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Anticlimax Monday

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Radjabov drew in the final round of Astrakhan to lock up the second candidates spot from the GP and the 7th out of 8. Congratulations to him. It will be interesting to see if his King's Indian gets a match workout. It will be even more interesting to see if these matches happen before Anand is eligible for a senior discount to see Avatar VII. Last I heard next spring was as optimistic as anyone would be. That there can now be two Azerbaijanis can't hurt. The 8th spot is the organizer wildcard, which at least won't go to a patzer. Assuming, and this always risky, the organization comes off in Azerbaijan as announced, it's surely to come down to Mamedyarov or Gashimov. They've been taking turns in the top ten lately and a good case could be made for either player. This means it will come down to politics and who has a better relationship with the powers that be. From reading the tea leaves of occasional comments in the press, this would seem to make Mamedyarov the favorite for the 8th spot. He's also the higher rated at the moment, though as inconsistent as he is that might not last long.

Radjabov got a long game from Wang Yue, who needed to win to have a shot at taking the candidates spot. Play the Petroff to win with black, awesome! Wang Yue actually had a tiny pull in the endgame, but Radjabov found the nice 48.f5 and put things in snooze control for the final 50 moves of shuffling. Gashimov threw the kitchen sink at Leko with black with predictable results, losing as Leko calmly pocketed the porcelain and sent Gashimov's chances down the drain. The other decisive game in a tournament that didn't see all that many of them was Inarkiev summoning some pride to bounce back after an incredible collapse to beat Svidler, whose name didn't really come in this event at all. Nine straight draws will do that to you. But don't miss his lovely sacrificial smash-up of Gelfand in the 12th round. Moves like 22.Bxd4! and 27.Rfe1 are the kind that give a player that warm, tingly sensation in his happy places. (When he's making them, of course. If you're in Gelfand's chair those moves give you that cold, sphincter-tightening sensation in your unhappy places.)

Speaking of happier places, in St. Louis at the US Championship, Shulman-Kamsky was a tense Grunfeld draw that forces a long-ish sudden-death game tomorrow. Full details on that in yesterday's post. I'm still a little squeamish about the roll-your-own time control dealio. Maybe it's partly because I can imagine the loser blaming the loss on a decision he made before the game even started. The players don't have any experience with this sort of thing and it might sound rational to take 15 minutes for black and draw odds but it might turn out to be wrong. Anyway, Kamsky and Shulman tied for first and one of them will take an extra 5K in prize money and get the official title based on the tiebreak game, so no biggie. Could be fun. It's certainly a lot better than if the four players had drawn all six games in the quad, which was a distinct possibility. (Reshevsky coming through the 1967 Interzonal tiebreak over Hort and Stein on better tiebreaks after making eight draws, anyone?! Gack.)


armageddon games are an embarrassment to tournament organization.

What are the odds that @Curious, the Daily Troll on Daily Dirt, will somehow manage to drag here too the crap about Anand winning because Carlsen sparred with him for two days, Kasparov pep talked Anand a coupla times and Kramnik sent along a few suggestions midway through the match.

What are the odds that @Curious will bring that up here?

According to the website, Kamsky had 86 minutes left on his clock, when Shulman and he agreed to a draw! No doubt, he preparation was very good,; no doubt, Kamsky's current form is superb. However, one gets the sense that Shulman can ill afford to bid too low, lest he gets stuck holding the bag. On the other hand, since he almost always ends up in Time Pressure, maybe he should start with a Blitz approach from the outset.

Frankly, the auction might be the most interesting part of the game. I hope that the process is done live, with the video coverage. It should take less than 5 minutes.

Kudos to Shulman for picking such a sharp variation against Kamsky's Grunfeld. It obviously involved some risk, but Kamsky seemed to swat away the threats...

Since Kamsky and Shulman are both rather consservative, I don't expect that more than 20 minutes (off the clock) will be bid. If Nakamura were involved, we might have seen a more dramatic strategy. I'm glad that they are using increment, and that this will be settled before they get to some silly Armegeddon Blitz Tie-Break. The evidence is on You Tube about what a dumb idea that is.

If I were making the decision on choosing either Mamedyarov or Gashimov, I would organize an 8 or 10-game match sometime this fall between them. It has the advantage of being fair, plus the winner will have extra match experience before the "real" event next year.

Agree with Mig's point about the downside of the game being potentially decided (or just blamed) on a pre- and non-chess mistake; just because this is all under the players' control doesn't make it all about chess. Personally, if the tie must be broken, I'd go with a pair of rapids, and then, if necessary, pairs of blitz games until one of the players loses (it).

I've never understood the need for tie-breaks; it's perfectly OK to have ties for first!

BTW, PROPS to Mig for the explosion of blogs; with a new baby and tons going on work-wise at the same time. It's a bird, it's a plane, it's MIGSTRODAMUS!

I say we take a cue from chessboxing, and make the leaders break the tie in a boxing ring.

The next items on the Calendar involving top players are:

Bazna: (June 14th -25th)
Wang Yue, Carlsen, Ponomariov, Nisipeanu, Radjabov, Gelfand

Dortmund: (July 15th -25th)

Kramnik, Leko, Mamedyarov, Ponomariov, Naiditsch, Le Quang Liem

Grand Slam Masters (1st part in Shanghai, Sep 3-12, 2nd part in Bilbao , Oct 6-14)
Topalov, possibly Carlsen)

Olympiad- Khanty Mansysk - Sep 19- Oct 4 Most of the top players except Anand will be playing

Pearl Spring Nanjing (Oct 17-29) Topalov

London Chess Classic - Anand, Kramnik (Dec 7 -16)

Corus , Wijk Aan Zee, - Kramnik, Aronian (Jan 14-30)

Did Radjabov get the 2nd spot based on tie-breaks? There seems to be five players with 7 points.

Astrakhan was the sixth and final event in the FIDE Grand Prix series. Aronian won the series with 500 points total (by virtue of winning clear first in Sochi and Nalchick and tied for second in Jermuk). Radjabov was second in Sochi, tied for first in Elista, and tied for second in Astrakhan. Total grand prix score is 419, which is good enough for second place.

Thanks, chessplayer!
It seems that we would be watching the trailers of a couple of Candidates QF matches. Carlsen-Radjabov mini-match at Bosna would be the one, while, if Mamedyarov is awarded the Azeri wildcard, Kramnik-Mame at Dortmund would be the other. We may also watch at Bosna the trailers of probable Candidates Finals between Carlsen/ Radjabov v Gelfand in Carlsen-Gelfand and Radjabov-Gelfand min-matches.

By this queer logic of mine we would be watching a trailer of 2012 London World Chess Champiomship in the Anand-Kramnik game in London Chess Classic, December 2010.

if anand-kramnik happens its going to be 99% draw. they wont try any novelties when stakes are not high. moreover, they respect each other too much. Anand will simply start with e4 and kramnik will erect his berlin wall.
i am looking forward to the topa-carlsen match thats the most exciting one.
how come anand is not playing any top chess till dec'10? any ideas?

Mig is hinting that the candidates matches may get delayed for an inordinate long period of the time. What a sad state of affairs. Although Azeri-Armenian conflict may jeopardise the holding of the matches, no Western sponsor appears to be coming forward to organise a match tournament, five participants of which were the TOP Six rated players, along with Anand, in the January 2010 list and the remaining three have also been off and on Top Ten players.
Similarly, all the Grand Prix tournaments were category XX or XIX affairs, and a few of these rated even higher than the Corus tournament. But there were no takers in the Western World for these tournaments which were held in the ex-Soviet countries.
But, is the Alien alone responsible for this mess. I feel that more than that the background of the top players is to blame. By background, I, of course, mean the nationalities. Except for Anand, an Indian, and Carlsen, a Norwegian, rest of the top players are from the ex-Eastern bloc. Ignoring Anand and Carlsen, the top Western players are Nakamura (Ranked No. 19 in May 2010 list), Bacrot (No. 29), Vachier-Lagrave (No.30), Vallejo Pons (No.35), Adams (No.41), Sasikiran (No.44) and Short (No.48). I believe that a tournament consisting of these seven players easily stands more chances of finding a sponsor in the Western world than the Candidates matches. So, lets pray that these players rise in the world rankings and qualify for the candidates matches in the next Cycle, hopefully by the time Avatar VIII is released.

As you mentioned the Olympiad, some teams are already known with surprises for the Russian teams:
RUS1 (in alphabetic order) Alekseev, Morozevich, Nepomniachtchi, Tomashevsky, Vitiugov
RUS2 Inarkiev, Jakovenko, Kabanov, Pridorozhni, Rublevsky [I think Kabanov and Pridorozhni are locals from Khanty-Mansiysk]

No Kramnik, Grischuk, Karjakin and Svidler!!??
And FIDE had just passed what could be interpreted as a lex Karjakin: "The Presidential Board at its meeting in Sofia, 22-23 April 2010, resolved to permit players that had requested a transfer to a new federation, to play for their new federation at the Olympiad in Khanty-Mansiysk in all cases that were submitted to FIDE by April 22nd 2010, without the sit-out period."

"no Western sponsor appears to be coming forward to organise a match tournament"

Given that the venue Baku "may pose problems", it cannot hurt to point out again that UEP (Universal Event Promotions) was ready to hold the candidates matches, probably in Germany. But negotiations with FIDE failed due to disagreements about the size of the FIDE logo, and then Azerbaijan came up as alternative organizer.

Curious; http://www.kramnik.com/ says he is going to play.

Where is the info coming from that Anand and Kramnik will play in London? I have not seen that confirmed anywhere... (neither that Aronian is going to play in Corus).

Also, Kramnik has stated several times that he will play in the Olympiad, so I doubt the list from chess-results is correct.

Finally, what about the Carlsen-Anand rapid match in Kristiansund, Norway? No news about that either..

Adding on my own post above about Wijk aan Zee:
Players I know to be playing are Carlsen, Kramnik, Anand and Giri

Adding on my own post above about Wijk aan Zee:
Players I know to be playing are Carlsen, Kramnik, Anand and Giri

Throw in Kasparov, Nielsen etc. and it will be an "Anand and seconds - reunion" :)


The chess-results list reflects the players that are officially registered for the Olympiad, federations had to log in with personal number and password. It could be that someone got hold of the Russian federation password, or that there are shenanigans going on (some reports suggest that Kramnik is slightly leaning towards Karpov in the FIDE presidential campaign ...). They can probably still change the teams, but that would mean dropping names from the current list. BTW, one name I would have expected on the second Russian team is Sjugirov - young, talented (some consider him a future world champion) and from Siberia.

BTW, missing from chessplayer's list is the Tal Memorial, assuming that it will take place again in the second half 2010 and feature a strong field (maybe not quite as strong as last year).

Reshevsky was ever more bizarre than that, as Stein, even if he won, wouldn't advance, due to nonequal opportunities for Soviets.

@Sirocco: too logical for chessminds. :) :(

A couple of more events with less high profile names:
Poikovsky (31st May - 14 June)
GM Viktor Bologan (MDA 2668)
GM Alexander Onischuk (USA 2699)
GM Baadur Jobava (GEO 2715)
GM Arkadij Naiditsch (GER 2686)
GM Emil Sutovsky (ISR 2661)
GM Ivan Sokolov (BIH 2654)
GM Sergey Karjakin (RUS 2739)
GM Dmitry Jakovenko (RUS 2725)
GM Nikita Vitiugov (RUS 2707)
GM Sergei Rublevsky (RUS 2704)
GM Alexander Motylev (RUS 2704)
GM Alexander Riazantsev (RUS 2674)

Biel (17 Jul - 30 Jul )

Vachier Lagrave, Tomashevsky, Caruana, Wesley SO, Andreikin, Giri, Negi,Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son,Howell, Rodhshtein.

@ Thomas: I haven't heard anywhere that the Tal Memorial is going to be held. Doesn't mean it is not going to be held either.

@ Lork: I have only compiled events which are counted for FIDE rating purposes . (excluding, rapid, blitz, armageddon, blindfold).

Tal Memorial may not happen this year. In past it was organized by Bakh and Dvorkovich in Central Chess Club building. As we all know these guys are no buddies anymore.

Who are the seven players in the candidates?
Carlsen, Kramnik by rating.
Aronian and Radja from Grand Prix.
Gelfand from World Cup.
Topa, Vice Champion.
Who is the 7th? Gata Kamski?

Biel seems to have a budget cut compared to last year when Ivanchuk, Morozevich and Gelfand were playing, but it's an interesting field: Tomashevsky might feel rather old, and he's 23.

Annual rapid event in Odessa from this Thursday to Saturday. Not a bad field :) Among other curiosities note player no. 15!

1.Grischuk Alexandr 2760
2.Eljanov Pavel 2751
3.Shirov Alexei 2742
4.Ivanchuk Vassily 2741
5.Karyakin Sergey 2739
6.Gashimov Vugar 2734
7.Jakovenko Dmitry 2725
8.Movsesian Sergei 2717
9.Bacrot Etienne 2710
10.Motylev Alexander 2704
11.Naiditsch Arkadij 2686
12.Inarkiev Ernesto 2669
13.Moiseenko Alexandr 2669
14.Drozdovskij Jurij 2625
15.Karpov Anatoly 2619
16.Gurevich Mikhail 2614

"Who is the 7th? Gata Kamski?"

Yes, Gata.

Thanks Uff Da. The candidates will be an exciting event for sure.

The RUS1 is there second team Russia is there first team Kramnik etc playing

When are the Candidates’ Matches being played?
Where and under what terms?

And when does FIDE announce its Joker, I mean wild-card player?

And lastly: Does anyone have a clue as to when a new World Championship Match might take place?

Given FIDE’s wonderful transparency, I suppose there are straightforward answers...

RuralRob wrote: "I say we take a cue from chessboxing, and make the leaders break the tie in a boxing ring."


I have a better idea. Let’s put three people in the ring, the third being Mr Ilyumzhinov. The first player to floor him is declared the Winner!

London has an option to organize the World Championship between Anand and the winner of the Candidates matches in 2012. I suppose more details will be forthcoming at the London Chess classic in December.

As far as the Candidates matches are concerned , I have heard varying rumours that they will be held entirely in Baku or will be split between Baku and Khanty-Mansysk. I don't know which is correct. We might see more clarity after the election of the FIDE president.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on May 24, 2010 6:09 PM.

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