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Dortmund 09 r4: Action!

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Sort of, and not good for the lower-rated guys. Bacrot and Naiditsch seemed intent on hanging themselves with bad prep with white against Carlsen and Kramnik respectively. Bacrot-Carlsen followed the famous Ivanchuk-Shirov 1996 game in the Botvinnik Semi-Slav. (The game known only by Qg7!!!) After spending a huge amount of time reinventing the wheel Bacrot used it to run over his foot. He managed to earn himself an inferior position he saved by achieving a R vs Q fortress. Not exactly what you're shooting for with white. Bizarre. Was it no prep, bad prep, idle inspiration to repeat what has been considered inferior for White since Shirov struck back with this line and beat Ponomariov in 2003? Only Bacrot knows.

But that was still better than what Naiditsch ended up with. After dazzling with his Petroff prep in his win against Kramnik last year, he played what looked like the Wounded Hamster variation against it today and was quickly worse. Kramnik played a routine tactics 101 bishop sac on h3 and Naiditsch even allowed himself to get into time trouble, guaranteeing he wouldn't have a chance to fend off the attack. Nice execution by Kramnik (except missing a mate in three at the end), but really all the GM kibitzers and commentators on the ICC put the credit firmly in the hands of Naiditsch for his feeble effort. Notably, this was Kramnik's first win with the black pieces in a classical game since late 2006. Perhaps Naiditsch forgot that it was actually legal for Kramnik to beat him. Really a brutal pounding. The last half-dozen moves look like something out of the 1600 section of the World Open.

Jakovenko-Leko was shaping up to be interesting as well, but the Russian decided otherwise and offered a draw on move 22, which was accepted. Lame.

Round 5: Kramnik-Jakovenko, Leko-Bacrot, Carlsen-Naiditsch.


"After spending a huge amount of time reinventing the wheel Bacrot used it to run over his foot."

Very funny turn of phrase! :-)

Eric is already hard at work writing a book on the Wounded Hamster variation.

Is there a Wounded Hamster variation?

Now there is.

Anyone know why Nakamura isn't playing the last two rounds at the World Open?

He took two last round 1/2 point byes as he left for the San Sebastian Tournament.

He must be loaded to risk a total $20,000 payment, but perhaps the tournament in Spain is worth more.

Leko is aiming for his dream tournament, i.e. : 1/2 1/2 1/2 1/2 1/2 1/2 1/2 etc, etc.

You have to ask for byes at the beginning of the tournament otherwise you get 0 points. So, at the beginning of the tournament he would not have known what his score would be at the end of round 7. He could have also lost one of the last 2 games and drawn the other. So, he could have ended up with very little money.

He has to play at a very high level just to maintain his rating at the World Open. I presume that is one of the reasons why he played in the accelerated schedule as the first 5 rounds are not FIDE rated.

The San Sebastian tournament has appearance fees as well as prize fund. Additionally, it is one round per day where you know and can prepare for your opponents in advance. The World Open is a crapshoot with so many GMs , multiple rounds per day and no appearance fees.

The San Sebastian tournament is the proverbial bird in hand whereas the World open is the bird in the bush.

I wish Hikaru the very best in the San Sebastian tournament.

"The last half-dozen moves look like something out of the 1600 section of the World Open."

Speaking for all us hacks, duffers and patzers Mig, that hurts. Of course the truth does, but still... we pay the bills you know!

I prefer a player who arrives 20 minutes late to every game rather than other that leaves the tournament early because he has no chances to win anymore.
Many people who try to implement capital death for the first case have no problem with the second , i wonder why.

Hehe, poor Leko, he really seems to try hard, but somehow he doesn't get anything clear. He'll have a good chance to score against Naiditsch, if the later plays as badly as against Kramnik. The Wounded Hamster variation hehehe

Actually, Leko was worse today. He was lucky Jakovenko offered a draw , otherwise he could have been on the losing side.

Nice job by Hikaru, looks like he won $15,000 and gained about 4 Elo points. Pretty smart move, considering he couldn't have played in Rounds 8-9.

And congrats to Alex Lenderman on apparently making his final GM norm at the World Open!

Mig says of Naiditsch-Kramnik: "The last half-dozen moves look like something out of the 1600 section of the World Open."

Yes, what exactly do you mean here? I can tell you from experience, the final moves of 1600 games often involve major errors, etc, which these GMs didn't do.

I think what you mean is this: The last six moves of the game involved thunderous threats by major pieces, with the big guns lobbing heavy shells from side to side. This is in contrast with the usual high-level GM game, whose last six moves typically involve the final, feeble wilting of the losing side under the pressure of small accumulated advantages.

It looks like an overwhelming demolition of a kingside with loads of pieces surrounding the white king by move 25. That sort of thing doesn't happen very often in GM games, let alone 2700 GM games. It signifies total domination by black and very weak play by white. And also you'd usually have a resignation well in advance of such total humiliation, which is why you can see these positions in 1500 games, as they usually don't resign.

I didn't single out specific moves and I didn't have to. Even strong GMs blunder; it happens. But they rarely get themselves into such pathetic positions unless horrific time trouble is involved, if then. With white. By move 16. Against the Petroff! Horrific.

I mean, not to go on, but Naiditsch played h3 on move 15 and Kramnik frigging took the pawn on move 16 with a sacrifice GM Har-Zvi called "right from a beginner tactics book"! That is BAD.

Something of a pity Kramnik didn't play the queen sac mate with 27..Qxg3+ and mating with the knight.

I'm a bit puzzled by this score sheet:

Scroll down to Current Standings. What does the last column mean? 8.5/7.5/8/8/7.5 and Naiditsch has no score.

It is the sum of their opponents' scores, used as a tie-break. Not shown for Naiditsch because unfortunately for him, he isn't tied with anyone.

I said earlier that technique and prep have a role in many of the draws at this level, but as we see from Jakovenko-Leko and Kramnik-Jakovenko, it ain't always the case. Sigh. Some players are afraid of names I guess. There was plenty of play left in those positions, they were getting very interesting. Fischer must be spinning in his grave.

As pointed out, Black should be better after 19..h5! as the knight has to retreat and it's hard to believe in White's compensation any more.

GM Kovalyov on ICC agrees: "white is slightly worse I think here ... Kram decition [sic] is good"

20.Qxh5? f5! and if now 21.Nf2, ..Rh6 wins.

Hence, if anyone should be "blamed" for this it seems more reasonable to blame Jakovenko. I don't think he should, either. I don't blame players for making pragmatic decisions based on factors that include things known only to them. And that's all I have to say on the subject..

acirce wrote:

"I don't blame players for making pragmatic decisions based on factors that include things known only to them."

Why beating about the bush? We all know that factor, it's called "being a chicken". Pretty lame on Jakovenko's part, especially as he is now #5 on the rating list so he shouldn't consider himself an underdog in that game.

Jakovenko could have play on against Kramnik with 19...h5, but it seems these two players did not want to expend any real effort against each other and had probably even agreed to draw their games with one another. While I understand this may be part of their overall tournament strategy, it's the sort of thing that turns away those who are used to seeing -- as in tennis -- opponents playing all out against each other, especially against their main adversaries. But, then again, draws are allowed in chess whereas, in tennis, results must be decisive. Still, I think blame can be placed on the safety-first type of player -- of which Leko and, so far in this tournament anyway, Kramnik seem to be leading examples -- for any lack of outside enthusiasm for professional chess, which is supposed to represent our game's highest artistic and sporting expression. Please, bring back the likes of Fischer and Kasparov to reawaken the spirit of uncompromising quests for victory in all of their games.

It's a mystery to me why all organisers don't already apply the Sofia Rules or something similar.

Maybe after the display in this tournament, the Dortmund organisers might consider it...but then Kramnik says what goes there, so probably not.

I agree, the Sofia rules are a good thing and should be applied to all professional chess tournaments.
Leko won today thanks to a horrendous blunder by Bacrot -- 36...Bg7?? (instead of 36...Qxb4).

Yes Jim, a few more moves in the average game and chess would be transformed into a sport where each game would be eagerly watched by billions of TV viewers :)

Anyway, I admire the way you:

1) hypothesise, I'm guessing without the slightest insider knowledge, that Kramnik & Jakovenko planned a draw in advance (though they spent an awful lot of time over their moves if they wanted an extra rest day),

2) single out Kramnik on the day after he won with black with a nice (if fairly simple) sacrificial attack,

3) and Leko, on a day when he played a strong attacking game - sure, Bacrot blundered at the end, but then almost all attacks succeed because the defender blunders under pressure.

That said, I agree Sofia rules would be a good idea for a tournament with as few as 6 players. With larger fields it doesn't really matter as there's always likely to be action on some of the boards (and you can argue some quick draws allow players to rest and play higher quality chess in future rounds). Of course there's no reason to think Kramnik would be especially against the change, Chris B, but well done for not missing a chance to attack him.

Leko-Bacrot: I realize the futility of doing this without an engine, but isn't 36..Qxb4 37.Nf6+ Kg7 38.Qh2 a problem for Black? If 38..Rh8 then 39.Qxh8+ followed by Rd8+ etc., and if 38..Bxf6 then 39.Qh6+ Kg8 40.ef and Black can check White, but I don't see a way to pick off the f6 pawn.

eh, that should be 40.gxf6, of course. And on closer inspection it looks like there's a perp on g4 and c4 in that line.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on July 5, 2009 11:38 AM.

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