has played better chess by far"

why did aronian lose against carlsen, then?

that aronian makes fewer mistakes than some of his opponents, isn't very strange when he decides to pass on most of his white games.

aronian-shirov draw in 19 moves, lots of play left.
aronian-anand draw in 27 moves, lots of play left.

aronian-topalov around move 20: black has equalized and has some initiative, aronian would accept draw if offered

aronian-radjabov draw in 24, some play left, black is slightly better.


regarding carlsen-shirov, shirov was close to defeat for 50 moves and then cracked. it could've been over much sooner; at move 26/27 his position was strategically dead lost, for instance. however, due to small inaccuracies and in hindsight wrong choices by carlsen on several occasions, the game went on for 7 hours instead of 3,5.

consider this:

1) 27. ra6! keeping up the pressure, and shirov is in all kinds of trouble - passive, out of moves, and low on time. probably the best practical way to play for the win for white.

2) 30. rxc7!? yesterday i thought this was a draw with best play, but the complicated lines that follow are almost impossible to handle for a human at the defending side. so while the objective outcome might be a draw, the practical outcome would almost always be a win for white.

3) 41. na5! seems to be clearly better than 41. nd2. after 41...f3+ as in the game, white plays 42. kh3 and white's queen-side passers look completely decisive.

4) 43. rd3!? might be harder to defend against than the line carlsen played

5) 43. ng5!? seems to be a real challenge too - as an example, consider this line: 43... rxg3 44. rd7 rc4 45. rxf7+ kg8 46. rb7 bd6 47. b5 rxh4 48. ne6! re4?! 49. rg7+ kh8 50. rxh7+ kxh7 (forced, kg8 loses to rg7+ and rxg6) 51. ng5+ kg7 52. nxe4 bc7 and the distant passer and well-placed knight on e4 decides. it's hard to find improvements in this line, but avoiding the exchange of rooks by playing for instance 48... rg4+ 49. kf3 h5 gives a some hope for survival, similar to the game, but a little worse.

however strong our super-gms are, they don't play perfect chess, and particularly not when under pressure, whether on the board, on the clock or both. more often than not, being low on time is a result of pressure or complications on the board, something both players are partly responsible for.

consistently defaulting to "oh, carlsen's opponent blundered again - how can anyone be as lucky as carlsen" just indicates a lack of understanding of what's going on. believing that luck is a key factor when someone works his way from 2528 (july 2005) to 2765 (current live rating february 29th 2008) in 2,5 years, just takes a lot away from an extraordinary and hard-working chess talent.

"wow, shared 1st in corus and clear 2nd in linares after 9/14 rounds - what a lucky fellow" - yeah, right... :o)

frogbert how do you know that Aronian would have accepted a draw against Topalov if offered?

jean, i don't 100% know, but it fits his "psychological profile". :o)

consider today's aronian quote:

"It was a good moment to offer a draw because of the time trouble, and I clearly wasn't better anymore."

said after draw was agreed on move 31, in another unfinished game, in my opinion - much play left in the position, but aronian was yet again happy with a draw and unwilling to demonstrate it otb.

What am I missing in Carlsen-Shirov? If 79 ... K any, doesn't Ne6 just win? Sure Ke5 is embarrassing, but the other moves still lose. I think.

After for example 79...Kf5 80.Ne6, Black has 80...Rg1!, which is very irritating.


Thanks for the reply, but....

79...Kf5 80.Ne6 Rg1 81.Rc2 Bd6 82.Nc7 Rg8+ 83.Kd7 Rb8 (83...Bg3 84.Ne8 Rg6) 84.Rb2 Be5 85.Rb5 Ke4 86.Ne8 Kf5 87.Rb1 Kg5 88.Nd6 Kf6 89.Rd1 Rh8 90.Rf1+ Kg7 91.Re1 Bc3 92.Ne8+ Kg6 93.Rg1+ Kf5 94.b8Q

Seems to win.

Carlsen reminds me a bit of Gata Kamsky in the 1990s, who was noted for achieving unexpectedly good results by grinding out wins, blundering rarely, giving tenacious resistance in inferior positions, playing opportunistically and relentlessly applying pressure. Look what Kamsky did to Nigel Short in their match....However, the touchstone of a World Champion is Middlegame skill, and I don't consider Carlsen to be in the Top 4 in that aspect of his game. Not yet, at least.

Kamsky's toughness won many games, but ultimately Karpov was not impressed in the Elista match. The point is that it is possible to adapt to a player of such qualities; it is largely a test of one's character. Anand and Kramnik have a stronger "psychology" than, say, Ivanchuk or Shirov. We'll see if Carlsen can demonstrate superiority over them.

The problem with a tournament such as Linares is that the field is so small that the inclusion of a particular player makes an outsized difference--especially since the format is Double Round Robin.

Would Anand be in 1st Place if Shirov had not been invited?

I don't agree. The way you can tell a champion in the making is always the same: he sees what others don't in the openings, and particularly in the main lines. This was what marked Fischer, Karpov, Kasparov and Kramnik out, and it seems to me Carlsen has it too - prepared or not, he produces significant new opening ideas in all sorts of established systems all the time. I respect those good judges who said awhile ago that Aronian would be the next champion (unless it's Anand, of course [forgetting thse silly tournaments]), and Aronian has these qualities too, but to my eye Carlsen has them to the greatest extent of his generation, and that's why I think he will be the one.

Actually, of current grandmasters I think the players with the best ideas and middlegame vision are probably Topalov and Aronian. However, Kramnik and Anand are just somewhat stronger (at least relative to Topalov in any year but 2005 - I think Aronian will be 2800 some day) generally; Anand is the best -bad- middlegame player in the world (that is, no one is better in a strategically worse position), and Kramnik is the best -good- middlegame player in the world (that is, the best in a strategically positive position).

Ivanchuk may be more talented and imaginative than any of them, but he can't play chess to save his life.

Absolutely right; no-one wins more bad positions than Anand. The Kramnik-Anand match, assuming it happens, will be fascinating for this reason. It seems to me it would be folly for Kramnik to take on the anti-Moscow stuff, but the indications seem to be that he will. Although already he'll be masking his intentions and keeping his powder dry, I'm sure. And also very interesting to speculate on what he'll do as Black. I even wonder if we might see the Berlin again. I see the tenor of the match being decided by Kramnik - Anand I think will go with the semi-Slav and Slav and 1 e4.

Any talk of someone dominating for years seems completely misguided and out of touch with modern chess at the top level. There is no possibility of anyone dominating in a way that Fischer karpov or kramnik did neither in terms of rating gap nor strings of top level tournament victories. There is just not that much difference between the top level players. Right now anand and kramnik seem the strongest players more difficult to beat and more consistent than the rest - but its not by much. Carlsen may be world champion one day so might Aronian or Radjabov. At the monent Carlsen doesnt have that diffiuclt to beat aura that Anand and Krmanik have and it s hard to inagine them losing like Carlsen did - its was quite a depressing game with misjudgements that are perhaps age related. The opening choice for one thing was he going for a win against Leko in this super sharp line? Or was he playing for a draw by heading for an inferior but holdable endgame where he seemed lost? Where is magnus equalising system against e4? Look what anand did - he plays the sicilian but he whipped out the super solid caro to cruise to an effortless draw against Radjabov.

"There is no possibility of anyone dominating in a way that Fischer karpov or kramnik did neither in terms of rating gap nor strings of top level tournament victories."

Surely you mean Kasparov instead of Kramnik?

yes I meant kasparov

" It seems to me it would be folly for Kramnik to take on the anti-Moscow stuff, but the indications seem to be that he will. Although already he'll be masking his intentions and keeping his powder dry, I'm sure. And also very interesting to speculate on what he'll do as Black. I even wonder if we might see the Berlin again. I see the tenor of the match being decided by Kramnik - Anand I think will go with the semi-Slav and Slav and 1 e4."

- I don't know, I think it is likely Anand will not go into the Moscow variation. I think it is too dangerous with both the Topalov Nxf7 idea AND with white probably having something in the Nxd7 lines. I think it would be very risky to play the Moscow as the main system in a match against someone as good in the opening prep as Kramnik. I think Anand may well decide that Catalan is the lesser of the two evils. Even if Anand really had faith in the Moscow variation, who is to say Kramnik won't find some holes in the Meran lines, for example. But if Anand chooses the Moscow, it may end up being a very exciting match.

I also think it is possible we might see the Berlin again. Or the Petroff. Kramnik prepared the Berlin for the Kasparov match and Petroff for the Leko match. It is possible he had some other drawing line prepared (Caro-Kan? Marshall?) for the Topalov match, but Topalov never played 1.e4. I think Petroff is more likely than the Berlin, simply because it is a little less annoying to defend. But Anand seemed to get some decent chances against Kramnik in the Petroff in the last round of Wijk earlier this year, so you never know.

Another big question is whether Anand will dump 1.e4. He probably wont, but if he thinks it s impossible to get an advantage against the Petroff, it is a possibility that he will switch to 1.d4 instead of pulling a Kasparov and wasting his whites on a drawish line.

And I don't know if I share the opinion that

"Anand is the best -bad- middlegame player in the world (that is, no one is better in a strategically worse position), and Kramnik is the best -good- middlegame player in the world (that is, the best in a strategically positive position)."

I think it depends. If there was a bad middlegame position and I had to pick a player to defend it, I am not sure I would pick Anand. I think it would depend on the circumstances. If the side to defend were way down on time in a crazy Sicilian I would pick Anand. But if it was some queenless middlegame with a possibility of exchanging into various technical endgames, I would pick Kramnik. Bad middlegames often turn into bad endgames, and while Anand has shown he is as good a player as anyone in bad dynamic endgames (for example, Leko-Anand in this Linares), I still think Kramnik is probably the best endgame player in the world.

Also, I think it is not obvious Kramnik is the best -good- middlegame player in the world. It would again depend on the middlegame.

Twitter Updates

    Follow me on Twitter



    About this Entry

    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on February 28, 2008 2:42 PM.

    Morozevich Bails on FIDE Grand Prix was the previous entry in this blog.

    Linares 08 r10 is the next entry in this blog.

    Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.