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Yawn in Bonn and Game 1 Drawn

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[Thank goodness this isn't in Munich. What rhymes with Munich? Punic? Eunuch in Munich?]

Kramnik used the Exchange Slav to warm up a bit and get a risk-free position with his first white. Anand was never in any danger after simplifications and Kramnik soon agreed there was nothing to play for. It was the sort of position Kramnik adores, but there just wasn't enough meat on the bones for a meal even for him, at least not against Anand. 21.Re2 is one of the few suggestions for this one other than "don't play the Exchange Slav."

Kramnik might win such bland positions 1/10 against average GMs, but against Vishy it would probably be closer to 1/30. But the ice has been broken, swords have been crossed, and the nerves and opening jitters have been released. Now let's hope we can get down to business. Will Kramnik walk right into Anand's Petroff preparation or does he have some surprises in store to gain time? Kasparov has another theory, mentioned at the bottom.

Your might think that because of those initial nerves the first game of a world championship is special mostly for historic reasons, not chess reasons. But we do get action and drama with surprising regularity. There is a relatively high percentage of decisive first games. An amazing 25 of 38 game ones were decisive! That's 65.7% compared to 44.6% decisive for non-first games.

1886 Zukertort-Steinitz. The eventual match winner takes the first game only to lose the next four in a row. Hmm, something I never noticed before: Steinitz trailed at one point in all five of his world championship matches. Even his rout of Chigorin in 1889 wasn't a rout. He trailed the Russian three separate times in the first half of the match.

Lasker won game one of his first four WCh matches (Steinitz twice, Marshall, Tarrasch). Of course Schlechter broke that streak, which Lasker resumed when he flattened Janowski in 1910.

Alekhine put Capablanca on notice with a blistering win in game one. He wouldn't win again for another three weeks. The shortest decisive game one was Alekhine's demolition of his favorite client Bogoljubov in their first match in 1929. Black was getting mated with his king on d7 after 26 moves. Against Euwe, Alekhine won the first game in the match he lost and lost the first game in the match he won.

Botvinnik and Smylov reversed that trend in their three matches. All three first games were decisive and all three were won by the eventual winner of the match. Or, in the case of the 1954 match, by the player who kept his title by virtue of draw odds. Tal famously took out Botvinnik's French in their first match and went on to win. Botvinnik returned the favor a year later, winning game one and the match. The Patriarch also beat Petrosian in game one in 1963, but could score only one more victory and lost his title.

That mirrored how Petrosian lost the crown to Spassky six years later, winning the first game with black but losing the match. Of course the most famous game one of all, one of the most analyzed games in chess history, was Fischer's loss to Spassky. Pawn grab blunder or calculated risk? Only game two from that match was analyzed more. So three new champions in a row lost the first game.

Game one of Korchnoi-Karpov 1978 was the shortest first game ever, an 18-move draw. Three years later Karpov won the first two games and then three out of four. He also started strongly against Kasparov in 1984, though they drew the first two contests. The famous Marathon Match looked more like it would be but a short sprint at the start as Karpov won four and drew five to start. But then...

Kasparov needed 32 games to score his first win over Karpov in their first match in 84. He only needed one game in their second. He did trail in the match after five games, however, and didn't take the lead for good until the 16th game. (Ahh, feels so good to write "16th game." This 12-game stuff is for sissies. 20 ought to be a legal minimum.) The two K's drew the first game in each of their subsequent three matches.

One of the most dramatic first games ever was Kasparov's win over Nigel Short in 1993 -- on time in what had gone from a winning position to a difficult one in time trouble. Short failed to exploit a superior position in game two, lost games three and four and the match was over. Anand and Kasparov 1995 started out with eight consecutive draws, still a record. Anand drew first blood in the 9th game but then, as he put it, had a tiger by the tail and couldn't hold on. Kasparov won four of the next five to make the final score look a lot worse for Anand than the match really was.

Kramnik unveiled the now-legendary Berlin Defense against Kasparov in the very first game of their 2000 match in London. Perhaps even more critically for the eventual result, he demolished Kasparov's choice for black, the Grunfeld, in game two with a strong novelty. Feeling at sea at the board after just two games Kasparov alternately flailed and faltered, not winning a single game from fifteen. Kramnik again started off well in 2004, beating an over-pressing Peter Leko on the black side with some deep preparation in the Petroff. Remarkably, Kramnik's only wins in the match were the first game and the last, which he had to win to tie the match and retain his title.

Against Topalov in 2006, Kramnik jumped out to an early lead again, though more thanks to his opponent than in the earlier matches. Like Leko in 04, Topalov pressed for a win in game one and ended up with a loss. It was even worse for the Bulgarian in the second game, when he had a clear forced win missed by both players and went on to lose again.

In light of all that, today's Exchange Slav looks even tamer. Kasparov wondered if Anand might not try to rub Kramnik the wrong way in game two by opening with something other than his habitual 1.e4. "Leko switched to d4 against Kramnik and had success. Anand could try the same thing." This makes me wonder if the world would be a different place today had Kasparov more quickly come to that conclusion himself in 2000!

Here's the official site, but there's nothing there I can see yet. Post your links to analysis, photos, and other coverage. Joel Benjamin and I had fun on ICC Chess.FM goofing off with listeners and playing their calls on the air. Also giving away a lot of stuff. Need to kill some time with a game like this one, though newly proud papa Joel did a great job of making it interesting and educational, as always.


Nice first-game historical overview.

The yawn in Bonn belongs mainly out on the lawn.

I would be really surprised if Kramnik actually played the Petroff. On the other hand Kramnik surely wont repeat his mistake against Leko and he will have prepared against 1 d4

If you want to rhyme with Bonn, you should
try words like "run", "gone", etc.
"Yawn" just doesn't sound right.

I just figured out this stat and added it to the article: 25 of 38 game ones were decisive. That's 65.7% compared to 44.6% decisive for non-first games.

Bonn is pronounced like John, so there is no rhyme with yawn.

Kramnik confesses on his DVD that he had not spent A SINGLE DAY preparing for 1.d4 against Lékó. So when it came, he sat there feeling completely stupid having no idea what to do, and it haunted him throughout the game.

There is not a chance in the world that he is not much better prepared for this possibility now. Especially as Lékó was an even more exclusive 1.e4 player.

But in any event it's hard to see how the surprise effect alone would be enough for Anand to abandon his beloved 1.e4, even if only temporary. 6 Whites seem to be too few for such experiments.

I'm afraid yawn rhymes just fine with John. And therefore, apparently, Bonn. If you can hear the 'w' in the way someone pronounces 'yawn' they ain't from around these parts. Both are rendered yôn/bôn phonetically, at least in the US. To my recollection Germans pronounce the vowel sound in Bonn with a flatter, slightly nasal sound, in the direction of 'bahn', but it would be hard to distinguish.

"Kramnik confesses on his DVD that he had not spent A SINGLE DAY preparing for 1.d4 against Lékó. So when it came, he sat there feeling completely stupid having no idea what to do, and it haunted him throughout the game."

a top player doesn't know what to play against 1.d4? don't be funny acirce.

If Anand has decided to play 1.e4 consistently then it might make sense "wasting" a white playing 1.d4 tomorrow. The idea would be to divert Kramnik's preparation for the remaining 5 whites.

If pronounced correctly, "yawn" and "Bonn" (as germans would pronounce it) do not rhyme. Not even close.

jaideepblue, what you are suggesting sounds a lot like what Kramnik was trying to do today. I've already suggested that since Kramnik admitted having difficulties defending the black side of today's Exchnage Slav against a computer, maybe Anand should play the same line with white tomorrow :)

That's right slomarko, Kramnik didn't know what he would do, since he had not prepared anything. What's hard to understand about it?

True, jaideepblue.

Match strategy: Outplay Anand in the endgames. Would it work? Could it work for Kramnick?

Well, first you have to get to the endgames. Then, can Kramnick outplay Anand in simplified positions? Could Anand have a weakness there? Kramnick is unlikely to beat Anand in multi-piece tactical midgames. Maybe beating him in the endgames is the ticket.

Bonn is pronounced with a short "o" like in "con". Or like in "Bon-jovi".

as for coverage you should give www.spiegel.de a try - they have live-moves (non-delayed that is) on their site

also they provide post-game analysis by GM Dorian Rogozenko (which is pretty much basic and for the casual reader too if you'd ask me)

Site is in German, but anyone should be able to find the chessboard in the right column of the site...

Guys do you know whether the there is an entrance fee to attend the games? I want to flee to Bonn for the next weeekend, but if they charge me a lot for what I can get basically for free online, I'm gonna skip it...

And, btw Mig, are you still friends with Chessbase?
I mean, they have Aronian commenting, and you mention only Joel on ICC(who is, in my humble opinion, the worst commentator ICC got...).

Mig, there is Hofbrauhaus in Munich. And you don't need to rhyme it up. You drink it. There is wiezen, brezel, old bavarians with national costumes...oh well, guess that's too much for the Wasilla main-street... :)))

well, easy solution-- change "yawn" to "con".

The sell tickets to the venue in Bonn. 35 euro per day, I believe.

Not sure what you mean about knowing Chessbase, playjunior. Sure I do. Was Aronian on live during the game? I didn't think they were doing any live commentary since they are working with the official broadcast group, Foidos. I see a paragraph of g1 comments from Aronian on the website, which is nice.

My comments and time taken to acquire material from GMs, are limited by how much time I have. Not much these days, unfortunately. I'm certainly not planning to compete with Chessbase or anyone else with analysis. Not that type of site, simply enough. If there are some interesting lines I/we notice I'll toss them out. Of course if Garry has some comments I'll relay those. He didn't see most of today's game because he was doing a kids' event in Antwerp. If you're interested, the folks in the message boards do a good job of very quickly aggregating analysis from different places and adding a lot of computer analysis.

Strange to hear you say that about Joel. I think he's the best commentator the ICC has. Good teacher's touch to make things comprehensible to amateurs without being condescending, fluid delivery, funny, and knowledgeable while being honest about what he does and doesn't know.

yeah acirce because he has never faced 1.d4 before in his life.

Have you seen Chessbase’s coverage? Are they serious? They are focusing more on the commercial girls in the background than on the press conference. Imagine if that would happen in any other sport… Pathetic.

Chessbase fawns over anything remotely related to women in chess.

Tales of women playing chess probably causes rows of people over there to blush and frantically invent a story about.

Somebody needs to tear them away from their strobe light basement mannequin parties and bring them into the world of daylight where women can be found all over the place doing stuff like walking around and talking.


>Have you seen Chessbase’s coverage? Are they serious? They are focusing more on the commercial girls in the background than on the press conference.

This WCC is a carefully staged, sophisticated social event with a chess match (in which both "competitors" win the same amount of money whatever the result) as the pretext.

There are, however, also real competitors and real interests at stake : pretty young girls at their peak in sexual attractiveness and, on the other side of the "board", politicians and bussinemen (i.e. walking status and money ) fooling around, making conversation, establishing ties, and shopping for new young, educated and expensive mistresses.
( I liked most the banner "Florence, who has completed her studies in comparative European literature and is looking for a job as a theatre director"....good one!)

While on stage Kramnik and Anand check once again to see if indeed the Exchange-Slav is drawish the real event runs off-stage where girls and what they have to offer are assesed.

I agree that the focus on the girls is totally ridiculous. Pathetic actually.

The Gazprom Girls are more interesting than the Exchange Slav.

Considering that the match is being held in Germany certainly disappointing coverage by ChessBase. Hopefully they will pull up their socks for the ensuing games.

>The Gazprom Girls are more interesting than the Exchange Slav.

and the Evonik ones (aah..Florence!) more than what is due next : the Tradeoff (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3-Nf6 1/2-1/2)

Better have pretty young ladies/chess-loving politicians as a sideshow in a WCC match between 2 gentleman than ugly toilet cables.

The Slav Exchange will be renamed "Florence Variation".

Mig:25 of 38 game ones were decisive. That's 65.7% compared to 44.6% decisive for non-first games.

So in historical perspective we are having around 80% to have a one decisive after today :)

randowan: "Have you seen Chessbase’s coverage? Are they serious? They are focusing more on the commercial girls in the background than on the press conference. Imagine if that would happen in any other sport… Pathetic."

Bob: "I agree that the focus on the girls is totally ridiculous. Pathetic actually. "

Wow, the seething misogyny of nerdy chessplayers never ceases to amaze. We are talking about 4-5 pictures out of 26 that have pretty women in them, and from that we get some righteous indignation? Calm down guys, the only pathetic display is your own frustration towards women that a lifetime of focusing on chess has unsurprisingly produced in you.

A few snaps of the models at the end of a long report isn't something to get your panties in a bunch over. Ooops, I said panties, that will probably get you all worked up again since you haven't seen a pair in decades save for the Sears catalog you covet.

Really, your own jealousy of what is unobtainable for you and your need to lash out at it after 90% of the article was about the match game is why chess is still seen as a nerdy losers game. Believe me, those models don't want to be there any more than you 'male-only' bitter wood pushers (pun intended) want them there. They are paid to hang around chess players, a concept a few of you know well, I am sure.

When I look at the final position of Game 2, I'll have to say this.

It was a cowardly draw offer from Kramnik. Knowing Anand's generosity, Kramnik offered it and got it. It was not gentlemanly to distract someone and beg for draw at time pressures. Anand would have easily played out 7 more moves in that position to cross the time control. It was a nothing to lose position for Anand and was almost a clear win position for white. Anand just lost a +1 to Classical's trickery!

What do you think of Anand's Rc1 towards the end of Game 2? In one of the sites which was commenting live, the GM commentator critized the move protecting the pawn .He said if black captures the pawn ,he will be doing it at his own risk since white's rooks will be very much active.

Also, Fritz does not appreciate the last BC2 by Anand.

Note : Sorry for not specifying the Serial No of the moves.

You could always have luncheon in München, which is a good example of a subtle half-rhyme...

Frederic seems to like the ladies. Guess we'll just have to suffer with the eye candy he puts on his site.

A few problems with your post, Pircal,

1) It's in the wrong thread.

2) If you have a bad position it's simply good sense to propose (or accept) a draw. When talking about "cowardice" you look (if anywhere) at the guy who agreed to the draw while he was ahead. Right?

But of course there's no requirement that Kramnik-hating posts have to make any sense.

Sunil, when I was watching the game 2 and I expected Anand to do Rc1 (idea to defend the c4-pawn and bring the other rook via a2 and consolidate your position) and he did. I know at that time computers were suggesting Bc2 with more eval and the GMs must have been carried away by those computer suggestions. I strongly believe Rc1 is a human move, it retains the pawn advantage and I don't see anything wrong with that. That was when I thought Anand was clearly winning only to come back and witness a shocking draw result.

I looked for the game 2 thread and I didn't see one. The thread title g2 must have hide my eyes. I have some questions for Kramnik. I'll post it in the other thread, greg.

I'll take back the "cowardly" if that is offending. Other things stay.

"I'll take back the "cowardly" if that is offending. Other things stay."

Including the insult to Anand, that he somehow got tricked into accepting a draw offer he didn't want? Insulting your enemies is one thing, but when you insult your FRIENDS...

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on October 14, 2008 1:43 PM.

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