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Aronian Leads Amber

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With one round to play, defending champ Levon Aronian of Armenia has the lead in the combined standings of the Melody Amber tournament in Nice, France. His 13/20 score is based on solid second-place standings in both the rapid and the blindfold chess sections. Carlsen is leading the blindfold and Kamsky (!) is in first place in the rapid section after demolishing Topalov with black today. Too late! But I'm sure it felt good. 24..Nf3, wow. But Kamsky's blindfold play has only been enough for a share of last place, so he's well out of the picture in the combined standings. He last played blindfold at Amber in 1996.

Aronian only needs to split against Topalov tomorrow to be guaranteed at least a share of first place. Anand will press for a sweep against poor Wang Yue, who might never be seen again after he returns to China after probably finishing last in both the rapid and blindfold. Who knows, perhaps a period of reeducation in a labor camp is good for your chess. Nah, he's already signed up to play at the M-Tel Masters in May, and maybe he'll be back to his boring solid self by then. This tournament is tough on rookies. Carlsen has Radjabov in the final round.

"VA-SSIL-YYYY!" That is how you know Vassily Ivanchuk has added to his legend. "A brilliant game! Amazing! He would be proud to play such a game in rapid!" said Garry Kasparov of Ivanchuk's Amber blindfold win with black over Kramnik yesterday. "Many players would be happy to play such a game in classical! Great chess!" I was clueless, having spent the last hour on subway and ferry. Unfortunately, Garry's 'annotations' to the game were limited to head shakes of admiration at several points in a Grunfeld that turned into an endgame by move 20. Ivanchuk made magic with his knight, always the toughest piece to visualize in action, even with your eyes.

I bring this up mostly because of our recent discussion here on just how well these super-GMs play blindfolded. It's impossible to put an Elo on it unless they are playing against sighted players. I.e. there's no objective way to evaluate the intrinsic strength of a given chess game. They don't play their normal game when both players are blindfolded, that much is pretty clear. As I said in the comments, you can't have a computer look at 100 Petroff games and conclude the players are far more accurate (let alone stronger) than the players of 100 wild Najdorf games. It's apples and oranges since the types of positions are very different and some aren't conducive to blunders, especially not the sort computers detect. The players tend to be cautious in blindfold, so apart from the occasional hung piece, it's hard to say how much worse they play, or would play against sighted GMs.

I asked Garry about it, although he never played at Melody Amber or in any serious blindfold competition. (Not really considering it dangerous as much as unserious, from what I can tell. He did play a blindfold simul against computers in 1985. The new Eliot Hearst and John Knott book on blindfold chess even says this one should be added to his list of great combinations.) He thought it was mostly a question of energy, that for a game or two you might be able to come close to a decent level, but after that it would drop and fluctuate dramatically. (He acknowledged that Ivanchuk just played his masterpiece in the 9th round.) If he has time to do a New In Chess column for the next issue I hope he'll expand on this a bit.


Gary played that blindfold? in a simul? Holy crow!

Best luck to Aronian, if he succeeds it will be one more for the hat trick. Best players always prevail.

Ivanchuk's masterpiece lasted almost 2 hours. A superb game that undoubtedly will be remembered for a long time ;-)

Indeed, an excellent game that Kramnik-Ivanchuk. When Ivanchuk played g5, I thought his position was very dangerous if Kramnik tried to create 2 passers in the center by going g3, with the idea to follow that with f4 and e5. Later, I looked at that with Rybka, and apparently that plan is feasible, but black is able to maintain equality. After Kramnik went e5, Ivanchuk didn't give his a single chance.

Not a single word on magnificent Magnus losing like a patzer to Kramnik with white in 20 move?
(Kudos to Kramnik, always played best move, thank God white was not Mamedyarov...)
What's up here?

Anyone can have 'accidents', Kramnik himself said Magnus gave him a present, and all reports say Magnus played far from his level. Apparently that's about the only way Kramnik can win these days...

Anyway Magnus is above Kramnik in blindfold and the combined. Where is the great champion, master of blindfold now? ;-)

I don't agree Bowles.
Anand had an accident today dropping his Queen in 1 move, because he thought he already had played Knight takes before. That's understandable and indeed something that can happen.
But Magnus had no such oversight. He just played a lot of incredible bad moves, moves a player of half the ELO Magnus has, should be ashamed of.
But after all it is just a game and he just wasn't there in that game. Maybe his mind was somewhere else.

There you go. You've just answered your own question.

Kasparov almost choked to death when he saw that!

Compelling comments regarding Kramnik's humiliation of Carlsen in blindfold today. When in doubt, avoid mention of the game, search for the most recent Kramnik loss, add GK kudos and stir into a self-important sabayon. Then blame it all on the subway and ferry.

Yeah, well we sort of agree. Magnus after all is beginning his career, we shouldn't be so harsh with him. He's very strong now and getting stronger every time. One has to be grateful to players like him who try to play chess and not looking for the best way to get an easy draw.

Are all Kramnik-fan boys so ULTRA-sensible?

Mig just commented about one of the best games of this tournament, Ivanchuk's fine game. The game is a highlight of this tournament.

While Kramnik's game today has nothing remarkable, if not for Magnus playing well below his level.

“He was completely out today”, “I just got a present.” Vladimir Kramnik.

I have a feeling Mtel is Wang's last top tier event for a long time. He's proven he can't handle the elite.

I wouldn't say Kramnik's win is nothing special. Carlsen played a rare line which doesn't have good reputation. Kramnik exemplary showed why. Carlsen, of course played well below his level, probably miscalculated something. White is not worse after the opening, just does not have an advantage.

The game is interesting because of the opening. Kramnik's ba5 seems to be a novelty. I wonder whether it's home preparation or a move found over the board. If it's home preparation that would indeed be remarkable - nobody strong ever played this line.

A sabayon is made by beating egg yolks with a liquid over simmering water until thickened and increased in volume. ( the liquid can be water, but champagne or wine is often used for a savoury sabayon.) The sabayon must not get too hot during cooking or it will become grainy: if it begins to feel warmer than body temperature, remove the pan briefly from the heat, beating continuously, until the mixture cools. Then return the pan to the heat and continue cooking. Sabayon may be served warm or cold; a cold sabayon is beaten off the heat until cooled.

Clubfoot, you obviously dislike mig's blog. Instead of reading it, and wearing out your molars with excessive grinding, why not start your own competing snark-blog? You could ask your mother to comment so that it won't have "0 comments" all the way through.

I still haven't seen Kramnik's game with Carlsen. I haven't been following Amber daily, as an astute observer might have noticed. I'm sure there must be a blog around that eagerly trumpets Kramnik's every achievement. If not, that's a gaping open niche in the market for someone, I'm sure. I'm also sure there are at least five mentions of nice Kramnik wins hereabouts for every mention of a nice Kramnik loss.

Kramnik-Ivanchuk was an excellent game, no doubt about it ! But still I have two questions:
@Mig: Imagine a game of similar quality ending with a black win by Kramnik in the Berlin defense. What do you think, would it receive the same praise by GK? After all, Kasparov is a "fan" of the Grunfeld, and no longer a fan or friend of Kramnik ... . Of course this is a hypothetical question.
@Bowles: "A superb game that undoubtedly will be remembered for a long time ;-)"
Are you serious? Maybe not, as the smiley suggests. I wonder how many of the Amber games will be remembered for a long time, how many (if any) do you and others remember from last year? If there is one candidate, it is Ivanchuk's [here we go again] birthday novelty in a rapid game from 2008 - a queen sacrifice for a mere pawn in a sharp Sicilian.

"Where is the great champion, master of blindfold now? ;-)"

Well he tied for first in the blindfold section. Kramnik's blindfold victories in Amber tournament: 1996,1998,1999,2000,2003,2007,2008 and 2009.

And the new blindfold king is .... : Vladimir Magnus Levon the first ,:)

Grrr, the one time I support Topalov he gives away a lame draw in a won position against Aronian. Would have been a great last round otherwise...

Is Kramnik following discussions on this forum, how come he suddenly wins with black? He can even still reach shared first in the overall (combined) standings, with some help from .... Topalov.

Man, I used to love these Ruy attacks that Gary used to play. I remember fondly how he took Karpov on in the Ruy, a superlative expert in those systems and somebody who basically owned the Ruy, and came up with some enormously impressive wins.

You seen the game yet, kid?

Yep, if you're going to criticise Kramnik for his play with black, or for playing for draws, Amber isn't the place to do it. He finished with 4 wins with black while Aronian, Anand & Morozevich managed 3, I think.

kwr and I would definitely assert that it is possible to 'rate' a game in absolute terms - and without calling on the ELO system to do so.

We can (separately) rate the performance of the two players in the game, positioning the game in two dimensions.


"Where is the great champion, master of blindfold now? ;-)"

Eh as usual top of the heap :-) Where is the great Bowles?

Please, Kramnik shared blindfold, he has no supremacy at all now. Carlsen and Aronian, younger than him, are first too, sorry!

Besides, where's the great champion anyway? Levon is the winner ;-)

You guys must be so desperate to be so happy with the poor fellow having so much troubles to keep with the youngsters.

Oh, I guess his rapid isn't so good also, er 4th place?

You better get used to this, or root for some real player as Aronian. Cheers.

"Besides, where's the great champion anyway?"
Do you mean Kramnik or Anand? Shared second overall ... and at least in my book there is no such thing as winner takes it all.
Do you mean other oldies as Topalov and Ivanchuk? OK, maybe they deserve mockery at this occasion - but first you, Bowles, have to answer Brian's question ... .

Bowles trolls. And not even with any class or wit. Yawn.

Kramnik is having no problem to keep up with the youngsters , Bowles.
He had a great tournament , blindfold chess goes well with his boring aproach to the game (did i said boring? , sorry , i meant classic).
@Thomas :
As you can see in the chessbase interview Topa is just relaxing , and hopefully getting the blunders out of his system.
I dont see why would Topa or Chucky deserve mockery for underperforming in a non rated tournament , but go ahead , you sure do.

I know, I know, don't feed the trolls, but Bowles is at least comically wrong about most things.

"the poor fellow having so much troubles to keep with the youngsters".

He won the mini-matches against Aronian, Carlsen, Radjabov and Wang Yue. He only lost to the oldest players - Anand and Ivanchuk.

"Oh, I guess his rapid isn't so good also, er 4th place?"

Yep, half a point back with a 2823 performance is appalling, isn't it.

Manu, I think your blindfold theory probably falls down on the question of how Morozevich, with as different a style from Kramnik as you can get, is the other player who's really specialised in blindfold at Amber. It's probably more just a question of how well you visualise the chessboard.

p.s. the theory also fails as Kramnik had already won the blindfold 4 times before he began to play a more conservative style.

Morozevich won the blindfold part of Amber only one more time than Topa , but Kramniks results are better than the 2 of them added.
So it is not weird to think that solid ,positional play (Kramnik style)is an important factor for succeding at blindfold chess.
I guess you cannot even take a compliment (sort of) for your master .

Wonder how much of a difference it would make to the quality of play if players were allowed to record scoresheets as aide memoires?
You'd cut out the Qg1 versus Qf2 sort of error that Kamsky made vs Topalov and also the Anand-Moro Qxd5.

PS : Is not a theory , just a comment not recomended for zealots.

Dear enthusiastic Thomas, excuse me but, I think no player deserves mockery at all. Shame on you bad boy!

Now, how was it, the question? I thought all was clear, Kramnik was not the best of blindfold, it was shared by three, I'm sorry but that's it.

Maybe in the past he used to be the best at blind chess, but apparently those days are fading ( frankly he received a gift from Magnus so he shouldn't even be first at blind :-)

As for him winning their respective mini-matches against Carlsen and Aronian, it has no meaning at all, because well a youngster won the tournament at the end.

Maybe next year Kramnik! Hope he could keep a good shape, because I guess he will need it badly.


I just remembered the other connotations of the word ¨zealot¨ , i meant it in the starcraft sense which is equal to ¨fanatic¨.
sorry :)

Since Morozevich's debut in 2002 he's won 4 times to Kramnik's 4 and Topalov's 1. Plus he's won it outright with some phenomenal performances. Anyway, I'd have thought solid positional chess would be easier for your opponent to visualise rather than something which gives you an extra edge.

Re: Kramnik being my "master". You don't get it. I root for Kramnik slightly more than most players (except Adams), but I also like Anand, Ivanchuk, Aronian, Carlsen and many others. The only difference is they're not being systematically attacked, so there's no need to defend them. The only player I actually like to see lose is Topalov, but that's just because of his contemptible behaviour at Elista and since (though I'm still more inclined to consider him paranoid and gullible than anything else).

¨Anyway, I'd have thought solid positional chess would be easier for your opponent to visualise rather than something which gives you an extra edge.¨
I thought that is always better to fight on your own arena , so i dont agree with that.
But its ok mishamp , dont explain anything to me , im sure you have your reasons.

He's younger than me, but does 26 really make you a youngster in chess these days!?

Who are you talking about ?

Sorry, should have been clearer: Aronian. Bowles said a youngster won the tournament.

Hmmm, I see your point mishanp. But well I don't think he's a 'veteran' yet as Kramnik, Topalov or Ivanchuk.

But yes, these days of 14 year old GM's could make a twenty-something somewhat older.

In any case, congratulations to Aronian for his great tournament, one more and he'll score the hat trick!

Bowles: do yourself a favour. Do not post here anymore. You are embarrassing yourself with idiotic comments.

If Topalov had beaten Aronian in either game today, Kramnik would have tied for first overall.

Topalov did play two draws against Aronian; their rapid game lasted 17 moves.

Quotes are from Manu, but my post refers to the entire discussion:
"He [Kramnik] had a great tournament , blindfold chess goes well with his boring aproach to the game (did i said boring? , sorry , i meant classic)."
Either you have an odd definition of boring, classical, solid, positional chess or you didn't even look at Kramnik's blindfold wins. The wins against Carlsen and Leko are still "fresh", but I would say ALL of his wins (with the possible exception of the one against Wang Yue) were rather in the style of Topalov - take this as a compliment to your favorite player ,:). Carlsen played below his usual level, but still it was a nice attacking game from Kramnik. And today's game against Leko was opening preparation (leftover from the Bonn match) until move 28.

Maybe Kramnik now thinks "How come I copy Topalov?" (quote borrowed from Shirov's "How come I copy Kramnik" in a New in Chess interview some time ago) - but I guess he is still happy with those games .... .

"I guess you cannot even take a compliment (sort of) for your master ."
This was addressed at mishanp, but (for reasons given above) I reject this compliment as factually wrong. BTW, my motivation to root for/defend Kramnik is similar to mishanp's.

"I dont see why would Topa or Chucky deserve mockery for underperforming ..."
And this part of my post was IRONY - maybe a bit hidden, but it was ... . However, it is worthwhile mentioning that, at this occasion, Kramnik performed better than those other oldies as well as most of the young players. This goes again to Bowles, who makes Kramnik look like a loser for 'merely' sharing 1st place in blindfold and finishing a 'mediocre' shared 2nd in the overall standings.
BTW, maybe Kramnik got a present from Carlsen in the blindfold game (but cf. above) - however, this was clearly not the only, and certainly not the most generous present to the other player in the entire blindfold tournament ... .

Now, that's attitude, iron pants! How do you usually like to be addressed? Yes, mein Fuehrer?

Chill out, nobody is here to quarry. Peace bro.

Thomas I DO NOT make Kramnik look like a loser! I'm far from having those powers.
I'm merely pointing out that he seamed not to be the best at blindfold this year. He finally managed to share first, ouch, OK, but in general it indeed seems there's new blindfold talent around, for instance Carlsen performance was great, or Aronian.

¨And this part of my post was IRONY - maybe a bit hidden, but it was ...¨

You are too subtle for common people Thomas, that´s your problem.

Re: Carlsen - his blindfold performance wasn't as convincing as his early score suggested. Kamsky just (blindfold-)blundered a piece in the
first game. Ivanchuk and Karyakin had winning positions but spoilt them. Against Topalov he had a good position but blundered a piece and only won when Topalov overlooked the blunder (even then it should have been a draw). The last two losses (with another two blunders) probably made his score about right for his performance.

I don't doubt Carlsen has the potential to dominate chess for years, and might well show the same flair for blindfold chess, but we haven't seen that yet.

"And today's game against Leko was opening preparation (leftover from the Bonn match) until move 28."

Thomas, absolutely not. That was exactly what it wasn't - lefotvers from the Bonn match. If it had been so, then Leko would've known it. :o)

I think I read somewhere that it was from all way back to 2005 or something. His memory is pretty good when he can pull 3-4 years old preparation out of the hat like that.

I dont want to use the term dominance , but it is something very similar to that what Kramnik has with Leko.
Or at least it feels that way , one has the feeling that after all Kramnik always tricked him when it mattered.
I always remember whatching that game with Aronian ,when Leko stopped 80 minutes (or @) to think and ended up holding the game.
That was the last time i cheered for him , amazing game.

Yep, forgot about the "detail" that Leko was part of Kramnik's team. My source was Chessvibes, I quote from their report:

"some deep preparation in the Anti-Moscow Gambit, something that he had looked at already before the World Championship Tournament in Mexico City in 2007. With “this is not completely a holiday tournament,” he answered the question whether he didn’t want to use it in a FIDE rated event. “Besides, it’s nice to go up at the end of the tournament.” "
And the photo caption says "Kramnik beating Leko - the effort was Rybka's" - a little bit odd, because the player a) has to make Rybka analyse this particular line, b) has to know when to trust the computer's suggestion and when not

BTW, I don't think it is that surprising that Kramnik remembered the 'old' preparation at a crucial moment. Maybe all those years (if it goes back to 2005), he was waiting for the right moment to play it over the board, hence never forgetting it in the first place.

Your source seems to be right , you seem to not understand what you read.
Your writting reminds me those games when one blunders a pawn , and then in full denial of the loss one keeps blundering the rest of the wood and gets mated without resigning.
Like watching an idea fall down the stairs.
You inspire poetry Thomas!

"Like watching an idea fall down the stairs"
Your squabbles with Thomas don't interest me per se, but I am an English lit grad, and I gotta say, that really was quite pretty. Did you make it up yourself, or is it a translation from the Spanish? If you can insult ME at that language level please start the attacks.

Actually, it is based on a joke Raymond uses on his brother in the sitcom "Everybody loves Raymond" , sometimes there are good concepts in places one would never guess.

I visited this page first time to get info on people search and found it Very Good Job of acknowledgment and a marvelous source of info.........Thanks Admin! http://www.reverse-phone-look-up.net

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on March 25, 2009 3:06 PM.

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