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A Tree Grows in Poikovsky

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Jeez, it's it the 5th already? Too much work, and things just got tougher at home with our regiment of grandmas withdrawing and leaving us to our own devices. (Aka, the two children.) Some exciting meetings with publishers about a new book I hope you'll be hearing a lot about by the end of the year. Even better, at least for my sanity, it has nothing to do with chess or Russian politics! One of the best things about working with Garry is the range of material we work on, and variety being the spice of life I get plenty of pepper, curry, and even the occasional sprig of mint tossed in with the borscht. Hmm, that doesn't sound half bad.

So yeah, that chess thing. I heart the Poikovsky Karpov tournament even more than ever this year because, unlike all the events that are chopping their fields to cut down on expenses and leading to a deluge of six-player round-robins, this Russian event just expanded their field to twelve. Regulars Bologan, Rublevsky, Sutovsky, and Onischuk now have even more strong interlopers to bash them around. After four rounds it looks like Jakovenko and Karjakin were properly warmed up by reaching the ACP Rapid Cup final and they are sharing first at +2. Sutovsky and Riazantsev are following on +1. Last year's Poikovsky winner, Russell Crowe lookalike Alexander Motylev, is there to defend his title, but he's drawn all four games so far.

Speaking of Sutovsky, his win over Onischuk in round three gave me a case of chess blindness when I first saw the final position. It illustrates how our brains can see only what we want them to see, especially when it comes to tactical chunks. I was tempted to give this diagram as "Black to play and win" just to see if I could inspire contagion, but I was afraid nobody else would catch it and just wonder if I had lost my mind. If anyone is still wondering. Anyway, it is indeed Black to play. If you, even for a second, also wanted to give mate with ..Qxf2+! Rxf2 Rd1# you aren't alone. That is, you aren't alone in making illegal moves.

Ivan Sokolov played a creative piece sac against Karjakin but couldn't get his kingside pawns moving in time to get a real attack going. Sokolov is running a wine distribution business on the side these days, which seems a match made in Burgundy, if not Heaven. He swears he does little sampling of the wares these days. Jakovenko beat Bologan today with a nice pawn run ending in a skewer to win the exchange. The bishop did good work on b1 and then e8. Jakovenko's win over Jobava in the second round was a great battle over the whole board. But for real excitement, check out the draw between Riazantsev and Naiditsch. White gave up his queen for two minor pieces, got the queen back almost immediately, and then both sides played fantastic stuff (if inaccurate according to the comp, but still sensational; 32.Bg1 and Black runs out of steam) to slug to a draw by repetition. Wild human chess!

There is a fun pictorial report up on ChessPro. The pictures of the ceremonial tree planting are entertaining even if the typically loopy captions and report are lost on many of you. Live games are here.


Ahem, guilty. I saw the phantom mate and had to spend at least a mt wondering what you were talking about. Oh well, as if I needed reminding that I suck at chess...

Ahem, guilty. I saw the phantom mate and had to spend at least a mt wondering what you were talking about. Oh well, as if I needed reminding that I suck at chess...

Poikovsky is also nice because it caters to the 2650 to low 2700 crowd of players - not too many events for them, and most are unlikely to get higher-level invitations. What was the strongest event Vitiugov played so far, team competitions excluded?
In choosing their field, they don't have to worry about limiting the number of ex-Soviet players ... .

Guilty, too. And that's guilty. Guilty, guilty, guilty.

it is called "pattern recognition" but because the black King is in an unsual place it now becomes an error and case of "apophenia"


Wow. I looked at that for a looong time after reading your comment and thought "That's it. Dealing with Kaspy on the one hand and two screaming kids on the other has finally pushed Mig over the edge."

Amazing position. Of course, I also had trouble finding the illegal move. I wonder if somebody has collected more positions like this, it would make a great article.

This has nothing to do with apophenia, it's more a case of tunnel vision or target fascination.

I like that everyone so far claimed here that they know what's wrong and why there is an illegal move that makes impossible the checkmate in two. But actually no one mentioned that illegallity! Nice...

Is that because of 1... Qxf2+ 2. Rxf2+? Then 2... K~ 3. g3? I suck at chess too...

Yes, the illegality is simply that ...Rd1# cannot follow Rxf2 because the latter is really Rxf2+.

I suck at chess as much anybody, and have been drinking, yet saw it immediately. Oh well.

Oops. I initially failed to notice the check on the Black king too.

I too was blind to Rxf2 being check.

However, that exact motif should be familiar to us, because it was a famous variation in the famous Capa-Marshall game that introduced the Marshall Gambit. We all know this: when Marshall played 15. . . Nxf2, Capa did not fall for 16. Qxf2 Bh2+ 17. Kf1 Bg3 18. Qxf7+ because Rxf7 is check.

It's the exact same thing, with colors reversed. I once played in a Pan Am Inter-collegiate Team tourney where my teammate fell for this. Very sad, and very easy to overlook that little check, for the reasons Mig pointed out.

Both Karjakin and Jakovenko lost spectacularly today: http://russiachess.org/online/2010/poikovsky/

After having been the only winners the day before...

Yeah, starts to be reminiscent of Corus 2009: whenever someone took the lead he lost in the next round - Mig commenting "doesn't anyone want to win this thing?".

Karjakin probably wouldn't mind history repeating itself - in the end he won 'the thing' with a final score of +5=6-2.

I can add my voice to the chorus.
It took me less than a second to see the "mate"; about 10 seconds to see that it wasn't.

Sutovsky comments on the infamous game in the latest Chesspro report: http://chesspro.ru/_events/2010/poikovskii3.html
Near the end:

The simplest winning continuation was, of course, 19. Nf3. But I had time and was able to calculate a more interest line to the end. Basically, I wanted to give mate. After all it's not that often in practice that you can check the enemy king with both a rook and a queen, and make a mating net... So I decided not to deny myself the pleasure.
19...Qd4 20.Qa3 Rxf6 21.exf6 Rxd2 22.Re8+ Kh7 23.Rh8+ Kg6 24.Qg3+ Kxf6 25.Rxc8 Rd3.
Of course, you had to have calculated that with 25...Qxf2+ 26.Rxf2+ the rook takes with check, and no mating ideas work for black. That's why I lured the black king to the f file.
26.Qg8 Black resigned."

Also lots of random photos of a trip to a bowling alley... and the last two photos have the text: "And in the farming sector of our little town no-one's fighting with anyone else. And no active ideas are evident". :)

having an extremely bad reputation: an infamous city.
deserving of or causing an evil reputation; shamefully malign; detestable: an infamous deed.
deprived of certain rights as a citizen, as a consequence of conviction of certain offenses.
of or pertaining to offenses involving such deprivation.

I wasn't being totally serious :) I must have spent at least a couple of minutes staring at the position before finally working out why black couldn't mate!

the best chessgame of the month :


" I saw the moves on Mig Greengaard's inspirational Daily Dirt site where one finds great, passionate debates on many chess topics. Here it is with my comments:.."

LOL - ooh Kavaleks back with a great new column oh thank you miggy your blog is just the best

Hah, that's ironic. I love me some Lubos even more after we get a shoutout! Both of us occasionally rail against computers in chess but we showed we can give the silicon some love without prejudice. Good chess is good chess.

I'm glad to see so many others caught the blindness from that Sutovsky position. I actually wondered if the result had been misreported, that White had moved, seen the mate and resigned before Black could play it. You just get so caught up in the combination you don't notice the check at all. Yah, I agree with the above that it would be an interesting collection to put together, if a difficult one. The king way out on f6 and mentally out of the picture is a key element for sure. "Why would my king be a factor in my delivering a nice forced mate in two?" sez your brain.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on June 5, 2010 1:06 PM.

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