Greengard's ChessNinja.com

Reenter the Dragon

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With apologies to Bruce Lee. Just when you thought it was safe to bash the Sveshnikov, the Dragon Sicilian has reappeared in Baku. Grischuk dealt it for an easy draw against Bacrot in the 6th round and Carlsen won with the Dragon in the next round against Radjabov. Great to see this sharp line back for another whirl. The last time a 2650+ played the Dragon was Zvjaginsev's 23-move loss to Rublevsky's quiet line in the Russian Team Ch that just finished a few weeks ago. Nakamura has used it to good effect in the past year. Carlsen tried the Dragon a few times when he was winning the Corus C back in 2004, but it's hard to say why the Dragon bug bit Grischuk, who hasn't played it in a serious tournament before.

As often happens when White is surprised by something sharp, (see the Dragon's first appearance in the 1995 Kasparov-Anand match) Bacrot played a tepid line that allowed Grischuk to equalize easily. Radjabov, perhaps now forewarned, didn't back down and played the Yugoslav against Carlsen, but he lost a typically double-edged and sacrificial battle. The comp sez Radjabov could have scammed an undeserved perpetual check draw with 32.Qd7. He tried the same thing with 32.Qf3+ but ran out of checks.

This first Grand Prix tournament has turned into a real battle. Most of the favorites have been tagged for losses while even the tail-enders have proven to be dangerous. Ivan Cheparinov is trying to show his Bulgarian boss's trademark late surge after starting the event with a rare Audi. He has come back to win two against Inarkiev and Mamedyarov to dig out of the cellar. That place is now occupied by David Navara, the only winless player. Leaders Gashimov (with wins over Kamsky and Svidler), Wang Yue, and Grischuk are all +2 undefeated after eight rounds with five to play. Carlsen and Kamsky are a half-point back.

Quite a few nice games in this hard-fought event. Svidler hasn't attacked anything bigger than a ham sandwich in a while so it was nice to see him show the old fire and rip into Karjakin for his sole win. Lots of interviews and other material on the official site.

Missus Mig and I are currently enjoying a last-trip-before-baby fling in Paris. And though our hotel has wee-fee, as it's pronounced in the quaint local idiom, chess and blogging aren't tops on the agenda.

Hmm, maybe if I can play a few games in the park and annotate them I can write this trip off as a business expense.


Good to see you again. Your old friends in this blog were stabbing you in the back while you were gone. They came to the conclusion that you are not interested in chess anymore and decided to dethrone you and choose another blog master.
Wish you a very happy vacation and an easy labor for Mrs Mig afterwards.

Congratulations, and enjoy the vacation! Your old friends and not so friends will be back, it is still the best show in town...


Cool shades B-)


I know you didn't mean to be rude re the shades comment, but surely you must have known that Mrs. Mig is (of course) blind.

Congratulations! Paris is quite a place for a pre-baby trip! If you and the misses like chocolate, here is the best hot chocolate in the world: http://pagesperso-orange.fr/la-charlotte/index.htm

jardin the luxembourg behind the museum is the place to play a few off hand games, will be waiting for you

Nice photo! Nice family!

Mig: I can only assume that your latest post is an implicit invitation to DD fans to suggest baby names. Thus:

Akiba, if it's a boy.
Nona, if it's a girl.

As a nickname, "Miglet" will work for either sex.

Congratulations, Mig. Under these circumstances, take all the time you need, and thanks for the update.

Miglet. ROFL. Nicely done, Mr. Greengard. Congrats.

Garry is one of the world's top 100 public intellectuals:


Hey Greg, isn't that a NYC band -- Blind Redhead?

And hey Mig, nice fat-pig dig at Svidler, who helped your career early on by dropping your name with effect; but by the looks of it, he's not the only one storming the baguettes these days.

Hello Mig, nice photo, also this building in background, first I thought you were near the Odessa opera.

In Russian chesspro forum there was a poem (not mine) about the "match purists", below is Altavista-like translation, should sound nicely.


the original is here:

ho ho now I understand your moaning about the weakness of the dollar - france is very expensive for poor dollar earners where the mighty euro reigns supreme. The wines still cheap - but I guess you cant have that out of solidarity for the missus. Anyway please no more pathetic excuses for not posting several times a day - dont you know your here to serve us and not fob us off with this pathetic family tosh.

Miglet should of course be named after the Dragon! Here you'll find some suggestions:


I think VOR makes a good name. Enjoy Paris Mig and congratulations on your growing family.

If you need a guest blogger, I would be happy to help. Seriously. I'll be good!


the band is called "blonde redhead".

Koster and Clubfoot .... good job :-)

actually I didn't know. Btw, the shades comments (although not clear in my post) was for Mig's, as they reminded me of the Matrix movie.

cc Mig,
apologies if my comments seemed rude. I was not my intention. Happy holidays.

tsn, Koster's comments were of course meant to be humorous, i.e. only a blind girl would fall for Mig, and have to be interpreted in the long history of animosity between the two. Koster has demonstrated an almost pathological dislike of GK and all he associates with, and sometimes feels compelled to criticise Mig just for the sake of it, bringing GK into the conversation often times when there is no relevance. This often exasperates Mig, who once memorably admonished him to "get his head out of his ass", a sentiment which many readers of this blog sympathised with.

tsn, please disregard d_tal's comments re animus between Koster and Mig.

d_tal is a frequent and spirited poster on this site (to my mind, anyone who regularly reminds us of Tal's greatness is indispensible) but too often demonstrates a pathological dislike of GK [Greg Koster] and all he associates with, sometimes feeling compelled to attack GK with the fallacious logic of a fetishist.

As Mig's pecuniary association with Kasparov began to affect his journalism and blog entries, GK was among the first to identify conflicts and dangers in Mig's casually shared biases and received opinions. Predictably this often exasperated Mig, who pitched the game more than once by losing his temper ("get your head out of your ass", "you are such a JACKASS, Koster" etc).

Today, thanks to GK's efforts, Kasparov-related Chessninja ledes can be closely scrutinized to determine the exact moment when Mig's soul leaves his body. This may not have been possible without GK's tireless efforts to track Mig's arc from sui generis chess journalist to fembotic Kasparov hireling, all the while making for a more entertaining blog.

I am believer in the invincibility of the caro kahn but 1 e4 c6 2 d3!!?? seems going to far. I guess Radjabov has decided that he is so good with the KID he wants to play it with white. Pretty much lost after 20 moves strange play from the local boy.... meanwhile Wang Yue is a bit like the great wall of china how many more top GM's have china got??


China has several top GMs... four close to 2700. Wang Yue has been over 2700, but has fallen below.

Here is the order:

Bu Xianghzhi (2708)
Ni Hua (2704)
Wang Yue (2689)
Wang Hao (2684)

They have several up and coming players including GM Li Chao (2582) who is 19 and GM Zhou Jianchao (2580) at 20. The chess world doesn't know about them because there is narrow coverage in mainstream chess media.

Strangely enough, some people (even on this blog) do not see China as a chess power. By the way, Chinese women have dominated chess for 15 years with five Olympiad gold in a row and three world champions... with a future champion in 14-year old Hou Yifan.

Thanks for the info Daim. I think the Chinese are a strong chess nation and as you say are certainly dominant in womens chess. Wang Yue has been impresively consistent - I dont think he has had a position throughout the tournament where he was significantly worse and thats very good at this level.

Assuming every team brings the top players, my personal impression is that in Dresden olympiad coming this year, Ukraine is a favorite, closely followed by Russia, which in turn are closely followed by Armenia and China. USA, Israel, Hungary, France, Azerbaijan (they have very strong players, but strong players does not mean a strong team, and they have to win something serious yet) follow.

China's silver medal was real and they are much stronger now than in Turin. I doubt if Russia will medal in this Olympiad... they don't play well as a team. Kramnik played in Turin and Russia didn't medal. The talent pool is spreading.

The medals will go to a combination of China, the Ukraine and maybe Armenia or Azerbaijan. Russia will make top five though. Not sure if Anand is playing for India. Hungary? France? Don't sleep on Vietnam, they are about 10 years away from being a strong nation. India will be there as well. Chess will get exciting as we will not see the same 10 players in every top tournament.

Hungary has a great team, Leko is solid as a rock and Polgar, if in shape, can be horrifying on board 2. Their board 3 and 4 are also very strong (I recall their board 3 was around 2700 in one of team competitions, the name was Almasi if I am not mistaken ). It's a pity that Leko and Polgar skip the olympiad sometimes.

After Armeina got the gold and China got the silver, they will have much harder time in this olympiad against teams like Russia and Ukraine. Don't forget that Russian's 2nd reserve and China's 1st-board may have around the same rating. Morozevich is on top of his carrier, and Kramnik is as strong as ever; personally I would bet my money on him if he alone took vs China in a clock simul ;)

I agree that Chinese work better as a team, but you cannot expect miracles every time when a team's top-board is lower-rated than the reserve of opponent's.

kramnik would get wiped out in a clock simul against the chinese team. Their 4 top players are all playing over 2700. Wang Yue just crushed Svidler the 3rd highest ranked Russian player today - it looked lost after 18 moves - and is leading the tournament and must be favourite to win it

I would think that Russia would not medal in this Olympiad. I would vote from amongst Ukraine, Armenia, Azerbaijan, China for the medal spots. Hungary did pretty well last time without Leko and Polgar. The way Leko has been playing lately, having him might be a liability.

bla-bla-bla,we've got a lot of profets here and most of them are russia bashers.i didn't see you posting that much last year when russia crushed the opposition at the european team ch.,against all the team you mentioned minus china(and they beat china 2 years ago 3,5-0,5 to claim the world team title;andthey had pretty much the same lineup)mamedyarov and radjabov scored '0'at the first 2 boards against svidler and moro.i am not stating that russia is the sure winner,so they'll finish at the bottom of the table so you guys can sleep tight


Two years is a long time in chess. Russia's elite are declining. The future rests with Grischuk (25), Jakovenko (25), Inarkiev (23), Timofeev (23) and Nepomniachtchi (18). Not a bad nucleus. However, China crushed them in a match last year.

Russia is still a force, but the days of dominance are over. The talent field is leveling quickly in the day and age of technology.

"Two years is a long time in chess. Russia's elite are declining. The future rests with Grischuk (25), Jakovenko (25), Inarkiev (23), Timofeev (23) and Nepomniachtchi (18). Not a bad nucleus. However, China crushed them in a match last year."

Actually, if you count only the results between the men in that Russia vs. China Team match, China only finished +1 against the Russians, with most of Russia's top players not deigning to represent.

Russia's problem was consistancy: Alekseev scored an impressive +4, but Timofeev seems to struggle in team events (as he did recently at the Russian Club championships).

Anyway, Jakovenko is the only member who could be considered part of the "A" team.

Russian Men
1 Alekseev, Evgeny g RUS 2689 7.0 2816
2 Inarkiev, Ernesto g RUS 2663 5.5 2703
3 Jakovenko, Dmitry g RUS 2735 5.0 2667
4 Tomashevsky, Evgeny g RUS 2654 3.5 2557
5 Timofeev, Artyom g RUS 2650 3.5 2557
Chinese Men
1 Bu Xiangzhi g CHN 2685 5.0 2678
2 Wang Hao g CHN 2624 5.5 2714
3 Wang Yue g CHN 2696 5.5 2714
4 Zhang Pengxiang g CHN 2649 5.0 2678
5 Ni Hua g CHN 2681 4.5 2642

If current trends continue, with the Top Chinese players continuing to make marked improvement, it is likely that 5 or 10 years hence the Chinese will be crushing the Russians--and everybody else.

Maybe in 10 years, there will be China vs. the Rest of The World matches. (perhaps the 2008 Beijing Olympics are a preview of China's utter sporting domination.

"What about Mrs. Mig, his wife of less than two years? Didn't she, using the handle, "Ms. Terious," fill in for Mig on one occasion, some months before he unveiled her as his bride-to-be?

Or can it be they are no longer together....?

Posted by: Jon Jacobs at April 30, 2008 00:38"
What a "two-fer"!:

Jon Jacobs again demonstrates his utter lack of class, while at the same time exhibiting just how wrong-headed he can be when he indulges in making baseless speculations.

The obvious explanation for Mig's declining "blog productivity" was that the joys of family life were superceding his impulses to feed new posts to the Daily Dirt crowd.

Still, Jacobs is never so obtuse as when he blathers on about the economy....That stuff about the Fed was priceless.

One thing we should remember when comparing the Chinese team against Russia or others is their average age.

The A team of Russia is aging. Except Grischuk, they are all around 30. While the Chinese team has an average around 20.

It's true, when China played Russia last time, the Russian team didn't field Kramnik, Moro, etc. However, Russia did field their strongest players under 25. They are the strongest next generation Russians. So it is a match between the strongest under 25 from both countries (except Grischuk). It might be an indicator of what is coming in the next 5-10 years.

Another thing about the Chinese players is that until very recently, they only have very little chance to get experience against top 20 players.

Compare with europeans, who at venues such as european team tournaments or even national leagues have good chances to come across & get experience against the elite, who often play there.

For example Wang Yue. Before Baku, in the last 2 years he only played 4 games against top-20 players (all draws, not bad, but still 4 games is small statistics). At Baku, he played more games against top-20 than he ever did previously in his life, which would be a good experience for him. So far it seems like he's holding on at +3 with 1 round to go, so at worst ending at +2.

More results against top 20 will give the Chinese experience, and will show whether they could actually brake it through to the top, or land on a plateau and stay around top 50, as many strong grandmaster do, like say Rublevsky or Bologan who are quite strong, and regularly stay within rank 20 - 50, but never quite break it all the way to the elite.

However, very recently a few chinese got enough exposure to get them invited, even at the Russian team tournament. Good for them. Hopefully they'll get more invites at higher category tournaments, and let's see how they'll manage.

For readers who may have been mystified by the seemingly pointless spite exhibited in DOug's above reference to me, here's the explanation: I showed him up so thoroughly in two prior threads, that he's become obsessed with getting some sort of 8-year-old's idea of revenge...

That is why DOug came to lift my above good-natured poke at Mig - which had followed a long string of similar pokes by other regular readers (well, some of the others were less good-natured and less humorous than mine) - and plunk it here, a thread where I believe I haven't posted at all, and then tar it with a bit of DOug's own otherwise incomprehensible bile. Indeed a classic demonstration of DOug's utter lack of class.

By way of context, here are links to those earlier threads. They provide an alternately entertaining / saddening case study of how someone, DOug, can repeatedly hold themselves up to ridicule in print, all the while blissfully unaware of what is going on.

First: http://www.chessninja.com/cgi-bin/mt-comments.cgi?entry_id=1502 (scroll down to discussion of a USATE touch-move incident, starting from my comment of March 20, 17:23)

Second: http://www.chessninja.com/cgi-bin/mt-comments.cgi?entry_id=1505 (CAUTION: Lots of highly off-topic, i.e., serious economics, material here, so you may want to pass if totally non-chess stuff bores you. On the other hand, the spectacle of DOug, a self-important amateur, going up against a working pro should provide a good quota of amusement. Next thing, he'll try debating Nakamura with chess analysis.)

Finally, here is the thread from which my comment about Mig and the missus was so unceremoniously - and revealingly, in terms of DOug's state of mind (and I daresay, level of character) lifted out of context: http://www.chessninja.com/cgi-bin/mt-comments.cgi?entry_id=1512 (Go down to the end, my comment was 3rd or 4th up from the bottom; but don't neglect glancing at the 20 or 30 comments that preceded mine, so you'll how DOug lifted it out of context to serve his own pathetic, d*ckless little stab at trying to vindictive.)

Daaim said:

"The future rests with Grischuk (25), Jakovenko (25), Inarkiev (23), Timofeev (23) and Nepomniachtchi (18). Not a bad nucleus. However, China crushed them in a match last year."

Don't forget Alekseev, and perhaps also Tomashevsky.

I agree, not a bad nucleus, but definitely less than what their great predecessors did around the same age. Kramnik, Moro, & Svidler were already safely inside top-20 at around 20 years. None of the younger Russians (except Grischuk) seem to be doing that.

The career path of the younger Russians (except Grischuk) seem to be pretty similar to the young upcoming Chinese. See for instance their Elo progression. That's why the comparison of China and Russia in 5-10 years is valid. Not now, when Kramnik etc are still at their peak, of course Russia is still stronger overall. But we are talking 5-10 years from now.

It is probably true that currently new talent is more widely spread across countries.

The current 5 best juniors (all of whom are now in the top 100) are all from different countries.

When we go down the list of best juniors, the same pattern of spread continues. The 2 countries with most representatives are, guess who, Russia and China :-).

If we count the number of players in top 100, of course Russia still has the most, by far. But if we count the number of young players, the picture changes.

Top 100 players, age 25 or under:
Russia 7
Ukraine 6
China 4

Top 100 players, age 20 or under:
1 each for 5 countries,
including Russia & China.

Correction: Russia has 8 players 25 or under, in top 100. I forgot Riazantsev is also top 100.

Never ever stop this blog, Mig.

It keeps more loonies safely indoors than all the padded cells in Bellevue.

If it's a girl, I vote for Charity, then you can name a tournament after her.

For a boy, how about Stonewall.

Thank you gk (... not), d_tal, and clubfoot.

I'm aware about the bickering re GK (all caps) and Mig's bias. But tricking an innocent bystander into thinking his comments are offensive... well, actually makes me smile now (it made me feel uncomfortable several days back).

This just shows how young this poster is in dailydirt years.

I've always been a China-naysayer becuz the pipeline's empty after this generation (youngest Wang Hao, b. 1989).

The system that developed this *one* single generation of talent does not seem to be in place anymore.

OTOH, these players like Bu and the Wangs (Yue and Hao) have surprised on the upside. Maybe two years ago when none were over 2650 I thought MIG was hallucinating in thinking they could get to 2700 and even the top ten, but now even the latter's in play.

tsn, further to my post, Clubfoot's comments are on the other hand, often worth a read, being genuinely witty and original on occasion, although degenerating to the genre of profane rant rather too often. I take the tone of his comments to be a barometer for whether or not he is sticking to the prescribed dosage of his meds.

We have had many debates on China on the DD. One of them was about 200 posts of people saying the Chinese were overrated and got their rating by beating up weak players. We see now that their strength is representative of their ratings.

Anyone who has followed chess trends for the last 10 years will know of China's (men) upside. I first saw Chinese at the 1983 World Youth Team in Chicago. There composure was impressive and I knew then to keep my eyes on them. I remember when they came to the National Open (USA) in 2001. The promise was evident then... I think Zhang Zhong won the tournament and few had heard of him. There was also a nice article in New in Chess about the crop of youngest Chinese stars coming up. Wang Yue was one of them.

In addition, SH says there are none after the current crop, but the sheer size of talent coming thorough the pipeline combined with the inertia of drive will produce some incredibly strong players... some stronger than the current crop. There is another young crop coming up and many are not titled, but have high ELO ratings. They will follow the path of Ni Hua who was a 2568 FIDE-rated untitled player.

We may also forget the previous generation that produced Ye Jiangchuan who was 2670 who is now a trainer. Many of us miss other emerging chess developments and rising players because there is not a lot of coverage. Wei Lei, former national player on the women's team, told me at the 2001 National Open that there were many talented youngesters coming up in China. There is no reason to believe the pipeline will run dry after Wang Hao.

"(Go down to the end, my comment was 3rd or 4th up from the bottom; but don't neglect glancing at the 20 or 30 comments that preceded mine, so you'll how DOug lifted it out of context to serve his own pathetic, d*ckless little stab at trying to vindictive.)

Posted by: Jon Jacobs at May 4, 2008 23:16"

Jacobs' rhetoric is so "Over the Top" that it literally had me in stitches.

Sure, read Jacobs' post--again and again. It's a cautionary example of why one should never post anything to the Internet when one is angry.

Compared to JJ, the Rev. Jeremiah A, Wright Jr. is a paragon of equanimity and reason.

Well done, Jon: You've managed to discredit yourself better than anyone else might have done.

Folks, stay tuned for another installment of "Jon Quixote" tilting at the Windmills of his mind....

Speaking of blind:

Is it true GK avoided Blindfold play like a bad Mig Joke?


SH said
"I've always been a China-naysayer becuz the pipeline's empty after this generation"

After this generation? Meaning you wanna talk about players who are now 15 or younger?

It is very hard to judge the true extent of the potential of 15 or younger players based on say their Elo, because around 15 is often the age they jump upwards from out of nowhere. They might be nobody at say 13 or 14, and after only a couple of years they're up there in the ratings list.

For example, Wang Hao was under 2200 when he was 14, and within about one year he got 200+ points and found himself at 2400+.

Of course there are exception of players who are already strong before 15. Carlsen, Radjabov, etc. But the point is that there are also players who jump into the top list right about or slightly after 15.

So the point is that you cannot make real good predictions about players under 15, and who or how many of them will make it all the way up. It is too fuzzy. Some of them might be about to break through.

And by the way, if you insist on checking players under 15, China currently does have the strongest player under 15. Even before turning 14, she has already beaten the likes of Sargissian, Short, and Sutovsky, plus various 2500 level grandmasters. If you don't know her, you have no business talking about young players.

By the way, while China has been producing strong players, they seem to be losing some too.

They lost Zhu Chen, and earlier on Peng Zhaoqin (former regular candidate player), who are now playing for their new countries.

More recently, they lost Zhang Zhong, who is now in Singapore - and of course also his wife Li Ruofan, who was one their top female players.

Some say the Chinese were overrated and got their rating by beating up weak players.

Actually the Chinese did produce consistently good results against 2600 level players, and even survived at the few chances they have played top 20 players.

For example, in 2007, Wang Yue scored +5-2=21 against non-chinese top-100 players. It shows he at least belongs to the upper 2600s, according to results against players at the appropriate level.

I agree with Doug that JJ's remarks regarding Mig are totally tasteless and classless.

The witty one-liner in question:

"Or can it be they are no longer together....?"

The author calls this his "good-natured poke at Mig"

and "some of the others were less good-natured and less humorous".

DOug comes out of this one better than JJ.


You should read the thread. I think it was when the "July 07 rating list" was released. Put this in the search box on this blog and read the calculations people offered to prove Chinese were over-rated. It was laughable.

Someone on another thread said the Chinese now have four 2700 players on the live list...


To add to what you've stated. Some of the players that will become tomorrow stars may be in the beginning of a rapid ascent, or may not know how to play chess yet. How long has Hou Yifan being playing chess? Not long.

All those players leaving China gives room for younger talent.

Daaim, I've read something similar about the Chinese being overrated. But I do my own statistics. For instance, I calculate rating performances against different groups of opponents. And from any aspect that's relevant in my opinion, in th last 2 years the Chinese players deserve to be at least in the upper 2600 level.

In the few chances they play 2700+ opposition, they still manage to hold on. In the last Olympiad, Bu drew Kramnik, Anand, and Aronian. And Wang Yue had not actually lost against any 2700+ he played in the last 2 years.

As for the live list: Bu, Ni, and Wang Hao got boosted by their performances at the Russian team, as I mentioned before. And Wang Yue of course got his at Baku.

My left-handed, red-headed daughter is not blind. Mig is a very good-looking guy, otherwise I wouldn't have let him be the father of my granddaughter. The only question is, will she be bald, or have a big red Afro. Blonde Red-head, Bald Redhead, or Blind Redhead-- all good names for La Miglette, or La Migletita.

Post-ironic Mom

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    About this Entry

    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on April 30, 2008 3:48 AM.

    Beasts Loose in Baku was the previous entry in this blog.

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