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Anand-Kramnik Ready to Rumble

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This is it! Tomorrow is game one of the 2008 world championship match between incumbent Vishy Anand and incumbent-to-some Vlady Kramnik. The game begins at 1500 local time in Bonn, Germany and 9am EDT. Note that Germany ends Daylight Saving Time on Sunday the 26th and the US doesn't, so starting with game nine the games begin at 10am EDT. The schedule is two games, rest, two games, rest until the end, when there is a rest day on October 30 between games 11 and 12. If necessary, the four tiebreak rapid games will take place on November 2. The time control is my favorite: classical with no increment until the third control after move 60. (40/2, 20/1, g/15'+30".) Kramnik has white in games 1, 3, 5, 8, 10, 12.

The results of our poll to pick the winner were as close as could be. It was 52-48 Kramnik until the last day or two when it edged a bit toward a dead heat, ending at 51-49 Kramnik after 1267 votes. Coincidentally, Garry Kasparov stated a few weeks ago that it was very even and that if he had to give an opinion it would be 52-48 for Kramnik. Kasparov and several other experts I've spoken with have mentioned what they call Kramnik's off the board advantage since he is very close with the organizers and sponsors and can expect to feel a little home-field advantage. Anand tends to hope for the best and not fuss over such things until they actually come to pass, by which point it's too late to do much about them. Let's hope all the fighting is on the board this time around.

Live coverage isn't as simple as should be in this event. The official site barely makes mention of the existence of an official live broadcaster, called FOIDOSchess, that is promising live multi-camera video and commentary on a pay-per-view basis. (9 euros/13 dollars per round). It's my understanding that all other broadcasts must be delayed by 30 minutes, although how they plan to enforce this is unclear. (Don't get me started on move copyrights for the zillionth time.) By mutual agreement, I suppose. I can't find anything else on the official site about a broadcast, delayed or not. Weird. We'll see what appears tomorrow. It would be sad if you couldn't even follow the bare moves without a delay without paying money. It's hard to believe the organizers think that 30 minutes will make the difference between paying to watch and not paying. Either you have a quality broadcast service worth paying for or you don't. Getting the ICC and others to delay by 30' isn't going to lead their members to buy your service if it's not excellent anyway. Unless fans are more desperate than I thought.

I'll be on ICC Chess.FM with GM Joel Benjamin one way or another, live or live-ish, depending, and Macauley Peterson is in Bonn for the ICC for on-site coverage and video. We also have New In Chess prizes for trivia during the live show, House of Staunton chess sets each round for Game of the Day trivia prizes, and Kasparov-signed books for best listener call in each day, sponsored by Everyman Chess. If you're an ICC member and have Skype, you can call in with your thoughts on the World Championship and maybe your call will be played on the air. Just Skype 'iccchessfm' and give your ICC member name at the start.

Opening press conference reports at ChessBase and ChessVibes. If this is where we'll be getting our photos let's hope one or both of them learn to use the white balance setting on their digital cameras before the games begin. (Hint: not "auto".) Or at least the 'set white point' in Photoshop. Jaundice has a cure... See what I mean?


Mig, I was online on playchess and got message there that moves will be relayed in real time without delay, so it seems they are getting the real time live feed, I am sure even ICC and others will also get it. Cheers!

"Anand tends to hope for the best and not fuss over such things until they actually come to pass..."

Kasparov could probably give Anand some lessons on fussing about things before they happen, about fussing even if nothing happens.

Thanks for the note about German Daylight Savings time; I'm sure it would have caught several people out (me included).
"...incumbent Vishy Anand and incumbent-to-some Vlady Kramnik." LOL - full points Mig.

Chessbase is working with the organizers and may have been given an explicit exemption from the "rules" the Bonn organizers have sent out about respecting a 30 minute delay. I believe the ICC is trying to talk with them about this as well.

Exactly, Greg. Kramnik learned those lessons and Danailov has shown a quick study. Being the first to annoy is another way to go for psychological advantage and attacking instead of waiting for the other guy to do it. Anand was put off his stride in 1995 by relatively minor things (relative to 1972 and 2006) that made it clear he wasn't the one in charge of the environment. Kramnik will have a similar advantage in Bonn. Vishy, really more his seconds, ended up sounding like sore losers in 95 because they waited until the match was over to complain about how he wasn't being treated as an equal.

This isn't a defense of the practice, only pointing out that Anand, despite being the incumbent according to FIDE (like Topalov was in 2006), is again at a disadvantage in this department. And certainly such things are as old as the game itself, definitely as old as formal WCh matches. They'd have to seal the players in Danailov's glass cubes for the entire month to avoid it. But we can certainly dream about not having any such issues over the next three weeks.

I was trying to use the ChessBase interface with the live relay feature, but it entails writing a script to parse moves from a file on the chessbase-online.com server. It's not user-friendly and my programming skills are long past their glory.

You can see Kramnik's home-field advantage clearly in yesterday's press conference. He looks confident and relaxed.
Vishy comes over a bit lost, sitting next to (chief organizer and friend of Kramnik) Josef Resch. He didn't touch his drinks. Poisoned tea variation?

9 Euros per game sound ridiculously expensive to me. Even if I knew there won't be technical issues (with my previous-generation notebook), and they have solid comments, I wouldn't start considering to pay that much.
Maybe the real goal is to push Fritz sales and schach.de memberships.

Um, the 30min delay makes no sense. It assumes one of the players will cheat, but what stops on-site seconds from relaying moves in real-time?

The essential is to (1) check for electronic devices; (2) make signalling to the players by non-players impossible. (As they appear to be doing.)

So this silliness inconveniences the entire chess world for no reason.

Am I missing something?????

(The 30min rule may make sense for a large money tournament like the World Open, where 1. a person checking up on a table every move would be suspicious; and 2. the electronics and signalling checks are weak.)

(Sorry, I skimmed the post and didn't read carefully.) I see the business model now. Sell monopoly broadcast rights to an official party.

Does any of Vlad's seconds play 1.c4 regularly. That's my guess for the first move today! Think Vishy will use 1.d4 but may use an early 1.e4 just to see what opening (Petroff?) Vlad will use. LEt the games begin.....

I've got this time machine which I use sometimes for important events.

So I've checked what will happen today.
Kramnik will start 1.d4 and it will boil down to a 24 move draw after about 3 hours play.


Duncan does 18.Nxg6 occur ?

Does anyone have a list of sites that will provide analysis? I know chessdom, ICC commentary, Foidos, chesspro there must be others? Can anyone add to the list?

No Brian.

Move 18 is a bishop move.


It appears chessdom has a live relay up.

Quite a principal trade-off: open c-line for b pawn. I hope they play on a little bit longer. I would like to watch how they play those seemingly simple positions. Do the different advantages/disadvantages really balance out to equality? Can one side make better use of its bishop than the other?

17..a5 18.f3...this is draw but they feel obliged to pretend playing another 15 moves

Kramnik is out for blood in the only style he knows: accountant chess.

Speaking as an accountant, I'll take that as a complement! :)

here the moves appear to be live


does anyone know if there are live audio commentaries for free?

Foidos is doing a decent job with their web broadcast. But they do not have a video camera zoomed close-up on the chess board. Just for human feelings, I miss that. The 2D updated diagram is easy enuf to see, but it lacks ambience or provenance (or whatever the word is).

All I really get is a close-up of Anand's face and Kramnik's chair. Kramnik rarely stays at the board when it is Anand's turn to move. These pattern of absence detracts from the event for us spectators.

Yasser Seirawan predicts variations in the English commentary. One can chat (one-way) to Seirawan to ask little questions about variations.
Around move-pair 18 Seirawan took a 20 minute break (went off air).

Kirsan's assistant is being interviewed live, but not in English, so I do not know if it is interesting.

The bandwidth of Foidos seems fine. Overall Foidos is doing a good job.

Foidos got its bugs fixed only at the last minute. For instance, I believe their demo works now, though it was failing yesterday.

Hi, SonofPearl! Actually, I like Kramnik and accountants. I was just being snarky.

Thanks GeneM for giving a decent description of Foidos. It would be lovely for us, who are not using Foidos to know tits-bits of their services.

After 23. Ra1-d1 Rc6-c2, Kramnik is taking a long think. Kramnik has only 34 minutes left (in the first time control), while Anand has 48.

So, I just now noticed that Foidos game score display does not include the time taken per move. I recall that Mig has expressed frustration that this basic piece of information seems undervalued in chess publishing -- and the computerized web would seem to have no good excuse for this omission.

However, Foidos is not alone in snubbing time-taken-per-move information. This unfortunate snubbing is already another established "tradition" in chess.

Wow. Kramnik plays e5. I wouldn't have thought about that, pushing the "wrong" pawn.

Bartleby--but d5 would be met by e5, and then the white e-pawn is a permanent target. I think that's why Kramnik played e5.

We can expect a draw now.

Yes, I can see it now. Everything balanced out. Draw is fine by me.

Does home-field advantage include splitting the prize money equally? Pretty much the only advantage Anand has as incumbent are draw odds.

Does anyone know how to get the chess base light to work on a linux (ubuntu) PC? It loads up well enough using wine, but then playchess can't seem to access the internet.

Foidos is using silverlight instead of flash so that isn't friendly either.

Chessdom is fine, but would prefer playchess.

Boring. I bet there will be no games like this one in Topalov-Kamsky.

I will be perfectly content if there will be ANY games in Topalov-Kamsky.

No surprise from Anand slav defense - he played very solidly against Kramniks exchange line. Playing exactly the line David Vigorito recommends in his excellent book on the semi slav up to 13....Bxg4. Vigoito gives the whole line as harmless for black. I suppose Kramnik was hoping for something else - I wonder what? 3 full time seconds and 6 months preperation for this nearly USD 200,000 worth of wood shifting in a slav exchange?? I assume that is the one and only outing for this line in the match. I imagine Kasparov's comments are unprintable but I expect tomorrows game will be a bit more active! Lets hope so.....

Bartleby, do you play civ by any chance? or my mind is playing tricks on me...

I don't know. What does civ mean?
Maybe there's a Bartleby impersonator around?

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on October 13, 2008 6:08 PM.

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