Greengard's ChessNinja.com

Tricks for Not So Old Dogs

Gahh, crazy work deadlines and radio and boxes, oh my! It's a wild week here, and I'm scrambling to stay conscious. Sounds like a perfect day for some chess radio on ICC Chess.FM. GM Joel Benjamin will be breaking down all the action at the first round of the fourth NH Tournament, which pits a team of veterans ("Experience") against a team of younger players ("Rising Stars"). (I'm told the audio stream will also be available free at the official site!) Last year was a 33.5-16.5 blowout for the youth squad, so there's not so much gray hair on the veteran team this year.

It's Svidler, Nielsen, Beliavsky, van Wely, and Ljubojevic on one side. On the other it's Nakamura, Caruana, Smeets, Stellwagen, and Hou Yifan. The big prize is in play between the five teammates. Best score (if over 50%) will qualify the player for next year's Melody Amber blindfold and rapid tournament in Nice. It's hard to picture anyone other than Nakamura and Caruana having a shot at it, frankly, and the top seeds have usually done well in these events. Carlsen, Karjakin, and Wang Yue are the previous winners. Nakamura will also be looking to add even more rating points to his lofty 15th position on the Live List. But with top-ten talent like Svidler on board one, solid pros Nielsen and van Wely, and Big Al still hitting for distance on a good day, the veterans should make this one much more competitive.

Inky's dear Ljubo is welcome anywhere, any time, of course, and will no doubt blow at least three winning positions in time trouble and have at least one entertaining tantrum. He's managed to win exactly one game in each of the previous editions. Who will he nail this time? I'm still keeping the flame alive for Hou Yifan, whose trajectory has slowed considerably in the past year. She's still just 15 though, so anything can happen. More 2600+ opposition is the only hope.


"I'm still keeping the flame alive for Hou Yifan, whose trajectory has slowed considerably in the past year."

A 2584 rating and #9 rating in a country of one billion is not bad. She would be #8 and one point ahead of Ildar Ibragimov and Gregory Kaidanov if she were American. It's pretty good for a 15 year old. Playing White I think she beats Ljubo.

"Inky's dear Ljubo is welcome anywhere, any time, of course, and will no doubt blow at least three winning positions in time trouble..." (Mig)

He never had a chance against Nakamura. Never even had an opportunity to try to scramble up the game in time trouble. Poor Inky.

1/2-1/2. Not bad for a veteran against one of the most promising talents of the younger generation. Congrats Ljubo! (Why is he called Inky, btw? Or who is Inky? A poster?)

Hou hou,

There is nothing special about Hou slowing down. The same happened to Carlsen (who actually lost 50 points) and Radjabov (add Aronian--who was actually stuck for much longer--before them) when they closed on 2600.

In fact it is perfectly natural and the real question is where do they end up...not how they get there. So unless Hou continues to stall for another 5 years, I still think she'll reach 2700.

Even I am impressed that Ljubo was able to eke out a draw. I always thought that the defender just plunks his King in front of the pawn in these types of positions and wins easily. For example, 38...Kd8 and what can White do? Nakamura walked away from the potential d8 queening square b playing 38...Kf7?, which doesn't make any sense to me.

I think "Inky" is actually some woman who is apparently smitten ga-ga by Ljubo's aura.

Kf6 not Kf7

What are you talking about? I said 38...Kf7.

"The same happened to Carlsen (who actually lost 50 points) and Radjabov (add Aronian--who was actually stuck for much longer--before them) when they closed on 2600. ... So unless Hou continues to stall for another 5 years, I still think she'll reach 2700."

You compare her to 3 of the top 7 players in the world. The odds of any 2584 rated player almost 60 points outside the top 100 becoming a top 32 2700+ rated player are extremely long. I predict she never becomes 1 of the top 4 Chinese players.

The odds of a 15-year-old player rated 2580 getting to 2700 are probably reasonably good, historically speaking.

Let's see your proof.


Just have a look at the others who've become GMs before their 15th birthday. Most have since reached 2700+.

The odds "are probably reasonably good" she becomes better than Alexander Onischuk. No, they are not.

At least 8 of 16 haven't. Some I would have to research. There may be only 1 Judit Polgar. You better stay out of the stock market. Past results don't guarantee future performance.

So 50% wouldn't be reasonably good odds to you!? And given a few more years guys like Caruana are almost certain to reach 2700. Sure, she might not make it, but she's clearly within the ability/age range to have a decent chance.

Your stock market comment is just silly. We're talking odds so of course there's no guarantee.

"So 50% wouldn't be reasonably good odds to you!? And given a few more years guys like Caruana are almost certain to reach 2700."

50% is not reasonably good odds to me. Caruana is not almost certain to reach 2700. We're talking top 32 in the world here.

I am inky. I write under that name on the chessninja message board...you all should come lurking once in a while. You don't have to register to read...just to write.

Since I am a veteran myself - I played in Olympiads in 1972, 1976, 1978 and 1980 - and I know personally the finest chessplayer who ever lived, Ljubomir Ljubojevic...some people call him inky's dear Ljubo.

I hear Hikaru (who is a friend even though he is young)wasn't feeling his best today. Even so, I think Ljubo did well in catching his one misplay near the end and drawing today's game. I'll be rooting for Hikaru against everyone else.

Last year Ljubo beat my other favorite player(and friend)Fabiano Caruana. He definitely will reach way above 2700 and probably even be WC one day, if the title still exists. So, this year, Fabiano is out for revenge. I'll be rooting for him against the others also.

This tournament is lots of fun. And the games are hard fought and often very beautiful. And it wouldn't be an NH tournament without Ljubo. ;)

Thanks for covering it, Mig.

Ljubo is friend with Topa , isn´t he ? , i saw pictures of the two joking around on more than one ocasion.
I agree about Caruana , and since you are friend of him ,i´ll ask you: do you have any idea what can posibly be the problem of Korchnoi with him? , this video , at the bottom of this page:
makes Victor look very unpolite to him.

"50% is not reasonably good odds to me."

Well, it's not "extremely long odds" as you were claiming though, is it?

"Caruana is not almost certain to reach 2700. We're talking top 32 in the world here."

He's 17 and 2670 and tipped for the top 10 by various GMs. But you probably know better...

Manu, I think Korchnoi's that way with pretty much anyone he considers his inferior - i.e. everyone :) He's very similar to Kasparov (which is why however much I admire the chess I could never like either of them), but of course Korchnoi's chosen to go on playing and getting beaten regularly by "lesser" players - hence the inevitable outbursts.

The funniest thing about that video is that it shows Korchnoi wandering about with his hands in his pockets and complaining about Caruana having his hands in his pockets.

Apparently, Korchnoi is just your ultimate cranky old man. I never heard of anybody who met him and were able to say anything positive about his personality afterwards. They're always suspiciously eager to stress how great he is as a chess player (which is true, of course).

About chess prodigy and reaching 2700+.
The question needs to be posed more concretely. Such as:
"what is the odd of someone having reached GM before 15 year old, then reach 2700+ by year old."

If is 16 :-) then from past history it is 0%
If is 20 (more reasonable) then the odds looks high to me (from purely glancing at the table).

it should reads

"what is the odd of someone having reached GM before 15 year old, then reach 2700+ by year x old.

If x is 16 :-) then from past history it is 0%
If x is 20 (more reasonable) then the odds looks high to me (from purely glancing at the table)."

btw, just quickly playing through the game between Svidler and Hou It is clear that Hou still has a long way to go. She was beaten convincingly in the endgame. Svidler worked his magic with the Knights on e5 and d4. Just go to support the maxim that to be a great player you need to play the endgame extremely well.

I noticed that , did you look at his hand and face were he greats Fabio before the game?
The first tournament i saw was the Najdorf memorial ,( i was working in its broadcasting ) , i didn't know who Korchnoi was but after a game against Ruben Felgaer he was very rude too , refusing the postmortem and grunting in his way out.
A couple of years later i run into Felgaer (one of the nicest and humble GMs i ever met) in a chess club and asked about it , Ruben suggested that it was just a facade of Victor's personality but i always resented Victor's attitude after that.
Of course he is an example of stamina and love for the game , and i know he had a troubled life , but still , being nice can't hurt that much.

About Caruana's future , my bet is that he will be at least a top 5.

Well, in the video Korchnoi said "at his [Caruana's] age, I didn't walk around with hands in my pockets" ,:) . Nicely spotted anyway by the person (Macauley?) who made the video ... .

My own impressions when I encountered Korchnoi twice at a Dutch blitz tournament differ from bondegnasker's "hearsay" post. I didn't get close to him (the other side of the board) but two of my clubmates rated ~1900 and ~2200 played the blitz games of their lives. Of course, Korchnoi may have been in a good move because he was winning - not only those two games, but the whole tournament.
Yet, also at NH last year, he was full of praise for Erwin l'Ami ("the only young guy that doesn't play like a computer" - paraphrasing Korchnoi's words) and rather critical of his own play in that game which he lost - this video is still featured on the Chessvibes main page.

So I cannot answer Manu's question ("What's the problem Korchnoi has with Caruana?"), but I would speculate that it comes, at least a little bit, from both sides. "It takes two to tango" - does this saying also exist in Argentina?

At least he also seems able to poke fun at himself: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XUZSCb4EVrM&feature=related (unless he was just really desperate for the money!)

"It takes two to tango" - does this saying also exist in Argentina?
Yes , but is not very popular , there are more common substitutes.

Although i completely disagree , i don´t see what a 16 year old boy could have done to Korchnoi , and Caruanna in particular seems very polite compared to others .

Korchnoi is like that... haven't you seen that video when goes extreme rude against Polgar after losing a blitz game to her?

And what the hell? The kid walks with his hands in his pocket!? Korchnoi should have completely lost his mind.

Even when he was younger he had those insane moments, like accusing that jewish GMs from Soviet Union conspired against him by losing to Petrossian and stuff like that.

Yep , but never heard a translation of what they said in the end , its hard to tell what happened.

Probably he was cranky and picked on the taget least likely to resist. That man can really hold a grudge. In an NIC article some years ago he was getting really worked up about evil Petrosian, all these years later, AND mentioned what he saw as Fischer's poor analysis of one of their games, again. Still maybe this passion, even when misdirected, is what kept him playing so well for so long.

Surely Naka-Van Wely is a draw. After Rg6, for example, I can't see any possibility for White to break through. The king can't approach, and h4 does nothing.

Funny day at the NH today. Although 4 of the games were the "fighting" Sicilian, the top 4 seeds all had draws.

Ljubo won. Oh well, Yifan is still guaranteed 2700 someday. ;) rolling eyes

Don't be so cynical, John. Ljubo is the greatest. That's the whole story today.

Korchnoi likes to intimidate his opponents in whatever way he can. The video from last year's NH tournament where Korchnoi extends a limp hand to Caruana was already very much a sign of disrespect from Korchnoi. Poor Caruana, who appears like a very polite kid, tried shaking it but it must have felt like trying to shake a limp fish. Very ironic when Korchnoi was talking about his young opponent walking around with his hands in his pockets that the video caught Korchnoi walking with his hand in his coat pocket. Korchnoi always finds a way, even when he loses, to get to his opponent such as showing unwarranted disrespect. Here, he engages in bad mouthing Caruana and doing so with a disingenuous smile on his face. Korchnoi is just a cantankerous old fighter whose best days are way behind him. Yes, it is sad that such a great player should be this way, but some people never grow up or learn how to take losses and failures more in stride... It's obvious Korchnoi still takes his losses very badly. Hort's more mature and measured approach is a lot healthier, but Korchnoi wouldn't be Korchnoi if he adopted such an attitude. That Korchnoi refuses to call it quits is something for which we should be very happy -- he is, despite these unlikable personal characteristics, one of great immortals of chess.

Wow, just saw the Korchnoi footage, why do they even allow him to say stuff like that (i.e., publish it) - unless it's to spite Viktor himself. The over-obvious cut to him having a hand in his pocket indicates that, of course...

I'm trying to figure out the name of an opening. If one of you can help me, it would be great. 1. c4 c5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. g3. Thank you very for your help. It's greatly appreciated. :)

John :

Symmetrical English - ECO Code A35

Thanks! No wonder they call you, chess player! ;)

As for the Korchnoi-Polgar blitz game, Sofia should have known better and kept quiet rather than riling up the old fighter. "You won it. You won it. The very first and the very last in your life, ya!" You can be sure Korchnoi will remember these words and this game if he ever plays Sofia again.

I would really like to see Rustam Kamsky punching Kortchnoi on the nose.

@Jim from Sudbury: Is that the full dialog? It doesn´t seem.

@kpb : I would make Tyson walk with hands in his pockets and a t-shirt with the legend : ¨i(heart)Petra¨, to see how Victor handles the respect issue.

Did anyone look at the actual final position on the board? Apparently Korchnoi's flag fell in a drawn rook ending (though he was a pawn up). The video is a bit confusing, because earlier in (another!!?) game Korchnoi had white, but Polgar's last move was white rook to b3.
We don't know the further context. Did Polgar decline Korchnoi's draw offer to beat him on the clock? This could be considered rude behavior, though not "unheard of" and legal according to the rules of blitz games. We also don't know how Korchnoi would have reacted if he had been convincingly outplayed ... .

Altogether: No excuse, but a possible explanation for Korchnoi's reaction.

flagging in a blitz game is not rude. There is no context, it is simply Korchoi - acting like a total jerk.

I said "no excuse but an explanation". And in the context of the game, a milder reaction by Korchnoi such as "you were lucky to win this game" would have been more or less understandable.

BTW, do the Polgars bring out the worst in top players (not that it is their fault)? Kasparov also had an incident with Sofia's sister Judit, when he took back a losing move in one of their games ... .

The J. Polgár-Kasparov incident is much ado about nothing. I've said this many times before, but there is simply no evidence that Kasparov was aware that he let go of the knight.

As for the Korchnoi game, there is a context wider than the game itself. See John Fernandez' post here: http://groups.google.com/group/rec.games.chess.politics/browse_thread/thread/d90cecf78ef8bed7/4df35f2996c4d5d7

Inky, you must be delighted!

how about that ljubo, mig? doubled his expected number of wins in just three rounds.

I keep telling Mig that Ljubo is the GREATEST!! He just doesn't believe me. But, he likes Ljubo. Everyone likes Ljubo. Ljubo is also one of the nicest GMs ever. (I always think of GM WC Dr Max Euwe, who was a real gentleman and of whom I was very fond).

Poor Hikaru is very sick - seems like a stomach virus. Despite that, he won today. I hope this sickness goes away very quickly. It's a terrible thing to happen when he is playing so well.

Wow! Ljubo is 2.5/3!

"there is simply no evidence that Kasparov was aware that he let go of the knight."

Is there even evidence of him letting go of the knight? (Actually asking)

Sorry, meant to say that I know it was taped but I'd like to see it for myself. Even if it's just a still. Was there actually daylight between the piece and his hand or did he just begin moving his fingers back? If it's the former then I don't see how he couldn't have known.

Is there any video available from that incident?

The last round of the Grand Prix is tomorrow. My predictions for the games:

Akopian vs Ivanchuk 1/2
Gelfand vs Leko 1/2
Aronian vs Inarkiev 1-0
Jakovenko vs Alekseev 0-1
Eljanov vs Kasimdzhanov 1/2
Karjakin vs Kamsky 1/2
Bacrot vs Cheparinov 1/2

By the way, I love how the Kortchnoi-So. Polgar "incident" comes up every year or so, since it is now 7 years past (gasp!)

All I have to say is that I love Viktor, he's gotta be one of my favorite people in chess, just because he's so entertaining.

I totally agree. Korchnoi makes a lot of outrageous noise, but he usually does it with a smile on his face. Great personality and an incredible chess player.

Just the other day I saw Petra and her husband at our big train station, and chessgirl's boyfriend, and Mig's boss, and a few others mentioned in this thread. (But I didn't see Mig himself.) I even saw Mig's boss getting angry at someone who wanted an autograph while he was playing a simul - probably a brand recognition thing. Strange feeling, when the big stars of my small chess bubble pop up in my real-life everyday surroundings.

Where do you live? A city in Switzerland comes to my mind ... .
And I usually go to a Dutch seaside village in January for a similar experience.

Who is Petra ? Who is chessgirl ?

Petra = Mrs. Korchnoi.

Chessgirl = Ponomariov's girl-friend (posting under this name here and at Chessvibes from time to time). Sorry, I cannot remember, or would misspell her real Basque name ... .

"there is simply no evidence that Kasparov was aware that he let go of the knight."

Kinda silly. Evidence of awareness in a deliberate act of motion is self-evidently evident. A reductive existentialist approach to cheating doesn't make it any less of a cheat. But in the event, Kasparov denied it to the hilt and later amended slightly to "I was not aware" when video evidence revealed that his hand had indeed left the piece. But it's definitely much ado about nothing: Kasparov was rarely caught in the act of telling the truth about anything before or since, and anyhow he wasn't really lost if he'd kept the Knight on the original destination square -- in fact, he may even have won the game. He was not just the best player ever; he often played very well.

I don't know what that means, but I don't think it's silly. Few people argue seriously that Carlsen tried to cheat against Aronian in Amber 2008 (analogous situation, only that Aronian complained and the video was checked immediately).

Zürich Main Station, yes. Two weeks ago you had to shove your way through a crowd of half-naked ravers, this weekend it's chess world champions. Quite a fun place to do your Sunday shopping.

Really? In the blindfold? :)

No, in the rapid.

"In the second game Magnus got a small but comfortable advantage as white and was trying to make progress in the rook and bishop endgame when the unfortunate incident took place.
Magnus moved his rook to a3 and discovered immediately the blunder (due to Rg3+). His mind was so occupied with registering the blunder and instinctively correcting it that he did not really notice whether he had released his rook at a3 or not.
Aronian immediately took exception to the corrected move and the arbiter was involved.
Magnus was somewhat surprised when the arbiter said that the video footage clearly showed that Magnus had released the rook on a3 before moving it to c1. He has not seen the video but of course he accepted the ruling of the arbiter, and duly resigned. 0-1.
After the game Magnus has emphasised that he did not intentionally try to cheat and he has apologised to Aronian for any disagreement he may have felt during the episode." http://blog.magnuschess.com/1205957010_amber_2008_round_4.html

Of course you know what it means, the same way Kasparov knew he'd released the piece. And for your argument to work, Carlsen and Kasparov would have to be clones; they're not, and moreover the former has not shown himself a liar, a cheat and a bully. Not yet anyway.

Well, you just called Carlsen a liar and a cheat, so that's two out of three. Your telepathic powers and/or deep insight into the mental states of world-class players during rapid games has solved another case.

Carlsen's was in a rapid game; Kasparov's at Linares.

The claim of an inadvertent touch-move violation in a rapid game from a player with an outstanding reputation for sportsmanship and polite behavior, and who offered a full and public apology immediately thereafter, should probably be given the benefit of the doubt.

Carlsen is only 18 while Kasparov had no other such "scandals" in his whole long career. The small fragment of a second his finger apparently wasn't in touch with the piece on one single occasion only happened once and in this case Kasparov was probably as unaware of what had happened as Carlsen was.

Your hardcore apartment move may have blunted your senses more'n usual, cowboy. I said nothing of the kind about Carlsen, and I believed his explanation and apology after the fact. I was pointing out that his case cannot be conflated with the Kasparov-Polgar situation, which is where acirce was trying to go. Drop your hireling's sense of weight and consideration and you'll understand things a lot quicker.

Hey Mig, I have noticed that Gary always wears very sharp jackets! It's a shoe-in for best dressed WC. Who's his tailor? :-)

"...while Kasparov had no other such "scandals" in his whole long career."

A truly incredible run.

I meant to say "he's a shoe-in..".

No, I think you meant to say "he's a shoo-in.."

thanks clubfoot, genuine mistake. I stand corrected.

Sorry, I can't even afford to know the name of Garry's tailor.

Vladimir Kramnik dresses smartly too.And Topalov if your taste for colour coordination is of a particular, recent vintage.

np, remember we both like chess.

I've been missing your (less rabid) comments, especially when a certain troll shouted out loudly for one of your smackdowns. However you eventually obliged .. :-)


Ljubo!! Show em how it's done! Razor sharp in the 70s, razor sharp today! You the man. And the game he lost, that was some form of blindness, too, walking straight into a dead-lost ending. He could have even better than his already great score. What's up with him, Inky, has he been drinking his prune juice lately?
And I guess Beliavsky will chuck the Philidor after today.

Nice win by Ljubo. Very well played.

I think Nakamura is playing like a coffeehouse player in this tournament. He should go back to the level he was playing at San Sebastian and not underestimate his opponents and play dubious openings.

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