Greengard's ChessNinja.com

Tal Memorial 09: Lost Grunfeld Weekend

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Apologies to Ray Milland. It's not easy being Peter Svidler. Everybody knows he's going to play the Grunfeld and yet he still does quite well with it. The drawbacks of not surprising anyone is compensated for by being the leading expert and by developing an uncanny, or perhaps just canny, feel for the positions. This argument between breadth and depth has a long history in chess, of course. Walter Browne was married to the Najdorf and occasionally suffered a loss to a much weaker player who had cooked up something nasty. That doesn't happen to Svidler, but sometimes his Grunfeld looks like a big target on his back. His weekend at the Tal Memorial consisted of defending the honor of the Grunfeld on back to back days against world champion Anand and his predecessor Kramnik. Not a fun way to spend your weekend.

Both games were sharp and violent. Kramnik came prepared with yet another novelty from his deep stockpile. 12.h4 demonstrates what seems to be a trend toward direct kingside attacking plans against the popular defense. Ponomariov-Aronian, Anand-Svidler, and yesterday Kramnik left his king in the center and threw his h-pawn forward. It's always nice when hyper-sophisticated super-GM play breaks down into simple themes, even when it's really just an illusion. The quick attack on the kingside looks like a logical counter to the off-sides positions of the black knight on a6 and the black queen on a5. They end up spectating for quite a long while. Svidler took a long time considering his reply and responded in true Grunfeld fashion, opening lines with 12..f5. It still looked very precarious, though GM de Firmian on Chess.FM thought Black had come through the worst when Svidler found the counter-intuitive 16..Bxh6! That gave Black time to get his pieces back in the game. Unfortunately for Svidler, he picked the wrong piece to rehab first. 18..Qa4? was met with the wonderfully subtle and powerful 19.Qe3! Svidler must have missed the strength of the queen move because it forced him to swap queens and go into a dismal pawn-down endgame that Kramnik converted with his usual steamroller efficiency. 18..Nc7 was the right way to get back on defense, although the complications are alarming. 19.Bc4 b5! (19..Rdd6 runs into 20.Qe3 again.) 20.Nc6 Qa4 21.Bxb5 (21.Nxd8?! Qxc4 is dangerous for White.) 21..Qxb5 22.Nxd8 Qd7 23.Nb7 Qb5 and the knight must go back to d8.

The win put Kramnik into clear first on +2 and he's looking very good indeed. The other four games were drawn, so Anand and Aronian stay in the chase at +1. Carlsen, Ponomariov, Gelfand, and Ivanchuk have drawn all four games. Carlsen is still quite ill with a throat infection and fever, but has steadfastly declined to entertain the thought of exiting the tournament. If a player is contagious should the organizers take steps? Just wondering, since so much is going on around here these days to combat H1N1. I doubt anything will be done, especially since Carlsen has already faced Kramnik, Russian Chess Federation honcho Bakh's main concern! Leko and Morozevich are on -1 and Svidler has the cellar alone with -2. There are now five rounds on the trot. Mark your calendars now for round seven on Thursday, which sees Aronian-Kramnik.

Ponomariov got little against Anand's Grunfeld, partly thanks to a petite tactic that, it turns out, was already played once this year by Anand's countryman Negi. 16..Nc4 apparently wasn't known to either Pono or the world champ, who invested considerable time. Negi played the shot against the Russian GM Maletin at the Chigorin Memorial a few weeks ago in St. Petersburg. It seems to equalize quite handily. Morozevich and Gelfand gave it a go in an unusual reversed Sicilian for a good long time and things got exciting in time trouble, but the balance was never disturbed. Leko-Ivanchuk was one of the few disappointing draws of the tournament so far. Ivanchuk parried Leko's attack well but Nick thought there was still plenty of action on the board when the draw was agreed on move 27. Carlsen played the Immune Defense against Aronian, taking it easy with the white pieces. Aronian managed to stir up a few brief flurries but it was clear Carlsen just wanted to get back to bed, which he achieved in 32 moves. The conclusion is actually quite witty and worth a look. Swap like a Grandmaster!

I'll be on with the inimitable Larry Christiansen bright and early for round five: Gelfand-Kramnik, Aronian-Morozevich, Ivanchuk-Carlsen, Anand-Leko, Svidler-Ponomariov.


Rd 5 predictions (Best chance of winning):



Kramnik also has a flu even though he's leading . I hope that both Kramnik and Carlsen will get better and be able to play their best chess

Aronian-Morozevich might be a game well worth watching if both players are faithful to their playing style tommorow . Ivanchuk-Carlsen could also be very interesting .

I expect Anand and Kramnik to draw their game

"If a player is contagious should the organizers take steps?"

Actually in the Women's Grand Prix in China, the Mongolian player had chicken pox and the organizers secluded her in a separate room. First time I have seen this happen, but hey, if Tony Miles could play a whole tournament on a massage bed, why not?

Did you guys see the interview http://interviews.chessdom.com/danailov-about-carlsen-topalov-anand ? From what it seems Chessbase also has it, but shorter and incomplete (maybe wrong at points).
I like the fact Danailov admits Carlsen will be the best.
But Anand being old? We have to see about that in the match.

Too many gems to comment on in the interview, what about this one?
"Ilymzhinov likes Bulgaria, several times an year he visits Vanga's grave and draws energy from there."
Baba Vanga was a Bulgarian prophet, mystic and clairvoyant - she predicted the break-up of the Soviet Union, the Chernobyl disaster, Boris Yeltsin’s electoral victory, the date of Stalin’s death, the sinking of the Russian submarine Kursk, and Topalov’s victory in the world chess tournament ... and that World War III will start in 2010, maybe the WCh match will be postponed or cancelled after all?

On the question of style, and Kramnik vs Carlsen, Moro vs Aronian etc, I rediscovered a gem of a quote by Najdorf as related by Seirawen from an old Chessbase article: http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=4484

Q to Seirawen from interviewer: "Are youngsters in United States motivated today to play in “Fischer's style”?"

Seirawen's answer:
I don’t think so. I’m not even sure what, “Fischer’s style,” is or if it exists. A very dear friend, GM Miguel Najdorf, who had strong, very strong, opinions on just about every topic and every subject, delighted in baiting me and drawing me into animated, emotional discussions. He was a passionate man who loved chess very much. He postulated a theory which I’ve thought about often and think he was right. His theory went like this: “Jasser (Miguel would always mispronounce my name in this Spanish way) you know, Bobby had no style.” Such an opening gambit to start a conversation was perfect bait. “You see, when you show me a game of Capablanca, I think, ‘Aha. Very nice. Very smooth. Logical. Beautiful play. Must be a game of Capa!’ Then you show me another game, I think, ‘My God! Who is this bandit playing the white pieces? Look at these reckless, daring sacrifices. And this quiet move as well! Incredible! Down two pieces and he stops to make such a move. And he won! Of course, I realize, this is Tal.’ And another game. ‘I can’t understand what the player is doing. He is taking extraordinary precautions and his opponent isn’t even attacking. Now he has maneuvered his pieces backwards and then to nice squares. He improves his position but has done nothing concrete. My God! The opponent is suffocated and is dead. Of course, that is Petrosian.’ You see Jasser! I recognize style. But you see when I play a game of Bobby, there is no style. Bobby played perfectly. And perfection has no style.” We argued for hours, but in the end I found Miguel’s theory quite convincing.”

and danailov is one of the organizers of the match. not even a pretence of neutrality...

Looks like Anand is losing this one.

Whats the winning line for Leko, Amos ?!

Unbelievable, Moro played the Stonewall Dutch!

Stonewall, Berlin wall (the big one came down 20 years ago) and anti-Moscow gambit, interesting ... . But what to say about Catalan and whatever Chucky played against Carlsen?

On the contrary, I think Anand is doing OK after the Q check and subsequent capture on C4

Amos' comment was early on when weaker engines were giving Leko almost a -2.0 advantage, but seeing as Anand had only used about 10 mins you could see that it was a prepared novelty, so Leko was the one in trouble.

Looking promising for Anand and Aronian now - Kramnik has equalised and might have a slight edge.

Gelfand-Kramnik is also vert interesting, a sharp and unbalanced Catalan.

Yep, could turn into the passed d pawn versus the passed a pawn. If it stays as complex as it is now the 40 min time advantage might help Kramnik.

In fact, I would place a small wager for Anand to go +2 today. That is a killer open a file that he controls, and all of Black's pieces seem to be vulnerable because of his exposed king.

I guess my post is off topic for this thread, but while we are at it, my 2 cents:

"Danailov, who spoke from Spain, said he expects attacks below the waist from the team of Viswanathan Anand in the remaining half a year, before the match for the World Championship in Sofia in April 2010."

Yes, this is expected in propaganda. But despite knowing that, the above statement leaves a bad taste in the mouth. Or perhaps it affects me because I don't think Anand has ever played 'dirty' and this statement is grossly unfair. But perhaps this is how Danailov wants Anand and his team to feel, to throw them off a bit. I guess the only way for Anand to deal with all this is to use it for motivation. Retaliatory mudslinging will only throw him off balance and Danialov will only enjoy it. I wonder how Topalov allows all this to go on in this name, or is he complicit!

I had developed an impression that during previous controversies Topalov has largely been a bystander and Danailov ran the show. But how many times is enough?

Actually, isn't Anand basically won here?? I have no engine...

For Rybka's opinion: http://chessok.com/broadcast/?key=tal05.pgn Now at +1.01.

I would imagine that Moro can hold this easily.

Wow, how does one get infected by Kramnik's flu? I think he got it from Carlsen who got it from the Boss himself :) while it hasn't done much for magnus, worked wonders for Vlady like that 'rage virus' you see in 28 Days Later :)

I can't see a win for Anand, but Leko is such a weakling and prone to wasting mountains of clock time on simple moves that he could end up making a bonehead blunder.

That's a cool link, thanks!

Wasn't 33. Qc4 better that 33. Rd6?

Sorry meant 33. Qc5

Leko running low so chance of blunder are high. Its looking bad for him after the last 2-3 moves.

This happens all the time and is so predictable.

Leko's last queen move either was a stroke of genius saving the point or was a disastrous blunder.

the "bonehead" happened it seems :)

If he keeps playing a dead lost ending with plenty of time on the clock to think about it, he is worse than a bonehead.

Kramnik seems to be proving he's mortal after all in this game. Serious time trouble and a tricky position (23...Qe5 intead of 23...Qb2 would have kept an edge, although 21...Nc6 looked like the first false move - instead of just 21...a3 or the more tricky 21...Bb5). Perhaps he's trying too hard to avoid a draw, or relying too much on strategic factors (the passed a pawn) instead of calculating variations. Very double-edged now.

Hehe 42. h4

Kramnik's time management also went wonky, he had a huge lead on the clock which ran out just as the complications began.

Why did Leko repeat that line btw? Isn't it from Kramnik-Aronian, Corus08 which Kramnik won?

The Anand - Leko game should be referred to as "Anand - N.N." if Leko keeps on playing. I can't watch any more. It's not good for my chess.

Save the Dirt! Six "Lukes" again on the left hand column.

Has Kramnik gone from better to slightly worse ?

And back again? Both players seem to be blitzing for quite a while already, anything can happen ... .

Wow... Kramnik's really got the hang of this playing for a win at all costs. He came out of time trouble with an edge - Gelfand's chances to play for a win involved moves that probably required more time for calculation.

Does Kramnik have lots of experience with (getting into) time trouble? Gelfand (and a few others) do ... .

"Wow... Kramnik's really got the hang of this playing for a win at all costs."

He has probably been studying the games of the orange-juice phantom !

And now Gelfand's 41. Rc7 looks like he might have played it still running on adrenaline - visually it looks good but black has Ra7-a4-d4 and the pawn's not going to queen.

Did some people predict a quick and action-free draw between Gelfand and Kramnik?

p.s. though Gelfand's also a very strong technical player and maybe he's just seen forward to a drawn 4 v 3 pawns on the same side rook ending?

Yes they might draw in the end ... Bilbao rules, anyone?

I think both players dodged bullets in this game. In the end, a draw is probably fair... But maybe Kramnik can keep knights on somehow: 41..Ra4 42.d7 Raxd4 43.Ra7 Ne4!? and later you have ..f6 to take on d7 with the rook instead of the knight (which would lead to the knights being exchanged).

The World Champion's preparation has been impeccable, and his form looks to be great. He draws with effortless ease as Black, and wins with equal ease with some wonderful novelties as White. Go Anand!

This would be an easy win for me, so for Kramnik, it should be even easier. Just say boo!

Yes, I think Gelfand will hold this easily.

Agreed - mostly. But Anand's win against Svidler was not due to the opening, and today's novelty may have been more a practical one. Did he give _this_ novelty away because he would expect Topalov to hold such a position? Or maybe he will play 1.e4 anyway in the upcoming match ... .

Can't you see the win? Do you want a hint?

After 41..Ra4 42.d7 Raxd4 43.Ra7, doesn't black have ...Rd1+ ?

¨Bilbao rules, anyone?¨

Sure Ponomariov , Leko , Gelfand and even Chucky could make good use of them in this tournament.

Eh, never mind, I guess white can just play Rxd1 Rxd1 Ke2 there.

It seemed like a pretty devastating novelty to me - the problem is you might find a refutation, assuming one exists, but you're going to be a long way behind on the clock. Plus it's bad enough calculating lines against Anand, but calculating lines against Anand and Rybka is misery (just ask Kramnik). Of course Luke would just have blitzed out a few brilliant moves and have Anand begging for mercy...

A good response from Anand to Danailov's squalid remarks.

If Anand manages +2 over the remaining 4 games he'll touch 2800 again. Easier said than done.

Although I'd love to see Carlsen as world champ and world #1 some time in the future, I'd rather have next year's world championship match as one between the top two ranked players in the world.

Also, a win here should give Anand more bargaining power in negotiations about the match.

Finally, the only reason I cannot put Anand as a strong favorite against Topalov is because it is being held in Bulgaria (which means Danilov will be a powerful man).

Btw, If I remember my Dvoretsky correctly, knight endgames with 4 vs. 3 pawns on the same side should usually be won. So perhaps Kramnik only needs to trade two pairs of rooks here.

Kramnik's keeping the knights on, so maybe it's not a dead drawn ending yet.

This was a simpler way to keep the knights on. Gelfand will have to keep suffering for a while, even though the eventual draw isn't in too much doubt.

Nah, of course Gelfand didn't have to allow even that. So maybe 43..Ne4 was an interesting alternative try at least.

It seems Gelfand's king move forced the exchange of knights. He's a wily old fox :)

The knights are gone. The Rook 4 vs 3 endgame also offers some winning chances for the stronger side, but they are not as high as the N endgame.

finally they now reach the dreaded (at least to me) R+4 vs R+3 on the same wing ... Korchnoi analyzed some of these positions in gory details in his book Practical Rook Endings

Do you think he really thinks he has a chance to win, or is he just playing it out for form's sake? In any case, nice to see the technique of top GMs in action..

I think Kramnik will play it out, just to see if Gelfand can hanhle the complexity :-). The time control may force errors, one of the things Fischer complained about (not enough time for GMs to properly play endgames).

btw, given that Kramnik spent longer the last few moves (before all the exchanges) seem indicating to me that he was looking for ways to avoid this R endgame.

54..f4 now?

Rybka wasn't impressed by Anand's novelty, she kept giving 0.00 for a long time (at least at the search depth used at Chessok and Chessbomb). It is unclear to me if Anand improved on Rybka [who doesn't like the earlier 15.Bg4 at all!?] or if Leko failed to find the best defensive moves.

That's why I called it a "practical novelty" and a rather risk-free one: in the worst case, the game might have ended in a draw?

Interesting again what the players themselves will say about the game - again I'll have to rely on you (or Russianbear?) for quotes from Russian pages ,:) Or will Anand comment in English?

BTW, in the live chat on Chessvibes IM Merijn van Delft (2380) wrote (claimed?) that he anticipated Anand's novelty, analyzed it "a bit" and considered it nothing special ... . But this doesn't mean that he would survive in the [unlikely] case of meeting Anand OTB?

I think he tries to weaken White's pawn structure in the case White plays Pxf4.

Yes, that was my idea too (I posted it before he actually played it). The ..f4 idea seemed annoying almost no matter what White had played. Not so easy for White now is it?

"Rybka wasn't impressed by Anand's novelty, she kept giving 0.00 for a long time (at least at the search depth used at Chessok and Chessbomb)."

Yes, but in preparation you can try out moves and then see what Rybka would do then, so it ends up being much deeper analysis than just leaving Rybka to work in the initial position. I haven't really looked at it and you might well be right that the novelty isn't that strong - though if it's good enough for a white draw if black finds perfect moves then it would still be something to use against Topalov. But I think Anand's just decided not to hold anything back for now (the match is still 6 months away).

Gelfand-Kramnik looking interesting after ...f4, though I've no idea how to evaluate the position :)

which Gelfand just did while I was typing. Now with Rh3 ... black looks really weak.

I meant "Whte looks really weak"

I now think Kramnik has very good chance in winning this. White K will be cut off from Black's passed rook pawn.

Mr. Luke talks all the time but also is correct so I read his comments but unfotunately do not like how he talks even if he is right. Players are not boneheads and he should be more poite.

"finally they now reach the dreaded (at least to me) R+4 vs R+3 on the same wing ... Korchnoi analyzed some of these positions in gory details in his book Practical Rook Endings"

Larsen once lost it, against Keres or was it Bronstein - Larsen with the 4 pawns going all-in for a win. That's not gonna happen in this game.

Can you provide more details? I'd like to see that. A search of Chessgames.com reveals nothing.

topalov is such a looser, pretends danailov does all the dirty work and he is a saint, both are hand in glove , danailov is surely pimp in chess world , just hope anand crushes topalov

If Kramnik can win this, I'd concede that he is definitely better than Anand in rook endings! :)

Basic rule: In the ending, when you have the advantage, exchange pieces, not pawns.

So what does Kramnik do on move 70? He exchanges pawns with 70...g5? I can't watch any more of this. It's bad for my chess.

Please, PLEASE take your own advice and don't watch any more of this.

Fair enough, but how could he have exchanged pieces rather than pawns?

Basic rule: weakies should not pontificate.

my predictions made yesterday on ChessMind:

Gelfand - Kramnik (0.5 - 0.5) The Gelf has beaten Kramnik in a match. He has been pretty unambitious here though and can get a draw with white if he wants to.

Aronian - Morozevich (0-1) Why? Because Moro's play is unpredictable, Aronian will try to win and Moro might strike back in the resulting chaos.

Ivanchuk - Carlsen (1-0 or draw) Carlsen will try to draw, what with the illness, and Chucky looks pretty solid.

Anand - Leko (1-0) Anand has an impressive score with white/against leko. vishy also does well when he has a good start and this may make him press on.

Svidler - Ponomariov (05 - 0.5) Pono looks solid and svidler will need a draw to steady his nerves after back to back blacks against the Big Two.

Clearly neither Topalov nor his fans can put all blame on Danailov as long as Topalov not only doesn't speak out against the latter, but on the contrary keeps hailing his brilliant work.

"If you could change one thing in the chess world, what would it be?

- I would make Silvio (Danailov) President of FIDE."

Topalov, New In Chess 2009/7

"I [Topalov] would make Silvio (Danailov) President of FIDE."
He does not have many reasons either to complain about Ilyumzhinov, does he?

I guess it can always be better :)

There are a few gems in that mini-interview (the "Just Checking" thing that's on the last page of every issue). Here's an intriguing one:

"Who or what would you like to be if you weren't yourself?

- Deep Rybka 10."

So as I thought, Gelfand held easily. What I would like to know is, following the Anand game without an engine, I thought instead of Rd6, Qc5 won quicker. I can't remember the move no. and can't view the game on my mobile (when are they going to do a game viewer for Symbian or Opera mobile or something?) but I think it was 33 or thereabouts.

you don't draw a river to a horse..get an iphone! ;)

Well I love my E71, except for this one thing...

I can not see how to win after trying many ways so will you please explain?

If I had to make a guess about an E71c (c = chess) release, I'd say not before Carlsen becomes WC..

Larsen lost queen and four against queen and three by getting mated, against (I think) Keres. Try databases.

No-one's ever lost rook and four against rook and three on the same side; can't really be done. Various people have lost rook plus three plus a-pawn against three, including I think Jonathan Rowson against someone (from Japan, maybe?) at the last Olympiad. That's much easier; you take the king over to the queenside to win the rook for the a-pawn, give up a couple of pawns a bit too enthusistically on the king side, a wee miscalculation, and hey presto.

UH LOL lets watch a World Champion lose your endgame: Zurich 1953: Gligoric Vs Euwe

now that that has been settled... NEXT QUESTION.

I think you mean this game:
http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1073386 ?

Quite painful to play out.

I have to say Krmanik is playing a great tournament so far. Losing in Bonn may have been a blessing in disguise :-).

Too bad that Carlsen is sick and thus unable to play at full capacity.

Kramnik is reportedly also sick - let's hope that the way he plays has nothing to do with the flu (read: he keeps going once he has recovered).

"it can always be better"
Yes, maybe it would be nicer to start the WCh match on Danailov's birthday ... .

For once, I have to defend Topalov sort of: He may have been joking in the interview - other players also did when it was their turn for "Just Checking". But of course he fully agrees with Danailov, and statements such as "poor Topa, he is such a nice guy who happens to have an awful manager" make no sense whatsoever.

@caleague, LarsenFan

I got those two games you report mixed up at least a decade ago. Thanks.

I M - You can stop looking because I don’t think the ending is a win for Kramnik even if he played better. So, I was wrong. Good for you. Kramnik must have missed a win earlier but I don’t know where. Maybe he should have moved his king towards the center to stop white’s d-pawn . Anyway, I was wrong. The ending is a draw.

Anand on 22. Nxd4!
Kasimdzhanov deserves credit for the Nxd4 move. It all comes down to the opening. If you know the knight idea you can hold it, but I think it's almost impossible for Black to solve it at the board.
(from chessvibes)

Am I the only one here who feels Anand will really have a go at Carlsen with Black tomorrow?

Would be a nice way to regain the #2 ranking, touch 2800 again (he'll be at 2800.6 if he wins tomorrow), and show the world who "Boss" really is!

Dream on! ;-)

I can think of a world champion who lost with the three pawns a lot more recently than that. But we were speaking of losing with the four pawns. That's tough to achieve with rooks, although I'm sure if one really scours the databases it has been done.

It may be extra motivation for Anand - and if Kramnik could give it a serious try also with the black pieces, why shouldn't Anand be able to put up a fight?

@Jaideepblue: I also saw this at Chessvibes. As Kasimdzhanov was Anand's second and co-responsible for the -Bb7 idea in the Meran ... could this mean that the novelty was initially prepared for Kramnik? Or do they keep working together? To my knowledge, Anand hasn't yet announced his seconds for the match against Topalov.

Both Anand and Kramnik seem to be in excellent form. Aronian today let Moro slip away too easily, at least according to Rybka. So probably this is not his tournament.

Interesting who will win overall, but seeing Kramnik in such a form pressing for 80 moves is nice. And that was with black and with a flu...

So far this is a 2 sided tournament , on one side Kramnik and Anand are in good shape and fighting for the lead ,on the other there is just a bounch of GMs with a lot of fear, ELO speculation and a very regretable lack of interest about the public.
Once again i ´d like to insist that the Sofia-Bilbao combo would help this situation considerably.
Sponsors and public in general don´t care if some of the draws were actually quite decent fights , they need blood and that is a fact.
The only thing that gives me confort is knowing that is only a matter of time before both rules become obligatory in every top class event.

None other than Kasparov himself lost a 4 vs 3 with rooks (vs. Jeroen Piket??).

OK. OK. It was on ICC, I think. But it was rapid, not blitz.


Manu, for the nth time - point out the short GM draws in playable positions you've seen in this tournament? Yet again and again you post about the difference Sofia rules would make.

You probably missed it but Chesspro pointed out there is a rule in this tournament - players can only take a draw if the arbiters accept the position's drawn. The one exception seems to have been Leko-Ivanchuk where Ivanchuk offered a draw and Leko agreed because he was short on time. After 10 minutes the arbiters accepted.

Ponomariov was asked about draws and pointed out that it's not a typical tournament. There are only extremely strong players who make fewer mistakes - hence more draws.

"Sponsors and public in general don´t care if some of the draws were actually quite decent fights , they need blood and that is a fact".

I suspect most of the audience for chess in Moscow have enough chess culture to appreciate good chess, whether there's 1-0, 1/2,1/2 or 0-1 on the scoreboard.

p.s. and besides I hardly think Aronian, Carslen and Morozevich suddenly became players terrified to play chess in case they lose rating points, though perhaps Carlsen is taking draws for health reasons.

p.p.s. on the Chesspro forum someone said that Kasparov was there at the start today.

Or Aronian on the draws in Odesski's lastest report - http://tal.russiachess.org/content/view/4105/401/ :

Odesski: It's always different: there were Tal Memorials with a high number of decisive games, and with a lower number, and this year there have been very few decisive games. Do you link that to chance - or to some sort of trend which we can't yet perceive?

Aronian: Of course it's a trend.

O: Which is?

A: That the tournament's very strong. Everyone's a fighter.

O: Should readers expect a higher number of decisive games in the second half of the competition?

A: But why link decisive games to interesting play?

O: Me? I'm not.

A: In that case, maybe your readers should expect interesting play. I think then their hopes will have every chance of being met.

O: In other words, you think that the participants are demonstrating play of the highest class.

A: The games are interesting. No-one's trying to drain the life from positions. No-one's out of it.

Are you so very blood thirsty and why.

I can't resist translating this other comment there about Aronian:

"Levon Aronian, dropping into the press centre, was almost always sad. He was asked: 'Levon, why are you so sad, after all things seems to be going well, you're not losing and you even won a game'.

'I'm like an animal', answered Levon.

I'm already used to such statements from the leading Armenian grandmaster. Aronian can say anything, anywhere and at any time. But there were also colleagues in the press centre who were amazed. Struck dumb.

'You know why?' Levon continued.

No-one knew.

'I read in a book', Levon continued his thought just as sadly, 'that animals are distinguished from man by the fact that they never have to pretend. They just don't have to, you understand?'

That's just the sort of man he is. And that's how he plays. You can't mistake his style for anyone else's."

"But why link decisive games to interesting play?"

That is the question...

Luke has a too high opinion of himself and definitely over-estimates his chess knowledge and abilities. His carrying on about how Kramnik had a definite win and that the win was obvious to him when, in fact, the position was a likely draw is a case in point.

if danailov ensures topalov is "well informed" during the games then he could beat anand.
otherwise looking at anand's play in bonn and in tal memorial he does not stand a chance.
would be real shame for the chess world if topalov becomes world champion.



peter leko, morozevich, short and numberous grandmasters have voiced concerns but fide is not moved.

topalov is surely aware that there is some dagamge to his reputation . if nothing else only to ensure that his name is not maligned further , he should ensure that danailov etc... are not in the playing venue.

Hard to argue with Manu's facts - oh wait, maybe someone with (his own words) ELO 1400 cannot really speak in the name of all or most organizers and chess fans?

Even in boxing, arguably (sometimes literally) the bloodiest sport, a fight can end with a draw. And in football/soccer - the sport that invented "Bilbao rules" - a 3-3 can be interesting, maybe more so than a 5-0 walkover. Even a 0-0 can be interesting if one actually looks at the game ... e.g. to realize that both teams had superb goalkeepers.

So let's now look at yesterday's round [quotes are from Chessvibes]:
Anand-Leko and Gelfand-Kramnik - no questions asked (but in earlier rounds, others praised Anand for his neutralizing power with black, steering the game towards a safe draw)
Ivanchuk-Carlsen: here Manu might have a point, maybe Chucky's play could also be called sportsmanship - giving his sick opponent an extra semi-restday. Or IM van Delft is right: "I guess Ivanchuk wanted to create a long fighting game, but Carlsen played very to the point."
Aronian-Moro: "Aronian seemed to be totally outplaying Morozevich, who tried the Stonewall, but somehow White’s advantage was smaller than it seemed. In the end one advantage, in this case the bishop pair, isn’t enough to win a game."
Maybe comments by experts were affected/biased by the dodgy reputation of the opening? @playjunior: Did Rybka ever indicate a _big_ (or clear) advantage for white during the game, more than +0.5 or +0.8? She is not influenced by opinions (prejudices) on the opening, but might overevaluate the bishop pair in the given situation.

Svidler-Pono: a correct draw

Rybka evaluated 22. f3 (which Aronian didn't play) as +0.65, though I don't think Aronian's 22. h4 was too far behind. Possibly there weren't any clear winning chances, but it was the sort of position where white could have put black under a lot of pressure.

The Stonewall is a GREAT opening! OK, what I mean by that is I often (used to - when I played any sort of Chess) played this as Black to avoid heavily analysed lines in my coffeehouse brand of Chess. If Black is not careful he ends up with a strategically lost position almost automatically, but Moro's position though somewhat inferior, never looked lost to me. Same with the Chigorin which he often used to play, an equally strategically risky opening if one is not endowed with the unique positional insight of the great Morozevich. I think this was a relatively painless draw for Moro.

@mishamp for the nth time : is not only Sofia but Bilbao rules what would make such a big difference in this tournament...
Repete avec mua : B i l b a o

@Thomas :
¨Hard to argue with Manu's facts - oh wait, maybe someone with (his own words) ELO 1400 cannot really speak in the name of all or most organizers and chess fans?¨

I never said my ELO was 1400, i said 1300 but improving a lot while reading your posts...
Thruth is that i don´t have an ELO because i never had time to play in rated tournaments , i learned the game (in depth i knew the moves before) at the age of 29 (now im 34) and have several acounts to play on the internet , some of them are only 2200 strong .
Don´t know what that may translate in real chess and i really don´t care , i don´t know a single move from theory , all my knowledge comes from the chess dvds i watched long time ago.
Having said that i do have 15 years of experience in broadcasting and a very depth knowledge about what people want to see and how .
I don´t know if this makes me more or less qualified than you to give my opinion on the subject , i thought anyone was entitled to speak his mind here , but maybe that is only reserved for chess geniuses like you or mishamp.

note : ¨repete avec mua¨ should be of course ¨répeté avec moi ¨

I do not question your right to give your opinion, but I do question strong and categoric statements such as "Sponsors and general public ... need blood AND THAT IS A FACT [emphasis added]". This is what I meant in my (obviously ironic or sarcastic) introductory sentences.
As you refer to the broadcasting/movie business: It is true that movies such as Rambo or Terminator - lots of action and blood, little "content" - score well with a "general public". In a chessic context, _this_ "general public" may be better off watching games at a lower level?
BTW, even if the top GMs care about their rating, so what? Such considerations are legitimate, after all future invitations, size of appearance fee, ... depend on their ELO.

I am not an expert (well, I used to be based on the USCF definition ELO>2000 ...), and I do not necessarily agree with "expert opinions". To me the Stonewall looks dodgy, but from my own experience - quite limited because normally I am an 1.e4 player - it's hard to prove it over the board.

As you mention the Chigorin: Lol I remember watching a game Anand-Moro in this opening at Corus 2001 - had to look up that it was that long ago:
During the opening, expert commentators (here referring to semi-retired Dutch IMs and GMs, e.g. Ree, Boehm, Sosonko) predicted that Anand would severely punish Moro for his dodgy play - some ten moves later white had to be careful to secure a draw ... .

Of course Kramnik-Short, Dresden Olympiad 2008 is an example of what can also happen in/to the Chigorin:
I will leave it open whether Short was worse than Moro, or if Kramnik - at this occasion or in this particular context - was better than Anand ... .

@mishanp (and/or playjunior): A Rybka evaluation of +0.65 doesn't mean much - for example that was also her assessment of the rook ending in Gelfand-Kramnik (here of course -0.65). At the most, it indicates that one player has the "right" (and the obligation?) to play for a win. But not that he should or must win the game, because the opponent's position is beyond repair with best play from both sides.
Aronian's play yesterday was sort of "vintage Kramnik", trying to convert a small advantage. A draw cannot be called a failure ... I think "the original" also converted only 20-30% of his += or +0.65 positions and drew the rest, at least to some extent causing his "Drawnik" reputation.

"@mishamp for the nth time : is not only Sofia but Bilbao rules what would make such a big difference in this tournament..."

I've responded to the Bilbao rules before, Manu, but there you go again - "not only" - how difficult is it to accept that Sofia rules would have made zero difference to the play so far?

Your response to the Bilbao rules before wasn´t very coherent to say the least...
How difficult is 4 u to accept that Bilbao rules would make a difference in this (or any ) event?

Manu - I don't mind you arguing Bilbao might help, just stop the nonsense of mentioning Sofia rules as if there have been lots of GM draws in this tournament.

My view on 3 points for a win: it's harmless enough - in many ways it's just a variant on the usual tiebreaker rules. I just don't think they're actually going to change the way anyone plays very much. Topalov, Aronian and Morozevich will play as they usually do, as will, say, Leko and Svidler. +2 or 3 wins will still usually win a tournament. If both players try to win, and they're evenly matched, the result will still usually be a draw.

What I really object to is your touting both sets of rules as if there's some great problem and the Tal Memorial has just been a boring draw fest. Listen to Aronian, Ponomariov and others, and just enjoy the actual chess.

I metioned as a combo because IMO they work great toguether.
I never said there was a great problem about the Tal memorial , jut pointed that until this round there were many games lacking the attitude that an event of this calibre require.
I am quite enjoying some of the games of this round , but today is an exception to the previous rounds and you know it.
About Aronian´s opinion , you really don´t get it , is not the opinions of the lions in the arena what one should take into consideration , it is only the applauses of the audience what counts .
Experts ( and i mean real experts not delusional people with a lot of time in their hands like you know who) might find every draw an interesting draw ,but for the audience is necesary that even drawish GMs like Leko or Ponomariov or Gelfand fight until the bitter end each and every game they play.
Like you said there is no harm in using Bilbao rules (same can be said about Sofia rules), then why not ?
Like i said before in a near future both rules will be aplied to every top tournament , so relax and stop fighting the inevitable.

"Experts ( and i mean real experts not delusional people with a lot of time in their hands like you know who) might find every draw an interesting draw ,but for the audience is necesary that even drawish GMs like Leko or Ponomariov or Gelfand fight until the bitter end each and every game they play."

Manu, I've never had the slightest pretension of being an expert. I'm also "the audience" - no-one watches chess who doesn't have some understanding of the game - and you don't need to be a GM to enjoy a struggle that ends in a draw. I've found every round of this tournament interesting - even Kramnik alone has guaranteed that. You only really need a single good game a round to keep spectators interested, especially if you have no time on your hands :)

"About Aronian´s opinion , you really don´t get it , is not the opinions of the lions in the arena what one should take into consideration , it is only the applauses of the audience what counts ."

Sorry, given the choice between Aronian's opinion that no-one's just playing for draws and your opinion that 8 of the players are, I'll go with Aronian.

Since when did Ponomariov become someone unwilling to fight, by the way? He was famous for playing right up to mate in worse positions.

About Aronian ,What can he say? That Leko needs a gun pointed to his head to go for a fight? That some people are more interesting in keeping their ELO intact than in giving a great show?
Btw i never said 8 players are going for the draw like that , but i see that we reached the moment in the discussion where you start copycating Thomas way of arguing and putting words in other pople´s mouth.
¨You only really need a single good game a round to keep spectators interested¨
That is a very short minded statement to say the least , but i guess there are many more where that came from so lets leave it like this.

It is unpleasant to read all this unpleasant argumnt between peopel some who just want to argue all the time and never stop for some reason. Maebe I should just not read any more from the argurs.

"Maebe I should just not read any more from the argurs." ( I M Stoopid)

Good idea, but why stop there? Maybe you should not write anymore either.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on November 9, 2009 9:39 PM.

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