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Corus 2010 R4: Ready, Aim, Fire on Board

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There it is, the inevitable "fire" title when Alexei Shirov is burning down the house. Of course the Latvian-born Spanish representative is the author of the renown personal game collections "Fire on Board" and "Fire on Board 2, Revenge of the Sith." He scored his fourth consecutive win to start Corus today and takes a full-point lead into tomorrow's free day. Ivanchuk won his second straight to join the chasing pack on +2 with Nakamura and Carlsen. No one else has a plus score. Most of the five draws were interesting efforts, the exception being an Exchange Ruy between Karjakin and Caruana. Even that one was played out well beyond expectation, illustrating the fighting spirit typical of Wijk aan Zee and this year's field in particular.

Shirov-Smeets was a Petroff that looked headed the way of most Petroffs even when Shirov, as if by genetic predisposition, sacrificed a bishop on h6. Smeets defended accurately and Larry Christiansen on Chess.FM expected black to have fine chances with a piece versus White's three kingside pawns. But Smeets is a time-trouble addict, as we saw here last year, and with his king open and his flag nearing tilt he had bad clock problems and even worse Shirov problems. When the smoke cleared after the flurry of moves that came over the relay Black was losing a rook. It was over after 33..Rcd8, which fails to keep the knight from crossing over to the kingside with nasty intentions. 33..Rce8 serves the purpose and should hold, though the position is still very dangerous for Black.

Shirov's +4 matches Kramnik's hot start in 1998. The 37-year-old Shirov has always been a streaky devil, even back in the 90s when he spent most of his time on the high side of the top ten. In recent years his streaks have been more likely to be of losses. Just days after finishing ahead of Carlsen and Topalov to take the MTel, Shirov started the 2009 Poikovsky tournament by losing four straight. He lost the first three at the 2008 Tal Memorial. In 2007, he nearly buried himself in the sand at the Wijk aan Zee beach, starting Corus A with five straight losses. Talk about a way to make a comeback.

We're now seeing the upside of that instability, a relentless dynamism that can turn calm positions into infernos. For those looking ahead to the final standings, it's worth pointing out that Shirov's last three wins have come against three of the four lowest rated players in the field. There are still nine rounds to play and he has yet to meet his three closest pursuers -- Ivanchuk, Carlsen, Nakamura -- or Kramnik and Anand. But you can't do better than 100% and he's playing great chess and gaining confidence all the way, essential for a form player. For a little perspective, at last year's Corus the leaders were on +1 after four rounds and nobody reached +4 at any point!

Speaking of form players on confident streaks, Nakamura passed a big test today by holding world champ Vishy Anand in their first-ever encounter. The American champion played to the crowd with his very first move, 1.d4 f5!, the Dutch Defense, which he just used against Grischuk at the World Teams. If he keeps doing this well with it he may do for the Dutch what Radjabov did for the King's Indian. LarryC was impressed with Nakamura's handling of the initial moves, though he liked the idea of ..b5 for Black instead of 10..a5. Later he was worried that Black's position was falling into the problems that often plague the Dutch: the structural weaknesses remain when the dynamic chances have ended. But Nakamura had a nice tactical resource with 21..Qa5 to hold the balance and the game was soon drawn. Not a bad thing to play against Anand since the champ is new to 1.d4 and has barely ever faced the Dutch in a serious game. (Though he occasionally played it himself as a pup.) Some comments from Hikaru in Wijk aan Zee in this otherwise tyro-oriented piece on the LA Times blog, including some interesting lines about his upcoming big game with Magnus Carlsen. (The author also quotes the spurious "vishyanand" Twitter feed. Unfollow!)

Like the swallows returning to Capistrano, Loek van Wely returned to the Najdorf. And, like swallows being fed into a meat grinder, he was pulverized in 26 moves by Ivanchuk. It was the Dutchman's third straight loss, making a distant memory of the early promise shown by his opening win over Short. van Wely knows his lines, but LarryC was baffled as early as move 12, wondering what Black was supposed to do after 14.e5. Black failed to answer that question in the game. He had to give up the exchange and failed to generate any compensation, resigning on move 26. Painful. It's not clear if van Wely thought he was improving on the topical line with 10..Bb7 11.g4 Be7, played in various recent top games, or if he bungled something by skipping ..Bb7. German GM Jan Gustafsson, who has seconded Loek in the past at Corus and is rooting for him, gave some trenchant commentary on Chess.FM on his friend's devotion to playing the sharpest and most principled lines at all times. He said he thought van Wely was really more of a superior technical player whose rating would jump 60 points were he to play more positional lines. But, he said, the Dutchman enjoys the challenge and the reputation of being a theoretical gunslinger. It also makes him a hit with fans, since he guarantees excitement -- albeit much of it at his own expense.

Kramnik took his second white into Tiviakov and got a hybrid Nimzo-Queen's Indian of the sort Tiviakov knows well. White built up a dangerous attacking formation against the black kingside. Kramnik spent a lot of time shifting his queen over to h3, but it didn't seem to achieve much. Black countered well on the queenside and by the time he played the standard positional lever 22..b4, Kramnik's attack was still going nowhere. Tiviakov won a pawn and promptly got the queens off the board and just like that Kramnik was headed for a big loss with white. He took a last gamble with 27.Bf4 and it paid off when Tiviakov missed 27..f6, which would have forced 28.Nxg6 with a relatively clear technical win ahead. Instead, Kramnik found a lifeline with the piece sac 30.Nxe5! Tiviakov missed his last chance to keep the game alive with 32..Rd8! with an extra pawn. Miracle save by Kramnik.

Against Carlsen, Nigel Short decided to avoid as much theory as can be avoided while still making legal moves. He played the Scandinavian, not really a shocker in a field with Tiviakov. Then he offered the 2..Nf6 gambit line, which Carlsen declined, leading the game into positional channels and a new position by move seven. Short lashed out with 11..f5 and White went to work on the center, daring Black to come up with a decent plan considering his limited space. 19..g5 probably should have landed Short in hot water when the white knight homed in on all the newly weakened squares around the black king. But as soon as Carlsen played the very strong 22.Ng3 the world #1 seemed to begin losing the thread. Direct attack or continue the squeeze? Swap off the Bf6 or not? Of all the options, 23.Qd3?! seems far too slow. 23.Nh5 was much more to the point. Did Carlsen simply miss 24..Nc5? (24..Ne5 was also good.) And what to make of 26.Re2, leaving White with little more than a slight plus in an endgame? The rest was excellent defense by Short and swaps down to a draw. Either we thought too much of White's chances most of the way, or it was a surprisingly weak series of moves by Carlsen to squander a sizable advantage.

The kibitzing on the ICC was about how Kasparov was surely going to take his charge to task for missing a shot at moving to +3. In reality, he was annoyed mostly by the fact that Carlsen apparently played two hours of squash yesterday! I'm not sure the nigh-limitless energy of a 19-year-old should feel any middlegame effects from some rigorous exercise the day before, but it's definitely not on the Botvinnik plan. Long walks and good naps, young man! Carlsen has black against Nakamura after the rest day in one of the most anticipated match-ups of the new year. From that LA Times post linked above:

"Kasparov revolutionized the game with his opening preparation,'' Hikaru said. "And so obviously, that gives Magnus a huge edge.'' ... "If you can avoid walking into that, at the end of the day you're going to be playing a game of chess -- against Magnus, not against Garry,'' Hikaru said.

Start popping your popcorn now! Dominguez-Leko was a typically razor-sharp Marshall line that Leko seemed to have analyzed significantly deeper than his Cuban opponent, based on the clock times. This despite Dominguez varying first from Svidler-Grischuk at the recent Russian Ch with 22.fxe4. Despite the hair-raising complications the computers agree that a repetition was the right result. As usual in the Marshall these days. Karjakin decided to test Caruana in a well-known Ruy Lopez Exchange endgame. White got further than LarryC expected, his king making it all the way up to f6. That still wasn't enough to threaten anything and the defending Corus champion had to settle for his fourth consecutive draw, putting him in the same boat as Kramnik, Anand, and Dominguez.

Round 5 (Thursday): Nakamura-Carlsen, Leko-Anand, Caruana-Dominguez, Tiviakov-Karjakin, Smeets-Kramnik, van Wely-Shirov, Short-Ivanchuk. Get ready to party like it's 1989 as the two oldest participants, Short and Ivanchuk, face off. Shirov will try to go 5/5 against the limping van Wely. Nakamura and Carlsen play for clear second place. Despite coming close several times, Leko hasn't beaten Anand in a classical game in five years, but at least it was at Corus.


I'd love to read your opinions. I'm a fan of Nakamura and the Dutch, but should the World Champion Anand be able to get a win versus 1. ... f5?

Over 1500 of well-redacted chess commentary. Well done, my boy.

Since the Dutch does not lose by force, it depends on how well Black plays.

This is awesome chess!

My opinion on the dutch as a lifetime 1.d4 player is it provides as close as possible to zero percent chances for black to win like .00000001 but gives extremely high drawing chances. It is like playing for one result as black (draw) while white has teh comfort of two results (win or draw).

OH MAN, how did Mig miss this gaff in the LA article?

"That's sure to be a crowd-pleaser. The two are the game's most exciting personalities. Hikaru may be the more dynamic player, honing his tactical skill through countless informal games of speech chess."

SPEECH CHESS BABY! Hahaha that has to rank as one of the more embarrassing and hilarious chess journalism errors in a while. Speed - speech... they both start with the same four letters.

I wasn't proofing it, just pulling the nice quotes. I don't think their blog entries go through a copy editor and you'll always have loads of typos when posting your own stuff. Speaking from experience here. You just don't see it because you know what you meant and your brain fills it in no matter how many times you look at it.

As for the Dutch, it's not exactly the Benoni, but you are at least going to get a positionally unbalanced game without a lot of early swaps. At the GM level its drawing percentage is around eight points lower than the more popular responses to 1.d4. Again, this may partially be due to the fact that GMs who don't usually play it may play the Dutch when in dire need of a win with black, making a decisive game more likely. As a commentator I like it because it's something different to talk about. There's little point in trying to get into the super-subtle details of the latest QID move orders when you have seven games to cover and few will care anyway.

And surprise is a virtue of its own. Anand beat Nikolic's Dutch at Corus in 2000... Reinderman played it in the B a few times last year and Nijboer did the same in the C.

Cool report , thx.
I don´t want to comment about the pyromaniac, i´m enjoying his lead too much to risk jinxing it.
Nakamura´s interview is very interesting indeed , and after all the heated discussions is nice to hear from himself when actually was that his preparation became really ¨serious¨...
I also agree with him about Carlsen ´s edge , in fact it is hard to think of another player in the whole history of the game with a bigger advantage than him , i always wonder what the situation would be if (lets say) Aronian was the one training with Garry.
I´m eagerly waiting Nakamura´s game with Carlsen , Hikaru seems to have what it takes to make him nervous , in case that´s still possible.

I believe this is the first time squash is mentioned by Mig in the dirt report.

Wow, Magnus playing 2 hours of squash prior to playing round 4 is quite a feat.

Now I'm rooting for Chucky (as always) and Magnus (if just due to his squash).

5/5 is possible too,,,with the weakening van Wely.

Interesting factoid from Wikipedia: Anand also holds the record of most consecutive games played at Corus without a loss (70 — from 1998–2004).

Thank you for the wonderful, insightful reporting Mig. Superlative as usual. Excelsior!

yea this Mig guy gets better with age.

geez. y'all oughta get a room.

ok, he's cool. but sheesh.

Shirov as streaky player.

Anyone have the statistical analysis to back up the assumption that Shirov does indeed play in streaks? I ask because streakiness in other sports has often been debunked.

well said. I wasn't trying to proof the article either but SPEECH just jumps off the page like neon pink. You had to have a little laugh over it?

Yes, it's very possible for Shirov to beat van Wely tomorrow. However, the rest day may have allowed van Wely time to reorient himself. Also, van Wely does have the benefit of playing with the white pieces.

Bad to have white peices becuase they keep losing if off balanse from fisrt move.

Do yourself a favour, watch this:


It's Svidler's take on Short-Nakamura. Svidler is a pure genious a commentator, he is the best. Amazing.

A propos "speech" article, Anand doesn't use Twitter, his profile is fake.

Svidler is astonishing. Who else right now has his impeccable credentials, articulateness, and genius for making the game seem both simpler and more complex than you ever thought possible?

I just tried to listen to Svidler analysis but could barely hear him because of loud voices babbling in the background. What was that about? I lasted only about 2-1/2 minutes, then gave up because of the background noise.

You must have been listening to something different. There is no background noise in Svidler's analysis.

I have been using English as a second language for over 50 years now, and I just wish I could use it as well as Peter Svidler...

CentrKentr: I remember some audio difficulties at the beginning of the broadcast, but it clears up after a little while (no more than 5 mins, I think). Definitely worth persevering...

I have been using English as a first language for more than fifty years now and wish it I could use it as well as Peter Svidler...

I'll second playjunior's comments. I'm amazed that Chessbase hasn't given Svidler a contract for a series of DVD's. He's quite good!

Agree, Svidler is the Cosell of chess. That link is good, but the page has other games that start automatically and once those are stopped I had no problems at all. Shirov is like Moro he likes to feed on the catfish...Naka has played great doubt he will but if he finishes in the top 3 it would be the biggest result for an american since RJF imho. Still early though and Kramnik, Anand, and Carlsen are still the class of this event, for now.

Shirov feeds on a lot more than catfish. So Kramnik is the "class of the event" with four draws to Shirov's four wins?? A little over a decade ago he did to Kramnik exactly what the latter did to Kasparov: defeated him in a match without suffering a single loss. His heart and career were busted after Kasparov helped rip him off and deny him his rightful shot at the crown, but he will never be a Wijk bottom feeder. His peak is behind him, but he remains the most exciting attacker since Tal and the strongest endgame artist among the super-GMs. Your "class of the event" is Alexei Shirov.

"His peak is behind him,"
Maybe not , we have a world champion in the 40s , and our game is certainly in debt with him.

Will Kramnik allow Smeets an easy Petroff half point? Should be a must win game for Vlad and I'm hoping he comes out swinging.....

I have been using English as a second language for about 10-15 years now, and I'm pretty sure I can use it better than Peter Svidler...

I have been using English as a second language for about 10-15 years now, and I'm pretty sure I can use it as well as Peter Svidler...

I still can't get the hang of not double posting, however. :/

You just have :-)

The amount of insight Svidler manages to pass to the viewer is immense, yet it is so simple and well structured. It is as if he has prepared for the thing for a whole month.

Does anyone know when is the next broadcast with him on ICC?

"to feed on the catfish"
Would one of you Americans be kind enough to explain the meaning of this to me?

Catfish are bottom-dwellers, so "feeding on the catfish" means winning against those who are on the bottom, i.e., by rating or performance in the particular tournament; I suppose whoever said it is saying, in effect, "sure, Shirov's beating the easy marks now, but wait until he meets the stronger players..."
Being a long-time fan of Shirov's, I'm hoping he's wrong and that Shirov continues his winning ways, perhaps so much so that he might even earn himself an invitation to the next Candidates final tournament(?!). Wouldn't that be a kick...!

Shirov needs to win against van Wely. And post here.

"Being a long-time fan of Shirov's"

With such a surname, you just had too, didn't you?

Anyway, that makes two of us, beeing a long-time fan of Shirov.


Kramnik played 1...d6 against e4! I hope he's not trying too hard to prove his critics wrong.

In the latest Chesspro report Tiviakov got to say something you can't say too often (unless you're Anand): http://chesspro.ru/_events/2010/weik3.html

"Kramnik wasn't prepared in the opening, and didn't go for the main lines. He chose a sideline and then didn't know what to do. We ended up with a position where white had to play for an attack and give mate. If he couldn't give mate then positionally white would be bad. And as I played solidly, defending against direct threats, Kramnik eventually ended up "lost". I thought that I was winning by force, but in time trouble I missed the moves h3 and Be4."

And Shirov is Shirov again, even with the black pieces (8.-g5, 9.-g4, 10.-h5). Van Wely and Short tomorrow are "his last catfishes" - but if he does well in these games (at least concerning the results) draws against the upper half of the field might be enough to finish at or near the top in the end.
However, it's too late to qualify for the next candidates tournament (unless he applies for Azeri citizenship!?).

Shirov has certainly come out swinging. Is 8..g5 theory?
Kramnik's choice is astute..whatever happens Smeets will flag or blunder trying to reach TC.

No one is better at bringing the funk in seemingly innocuous positions than our two favorite young'ns, Naka and Carlsen.

Short, having been asked if he were satisfied with a draw against Carlsen...

"Satisfied? Why should I be satisfied with a draw against a kid? I’m a grandmaster with 25 years of experience!"

Funny stuff. He also said something like "I thought he might play a Scottish against an Englishman, so I played a Scandanavian against a Norwegian."

Gotta love this stuff.


I thought there's a spot left open in the Candidates' tournament for invitation by FIDE (or the organizers?!) which is non-rating-dependent (I think the only stipulation is that the candidate must be >2700), no?! Thus far the candidates are: Aronian, Kamsky, the loser of the Anand-Topalov match, Gelfand, Kramnik, Carlsen (please correct me if I'm wrong)(as though someone wouldn't, on this blog! Sheesh!), right? That leaves 2 spots open, it would seem. I think one of them is whoever comes in runner-up (to Aronian) in the Grand Prix series (& is there going to be another one in the series, as was originally planned for 2009? Or is that idea cancelled? Anyone know?) & the other is by special invitation (which I think a lot of people figured likely would be Radjabov, as he's from the host country of the tournament, if I remember correctly).

Ha ha is Funny. He one time called Kasparov the Ape.

Naka's position is looking kind of Morphyesque.

Yep, Kramnik's opening seems to have worked perfectly. You'd think it would be drawish and equal enough for Smeets to get by even with low time (15 mins for 22 moves), but Kramnik's "little combination" with Bxc2 keeps the position sharp and tactical. On move 19 Rybka doesn't want to take the c pawn, but it's certainly something you need some time to think over as a human!

It is nice to see Morphy he very good and win easily.

Complete info about the prospect candidates to the idem tournament (with predictions) here: http://www.chessninja.com/boards/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=149819#Post149819

To the best of my knowledge (and public knowledge in general?) your list is correct. The last GP tournament is "tentatively" scheduled for Arpil this year or so [it was planned for the second half of December 2009, but that would have been right after the World Cup].

But as far as I know, the open spot (wildcard) will be nominated by the organizers; that's why I wrote - in jest - that Shirov might apply for Azeri citizenship. Actually they already have three to choose from: Radjabov (longest world top standing), Gashimov (Azeri #1 on the current official list) or Mamedyarov (currently Azeri #1 on the live rating list) - so it's rather unlikely that they pick a foreigner? Radjabov or Gashimov can still qualify via the GP.

BTW, while I also like Shirov's play, there would be other candidates for the spot if it was open to everyone >2700 - for example Ivanchuk who, like Shirov, had a mix of great, mediocre and donwright bad results in the recent past.

I see game Smeets has he gone a sleep or gone paralized. Look like skuleton and Kramnik look like monster from space.

Thanks...I thought it was something like that; and I agree that Chucky would be a great candidate as well, of course. And although the 3 Azeris you mentioned are all great players, I (and a lot of other people!) would much prefer seeing Shirov as a candidate, especially considering how he lost his title shot vs. Kasparov years ago (and this might be his last shot at being a candidate considering his age, though who knows...?! At any rate, the 3 Azeris [3 Amigos?!] are all considerably younger and so will presumably have more chances in the years to come...).

Speaking of Morphy, I was appalled to see that the Fritz 12 database (with over 1.5 million games) comes with all of 12 Morphy games - exactly 2 games with White. And they are not even his most famous or best games ... Wonder if this is an oversight, carelessness or deliberate

I see Nakamura make unhappy face and Carlsen walk around and put hand on hip pose. Also see wolf man.

I don't have a computer, but isn't Carlsen going to die of an overwhelming kingside attack (or lose a piece) in a few moves?

No Carlsen do not die but Nakamura has bad troble with pawn. I also see big eye glass fight for Leko and Anand.

It looks like Shirov has underestimated his opponent. The exchange sacrifice of Van Wely looks very strong.

Leko and Anand go away to happy talk and Shirov must soon bomb up Van Wely bad. I see aslo Nakamura almost cry tears from his eye. Morph has only 12 game that way not enough he was champion.

Wow. Shirov taking the e-pawn with his queen is most Rybka-like.

It was amazing how fast Nakamura and Carlsen played the moves to get into the ending - I got the impression Nakamura wanted to show he hadn't just blundered the pawn on d5 and Carslen wanted to show he'd seen through Nakamura's attempt to keep the attack going... though Sakaev on Chesspro thought 24...Nb4 was better. (Of course it's probably just that all of the tactics were just fairly obvious to both of them!) Either side could still win the unusual ending.

Carlsen has him self on Nakamura side of board and Nakamura must stop or he become a squish. He must say to Carlsen stay on your side becusae this side my and that side your but all he do is nothing.

I count 5 pawn Krmanik but olny 4 pawn Smeets. So he must lose soon I think or his clock go out.

Horeary for Nakamura now he comes out from his hole to fight away the black pieces. No more hiding away.

I count not so many. Why do Carlsen give away pawn. He must be afraid becuase hear come Nakamura from hiding away to say go away from me and go back to your side. I nto see Carlsen any more making picture of him self.

Other games not good they are not good. Sorry to tell they are nto good. Nakamura has king very big and powerfil gone to mopping away Carslen. Ha ha. Fisrt you come on my side and now I eat you to little crumbly pieces. But still Nakamura could of corse make bumbdler and lose.

Smeets plays like Fraidy cat against the big boys. Maybe he should read "Chess for tigers" before the next round.

In an almost unheard of development Smeets' position has collapsed while trying to play on increments again...

Sirov win easly and also Kranmik and Short must soon gubble up Ivanchuk pieces and I forget others but I think nto important. Now I go back to watch. I also get hungry.

Smmets must be a corpseul. Some one must help him. Yes I think it true that he fraidy cat. I sorry so I do not say any more.

Deja vu for Shirov: time control has been reached, the smoke has cleared and he's an exchange up (cf. Leko-Shirov in round 1).

Shirov win so easy and also Short. Nakamura nto so easy bu he will cry if nto win. At least he not fraidy cat ha ha. Mabey only Smeets if fraidy cat alos mabey Anand who is not so much good any more. At least that what I think but who can say.

I see Domingez still play and wonder why he keep playing. Same for Ivanchuk. Mabey Domingex and Smmeets and Wely and Anand should go away to play own tornament so others can play big tornament. Also Tivikov go awy too. I forget Leko he can go too. All fraidy cat tornament ha ha. I sorry to tell. I go away too bell rings.

Shirov completely won. Short spoiled something, kibitzers on chesspro.ru say it is a draw as of now but Chucky indeed has to fight for it.

Naka should be winning; seems Carlsen is going to lose the b-pawn if white plays precisely. Russian commentators say Naka is playing the endgame fine. No jinxing, go Naka.

Nakmura bumble away and Short bumble too. I knew Shirov win against weak Van Vely. He musch stronger than the weak. Mabey I forget of Caruna who also win but soon will lose to strong. Domingez is way too weak like Smeets and Van Wely weak.

I wish for Nakmura to move becuase I wait so long and he do nothing. He may think of mistake to play because he crying. I hope not.

Can someone other than Stupid comment on the Naka/Carlsen game? :)

Nakamura must be big draw soon chop chop chop all gone then talk talk talk. They must soon stop. I sorry I say too much mabey I go.

Carlsen and Naka do have a sense of humor ... playing till B vs N endgame :-)

Ha ha like I say all chop away and no thing left even me draw so simple stop. They must both cry to pieces. All pooped and tired like sleepy heads. Mabey Nakamura must cry the most but who can say.

Is it true that Shirov's rating performance actually decreased after beating Van Wely?

Oh no Caruna play like baby. Now he must go cry some place and cry.

Didn't LarryC share first at Linares one year?

I M Stoopid - Please stop posting, you're making my eyes bleed.

Cuarano missed many easy wins last on 47 g6 check and mate in three I believe. Naka tried but beating Carlsen is getting to be impossible, which K is his coach? Van Wely was winning but that does not stop him usually. Oh yes we definitely need more cowbell (el stupido), cant have enough cowbell.

Some people can't feel the moment when something that was mildly amusing for a short while becomes tedious and tiresome.

This moment was some time ago, stoopid.

This sets up a nice clash tomorrow - Anand vs Carlsen. Vishy desperate for a win, Carlsen needs one to get back into the chase.

I think Anand would be content to draw the rest of the games :-). He is aiming at the WC match in April and trying not to reveal anything.

A modest proposal: The organisers should take out Smeets and van Wely and replace them immediately with Giri. Smeets and van Wely can play on in Corus B where they will be more at home, it will be a great break for Giri.

How many tournaments is that we've had in recent years where a favourite plays with one arm tied behind his back due to an forthcoming more important event?

van Wely's Qc2 today showed that he somehow doesn't care about the result. Showing "I can hold my own against Shirov in any kind of complications" seemed more important to him than going into an endgame where his advantage was crystal-clear, and the danger of misplaying the position - minimal.

Carlsen @ press conference: "I have to credit him for declining a draw after Rd3. He was pressing for a win the whole game. In a short time Hikaru has become one of my main rivals.”


this would normally happen only if the more important event is WC-related matches. I don't think it happens at regular super-tournaments.

"In a short time Hikaru has become one of my main rivals.”

"I´m eagerly waiting Nakamura´s game with Carlsen , Hikaru seems to have what it takes to make him nervous , in case that´s still possible."

So is all over now tomorow play again. I try nto to talk so much tomorow. I too ecited today for some reason.

Shirov > Kramnik. Hmm lets see one has been World Champion for what 8 years. The other is an exciting up and down player, more comparable to Moro than Kramnik who once went what 2 years without losing a single game!! Shirov deprived only himself if he was not Kaspy's biouch (what was that record (0 WINS 11 LOSES)) Cry me a river...time to put your clubfoot back in your mouth. Comparing Shirov to Kramnik, hint...write less and your ignorance will be less obvious.

"In a short time Hikaru has become one of my main rivals.”"
Indeed, a short time in between London and Corus ...

BTW, in an interview before the tournament Smeets said he would strive for 50%, but would be happy to repeat last year's 6/13 score. This result indicated that he is not (always) completely out of place in the A group, as his current standing [and jaideepblue's comment] might imply. And - if he can regain some self-confidence - the worst may be behind him: he has already played all of the strongest players but Anand. But a final 50% score would require wins against all of Van Wely, Short, Tiviakov and Caruana!?

Conversely, Shirov played most of the nominally weaker players - I dare to predict that he will not keep his 100% score until the end of the tournament.
Kramnik also played tailenders so far: in a best-case scenario (for him), he can still win games that matter most!? It would mean "doing a Topalov" and becoming stronger as the event progresses..

There is no doubt that Kramnik in his top form is stronger that Shirov. However, now Shirov is who is walking over everyone, and the way Kramnik was going down against Tiviakov shows we probably aren't going to see Tal-memorial magic this time. So I'd say if Shirov has white he is a clear favourite, if he has black maybe Kramnik is a slight favourite.

I predict 100 for Shirov. I forgot of Topalov. He must hide away some place but where. Mabey he watch in side his room. Most of time it is you who can say.

Earlier in this thread I mentioned audio difficulties when I tried to listen to Svidler's analysis of Short-Nakamura. Just tried again and had no problem. I agree that Svidler is a great commentator: understandable and thorough without overwhelming the listener with endless variations.

Your own ignorance would show less in turn if you figured out how to spell your own name, Jockson.

So to sum up your argument: the Shirov-Kramnik match never happened, Moro has a fine WC final qualifier match record, Shirov deserved to get defrauded and denied the title shot he earned simply because Kasparov was undefeated against him, and at 5-0 Shirov is the Corus bottom-feeder so there are no plans to award him any prizes if he places first in the tournament.

Got it, and good luck with that name.

Anyone insulting my son will answer to me. So lay off.

What you gonna do, brighty? Shoot us all? Like father, like son... Or viceversa.

I advise you to gird your loins, son. Though it don't take no genies to realize that even that ain't gonna protect you from me and my associates. Quite the contrary, actually.

"now Shirov is who is walking over everyone, and the way Kramnik was going down against Tiviakov ..."
There are two dangers or obstacles to objective assessments of any given game, it seems you combine both:
- annotating a game by the result
- being influenced by sympathies or antipathies for one or the other player.

Kramnik was worse, maybe lost against Tiviakov because his earlier ambitious play didn't work out as planned. By Shirov's own admission, the same was true for Shirov-Smeets - he called his piece sacrifice a blunder, and most probably he was right. Both players succeeded to avoid losing, Shirov even got the full point - whether he earned or deserved it remains a matter of taste.
Kramnik's "Tal Memorial magic" also included games (against Gelfand and Ponomariov) where he was, or could have been worse at some stage. That's part and parcel of a risky style - moving back to Corus, the only strange thing is giving praise to Shirov and criticising Kramnik for what's basically the same thing .... .

offtopic >
Thomas since you were asking about Shirov's girlfriend the other day , you might want to check out the pictures of this article from spanish Chessbase .

Im not good for the gossip thing , i forgot to include the link...

I can't help thinking that Henrik Carlsen's game in the simul got just a tiny little bit more attention than he might have liked :)

Thomas while I agree that the eval. of the position may go up and down in any given game.

I think what makes a difference is whether the player is generally in control of the situation. Kramnik was in control against Pono (speaking in some abstract terms), while he wasn't against Tiviakov. That is what probably shows whether you are in a good form: if you get the better side of the complications, consistently, you are a candidate to win the tournament. In this regard, so far, Shirov > Kramnik. I'm saying this being a devoted fan of Big Vlad.

I am not a gossip person either - well maybe I am or at least notice such things!? For example, it caught my attention that Van Wely's wife was constantly around at Corus in 2008, but not in 2009. As it turned out, at that stage Marion was his "(future) ex-wife" ... and he had already met his current girlfriend at the 2008 Dresden Olympiad.

Regarding Shirov, his private life is still on-topic at least to some extent, because it affects his play. There is empirical evidence given by Gert Ligterink in the newspaper article I quoted, and Shirov himself is rather frank in his books. This is from "Fire on the Board II" on what happened right after his match win against Kramnik:

"When I returned to my house in Tarragona I found it empty. ... The same day I learnt that the main bank account had been 'cleaned' by my already ex-wife. ... The divorce procedure is always tough ... . I had to forget completely about studying chess for a period of time, and ... it would have been wise to cancel my participation in the Dortmund tournament ... . But sometimes it isn't easy not to fulfill your contractual obligations. Going to Dortmund was a grave error; it would have been better to try to reach an agreement with the organizers at any cost. ... I scored just 2 1/2 points from 9 games ... and finished in last place. The chess magazines immediately ran the headline 'Kramnik up (he was the winner), Shirov down'. My worst suspicions, that they would 'reclaim' the Cazorla result, unfortunately became true two years later."

[Shirov's understandable personal view - while I won't come up with a judgement or blame anyone involved, such issues (Shirov's poor results after Cazorla) made a match against Kasparov less attractive for sponsors, it wasn't just his poor career score against GK.]

Later in the preface there is a more cheery passage on how he met his second wife Victoria Cmilyte. His second divorce postdates the period covered in the book (1997-2004).

I agree that form matters - a player in form can score even from bad positions (which means that he made some bad moves before).

In an interview roughly a year ago, Shirov was asked why he is nowadays avoiding complications/why there is less "Fire on the Board" in his games. His answer was "I do not avoid complications, I just avoid bad complications" - adding that he often survived or even won such games in the past. I think (not sure about it) that he further said his chess understanding has improved over the years. In a way, the Shirov we see at Corus resembles his style in the early part of his career - at least the game against Smeets??

Today, Shirov took some sort of a break - well, 6/6 may be too much to ask. And Kramnik's form may have come back, were Smeets and Van Wely the right opponents at this very moment? Today's game seems 'vintage Kramnik' to me - he didn't only _appear_ to be in control, but he actually was objectively spoken for the entire game? To the extent that a patzer like me can say so ... .

You must nto say you patzer. That like saying you stink bumbad. Come on be plaer and not patzer. Not baby paly like little babys today thuogh becuase we all get sicken of that.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on January 19, 2010 6:17 PM.

    Corus 2010 R3: It's a Black Thing was the previous entry in this blog.

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