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Kasparov Blitzes Karpov in Valencia

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The result we all saw coming, but we did get a little suspense in today's final day of Kasparov vs Karpov action in Valencia. The heavily favored Kasparov lost the very first of the eight games with the white pieces, coming out of the same QGD Exchange line we saw every time Kasparov had the first move. We did get a smidgen of variety when Kasparov twice played 1..d5 instead of the Grunfeld, though we got another pair of the g3 variety of that, as well. His QGA in game two resulted in the only uneventful draw of the entire event. Heck, there was only one other draw, period, and that was the final game of the blitz.

But after the loss and the draw, it was all Kasparov. He reeled of five wins in a row, including a methodical and accurate infiltration in the game three, which Kasparov said was the best of the lot when we spoke after the event finished. He was also happy with his brutal attacking win in game six, though slightly less happy when I mentioned what all the computer-enhanced kibitzers could see, that he could have won even quicker with 20..dxc4 21.Qxe4 Re8. Still, a nice win in his relentless style, even if Karpov's jaw wasn't much of a moving target at that point. Karpov's clock was again a problem, though in blitz this isn't really worth pointing out. But if the score is correct, and Peter Doggers has video-checked the latest version, Karpov flagged in game four in a clearly superior position, which is a shame.

The result, 3-1 in the rapid and 6-2 in the blitz, corresponded exactly to the players' Elo rating prediction, something first pointed out to me by acirce in the comments. This means Kasparov's old 2812 and Karpov's current 2619. So, either Karpov isn't overrated and Kasparov isn't rusty, or... In other words, since in Garry's words "augh, the quality was terrible!" Karpov's training sessions didn't exactly pay off. I won't call Karpov's rapid decline unprecedented since that would require actually looking things up and it's past 3am. But for someone who still plays in strong events on occasion, and whose intuitive style has never been what you would call energetic (i.e. required a load of deep prep and energy at the board), it is notable. Talent, especially world championship talent, usually ages well, or at least better than this. But few former champs have such busy lives away from the board. And it also says a lot about how much more rigorous the game is these days. By the time they were in their 50s Tal and Spassky could count on drawing a third of their games in fewer than 20 moves. Opening work just keeps getting tougher, and Karpov was never quite part of the computer generation.

58, while old for a pro, isn't ancient. Beliavsky is still swinging a mean bat. And Karpov is a guy who seven years ago knocked out Short, Kramnik, Morozevich, and Shirov at the Eurotel rapid before losing to Anand in the final! Just two years ago may have marked the real turning point. He showed a solid 2680 performance at a relatively minor tournament in Valjevo, Serbia. Nobody from the top 50 was there, however. Later that year he had another good result, in blitz no less, at the Ajaccio EU ch event, ahead of Bacrot, Bareev, Milov, etc. Perhaps later that year, 2007, in November -- always a bad month according to centuries of poets -- showed he wasn't able to keep up with the elite anymore. Last place in the Champions rapid event in Spain, then third from last in the mighty Moscow world blitz ch. It may well be the case that, as Karpov said from Valencia, he can beat anyone in the top 100 if he works at chess. But that's work he's clearly not doing. His business, of course, but it would certainly perk up these exhibitions a little if he could play a full game without flagging!

As for Kasparov, "terrible" might be a bit strong for some but not by his standards. 4.5 years away have taken a considerable toll. Several times, he said, he felt unable to concentrate after making a bad move. (12.exd5 in the first blitz game is one example.) While it's possible he might "play up" against a stronger opponent, and one who wasn't his old nemesis, it's more likely it would take considerable time before he would be anywhere near his old self. There's really no way to judge based on this event since Karpov's level of resistance was so low. Not that it much matters, mind you. Garry is quick to remind everyone he's still retired. Apart from another similar match with Karpov in Paris, and any others that might be arranged during this 25th anniversary period, he's going to settle for rooting for his part-time pupil Magnus Carlsen.

As for the fans, it was a fun ride. The nostalgia was worth far more than the chess in Valencia, no doubt. I may even find the time to work through the second Kasparov book on his matches with Karpov! Those were the days...


In one of the Europe Echecs videos (in French), the dates of 11-13 December were mentioned for the second K&K revival match in Paris. The Louvre was given as a likely (but not yet confirmed) venue.
Another story might be if - after the Valencia experience - sponsors can be found for the other two tentative matches ... .

Cudos to Karpov and Kasparov for doing this CHARITY show. All earnings will be given to some UN project, I think.
I see many comments like "Karpov loosing face etc", but he deserves credit for his participation.

Mig, Is Garry planning on analyzing these (and any more 25th anniversary matches) in his series of books on the K-K games? I recall in the first book he said he would analyze all of their games, not just the world championship matches.

I'm sorry, I can't see why Karpov would want to do this again. Can anybody?

"I may even find the time to work through the second Kasparov book on his matches with Karpov!"

A shocking statement from a friend of Kasparov. It's one of the greatest chessbooks of all times, and you shold long ago "have worked through" the book!

To me Karpov could be one of the best players around again if he would devote much more energy to the game. But he seems not to be interested.

In the light of these games you could also see, what an exceptional chessplayer Fischer was - who came back after 20 years. I remember to rest the game completely for six months and as a result it took me some days to get familiar again with the board and the pieces. A somewhat strange experience.

If the results hadn't matched the Elo guess, would that have been repeatedly noted (repeatedly)?

Karpov is clearly playing "from memory". He is more "retired" (mentally) than Kasparov. I'd like to see Kaparov take on someone like Kramnik (unfinished business), Anand (World Champion) or Topalov (top-rated). Kasparov was so good, I'm inclined to favour him, in spite of what my logic tells me.

Any more K-K mismatches can only taint their spectacular rivalry.

"The result, 3-1 in the rapid and 6-2 in the blitz, corresponded exactly to the players' Elo rating prediction, something first pointed out to me by acirce in the comments. This means Kasparov's old 2812 and Karpov's current 2619."

Assuming for argument's sake that classical ratings also apply to rapid and blitz, there are three possible conclusions:
1) If Karpov's rating is accurate, Kasparov is still playing as well as he did when he retired.
2) If Kasparov is no longer playing at the 2812 level, even Karpov's rather modest 2619 are exaggerated.
3) (Somewhat improbable, but added for the sake of completeness:) If Kasparov has improved during retirement, Karpov's rating is too low.

Everybody seems to ignore age difference. Would not that show more in blitz and in rapid than in regular games?

I think you are aware of this but there are, of course, many other possibilities. You can beat a roughly equally good player with 9-3 if he is in bad shape and/or things happen to go wrong from the beginning and he loses confidence or whatever. You can beat a clearly worse player with "only" 7-5 if you take an early lead and then decide to coast instead of taking risks. Or of course you could even lose to a clearly worse player.

But even your alternative 2 (in particular) deserves to be mentioned if nothing else because I have seen people seriously argue that the match result shows Kasparov is just as good as when he retired! If that doesn't suffice alone, then just look at his amazing 22.Nf6+, which he played BEFORE FRITZ found it (that is on some people's slow computers) :) I think Mig is much closer to the mark in his next to last paragraph.

I can't see why Karpov has wanted to put his name on the line for quite some time. It's always sad to see a great player in any sport descend.

Remember that Karpov played rather well in Rapid in Cap d’Agde where he beat Caruana but then lost to Nakamura in semi-finals.

Off topic, but Chessdom says that besides Bulgaria , Turkey and Singapore have bid for the Anand - Topalov match.


Kamsky says that he has given up his place in the World Team championship to a junior player. According to him, the World Team championship is less important than the Olympiad.


I fail to see how an old, retired Karpov turning in a poor result against the best chess player in history (Kasparov) diminishes Karpov any. I mean my god are you really trying to say because he flagged and lost a few blitz games that now he never will have been considered world champion? How ridiculous absurd... show some damn respect to the man. He is a far better chess player even now then most of us will ever be!

Thanks, acirce, and yes, I am aware of what you say. Comparison of Elo ratings only indicates *probabilities* and 4 games of one type and 8 of another are a rather small sample size.

22. Nf6+ is so hard to find for computers? I am astonished, would have thought Fritz 5.32 (say) could find that in 10 seconds on a Pentium II!

I would like to throw a question out in the open to see what people think about this. Should a person quit something because he is not as good at it as he used to be?

Different people have different motivations. Some are motivated by being able to demonstrate that they are the best at it. Obviously this is one of the prime motivations of people like Kasparov and Fischer, though not perhaps the only motivation.

On other hand some people are motivated by the pure pleasure of something. I would put Tal (and perhaps Ivanchuk) in this category, though more knowledgeable kibitzers can differ and correct me.

Of course this is over simplification. Tal would have definitely been driven by the desire to demonstrate that he is the best at it and I am sure Kasparov enjoys chess too.

The point is, if being the best at something is primary motivation, doesn't it also prevent you from pursuing your interest when you discover you are not able to compete with the peers anymore? Aren't the people who do it for the pleasure of it end up more contended in the end, though they might not achieve the peak experience by the people who do it for the results?

Isn't Anand's crown also his biggest burden now that he feels obligated to play like a world champion? Isn't Ivanchuk, having suffered from rating fluctuations better placed to ride through a rough patch in his career?

I didn't read (much of) this in Brett Rudy's comment. But he may have a point: in chess as well as other sports as well as other fields (music, politics) those who retire - or die - at the peak of their careers may retain a purer 'aura' around them.

Hypothetical question: What would "history" think of Bobby Fischer if he had continued playing and, sooner or later, faced a decline on the chess board? [Whereas in reality, things went downhill for him in many respects, but not chesswise] Of course his achievements would remain, same holds true for Karpov.

So caleague also has a point: Another hypothetical thing, imagine that 25 years from now retired world champion Carlsen writes on his great predecessors (maybe with some help from his current coach). I am pretty sure the 21st century match(es) between Kasparov and Karpov would at most represent a small footnote.

And a match rather than a tournament is a special situation. But let's leave that subject.

Rybka 3 found it (with a +- eval) in only a few seconds on my own machine. Fritz 9 took about 40 seconds. But some people reported much longer than that. Others much shorter. But not everyone can afford powerful computers. Of course most people in the world can't afford computers at all, if we're going off that tangent.

I don't it why people are bashing Karpov. He played a fine rapid game and he played according to his current rating. What else is required? You have to remember that there are many grandmasters who never have beaten Kasparov.

I doubt Karpov himself is too concerned about the result. I also doubt he is too concerned if others are too concerned about the result.

Karpov likes playing chess. He also likes promoting chess. He also likes money.

agree. To me Karpov showed class in playing at his age. Knowing full well that he is the underdog.
Damn the status, damn the glory. He plays just for the love/fun of the game, and helps promoting the game. This is much more than I can say for Fischer, who was so afraid of losing that he stopped playing (he only played Spassky in classical games when they paid him millions for it).
Wonder if Kasparov would do the same in the future
when he will reach sixty years old (say, against Kramnik).

"He also likes money."

I read somewhere Karpov is a multi-millionaire from his oil venture. So i don't think he did this for the money.

I don't get Mig's reference about November: "always a bad month according to centuries of poets."

The only thing I can think of is T. S. Eliot's "April is the cruelest month."

millionaires are people who would do anything for money

I disagree, but doing something that you like anyway - like playing chess - isn't something most would say no to, rich or poor.

Danish poet H.Nordbrandt claims that in Denmark the year has seventeen months: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, November, November, November, November, November, December.

Chess isn't like boxing: some of you may believe a great player (or even a not-so-great player) suffers a loss of dignity, status, even a shrinkage of his legacy, upon getting beaten around the way Karpov just did. But those who think so are out of touch with reality.

I suppose it is like that in a physical sport like football or (especially) boxing, where one literally gets beaten around with the whole world watching. Which makes the ex-champion in decline not just LOOK pathetic and stupid, but actually proves he IS pathetic and stupid, having voluntarily put himself in harm's way ... and for what? The chance to staple Headlines #17,264 and 17,265 to his chest on top of the seventeen-thousand-plus headlines already attached there.

Chess is different. Many GMs do retire entirely from the game. But many top ones do not. The reason you rarely read about them anymore is because their powers have declined so deeply that their continued chess exploits aren't worthy of serious coverage. I'm not talking about Larsen's shameful effort a year or so ago - I think he truly did retire, and this was just a one-time "comeback".

Three names that come to mind are Portish, Lein and (perhaps) Timman. I think Portisch participated in a number of Hungarian Championships this decade... and finished dead-last or next-to-last each time. Of course, in his prime he was #4 or #5 in the world. Lein is still an active competitor in the US, but his rating has fallen into the 2300s. Though never world-class, he was in the upper (though not top) ranks of world GMs at his peak. And doesn't Timman still play in serious events on occasion, with results comparable to those of Portisch cited above?

A still more dramatic example of decline is Arthur Bisguier. He plays in domestic (US) rated events all the time. For many years now he has been a floor master - his rating would be well below 2200 if he didn't have that official rating "floor." Of course he is much older than these other guys, which makes the extent of his decline undertandable.

It's easy to forget just how strong Bisguier was at his peak in the 1950s through early '60s. Although never world-class, he was close: Until Fischer came along, Bisguier was right up there with Reshevsky and Fine at the top of US chess. Winning occasional international events, and playing on a high board in US-USSR matches of the 1950s.

By the way: During the period I just cited, no one would have found the phrase "...at the top of US chess," in the least bit funny. The outcome of the US-USSR radio matches was in doubt before they actually took place, according to press coverage at the time. Those match results provided the first conspicuous proof of the Soviets' superiority.

r: Usually april is the month with grey sky and rainy weather throughout. (April, April, der weiß nicht, was er will - a german saying.)
But in recent years april "changed". April can now be da decent and nice month.

Jon Jacobs mentioned Lein.

Once, about 1989, I saw Lein walking down the street in New York, and I stopped him and said, "Grandmaster Lein! You're a great player."

He said, "Not great. Good."

I thought that was a wonderful thing to say on his part.

lets not forget Korchnoi who can have fantastic results but also has turned in some -4 and -5 results before but he's still playing chess at HIS RIPE age.

Yes... Lein he can still bite though. I met him in 2008 at the Cleveland Open He was beating Shabalov as black(!) when he flagged. He is very modest though. I approached him to sign a book he co wrote with Geller and he talked with me nicely for over an hour! Telling stories of his past chess exploits. Much the same experience r had... he was very modest wouldn't admit to being great even when people pointed out all the lines named after him.

I guess loses are as big as you feel it sometimes , look at this picture of Karpov (1st one from the press conference):
Do you know what that gest means?
Alhough i agree with you that his legacy was not in risk while playing this match , and i hope another one takes place in a few months.

Bisguier would be well below 2200? Wow. That's the lowest I've ever heard a GM descend to.

"well below 2200" is quite a stretch. Bisguier's at 2227 right now and has fairly consistently been above his floor of 2200, only scraping that level for a few games earlier this year. His FIDE rating has never dropped below 2228.

Passing comments on 3 mini-threads within this one:
1) in one way, chess IS like boxing: while of course a bad performance in the former doesn't inflict any scars other than the emotional and/or mental, in terms of history we can look at someone like Ali (or Archie Moore, or Sugar Ray Robinson, or even Sugar Ray Leonard) and say that, although they "shouldn't" have tried coming back in their later years, just getting beaten up when they did, that doesn't detract from the greatness they achieved during their prime years. A great champion is still considered, historically, a great champion. No matter how many losses they sustained after their peak, nothing can take away what they did accomplish when they were able. Same goes, I'd think, for someone like Karpov;
2) I not only met but had the fortunate opportunity to play against Lein about 10 years ago or so, in the US Amateur Team East. Of course, he wiped me out - I'm only about Expert strength - but was very pleasant and willing to go over the game afterwards, showing me how I went wrong and how he took advantage of my mistakes. A true learning experience, and a true gentleman;
3) Somewhat similarly, with Bisguier: I've met the man numerous times, and played against him in simuls 7 or 8 times (in the Commercial Chess League of NY), even beating him once and drawing with him a couple of times; he's a genuinely nice guy and quite witty, even now (he also plays, and frequently lectures, at the USATE, incidentally, each year). Both of his game collections [The Art of Bisguier, I and II] are very enjoyable and have some great games (though not heavy on the analysis side, for those who find that important). Just because one is not among the very very best doesn't mean one isn't great.

Seems like you just figured why I am not a millionaire! :)

Replying to some of the replies to my earlier comment in this thread:

Of course, I meant no criticism or disrespect to Bisguier or Lein. I well know that both men are "super-GMs" if one takes "GM" to mean GentleMan! At the grassroots level they're ideal ambassadors of chess: playing everywhere they can, mingling with the masses and sharing their knowledge and friendship without a trace of snobbery, ego or self-interest.

Now for some relevant personal experiences:

Lein: At the HB Global Chess Challenge in 2005, I sat down with him in a hotel lounge and somehow we got into a discussion of a particular opening line that had been troubling me. (You'll laugh, but it was this: 1.b3 e5 2.Bb2 Nc6 3.e3 d5 4.Bb4 e4?! - with the unpleasant ...Qg5 coming next. As a Larsen's Opening devotee, this unorthodox response had given me much heartache.)

Well, one of us took out a chess set, and GM Lein started analyzing the position with me. We must have been at it for an hour or longer. He remained friendly and continued to speak and analyze in an objective spirit, calmly explaining his reasoning to me, EVEN AFTER I (a mere Expert) REPEATEDLY ARGUED WITH HIS CONCLUSIONS! Now, is that real class, or what?

GM Lein also frankly voiced some frustration about his own decline, how difficult it is to compete successfully even at sub-GM levels. "I just wish my rating would at least stay over 2400," he said wistfully.

Bisguier: Forgive me if I overstated the extent of his rating decline, but I don't think I did. Most "floored" players' ratings fluctuate of course, but only above the floor (that's by definition). I haven't looked at GM Bisguier's MSA lately, but I did a few years ago and recall seeing a string of sub-2200 performances that kept his rating smack on the floor over the course of several events. Yes I'm sure he can still bite from time to time.

Note that Bisguier is in his early 80s - which makes him 4 or 5 years older than even Korchnoi.

I faced GM Bisguier at the board in 1985, when he would have been around 60, close to the age of Timman or Karpov today. This was in the US Open Blitz in Hollywood, Fla. (Footnote: The Open itself was won by Spassky and Benko that year. The Blitz ended in a spectacular upset win for a young Philippine 2300-player named Ramiryat, who faced and defeated Dzindzhi, Seirawan, Browne, Christiansen and other stars.)

When I faced Bisguier, his USCF rating was in the low 2500s or high 2400s. The Blitz was a Swiss where you faced each opponent twice.

In our first game, I had White in a Ruy Lopez. By move 20 I had what I felt was a classic attacking position. His position was structurally solid, but with all my pieces aiming at his castled king, I couldn't see how he could survive. Violating protocol, I said aloud, "There's gotta be a mate here!"

Bisguier laughed and said something like, "Good luck trying to find one." His tone wasn't contemptuous...and I had the clear sense he meant to imply, "Whether there is a mate or not, you are facing two powerful opponents - a GM, and even stronger, the clock. This is a 5-minute game. Spend your remaining time chasing a 'mate' at your own risk!"

Of course he was right. I ended up choosing a sacrifice, which may or may not have been sound. But of course the clock did me in.

In our second game I won a piece for a pawn or two early on. But I failed to put him away; it ended in a draw.

One final note about Bisguier: Some time in the past 10 years or so, the USCF officially "adopted" Bisguier as "Grandmaster-in-Residence." That was a newly created staff position just for him; he was given a salary and perhaps a travel allowance to play in tournaments all over. I don't know if this arrangement continues today, but it might. This may help explain why he continues to compete in so many open and other low-level tournaments - he's getting paid to do so. I have no qualms about this deal. As indicated above, I feel the USCF and the chess community are getting their money's worth by having a legend (and a well-behaved, mild-mannered one, unlike several other chess and sports legends I can think of - even one we can all think of who is near Bisguier's age) mingle with average players every chance he gets.

(Parenthetically, here are two counterexamples. Perhaps it's no accident that the players involved never made GM:

IM Bernard Zuckerman, circa 1970: A teenaged me approaches him between rounds at an open tourney in Massachusetts to ask his opinion of a particular line. "I'm not giving lessons now," he huffs. "If you want lessons, my rates are $xxx per hour."

FM Igor Sorkin, 2005: After losing to him with White in a tournament game out of an opening where he'd obviously taken great chances and was almost certainly dead lost after about 25 moves, I asked him a question about the position, or maybe asked him to go over the game. "White had nothing, it was all bullxxxx," he sniffed, and walked away.)

Finally, regarding Rich Fireman's remark that "in one way, chess IS like boxing: while of course a bad performance in the former doesn't inflict any scars other than the emotional and/or mental, in terms of history we can look at someone like Ali...":

I was thinking specifically of Ali when I called it "stupid and pathetic" for an athlete in decline to put himself in harm's way for the sake of a few more headlines.

You're right, Rich, Ali's stature as "The Greatest" boxer shouldn't suffer from his late-career defeats. But you do know that the man himself suffered permanent brain injury - don't you?

That's an occupational hazard for all boxers, of course. But in Ali's case, the injury obviously occurred in one of his final 3 or 4 matches, during the 1980s, when he was in his 40s and obviously had no business being in the ring. At least one of those "matches" was a laughably stupid publicity stunt in which he "fought" a Japanese kick-boxer. (Yeah, I know today such a match would be labeled "MMA." Whatever. I call it "laughably stupid" - and knowing what happened to Ali not long afterward, you should too.)

When Ali was in his prime, or anywhere near his prime, he simply couldn't have suffered injury. For the obvious reason that literally no one could lay a glove on him. He himself used to brag, accurately, "Ain't no fighter gonna mess my pretty face."

First of all Bisguier is 80 and Korchnoi is 78. That is not a "4 or 5" year difference but exactly "2." Second, you must be likely cause neither myself nor any of my friends have had such pleasant experiences with Bisguier. Bisguier has been a notable analyzer at the June National Open in Vegas for years. Last year my friend went in with a game in the Alekhines he won that went e4 Nf6 Nc3... right after Nc3 in a huff Bisguier said white is losing... he need see no more. He told the guy to leave! He is being PAID to analyze. The rudeness is uncalled for.

Ali did not fight into his 40s, retiring at 39 in 1981. The match with Inoki took place in 1976.

It was later surmised that Ali would have escaped permanent damage if he'd retired in 1975 after Manila, but he continued for 10 more fights (not including the Inoki match, which resulted in hospitalization). He was likely past the point of no return after the 1977 Shavers fight, after which his longtime doctor resigned in disgust after Ali's team refused to acknowledge a grave report on his health.

Clubfoot, that chronology differs a bit from my recollection. I read that Ali was 38 - and still World Champion - when he suffered an upset loss to Leon Spinks (Michael's older brother) in the summer of 1978. Within the year he fought a rematch with Spinks and won.

While Ali did get knocked around a bit in the hard-fought first Spinks match (as memorably detailed by my onetime idol, Hunter S. Thompson, in Rolling Stone), that wasn't among the matches I thought likely to have injured his brain. I'm thinking of his very last couple of bouts, which would have happened after 1980. In particular I recall one against Trevor Berbick, which might have been Ali's last. He lost that match and took a frighful beating. There was also one not long before that, against a well-known fighter whose name escapes me. Oh yeah, Ken Norton. I Ali had fought (and I think beaten) Norton before - but on this final occasion, Ali not only lost, but suffered a broken jaw.

Jon, just to clarify: of course I meant no disrespect to Ali when I referenced him in my comments; I do regard him, indeed, as "The Greatest"! My comment was pertaining to the historical aspect of both disciplines, not the physical; and that no matter what, greatness remains greatness, even past its prime. And yes, I am aware of Ali's unfortunate situation (although I believe, re: the Inoki fight, that basically that was damaging to his legs rather than to his head; so unless somehow that impacted his head indirectly - I guess if it caused problems with his circulation, it could've, e.g., depriving his brain of sufficient oxygen?! I'm not medically astute enough to know whether that's a possibility - I don't think that this fight was a factor in his illness). I'd guess that Clubfoot's comment is probably pretty correct regarding the causation, i.e., his last few fights after the "thrilla in Manila." Certainly his fight against Holmes was sad, and for that matter his first against Spinks, though he did rebound to win the rematch. I'd also guess that he continued to fight not so much for the glory or fame or money but because he was being true to his nature as a fighter; and, like many before him, didn't know when it was prudent to quit.

Ali fought just once in both 1980 and 1981, after which he retired at age 39. He was 36 when he lost to Spinks, which was the very next fight after the dreadful beating he suffered against Shavers.

Ali's legs, which had already lost a step when he returned after the ring ban, were damaged further by blood clots as a result of the Inoki match, after which he had limited mobility for the remainder of his career.

Off-topic but Benjamin Finegold has become a GM in the spice cup. Congratulations !

I've heard nothing but good things about Anatoly Lein in various sources over the years. Must be a great guy.

Speaking of whom, F. Waitzkin passed along an incident where an anonymous player got credit for an opening novelty Lein developed and showed to the player. Who was that player?

Oh, and...Ali and Norton fought three times, with Ali winning bouts two and three. In their first fight in 1973, Norton broke Ali's jaw in the second round (also knocking out a tooth) but Ali made it to the end of the scheduled twelve rounds; Norton even had to take the final round to win the fight, which he did. Ali's chin was the strongest in the history of the heavyweight division, but of course, you know....etc etc

Jon, please check your facts before smearing a super GM GentleMan. Your recollection about his past is flat-out wrong. Bisguier was only at his floor for a very small number of games last winter.

Ali-Norton was way before his final decline ferchrissakes.

I thought Ben F (and some arbiter) had been barred from becoming a GM for good after submitting false norms claims, or am I smearing a fine gentleman and confusing him with someone else?


Yes, you are smearing a fine gentleman. One of his norms was disallowed because of some pairing inaccuracy but that doesn't bar him from being a GM for good.

I thought it was more to do with submitting it with the rounds transposed so that it looked as if he'd made a norm when he hadn't?

Uff da is correct: Bisguier has decended to his 2200 floor for just a few tournaments early this year. Still, claiming I "smeared" him by indicating he'd spent more time on the floor is a bit much, especially given that most of my words about the 2228-rated GM were words of praise. (Uff da's lack of perspective isn't dramatic as caleague's earlier in this thread: Upon confirming in substance my age-comparison between Bisguier and Korchnoi, caleague in a fit of pious self-parody intoned, "First of all Bisguier is 80 and Korchnoi is 78. That is not a '4 or 5' year difference but exactly '2.'")

On the other hand, it would be quite understandable if someone took me to task for faulty recollection of various events in the latter career of Muhammad Ali. There I evidently misstated several details that - unlike the trivial differences noted in the preceding paragraph - were material to the conclusions I drew.

Here's the scoop re Finegold: Both chessplayer and rdh are correct, but the manipulation of the reported tournament results to make it appear Finegold had earned a norm was the organizer's fault - not Finegold's. Hence, I don't think FIDE applied any penalty against Finegold (beyond rescinding the norm from that particular event). Instead, the organizer, Larry Cohen, was sanctioned.

"Bisguier has been a notable analyzer at the June National Open in Vegas for years. Last year my friend went in with a game in the Alekhines he won that went e4 Nf6 Nc3... right after Nc3 in a huff Bisguier said white is losing... he need see no more. He told the guy to leave! He is being PAID to analyze. The rudeness is uncalled for."

I once tried to show Bisguier 2.Bc4 vs the Alekhine and he punched me in the face.

You were lucky!

I showed him 2.d3 once and he killed me and danced about on my grave singing Hallelujah.

Then what would be the punishment for 2.f3?

Jon, your statement that "For many years now he [Bisguier] has been a floor master - his rating would be well below 2200 if he didn't have that official rating 'floor'" is horrifically mistaken and unfair--a textbook example of a smear.

Whether it is a win or loss for the old horses of chess, what is striking is that it lasted an everlasting impression amongst the chess buffs and enthusiasts around the world. Though Kasparov wrested the title from the redoubtable Karpov, yet the latter cannot be taken lightly. Kudos and encomiums for both of them!!

Just wanted to let everyone know that someone has posted a series of videos on the Lyon half of the 1990 K-K world championship match. Both players analyze the games and there is lots of great footage from the match itself. Over two hours of videos. Start here:


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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on September 25, 2009 2:22 AM.

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