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Dortmund 09 r5: Carlsen Tears Down that Wall

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Two Berlin Defenses against Carlsen so far in Dortmund and two wins for the young Norwegian. In the first round it was Jakovenko and this time Naiditsch went down. In both games it looked like Black had solved the worst of his problems only to err under pressure and go down to defeat. The win put Carlsen back in clear first at the halfway mark on +2. Leko scored his first win, outplaying Bacrot convincingly in a finely controlled effort typical of Leko's style. A positional edge against an IQP was turned into an attacking opportunity and Bacrot couldn't defend in time trouble. That puts Leko into a tie on +1 with Kramnik.

Speaking of Kramnik, he passed up a very promising continuation against Jakovenko's somewhat dubious handling of the antique Ragozin Queen's Gambit. (Doesn't 13.Qb1 a6 14.axb5 cxb5 15.Nxc4! get the pawn back with considerable advantage?) Perhaps inspired by his attacking win yesterday, Kramnik went for kingside action only to realize halfway there that he didn't have much and that Black could play for a win with 19..h5. (20.Qxh5 f5! wins a piece thanks to the threat of ..Rh6.) So he offered a tactical draw and Jakovenko accepted. Disgusting.

For the Nth time, it's not fair to put all the blame on the players, though I don't mind shaming them a little for such a preposterous cheat. They are looking out for their best professional interests and not doing anything the rules don't allow them to do. (They don't seem to have post-game interviews in Dortmund so here's a DIY press conference: Kramnik: "I was worse, so a draw is good for me. It's up to him to play for a win if he wants." Jakovenko: "A quick draw with black against Kramnik is a great result so why risk for more?" Applause.) The fact that situations like this can be to the benefit of both players made it clear a long time ago that banning the draw offer or at least having move minimums is essential. It's been a while since we've had a spate of GM draws like this in a super event and that makes it even harder to swallow. What a joke.

Busy day on the work front with Obama in Russia, so more later. Tomorrow is an off day in Dortmund.


A fine game from the young Swede of Norwegian birth. Looks like he will coast to an easy victory in this tournament against the various Soviets and client states.


Kramnik's and Jakovenko's explanation for their draw today was pathetic. These guys are supposed to be world-class GMs... But it was a case of first-rate rudeness on the part of Kramnik to offer a draw from an inferior position and a display of downright timidity on Jakovenko's part for accepting it. We should expect more from these supposed geniuses and be very critical of their explanations that the result of their game was due to practical considerations. That's truly bogus and should be considered by the other participants as a real affront to them.

You should not be confused by some people who can't spell Carlsen right (Carlson). Last time I checked (I usually do, every day) he was still a Norwegian citizen.

I sympathise with Kramnik's excuse more than Jakovenko's. It looks to my amateur eye like black is a lot better after 19...h5, and the Jak is a kitten for not playing on. I can't blame kram for wanting a draw in that position. Whether it's rude to ask for one I'm not sure.

Jim, you did spot that Mig was just imagining what Kramnik & Jakovenko would say in a press conference, I hope? You'd be a useful chap to have around during a witch hunt.

Again - it's fine to argue that draw offers should be excluded/limited, but if the tournament allows them then it's silly to express outrage when the players decide it's in their best interest to agree a draw. You might as well attack them for cowardice if they decide to take advantage of the right to castle.

Interesting that Kramnik is much more convincing with Black than with White so far in the tournament.

Could be partly that he has worked hard on his Black openings (equalized easily against both Carlsen and Lékó, had a very comfortable position early on against Naiditsch) and, relatively speaking, neglected his Whites a little. But that wouldn't explain why he missed 13.Qb1 a6 14.axb5 cxb5 15.Nxc4! which does seem convincing or why things kept going wrong from there.

It's not that he hasn't been ambitious, that much is clear when you actually look at the games, but things have not worked out. I hope he raises his level. (So far, it's somewhere in between his 2007 and his 2008.)

Jakovenko has to be held entirely responsible for the draw. It just doesn't make sense to say a draw is a good result because at some time in the past you had an inferior position (starting position with the black pieces). Once you have established a superior position, memory of where you came from shouldn't count in your odds calculation. Imagine you were playing white but giving knight odds. You play until you have an advantage (maybe your opponent drops a rook). Do you now accept a draw because you were once down a knight?

As for Kramnik, if he was worse and got a draw... it's just common sense he would go for that.

(I haven't studied the final position, so I don't know how big black's advantage is... just going from what I've read.)

Btw, the point is 15..bxc4 16.Bf3 and the b8-knight hangs when Black's rook moves.

It's getting old with the endless whining about draws. A fact is that if two players with close ratings want a draw it will be a draw, no matter what you try to impose on it.

Mig, I got it that those are your quotes but generally it is not a good idea to go down that road. For all you know there will be some interminable flame war eons from now based on the authenticity or lack thereof of those lines.

If people cannot read, or comprehend what they read, do not blame Mig.

I've now clarified it, but as Knallo says, if someone couldn't figure out or look up "DIY" (do it yourself) I'm not going to be responsible!

They've all said those words so many times by now I'm sure it wouldn't be hard to find a few quotes from other events with nearly those exact phrases anyway. Sad but true.

Mig's imagined explanation by the players seems very near to what the players reasoned when deciding on their acquiescence to a draw. Seeing that it was Kramnik who made the last move, I'm assuming that it was he who made the draw offer. Maybe chess etiquette doesn't matter anymore, and you can just keep offering draws when you're in inferior and even totally lost positions, as often happens with chess games played over the internet. But it's just plain rude as far as I'm concerned to offer a draw from an inferior position whether you're the higher rated player or you think that it's just practical to do so. And I do believe the other players in this tournament have a right to be upset by such a game. As Mig said, players shouldn't be allowed to verbally offer each other draws but rather the position should dictate such a result as well as a certain minimum number of moves, and the tournament organizers should not hesitate to impose such restrictions. A 19-move draw in a position ripe with possibilities is absurd and makes a mockery of chess.

As to the point about it being impossible to prevent two players from drawing, that's a red herring. I'm far from trying to abolish draws. I only want them to do what they are being paid to do so we have a chance to develop chess as a pro sport. So ban the draw offer and play chess. And if some players refuse to do that, by playing trivial repetitions or tacitly agreeing to draws by liquidation, stop inviting them.

If Kramnik and Jakovenko knows there's no draw offer possibility here maybe Jakovenko plays ..h5 and wins. Maybe he overreaches and Kramnik wins. Most likely, statistically speaking, they eventually draw anyway. But at least they played chess and earned their appearance fees and didn't infuriate the sponsors and fans watching the world over.

It will take time and discipline to turn chess into a commercially marketable pro sport, on however humble a scale. But it begins one game at a time, one rule at a time. Next year the ICC might not bother covering Dortmund live because far fewer members are bothering to watch, for obvious reasons. Is that a short-run hardship for Dortmund organizers, sponsors, or players? Nope, and that's the problem. Forest for the trees. It's indicative of the much larger problems we have promoting the sport.

My question is : how many events with anti-short draws rules (Sofia , whatever) has Kramnik played over the years?
Because mishamp is right about that they are doing just what the organizers allow them to do , but this situation seems like the ideal type of tournament for him .

It's rather silly to say that a draw offer which was accepted is rude, no? I guess Jakovenko didn't feel too dismayed. Can it be that Kramnik has a better idea of chess etiquette at this level than some posters?

One of the few cases where the Sofia rules aren't the best is Carlsen's draw against Kramnik. From the opening he found himself in a position where he could either be clearly worse or force a repetition. If there's not a nuance in the Sofia Rules I'm unaware of, that would've been unfair to force a player to play on in a worse position when on the board he has the opportunity to force a repetition.

Right, I pointed that out at the time. That's the way it goes. Obviously someone doing that on a regular basis wouldn't be a very successful player. Trying to legislate all draws out of existence isn't the point and it's not required. At least not yet. Ban the draw offer and see how it goes. It's been successful in the increasing number of events where this has been done. MTel, Pearl Spring, and now other traditional events.

The 2008 Olympiad had a 30-move minimum, though I don't recall it being enforced strenuously, a la Sofia.

Sungam, fyi, the Sofia rule specifically excludes repetitions and perpetual checks:
"The players should not offer draws directly to their opponents. Draw-offers will be allowed only through the Chief-Arbiter in three cases: a triple-repetition of the position, a perpetual check and in theoretically drawn positions." (Source: http://rules.chessdom.com/sofia-rule)
It is so simple. Why don't all organisers follow this example?
As said above, the problem are not draws, but draw offers.

right on Mig, thatis exactly it, Jokeovenko sjould not be invited to any more top level tournaments after this a disgrace. And Kramnik, what did he offer the Joke, a draw in their next game???

Get rid of the incentive to draw (i.e. the half point) and we'd see very few of them.

Perhaps a situtation where a half point is only awarded for draws whereby tablebases prove the position to be dead drawn. All other draws allowed but both players score zero points

If the draw offer is indeed banned, will the players start make trivial repetitions to make a draw. Something like both players moving their king one square. I suppose, it could become a code for a draw offer by making a insignificant king move. However, this cannot be possible in all positions. If it is, and players do it, then such players should not get invites as Mig points out.

What about then in lower level tournaments where there are no appearance fees

"If the draw offer is indeed banned, will the players start make trivial repetitions to make a draw. Something like both players moving their king one square."

What if one side moves the king one square, and the other side takes advantage of that by starting an attack? My point is, with the Sofia rules, you can only go for a repetition if the position truly is a draw.

As pointed out by Mig and others, drawn games themselves are not the problem. There are countless drawn games that are beautiful examples of great chess and where the opponents fought hard till the very end. I suppose you could follow examples of tournaments like London 1883 and only count decisive games, but that has the very real problem of wearing some players out to the point of exhaustion by the sheer number of games they would have to play (and I'm thinking specifically about Leko). Half points should continue to be awarded to drawn games. The problem is with players offering draws to their opponents and that should be stopped.

We don't need to change the rules to discourage draws. Just pay the players more for each game they win and they will try harder to win. Pay for fighting chess and that is what you will get, especially at the bottom of the table and at the end of a tournament. Pay them just to show up, meaning appearance fees, and that is all you will get. It’s human nature that’s the problem, not chess.

My solution to the draw issue has always been the "30-minute rule" (rather than a 30-move rule).

A 30-move rule goes against the logic of chess -- i.e. there *are* variations that logically are drawn in under 30 moves.

But...if you say that the players must stay at the board until at least 30 minutes have elapsed (since the start of the round)...then all the sponsor-related requirements are met:

1. Players are available at the board for photos
2. No empty chairs
3. Extreme results are avoided (i.e. 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 1/2-1/2) because the players must stay at the board for 30 minutes - imagine how uncomfortable they would be if the game ends thusly and they must stay there (for photos).

4. Players who might be OK with a draw at least see how the openings of other games play out and might (just might) change their minds.

Again -- if the idea is to avoid empty chairs and keep sponsors happy for photos of a full room, then the 30-minute rule is better than a 30-move rule. And for big swisses, I say no non-decisive results should be accepted until 30 minutes have elapsed, etc. under the same idea.

PS As for Norway vs. Sweden, every Swede knows that Norway is a breakaway province of Sweden. Same for Finland and Pomerania.

MIG: "I don't mind shaming them a little for such a preposterous cheat. They are looking out for their best professional interests and not doing anything the rules don't allow them to do."

Wow, what a revolution. Sportsmen looking out for their best professional interests and do what the rules allow them to do.

By the way, why dont we ban short wins. "Hey, Naiditsch, its not allowed to play so badly that you lose in 20 moves. C`mon, I have paid money to watch you suffer for at least 3 hours!"

"PS As for Norway vs. Sweden, every Swede knows that Norway is a breakaway province of Sweden. Same for Finland and Pomerania." Ah, but you DID accept a draw in a better position in 1905! :)

As for the short draw: I have no problem with Kramnik in this case, misplaying his attack and ending up in an inferrior position. The circumstances also did not make the draw offer particular rude.

Jakovenko, however, should look hard at himself and his own ambitions as a chessplayer, and ask himself: if I want to be Russia's and the world's best player, WHEN will I try to beat my opponents, if not from a better position.

By granting draws from slightly better positions, Jakovenko shows respect to the elder generation of players. That's a rare gem in today's youth-oriented world. We should promote this example of upholding traditional values, and encourage others to do the same.
I suggest a rule that says you have to grant a draw if your opponent is at least ten years older than you, has been World Champion or serious contender for World Championship in his prime, and his position is no worse than .3 pawn units.

Mig, if the justification is the spectators' enjoyment and whatever it takes to make chess into a professional sport, why not force the players to play to mate? Checkmate is very exciting, often there are pretty sacrifices, and us low rated players aren't looking at the diagram wondering why did x resign?! Even the weak players in the general public get checkmate. And this will heighten the psychological tensions on the players, which they avoid with their cowardly resigning before mate...

I think this makes at least as much sense as Sophia rules, IF IF the only goal is to please the common, mass spectator and make chess into a professional sport.

Maybe winning a piece would permit you to taze your opponent - now that would be spectator-friendly! Bet we see on the 6 pm news, if Kramnik tazed Jackovenko!

How about we let the losing player sweep the chesspieces to the floor, rather than tipping over the king? That's exciting for spectators!

In other words, this project of yours to make chess into a mass sport... hmmm... I've not heard you express it so strongly before, and there must be some limits on "doing it for the sake of the spectator."

The spectator is here to see chess, sure, but we know generally chess is not a spectacle. That's part of the charm of chess, we get to watch people right at the top do creative and ingenious things right before our eyes. It's no surprise that it is rare and difficult to make it happen in every game. But that is what you're proposing - to force the players to create beauty (or at least 'produce' something) every time out. It won't work. Maybe there will be more workmanlike GMs and fewer geniuses.

The danger of pre-arranged draws or unnecesary short draws is in part derived from the players knowing who they play against.
Remove that ¨privilege¨ and it would be more likely that they will play the board , not the opponent .

Just get ride of lame players that take early draws.
For instance, I admire Kramnik's mastery, but somehow he's always involved in crappy draws.

He'll probably never be the same lethal player he once was a long time ago, and maybe that's why he has to be a parasite, getting half points here and there, hoping for players like Naiditsch to fumble badly to get his usual +2.

Anyway, there should be tournaments for players that really want to play chess, and others for lame players, IMHO.

An old discussion with nothing much new. I can vaguely remember discussing this when starting to read the dirt (2003?).

I've moderated my outlook quite a bit since then, mainly because the Sofia rules actually had some impact. I thought they would be easy to circumvent, but as long as non-invasive measures work, its all good.

Still the most effective measure would be holding back invitations to people effectively not playing for the money.

Manu, if Kramnik's so adverse to Sofia rules (and not just tournaments organised by Danailov) why has he agreed to play in the new London tournament with Sofia rules and 3 points for a win?

Jim, as rdh pointed out, it's absurd to describe it as "first-rate rudeness" to offer a draw which the other player accepts. And why on earth would the other players be "upset" by the draw? Surely it's in the best interest of guys like Carlsen if Kramnik's too peace-loving for his own good. (And just for the sake of argument, if a guy like Kasparov or Fischer plays on despite an inferior position - because they believe the guy sitting opposite them is so inferior they can beat him from any position - is that more or less rude than offering a draw?)

The game wasn't a pre-arranged draw. Kramnik was down to well under half an hour on the clock for his remaining 20 moves, but the attack seemed to have burnt out (his final move was probably a mistake). So, as white players have for a 150 years of chess history, he offered a draw. Jakovenko could have turned it down, but if he didn't see any good continuation (maybe he missed ...h5, or thought the complications were in white's favour) then it's reasonable of him to accept. Again - by all means change the rules on draws, but don't expect players with their clocks ticking down in a difficult position to take the spectators' emotions into account.

p.s. by all accounts the one change the Dortmund organisers really need to make is to find a venue with decent air conditioning! Also having been in central Europe for the last week I can fully sympathise with the players...

I wonder is there any difference between European and American/U.S. attitudes to draws. In Europe where soccer is the top sport draws are very common and often very lame analagous to the GM chess draws.

The most popular sports in the U.S. have methods to resolve an equal contest. I've no problem with early draws to be honest. I find Kramnik's timing to be quite interesting i.e. before the game Jakovenko would have been happy with a draw as Black v Kramnik. If he spurns the draw offer and game later gets complicated he has the nagging feeling for the rest of the game that he could have taken the draw.

I'm amazed at the mega fuss about it anyway....

Not to boast or anything, but back in the days of adjournments I once had rook and four against rook and three on the same side against Smyslov (no longer the force he had been, evidently) at the adjournment. I offered a draw for just the reasons you mention - seemed to me simple respect for the legends of the game ought to preclude dragging ex-world champions back for adjournment sessions to be tortured by young pups in drawn endings. Guess I was wrong by the lights of some posters, or indeed judging by how Kasparov defended this endgame against Piket (although mind you I'd imagine Smyslov could do better than that even today).

"Jim, as rdh pointed out, it's absurd to describe it as "first-rate rudeness" to offer a draw which the other player accepts."
Did Kramnik really know beforehand that Jakovenko would accept his draw offer? My whole point was that it is rude to make a draw offer from an INFERIOR position.

Oh god. How is this even possible? Poor old Smyslov, what depths did he sunk to? Like Michael Vaughan said, when you are bowled out by a 3 yr old, its time to retire...

Many good points made in the original post and in the replies, but all are repeats of other posts from recent years. We go around in circles until....

Somebody with connections and access needs to ask the SPONSORS WHY they do not ask for a move-number-minimum rule to reduce premature draws.

Jim - the difference is that you, unlike Kramnik, know that Jakovenko accepted the draw. So you can see that Jakovenko didn't treat it as a grievous insult.

I hate to break it to you, but offering draws in slightly inferior positions is perfectly normal, though here we don't even know how Kramnik or Jakovenko assessed the position. So etiquette, which seems to matter to you, might suggest that accusing Kramnik of "first-rate rudeness" is an example of "first-rate rudeness" (if that's not an oxymoron).

In this instance, I do not blame Kramnik for the draw (nor in his game with Carlsen). The fault is Jakovenko's, who is turning out to be a right chicken.

Nor do I like the 'solution' of not inviting drawish players. To me, it's more interesting to have ALL the top players in a tournament and this includes Kramnik.
In any case, if you have a decent World Championship qualifying system, strong drawish players are unavoidably going to be part of this, so you are not going to avoid the problem entirely anyway.

The problem is in the rules. The Sofia rules should be applied everywhere (and additional ideas should at least be considered). If they had been applied at Dortmund, we wouldn't have had the short draws in fighting positions of Kramnik-Jakovenko and Jakovenko-Leko would we?

It is tiresome to again (having done so some months ago and also earlier) read defence of short unfought draws and reluctance to accept any measures to combat them from posters like acirce. Why would you resist measures to get rid of short draws and improve our game? Puzzling on the surface. Almost certainly explained by fear of acirce & co that their hero will not do as well under such conditions and actually be obliged to play some real chess. If Kasparov and Topalov were quick draw players, and Kramnik a slashing attacking player who played for victory to the last pawn, one feels almost certain that acirce's attitude to short draws would be reversed.

"Almost certainly explained by fear of acirce & co that their hero will not do as well under such conditions and actually be obliged to play some real chess."

Lame, totally groundless personal attack. Fortunately I'm used to it and worse.

So why do you defend these draws then, acirce?

Kramnik got a draw from an inferior position. Good for him. Jako shd introspect? Did he miss out on a chance to notch up a win against super-opposition? Perhaps. But who knows what was going thru his mind when he accepted the draw? I as a chess fan would be willing to cut that much slack to a 2760 player playing his first(?) super tournament after being in (or near) the 2750s for a while, and who burnt himself against someone like Carlsen just a few days earlier from a drawish position. 1st super-tournament blues? who knows?

Chris, I've already talked about that, indeed many times. And for some reason I don't find it very enjoyable to discuss it with someone with your abhorrent debating technique. I'm sure you can come up with some interesting theory as for why not. Also, your entire attitude -- your own view on "measures to get rid of short draws" is the only reasonable one and if you have another view it must be for some selfish reason -- shows a dogmatism worthy of a religious fundamentalist.

Actually though I don't want to discuss it with anyone right at the moment. I've wasted enough time on these issues at another forum and I hate that I always fall into this trap. Every time there is a big tournament this goddamn thing always starts -- the usual crowd of anti-draws, anti-"short draws", anti-Kramniks, anti-Lékós, anti-"boring", anti-whatevers go on (although most of the time not deliberately, I assume) to ruin the experience and enjoyment of the rest of us by their endless whining.

I should just ignore it but it seems like I'm just not able to.

I'm going to watch San Sebastian now.

Without going through your posts in detail, the general impression I get is that you are defending Kramnik's right to conserve his energy by having a lot of 20-move draws and inserting an occasional win with white.
Although hardly a crowd-pleasing way to try and win a tournament, I do not dispute your assertion that Kramnik currently has the right to do this if he so chooses.

What I object to is your claim that the rules that allow Kramnik to do this so easily are perfectly OK and don't need changing, and your push to retain the status quo.

I also notice that you defend the Petroff as something like a good enjoyable opening - as much as any other.

Given that your opinion on these two matters is so off-base with the opinion of almost certainly a great majority, it is hard to believe it is not coloured by something.

"I also notice that you defend the Petroff as something like a good enjoyable opening - as much as any other."
Cripes, not this rubbish about the Petroff again. Your credibility is severely undermined by such statements.
"Given that your opinion on these two matters is so off-base with the opinion of almost certainly a great majority,"
Which says nothing about their veracity; if anything it supports his case. If you want to disagree with him, at least stick to facts and logic, rather than presenting your personal opinions as some kind of yardstick.

Another Kramnik supporter who supports short unfought draws and the Petroff.
Can hardly be a coincidence, can it?

Wrong on all three counts, but don't let that disturb your reasoning. I actually disagree with acirce, but I disagree much more with the standard of your argumentation, which you have demonstrated beautifully in your latest post.
Where are your absurd conspiracy theories leading, btw?
"Can hardly be a coincidence, can it?"
"it is hard to believe it is not coloured by something."
Wouldn't be anything to do with that money Vladdy paid me last week, surely?

Good stuff.

Suppose we tried to make painting into a professional sport, made for tv. Two painters stand ready at their easels, brushes in hand. A buzzer sounds, a tablecloth removed, and there stands fruit spilling from a basket. The painters paint furiously, as the tv cameras roll, sweat drips, paint on their smocks, etc. In fifteen minutes a buzzer buzzes, and the painters stop, and step back, out of breath. There stand two beautiful still-life paintings, still dripping wet. Now for the judges! And we auction off the two paintings right there, for the audience. And the winning painter receives a big check from IBM. Applause! Flashbulbs flash.

And then the art critics argue whether the new professional sport of competitive painting has changed the nature of painting.

" Manu, if Kramnik's so adverse to Sofia rules (and not just tournaments organised by Danailov) why has he agreed to play in the new London tournament with Sofia rules and 3 points for a win?"

I never said he was , just asked how many times did he played under such (or similar) rules , which you didn't answer with your affected retort (we all know he is playing in London).

affected retort?

Whether intended or not, your post raised an inference that Kramnik might be avoiding Sofia-rules tournaments...and mishanp offered evidence to the contrary.

An idea I have to prevent short draws is that we can reduce the number of points we give to the drawmakers. If two players agree a draw in 19 moves they should get 0,19 points instead of 0,5. That would have helped!

Isn´t it simplier to just tell me? , is not an innuendo , only an observation and didn´t wanted to accuse nobody so i asked first.
Yeesh , greg.
At least you could have answered.

I just wanted to check what Kramnik does when he is forced to continue playing.

He probably plays. But maybe not. If you're really interested you could certainly look it up.

Thx greg, you´ve been great , very helpful.

Of course Kramnik will play on if he is not allowed to offer a draw (or if his draw offer is rejected) - the only alternative is resigning, isn't it? ,:)
The issue might be whether he fares better or worse under such circumstances. Maybe he would get exhausted if he doesn't have 'extra rest days', or maybe he even benefits from the fact that he is 'not allowed to be lazy', who knows? BTW, his game against Jakovenko was short counting the number of moves, but not considering the time spent at the board and thinking, so it was NOT an extra rest day after all ... .

@Chris B: "If ... Kramnik [was] a slashing attacking player who played for victory to the last pawn ...". Actually Kramnik (and Leko!) may not be 'slashing attacking players', but sometimes they DO play (almost) to the last pawn, both are well-known for patiently squeezing victories out of slightly better, but seemingly drawish endgames. Not in every single game, I readily concede, they have a pragmatic approach concerning when it is promising to make such 'extreme' efforts.

Is it more tiring to play slashing attacks or grinding/squeezing eking out a win from a small advantage. My guess is the latter. In both cases one slight slip will usually ruin your chances but the grind usually occurs over a longer period (of time and moves)

Svidler said the Sofia rules were good for him as they forced him to play on when he might otherwise be inclined to go and watch cricket. Kramnik's got a much stronger will to win, but I think the same's probably true. I can't imagine he'd have gone so long without a win with black if he hadn't often equalised, then got a slight advantage... and then offered a draw. In any case there's no reason to think Kramnik's particularly against the Sofia rules, or benefits from the old system.

Manu, if your question was serious and not rhetorical the answer is I don't know. I'd guess as Kramnik doesn't play MTel and wasn't in FIDE's Grand Prix he hasn't played too many Sofia rules tournaments, though the Olympiad had a no draws before 30 moves rule, didn't it?

Off course my question was serious , i´ll look at those games (Olympiad) , like i said i wanted to see how he continues when he is forced to .
But the thing would be to know when is that he considers the position drawn , so i should check on his anotated games and find that particular moment.
Anyone knows if London is confirmed as a GS tournament yet ? I asume yes because of the Sofia&Bilbao rules but is weird that Topalov won´t play there.

If he wasn't serious would he have asked two other posters to research it for him?

Oh boy ,you have issues .
Maybe someone already knew it ,hence the question .
I knew he played in Mtel 2005 with a poor performance but wasnt sure if the rules were in place back then, didnt know about the restrictions at the olympiad though.
thx mishamp

if two players with close ratings want a draw it will be a draw, no matter what you try to impose on it.

And even if those players do not 'want' a draw, the game may be drawn - simply because a draw is a legal, common and logical result.
Taking today's Kramnik-Leko (drawn after move 25) as an example: If the time spent on the clock means anything, both players tried (Kramnik had 13 minutes left on the clock vs. 18 minutes for Leko). Or maybe Kramnik tried [to get something out of the slight advantage he may have had], and Leko defended accurately. But was there a reason to play on in the final position? Under Olympiad rules, they would have been obliged to make five more moves - under Sofia rules, maybe 20, 30 or 50 more moves, but the result would most likely be the same. Well, I guess some people would prefer if Kramnik committed suicide on the board.
Similar story for Bacrot-Naiditsch (with less 'effort' - time spent at the board): white seemed to be a bit better, but it wasn't enough to win. This can happen ... .

Well, if there were severe financial penalties for non-games they would change their tune. But enough on the subject.

I tend to disagree ... . For a slashing attack, any slip can be fatal, losing a FULL point if you have already burned your bridges. That could mean sacrificing material, but also exposing your own king or ruining your pawn structure (so any endgame would be lost).

For grinding positions, the worst that might happen is that the game is drawn after all. And if one takes an attitude such as "I will play on for a while testing my opponent, but I know the position is/might be objectively drawn" this is not such a drama. Moreover, there may be no need to play the very best move all the time - you can shuffle around a bit, gaining time on the clock or hoping that the other one loses patience.

Topalov (but also Nakamura, anyone else?) said they got stronger because they are "not afraid of losing". Kramnik's (and Leko's) strength may be that they are "not afraid of drawing"!? What I mean is, they are happy with small advantages which may or may not be sufficient to win in the end - depending both on the objective evaluation of the position and the opponent's tenacity.
[Kramnik-bashers will have a field day, but for anyone else it is hopefully clear what I mean ...].

One thing's for sure, though: defending slightly worse positions against an ambitious and resourceful opponent IS very tiring ... and probably not much fun even if you earn the draw after six or more hours of play.

MTel 2005: Sofia rules.
Dresden Olympiad 2008: No draws before move 30.

It's nice to read you again Thomas!

"I guess some people would prefer if Kramnik committed suicide on the board." OF COURSE not literally, right?

"Kramnik's (and Leko's) strength may be that they are "not afraid of drawing"!?"

Some alluring, interesting ideas you have there, spiced with the usual coherence!

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on July 6, 2009 2:55 PM.

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