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Dortmund 09 r1: Carlsen Starts Fast

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It's go time in Dortmund. In memory of Michael Jackson they start out with a real Thriller in round one, Leko-Kramnik! Har har, I could go on all night. But I won't, because I am merciful. The other games are Carlsen-Jakovenko and Naiditsch-Bacrot. Games start at 9am EDT, 3pm local, but they are using a 15-minute broadcast delay as an anti-cheating measure, something I fully support. Although they haven't figured out a good way to deal with jumping to the end when the game is over. There will be a daily live link on the official site (above). There seem to be dueling official sites, btw. That one, plus this one and what appears to be a subsite of it. Weird.

I'm on ICC Chess.FM with the inimitable LarryC. Updates here after the round. Call the action. Or "action" since Leko hasn't beaten Kramnik in classical chess since their 2004 WCh match (shades of Kasparov's dominance over Anand post-1995 WCh match) and Kramnik hasn't won a classical game with black against anybody since 2006, one of the more remarkable stats in top chess. But hey, let's stay positive. A black win in his favorite event would be a heck of a way for Big Vlad to shake off seven months of rust.

UPDATE: A pretty slow day at the board from the spectating point of view, with a Berlin, a deep Marshall endgame, and a Catalan. You know you're in trouble when the Berlin game is where the excitement is. But that was the case today. Leko-Kramnik fulfilled one of the easier predictions I've made with a 24-move snoozer. Leko tried 1.d4 and tried to use Kramnik's favorite Catalan against him. Vlad was unimpressed and liquidated the queenside to reach a totally drawn endgame. The ambitious exchange sac offer 17.e3!? would have livened things up a bit, though it doesn't seem to promise more than equality for White.

Naiditsch-Bacrot was an endgame variation of the Marshall Gambit that both played on the other side recently. White gets such an infinitesimal advantage in these lines you're basically waiting around for Black to screw up. As LarryC put it, White might win two or three out of twenty of these with some luck, but with zero risk of a loss and that seems to be what many of today's players are happy with with white. Ugh. They politely played on for a bit in an opposite-colored bishop endgame before leaving Carlsen-Jakovenko as the only game in town.

The Berlin doesn't seem a natural fit for Jakovenko, but he's had success with it on both sides, indicating a gift for its desert-like maneuvering positions. (He lost to Svidler with it last month, but to be fair Svidler dodged the usual endgame with 4.d3.) Carlsen made steady progress, however, and Black had some tough choices to make when the rooks came off the board before the first time control. Jakovenko hadn't been in any time trouble but nerves seemed to get the best of him in his Dortmund debut. He let his time tick down and then made several poor decisions, avoiding a couple of natural attempts at a draw Larry looked at and ending up in a lost position. He passed up the chance to play ..c5 twice and after that he was going to be tortured for a long time at the very best. Instead it ended quickly with another dithering move, 41..Bd3. One nice drawing line: 37..c5 38.bxc5 Kxc5 39.h5 gxh5 40.gxh5 f6 41.h6 Bg8 42.Ne6+ Kd6! 43.Nf8 Ke7 44.h7 Bxh7 45.Nxh7 Kf7.

Round 2: Kramnik-Bacrot, Jakovenko-Naiditsch, Leko-Carlsen.

ICC Chess.FM New In Chess subscription trivia winner for round 1: Flaneur. Q: "The last time Dortmund used this format, a player outside the top 20 won ahead of Kramnik and Anand. Who?"


Hehehe, certainly not a game for the faint-hearted.

Not a black win since 2006, awesome! Really notable for a player of Kramnik's caliber. Let's see if Leko fixes that.

You would think that Kramnik would have at least one opponent over-press as White during that time...

His last black win was in Dortmund: Jobava vs Kramnik 0-1 15 2006 Dortmund Sparkassen E12 Queen's Indian

If you don't count that 15 moves one, it was: Topalov vs Kramnik 0-1 63 2006 Kramnik-Topalov World Championship Match D19 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, Dutch

John, how could the Jobava game be played later than the Topalov game when Dortmund is in July and the WC match was in the fall?

Anyway, Jakovenko's endgame skills may be overrated, as he lost the Berlin endgame to Carlsen today. But then again, maybe that tells one more about Carlsen than it does about Jakovenko.

I dunno, it looks like Jako mangled that pretty badly. He had some fairly clear drawing attempts before time control from what we looked at with LarryC. Passing up the chance to play ..c5 cost him. He may have missed that trick with the knight being trapped on h7 after 37..c5 38.bxc5 Kxc5 39.h5 gxh5 40.gxh5 f6 41.h6 Bg8 42.Ne6+ Kd6! 43.Nf8 Ke7 44.h7 Bxh7 45.Nxh7 Kf7 draw. White can try other things, but without ..c5 Black's just waiting for White to break through on the queenside.

Leko had a chance to mix things up with 17.e3!?

black is more or less forced to play c3, then bxc3 Bxf1 Bxf1. White has only a pawn for the exchange but a very powerful pawn chain and a weak a pawn in compensation.
I definitely prefer white here. Next moves if possible simply c3-c4 and Nc4.
I played this position with white against Rybka 10-12 moves deep. I always managed to get an equal evaluation or in some lines I had a small plus in the end :-)

Was for sure a very interesting idea to fight for full point, but Leko found the safest way to draw, business as usual :-(

Perhaps Mig could initiate a discussion on:


That is, internet chess being rated. There is also the USCL (which is of course not rated, but perhaps could be?), and in general I think it makes for an interesting topic (internet chess also requires special rules to deal with mouse-slips and such).

I stand corrected. That's the order Chess Games listed them in:

231. Topalov vs Kramnik 0-1 63 2006 Kramnik-Topalov World Championship Match D19 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, Dutch
232. Jobava vs Kramnik 0-1 15 2006 Dortmund Sparkassen E12 Queen's Indian

Yeah, I don't think Chess Games are in chronological order. They ARE grouped by year, but withing any one year they are not sorted chronologically, I believe.

off topic but... wrote:
(internet chess also requires special rules to deal with mouse-slips and such)

The solution is to define mouse-slip out of existence, treat it as intentional (learn to be careful).

Problem solved, a thousand unresolvable arguments averted.

Carlsen the next 2800+ player - fer sure. Don't you think there will come a time when, suddenly, he's unbeatable, and beats everyone else? We are close to that moment, you can feel it.

Remind me again what kind of cheating is prevented by the 15 minute delay? If I understand things correctly, top players who might cheat would only need computer assistance a couple times per game. So at crucial points, the player must waste 15 minutes, then start the chess computer. You might be able to do it three or four times in a game, and that would be enough consulting to win, right? Thanks, tja

It doesn't stop cheating. It makes cheating harder.

I liked very much the way Carlsen squeezed the game against Jakovenko. The mistakes Yakovenko made were in IMHO very small. A win gained based on maybe two microerrors of his opponent. It shows the kind of force Carlsen is displaying. I think he has not at all reached a plateau. Also, he showed a lot of class and determination in this ending.

Carlsen played very well today, taking advantage of his opponent's endgame errors to the fullest. He is a great talent and has complete confidence in his ability to outplay most, if not all, of today's GMs. However, I do feel the past greats of the endgame -- Lasker, Capablanca, Fischer -- would be very critical of the endgame skills and lack of finesse of most of the GMs active today.

bologan won dortmund in 2003, iirc

Mig's comment at 2:15 is his typical anti-Carlsen crap. The writeup itself makes it sound like Carlsen wasn't even present at the game, just the lucky recipient of Jakovenko's poor play.

Carlsen is going to be world champ, Mig, and soon. You'd better learn to like him.

I have read this blog frequently for a year now, and I never felt Mig to be "anti-Carlsen". Mig has given Carlsen plenty of credit where due.

Here too, another Carlsen-fan, I don't feel, and have never felt, any irrational anti-Carlsen comment from Mig.

Buena suerte a Magnus VS. Peter Leko

Mig is not anti-Carlsen, but the analysis of the game is quite unimpressive as it completely ignores Carlsen's strong play. The only mention of Carlsen is that he "made steady progress". For sure, he made progress not only because of Jakovenko's errors (which were small and not obvious even to strong grandmasters armed with computers), but also because he played the endgame with extreme precision. Not many people could squeeze out a win from that position against a player of Jakovenko's calibre. I think it was a marvellous display of endgame skill.

-The Carlsen hysteria has reached such enormous proportions that anyone who doesn't write in praising and submissive terms about the idol is
fiercely attacked by hist most radical followers.

-Until yesterday Jakovenko was one of the most skilful endgame players in the world,he loses a(n) (end)game and now he's overrated and an amateur compared to the legends of the past.
When brilliant tacticians as Shirov, Ivanchuk or Topalov lose a game because of tactical errors,
do they also become all of a sudden "overrated" ?

You are overreacting, too.
No posts here says anything particular "bad" about Jakowenko, apart from stating the obvious; -He lost yesterdays endgame.


Who are you talking to or about? Is it some particular kibitzer, or are you just attacking Carlsen fans in general?

I don't know who those "radical followers" are that you are talking about or see any evidence of "Carlsen hysteria of enourmous proportions" from the comments here.

Jakovenko is one of the strongest players in the world. Who said anything else, and when?

Bacrot and Naidistch are working together and have been working both hard on the Marshall gambit.

Maybe they did not try too hard to win this 1st game.

In today's style of play, the endgame is not emphasized. It's really all about obtaining an advantage out of the opening and exploiting it in the middlegame. As such, it stands to reason that the level of play in this sphere has also fallen off compared to the really great endgame players of the past whose style of play was aimed at outplaying their opponent in the endgame.
You stated that Jakovenko was one of the most skilled endgame players in the world. Please enlighten me and reference some of his games where demonstrates such endgame superiority against top GMs. Thanks.

I haven't seen an explanation of how a 15 minute delay deters cheating (or makes it more difficult or whatever). How is this a deterrent?

Look at his Berlin endgame win (with White) against Wang Yue.

Another boring game from Kramnik today. How does one stay interested in a game by playing this way? Kramnik can be a great player, but the way he's playing now betrays that notion.

Thank you, imperalist. Yes, Jakovenko played that endgame very well.

Kramnik play is as thrilling as watching paint dry...

Kramnik's play has the virtue, however, of producing extremely creative posts from his detractors.

If you can't watch paint dry for a few hours without getting bored, maybe you should slow down your pace a little.

Take a seat, I'm sure you will come through as a wiser, more happy person.

I just clicked through Kramnik's game and didn't get bored. To me, his Qb5 looks like an interesting way to create problems, and Bacrot's energetic reaction d5, g5 was the right way to counter. They played through to an endgame where even I can see there's probably not much play left - so no complaints today.

Kramnik is boring for lots of people, that's well known, and certainly it isn't a crime, just a matter of taste.

Only in the pseudo-comic, fascistic fantasy chess world of die hard fans, coff acirce coff ;-)
they would hang anybody who dares to comment the slightest critique against Big Vlad.

BTW, tomorrow Kramnik has a chance against Carlsen of shaking off the infamous no-black win statistic. Carlsen is getting stronger every day that passes, but Kramnik still knows a thing or two about chess.

"Carlsen is getting stronger every day that passes, but Kramnik still knows a thing or two about chess"

He knows enough to only think about how it will be possible to draw that game :)

examples :
Jakoveno-Cheparinov 1-0 (2008)
Jakovenko-Aronian 1-0 (2007)
Alekseev-Jakovenko 0-1 (2009)
Jakovenko-Alekseev 1-0 (2008)
Jakovenko-Van Wely 1-0 (2008)

I was talking about the comment of Total Dork.
Or Tjallen : "Carlsen becomes unbeatable, I can
feel it".
"Carlsen becomes unbeatable, Carlsen will be the new WC, no doubt about it, etc..."
Similar comments are written quite often the last years and i find them irritating.

Or Tjallen : "Carlsen becomes unbeatable, I can
feel it".

Hey steven,
I did not say I like this turn of events - I am just noting it. I am not especially a fan or a non-fan of Carlsen, but I have watched the scary rating climb and I see no halt to it yet - he's just 18, for goodness sakes!

Just as an example, hasn't Carlsen now moved past Kariakin, youngest GM ever? I'm afraid so.

What it means to be rated over 2800 is that he begins to beat all those lower 2700s, and draw the mid and upper 2700s, and rarely lose to anyone at all. And I think that is the territory we are looking towards.

As to why you find a discussion of this irritating, I don't know that answer. I am fascinated by it, without really cheering for him or against him. If he goes into that territory, maybe he will be beating the people I am a fan of, Kramnik and Grischuk and others, but that's chess.

When I think of whether to be a fan of Carlsen, I try to look either to his style, or maybe to character-defining moments.

What is one to say of his style? Other commentators have always said, Carlsen has a "mature" style, but what in the world does that mean? He plays like an old man? No, I guess it means he's careful and controlled, but I don't have a grasp of what that means over-the-board. It might be useful if someone listed Carlsen games which display what the "mature" style means, and I can grasp it better.

As for character-defining moments, well, he's young and has not yet had anything happen like a WC match or controversy or toilet-gate or anything emotional for me to take sides on. The biggest moment I believe has been little-examined and little-commented on, his withdrawal from the GP series. Was that a noble and principled determination to adhere to pre-existing contracts and arrangements, or a political ploy to undermine the GP series? Or both or something else? Yes, Carlsen is young, so no one wants to attribute cynical, mature motives to his non-chessboard decisions.

So we don't yet have a person for a chess fan to love or hate, yet, except that, my gosh, he wins a lot, or if you're from Scandinavia...


"his withdrawal from the GP series. Was that a noble and principled determination to adhere to pre-existing contracts and arrangements, or a political ploy to undermine the GP series?"

I thought it was good to see that at least Adams and Carlsen showed openly what they thought about FIDE's in no way motivated rule changes by withdrawing. It's not as if they gained something if it was a "political ploy" and I'd rather accuse FIDE than Carlsen of undermining of the GP series. :)

If I were a gambling man, oh wait I am: I would say 50-50 noble and life's to short for this...

Of course this would be quite a bit more noble (vs self interest) than we are used to, but perhaps it is easier when you can readily afford it.

As president of the USCL, we have no interest in having the games rated.

There are many reasons, but the primary one is that I don't believe that any team events, in which it could often make sense for a player to play against their own personal interests, should be rated.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on July 2, 2009 12:32 AM.

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