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Linares 09 r12: Mighty Magnus

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Round 11 in Linares contained two quick and boring draws and two long and interesting draws. Moving on... In round 12, with Alexander Grischuk still a point ahead, Magnus Carlsen shook up the tournament with a tremendous win over the Russian. Amazingly, Grischuk is still in clear first place, but now Ivanchuk and Carlsen are just a half-point behind. This was the only decisive game of the day, leaving this year's edition of Linares steady on its course of 70% draws. Ivanchuk held a Berlin with only slight discomfort against Anand. Aronian wound up for some kingside action against Wang Yue but the Chinese calmly defused it. Radjabov must have had something at one point against Dominguez but couldn't find a way to make progress against the Cuban's resourceful defense, which got him to a drawn R+2 vs R+1 endgame.

It was the Carlsen game that mattered, and what a beauty it was. Just moments after it concluded, Garry Kasparov -- on the line from New Delhi -- exclaimed "Carlsen just won a brilliant game!" And he knows a thing or two about this line, since they followed the famous Moscow game 24 Scheveningen that brought Kasparov the world championship title in 1985. The position after 11..Re8 was also the battlefield of half a dozen games from his 1995 WCh match with Anand. Carlsen and Grischuk both have recent experience in this line from the white side. Anand beat Carlsen with it in a spectacular game at Corus last year. This year Carlsen showed he'd learned a few new tricks.

Going against standard praxis, White captured on e5 immediately on move 15 and then retreated his knight to b3 instead of the usual e2. As is his habit, Grischuk used considerable time in navigating known waters. He was already down to 12 minutes before move 30. Things were already getting ugly for Black by that point. The passive 27..Rab8 gives White his way. 27..Rec8 is very tricky but analysis shows Black gets enough counterplay to prevent destruction at the hands of the d-pawn. Carlsen played an exchange sac on f6 that had been tipped by ICC Chess.FM debutante Jonathan Rowson (who was fantastic) much earlier. (Something like "A GM sees a rook against a knight on f6 like that and is just dying to sac.") Obvious or not, it was very strong and White's pawns are terribly hard to stop. Grischuk, blitzing by this point, couldn't find any way to halt the tide of pawns. Carlsen finished elegantly, offering up both his remaining pieces to get his pawns home. 31..Bg7 was a blunder with 31..Kg7 a tougher defense, but the pretty Ba6! shot is going to come anyway. The quiet killer 36.Rc1 completed the gorgeous picture. Fantastic stuff and in a critical game against the previously undefeated leader.

Grischuk still has the lead on +2 but has white against Anand and black against Aronian to finish. He also made a seer out of GM Ronen Har-Zvi, who put the hex on Grischuk the other day by predicting he would lose at least one of his final three games. Carlsen finishes with white against Radjabov and black against Anand. Ivanchuk has white against Aronian and black against Dominguez. Let's see if Vishy is looking to kick Grischuk while he's down tomorrow. Round 9: Grischuk-Anand, Carlsen-Radjabov, Ivanchuk-Aronian, Wang Yue-Dominguez.

Tomorrow's hot commie-on-commie action will apparently continue at MTel this May, by the way. Are Wang Yue and Dominguez a matching set, or mandatory participants in every super-tournament now? I sort of assume this has something to do with the Grand Slam's influence. They definitely want to keep China, and a Chinese player, in the mix. Dunno about Dominguez. Nothing against them, it's just funny to see them as new blood and suddenly they are both in every single event. Leko, Svidler, and Shirov must be wondering if their breath stinks. How about Morozevich, or Jakovenko? Last I checked he was #7 in the world. Can a Russkie homeboy get an invite?


vaya juego gano el Vikingo!

alguien sabe que pasa con Dominguez? a ver si puede ganar al menos uno.

La verdad, Leinier esta jugando contra leones y tigres, no solo un vikingo, y es muy duro. Para colmo viene directamente desde Wijk aan Zee sin descanso. Eso perjudica mas a los jugadores con menos experiencia top, creo. Hasta ahora se defende bastante bien, pero falta energia parece. Perder solo dos veces en un torneo de este nivel no es una verguenza para nada. A ver si puede cazarle una victoria para la banda latina manana contra el chino.

although you may not like Dominguez and Wang Yue for whatever private or public reasons, they are best in their respective regions - the Americas, and East Asia. and i suppose the organizers want a good mix

Who doesn't like them? I was just pointing out how odd it is that two players who a year ago had never played in any of these classical super events were in three on the trot this year. This would be relatively unremarkable if they were juniors or in the top ten. But with so many strong players out there, it's rare for anyone to play in so many of the year's top events without being a household name already. Carlsen and Ivanchuk are the only other two who will be playing in all three, I believe. Don't think Dortmund invites are out yet, though I imagine Kramnik, Leko, and Bacrot are 3/8.

The regional argument is a good one though. There hasn't been a Latin American strong enough to play in these events in a long time. I do wish we could see more of the other Chinese players though. Ni Hua and especially Wang Hao play more interesting chess in my opinion. But I guess rating rules, as usual. From around 15 games against 2700+ opposition in the last year and a half, Wang Hao has three wins and one loss. Kid needs more opportunities! Too bad the Chinese squad skipped Gibraltar and the big Russian opens this year.

Five Ways to Get Invited to a Super-tournament: Guide for the Ambitious Chessplayer, by HCL.

1. Rating – Make the top-5. Top 5 players receive invite to every single super-tournament, no questions asked. (Even a Topailov, or in years past, the boring Leko.) A diminishing crapshoot for ranks #5 to #10, and former top 10 players still in the #11-#20 range.

2. Upside Potential- Be on world championship trajectory (or minimally, top-10) and under age 18. You will receive mucho invites to upside tournaments within 100pts. See Carlsen over 2004-2008.

Upside potential diminishes with age (as potential dissipates or becomes reality), into the early 20s, dropping to ZERO by age 24. By then you’re in the top-10 or never invited back. Also known as the Bacrot Effect. (Dominguez is a later bloomer at 26, excused as a geographical isolani.) By age 30 you're a senior citizen in chess years and everything's really over.

(Carlson, Radjabov, Wang, and Dominguez have upside potential; Svidler, Shirov, and Leko ZERO.)

3. Geography – Also know as the Van Wely Effect - come from an under-represented geographical region. Must be number one in region, even if it’s only #57 overall.

(Jakovenko the big geographical loser here in Linares, Wang and Dominguez benefit from both 2 & 3.)

4. Super-tournament Host Nation– Live in a country that hosts a super-tournament. Seems to be worth 50 to 100pts. See Mtel (Cheparinov), Linares (Vallego, Illescas), Nanjing (Bu), and the most egregious abuser, Corus, worth ~200pts.

5. Exciting Game. Kamsky seems favored for this reason, and oppositely, Leko. Must remain in top 20 or 25.

Btw, I think Wang fairly earned his invites (Corus, Linares) based on a 2-year stretch of strong play ending with the medicore performance in the December 2008 Grand Prix.

He did +2700 performance rating for this entire stretch of tournaments, I think.

Jakovenko had been lurking in the 2660-2710 region for some time, and only in the last rating list shot into the top 10. He must be fielding super-invites for the last three quarters of 2009, I'm sure.

"Ni Hua and especially Wang Hao play more interesting chess in my opinion."

We also need to see Wang Yue play awake, and not on 3am Beijing Time. It's youthful foolhardiness to brazen out a eight-hour jet lag, as Wang seems to be doing. Btw, it's obvious Bu has lost his place as the "affirmative action" entry from China, which he himself took from Zhang Zhong, to Wang Yue.

Interesting as Rowsons analysis and comments were, a few times during the Carlsen-Grischuk game he stated "let's rather observe the more interesting games" and proceeded to Radjabov's or Aronian's games. Time spent on the Carlsen-Grischuk game did in no way represent the thrilling excitement there. Of course, no-one can predict accurately the outcome of every game, but certainly more time on the decisive game of the day would have been appreciated.

Chess is big in Spain and other Spanish speaking countries so I assume Dominguez is there for the Spainiards to cheer.
Wang Yue - to be fair he seems to be the kryptonite to Carlsen so exciting games can be guaranteed.

No list can ever be complete, but among Mig's names of players with stinking breath (established subtop players, if top is defined as #1-5) I am missing Gelfand and maybe Ponomariov. Among those "almost as strong, but wrong country" I am missing Gashimov and Alekseev - both slightly ahead of Dominguez in the current FIDE rating list. Maybe Gashimov's potential for invitations has recently gone up because Mamedyarov's has declined.
And in fairness to Corus:
1) They have a larger field, allowing to include not-that-obvious names.
2) The rating difference between the three Dutch players and the (tail of the) rest was ~100 points, not 200. The experiment with three local heroes (one is standard procedure) may be causally related to the fact that Topalov, Anand AND Kramnik all declined their invitations.

And rating ain't everything: the lowest-rated non-Dutch player in the Corus field was ... Karjakin, who clearly deserved his invitation. Same goes for Grischuk (replacing Topalov) at Linares, notwithstanding yesterday's loss and even if he should lose his two remaining games.

Theokratix, in your last sentence two clauses are clearly out of balance ... . I was not watching on ICC, but I assume that Rowson's attention focused (and stayed) on Carlsen-Grischuk once things got exciting here, and less exciting on the other boards.
In any case, Carlsen-Grischuk will obviously get the lion's share of post-game comments and analyses - see Mig's post above, I haven't yet checked other sites.

Btw, did Chessbase dump Mikhail Marin for Anish Giri?

As solid as Marin is, Giri's annotations have a bit more jazz to them. (Marin better on fundamentals, but Giri on tactical insight, youthful enthusiasm, and overall readability.)

I bet the 14yo kid will work for less, also.

Nope, it suffices to scroll down the Chessbase frontpage ... . In some earlier rounds, Marin and Giri commented one game each - Giri rather replacing Rogozenko. As you said, Marin and Giri have different/complementary approaches and styles. Carlsen-Grischuk may suit Giri's better, and in this round it may well be the only game worthy of detailed comments.
BTW, it is interesting that Wang Yue's jetlag was mentioned several times, but Dominguez could (should?) have about the same problem. Maybe it is also a question of physical fitness after all?

Dominguez did look tired in a Chessbase photo yesterday (jet-lagged perhaps, though he looked physically sharp in Corus and in the Linares first round.)

Also, he lags (1) fewer hours, 5 hours for Havana versus 8 hours for Beijing; and (2) in the easier direction. A 3pm Linares round starts 10am in Havana, and ends not later than ~5pm, a normal workday.

As to physical fitness, I have no doubt about Dominguez's. With that kind of gf Dominguez surely exercises regularly, shall we say?

Btw, Giri definitely improves upon Rogozenko. Rogozenko is okay, but ordinary.

If Dominguez looks tired NOW (rather than at the start of the tournament), it probably has to do with the tournament [same conditions for all players] rather than jetlag.
BTW, Havana is six hours behind Madrid, Beijing is seven hors ahead (http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/). And jetlag affects your entire biorhythm, at least I prefer westbound over eastbound. Westbound you usually have a day flight and are 'allowed' to go to sleep soon after arrival. Eastbound you have a night flight - I cannot sleep well on planes - then have to keep yourself awake all day and when you finally go to bed you may have trouble falling asleep. And I don't know if organizers pay business class tickets, which would help to get some rest while travelling.
Moreover, your comment implicitly assumed that chess players have normal working days. But at least some of them are night owls and may even prefer to play at 3:00AM rather than 10:00AM !? ,:)

The chessbase.com annotations are a bit in flux for this tournament because originally Rogozenco was doing all of them, then had to bail, so Marin and Giri are both subbing. I personally like Marin's better - they feel more explanatory, while Giri's feel more like computer lines.

I assumed Linares was GMT + 0, going by location dead south of Britian and my Windows XP clock in the corner (which shows Lisbon GMT + 0, but doesn't list Madrid. Or Linares.) Oops.

A 3pm -10pm Linares round thus makes:

Havana 9am - 4pm
Beijing 10pm - 5am

Dunno about the two players's lifestyles, but Wang Yue seems unaccustomed to 10pm-5am. He's bleary-eyed in every pic. Even most night owls I know get delirious by 2am, and drop dead by 4am.

Oh wow! Anand plays the poisoned pawn variation! To the uninitiated, Black's play looks like a lesson for the beginner in how not to play chess!! Great stuff!

To me Anand seems to be in deep trouble after the 21.Qh6 by Grischuk. Maybe he blitzed out the moves but saw the hole in his analysis too late?

I don't expect World Champion to lose straight from an opening position. It should end in a draw or if Grishchuk is out of fuel Anand might just win. Just my opinion..

We will soon find out ... . @PircAlert: Would your assessment be different if this was Anand-Grischuk rather than Grischuk-Anand?
Interesting, hypothetical and maybe slightly provocative question ... .

Vishy was under fire but after some hasty moves by Grisha in zeitnot made a clever draw offer in Grishchuk's time trouble.

Egad! Anand had wiggled out of danger, was up in material, and Grischuk was in serious time trouble. Why not at least play until time control?!

and Ivanchuk has won. Cool. Now he is leading.

I was actually wondering if there was a mistake in the live transmission, and Grischuk had resigned (prematurely) rather than drawing ... .
The remaining question is: Will Carlsen also win - for a situation reminiscent of Corus, almost half the field leading before the last round?

Vishy looked a million times better today playing on the defensive than his efforts against Carlsen and Ivanchuk earlier. Wonder why he chooses to play such dour lines totally unsuited to his temperment.

Off Topic:The results of the poll with top players are here http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=5268
Very interesting IMO , 57% voted that are confortable with playing with the Bilbao box and that they think is a good idea.
This is a very positive IMO because the box is good for sponsors and a good for serious anti cheating measures in open spaces.

The only slight problem is that today Vishy was probably lost at one point, unlike yesterday against Chucky.

The Carlsen-Radjabov ending is making my head hurt just looking at it. Reminds me - well, every game at Linares does - how the complexity in today's super-GM matchups is so very much more than in the romantic era games we used to ooh and aah about.

Sounds as though Carlsen just made a big blunder with 47. Kf3 instead of Kf1 (which would have continued the winning position). Now a draw is the best he can hope for.

For all that the computer analysis can be irritating in real time, it's rather exciting to see the evaluations plummet instantly from +5 to +.05...

Manu, wouldn't a cage be best of all?

Two pits: one for playing (spectators can throw bananas etc in) and the second lined with sharp stakes (last place in tournament gets thrown in)

yep, Carlsen missed the tactical move ... Nd1+ (W king on e3)and capture the white rook at B2.

Kasparov is in New Delhi...??? There is no mention whatsoever in the Indian media.

@Thomas, yeah, there is a slightly english error in my sentence. I should have said "the world champion". Yeah, I was referering to Anand and his skills. of course not other world champions or if it was the other way round! Anand would have crushed anyone with White in that position! Anand is the best ever, you know. Kasparov rates him very highly! (I guess that is higher than him!!!)

Next question (it would have been even more interesting if Carlsen hadn't given away the win): Grischuk, Ivanchuk and Carlsen all have black tomorrow. Who will take risks playing for a win? What will their opponents do? None of them is probably really happy with his tournament, even if Anand still has (quite theoretical) chances for shared 1st place ... .

Yeah, they may not be happy. Everyone should get $20K at least for appearance.

Actually ... quote from Chessvibes:
"There is no appearance fee for the players this time; the prize fund is € 314,000. The winner takes € 100,000, the second place is € 75,000 and the third player earns € 50,000."
The rest (89k€ or about $112K) is probably split between the other five players - so even the one finishing last (Domingues in the present standings) will not go home empty-handed, so I assume ... .

oh really, that is not bad.. as far the other players concerned. But, Anand may not get anything extra. That is bad then.

Ivanchuk joins lead , i hope he wins this (or at least shared 1st) , specially after his attitude in the game with Dominguez.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on March 5, 2009 10:12 PM.

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