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Dortmund 09 r3: Fireworks Fizzle

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It's less than an hour into the round in Dortmund and Carlsen, apparently caught in a line he wasn't comfortable with against Kramnik, just forced a repetition draw in 15 moves. It ended on move 19. Maybe they had a nice 4th of July BBQ to get to? Opposite-colored bishops Berlin in Bacrot-Jakovenko. So it's all up to Leko's game to provide the excitement. Excuse me while I go stick sparklers between my toes.

Update here later. If required...

Not so much. All drawn without fanfare. Thanks to GM Kaidanov for at least making it instructive on ICC Chess.FM! Round 4 tomorrow: Naiditsch-Kramnik, Bacrot-Carlsen, Jakovenko-Leko. Last year Naiditsch beat Kramnik's Petroff with a very nice novelty. The way this event is going we'll be happy if they make six moves beyond theory.


Black looked very active, probably Carlsen was wise to take the draw.

It looks like Carlsen's 10.Qa4 was a novelty that probably won't be repeated any time soon as it left Black with an active game.
It's very disappointing to see all the quick draws that have so far been happening in this tournament. I love the game of chess but such safe games leave me disinterested. Rightly or wrongly, the general impression is that these guys intimidate each other and would rather race to the safety of stale positions as quickly as possible than exert themselves and fight.
Only two games stand out so far, and both of them involved Jakovenko, his loss to Carlsen (which Jakovenko should have drawn easily, but his loss was most likely due to psychological reasons, his apparent fear of Carlsen) and his beautiful win against Naiditsch.
The "game" Kramnik has brought to this tournament has, so far, been downright boring.
Carlsen played very well against Jakovenko but has otherwise been lackluster.
Leko, as is usual, is the draw king and I don't expect much from him in the way of real fighting games, just a reliance on technique and safe moves.
Naidistch is the guy the others want to target in this tournament -- he who defeats him more, wins.
Yes, all rather predictable. A tournament that, so far, appears to be one where GMs are going through the motions of playing rather than really doing so.

Carlsen-Kramnik had all been played before. Don't know if they knew about it, but at least Carlsen probably didn't. Erdos-Saric 2008 just saw another move order (14.Qg4+ before 15.Rd2) and then after some checks throwing in Ng5 fxg5 Qxg5+ as well before the perpetual.

"Yes, all rather predictable. A tournament that, so far, appears to be one where GMs are going through the motions of playing rather than really doing so."

Much like a typical Jim post. Quite predictable and very boring. Going through the motions of analyzing grandmaster games without really ever doing so.

I find Jim brings a point of view to his posts that is, at the very least, honest. I find your posts don't contain any original analytical content, just criticism. As far as analyzing grandmaster games goes, where exactly is your analysis? Or do you just wait for people to express theirs and just smile as you trash it?

I concur with your opinion. I've been following this blog since a long time, greg koster always pop up to show his bitterness. He should REALLY get a life, IMO.

I'll admit to being one of the few posters in this blog who doesn't have even close to the expertise necessary to offer helpful critiques of GM games.

My honest point of view is that the blog could get along very well without posters offering psychological evaluations of players they don't know personally; who are thousands of miles away in terms of distance and light-years ahead in terms of skill.

From our enlightened friends at ChessBase.com

''Outside the playing hall Prof. Christian Hesse discusses literature and philosophy (really!) with..
Sofi Leko, the polyglott, Armenian-born wife of Peter Leko..........
Sofi's new hairdo suits her very well, don't you think?''

Is this a new low for ChessBase?

This is from a ChessBase report on the 3rd round of Dortmund 2009,by Michael von Keitz and published on the ChessBase news page.

The difference is Jim gave his opinion on the players and the tournament in progress. You gave your opinion on Jim, and (no offence to Jim) I don't think he has an army of fans who follow his every move. It's not interesting to see your random attack on another poster, just y'know... boring and predictable?

If you're looking for tactical bloodbaths Dortmund is rarely the tournament for you. With this line up it's just not going to be like that. However, there always seem to be 1 or 2 genuine masterpieces, and many of the games are highly instructional. Unfortunately the short draws can be frustrating for people watching live.

If Greg can't give his opinion on Jim why are you all giving your opinion on Greg? It's just as uninteresting except that Greg actually had something relevant to say.

Apart from the really great - Fischer, Karpov, Kasparov, Anand, Topalov and possibly Carlsen - who could play uncompromising chess and still win tournaments right and left, elite GMs have learned from experience that the best strategy to remain at the top (and thus get invitations to more elite tournaments) is to play without risking too much, ala Leko and Kramnik. With the exception of Shirov and the really great cited above everybody else at the chess top these days is playing the same dull style associated with Leko and Kramnik. But Leko and Kramnik seem to have a pretty decent style of life - making decent money and travelling the world - so I guess the other top players are just responding to the incentives they face.

@Jim from Sudbury :
I really liked your take on the tournament , please don´t be intimidated by any attack and continue with your writting , there is always someone who likes what you do.

@cynical : You forgot Chucky , and that is unacceptable , please correct that before is too late for all of us.

Your point is taken Manu: Chucky is trully a fighter and should be part of my list!

Off topic (but i guess something is coming this way) :
It ´s would meant a lot for maybe all uf us to be able to see a nice picture of Obama with Garry , i hope the oportunnity is not missed and they (whoever might be)hires the best man for the job.
I am of the opinion that they sholud play a friendly blizz in some club, or take a nice walk.
If i were god i would make them do that and send Jarmush AND Spike Lee to shoot it .

forget corus did you see Joel Benjamin GM get destroyrd in 19 moves by anIM at the world open, it was hillarious

btw...we can do without any more boring comments from Koster...just stfu and stop complaing you whining lil b. And are not you the idiot who guaranteed Krasmnik was going to beat Anand??? That should have shut your dumb !@#$ up for at least two years.

Total zugzwang in the final Mihalevski-Kamsky position. Beautifully played by the Israeli GM.

Kim Lawly - Who is the idiot now Kim.
oh You still dont know. It is You.

Thanks for the information!

Interesting game in spite of its briefness.

Well, at least things went "fine" for Kramnik, he got his draw :-)

"Play without risking too much" is hard to do. If I could I would play this style, too. But my chess games have a tendency to get out of hand all by themselves.
I'm fascinated by the ability to keep control through all kinds of transformations. There always are small imbalances you can't predict exactly, but have to estimate in advance, and handle with precision. It looks dull because they do it so well. Try it yourself!

I don't know about a new low, but certainly it was the biggest cringe-inducing moment of my chessic existence. Urgh.
And lawly, do us all a favour, don't post your trash again. It ain't as "hillarious" as you might think.
Part of the reason for the draws is the high level opening prep and technique of the players, it's not all about playing safe- which is no easy task against a 2700 GM anyway. That said, 19 move draws don't float my boat either, of course.

I liked the "really!" part of the Chessbase report, it almost sounds as if they are amazed that there are women that can discuss such advanced subjects as literature.

It is certainly further proof that ChessBase resolutely refuses to learn how to spell ("polyglott").

Thanks, Bartleby, and chesshire cat.

Took a short break from Wimbledon and looked at the 4th round games. Yes! These guys came to play and fight today.

Fascinating stuff today. Bacrot's bishops dominate the board, and he even hasn't activated his second rook!
And Kramnik goes for the sacrificial kingside attack that makes the Petroff such a sharp weapon in the hand of an uncompromising aggressor.

Kramnik an uncompromising aggressor? Who'd've thunk it?

A win with black? Kramnik in a strange mood!

Illustrates that when things start to go wrong in the Petroff they can go very wrong very quickly, even for White.


"This move introduces the most aggressive line available to Black, and at the same time, the riskiest one" (Kotronias/Tzermiadianos, "Beating the Petroff")

Chessdom's commentary on Carlsen-Kramnik--

After the 13th move:

"Some early fireworks....This is certainly a dynamic opening choice for Kramnik, and a bit of a surprise...Already we have an imbalance in the game- Kramnik is very active, Carlsen has all of the positional trumps. Carlsen has static advantages while Kramnik has all the dynamic play in his favor. If Kramnik continues to play this way in the opening, he may soon have a new fan.

But after the game is drawn, Chessdom goes back to the 12th move and blames bad Vlady (as black) for forcing poor Magnus to play a perpetual:

"...an incredible disappointment....bad for chess .... Who 'forced' the perpetual? Technically Magnus played the moves which cornered black into moving the king back and forth, but likely both players followed a game known to them. [Kramnik's] 12. ...Qb6 may be the culprit, as it seemed from here black's lead in development dictated white to play for the draw 'or else.'"

So according to Chessdom, Vlady's responsibility is to a) play for a win as black against Magnus, b) but not to play so strongly that Magnus-as-white will be forced to bail out into a perpetual.

greg, that is just... wow. 12..Qb6 the "culprit". Right. What move did they suggest instead? Wasn't the whole point that Black had to compensate for "all the positional trumps" by activity?


I think Sofia rules should be amended by "it's illegal for a player to play a move that leads to a draw (even if the move in question is the strongest one in the position)". Now that would surely lead to exciting chess.

Ohhh my goodness, chessdom blames Vlady ohh , those lieeers, why do they always team up to bash Vlady??? I'm sure there's a conspiracy against Vlady, arrrrrrghhhh pathetic chess press don't they know our Vlady can't never play crap? oohhh pathetic.

A typically thoughtful and articulate response from our friends at Chessdom.

osbender--Good idea!

osbender - suggests "it's illegal for a player to play a move that leads to a draw (even if the move in question is the strongest one in the position)"

But that would rule out sacrifices ending in stalemate, which are exciting! I know you were being ironic or sarcastic, but I don't want to rule out moves like placing your queen next to his king, and if he takes, it is stalemate. Spassky had one v Fischer in '95 match.

Perhaps FIDE will rule that certain sequences of moves, like those leading from opening to known forced draws, are illegal sequences of moves. That would support the Sophia concept, and GMs would have to memorize 10-20 sequences considered illegal sequences.

There is precedent in professional sports to outlaw techniques and strategies which either 1) provide an unfair advantage to a participant or 2) steer the contest into unwatchable territory. I don't know why any rules changes in that spirit would be unwelcome.

BTW, cynical, you forgot Lasker, Bronstein, and Korchnoi, amongst many others.

good concept - I'm trying to think of examples:

in boxing, the ref un-clinches boxers,

NBA basketball introduced the 24 second clock, outlawed zone defenses and earlier added the 3-seconds-in-the-paint rules to aid offenses.

Olympic wrestling has non-activity penalties, and puts someone in the down position to get things going.

So yes, your concept is right, that rules that outlaw players "steering the contest into unwatchable territory" are accepted rules is true, but how to apply it to chess? Hmmm...

Ban any opening line that creates a fully open file within, say, the first 7 moves.
That would get rid of the Exchange French, Exchange Slav, Petroff, Berlin. Hah!

Of course, it would also help considerably if unnecessary drawing rules such as 3-move repetition, stalemate, etc were abolished.


Of course any game that ends at all is "unwatchable" from that point. That can't be an argument against moves "leading to a draw" or forcing a draw.


After the thoughtful discussion I realized that my initial proposal was just too timid. It's better to word it as "The player who plays the move resulting in a draw according to the rules of chess as of January 2009 shall forfeit the game".

That of course, is much better since it eliminates the draw entirely. Moreover, your beloved stalemating combinations would be preserved and even gain in their impact, since they would actually lead to a win for the stalemated side. Also we can get some really exciting K v K endgames (of course these would be technically won for the side that moves first because of the 50 moves = draw rule).

I think your amended proprosal is too liberal. I suggest that ''The player who player who plays the move resulting in a draw....'' shall be imprisoned for a term not less than 20 years.



I'm not anti-draw, and I really doubt there are too many people who think the draw should disappear. That element of chess fandom, those people who insist upon a decisive result with every single game, should not be taken seriously.

But yes, like it or not there is a spectator element to the game of chess. Sponsors and chess fans give hard earned dollars in return for what they hope is a good show on the board. I recall the quote by Jon Tisdall (though I paraphrase) after a lifeless draw during Kasparov-Karpov V: "If I had paid $100 to watch this game, I doubt I'd be interested in chess anymore".

I don't think these players should play to the very last piece. I don't think there's anything wrong with a drawn game. In fact, I'd go a step further and say that we should reject any overly contrived methods to induce more decisive results. But fifteen move non-games cheat the fans, cheat the sponsors, and are unwatchable.

tjallen - I admit it, I'm not smart enough to figure out how to apply that concept. But there were smart people who did apply that concept over the centuries. Now we have a fully mobilized queen, bishops that can move more than three squares at a time, a chess clock, and adjournment was abolished - amongst many other improvements.

I hope people remember that the game of chess we have now is not the same game it has always been, and there is nothing wrong with tweaking it here and there to suit the time and place in which it exists.

Sorry to double post.

And you would feel great if you had to see someone being forced to play on in a worse position even though with sensible rules he could have made a draw?

Speaking for myself, and I can assure you many others, I would feel little but pain. Why should the interests of some "spectators" weigh heavier than those of many others and the basic logic of chess at that?

If I misunderstood you then I apologize, but in the context it seemed that you sympathized with that idea or some version of it.

Sofia rules are enough and reasonably sensible if it is so incredibly important to stop "premature draws", which I don't think it is. But some proposals are just kooky.

Oh and if I had been dumb enough to pay $100 to watch a game of chess, although I have no idea why I would want to do that, I'm sure I'd be disappointed if it was a short draw. Just like I would if it was a short win. But I wouldn't feel "cheated" - I knew beforehand that the possibility existed, nobody fooled me.

"I'm sure I'd be disappointed if it was a short draw. Just like I would if it was a short win."

There, there, some short draws are very interesting. You're right in the last part though.

I know short draws can be interesting, they usually are, in fact I've made that point many times. But if for some inexplicably reason I payed that much money I would probably want to see a long game, decisive or not wouldn't matter. Maybe the point would be better stated as "...a *very* short draw" though.


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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on July 4, 2009 9:46 AM.

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