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March Madnessless

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The dreaded post-Superbowl, pre-March Madness lull in big American arena sports was filled quite nicely by the Winter Olympics this year. We're not so lucky in the chess world, where we're cooling our heels for the Melody Amber tournament on March 13. Last year we had the Topalov-Kamsky match, although that also overlapped with Linares, which was nuts.

At least we have a new rating list, best contextualized here at TWIC. More frequent lists is a very welcome step, but a more dynamic rating formula is also badly needed. Linares wasn't rated this time around. As discussed in the comments the other day, they used to make an exception and rate Linares at the last minute, but it never really made much sense. Of course what would really make sense would be to have at least the top 100+ players' games rated in real time. Of course this is sort of what Hans Arild Runde's Live List has been doing for a while now. Sure, daily rating updates are mostly for the real geeks like us, but that wouldn't be the case if the list were more dynamic and FIDE did a job of promoting rating as a marketing tool.

On the other hand, the importance of rating at the top rose with the confusion of the world championship title. When the title was split and the asterisks were flying, we turned to the relative reliability of the rating list (at least after Kasparov and Short were reinstated). I'm traditionalist enough to wax nostalgic about the importance of the highest title and the status of unofficial titles like world championship challenger and candidate. But I'd also like to see chess move into the modern sports world and the rating system is a great way to do that, both at the top and the bottom.

Anyhoo, as long as we're treading water here, may as well look at the actual list. Carlsen is still #1, Topalov will be in the #2 spot for his match against Anand, who slips a few points behind Kramnik to #4. Leko lost points for the 3rd consecutive list and is now way down at #18. That's a spot below US champion Hikaru Nakamura. Morozevich is still languishing in limbo, down to 2715 from his 2787 a little more than a year ago. It's still a jarring to see just two English and two Dutch players on the top 100 list. Two great chess powers on the ropes. Adams and Short have renewed their battle for UK primacy, but it's taking place well down the list these days. English chess is waiting for Howell. No pressure. Vietnam's Moscow avenger Quang Liem Le shot up over 40 points. Let's hope he gets a few invites to closed events asap. Most importantly, Jan Gustafsson is back on the list.


The European Individual Chess Championship looks great. Although the top players are missing, there are 9 at 2700+ and nearly 100 players rated above 2600.

"Most importantly, Jan Gustafsson is back on the list."

Why? Who really cares?

Well , not many chess fans , but the guy has relatives and friends too.
Is not all about popularity , you know.

It's a zero-sum game, Manu. For every X added to the list, to the joy of X's relatives and friends, a Y must be deleted from the list, to the sorrow of Y's relatives and friends.

Le Quang Liem will, in any case, play Dortmund - together with Kramnik, Aronian, Vachier-Lagrave and local guys Gustafsson and Meier. No Leko, no Naiditsch this year (Naiditsch will actually be Meier's second, and Gustafsson may benefit from the fact that he was Leko's second).

I guess Mig mentioned/singled out "Gusti" because he is also part of the ICC gang. A German source said that Gustafsson became more serious recently - joined the Baden-Baden top team, gave up smoking, goes to the gym regularly - is this the result?

I care!

That Dortmund info is wrong by the way, im not invited, neither is Meier nor most other players mentioned.

Not sure what made this guy Löffler post fairytales yet again, looks like he is desperate to get a comment or two.

Why does the rating formula need to be more "dynamic"?

If you want faster updating numbers; more lists will do that, but then you say the formula is even more important. Why? What's the difference?

Maybe you are implying that the current formula does not accurately reflect the difference in strength between players, but since the formula is the same for everybody, that can't be true.

Gusti you are the best. Go Germany go.

fide couldn't rate linares(6 players!)in 4 days(24-28)!!!how stupid-incompetent-they are!they could rate the tourney in 30 min,the info was right there.we are talking about top players(most of them top 10)who are not rated proper because of thouse lazy b..unfbelievable!!!!

I'm all for FIDE bashing, but they could, they just did not, and therby followed their own rules (rare enough), which are there for alot more results and players than Lineares.

Le takes over the coveted title of "highest-rated player younger than Carlsen".

"The dreaded post-Superbowl, pre-March Madness lull in big American arena sports was filled quite nicely by the Winter Olympics this year."

Agreed. As for ratings, I just want to know who's ranked 1-5 and think all other rating info should be unpublished. Real chess fans don't care about ratings or (if they're below IM) own an engine. They only care about the otb action. Nuff said!

You're on a slippery slope to nowhere British Fan, with that absurd and juvenile comment. Quite apart from the fact that this definition of a "real" fan exists only in your head, it reveals you have never played competitive chess. Most club players take the keenest interest in their own ratings, and that of their opponents, as I'm sure does your "average, run of the mill" GM.

Can't wait to hear Mig's (and Garry Kimovich's) op-ed on Karpov's running for FIDE Presidency.


Quang Liem Le will be at Dortmund this year (earned from his Aeroflot victory).

Wasn't Karpov already a candidate at the 2006 elections in Torino? Eventually he realized he wasn't going to win many votes (not even the one of his own federation) and agreed to support Bessel Kok, if I'm not mistaken. Not that it made much of a difference...

I started playing chess when Karpov was absolute world n. 1 and have always been a huge fan of his play (rooting for him vs. Kasparov, for instance), but if he is the most credible opposition leader available, then I fear we're in for a few more years of Kirsan.

I don't know about that. FIDE's best president by a million miles has been a former world champion, and the second best the (only?) other GM to hold the post. Karpov would be an awful lot better than Ilyumzhinov and the present gang.

Whether he can get elected is another matter, of course. But I'd like to think he won't be shy about fighting bribery with bribery.

"The dreaded post-Superbowl, pre-March Madness lull in big American arena sports..."

That's what SI's swimsuit issue is for. Maybe instead of talking about ratings lists, Mig should follow SI's lead and put up some pictures.

Fridrik Olafsson and Max Euwe were both GM's and Fide Presidents.

Karpov is Thee Lizard in appearance and actions, he should never be allowed to run anything more than a club. He was a despicable character, please ask Korchnoi, Gulko, etc about his actions. Burn in hell Karpov, you will never redeem your nonredeemable behavior for decades in anyone's eyes that knows what you have done lizard face.

One morning he awoke in a green hotel
With a strange creature groaning beside him
Sweat oozed from its shining skin
is everybody in?
is everybody in?
is everybody in?
the ceremony is about to begin

Once I had, a little game
I liked to crawl, back in my brain
I think you know, the game I mean
I mean the game, called 'go insane'

you should try, this little game
Just close your eyes, forget your name
Forget the world, forget the people
And we'll erect, a different steeple

This little game, is fun to do
Just close your eyes, no way to lose
And I'm right there, I'm going too
Release control, we're breaking thru

For those of you who can read German:
There is an article about GM Gustafsson in "SPIEGEL ONLINE": http://www.spiegel.de/unispiegel/wunderbar/0,1518,680073,00.html
(By the way, Gusti, I have already pointed out to them that you are now not #126 on the rating list, but #95.)

jackson brown=lack of manners,full of hate,very likely low IQ

Don't forget that Karpov visited Kasparov in jail when Putin had him arrested.

That took some courage :)

HLM--Yes, that visit was a nice gesture. His visit to Iran last year to join in the festivities commemorating the 30th anniversary of the glorious Islamic revolution? Not such a nice gesture.

If Karpov is elected FIDE President, the future is very easy to predict:

Anand-Carlsen WC match 2012, co-run with London Olympics.

Since drawn outcomes are frowned on by the IOC, but rapid playoff a-la 2006 is rejected by players, Anand agrees to "sudden death", 1-game-a-day at regular time controls, Champion gets White first.

After 6-6 tie, they play 36 draws, as Docklands venue slowly sinks into estuary and Anand gets thinner than his wife...

Karpov intervenes to stop the match, Kasparov announces his intent to form a breakaway federation...

...but Anand second Vassily Ivanchuk is revealed to have failed a random drug test, and match is awarded to Carlsen by default. Chess goes on.


Karpov seems to get along with Korchnoi these days - at least they play for the same team in the Russian league. Also regarding Gulko, the Cold War is over ... .

I agree that his visit to Iran doesn't deserve a brilliancy prize, presumably it was related to his oil industry activities rather than his ambitions in chess politics.

I'm not sure why is that visiting Iran is such a bad idea , integrative politics are clearly the way to go in that kind of situations , fluid communication is one path to avoid war.
Regarding Karpov 's candidacy , sure , whatever , as long as FIDE remains to be a pseudo democracy i guess it is ok to have pseudo democrats running it .
At least this one knows how to play .

"I'm not sure why is that visiting Iran is such a bad idea, integrative politics are clearly the way to go in that kind of situations, fluid communication is one path to avoid war."

Heh, heh.

"...Fluid communication is one path to avoid war."

Somebody ring up Neville Chamberlain and ask him his opinion of how "fluid communication" turned out...

"fluid communication" works when all parties are committed to finding a mutual agreeable solution. The current Iranian regime has been crystal clear: it wants the whole world to convert to Islam or be subjugated. By any means necessary. No negotiation. No compromise.

The hope to avoid war is that the regime falls from organized opposition from within. External support and legitimation (and even celebration in Karpov's case) of the regime undermines and deflates the internal opposition while propping up the regime.

@ Uff Da
'The current Iranian regime has been crystal clear: it wants the whole world to convert to Islam or be subjugated. By any means necessary. No negotiation. No compromise'.
Please supply some reference(s), and not a Fox News broadcast pls.

The Iranian regime isn't really worth defending it but "the whole world to convert to Islam or be subjugated" is an accusation I've never heard before. Until now I had the impression they aren't particularly concerned with converting non-Islamic believers, and focus their foreign policy on pushing Shiite agendas in Sunni countries. Of course you are entitled to your own point of view, but why do you think this is crystal clear?

¨"fluid communication" works when all parties are committed to finding a mutual agreeable solution.¨

That is a wrong concept , fluent communication between people from different countries is the only real tool for a change regardless their leaders convictions.
If you want a muslim country to change its views about womens rights (for instance) , isolating them can only make the situation worst .

¨The current Iranian regime has been crystal clear: it wants the whole world to convert to Islam or be subjugated. By any means necessary. No negotiation. No compromise. ¨

If that´s what they actually said then they should all be executed for stealing phrases from Bush jr.

¨The hope to avoid war is that the regime falls from organized opposition from within. ¨

We all saw how well the ¨organized opposition¨ that USA installed on that area is doing , if you really want the country to change from within then you should open all lines for communication and let the cultural exchange do its work.
Paradoxically , USA is the only country in the whole American continent (actually in the whole world) that supports the regimen of Honduras , so i guess it all depends on who is organizing the oposition ...

But lets change the subject , how about yesterday´s game between Argentina and Germany?

And Der Spiegel has already corrected that!

Chessbase has an article that Carlsen and Kasparov have more or less stopped collaborating.

I bet Garry pissed Magnus and his dad to the point they couldn't take it anymore :)

Maybe you should research a little about Rosenberg´s prophecys and novels before throwing his almost fictional articles to the table .

playjunior beat me to the punch!

That article (http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=6163) read to me like the most politely crafted "there's been a disagreement and we're not playing together anymore" report in history...

I agree to some extent that "fluid communication" might help to change the country Iran from within, it can still be combined with economic sanctions ... . However:

- attending celebrations is not quite the same as fluid (and critical!) communication.

- Karpov is not the appropriate person to engage in such dialogue - but I suppose he went to Iran as an oil industry businessman, not as a (chess) politician.

- saying that the Iranian opposition is "installed by the USA" is questionable to say the least, IMO it is succumbing to Iranian propaganda - or maybe propaganda by Chavez, one of the few friends of Ahmadinejad? The opposition includes many who formerly supported the Islamic Revolution ... .

On football only so much: Germany has shown before that they can win when it matters most, remember the quarter final of the last World Cup? Just before that tournament they had done even worse in a friendly match, losing 1-4 against Italy ... .


Magnus Carlsen has decided he is not a baby anymore.


¨- saying that the Iranian opposition is "installed by the USA" is questionable to say the least, IMO it is succumbing to Iranian propaganda - or maybe propaganda by Chavez, one of the few friends of Ahmadinejad? The opposition includes many who formerly supported the Islamic Revolution ... .¨

No one said that , maybe you should read things twice before posting that kind of bs , and it is not only Chavez but for instance Lula Da Silva (among others) who defended the Iranian position against Hillary Clinton just a couple of days ago.
Economic sanctions is a form of war , it is called siege and it has nothing to do with integrational politics or opening lines for people to share their cultures.

I have the feeling that his father took that decision 4 him this time ...

No way of knowing for certain unless Carlsen or his father speak to it of course, but Magnus being 19 years old now, I'm doubtful that his father is the one calling the shots on Magnus' career or coaching choices.

maybe Carlsen defaulted on the annual retainer

Manu wrote (today 5:19AM): "We all saw how well the ¨organized opposition¨ that USA installed on that area is doing" [never mind what 'we all saw' - that the regime was striking back, not caring about human rights?]
Manu wrote (today 12:55PM): "No one said that [the Iranian opposition is installed by the USA]"

Thomas concludes that Manu is, or considers himself, noone ... but I am open to other suggestions on how to make combined sense of these two quotes.

"Lula Da Silva (among others) ... defended the Iranian position against Hillary Clinton"
Was he referring to Iran's nuclear program, or to the elections and their aftermath? Two separate issues after all !!??

So what's Garry's next move? Russian politics seems like a non-starter and his protege is trying it alone, seems like time for "Dancing with the Stars!"

Try again , you can figure it out eventually , after all you are a scientist.
Lula was of course referring to Iran's nuclear program , rejecting the economic sanctions that USA wants to impose on Iran because of the program.

Thanks for the links. Now I understand why I haven't heard of this before.

@Thomas ,hint> " that area " is not necessary equal to " Iran" and may or may not include countries like Afganistan and Irak ...

@noyb > I was just joking , but i wouldn't be surprised if his father still calls the shots on his career.

This is very cool to know. Thanks as usual.

Maybe Kasparov will appear on celebrity big brother - that would be a laugh. Nice to see migloid blogging when there is no chess to blog about and going silent in the middle of major chess tournaments!

Silence from Mig suggests that Gazza has definitely been fired.

"Garry Kasparov and Magnus Carlsen have agreed to remain in contact" - so it's not so bad that Magnus has changed his phone number...

"and Carlsen will still have the opportunity to confer regularly with Kasparov"... and Kasparov hasn't changed his phone number either.

Who knows what's been going on behind the scenes (answer: Mig! hehe), but the bottom line is that Kasparov's gameplan has worked like an absolute dream for Calsen. If he suddenly slips down the rankings, his #1 spot will be attributed solely to Gazza. I hope that doesn't happen. We need some new blood at the very top.

Yes quite possible Gazza got the order of the boot - the worst of it is that every time the subject comes up they drag out that terrible photo of the pair of them with a podgy grey haired bespectacled Gazza peering myopically at a pc wearing grim oxfam attire. Migloid keeping an ominous silence in what feels like a slightly humiliating situation for the boss. As the book series winds down (my 10,000 games v Karpov vol 24)the speeches (I wuz robbed by deep blue, why life is like chess)dry up, his political efforts at a dead end there might be writing on the wall for Migloids income stream with the former chess titan......... May have to make Daily Dirt subscription only "why losing sucks and losing your job sucks more"

I have 3 conspiracy theories to the Kasparov/Carlsen news on chessbase.

1. For 'X' reasons Magnus senior & junior want to stop contract with Gazza (What ever 'X' might be)

2. Tactical ploy to keep Carlsens opponents guessing if they are still together or not.
(after all it did have an impact in Nanjing when it was made public there collaboration)

3. Well exactly what we have read on chessbase, an opportunity to give Mr. Carlsen a chance to make decisions for himself.

4. I have no idea?

Take your pick!

It could just be straightforward:

Kasparov wanted Carlsen to play Linares.

Carlsen prefer to play Melody Amber.

Spoiled brat / old fool.

End of story

Maybe it's like Kramnik said, Garry wanted Magnus to play 1.e4 and Magnus wanted 1.d4. Big fight!

It's in the very end of this video: http://www.chessvibes.com/reports/round-9-corus-press-conference/#more-21574

Magnus is crazy to stop working with Garry.

Even if working "with" Garry is more like working "for" Garry, still Magnus should continue.

What better opportunity to improve his game is Magnus ever going to get? Until an angel comes down from heaven to impart divine chess knowledge directly into his brain, Magnus should stick with Garry. A chessplayer saying no to Garry is like a guitarist saying, "Thanks for the jam sessions, Jimi, but I think I'll just practice on my own now."

Any authentic master/apprentice relationship is bound to come with some hardship for the apprentice. If Magnus was the one who broke off the training, I think he's crazy.

"A chessplayer saying no to Garry is like a guitarist saying, "Thanks for the jam sessions, Jimi, but I think I'll just practice on my own now."
Well, if the guitarist were, for example, Eric Clapton...

Yes, Cat, but only a Clapton could really absorb the lessons of a Hendrix--that is why Magnus must continue under Garry's tutelage. I'm certain that Mig will smooth things over and get master and apprentice back on track.

On the other news ... Topalov interview


I find this comment from Topalov interesting:

"In this match the prize fund amounts to 2 million euros, or about $ 3 million, but if Anand has shown the slightest activity, the prize fund would be 5 million. India is a huge market and Anand is very popular there. But the World Champion preffered to come to a ready made situation and even to present himself as a victim. Of course he does not want to play in Bulgaria, but he does not have what to do as this was the best offer.

We were ready to play in India, the entire match or half of it, but Anand "did not lift a finger" to do something in this direction. ..."

I certainly have no insight on whether or not in the background Anand tried to get India to make a bid, but it certainly is odd that India appeared not wanting to sponsor the match.

Interesting opening by Topalov.
Definitely an improvement in his trademark Bulgarian Off-Board Attack.

I think maybe Anand is not too comfortable playing on home turf.

On another topic, this may be "checkmate" to Obama's budget (stalemate to Congress was delivered long ago):

CBO: $10 trillion jump in debt under Obama budget

"...Research done by economists Kenneth Rogoff and Carmen Reinhart has shown that such high levels of debt can cause a drag on economic growth. ..."

Recent ChessBase item on GM Rogoff's work: http://www.chessbase.com/newsprint.asp?newsid=6045

Maybe Kasparov just got sick of working with the little brat.

Topalov's comment is "interesting", another story is whether it is (all) true: India tried to put up a bid, but couldn't put the money together [they don't have a figure as Borisov] or felt they couldn't compete with the Bulgarian bid - I read the idea of splitting the match and combining the available money for the first time.

Whether Anand "lifted a finger" or not, how would Topalov (or anyone else) even know? There are other ways of acting behind the scenes than making continuous noise on Chessdom ... . And methinks that players and their managers better shouldn't have too close ties with the match organizers - obviously Topalov and Danailov think differently and FIDE has no problems with such a scenario.

In any case, Topalov's comment is in rather strong contrast with an earlier Bulgarian statement ( http://reports.chessdom.com/news-2009/topalov-anand-sofia ):
"Psychological war?
Stefan Sergiev [president of the Bulgarian Chess Federation] was rather abrupt at points of the interview. He sent clear messages which side he will strongly support and went on saying, "Topalov is a charismatic personality in Bulgaria, much more than Anand in India and a WCC here will surely benefit from this." Later on he added, "Berik Balgabaev [Ilyumzhinov's assistant] and FIDE have assured me that they rely on us and they believe that India is not up to the task of organizing the Topalov - Anand match." "

I "translate": India might as well forget about putting up a bid, Bulgaria has more money and strong FIDE connections.

Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows that the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
That's how it goes
Everybody knows

So there's no hope? Marx was wrong? The inevitable contradictions of capitalism will not lead the snake to swallow it's own tail?

So there's not hope? Marx was wrong? The capitalist snake will not swallow it's own tail?

What ever is said of me maybe true but from all the players from Karpov's era almost all say he was a repulsive, pompous, shitehead. After he was no longer significant in chess playing then he tried to change his image (much like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar after he retired) as people no longer had to bend to his maniacal whims. He is a phony, put him at the head of FIDE and FIDE will become a fascist ruled organization (that part won't change much) which his number one priority will be to in-rich his pockets and celebrity, IMHO. There have to be better candidates, how about people who have put their own money into chess and are successful businessmen who know how to run an HONEST business for profit, that should be rewarded with a position like this if one is willing to try and fix Fide, thank you and have a good day.

God, I hope you are NOT talking about Goichberg!

The question is not "Who would be the best candidate?"
"Who has a real chance to topple Ilyumzhinov?"

There was Bessel Kok, a successful businessmen who meets your profile, last time in Turin. With a campaign for a honest change, he had a lot of support by grandmasters and the general public, but he didn't get enough votes from the delegates. This time in Siberia there's no hope he would fare better.

Karpov, on the other hand, is an insider in both chess politics and Russian politics. The hope is that he will know how to deal and shuffle to get elected.

Mig on Carlsparov: The Roaring Silence.

"how about people who have put their own money into chess and are successful businessmen who know how to run an HONEST business for profit"

Maybe referring to Eric Moskow? A doctor to heal FIDE? :o)

Who would make a great FIDE president? Yasser Seirawan.

After a little thought my hopes have been dashed by you and froggy. Fide will always be Fide and so no Yasser either. Bok would have been a great choice, Fide does not want to change, maybe they are like the Olympic Committee in that they have all the power, deal behind the scenes for pay-offs and kickbacks. The difference is Chess does not have that much money to waste.

Oh... is that Jackson Brown casting aspersions? He's the same one that stated that Hikaru Nakamura would bomb in Corus and didn't deserve to be there.

That will not affect Morozevich's standing on my live rating list, available here:


You have my wholehearted pity, son.

I´m not sure what to do , it is like a moral dilema :
Laughing at a very creative joke and face weeks of persecution and insults ...
Or pretend that i don´t consider it funny and try to get along with the justice league ...
I´ll think about it.

Several posters have taken to impersonating others in the hope of discrediting this blog. We're just cleaning out the garbage -- and we're having a hell of a lot of fun doing it.

Nicely done.

Provisional rating for Humorous Clever Daily Dirt Posts:

3014--"Kramnik in Dallas"
2790--FBL Provisional rating list

Nicely done...except that I am seriously underrated.

I am not sure how there can be 2 entries for the same person in chess auditor's list e.g. Hans Arild Runde and frogbert.

This thread has obviously run its course.

I´m not sure why is that there aren´t more than 2 entries for that person considering the circumstances.

How did you avoid CA's list? You must either be slim or have a full head of hair.

That's a good question, Koster. The answer is simple: This thread was not rated at the time of the list's publication, but if Brown continues on this tangent, he will certainly make the next one.

Oh nooooooooooo, not the list, lmao.
ps If I can't be number 1 then forget it.

Naka played better than I thought as most American players are overrated, but did he contend for anything..an also ran, big whoop. And how about the other mighty Americans. Akobian DEAD last in the "B" group that was hillarious and Robson was outclased yet again. Lets see if Yermo dares show his humilated face again after that bitchslap froggy gave him and tries to tell us again how underrated and great American chess is...pshaw.

I suppose you might be yet another alterego of Luke? I M Stoopid's disappearance would be explained then, and the "troll equilibrium count" restored (usually one mysteriously appears/becomes prominent when another mysteriously "disappears").

I do apologize to JB if I have slighted a good honest troll just trying to get his work done.

IT's ok CC, just trying to get to number 1 while having a little fun.

Urgent phone call for Mr. Chess Auditor: Your psychiatrist says prescription is waiting to be picked up.

Specialists state that loan help a lot of people to live the way they want, because they can feel free to buy necessary stuff. Furthermore, different banks present term loan for different classes of people.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on March 2, 2010 12:37 AM.

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