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San Sebastián 09 Begins

US champion Hikaru Nakamura and 12th world champion Anatoly Karpov at the opening party in San Sebastian. They meet in round one. Photos from David Llada's Donostia 2009 Flickr set.

The Donostia Chess Festival begins today in Spain. The main event is a 10-player round-robin with a 2682 average rating. The games begin at 1700 local, 11am EDT. Live link on official site is here, should crash at 1710 local, 11:10am EDT. Buena suerte, David!

The pairings are up and they start with a bang: Nakamura-Karpov! Nakamura handled the former world champ, now 58, at a rapid event last year. We'll see how well the legend is holding up without much in the way of practice. I'm pretty sure losing a blitz match to Ghaem Maghami in February doesn't count as Botvinnik-style training for an elite tournament. The other pairings: Vachier-Lagrave-Kasimjanov, Svidler-Movsesian, Vallejo Pons-Granda, San Segundo-Ponomariov.

There is also a GM B event, a GM norm event, and a women's event in this inaugural festival. They are prepping for what is hoped to be an even mightier event in 2011 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the famous 1911 San Sebastian tournament won by Capablanca over Rubinstein, Vidmar, Marshall, Tarrasch, et al. Time control is the speedy 90'+30". And at least we'll have something else to tune in to should the Dortmund crowd slip back into a coma. I assume there's a rest day in there somewhere, but the site doesn't seem to say when it might be. [It's on Friday the 10th, no doubt to coincide with my daughter's first birthday.]

UPDATE: After dominating Karpov for the entire game and then missing a forced mate, Nakamura finally won when Karpov apparently flagged in a losing but still potentially tricky R vs N+B endgame. (Well, tricky when you're blitzing. The final position is just a mere mate in 67!) The 90'+30" time control is a torture chamber. No confirmation on exactly what happened yet. Vachier-Lagrave won a wild game against Kasimjanov and Vallejo beat Granda. Svidler decided he'd rather watch cricket than play Movsesian. That's just not cricket, old chap, but I guess it was.


Hi Mig:

I'm sure David will do it OK and the live link won't crash ;)

There's a rest day on friday the 10th.


It'd be nice if there wasn't an ugly cursor in that picture you included :)

LOL! Funny

I am happy to see Karpov in a tournament, he played a similar event in Valjevo 2007.
For the Spanish fans broadcasts are at official site http://www.donostiachess.com/en/, playchess.com, and also this one http://live.chessdom.com/san-sebastian-chess-2009-live.html

Being in Spain it is making happy to see super chess here.

We'll find out how well Nakamura does at non rapid/blitz time controls against elite players.

It seems to me that, as Mig correctly predicted, they are haveing problems with the live streaming.

Here is some interesting dirt - This tournament has a market in Betfair, which in itself is very unusual as it doesn't cover many of the bigger tourns (e.g. Linares, Dortmund, Sofia had no markets).

However the most notable point is that a whopping £15,000+ has been traded on Vachier-Lagrave! The total amount bet on all the other players combined comes to less than £400. Either someone knows something I don't or else something very fishy is going on. As a regular better, I would usually jump at the chance to get involved with chess markets but I am steering well clear on this one!

Let me be the first to wish Miglette a happy birthday. Bang a gong!

So Mig, any inside information about Garry's meeting with Obama today?

A year already!? Congratulations!

The Nakamura-Karpov game was strange. Nakamura somehow overlooked 46.Qc8+ Kh7 47.Nf8+ Kg8 48.Ng6+ Kg7 49.Ne7 threatening 50.Qg8# (he also had this possibility on move 47). Nakamura eventually won the game but not so nicely.

Of course Nakamura turned it into blitz anyway! I think Karpov just flagged after nearly saving a totally lost position against Nakamura. Nakamura was killing him the entire game and had a forced mate at one point but missed it and ended up in a tricky R vs B+N endgame. (46.Qc8+ then the old Nf8+ Ng6+ Ne7 mate trick.)

But they were both playing on the 30" increment for the last 20 moves. The final position must be lost for Black but I figured he could play for swindles for a while longer. Clock shows 0:00, although they've had issues with the DGT today.

Prize fund:
9.000 EUROS
6.000 EUROS
4.000 EUROS
3.500 EUROS

Thanks for the kind wishes all. Can't believe it's been a year, as cliche as that is to say. She's quite a little animal.

Looks like once again the clock was Naku's friend. I think his final position with Karpov was a draw.

Something else ... : The live viewer gives lots of games without moves in the parallel open(?) - "decisive" ones but also some draws. Did they apply the "zero tolerance rule" for being late, but count it as a draw when both players didn't manage to be at the board in time?

Since no one else has mentioned it:

"Art 6 – Clocks will be started at the scheduled time. Players who arrive at the chessboard more than 60 minutes after the scheduled start will lose their games." The San Sebastian Regs.

At least some organizers retain a sense of sanity.

I really doubt that was drawn and he was winning the whole game. Stop hatin'.

The final position is winning for Nakamura: 65. ... Rxe5 66. Nxf5 and the king picks up the g-pawn and good night for Karpov.

Tell it to the the hate filled silicon -- minimum depth of 14 per move (most far in excess) yields no mate to move 100

It looks like a slow and certain tablebase win after the black pawns have fallen. Karpov must eventually sacrifice the rook for the pawn, and then come the B + N endgame.

That is genuinely good dirt, Koni! Was the Vachier win today unusual?

Report from Spain:

Kasparov and Karpov play a 12 game (4 Rapid and 8 blitz) match in Valencia 21st-24th September 2009.


Surprised Mig didn't have this. Can he confirm it?


Kasparov - Karpov Sept. 2009 match also reported at bottom of page here - http://www.facv.org/portada.htm

What Rilde waiting for to update those "live" ratings?

Good point Bozo - I was just thinking the same thing yesterday; those "Live" ratings are very live...

Good point Bozo - I was just thinking the same thing yesterday; those "Live" ratings aren't kept very live... More like "almost every week". Stretch it out a little longer and you have... FIDE.

Exactly. Next time he updates his page, you can reach me at the retirement home. Anyway, expect to see Carlsen, Nakamura, and Ivanchuk somewhat higher.

Does Mig have any news about the upcoming Kasparov-Karpov match in September?

I believe the gentleman is playing in a tournament.

Yah, we've been joking that San Sebastian was Karpov's effort to get in shape for their match. I'll put up a piece on it later. Been busy with Obama. Didn't realize Boyero was going to run that today or I'd have tipped it.

Vachier's game doesn;t seem unusual though konil's dirt about betfair and the whooping 15 000 pounds on Vachier arouses suspicion.

Was playing in the World Open more important than San Sebastian for Naka? Playing against such strong competition jet-lagged does not seem like a smart thing to do. He'll be lucky if he survives the first few rounds with his skin intact.

Just a little point, Mark:
"Infamous" should be looked up by anyone who uses it loosely. It has nothing at all to do with "famous".
One of my pet peeves...

I was talking with a San Sebastian organizer during the first round about the betting. Did you also know they are taking bets on the result of one game per round DURING THE GAME? That's unprecedented, they believe. Today the "live betting" game was Nakamura-Karpov and while I was chatting with the organizer he mentioned that someone had just put 12,000 euros on Nakamura to win. He was already clearly winning so I doubt the bettor got much of a return, but still. The organizer also added that the Nakamura game had received 25,000 worth of action.

One thing worth noting about this new feature is that it means the live broadcast has to be instant and flawless. If there's a delay, even a server glitch or lag, someone on the scene can see a blunder first and bet before the money shifts. I haven't examined their process in detail, but at least that how I imagine it might happen.

Interesting about all the action on Vachier-Lagrave. No insight into what it might mean, though. His game against Nakamura tomorrow is the live betting game.

The Betsson site was doing chess for a while, too. I don't think American's can legally place bets though, and some sites try to track your IP and block you. So I hear.

On the infamous point "having an extremely bad reputation" seems to cover it. Although I know my English usage can be very bad.

Infamous is related to "infamy, infamy they've all got it infamy".

The one that drives me bonkers is "very unique". People use this two word phrase quite a lot if you are aware of it. In one episode of the West Wing they point out that something is either unique or it isn't. Since then it drives me nuts when I hear it.


Re: Betfair (& Bettson) - it's worth pointing out that the site's a "betting exchange", so rather than betting against a sports book you're betting against other people (with Betfair taking a commission). That's why the company run no risk in offering a live market, but they warn those betting that you shouldn't rely too much on "live" feeds (in more important live markets they impose a delay on bets and suspend the market, cancelling unmatched bets, whenever a game-changing moment occurs). I'm fairly sure there's been live betting on chess before, at least in the sense that they left a tournament winner market open during the games, but I might be wrong.

Also, with the exchange you can offer to bet x amount at a certain price - but only if you're matched by someone wanting to take the other side (lay the bet) does it become a transaction. So someone might put 12,000 euros on Nakamura but the bet could be unmatched or only partially matched (it's also possible the 25,000 figure might count that 12,000 twice, from the point of view of both sides). One interesting difference with a betting exchange is that you can take a guaranteed profit, or cut your losses, when the price changes (by taking the other side of the bet for the new price). So people can trade on live sports the way dealers trade on e.g. currency prices, though you need the market to be fairly liquid to make it practical.

In any case, it's a good potential source of sponsorship for chess tournaments - time to get betting so Betfair see it's worth it for them :)

I made some money chess-betting at Betsson. One instance was when there was four rounds left of Sofia 2006 (I believe) and Topalov seemed out of the race. So I placed a bet at very high odds, seeing that he had made spectacular comebacks before. I don't remember the exact odds or how much I won but it was quite a bit by my standards.

Of course now if it turns out eventually that the cheating accusations were right, maybe they will start an investigation to see if I was involved! :o)

It is worth to mention that Betfair is one of the main sponsors of this tournament, so they having a market for this tournament was a must. I would like to encourage them to get more involved with chess.

Having live-betting in one of the games sounded like an exciting idea, but what Mig points out is true: you have to bear in mind that every broadcast has some delay comparing to the real game. If I see that the gap is too big, maybe we will change our mind. It also worries me the possibility of the DGT board making any mistake and sending a false move (like it almost happens today in Nakamura's game); if that ever happens, I have direct line with the betfair guys and all bets could be cancelled.

We are also considering the option of adding video streaming, apart from the DGT broadcast, so everybody can double-check position and time.

If you are planning to bet during live games (this is valid for any sport), this is my advice:

-Instead of of the flash viewer we have on the official website, try watching the games on playchess, it is slighly faster. Check all of the options and compare.

- DO NOT bet during the zeitnot! You could be in disadventage with people having less lag, people in the playing hall... do it during the middle game!

As for the money put against Maxime, I personally know the person who made that bet, and I can ensure you he is no one related to the player, and nothing strange is going on. He is just a betting-pro who happens to be also a chess fan :)

Oh, and I bet on Kramnik to win Elista -- the bet was opened before his comeback after treatment, if I remember correctly, and his odds were high because people didn't know what to expect and of course had his bad 2005 in mind. At that time I, too, considered Topalov to be the favourite, but not THAT much of a favourite. I remember that for every time Kramnik indicated he was back in decent shape, the odds successively converged more and more, and right before the match started, they were almost exactly equal.

Good stuff.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on July 7, 2009 2:09 AM.

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