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Kamsky-Topalov g6; Linares r5

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Swamped with non-chess work this week so short shrift to the blogosphere. Peace ruled the day on Tuesday, with all five of our top games drawn. Kamsky-Topalov was a Caro-Kann line that gave White very little indeed. A little surprising considering that the Caro has been Topalov's recent second-tier defense to 1.e4. This "closed advance" line (instead of the wild g4 stuff) popularized by Nigel Short is a favorite of Svidler and other top players. Topalov beat Svidler with black in this line in Nanjing two months ago, playing 6..Nd7 7.Nd2 c4, but here he varied, capturing on d4. 12.c3 with more of a control game was the thought from Kamsky's second, Sutovsky. The American spent a long time on 15.Qc1 and said afterward that he already considered the position equal after 14..Bf8. GM Christiansen on Chess.FM expected 15.Rc1 with at least a try to get something going with a slight lead in development. Topalov even played on with a tiny plus for a while, declining Kamsky's draw offer on move 30. Kamsky's mild time trouble wasn't a problem and he found a way to force a repetition. Tomorrow is a rest day. Topalov leads 3.5-2.5 with two games to play. He can end the match with a win in the next game. Official site.

There were four more draws in Linares, the second time we've had a day with no blood. For the most part it wasn't for a lack of trying, with the notable exception of Wang "Sleepy Panda" Yue. He's had two tough losses and here, with white against Aronian in a Slav line he knows well, he created a position with bind potential before acquiescing to a repetition on move 25. I really wonder if he's ill. The Corus-Linares double is rough for anyone.

Aronian used all of a dozen minutes to notch his half of that draw and keep his share of the lead on +2. Co-leader Grischuk, on the other hand, for the second time in the event, used over an hour to repeat the moves of a game he surely knew. Today it was with white against Carlsen in a deep Sveshnikov that both players saw last year. Grischuk had it up to move 20 against Illescas at the Olympiad and was nailed with the 24..Be3 shot, leading to a draw. Carlsen defended it against Leko in Linares last year and lost a long technical grind. The Norwegian banged out his moves, this time quickly grabbing the pawn that Leko made him eat a year ago. In 2007 Dominguez showed this opposite-colored bishop endgame has some poison in a long draw with Jakovenko. Grischuk, despite his long thinks, had less success with Carlsen and they drew in 34 moves.

Radjabov unleashed his Dragon Sicilian against Dominguez and they produced a lively game. Since I'm so terribly old I have trouble seeing a Bc4 Dragon in which White doesn't play g4. What happened to Bobby's old "sac, sac, mate"? After 15.f4 they headed into a line by Dragon expert Dr. Eric Moskow, who played it against Macieja last year. While admittedly out of his league against top GMs, Moskow's work on the Dragon can't be dismissed and it got an endorsement from Radjabov today. He then played a classic Sicilian sac on c3 and slowly build up a totally dominating position. Eventually Black broke through and GMs Christiansen and Har-Zvi figured it was just a matter of time. 54..Rg3+ 55.Kd4 Nc5 would have kept the threats coming and moved into a superior rook endgame. But the missed chance was enough for Dominguez to escape.

The big escape came from the Houdini of chess himself, world champ Vishy Anand. For reasons no one could fathom at the time or later, he walked willingly into the inferior endgame he had the other side of against Kramnik in their WCh match. Kramnik worked some magic to hold it with a tricky blockade, not the sort of thing you want to bet your life on being able to duplicate. Anand didn't try, varying on move 23. He still ended up in serious trouble and it looked like only a matter of time before Ivanchuk's queenside pawns would carry the day. A bizarre decision for Anand to go into this line. The R+R endgame looked totally lost. It took all of Anand's wiles to get drawing chances and suddenly it became clear he had a nasty stalemate trick by interring his own king on h6. With some tablebases running in the background we looked at many amazing drawing lines. (The computer points out 47.Kd4, keeping the black rook off c3, instead of the natural human move Ivanchuk played, 47.Kd5, making a straight line for the pawn.) Ivanchuk saw the stalemate trick, but perhaps too late to avoid the draw. According to Leontxo Garcia's coverage Ivanchuk let out an exclamation of frustration after the game. Surely there must have been a few wins in there.

How about this news? It sounds like Linares is on the move again. I guess they're lucky Gelfand hasn't been invited lately anyway, though there has been some progress in that department lately, or at least some public attention.

Dubai -- Linares - one of the most-renowned tournaments in world chess - is surrendering to the power of an Arab businessman, who is set to bring the best players to the desert in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from 2010.

'We pay the expenses of players and the prizes, I think around 2 million euros (some 2.5 million dollars),' Sulaiman Al Fahim told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa in an interview in Dubai.

'From 2010, the tournament will be held in Spain and the UAE,' he said.

A powerful real estate businessman, he is better known outside his native country as the architect of the purchase of Premier League club Manchester City by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan.


"Wang 'Sleepy Panda' Yue... I really wonder if he's ill. The Corus-Linares double is rough for anyone."

Take 'Sleepy' literally. The schedule of games begins at 4pm (according to the site), which translates into 12am midnight Beijing Time...

A game that ends at 11pm would end 7am Beijing Time.

Jet lag may explain why Wang seems to have shown no fight in either Corus or Linares.

I wonder if he flew back to China to attend university class after Corus, and return for Linares. Talk about murderous jet lag.

I remember playing in the Marshall CC Insanity tournaments, I could barely keep my eyes open by 4am.

Hmm. Sounds like what he needs is drugs. Oh wait...

Yea, that's the pill I need. The pill which allows me to skip sleep and stay awake all day, every day, maybe except for a short nap.

Btw, in the Chessbase photo of him, Wang looks dying.

Any player who doesn't properly adjust for jet lag simply can't hope to compete at the top level, IMO. I wager a sudden 12hr lag costs at least 50pts, maybe even as high as 100pts.

It's completely inconceivable that any drugs would ever help you play better chess in any way at all. At least that's what I've learned on various chess forums...

As for entering the same endgame as in Bonn, I thought it was supposed to be objectively quite harmless for Black but that Kramnik got too nonchalant? But it's weird that Anand seemed to handle it even worse than Kramnik did.

"He [Kramnik] felt that after Anand's 18.Nxb4 Qxb4 19.b3 Rac8 that 20.Bd2 would have been better, or at least a better winning try, keeping some tension and aiming for play on the kingside. After 20.Ba3 he felt the position was completely fine and he got too relaxed. He should have played ...fxe5 earlier (I'm assuming he meant on move 24), and after (25.)dxe5 b6 when he's up two tempi compared to the game." http://chessmind.powerblogs.com/posts/1224767906.shtml

Drugs cannot make you play better chess, but (in the given example) they could possibly keep you from falling (semi-)asleep and thus playing worse chess. Maybe this sentence is a bit awkward, but hopefully it is still clear what I mean ... .
This could also apply to some drugs which are legal, e.g. medicines (with a doctor's prescription) to fight against a bad cold and/or its symptoms.

So better chess than you otherwise would given the circumstances. I think that is the point.

Acirce, in this light your previous post (at 7:09AM) may have been a bit ironic, I hadn't gotten that point ... .
Anyway, I mentioned doctor's prescription to indicate that use of certain drugs may be acceptable under circumstances - but players shouldn't experiment on their own, partly for their own protection. And two follow-up questions could arise: Is jetlag a disease just as a bad flu is? And: Where are the limits? I still find it hard to believe that many cyclists suffer from asthma ... and are therefore allowed to use certain performance-enhancing drugs which would otherwise be on the doping list.
Yet, any medicine Kramnik has to take for a similar chronic disease would be legitimate in the context of my previous post - it doesn't make him play better, but prevents him from playing worse (than he would if he wasn't ill in the first place).

I'm always ironic. Except when I'm not. But yes, I'm one of those relatively few who have not yet understood why doping tests in chess is such an absurd idea. Of course, it's not exactly unproblematic either.

Meanwhile, Bacrot won Aeroflot and apparently, nobody cares.

Good for him , IMO he is the kind of player that plays better when nobody stares at him.

I seem to play somewhat better chess when I am stoned (smoked weed). A couple of years ago I tried the following:

I created 2 different users in my Chessmaster program: SoberBizz and StonedBizz. Each time I played, I used the character that corresponded to my state of mind.

After a year and a half and around 400 games StonedBizz was leading with almost 100 rating points. I realize this experiment is not conclusive but 100 points is quite a lot.

One thing is for sure: It is so much more fun to play stoned ;)

After upsetting him with the Sutovsky interview, Vasilev now has an interview with Danailov:

Generally he seems to be feeling the credit crunch and complaining that as organiser he has to pay organisational expenses, but there's also the sublime:

"Secondly, what's happening at the moment in the chess world isn't good for chess. What am I talking about? A chess encounter should take place in a normal atmosphere. There shouldn't be any spy mania, any of the things that happened in Elista. To begin with they wanted to have a similar situation here. It's not for the good of chess".

He also attacks Sutovsky again (even recommending obligatory "chess-management" courses), though he seems to be a bit confused by what Sutovsky said and what Ian Rogers added (at least in the article the video and chess book comments aren't attributed to Sutovsky).

Oh, the "Topa was robbed" video was just "chess-propaganda" aimed at the Bulgarian chess-school guys in attendance. Though surely that should simply be "propaganda"...

Go Magnus! (He's currently up the exchange.)

When's the last time Carlsen won a game? He seems to have had a lot of draws lately.

Misha, you scare me… …where did you see Danailov in there??

The interview is with Stefan Sergiev -- the president of the Bulgarian Chess Federation.


I was sobbing uncontrollably and was a gibbering wreck after finding out that Bacrot won Aeroflot. The doctors have prescribed me some valium to dull my heightened emotional state. My heart can't take much more of this.

I wonder what would happen if that experiment is done by Ivanchuk , the results could be more than interesting.

Ah, good point, Dimi :)

$_$!!!! What about that UAE guy, is that 2 million prize fund, or including all the expenses for organization, players, etc.? I can imagine Topa & co traveling in the UAE president´s gold car http://mohammadsharifan.files.wordpress.com/2009/02/02_merc_gold_c63moe1.jpg

Carlsen-Anand 1-0.

I just cant wait to see which tie will Topa use for such occasion.

Good god Bobby, I only get that emotional when I write DD comments. I'll try your fix. I've started to notice also that in parties with people who know little of chess, people start edging away as I explain what it means to be a mere 2600, and how much better it is to be "2700+". AND they don't know who Kramnik is!!

Maybe you should choose a more popular GM for that kind of audience.

I have to say that chess is never a subject in the partys i´ve been.

You need to try this experiment when you don't know whether you smoked the real weed or the placebo. A blind test is needed for good experimental design. I don't know how one can meet this condition, as I can always tell the placebo. Oh well...

Would be a very interesting experiment indeed. Probably better done by injecting the active ingredients of 'weed'- a few of the THC (tetra hydro cannabinol)compounds- into subjects and a proper placebo in the controls. You'd have to control for several variables though but statistics (SPSS maybe) could help with that. Interesting.

Unfortunately, the laws in most countries make it impossible to carry out real studies of substances like THC. Such a waste...

I was looking forward to d4 by Topalov today. The Grunfeld suits his style. Anyways, the French should be fine too. Go Topa!

Well, the same experiment can be done with alcohol - actually this happens at some blitz tournaments (at least in Germany). Here it is a question of dose: one or two beers may help your play (you get more relaxed and maybe more creative), but things start going downhill after a few more beers.

Risky stuff today! someone will crash and burn...Kamsky going all out for victory

Well, the same experiment can be done with lot's of things Thomas. Eggs, broccoli, bratwurst, etc. Here too, it is a question of dose... Thanks for pointing that out.

Gata looks like he's committing suicide by clock in a position that might be objectively won :( 10 mins (and counting) for 15 moves...

Though to be fair the "winning" variations after 25...Bc8 were very complex, so Kamsky had a lot to think about. It should be drawn now, but anything could happen if Topalov tries to confuse things in Kamsky's time trouble.

Tragedy for Kamsky. Time trouble again rears its ugly head.

Yeah, I thought for a second there he'd managed to trick Topalov into playing recklessly and giving away the game, but he just had too little time to find the (fairly straightforward) winning moves.

Bye bye Gata. Stirring up complications has its disadvantages too. I had expected Topa to win through better prep, but in the end Gata made major mistakes in critical positions. Pity Kamsky could not level it, probably his last chance to get so close to being World Champ :(

Topalov will challenge Anand for the crown, congratulations to him and Gata for a very interesting match.

In the end it is the top rated player against the champ , like it should be (IMO).

It should a match between the people who've satisfied the qualification criteria. That's all. It's the only reason people bother to play: because the results are not foreordained.

didn't have much time to look through game today but saw an extremely complex middle game that to my non super gm eye looked better for Kamsky. Suddenly topalov wins it! Was it a long forced line or did Kamsky throw away the win and then the draw?

Kamsky handled the early middle game brilliantly (and quickly), but gave up a probably won position on move 25 (playing Ba4 instead of Bc8). Worse still, he took a long time over it and looked horribly nervous/disgruntled on the live feed.

Topalov decided to try and take advantage by avoiding a straightforward draw, but blundered into a lost position (29. Qd7). Kamsky played some strong moves, but then on two consecutive moves missed first a fairly elementary win, then a brilliancy-type win (31...b4, 32...Bd3). After that Topalov had a won position. So the gamble paid off, and Kamsky's nerves and time management had the final say.

Or so say Sergei Shipov & Maxim Notkin :)

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    About this Entry

    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on February 24, 2009 7:23 PM.

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