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Anand-Topalov, Eyjafjallajokull Be Damned

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Despite Iceland's last wish to have its ashes scattered over Europe, it looks like Anand is on the way and that the match will take place on or close to schedule. So let's keep all the partisan "to delay or not delay" chatter to the volcano thread and start talking some chess. Anand, defending world champion, 40 years old. Topalov, the challenger and home-town hero, 34. Kramnik beat Topalov. Anand beat Kramnik. Now the circle will either be completed and an annoying parity established or Anand will achieve status as something more than a post-Kasparov, pre-Carlsen primus inter pares figure. What do you say?

Our poll for Anand-Kramnik was close to a dead heat, if I recall. So much for the wisdom of crowds. Or at least this crowd. Provide the rationale, if not rational, for your vote in the comments. If you'd like to include some of the interview and other interesting coverage links I haven't had time to look at over the past week, I'll grab them all for a preview summary post.


I thought a week ago that Anand would win. Now, with the games already beginning ahead of time, I suspect Topalov will come out on top. Please prove me wrong, Vishy.

Games beggining ahead of time? What do you mean? The schedule for the match is known since long time ago...

Thanks, Mig.


Reasons 1, 2, and 3: Anand is the better defender. Maintain constant pressure à la Carlsen, and Topalov will probably fold.

Even where Topalov is clearly better (rook endings, for example--Topalov-Gelfand in Linares was very impressive), Anand has narrowed the gap in the past few years. After being outplayed in a couple famous rook endings in the middle of last decade, Anand saved one worse and one lost rook ending in Mexico City.

There's a rock-scissors-paper aspect to such short matches: Kramnik got to use his prep against Kasparov, but largely avoided Kasparov's prep. And Anand's prep against Kramnik is still fresh in our memories.

It would be cool to see six sharp Najdorfs (Anand-Topalov) and six sharp Semi-Slavs (Topalov-Anand). But that hardly seems realistic.

Would either player (more likely Anand?) give serious consideration to a "junkball" opening with White or with Black, just to get into Rybka's home cooking? (Think of Short playing the Budapest and the Worrall Attack against Karpov, or Anand playing the Scandinavian against Kasparov.)

I dont understand , it was an honest question .

And you could have asked more politely me thinks.

The result of this match is extremely hard to predict because there's so much more than the actual chess abilities of the players which may contribute to it.

If played fairly, Anand is clear favourite to me although Topalov is no pushover by any means. I think Anand's universal style, his ability to switch between solid positional play and brilliant tactical stuff, gives him the edge. The crazy stuff that worked for Topalov in the last tourney will hardly work against Anand because #1 He is a superior defender and #2 He hardly ever gets into time trouble. One point worth noting here is Topalov's decision to stick to the Sofia rules unilaterally; it may very well backfire if he actually sticks to it. The X-factor is of course the opening preparations. I am assuming Anand and Topalov will be able to surprise each other fairly equally. If I am wrong and Topalov is able to suprise Anand more often, then this will be a much closer match. If, on the other hand, Anand manages to do that then this match will be over in no time.

Now let's come back to the original premise why it's so difficult to predict the result of this match. There is zero chance that this match will be played fairly. This is evident from the fact that one can hardly distinguish between Organizing team and Topalov's team; they seem to be one. So the million-dollar question is how well Anand will be able to handle the stuff off the board. If he manages to hold on to his calm collective mindframe, he will be the winner. If not... I don't even want to think.

Bravo to Mig for that. Manu, you could have spoken more intelligently methinks.

Anand by +2. Topalov's risky play will backfire against a calculating machine like Anand.

I did ask politely. In the main post.

I think the off-the-board factor is relevant to the discussion of the match, especially because it was such a big deal in Elista (leading not just to scandal, but an actual forfeit). I just don't see any point in having it become an endless back and forth of insults in the comments here. If your comments don't stand on their own they shouldn't be posted in the first place. Talking about the players is rarely a problem. Talking about other posters nearly always is, sooner or later.

Anand really hasn't been living up to his incredibly high defensive standards in the past year or so, losing several big games on tactical oversights. His vision is still remarkable, but no longer a sure thing. Whether or not this means Topalov can inflict more damage on Anand than on himself with his risk-taking is unknown. But Topalov has reason to be encouraged by games like Anand's two 2009 losses to Aronian, just to pick the obvious examples. But Anand can look at Topalov's wobbly play against Kamsky and hope for a repeat.

RE: Topalov's "unilateral promise" to follow Sofia rules. The promise is nothing more than an attempt to psyche the opponent. Topalov will "follow" Sofia rules only if he is down or equal. He will happily accept a draw on move 1 if he is +2.

Time for Vishy to nut up. Time for Topalov's fans to shut up (this comment is not directed at you Juan).

I don´t see how asking politely about ¨the games beginning ahead of time¨ is talking about other posters .
In fact i left the other thread instead of answering the insults and agressions from other posters...
BTW one of the posts you erased was me congratulating Harish about his gallery of pictures...
But in any case this is your place and i will respect that , be good and thx for everything.

The first one to uncork a serious novelty will prevail, and my money is on Anand for that reason. I am very much hoping ones of them essays 1. Nf3 d5 2. b4 or indeed just 1. b4

Anand's high-level strategy against Kramnik was to drag the game into highly tactical and unclear positions. Or, as Kasparov put it: "throw sand in his eyes."

That won't work with Topalov. May be Anand's strategy against Topalov is to drag Topalov into positions which look more advantageous than they actually are which will hopefully tempt him to overreach. What is the "throw sand in his eyes" equivalent to tempt someone to overreach?

Of course a nice, solid TN will work too.

The one surprise we've had so far with the announcement of seconds is Jiri Dufek working for Topalov. As he's preparing the Rybka 4 opening book it's reasonable to assume Topalov's also had access to the new software. Assuming it's a significant improvement then one obvious tactic would be to automatically search for positions where the new program's assessment is much more favourable than that of Rybka 3 and other similar programs. There'd then be a good chance that even if Anand had looked at the line he wouldn't have considered it dangerous.

Overall I think Anand's a stronger player, but in a short match it's still too close to call and opening preparation will probably decide things. It's hard to imagine Topalov will do as badly in that area as against Kamsky. In his many interviews at the end of last week Topalov said he'd expected an easy match against Kamsky and simply underestimated his opponent. He also said the big change between preparing for the match with Kramnik and now is how much more powerful computers have become (a bit depressing, really, they were powerful enough then!).

This is going to become a very interesting match, given that they actually get to push wood.

I was not impressed by Topalov's effort in Linares. He was up against either very predictable players, or time pressure addicts - and then Aronian was clearly there for the sun and wine. Playing through Topalov's games, one finds several instances where he didn't pursue the best line, and he got saved repeatedly by his opponent's falling into time trouble. For Grischuk we need to make the exception that it's not trouble, it's a feature.

Anand is not getting much of a breather between each time he has to defend his title, and I suspect he's saving his arsenal for when it is really needed. Meanwhile, given Topalov's very flexible repertoire, Anand has been practising holding the fort against anything a number of opponents could throw at him. That makes us wonder when he appears in tournaments, because we'd like to see the world champion win those, as well. But Anand can ramp up the pressure when he wants to, apparently. Going undefeated through Corus, he made certain to deconstruct Kramnik's Petrov when given the opportunity. And for those saying Anand doesn't go for combinations, there's his recent demolishing of Kempinski to consider, from the Bundesliga.

This is the age of computer prep, and that has leveled the field, so Anand has to conserve his innovations for when they matter, and that he does.

I believe Anand will wipe the board with Topalov (and I believed that before Bobby Fischer gave that volcano a kick.)

"Assuming it's a significant improvement ..."

There was a thread some time ago that discussed whether computers could come up with TNs. For this post, I will use the following definition for TNs: TNs are moves that go against conventional wisdom, and are difficult to refute over the board.

I guess you are of the opinion that computers can find TNs. I am of the same opinion, and I thought that someone must have set up a massively distributed system for finding TNs. But, I haven't heard anyone talk about something like that...

Manu - may I suggest that you tend to take things too literally, not seeing the subtext, and that this may be a reason why you find yourself in so many strange discussions here?

Seth writes:
Now, with the games already beginning ahead of time, I suspect Topalov will come out on top.

Manu instantly writes:
Games beggining ahead of time? What do you mean? The schedule for the match is known since long time ago...

Seth was showing to the gamesmanship that is taking place ahead of the actual, scheduled playing.

I see you posted three minutes after Seth, but that does not necessarily mean you spent three minutes pondering what Seth wrote.


I think it's too close a call between them but I think Topalov would win it, fortunately or unfortunately and I wouldn't put it past the Bulgarian team to resort to off-the-board antics should Anand start getting a few wins under his belt. Their track record speaks for themselves.

Anand's preparation is very curious in that in Corus, he goes into inferior lines and was able to hold them. Topalov's win in Linares should give him added confidence going into the match. In terms of confidence, I give the slight edge to Topalov as he also has the support of the organisers and has home crowd advantage.

I give the slight advantage of opening preparation to Topalov. And while having Rybka's opening expert on your team can either benefit tremendously or backfire horribly for Topalov, it would most likely be positive than negative. I suspect Anand would go into unclear lines as both Black and White in an effort to mix things up since Topalov has been known to go astray in unclear positions.

Topalov's strength lies in his opening prep but what he lacks is a greater understanding of the game ala Anand.

At the age of 40, Anand has slowed down a bit and this might work against him since he has to battle against a known fighter who is more energetic especially if Topalov insists on drawing the games out so as to tire Anand (which I suspect would be the strategy for the Topalov camp to follow).

This blog gave some details about how Nakamura goes about things: http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/geekend/?p=4211 I don't think there's the slightest doubt the top players make enormous use of computers to find TNs, though it's not something you'd expect them to discuss. Anand and Topalov both have games suited to messy positions only a computer could love, whereas you can imagine some GMs like Kramnik still prefer to play more human chess, with logical (even aesthetic) positional goals - and perhaps as a result benefit a little less from computer analysis.

Personally, I believe that the volcanic eruption spewing forth from Iceland is Bobby's exhumation blessing/curse upon the festivities from the Great Chess Board Beyond. A metaphysical chessical manifestation as it were. Chess players do not die, they just move on...
All Best To All For The Best Move, JC Gold

Don't know about that, even off the top of my head I can remember Kramnik talking about moves the computer had found for him. I'd say he's as deep in it as any other until I see clear proof to the contrary.

Mig, I don't know whether it is a good idea to point to ANY Anand-Aronian games for proof of anything, since Anand seems to have some psychological problem there and gets mangled time and time again-some kind of glitch!

Even though I suspect that Anand is a better (more universal) player, I would like Topalov to win. His approach towards playing chess (always fighting, playing against the opponent and not the position) is more appealing to me.

Our poll runs for about a week and now has
Anand 68% (1,072 votes)
Topalov 32% (502 votes)

So about 1:2 voor Vishy. Here it's even worse for Topalov, so far. Perhaps sentiments about the recent developments play a role...

My comments are only relatively speaking :) Maybe he only spends half of his life glued to his computer screen! All I mean is it's easier to use computers to find messy tactical positions that can trouble your unprepared opponent, but Kramnik is less comfortable with those and less likely to employ that analysis in games.

Understood, but his opponents know that too and try to get him into messy positions, so for all we know he might have ro spend just as much time on sharp messy positions that he is forced to play whether he likes it or not! Semi-Slav, anyone?


Vishy interviewed by Ris Khan - two part and recent.

SXL. Tis http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aNp7gec21IQ is not recent. Its actually from Apr 2009. Another dumb post by Chessdom claiming its from last week.

Topalov for sure, Anand is becoming too much of a sissy for me, fancing leaving all decision making to his wife

Anand is in Sofia, confirmed various sources here http://reports.chessdom.com/news-2010/anand-topalov-live-sofia but no one has seen him from organizers?

The outcome of this match depends on whether Anand is still into being WC. Is he tired of all that goes with the title? Look at how heavily criticised he is for his tournament performances. This business of having to prove over and over that you are the "best" must be exhausting.

Maybe he would just like to scale down and kick back. Soon Magnus will be the one the WC will have to deal with...is that something Anand would look forward to? Or does he dread the thought.?

I'm not sure he has that burning desire required to stay WC. We'll see...

In the interview he makes it clear he wants to remain World Champion for as long as possible. He makes references to what it felt like to lose the title a year after he won it the first time.

(And yes, it was taped last year, the date on YouTube is wrong.)

Anand is going to win. Rationale-because Topalov's style is not effective against Anand. Anand is the ultimate tactical defender, and makes very few mistakes.

Anand will win, albeit only in tie-breaks. Why? Well, humanity is simply not yet ready for world chess campion #16. It's still time for #15...

Y'know, whoever wins, I wonder what it will do to the career of the loser...they both have such a large emotional stake in the outcome...how many matches have we seen which sent the loser on a permanent downward spiral? That would be a great pity cos we have two great fighting players here.

If there's one thing Topalov and Kramnik have in common: both recovered pretty well after losing a WCh match ... .
Dunno which past matches you're referring to - maybe it was anyways a question of age taking its toll, which just happened a bit sooner rather than later?

Wow! Never thought I'd see the day that Mig joined in the monkey-poo flinging.

And it's interesting to see all of the "top trolls" beginning to post. I guess as the WCC draws near, all of the "usual suspects" are drawn to the light.

Hmmm... guess that would include me. ; )

Bronstein, Smyslov, Tal, Spassky...perhaps Leko...not age IMO. Other interesting matches, if a little less straightforward...Kasparov-Short, Short-Gelfand..this match means even more pressure on both, I think, because it is so important for both.

Change the record!

BBC Sport:
"Arduous Madrid trip frustrates Benitez"

Does anyone think that Anand's 40hour drive to Sofia, and not arriving 7 days before as he had planned can be a decisive handicap ?

It'll be a handicap no doubt, but not a decisive one. Anand will still win.

While the majority appear to think Anand's postponement request is reasonable (several polls show this), there was a small minority who used google and felt an 18 hour drive from Frankfurt to Sofia was not too bad for Anand to take. The actual drive took 40 hours and went through bad roads & involved visa problems etc.

This minority was not just restricted to these message boards. For example, here is Mark Crowther on TWIC, who is usually quite balanced on most issues:


"Whilst I was initially sympathetic to the idea of the postponement, once you really start adjust to thinking about the current problem, is it really all that unreasonable to expect Anand to travel by land?

The travel chaos is now worse than that caused by the cancellation of flights in 2001 in the wake of the September 11th attacks. Many people have had trouble adjusting to the new situation which has come as a complete surprise. Whilst unfortunate, and a source of worry for Anand, I think the organisers are right, he needs to bite the bullet and get himself to Sofia. Anand has the financial resources and the German contacts to arrange very comfortable transport from Frankfurt to Sofia. It is to be hoped that reports he set off on Sunday are correct. Whilst one Bulgarian report suggested a land travel time of 28 hours (that may be a train journey) google suggests a more reasonable 18.5 hours. "

I wonder if they will change their mind now and switch over to the majority side and agree that Anand's request is reasonable.

The larger question, of course, is if FIDE does not grant the extension and Anand is forced to play - how will his game be affected if he had just spent an arduous 40 hour non-stop journey? Does this put Topalov at a huge advantage?

Topalov has an edge in his ability to mix things up and his never-give-up attitude. I admire that about him. His or his team's antics I have no appreciation for.
This will come down to Anand's ability to keep his focus on the games. There is nothing here I can write that is not known about Anand and his abilities.
My pick is Anand by +1.

Probably Anand did not follow the proposed route, perhaps because of no visa for Serbia (so he had to go through Romania)

I'm rooting for Vishy, but I think Topalov will win. He's playing at home, and that's not a trivial detail. I'm not guessing a result, in a long match it would be a close call, but with so few games, anything can happen.
I just hope they don't go to tiebreaks.

Definetely Vishy Anand will win, and he must win for the betterment of chess. He is a role model with out any controversies in his chess life, unlike Topalov, which came out in his match with Kramnik. Anand is a better player and sure he will win like he won against Kramnik. I think Anand will come with some opening surprises, and better prepared than Topalov. English opening C4 for change!!!!

My vote: Anand will win on TB.

(Like most naive American people, I voted with the heart, not the head)

Yep, Chessvibes have the details (actually if you have to avoid Serbia Google Maps gives something more like 24 hours): http://www.chessvibes.com/reports/anand-has-arrived-in-sofia-and-on-al-jazeera/

“Going through Austria and Hungary went smoothly,” Schmitt says. “However, after that the team encountered some problems with visas. And the roads in Romania are very bad, I can tell you.” The World Champion’s team had arranged a bus to make the long trip, for which the theoretical 18.5 hours of travelling time given by Google Maps proved much too optimistic, especially when the whole of Europe is travelling by train or car. “The organizers said it was easy to reach Sofia, but I can tell you that it was not, under these circumstances,” Schmitt added.

If Anand maintains accuracy like in Bohn, he will trash Topa for sure.

Organizing committee says no postpoment, just updated http://reports.chessdom.com/news-2010/anand-topalov-live-sofia

This is the latest, seems like clouds pile again.

Current sportsbook odds are:

Viswanathan Anand IND -136
Veselin Topalov BUL +121

eg, you would have to bet $136 on Anand to win $100, while betting $100 on Topalov would get you $121. So, Anand is a fairly solid favorite in the official betting world.

Although in the Anand camp for this one, I don't believe that an Anand victory would do much good for chess. He hasn't used his influence to reform chess politics and organization, nor has he done much to popularize chess globally. He's a great player OTB, but not a big personality, and not a dynamic representative for the game.

Not that a Topalov victory has anything to recommend it.

Organizing committee says so, what does FIDE say?

Google maps and other travel planners seem way to optimistic, assuming an average speed of close to 100 km/h, hence
- proper roads all the way
- no or limited breaks underway
- no or limited delays (border crossings, traffic jams, ...)
Next, some people might accuse Anand of travelling the hard and slow way for propaganda purposes?!

BTW, coverage by Hans-Walter Schmitt (in German) at www.chess-tigers.com - not that remarkable, so I won't translate much. On his early arrival, he just writes "Of course it is some sort of prophylaxis to send a team member before one's own arrival to make the most necessary preparations". And while he was bored in Sofia, he took a few pictures of the city.

not even one-day delay of the first game.

So much for "Everybody understands and cooperates."
(FIDE Deputy President Georgios Makropoulos).

Wonder what FIDE decision will be, if they are strong enough to rule against the organizing committee.

Much of the comment here seems based on who people prefer as a person rather than an objective assessment of chess skill. I think Topalov will shade it. His recent results have been a bit better his rating is slightly higher and a slightly better record in head to head classical games. In the last decisive game between the pair Anand was destroyed in a completely pre-prepared game - Topalov taking about 25 minutes for the game and was winning after 20 odd moves. Plus I think the home advantage is, on balance, helpful.

I think a moral should be drawn from the whole thing. Watch out for Icelandic volcanoes when travelling to your Championship match. I hope future generations can learn from this.

What do you guys think will be the worst-case scenario? Anand will insist on a 3-day postponement, Bulgaria refuse, match gets canceled, Anand hand-picks a new challenger (or stages a 8-player qualifier to pick one)? Or does FIDE declare Topalov the winner ('FIDE World Champion') since Anand refused to play? (I wouldn't think its premature to start talking on these lines - who would have thought Elista would snowball into such a huge scandal when the first allegation was made).

There is no longer any point in speculating about "whether" the organizers will engage in underhanded gamesmanship to Anand's disadvantage (or whether FIDE itself will bow to the organizers', which is to say the Topolov team's, will). The reigning world champion's made a modest request that an indisputable textbook example of an act-of-God force majeure event be recognized as such. It wasn't. In connection with tens of thousands of obligations across Europe, the flight and related travel situation is legally and morally recognized as a justification for delay. It is hard to imagine that a court anywhere in the world would give any credence to a counterparty's assertion of claims against another based on legitimate volcano-related delays. In sharp contrast to the reality plastered on the front page of newspapers, any delay by Anand in connection with this match would punished with forfeiture - a result that Anand apparently predicted when resorted to his 40-hour trek by car.

This decision of the organizers and FIDE is not simply a signal that their conduct "will be" tilted in Topolov's favor but rather that it already is skewed in a meaningful way. The fact that the predicted outrageousness in the conduct of the match has already comes to pass (with more to come) already means that assessing the match outcome has far less to do with chess considerations.

I agree with you on the recent form. However, I think the Topalov's home advantage trumps even the OTB advantage.

Here is my checklist while making Topalov the favourite:
1. Home advantage (including the unfair home advantage): +Topalov
2. Recent chess form: +Topalov
3. Bonn reversal: +Anand
4. Voting from the heart: +Anand

To clarify on "3. Bonn reversal", Kramnik was the favourite on recent chess form with a slight + head-to-head. But Anand overturned it in Bonn.

NB: Due to reason 4, I have abstained from voting.

Bet on Topalov and you will win surely.

If you look at accuracy of moves, Anand should win. Consider move quality of Topalov against Kramnik and Kamsky. I am no expert, but several including Topalov himself has said it was not good. It is to wait and see how much Topalov has improved since then. If he has not improved a lot and Anand plays the way he did in Bonn, Anand will prevail.

I think those commenting about Anand's performance in tournaments are ignoring the fact that more than 15-16 months out of last 2 years, Anand was either preparing for a WC or playing in one. We all understand that preparation for a Chess WC match is much different from a regular tournament and is not useful. In fact a pending match prevents the player from playing his novelties.

Of course, a complete circle (triangle?) in that sense did exist earlier as well since Kasparov beat Anand, Kramnik beat Kasparov and Anand beat Kramnik. But such a 'parity' was probably more desirable than annoying back then since, for one, Gary had any way retired when Anand beat Kramnik......

About the advantage that Topalov may have due to Anand's tiredness/mental unreadiness: I believe i read that Spassky said that the forfeit point he gained from Fischer was a poisoned point because he felt like he "owed" him...(not his precise words but you get the sense)...now you can also argue that Topalov is not the sportsman that Spassky is, of course...but there is also the factor that no-one likes to play a game where they "should" win because of some problem of their opponent; you ever play someone who arrives 50 minutes late, for example? It's more trouble than it's worth!!

I'd add that - in addition to the fatigue factor - Anand's reaction may also depend on whether he feels rattled or motivated by events, including whether he feels Topalov (and/or Danailov) is/are responsible for not granting him the requested postponement. Getting p.o.'ed at one's opponent can unnerve you & cause you to make mistakes, sure, but it can also make you focus even better in an extra-special effort to win. Anand's certain to be pretty peeved at the way things turned out; and I'd say that he's generally demonstrated a solidity of personality that would most likely enable him to withstand the tension and turn it to his advantage. Just my guess, of course...

Good question and the answer is a foregone conclusion:

fide will not support postponement as they have no balls.

Sigh - here we go all the hyperbole kicks in. There is nothing outrageous about anything so far said and done by either side and nothing sinister. He is a professional - its a bit unlucky but he will be in shape for the first game these things happen I dont think there will be any postponement so lets get it on

Topalov and Kramnik have played similar openings as White. And considering that Anand has not played too much since Bonn, he might still have the unused novelties that he had prepared for Bonn that could come in handy against Topalov's white. It might be in Topalov's advantage to not play any lines that overlaps with those of Kramnik. We might see a lot of 1.e4 from Topalov. Anand has been responding off-late a lot with 1...e5 and going into early ...Bc5 Spanish. He has played that line 4 times in corus and once in the Bundesliga this year. But then, he could be playing that line as he is hiding something else. Who knows? I cant wait for the match to start.

Two years ago, it would be Anand hands down. The main factor working against Anand now is age. He has become prone to mistakes and lapses of concentration. He is going to lose at least one, maybe two, games by blundering. It all depends on how well he can counter Topa prep and antics in the other games. It Topa tries too hard to complicate and confuse, he will be hammered.

If Topalov wins this match, the chess world will fall into chaos again, with Danailov getting really evil. Vishy is in a interesting position now : he can make history, he has the opportunity to save us all, to be a true hero. Let us pray Caïssa and hope for the victory over the darkness.
Ah oh yes it's only a game, sorry...

Pot-kettle CC...

Wow, 82-22 for Anand with nearly 600 votes. I had no idea it would be this lopsided. 60-40 maybe. Since these things always have a popularity contest effect to them, I wonder how much the numbers would shift if people were betting real money. The actual betting lines I've seen, which are usually moved by the money, are much closer than this.

I voted for Anand because I dislike Topalov (who's strings are being pulled by Danailov).

But chess wise things are looking dire for Anand. The fact that there's already a scandal before the match even started doesn't bode well either.
Topalov has shown better form than Anand lately and when it comes to pure chess strength there's not much difference. Hasn't Topalov occupied the #1 spot on the rating list far longer than Anand?

Topalov world champion. Danailov president of the European Chess Union. Ilyumzhinov of FIDE.
The future never looked better.

Ps: I'm not sure you can compare this poll with real money betting line percentages. Many people in this poll chose a small winning margin, just like many people betting real money are expecting. Add all the people together who are betting real money in favor of Anand and you might get a similar result as in this poll. But of course it is clear (from my own example above) that other factors play much more on this blog.)

"...Topalov is not the sportsman that Spassky is..."

I think there is nothing the Topalov camp would like more than a free point. Except, of course, two free points.

In any case, Manu in another thread ("Check the news, it's Vishy who unnecessary lost the PR battle") seems to be wrong - confirming that a single person cannot make such verdicts.

GM Sergei Shipov has put up a preview of the match on his website. He talks of the match result being an equation with two unknowns - as the long preparation for these matches makes even players who've been around this long into mysteries. Jumping ahead he says a year ago he rated the chances as 51-49 in favour of Anand, and now he thinks 51-49 for Topalov, but that that just means its too close to call. I'll try and add his comments on Sofia rules later. http://www.crestbook.com/?q=node/1174

Vishwanathan Anand: Mister X

A harmonious, universal and practical chess player. He plays easily, not inclined to put in extreme effort when he can get by with minimal measures. Very flexible, he can vary his openings and style of play. A brilliant defender. He has great match experience. He played Kasparov and Karpov - a schooling you can't replace with any training sessions.

Veselin Topalov: Mister Y

An aggressive, energetic chess player, he loves and knows how to overcome insurmountable obstacles. Fundamentally without a sense of fear. He puts his opponents under constant pressure in the style of Kasparov. Of course the quality of his chess education is inferior to his great predecessor, but he knows how to bluff. He plays at full throttle even when others have no will to play on. He can keep his concentration at an unbelievable level even for super grandmasters.

These descriptions and the inevitable comparison of the players can be reduced to a single sentence:

Anand is a player of higher class, Topalov - tougher and more energetic.

From which it follows that to solve the equation it is much more important to define X, than Y. If Anand manages to be on top form, if he's prepared in all areas at the level of, say, the Bonn match with Kramnik (2008), then he can control the course of the match. Almost everything will depend upon him, however well Topalov is prepared.
But if you only knew how difficult that is! Don't forget that the Indian champion has already entered his fifth decade - a serious handicap compared to the younger Bulgarian contender.

The match format is 12 games, plus rapid and blitz if there's a tied score. That's an exceptionally, and I'd even say - inexcusably short distance for a match for the highest title. It ends up meaning that the result of the match largely depends on who lands the first precise blow against the opening weaknesses of his opponent. You recall how a couple of years ago in Bonn Anand hit the Meran solar plexus of Kramnik? The impact was so great that Vladimir was essentially unable to get back on his feet before the end of the confrontation. The match turned out to have already been decided.

As I see it the logical consequence of this sad story will be the players employing a very cautious opening strategy at the start of the current match. It's unlikely that they'll immediate launch themselves into the thicket of fashionable, risky and essentially computer variations, where one analytical mistake could be fatal. Or rather, that will only happen if they're absolutely confident in the results of their analysis. While if there are any doubts - it won't be unleashed on the opponent immediately. Taking into account the different temperaments of the players I guess that Anand will most likely be cautious, while Topalov - will be as cautious as he's capable of being! After all we know that his "caution" can look like amazing courage to those looking on!

If the betting lines give 60-40 odds for Anand, then those are pretty darn good odds.

So, what are the odds you are seeing Mig?

This thing hasn't started yet?

I'd take Topalov at +121. I'm sort of hoping for this result anyway only because it sets up a "Good vs Evil" match with Carlsen later on down the line. Topalov vs Carlsen sells better than Carlsen vs good-guy Anand. It's the closest thing we'll get to another Cold War Classic.

I find it harder to care about this WC than ever before. It seems more like Rybka prep vs Rybka prep anyway, with the human as the avatar. Preparation and TN's have long held over OTB prowess for determining WCs, most obviously with Kramnik vs Kasparov, but probably even before then when Kasparov was the preparation king.

Yep, the poll results so far are pretty lopsided...

On the other hand, apart from resolving the minor question of who's the world champion, this poll would be a good estimate of whether and by how much is this blog biased against/in favor of one of the players.

On the actual trip time West Germany-Sofia: I've done it myself a couple of times in the 1990s:

1.with the regular bus service (25-30 year old Setra bus with no working restroom)
2. when most of the countries en route were still not part of EU (i.e. about a dozen lengthy border checks)
3.when there was a war/embargo vs Yugoslavia

It took 30-32 hours and it was a pain. But hardly anything a good night of sleep can't solve.

One more comparison (if you are still reading this lengthy post)...

Last Sunday a cycling classic race was held in the Netherlands (Amstel Gold Race). Roughly 40% of the field were having volcano related problems getting to the venue. The race was not postponed by a week a day or an hour. In the end, 2 of the 3 podium finishers actually drove themselves for 16-20 hours from Spain and Italy respectively the day before and apparently did not affect there performance that much.
Of course cycling is not chess, but it is not clear whether a long trip should affect physical or mental condition more...

Nice translation Mishanp. Shipov, as usual, is an enjoyable read.

Anand said that the result of such matches often depends on which player gets to use his preparation.

The probability that your preparation will be used increases with match experience because you become better at predicting things. Anand is more experienced than Topalov.

The probability that the your opponent's preparation will be used decreases as your range of openings increases. My guess is that both of these players are about equal in this respect, but I may be wrong.

Based on this analysis, I would give Anand the upper hand.

Wow, some people get really carried away with this 'good guy' vs 'evil guy' thing...

Don't get your pants in bunch: it is a chess match for crying out loud not a quest to find the meaning of life!

Besides it seems like the 'evil guy' was declared evil pretty much based on sample of 1 observation (toiletgate). I may be biased, but for somebody being as successful as he is, he seems like a fairly humble dude both before Elista and in the couple of years since...

Anand in Sophia will be much sharper than his lackluster play in Corus.
Topalov in Sophia will be more cautious than his foolhardy play in Linares.
I think they will start out with several draw games. Topa will not risk getting behind early on.

I'm not really sure about his reformed character - this is a from an interview a few days ago (I translated it on the other thread, but Mig did ask for interviews he might have missed!). I don't think evil's the word, but then what is? http://tinyurl.com/y6e9t4g

How would you comment on the words of Kramnik, who said that Anand is the better player but you're the favourite because of playing in Sofia?

- Don't forget that he was saved by the match being on Russian territory in Elista. There the organizers managed to hide his tracks. They didn't show video footage which clearly showed his behaviour. He doesn't behave like a man. A man with dignity and who believes in his honesty would seek out and show the records himself. His opinion does not reflect the views of the entire Russian chess community. We have excellent relations with most Russian chess players - Karpov and FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov will come to Sofia. The International Federation has repeatedly said that the protest of my delegation was correct. What he says is another matter. Kramnik managed to play several matches for the world title because he is Russian. If he was from a small country, no one would give them to him. The Russian Federation and previously the Soviet Union has always had influence. Even in controlling who will be president of FIDE. Kramnik benefited from this and played matches without any cycle. After Elista he was given a new match. Even in Bonn last year I should have played, not him. They almost managed to remove me from the cycle for years to come. This happened to Kasparov because he began to criticize the former president Vladimir Putin. All his troubles in chess started there as the world champion could no longer secure a sponsor.

Anand because Kramnik beat Topalov and Anand beat Kramnik; by a narrow margin because of postponement-gate and location of match.

> I don't think evil's the word, but then what is?

"Paranoid" comes to mind. If your translation is accurate (I assume it is) and Topalov really believes everyone is out to get him, then he seems unbalanced. That may help to explain his susceptibility to Danailov's machinations.

Hmmm, where else have we seen a paranoid chess player?

Poll from http://www.chess-tigers.com : http://poll.pollcode.com/2Uw
Viswanathan Anand 72% (602 votes.)
Veselin Topalov 28% (230 votes.)

The reason the polls (favoring Anand in the 75-80% range) is so different from the markets (favoring Anand as a 56.7% favorite, using pinnaclesports as the prediction market and assuming an .08 vig) is simple: when people vote with their hearts, they greatly favor Anand. When they vote with their heads (and are willing to back it up with cash), then Anand, while still favored, drops 20 points or so.

How else do you account for such a discrepancy of hearts over heads other than the public views one as the hero and one as the villain?

No one really believes Topalov to be "evil" (what is with you Euros and your literal translation of everything?) any more than the Detroit Pistons of the Bad Boy era were "evil" during their run. But in terms of storytelling and marketing, "Good vs Evil" is a popular line that resonates and drums up considerable interest, and Carlsen vs Topalov would easily fall into that.

I would expect polls for that match-up to favor Carlsen in the high 80's, and the media to paint that picture without any prompting at all. And if that match-up wants any sponsors other than some foolish government like Sofia or Elista footing the bill, both sides should be more than willing to play up their respective roles. Those of you who are new to capitalism are probably still perplexed and fuming about "evil", but it's the way of things.

So while I bet with my head and will put some on Topalov at +123, my heart is also with Anand. But I would also love to see Carlsen-Topalov too.

Topalov is hungrier and playing at home. Anand overall is a better player, but the difference in chess strength is not huge. In addition, getting someone like Dufek on the team, who has an access to Rybka 4 and is an excellent correspondence player seems like a very shrewd move by Topalov's team. I expect the opening battle to go in Topalov's favour.

Anand biggest trump is his advantage in rapid chess. If he draws the classical match I don't see many chances for Topalov on the tiebreak. Effectively that gives Anand drawing odds, just as the champions of the past enjoyed. For such a short match it's a serious advantage.

Now on to some numbers. Lifetime classical score is (+10-11=23). Roughly that translates to 50% draws and 25% wins for either player. Using this as a probabilities of an outcome of each game, the probability that match is drawn after 12 games is 16%.

Rapid and blitz lifetime score is (+13-3=27) in Anand's favour. That translates to probabilities of 30%, 7% and 63%. Assuming such probabilities, the chance of Anand winning the tiebreak is 86%.

This gives the following estimated probabilities to win the title: Anand 56% - Topalov 44%. Funny enough, this is exactly what bookies are projecting. Pinnacle odds are: Anand 1.72 - Topalov 2.23. Assuming that my probabilities are correct, putting $100 on Anand would loose you on average $4, while putting $100 on Topalov would loose you on average $2.

Of course, my calculation does not take into account any off-board factors. I believe these should shift odds in Topalov's favour. So there is definitely no value in Anand's line, but there might be some value in Topalov's line, depending on how much stock you put in the home field advantage here.

Actually the discrepancy between polls and markets is only superficial. In fact, they are in agreement.

When people wager money, there are odds involved. So even though Anand's win is the most probable outcome, wagering money on him is not so wise because the payout is relatively poor. In polls, on the other hand, there is no payout parameter. Therefore, people are choosing the outcome they thinks is most likely. And according to math, the most probable outcome indeed is Anand by a narrow margin or on tie-break. By the way, the odds that bookies offer say the same thing: equal match with slight nod to Anand.

@mishanp: hey thanks for the link, I've missed this article and it is VERY insightful.

BTW, it is only a small part of the longer interview and you did a very good job on the translation. He also talks about chess and computers, Carlsen, his favorite players, commercialization of chess, physical prep for match among other things

I don't see anything that is too much out of ordinary for a person that was under a lot of pressure and lost a closely fought match for the world title.

What do you think, for example, would Korchnoi say about Bagio and Karpov, even 30 years after the fact?

He is acting bitter, paranoid if you will but evil?! come on ... lets get real!

Granted he did not behave in the best way possible even given the circumstances but that is not my point. It is but one case of the life and career of a person. To err is human, get over it.

He is very good in what he does for a living and that would be enough in my book to be OK with a guy. But he also tries harder, his games are exciting to watch and is pretty unpretentious (well at least if you don't mention Kramnik, Elista etc :) so I don't see what this noise is all about.

osbender: your understanding of fluid markets is very poor. You do realize that the odds can and do change depending on the amounts wagered on each side, right? And that if enough money goes on Topalov, he could become the market favorite, right? If the betting window closes with both are exactly at 50/50, does that mean my comparing it with the 80% poll is suddenly valid?

It's valid now. A discrepancy between 56% and 80% is not "in agreement". In any measurement, 80% is a complete blowout. 56% can still be theoretically within the margin of error.

I know with 100% accuracy that you do not do any work in financial markets, or wagering of any kind.

Love your ignorant confidence. You realize that polls have no relationship to live markets? Apparently not, even after I tried to educate you where the difference lies.

One more try. Suppose I think that Anand is 51% percent favourite in this match. Then, at current Pinnacle odds I should run to wager on Topalov, because the expected outcome of my $100 wager is (0.49*2.32-1)*100=114. In other words, on every $100 wagered, I'd have $114 expected return, tremendous value. On the other hand, if I were to vote in the pole "who is going to win the match" my vote would have been Topalov.

Really, people that failed Common sense 101 shouldn't be allowed to use "financial" and "markets" in the same sentence.

Oops, the sentence above should read

On the other hand, if I were to vote in the pole "who is going to win the match" my vote would have been Anand.

Just in case someone misses this:


What an advanture.

Adventure... of course.

Nice literary allusion; watch "Return of the King" on the way home...of course the problem is that in the "Return of the King" the true king returns to take the throne from the pretender...gulp!

Osbender, thanks for the odds info & the calculations.

You need to ask the following question: how do the bookies decide on the odds?

One approach is to decide the odds based on analysis and keep them fixed regardless of how people make their bets. I think this is what you are talking about. The problem with this approach is that the bookie can lose money.

The second approach is to start with some odds (e.g., based on analysis), but then continuously adjust the odds based on how people bet. The advantage of this approach is that the bookie is guaranteed to make a profit.

When you use the second approach, the odds at any given time represents the winning probabilities (i.e., a "vote") based on the people who have placed their bets.

If Mig's vote says 80% and the bookie "vote" (assuming that Pinnacle is using the second approach) says 56% then there is a discrepancy.

Hmm, apparently I'm not explaining well. Let me try again. Whether bookies are using the "first" or "second" approach in your terminology, bookies odds and the odds given by the poll would be vastly different.

Bookies odds do represent the winning probability in public perception (if they are set according to "second" approach) or in the perception of bookies if set according to the "first" approach.

On the other hands, results of the polls such as we have here NEVER represent the winning probability in public perception. Look, suppose we have a rigged coin with tail probability 55% and suppose everybody in the room knows that fact about the coin. Now I ask 100 people to call heads or tails. All 100 would call tails. So in Mig's poll tails would get 100% of votes despite the fact that true probability of a tail is only 55% and everybody knows that.

So what does Mig's poll truly show? Here's how one should read it:
1) total % of votes for Anand = % of people that think that Anand is a favourite.
2) % of votes for large Anand win = % of people that think that Anand is a large favourite.
3) % of votes for narrow Anand win = % of people that think Anand is a small favourite.
4) % votes for Topalov/% votes for Anand = how divided is public opinion.
Looking at the Mig's numbers one sees that according to public opinion Anand is a small favourite and public opinion is rather united. This is in perfect agreement with the bookies line.

Notice, that 80% of public voting for Anand really means that most people agree that Anand is a favourite. This definitely does NOT mean that they think that Anand has 80% odds of winning the match.

Topalov will win because of shenanigans. I hope Anand has brought kit to test for bugs in his team's hotel rooms.

The 121 odds for Topalov are extremely tempting, so I'll put a wee bet on. I would be extremely happy to lose my money though...

Topalov will win by one reason. He plays chess better. Thanks! Go for bet guys.

People vote with their heart, but they bet (money) with their brain.

I have understood everything you have written in your posts; however, you may not have written down everything you wanted to say in your posts.

Let's take Mig's poll literally. Note that the poll asks people to vote for the player they *think* will win, not the player they *want* to win. (This does not mean that I believe people have actually voted in this manner.)

If people cast their votes in Mig's poll based on whom they *think* will win (instead of simply voting for their favorite player regardless of whether they think the player will win or not), then do you agree that the votes in Mig's poll and the odds "should" match, and that if they don't match, then there is a "discrepancy"?

Because if you don't agree to this, then I'm afraid we have irreconcilable differences on this subject.

"It [Elista] is but one case of the life and career of a person. To err is human, get over it."

It would be Topalov's job to "get over it" and admit he was wrong - not yet as the interview mishanp found, pointed out and translated is rather recent.

And while Korchnoi may still be bitter and, in any case, has a not-so-friendly character, he came to terms with Karpov: they played on the same team in the Russian League.

Something else: Peter Doggers on Chessvibes mentioned that the organizers request 15,000 Euros for using official material, including live transmission of games.

They would need 200 customers to earn their expenses back ... @Mig: is ICC one of them?

A one day postponement granted by Fide. Sounds cool to me!

*The whole world will undoubtedly appreciate the efforts that Bulgaria has made not only to organize such a prestigious match, but also to find a fair and equitable solution to this problem.*
(quoted from the Fide letter)

(oops forgot sourcementioning: chessvibes.com)

Yeah well. All these antics are really fairly typical of the WCC.

Both are great players so we are talking about small margin.

I think its Anand easy. He's better all rounder - he can defend well (and thats crucial in a match) and attack when he has to. Topolov loves the aggressive risky style - this makes great chess but it doesn't win matches.

Of course Topolov might win early and rattle Anands cage but I don't see it. If Topolov wins early then Anand will stay cool and grind out the win when he needs it - and Topolov will present the oppotunities to equalise. If Anand wins earlier he can sit back and let Topolov take risks trying to win one back - which will open up more winning chances for Anand as well. Doubly so in short match.

Of course - it should be great and let's hope there's not too much off-board b.s.



http://reports.chessdom.com/news-2010/world-chess-championship-postponed postponement and live from press conference, also details.

Decision by FIDE!

Written by the geniuses at chessdom:

"Press conference should have started by now, however, there will be a slight delay. The FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov is at the hotel. He will probably not be able to attend the press conference after he had a very long trip and he is probably tired."

I think the acclimatization time should not be shortened. Anand needs time to settle down. Otherwise it is going to reflect badly in his games. There is nothing to bargain with the 3 days postponement demand when it clearly evident from chessbase report he is 4 days behind schedule. So Anand should just quit, catch a flight and come to India.

The one day compromise is not fair at all.

Organizers are more worried about TV crews and things like that than the chess champion. Contract has a "force majure" clause but organizers are not prepared for that with any sort of contingency plans. Instead they are inflexible, adamant with their schedule. What is the idea of force majure clause then? Simply outrageous.

Current score:

The King, 0 - The Weasel, 1

While its not optimal one day is better than nothing at all, also, there should be a rest day immediately after the first game (assuming that game 12 is pushed to just before the tiebreaks) so that will be a break.
Anand seems to be keen on playing - and this can only boost his motivation - so lets all put this behind us and look forward to what should be a great, fighting match.

In the end, it may be just half a day!? The Chessdom report on the press conference states that "the only thing not sure for now is the time the first game will start. It can be changed depending on the schedule of the Prime Minister Boiko Borisov, but this is to be discussed additionally."
If Kramnik (not at all a morning person) was playing, the organizers might insist that the game needs to start at 8:00AM, because Borisov HAS to make the ceremonial first move but is busy all day long thereafter?

Yeah, good point. With Bulgarian excuses like putting up the posters and advertising their schedule etc., this kind of interpretation of 1 day is possible. Who would organize an event without advertisement and putting up posters?? FIDE accept that as a valid excuse!!

But I think technically 1 day means 24 hours min. and cannot be interpreted and scheduled like that by the organizers.

As promised, here are Shipov's comments on the idea of playing the match under Sofia rules (for refusing which the organisers accused Anand of disrespect to Sofia and Bulgaria): http://www.crestbook.com/?q=node/1174

I’ll say a few words about Sofia rules, or a ban on agreeing to draws in playable positions – as we know the Bulgarian side tried to officially insert this point into the match regulations. What would that achieve? In a battle for the highest title you force the opponents to play positions where they would like to and could agree to a draw? You risk the sporting result and the highest prize for the sake of the desire that important guests can be brought into the playing hall for an hour longer?

The initiative, at the very least, is inappropriate. For me, it’s simply absurd! Such a concern for spectators is logical in friendly matches or, at most, in super tournaments. But in the championship cycle, and worse still in the championship final, it’s got no place. You have to let the opponents compose their tactics and match strategy as they see fit – which in itself is extremely interesting for chess fans. And we, spectators and commentators, will in any case not be left disappointed. The significance of the match and the extreme pressure will allow us to savour every move, every decision of the players. The interest in the match is guaranteed, and pleasure from the chess content, I’m sure, will be obtained without any artificial judicial decisions.

However, Topalov has already declared that he’s intending to create a “Sofia” character to the struggle even without any regulations. That means he’ll stubbornly play on in any positions and won’t offer any draws. And that’s his sacred right! I admire the determination and spirit of the chess matador. Let each player act in accordance with the regulations and take their own decisions at every moment of the game, with no outside influence…


I look forward to the match being an interesting struggle with quality chess. I really hope that the words “cheating”, “toilet”, “protest”, “appeal” and so on won’t figure in our reports – which, of course, depends only on the participants in the match and those around them.

I see Chessvibes added the quote: http://www.chessvibes.com/reports/wch-match-postponed-by-one-day/#more-24338

When asked why Viswanathan Anand wouldn’t want to follow the Sofia rules, Anand answered: “because this is a World Championship and I want to play it according to World Championship rules”.

Anyone know if Anand & Topalov actually shook hands? The pictures I've seen show them seated at the same table at the press conference, with a few people between them, but nothing closer than that.

"If people cast their votes in Mig's poll based on whom they *think* will win (instead of simply voting for their favorite player regardless of whether they think the player will win or not), then do you agree that the votes in Mig's poll and the odds "should" match, and that if they don't match, then there is a "discrepancy"?"

The only thing that "should" match in this case is the name of the favourite. The exact percentage of people that vote for the favourite should NOT and will NOT match bookies odds. See my above posts for the explanation why.

It still could be that some people are voting for Anand with their hearts rather than with their heads and wallets, but the "discrepancy" you talk about does not support or refute that hypothesis.

To which Topalov replied: "we are in Sofia and play according to Sofia rules" !?

"...just spent an arduous 40 hour non-stop journey..."

You can obviously write but can you read?

The "arduous" journey was in a "Mercedes Sprinter, equipped with all kinds of amenities like a fridge, two TV screens and a DVD player" and included a night in a Budapest hotel.

"In the car however, the atmosphere was very good, there was food and drink, and the second “Lord of the Rings” film, “The Two Towers”, helped us pass the time."

Sounds all right to me. Further, there were no visa problems. They chose this route to avoid visa problems in Serbia.

When arriving in Bulgaria Anand was met by:

"When he read “Anand” aloud he realized that he was checking the passport of the chess world champion and started laughing: “Ah, Anand!“ Without any further checks we were allowed to pass."

When driving too fast (24km above speed limit should have resulted in hefty fines):

"However, when the driver told the very friendly police officer that Vishy Anand and his team were on board, the officer smiled and said: “Ok, take him to Sofia, but not too fast, ok?!"

Why are you people being so unfair? Why is being blind and biased so important that facts don't matter?

"This is a historical event for Bulgaria, we are a small country. We cannot organize Olympic games and this championship is a very effective way of promotion for the country." Topalov commented, ***"For 5 years with Anand we are dominating the chess world and this match should have happened long time ago."***


I think that on even ground, Anand would be very slightly ahead. No telling what kind of influence playing in Bulgaria will have on Anand - I'd almost expect the unexpected.

IRONY ALERT: Ilyumzhinov reportedly is unlikely to be able to attend the press conference after he had a very long trip.

I think Topalov may have overcooked the off-board controversy. It could be him now not being able to handle and digest the side-effects of his created dish.

Anand is so cool and calm in contrast.

I think Topalov may have overcooked the off-board controversy. It could be him now not being able to handle and digest the side-effects of his created dish.

Rather ominous that they did not FINISH the "Return of the King"...

The truth lies somewhere in between, and the detailed report on Anand's journey wasn't up yet when g wrote his comment. Of course they tried to travel as comfortably as possible, including one night in a hotel. Apparently there were no decent hotels in Romania, or they expected to arrive in Sofia around midnight rather than 5:30am, not knowing that Romanian roads would be THAT bad.

In any case, even if such a long road trip is less boring watching videos, it still is tiring. And Google was certainly wrong about "reasonable 18.5 hours", even taking the direct route via Serbia.

The funniest thing about the report IMO: Some people (including Mark Crowther) pointed out Anand's "German contacts". Indeed, he could have taken Wolfgang Grenke's private jet, but airspace was completely closed. Yet only a Dutch taxi company was willing and able to drive him and his team to Sofia.

I think Anand has peaked. I think Topalov is just getting there. Anand with a slight edge.

SemiNice, you make a good point: "Why are you people being so unfair? Why is being blind and biased so important that facts don't matter?"

But don't you think there's a reason why people choose air travel over coaches, buses, and cars, no matter how well-equipped they are?

The reason I predict a blowout is that Vishy's "understanding of chess" and ability to prepare for single opponents is unmatched by any in this generation. Most of his finer chess virtues are unknown to many outside his team. Therefore its difficult for journalists and bookmakers to correctly asses his chances in a match like this. Also, his motivation levels are very different for events like SanLuis/Mexico/WC matches. His only two match losses have been against Kasparov in 95 and Karpov 91 (excluding losses in tie-break like Kamsky 94 or Karpov 98). Unlike popular perception, I doubt Kasparov would've had an easy time against him had they met again early this decade.

Also, a 6.5-2.5 win would put him atop the live rankings! The danger though is that Topalov may play it safe (look to gather himself) after going to -2 and Vishy may just take the 'practical' approach and draw. But this hasn't suited Vishy too well over the years and he may even lose one towards the end. Therefore, in conclusion, the peak of the bell curve would be a +2 or +3 win for Vishy, with +1 or +4 being quite likely too. All this of course assumes that there are no dirty Danialov tricks coming up..

Topalov has white in the first game. Just saw the video of opening ceremony

Topalov knew Anands team as soon as they checked in their hotel few days back... must be an advantage.

To which Topalov replied: "we are in Sofia and play according to Sofia rules" !?


Just because one is an elite chess player doesn't mean they are always logical in thinking.

Did he REALLY say that? Hard to believe.

Then, I'm afraid we have irreconcilable differences.

Watching the 3 extended LOR films in succession might not have been a wise strategic decision. Now Anand's rest might be disturbed, imagining orks & other dark creatures all around him in Sofia, and hearing the scream of the nazgul. You might keep carrying a ring further in the darkness when all hope has gone, but having to concentrate onn chess in the meantime might mean -100 elo even for a hobbit as resistant as Anand.

It looks like the organisers accepted the one day postponement with all the grace you might expect! http://tinyurl.com/y5zcwz9

"The decision to delay the match by one day to me is illegal and disrespectful to the organizing committee," said Danailov. "Lawyers have already investigated the matter and reserve the right to file a case against the International Federation(FIDE)for loss of earnings".

Also mentioned in that article, and confirmed by various Russian sources, is that the Russian Federation has chosen Ilyumzhinov instead of Karpov...

Very curious comments by Danailov given that, according to Bulgarian sources, he had green-lighted a one day postponement as early as Monday. Maybe he is just trying to save face for the organising committee.

This is a Russian source on Ilyumzhinov. More cynical pragmatism that glowing recommendation! http://sport.rian.ru/sport/20100421/225047122.html

According to Dvorkovich, Ilyumzhinov was chosen as a candidate on the basis of a number of factors, the key one of which was "The Russian Chess Federation is counting on the post of FIDE President remaining with a Russian representative".

"We looked at the chances of a number of candidates and carried out consultations with various federations, which concluded that the majority of federations were prepared to support Ilyumzhinov's campaign".

How about some speculation by DD readers on what openings will be played? I'd guess that Anand will go mostly for 1. e4, figuring Topalov to have booked up on all the stuff Anand played against Kramnik; that Topalov will alternate between 1. e4 and 1. d4; that Anand will answer those with 1...e5 and 1...d5 respectively; and that Topalov will play the Sicilian and the Caro-Kann. What do others think? Any surprises in store, or...?

I realy hope that you will be there after match to remind us your prediction. :))

Don't take it as an insult, you were polite throughout and insulting you is not on my agenda, but you have differences not with me, but with the reality. What I wrote above is not an opinion. It's simply an explanation of how the polls work and how they are different from odds. In layman terms, you are disagreeing that Earth is oval shaped.

I was there before and after my "+2 or better" prediction of the Bonn match. Nothing is a given of course, but I hope to be here ;p

You are welcome :)

"according to Bulgarian sources, he had green-lighted a one day postponement as early as Monday."

It's all a bit odd as of course it was the organisers who first suggested a one-day postponement would be ok, suggesting this is all just clumsy bargaining. http://www.izvestia.ru/sport/article3141090/

Anyway, this is from a Russian interview for "Izvestia":

"Silvio Danailov: All the games will take place to the agreed schedule. Vishy Anand has already arrived in Sofia (the conversation took place on Tuesday afternoon - "Izvestia"). I don't even know how he got here as the airports are still closed. However he arrived in Frankfurt 5 days ago. In that time he could have got from there to Sofia by any means of transport."

He also mentions that Anand's team act as though MI6, Mossad and other intelligence agencies are arriving in Sofia to take his title. And talks about their rest room solution - not to have any!

"Izvestia: So then how will the players rest in the breaks between moves?

Danailov: Very simply, standing up. Behind a screen there will be a common table with drinks and sandwiches. No chairs provided. And the most normal of toilets - you go in, you come out and again to the board."

"Any surprises in store"
But of course. I was so off with my predictions last time I'm not gonna try again...but what IS sure is that surprises are on the menu, and lots of them. Maybe we'll see a few of those killer Topalov novelties this time, the ones that just basically end the game. Oh to heck with it my guess is another Semi-Slav battle with both colours :)

There has been now news on Anand and Topalov’s full team. Anyone else knows more than below.


Jiri Dufek ( Rybka 4 opening book)



I'm not saying this is a subjective matter. When I said "we have irreconcilable differences," it was a polite way of saying that I know I'm right, and that I'm not going to spend any more time to explain why I'm right.

I think you feel the same way.


I wasn't at the press conference, and am just kidding - though it would be logical and consistent with earlier statements by Danailov that Anand's failure to comply with Sofia rules shows disrespect to the city of Sofia.

Anand sticks to World Championship rules, Topalov sticks to Sofia rules - because for him Sofia is more important than the world?!

Is the Google translation of the title ("Headquarters Topalov wants to sue FIDE") accurate?
The headquarters of one player want to go to court because a decision is, in Danailov's opinion, disrespectful to the (neutral!?) organizing committee?? Or is "organizing committee" and "headquarters Topalov" one and the same group of persons?

"For 5 years with Anand and I have dominated the chess world, and this match should have happened long time ago."
Topalov conveniently forgets that it was less than five years ago that he lost a match to Kramnik and that the highest-rated player in the world is Carlsen.

The difference being that osbender has explained himself clearly several times, yourself not at all.

Now Bulgarians want to sue Fide. Whats wrong with these guys...

Good old Silvio in action: threatens to sue FIDE because of the match delay http://sportni.bg/?tid=40&oid=2543166&cid=525

Probably just a PR move to stir some press discussion...

"Probably just a PR move to stir some press discussion..."

No, it is out of goodwill for the worldwide chess community. Danailov knows that people would die from utter shock if he did something close to resembling "graceful".

Manu April 19, 2010 5:50 AM :
¨If i were the organizer i would give him one extra day , so he wont be whining about being tired ,and also to take away some pressure from Topa avoiding unnecessary collateral damage in case game one goes wrong .¨



Who says Danailov isn't right about the decision being illegal? It might very well be.

Makropoulos invoked force majeure and various parts of the match regulations and the World Chess Championship Agreement (between FIDE and the organizers, so I presume), so he seems to have checked whether he is on safe ground. Interestingly, he also mentioned that the playing hall wasn't available at the specified date "due to the Organisers' delay" - not the (main) reason for postponement, but also legally relevant.

However, the issue is: which court would be involved? If it's a Bulgarian one ..... .

Maybe in a bulgarian court he could win, everywhere else this is probably a nobrainer. Force majeur is force majeur.

Laws control the lesser man. Right conduct controls the greater one. (some old chinese saying I presume)

But manu, the OC didnt grant the extra day, fide did.

and now your hero's start whining, bout a courtcase. (but your worries are probably correct, the pressure is mounting on Topa, because his boss is so very eh, Manulike)

I'm happy you followed our polite discussion. Hope you learned something.

Yep, I think the hall not being ready is the clincher (Makropoulos also mentioned that in his "diplomatic" interview with Chessdom). Only the organisers are clearly in breach of the contract, so trying to go to court over a highly disputed breach might be foolhardy (and you can just imagine the fun lawyers would have with all the statements from their side!).

By the way, you're right that the article does talk about Topalov's headquarters ("camp" or "team" would be better). You can dismiss that as just lazy journalism, but then Danailov's speaking on the organisers' behalf despite not being a member of the organising committee...

For irony fans... Chessdom have two uninspired videos here: http://videos.chessdom.com/anand-topalov-photos (the first video no doubt at random shows only Kramnik losing to both players)

Anyway, the text underneath it mentions:

"As our video editor as well as three more journalists are still stuck in the travel chaos in Europe, we promise an increase of length, quality, and details of the video reports in the next days."

"Force majeur is force majeur."

I haven't seen Anand or any of his representatives appeal to force majeure to legitimize the postponement request. Other reasons were given.

If the organizers delayed the final inspection of the match it's true that should be very significant.

Anyway, it's pretty clear that nobody here can tell if the decision was legal or not.

Em, are you people so sure that the Bulgarian justice system is corrupt? Rather serious claim.

The fact he didnt use these words, doesn't mean he was not basing his request on it, does it?

So yes, most people can see that this decision was legal. You'll see, there will be no Danailov courtcase.

if this is to me: no I'm not sure, not at all to be honest. (I also wouldnt be too surprised if it was.)

But what I meant was, that a danailov courtcase is lost for sure everywhere outside Bulgaria (but I think its also not gonna fly within that country, so I think Danailov is just barking around)

"So yes, most people can see that this decision was legal. You'll see, there will be no Danailov courtcase."

Well, I guess I'm one of few blind people then! I agree, he will not actually sue. He's blabbered about it at various occasions in the past but rarely or never did.

"Statement by Anand
The AICF also forwarded as statement of Viswanathan Anand:

In view of the extreme force majeure situation we are facing, it has become difficult and near impossible to travel in Europe........."

source: chessdom

mishanp: Yep, I think the hall not being ready is the clincher (Makropoulos also mentioned that in his "diplomatic" interview with Chessdom). Only the organisers are clearly in breach of the contract, so trying to go to court over a highly disputed breach might be foolhardy ..

>> I haven't seen Anand or any of his representatives appeal to force majeure to legitimize the postponement request. Other reasons were given
>> Anyway, it's pretty clear that nobody here can tell if the decision was legal or not

not exactly sure you are reading stuff.

I'd seen these league tables a long time ago when people were comparing how corrupt countries are. Bulgaria isn't totally terrible (compared to e.g. Russia - though it's joint worst in the EU), but it's unusual in how badly the judiciary is perceived: http://sofiaecho.com/2009/06/03/729558_judiciary-seen-as-most-corrupt-institution-in-bulgaria

Plus translating chess stories I'm sure I've seen a running thread of stories on Borisov launching a crackdown on unreasonably rich members of the judiciary. And then of course there's simply the fact that it's never ideal to be launching a court case against a country's president, however well run the institutions are (ask the Italians!).

Wonder what the fuss is all about. Even the official anand-topalov.com site run by the organizers has the updated schedule now. If Danialov actually spoke about suing, he is probably just trying to create an impression that the organizers are against Topalov, etc. Daft..

I am not sure _you_ are reading properly.

yah, to the extent that nobody here is likely to be a judge on a possible court that this case could potentially end up in, you are absolutely right about this: "it's pretty clear that nobody here can tell if the decision was legal or not"

> I haven't seen Anand or any of his
> representatives appeal to force majeure to
> legitimize the postponement request.

Then you haven't seen Anand's request for postponement at all. It ends with:

"...This letter may be treated as notice under clause 11(2) of the Agreement of intimation of Force Majeure condition. I will immediately intimate you on finalizing an alternate arrangement to reach Sofia.
In this current scenario I request you to postpone the First round by three days"

"By the way, you're right that the article does talk about Topalov's headquarters ("camp" or "team" would be better)."
For some reason, Google quite often uses terms with a military connotation in automatic translations!?

"You can dismiss that as just lazy journalism"
Or rather, Bulgarian journalists fail to see the difference between "team Topalov" and the organizing committee? I won't really blame them, this difference is rather blurred, not as clear-cut as it should be. However, in the given situation it seems to be Danailov (member of team Topalov) claiming to speak and act on behalf of the organizing committee.

@Anand Nair: "Wonder what the fuss is all about ..."
The issue is that "the Bulgarians" constantly send different messages to the outside world (in English) vs. a local audience (in Bulgarian). Too bad for them that we have mishanp among us who can read and translate Bulgarian, while being neither Bulgarian nor a fan of Topalov ... .

Yes, Anand explicitly mentioned force majeur, I wonder how/why acirce could miss that. And my remark about Bulgarian courts didn't mean to imply that they are corrupt or rather government-controlled/obedient (though this may well be the case). It is simply an issue on how they would balance Bulgarian interests [would Danailov even have to prove and quantify financial losses resulting from FIDE's decision?] vs. international contracts and laws. To start with, we would have to find out if the term "force majeur" exists in Bulgarian law, and how it is exactly defined.
In short: A decision in favor of Danailov might be correct _according to Bulgarian laws_, without any need for corruption or government interference? But a court in any other `neutral´ country would reach a different decision.

I have read it, of course, but I don't interpret it the way you do. He doesn't say the force majeure situation entitles him to a postponement. He mentions force majeure (having to do with his contractual obligations, I suppose) and he separately asks for a postponement. These are actually the reasons he gives:

"Trains to Sofia would take about 28 hours to reach and I would not be in a mental state to play immediately after travelling such distance. Further to play immediately would be unfair and unjust due to the fatigue given that the opponent has arrived a few weeks back. Under these circumstances the contest would not be equal and fair."

Vishy: "I would like to thank Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov for allowing to postpone the beginning by a day" http://www.focus-fen.net/index.php?id=n217363

Although I said I'm done explaining, I just realized something that might help explain our disagreement.

Do you agree that the +score predicted by the betting odds "should" match the +score predicted by the vote? This is what I meant, but I guess it didn't come out right. (Note that the predicted +score and winning probability are "equivalent" in the sense that you can determine one from the other.)

If my calculations are correct, Mig's vote predicts that Anand will win with a +0.95 score (I assumed a +3 score for the "+2 or more" category, and I divided by 0.95 to renormalize because 5% voted for the volcano).

The 56% betting odds predict Anand will win with a +0.72 score (0.56 * 12 - 6).

0.72 v. 0.95 discrepancy is negligible if you assume that the score will be between -3 and +3. BTW, a +0.95 score corresponds to a 58% winning probability.

Based on the above calculation, there is essentially no discrepancy between the poll and the betting odds.

From your posts it seemed as if you were saying that, apart from agreeing about who the favorite is, there is basically no relationship between Mig's vote and the betting odds. For example, here's what you said: "On the other hands, results of the polls such as we have here NEVER represent the winning probability in public perception." That is what I didn't agree with, and as my calculations show, the winning probability from the poll matches almost perfectly with the betting odds.

Congratulations Mig! Accordingly to my calculations, your vote actually matches the betting odds! May be there is something to be said about the wisdom of crowds.

"Congratulations Mig! Accordingly to my calculations, your vote actually matches the betting odds! May be there is something to be said about the wisdom of crowds."

I voted once from home and once from work. And I'm guessing those who voted for Topalov did that from a hundred different places to make the votes look more evenly matched. Don't we skew your calculations?

How fascinating to watch the #2 and #3 players in the world compete for the World Chess Championship!

Proves just how outdated and useless a concept "World Chess Champion" is. There is no World Tennis Champion or World Golf Champion. There are just tournaments that have winners.

If you want to see who the #1 tennis player is in the world, you look at the rankings. Same in chess. Neither of these two players is the best in the world and everyone knows it because numbers don't lie.

"Don't we skew your calculations?"

It can skew the votes, but the effects can also cancel out. All I'm saying is that the Mig's poll data matches the betting odds.

Its funny -
Borisov as chief of the OC (and of course in his capacity as country head) allows the postponement - and Danailov finds the postponement illegal (speaking on behalf of the OC, one might assume) and threatens legal action.

So far, in terms of classical games, Topalov leads: +11, -10 - not very impressive but still a bit ahead of Vishi. Also, his ELO has been better than Vishi's for years now.

The Russian did a lot to demonize Topa - very unfair; both sides are equally responsible - Kramnik kept on provoking Topa (19 visits to the restroom!!!!).

Try to be good sports! Let the better man win.

Yeah, more than just a bit ridiculous if true, which it seems to be.

SS Ganguly isn't one of Vishy's seconds this time? Just saw him online on FB chat. That's a huge luxury for a Vishy second with just 3 days to go for the first game. Or maybe he trying to bluff his way into convincing camp Topalov that he isn't? Or maybe even a double buff... ;)

Here are the members of the OC:


Danailov is not one of them. Rajeshv, if you don't like this situation and the fact that all the OC members are Bulgarians, then how come that a country of more than 1,000,000,000 people (India) did not outbid Bulgaria (7.5M)and did not become a host of the event? Besides, India has a bunch of billionaires that could have sponsored the match!

Yeah, good idea! Just because Carlsen is number one this month, he must be the best player in the world! Next month, when Topalov is back on top, he will be the best, because, as you said, numbers don't lie. It's pretty amazing how much everyone at the top is improving constantly, because the best player in the world is a different person so often.


Not only is Carlsen undoubtedly the best, but by a big margin too: http://chess.liverating.org/

Carlsen ... by a big margin? You can see the margin here:


The margin is 0.8p. Maybe by your standards it is a big margin - depends on what your looking at....:-)

Did anybody see a photo of Anand and Topalov shake hands and smile to each others?

If not, it's really a pitty.
(Topalov even shook hands with Kramnik after the controversy in Elista).

Irony alert!

Wow, such natural smiles :)

Well put by Ian Rogers:

"The pre-game interviews have also seen the locals slagging off Anand at every opportunity, for being too old, too conservative, disrespectful, derogatory, trying to trick the organisers by pretending he was in Sofia and, worst of all, failing to foresee the disruption the volcano would cause his travel plan.

Suffice it to say that Bulgaria is seeing a match between their national hero and an inconsiderate, arrogant and pompous World Champion.

Of course the rest of the world sees the match a little differently.

They see a modest Indian World Champion, forced to take a gruelling two day land journey between Frankfurt and Sofia, being insulted and provoked mercilessly by Topalov and his Machiavellian manager Silvio Danailov and shown scant regard by the supposedly impartial organisers."


"Do you agree that the +score predicted by the betting odds "should" match the +score predicted by the vote? This is what I meant, but I guess it didn't come out right. (Note that the predicted +score and winning probability are "equivalent" in the sense that you can determine one from the other.)"

I agree with that in principle, the caveat being that it is not straightforward to determine the predicted score either from the bookies "who will win the title" line or from Mig's poll. To do that in both cases you need to make several additional assumptions. Your "I assumed a +3 score for the "+2 or more" category" is an example of such an assumption. And perhaps, most importantly, in order to convert bookies title odds into the projected score, you need to know the statistical model that bookies are using. The method you are using to do that conversion is most certainly incorrect.

You write "The 56% betting odds predict Anand will win with a +0.72 score (0.56 * 12 - 6)."

Effectively you assume that 0.56 betting odds means that Anand is expected to score 0.56 points per game. If it were true, assuming the model with no draws (e.g. 0.56 probability to win the game for Anand and 0.44 for Topalov) and that all 12 games were played, the projected probabilities for the classical part (which you determine through binomial CDF) would've been
Anand win 55%
Draw 21%
Topalov win 24%
This projection is much more favourable to Anand than current line is.

"From your posts it seemed as if you were saying that, apart from agreeing about who the favorite is, there is basically no relationship between Mig's vote and the betting odds."

Ok, this was certainly an exaggeration. There is a relationship, but it is complicated so it's difficult to convert one number into the other and you need to assume a whole lot to do so.

are you trying to say that Danailov raised this legal action threat as the manager of Topalov - regardless of whether Borisov's word had a say in the postponement? don't you see it just makes them look silly/incoherent doing/saying conflicting things? btw, I never said I don't like the situation - go for it Silvio!! I will say it again - Its funny!

You will never find one thing I said about "Bulgarians" or "Bulgaria" in general - so, please don't put your words into my mouth.

as to the beaten-up topic of India not bidding - you can read in detail on various pages about it. I will offer a simple one: if the championship didn't happen Anand stays WC that much longer. So, there was no need for him/AICF to go looking for sponsors. Besides, playing chess is what he does best, not looking for sponsors.

Danailov doesn't speak on behalf of the O.C. Danailov isn't on the O.C. Danailov only speaks on behalf of himself and Topalov.

"...are you trying to say that Danailov raised this legal action threat as the manager of Topalov - regardless of whether Borisov's word had a say in the postponement?"

That's what I am saying and it is a fact that that's what Danailov did. Besides, it is already funny to assume that Danailov has something to do with the OC. Danailov has nothing to do with the OC - so, he could not speak on behalf of the OC.

Danailov and Borisov stand for different things in this situation. For Borisov, the OC prestige is at stake; for Danailov - it is [obviously] a different goal.

At the end, Anand said he was happy, right?

Well, I understand what the main role of Danailov is. However, he is also Vice-President of BCF, not just someone who happens to be Topalov's manager.

>>Besides, it is already funny to assume that Danailov has something to do with the OC. Danailov has nothing to do with the OC - so, he could not speak on behalf of the OC.

Not so, if you go by all the interviews he has given where he speaks about Sofia rules for the championships and other things which only make sense coming from a member of the OC.

>> At the end, Anand said he was happy, right?
Yes, sure. Why not. The FIDE decision shows there was some understanding for his situation. Every extra day he gets after this gruelling journey helps him get in better shape. Besides, he is known to be polite and graceful - him saying "Thank you" to a country head would never surprise anyone.

And BCF/OC could've taken some credit for this if they had come back on tuesday "after discussing with the prime minister"-as they had themselves announced, and accepted a 1-day postponement. As of now, it is unconfirmed sources that say the PM allowed the postponement. I have no idea why BCF would say no-postponement if the PM allowed it. How many different forces are at play here?

I believe that whoever has the greater desire to win will become world champion. At least in his recent tournament appearances, Vishy gives the impression of not having the fire in his games that would bear out his status as the best player in the world, while Topalov is still all about aggressiveness and pushing his opponent to the limit. It's also more and more difficult to play chess with the same intensity as one gets older, and, with Anand being 40 years old, the age factor may come into play for him. Topalov has yet to really prove himself as the best player in the world, while Anand has admitted he has accomplished most everything he has desired in chess, and I think this is the real key to the match. The winner of the match will be all about who has the greater desire, motivation, and will to win. On that score, Topalov has the definite edge. If Topalov can be consistently aggressive and keep pushing play as long as possible, I predict he will win the match. However, if Anand can stoke his inner fire and find a way to frustrate Topalov (for example by keeping the games technical and dry), he could very well retain his title. Whoever wins, the match will be very close, though, again, I do believe Topalov all the psycholoical factors favor Topalov, at least slightly. Let's hope controversy doesn't plague this match -- if it does, the blame for that will undoubtedly be the fault of Topalov and his team.

Great video here: http://video.v2.bgnes.com/view/7572 Worth watching even just for Danailov's stumble (someone seems to barge into him?) at 0:41 - not so much the stumble itself as how he tries to keep smiling for Borisov.

Also worth a look at 2:39 - Danailov's expression, and then Topalov and Borisov turning in perfect synchronisation towards the camera.

And then the drawing of colours and so on - which simply involves picking one of two pretty girls!

There's a brief mention here of Anand having asked the Hilton Hotel to limit external access to their floor: http://paper.standartnews.com/bg/article.php?d=2010-04-22&article=322070

"At least in his recent tournament appearances, Vishy gives the impression of not having the fire in his games that would bear out his status as the best player in the world"

Same impression as one had before Mexico and Bonn, where in both cases he played some of his best chess ever. No big deal, he has simply been focusing on the match.

I would put more stock in Topalov's win in Linares had Magnus Carlsen played in Linares. That stated, I only give Topalov a very small edge now because of the issues re: Anand's arrival.

"Effectively you assume that 0.56 betting odds means that Anand is expected to score 0.56 points per game."

This was a simplifying assumption, but in many situations, the answers you get from the simplified model are very close (or sometimes exactly equal) to the answers you get from an accurate model. In other words, just because the model was simplified does not by itself imply that the results will be inaccurate.

"... assuming the model with no draws ... Anand win 55% Draw 21% Topalov win 24%"

I'm not sure how you got these numbers because if you are using a model with no draws, then I don't see how you get 21% draws.

Also, once you simplify a model, you are not supposed to use it for purposes other than what you simplified it for. For example, if you are interested in the expected +score, then you can simplify the model so that the simplified model will accurately predict the +score. But you should not use the simplified model to compute other metrics that are not "equivalent" to the +score.

Feel free to use mathematical equations and advanced concepts in probability theory. This is not a "challenge" or an attempt to insult you. I'm simply saying that I have a very good grasp of concepts in probability theory, and so if it is easier for you to express your point or refute my point through equations, then go for it. Also as anyone who has worked in probability theory knows, things can get tricky very easily, and so anyone can make mistakes, myself included.

"I'm not sure how you got these numbers because if you are using a model with no draws, then I don't see how you get 21% draws."

6 wins for Anand 6 wins for Topa. This gives 21% chance that match is drawn after 12 games (assuming that Anand has 56% chance to win each game).

"Also, once you simplify a model, you are not supposed to use it for purposes other than what you simplified it for."

That's all good and true in general, but you need to justify the choice of parameters in your simplified model, in particular, why you are using 0.56 as an expected value for Anand's score in one game.

I suppose that you were trying to derive one parameter (probability of Anand's win in one game, no draws), let's call it p, given that you know a certain function of the said parameter (probability of Anand retaining the title as implied by Pinnacle odds), which we will call X. Effectively you know that X=F(p), where F is a known (fairly complicated) function, but what you really want is p=G(X). If you do that correctly, you must get F(G(X))=X.

In our case X=0.56. If we were to assume p=0.56 as you suggest, F(p) would be in 65%-75% range depending on how you would rate Anand's chances to win the tie-break. This is too far from the bookies value of 0.56 to call it a reasonable approximation.

One possible way to approximate p would be to eliminate draws and artificially lengthen the match to 13 games, so that the tie after 13 games becomes impossible. Then X=F(p) is easily calculated from CDF for binomial distribution and one can numerically check what value corresponds to X=0.56. My calculation gives p=0.52. Anand's expected score (after 12 games) calculated from this value is 0.52*12=6.25, which is half point less than your calculation shows. This is not an enormous difference, but it's substantial.

From the "Regulations" of the match:

3.8 Playing Conditions.
3.8.1 Only the players and stewards shall be allowed in the actual playing area except with
the permission of the Chief Arbiter or his Deputy. Both players will have access to the same
toilet facilities during the games. There will be no separate rest rooms for the players during
the games. Both players shall use the same rest lounge area which shall be on/at the stage and
visible by the Arbiter and the spectators.

I love this stuff! The Toilet Clause. (I know this has been discussed before; I'm just delighted to have stumbled across it in cold print, in the midst of all the verbiage about tie-breaks.)

There's a lot that's irritating about the way the match is already being conducted (particularly, in my opinion, on the Bulgarian side): the partisan shenanigans, the bad faith, the officious, politburo-style pronouncements, and all the rest. But in a way, isn't it also rather enjoyable? There's actually something *at stake* here -- some sort of pride and symbolism that goes beyond a couple of blokes staring at a chequered board for hours, occasionally moving little wooden figurines. I'm choosing to revel in it.

Mishanp, you have a fine eye for detail!

Here's the simplified model I'm using: 12 games, Anand's probability of winning in each game is 0.56, Anand wins the match if he wins 7 or more games.

You can come up with other models, e.g., use 13 games instead of 12, or use three outcomes to each game (win, lose, draw) instead of two outcomes (win, lose). I think these are all reasonable models for our purposes.

In my model the probability of winning the 12 game match turns out to be 0.56 because F(5; 12, 0.44) = 0.56 (rounded to 2 decimal places). The function "F" is the binomial CDF, i.e., F(x; n, p) = Pr(X <= x), where X is the total number of successes over n tries.

It's not so bad for Anand to give up the crown now, at least he wouldn't suffer at the hands of Carlsen.

The pseudo-stats and "computations" in this thread are highly entertaining for anyone with a background in math or stats. Thank you for the laughs.

You're welcome.

Seriously. I thought everyone else was completely ignoring this thread. But, it seems there are some people who are actually following it. If people learn something from it, that would be optimal. But if it makes some people laugh, I'll take that too.

It would be wise for Topolov to analyse the Triolgy Lord of the Rings. It seems Anand's recent preparation involved clues from the movie!!! (Read the details of his travel)

"how come that a country of more than 1,000,000,000 people (India) did not outbid Bulgaria (7.5M)and did not become a host of the event?"

The match should take place on neutral ground. So India did not bid.

The Google translation of another sentence in that article is a bit odd ("Makropulos said that FIDE will take the costs that would tolerate waiting for the world finals.") but suggests that the organizing committee - or whoever claims to speak on their behalf - cannot even invoke financial damages!? Would they still need to prove and quantify the damages due to the postponement, or can they simply say "pay us 20,000 Euros, please"?

BTW, what's the evidence that Borisov _voluntarily_ allowed the postponement, or even proposed it himself? Among sources I read, it's just a somewhat vague sentence by Chessvibes ("According to one of our sources ..."). The black-and-white official letter by Makropoulos to Borisov rather reads "I/we (FIDE) decided to postpone game one. It's our decision - like it or not, you have to enforce it because we are the bosses."

http://susanpolgar.blogspot.com/2010/04/video-from-sofia.html has a brief interview with Kirsan (starting at 2:00), who says FIDE asked for Borisov's opinion and that he agreed to the one-day postponement.

Also Sergiev - a bit grudging but: "In the name of good form and in the name of fair play Veselin Topalov understanding events, Prime Minister Boyko Borisov also has agreed as chairman of the organizing committee to begin the match easily and without problems from both parties one day late." (Google translated)


An official statement by Borisov himself would be even better, what did he say in his opening ceremony speech?
Still, this (plus the fact that FIDE apparently will reimburse the organizers for the [claimed] financial damages) should further reduce the success chances of Danailov going to court. They may well claim "we were forced to postpone the match, and had no choice but grudingly agree" - which may actually be the truth after all.

I had a hard time choosing a favourite in this match because I like both players, but I just watched Anand's Al Jazerra interview posted on Chessbase and now have a firm favourite; a man who grew up idolising the Chess of Mikhail Tal ...
Anand is incredibly articulate and relaxed in that interview.

Isn't anyone else on this list interested in speculating about what openings will be played in the match (& e.g., will there be any surprises)? Would someone learned in such things perhaps post some stats of the openings played in the past between these 2 great players, so we'd have a general database against which to compare what they play? 'twould be much appreciated, thanks...

I've got no idea - Shipov on his forum said that after d4 he was sure black would end up with a pawn on c6.

How fascinating to watch the #2 and #3 players in the world compete for the World Chess Championship!

Proves just how outdated and useless a concept "World Chess Champion" is. There is no World Tennis Champion or World Golf Champion. There are just tournaments that have winners.

If you want to see who the #1 tennis player is in the world, you look at the rankings. Same in chess. Neither of these two players is the best in the world and everyone knows it because numbers don't lie.
this is chess not tennis and not golf.
Likewise i will not go on about soccer world cup where the final can be contested by teams which are not ranked in the top 3.
It is not analogous that if tennis or gold or soccer do things a certain way, then so should chess.

If anyone "learned" anything from this thread, it would be sad.

While I consider it too speculative as the past may or may not be a key to the nearby future, I did a quick chessgames.com check:

Anand-Topalov: always 1.e4, Topalov replied with Sicilian Najdorf, various Ruy Lopez lines including the Berlin, recently some Caro-Kanns.
Anand nearly always played 6.Be3 against the Najdorf

Topalov-Anand: both e4 and d4, also Anand's replies were less consistent.
Topalov seems to do particularly well against the Queen's Indian (+3=2).
As some people mentioned the Slav: Their last slav game was a 13-move draw at "Hotel Bali Stars" in 2003, preceded by a game in Dos Hermanas 1997 ... .

OK, black also gets a pawn on c6 in some lines of the Queen's Indian - if that's what Shipov meant ,:)

Richard, the obvious candidates (based on their history) are:
(KP) Ruy Lopez,(lots of variations, including the Berlin, Classical, and others) Najdorf (we could well see Bg5 as well as the expected Be3), Caro-Kann (advance methinks), (QP)Semi-Slav (Meran and Anti-Meran, and the lines we saw in Topalov-Kramnik),Nimzo(classical and Nf3), QID, maybe the Vienna. Maybe the Catalan (both) and Grunfeld(Anand). Also maybe KID if Top is behind.
Long list. And bound to be packed with novelties, especially with all those sharp openings.
But everyone is expecting surprises, so anything NOT on that list could also pop up..
So it's kinda difficult to speculate in detail!!

topalov almost certainly knows who the seconds are. he has probably known at least since the time the visas were granted...

DudeDane wrote "The pseudo-stats and "computations" in this thread are highly entertaining for anyone with a background in math or stats. Thank you for the laughs."

I thought you need a background in Math to enjoy this thread. But apparently a background in trolling would suffice as evidenced by your post.

A little hint to you and other Stern-like "mathematicians". Anyone with a background in math would enter the discussion with the argument, rather than with the claim of his superiority or expertise.

Shipov meant Slav. That was clear from the context of the discussion.

Topolov is a true attacker but bad luck for him he is playing the greatest modern defender - Anand - who sees all and will calmly destroy Topolov.

Agreeing to play in Bulgaria is undoubtedly a brave 'first' move on Anand's part. We won't say more on what this might mean in terms of what transpires off the board but again, Anand must be supremely confident or hugely compensated (or both)to make such a concession.

Nobody can beat Ananad in a Match today - Carlsen would come the closest and in a couple of years or less he will beat Anand solidly. But not Topolov.

As another poster said, this match is between the #2 and #3 players in the world. I laugh because somehow this truth had escaped me. Well, my prediction is for the #2 player to win the match. Topalov will win narrowly. I think Anand played his best possible chess against Kramnik, and it would be difficult to duplicate such a performance. Topalov is young and more energetic; plus he has home field advantage.

I know ... it was just inconsistent with my preceding post that there were hardly any (Semi-)Slavs between Topalov and Anand in the past - or it questions Rich Fireman's assumption that the openings they played before against each other will reappear in the match.
Obviously this only applies to Anand playing black - whenever Topalov put a pawn on c6 in the opening it was a Caro-Kann! ,:)

Taking things to another level, I checked chessgames.com for the favorite openings of their (probable) seconds:
l'Ami: Sicilian, Ruy Lopez, Caro-Kann / Grunfeld, Slav, Semi-Slav
Smeets: Sicilian, Ruy Lopez, Petrov / Slav, Semi-Slav
Cheparinov: Sicilian, Ruy Lopez / KID, Semi-Slav, Slav
Nielsen: Sicilian, Petrov, Ruy Lopez, Caro-Kann / Semi-Slav, Queen's Gambit Declined
Kasimdzhanov: Sicilian, Ruy Lopez, Petrov / KID, Queen's Gambit Declined

Trivia question: What do l'Ami, Smeets and Ilyumzhinov have in common? Not related to opening theory ...

I disagree about all this talk about "Anand being too old, not energetic enough, etc".

I think he is able to mobilize all his powers for this (short) 12 game match. He has charged his batteries for months, and there are plenty restdays inbetween the games. Also, I think he is very, very motivated and hungry for victory.

I don't think fatigue will be a factor AT ALL.

If we see Anand off balance, it will be because he is taken by surpise by Topalovs opening novelites.

I also looked a bit at the past games on chessresults. Interestingly, most of Anand white wins in classical chess were in open Sicilian. Topalov has a few of black wins in Sicilian as well, but they mostly date back to the previous century. It seems that it would be wise for Topalov to avoid going into Najdorf with black. That leaves him a choice between Caro-Kann and Ruy Lopez. Given that Anand is a beast on white side of Ruy, Caro-Kann seems like the safest option.

On the other hand, with white pieces Topalov has an impressive +3-0=2 against Anand's Queens-Indian. It would be wise for Anand to avoid this opening like plague, which almost certainly means some version of Queens Gambit. Semi-slav worked wonderfully for him against Kramnik, but against Topalov he could opt for something more solid, e.g. classical QGD or Chebanenko. If I were Anand, I'd go for classical QGD, especially against Queens Indian move order (with early Nf3) since it's the least expected choice.

Nothing too original, but here's Khalifman's take on the match: http://www.spbvedomosti.ru/article.htm?id=10266030@SV_Articles

– ...what can you say about the players?

– What's left to say?! Anand is simply a genius. He makes fantastic moves as naturally as breathing. Vishy can play in any style. Topalov is an outstanding grandmaster in whom sporting qualities are dominant. The Bulgarian is particularly strong when he has the initiative and can force his opponent to defend. But if Anand doesn't give Topalov the initiative it will be very difficult for Veselin to play.
– Who would you bet on?

- I think Veselin's chances are just under 50%. Vishy's universal style gives him a slight advantage. I'd say around 53 to 47. But there's a but...

- You mean the fact that the match is taking place in Topalov's home country?

- Of course. It's interesting how Anand will adapt to the foreign environment. It may create certain difficulties for the world champion.

- So it's not only in football that there's a home advantage?

- Of course not, it's more pleasant to play in your home environment. I'm amazed that Anand agreed to play the match in Bulgaria.

Thanks, though I wasn't assuming the openings would necessarily be identical to those played previously (but no offense taken; just a miscommunication); I think I'd tend to agree w. Osbender's suggestion/prediction that we're likely to see some Caro-Kanns, especially since it looks to me that Topalov's Sicilians look pretty "iffy" (I'm thinking particularly of the lines where he plays an early ...h5, I think in the Najdorf variation), though if he gets behind in the match early he may have to resort to something that yields more winning chances (or at least unbalanced play) than the C-K. For some reason I have a feeling that neither player will venture the Petroff (famous last words...). I also agree that Anand's unlikely to play the QID, which Topa seems to be happy to crush consistently. And he might deliberately avoid the Slav (or semi-Slav) lines just because he'd figure Topalov would be very prepared for them, so perhaps the QGD prediction is correct. QGA would seem to give White lots of attacking possibilities, though I wouldn't totally rule it out...thanks again to all who answered. Looking forward to an exciting match!

Maybe I was a bit too harsh on you ,:) just tried to put my little joke in context (a pawn on c6 doesn't necessarily mean a [Semi-]Slav even if white plays 1.d4).

I am not that sure about "no Najdorf" ... . Why does Topalov have the Rybka 4 opening book contributor on his team? Methinks Ruy Lopez and Caro-Kann are much less prone or vulnerable to computer analyses!?

One opening that hasn't been mentioned yet is the Nimzo-Indian. In particular, the 4.Qc2 lines are currently a bit under a cloud thanks to a novelty or new concept by Anand subsequently copied by .... Kramnik. But of course Topalov isn't obliged to play 4.Qc2 or even 3.Nc3 (or even 1.d4).

I'm no computer expert (& barely a chess expert), but it seems to me that one of the less-analyzed openings - certainly as compared to the Ruy & Sicilian - is the Advance Variation against the Caro-Kann, which (although increasing in frequency in recent years) still seems to have lots of room for experimentation; and even some of the more tested lines don't seem all that clear-cut in their evaluation; so maybe, if Topa's planning on playing the C-K, the Rybka knowledge might be helpful in preparing for such?! Does that logic make sense, do you think? A guess, anyway...

Regarding openings: The first question will be if Anand plays boring solid lines to profit from Topalov's impatience, or if he will allow complications regardless of his opponent.

I think thats a very good question. I think that strategy (solid/boring lines) might at least be part of some plan B, plan C etc. Plan A's got to be some sharp line with TN, that has a decent likelihood that Topalov will run into it. I assume the same plan A for Topalov as well. It is going to be very exciting to see who runs into whose TN.

In a way the task was "easier" for Anand against Kramnik since a good 50% (1.e4) of the lines could be completely eliminated from the prep. Not so here, as nothing can be expected/excluded other than high likelihood of 1.d4 from Topalov.

1.c4 anyone, a la Carlsen-Kramnik London?

Anand likes sharp play. I don't think he will play boring lines. But he needs to avoid stepping on the opening mines that team Topalov prepared. The problem with Najdorf for Topalov is that white is not obliged to go into some specific line to get a playable position. Topalov lost quite a few Najdorfs lately that started quite innocuously. For example, his loss to Ivanchuk in the Be3 e5 Nf3 comes to mind or loss to Anand is Corus.

So, Thomas, please enlighten us about this l'Ami, Smeets and Ilyumzhinov thing.

They were all born on 5th April - Smeets and l'Ami in 1985 (indeed the very same day), Ilyumzhinov is a bit older (*1962).

The problem may be that - while some people suggest this to be the case - white doesn't even have to play 3.e5 against the Caro-Kann to fight for an opening advantage. Indeed, Anand rarely chose the Advance Variation in the past, last time in 2003. Interestingly, his "B12" games in 2000-2003 include four consecutive ones against Karpov - trying to get him out of his comfort zone?
And even if Anand switches to 3.e5 in the match, it would be hard to predict which sub-variations he'll choose. By comparison, against the Najdorf white may be more obliged to choose one of several topical lines (I tend to disagree with osbender).

BTW, Topalov avoiding the Najdorf because he's afraid of the opponent's preparation would be atypical for him!? It may be sensible for a match, and he is not as persistent or crazy as Van Wely, but still .... .

Thomas, your reasoning sounds good, especially since Anand's adoption of the Advance variation against the Caro is from 2003, which I didn't realize (though I'd still think my idea about using the new Rybka for less-analyzed lines makes sense, even if it's for other variations). Thanks for the info.

I think Topalov will try to steer into lines and positions which are murky, whereas Anand will opt for ones with more clear-cut plans. What that pans out to, however...?! Who knows? If I'm right, Topalov might even play something ambiguous, e.g., 1. g3. On the other hand, of course, it's hardly his dynamic style. So I'm probably just wrong, in that regard at least. About the only thing I'm sure of is that he won't steer for drawish positions unless he's a couple of points ahead in the match, whereas Anand might, especially since he's got "draw odds" as Champion.



'Draw odds'for the champion??
Is there any subtext which In failed to read?

Please ignore the typos :-(

If the match is drawn 6-6, there will be rapid and, if necessary, blitz tiebreaks. But maybe Rich Fireman meant that Anand would be the favorite at those faster time controls.

Of course it would still be quite risky to go for =12 and tiebreaks. And I don't think this is Anand's match strategy but it might become an option if the match is drawn after 8 or 10 games - Anand is not afraid of tiebreaks. Or he might play solidly and pick up one or two wins.
By contrast, Topalov is, in his own words, not afraid of losing so he may end up losing some games, and needs wins more urgently to (over)compensate ... .

I don't think Topalov can afford to go to a tiebreak; do you? So, though not technically draw odds, practically it's almost that, I'd think...(?!).

I think you're missing a couple things.

First, the survey results do not directly translate to the probability of a player winning a single game or his expected score in a single game. Obviously, the basic idea in playing a long match is that it leads to a lower chance of the weaker player winning. Under the usual assumption of independent trials, the chance of the weaker player winning the match tends to zero as the match length is increased.

For example, let's say the outcome of a single game is described by the probabilities {0.3,0.5,0.2}, respectively, for {player1 wins, draw, player2 wins}. Thus, the expected score per game is {0.55, 0.45} for {player1, player2}. The resulting probabilities of winning a 12 game match are about {0.70, 0.30}, quite a bit different than the expected scores per game. It's not entirely trivial to work this out on paper, so I did it by simulation under the assumption that the match simply continues if tied after 12 games until one player scores a win. In reality we know the trials probably aren't independent and momentum can play a role, but it's pretty complicated to model that.

The important point that osbender brought up was the disparity in reward for a poll vs betting with odds. Imagine we all knew, a priori, that one player was stronger, even if only slightly so. How should I try to predict the outcome of each game or the match? Again under the assumption of independent trials, the optimal prediction game-by-game is to choose the stronger player EVERY time, and obviously the same for the match. In a poll there's no motivation to bet on the underdog because we're simply interested in being correct - we get 1 cookie for correctly predicting playerA to win, 1 cookie for predicting playerB to win, no cookies for an incorrect prediction. On the other hand, if I estimate the probabilities of {Anand,Topalov} winning the match are {0.7,0.3}, depending on the betting odds I might be compelled to bet on Topalov in order to maximize my return. This is why the number of gamblers betting on either player can easily approach 50/50 even if one of the players is heavily favored.

I should have added:

Even when the bookies change the odds due to an increased number of bets on the underdog / favorite, that tends to swing new bets in the opposite direction. Then the odds will again be modified back towards their previous state, and we should, in theory, end up with something close to half the population betting on the favorite and half betting on the underdog (with significantly different returns on the two bets).

Carlsen is the best this month. Next month someone else might be on top. That's how it works in reality.

The fiction is that X is best for 3 years, then Y is best for 3 years...

The fiction is that there always _is_ a single best player.

Sometimes there is, sometimes not.

The elo list is quite useful for comparing who has had the best results over a period of time in the past, but the Championship is about who is better right now, Anand or Topalov. Plus, it's more fun to watch.

Here is my take on the MC simulation. The probability distribution, from the history of encounters between Anand and Topa, for a single, is:

Topa wins 0.26
Anand wins 0.23
Draw 0.51

Doing Monte Carlo leads to the following distribution for winning the match BEFORE tiebreaks:

Topalov wins: 0.48
Anand wins: 0.36
Draw: 0.16

Unfortunately for Topalov, this is not exactly good news for him, since he is more likely to either lose|go to tiebreaks (0.36+0.16) than to win (0.48) - the margin is very thin though (+-2%). The advantage of Anand in tiebreaks is a decisive factor!

Here is the Eviews code for the MC simulation. Questions?

!NumberTrials = 12 'determines the WorkFile size = sample size =
!NumberGames = 10000 'determines number of time we repeat the experiment = match (12 games)

wfcreate ___del u !NumberTrials

vector(!NumberGames) __Wins_Prob_Vec
vector(!NumberGames) __Topa_win
vector(!NumberGames) __Anand_win
for !i = 1 to !NumberGames
series _Rand = rnd
genr __Draw = _Rand 0.51 and _Rand 6 then
__Topa_win(!i) = 1
if @sum(__Score) < 6 then
__Anand_win(!i) = 1

scalar __Topa_Win_Prob = @sum(__Topa_win)/!NumberGames
scalar __Anand_Win_Prob = @sum(__Anand_win)/!NumberGames

Somehow, it did not paste correctly (some of the inequalities signs disappeared). Will try again. If it does not work again, let me know and I'll send you an email.
!NumberTrials = 12 'determines the WorkFile size = sample size = number of throws
!NumberGames = 10000 'determines number of time we repeat the experiment = game
'Conclusion: __TheoretError ~ = StErr(__Wins_Prob_Vec)
wfcreate ___del u !NumberTrials

vector(!NumberGames) __Wins_Prob_Vec
vector(!NumberGames) __Topa_win
vector(!NumberGames) __Anand_win
for !i = 1 to !NumberGames
series _Rand = rnd
genr __Draw = _Rand 0.51 and _Rand 6 then
__Topa_win(!i) = 1
if @sum(__Score) < 6 then
__Anand_win(!i) = 1

scalar __Topa_Win_Prob = @sum(__Topa_win)/!NumberGames
scalar __Anand_Win_Prob = @sum(__Anand_win)/!NumberGames

Actually, with these probabilities, the chances are equal (with a very slight nod to Topa) since he has about 14% chances to win the tiebreak as well.

Topa's chances to win the match would be 0.48+0.16*0.14=50.2%.

Anand should play like Kramnik and surprise Topalov. Because Anand's and Topalov's playing styles are similar, Anand may not find it all that easy to confuse Topalov by way of sharp play, like he did Kramnik. And since Anand is a Universal player, he should not find it too difficult to play positional chess, make Topalov impatient, keep him guessing as to what Anand's strategy is and get him to blunder. After all, Kramnik was able to beat Topalov playing the same way.

I think Anand should play the first 4-5 games in this manner and then all of a sudden switch styles and dish out some sharp, tactical opening.

Good point - however, I am having the feeling that your formula applies only if the match is based on the so called "sudden death" principle. Maybe that's what the case is? I don't know.


I have just found out that the tiebreaks (rapid + blitz) are not based on "sudden death." "Sudden death" kicks in only after the blitz. Thus, one needs to do MC simulation to accurately estimate the probs for the tiebreaks. Thus, if you give me the prob distribution for rapid + blitz, I'll rerun the simulations to find out to exact probabilities. Anyway, even now we know that the probability to win the tiebreaks for Topa are greater than zero which brings us to the point that the chances are approximately equal for both Anand and Topa.

All this makes the match very difficult to predict.

Thanks for the Monte Carlo results! I did not realize 0.23 & 0.26 probabilities would result in a much wider gap after 12 games: 0.36 & 0.48.

Can you also run a Monte Carlo for the tie break? 4 games, with a per game probability of (topalov-win, draw, anand-win) = (0.3, 0.07, 0.63).

Our posts crossed. If you do the Monte Carlo analysis for the 4 rapid games (with the probabilities in my previous post), I think Anand's probability of winning will be high (more than 86%). So the probability that things will reach blitz will be very very low.

I'll be more that happy to rerun the simulations -will try to post the results on Saturday.



osbender's formula (which is the same I was using) is not for sudden death. The reason the formula does not produce accurate results is because it is for a two outcome experiment and not a three outcome experiment. The formula is correct if we assume that all games end in a win or loss (i.e., no draws allowed). The advantage of the formula is that you can simply look up a binomial CDF table (or run a number of binomial applets on the web) to find the match winning probabilities. If you want to consider draws, you either have to do a slightly more complicated analysis (it's not as easy as looking up a table) or resort to simulation.

Here you go - the latest. MC simulations for only rapid leads to:

Topa wins: 0.14
Anand wins: 0.64
Draw: 0.22

Thus, Obender's formula is correct as long as we ignore the blitz portion of the match - which means that the match still may end up with the blitz thing.

Cheers to Ostap Bender and Nut Up AND Shut Up!

"Mishanp, you have a fine eye for detail!"

Yepp, what he needs now is a life.

"osbender's formula (which is the same I was using) is not for sudden death. The reason the formula does not produce accurate results is because it is for a two outcome experiment and not a three outcome experiment."

Actually, my formula (in my very first post in the thread) is for 3 outcome experiment. The simplifying factors were:
a) in the classical part of the match win/loss/draw probabilities in a game were 0.25/0.5/0.25
b) The tie-break is played in the series of 4 game matches (so it's a sudden death after 4 games). If match is tied after 4 games, then another 4 game set, etc.
c) I assumed that in blitz chances are distributed the same as in rapids.

Naturally, Bob's result in classical part is slightly different from mine, since he used slightly different base probabilities. However, his result in tie-break part is also different. I've got the following probabilities for the outcome of each 4 game piece (read rapid tie-breaks):
Anand win = 0.64
Topa win = 0.10
Draw = 0.26

To get the probability to win the whole tie-break, I've summed the geometric series : e.g p_Topa_wins= 0.10+0.26*0.1+0.26^2*0.1+...=0.14.

So obviously there is a certain discrepancy between my result and Bob's, which could be due to a number of reasons: i.e. different model used, different base probabilities, or simply a calculation mistake (I could've missed some term when deriving the probabilities to win 4 game match).

Bob, how did you get your tie-break probabilities?

Ooops, obviously it should have been
"a) in the classical part of the match win/loss/draw probabilities in a game were 0.25/0.25/0.5"

Ohh, I see the reason why our results differ. Did you use the following probabilities
Topa win = 0.3,
Draw = 0.07
Anand win = 0.63 ?

If so, that's not right (at least not consistent with past results). It should have been
Topa win = 0.07
Anand win = 0.3
Draw = 0.63.

@Bob - Sorry. As osbender pointed out I gave you the probabilities in the wrong order. Can you do one more run with the probabilities osbender gave?

@osbender - to calcuate p_Topa_wins don't you also have to account for other sequences, e.g., I don't think the geometric series accounts for the following sequence: Anand win, Topalov win, draw, Topalov win (there are many other such sequences).

"don't you also have to account for other sequences,"

Nope. Notice that probabilities I'm using are not for individual games. I'm using probabilities for the result after 4 games. If either player is ahead after 4 games, the match stops (sudden death), so there is no sequence Anand-win, topa-win, etc.

OK, here you go. Assuming (for the 4 games rapid)

Topa win = 0.07
Anand win = 0.3
Draw = 0.63.

The simulation results in:

Topa win: 0.10
Anand win: 0.64
Draw: 0.36

Thus, the probability of Topa winning prior to blitz becomes:

0.48+0.16*0.1 = 49.6%

Very interesting! Besides, Topa has just won the first one!

Ah, I didn't realize that those were probabilities for the result of the 4 games. So the geometric series is for the sudden death part, which I agree. I don't think there is any discrepancy between your calculations and Bob's. Of course now that Topalov has one the first game, the odds are very much in his favor. Let's hope Anand can make a comeback.

I, for one, can say I am learning a lot with your discussion. And the way you both guys back your posts with reasons is always enjoyable and not very common on internet forums :)

Some of the hate on Topa reminds me of the hate on Fischer because he was so different and so dominant. TOPA will defeat Anand, and he would have defeated Kramnik if not for the stupid games he played in the toilet. Good offense will ALWAYS defeat good defense in just about every game or sport. DId you wantch the first game? Stop hating [profanity deleted - please keep the site off nanny filters].

Please clarify what you mean by " stupid games he played in the toilet"
Topalov lost against Kramnik and he was even given a free point by the incompetent friends of Danailov. Topalov have continued to talk trash about Kramnik and insunnuate that Kramnik Cheated, witch offcause is a total outrageous accusation without any evidence what so ever.
I must admire Kramniks coolness. If it was me i would have punched the little Bulgarian wimp in the face.

Why would you want to punch Cheparinov?

There is nothing more brave than threatening to punch "little bulgarians" from anonymous post on the web , it is so intimidating and manly.

Durek was Facebooking and caused his comp to crash. By the time it was rebooted, it was too late :)

It's probably hopeless to predict Silvio's next move, but....

--a complaint that the new schedule has thrown Veselin off-stride,
--a threat to sue Anand as well as FIDE,
--a last-minute demand for a schedule change...(it was changed for Anand's convenience, so it's only fair...)
--a comparison of Anand's moves with Rybka's,
--a suggestion that Anand is receiving "help" from "associates of Kramnik,"
--a demand for increased anti-cheating measures in the playing hall
--a complaint that Anand is breathing too noisily or otherwise distracting Veselin at the board

--a suggestion that Anand is receiving "help" from "associates of Kramnik,"

This may actually be true, but even direct help from Kramnik associates (or even Kramnik himself) wouldn't be illegal. And the help may well be indirect:
- When preparing for his WCh match against Kramnik, Anand became familiar with his style and his way of playing matches against tactical players (which worked fine against Kasparov and, to a lesser extent, Topalov)
- When preparing the Catalan, he may have studied Kramnik's games.

Insisting on schedule changes may be more promising, why not return to the initial schedule?
- Game 1 was supposed to be played on Friday, Anand didn't show up and has to be forfeited.
- Today was a rest day, so (this) game 2 doesn't count.

It's probably too early to begin filming on the long-awaited sequel:

"I Was Robbed in Sofia."

Be a good sport. If anyone was robbed in the past, It was Topalov, in Russia!

greatest post ever

Anand will be the Champ.. in all the 3 games he is cool, quite and calm. Topolav has to bite his words of not for 'draw'. Wish U Vishy to be WC.

What is the "throw sand in his eyes" equivalent to tempt someone to overreach?

'Throw him a bone' perhaps?

I hope you're celebrating as hard as I am! :)

I thought you predicted a blowout.

I'd said +2 and +3 were most likely but that +1 or +4 were "quite likely too"..full after-the-fact comment - http://www.chessninja.com/dailydirt/2010/05/final-game-set-match-anand.htm#comment-221647

"lol! What do I say after the fact?! Was spot on with the result prediction but completely wrong about the way it came about. I simply cannot explain Vishy's single-move blunders in games 1, 8 & 9. Forgetting Bd7 before Kf7 in game 1, missing an easy draw in game 8, letting go multiple chances in game 9. Topalov's biggest mistakes came in game 12 (which shouldn't have taken place in the first place, had Vishy not messed up so many times; but, as NS Siddhu says -"if ifs and buts were pots and pans there'd be no tinkers"). So, coming back to the present, whether Vishy's age is beginning to play a significant roll, or if it was the pressure of a WC match, or being superstitious with the volcano coming in his way, who knows.. But then, to his credit, Topalov's strategy stumped even the Vish himself. Then who am I but an ordinary namesake. Buying Rybka 4, coming back hard with improvisations in the same openings, being so determined, tenacious, gritty.. If only Topalov understood chess one level higher he probably stood a better chance. I'm sure his fans have much to be proud of. His level of play was a pleasant surprise in this match and I wish him luck in the candidates match (scheduled to be held between Mar 1 to May 31, 2011 in Baku per the FIDE calendar today). Hopefully, they'll find a compromise and have Aronian play - after all, he and Kramnik (v2.0) are the only serious challengers I see to Vishy's throne in London 2012 (apart from a self-destructing Vishy himself!)."

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If you are into playing chess sets and like to keep yourself updated you will like this posting on chess match. Would Anand win this chess match? If we look at the poll results, it seems like he will.

James - http://www.chesssets.co.uk/

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on April 20, 2010 12:21 AM.

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