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Remains of the Day

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With four significant events going on simultaneously it's a little hard to keep track. To sum up: Wang Hao stopped winning, Shirov can't stop losing, Short finally drew, Carlsen and Ivanchuk squeaked by, and Anand is making it look easy against Leko.

If you still want more, we've already covered the shocking conclusion of the Chinese championship, including two players losing by forfeit because they weren't at their boards when the clocks were started. Even when FIDE gets the right idea (players should be at their boards, after all. It's only professional.) they implement it in such a boneheaded and extreme way as to infuriate everyone. Zero tolerance? Forfeit? Why not kick offenders out of the tournament or burn them at the stake? How about a fine, or anything else that doesn't also punish the spectators, the organizers, the other players, and potentially upset the competitive balance of an entire event? Horrible. Anyway, congrats to 16-year-old winner Ding Liren, who may now be allowed to leave chess camp and visit his family.

Fresh from winning the MTel supertournament and the big invite to the Bilbao Masters Grand Slam Final, Alexei Shirov is again making news at the board. This time it's at the relatively humble Elo altitude of the Karpov tournament in Poikovsky, where he's the top seed. If you can name another top seed to start an event this strong with an Audi -- other than Ivanchuk or Shirov himself of course -- I'd love to see it. Four consecutive losses to start out the nine-round event and a few of the games make you wonder if Shirov partied just a little too hard after winning in Sofia. (Vodka on Board?) Tragic. On the sunnier side of the crosstable, Gashimov and Motylev are leading with impressive 3.5/4 scores, followed by the exciting Inarkiev with three wins and a loss. Onischuk has two defeats and has Shirov to thank for keeping him out of the cellar.

Leko is once again appearing overmatched on his home turf in the Miskolc rapid match. After losing the last two editions to Kramnik and Carlsen, the Hungarian is having his milkshake drunk by world champ Vishy Anand this year. It's 4-2 with two final games to play on Sunday. I'm a little surprised since Leko looked so sharp at the Nalchik Grand Prix, but Anand is just too much to handle. He's lost just one rapid game in the past year (!), to none other than Peter Leko at Amber.

A year ago Anand lost several rapid games, and a match, to Ivanchuk in the final of the León Magistral event. This final of this year's edition is about to begin between Ivanchuk and Carlsen, who disposed of Morozevich and Wang Yue in the semifinals, respectively. Ivanchuk won the first of his four game set and then drew his way home. In game two, Moro's zippy 7.c6, which he introduced against Ponomariov last year, was met by the "oh yeah?" response 7..d5 by Ivanchuk instead of taking the pawn. Interesting, at least until you notice Morozevich could have transposed into one of those earlier games with 11.b4. Oh well. Chucky should have wrapped things up in game three with five pawns for a piece but let it get away.

Carlsen needed blitz tiebreak games to eliminate Wang Yue, although he gave the Chinese player a little help to get there. It's hard to believe White couldn't win game one with a rook for knight and pawn in an endgame, but it happened. Wang Yue drew first blood in the second game, smoothly demolishing Carlsen's Grunfeld. In game three Wang Yue horribly misplayed a sharp Nimzo line (seen in the aforementioned Ivanchuk-Anand León match last year), apparently missing 15.Nxd5 and Black's position is a wreck. Carlsen couldn't do anything with the bishop pair in the first blitz tiebreak game. In the second, again against Wang Yue's Catalan, Carlsen outplayed his opponent steadily to head into tomorrow's final.

Top seed Nigel Short began this year's Sigeman sprint event with three straight wins. That should be more than enough to take first in this five-round miniature tournament, although after his 4th round draw with Hillarp-Persson today he can be caught if he loses in the final round to second seed Ivan Sokolov on Sunday. I wonder if Sokolov owns a Caruana mask.


Grandelius drew in rd 1, had a nice win against Sokolov in rd 2, then received a 28 move belting from the mighty Nosher in rd 3. He bounced back with a win in round 4.
Pretty good.

"Vodka on board?"

This is why I keep coming back. Well done.

It's too bad what's happening to Leko on his home turf. It's now like an annual, " Come and see me lose " event. Maybe Leko could pick someone from a lower tier of players for next year?

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    About this Entry

    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on June 6, 2009 8:44 PM.

    16-year-old Ding Liren Wins Chinese Ch was the previous entry in this blog.

    Carlsen and Short Weekend Winners is the next entry in this blog.

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