Greengard's ChessNinja.com

Ivanchuk Leads Amber

| Permalink | 165 comments

Again. The newly 41-year-old Ukrainian wizard started out this year's Amber tournament with a 2-0 win over Carlsen. Then he kept up a solid pace -- he's still undefeated -- only to watch Carlsen's string of seven wins in a row pass him by. But Carlsen's excellent imitation of an unstoppable killing machine was dispelled at last and he lost today's mini-match with Gashimov, allowing Ivanchuk to again take over the overall lead by a half-point. Ivanchuk won this event the first time it was played, way back in 1992, if you stretch the facts a bit. That event was a double round-robin of rapid only; they didn't add the blindfold set until the following year, when, inky bait, Ljubo Ljubojevic won. It's still a nice testament both to Ivanchuk's longevity and his brilliance. Gelfand is a year older and isn't doing too badly either, tied for 3-4th with Karjakin a point behind Carlsen.

Aronian is the two-time defending champ at Amber but at this point he could play the blindfold with sight of the board and still not contend. Today in the 7th round he got greedy and was blown away by Kramnik in instructive fashion. Big Vlad hasn't been up to his usual fantastic standard in the blindfold either, losing more games so far, three, than in his last three appearances combined. Carlsen has shown remarkable skill and tenacity in the endgame several times, overpowering opponents from equal positions. In the sixth he won a wildly complicated tactical battle against Gelfand in the rapid out of a King's Indian. (Even Kramnik gave the KID a try against Gelfand a few days earlier. Probably won't repeat that experiment any time soon.) Gelfand missed an lovely perpetual check draw with 37.Ra8+ Nc8 38.Rxc8+! Bxc3 39.Qg6+ Rf7 40.Qg8+ Ke7 41.d6+! Kxd6 and both taking the rook and Qd8+ draw as long as White is precise.

The KID wasn't Kramnik's only opening surprise with black. After he dropped his usual Petroff for the Pirc to beat Smeets at Corus, the former world champ made some jokes about it, which I heard as light-hearted sarcasm but that others thought was a little tasteless. But he's played or offered the Pirc several more times at Amber and even allowed Smeets another crack at it in the blindfold. Bad idea. Perhaps Smeets picked up the book on the Pirc Kramnik said he picked up in Wijk aan Zee before their last game. He played the aggressive Austrian attack this time, although for a while it looked like he was again outplayed in the opening. Kramnik got his knights tangled up when he missed a clever shot that exposes the lack of coordination of the white pieces. A sighted LarryC also missed it, but the computer finds the geometry easily, of course. 14..Bxc3! 15.Bxc2 Qa6! and suddenly White is in trouble. 16.Rd1 Qe2 is obnoxious, so White might have to find 16.Kg1!? and Black is doing well. After that chance passed Kramnik was down a piece and Smeets played exceptionally well fending off Kramnik's creative kitchen sink attack for his first Amber win. No comment from Kramnik about whether or not he wished he'd played the Petroff.

The official site is doing its usual excellent job of putting up daily reports and there are amazing videos courtesy of Peter Doggers of ChessVibes.com, Macauley Peterson and ICC Chess.FM. I haven't had time to catch them all, but the post-mortems alone are great.


I heard Smeets is working with the Topalov team. This may explain Kramnik's jokes...

"No comment from Kramnik about whether or not he wished he'd played the Petroff."

I know it's a joke, but he did actually give some interesting comments on his experiments with black in the first of the videos linked to in this Chessbase report:

He mentions playing every black game for a win, taking too many risks and not really playing the position - instead he's been trying to confuse his opponents in drawn positions, e.g. with the crazy sacrifice on g4 against Grischuk. Unfortunately as he mentioned his opponents are quite good and trying to confuse them hasn't worked out too well! (even against Smeets who hadn't won a game till that point).

He said he was thinking of changing his approach for the second half of the tournament, but then his black game against Aronian was truly wild. It's a shame he didn't hold onto the win as he'd be right back in the fight for first place. Now he realistically needs to beat Carlsen and Ivanchuk, which could be tricky...

It must be the tenth time i hear Kramnik complaining about having too many blacks on a tournament , in fact he is the only GM i ever heard who uses that excuse .
But the important thing is that he is not against Kirsan , or Putin or Menguele ...

Just how blind are these blindfold games?

Very good interview with Vlad Kramnik.
He is not complaining about having more blacks than whites. He is just stating the obvious that 3 black out of 4 is more difficult than 1 or 2 black out of 4. Maybe that is to Difficult to understand for MANU.

Computer screens with 64 squares only. Moves made by mouse click. Last move transmitted to opponent. Or where you being sarcastic? It's rampant on this blog.

Why should it be a disadvantage playing black in blindfold? You do not see the pieces, not even their color ... .

It is , thx for explaining it to me , i was under the false impression that it was one of his most cherished excuses when underperforming , my bad.
Today he has (blindfold) black against Carlsen again , oh the humanity!
At least he has no problems with Kirsan , or Putin or Pol Pot...

Top Chessplayer Wholly to Blame for Faults of Various Regimes, UN declares.
And Not Only That, But All Other Bad Things Too.

Dedicated to K&K, with love

Friends will be friends,
When you're in need of (a candidate spot) love they give you care and attention,
Friends will be friends,
When you're through with (chess)life and all hope is lost,
Hold out your hand cos friends will be friends (right till the end)

I *thought* I read/heard that after they make the move, the piece briefly appeared on the screen, confirming that when you thought you moved a knight, it really was a knight.

Although it would be puzzling if the computer let you move a different piece in that particular (knight-like) manner...

Strange but true:

--Playing a match in the opponent's home country gives Anand an advantage. (Topalov)

--Playing the black pieces in a blindfold game gives Kramnik an advantage. (Carlsen-Kramnik)

Yes and he crushed carlsberg hahah

Is magoose playing the rapid game blindfold - the Bxe5+ sac was coming from a mile away? Or is this his bug crushing rapid style :)

"The good player is always lucky"

Awesome (swindling?) technique by Carlsen to draw the rapid game against Kramnik. Kramnik is not supposed to not win games like that. Tough, inspired play by Carlsen.

That would be the entire point of considering it a lame excuse , especially in blindfold , hahaha.

And BTW , im glad Kramnik won his mini match with Carlsen , it was me the one who brought the crush ¨Kramnik like a bug¨ here , remember?

Speaking about the Amber website and the video footage they have there, I cannot help but notice that Karjakin is 'seconded' by his mom. Same as earlier this year at Corus. While meantime Sergey is married and can travel alone, to leave home his wife and take your mother for a pleasure trip is still odd...
Madame Karjakin (the mother), on the other hand, is still hot, and if she's actually looking for a date with a foreigner (just noticing that Karjakin Sr is doing laundry somewhere in Ukraine) I can make myself available for that. She is about my age and while her son is left to battle Kramnik and co., me and her may have a couple of hours to try presenting Sergey with a sibling.

"While meantime Sergey is married and can travel alone, to leave home his wife and take your mother for a pleasure trip is still odd..."

Well Kasparov's mother followed him around for his whole career, so maybe it's just a chess thing :)

Karjakin's wife was playing in Euro championship in Rijeka.

"I had some chances again, but I did not take them, and lost like a complete idiot."

-Fresh blog entry by Carlsen, regarding his games today against Kramnik. Seems he has loosen up his language a bit. The postings from Amber has been longer and less "corporate", than his Corus blog.
Cudos to Carlsen for being the only GM writing a blog every day during his tournaments.

Anybody notice that Carlsen's blog has gotten noticeably more interesting in this tournament? Much more personal comment. I hope he continues in the same vein.

Quite agree with Bobby Fiske, Carlsen's blog has gotten noticeably more interesting in this tournament. Much more personal comment. I hope he continues in the same vein.

Yes Carlsen's blog got more entertaining, but I wonder if he _ever_ gives _any_ credit to his opponent? When he loses, it's always "I blundered" or "I played like an idiot", never "he [Ivanchuk, Gashimov, Kramnik] played well".
Of course, blunders (from both sides) are part of rapid and blindfold games - but to win a game it usually also takes some good, "decent" or "reasonable" moves or plans .... ['decent' and 'reasonable' is taken from Carlsen's blog vocabulary]

Magnus´s blog in couple of months:

B1tch I'ma kill(mate) you! You don't wanna f··k with me
Girls neither - you ain't nothing but a slut to me
B1tch I'ma kill(mate) you! You ain't got the balls to beef
We ain't gonna never stop beefing I don't squash the beef

Nice to see he acknowledged our humble critics and fired the robot , though.

Yep, I noticed that. For instance in the Kramnik-Carlsen game computers were giving Kramnik a +0.8 edge or so if he'd played 24. Ba3 instead of 24. Bc3 (though obviously immediately taking that diagonal worked out pretty well!). Carlsen's position was hardly great before his blunder.

By the way, one poster claimed the following on the Chesspro forum, but from the smiley face and so on it's very likely just an invention:

On the 58th move Kramnik didn't put his king down clearly so it was slightly between squares. He was trying to move it to d1 but Carlsen thought it was on e1 and sacrificed his rook (because of the bishop fork). Eventually they accepted it was on e1... But again, unless anyone can corroborate that I wouldn't take it seriously.

The story about Kramnik's 58th move may well be true: The live transmission initially gave 58.Kd1. So the electronic board was also confused, as were the ICC commentators GMs Har-Zvi and Benjamin: first about 58.-Bd4 (58.-Be3 would make more sense with the king on d1), then about 60.-Ra5: (?? as white's king was still supposedly on d1) which they considered a transmission error. Later they quoted (our fellow blogger) Yermo who also suggested that white's king may have been between squares ... . A few minutes of confusion followed: the remaining moves weren't transmitted live (too fast to be recorded?), eventually the white king "moved" to e1 and 1/2 appeared on the screen.

Actual corroboration could only come from the players, or from someone who was watching live in Nice - if that person was able to see the board rather than the monitor.

Oh I think he's going to develop more in the Kerouac line of poetic declamation:

"The only moves for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to sac, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones that never draw or give a commonplace position, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow Roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars, and in the middle, you see the blue center-light pop, and everybody goes ahh...Lost to Kramnik again, never play anyone over 30!"

It would explain the strange Ke1, though Kramnik had already gone astray a bit by then, so it's possible it was just another blunder. The thing is, it would be an odd incident for both Carlsen and the official commentator to ignore when commenting on the game!?

Great post , thx.

58.Ke1 wasn't that strange, nor does it seem to be a blunder: The obvious 58.Kd1 runs into 58.-Be3 59.Ke1 (what else?) Bd2+ also picking up the a-pawn, and any other king move cannot avoid a repetition - unless white wants to lose his knight trying to escape via h4 ... .

According to Dennis Monokroussos, Carlsen's 58.-Bd4 was actually a mistake ("a brilliant blunder!?") because he analyzes 59.Rd5+ exchanging rooks to a win for white. But - his own writing - he isn't 100% sure. The ICC live commentators considered this line and didn't reach a definite conclusion - they were in a similar situation as the players themselves!? Though they had engine assistance, but I don't know how helpful that is in the given situation ... . The issue for Kramnik (and Carlsen) wasn't finding 59.Rd5+ [they probably did] but assessing it correctly.

As to why the possible incident isn't officially mentioned: maybe it wasn't such a big deal. Kramnik and Carlsen are rivals but no enemies - but imagine if something similar happened between Kramnik and Topalov ... .

"The obvious 58.Kd1 runs into 58.-Be3 59.Ke1 (what else?)"

59. Nb4 is the move to avoid the rook fork there. I agree Kd1 wasn't losing, but it's questionable technique to put your king on the same colour as the bishop (similarly the a6 move that most patzers would have played would have ensured the pawn a long life).

59. Rd5+ does seem to be winning, though initially it looks as though the black king might eat up the kingside pawns while the bishop stops the passed pawn. Actually almost anything that Kramnik chose except for allowing that simple fork should have won in the end. And he could have tread water to build up some time to think - but of course it's easy to say from the sidelines!

"59. Nb4 is the move ..."
It may also be questionable technique to put a piece (knight or rook) on the same color as the bishop!? ,:) At the very least, black can continue to annoy: 59.-Rd2+ 60.Ke1 Rb2. Now pushing the a-pawn and sacking the knight doesn't help - black will have to return the piece but can eliminate the passer. 61.Kf1 Rf2+ 62.Kg1 Rb2+ 63.Kh1 doesn't look appealing ... . This leaves 61.Rd5+ Kc7 (only move) 62.Nd3 Ra2. Now 63.f5 gf5: 64.gf5: Bg5 is still a matter of lengthy technique. 63.Re5 Bd2+ 64.Kd1 (64.Kf1 Kd6 65.Re2 Ra1+) 64.-Ba5: 65.Re7+ Kd6 66.Rh7: so far so good 66.-Rd2+ oops.
Maybe I found a win with 63.h4 Bd2+ 64.Kd1 Ba5: 65.f5 gf5: 66.gf5: Rd2 67.Rd5 Kc6 68.f6 Kd5: 69.f7 Rd3: 70.f8Q - can we expect a Kramnik to find something like this with seconds on the clock?

- Everything seems to be winning "in the end", but black has numerous resources. (Probably this was also Kramnik's problem - he knew that the position MUST be winning and didn't even consider that it might be drawn in some lines)
- It isn't that easy to avoid "that simple fork" all the time ... . To me it seems that white has to allow it at some stage, and promote the f-pawn rather than the a-pawn - but one has to realize that THIS is the way forward.

[Of course I am just an amateur, but maybe a patzer spending an hour on the position shuffling pieces around sees more than a super-GM in a few seconds? At least I put less and less blame on Vlad for failing to convert his advantage. And maybe my analyses will help me if ever I reach a similar position in one of my own games - club competition starts in an hour ,:) ]

I very much appreciate Grischuk's comment after he and Karjakin analyzed their games together: ‘We discovered that we both played badly.’

Sorry for off-topic post - just read a very interesting interview given by Garry Kasparov to Azerbaijani journalist (first in 20 years) where he talked about Azeri chess, Magnus Carlsen, upcoming FIDE president elections,etc.
It is in Russian and I hope that our in-house translator mishanp will be kind enough to translate it to English so everyone can enjoy it. If not, I may try to do it - it won't be as good as mishanp's but at least will beat bebelfish :).

I already had a go :) http://www.chessninja.com/dailydirt/2010/03/karjakin-alert.htm#comment-215430

It's a long interview so I left out quite a lot, if anyone wants to add anything! One point - I translated Kasparov as saying Carlsen now has a "database", but it's possible he just means "basis"/"foundation" as he didn't use the full form with "data"...

mishanp - thanks, I somehow missed that post. You did translate the most interesting topics. The leftover part may not be of global interest (but personally very close to me) - was mostly about Azeri chess and its traditions, his young years in Baku (like him and Radjabov's father went to the same chess club as teenagers, etc.).
One more quote on Karpov-Ilumzhinov "I don't know all the details but my understanding the there is a fight inside the Russian Chess Federation - a fight of "administrative resources" - and it is not clear to me who will win in this fight"
Just to remind you that until recently Alexander Zhuk served as president of Russian Chess Federation - he is also a deputy premier-minister of Russia.

Just playing through the lines with Fritz - after 63.f5 gf5: 64.gf5: it looks like 64...Bd2 immediately probably draws. And in the 63. h4 line the immediate 66...Kc6 also seems to draw. Which makes your point about how difficult it was!

I think Kramnik had already gone quite badly astray when he moved the rook from the a file and seemed to get his pieces tangled up. It was almost as though he hadn't quite switched into endgame mode and was playing for traps. Someone on Chessgames quite convincingly suggested that the plan of simply a6, Ke2 & Nf3-d4 forcing (it seems) the exchange of the bishop was a straightforward win, though probably Carlsen would have found a trickier defence than Rybka.

But in any case I was very impressed by how Kramnik handled the middle game. It did eventually need a mutual blunder to get to a won endgame, but there were lots of ways to go astray before that given the coordination of black's pieces.

What I wonder is... if the Russian chess federation chose not to support Ilyumzhinov, does that mean he couldn't put himself forward as a candidate!? (that would be a much easier way to get rid of him than through a general vote where all his supporters in Africa and elsewhere come into it!)

Though just down from the Kasparov interview I mentioned a Karpov interview where he says he has a contingency plan to be nominated by France or various other federations if Russia refused... so presumably Ilyumzhinov could do the same. Or maybe the incumbent is automatically a candidate if he wants to be?

I know this is probably anathema to many, but has Kirsan done that bad a job? I know he is a dictator and all that and I wouldn't have voted for him against Bessel Kok, but the chess world was such a mess when he came in, and it seems to me to be in much better shape now... we should at least give him a bit of credit.

So instead of saying "getting rid of Kirsan", maybe we should be looking for somebody who will be better, because I am not sure just anybody would do a better job. Would Karpov be better? Maybe, maybe not.

I could certainly have phrased it better - and I meant to add that Karpov simply being chosen instead of Ilumzhinov by Russia would be the best chance of another candidate getting the job. There are some big question marks over Karpov - I remember reading an interview with Rentero about Karpov insisting on being paid extra behind FIDE's and his opponent's back for a candidate's match.

Sergei Shipov also came to Ilyumzhinov's defence on his forum recently when someone said that however bad Karpov is he couldn't be worse than Kirsan: http://kasparovchess.crestbook.com/viewtopic.php?pid=339941#p339941

"It seems that it's taken for granted that things can't get any worse?

Alas, they can - and dramatically! There were times, for instance in the mid-90s, when FIDE was simply falling to pieces...

How can it get worse? Here's how - when no money or organisers can be found for running those official tournaments which are run nowadays.

That which exists is taken as a norm - as something that by definition will always exist. And only after losing it do you understand that there was something to lose... You remember that there was one universal complaint against Ilumzhinov - that he couldn't produce a single world champion. Now there is one.

You remember that before Ilyumzhinov there weren't mass tournaments like the World Cup, where decent money can be earned not only by top players but also by normal grandmasters and even masters. Now - they exist. Do you think they'll be run of their own accord? Unlikely.

And in what exactly is Karpov better than Ilyumzhinov? He's a stronger player? No arguments. And what else?"

> And what else?

Does not having been abducted by aliens matter?

Or not being a dictator in real life, too?

He claims to not change rules during a cycle. That's better than Ilyumzhinov, isn't it?

I'm certainly not going to argue Kirsan's case anymore than I have, I am not a big fan of his... I just notice that often in countries where there is chaos, a dictator comes along and people are not happy, but at least they are relieved there is no chaos anymore. Democracy comes after (or doesn't, unfortunately).

I wonder sometimes if Kirsan is not chess' dictator, coming after the mid-90's chaos Shipov was talking about in mishanp's quote (thank for that by the way, quite interesting. Wish I spoke Russian too!).

I'm sure you've been asked this already sometime mishanp, but I'm curious: what is your nationality? Were you raised bilingual or did you learn English/Russian/whatever else you know? Are you a translator by profession?
Of course, feel free to ignore any/all of the above.

I'm an English native speaker and just studied Russian at university - though now I'm living in Poland and mainly translate Polish for a living :)

I was going to post that it's amazing that Kramnik missed 29. Nd5 against Svidler, but on second thoughts black probably forces a drawn queen ending. Kramnik took his time, so presumably he saw that!?

Gashimov's 22. Nc5!! against Ivanchuk was an amazing blow in blindfold chess.

After about 5 minutes Kram has rocketed to a won position against Svid with nerveless play. Not a good opening choice against the Kram program

Interesting game with Svidler retreating behind his pawn wall and trying to use his queen as a mobile defence squad to fend off the breakthrough.

It's the sort of position I think Stean in Simple Chess said the position was so dominant you could use the king to trace out your initials before going after the win... Though still possible to slip up in rapid chess, I guess.

Slightly interesting fact - so far Kramnik's won at least one game against every opponent, except Gelfand (where he lost both!).

and Kram duly converts...... now magoose needs to knock over domingy with white which he should do alas probably another d4 from carlsberg

Obviously Svidler's f6 wasn't great, but that was a minor masterpiece - totally ruthless and methodical manoeuvring before finding the neatest way to finish white off. Having a time advantage as well as a positional one seems to help :)

Really happy to say I was wrong ! Carlsberg played e4 surely a Najdorf coming

Just 12 moves and domingy has a position that doesnt look quite right something has maybe gone wrong ....

Kramnik ruthless today. Big Bad Vlad, he's a monster!

Boris Spassky interviews nowadays always make a nice change of pace, though this one is particularly offbeat - given to a local journalist on the way from a provincial Russian train station to a waiting car (he was returning to the area he was evacuated to from Leningrad during WWII):

- My function now is that while I'm still alive I need, like a bee, to manage to fly around all the little chess flowers.

- You're travelling to Korshik where you learnt to play chess when you were five... How did that happen and what attracted you to the game?

- I didn't learn to play, I learnt a few chess moves. How did it happen? At first I watched others playing and then, when I was alone, I went up to the board, took away the black pawn and then ate up the whole white army with the black rook. That was the start of my career. And what attracted me - I've no idea. I liked that the rook moved in straight lines and ate everything. It was voracious. That's all.
- In December last year in Elista there was a friendly match between you and Viktor Korchnoi. Tell us about it.

- What's there to say? Two old men hurled themselves at each other, thrashed each other around and then quietened down with the score at 4:4.

- But you haven't taken part in tournaments for a long time...

- In general I've given up chess, while Korchnoi continues to play...

- Nevertheless, those who watched the match noted that you were well prepared and you seemed to have a hunger for chess...

- No, I wasn't particularly prepared. Even though Korchnoi accused me of being manfully and stubbornly trained by my friends - Yura Balashov and Viktor Kudreychik. While actually we spent all our time discussing what snack was best. I wanted sprats in tomato sauce, but they told me that you shouldn't eat them now. So they didn't give me any. But I broke out and secretly gobbled down two sprats... They were good. I'd be ready to eat them now, even if they try to convince me that sprats aren't what they used to be.

- Korchnoi, they say, loves to provoke, and his style is attacking. What's your style?

- I'm a sleepy bear but, when I wake up, I can be dangerous. I have great strength, but now I've got no desire at all to show that strength as I've lost my motivation. I'm no longer interested in winning. I'm played out. Enough. But Viktor still continues to fight.
- And what else, apart from Russian history, interests you...

- What else? I love fried mushrooms...

I forgot to post the source: http://www.vk-smi.ru/archiv/2010/mart/54-4662/xod-grossmejstera-iz-parizha-v-vyatku.htm (with compliments to e3e5.com for providing the link)

Wonderful stuff. Once again, we owe you.

Thanks again, mishanp.

mishanp, I'm totally surprised that you're not Russian. I thought all along that "misha" stands for the classic diminutive for Michail/Михаил in Russian. You've translated more Russian stuff than the Russians here and I can attest to its precision (being no slacker in Russian myself). What a strange World…

Your major fault is being a radical Kramnik-ist, but I must admit that I genuinely enjoyed the older guy tutoring King Magnus in State Matters & Chess Affairs the other day… Surely Magnus is the most famous Norwegian since Roald Amundsen, but I still like to see that older generation hold on for another last moment in control…


nice gift from grish to aronian in the blinfold.the position is a dead drawn but he lost probably on time(great blitzer loses on time with 20sec time increment!!!)he just can't winn clear a tournament,even linares 2009,he lead most of the tourney and was caught up by ivanciuk in the last round(is true that grischuk had the better tie breaker).probably he has to improve his phisical condition-quit smokeing!-the blinfold tourney is now out for grab,tomorow 3-4 players can clinch first place.

Misha is the Russian Misha, just not me. I was reading "Death and the Penguin" at the time and the penguin's name is Misha - so the human Misha is lumbered with the name Misha-non-penguin, or mishanp :) Though in hindsight it's a little too close to mishap! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_and_the_Penguin

It's 10 second increments, I think. Apparently he was trying to make an illegal move - blindfold time trouble does present certain difficulties!

Karjakin's getting some belated revenge for the famous e6 queen sac that Ivanchuk played against him at Amber in 2008: http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1487929
He's just done the same against Gashimov, though for slightly more concrete compensation!

No wild opening with black today for Kramnik - he's playing the Petroff against Ivanchuk.

Oops, not trying to beat the record for consecutive posts, but apparently it was exactly the same Qxe6 sacrifice as Ivanchuk played... Gashimov's 15...Bd6 is a novelty, according to Chessok.

mishanp,as far as i know is 20 dec for blindfold and 10 sec for rapid.for 38..qxb5 = it takes like 1sec even for a patzer,38..qa8 requires some more,but it is still obvious.

Ah, ok, I didn't realise the time control was different, though it makes sense. I don't know about Grischuk - the point seems to be that he'd lost track of the position and was trying to make an illegal move. If he made it at the start of the increment then he'd have time to find a legal move, but if he'd waited to the time was about up it'd be a different matter!

Ivanchuk's subjecting Kramnik to blindfold torture at the moment - playing out a drawn R+N v R endgame, move 100 soon!

lucky for kramnik he doesn't have to claim a draw,after 40 moves the computer will finnish the game automatically,kramnik does not suffer of grischuk ,sindrom waiting for the last sec to make a move.

"Oops, not trying to beat the record for consecutive posts..."

Don't worry, misha, frogbert has this cite monitored 24/7...and will insert a random post in the unlikely event that anyone threatens his record.

Anyone know about the weird sequence at moves 29--30 in Ponomariov-Carlsen? 29.Rd7?? Re8?? (makes sense, guarding the e-pawn??) 30.Rd6?? Red8?? and only now 31.Rxd8+, which I suspect was actually played at move 29.

Perhaps a DGT mis-entry of Rd7 was "fixed" by inserting spurious moves?

Does anyone know of other such cases, at earlier Amber events in particular?

Not sure quite what happened (I've never seen correction by extra moves before), but if Pono loses he needs to be arrested for crimes against chess! :)

I have a feeling that, among his fellow elite GMs, Magnus will not be Mr. Popularity after making Pono play this out.

Then again, Magnus isn't trying to win a popularity contest, he's trying to win chess games, and (inexplicably) he just did.

Pono settles in for a night in a cold French prison cell. All sharp objects and cords have been removed from his person...

If people don't want Carlsen to win games like that, I'm sure there are old laws on witchcraft that are still on the books in Provence from medieval times---they only need to enforce them.

Magnus just rewrote the book of rook endgame. I am speechless. A miracle. Somebody help me describe what just happened in Nice. In the meantime I’ll open a beer.

Sadly I don't think anything that dramatic happened. There was one chance for black (splitting the pawns with g5 and going after the e pawn). Ponomariov just needed to show a minimum of care to stop that happening, but presumably he was upset at giving away his huge edge in the middle game and didn't get his head straight in time. Of course even after allowing g5 it was drawn but again, only if he was careful... Excellent play by Carlsen to keep up the pressure and push Pono, but he needed an awful lot of help from his opponent.

Real heavyweight game between Kramnik and Ivanchuk just now. Rybka's main line has Ivanchuk giving up his queen (but only with a small edge for white).

He's an advance test scout from Jupiter. When he has destroyed every GM and proven the prowess of his race, the rest will come to take over the world.

And I never was a fan of criticizing GMs, but today I will permit myself:

I think chesshire cat has closed the case, lol. If this was the old USSR he'd be going to go Siberian Gulag after that. Former Fide Knockout World Champion crowns are being tossed in the garbage around the world as we speak.

"frogbert has this cite monitored 24/7...and will insert a random post in the unlikely event that anyone threatens his record."

I don't need to monitor it manually for that - my bot takes care of it for me...

Will Ivanchuk also be considered a criminal (towards chess) if he loses this ending?

No, you need to lose an ending it's almost impossible to lose for that :)

Some trivia for the anoraks if you ever gonna participate in Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, and the very last question will be about the games by the then legendary chess player Magnus Carlsen:

Something peculiar happened in the Pono-Carlsen Rapid game today. It seems that Pono wrongly dropped his rook on d7 in 29th move. Seems they made a gentlemans agreement and played a couple of moves until the error was corrected.
29. Rd7 Re8
30. Rd6 Red8
31. Rxd8+ Rxd8

The extra moves are present on the organizers home page (102 moves): http://www.amberchess2010.com/PGNViewer/archive.html

But not on the copy at chesgames.com (100 moves): http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1578575

Is the final position definitely winning - when the king comes to e.g. c6 black gives check with Rd6+. Then if Kc5 then Rd7 (it's no good if black has to exchange f7 for e5). Or if Kc7, as played by Carlsen, what about Rd5!? (I saw that flick across Chessok's assessment). Probably you just take the rook and the pawn ending is won? If not white could switch to defending on the fifth rank.

Of course the thing about Pono was he had lots of chances to avoid the lost position (as late as the simple 71. Rg8+ followed by 72. Rg7 drawing), and had a middle game where it really took some imagination to see how he could fashion a loss.

If that's true it might explain the subsequent bad play - it's psychologically a bit tricky to be let off by your opponent when you know that technically you should already have lost.

"But let's not forget the other side of the medal." Yes, he has probably lost unecessary several drawish end games in his early carrier.

Lately, it seems he has managed to plug this whole. Instead of loosing them, he is winning drawish endgames. Even with 1 minute left on the clock, as today. The trend is clearly positive in this regard, don't you think?

To quickly answer my own question... the pawn endgame after taking the d5 rook would be drawn, but black can just play f6 or some other moves - and e5 falls.

Obviously, end games like this are difficult to play correctly. The principles are simple, but you have to calculate many, many moves to see the consequence of your planned move. After playing 70 moves in a strong tournament with 2 minutes left on your clock, I think even a super GM starts making errors. They give up trying to calculate everything, and rather try playing by instinct. In contrast, it’s so easy to be a Rybka kibitzer.

From the official site (it seems to go some way to excusing Pono until the final blow!):

"Carlsen explained that he had some practice with exactly this ending as he had played it four years ago in Norway. At that time he had to work out the principles himself, now he already had some essential knowledge. His first step forward he made when he managed to isolate White’s e-pawn. But it was still a far way from a win and much more manoeuvring was required. Carlsen kept plodding on, and bit by bit he achieved what he was looking for. Of course he should be praised for his perseverance, but it also must be said that Ponomariov put up feeble resistance."

Thank you for this explication.
I looked through the game and i simply could not understand move 29 and 30 .
I thought with my low chess intelligence i am missing a trick or something
Now i understand...

It takes two to tango. One to play inaccurate, and another to play accurate. Carlsen is a quick learner. He is accumulating fast these days.


OK, enough Carlsen talk by me today. Otherwise Manu soon will serve his sour grapes. ;-)

Maximum suspension in Amber untill the very last game tommorrow, then. May the best man win!

I don't think Carlsen had much choice about playing on against Aronian in that Linares 2009 game, though!

However, it probably shows that the defending side is the one who has to play more accurately - as Carlsen had the draw in the end if he only would've played Kf2 instead of Rf1?? that lost.

I think Carlsen said it well himself (according to the official site): "It pays off to play on." The longer a chess game is, the more mistakes it will hold - in general.

How exactly do you draw the pawn ending? exd5, Kxf5 Kd7, Kf6 Ke8, Kf5 Ke7 and white's last pawn soon falls. Only if you managed to play two moves in a row, bringing the white king to e3 after Kd7, then it would be enough, but white is missing one tempo for this. So Rd5 wouldn't work as a defending resource.

Or: exd5, Kxf5 Kd7, Kg4 Ke6, Kf4 d4, Ke4 d3, Kxd3 Kxe5, Ke3 Kf5, Kf3 f6 and black wins

Thanks also from me (along with steven 5:06pm). The Amber PGN download file for Round 10 also (still) has the extra moves, while Mark Crowther has removed them from TWIC's version---even in the live-game app.

This makes me realize that scripts I'm writing involving PGN files will need to allow for mutual incompatible versions of the same game. It also prompts me to ask:

(1) How are game scores at a big event like the Euro Ind. Ch. in Rijecka handled? Were all the boards, not just 1--15, recorded automatically via DGT? And/or, do the officials separately type in and verify the game scores? 3150+ in Rijecka, quite a few!

(2) Is there a publicly-available text file collecting various renditions of the same player's name? I envision lines starting with the FIDE ID# and official FIDE name, followed by quoted strings that have been used in the WhitePlayer/BlackPlayer PGN tag fields. E.g.:

1300016 Korchnoi, Viktor: "Korchnoi, V"; "Kortschnoi, Wiktor"; "V. Kortchnoy" etc.

Of course there will still be ambiguities such as whether "Polgar,Zs" refers to Susan or Sofia...

Thanks, ---Ken Regan

That pawn ending actually has a beautiful point---it could be a ChessBase A/B/C or Polgar blog example... Corresponding squares! (just a few in this case)

"Is there a publicly-available text file collecting various renditions of the same player's name?"

I suggest you talk to Mark Crowther: He's got A LOT of experience standardizing player name spellings - he also washes the PGN-files he makes available in TWIC, down to having a standard way of dealing with exactly equal names of different players.

Of course, using anything but some unique identifier (like - in theory - FIDE's IDs), will result in mistakes/problems. Unfortunately even FIDE IDs aren't perfect (not even for FIDE rated players) since they used to reassign ID-numbers when players changed federations. Luckily they've stopped doing this now - but if you're trying to track players through old rating lists for instance, then this is another source of error.

I have to confess I just saw that Fritz instantly says it's a draw, odd as it looks.

Well, since no one refuted my line I'll have to do it myself... Now it seems to me that this pawn ending IS a draw. After exd5, Kxf5 Kd7, Kf6 Ke8, white plays Kg5! Ke7, Kf5 and black can't make progress, lacking a crucial tempo for the d4 idea, and otherwise the white king goes back to f6, or to e3 on time. This position, with the kings on f5 and e7, is a mutual zugzwang. If it's white's turn he would lose, and if it's black's turn it's a draw.
So we're back to Rd5 f6, mishanp's suggestion, after which black probably wins: Rc5+ Kb6, Rc1 Rxe5, Kf4 Rc5 and the king returns to support the pawns.

It seems that toilets have impacted on the careers of not only Topalov and Kramnik. According to Chessbase:

In an attempt to come to a reunification of the world championship, a match was planned between Kasparov and Ponomariov, which was to be played in 2003.
This cancellation came as a bog blow for Ponomariov and it is no exaggeration to say that this disappointment had a serious impact on his play for several years.

The point I wanted to make: even the strongest players can go wrong in simple/theoretical rook endings, and Carlsen himself is/was no exception. Maybe this also motivated him to continue playing: "if I can go wrong, so can Ponomariov!?". Whether such endgame losses are "history" for Carlsen, dunno - Linares 2009 wasn't exactly early in his career ... .

@frogbert: "it probably shows that the defending side is the one who has to play more accurately".
This goes without saying: the stronger side can hope for a win with own accurate play AND a little help from the opponent, but doesn't run any risks (other than accidentally hanging the rook). The weaker side has to _prove_ that it's a draw.

On Carlsen's predecessor game: Obviously it is even more tempting (and promising?) to play on against a nominally much weaker opponent. This reminds me of a story from the German Bundesliga: a 2300ish amateur - comparable in strength to Carlsen's opponent Gullaksen - dared to offer a draw to a GM in an even rook ending. The immediate answer was "of course not!" - the amateur, maybe a bit irritated by such a slightly rude remark, proceeded to lose the game ... . [I don't remember the players' names, I think the GM was Vallejo Pons but not sure about that]

I'm dismayed at what happened to Ponomariov. When he was young and became world champion, technique and tenacity were his principal strength. He used to grind down opponents in drawish endgames in truly Karpovian style. And now he loses 4 v 4 rook endgames? Unreal.

I wonder where he thought the queen was

I was going to post the same thing, Jai!

I would not take anything that Frogbert says seriously, considering he is one of the top fat and bald losers ranked worldwide.(1)

1. http://chessauditor.50webs.com/

Kramnik a half point behind now after the blindfold round. If he could manage to win as black in the rapid he has a chance of catching Chukky/Carlsen

Everything at stake before the very last round. What a thriller!

May the calmest nerves win!

Yep, should be fun. Kramnik got some criticism for how drawish his opening was against Karjakin in the last round of Corus, but I think today we saw what he was aiming for!

I'm guessing d2, otherwise he would have gone Q-f6 hitting b2.

Ivanchuk looking a big favourite now, though still some chances for the tables to be turned. Maybe Kramnik can finish with one of these wild attacks with the black pieces actually working!?

Nope, another dodgy attack bites the dust. As with the Smeets game it was a shame as before the sacrifice he'd just got to a point where he could get a positional edge by normal means (...a5, ...Na6-b4 etc.). The only question now is whether Grischuk can hold up in time trouble in a shaky position. Joint winners or just Ivanchuk?

Chucky majestic!!!! No losses and such a rape of Petroff in the last round. Such a shame that he didn't convert yesterday against Kram for the clear first.

Chucky undefeated the whole event !!!
Congrats and thx , Mr.Ivanchuk.

Ivanchuk draws 15 games to share first at Amber!

Carlsen WINS 13 games to claim shared first!

Hihi. Suddenly everyone here thinks avoiding losses is the most important thing - you know, like Kramnik and Leko are ridiculed for aiming at.

22 games - 15 draws - 22 games - 3 draws.
Both players are +7. Isn't Manu even a fan of the 3-1-0 scoring used in Bilbao?

3-1-0 scoring in Amber:

Carlsen 42 points in 22 rounds. (13*3 + 3)
Ivanchuk 36 points in 22 rounds. (7*3 + 15)

Anyway - both players were equally impressive to me, in their own ways. Here's some food for thought:

Nanjing 2009: 1st place, TPR of 3000, 8/10 in cat. 21 event
Tal Memorial: 2nd place, half a point behind Kramnik
Blitz World Championship: 1st place, 3 points ahead of Anand
London Chess Classic: 1st place, ahead of Kramnik
Corus 2010: 1st place
Amber 2010: 1st place (shared) overall (shared 1st rapids, shared 2nd blindfold)

Yeah, it was a great performance in this event by Ivanchuk. What to say about Carlsen's last 6 ELITE events?

He's lucky ... ;o)

I'm immensely happy that Chucky got shared first for his amazing undefeated score which was an unbelievable achievement at this time control and number of games. It would have been such a shame not to get rewarded for it.

Who was criticising Carlsen!?

Though if you want to get into funny stats... performance against the other players who finished top 6:

Carlsen: 2 wins, 2 draws, 6 losses
Ivanchuk: 4 wins, 6 draws

Carlsen was almost perfect against the bottom 6, of course.

Of course im a huge fan of the Bilbao system , you bold winner , but in classic chess! , GM draws are not precisely a problem at this time controls... ;o)

Chucky is awesome , considering that he spanked Carlsen in their mini match , he should be declared the winner of the event.

Congratulations Ivanchuk and Carlsen!
An amazing performance by both. It’s wonderful that these two players are sharing First Prize -- in fact, that’s perfectly fair and the best that could have happened.

And to think that Ivanchuk threatened to retire in frustration only a few months ago!

Their performances in some games are truly astonishing, May we see many great games from both players in the years ahead.

Nobody was criticising Carlsen - at least not directly. Only mentioning one of two winners appears a little "small" to me, though.

But the question is why all of a sudden it's EVENNESS that's the golden standard here. Ivanchuk isn't exactly known for his consistency is he? More like being the big rating elevator among the top 10 players.

Carlsen was up and down in this event - and he won 13 of his 22 games. But he's not been up and down over the last 6-7 months - he's finished first in almost all his tough events - and 2nd in the few he didn't win.

And in Amber he does it again - 1st in rapids, 1st in the combined standings, and 2nd in the blindfold section. All shared with someone, but still.

I think that's even MORE amazing than going undefeated in one event like Ivanchuk did here - even if 22 games were played.

And no - my point wasn't "funny stats", but rather that Carlsen scored the same number of points as Ivanchuk did - in all sections. And that this is the 3rd event in a row that he wins.

frogbert wrote "He's lucky ... ;o)"

Well, there is no denying that in this event Carlsen IS somewhat lucky. Let's recap: save in a lost position against Gashimov, save in a dead lost game against Kramnik, win of a 4 v 4 rook against Pono. To compensate for that he hung a queen in a worse position against Grischuk. I don't even include the perpetual that Gelfand missed here, since that was quite tricky. Sure, his tenacity played at least some role in this and a lesser player wouldn't get all this luck. On the other hand, if we look closer at Gashimov and Kramnik games it wasn't as much brilliant defense that saved Carlsen's bacon, but rather fairly obvious errors of his opponents. Pono had to work hard to lose that endgame as well. I'd say that pure luck contributed at least 0.5 point to his overall score, possibly more.

On the other hand, Ivanchuk was never in danger of losing for the entire tournament, didn't convert several slightly to significantly better positions (e.g. with Pono) and drew an almost certain win against Kramnik. Luck has to play at least some role here too.

So in conclusion, Carlsen's fighting spirit and his recent results have to be admired, but by and large his play in this event wasn't as good as his result indicates.

"I think that's even MORE amazing than going undefeated in one event like Ivanchuk did here - even if 22 games were played."

I think you are entirely off base here. Getting perfect score against bottom feeders and being spanked by the top is not amazing. Many players (Moro comes to mind) are/were capable of this .

Not losing a single game in such a tournament is a fantastic achievement itself, nobody did that in 19 years. But what makes this performance really amazing is that Chucky didn't play conservative here. Just look at his games: very fresh and unorthodox chess (fxe3 yesterday with Kramnik, exchange sac in the first game with Gelfand immediately come to mind). To go undefeated playing like that is close to impossible.

"But the question is why all of a sudden it's EVENNESS that's the golden standard here."

It's not a "standard"? It's just that going undefeated over 22 rounds of a rapid tournament, on this occasion, is a very impressive feat deserving of special plaudits.

Of course winning 13 games is up there as well, though personally I'm always on the side of the overall quality of chess. There's something a little hollow (for me) about a tournament win achieved by bamboozling the weaker players. I would think that, though, as a Kramnik fan - Kasparov, Anand, Topalov and now Carlsen are better at that highly effective tournament strategy :)

"I think that's even MORE amazing than going undefeated in one event like Ivanchuk did here - even if 22 games were played".

Sure, but who was comparing Ivanchuk's and Carlsen's results for the last year!?

"his play in this event wasn't as good as his result indicates"

That has been said of every Carlsen result the last three-four years.

It's a matter of personal preferences - for a player, not for his style or result. Manu probably wouldn't consider it worthy of mention, let alone praise if Kramnik had finished undefeated. And Bilbao rules would favor a Russian player who is, for whichever reasons, rooting for Anand in the upcoming WCh match - hence there's no need for Bilbao rules.

Anyway, Amber this year is double unique. Never before has a player remained unbeaten. Never before did a player finish shared first despite losing six games. So far, the one who got close twice was Morozevich (five losses in 2004, four losses in 2006). For all previous Amber crosstables see
(created by ebutaljib and pointed out on Chessvibes)

Regarding (possible/apparent) lack of praise for Carlsen: Maybe people got used to him winning events ... which isn't quite the case for Ivanchuk.

Thomas, try to think before writting , Bilbao rules aren´t needed here because of the format of the event , blindfold and rapid chess are in no way threatened by the GM draws ...
What would be the point of using that scoring system here?
And please try to speak about reality , when you start to describe those hipothetically biased scenarios to illustrate your point i´m always afraid that he-man or Gargamel might appear.

The "funny stats" about Carlsen scoring poorly against the other top 6 could well be seen as a serious distortion of reality (disregarding the fact that 6th and 7th place was shared), in that 3 of the bottom 6 ended up there exactly because Carlsen beat them 2-0. If you eliminate Carlsens games and look at the score of the other players against the rest of the field, Ivanchuk made +5 followed by Gelfand, Grischuk, Kramnik and Svidler at +3 and Aronian and Karjakin at +2. Gashimov scored 50% and the others less. Carlsen scored -2 against Ivanchuk but +3 against the next 4 and another +2 against the next group. Hence his main problem was the first round -2 against Ivanchuk, nothing else really.

I think I'm going to have to check into the addiction rehab clinic after this event. I'm already experiencing withdrawal effects.

"There's something a little hollow (for me) about a tournament win achieved by bamboozling the weaker players."

Aren't you setting the bar too high now? The only real "prügelknabe" in this tournament was Smeets , the rest of the field consisted of players firmly established in the elite (with the possible exception of Domingquez). Once we start categorizing players like Svidler, Pono and Aronian (ok, he was under par this time) as "bamboozable", we're not left with all that much.

"To compensate for that he hung a queen in a worse position against Grischuk."

Hehe - I'm not going to debate this with someone who thinks Carlsen was worse when he hung his queen against Grischuk. :o)

"perfect score against bottom feeders"

Yup, the bottom feeders Gelfand, Svidler and Aronian, right? Aronian who won Amber last year and the year before that. Gelfand and Svidler who finished as much 6th as Gashimov did (that's "funny stats" mishanp - since there are no tie-breaks in effect in Amber, making 6-8th shared).

And of course, there's a HUGE difference between Gelfand and Svidler's 11,5 points and Karjakin's 12 points and Grischuk's 12,5 points, right? Or maybe not?

4th Grischuk 12,5 points (Carlsen: 1-1)
5th Karjakin 12 points (Carlsen: 1-1)
6-8th Gelfand, Svidler 11,5 points (Carlsen: 2-0)
9th Aronian (Carlsen: 2-0)

Let's see, if Carlsen instead had played 1-1 against Gelfand, Svidler and Aronian and beaten the "top finishers" Grischuk and Karjakin 2-0 hm...

Then - Eureka! - Gelfand and Svidler are "top finishers" at 12,5 points and a shared 4th, Aronian is in 6th with 12, while Karjakin is a REAL bottom feeder at 11 points in 9th place while Grischuk also becomes a "bottom feeder" together with Gashimov at 11,5 and shared 7-8th.

This is silly, isn't it? The tournament only had 3 "bottom dwellers" and we know who those were.

Beating Svidler, Gelfand and Aronian 2-0 is impressive - as impressive as if he'd instead beaten Grischuk and Karjakin 2-0. The internal placement between Svidler, Gelfand, Aronian, Grischuk and Karjakin in the combined standings was decided by Carlsen beating Svidler, Gelfand and Aronian instead of Karjakin and Grischuk.

Funny how hard it is to read and comprehend a crosstable these days... ;o)

"in that 3 of the bottom 6 ended up there exactly because Carlsen beat them 2-0."

You beat me to it - I was writing down the same points, but was interrupted first by my boss on the phone and then by my daughter waking up... :o)

It seems that some kibitzers judges chess skill inconsequently. -A player excelling in the first or middle part of the game, is clever. But when he excels in the end game he is “lucky”. He is merely “escaping”.

Personally I keep a different order:
1. A brilliant middle game is most impressive. -Because it’s done over the board when the game is most complex. Middle game skill is proof of talent.

2. A brilliant end game can last longer than the opening and middle game. Repetitive moves and themes, -gaining small advantages slowly but surely, with almost mathematical patterns. An endgame can be so beautiful in its simplicity. End game skill owes much to hard homework and stamina over the board.

3. The least impressive skill in my eyes is gaining advantage from opening play. -Which to a larger degree is done with computer assistance, or with input from other persons (seconds).


A quick recap of the Amber rounds tells me that Carlsen was superior in end games. He draw positions which was theoretically lost, and he won positions which was theoretically draw. Generally speaking, no other player in Amber matched his performance in the end part of the game.

In my eyes it’s more impressive to excel in endgames than playing an opening novelty.

Shouldn´t be the result of their mini-match the best tiebreaker ?
(:O) . :-

Ok, I agree the shared 6th means the top 5 would be a better choice, slightly improving Carlsen's performance. Though he did score easily the fewest points against the top 5 for a winner in the history of Amber :)

Actually it's interesting how often the winner just had a single loss (11 times, I think, though I lost count! + Kramnik did it once in 2nd place) - so quite a few were close to Ivanchuk's feat, but he was the first to pull it off.

frogbert's comments get funnier and funnier:

"Hehe - I'm not going to debate this with someone who thinks Carlsen was worse when he hung his queen against Grischuk. :o)"

Hehe, good idea that, since this was opinion of GM Christiansen, for example.

" Yup, the bottom feeders Gelfand, Svidler and Aronian, right?"
Now you have trouble reading the result table? That's Smeets and Pono, of course. 1.5 against Dominguez is also not far off.

"This is silly, isn't it? The tournament only had 3 "bottom dwellers" and we know who those were."
Exactly. This wasn't that difficult after all, was it?

"Funny how hard it is to read and comprehend a crosstable these days... ;o)"
Bravo! So why did you write half a page about Svidler, Gelfand, Grischuk and Karjakin in the discussion of bottom dwellers?

It's interesting looking at the historic cross tables. In 1994 Kramnik had 13 wins and scored 16 points but finished 2nd to Anand who had 14 wins and 17 points!

p.s. Kramnik once shared first with only 3 points against the top 5 that year (though he got 1.5 against Topalov who was shared 5th), so I'll concede "easily the fewest" is unfair. I should perhaps add I'm not being wholly serious with the stats...

"in that 3 of the bottom 6 ended up there exactly because Carlsen beat them 2-0."

Coincidentally, two of these players are the lowest rated in the field and many thought that they "didn't belong" to Amber.

"Carlsen scored -2 against Ivanchuk but +3 against the next 4 and another +2 against the next group. Hence his main problem was the first round -2 against Ivanchuk, nothing else really."

You forgot that he also got completely schooled by Kramnik. The fact that he was completely obliterated by his two main rivals in this event does put a huge blemish on his otherwise very impressive result, wouldn't you agree?

Btw, If I sound a bit anti-Carlsen here is just because a certain Carlsen fan is losing a touch with reality in his praise. Carlsen was beaten by his rivals, but still found a strength to fight back and share the first place with some luck. That's a gritty performance, but not amazing.

"But the question is why all of a sudden it's EVENNESS that's the golden standard here."

Go eat an onion, frog.

Be happy that Carlsen got shared first, and be happy that Ivanchuk performed as fantastically as he did.

And don't go embarass us fellow norwegians by being a sore shared winner...

Give credit when credit is due!

"Coincidentally, two of these players are the lowest rated in the field and many thought that they "didn't belong" to Amber."
Osbender, are you having a reading comprehension problem?
The three players that ended up at the bottom half of the crosstable "exactly because Carlsen beat them 2-0" is of course Gelfand, Svidler and Aronian.
Dominguez and Smeets would have had a serious minus score without Carlsen´s "help".

If Carlsen was american all of you losers would be lining up for his auto graph. Carlsen makes tournaments exciting, when he does not play most don't watch, he is the tiger woods of chess. Ivanchuk is a man with bad herpes sores that were gross, thanks goodness they photoshopped them out after the first day.

Mutual misunderstanding obviously. I never included Gelfand, Aronian and Svidler in the "bottom", so I didn't realize you were referring to them until already posted.

Carlsen is just some wonderboy number one player on a hot streak on the rise to super-stardom.

Ivanchuk is Ivanchuk.

Was there Amber-2 announced, where the winner is the player with most obnoxious fan base? With fans like you Carlsen might have a good chance to win that outright.

If you want to make a "top vs. bottom" performance comparison, wouldn't it be much more realistic to base it on ratings instead of one tournament result?

Carlsen against top 6 by rating: +3

Carlsen against bottom 5 by rating: +4

Since Chucky is only 2 rating points behind Svidler and Gelfant, I put him with the top group. I think that is a perfectly normal result and cannot be fairly described as bottom feeding.

As to "luck", Carlsen is the toughest fighter in the world of chess right now and that is where the great majority of his luck comes from. He wins games that anybody else would have agreed drawn long ago, and draws games that anybody else would have resigned, because he is too stubborn to quit. Maybe as he gets older this will drain him of too much energy to be a worthwhile strategy, but right now it certainly suits him well. You can call it luck if you want, but it is very well-earned luck indeed.

Can you, or do you deny that your statements were somewhat induced or influenced by the fact that you like Ivanchuk as a player? Nothing wrong with that, I am actually with you to some extent ... .

Frogbert just pointed out that you contradicted your own recurrent earlier statements. Yep, GM draws were no problem at this event - not sure if this is due to the time control, the fact that the event isn't rated or the relaxed atmosphere with just two games a day (there may be more GM draws in rapid opens with more rounds per day). And personally I think the GM draw problem is also a bit exaggerated for most classical events.

But the issue isn't whether Bilbao rules are "needed", but if they make sense. At Amber 2010, the Bilbao scoring system would have put Carlsen well ahead of Ivanchuk, and Kramnik tied with him. Would this make sense?? Forget about the names of the players ... .

On the other discussion: Along with osbender, I think it is at least worthwhile mentioning that Carlsen lost his mini-matches against both direct contenders. Coincidentally, these were also the highest-rated players - if I take the liberty to add 50 points to Ivanchuk's official rating (because we saw the better side of the Chucky medal) and subtract 50 points from Aronian's rating as he was clearly out of form.

Jean-Michel wrote: "As to "luck", Carlsen is the toughest fighter in the world of chess right now and that is where the great majority of his luck comes from."

In general I agree with that. That's why I attributed to luck only half a point in my calculations.

Thomas wrote: "the Bilbao scoring system would have put Carlsen well ahead of Ivanchuk, and Kramnik tied with him. Would this make sense?? Forget about the names of the players".

Great point there. I myself think that Bilbao system is an interesting way to spice things up. However, to my eyes, if Bilbao system were used in Amber the final results would be severely distorted compared to what was actually happening on the chessboard. So is Bilbao system in chess hopelessly flawed?

I can imagine Leko achieving exactly the same result as Ivanchuk playing in a typical Leko fashion. I believe in that instance most observers would prefer to have Bilbao scoring in place. See, the results table doesn't take into account creativity and there are no style points. That's why there is no scoring system that will be completely satisfactory on every occasion. Perhaps win=3 draw=1 exaggerates the impact of wins a bit. However, the idea to make a win worth more than 2 draws is not ridiculously silly in principle.

Anand has agreed to play match against Magnus Carlsen! The match will start on 26th August 2010. Read more here: http://www.tromso2014.no/carlsenanand2010.html

¨ I myself think that Bilbao system is an interesting way to spice things up. However, to my eyes, if Bilbao system were used in Amber the final results would be severely distorted compared to what was actually happening on the chessboard. So is Bilbao system in chess hopelessly flawed? ¨

Not at all , it only reflects that the Bilbao distortion don´t apply to a format where draws are not an issue.
The Bilbao system is a slight correction on the market value of a win , and it is accurate only in classic chess where the win has more obstacles to be conceived.

¨Frogbert just pointed out that you contradicted your own recurrent earlier statements. ¨

No u silly boy i didn´t , for the tenth time : How could i? Since applying the Bilbao system to a competition like this would be completely unrealistic.

About the other idiotic discussion :
Carlsen lost his minimatch with Chuky 0:2 , Chuky was the rightful winner of this event , period.

"Give credit when credit is due!" - should be "Redistribute credit through recalculation!"
Someone should put away his calculator for a spell, and just watch the games.

Up&Downsen better work on his strategy now that he and Anand will be squaring off - he'll be playing the world champ.

I wonder whether all those claming that a winner who just beats up the tail-enders is not a real (authentic, convincing etc.) winner, do realise that what they actually ask for (and mentally execute) is just an anti-Bilbao system. Tail-enders become tail-enders because they lose; and top-finishers become top-finishers because they don't. So if you ask for the winner to win due to comparatively better performance against top-enders than against tail-enders, then you basically ask for the winner not to win too many games.

Funny how some Carlsen fans are trying to twist common sense and tell us that black is white just because that will make Carlsen look somewhat better.

You do realize that for any unbiased observer beating Carsen 2:0 is much more impressive than beating Smeets 2:0 even though the point total is the same?

"So if you ask for the winner to win due to comparatively better performance against top-enders than against tail-enders, then you basically ask for the winner not to win too many games."

Of course nobody in his right mind asks what you wrote. Here's how common sense logic works: First one compares the results of players A and B against top finishers and sees that A did great there and B poorly. Then one compares the result of A and B against bottom finishers and sees that B fared much better here. The conclusion is that B beat the tail, while A beat the top. I'll let you work out who A is and who B is.

In any case there is no relationship between relative results of A and B against any particular group and their overall score. If this is too abstract for you, A scoring 6 v B scoring 8 is the same as A scoring 4 and B scoring 6 in relative terms.

'About the other idiotic discussion :
Carlsen lost his minimatch with Chuky 0:2 , Chuky was the rightful winner of this event , period.'

Carlsen and Ivanchuk played and chalked up identical total points. They both rightfully and deservedly share first place. End of Story.

Claiming that 14.5 pts is rightfully different from 14.5 pts requires an idiot. Period.

Those are not real points are they?

You just insulted frogbert , i was talking about tiebreakers which are known and widely used in chess to settle arguments like the one that runs this thread.
One of them , maybe the most important , is the result of the mini match between the players with equal number of points at the end of the competition.
Ivanchuk won the event according to almost every known tiebreaker , with the exception maybe of the NFF (number of frustrated fans) .Period.

Sonnenborg-Berger tiebreak works perfectly well in all-play-all. The discussion above indicates ignorance about it.

Why talk about Sonnenborg-Berger? There are other methods used to break ties in tournaments - like most wins, for example. But Amber does not use tie-breaks, so it is completely irrelevant. You might just as well award style points like an ice skating judge. As far as this tournament is concerned, the most points determine the winner(s) - nothing else.

this is what people do above only in a very roundabout way

"Carlsen lost his mini-matches against both direct contenders. Coincidentally, these were also the highest-rated players - if I take the liberty to add 50 points to Ivanchuk's official rating (because we saw the better side of the Chucky medal) and subtract 50 points from Aronian's rating as he was clearly out of form"

Yeah, there are many ways to try to make Carlsen's results look worse but this is one of the more creative :)

Let me rephrase my statement to make it less cryptic or creative ,:) : It is well-known that Ivanchuk has extreme ups and downs. I think his current ELO 2748 is roughly his long-term average, which has a huge standard deviation - no doubt he played at his upper limit (~2800) at this particular event. So he and Kramnik were Carlsen's strongest opponents, and not just because they competed with him for tournament victory. Not making Carlsen's results against them look any better or worse, he scored 0.5/4, simple fact ... .
Aronian would _potentially_ be in the same league - after all, he won Amber 2008 and 2009 - but not this time since he was clearly out of form, ask Aronian about it.

BTW regarding the Amber 2010 tailenders: All three of them had their Amber debut, so at the very least they had to get used to blindfold chess. And maybe the blindfold games take lots of energy, so you don't recover in the short break before the rapid game? Makes me wonder a bit if the rapid results might have been different (for some players) if the rapid game would be the first one in each session ... .

Well, Gashimov is an exception (not contradiction) to my theory. And Smeets and Dominguez have two other "excuses" or explanations:
- they were the lowest-rated players
- they are Topalov's seconds. Maybe they had to hide some things, and/or focus on someone else's preparation rather than their own prior to Amber?

I was surfing net and fortunately came across this site and found very interesting stuff here. Its really fun to read. I enjoyed a lot. Thanks for sharing this wonderful information.

I just started posting comments for blog and facing problem of lots of rejections. I think your suggestion would be helpful for me. I will let you know if its work for me too. Thanks for sharing.

Twitter Updates

    Follow me on Twitter



    About this Entry

    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on March 20, 2010 11:33 PM.

    Euro Ch Fighting Finale was the previous entry in this blog.

    Book Auctions, Final Hours is the next entry in this blog.

    Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.