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Corus 2010: Past, Present, Future

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World Champion Vishy Anand is back in action at the Corus supertournament in Wijk aan Zee, which starts Saturday. Former world champion Vladimir Kramnik is also there, as is the new world #1 and, most would agree, future world champion, Magnus Carlsen. One side effect of Carlsen taking over the top rating spot is we can stop saying things like "...but Topalov isn't there." I suppose that means we'll be saying "..but Carlsen isn't there" at Linares, but at least he's been playing a lot. Of course we complain when the same players are in all the events and then complain when our favorites are missing from a field, so either way there will be some complaining. The great thing about Corus is the sheer size of the field, 14 players instead of the six-player double round-robins that have become the dominant breed in recent years. 14 allows for a wide variety of players -- top ten, up-and-comers, locals -- and with seven games a day you'll always have at least a few hot ones.

The players: Anand, Carlsen, Kramnik, Ivanchuk, Leko, Shirov, Karjakin, Dominguez, Nakamura, Short, Caruana, Tiviakov, Smeets, van Wely. Rounds begin at 1330 local time, 7:30am ET. Live at the official site and of course on ICC Chess.FM where, starting Sunday, my mildly sunburned self will be contributing my usual mix of trivia, humor in poor taste, dubious historical perspectives, and wrongheaded opinions of all stripes in order to avoid dead air when our illustrious coterie of GM commentators need a pause to think, eat, or breathe. The impressive line-up this year: Kaidanov, Svidler, Gustafsson, Benjamin, Har-Zvi, Christiansen, Speelman, and relatively new but much heralded ferrners Andrew Martin and Gawain Jones. The ever-entertaining WGM Jen Shahade will be guest starring in the hosting chair for round one and might be back later as well. As an added bonus, Svidler has promised to talk about chess a little bit if we run out of cricket discussion and puns based on 19th century British literature.

It's not just seven games of interest now that the B and even the C groups have become so strong. We all love to watch the young stars and these qualifying groups have become training grounds for the world's top teens to cut their teeth against top competition and this year is no exception. Magnus Carlsen, lest we forget, was a C and B winner not too long ago. Brooklyn's Italy's Fabiano Caruana is following the same path so far and gets his shot at the big league players this year. As does veteran Nigel Short, who dominated most of the way in the B group last year until having a senior moment and losing to Caruana in the final round. Caruana fans should also remember that Carlsen finished last in his first A group in 2007, only to share first in 2008. Ah, they grow up so fast...

The top six in the field are all known quantities, if not necessarily consistent ones. Anand has won this event five times and I hope he's hungry after not getting a slice of first since 2006. (He didn't play in 2009.) He didn't win much of anything last year and this will be his last big event before his WCh match with Topalov in April. Kramnik has been devastating since returning to action in the second half of 2009 and would like to add the "future" sobriquet to his world championship status as much as Carlsen. He's never won Wijk aan Zee, usually having trouble keeping up with the more dynamic players in such a large field. Ivanchuk took first way back in 1996 and finished a disastrous 11th last year before sharing first in Linares a few weeks later. So is the way of the Chuckmeister. Leko is another former winner, in 2005, and somehow managed to both play some of his best chess ever and fade on the list at the same time in 2009. There are just too many strong young players pushing up. It's great to see Shirov here again and there's no way he can do worse than his 2007 performance of -4 and a share of last. That was a share of last place with Carlsen. I'm sure if you asked him he'd be happy to share placement with Carlsen again this year! Karjakin is the defending Corus champion, back with a new flag on his table. He still has something to prove in this field, however.

Of the relative outsiders, US champion Hikaru Nakamura will be looking to follow up his gold medal performance at the World Team Ch by competing on equal terms with the top ten in his first big supertournament. He's capable of +3 or -3 depending on how his gambles pay off and he guarantees both excitement at the board and plenty of discussion (and web traffic) off of it. USA! Leinier Dominguez has become a supertournament regular for what seem to be mostly geographical reasons. The Cuban is the strongest player from Latin America since Mecking and usually plays interesting games. He isn't entirely an affirmative action case since he did make a +1 score at last year's Corus event. Nigel Short won Wijk aan Zee twice long before it was named for Corus Steel. I think maybe it was Bronze or Stone, in fact. But after an autumnal return to form he's back in the A group after finishing 12th in 2005.

Loek van Wely is playing in his 19th consecutive Wijk aan Zee top group (!). He's finished as high as fourth (2003), but is usually trying to finish ahead of his Dutch compatriots while taking a scalp or two. He's had nearly two years in the wilderness of opens, team events, and dropping out of the top 100 and could really use a strong performance on his home turf. Smeets is a student who hasn't played more than league games since winning the NH Tournament in August. Tiviakov is the bizzaro-Smeets, a lifelong pro who plays constantly. He's the top-rated Dutchman but hasn't played here since 2007.

Let the games begin! But first, the wild-ass predictions in the comments!


ROTFLOL! Outstanding intro as always Mig. I think this one is totally up in the air. The pairings make things looks quite even and I don't see anyone with a particularly favorable set of White/Blacks right off-hand.

I'll root for Magnus just because he's the up-and-comer, and because Garry Kimovich will always be my favorite player, so I have to go with his prodigy. After that, I'd like to see Hikaru Nakamura have a good tournament and I'm partial to Nigel Short as well. Rooting for him to have a big turn-around especially.

Nice to see yet another big tournament start off 2010 in style. Chess has been going thru a bit of a renaissance since Kramnik-Anand in 2008, let's hope that trend continues!

After two weeks im Marrakesh with The Man, I do consider Carlsen the favorite.

Apart from that, I hope for some Shirovian magic.

I'll rout for Kramnik. As usual in the last tournaments he has an extra black and here he has additionally blacks against Carlsen and Anand.
Hope he nevertheless shows his class!


I predict the eventual winner (too hard to guess who) to score a +6 (or better). For Carlsen/Anand/Kramnik, I guess +3 (or better?) would be "expected" score based on rating (can someone confirm please), which would've been a winning score in previous years - not this time.

Beautiful, simply wonderful read Mig! And I think you meant "good humor" instead of "humor in poor taste" hehe.

I have a sympathy vote for the old guy (my age), Short. But I think the winners will be Kramnik...maybe Carlsen.

since last year +3 won it seems crazy to think +6 would even be possible in a field of this kind. Still i'm gonna bet on +4 as the winner with Carlsen as the runner. Still there is no short list of players I want to cheer for! Carlsen, Kramnik, Anand, Nakamura, Short, Shirov and Ivanchuk are all high on my list of favorites! I really just want to see some whopping good chess and I couldn't be more thrilled by the list of commentators! WOOO CORUS!

Let the world stand up for bastards. Chess says love your parents but follow me. Loquacious Svidler followed by laconic Jones. Nakamura will drive the winning result up and reduce the draws. Kramnik to win on +4.

No Carlsen and no Kramnik this time i hope , just Chucky.

Oh, boy!! What a moment. In no previous big tournament had I doubts on the winner (that doesn´t mean I always guessed right, but at least I knew who my favourite was). But now... Anand needs to prove why he is the champ, and I suspect he prepared heavily for this one. Carlsen is playing his best chess so far. Chuky is an unstable isotope; if his brain is working properly, he can always make a 3100 performance! Kramnik, always a pro, always a candidate. Heck, even Naka could give us a wonderful surprise (not enough for winning, i guess). Can´t wait for the results!

One of the players I'll be following is Alexei Shirov, an all-time favorite of mine. However, he has a particular unfortunate line-up in rounds 8 through 11: Carlsen as white, Ivanchuk as black, Anand as black, and Kramnik as white. Yikes!!!

In Shirov's clash with the world's chess titans in consecutive rounds, I should have included his game vs. Karjakin in round 12, the winner of last year's Corus. This means Shirov must start out very strong on order to absorb the possible detrimental impact of his games with these giants of chess.

van Wely will win it.

If Vlad gets interesting positions with Black against the lesser lights he will have a great chance but now that he's so dangerous with Black they may choose dull Petroffs to grab a half point

It's risky making predictions as I ain't got no crystal ball and there are just too many unknown factors- Anand's desire, Leko's hunger, Karjakin's form post-Dokhoian, which Shirov incarnation is here, which Ivanchuk turns up etc.
I think Carlsen and Anand will be 1st and 2nd respectively, Kramnik in a big tie for 3rd-6th with Ivanchuk,Leko and Caruana.
Perhaps it would be easier to start from the rear of the standings?

You comment seems logical to me except for one thing : Leko´s hunger?!? WTF?
I assume you are talking about those chocolates he used to carry to his games because i cannot think of another GM with less appetite for glory than him.

I'm not quite sure we have reached the "age of Carlsen". Yet. I think still he has to mature a litle bit more. Get his hormons under controle.

This tournament will be indicative.

But if he smashes the lower rated players, draws Kramnik and beat Anand, then I'll eat my hat. With pleasure (and syrup topping).

After two bad tournaments in a row, I'm sure Lékó is very eager to redeem himself. And I for one certainly hope he does well, he really needs to get self-confidence back.

"[Kramnik's] never won Wijk aan Zee, usually having trouble keeping up with the more dynamic players in such a large field".

He actually did win it in 1998 (with Anand), but it's definitely a tournament he's struggled with. In 2008 it set the tone for his "annus horribilis" when he started ok, getting to +2, but then lost to Topalov and Carlsen to finish even. If he can keep up his recent form of pushing in every game he should do well, but anything could happen. He's got a tough end to the tournament (from rd 8: Nakamura, Carlsen, Ivanchuk, Shirov, Anand, Karjakin), so probably needs to score well in the first half to challenge.

For nostalgia's sake, here's the 1998 cross table: http://www.worldchesslinks.net/ezra51.html

Kramnik had 6 wins and 2 losses for +4.

1999 shows what became the more typical situation of Kramnik at Wijk: http://www.worldchesslinks.net/ezra50.html

He finished third with an unbeaten +3, but Anand was second with an unbeaten +6, and Kasparov won with +7 (losing one game).

This seems a discussion we haven't had before: Is it better to play first the weaker, then the stronger players (here referring to both Shirov and Kramnik)? But we had another one, brought up by the very GK (and passed on by the very Mig Greengard) before the Tal Memorial: Is it better to have white against the top, and black against the bottom of the field?
If so (as pointed out before on Chessvibes), Anand has a very favorable draw: white against Carlsen, Kramnik, Ivanchuk and Shirov, black against the four lowest-rated players (Caruana and those with NED behind their name).

BTW, Smeets played the European Team Championship in October 2008 - stronger than the average team event at least on his board 1 - with a reasonable result: beating Morozevich, drawing three other 2700ers (Bacrot, Eljanov, Radjabov), losing against Caruana and Navara. So at least the NH tournament wasn't a one-time outlier.
This doesn't make him favorite for first place at Corus ,:) but maybe for "best Dutchie".

Another funny thing: Almost all of the favorites (where I include Ivanchuk, Shirov and Karjakin) play the three Dutchies in consecutive rounds. Carlsen is first in rounds 1-3 - starting with 3/3 would still be an achievement, but not a major surprise?
Anand is the exception, is his draw bad after all? He faces the "players to beat" (with all due respect for the local guys) only in rounds 9, 11 and 13 (with Shirov and Kramnik sandwiched in between).

Thanks mishanp - great link I didn't know yet!

From a local perspective, 1998 was also interesting: it had five(!) Dutch players and it seems the last time that one of them finished as high as shared 3rd (Timman together with Shirov and Adams). Six years later in 2004 Timman was clear last with 4/13 and then wasn't invited again - well, once in 2008 for the honorary (veteran) group with Ljubojevic, Korchnoi and Portisch.

I'll go with Kramnik to win at +6, and Carlsen and Ivanchuk tied for second at +5.

If anyone's going to score +6 it would be the first time since Kasparov in 2000. I don't think that is likely at all. Less likely still that you will share 2nd/3rd with +5.

I think the draw is "bad", in that Anand scores very heavily with white against the tail-enders, he has a huge score against van Wely for example. So this way a certain point is being lost. On the other hand it is also a "safe" draw - he can push with white against the top and rest assured that the tail-enders will be glad to draw against him even with black.

unfortunately my exams start on monday and it looks like i am really going to get 'F'ed this time... coz this tournament is just too good to miss. great to see the old boys - shirov and short getting invited to top events again

e4 played on 6 out of 7 boards! (with van Wely-Short the unlikely d4) Just when it looked like king pawn openings were dead...

And Kramnik still relying on the Petroff. Does he have something else, but will use it selectively?
- only against some opponents
- only if the tournament situation requires him to push with black.
In today's game, Domiguez' approach with white doesn't look too challenging either!?

good to see ivanchuk in action too.. he hasn't quit chess after all

Brian's post above about playing the Petroff to avoid the new sharper Kramnik with black might be true, though in this case I guess Kramnik would be fairly happy to draw with black against a 2700+ player in the first round.

In general I'm sure he has a plan B, but it's questionable whether another opening would improve his winning chances. He showed in a few games last year (Naiditsch & Howell come to mind)that the Petroff can be a sharp weapon - and what Gelfand said about it being resistant to computer analysis makes it ideal for gaining an edge over players relying more on computers. Plus there's simply the matter of playing on to try and win - in the past he'd usually accept a draw after equalising, whereas if he'd kept playing he'd almost certainly have picked up extra points over time.

And yet another Christmas cracker is thrown at the granite fortress of the Petroff. 1/2-1/2. In such situations, to provide excitement, maybe one should bet on what move the draw will be agreed.

It is no secret that the Petroff can be very sharp, but there are other openings that don't allow White to enter very drawish lines with ease. It depends largely on White's mood. But against Howell he even allowed a very early draw by repetition without being forced to unless 13..Kh8 has been refuted, but Howell chose to play on.

In general I don't understand much of this talk about Kramnik's "new style" and whatever - almost like he turned into a completely different player. He played many ambitious games, also with Black, right before the alleged "transformation" - how come all those sharp Semi-Slavs of 2008 are forgotten - and at the same time he keeps playing the Petroff, now also having gone back to the regular lines with ..Be7 rather than the more aggressive and risky ..Bd6 which he tried in Dortmund.

I am slightly puzzled by Gelfand's comment on the Petroff. I would have thought the Petroff very well suited for computer analysis. But if he was just comparing it to the Sicilian, or specifically the Najdorf which he used to play before, well then I agree.

wild wild guess - Michael Adams is possible one of the seconds of Anand.

1) He might be useful tackling the Najdorf
2) He seems to be one of the nice, non-controversial, guys that Anand likes to work with
3) Anand just followed 20 moves of one Wang Yue vs Adams, 2007 and then improved Rybka's suggestion of 20)... Nf4 instead of Adams move (20.. Ra8)

Gelfand did say that playing the Sicilian just meant remembering analysis and playing against your opponent's computer, before:

"This is where you find one of the advantages of the Petroff. You can pose your opponent a lot of problems, or at least far more than players pose at the moment. But to do that you have to look deeply into the position, analyse it at the board. And many are used to asking the computer and checking the first couple of lines. In this opening you won't pose any problems by simply clicking on buttons."

I think he means in a similar way to how the Berlin confused Kasparov and his computers, though of course it's doubtful to say that anything in chess is resistant to computer analysis nowadays.

I partly agree about Kramnik - since 2000 he's had a few periods when he's tried to sharpen up his black openings - the only difference, perhaps, is that this time it seems to be working (for now).

"since 2000 he [Kramnik]'s had a few periods when he's tried to sharpen up his black openings"

Some statistics from chessgames.com on Kramnik's black results against 1.e4 since 2000:
Sicilian (all variations, all formats and time controls) +11=45-11
Sveshnikov (classical time control) +1=9-1
Najdorf (classical time control) =2-3
Not a large sample, but apparently enough to convince him that he's not a Najdorf person. The draws were a tough defense in Dortmund 2004 against a 14-year old kid called Sergey Karjakin, and the last game of his WCh match against Anand (where Vishy accepted a draw in a better position because it meant match victory) ... .

By comparison, with the Petroff he scored +5=50-8 (again all formats, and three out of five wins are from 2009).

Go Alexei! A win from him is always good news.

Though you've got to admit you can't knock Leko's will to win after 22. f5 :)

I don´t want to start an argument , and i understand that a draw with white against Kramnik is something good , but looking at that game(Domingues Kramnik) makes me think that some rules should be in place . :)

He was very lucky indeed , Leko was really pushing .

I think the rules would have been more appropriate for Tiviakov-Carlsen & Karjakin-Anand - what happened to torturing your opponent at no risk to yourself!? They could probably have pushed wood in that Petroff position to Doomsday without anything interesting happening.

It was odd from Leko - maybe he was annoyed at losing his advantage, but f5 just looked speculative and Shirov didn't have to find anything special to repel the attack. The endgame might well have been drawn, but there was no way he could have calculated all that in advance.

Right (about Gelfand, the Petroff etc) - I would just have thought that the Berlin is a much better example still. That was one of the reasons Kramnik went for that against Kasparov, instead of the Sicilian or the Petroff. Computers didn't understand it at all. But I guess even that is no longer completely true nine years later.

BTW, big interview with Carlsen today in "de Volkskrant", a major Dutch newspaper. They have daily coverage of Corus, but the sports frontpage is usually reserved for football or - at this time of the year - ice skating. It doesn't seem to be online and I can't translate everything - some things obviously aren't new to people following this blog, but I think this (sollicited) Carlsen quote is:

Q "Did you sometimes give Kasparov the feeling that he sits across his old rival Karpov?"
Carlsen: "It is important to keep my strong points from before the cooperation with Kasparov. Like Karpov I can exploit small advantages, and I am a specialist in the endgame. Kasparov tries to add his aggressive attacking style to this. In a way I want to combine Karpov and Kasparov in myself."

How should we call him? Magnus Karpovsparov??

"Magnus Karpovsparov"

Nice one. How about "Karpovsparovsen?"


Here's a preview of some of the other outfits Carlsen will be wearing at Wijk aan Zee:


Well, basically what Kasparov himself has said a number of times - it's a good thing they agree I guess.

"Actually what makes this work more productive is the fact that the nature of his chess talent is very different from mine. More like Karpov, Kramnik or Capablanca. He has a very different approach, which makes my work easier because we don't cross paths. He's learning from me something that he doesn't know by nature." -- GK, New in Chess 2009/7

It would be a great tournament to watch and to learn from it another time!

It’s great to see Ivanchuk playing again -- and I wish him all the best.
Anand, Kramnik and Carlsen are dead even som far.

Who would have thought that Van Wely would be leading the tournament?

My primary hope is to see some high-quality games.
And I think we will! :)

It could be fun and worthwhile if each Daily Dirter picked their favorite player at Corus and donated $10 (or euros, etc.) to Haitian relief every time their chosen player wins.

Whatever one thinks about the Dutch players, they are not afraid ... :
Scandinavian in Ivanchuk-Tiviakov (though this one simplified quickly)
sharp Najdorf in Nakamura-van Wely
Botvinnik variation in Carlsen-Smeets - looking at the clock times, it seems this was a surprise for "Carlspovsparov"!?

"It could be fun and worthwhile if each Daily Dirter picked their favorite player at Corus and donated $10 (or euros, etc.) to Haitian relief every time their chosen player wins."

Nigel Short will suddenly look like the most popular player in the chess community if we do that!

Interesting video interview (in Dutch) with IM Hans Boehm on the tournament homepage, at the occasion of his 60th birthday.

On this year's A Group: "Carlsen's cooperation with Kasparov is bearing fruits, but now the other players are getting used to the news. Kramnik said he wants to win Corus. He never said so before, this time he did."
[last year he was wrong, quoting Nigel Short saying "I will never again play in the A group"]

On nostalgia: "I first played in Wijk aan Zee when I was 17, or was it even earlier? I have particularly fond memories of evening blitz games with Tal, Korchnoi and Najdorf - those world-top players were mixing with amateurs. Now the top GMs return to their hotel, switch on the computer and prepare for the next game."

January is my month for translations, mishanp is busy all year long with Russian sources ,:) .

You can't escape the Russians, even in Holland :) Actually I watched Shipov's pre-tournament assessment of the players & he said (maybe not entirely seriously) that Corus don't like Russians and aim to have as many non-Russians as possible - though I suppose if you include Leko there are still 7 Russian speakers in the A group.

Vasiliev is in Wijk for Chesspro: http://chesspro.ru/_events/2010/weik1.html

On Kramnik saying he'd win... he says he'll try though he doesn't normally do too well in Wijk. He was interviewed before the drawing of lots and was worried about again getting an extra black - which he said tends to cost 1/2 a point at this level (of course he did get an extra black). He also says having to play games at 13:30 is a bit too early for him :)

One exchange is a bit unfair for Wijk :)

"Vasiliev: After Paris it won't be so easy for her [K's wife] in this little village...
Kramnik: Yes, she wanted to come for longer but I told her that she wouldn't be able to stand more than 5 days".

About the event in Turkey - Akopian says the US match with Azerbaijan wasn't fixed, though obviously when they knew they had no chance of gold they were happy to take the silver.

To be fair to Short, he is throwing down the gauntlet to Anand in this game! he doesn't seem to play aggressively with Black very often against heavyweight opposition..I don't know how he can play those stuffy QGD variations as Black and be so aggressive as White, seems to be a British trend-very solid with Black, attack with White... And maybe predictions about lack of wins should be postponed til he's had a few Whites!

Van Wely just got creamed...

Nice Chesspro report, I particularly like the part about the opening ceremony: "Their speeches were heard from chess players and guests with attention, which was noticeable in these pictures."
(Short has his eyes closed, Carlsen is reading something, Nakamura may be memorizing his opening preparation or whatever ...).

Among the beauties of Google translations, I have a new favorite:
Question to Nakamura: "Who will help you in this tournament?" "With me bottle" (but it refers to his second)

About missing Russians or "Soviets", this is most apparent in the B and C groups - at least as far as "remaining ones" are concerned (hence excluding Naiditsch, Sutovsky, Akobian and Muzychuk in group B). for the overall field, it may play a certain role that the sponsor is - by now - a Dutch-British-Indian company.

As far as Wijk aan Zee is concerned, Linares may be even more boring (from what I read), and Amsterdam is less than an hour away by train ,:) . For the rest it depends on how you can handle a village temporarily dominated by (mostly amateur) chess players.

There is another Dutch-language report with quotes from local people:
A woman working at the bar in the tournament hall: "They order a coffee, give you 10 Euros and walk away [not waiting for change], because they are still focusing on their game."
"They often tell me about their game. Nowadays I say 'wouldn't this be a better move?' - which is complete nonsense because I don't know chess at all"

For bars and restaurants, the tournament is their main source of income in the otherwise dead winter season. Many locals also rent out holiday houses to chess players.

Corus invites the entire village to the farewell party, as compensation for nuisance caused by the event. "We don't feel that way at all, but it's still a nice gesture!"

Nakamura just took Van Wely's lunch money. I couldn't believe b4. Nd5 is a common move, but initiative he got was instructive.

Yep, I guess the problem is being by the seaside in Holland in January! The only way I can think you got "bottle" for "second" is that you can translate the Russian "sekundant" as "bottle-holder" when talking about boxing - though Google gives "second" for me!?

I was going to post after the openings today that if Kramnik's in form he'll beat Leko fairly easily (a novelty, a big advantage on time and lots of hidden attacking possibilities) - but instead he went astray with no clear attack, used a lot of time (giving up his edge there), missed Nh7 when it would have allowed him to liquidate into a good (if duller) position, and finally got a bit lucky, perhaps, that Leko just took the draw. Or in summary - for now at least he doesn't look in great form.


I'm glad you mentioned this. There is hardly any discussion on chess sites about this issue. FIDE has not released a statement of moral support for Haiti, a nation that competed in the Olympiad as late as 2006. If the Corus GMs make a gesture of some sort, it will be very timely.


I'm glad you and r are discussing that , i asked 4 help here 2 days ago.
FIFA is moving fast toward some charity games to help Haiti , it would be a shame if FIDE don't make any move about this tragedy.

FIDE could say something, but seriously, other than slightly improving their PR, what difference will it make? Donating some money may help, though as with similarly dramatic tragedies the aid agencies will probably end up with more money than they actually need (hopefully they divert it to where it's needed, though I'm not sure about the ethics of that). The real immediate problems in Haiti are all logistical. I know the human response is to try and do something to make it better, but you can't stop a terrible natural disaster being a terrible natural disaster.

Any and every organization and private individual should publicize it, it overrides everything. Of course if such attention were paid to other less dramatic, long-term problems, by the media and everyone else, we'd have a different world indeed. Judging from the scale of the disaster it'll hardly be possible to obtain a surfeit of money.

Indeed , but there are many other ways of contributing , for instance American Airlines is offering free tickets to nurses and doctors who want to go to Haiti to help .
Cuba for instance has opened their air space to speed up the arrival of help , i believe for the first time in many years.
I have a couple of friends there helping (literally a couple: man and wife) and they tell me that the logistical problems are being solved since US military forces took care of the landing zone .
Haiti was the poorest sector of the entire continent before this disaster happened , with a 50 years of life expectancy and 70 % of infant mortality so i am pretty sure that there will not be such thing as "more money than what they actually need" .

Hey Knallo - How's that Shirovian magic going now?! Wow, Alexi is off and running! Congrats.

"Indeed , but there are many other ways of contributing , for instance American Airlines is offering free tickets to nurses and doctors who want to go to Haiti to help ."
Unless they have changed their line since then:


@noyb , my browser shows a clear victory from Shirov

It is not only twitter then because i got that message from facebook , anyway the idea was great.

Hi, noyb! Yes, I did enjoy today's game *very* much.

Hi, Daaim, Manu, and all. Naka is my man: his win today means $10 for Partners in Health. I should give an extra 5 just for the b4 move!

Great games today kept me glued to the computer all morning. A few comments:
1) Carlsen-Smeets
No amount of home prep can substitute for talent. Smeets played a novelty on move 23, and by move 30 he was almost out of time. Some people just aren't cut to the play the Botvinnik
No wins over his Brissago rivals for Peter since their match. Today he had a a chance, but instead grabbed the first repetition he saw. Sad
3)Nakamura - Van Wely
Loek is playing his 19th Corus and he hasn't had the time to study the Petroff? He would lose any sharp position to Hikaru, didn't he realize that?
Vassily still plays combative chess, but at 40 he no longer has the stamina for long games. Exchanging a pair rooks before the time control threw it away, all in the name of safety. He didn't used to be like that.
Vishy doesn't care for winning Corus this year, as he has a bigger fish to fry. He's played very enterprising chess so far, but two double pawn sacrifices only produced two draws. Nigel coolly ignored the gloom and doom talk of his buddy Peter Svidler on chess.fm and defended the ending well.
Another disappointment for the young Russian, as he had to defend a worse position as White for the second time in two rounds. I think it's just bad luck - the tactics don't work out yet. It'll change.
Alexey is simply out this world good with R+B of opposite color. Kramnik learned this in Cazorla, and now Caruana got schooled. Clearly, the best all-around game today.

Now, come out of the woodwork and blast me. First guy who accuses me of being jealous gets to send his life savings to Haiti.

Interesting post. I think you hit some nailheads, although Kasparov disagree with you about Anands game. Also Karjakin should be credited for dareing to take risks in his game.

Express report at Chessbase, including Kasparovs opinions on several R2 games: http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=6065

Wild prediction: Anish Giri in group A, Corus 2011 (by then aged 16).

Shirov is doing everything right so far. That he actually managed to win today's game vs. Caruana speaks well for his endgame magic and competitive spirit and volumes for Caruana's vulnerability in the endgame. I'm sure that Carlsen, when he was Caruana's age, would have had absolutely zero problems drawing this game with Black. Why Caruana didn't play 34...Ra8, exchange Rooks, and guarantee himself the draw is only something Caruana can answer. How Shirov was able to steer Caruana's game from a dead draw to a totally lost position is a mystery.
But perhaps the most shocking game of the round was the demolishment of Loek Van Wely's game by Nakumura.
Smeets equipped himself very well with the Botvinnik but, in the end, succumbed to the Carlsen pressure machine. I thought Carlsen's 38.Rf4 (threatening 39.Rf5) was good enough to win, but only Kasparov's 38.Rd1 seems to guarantees the win as Smeets, after 38.Rf4, could have played 38...Kb6! 39.Rf5 Qe1+ 40.Kg2 Qe4+ 41.Rf3 c3! and it looks like Black can hold.

I'm not sure Van Wely losing spectacularly with black can ever be considered shocking! He's one of those players who tend to be "co-authors" of brilliant games (the early Topalov would be another example).

Start a Corus blog, Yermo. You serve no Grandmaster, so you can speak your mind freely and brutally. I'm there.

How much of the play at this level is dictated by pure psychology, by memories and knowledge, fear/lack of fear of the opponent?? Who knows what the outcome of Leko v Kramnik games (and all the others) might have been without them knowing they were playing each other...would Leko have accepted a draw in that position against anyone else?? Would Dominguez have tried something sharper against the Petroff if it had been someone else? Incalculable I guess.
Manu's idea about "blind" play really gotta be tried some day.
Yermo, are you sure Anand is so unmotivated? Surely he wants to prove that the champ is the boss, it ain't all down to matches, after all.

I donated $10 even though my guy has 2 draws. I encourage all of you to follow r's suggestion. I hope Kramnik wins a few, $10 to Haiti each time, go boy!

@Yermo: Thanks for daring to share your thoughts with us - at the same time you invited comments, here are mine on some games. Recurrent theme is that enterprising chess is to be commended, regardless of the result. At least it kept you glued to your (American?) computer, same for me in the afternoon (local time, actually I regretted not travelling to the venue yesterday - about 100km for me).

1) Smeets-Carlsen
"Some people just aren't cut to the play the Botvinnik": Smeets played the Botvinnik last year, and got an easy draw against van Wely in a game that was all prep. Maybe we can conclude that he or his second (last year it was Gustafsson) is better in prep than solving "new" problems over the board? Or we can conclude that Carlsen is a tougher opponent than van Wely? ,:)
In any case, possibly Smeets can still be happy about the game: "I had fun, and actually posed problems to him" - it would be very and undeservedly arrogant to not even consider the possibility of losing ... .
Or would you say that Radjabov "isn't cut to play the KID", because he occasionally ends up losing?

3) Nakamura-van Wely
(ex-)King Loek also lost some spectacular Najdorfs against Kasparov in the same event. He said that he always plays all or nothing (that's the main reason why he is always reinvited, of course it helps a lot to have a Dutch passport), sometimes he gets nothing. Here your quip might make sense: "some people aren't cut to play the Petroff".

4) Anand-Short
Anand's comment on twitter (quoted by Hansie on Chessvibes): "Playing at Corus after a year’s gap and pretty excited abt it. Carlsen n Kramnik are in fine form but I must show them who is the boss here."
Why would he play enterprising chess if he isn't interested in winning the event? (Of course, such an attitude makes sense for van Wely and Smeets, but not for Vishy). Again, whether he succeeds is another story - which also depends on the opponent: it takes two to play a game of chess!


Thanks for your mentioning of this.

FIDE is simply negligent. To overlook posting simple letter of support (to a member nation) on the website is a glaring mistake. There was support for both 9/11 and the tsunamis from the chess world.

I'm hearing a rumour that Anish Giri is making donations to Haiti for every win. Is this true?

To me, it is not to say there are logistical problems because there are always logistical issues in disasters. However, support (both financial and and moral) go a long way in helping people get through another day.

If the Dominican Republic can put aside 200 years of bitter history and come out in a relief effort, then anyone can.

There is an Aesop saying that "No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted."

Visit Haiti's chess community here...

I'm trying to make contact with several officials, but haven't been successful yet.

Send well-wishes...




Any and every organization and private individual should publicize it, it overrides everything. Of course if such attention were paid to other less dramatic, long-term problems, by the media and everyone else, we'd have a different world indeed. Judging from the scale of the disaster it'll hardly be possible to obtain a surfeit of money.

Given the scale of the disaster...if the world really wanted to help, they would evacuate everyone, bulldoze the damaged/unsafe buildings, build as many safe structures as possible, plant trees (my god, the country is devoid of trees after cutting them down decades ago) and the return as many people as possible.

OR..they could do what they are doing, which is to let the country sit in squalor and do things on the cheap while the population of the country sits among the ruins.


Evacuation sounds to be an interesting, but an infeasible option. Where would almost 10 million people seek refuge? U.S.? Canada? France? Dominican Republic? Senegal? Jamaica?

The situation is certainly becoming desperate as the survival mode is kicking in. People have now resorted to taking what they can get from destroyed supermarkets because the abundance of supplies sits in the airport. It's mess. Hopefully it will improve.

I agree though... the scale is enormous and the fact that Haitians don't have anywhere to migrate to (as in Katrina), the problem is more acute. Let's hope for the best.

Hopefully we'll see support from influential chess officials and players.

Where do all the peoples go and what if they do nto want to go away from home.

Great posts about Haiti at the Chess Drum, Daaim.

Thx u! , i just read your piece in chessbase >
great work!

Thanks Manu!

We'll see what happens. I'm more concerned about the Haitian "endgame"... no pun intended. What happens when the freshness of the horror wears off and the world begins discussing health reform and Google/China again? It's inevitable.

I'm afraid one possible aftermath is USA 's indirect occupation of the isle under the reconstruction and aid pretenses , here in America there are many people concerned and commenting about that.
Thing is that i'm not so sure anymore if that would be the worst scenario ...
In the meantime i am amazed to witness once again the tremendous potential for good we have as a race and how we choose to use it almost exclusively in the worst situations .

"Indirect occupation". If they don't assist, outcry. If they do assist, suspicion of future occupation.

Some peoples get mad at who ever helps. Mabey Mr. Manu is such one.

Is draw for Ivanchuck and Short becusae I can draw both side so easy they can too. Oh well shake hand and talk. Mean time why not Nakamura make move.

You don't seem to understand what i wrote , or the situation , not the first time.

I don't think anyone really understands you but yourself, and perhaps even you have difficulty, but you've never let that stop you. Your statement was pretty straightforward.

"Your statement was pretty straightforward."

Of course for you it was , if you remove parts like: "I'm afraid one possible aftermath is" , or " here in America there are many people concerned and commenting about that." or even "Thing is that i'm not so sure anymore if that would be the worst scenario ..."
But giving your little intro about my understanding i propose we continue this ridiculous argument AFTER the disaster is contained , if you don't mind.

It is always amusing when you try to take the moral high ground.

It i answer your attacks , outcry.If i try to let go the argument, then i'm trying to take the moral high ground.

I propose that this ridiculous argument (and every ridiculous argument that the manure-spreader gets dragged into, kicking and screaming) be continued until peace AFTER world peace breaks out.

And that in the meantime each and every member of our race exercise his tremendous potential for good in all (not just the worst) situations.

That is very good idea so our race be at peace and good for all. I sure Mr. Manu and cat say yes and go peace.

Must be comforting to have greg koster and stoopid on your team ,cat.

Thank you Mr. Manu uma sum.

Along with mishanp early on, I have somewhat mixed feelings regarding that type of discussions on a chess blog, at least if they continue endlessly (let me add that this doesn't apply to Daaim's personal pieces on chess friends from Haiti). What's the point? Do you think you can reach many people that follow chess, but do not follow ANY other news?

So far the general point, now to Manu's post provoking strong reactions:

"reconstruction and aid pretenses"
What makes you believe that it's just "pretenses"? You and others can ask such questions about US military in Iraq and Afghanistan (though even there foreign troops are _also_ involved in humanitarian aid), but regarding Haiti this insinuation is unjustified IMHO. At the most it would make sense in the context of "past US-American neocolonialism" - but does this apply to the Obama administration?

You add that "i'm not so sure anymore if that would be the worst scenario ..." - so actually chesshire cat is slightly wrong that your (complete) statement was "pretty straightforward"

Several questions arise:
While it's obvious what the very worst scenario would be (no help whatsoever), what would be the best scenario?
What do the people in Haiti think about US-American aid including the military? I would say that is more relevant than "here in America [Argentina or South America?] ... many people concerned and commenting ..."
Why the military? I guess simply because they can get certain things done which other organizations cannot achieve (not that I would blame them).

[Long post, but that's unavoidable if you want to give arguments instead of merely arguing ...]

Now even frend Mr. Thomas come a long to pick on Mr. Manu. Maybey he has No more frend but Mr. Manu float back to surface again. Only my predictoion. I think for my tea now.

Well, our friend Daaim asked about what would happen after the freshness of the horror wear off and i just gave my opinion on what seems to be a possible scenario , that's all.
Since you asked for answers in a polite way i will justify my post , but like i said i really don't want to discuss this topic while the situation is still far from contained.

Thomas:"What makes you believe that it's just "pretenses"? "

USA has already used in the past false pretenses to justify invasions and occupations all over the glove, of course with this im not implying that the current help is a facade , i'm just worrying that it might have a political cost later on given USA's colonialist spirit.

Thomas: "I would say that is more relevant than "here in America [Argentina or South America?] ... many people concerned and commenting ..."

Im not sure whose opinion is more relevant , according to your logic mine would be more important than yours just because of living in the same continent and sharing some background with the people of Haiti ... I don't agree with that at all.
About your question of "Argentina or South America " i can say that the leaders of at least 3 countries (Cuba , Venezuela and Nicaragua) had expressed their concern about a concealed invasion from USA's part , so i guess that is not just me then.
Another example : some people didn't like Hilary Clinton's promise about USA staying in the country in the future , you have to remember that the help that Haiti is receiving comes from a lot of different countries , not just from USA...
Again, im not saying that USA is planing an invasion , just commenting some facts and giving my opinion (as wrong as it might be )of the situation.

I think the people of Haiti would eagerly assent to being taken over by the US, ideally becoming another state, like Hawaii.

I agree with you that it's far too early for such discussions - but you brought them up, motivated by Daaim's comment but I think he is rather afraid of something else, namely that the world will "forget" Haiti again once it no longer dominates news headlines.

I think the geographic distance between Haiti and Buenos Aires is rather irrelevant, and for what it's worth it isn't much less than between Haiti and Amsterdam. (Also not too relevant if there is an ocean or a rain forest in between) "Cultural distance" would be very hard to quantify and rank IMO. I would rather define three groups:
- people from Haiti, but obviously they have other things to do than surf and chat on the Internet (even if there is incidental access to the Web)
- those with personal ties to Haiti. This includes Daaim and, for example on German TV, many people who visited the country in the past and were involved in humanitarian aid. [Should all of them rather catch the next available plane? I don't think so, they can also help a lot with raising money.] Indirectly you belong to that group, as you mentioned friends of yours that went to Haiti after the earthquake and keep in touch with you.
- "everyone else", that's where I belong

So far I think we largely agree. Regarding Hilary Clinton's remark, it takes a lot of bad intentions to interpret it in a 'colonial' way. Yes, many other countries and other organizations are involved (including those with previous experience in Haiti, those who were already there before the quake also suffered a lot), but I would dare to say no _single_ one couldn't be missed. Regarding the US military, they got things done that noone else could do - for example making the airport operational or "as good as it can get". IMO they should stay as long as they are needed and as long as they are welcome (the latter is double-edged, because there are some Haitians who might prefer chaos over some sort of order?).

Regarding Castro, Chavez and the Nicaraguan leader (what's his name?): For me this is the real scandal, they apparently try to use the situation for their notorious anti-American propaganda. (Of course this depends on one's personal political opinion, which side one is leaning towards in the first place). It is unclear how much help those countries provide. Earlier you mentioned that Cuba opened its airspace - for me this isn't really worthwhile mentioning, but it would be a BIG issue if they didn't do so.

BTW, I M Stoopid is wrong or simply stupid: I am not picking on you, just (partly) disagreeing.

Yes Mr. Thomas you right one more again becuase olny you must know what thinks in side you skull so you must of corse be right again and I dafer to you and mabey Mr. Manu do also but.

I sorry I forget of Mr. Manu who must think him self but I do not kown how. By way you seem nice to nto make fun of me.

If you can read spanish i recommend you this article about whose would be happier about the "invasion".


I still cant understand why is that FIDE didn't come up with a decent reaction to this catastrophe ,at least a moment of silence before a tournament's round or some words in their web page were required , i don't know , something.

I M Stoopid,yes ur just stfu, u contribute nothing but innane comments and are a waste of space, either block this moron or many will leave this site due to supreme baby spupidity.

Thx, great artile, muchas gracias. Mucho Gusto Manu.

I am GM stupido, I make comments reatrdo, just talk like a prickido, no nothing of chessido, where else will people liston to my crapola, I have found my audinecio, I am a retardo but chessplayers are my kindio.....

El gusto es mio , thx.

I opine that to get the loans from banks you should present a great reason. But, once I have received a sba loan, because I was willing to buy a bike.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on January 15, 2010 3:37 PM.

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