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Holiday Weekend Checkback

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Been a bit busy here on the homefront in the past week with sister and nephew in town. Of course we had to go to Coney Island, every four-year-old's dream destination. My own Miglette will have to wait until next year for the rides, but she really liked watching her cousin in action.

Some bits and bobs from recently completed events. Several people have pointed out that the multiple pawn sac line of the Sveshnikov that Carlsen played against Shirov in the decisive game of MTel has been analyzed and Black's 21..Kh8 novelty was recommended in a book by Rogozenko. He called it "with compensation," which is one of the many shorthands for unclear. With so many lines, an author can't work them all out to a conclusion, fair enough. "Compensation" in such a sharp position isn't very helpful, however. It's kill or be killed and Black needs to make something happen very quickly with almost no room for error, as we saw in this game. Carlsen barely managed to generate any threats to compensate for his missing trio of pawns. The more direct line 25..e3 26.g3 Qd6 27.Rd1 exf2+ 28.Kxf2 is a little funky but still looks good for White. But it just seems unnatural to leave the pawns sitting on d4 and e4.

Boris Gelfand beat Svidler in the final match of the ACP Rapid event in Odessa. Svidler has been on an impressive hot streak lately, and looked ready to continue his winning ways against Gelfand. They drew the first two games and then Svidler was ready to take a commanding advantage with a win with black in game three. He finagled two pawns but couldn't contain White's activity. Not only did the win escape, but the bishop pair eventually even won the game for Gelfand. The script was repeated in game four. Svidler had the bishops this time and was pocketing material. Gelfand single-mindedly went after the white king and proved the theory that a bad position and a plan can beat a good position and no plan. Still with that winning position Svidler blundered and allowed an unusual mate in five. It's hard to see that the king is trapped by the knight on h1. Earlier, Svidler knocked out Grischuk using the Alekhine's Defense in a game well worth a look.

Congrats to Diego Flores for winning the Argentine Championship. I first saw him play when he was the only player to draw Kasparov in a simul on Garry's visit to Buenos Aires in 1998, which is when I first met him. ## Hikaru Nakamura was just added to the field of the London Chess Classic taking place in December. There's he'll be measured by Carlsen, Kramnik, and Adams, as well as Short, Ni Hua, and McShane. One spot in the field is still open. Who would you like to see fill it? ## Believe it or not, unkillable chess zombie Vassily Ivanchuk plays on and on, going directly from his catastrophe in Sofia to play a rapid match against David Navara in Prague. The plucky Czech is out of his league here, and maybe Chucky can catch some Zs on the train?


I was rooting for Felgaer , i first time saw him at the ¨ Najdorf Memorial ¨( the tournament happened at the same time that the 9/11 atacks , very weird atmosphere on that event i must say ), then i saw him a couple of times at the torre blanca chess club , always seemed nice and approachable .
Did you look a the games yet ?

No, not at all. Will have some time Friday and next weekend though when the house is a little emptier!

Good to see Naka in a elite tournament - pity its taken this long. Has he played in events higher than this before?

I'd like to see Nepomniachtchi in the final slot. He plays wild, interesting chess.

Pashikian Arman, currently rated no.4 in Armenia.

Draw rate with White: 30%, Black: 38%.

I believe in his games it happens more that he's down a piece than that he's not down a piece.

I'd like to see Jakovenko. With a FIDE rating of 2753, he deserves top tournaments invitations, doesn't he ?

Jakovenko is going to play in Dortmund this year - that's pretty elite I think.

Mig - regarding Shirov-Carlsen, black probably needed to play the accurate zwischen-move 22... Bc3! (instead of directly going Be5?! which was Carlsen's very natural choice). It forces white to either misplace his rook on e3 or to give the exchange - since Re3 gives black a vital tempo in most lines involving the d5-d4-d3 push.

a) 23. Re3?! Rg8! 24. Qh3 Be5! 25. Rfe1 Qf6 26. Bf1 Bd7 gives black almost full compensation and equal chances - black regains the f5 pawn and from f5, the bishop covers two important pawns while maintaining active posibilities.

b) 23. Be2!? seems to be white's best move - an interesting exchange sac, for 3 pawns and 2 passers - for example 23... Bxe1 24. Rxe1 Qc5
25. Rc1 Bb5!? 26. Bxb5 Qxb5 and white is somewhat better, but the position is heavily unbalanced and black is clearly alive.

"unkillable chess zombie" - heh :)

I am a bit surprised that playjunior proposes Pashikian (2655, but only in the most recent FIDE list), who is hardly known at least in western Europe (maybe that's exactly why ...).
Among the Armenian players, I would rather consider Sargissian (2660, at this level for a while already) - always doing well at Olympiads, lacking top invitations so far.
Other names would be
Gashimov (2730) - highest-rated player without major invitations (excluding Grand Prix and Russian/ex-Soviet tournaments)
Kurnosov (2658) - attractive style and gesture of sympathy.
It partly depends on which category/overall rating average the organizers want, can afford and/or need (to be considered for the Grand Slam).

Yes, "unkillable chess zombie" is vintage Mig.
And keep the photos of your delightful daughter coming!

It would be nice to see
Nisipeanu 2675
Sergei Tiviakov 2697
Rustam Kazimdzhanov 2695
Of course Morozevich, Ivanchuk and Shirov are always welcome additions...

Even Stuart Conquest if they want a third English representative.

excuse me fourth English representative

Hi frogbert,
I have no reason to doubt that you analysis is independent, but it may interest you (and Mig and others) that you line a) has actually been played before!!?
See the analysis by Dennis Monokroussos:
He mentions a German email game Ruppel(2144)-Zwicker(2186), black subsequently won in 48 moves.
He also gives a correspondence game Nyvlt(2635)-Neumann(2667) where white played 22.Nb1 (rather than 22.Nc2), also won by black [probably my former clubmate Joachim Neumann from Kiel, Germany - too bad I cannot ask him as I left town about ten years ago ...].
So Carlsen didn't play harakiri, but (quote "D-Mon"): 22.-Be5 was "(f)inally, a new move, but not necessarily a good one".

By comparison, Peter Doggers on Chessvibes seems to use a different database, as he calls 21.-Kh8 the novelty (mentioning that it was recommended by Rogozenko). At this occasion, we do not get a "third opinion" from Chessbase ... . But they take the opportunity to promote Shirov's training DVD "My best games in the Sveshnikov" (with both colors) - one diagram in that article shows the position from Carlsen-Shirov after move 14 (Shirov had white in the games displayed, but I cannot read his opponent's name).

The interesting question is (maybe you can find out concerning one of the players? ,:) ): Which database did Shirov and Carlsen use to prepare for the game? And do they take correspondence games by 2100-2200 players seriously?

I would wager they don't take corr by 2100-2200 seriously... though they definitely should as those games could have had months spent on that single position.

That's the point, Thomas. I am telling you the names of people who will win the Olympiad in 2,4,6... years. Instead of jumping into my bandwagon you say you don't know him... so... do you propose that no new names should be invited to tournaments? I suppose you would have chosen Mickey Adams over Levon Aronian anytime before 2005 because you didn't know the later, right?

Your next argument is that he is not a worthy candidate because his rating has been only raising from list to list. Do you realize that this is a high confidence indicator that he is (largely) underrated at the moment ?

Btw I agree that Sargissian didn't have too many tourney invitations. Gashimov got the Grand Prix, where he performs quite well. None of those come even remotely close to the entertainment you get from Pashikian. As I said, last time I watched him play a tournament it was rivers of blood every single game. Every single one.

If you're looking for an under-represented player compared to his rating, how about inviting Zoltan Almasi? He has a classical and direct style and usually does well on the rare occasions when he gets invited to round robins these years (the latest Reggio Emilia for instance, not quite an elite event but still an excellent performance on his part).

For sheer creativity value and unconventional chess I would pick out Vadim Zvjaginsev instead, but perhaps the Category of the event would drop in that case.

And if you're looking for maniacally aggressive play, it's hard to do better than call Emil Sutovsky, provided he has no conflict of interests with his "charge" Kamsky.

Keep posting occasional pictures of your little one, Mig. She's adorable. (Inclusion in the frame of your esteemed but less photogenic self is optional.)

Vachier-lagrave for the last spot. Young, strong, and unknown.

David Howell a distant second. It's always nice to throw the local youth in for a beating.

Kurnosov for me pls. Or Valery Salov if he's still alive and able to play chess.

How on earth can you call vachier unknown?

I only have 2 thoughts...

1) Mig should wear the yellow hat
2) I miss Salov

I get your point, playjunior, and tried to include it in my previous post by saying "maybe that's exactly why" ('presumably' or 'probably' may have been clearer). But, while Mig's question simply was "Who would you LIKE to see?" I also partly considered the related question "Who is LIKELY to get the final spot?" - with so many names proposed, chances remain remote that I, or anyone else, get that one right.

But what could the criteria for a "likely" player be? I will give it a try:
1) attractive playing style (but I would not necessarily limit this to 'rivers of blood in every single game')
2) a) reasonably well-known already, but b) not too well-known
3) minimum ELO of 2650, but maybe rather 2690

Concerning 1), this may work against Tiviakov (he used to get Corus A invitations, but then basically tried to draw all of his games).
Concerning 2), the organizers already indicated that they are open to 'new names' by inviting Nakamura and Ni Hua. I put Gashimov because, as I said, his successes were mostly in ex-Soviet countries, so it may be time to present him to the western world. [BTW, I hope you or others are not offended by the term "ex-Soviet countries", I use it merely as a convenient descriptive term - the alternative 'far eastern Europe' seems odd to me]. And for reason 2b), names as Ivanchuk, Morozevich, Shirov, Topalov, Anand are "too obvious to be mentioned".
Maybe Mark Crowther himself can comment on this at some stage, but probably and understandably only after the last spot has been filled.

Now on Pashikian: I took your suggestion seriously ,:) and checked details of his ELO history, two things I noted:
1) his ELO curve shows several plateaux followed by another rise (admittedly, no reversals in the curve) - tentatively(!) making it less obvious that his final limit will indeed be 2700 or higher.
2) he hasn't played many opponents yet in the (upper) 2600-2700 range.
My proposal: Yes, he should get tournament invitations, but maybe it is too early for him to be thrown between the 2700+ lions. More obvious would be first some "sub-top" invitations, for example Corus B, Bosna, Biel, Reggio Emilia, Hastings, ... . Even Corus A may be more likely, because the field is larger (14 players).

Salov was a very strong player with an interesting technical style, wasn't he one of the many players who lost a crucial match and was never quite the same again? Or what happened him, maybe I'm confusing him with someone else.


I've never seen a single Vachier game on Chessbase. That makes him unknown, at least to me.

But objectively he doesn't get supertourney invites, weirdly not even Corus (maybe he declines them, whoknows.) But probably I'd prefer David Howell.

OK, seems I have taken on promoting our young stars.

He is one of the hardest-working players in Armenia. You might remember the game Sokolov-Aronian from the last Olympiad (0-1 in 19 moves, white resigned Rook up in a completely hopeless position). So, after the game Aronian said that the whole variation was an analysis by Pashikian, who had cheerfully given it to the Olympic team.

When he shared first in Armenian CHampionship with Sargissian (Gabriel won the title by a rapid mini-match), he was an IM. He played more crazy games than all other participants taken together.

I have no doubt that he will be 2700 soon.

I think Salov had quite a few psychological issues, calling New in Chess "Jew in Chess" (but this I'm taking from an article by Hans Ree in the aforementioned magazine, so troll at your own risk) which was a real pity, since he seemed to me a very strong player, with a technique that was a joy to see. Yes, I believe one can as well admire a magnificient technique just after enjoying a bloody king-hunt. In that sense, I consider many of Kramnik's games no less creative than a young-Shirov-all out attack. For example his game against Gelfand from Dortmund 2007 ranks for me next to his loss to Shirov in Linares 94.

The Biel tournament (18-31/7/2009) includes (by ELO) Morozevich, Ivanchuk(!), Gelfand, Alekseev, Vachier-Lagrave and Caruana. Incidentally, that's why I didn't put the last three names on my list - nor did I succumb to German patriotism mentioning Naiditsch (who plays Dortmund). And, while Howell seems more logical to me than Conquest, I don't think the London organizers will go for a fourth English player - somehow this would seem inconsistent with their wish to join the Grand Slam.
Btw, it is interesting to compare the virtually continuous ELO increase of Vachier-Lagrave with the 'stepwise' pattern of Pashikian. Last time Vachier was 'stagnating' at 2186 for a few consecutive lists was back in 2000 (when he was ten years old).

But playjunior, of course you can promote young Armenian stars, indeed it is more than fine to point out Pashikian's name. I merely suggested that London would come a bit too early for him, and - based on the comparison above - he is not yet quite as far as Vachier (who is three years younger). This may well be due to lack of opportunities, including that he was apparently a tiny little bit too weak to make it onto Armenia's Olympic team.

I have great respect for Arman Pashikian as he is progressing very fast, clearly a coming star. However, I don't see why the London organizers should invite a relatively unknown 21 year old who is "only" number 71 in the world in a field with a 2700 average. That's not going to happen. The main factor for receiving invitations is your current rating, and Pashikian is just not rated high enough.

Instead, I would rather choose for Jakovenko, Gashimov or Karjakin. As the tournament takes place in London, it would also make sense to invite a player from the west, for example Bacrot or Vachier-Lagrave.

Hello everyone. My picks are based on Elo and also on residence. Lagrave or Bacrot,France; Shirov, Spain; Naiditsch, Germany; Ponomariov or Karjakin, Ukraine (at least for now for Karjakin);Sargissian or Akopian; Armenia. Or the fabulous but out of practice Judith Polgar! Ladies are always nice..Too bad Hou Yifan or Humpy Koneru's rating aren't high enough.

may health and happiness shine on your daughter!


I think some organizer somewhere should get Kurnosov and Mamedyarov in the same tourney as soon as possible. Yum!

CO :)

I hope not. Mamedyarov should be serving a long suspension already.

Miglette is one so cute doll!!!

Is Sebastian Maze an unknown? - very steep rating curve may now be leveling off, or just awaiting further rise? I guess at sub-2600 he's not a candidate for the tournament spot, yet.

I agree Gashimov deserves thorough super-GM testing, too.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on May 26, 2009 12:56 AM.

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