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Tal Memorial 09: Action at Last

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Someone finally perpetrated some violence at the Tal Memorial after two rounds of five draws. Three of the favorites notched wins. World champ Vishy Anand scored his first classical win since late March, taking out Svidler's Grunfeld in a sharp effort. Aronian beat Leko in the latest chapter of the Anti-Moscow Semi-Slav saga. Kramnik, again playing aggressively with black, took the initiative from Morozevich, won material, and then finished off with a great sacrificial counterattack when Moro's sense of danger failed him. Ivanchuk-Ponomariov and Gelfand-Carlsen were relatively balanced draws, the former going on into the third time control in a knight and pawn endgame.

The good news is that things are heating up in chilly Moscow. The bad news is that there are reports of at least two of the players falling ill. Magnus Carlsen is suffering from a fever bad enough to consider requesting a postponement of his round four game. He's been to the doctor, so let's hope things improve. I also heard a comment that Kramnik is dealing with some flu symptoms. If so, he should get the flu more often the way he shredded Morozevich today. This came after he drew in the second round against Anand's Grunfeld, in which the champ never left his opening preparation. Also in the second round, Ponomariov pushed Aronian in yet another Grunfeld. White's blunt attack resulted in a piece sac for a perpetual check. White could have continued with the very speculative 29.Rf1, taking three pawns for the knight in an endgame. With bishops and rooks still on the board it would have been very risky for White.

I've basically given up trying even to keep track the various Grunfeld lines in fashion at the moment. It's gotten worse now that it seems to be spreading like the flu. It's long been Svidler's reply to all things d4, but now it seems there are more players in the elite who play it than don't. Anand got a surprising amount of play from a direct f4-f5 plan. It looks like Black was holding against the onslaught until Svidler made a serious miscalculation on move 25 and allowed the e-file to be opened. Suddenly his d4 knight was pinned up and the game was over after a few more nicely calculated points. The knight can die on e6 instead after 26..Ne6 27.Qe3 Rfe8 28.Re1. A win that looks almost ridiculously straightforward. Pin, undermine the knight's support with b4, win. But a look at the subsequent tactics makes me wonder if it was only there that Svidler missed something. Poor Peter was lamenting the draw to me after the loss. Now he has to face Kramnik with black, surely another Grunfeld. Consecutive blacks against the reigning and previous world champ isn't a fun way to spend your weekend.

After outpreparing Carlsen in the first round, Kramnik again showed his work in the ..d5 Nimzo, this time against Morozevich. White seemed to be getting the worse of things very early on. Moro declined to take the c-pawn on the 11th move. His typically aggressive 11.e4 left his king in traffic, where it would later be run over by the bus of Kramnik's queen and knight. The attractive invasion 19..Nb3 20.Qd3 Nc1! led to a decisive attack. It's surprising that Black's attack is so strong with just the queen and knights, but the white bishop and Rh1 are just spectators and the knight on g5 isn't doing much either. Many nice touches from Black as well, including the deflection 22..a6. White had a startling attempt to confuse the issue that even Morozevich couldn't find. The computer tosses out the insane-looking 26.Qb7!?, leaving the knight hanging on g5 thanks to the threat of the opening of the h-file. The point is 26..hxg5 27.e6! threatening both Be5 and Qf7+ and now it's Black who has to play very carefully. First 27..Ne2+ to push the white king in front of the rook. Then 28.Kh2 Rxe6 29.Qxa8+ Kh7 30.hxg5 Qe4! stalemating the white king. Black's attack is still overwhelming, but at least there are chances he'll make a mistake. Kramnik faltered in the game, however, getting his knight hung up after 27..Qe4. Morozevich would have been close to saving his bacon with 30.Qd1, but he went on the offensive with 30.Qb7?? and missed the spectacular, and crushing, 30..Nxf2! Thanks to the pawn on f4, the black queen is a wrecking crew. And if White doesn't give up another exchange a black rook comes in on the c-file. Kramnik finished with flair, giving up a rook with 42..Rf8! to force mate. Another great battle and Kramnik appears to be renewing the upgrade we saw from him in Dortmund, which was the first supertournament he played in after losing his title to Anand last year.

Aronian came out on top in another sharp Semi-Slav against Leko, though he's usually on the black side. Maybe after losing twice with it to Grischuk this year, and a week ago to Bacrot in the Euro Teams, he figured he'd prefer it with white. Here he offered a surprising queen exchange despite being down the gambited pawn, though Leko gave it right back and even sacrificed one of his own a few moves later. Aronian steadily outplayed Leko from there despite his tangled queenside pieces. It resolved into a 4 vs 2 pawn situation on the kingside with no counterplay for Black. These positions almost always seem to be horrid for Black when his queenside pawns get immobilized. A nice piece of chess alchemy from Aronian, who looked a little shaky in Novi Sad at the Team Ch.

Round 4: Kramnik-Svidler, Ponomariov-Anand, Leko-Ivanchuk, Carlsen-Aronian, Morozevich-Gelfand Let's hope for good health for all the players. I'm on Chess.FM with Nick de Firmian bright and early Sunday at 7am NY time.

A follow-up note to round one's slugfest between Carlsen and Kramnik. Apparently after the game Kramnik expressed some shock that Carlsen was playing to win the endgame as shown by his ambitious move 31.e4. Kramnik expected White to play 31.Ra3, steering for exchanges and a draw.


Kramnik must have caught his flu virus from Carlsen (Round 1), if he appeared to be afflicted with it right after his game with Anand.

It's very easy when a player touches the same piece touched by a feverish player.

I think there are several other possibilities...

What a gem fromKramnik today! Boyhowdy!

Well, since this was so much fun last time (and a good result for me), let's try again for round 4 (most likely to win):



Svidler's time-management was off the boil, quite instructive for improving players - he took a lot of time to get to a decent, quiet position but just when Anand started turning on the screws he began feeling pressure on the clock. I think that may have had something to do with his decision to take on e4, a failed attempt at liquidating.

Kramnik's play has been quite impressive so far. I assume he is going to press Svidler hard with White tomorrow in order to get +2. Carlsen is feeling the pressure...

What a pity that several of the players are feeling below par. I can't see Aronian taking kindly to a postponement of today's game.

Nice to see some decisive games. Looking forward to today's games. Now the pressure is on those who have not won to do something about it.

Lol, if your opponent has the flu, don't capture any of his pieces!??
As far as Carlsen is concerned, maybe it had been better for him to spend the weeks before the Tal Memorial at Novi Sad rather than Norway - which is cool and rainy at this time of the year??

Once at the 2750 level, it would seem to be very hard to improve, unless one is young. But we see Vlad getting better - how? Would any of the other top players be able to add 50 real points to their ratings? Maybe if Topa or Ivanchuk added 50 points, we'd say it was a phase of playing harder, but Kramnik is actually playing better, not just playing with more effort. Having been in the top 20 for years, it must take special work to improve more, and one must wonder at the amount of work needed to add 50 real points in mid-career. Losing to Anand must have been a real motivator...

Kramnik may not consider it as playing "better", since perhaps for him, scoring more often (especially against weaker players with what he considers dubious tactics) is not the same as "playing better". Maybe he has always thought that his style is best when it comes to playing the highest quality chess against his peers (probably a group of less than 10 people on earth). And the lost match may have made him question that....

Perhaps he now thinks that losses, especially with black, are OK if they are counterbalanced by wins, and that a win resulting from practical aspects of play gives the same score as a win from a major theoretical advance, even if it does not produce an enduring legacy.

Seems to me that, as usual, a lot of conclusions are being drawn from not a lot of info.

Kramnik playing the coffee house opening today? :) 12. h4!? against Svidler's Grunfeld.

Am I the only one who sees great pun potential in Carlsen's flu symptoms? Certainly gives new meaning to 'poisoned pawn' variations. Today I can see Aronian wondering whether to touch the pawn on c4...

Are they playing with maskes and gloves today ^^ ? and if where are the pictures ?

Kramnik spent 23 seconds so far, so it seems he drank his coffee at home ... . Home was probably Paris, because from Svidler the Grunfeld is no surprise.

Seirawan seems to be all excited about Kramnik´s play today , he also likes Carlsen´s position a lot .

Where does Seirawan give live commentary?

He is kibitzing at playchess.

1 thing comes to my mind ,( big ) if at any player is detected swine flu in this tornament (not uncommon , players flying to tournaments everywhere at the globe ) or another tornament , the tournament should be canceled immediatly, health comes first . I think this could be happen soon .

Leko-Ivanchuk might be the first draw that is inconsistent with Sofia rules. But before people comment "Leko, of course ..." - at least he tried for a while.
Altogether this round seems less exciting than the previous ones. Maybe Moro and Gelfand (currently move 18) still get something going, e.g. in approaching time trouble. Otherwise - good or bad, coffeehouse or not - Kramnik was again responsible for [all] the action!?

If the Sofia & Bilbao rules were in place this could be and exciting tournament in almost all games , not just one or 2 each round.
It is not enough to have big ELOs and names , you have to force this guys to play , most of them are often drowned by speculation and fear.
Like the great Nimo used to say: Por lo menos asi lo veo yo.

3 points for a win isn't going to make much difference in a tournament like this - rating points are at least as important as winning the tournament and against super-GMs "mixing things up" is a recipe for disaster. And as Thomas said, there almost haven't been any games so far that would have been altered by the Sofia rules. As I said in reply to Thomas before, the Tal Memorial organiser mentioned at Dortmund that Leko couldn't get away with short draws in Moscow, so I'm guessing there are some unwritten rules in place - maybe just that you won't be invited back next year if you don't fight. Something like the approach Linares used to take.

Anyway, evenly matched players means fewer wins, it's as simple as that.

Kramnik seems to be doing well again - he didn't look as though he had everything worked out in home preparation, but Svidler's played less accurately. It's pretty impressive if Kramnik really does have the flu - but I think he probably sees this run of games now, Morozevich, Svidler, Ponomariov and Gelfand, as the ones he needs to score in. At the end he has black against Aronian and Ivanchuk and white against Leko

Actually, Bilbao rules would make a big difference here , even more than the Sofia rules , of course both are necesary.
I dont have a clue why you talk about mixing things up since the Bilbao rules dont interfere with rating points , they are just a reward for winning the game with no extra influence in the players ELO.
¨A recipe for disaster¨ , that doesnt even make sense , What could happen? What is this disaster you are talking about?
Anyway , i haven´t seen a worst looking knight like the one Svidler parked on a6 in very long time.

Sorry, I'll try to use less colloquial English for you in future. "Mixing things up" here means playing perhaps dubious lines to increase the chance of a decisive result. It's a recipe for disaster (for the player) as you're very likely to be punished for sub-optimal chess against super-GMs (whereas against weaker players you've got a good chance of bamboozling them).

You still haven't explained why Sofia rules are necessary considering none of the players are taking GM draws, but never mind.

Kramnik is ruthless - time to watch football instead :)

Does the possibility of playing Kasparov "through" Carlsen motivate Kramnik in some special way?...

1-0 for Kramnik, Manu's favorite drawish player - and Russian conspiracy theories appearing at the Chessdom blog: "fellow Russians throw their games against Kramnik, the KGB infected Carlsen with swine flu and gave a sedative to Anand". "handbanana" and "F22" ("Moscow is home territory, everywhere is a potential toilet") are probably/hopefully joking - if not, I still consider such statements bad jokes ... .

BTW @mishanp: You had mentioned organizers' warnings to Leko here before, that's what I had in mind. I also mentioned it elsewhere [Luke doesn't like me giving the name of the site] and was queried for details - it took me a while to google your earlier post.

We could set forward the lazy Kramnik hypothesis - that after Kasparov's retirement, Kramnik did not feel the need or motivation to improve his chess, as he could play 2750 chess without great effort. But now, after losing to Anand, (or maybe motivated by Carlsparov) he realizes the need to raise his game, and is only now putting in the work he should have done 5 years ago. Just a hypothesis.

Kramnik right now commenting the game (in Russian) at http://video.russiachess.org/

Perhaps in future you could spare us the remarks of Mssrs Banana, 22 et al, Thomas. Why give idiots a(nother) platform?
I don't think one can complain about the games. Draws are the price of high quality chess on both sides.

Actually Kramnik IS my favorite drawish player , i predicted before that he will be doing great in this tournament...
And i said many times before that i like him a lot since he became so generous with his crown.

¨I'll try to use less colloquial English for you in future¨

You could try to make sense at least.

¨It's a recipe for disaster (for the player) as you're very likely to be punished for sub-optimal chess against super-GMs (whereas against weaker players you've got a good chance of bamboozling them). ¨

This is one of the most stupid reasons i ever heard in this blog ...
So players playing sub-optimal chess (i guess you mean obscure lines) would be a disaster...

¨You still haven't explained why Sofia rules are necessary considering none of the players are taking GM draws, but never mind.¨

I don´t have to , i said clearly that Bilbao rules would more important in this case .
Of course that i consider both to be important and necessary on all tournaments since the public cannot depend on the organizers threatening the drawish players.

I didn´t know that chessdom had a blog , but since you mentioned them, here is an interview with Anand about the Tal event:

More precisely, I was referring to the chat at the Chessdom live transmission (ChessBomb Arena). Chesshire cat has a point that maybe I shouldn't have mentioned it - though, as I said, I hope they were joking. If not: funny that Kramnik cannot do anything right in the minds of some people - I guess the same ones had a field day if his score was 1/4 by now. Was it mishanp who once suggested here that someone would complain about Kramnik's shopping list?

While you, Manu, earlier wrote similar stuff ("Dortmund is a fake tournament"), apparently you changed your mind: Kramnik is now OK as long as he doesn't become world champion again??

On Bilbao rules: This has been discussed before - in my opinion they show some disrespect towards hard-fought draws (a logical result of the game between players of roughly equal strength) and unduly favor those players who like to gamble (Ivanchuk, Morozevich, Topalov). Whether Kramnik joined them today also playing coffeehouse chess: I don't think so, h4 seemed to be home preparation and he probably knew what he was doing - and the result may have proven him right.

I don't want to rain on anyone's parade but Svidler's score with Black against Anand and Kramnik is trailing 11-1 and 10-3 respectively. So he is not exactly a nightmare opponent for them.

Fantastic prep with Black by Vishy btw, he has effortlessly countered Kramnik, Ivanchuk and Pono with hardly any pressure.

Look at the title of this thread , genius.
That´s what Bilbao&Sofia rules can change.

It is true that Anand has shown good preparation in his games as Black, with 3 seemingly "stress-free" draws. However, I doubt the assessment would have been as charitable if either Leko or Kramnik had "achieved" the same result. A question of perception or bias, not easy to tell, and probably not too important. Just an observation on my part.

Off topic completely. Just stumbled upon this short (10 minutes) documentary about the legendary Brazilian GM Mecking on youtube:


He was number three in the FIDE rating list of 1977 (behind Karpov and Korchnoi) if I am not wrong, and won two interzonals during the 70s.

Beautiful images and soundtrack (in English!), although the documentary is in Portuguese. It is easy to follow the story though: the documentary describes his road to the top of the chess world in the 70s, his illness, and his conversion to religiosity. Mecking is a deeply religious person now and attributes his cure from a rare illness to a miracle. He pumps iron three times a week, is a vegetarian, and still hopes to play some good chess for years to come. He does not give up on his dreams that easily, very inspiring!

As a starter, Mig in a way contradicts his previous report - there was also "action" in round 1, at least in one game (Carlsen-Kramnik) which neither player deserved to lose.

I will give it another try why, in some situations, Bilbao rules don't make sense. Imagine the following in two consecutive rounds:
- Player A plays 45 moves: In one game, he blunders on move 20; in the next round his opponent blunders on move 25
- Player B plays 200 moves: In the first game, he tries in vain to win a queen ending a pawn up. In the next game he successfully defends a similar ending (player B could be "GK", which here means Gata Kamsky)
Does it make sense that player A gets 3 points (1 per 15 moves), and player B gets 2 points (1 per 100 moves)? Of course this is hypothetical and simplistic, neglecting the fact that short games (including some short draws!) can also be hard-fought and "full of action".

If any "action by the organizers" is required, IMO part of the London supertournament rules make sense:
16% of the total prize fund goes to best game awards (a beauty prize of 10,000 Euros and 6 daily best game prizes of 1,000 Euro each).
If I can offer some suggestions:
- These prizes can also go to drawn games (indeed not 'forbidden' by the rules)
- It may not make sense to have a best game prize for every round: In some rounds, it might be hard to find a candidate. In other rounds, several games are competing. So several beauty prizes might be more appropriate (best 5 or 10 games of the entire tournament)
- It may not make sense to have the public vote on the game of the round, because they might give undue priority to the four English participants. For such reasons, Corus discontinued the "public prize" and instead introduced an "expert prize".

Impressive "comeback" by Kramnik. I guess he has no choice. There are so many newcomers into the top 10, attacking the established players. Chess is his work, his income, his life. Once he was #1 in the world. He wants to be back on top before it's too late, before he gets too old or too handicaped by his Bechterew's disease. That is quite strong motivation. Probably he invested tremendous amount of hard work and studies.

Winning the Candidate tournament in 2010/11 might be his last shot at the title.

I was just going to give you the link to the tournament director's comment on Leko, Thomas, but when googling his name (Bach or Bak or Bakh or so on!?) I found ChessGirl's already done it on Chessvibes :)

I don't think I mentioned anything about Kramnik's shopping list!

I was speaking in the context of his upcoming match with Topalov. Presumably this is his second-string line of defence which makes it impressive. Incidentally his using the Grunfeld means that the opponent can try and complicate - they chose not to.

Kramnik's last shot?! hardly. The man has plenty of chess left in him. Gelfand, Anand, Ivanchuk and Co all are older and look at the renaissance they have been enjoying of late.
As long as he learns from setbacks (like he has done post-Bonn) and re-invents his game from time to time Vlady has a decade at least.

On the question of the change in Kramnik's play, I don't think it's much to do with hard work - he always worked extremely hard, especially before matches (in the recent interview Svidler said he prepared more seriously than ever before in his life for Mexico, but that for Kramnik that amount of work would just have been a weekend session).

The difference, according to Kramnik in interviews, is that he felt a burden removed after losing the title. Finally he could get back to enjoying playing chess and didn't need to hide any opening ideas for future matches. I'm sure he's also made some strategic decisions (e.g. altering his approach with black), but it's not a question of suddenly reaching a new level - it's more getting back to the way he played when he first emerged on the scene as an 18-year-old.

I found back the shopping list quote ... :
It was acirce - another "usual suspect" because he likes Kramnik as a player and has a sense of humor and irony:
"Give him Kramnik's shopping list and I'm sure he'll find something to complain about. TWO boxes of diapers?" ["he" was referring to Manu]

Actually - I cannot resist - two boxes of diapers makes perfect sense: one for his daughter and for himself preparing against Topalov. He must be rather nervous and he is not allowed to go to the toilet during the game. ,:)

The story is Carlsen has sore throat and needs medicene. That is to bad but maybe he should drink his orange juce to stop infections. It always worked before and now he is sick for not drinking orange juce. And the eye glass wearers are winning over the ones who do not wear. But I do not know why.

I just don't have the nerves to read your thesis , but i 'm sure it must be as brilliant as your jokes and your writing.

OK, here is the short version: two hard-fought draws aren't, and shouldn't be worth less than one lucky victory.

But here I do not understand how there is luck. I thought there is no luck because it is all up to thinking and not to dice.

Well, I don't think it's so unreasonable considering the state of Russia to weight the possibility someone (who is not God) might have said something about fellow russians and national identity, and of course everybody could intepret that the way they want. But I hope that's not the case.

What are you talking about, raindeer,or anyone else who knows, pls?

Raindeer is probably referring to Russian conspiracy theories - see my comment @10:54AM.

So you did bring conspiracy theories to the thread ...
You are like a mongrel rat with fleas and a very suspicious russian flu that tunnels from site to site , hoping to find a cat starved enough to eat it.


Re Kramnik:
Considering the win in Dortmund and his lead in Tal Memorial, you might change his nick from Drawnik to Sputnik?

What about reading my comment _and_ the earlier one I referred to before replying? Makes me wonder if you also don't bother to check what people actually said or wrote at other occasions, e.g. work-related ... .
On the other topic: replace lucky victory by undeserved victory - again I gave the details before.

Again in Russian.. but the daily video feed is archived and you can watch the whole of Kramnik's demonstration of his game with Svidler here: http://video.russiachess.org/browse/8/ (click on the play symbol and then go to about 16:54:00)

A few things he said were:

He thought the 12. h4 novelty is very strong. It avoids wasting a tempo and lets white attack while black has pieces over on the queen side. He doesn't think anyone will allow it in future.

He didn't think Svidler replied ideally, mentioning that 12...f5 is risky and 13...gxf5 would be more logical than taking with the bishop.
During the game he thought that there might be a mating idea for white but couldn't find it ("I'm not a computer") and decided to go for a position where even if his attack broke down he'd still be better. He didn't think it made much difference when he played Bh6 (I think Rybka disagreed).

He talks quite a lot about 19. Qe3 and the alternatives he was looking at. He wasn't sure that the ending with the extra pawn would be won so easily.

He laughs (though he's at least half-serious!) when he explains that some of his moves at the end where dictated by his desire to "aesthetically" keep the knight on a6 so that there was a unified strategic theme to the game (at the start of the demonstration he talks about the Grunfeld line & how black wants to get that knight to c5 or b4).

At the end someone asks if he's got a cold and he says yes & that he doesn't feel particularly good. He says he might have got it from Carlsen after the first game. Having said that he speaks normally and seems fine :)

p.s. He sums the game up at the end by saying that he only really needed to find a couple of accurate moves after the opening.

That's the first time I've ever heard anyone being called a diseased, suicidal rat before. I only have the best taste in rodents so I hope you didn't want me to oblige.
Btw, aren't there any rules about this germ warfare (sick player(s))?

Thank you Mishanp for the summary

I just watched bits of the video again and I think Kramnik might actually be saying that he exchanged viruses with Magnus! (they were both ill beforehand) Someone suggests "folk medicine", which I think means vodka, but Vlad's not convinced :) Before 19. Qe3 apparently he was seriously planning on playing 19. f3 but only realised at the last moment that everything falls apart after 19...Re6.

The thing about 12. h4 I think (though I don't know my openings) was that when Bg4 hadn't been played by black people would play h4, but after the bishop move they wouldn't (playing something like Be2 instead). He said it was a purely psychological difference and h4 was just as good after the bishop move.

I would never ask u such thing.

@mishanp (or anyone else who can understand and translate Russian): Since Russian sites seem to have most or all inside/on-site information, I have a question:

Did Ponomariov comment on his round 2 game against Aronian? He gave perpetual check rather than entering a seemingly(?) promising ending with three pawns for the piece he had sacrificed. This might be related to the discussion about Bilbao rules!?

Also in the second round, Ponomariov pushed Aronian in yet another Grunfeld. White's blunt attack resulted in a piece sac for a perpetual check. White could have continued with the very speculative 29.Rf1, taking three pawns for the knight in an endgame. With bishops and rooks still on the board it would have been very risky for White.-Mig

Yes I have read this ,:) . Chessvibes came up with a similar assessment, but Dennis Monokroussos gave question marks to 29.Qh6+ and 31.Qh6+ as he considers the endgame "probably winning" and "risk-free" for white. Several bloggers (our colleague Luke and others elsewhere) shared DM's opinion/assessment.

I don't know who's wrong and who's right - engines don't help much either: IM Merijn van Delft in the comments on Chessvibes "quotes" Rybka and Fritz with +0.49 and +0.35, respectively - adding that "[Rybka] tends to slightly overestimate passed pawns in ... [his] experience".

So I would be interested in Pono's own thoughts. Did he miscalculate something in the (relatively straightforward) variation, or did _he_ consider the endgame not quite winning and risky?

Couldn't find anything immediately, though I suspect Ponomariov or Aronian or both will be there on the archive video footage discussing it - might have a look later tonight if no-one's found it first.

I did find this report on the same round - at the end there's a (Russian) transcript of Kramnik demonstrating his game with Anand. http://tal.russiachess.org/content/view/4098/401/

Odesski gives it to indicate the folly of considering draws necessarily boring, stating: "A dull, uninteresting game - many thought. This transcript won't convey even a tenth of the mastery, the cold, professorly charm, with which Kramnik carried out his commentary. But perhaps it will get across the main point to the reader.

Chess isn't poor. Chess is very hard. [not sure about that as a translation of "Шахматы – это не убожество. Шахматы – это очень круто."]

The actually commentary is great, though it just boils down to saying that Anand's novelty was very good & it means another line promises nothing for white.

Шахматы – это не убожество. Шахматы – это очень круто. - I would translate it "Chess is not something timid. Chess is something very cool." or something like that.

Thanks, that was the alternative meaning of круто I wasn't sure about!

It might be worth translating this section about not playing 18. d6 as I remember Kramnik got some criticism for it:

"18.Bc7. I couldn't find anything more ingenious. You want to include 18.h3, but in reply, besides 18...Bxf3, you have to consider 18...exd5!?, and if 19.hxg4, then 19...dxe4, and if 19.exd5, then 19...Rxd5, and black's completely fine.

You can play 18.d6, but that takes all the dynamism out of the position. There might follow 19...Bxf3 19.Bxf3, then 19...Nd4, or 19...Ne5, or even 19...Qa6. More likely than not I'll simply lose the pawn.

I've had enough experience playing these types of position and came to the conclusion that the move d5-d6 is more often than not bad. If possible you have to keep the pawn on d5 till the end".

Thomas, Ponomariov and Aronian discussing their game is here: http://video.russiachess.org/browse/6/ Again play and then go to about 16:51:00 (actually I think you can hear some of the post-mortem before that). I'm going out so don't have enough time to look at it now - you could probably tell what they think by where the pieces are, but the words might help :)

Is 'Search' working on this site? Everything seems to 'time out', including a search on the title of the latest piece.

It is simply a mystery to me. If you observe the pictures of Pavel Eljanov's wife here...


...you can not help but wonder what he was thinking. Why not go out with the lovely Humpy, Danielan, or Chiburdanidze?


Carlsen is blogging from his bed in Moscow, right now:


There's actually far too much material on this tournament in Russian... The latest Chesspro report is up: http://chesspro.ru/_events/2009/memtal2.html

One curious fact is that apparently there is a special rule on draws - a draw can only be agreed when the arbiters accept it. Apparently in the Leko-Ivanchuk game Ivanchuk offered a draw and Leko wanted to accept as he was short on time. After 10 (!) minutes the arbiters accepted the time argument (despite the playable position). Ivanchuk said they might as well introduce Sofia rules, though players would still draw if they wanted to. The best Ivanchuk moment though was that apparently he hadn't realised the tournament was moving venue after today and asked journalists if the new location was far away... even though he won the tournament there last year!

There's an almost full transcript of Kramnik's demonstration of his game with Svidler (well worth a Google translate). After the Ponomariov-Aronian game apparently Ponomariov said that Tal, no doubt, would sacrifice the knight and keep attacking without thinking about it, ignoring the material losses. But in the game he decided not to play in Tal's style as he was worried by the prospect of playing the ending a piece down.

November 8: "You are like a mongrel rat with fleas and a very suspicious russian flu that tunnels from site to site, hoping to find a cat starved enough to eat it." --manu

August 6: "...people who like calling names are usually cowards." --manu

Exception to the rule, coward, or pathetic sufferer from a bizarre compulsion to fill Daily Dirt threads with behavior he dislikes?

You decide.

I have to say that i decided to go with the rat thing instead of the classical "Thomas you are an idiot" just to avoid calling names and 4 the sake of creativity , in fact it has more to do with the radiohead song i was listening at that moment..
But i see that calling you COWARD at that time had a great effect on you , maybe i was being more accurate than what i suspected.
I really like the " pathetic sufferer from a bizarre compulsion" , Can i use it on Thomas?

Danailov has a profound respect for Anand:"Regarding Anand, he is resting on his past success. He is almost not playing now. Let's not forget he is 40 years old now and it is difficult for him to keep the pace of the younger players. At his age there is not much energy and he is reserving it. The main thing for him is to keep the title, as it gives him privileges."

Danailov is of course referring to the privilege of having to play in Sofia to defend the WC title, in a match organized by people that have such a high opinion of him.

I'm not sure of the wisdom of such statements - they tend to motivate Anand quite strongly.

"He [Anand] is almost not playing now" isn't even true (or at least exaggerated). Let's compare Anand 2009 and Topalov 2009:

Top events: Anand played Linares and Tal Memorial, Topalov played MTel and Nanjing (the difference is Topa's match against Kamsky, which replaced Linares in his schedule)

Other events: Anand played two Bundesliga games, Topa four games at the European Team Championship

If we include rapid events: Anand played Amber, Azerbaijan vs. World, Zurich jubilee and Mainz - Topa partly the same and maybe something else.

So even the facts aren't quite correct in this Bulgarian propaganda piece ... .

Propaganda generally tends to distort facts..anyway, I think since the Kramnik match Danailov has embraced an "any publicity is good publicity" attitude. Like Short's public statements before his match with Kasparov, this whole charade is simply to raise public interest/attention, and presumably revenues. That and a rather feeble attempt to start the psychological warfare with Anand. Presumably the latter is capable of ignoring all such, with his increased match experience.

What is going on today? Moro seems to have made an elementary error in this opening (Nf6). Surely he overlooked it? And why is Ivanchuck playing such a harmless opening v Carlsen? Is he trying to catch him out or is he trying to play safe?

Ivanchuk is playing prophylactically today. He's wearing a mask.

What kind of mask? A swine flu mask or a Kasparov mask? Perhaps a Carlsen mask?

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on November 7, 2009 6:48 PM.

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