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Yet more top-level chess coming at us this week in what used to be the long lull between Amber and Dortmund. (Or even Linares and Dortmund if you didn't count rapid.) Nowadays we seem to have hot and cold running top-tenners in action. Well, of late it's been mostly Shirov and Ivanchuk, and they way their last event have gone the term 'top ten" may no longer apply on the next list.

First we have the III King's Tournament in Bazna, Romania. It's yet another six-player double round-robin event and a category 20, no less. Ivanchuk, Gelfand, Radjabov, Shirov, Kamsky, and local star Nisipeanu make up the cast. (In what must surely be an error, Dominguez and Wang Yue aren't participating.) Last year's event, a relatively humble cat. 13, was dominated by top seed Nigel Short. It's a little hard to believe Shirov and Ivanchuk are back in action again. They've both played over 30 classical games in the last few months and both are coming off catastrophic results. Ivanchuk has even shoehorned in two rapid events since going -4 at MTel at the end of May!

But you can always put the predictable on hold with both of these stars. In the first round in Barza they won with black to take the very early lead. Shirov beat Kamsky and Ivanchuk beat Nisipeanu. Radjabov-Gelfand was drawn. In an example of predestination, Shirov started pushing his a-pawn on move 10 and it eventually turned into a winner. I'm not convinced the rook endgame should be lost for White, but how Shirov won it is instructive. Ivanchuk defended with black a Lopez line he used to beat Morozevich a few months ago with white at Amber. Nisipeanu was getting pushed back by Black's central pawns and then cracked under the pressure with 32.Kg2, the right idea (getting the king off the back rank) but too early. The power of the bishop pair could have given him chances to fight back with 32.f4 instead. Then if 32..Rb2?! 33.fxe5! Rxd2 34.Qf3! and suddenly Black is fighting for survival. Against Gelfand, Radjabov followed 22 moves of Leko's nice win over Gelfand's Petroff at Nalchik a few months ago. The Azerbaijani varied with 23.Ne7+ and Gelfand showed some cute tactics to hold the balance.

Another event in its third edition is the III Ruy Lopez International Chess Festival. Mickey Adams is the top seed and last year's winner. (Sargissian won the first in 2007 with a sensational 6.5/7.) He started this year off with a bang by losing to young Spanish IM Larino Nieto. Adams bounced back in the second round with a win over Caruana in a classic Adams "The Spider" grind. Caruana is 0/2 with a loss in the first round to Cheparinov. The Bulgarian, still best known for his work with world #1 Topalov, shares the lead with the two women in the field, Humpy Koneru and veteran Swedish GM Pia Cramling.


At extreme risk of seeming completely nutz, I'll pick Chucky and Alexi to tie for first. Why not? Their recent results have been inconsistent and that would follow the "trend"!

As they play each other today, maybe "there can be only one" to stay in the lead for the time being - unless their wild game ends in a draw.

But to me it seems that yesterday's scenario may repeat itself, Shirov reaching a favorable rook ending after a crazy middlegame - at least Chucky is in deep thought (more than 30 minutes) after 41.h5 ... one move after making the time control with seconds left on the clock.
So much for a bit of live commentary ... .

OK, it's just the first round, but... !!!

Bazna Round 1: Shirov and Ivanchuk Start with Wins


Is this a joke, noyb?? This was already mentioned in Mig's report (the very one you are commenting on ...).
Anyway, Shirov-Ivanchuk in round 2 was drawn after all - kudos to both players for an entertaining game. Maybe Shirov missed a win somewhere in the rook endgame, but Ivanchuk defended well (I will leave definite assessments to experts and/or those using Rybka and tablebases).

I'll forgive you on your post there Thomas, you obviously aren't a Dirt regular. That info wasn't there in the original post. Guess Mig added it later (see timestamp of post; predates Rnd 1).

"I'll forgive you on your post there Thomas, you obviously aren't a Dirt regular."

Man, I laughed about this one for awhile! Good one!


yeah, show'em whose the pappa noybz!

Some timestamps (US East Coast time unless indicated otherwise):
14 June 8:30AM Start of Bazna Round 1 (3:30PM local Romanian time as given on the tournament homepage)
14 June 2:22PM My "off-topic" post in the Poikovsky thread: "We have seen the other Shirov and the other Ivanchuk, both winning with the black pieces"
14 June 11:34PM Mig put up the current thread
15 June 4:01PM noyb essentially duplicates my previous post

No big deal, but I like facts ... ,:)

Thomas - Obviously you can't do simple logic and math, or else you just can't admit you are wrong. My post was made BEFORE the games ended. Go bug some other board and get a life.

NOYB, speaking ONLY as an observer, I was following this thread, and read each comment as it was posted (ie, each one I read was the last comment at that time). I also thought your "OK, it's just the first round ..." comment was, well, mistimed.

Just calling it the way I saw it.


A 'timely' but puzzled comment on round 3: The official live transmission indicates three draws??! No questions asked concerning the non-game Nisipeanu-Kamsky, but:

Why did Ivanchuk offer a draw when Gelfand had just 22 seconds left for four moves? The position seems even, but I would expect them shaking hands AFTER the time control ... .
And Shirov seems to lose a piece (or the exchange) against Radjabov after 37.Be6 - his Grunfeld had gone wrong as it occasionally happens. Another incident with pieces knocked over in time trouble? Or, a live transmission error?

Perhaps the nyob comment on Round 1 didn't appear right away after it was submitted? Don't posts with links in them sometimes get delayed for some kind of verification?

Another observation: I thought it curious at the time that the first comment here (from nyob concerning his prediction -- it was the only comment listed at the time, and contains no links) appeared after I knew the results of the 1st round (of course, that doesn't mean HE knew those results, or that the comment appeared immediately, although most seem to).

Again, this is just my recollection, and may or may not be the truth.


Whatever, persist in your negativity. I'll just enjoy chess. Peace out.

I also thought it curious you would be observant of the fact that you read nyob tournament predictions after you knew the results of the 1st round games. Now that does pose the question of exactly when nyob posted his predictions, especially as you have been diligently following each post as it comes. Not sure what the porblem is, but I think you should relax, enjoy the games, and not worry about the timings of these posts...

Amazing how little innocent (or at least innocently meant) remarks can cause numerous follow-up posts - here it was my "fault" but it does not prevent me from enjoying the games ... . As far as noyb's first post (on the very top of this thread) is concerned, I also knew the round 1 results when I read it - but with that information, the post makes as much (or even more) sense, so I don't see any problem.

On the other hand, I just realized that, in his game against Radjabov, Shirov has 37.-Nb4! to avoid losing material. Did Radjabov see this immediately after playing 37.Be6, quickly offering a draw because he was afraid of being even (a bit) worse thereafter? Both players had seconds left for the final moves until time control on move 40. Of course they can see things far more quickly than amateurs, but THAT quickly _and_ trusting that the opponent would see the same?! Less odd than I initially thought, but quite amazing!?

Nothing I have related in this thread has been negative, nor am I less than relaxed. I defend no one; I accuse no one. I am simply stating my observations. They are not meant to imply meaning. If a meaning to any of my posts is inferred, it is through the mind of the one inferring it, not mine, unless expressly stated by me. Any further trolling of my posts in this thread will be ignored (sigh).


(But you gotta admit, calling someone who may actually be the most prolific poster on this site "obviously {not a} Dirt regular" is just ROTFL hilarious, and I commend nyob for it!)


My respects to all the posters who didnt participate on this stupid argument .

I wrote my response tongue-in-cheek. But I do hope, when you submit your posts, you are trying to convey something meaningful rather than just adding posts that are aimless and meaningless... ;-) Jim

internet is for aimless and meaningless posts
and i like the discussion about and from Thomas
and noyb. noyb go on, Thomas, don't give in, fight.

Yes, I am also gripped. In fact I have been sitting here for 24 hours with my browser pointed at "the Daily Dirt" clicking "refresh" every 5 secs, my index finger is getting cramped and I am starting to hallucinate, but it's worth it.

After chesshire cat has hit the refresh button in vain for more than two hours now, another and final statement: I did not fight and will not fight, I didn't even react when I was personally insulted (noyb yesterday 11:23AM). I just gave my facts - they happen to be consistent with CO's observations, nothing more to be said.

Since this thread had degenerated so disgracefully, I thought I'd shift the thread a little bit to an idea I am entertaining.

I've noted in the article on another site about today's Nisi-Kamsky short draw, that the commentator was able to extract from his database that this was the 75th game of exactly these 16 moves to a 3-rep draw. I have also noticed commentators and others here give extensive game and rating stats extracted from their databases, like how often certain variations won or lost, etc. Some have become really quite good at this.

I believe it is possible now to place empirical data on the kinds of hypotheses we see bandied about in chess writing. So when a commentator says, "We've seen an increase in Petroff's since the mid-1990s," I want to see stats proving it, not just speculation. Or, "the ...a6 Sicilian is going out of favor," please prove it with a citation to recent stats, don't just speculate or publish hunches.

Quick related point: I'd love to see empirical meat placed on the Ovidu Hypothesis (that chess is becoming played out) by a chart correlating the year with the average TN move number. For example, look at samples of thousands of GM games per year, and make a chart: In 1995, the TN occurred at move 14.23, in 1996 average TN at move 14.35, in 1998 at move 15.01 and so on. (I'm totally guessing at those numbers). This could prove or disprove the Ovidu Hypothesis.

Just some random thoughts, more about chess that the preceding, unsatisfying edition of the DD.

There is no need for stats to disprove that chess is 'played out'. GMs are still playing and losing, thousands still enjoy the game...

Capablanca thought that 'draw death' was just around the corner when he proposed his monstrous variant. And he was wrong.

I doubt chess will ever have a Marion Tinsley.

There is so much to be discovered if one is willing to work and take chances. I was looking at this line last nite--it's beautiful & sound:

1.Nf3 c5 2.c4 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 e6 5.Nc3 Nf6 6.g3 Qb6 7.Ndb5 Ne5 8.Bf4 Nfg4 9.Qa4! (Aronian, Sargissian--see Timman's article in NiC 2009.1)

Very inspiring to a mere 2000.

Babs: Marion Tinsley--that's so cool. I had never heard of him. The Wikipedia article about him says that he claims to have spent 10,000 hours on checkers while in grad school. 10,000 hours is the amount of time that is required to master a discipline, according to Malcolm Gladwell's book "Outliers."

Still, Tinsley's Wikipedia article is relatively short, without even a photograph. Poor guy! Poor checkers! Even chess players rate more coverage than Tinsley gets in Wikipedia--and we all know how obscure chess players are.

For a good book on Marion Tinsely and Checkers (and computers) try "One Jump Ahead" by Jonathan Schaeffer

Thanks, Andy. I see that Schaeffer led the team that built Chinook, the computer program that challenged Tinsley's supremacy (but never beat him).

I wouldn't put too much faith in the claims in that book. There are plenty of arguments that this 10,000-hour figure is perfectly arbitrary. Isn't it just another attempt to democratise talent? Maybe it is nice to comfort everybody that they too could have been special if they had "done the time". It also seems to ignore the concept of effective and non-effective practice.


'Non-effective practice'?. That sounds like my chess.

Coming in late here - actual chess just intervened (spent last 5 days in a tournament).

It's my belief that most amateurs' chess study and practice isn't all that effective, because most of us all but ignore the emotional factors that so often prevent us from using the chess knowledge we already have.

I think the overwhelming majority of players from 1600 strength up through 2300 or so, would get more bang for the buck chess-wise from improving their SELF-knowledge than studying to improve their CHESS knowledge.

I'm not talking about paying some charlatan shrink to ply you with touchy-feely, zen, psychobabble. No, I'm talking meat-and-potatoes stuff: take a moment every few moves to self-check your own emotional state. Step away from the board, ask yourself if you're nervous, if you're bothered by something your opponent is doing or something about the playing conditions, and if your plans and goals are really based on the position that exists NOW, as opposed to the position that existed say 5 moves ago (when you thought you were winning).

If you force yourself to be consciously aware of distracting factors like these, you can talk yourself out of them - tell yourself to put that aside and focus solely on the board.

What makes all this important is the obvious fact that at the amateur level, we almost never lose through lack of chess knowledge, or through our opponent's brilliant play. We lose because we beat ourselves. That is, we do things WE ALREADY KNOW are objectively wrong. Or we would know it (even without benefit of post-mortem analysis) if we were concentrating objectively on the position at the time we made the stupid move.

That sounds like 'touchy-feely, zen, psychobabble' to me.

You remind me of the Josh Waitzkin ´s tutorials that i saw when i started playing , they were really helpful in many ways.

Ah Josh Josh. After reading that book, I really wanted to punch Fred Waitzkin. Talk about living through your kid!!!

No Jon is spot on.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on June 14, 2009 11:34 PM.

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