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Kramnik Wins 9th Dortmund

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Number nine, number nine... Vladimir Kramnik added some emphasis on his amazing ninth Dortmund title by beating Naiditsch in the final round to take the tournament by a clear point on +3 undefeated. Leko, Jakovenko, and Carlsen all finished on +1. Carlsen led the event most of the way before being crushed by Kramnik in the eighth round. Leko didn't lose a game but nine draws, several of the pathetic variety, kept him off the pace. Jakovenko proved his mettle at the top-ten level, bouncing back from an unnecessary loss to Carlsen in the first round to play some of the most interesting chess in the event. My impression was that Bacrot played worse than his -2 score while Naiditsch played better than his -4. The Frenchman successfully defended some inferior positions while the German had mental lapses after playing very well for most of several games.

Kramnik didn't need much help against him in the final round. For the second day in a row the big Russian's opponent decided to replay a long line from a previous round. Leko-Naiditsch in round eight went 18.a4?! Qxe4 19.Qxf6 Rg8 and Leko bailed with 20.Qf3 and drew seven moves later. I wasn't able to follow the final round today and since the chess world wantonly discards most clock information it's hard to say how far Kramnik's improved preparation went today. All the way to the exchange sac on move 24? Quite possible, even for both players to have seen it in their analysis since it seems holdable for Black, if quite unpleasant. Naiditsch, as he has several times played accurately under pressure for a long time only to fall apart. His king was already under fire when he blundered (time pressure?) on move 38. Always nice to see an old primer maxim like the one about how the queen and knight work so well in attack together proven out on the board. Nicely done and a pleasing show of ambition from Kramnik.

We saw another deep line in Leko-Jakovenko in another Marshall Gambit endgame variation. This one actually got a little spicy when Leko sacrificed (!) the exchange for a mob of queenside pawns. It looked like White was getting good chances but Leko was unable to make progress against Jakovenko's accurate defense. 40.Nf3 looks interesting. Carlsen and Bacrot also broke the last-round jinx with another full-bodied and intricate game. 21..Nc5! gave Black enough counterplay and this time Bacrot didn't blunder in complications.

A difficult tournament to rate. The early rounds were incredibly dreary and overall there were far too many non-game draws for an invitational event of this stature. We got compensation with several spectacular games, although the most beautiful lines took place only in the notes in a few. Kramnik saved the event from its own dismal inertia by wresting the lead from Carlsen's hand by brute force in the 8th round in a smashing sacrificial game. Despite his seemingly symbolic negative score here last year, losing twice in his beloved Petroff, Kramnik definitely showed Dortmund is still his house. Just for emphasis he went +1 in the Petroff and came close to +3 with it!

Attention now moves to the ongoing San Sebastian tournament and Biel, which starts on the 18th with, argh, another six-player double round-robin. Gelfand, Morozevich, Ivanchuk, Alekseev, Vachier-Lagrave (! one day after the end of San Sebastian), and my Brooklyn paisan Fabiano Caruana.


Congrats to Kramnik for yet another Dortmund. He proved he isn't yet finished and still has some chess to play -regretfully half of it are Petroffs!!

Although he won twice against the relatively "weakest" player, Naiditsch, and then defeated a strange Carlsen, who helped him by blundering, a drawable game, with 25...Qc7, luck is part of the game, and he's a deserving champion.

It wasn't clear quite how far Kramnik's prep went (probably we'll find out from a Chesspro.ru report in the near future). He was playing quicker than Naiditsch, but not just blitzing the moves out.

Shipov recorded that Naiditsch was down to 9 minutes after Kramnik's 38. Nb3!, which was when he blundered, though he already had a very difficult position to defend (38...Qa3 was the only move). Probably taking the pawn on a2 (and allowing Kramnik to centralise his queen) was the real beginning of the end.

For what it's worth, also from Shipov:

after 27...Kb7 - Kramnik 1h04, Naiditsch 41 mins
after 30...Rc4 - 52, 22
after 37...Kb6 - 19, 9

Darn...Peter Leko spoiled his chances for the perfect 1/2 1/2 1/2 1/2 1/2 ad nauseam tournament with that win against Bacrot. Better luck next time, Peter.

¨ and he's a deserving champion.¨
He is more a deserving winner than a deserving champion.

Chesspro's final Dortmund report is up - keep reading, Manu, there's something for you in there :)

There's not much on the games - Kramnik was apparently unable to sleep until 7am after missing Rd7 against Jakovenko. He wanted to win
outright and as he saw Carlen and Leko were both probably winning he had to go all out to beat Naiditsch.

At the end there are some more general comments (which Kramnik had wanted to check before publication but as there wasn't time Vasiliev gives the gist - surely exactly what Kramnik didn't want, but nevermind...):

- about the candidates tournament, Kramnik says that he feels it's unfair that Kamsky gets an automatic place despite not being in the
top 20, when he doesn't have a place despite having played in the last world championship match. But he says he'll try to increase his rating to get the automatic rating spot. [he's currently 0.8 points behind Carlsen]

- he plans to play in Moscow and London (preparing well, as he has time). He's not playing in Mainz because he wasn't invited.

- about tournaments with Topalov: he says he'd be happy to play Topalov, with whom he has a +12 score, so that Topalov can share his rating with him. But Kramnik isn't invited to Grand Slam tournaments and Topalov refuses to play in tournaments where Kramnik's playing. Kramnik would have nothing against Topalov playing in Moscow.

- he has nothing to prove, but would like to win back the title.

- all's going well with his daughter, who's stopped keeping him awake at night, recognises him and smiles, but doesn't speak :)

- on the "return of Kasparov", he says that you can't really consider the match that, though it's fascinating to watch Kasparov play in any circumstances. Apparently the organisers proposed a Kasparov-Kramnik match that might really have been a return to chess, but Kasparov declined.

So Kasparov STILL does everything he can to avoid playing Kramnik? Figures. :)

Thanks mishanp for pointing this out, and for giving a better English translation than Babelfish - though his version is amusing as always: the player finishing third (Carlsen) is referred to as "Little-one"!? ,:)

Well, Kramnik (like everyone else) has to get used to and accept that everything he says, even informally, may be published [I wonder, though, if he will talk freely again to Vasiliev who mentioned but ignored his explicit demand ...].

To be fair, Kramnik may be on the 'non-invite list' for MTel (Danailov under full control) and possibly Nanjing (Danailov having 'some' control?). But he was invited to Corus, and his games against Topalov in 2007 and 2008 attracted lots of media interest [I watched the first one on site] and finished in a quite bizarre way. In 2007, Kramnik imposed Sofia rules (don't talk to your opponent!) on himself ,:) and fought to the last pawn to draw the game.
I wonder whether London will become part of the Grand Slam as they want - I personally have some problems not with the participation of Kramnik, but with the fact that _half_ the field is English.

And Kramnik playing the Tal Memorial is now confirmed. Does anyone know the rest of the field? Anand is also playing, so is Jakovenko.

Listen to Kramnik´s crap , one would think that it is always the other players who hide from him and not the other way around.
He just won the same fake tournament he always wins, (couple of friends who wouldn´t say no to draws and a couple of weaker players to get the beating), and now everybody is hiding from him...
If Topalov was such a bad boy and all , why is it always Kramniks who complaints about not being invited?

"Little one" is actually a reasonable translation of Carlsen's "nickname" :)

I agree the Grand Slam comments aren't very clear (Corus? Linares?) - it's the sort of thing you'd hope to clear up when double checking the interview. I remember Kramnik complaining that last year he was asked which of two dates would suit him by the Bilbao organisers. He told them and then they chose the other date - and gave Topalov a wild card.

I'm really looking forward to the London tournament. Adams and Short have fallen from the elite of late (well, Short did it about 20 years ago!), but they're both still class players. Perhaps one of Howell/McShane could be dropped (Topalov or Aronian, anybody?), but it always adds to the spectacle (read more decisive results!) to have some weaker/less experienced players as well. I'd love it if McShane surprised even himself with a good enough performance to persuade him to become a chess professional.

"He just won the same fake tournament he always wins, (couple of friends who wouldn´t say no to draws and a couple of weaker players to get the beating), and now everybody is hiding from him..."

Yes, Dortmund's nothing but winning Nanjing is worth a Chess Oscar :) And of course Carlsen's a really weak player.

"If Topalov was such a bad boy and all , why is it always Kramniks who complaints about not being invited?"

Something to do with Topalov's manager being involved in the organisation of every tournament he plays in?

Look at the sunny side (im quoting Thomas here) things would be very sad if all tournaments were like Dortmud.

¨Something to do with Topalov's manager being involved in the organisation of every tournament he plays in?¨

You mean like Mainz?
Camon mishamp , that story about those bad kids who didn´t invite him to their parties is a little weird thing to hear from a grown up.

Manu, you become extra silly in times of desperation. Kramnik just won a super-strong event very convincingly and you have to explain it away by calling it a "fake" tournament, denigrating it in every way possible? :) Nobody will take you seriously with such "arguments".

Actually if it had not been for Kramnik's win against Carlsen there would have been a point: he would have won (well, shared first), not because he was able to beat any of his top opponents but because of his ability to beat up the weakest player in the field. (Apart from drawing all the rest, of course, which is not bad, but Lékó and Carlsen would both have done the same). That shows the limitation of the tournament format, something I and others have pointed out many times before.

well, "Lékó and Carlsen would both have done the same"... plus beating Bacrot and Jakovenko, respectively, of course. But the point is the same.

Re: Mainz - Kramnik wasn't complaining, just explaining why he wasn't playing when asked. And Topalov doesn't seem to be playing there either, so I'm at a bit of a loss as to why that proves that Topalov plays in a lot of tournaments where his manager doesn't have a hand in the organisation :)

Generally I think Kramnik's point was just a concrete reply to a simple question about why Topalov and himself haven't played in the same tournaments of late.

In the last year, Topalov's played: Bilbao, Nanjing, MTel - and will play Bilbao and Nanjing again soon, I suppose.

Kramnik's played the Tal Memorial and Dortmund and will play London and the Tal Memorial again. (they were both in the Olympiad).

Kramnik presumably wasn't invited to MTel, Nanjing or Bilbao, whereas Topalov probably was invited to Dortmund, London and the Tal Memorial. If anyone's ducking a challenge, it's clearly Topalov. But it's more just an unusual year - normally they'd both play in Corus and it's quite possible they'll both play Linares again.

p.s. I'm sure I forgot some tournaments...

Of course, you forgot to mention those were Danailov is not part of the organization like Amber , Linares and Corus , all of them played by Topa in the last years (and of course there are more)...

¨Kramnik presumably wasn't invited to MTel, Nanjing or Bilbao, whereas Topalov probably was invited to Dortmund, London and the Tal Memorial.¨

On that we are going to need sources , if not this is just your imagination, mishamp...

Kramnik already played in Sofia so you are actually not making any point , and if we talk classical chess , Topa gave Kramnik one of the worst beatings of his career after Elista .
Also you forget about the rematch that Kramnik refused to play with Topa , so you are clearly not making much sense abbout this subject.
We are all running from Kramnik , sure , that´s imagination ..

In fact if you take a close look , Kramnik has avoided playing under Sofia-like rules this years , and didn´t do well when that happened.

You're getting a bit desperate, Manu. On invites and refusals I'm just trying to interpret Kramnik's words (and he should know). You seem to have Danailov's ear, so why don't you give us the other version of events, if there is one?

I don't get your point about Sofia - Kramnik hasn't played there since Elista, has he? And in any case Topalov's win over Kramnik there came after Topalov blundered a piece but got lucky when an Kramnik missed it. Or you're just talking about games in general!? Well of course they've played since. What's that got to do with them not playing each other recently?

The "rematch refusal" is too comical to comment on. Even Danailov can't have taken it seriously, though it worked as a cheap negotiating tactic with FIDE, so kudos :)

"Kramnik presumably wasn't invited to MTel, Nanjing or Bilbao"

Kramnik has said that he was "invited" to Bilbao last year, but that he got the strong feeling that they didn't really want him there. True or not, I don't know. But here it is, in some sort of translation from the original Russian (which of course you can read, but I didn't find it right now): http://english.sport-express.ru/articles/9_221/

Indeed, Kramnik played MTel once, but _before_ Elista (quite an important "detail"). As I mentioned before, he is unlikely to get back on the invite list - but even if he was invited, he probably wouldn't want to "play on enemy ground". Now Topalov may have similar feelings about Dortmund and Moscow, which still leaves enough occasions for them to meet on neutral territory (such as Corus 2007 and 2008).
As to the current situation, noone knows for sure - unless organizers disclose which players were invited but declined (but they probably have good reasons not doing so).

"Topa gave Kramnik one of the worst beatings of his career after Elista ."
Manu certainly refers to their game at Corus 2008 - a spectacular win by Topa, but a single game. At Dortmund, Kramnik badly beat Carlsen, so what? Ah wait, that was part of a conspiracy to let Kramnik win 'his fake tournament', hence it doesn't count ... . [Need I mention that I am a bit ironic or sarcastic?]

Couple snippets from Topalov's NIC (2008/2) annotations of the game Thomas mentions:

"Special dedication to Martin Breutigam, German journalist, Pulitzer Prize winner for the best chess article in 2007." (That one was actually pretty funny, regardless of everything else. Similarly, he dedicated his win against Anand in Bilbao last year "to Frederic Friedel, also known as the 'anonymous Dutch chess fan', winner of the MTV 2007 Award for the best chess video.")

"After playing his 22nd move Kramnik stood up, but before he could even walk away I responded. He saw my move and walked to the area where the toilet was. During our game in the Corus tournament he did this several times, reminding me his behaviour in Elista 2006. Fortunately for me, this time the quality of his moves when returning to the board was not as high as during our match."

"The result of this game, as well as the development of it answers the question of why Kramnik declined to play a new match against me even for a million dollars."

Dortmund is Kramnik's fake tournament? I don't think so.

I do think Manu's comments are fake, though :)

¨You're getting a bit desperate, Manu. ¨
Not at all , as pointed Kramnik himself talked about that invitation which completely discredits your point...

¨What's that got to do with them not playing each other recently?¨
After Elista Topalov won the only desicive classical game between them ,in a desicive manner to say the least.
Why would he run away from a guy he beated so badly?

¨The "rematch refusal" is too comical to comment on. Even Danailov can't have taken it seriously, though it worked as a cheap negotiating tactic with FIDE, so kudos :)¨
It is funny how contracts change their value depending on who signed them.
Maybe it is comical to you , but their right to rematch was a FIDE law , so i don´t completely understand what you mean.
On the same angle we can talk about the cheapness of someone who won play a game without his personal toilet or doll collection...
And he got away with it ,so kudos ...

Interesting, acirce - I never realised Topalov ever descended to quite that level in print (and not just in some minor Bulgarian newspaper). He's living proof that being a top chess player doesn't stop you being a fool (which is reassuring, in a way).

Manu, there was no "right to a rematch", as you very well know (heck, there wasn't even a right to play in the next cycle for the loser). Danailov tried (or pretended to try) to exploit a FIDE loophole letting anyone rated above 2700 buy a world championship match. Which made as much sense as it would today for Vachier-Lagrave (and his rich uncle) to demand a match against Anand. But there you go... obviously if Anand refused to drop all his plans and play that would be because he was terrified of the man :)

p.s. with apologies to Vachier-Lagrave, who seems like a promising young player!

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on July 13, 2009 12:27 AM.

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