Greengard's ChessNinja.com

Legends In Zurich

| Permalink | 77 comments

The Zuerich Chess Club 200th Anniversary Jubilee events are continuing. Yesterday was simuls, today is the rapid tournament with Anand, Hug, Karpov, Khalifman, Kramnik, Polgar, Ponomariov and Topalov. Results here. Games live now here, with cool webcam. -- Kramnik just beat Karpov in 17 moves to win the event.

Simul scores and photos here. Ponomariov made a clean 25-0 score while Karpov and Spassky predictably had a rougher time of it. Main site in English here.


Congrats Vladimir.

I was impressed that Hug got five draws. Polgár and Karpov had to share last with him. The Wing Gambit against Anand's Sicilian was too much though :)

Who on earth is this Werner Hug ? He got draws against Khalifman, Topalov, Kramnik, Karpov and Polgar. Kudos !

Hug was a World Junior Champion back in the days when such a victory conferred the IM title (i.e. long ago; I would guess late 60s).

If my memory doesn't trick me, Hug is known as an extremely solid (=drawish) player - but the Sicilian Wing Gambit wouldn't quite fit into that picture.

BTW, impressive that Ponomariov performed better in the simul than all of Kasparov, Anand, Kramnik and Topalov. Or did he have significantly weaker opponents?

Finally, the most urgent question: Does anyone know if, and where the rapid games are available? The tournament homepage only shows the most recent live games, and I was unable to watch this afternoon (or, to be honest, I rather went to the beach ,:) ).

kramnik's looking pretty chubby, no?

Yah, hoping the PGN comes out soon. I hate it when they just replace the last live set with the new one and no way to view the previous rounds.

"kramnik's looking pretty chubby, no?"

That is significant. Nowadays you can't win the World Championship without a certain minimum level of fitness.

My observations do not include a chubby Kramnik.


Agreed. I just meant the World Championship matches are very grueling. When Victor Korchnoi was 50, he could win one game against almost anyone. He has 41 1981 wins in Chessbase including opponents such as Bisguier, Hort, Karpov, Nunn, Seirawan, and Yusupov. I don't think he would have have the stamina for a 24 game match in 1981 though.

"I don't think he would have have the stamina for a 24 game match in 1981 though."

I meant to say "I don't think he would have had the stamina for a 24 game match in 1981 though."

I remember Hug! It's amazing that he drew the likes of Topalov. Wow--he must have been keeping up with chess all these years.

Kramnik looks about the same weight-wise, I think. In one photo his shirt is kind of billowing out, which makes him look fat, but I think it's just an illusion.


Ponomariov had the same opponents as Topalov, Kramnik, Anand,... they all had a few +2200 (highest being around 2250). Kasparov had three 2300, I seem to remember. Korchnoi and Spasski had some weaker opponents, especially Korchnoi. But it was very interesting to see all simuls :)

As for Kramnik's chubbiness, I really don't think he's chubbier than Anand, so in that aspect they are both equally (un?)prepared to win a world championship.

Mainz and this combined, Anand has played 16 rapid games: 3 wins, 2 losses, 11 draws. Only managing wins against Naditsch, Karpov and Hug.. Hope he recovers soon.

Gone are the days when he would win a 20m + 10s game with 23 min left on his clock

Strange the PGN file on Chessbase is missing precisely the Kramnik-Topalov game.

Then apparently I downloaded the PGN from TWIC (don't remember). In any case, "my" file has the game Topalov-Kramnik. Topalov tried to surprise(?) Kramnik with the Catalan. Kramnik played a rare line provoking white to sacrifice some pawns - which he eventually got back but the rook ending was lost.
Also interesting: Against 1.e4 Kramnik didn't play the Petroff, but the Scandinavian!? But somehow I don't think we will see this from him in games with classical time control ... .

"Also interesting: Against 1.e4 Kramnik didn't play the Petroff, but the Scandinavian!? But somehow I don't think we will see this from him in games with classical time control ... ."

You may be right, but it can be played at the highest level for half a point as Chuky proved (Mieses-Kotroc Variation (B01)) against Leko in their Mukachevo, UKR match this year.

From TWIC:

[Event "Champions Rapid"]
[Site "Zuerich SUI"]
[Date "2009.08.23"]
[Round "4"]
[White "Topalov, V."]
[Black "Kramnik, V."]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "E04"]
[WhiteElo "2813"]
[BlackElo "2759"]
[PlyCount "122"]
[EventDate "2009.08.23"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. g3 dxc4 5. Bg2 c6 6. Ne5 Bb4+ 7. Bd2 Qxd4 8.
Bxb4 Qxe5 9. Nd2 b5 10. Bc3 Qc7 11. a4 Bb7 12. Bxf6 gxf6 13. Ne4 Ke7 14. Qd2
Nd7 15. axb5 cxb5 16. Qb4+ Nc5 17. Ra5 Bxe4 18. Bxe4 Rab8 19. O-O Kf8 20. Rfa1
Kg7 21. Rxa7 Qe5 22. Bf3 Rhf8 23. Re7 Nb3 24. Raa7 Nd4 25. Kg2 Nxe2 26. Rac7
Nd4 27. Rc5 Nc2 28. Rxe5 Nxb4 29. R5xe6 Nd3 30. Bh5 Nxb2 31. Rc6 Rbc8 32. Rb6
Rb8 33. Rc6 Nd3 34. f4 Nb4 35. Rcc7 Nd5 36. Rxf7+ Rxf7 37. Rxf7+ Kg8 38. Rd7
Nb6 39. Rc7 b4 40. Bf7+ Kh8 41. Bxc4 Nxc4 42. Rxc4 b3 43. Rc1 b2 44. Rb1 Kg7
45. g4 Rb3 46. Kf2 Kg6 47. Ke1 h5 48. gxh5+ Kxh5 49. Kd2 Rh3 50. Rh1 Kg4 51.
Kc2 Kxf4 52. Kxb2 f5 53. Kc2 Ke3 54. Kd1 Kf2 55. Re1 Rd3+ 56. Kc2 Rd5 57. Re8
f4 58. Rh8 f3 59. h4 Kg3 60. h5 f2 61. Rg8+ Kf4 0-1

Funny to see the closing ceremony video: Topalov quickly switched places with Ponomariov so as not to stand next to Kramnik when he came on!

Meanwhile, Karpov and Kasparov seemed to get along fine down in front...

Hopefully Kramnik-Topalov will rank up there with the great bilefests, Alekhine-Capa,Karpov-Korchnoi, Karpov-Kasparov, etc. But one worries about the new generation, they seem altogether too peaceable.
Who will take the baton?

"Who will take the baton?"
Maybe Nakamura?

I guess we would've all heard it on the news (& maybe the world would've stopped turning, etc.), but just asking to confirm: Topalov & Kramnik still didn't shake hands or talk to each other before or after their game? Is there a video of it? If so, how did Topalov resign? Just stop the clock & walk away? Or...? Anyone have any idea?
And did Topalov & Anand seem cordial? Certainly Anand & Kramnik did with each other; I caught a little of the video of that, from the official site.

I don't see why Anand and Topalov should not shake hands.


Go to video 3 : after commentary in French , you will see Topalov shaking hands with Anand.

He seems peaceable now too. Anyway, you also need someone to hit with the baton.

I was there, Topalov and Kramnik did not shake hands. When Topalov resigned he looked up, nodded, said a brief word (maybe "ok") and then they both walked away.

Pit Nakamura against Mamedyarov... would the non-chess sparks fly?

Kramnik made eight consecutive moves with his knight in the middlegame against Topalov, including the captures of two pawns and a queen. The rook endgame was drawn at one point but Topalov blundered with 49.Kd2 instead of 49.Kd1. Very strange because it's obvious you have to keep the king off the second rank. And Topalov knew this because two moves earlier he played 41.Ke1 instead of 41.Ke2. Nerves, I guess.

Topalov and Kramnik also shook hands with each other _before_ their match. Just saying ... .

If anyone's interested, there are 16 (boards 1 & 2 from each of the 8 simuls) games available for either replay or download on the site: http://www.sgzurich2009-live.ch/en/post/Champions-Simultan-Games.aspx

Kramnik was lucky in several games, and said afterwards that he did not feel like the deserved winner.

Where did he say that? I haven't seen much reporting of the event.

To answer my own question, I'm guessing here: http://www.sgzurich2009-live.ch/en/default.aspx

I can't watch now as I'm in a cafe without headphones...

Right :)

He doesn't mention the game against Hug (I think), where assuming the game score is correct he was actually completely lost if Hug had only found the fairly obvious 22.a6.

The game against Hug may be another story (did he underestimate his opponent?), but for the rest Kramnik said
- that he and Topalov "didn't always play the best moves"
- that he had to defend a worse position out of the opening against Ponomariov (so in this game he was lucky ... or defended well)
- that Karpov blundered horribly to lose in 17 moves (not Kramnik's fault!)
He indeed said that he didn't feel like the deserved winner, but that might rather be (false?) modesty - not every player would say so even if he was genuinely lucky?!

Some other excerpts:
He didn't really like the early start of the rapid tournament (11:00AM) - no surprises here, though one might expect him to change his lifestyle and sleeping habits a bit now that he is a father (comments, Mig?)
When asked whether the noise disturbed him [videos show that the tournament was held in the railway station, and the public was rather close to the players]: "I didn't even notice during the games, and for me it is better than playing in a glass cube which is like fish in an aquarium".
When asked if he was surprised that his simul was the first to finish: "I sacrificed a lot, maybe that's why my games finished more quickly" (just a simul of course, but he seemed to enjoy it ...).

Kasparov took 6 hours to finish his 25-board simul. That seems very sloooow. He even missed a simple little forced mate.

Luke, you have reached your apotheosis: the criticism of the chess play of the man many regard as the greatest chess player of all time. This was a natural progression, but where do you go from here?

Well, if I criticized you, I would be demeaning myself, so I'll leave you alone in your box. Now don't start a constant chatter, ok? You said something, I said something...so we'll both shut up, ok? Unless some worthless troll jumps in.

Well, if I criticized you I'd be demeaning myself, so I'll leave you alone in your box. Now, don't start up a constant chatter ok? You said something, I said something, so now we can both shut up. Unless some worthless pinhead troll jumps in.

Of course Kasparov is the best player who ever lived...but what's that got to do with what I said?

Interesting Kramnik' s remarks about the glass cube , specially since he was asking for invitations not so long ago ...

As a general comment: even if players want invitations, they don't have to accept or even like every idea by the organizers. Besides personal reasons (family or health issues, match preparation), there are many reasons to decline an invitation - names I give below are partly documented, partly rumors or speculation from my side:
- don't like to play in a glass cube (Kramnik? Anand?)
- don't like intercontinental travel in the middle of a tournament (Morelia-Linares: Kramnik, Morozevich, Mamedyarov)
- don't like to play in a certain country, or to deal with a particular organizer (MTel: Kramnik?, Tal Memorial: Topalov?)
- "the prize fund doesn't meet my expectations" (Bilbao: Topalov)
- don't like that the rounds start at 8:00AM (I guess no organizer has ever even tried, many of not most top GMs would feel uncomfortable)

BTW, it seems that Kramnik got invited to all of Tal Memorial, London, Corus and Linares. And with regard to the glass cube, he merely said he would rather deal with noise than play in an aquarium. Of course his anti-glass cube feelings may be related to the fact that this idea was invented and heavily promoted by Danailov ... .

Well Aronian accepted the invitation, though he did quip that playing behind glass is difficult but he'll do it for a guaranteed 20,000 euros :)

I think Kramnik makes a reasonable point that a noisy open air environment isn't necessary worse than playing in a small glass cube. Perhaps if they could improve the sound proofing (including when you go for a toilet break), air conditioning and also install one-way glass (suggested by the Carlsens) it might be ok, but it's still making the players a freak show. Fine for the occasional exhibition, but not something you'd want to become standard.

But Aronian DID play in the cube , Kramnik is just trying to discredit something he never tasted ... after complaining about not being invited ...
looks like sour grapes to me.

Well I've never played table tennis on the moon, but I'm not sure it would be sour grapes if I pointed out a few drawbacks...

It would , if you previously complained about those who play there and didn´t invite you...
And besides, this is not ¨table tennis in the moon¨ , one should ask those who actually played in the cube for their opinion , sour grapes from someone who was never invited (and never qualified also) just doesn´t count as a serious reference.

You don't think Kramnik might have talked to one or two of the players who've experienced the cube first hand?

Oh boy , you just can't admit it , do you?
I honestly don't see Vlady asking another player about how playing in the cube feels , but maybe he has a poll or something , thing is that he never played there ...
And as a general concept diminishing something that you didn't experience in flesh , but tried to and failed is called sour grapes ...
It is a common reflex in human behavior , there is nothing to be ashamed for ,if it happened to Aesop it can happen to anyone.

IMO, one can have an opinion without going through the experience first. For example,this would also apply to intercontinental travel during a tournament (Morelia-Linares) or, more generally, to playing Chess960 - where anyone has the right to say "it's interesting, but not for me".

If Kramnik or anyone else ends up playing in a glass cube, he could then change his mind ("it was not as bad as I thought") or see his ideas [which some may consider prejudices] confirmed ("I tried it once - never again!").

Obviously, if anyone wants and accepts a tournament invitation, he also accepts any things he may not really like, e.g.:
- glass cubes at Bilbao and MTel
- zero tolerance rule and possible doping tests at FIDE events

And while Kramnik neither qualified for Bilbao nor got a wildcard, he would obviously be a worthy participant based on both his rating and on winning tournaments of comparable strength to the Bilbao qualifiers (Dortmund, Tal Memorial) in the recent past.

Finally, as mishanp correctly pointed out, all Kramnik actually said was: "If I could choose between a noisy open air setting and Big Brother peace and quiet of a glass cube, I would pick the former.

No Thomas ,if you want to jump in at least take the time to see the whole interview ...
Kramnik made fun of the cube , called it the acuarium and compared players with fishes etc , which is why the phrase ¨sour grapes ¨ aplies so nicely to his words .
Not a big deal really ,he already has a solid record of trying to belittle everything that is not his forte , e.g. match champions vs tournament champions , etc.

Manu, you're not seriously trying to say that in a free choice of venue players would actually choose to play in a glass cube, are you? Of course it's like being a fish in an aquarium, monkey in a zoo, contestant on Big Brother etc. - choose the metaphor you prefer.

That doesn't mean players aren't willing to put up with it if it means playing in a well-funded tournament. The question's just whether you actually need the cube to find the sponsorship.

Besides, I think you should be quite happy about that interview. Kramnik said nothing unpleasant about Topalov - just imagine if Topalov had won instead :)

Manu, I did see the whole interview, and you should know and remember: I was the first one to mention Kramnik's remarks about the glass cube, and you were replying to my post. It's a matter of taste - you will always find a way to criticize Kramnik - but he was simply answering a simple question ("So you don't need a glass cube?") giving his personal opinion.
If anything, you could criticize him for his 'unforced' remark about the early (11:00AM) start of the tournament ... which I consider just some self-irony.

BTW, "like a fish in the water" is a common German metaphor - but if fish were actually asked and could talk, they would certainly prefer open waters (rivers, lakes or the ocean) to an aquarium.

@mishanp: Maybe some (but certainly not all!)players actually like playing in a glass cube. Picking up your metaphors: fish don't choose an aquarium, monkeys don't choose a zoo, but Big Borther contestants do so by their own free choice. And if Topalov had won against Kramnik, Kramnik wouldn't have won the tournament so there would be no winner's interview with him ... .

Slight concession: As Kramnik never played in a glass cube, maybe he cannot really say "It feels like fish in an aquarium" - but he probably at least saw pictures from Bilbao and thus got such an impression from the other side.
Still, more correct might be "It would feel like fish in an aquarium". Yet this is nitpicking, also taking into account that he is not a native English speaker.

The most surprising is the fact that people on these boards keep replying to MANU´s post. MANU is always posting his Anti Kramnik rants. MANU´s post are so childlish and immature that i really do feel sorry for him, because he must be a total idiot.

Not only is "fish in an aquarium" a well-known metaphor that elegantly conveys the idea, but "aquarium" is exactly what the glass cube has been called by many people before Kramnik, including sympathizers. But maybe the term should be reserved for the Rybka interface :)

Don't give Manu so much attention. He saw Kramnik saying something and had to react, as always. Kramnik answers a question about the glass cube...and?!

Give him Kramnik's shopping list and I'm sure he'll find something to complain about. TWO boxes of diapers?

So what if he does not like Kramnik? Manu is not a total idiot and is occasionally quite witty. To his credit, he no longer appears to be fixated on Kramnik's toilet and no longer babbles about cheating. So, he has made a great advance and should be commended.

Those accusing others of idiocy should take some care with punctuation and typos in their posts, otherwise it loses its effect.

So much negativity ... some of you must take this more lightly: i didn't accused the guy of murder , just of " sour grapes" , which is clearly the case and not the first time (e.g. " i lend him the crown" ).
Like i said , there is nothing to be ashamed for , its a very human flaw.
Nice to see Kramnik's line of defense so tighten ,though , it only happens when i hit sensible points ...

"Nice to see Kramnik's line of defense so tighten ,though , it only happens when i hit sensible points ... :)" (Manu)

Yes, I also notice that Kramnik listens to you and reacts to your sensible points :)

The comment was not aimed at you, but Lafite.

I know , just hit the reply by accident , as you can read my answer was not directed to you either.

By ¨line of defense¨ i meant hiper-sensitive fans that over react to the slightest comment against their idol, not Kramnik himself...

You seem to have forgetten that you're the one manically defending Danailov and the cube against a mild criticism :) Though admittedly it's hard to describe it as a "defence" to say that Kramnik's not entitled to an opinion. Decent deflection, though...

Just out of curiosity, would you disagree with the statement: "the cube is an uncomfortable environment for chess players that can still be worth using if it attracts sponsors"?

I would rather call ¨manically defending¨ insulting a person just for thinking different , you have a couple of examples of that in this very thread ...
Or i would call ¨manically defending¨ trying to change the curse of an argument by bringing unrelated topics to the table (like u with Danailov ) every time someone says something about Kramnik..
But what you don´t seem to understand (or maybe is just your way of defending him) is that i´m not defending the cube or Danailov . I´m just pointing that while Kramink complains about the cube , he never got the chance to play there!
And he even complained a bit about not getting invitations:
¨Well, I would also like to play right now, but I didn’t receive invitations for the most recent events, such as Leon, Mainz,Sofia, Bilbao and China.¨ Kramnik

You see , maybe the Aesop´s grapes were indeed sour , thing is that in spite of trying , the fox never tasted them !
That ´s why is called ¨sour grapes¨ , and i believe it aplies nice and good to Kramnik´s case , don´t you think?

Ok, my last comment on this gloriously pointless debate...

To seriously claim "sour grapes" you need to show:

1) Kramnik's bitter
2) He's made up something that he has no reason to believe is true about the cube.

The first point you can argue over - personally I think he just likes to rile Topalov and Danailov from time to time. It would help you if Kramnik had just come up with his comments without being asked for an opinion.

The second point blows your case out of the water. There's every reason to believe that playing inside a glass cube isn't particularly pleasant. Apart from simple common sense Aronian, Anand, Carlsen and others have said so, despite the understandable desire not to upset organisers. I'd say Kramnik not having played there actually means he's freer to mention the elephant in the room :)

You need to re read Aesop my friend , wheter the grapes were sour or not doesn´t make any difference to the fable ...
from wiki:
¨ Sour grapes is an expression originating from the Aesop Fable The Fox and the Grapes.It always refers to an unattainable goal and human reaction to it. It can mean to deny desire for the unattainable item. More often, it refers to the nature of humans to rationalize why they wouldn't want it anyway. The phrase has come to be synonymous with bitterness in most modern contexts.¨
You see , its the previous try (before stating that the grapes were sour) what makes the fox bitter about the ¨unattainable goal¨ , the author show us that it would make the whole difference if the fox never tried to reach the grapes...
I dont understand why is this such an issue for you , maybe we should resume this argument after you finish reading the classics :)

And yet I return like a moth to the flame... how can I refuse a literary discussion with someone who's read Wikipedia :)

Yes, whether the grapes were sour or not doesn't matter, but the whole point is that the fox thinks they're going to be ripe and delicious and only declares them sour when he can't eat them.

If you really wanted a close analogy with Kramnik he'd have to have had a burning desire to play in a glass cube, perhaps proclaiming "what a luxurious palace glinting in the sunlight", and only then say something negative about it after not getting an invite.

Of course Kramnik's never even actually said anything negative about the tournaments (just the venue) and I think you'd struggle to show him jumping like a fox in his desperation to participate - but why let reality spoil a good fantasy.

By the way, shocking as it is, the Wikipedia article on the fable - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fox_and_the_Grapes - includes the clearly false theory that
Victorian translators chose "sour" instead of "unripe" as the latter has sexual implications. "Sour" was already used in the 1484 and 1692 translations - http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Fox_and_the_Grapes

Nobody reads wiki ,mishamp, i just clarified the source of the first thing that appeared when i googled the phrase , and the meaning was ok .

"If you really wanted a close analogy with Kramnik he'd have to have had a burning desire to play in a glass cube, perhaps proclaiming "what a luxurious palace glinting in the sunlight", and only then say something negative about it after not getting an invite."

No mishamp, despite your desire to show some knowledge on the subject (the " sour" vs "unripe" clarification which adds nothing to the argument ) , you continue to fail to understand that the fables are not meant to take them literally , one doesn't have to show a picture of Kramnik jumping ...
Kramnik had tried previously to qualify for Bilbao and failed , then complained about not being invited , and only after all that made fun of the venue in a way only those who played there can...
Those are all the elements needed to claim without remorse : sour grapes!

Kramnik 2008:
¨ There was a strangr situation with the tournament in Bilbao. Some time ago the organizers phoned me and said that they wanted me to take part in it. They sais that they could hold the competition in September or December. They asked what period of time suited me most. My answer was – December. And literally after several days there was a report that the tournament will be held … in September. You can estimate it as you wish but I have the impression that I was intentionally asked about the date to choose the other so that I wouldn’t be able to play. The situation is a bit odd: they had better not asked me.¨

Kramnik 2009:
¨Well, I would also like to play right now, but I didn’t receive invitations for the most recent events, such as Leon, Mainz,Sofia, Bilbao and China.¨

To air negotiations with organizers in that way could be considered rude for some people , but how hypocrital is to complain afterwards about not getting invitations ?
That´s why when he makes fun of the venue , one can say: ¨ sour grapes ¨ .

Go on, Manu, explain the hypocrisy there. Feel free to quote Hippocrates :) Presumably you realise that "they had better not [have] asked me" doesn't mean "they shouldn't have invited me" but just that they shouldn't have asked him for a suitable date if their only aim was to find a time he couldn't compete.

I don't know the truth of that accusation, by the way, though with Danailov's involvement it sounds highly likely. In which case you don't think that might be just a smidgen ruder than making it public?

Im sorry , can we agree about the ¨sour grapes¨ condition first?

We can agree to differ :)

What is this "I wasn't talking to you" stuff we read in every thread? If you don't want folks to comment on what you've said, why post it in a blog?

(BTW, I am not here talking to ANYONE, and will take umbrage (or maybe even two umbrages) if anyone responds.)

Lol. Good one.

Twitter Updates

    Follow me on Twitter



    About this Entry

    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on August 23, 2009 11:56 AM.

    Nakamura Lights Up Amsterdam was the previous entry in this blog.

    Ivanchuk Takes Jermuk GP is the next entry in this blog.

    Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.