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Bilbao 08: Aronian Tanks

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Magnus Carlsen was the only winner in the first round of the Bilbao "Final Chess Masters," as the ungainly official event title has it. Levon Aronian displayed the worst side of his instinctual, almost casual, style of play, pitching a pawn for what looked like fair compensation. But he failed to keep up the pressure against Carlsen's stout defense and then, his counter-attack. Carlsen confidently swapped into a queen and pawn endgame and converted it with startling ease.

Anand's prep looked horrible against Ivanchuk's Marshall. Chucky later won a pawn but got into such ridiculous time trouble (as usual) he had to offer a hasty draw with 22 seconds on his clock in the final control (no increment). This short-circuited the standard procedure of having to request the draw via the arbiter and expert panel. Earlier in the round they sent Radjabov and Topalov back to the board to finish out a 4-rook endgame. Might some players have insisted on continuing, even down a pawn, knowing that Ivanchuk would surely flag? The arbiter definitely didn't want to feel responsible for forcing Ivanchuk to lose on time. Apparently Ivanchuk said he forgot what the time control was. Topalov-Radjabov was a clean draw out of the Scotch Game. Photo of the fish tank playing area by John Henderson of ICC Chess.FM.

UPDATE: All three games drawn in round two. Ivanchuk used 40 minutes after Carlsen's 12..a6 in the Dragon. This despite Carlsen having played this exact thing several times, including against Anand a few months ago in their Mainz rapid match. And Radjabov played it against Karjakin a few weeks ago in Sochi -- a tournament Ivanchuk played in! Chucky told Macauley afterward that he was out of book after 12..a6, which is hard to believe even for him. He has a second, after all, Mexican IM Leon Hoyos, and they must have had the Dragon on the menu. Maybe Ivanchuk is just playing too much to do any prep. Anyway, he came up with a new plan and they played a spectacular but brief draw. Lots of fun analysis by GM Har Zvi on Chess.FM. Anand was a little worse out of the opening with white for the second day in a row. His Sveshnikov prep against Radjabov allowed an easy draw for Black. Topalov-Aronian was a clean draw with some fun sidelines.


These glass playing cages remind me of high end glass squash courts. Since this silly chessboxing idea has taken off somewhat (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chess_boxing), why not have them play the game most described as "physical chess" too, and on the same stage?

It might also be fun to turn the cage into a type of biodome, that is to make it self-sustaining and have the players live in it during the tournament. Machiavellian power struggles, primitive food gathering and chess in one shot...

In all seriousness, do people think this glass box idea is an improvement (for the spectators)? While it may give a 360 view and respite for the players, some intimacy seems to be lost. I guess it beats CCTV outside the playing hall -- but only just.

I agree with Andy. I think the glass box idea is the lamest of ducks. All chess games should be played in a storage room out the back of the main arena, a la Fischer-Spassky 1972 round 3.

Now we clearly see the disadvantage of the 3-point scoring system. Ivanchuk and Carlsen played a great and entertaining game, which came to a logical conclusion with a draw by repetition. For this the 3-point system ... punishes them.

Because the 3-point system adresses the "problem" of draws as such, not the problem of unfought draws.

I consider the Ivanchuk swindle unfair. He has mismanaged his play by mismanaging his clock/failing to remember the rules. As both are organic elements of the game, costing his opponent valuable resources during the game to manage well, this should not differ in any way from mismanaging his pieces. Then he proceeded to bail out by putting the arbiter and his opponent into a situation when any response punishing the mismanagement of his play would put them into a morally unaccceptable position. I agree with Anand and the arbiter, in this situation both of them could not have done otherwise.

Thus I consider Ivanchuk's conduct (turning to the arbiter to give him a draw for his mismanaged play, also effectively forcing his opponent to abandon his justified sporting and monetary interests) against the spirit of the Bilbao draw rules and morally quite questionable. See also "I weakened myself hitting you, but now it's not fair for you to hit me because I'm weak".

I'm a bit surprised no one is making the obvious remark about the 3-1-0 reward system. Isn't this system giving the ugly incentive to start cooperating results? What if Anand and Carlsen, seemingly good colleagues_buddies, decide on sharing results by letting each other win one of the two games? Such thinking would result in each having three points instead of the two that come from regularly rewarded draws?


Think you might have a point there.

No veni, vidi, vici for Vishy !

Beaten quickly by team Topa after an unusual move in the QID.

Looking forward to some iridology from El Khalif !

Lest we forget how dangerous Topalov is his demolition of Anand reminds us. I thought at first he was going to be ok after 18 ..0-0 although Topalov's control of the e file was a bit worrying I did not think the position would be lost 3 moves later. It seems 21...Qe8? was fatal and 21...c4 (or the typical computer move 21 .. Nd4!?) was mandatory. Toplaov made winning look so simple against the World Champion.... Kamsky beware!

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on September 3, 2008 11:06 AM.

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