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Another Early Lead for Grischuk

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An evil stomach bug has laid me low for the last few days. I'm so ready for the illness months to be over. I don't think the three of us have been healthy at the same time since October. Bleh. Meanwhile, back at the ranch in Nalchik, the winners of this year's two supertournaments are doing well. Grischuk has the early clear lead with 2.5/3, reminiscent of his early Linares sprint. His won both his whites against Gelfand and Kasimjanov. Both are excellent efforts, especially the sharp win against Kasim in today's round. Big, risky chess.

Mamedyarov's short, sharp, loss with white against Aronian in the first round has led to a few jokes, but I'm happy to point out that Rybka disagrees with exactly one of Black's moves. Had Aronian played 29..Qxc2 instead of the simple liquidation 29..Rg8 near the end, who knows what might have happened. (Kasparov has an original take on Mamedyarov-Kurnosov in the upcoming New In Chess, btw.) Another game of note is Leko's win over Akopian today. He played a rather un-Leko-like pawn sac out of the opening. A nice piece of prep that he followed up aggressively. Karjakin scored a fun win today against Aronian, who started out with 2/2 and perhaps forgot for a moment he's not completely invincible. After all the horrible positions he saved (and even won) at Amber he might have figured he could just give Karjakin a pawn. Or he thought there was no way to save the e-pawn and decided 16..Nd5 was the best way to bail out.

Karjakin has made more news off the board lately. According to Russian journo Vasilyev and Karjakin's Ukrainian countryman Mikhail Golubev in Chess Today, Karjakin is preparing to switch federations to play for Russia. Such a high-profile jump hasn't happened in quite a while, at least since the collapse of the USSR spread strong players to the four winds, or at least three. Was Shirov the last top player to make such a move? If news like this was going to come out about a star changing to the Russian federation I would have thought first of another K, Kamsky. With money being so scarce it's a little surprising there aren't more high-profile defections. Ponomariov has been sitting out Ukrainian team events for a while already. Still, it does smack of poaching, doesn't it? It's one thing if you move, settle down, marry a local, that sort of thing.

Speaking of Kamsky, he's drawn all his games but each was an adventure. He earned a miracle draw against Leko, holding with knight and rook against queen. He was on the other side of it a day later as Bacrot held an opposite-colored bishop ending despite being down two connected passed pawns. That such things are drawn seems to be a crime, but at least they give us one of our few remaining chances to laugh at computers. They will call this +2.65 or similar forever and never get any closer to a win. In the 3rd round Kamsky defended a typically horrific-looking Grunfeld against Mamedyarov. White gets such optically overwhelming positions in so many of these lines it was really more than my already traumatized stomach could bear.

Leaders face off in round four with Aronian-Grischuk and Leko-Karjakin. Live here.


If Karjakin moves it will make sense, but Kamsky? Saying it to prove a point perhaps, but even if there is more money in Russia, there is also more contenders. Alot more, and then some. Besides his law degree is in the US.


It is poaching, and it's a pity the Ukraine loses yet another huge talent.
But then the real big poachers in recent history
(in all kind of sports,in culture and science) are Western and especially Anglo-Saxon countries as the US and Australia, who since the end of communism have been luring a lot of talented people from eastern europe with big money. The problem for the Ukraine is that it's not only poorer than western countries, but also poorer than countries in eastern europe as russia and slovenia (muzychuk).
Btw, Karjakin and his family will move to Moscow
so i don't see any difference with for instance the transfer of super talent Anish Giri from russia to the netherlands.

Poaching = "illegal hunting, fishing, or eating of wild plants or animals contrary to local and international conservation and wildlife management laws" (Wikipedia definition).
There must be other meanings or usages, but I see nothing illegal with a player changing federations - even if his new federation was encouraging or pushing him to do so.
With regard to the "big poachers" sensu Steven, at least in science (my own field) there are other issues besides money: research infrastructure, collaboration opportunities, ... . Ideally, scientists from Eastern European countries should gain experience elsewhere and then transfer it back to their home countries - whether this actually happens is another story.
"i don't see any difference with for instance the transfer of super talent Anish Giri from russia to the netherlands"
Let me explain the difference: Giri moved to the Netherlands because his father found a job there (I think as an engineer in the oil industry), so if anything, the Netherlands were 'poaching' his father not him. Then the family decided to permanently settle in the Netherlands, and it is a logical step to represent the Dutch federation and maybe also apply for Dutch citizenship. Presently too early to predict if Anish Giri will also marry a Dutch girl ,:) .
With Karjakin it seems to be the other way around: young Sergey moving to Russia for chessic reasons, and his family coming along.
Not saying that there is anything right or wrong in either case, just that there are (major) differences ... .

Coincidentally, I just saw the following 'related but different' story in a Dutch newspaper chess column, entitles "Sokolov wants to wake up KNSB [Dutch Chess Federation]" - my free and abridged translation from Dutch:
"Not that long ago foreign grandmasters often named the Netherlands when asked about the best chess country worldwide. The climate for professionals was considered ideal ... . Partly due to this reputation players as Sokolov, Nikolic and Tiviakov moved to the Netherlands.
Hardly anything is left of this reputation. This week Ivan Sokolov announced that he will again represent his native country Bosnia for the coming four years. ... His decision is not due to homesickness. He is very happy here and will still live in Lelystad [a small Dutch town]. ... [Quoting Sokolov:] 'I chose for Bosnia because they do provide guarantees [regarding financial conditions for national championships and Olympiads]. I hope for my Dutch colleagues that my decision will wake up the federation. It is high time that the federation pays serious attention to top-level professional chess.' "

So it is not just a question of overall wealth of a given country, Bosnia is certainly not richer than the Netherlands ... . Sokolov is not as newsworthy as Karjakin - indeed the column continues with the Karjakin case and near the end quotes an Ukrainian official "luckily we still have Ivanchuk".

Always appreciated at this blog: seconds. So here we go:

Karjakin - Dokhoian (!) first time they work together
Leko - Gustafsson
Alekseev - Sakaev
Eljanov - Efimenko
Aronian - Sargissian
Kasimdzhanov - D.Fridman
Gelfand - Huzman
Akopian - Galdunts
Bacrot - Pelletier (ironically the nominated player of Montreux, where originally this 4th would have been held).

Greetings from Nalchik!

Thanks, Manu, very interesting.

Get well soon, Mig!

So, Grishuck has no second?

He lost it in a poker game.

Again, this is just an excerpt from a Russian original .... have fun with the full Babelfish translation:

Some 'quotes':
The title of the interview is
"Ex-champion of peace Vladimir [Kramnik]: After losing, I far and wide re-bandaged soul…"
[apparently there are similar words for 'chess' and 'peace' in Russian!?]
About his match against Kasparov:
"Version with the Berlin protection thus was born."
Question on the Elista match:
"Who beginnings military operations in the elista in the match on the superiority of the peace between you and [Veselinom] [Topalovym]?"
[Chessdom's version is comparatively boring: "Who started that fight in Elista ..."]

Don't get mad at me, Manu, we (Thomas and Babelfish) are just fooling around. But I wonder why Chessdom left out one question on Elista - Kramnik considered quitting the match altogether, but then realized that (at least in his opinion) Topalov and Danailov wanted precisely this to happen. Babelfish once more:
"it was wanted to arise and to flap by door. But, after cooling, I understood that precisely for this everything was started. And it solved, that I will not deliver to them such a happiness."

Peace and world is the same word in russian.

Quite poetic actually, or maybe philosophic?


Thanks for sharing.

A sign of our times that Russia now has to poach talent - they finally have the hot young WC potential they were lacking (perhaps Nepomniatchi but the others Jakovenko etc are a bit older I think).
Also good for Carlsen as now we can have Carlsen of the West vs Karjakin of the "USSR" contest which will be good for marketing the sport.
Perhaps India should poach Giri?

Hopefully both Karjakin and Carlsen remain sane and uncontroversial so any East-West confrontation is devoid of the tawdriness of the Fischer era. By the way there are other potential candidates for supremacy emerging already- Nepo, Caruana etc, so a prolonged Karjakin-Carlsen leadership duopoly is not a foregone conclusion.

Hardy -

"...devoid of the tawdriness of the Fischer era."

Do you mean the mid-1960s and early 70s? Seems like that was a pretty exciting chess era for chessplayers, and it definitely got the attention of the non-chessplaying world as well.

I don't understand why Karjakin would want to switch to the Russian federation? If the olympiad would be held today he wouldn't even make the team. He would be 6th on the list and only 5 people are allowed to play. Perhaps, he just wants to play in the Russian championship.

Only Karjakin himself can tell ... . But if you have 1) problems with the Ukrainian federation, 2) choose a new Russian coach (Dokhoian) and 3) move to Moscow for that reason, it makes sense to 4) also switch federations !? I am still not sure about the idea of 'poaching' (Mig was the first one to suggest it, others picked it up) - maybe Karjakin approached Dokhoian and the Russian federation without even getting a 'hint' beforehand?
@jaideepblue: I am not sure if anything changes in terms of marketing for future Carlsen-Karjakin encounters. For many Westerners, Karjakin is (and was) "ex-Soviet", whether this means Ukrainian or Russian may just be a 'detail'. Instead, games between Karjakin and other ex-Soviet players could be marketed differently - maybe his future games against Ivanchuk (the first one in a couple of days) could be compared to Korchnoi-Karpov??
@Hardy Berger: Did you forget or deliberately omit Radjabov from your list?

IMHO, Radjabov is like Larsen,Polugaevsky,Ljubojevic, Timman, Ivanchuk and Svidler. Definitely stable world class but lacking the extra oomph to become world champion.

BTW, I'm a great fan of anyone who, like Radjabov plays both the KID and Sicilian Dragon. My comments about his WCC potential were made regretfully and I would love to be proved wrong.

BTW, I am a great fan of Radjabov. Anyone who plays both the KID and Sicilian Dragon is my hero.

Do you like players who play both the KID and Sicilian Dragon? You may need to say it again.

>>Peace and world is the same word in russian.<<

Yes, there were many jokes about the endlessly repeated in Soviet times "we are fighting for peace" etc.

Because (in Russian) it can be also understood as
"we are fighting for the world"

So one joke is like that:
"we need a [peace], and preferably all of it"

Another joke (by the e3e5.com editor, Kentler) is that Karjakin, Carlsen, Caruana will all play for the Russian team in the near future! :-)
Being spelt in Russian/cyrillic, their names all begin with KAP

Combine this with the other Babelfish translation, implying that "fight" (whatever the original Russian word was) can literally mean "military operations" .... .
[There may well be similar ambiguities in other languages ...]

it might be said that Mamedyarov not only has a tick in his head, but also a an albatross around his neck. any quick wins against Mamedyarov will make people hold their breath.

This is a very cute linguistic joke especially when you consider the english peace piece as piece of the world. Thank you for sharing that GM Golubev

Well spotted sir!

There is (or was) a lengthy waiting period before a player who changed federations could represent his/her new federation in world championship-level events.

How will this be implemented for the case mentioned here (of a 2700+ player)?

The entire idea of assigning a federation to a player is that FIDE is an organizaiton of member states, not players...and each member state is (was) granted certain rights to send players to various championship level events (including world title cycle).

The entire idea is to avoid having players who fail to qualify in one zone...move to a new zone to qualify....and do so repeatedly.

Thus, "poaching" is quite a good term for it if there were any financial inducements from the new federation -- that used to be a big NO-NO in FIDE.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on April 17, 2009 10:15 PM.

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