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Carlsen Leads Nanjing After 4

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I'm still sleep-deprived, neck-deep in Kasparov book and speeches (8 in November!) and have just added a nice cold to the mix, but I figure I need to start keeping up with this event since I'm going to do a few ICC Chess.FM cameos for rounds six and seven. 2:30am cameos. I'll be on with Larry Christiansen and then with a newcomer, the time zone blessed young Aussie GM David Smerdon.

We'll have plenty to talk about. The chess in Nanjing has been complex, hard fought, and cutting edge. After four rounds only Carlsen hasn't tasted defeat. He's leading with +2 with wins over Bacrot and Wang Yue. Anand was looking good with a convincing win over Topalov with black, a repeat of the last time they met in the final game of the world championship on May 11. Then the world champ lost to Bacrot in the fourth after a surprising choice of opening. Then we have three at -1. Gashimov lost rather tamely after coming out of the opening worse against Bacrot. The Frenchman got to display his mature grinding style.

Topalov's loss to Anand came out of a QGD Anand prepped for that last game in Sofia with the unusual 12..Be6. Not coincidentally, Kasparov, who, like Kramnik and Carlsen, helped Anand in his match prep, looked into that move for his 1983 candidates match against Korchnoi. Wang Yue isn't looking as solid as usual, getting caught out in a lousy Petroff line against Carlsen and missing his best chances to grind a win against Gashimov.

Bacrot moved into second after the real surprise of the event arrived today, beating Anand in a well-known piece sac line of the Slav. Last seen, Vallejo held a draw with it against Grischuk in Linares, but Bacrot came with the new, if hardly startling, 18.Rhd1. It's a little odd to talk about this line as topical since Euwe and Alekhine took it for a spin in an exhibition match in 1936. But the piece for pawns and initiative against the open white king has proved resistant to even deep computer analysis, at least until yesterday in China. It's always fun to watch for the next time someone tries one of these lines and pushes the analysis deeper. And it's not as if this line, or this game, is a forced loss or anything so dramatic. Anand was attracted to the winning chances but a piece is a piece and Black has to play nearly perfectly. The comp suggests a couple of annoying pawn push intermezzos: 27..e5 and 30..a4!?, asking White how he's going to make progress without getting killed.

If you think that's academic we haven't even gotten started. The bishop +2 vs 4 endgame that Bacrot won quickly was actually drawn. The estimable Karsten Mueller at ChessBase spends a lot of pixels on showing how 42..g4 was the losing move and that 42..e5+ could have saved the day after various brilliant and theoretical maneuvers involving White having the wrong-colored queening square for his rook pawn.

As for the computers and their perfect tablebases, a cautionary note. I'm sure it's a bug or an incomplete tablebase set, or something similar, but the automated analysis I run on the games to do a blunder check called the final position of this game drawn! This only took a few minutes to prove as bogus and the culprit was a trivially winning position the machine calls a draw, although it calculates the win to mate quickly enough when I turned off the tablebases. Probably time to do a little upkeep.

Round 5 just kicked off with Carlsen-Topalov, Anand-Gashimov, Bacrot-Wang Yue. Tomorrow is an off day.


Strong attack from Carlsen and Topolov under time pressure. This might not be pretty. Move 32, and Topo is down to eight minutes.

Indeed, the norwegian seems to be regaining form. Bad news (indeed, very bad) for the rest and a nasty stretch for Topalov. Knowing him surely he will come back, but he must have lost a bunch of points lately. Is it only bad form or has he lost some confidence? That's the worst thing that can happen to a chessplayer, i think, as you no longer trust your play. He got an opening not suiting him, for sure, but this anti-marshall thing is suposed to be solid. I guess it's just not his cup of tea, and that's the strange thing: Topalov had great success thanks to his opening preparation which gave him suitable positions for his style, and here he just isn't able to impose such play on his opponents.

Carlsen smashes Topalov. Another good game with white.

Carlsen suddenly started blitzing his opponents when he has White... 100% score so far after rolling over Bacrot, Wang and Topa.

@... here he just isn't able to impose such play on his opponents.

Topalov got to play his preparation and attained winning position against Bracot and..he failed to convert. Compare this with Anand's forceful play after he got to show his home prepared Bg4- tricks.
It isn't about preparation and 'imposing' his style, he just plays bad.

It may be psychological. He has failed decisevely twice when at the peak of his career : the Kramnik and Anand-matches. It is difficult to say a this point what he can still hope for.
Thus he may simply lack his, once famous, drive. What for ? Beating Carlsen ? Magnus means nothing to Topalov.

Mig, Thank you for instructive chess talk. You manage to explain complicated chess in a way which is easy-to-understand for a patzer like me.
(I guess the majority of your readers are in the Elo 1500-2000 region, so they benefit from it too).

It's not the same to impose your game on Bacrot than on Anand or Carlsen (with all due respect to the Frenchman) but just take a look at the positions he got against current 1 and 3 in the official ranking. And you say he isn't motivated against Carlsen(i may repeat it again: current 1st of world official ranking)? Either nonsense or Topalov has deeper problems than a bad form stretch.

...or Topalov has deeper problems than a bad form stretch.

As I suggested he may have the 'deeper' problem of what to do with himself at this point in his career. Kramnik and Anand may play enjoyable chess and rest comfortable on the laurels of a glorious "world-champ" past.
But Topalov ?

Wang Hue-Bacrot. It's not often that black wins with the Queen's Indian at this level. Does anyone know if Bacrot broke new ground there, or just outplayed his opponent? My QI book is way out of date.

They said it was drawish untill Wang blundered with Kh2.

Great performance by Bacrot so far , losing against the best player in the world , Magnus Carlsen , in what was actually a tight game despite Etienne being outbooked in the opening was no shame

What a fantastic way to bounce back playing two excellent games against the current world champion and one of the most solid players in the world in Wang Yue on home turf with Black .

Playing Chess less often for more Poker apparently yielded good result for Bacrot , i was afraid that he'd finish near bottom because he was somewhat lacking competition , but he reacted very well to his bad start . Congrats Etienne !

"Tomorrow is an off day" ... which means two consecutive off days for Topalov. As alez wrote, he "got an opening not suiting him" - maybe stating the obvious it should rather be "he _chose_ an opening not suiting him". This type of Ruy Lopez apparently isn't his cup of tea, he also lost a (potentially costly) game against Kamsky in their match. Any Bc5 Ruy or a Caro-Kann might have been a better choice, even if he doesn't fell like / doesn't dare to play a Sicilian. If today's choice was psychology because Carlsen recently adapted the closed Ruy with the black pieces, it didn't work.

As to lack of motivation after losing a WCh match: maybe he should ask Kramnik for advice? ,:) For Topa it may be a different story as he considered himself favorite for both of his WCh matches and searched for excuses to argue away his losses - rather than admitting that something went wrong, and trying to find out what went wrong and why.

Bobby Fiske already mentioned that Wang Yue blundered, rather than Bacrot outplaying him - 30.Kh2 was a "somewhat unusual" mistake.

The Qa4 variation is relatively popular lately, I immediately remember three games:
Kramnik-Carlsen 1-0, Bilbao 2010 (recent enough that I don't have to say much about it)
Kramnik-Karjakin 1/2, Corus 2010 (Kramnik got nothing or a bit less in a last round must-win situation: he needed the full point to keep chances for tournament victory)
Gustafsson-Leko 0-1, Dortmund 2008 (here black outplayed his opponent - because he is/was the stronger player, not because of the opening)

Today, Bacrot's 15.-g5 looks a bit risky or compromising, but - unlike Carlsen in Bilbao - he got away with it. The difference may be that he had already played d7-d6 (Kramnik could reply Bf4xb8).

Topalov's form has been a bit off for a while now. Perhaps it is a lack of motivation, having worked very hard to become the best player in the world for a stretch of about 3 years, but never obtaining the World Champion title.

Perhaps it is much simpler: he ran out of the dynamic, agressive opening preparation leading to the type of imbalanced positions where his talent shines. Who knows...

In any case, he is still - by all accounts - an elite, Top-5 player and hopefully he will go back to his old form. We need more players like him.

BTW, has anyone noticed how much better tournaments are without Svidler and Leko? :-)

Topalov got married; that should explain a lot :-)

lol , yeah right , every time Bacrot wins , some of you find a blunder in his opponent's play to belittle his victory , this is pathetic .. and i can guess why .

When you lose , you are outplayed . Period . When you look for something to berate someone's achievement , you show your bias . an opponent committs mistake under pressure .. from the Victor

What about Carlsen's win against Bacrot and Topalov , no blunder from his opponents ? What about Aronian's win , no blunder from his opponents ? what about Kramnik recent win , wasn't the game Drawn for ages all along then he took advantage of mistakes . Aren't most Carlsen's victories recently games where he puts pressure on his opponents in drawn positions and finally make them crack ? come on

"Topalov got married; that should explain a lot :-)"

My translation of Alexander Grischuk's answers to reader questions at Crestbook has just been published: http://www.crestbook.com/en/node/1322

Apart from the chess questions you might expect there are a lot of more random (not to say bizarre!) questions. One of them was about marriage:

"Is it true that marriage = minus 50 rating points? When did you play better: when you were a bachelor or now, when you’ve become a father?

It’s not true. About the same, but I think that now I’m a little stronger."

So that's that issue cleared up :) Anyway, it's well worth having a read of the whole interview (perhaps during the rest day in Nanjing!).

I think the achievements of players outside the very top level are often under-estimated by the public , when Top GM win , we almost always hear how they outplayed brilliantly their opponents and sing their praises .

But when lower profile players win , guys outside the top 10 that we rarely hear about , there is always something to understate their achievement , ah well , perhaps a silly rant though

If you want to see the difference in level between 2750 to 2800 versus 2650 (as judged by a proggie) go to chessdom and see the computer analysis for Cap d'Agde games versus for Nanjing.

The Cap d'Agde games are strewn with red and purple marks; the Nanjing games look rather clean.

Players such as Anand should never be invited for tournaments because they are only interested in collecting appearance fee. No real intent to win the tournament.

Really entertaining and informative. Thanks mishanp.

"has anyone noticed how much better tournaments are without Svidler and Leko?"

I can only speak for myself: I like the Grunfeld, thus I like Svidler ... .

Seriously, Nanjing has also two players with a similar style or reputation: Wang Yue is solid, at least most of the time, and Bacrot - on a French chess forum (france-echecs.com) you can find quotes as "he is a strong player but lacks fighting spirit" and "he is the French Leko, just a bit weaker". This was obviously before his three consecutive victories, by now the tone of the debate has changed - it's all "allez Etienne", they even forgive him for skipping the Olympiad.

@xy: If the engine evaluation changes from equal (or slightly better for white) to "black has a decisive advantage" within one move, the opponent has obviously blundered, and saying so isn't anti-Bacrot or anti-French. This applies to his game against Wang Yue, against Gashimov and Anand his opponents made mistakes (no way to win without a little help from the other guy) but he had to show fine technique [reminiscent of Leko or Kramnik] to cash in the full point. It's a similar story if Kramnik or Carlsen _gradually_ convert a slight, or initially non-existing advantage.
BTW, I also dare to say that some of Carlsen's opponents in Nanjing (2009 and 2010) played below their usual level. This doesn't take much away from Carlsen's results, but (speaking for myself) I don't make a difference between top10 or top30 players in that respect.

Cap d'Agde is a rapid event, so even the strongest players (Ivanchuk and Nakamura) probably make more "red" and "purple" moves - second-best choices or outright blunders.

It depends on the player. Grischuk found marriage compatible with his chess career. How to manage chess with marriage definitely affected Anand adversely for at least a year -- just look at his results during that time period. If it's true that Topalov was recently married, adjusting to it is probably affecting him badly chesswise as well (plus whatever psychological problems he's having with losing to Kramnik and Anand in matches). Topalov's loss today vs. Carlsen was pitiful.

How the heck did Topalov allow Carlsen get such an model attacking situation? All White's pieces point
to Black's castls (2 bishops, queen and rook), and the knight is only one/two hops away. In the meantime
Black queen and one of the knight are taking a vacation on the queen side.

Nanjin is Carslsen's reply to Kasparov interview.

I normally likes Anand and rooted for him during WC matches, however I agree with critics that it is high time for him to win an elite tournament. That
is not possible any more in Nanjin.

Why the heck didn't Topa play the Sicilian? He must have prepared it for the Anand match, with the Great Machine too. He has years of experience with it and he plays it pretty well. Is Carlsen's (and K's) prep so dreadfully terrifying that it is better to use an opening that clearly does not suit you and get flattened?

The payout for the winner of Bilbao, Nanjing, etc. is in the tens of thousands. The payout for a WCC winner is in the millions.

Nanjing/Bilbao is to the World Chess Championship as exhibition football is to the Super Bowl.

Anand, Topalov, Carlsen, Kramnik, et. al. would be foolish to display their best opening prep at Bilbao or Nanjing. Remember how folks had the same concerns about Anand's uninspired tournament play in the period before he won the Kramnik match?

Performance in these exhibition tournaments has nothing to do with how Anand, Topalov, et. al. will perform when it really counts; in the WCC cycle.

This old piece sac Wiesenbaden line of the Slav in Bacrot-Anand was also played in week 8 of USCL by Kacheishvili-Shankland 0-1. I don't think it has gone out of fashion.

What interview was that?

Fair enough, good point, but how about at least a different variation of the Sicilian to what he is planning to use as his main weapon? Or another second string opening. The Ruy ain't for him, at any rate. Against Kamsky and Carlsen he probably had some sharp Ruy stuff prepared (Zaitsev, Marshall); in both cases his opponent cleverly sidestepped it and T wasn't happy in the resulting positions.

I understand the economic argument/reasoning. It makes sense. However, for Anand he has already proven himself several times chess-wise. Financially, he must be a multi-millionaire by now. The question is what
kind of legacy does he want to leave behind? A world champion who is only so-so in tournaments?

I, for one, do not want to have a dominant player who is head-and-shoulder above the rest. What fun is in that? I really enjoy the situation as it is, a small group of more-or-less equal super-talent players. More fun, more sport, more exciting that way. So I am not asking Anand to win most of the tournaments; just win some, once in a while.
Is that too much to ask? :-)

This one - http://www.chessvibes.com/reports/kasparov-on-the-fide-elections-carlsen-and-more/#more-31172

in which Kasparov railed against Carlsen for not working hard.

I think that you are essentially right, xy. And it's also probably human nature, a bias that is very hard to shake off.
In a way, it's like women flocking to men on stage regardless of the fact that they know nothing about the men beneath their persona. Let's say you're twenty years old. You could walk down your city street today, and women wouldn't bother you, but join a successful rock band and be the front man, and I guarantee you that your looks will matter less than your position. Kid Rock is a perfect example. He's not good-looking and he's not a great musician, but he's got a fan base!
Well, I digress a little, but we have our chess heroes whom we prefer to think most positively of.

Yes, but Anand only made the losing move against Bacrot in the Endgame. Even if you assume that Anand, Carlsen, Kramnik, Topalov, and (now) Aronian are willing to subordinate their tournament results to keep opening preparation reserved for the World Championship Cycle, there's not much reason for Anand to flub an ending. And he took a chance to reveal his additional preparation (in the Lasker Variation) against Topalov. Your argument only works if you selectively filter out most of the facts....

I agree that performance in tournaments might not be a good predictor of performance in a world championship match.

However, it is not convincing to say that a player played badly BECAUSE he is keeping some secrets for the matches. In other words, INTENTIONALLY played badly. That's not convincing.

What is more convincing, at least for me, is to say that he actually played badly, perhaps because he hasn't played for some time or whatever other reason, but then the tournament warmed him up enough to play better for his match. He just played badly, but then he got better.

Carlsen is pulling away in the ratings again. Too bad for Aronian. I was excited to see Aronian at no. 1, at least for a short time.

I think Mig missed the point in his comments about anands loss - there was no need to exchange rooks leaving them on seems to lead to a straight foreward draw especially if black plays Rh1 forcing h3. When you have no pieces left then you have to make a k move giving ground or a potentially fatal pawn move. You cannot temporise by moving a piece back and forth .......

Who is really the better player? Aronian, Kramnick, Anand, or Carlsen? A very tough call, I think. They all find the best lines and the miraculous manuevers pretty often. Consistency? In the past three years, maybe Aronian! But that's too short a time.

All the players you mention are extremely strong but I'd rank Carlsen first. Kramnik can finish in the middle of the field in tournament after tournament (like Dortmund and Shanghai) and then score a top result now and then. The same thing with Anand, the great results are exceptions to the rule nowadays for him as well. But only Carlsen can win so many top events in a row that one failure is a sensation, and now he's back to normal again in Nanjing.

Carlsen's strong result in recent years is amazing. It's so strong that after so many losses in the Olympiad + Bilbao he is still around no. 1, and prety quickly he is taking back that spot. He could afford the adventures, which included insulting Adams with Nh5, and still stay at the top. IMHO, that shows real class (not the insult, but the overall performance). He is the next giant after Kasparov.

I won't disagree regarding Carlsen, but your sentence about Kramnik is misleading:
"Kramnik can finish in the middle of the field in tournament after tournament (like Dortmund and Shanghai) [which other events do you have in mind?] and then score a top result now and then."

Over the last year and a bit more:
- first in Dortmund 2009 (ahead of Carlsen)
- first in Tal Memorial (ahead of Carlsen)
- second in London
- shared second in Wijk aan Zee
- then Dortmund 2010 and Shanghai are exception rather than rule
- then first in Bilbao (ahead of Carlsen)

That's 3* top, 2* good (his Olympiad result also falls in that category) and 2* mediocre - if a loss of 2.4 rating points in Shanghai is considered a mediocre result.

The last real chess giant was Jan Donner.

Last year Magnus Carlsen won Pearl Springs in Nanjing with the score 8.0 / 10 –– an incredible 80 % result that was viewed as one of the strongest tournament performances in history.

And what are we seeing so far in Nanjing this year? Magnus Carlsen has 4.0 / 5. In other words, the tournament is half finished –– and Carlsen has an 80 % score. That’s a TPR of 2994.

It looks increasingly like Magnus Carlsen is ready to repeat last year’s historic perfomance! Moreover, after a brief lapse, he is solidifying his hold on the World No. 1 spot. On LiveRating he has surged more than 10 points ahead of World Champion Anand!

Should he perform equally well in the second half of this tournament, then Carlsen will achieve a new personal rating record.

And on the fun side: This should silence the recent noisy critics – if they haven’t fallen silent already. :)

You mean like Botvinnik or Petrosian? I think that Anand is a very serious player, who can still put forth the effort to train very effectively. That said, he does seem to enjoy the good life enough that there are probably times when he opts not to make his chess career the total focus of his life. It could be that he does not have as much of a psychological need to dominate, and perhaps has grown more risk averse as he has matured as a player, and also as he has borne the weight of the Champion's title.

At the Elite level, striving for victories over strong opposition usually entails taking on some risk, entering muddy waters, playing for complications and imbalances. He may be opting to not actively seek out such situations, and most of his opponents tend to oblige him...

That sounds reasonable. Carlsen has less to lose in a way; although maybe not as little as he thought! He experimented at the Olympiad, dropped a dozen rating points, and some people were ready to throw him on the trash heap of history. Vishy Anand can afford that fate less than Magnus. He's an ambassador of the game in India, if not elsewhere. Magnus is not in those shoes yet. I can imagine how that baggage or lack thereof could affect your approach to the game.

Fine, we are all impressed. Now, let's see him him score 80% in a Double Round Robin against a field comprised of Anand, Kramnik, Aronian, Topalov, and (say) Gelfand. Topalov might (currently) be the weakest link of that, but I just don't see it happening.

Wang Yue has cracked against Carlsen, and kudos to Magnus for breaking him. Magnus cuts a swath through the low to mid-2700s, which is a tremendous feat. But Carlen's "Doubters" are waiting for him to demonstrate similar levels of domination against the strongest of his rivals, not just against the guys ranked 25th or 30th.

Magnus can make a believer out of me with his performance in the Candidates' matches, and in the World Championship.

His TPR in these tournaments (Bazna, Nanking) is indeed astounding, but Morozevich achieved similar TPRs through "Maximal" efforts.

This performance in Nanjing makes the timing of today's New York Times print edition column, proclaiming that Magnus Carlsen "shows signs of growing pains" and that "[h]is recent losses seemed to be caused by a lack of maturity," somewhat less than felicitous. Last year, in a key step in a series of tournament victories that catapulted him to the world No. 1 status, Magnus won Pearl Springs with a score 8.0 / 10. This 80% result in a strong field was universally viewed as one of the best tournament performances in history. Now, at the half way point in this year's Pearl Spring tournament, Magnus is 4.0 / 5 — the same 80 % score — and, if anything, a first place finish seems even more likely than last year given the improbable results of the player in second place.

Topolov, who has experienced an even more prolonged recent dry spell, isn't subject to claims of immaturity, so why should Magnus? Because he is 19? I'm not saying, to use a questionable analogue cited in today's NYTimes column, that Magnus is as mature as Kasparov and Karpov when they were at their professional peak, but the immaturity angle is too facile and ought not be the explanation of first resort, particularly in one of the few major media outlets for chess in the US. In contrast to the monocular interpretation in the Times, incisive commentators, like GM Sergei Shipov, have observed during Magnus's brief dry spell classic signs of simple mental fatigue. One of the many interesting aspects of top-level chess is that players' are almost constantly involved in meta-cognition -- thinking about their own thinking. It is commonplace for players to comment on their performance in terms of their ability that day to analyze as well as they typically do. And sometimes they can't. Moreover, when things simply are not running on all mental cylinders, countless players in their later game commentaries (including, for example, Kasparov's in his recent books), discuss how they sometimes choose an opening that they have not fully prepared for or that is less theory-laden or is otherwise somehow incongruous specifically in an effort to shake up their cognitive lull. Might this not be more likely in Magnus's case than "playing inferior openings — almost as if he wanted to see what he could get away with," as postulated in today's column?

In other quarters, even Magnus's sponsorship deal with G-Star Raw seems to be viewed as a youthful detour and frolic. Everyone decries the lack of corporate sponsorship for chess. Indeed, this issue was placed at the centerpiece of Anatoly Karpov's recent campaign for the FIDE presidency. Yet when Magnus garners perhaps the most positive and highest-profile corporate support ever — I now see photos of him posted on busses in New York City — few seem to recognize it for what it is.

If Magnus is accomplishing all this over the chessboard and otherwise while impeded by immaturity deserving of public reproach in the Times, I can't wait for what he will accomplish when he puts his mind to his career in a more mature way.

In World Championship mode, players competing would have to be idiots to reveal their preparations in tournaments preceeding it. While they might not have intentionally played badly, they will have definitely played with lot of constraints.

Didn't Kramnik say of Anand that it's difficult to believe he played to full potential in the tournaments preceeding their World Championship match, and that he would not take as certain Anand's form in those tournaments? Or was it Topalov who said that prior to his match with Anand.

They will not reveal their preparations in tournaments before World Championship matches. Surely not.

"I won't disagree regarding Carlsen, but your sentence about Kramnik is misleading:
"Kramnik can finish in the middle of the field in tournament after tournament (like Dortmund and Shanghai) [which other events do you have in mind?] and then score a top result now and then.""

Not more than Dortmund and Shanghai the last year, but for example in 2005 and 2008. When Kramnik and Anand are at their best no other player can be said to be better, it's just that Carlsen is at his best much more often.

"let's see [Carlsen] score 80% in a Double Round Robin against a field comprised of Anand, Kramnik, Aronian, Topalov, and (say) Gelfand."

80% would be too much to ask, but I agree that he still has to prove his superiority in that type of event - he "owns" Topalov, he doesn't own Kramnik, IMO there aren't enough recent games (at classical time control) against Anand and Aronian to reach a conclusion. For what it's worth, Kramnik won the strongest recent events (Tal Memorial and Bilbao) ahead of Carlsen.

Carlsen's 4/5 score at halftime doesn't necessarily mean that, like last year, he'll finish with 8/10. "The easier half" is behind him: he had an extra white and white against most "beatable" players (this includes Topalov, an 'easy' opponent for Magnus). Winning with white is still an achievement, Anand couldn't manage against Wang Yue and Gashimov. For Carlsen, I would predict a final score of 7/10, beating Gashimov with white and drawing the other games - of course that's still a great result, and predictions may turn out to be wrong.

Altogether, I do not belittle Carlsen's performance, but - as usual - I am all for cutting down the hype.

"Morozevich achieved similar TPRs"

Even more cutting down the hype here. But it's hard to compare Morozevich's TPRs against 2500 opponents and Carlsen's against super gms.

After his WCh match against Anand, Kramnik said that he would draw certain conclusions - apparently he did (successfully). So any earlier results are rather irrelevant for the discussion on who is _currently_ the strongest player, and by how big a margin.

Let me be deliberately absurd: Carlsen finished shared last at Corus 2007, his first supertournament. This doesn't mean anything about his current strength - and not only because he did a better job one month later in Linares.


So players who play strongly in tournaments before their matches, such as Kasparov, Karpov, and Fischer, are idiots to show their strength? But then they still won their matches.

That was my point. Why is it not possible to play strongly in tournaments, perhaps using SOME of his secret moves, and later play strongly in matches, using some OTHER secret moves? Is his preparation so limited?


So players who play strongly in tournaments before their matches, such as Kasparov, Karpov, and Fischer, are idiots to show their strength? But then they still won their matches.

That was my point. Why is it not possible to play strongly in tournaments, perhaps using SOME of his secret moves, and later play strongly in matches, using some OTHER secret moves? Is his preparation so limited that not a single one novelty can be used in tournaments?

"After his WCh match against Anand, Kramnik said that he would draw certain conclusions - apparently he did (successfully). So any earlier results are rather irrelevant for the discussion on who is _currently_ the strongest player"

"Currently" is a difficult word to define. Bilbao was Kramnik's first victory in five tournaments, and after Nanjing Carlsen will probably have won four of his last five tournaments. He did have a bad Bilbao but maybe the "normal" "current" Carlsen is the one that played in the other four.

gg: "When Kramnik and Anand are at their best no other player can be said to be better, it's just that Carlsen is at his best much more often."

Well said, GG. And let me add that "being at your best more often" is perhaps the best measure of strength.


So players who play strongly in tournaments before their matches, such as Kasparov, Karpov, and Fischer, are idiots to show their full strength? But then they still won their matches.

That was my point. Why is it not possible to play strongly in tournaments, perhaps using SOME of his secret moves, and later play strongly in matches, using some OTHER secret moves? Is his preparation so limited that not a single novelty is left to be used in tournaments?

" "Currently" is a difficult word to define."

Fair enough - but as you mentioned 2005, for me it excludes both Carlsen being (barely) 15 years old and Kramnik suffering from serious health problems, which were (finally) diagnosed and treated in the first half of 2006.

Note that I don't disagree with you, that's why I added "and by how big a margin" after "_currently_ the strongest player".

ArcticStones: " "being at your best more often" is perhaps the best measure of strength." It is one definition, the one used by the rating list. Another one is "being at your best when it matters most", which defines a world champion (even if he doesn't win many tournaments). This second definition applies
- obviously to Anand prioritizing WCh matches over supertournaments
- arguably to Kramnik, if one considers Tal Memorial and Bilbao as more prestigious than the events won by Carlsen - though in his case it probably wasn't a deliberate choice, he just happened to be in top form at the right(?) moments.

Before you "edit" your comment again ,:) I think you neglect two aspects:

- Opening preparation has become much more detailed over the last decades, so referring to Kasparov, Karpov and Fischer is a bit irrelevant.

- Players certainly cannot decide "I will use this novelty today, and another one tomorrow". For a WCh match, they may need 10-20 novelties to use one or two over the board. It certainly isn't like "heck, I will play 17.-d5!! in the Be3 line of the Najdorf, I still have 23.-Rh3!! in the Bg5 line". As a matter of fact, they may altogether refrain from playing systems they like and understand best, just to confuse their future opponents.

Carlsen finishing last in Corus 2007 doesn't count.

"Fair enough - but as you mentioned 2005"

I mentioned 2008 and 2005 because you said that it was misleading to claim that Kramnik can finish a few tournaments with average results to then score a top result, because this year his only middle-of-the-field results were Dortmund and Shanghai. And yes, this year it has only happened twice. In 2008 he played Wijk - Dortmund - Tal Memorial and totally reached an even score in the three events. 2005 can indeed be forgotten. If my point needs repeating it is that Carlsen is at his best more often, while Kramnik has middle-of-the-field results more often.

I wouldn't draw too many conclusions from one four player event like Bilbao, you need more games to say something about the world's best player. Otherwise Ponomariov was several classes better than Kramnik after Dortmund or Shirov after Shanghai, and I see both as much weaker than Kramnik. No one except Carlsen has repeated top results and that's why I think he is #1 (or maybe Anand, depending on the definition, but to me Carlsen is already the better player).

Well, several points:

- Anand's losses are not always from the opening. Are you going to say he also reduces his tactics, etc, just to confuse his opponents? Doesn't make sense.

- Since the issue is not only opening, the examples of Fischer, Karpov, Kasparov are relevant.

- Why is it "certainly" that players cannot decide to use certain novelties in tournaments?

I still find it more plausible that if Anand performs bad in a tournament, he just happened to be weak in it (perhaps rusty, or not motivated, or whatever). Not to say he is weak in general, but specifically for that event.

I watched every single game from Anand-Kasparov match ages ago. I don't remember much of it given it was so many years ago, but some impressions stayed - and one is, Anand is far, far better, and possibly far more versatile with his openings, and middle game, and to an extent the end game as well.

The Anand of that time is no mirror to the Anand of now.

After Kasparov-Karpov World Championship matches, it was said by many, maybe tongue-in-cheek that Kasparov, owing to the long matches of that time, had enough preparation in his famous notebooks to use as novelties for subsequent years.

Well, maybe not now since computers will have neutralised his 'notebooks' and rendered him like most others.

I'm not sure why Fischer came into the fray here. And I'm not sure Fisher had a field to contend with that players now do.

What's the Anand pattern vis-a-vis tournaments his pre-World Championship titles in the three formats (Tournament, Knockout, and Match)? That might be instructive of whether or not top players will protect their efforts leading up to their title matches.

And by the way, Kasparov with his PCA drama single handedly caused untold damage to Chess, something he admitted himself sometime back.

Kasparov was too much into "I pick and choose my opponent" mode, most times that is.

In conclusion: There are four grandmasters that stand head-and-shoulders above the rest -- Anand, Carlsen, Kramnik and Aronian. And perhaps Topalov.

Which of these performs still varies from week to week, and from event to event. Yes, Anand is World Champion. Yes, Kramnik has won a couple of prestigious tournaments recently. Yes, Carlsen stands out as the player who most often achieves best results. I.e. LiveRating.

It is astonishing testimony that Carlsen can be briefly be out of form, lose 25 points -- and then play chess that is fantastic enough to quickly regain the World No. 1 spot, and to surpass Anand by 10 points!

Does this mean that Magnus Carlsen is currently far and away the strongest player? Hardly! (...at least not "far and away"...) Competition at the top is far too even for such hyperbole. However, his latest achievements should be more than sufficient to dismiss this patzer nonsense of an "immature" Carlsen, a "fading" Carlsen, or a "Carlsen in crisis". That’s just ridiculous.

I look forward to a series of strong tournaments in the months to come. Let us be clear: The first of these is Pearl Springs in Nanjing, and at the moment it seems increasingly likely that Carlsen well emerge top-of-the-heap. And then of course there is the Candidates Matches for which it is meaningless and premature to prophesise results.

I also look forward to witnessing Carlsen’s continuing development. The astonishing thing is the despite his displayed strengths there are aspects of his game (not least of all preparation) that have considerable potential for improvement. Frankly, I am convinced that is the most frightening thing for Carlsen many hard-working (and in part harder-working) opponents.

Let me add a prediction:
]I think we will see Magnus Carlsen achieve a 100 % score in a major international tournament before his 21st birthday!

Hey, guys, stop over-analyzing :-) Anand, much like Kramnik, plays his own style and that's all there is to it. Some times he will win, some times he won't; he looks at the big picture and feels he is in the driver's seat as long as he remains world champion. Like Kramnik, he will only feel the need to do something about his conservative play the day he loses the crown.

On the Carlsen front, nothing of what he does today will matter much if he doesn't ever become World Champion. So far, he is the new Topalov.

And that's NOT an attack on the young man - it's just a real, objective assessment.

Carlsen has shown the talent, skill, character and determination to eventually become the next World Champion. Yes, he has all the tools to get to the very top. However, comparisons to Karpov, Fischer and Kasparov are ridiculously premature. Those were certified giants, probably the three strongest players ever. Carlsen has a LOOOOONG way to go before he can claim a spot next to them.

For one thing, if you compare players you have to stick to the same time period. You are rooting for Carlsen based on his results since Nanjing 2009 - his first half of 2009 (Corus, Linares, MTel, Dortmund) was by no means bad, but still not good enough to make him #1 over this period. If this is irrelevant nowadays (I would say so), the same goes for other players and going even further back in time!?
Kramnik had turning points or "hickups" in his career - health problems and his match against Anand - Carlsen is still too young for such setbacks (unless Olympiad + Bilbao counts).

The Carlsen-Kramnik comparison is also a bit skewed because Magnus played more events. It's unclear whether this was Kramnik's own choice or if it's due to relative lack of invitations - he is unlikely to be invited to events where Danailov plays a certain role: (formerly?) MTel, Nanjing, maybe also Bazna (they openly supported the "Danailov for president" campaign).

Kramnik's Dortmund result was a deception, but not worse than Carlsen's Olympiad result. Shanghai was, IMO, not quite as bad as you make it look. How would Kramnik have performed in Bazna or Nanjing? We simply don't know! So Carlsen is "at his best more often" (also) because he plays more frequently?!

And in a possible/likely candidates semifinal, I consider Kramnik as slight favorite against Carlsen based on their head-to-head results. Would you disagree and, if so, why?

All that being said, I do not question Carlsen's #1 status - I would just argue that the gap isn't that wide.

"Carlsen is "at his best more often" (also) because he plays more frequently?!"

No, but because winning four of five is better than winning one of five. Who would win a match of four games next year is hard to predict, and if Radjabov beats Carlsen I would still rank Carlsen as the better player, even if some would say that Radjabov is better since he won when it mattered. But it's a free world :)

Glad to hear you do not question Carlsen’s current # 1 status.
LiveRating is a reliable measure of relative strength, especially when it remains exceptionally high over time. Except for a brief recent lapse, Carlsen’s performance has been incredibly stable during the last year, and his rating increasing.

I have already pointed out that the gap is not wide.

The Candidates Matches should be interesting, indeed. Carlsen has not played extended, top-level matches. Kramnik has considerable match experience and must always be considered a formidable opponent. I am sure that he will be no less motivated than Carlsen.

If and when Kramnik dethrones Carlsen and maintains the No. 1 position on LiveRating as long as the current World No. 1 has, or if he wins the Candidates Matches, then I shall consider Kramnik the stronger player. Such is not yet the case.

I am looking forward to high-quality matches between the Candidates. As to the likely winner, I shall make no predictions. But we’re almost guaranteed to see some exciting chess! :)

"For one thing, if you compare players you have to stick to the same time period." (Thomas).

That means, according to your rule, we cannot reasonably compare Carlsen to Fischer, or Anand to Capablanca, or Aronian to Karpov, or Kasparov to Alekhine, or Kramnik to Botvinnik, or Ivanchuk to Tal, etc., etc. Come on Thomas, don't be so picky and restrictive with your scientific rules. This is not a science experiment.

"If and when Kramnik dethrones Carlsen and maintains the No. 1 position on LiveRating as long as the current World No. 1 has, or if he wins the Candidates Matches, then I shall consider Kramnik the stronger player. Such is not yet the case."

I don't think Carlsen would be a favorite in a match against Kramnik today. He would not be the favorite against Anand, either.

I don't know how you count to five - if we just consider the events where Carlsen and Kramnik both played it's even or "advantage Kramnik". Going back in time:
- Bilbao 2010: Kramnik won the tournament and the mini-match
- Corus 2010: Carlsen won the tournament (but lost his game against Kramnik)
- London 2009: Carlsen won the tournament and the game against Kramnik (but Kramnik scored better against the rest of the field)
- Tal Memorial 2009: Kramnik won the tournament (draw against Carlsen, pressing with black)
- Dortmund 2009 [more than one year ago, but let's count to five]: Kramnik won tournament and mini-match
So it's three wins for Kramnik vs. two for Carlsen, and Kramnik's wins were altogether a bit more convincing.

Regarding the candidates matches: if Radjabov beats Carlsen, it would be an upset or "accident". If Kramnik beats Carlsen, it would be confirmation of a recent trend.

BTW, an interesting question about the present and most recent past: Carlsen did badly at the Olympiad and at best so-so in Bilbao, but does very well in Nanjing. Does this only reflect recovery from a temporary crisis? Methinks it also depends on the opponents, and those at Nanjing may suit him better than the absolute world top in Bilbao and the rather unpredictable opposition at the Olympiad.

"In conclusion: There are four grandmasters that stand head-and-shoulders above the rest -- Anand, Carlsen, Kramnik and Aronian. And perhaps Topalov."

Uh...Topalov did win Linares this year despite not being able to show his best prep b/c of the upcoming match with Anand...he did it ahead of Aronian, so by no means does Topalov deserve to fall out of that top-5 in class just b/c of his recently poor form.

Aronian hasn't exactly done a lot at tournaments involving at least one of the other big names (Anand, Carlsen, Kramnik, Topalov) in the past 2 years.

IRV: "I don't think Carlsen would be a favorite in a match against Kramnik today. He would not be the favorite against Anand, either."

Favourites? Utterly and completely irrelevant.
Let’s way and see the results.

I don’t know about you, but I am looking forward to good games and shall withhold judgement until they are actually played.

In the meantime, Thomas and IRV, I observe that Magnus Carlsen is rated about 20 points higher on the basis of events in which they have played. Let’s cut the silly acrobatics of creative counting. The LiveRating is a pretty darned objective of performance and strength.

"In conclusion: There are four grandmasters that stand head-and-shoulders above the rest -- Anand, Carlsen, Kramnik and Aronian. And perhaps Topalov."

Uh...Topalov did win Linares this year despite not being able to show his best prep b/c of the upcoming match with Anand...he did it ahead of Aronian, so by no means does Topalov deserve to fall out of that top-5 in class just b/c of his recently poor form.

Aronian hasn't exactly done a lot at tournaments involving at least one of the other big names (Anand, Carlsen, Kramnik, Topalov) in the past 2 years.

* Let’s wait and see the results.
* Magnus Carlsen is rated about 20 points higher on the basis of events in which they have played.

Of course we can compare career achievements, in that case a (sort of) scientific approach might need to include assessing "boundary conditions": Currently active players might score higher on opening preparation, positional chess understanding, endgame technique .... because they learnt from their predecessors and, to some extent, because they have engine assistance before and after games.

On a career scale, we cannot reasonably compare Carlsen to anyone who is currently much older, inactive or dead - simply because his career is still in full swing and maybe the best is yet to come.

It is fascinating to see the debate on who is the strongest player currently.Let me give my point of view. I think there is no doubt in anyone's mind that the current strongest player must be one among Anand, Carlsen , Kramnik, Topalov and Aronian. Let me try to determine it by the process of elimination.

First round elimination: Aronian

Reasons: 1.He is not the current world champion nor has he won any in the past.
2.He is not reached world number 1 now or in the past.

Though Aronian is playing great chess presently, the above two reasons should be enough for elimination.

Second round elimination: Topalov
1. He recently lost world championship match to Anand
2. He is currently in very poor form.

I think reason number 1 is sufficient to eliminate Topalov.

Third round elimination: Kramnik

Very difficult decision because of Kramnik's recent performances but has to be made because of the following reason

1.He is neither world number 1 nor he is the current world champion.

Fourth round elimination:

It is too close a call between Anand and Carlsen. Hence I will keep them as equal at present. But if Anand wins one or two super tournaments in the near future then Anand will move ahead irrespective of elo ratings and we can eliminate Carlsen.

Critics are welcome to criticize.

"Let’s cut the silly acrobatics of creative counting."

Thomas N. Picksnickety, the silly acrobat of creative counting. Very funny. That should shut him up.

I think its pretty simple: We'll find out in April 2011, and then in London in 2012. Everything else is pure speculation.

BTW, Kramnik has won 2.5 of the last 3 against Carlsen, with Carlsen having to beg for a draw with W in their last encounter. Plus Kramnik has won clear first in the two strongest tournaments in chess history (2009 Tal Memorial, 2010 Bilbao).

But like I said, we'll see in April 2011...

You are right and I am in no way claiming that Carlsen will beat Kramnik in a head to head match. I eliminated Kramnik because officially he can not claim to be the best because he is neither world champion nor world number 1.

I hope to see tomorrow some parrots trapped in their computer-assisted-novelties that they just repeat endlessly without any understanding at all.


"Aronian hasn't exactly done a lot at tournaments involving at least one of the other big names (Anand, Carlsen, Kramnik, Topalov) in the past 2 years."
Hmmm, again I can count to five ,:) :
Nanjing 2008 (Topalov)
Corus 2009 (Carlsen)
Linares 2009 (Carlsen, Anand)
Tal Memorial 2009 (Carlsen, Kramnik, Anand)
Linares 2010 (Topalov)

Fact is that he usually finished (slightly) behind the other top5 players. So it remains to be seen what his excellent results against other 2700+ players (FIDE Grand Prix Series, Olympiad) "imply" for the candidates event.

BTW, thanks for "joining" me in the Kramnik-Carlsen debate! ,:)

"I observe that Magnus Carlsen is rated about 20 points higher on the basis of events in which they have played. Let’s cut the silly acrobatics of creative counting."

Hag motivates me to do some creative counting ... : Who is "they" [have played]? Carlsen created the rating gap primarily with his results in Nanjing 2009 (only Topalov) and Bazna 2010 (no other top 5 players). So while the live rating is an objective indicator of overall performance, it doesn't necessarily reflect performance against direct competitors (for #1 spot or WCh title).

Is everybody 100% sure that the WC title has not been twisted by some bribery from billionnaires like Mittal during the match Kramnik-Anand or Topalov-Anand?
It remembers me the Soccer World Cup (1998?) when France won surpringly against Brazil in the Final and Ronaldo was "sick".
Many russians GM think that the "toiletgate" is true and Kramnik "hides" something, although he is the first of the Parrots group.
Bobby must be laughing his head off!!!

Yes its amazing Kasparov very recently mentioned Carlsen can beat the non elite players on a regular basis. In Bilbao, he beat Shirov and not the others (could be form as well) and here, he is winning more games may be due to the opposition.

Artcistones writes:

"Let’s cut the silly acrobatics of creative counting. The LiveRating is a pretty darned objective of performance and strength."

No acrobatics are needed to express my point. Yes, the Live Ratings are the absolute best and most objective method of judging tournament performance. And yes, Carlsen deserves the number 1 spot.

However, being number 1 and winning a few tournaments does NOT guarantee anything when it comes to the "big picture": becoming world champion and entering history as more than a footnote.

Carlsen is in the same exact spot occupied by Topalov 3-5 years ago: very strong tournament performances, top spot in the ratings list and brilliant play. But Topalov failed in his two attempts at becoming No. 1.

Will Carlsen suffer the same fate? Nobody knows. I'm NOT a Carlsen hater (as you can see by just reading my posts) - but I'm not his groupie, either. I can see that he has all the tools to become World Champion, but winning matches against Anand & Kramnik is going to be far more difficult than winning any tournament. If in doubt, ask Topalov.

A thought on Topalov's place in history:

After losing two world championship matches, Topalov must now surely be considered among the best players who never became world champion (alongside Korchnoi, Keres, Bronstein, ...). Previously, only Chigorin, Bogoljubov, and Korchnoi had lost two world championship matches and never gained the title (although Korchnoi could still prevail, of course!). Now, with Topalov, it's four people on this tragic list.

"A thought on Topalov's place in history:

After losing two world championship matches, Topalov must now surely be considered among the best players who never became world champion (alongside Korchnoi, Keres, Bronstein, ...). Previously, only Chigorin, Bogoljubov, and Korchnoi had lost two world championship matches and never gained the title (although Korchnoi could still prevail, of course!). Now, with Topalov, it's four people on this tragic list."


At least Topalov became world champion (FIDE) and was simultaneously world #1 (before losing to Kramnik), so he really doesn't belong on this list.

IMO, Ivanchuk belongs on this list, however.

"I don't know how you count to five"

Kramnik's five latest tournaments are 1.London, 2.Wijk 3.Dortmund 4. Shanghai 5.Bilbao. Carlsen's five latest are 1.London 2.Wijk 3.Bazna 4.Bilbao 5.Nanjing.

There's nothing wrong with repeating time after time that Carlsen is hyped, and I also recall that you said that Carlsen didn't deserve to win Wijk, while Kramnik did, and that's your opinion and nothing wrong with that either. I don't think Carlsen is hyped, rather that he deserves more recognition than he gets. It's so easy to say after every amazing result from this teenager that he is hyped, he hasn't scored 80% in a double round robin with the world's best players, he is lucky, he doesn't deserve his wins, he hasn't become World Champion yet, etc etc. But then there isn't much to ever be amazed by. But now I'm done with this discussion, and good luck to Carlsen and Kramnik in the future :)

Well, the good news for Carlsen is for the next couple of years three of his main opponents (Anand, Kramnik and Topalov) could only getting weaker (none of them shows Korchnoi's symptoms), while he himself could still getting stronger.

So he should worry more about Aronian and other players of his own generation. Even Karpov and Kasparov are only 12 years apart, while Anand and Carlsen are 21 years apart.


This whole discussion is problematic, since no past result can predict the future.
Also, trying to bend statistics does not lead anywhere, as the folowing funny example from a post by Thomas shows:

It goes without saying that if player A scores 1/2 a point higher than player B and also wins 1-0 their direct encounter, then player B scores 1/2 a point higher than player A against the rest of the field. Throughout chess history, that has never been a consolation for player B, since winning both the tournament and the direct encounter is a complete triumph for player A.

Similarly, if player A scores 1/2 a point higher than player B but loses their individual encounter, the logical result is that player A scored 1.5 points more than player B against the rest of the field on the way to winning the tournament.

So all the "buts" are of course arbitrary.
Mentioning that Kramnik was pressing against Carlsen in Tal 2009 is no more meaningful than Carlsen having big advantage before losing the direct encounter in Corus 2010.

Drawing conclusions from this partial list of tournaments is no more meaningful than pointing to the fact that Carlsen won Bazna (a tournament discounted by Thomas for not having strong opposition) 3 points ahead of Ponomariov (+their individual minimatch) while a few weeks later Ponomariov won Dortmund 1.5 points ahead of Kramnik (+their individual mini-match)

So much for manipulating statistics.

"Well, the good news for Carlsen is for the next couple of years three of his main opponents (Anand, Kramnik and Topalov) could only getting weaker (none of them shows Korchnoi's symptoms), while he himself could still getting stronger."


There's no reason to believe that Anand and Kramnik will get weaker over the next 3 years. Vishy from 2007-2010 is playing better than ten years earlier when he was perennially a world top-3 player. Since losing the title, Kramnik is playing as well as I've ever seen him -- probably even better than when he dethroned the GOAT in 2000.

Carlsen himself has said repeatedly that his main rivals are Anand, Kramnik and Aronian -- and that's it; he specifically has stated that Topalov isn't in the class with those other three. We'll see.

That's the part from the Thomas post I tried to copy in my previous post:

- Corus 2010: Carlsen won the tournament (but lost his game against Kramnik)
- London 2009: Carlsen won the tournament and the game against Kramnik (but Kramnik scored better against the rest of the field)

Ah I understand ... but IMO it's slightly creative counting: include an ongoing event that Carlsen hasn't won yet (not that I doubt it, even if Bacrot is just 1/2 point behind him) thus making sure that Tal Memorial isn't on either list. If I alternatively refrain from including Nanjing and consider Shanghai-Bilbao as one event, it's 3-2 for Carlsen vs. Kramnik - this is of course arbitrary, but IMO closer to their relative strengths and performances.

Anyway, the whole discussion started because you wrote "Kramnik can finish in the middle of the field in tournament after tournament (like Dortmund and Shanghai) and then score a top result now and then" which I still consider factually wrong [for the recent past, note that 2nd place isn't 'middle of the field', or only in Shanghai]. It's OK to stress Carlsen's results, but there's no need to distort those by other players.

BTW, I don't know if I literally said that Carlsen didn't deserve to win Corus - but I remember quoting him that he had a lot of luck in that event ... .

We desperately need I M Stoopid.

No, we don't.

Let me add some thoughts on Vladimir Kramnik:

Kramnik’s adjustment of his approach to the game, into a far more aggressive (and entertaining!) style, is one of the most impressive personal developments in recent years. IMHO Kramnik is better than ever!

And I am sure none of today’s grandmasters dare underestimate Kramnik. He is extraordinarily difficult to beat, and few if any of his contemporaries can match his mastery when it comes to systematically accumulating small advantages into a full victory.

Magnus Carlsen is one of many players who has immense respect for Vladimir Kramnik.

Let’s wait and see what the Candidates Matches bring, and watch tournament results in the meantime. And from time to time we should check out their LiveRating.

I agree, Kramnik's games are always entertaining to watch, as are Carlsen's. Kramnik has become somewhat more aggressive, but it occasionally costs him too much clock time. Anand plays brilliantly once in a while, but too often appears to be content to coast to a drawn ending, usually an opposite bishop ending. Plus, he tends to make impulsive moves when under pressure. Carlsen is the strongest of the three, but is the weakest in the openings.

sumchess: I may be wrong (I didn't look it up), but I think Stoopid said he was going away for a year.

This is a fascinating discussion. However one name has been overlooked. In my view, Joel Benjamin is the greatest chess player that has ever lived. Only due to some cruel misfortune and conspiracy was he denied a shot at the world championship title.

Joel Benjamin doesn't have enough hair to be World Champion - a negative trait he shares with David Bronstein. He is a decent human being, though...

I wish I could up-vote your comment.

Noble gentleman and suitably attired children

While I sip some red wine and eat some mature cheddar chess, may I take this opportunity to let my feelings be known on this issue. Many games of chess have been played by these protagonists and I cannot separate their genius. Magnus is a young man with his best days ahead of him. He cannot be compared to these other mature seasoned campaigners.

I think Kasparov believes that Benjamin was hiding behind the IBM computer that beat him in the 1997 match. It wasn't Deep Blue, it was Benjamin. Or somebody, according to Kasparov's beserk ranting.


Go right ahead and upchuck it.

I remember Carlsen listing Anand, Kramnik and Aronian (and honorable mention to Nakamura) as his main rivals. But I do not remember him specifying Topalov as being a second-tier player. Perhaps I just missed it, but I'll have to see (or hear it) myself to believe it.

Carlsen said it at least twice this year alone: First at 2010 Corus during an interview in January, and second during his live radio interview in May 2010 at the US championship with Maurice Ashley and Jen Shahade.

Both times he said the same things:
1. Nakamura has a bright future, but he is not yet a rival of Carlsen
2. Carlsen considers Anand, Kramnik and Aronian his main rivals
3. Carlsen does not consider Topalov a main rival because Topalov (in his opinion) is not a strong as Anand, Kramnik or Aronian.

"So players who play strongly in tournaments before their matches, such as Kasparov, Karpov, and Fischer, are idiots to show their full strength? But then they still won their matches.

That was my point. ..."

What is your point, again?? :)

Here is my points!

Point #1: When you play against a weak competition, you win no matter what!
Point #2: When you defend your title once in 5 or more years, or when you defend your title once in a life time as opposed to thrice in 3 years, you have plenty of time to prepare for other events!
Point #3: When preparation is not even closely demanding as in the computer age where depth level 20 or 22 precision has become a norm at the championship level and where deep level surprises and deep accuracy alone can win points, you don't need that much time for preparation, and so you have time to focus on other events!


You can create any story you want about Anand's performance in the 1995 match. But first, which expert agree with you? And second, just look at the score. Enough said.

Whether Kasparov's preparation has enough novelties
for today is something both of us don't know. So any comment about that is pure speculation. I noticed you said "maybe" so you are not even sure about that.

Fischer won against the best of his time. To show comparable achievement, players today has to perform well against the best of today.

Whether Kasparov created damage to chess is another issue. Not related to his strength compared to Anand.

This debate reminds me of an encounter I once had with a rancid octopus. The less said about that, the better.

Garry Kasparov is the only true opponent for young Magnus. I would urge Garry to abandon his foray into politics and to return to the loving chess family that knows him so well. Garry and Magnus can the rule the chess world like father and son.

Actually, at Corus he said "...In a short time Hikaru has become one of my main rivals" and that is what I was referring to. Perhaps he changed his mind by May.

to say Fischer didn't have a field to contend with is patently absurd. Benko, Larsen, Bronstein, Petrosian, Taimanov, Spassky, Botvinnik, Mednis, Reshevsky, Bisguier, Byrne, Euwe, Lombardy. Denker, Szabo, Geller, Averbakh, Gilgoric, Tal, Smyslov, Najdorf, Donner, Evans, Keres, Uhlmann, Korchnoi to name but a FEW. He played 7 world Champions and an additional 4 World Champion Challengers.

Then 63 year old Smyslov was Candidates finalist. Today in-his-60s Karpov was struggling in a not even a high profile Cap d'Agde tournament.

Karpov is 59. It is really silly when people can't get such basic facts right.

even better! :-)

Good point Cat. Topa should be playing the Najdorf

To point to Karpov's playing as someone who is now playing for fun and hasn't done preparation in almost a decade let alone used engines, have regular tournament practice AND you point out an event where the time control is rapid vs a player who was World Champion in a day where experience was more important than one's age. Age was almost irrelevant as you still sealed moves since a single game could be played over several days and a tournament over several months. Smyslov probably won the greatest tournament of all time 1953 Zurich.

I'm sorry but to argue Fischer played weaklings is probably the dumbest statement I have ever heard in my entire time spent reading chess commentary.

But I guess there is no point in responding to people that are trying to make such absurd arguments anyways. Their mental state is so far below par.

At Corus, he said that in a short time Hikaru WILL become one of my main rivals...that's a lot different, and is exactly what he said in May as well.

"...In a short time Hikaru has become one of my main rivals"

I agree with point #2 of your three points. Just would like to add some more. Anand has played 3 championship cycles in 4 yrs and won them all. If you include 2012, Anand would have played 4 cycles in 6 yrs. Only Kasparov matches against Karpov equal that record. But that was against the same opponent (Karpov) and one can argue that you dont have to start from scratch to prepare against an opponent you have done before. So in reality we can never compare the current cycle against anything before and what it takes to win and also do well in tournaments. We can only learn from Anand as to how difficult it is. It is to be seen if a future champion can keep up with the cycle (2 yr wch) and do well in tournaments

To amend the above, Lasker has played with such frequency 1907, 08 and 1910 (twice). "But then Lasker played so very little tournaments" -- ... that is Kasparov's quote from his book

Here is what Yasser Sierawan had to say from his Chess Duels book on Anand... this was before the Topalov match

"In my view, Vishy deserves recognition as the fourth greatest chess player ever. Consider that he is the only World Champion in history to win the title from a knock out event, an eight player double round robin tournament and by a match. Quite a trifecta! Besides these feats, for the better part of 20 years he has been in the world's top handful of ranked players and at various times has been number one and during Kasparov's years, a close number two. He breached the 2800 rating mark after Kasparov. He has a fantastic tournament and match record of which any Champion would be justly proud. Should he continue to perform as well as he has by defending Veselin Topalov in their 2010 match, he would earn my recognition as being the third greatest player in history. Should he keep up such winning feats for five years, he may well earn the best player even moniker"


I beg you not to return to the subject of Nakamura and his place in societe du chess (or whatever). We boiled that egg ad nauseum a few months ago.


Lol!! So true.

- Henry

It depends how you are inclined in this debate. Not everyone will look at it as a story. Again, I am not disputing that Kasparov was a great player. I am disputing his being called the greatest. And also disputing attempts made here to somehow show Anand in poor light.

Likewise, the same holds for Kasparov versus Kramnik. Just look at the score. That tells all as well.

The question still remains, maybe we might never know how Kasparov would fare if he had to wade through Candidates cycle like he made Anand do for the PCA matchup. Getting your opponent to play 25-30 games just for the right to play you when in all your life you preferred never to go that path and insisted on being air-lifted to title challenge or match-up. Shameful.

Unless folks believe that going through 25-30 games in PCA Candidates cycle actually left Anand fresh to face Kasparov, while Kasparov learnt every preparation Anand might have prepared in those games.

Lets first talk if Kasparov ever levelled the field on which he could be challenged.

- CAL|Daniel

As for Fischer performing against the best of the time, we cannot be sure of that unless we take each of Fischer's opponents and do a One-On-One against each opponent that Anand faced in the modern age.

For that we have to evaluate if Fischer's opponents match upto Anand's opponents, namely

Topalov, Carlsen, Kramnik, Gelfand, Ivanchuk, Gashimov, Kamsky, Short, Kasparov, Karpov, Gashimov, Adams, Shirov, Svidler and maybe hundreds more.

And we will also need to look at the relative elo strengths of each of the respective player's opponents as well.

And so also we will need to compare the Category strength of tournaments Fischer played as opposed to those Anand played.

The same holds for Kasparov as well, if we are to compare any two players and their relative strengths.

Moreover, I don't think that Fischer or for that matter Kasparov could go into preparation now with only a handful of openings, like in their eras.

Fischer is no patch on Anand, and to argue so is an exercise in imagination. Did Fischer play Rapid, and Blindfold as well. We do not know if he would have been versatile to do well there as well.

Repeating PircAlert's points below - Valid

"So players who play strongly in tournaments before their matches, such as Kasparov, Karpov, and Fischer, are idiots to show their full strength? But then they still won their matches.

That was my point. ..."

What is your point, again?? :)

Here is my points!

Point #1: When you play against a weak competition, you win no matter what!

Point #2: When you defend your title once in 5 or more years, or when you defend your title once in a life time as opposed to thrice in 3 years, you have plenty of time to prepare for other events!

Point #3: When preparation is not even closely demanding as in the computer age where depth level 20 or 22 precision has become a norm at the championship level and where deep level surprises and deep accuracy alone can win points, you don't need that much time for preparation, and so you have time to focus on other events!

That link misquoted Carlsen (sot surprising since it is a USCF website).

This is the link to what he actually said

From the article about Carlsen:

He downplayed the notion of a rivalry. For all his potential, Hikaru is still 28th on the world rating list. So for now, Magnus said, "I consider my main rivals to be (world champion Vishy) Anand, (former world champion Vladimir) Kramnik, and (Levon) Aronian. But Hikaru is playing very well now, so I guess in a short time I will consider him one of my main rivals.''

Thanks for making me post a link so that everyone can see that I wasn't making my original point up.

Yea, yea, we all see it, mate, but it doesn't matter a great deal because Hikaru was pretty much in the building when he said it.

All that matters is what happens during the next few years, and we won't have any control over that.

As to R. Fischer - G. Kasparov - V. Anand? The jury will always be out because Garry was a lot younger than his best contemporaries, eg., Bronstein, Botvinnik, Euwe, Tal, Petrosian, Smyslov, Spassky, and he never played Fischer, who, of course, did pretty well against those guys in a day that was closer to their prime, if not in the prime of the younger ones: Tal, Petrosian, Spassky. Mikhail was sick.

Anand is at least the equal to Kramnick, and Kramnick was able to beat Garry in a match. Was Garry at his best for that match? I don't know.

I actually think that if Bobby at 27 had had a match with Botvinnik or Tal in 1960, it would have been very close. Spassky was talented but also lazy - maybe not the best rep ever of the Soviet system, bless him, 'cause I do like him.

Anyway, you see? There's a very tantilizing gap in history that can't be leaped. Blame the man who died at the same age as the number of squares on a chessboard.

Your logic for Anand, Kasparov and Kramnik seems a bit strange to me: it's clear that Kasparov had trouble facing Kramnik and that the rest of the world, with that exception, had BIG trouble playing against Kasparov. I consider Anand to be a extremely strong player, but not in Kasparov's league; the coexisted for a long time and one dominated the other clearly (even painfully clearly) so the question is closed. I give Kramnik a big credit because he managed to beat the big one while he was still quite strong, although not anymore at the top of his game. As for your Fischer comments, not trying to be harsh (i'm only for positive debate), in 1960 he was 17 (being born on 1943) not 27 and not, he couldn't have beaten those at that time. And for Nakamura, I agree the topic has been discussed enough (for the moment)

Whatever everybody writes, there are two eras, the one before computer, the one after computer.

Before we had human beings, now we have silicon parrots. How can we compare ?

We miss IM Stoopid!

The match system I want to see is the one where the strongest challenger plays.

This can be done by decision or panel diktat without any boring charade of candidate matches.

At one mandatory title match per year (every two at worst).

For instance, the best match now would be Carlsen v. Anand; secondly Aronian v. Anand; thirdly, the rematch Anand v. Kramnik (which no-one wants to see until after match 1 happens).

The whole process of candidates matches can disappear; moreover, as it is money-losing there is no reason to continue it.

"maybe we might never know how Kasparov would fare if he had to wade through Candidates cycle like he made Anand do for the PCA matchup. Getting your opponent to play 25-30 games just for the right to play you when in all your life you preferred never to go that path and insisted on being air-lifted to title challenge or match-up. Shameful."

Maybe your memory doesn't go that far back in time, mine does: On the way to his first match against Karpov, Kasparov had to go through the entire candidates cycle - "in all your life you preferred never to go that path" is plain wrong. Only after becoming world champion, he had the privilege of playing a WCh match without qualifying beforehand - like all his predecessors and successors.

The Anand-Kasparov match was special in one respect: it took place immediately after the qualifying event - so a rested defending champion faced an already tired opponent.

Your remarks about "being air-lifted to title challenge" would apply to Kramnik against Kasparov, that's another story ... .

What about discussing Nanjing round 6?

Topalov went for a Caro-Kann today, and what about combing 5.-g6 with 6.-e6 !? According to my knowledge of (old) theory, the pawn sacrifice 6.-Bg7 is practically forced, as white is supposedly better in other lines. Not that I see a clear advantage for white by move 17, but saccing a pawn would also fit Topalov's "known" style ... .

Bacrot seems to have an endgame advantage against Carlsen (bishop pair, potentially weak pawn on c5), but just how big is it? And is he "Kramnik enough" to convert it - Bacrot has a similar style, but not quite the same strength?

For the first time ever, Bacrot is in the front row in an elite GM tournament :)

The ending is complicated, and i while white will push, I'm not sure it will be completely risk-free. Well, OK, maybe it will be :D Black created many weaknesses but maybe it was necessary. Now we could use Shipov! In such positions (well, actually in many others too) his talent shines over every computer you can throw in.
Anand seems a bit better although one wonders how much and if he will try for more (if there is more)
And for Topalov, even if his bad form shouldn't be surprising, i am astonished about his position. If you're playing a team competition and see such a position on the board next to yours, you don't calculate but automatically count a 0, i think.

Well we have Zagrebelny at Chesspro, who wasn't very helpful during Bacrot-Anand (but who was doing live commentary?). (Google-translated), he wrote what I did ,:) - bishop pair and weakness on c5 define a favorable endgame for white but "realize the benefits will not be easy", further calling Bacrot a "famous endsphilista". On 27.Bf3:, he writes "from someone heard the paradoxical idea that two elephants [bishops] are best opposed by two horses [knights]".

As to Topalov, he somehow held his position together - and/or Gashimov missed some strong(er) moves.

Well, Stockfish gave him a couple of "Red Label" moves, and although it doesn't mean that much (ply was aparently not too high) his position certainly looked better than it does now. I was thinking about taking right away on e6 when he played Qg3 and if at any moment black plays Ne4 there are sacs i think(although this is anything but an analysis)
On Bacrot-Carlsen, well Carlsen is also a very good endgame player, so even if it looks like white is clearly better, i think he will hold. Time should be less a factor than in the other two games.
Anand looks clearly on top now, and certainly it doesn't help Wang Yue that he has only a bit more than 3 min to make move 40, to go with a pawn less and another weak one on e3 (move 31)

Anand seems to have yet another of his move 40 blunders when there was no time pressure.

Wang has played the ending very poorly against Anand, but Anand has played even worse. The game looks like it is being played by two patzers.

Meanwhile, Carlsen is handling his two knights very nicely against Bacrot's two bishops. Bacrot would be wise to take a draw before he blunders away his g3 pawn. Gahimov - Topalov is nothing to watch, just forget about it. It should be a draw, but they both are capable of blundering if they try to win...which they won't.

Who among super GMs can match Luke's endgame prowess?

Wow Bacrot agreed a draw. Perhaps it was a draw but there was some torture ahead for Black. Can anyone imagine Carlsen taking a draw in that position as White? Or Kasparov of Fischer? Makes me appreciate those guys more...

If it was one bishop against one knight, Bacrot would have more winning chances than he has now with two bishops against two knights.

Thankfully, Wang resigned.

The more I look at it, the more I see problems for Bacrot, whatever those stupid computers or their trained human parrots say. Bacrot should pack it in and take the half point and call it a day before he loses this.

no problem; thanks for posting the link. I had read the "has become" version in more than one place (since I don't often go to the USCF site). It's clear from the surrounding content of each quote that they are not the same quote. However, the LA Times statement is consistent with what Carlsen's "official" position on who his main rivals are. At the same time he does admit to having problems while playing Naka; official "rival" or not.

Maybe here Topalov's comment on Bacrot-Anand also applies: "If there is a win, Bacrot will find it" - so there was no win (nor would I agree with Hag that white could get the worse position - it's high time that he's invited to such top events!?). Whether it would have been praiseworthy to keep torturing, just hoping for the opponent's mistake, a matter of taste IMHO ... .

BTW, now Carlsen has three wins with white, Bacrot and Anand have together four wins with black, and Bacrot is the only non-Norwegian winning with the white pieces.

Thomas, I am happy that you do not agree with me. I don't ever want to think like you.

Topalov? He can't find the floor when he falls out of bed in the morning. I agree with Carlsen when he said Topalov played "lousy moves" against him. And Carlsen was being polite.

How many people in China? A billion at least. If Wang is about the best they can dredge up, that's pretty sad. Are endgame books banned in China? Playing over Wang's endgame butcheries, you would think so.

Who is Gashimov? He appears to be nothing but some funny looking ghost who was invited just to be the tenth player.

Anand is barely performing like the champion of some local chess club, let alone the champion of the world. He slopped out so many goofball moves against Wang that I lost count. Luckily for him, the sleepy panda fell asleep.

Carlsen is just playing tough but it's doubtful that he would survive some of his positions against Kramnik. But, he plays tough.


Since you seem to know everything, how come we are not seeing you line up in the field at play in Nanjing?

Hindsight is the hallmark of armchair geniuses.

Or how about inviting those 'local chess club' players to the event and see how they perform.

Keep your hyperbole to yourself, the rest of us are wiser without it.


You beat me to it. Thanks - Apparently Gashimov got his FIDE rating by just being a funny ghost!; perfect for Halloween but far from the truth.

>>>> "How many people in China? A billion at least. If Wang is about the best they can dredge up, that's pretty sad."

Maybe they have better and more pressing things to do than slave over 64 squares for hours on end.

Did that possibility strike you? Or are you so sanctimonius as to think nothing of passing judgements on an entire people?

Better still that our resident "poison pen" apparently missed out on equating Gashimov's face to that of a joker in a traveling circus though he was not far from it with his 'exhalted observation'.

Come to think of it, it's baffling how someone (@Hag) so driven to be above the "unwashed and unthinking mortals" at play in Nanjing could have possibly missed making that analogy! Beats me.


What is your ELO that gives you the right to call the play of two super-GMs "patzers"?

Have you ever been good enough to even play a GM in FIDE-ratable time controls, let alone beat one?

Commentary is commentary, but show some respect.

Ha ha. Lucky Luke returns and gets usual (and desired) reaction.

This guy "Ted" is certainly trying but he keeps on coming up short. The other guy, senthil, or whatever his name is, does not have much to say other than to sniff around after Ted's droppings. Neither of them can say anything about the quality of play, or lack thereof, of the players in Nanjing. Just "Oh nasty Hag, you so bad, I get mad!"

Face it chumps, you are out of your depth here. If you are rookies, I'll cut you some slack.

Anand and Wang butchered their ending, but Wang is so pathetic that Anand was forced to find the winning ideas. Topalov is going down the tubes fast and will soon be nothing more than a punching bag. Gashimov is nobody, always has been nobody, and always will be nobody. Bacrot should stick to poker. He'll never be anyone in Chess other than a second-tier player.


"...show some respect." (pioneer)

I did show some respect, all that was warranted. I'm even respecting you just to prove how magnaminous I am. That's a joke pioneer, don't go crazy.


If you had more to you than mere adjectives, we would happily lend our barks to yours, if only!

How about spitting out some qualifiers to go with your sweeping statements.

Your "pathetic" "punching bag" "nobody" "second-tier" is about as informative as 'dead sea scrolls' were to fishes washed up on the beach on tax-payer dollars.

Bite it, Hag. I know you cannot resist. It's not in your genes to let go of the snide.

So show some substance to the rants. How about a move for starters, even though Stockfish underlined them with identifying colours. Even then. Go on.

What is it with this Luke, Luke, Luke screeching all the time? Are you really chesshire cat in disguise? Luke, Luke, Luke! The next moron who says "Luke" will be demoted to an imbecile.


You mean you've some slack to spare. Does't look it, but if you had some then how about sparing it for the dogs you keep company.

But then they might not need a leash, but you surely do.

Out of depth, pah. At least we have some air to breathe 'out of depth'. You can't possibly have any in your hole given that you're sooooo IN-DEPTH.

Ted, your string of non sequiturs is impressive. You are the cream of the crop and the fourth tallest building in the world. Ok, you discovered that I am not a Wang lover like you. One point for Ted.


Dear Hag,

I admire your chess understanding which seems to be at super-GM level or even higher, I will never be able to think like that! I just wonder how this goes together with counting abilities which are below primary school level:
"Gashimov ... was invited just to be the tenth player."
Nanjing is a six-player double round robin!!!??

Ted, you need a lot of practice. I'm not the one who can help you. Are you a chess player? Too bad.


Opinions are like a$$ h!!!!. I guess everyone has one and Hag and everyone else is entitled to theirs as long as they are willing live with their own (opinions or a$4 h!!!!).

Hopefully when sweeping comments are mades by the likes of Hag, I immediately think must be a Kaspy in disguise with top notch understanding of chess.

Whatever the truth may be I will not waste any more bandwidth on a page I do not pay for!

Thomas -

That's how low I value Gashimov's contribution. Even in a 6-player event, he performs like the tenth player. Nice to hear from you again.


"I will not waste any more bandwidth on a page I do not pay for!" (senthil)

Thank you. One down, three to go.

Hag, now that you have your baits, how many are you planning on reeling in? :-)

Surely you can't be hungry enough to digest the whole lot.

Make your pick, and lets see the back of you :-)

What were those " Anand's goofball moves against Wang"?
I see a repetition at move 40 that then causes engine eval swing to zero. but was there something else?


Oy vay.

You are flopping around pretty hard, so maybe I'll let you go and split some wood. By the way, in some earlier posts, people were jabbering about Anand and how good he was. I saw the 1995 match against Kasparov. I saw Anand flop on the floor like a wet noodle as soon as he was hit. But, I like him. Bye for now, say hi to kitty cat.


Obvious troll is obvious...

Hey, how 'bout them Giants?!?

(for all you eurodogs - our impolite-sounding, but nevertheless reverent referring nomen - that's a San Franciscan's way of changing the subject.

For what it's worth, Gashimov is currently fourth out of six, defending his rating. The only interesting question is: When will you, Hag, finally play a simul against all six Nanjing participants. How much do they have to pay you for the honor?

jap -

Exchanging rooks was goofy. Wang should be able to draw with 45.Kf3 Kf6 46.a5. But, he's not good enough.

Thomas, have you got anything to say? You are sounding very childish today. If you can't contribute, then go back to your calculations. Or go play on chessvibes where they think you are special.


Not even the best team in New York.

Hag - you are very good

you call a spade - a spade

Hence the World is ganging up

keep up the good work

An observation:

There was once this fellow who used multiple handles to deride certain chess personalities. He would even go so far as to have his handles converse with themselves. I think it is interesting how a certain poster (who may have been outed as the infamous 'Luke,' 'IM Stoopid,' and/or 'Ovidiu,' among others) is using the same style here.

And yes, I said the word 'Luke.' As I am not a moron, I guess I can't be demoted to imbecile. Perhaps from Genius to Gifted, eh? LOL!!

Doesn't really matter who he is, of course. A troll is a troll. Period.


Hag, you wrote :
"How many people in China? A billion at least. If Wang is about the best they can dredge up, that's pretty sad. Are endgame books banned in China? Playing over Wang's endgame butcheries, you would think so."

1-Go and chinese chess is much more popular than "western chess".
2-Wang played this tournament badly, not castling against Carlsen, abandonning the center against Bacrot, funny moves against Anand, etc...May be the pressure from chinese press. But I saw him in Cappelle la Grande (2007) he played more seriously.
3-BTW, being educated in Maths, I look every Year at International Mathematics Olympiads where China is practically always n°1 since 15 years, and what is even funnier is that the US Team is always at 50% chinese, this year over 6 students were 3 chinese-american and one korean. More the Leader and deputy leader of the US delegation were chinese!

Try then to avoid those kind of comments, people would think you are "stoopid". (which you are not, of course)


I forgot :
In Cappelle la Grande (2007) Wang Yue was first ahead of more than 90 GM's, you can check.

Mig may be we need a new thread without Hag where people respect others more. We can get him back after he recovers from this dreadful disease. Get well soon Hag.

According the GM Larry Christiansen Anand played a very good game, making moves enough to secure him a win.

Tomorrow's round is a critical one for Anand Carlsen and Bacrot.

Text from the press conf is here http://www.chess-pearlspring.com/www/chess_pk/2009/en/dsdt_mb_a39101026101766.htm -- although not the best translation, but something for sure until chessvibes posts the videos.

It is almost worth the time to read this far in the thread to find Mr Hag taking on the resident imbeciles who feel so burdened by the need to spout their own opinions, and so threatened by the opinions of others. Carry on Hag!

"For the first time ever, Bacrot is in the front row in an elite GM tournament :)"

Maybe because he has never been part of the elite to start with ?

He still won the Aeroflot tournament recently (in 2009) which is considered one of the strongest open in the world

i'd like to see some of this so called top GM in the next Aeroflot tournament by the way ... not that they would do badly , but some of them would definetely struggle because they are not used to play "street-fighting " chess anymore against a large panel of ambitious opponents during a long competition

It's one thing to play short , closed and comfortable tournaments always against the same 4-5 elite guys that you already played against for ages , and with plenty of time to prepare for a specific opponent and all the media attention on your persona .

It's another thing to play as against most of the best players in the world minus the top 10 players , during a long and tiring tournament where the top GM will not necessarily get the "respect" over the board that he'd have against elite GM at Linares for instance, where they 'd try to take the draw more often , i mean to play against a 2600-2700 level aggressive crowd with varying styles and little to lose requires a different approach

Top GM are the best for a reason , but one mustn't idealize them , they can make mistakes , they can be intimidated , they have problems of forms , sometimes their preparation isn't good enough .. at the end of the day , they're humans marginally stronger than the rest of the 2700 crowd in raw talent . they are just better prepared , work a lot more (and earn a lot more too as well as get far more invitations, everything is linked ) , and in some instances , have a deeper understanding of chess in some types of positions .

I don't think for example Aronian has a better understanding of chess in general than Ivanchuk or Shirov or even Ponomariov . they are just not as consistent and competitive against the top guys . Style and psychology has quite an influence here IMHO

So we have the prominent dunce, spiffy, or shall I call the mother imbecile, now step up and defend Hag.

Alez: I didn't mean to confuse: What I meant was if Fischer was 27 (his prime year) in 1960, and he had a chance to play a match with either Tal or Botvinnik that year, the result would have been very close, IMO. A toss.

Hag: New Yorkers are onlookers this year. I was talking about the San Francisco Giants, who just got into our baseball World Series by a torturous route (and I love 'em just the same).

You people should know by now; you can only comment on the games if you are better than the players. If you are not, then you must limit yourself to the accepted topics of rating, Nakamura/Carlsen hype, toiletgate and Kasparov spanking.

Not necessarily.So it means that all the GM's are above critique, just because they play better than most of us? Ya right!!

how do you draw after 45.Kf3 Kf6 46.a5 Rh8?
(47 axb6 axb6 48. Ra1 Ke5)

There is no draw. Exchanging rooks was the easiest way to win -- suggested by GM Larry Christiansen as well as by engines. the push d4 or c4 just wins with one rook left.

If it is the case that Nanjing will not be rated for November list then Anand will be #1 in the list at about 2803 points followed by Carlsen and then Aronian.

You are right. The rook and pawn ending is a win for black. I thought white could hold it, but I was wrong.


Hag seems to be mesmerized by Anand's end game prowess!

GM's aren't "above critique", but - a tribute to Frenchman Bacrot - "c'est le ton qui fait la musique". Saying that Anand barely plays at the level of a local club champion and that Gashimov is nothing but a funny looking ghost isn't the right tone, that's all.

BTW about Bacrot, I checked his earlier career: He was a top10 player in 2005. In that year, his best results were shared first in Poikovsky (ahead of Grischuk, Dreev and Svidler) and 5/9 in Dortmund (behind surprise winner Naiditsch, but ahead of Adams, Leko and Kramnik - who had a bad year, I already mentioned why). In 2006, he played Corus, Linares and MTel but always scored below 50%, then he basically vanished from the supertournament scene.

What does "magnaminous" mean?

A while ago people were harping on RB suspecting he's Russianbear in disguise. I wrote back stating RB's posting doesn't rise up to the level of Russianbear's tone. Now we have this blogger Hag who seems to carry Russianbear's torch!

Still, I think Gashimov-Topalov game is more complex and double-edged than Hag gives credit for. Gashimov could have played 22. Bf4 instead of Qg3. He was probably more worried about leaving the g-file open...

Just speed read through these comments but did someone say Anand was better than Fischer and Kasparov? LMAO

I'm pretty sure not, but if it appears that way ignore it. There's a healthy respect here for all parties, but the jury will always be out as to who is/was the stronger. No way to prove any opinion. The word genius has been synonymous with all three, so it falls to the level of the competition, and computer-age vs. non computer-age, or knowledge base vs. figure-it-out-for-yourself (bootstrap) talent.
In many sports it's futile to make such generation-spanning comparisons. Who was the better hitter? Ruth or Aaron? Answer: different worlds; fun speculation.

I said that but in the other thread. Rang believes so! And probably Harish and may be many others too. Anand is not just better, far better!

Appreciations and all will be hard to come by from Kramnik but he was spellbound by Anand's play that he couldn't help. Topalov had high regard for Anand's skills even before their championship match. I believe Kortchnoi mentioned Anand in the talk of chess genii.

But I never heard so much said about Kasparov. Karpov never opens his mouth on this, nor does Kortchnoi on Kasparov I believe. Carlsen wasn't impressed that much after their blitz encounter but was very diplomatic in his comments. And who else?

PircAlert asked

What is your point, again?? :)

The point, once again, is that Kasparov, Karpov, and Fischer didn't need to weaken their results in tournaments, against the strongest opposition, in order to win matches.

"Point #1: When you play against a weak competition, you win no matter what!"

Kasparov, Karpov, and Fischer played against the strongest at that time.

"Point #2: When you defend your title once in 5 or more years, or when you defend your title once in a life time as opposed to thrice in 3 years, you have plenty of time to prepare for other events!"

Kasparov played strongly in tournaments even while he was busy playing matches against Karpov, almost on a yearly basis.

Besides, Anand's losses are not all from the opening. How do you explain those?

"Point #3: When preparation is not even closely demanding as in the computer age where depth"

This argument about the impact of computers goes both ways. The existence of computers also helps tremendously in the analysis. In a sense, it makes it "easier" to analyse and prepare. Fischer didn't have a computer, so it is actually harder for him to prepare. Besides, Fischer didn't even have any real assistants, while Anand has many, including the 4 regular one, plus the additional help he got from Kramnik, etc. That gives even more credit for Fischer, above Anand. It should be harder for Fischer to prepare. But he didn't have to reduce his performance in tournaments. He keeps winning ALL, both tournaments and matches. Much more impressive than Anand, who needs a lot of assistants, plus the best computers, which Fischer never used.

Notice that with all Seirawan's praise for Anand, he still didn't put Anand above Kasparov and Fischer.


Your story about Anand playing better in the 1995 match is not confirmed by any expert I know. So it is a story.

As for Kasparov vs Kramnik, on a one-on-one basis it can be argued that Kramnik is not worse. But on an overall performance basis, Kasparov is clearly better.

However, as for Anand vs Kasparov, clearly Kasparov is better. The lifetime score between them is clearly in favor of Kasparov. Including in rapid and blitz games !

Why are you complaining about Anand having to play candidates matches before playing Kasparov?
Kasparov did have to play 33 games in the candidates before he challenged Karpov. So why are you complaining if Anand had to do the same to challenge Kasparov? It would be unfair if Anand did NOT do the same.

Fischer also had to play candidates before playing Spassky. In his case, the number of games was small, but that's because he smashed his opponents with straight wins. But still he had to go through all of that. Successfully. Why complain if Anand had to do the same?

I don't think Kasparov's opponent were weaker than Anand's. In fact many of those opponents are the same people as Anand is facing today. The people you mentioned on your list as Anand's strong opponents are almost exactly the same people who were smashed by Kasparov, some even without any counter win. Gelfand, Adams, Shirov, etc, never won any single game against Kasparov. Except for Kramnik, all of them have mediocre score. That includes Anand, with his pitiful 3-15 against Kasparov.

BTW, if you are saying Kasparov's opponents were relatively weak, remember they include Anand :-).

How Fischer or Kasparov can adjust to today's preparation, we don't know. But remember, many top players of the 1990s, who were working with the old approach, are able to stay on top with the current (supposedly more intense) approach.
Ivanchuk, Shirov, Kramnik, Gelfand, etc, adjusted to the new approach and stay strong. If they all can do that, and stay on top, why assume Fischer or Kasparov cannot?

Fischer did not play blindfold or rapid, as far as I know. Hence we cannot say anything about how he'd do. He might do worse than Anand, but he might do equal, or even better. What we do know is that Kasparov beat Anand in rapid + blitz.

There is some confusion as to who will be #1 in fide rating list in November. Since FIDE rounds off decimals and Aronian has played more games, he might be #1 followed by Anand and then by Carlsen -- source a comment on chessvibes. But I am not sure of this.

@JamesBrown: Yasser did however mention if Anand continues to win the matches for another 5 yrs (this was told prior to Topalov) he will rate him #1. That is two more matches (2012, 2014). This is not out of reach although nobody knows when he will retire. With regard to my view I do rate him above those two mainly because of his longevity at the top and his success during this computer age (post 2000). But that is just my opinion.

Many top players would say Anand is very good. But not one said he is better than Fischer or Kasparov. You don't need to fabricate their comments.

And Anand himself said Fischer and Kasparov were the best.

I am curious to see more commentary on todays Wang Yue-Anand game. It seems Wang Yue made just one mistake Qa4? and from then on it was a flawless technical game by Anand, but this is very difficult to see how white is close to lost after Anand's Qd7 reply. Both chessvibes and ICC game of the day mention this as the only mistake by Wang. I am waiting for other comments by chesstoday and chessvibes. Its unfortunate Anish Giri commented only on one of the rounds in Nanjing. He is busy playing Unive chess tournament. In the mean time Nakamura and Ivanchuk are amongst the qualifiers to the Cap d Agde knockout stages starting tomorrow.

Getting back to the tournament (the subject of this blog entry) the level of play has not been high Seirawan made this point in hus ICC commentary. Magnus has won some through opening prep and the way topolav lost to him was shockingly bad. It has not been a good tournament for chess although I have been impressed by Bacrots play. Wang Yue 's loss to anand was appalling Qa4 and Qxd7 just horrible play with the white pieces.

Did I say Anand played better than Kasparov in 1995 match? Did I?

The opponents Kasparov faced were just getting their nose wet in chess when they ran into him.
Somebody needs to ask Kasparov why he turned tail and retired. He should have stuck it out for a few years more. Surely if he was that great as some make it out to be, grey hair would not mean loss of grey cells. Would it. Just debating.

Kramnik hammered Kasparov in their World Championship match, with Kasparov unable to win even a single game in the 15-16 they played, possibly because Kramnik having assisted Kasparov against Anand knew of Kasparov's opening preparations.

Take away Kasparov's preparation and he was nothing. That could be said of many other players as well. It just shows he was no great shakes. Thats all.

In the computer age he might have been strong too as you say. I agree with you that might be the case. But I doubt if he would have held the same edge once his 'notebooks' with preparations from his Karpov encounters were used up or easily cracked by computers to level the playing field.

The age of domination over long periods are over in the computer age so we cannot hold that as some sort of a holy grail in order to enhance the Kasparov myth.

And certaily Kasparov cannot claim to be better given his reign was kept intact with his often impossible conditions or on account of his refusal to defend it (or when he was busy breaking away to start his own gig if his conditions were not met) unless things are his way - with no title defenses for long periods.

At least it was far, far infrequent as compared to Anand having to defend his title every 2 or is it every one and half years. Some supposedly great champions chose to go five years without having to defend their titles. Sure, that gave them ample time to go tournament hunting.

Five years is a long time to ensure some opponents do not survive at their peak.

It is anybody's guess of the precision depth levels he might have been able to perform at. We will never know.

People might again make fun of Topalov and Bacrot for exchanging "red moves" - well, it's a complicated position that, in principle, should suit Topalov's style.
Unfortunately I cannot follow the Chesspro live commentary, for some reason Google translation doesn't work (for me).

Gashimov - Wang doesn't interest me right now, looks like an equal Petrov. I'll look at it later. Topalov looks better than Bacrot because Bacrot's pieces are spread out and not cooperating. I can't see how Topalov can do anything about it though. Carlsen has the edge against Anand plus about 20 minutes extra, although Anand should be able to make time control. Carlsen has the two bishops and attacking possibilities. Anand will just be trying to hold on. I think Anand misplayed the Ruy Berlin opening with 7...Nf5? He should have played 7...Nxe5!

I just looked at Gashimov - Wang. Gashimov screwed up by exchanging queens. He could lose now.


There's no criticism of Topalov/Bacrot in the Chesspro commentary - just lots of variations. It does look like an extremely complicated position.

While 33...Bf4 appears to solve all Anand's problems (if White doesn't take the bishop) - Golubev gives this line where White takes and sacs the exchange, but the attack looks frightening: 33.g4 Bf4 34.Bxf4 fxg4 35.Rh8 Kxh8 36.Be5 Kg8 37.Qxg4 He hasn't added a comment after that line yet, though...

I'll disagree with that. Carlsen has four long-range pieces aimed at Anand's king. Something bad is going to happen.


Well now that Anand didn't play 34...Bxe3 - which seemed to liquidate to a drawn ending with fairly obvious moves - I tend to agree with you. Anand might survive but it's a horrible position to play with so little time.

Anand blundered with 37...Nf8? instead of 37...Rf8. Carlsen has a win now. Maybe the clock was starting to worry Anand.

Maybe the worst is behind Bacrot - he put his Nh5 back into play and still has an extra pawn. Interesting that Rybka considers the position (dynamically) equal, while Stockfish seems to be more materialistic favoring black.

Anand has reached the time control against Carlsen (and exchanged dark-squared bishops after all), I wonder if the white advantage is more than optical.

And now Bacrot blunders in a somewhat better position against Topalov with the idiotic 28...Bc5? Topalov will win.

Gashimov - Wang is pure garbage, both of them making crappy moves. It's Wang's turn to blunder, and sure enough, he does by playing 34...c5? This is a pathetic game by both players.

"Topalov will win" turned out to be correct - not that difficult to predict at that stage. Of course Hag (or rather the engine he listens to) never makes mistakes ... .

For Carlsen-Anand, Rybka and Stockfish currently (move 43) disagree with each other - Rybka seems to believe that Anand's fortress holds. No doubt that Carlsen is better and can press for as long as he wants to (another 100 moves in case of need?).

44...Kg8? by Anand is simply a bad, bad, bad move. He must have lost his mind.

That's not true Thomas, I make lots of mistakes and you know it. For example: http://www.chessninja.com/dailydirt/2010/10/carlsen-leads-nanjing-after-4.htm#comment-227264


I would play 48.e5 in the Carlsen - Anand game because white already has the advantage, so I would lock it up, not trade queens, get a passed pawn on e5, take away f6 from black, pick off the d5 pawn some day, or even the b-pawn. Should be easy to win. What do all your favorite computers say about that Thomas?

OK if you make mistakes in analyses, maybe you can be less harsh on the players going wrong over the board with the clock ticking. Bacrot's 28.-Bc5? was a blunder, but there's no need to call it idiotic. Anand may have played second-best moves (37.-Nf8, 44.-Kg8) which doesn't mean that he lost his mind. In fact, his fortress looks stable enough that there is no clear win for white (despite very favorable engine evaluations), of course there's ongoing pressure.
Hardest to disagree with "garbage" regarding Gashimov-Wang, but even here "comedy of errors" might say the same in a different way ... .

I don't have favorite engines - actually the Rybka/Chessok transmission is stuck after 44.Qh6+, and Stockfish didn't even mention 48.e5 (which also would have been my choice, and Magnus agreed with us) among four candidate moves. I can only repeat that engine analysis fail to convince me that white has a _forced_ win ... .

So long as Nf8 holds for Vishy . . . !

Its a pity you dont understand chess that much. Anand is trying to set up a fortress. If you just have an engine running and criticizing players for rubbish play since they are not following your engine -- grow up. Certainly Carlsen is better, but a plan is not clear yet. Otherwise Anand would have resigned.

In deference to Thomas, Anand has been making "second-best" moves again and again and again. It is awful to watch. Hopefully, the Gashimov - Wang foolishness will be finished soon. A draw seems appropriate because neither of them is good enough to win.


I see plenty of plans for Carlsen. Me, not a computer. Anand's fortress dreams will be blown apart. You should be nice when you talk to me.

Ba2 gunning for d5. Anand needs to counter MC push to release pressure on C file!

Perhaps, but why remove the bishop from bombarding black's kingside? It also opens up the possibiities of Rc1 by black. Better to now (after another second-best move by Anand, 54...Nh7?) to simply stack queen and rook on the h-file.


MC's d4, e5 nicely placed, forced Anand into silence. Would getting MC's Rf3 out of the picture help?

Good point. Agree. MC appears fixated on d5.

This discussion proves that with chess engines running, even old hags can pretend to be super GMs and criticize the top players despite their own superficial understanding of the game.

The game could continue according to the following scenarios:
- There is a forced win for white (which I don't see, but who am I?)
- Anand cracks under pressure
- Anand miscalculates a counterattack going for a non-existing perpetual check
- Carlsen miscalculates Anand's counterattack and ends up being mated [yes, that's also possible!]
- draw according to 50 move rule by move 103.

Only plus I see is Bb2 ensures Rc1 will remain a free rider for some time, else what did it possibly achieve. So does MC have any moves unless Anand frees some up for him.

MC only has K to move about with now.

The d5 weakling will always be there to be picked off later. If Carlsen plays 58.Kg2, the game looks like it is over. Anand may even resign because he is probably sick of himself by now.

Thats what he just did, even if forced by Rc1 waiting. Now what? Push MC's Q with g5? Then?

Chance for a Black perpetual? Whatever happens, dogged defensive play by Anand. Equally good by MC.

Anand needs to get his R into play to loosen MC's hold on f file? About as equal now as it has been at any other point in the game.

I don't understand what Carlsen is doing with his king on g3. Why doesn't he just finish this guy off? He must have some doubts in his mind. Great players should not have any doubts or second-guess themselves. Just wipe the guy out and be done with it. I would have stacked queen and rook on the h-file and won easily. Carlsen is squandering his advantage.


h file advantage lost for now. Anand will probably, maybe for the first time, give MC something to think about with his R coming into play. Lining up on h would be an issue so long as blac R is around, though not impossible.

Never though Anand would defend to this extent. Wow.

What was MC's Q doing going hunting along on d8?

MC's pieces showing lack of co-ordination now.

Anand is turning the slow squeeze now. What a play until now.

MC on the run now, somewhat that is. Scintillating defensive play by Anand. Remarkable, and for close to six hours.

What did MC go searching for with Qd8? What?

And before that what did he go searching for in lining his B on d5, and hence allowing Anand's Rook into play on the back ranks?

Carlsen played like a total buffoon in a winning position where he had all the advantages, no counterplay to deal with, plenty of time on the clock, etc., etc. What crap. Now he'll be groveling for a draw. Please Vishy, give me a draw. This makes the Gashimov - Wang crapfest look good by comparison. There is no excuse for this patzer butchery for either Carlsen or Anand.


Hag, would you shut the fk up for good now?

Anand let MC escape with a draw after this?!!!!! Hell, he should have hunted MC back with space on several files, even if disjointed, available and R and Q into play after MC's King.

What did Anand agree to a draw for??? Disappointing.

Hag: "Just wipe the guy out and be done with it."
Rang: "Never thought Anand would defend to this extent"

Maybe Vishy is world champion for a reason?? It seems that he mistimed his counterplay by one move (56.-Rc1! rather than 57.-Rc1) and was lost for a moment, but over the board it may be hard to see that there is no perpetual check in the lines with 61.e6 - actually I am not completely sure.

Earlier I had forgotten another possibility that eventually happened in the game: Anand's counterattack ends with perpetual check.

Maybe you are kidding ... I guess if black doesn't give perpetual check at the end of the game, white will do so.
About 63.Qd8, maybe he missed 63.-Nd7 64.Rc3?! Ne5:! (g3 was really a bad square for his king ...).

Anand should have pushed further and had MC's King running around just for the sake of it, a bit of harrying.

Just wondering what Anand playing Nxe5 would have taken the game to.

Classy defending from Anand for close to six hours. I think MC will learn a lot from this one game than maybe from some entire tournaments he's played in. Just a thought.

Now watch MC clean up the bottom-half that he is famous for.

"Maybe Vishy is world champion for a reason"

Ofcourse. wch or not, he was always known to put up tough resistance while defending. It was never going to be a easy win for Carlsen. Commentators on icc mentioned that there is no way any human in the world will play e6 and allow a million checks. So e6 was a pure comp move and with both players on the rapid time control, e6 was no point to calculate.

Hag are you going to be shouting like this for every game? Are you new to following chess? May be that explains. Can you not see many do not like the way you trash these respectable players. Why dont you become an elite GM and then talk. Even then, these chess giants dont always talk the way you do.

Not sure if MC was even thinking of e6 at that point though it seemed like a move to make.

Maybe if he had made something out of his hunt for d5.

But then xd5 did not happen for MC. So maybe e6 was stalled while MC's Q went hunting on d8 like a cowboy at a last chance saloon.

Somehow get the feeling, MC was fixated on d5 even as he tried to retain the initiative on his right flanks.

Yes do us all a favour and shut up, Hag.

Beyond reading the output of the
engines you have nothing to bring to the table.

You don't have to spit and screech at me...I'm just telling you what I think.

All six of these guys played like morons today, even the one moron who actually won his game. Of course, they are much better than what they showed today, but collectively, it looked like an under-12 scholastic event.

Who was the worst? My vote goes to Carlsen, who had a complete lock on the position thanks to his blundering opponent (a world champion?), and still was able to find no way to wipe the guy out? I bet the pictures will show Carlsen prancing around in his hand-on-hip limp posing. Maybe that’s the reason he lost the thread of the game. He’s too impressed with himself. Anand is clearly washed up as a serious threat. His day has come and gone. Bacrot mangled the small advantage that he really didn’t deserve with the dumbest move of the day, so stupid that I refuse to even point it out. Topalov “wins” a game, finally, if you can call it that. Big deal. It’s only because he was playing against Bacrot (see above). Topalov will continue his slide out of the top 10. The ghost and the sleepy panda performed as expected. Instructively junk moves. The only time they were incapable of blundering was in the final position of the game (king vs. king).

But, Carlsen is the king today. The blunder king.


Sometimes when at work this is the only site that is let open by IT so I can follow games through the comments section.
I understand your take on moderation but the comments by some of the posters here are in very very poor taste

Is it not possible to block the IP's of repeated offenders?

Chess is our sport, how can we allow such trash to be thrown at the number 1 player and the world champion by an unproductive and repulsive nobody?

I remember a time when more learned chess followers discussed moves on the fly on this blog. Looks like most of them have moved on because of a few bad apples.

A wise man once told me: DO NOT FEED THE TROLLS!

If they annoy you, that is.

Today Anand was the first player ever not to lose with black against Carlsen in Pearl Spring. Not bad at all.

This is as good a reason as any to upgrade, Mig. Bring in FB-style 'like' options on comments and the ability to filter out individuals.

If wishes were horses.. :)

Anish Giri said on Playchess that today's games were pretty horrible. That was when they were about halfway though.

What?? Not the fact that he made such a comment (he probably still refrained from calling moves idiotic), but that he hangs around on the Internet hours before playing himself:

Relatively unnoticed, the Unive tournament takes place in Hoogeveen, the Netherlands - a four player event with Giri, Tiviakov, Vachier-Lagrave and Shirov. Shirov also plays nonstop: Shanghai, Olympiad, Bilbao, Hoogeveen, then Tal Memorial.

What a bunch of crybaby fanboys. I criticize your beloved poster boys and you go wah, wah, mean old nasty Hag, please Mig, help us by blocking him. You people are so weak. I don’t mean Thomas, at least he has something to say and can dish it out too. Even the chesshire cat. However, you other weaklings need to lift some weights or something.

"Horrible"? Wah, wah, make him stop saying that!


Is the quality of the games being affected by lack of enough rest days? They played 5 straight - one rest day - play 5 straight again.

May be 3 games / rest / 3 games / rest / 4 games or some thing similar might be worth looking into. Has anyone asked the players in the press conferences if the format is affecting them?

"Looks like most of them have moved on because of a few bad apples." (george)

Feel free to join them if you don't like the taste of my repulsive apples.

Everyone has off days, including top chess players. There have been some great games so far, and some great twists and turns (Bacrot's run, Topalov's collapse, Carlsen going 7-0 with White in Nanjing, etc.) I think that some of us need to stop staring at the Stockfish output and either a) learn to analyze / appreciate the game without live computer analysis or b) go outside and leave the internet alone for a few hours.

Good ideas. I believe in both of them. In fact, I'm going outside right now.


Hag you did shout yesterday too about Wang Yue-Anand game. But it turned out you were wrong as per top analysis and Anand merely easily converted his edge with no problems after Qa4?. So you are yet to learn two things
(i) Engines are not always correct and they can mislead you
(ii) Even if they are right, it is completely different to play otb

Its good to note that Carlsen failed to convert his advantage because Anand did keep fighting. So in that sense, it was a great game to watch. Live GM commentary kept saying that Anand is lost but his holding on because one slip and white king is so open. Objectively the game had only 2 mistakes, (i)Anand did not exchange Bxe3 (after finding Bf4!) and instead played fxg4 (he might have miscalculated they transposed), but here Anand was in time pressure before the time control.
(ii)Carlsen Qd8? (instead of ...Rf6 and retreating back to f2 to go to h2) allowing black into the game with ...Nd7!

Missing the e6 shot and other stupid engine shots like Bd3 instead of Rf2 are not real.

Try and follow some live GM commentary next time rather than turning your engine on.


We've read the diatribe you keep posting and its obvious to everyone here that you're ingesting analysis put out by chess engines and puking it out here cause your pea brain cannot comprehend it. Nothing wrong with that. But when you start getting judgemental, and then top it by getting abusive, you chase away level headed observers of the game.
I have a problem with that cause this is the only place I have access to, to follow the game.

If every GM made only perfect moves, there would be no results; we'd only sit on even scores. Only second best moves (blunders! per you) result in results.

I can hold Rybka3 2100 ELO 8/10 times and beat Rybka3 2000-2030 most times. I'd challenge you to a match and beat the sh*t outta you, but I see no point cause you'd be hiding behind an engine. I make this judgement basis your immature comments that convinces me that you're probably a 1400 player - Any rating above that would wise you up enough to keep your trap shut.

If you happen to live anywhere in the tristate area, share an email. I will buy you a ticket to NY, we can sit down by the harbor and play a few games - heck I'l give you a handicap and let you take out a knight or a bishop off my ranks, and still whup you bad.

Computers and blowhards are ruining the game of chess.

Y'had a fine day's fishing today, Haggy.

Hag is mentally ill, and should seek help. And I'm dead serious about that. It wouldn't matter what subject he was talking about - it would be apparent. The last time I heard such language coming from a chess player, he really was certifiably insane.

Scholars and halfwits

Hag should take up Poker. All the trash talking would suit him well. However he is entitled to his opinion, however unpalatable it may be. To lambast the play of fine upstanding gentlemen such as Anand and Carlsen without due consideration to the pressures and strains that they face is unwise though. They are human and can make mistakes.

I once played the globular cluster defence against an inebriated Martian. Halfway through the game, fourteen bananas ruined proceedings by dismembering a congealed giraffe, right in front of our eyes. This caused me to blunder my Knight on h7. However I did manage to distract my opponent by trampolining a withered pigeon onto the ceiling. The game as you can imagine ended in a draw. Afterwards I ate some rhubarb and reflected on what had happened. Isn't life grand...

This also reminds me of the time I gave a twenty board simul to a herd of wildebeest. Fortunately I had the white pieces on every board. One of the spectators was a hyena and he laughed every time I made a move. I complained and an obese zebra escorted him off the premises. It was a good day though.

Congratulations Genius!
you are the champion of keyboard strokes. But I would like to see more :
Go over a board, participate in a big tournament (without your computer) with 20GM's at least, then we all will have a good laugh. You can't imagine after 6 rounds the pressure that all these elite (human)GM's have, specially when they are just in a group of 6, in a tournament that all the chess world is looking at.

Saying that Stockfish is awesome. I love me some free engine.


Looks another Sicilian. All of topalov's wins with Black against Anand were in Sicilian

[quote]Many top players would say Anand is very good. But not one said he is better than Fischer or Kasparov. You don't need to fabricate their comments.

And Anand himself said Fischer and Kasparov were the best.[/quote]

Come on, henry, it is not like a discussion in a blog. No one would compare and say x is greater than y or y is greater than x, unless may be specifically pressed for an answer to that. They would just compliment a specific individual for whatever skill they admire in him. It has to be spontaneous! So I was just looking from you for some such compliments Kasparov might have got.

If Anand had to say something in that line of Fischer and Kasparov are the best, he would have just said that to avoid some controversy. Seems like you are making that one up, they together the best things! :-)

Btw, pick one - Fischer or Kasparov. It is not a tag team to to bring them both and to conveniently use one or the other for your arguments.

And Seirawan and Prague agreement we all know. I think you should look for honest opinion from unbiased people, not from people pleasers!

henry, see, yesterday Hag was mesmerized by Anand's end game technique, and today dumb-founded by Anand's OTB Houdini act! How many Houdini's Kasparov pulled off? These things and all will get you points for the greatest ever title.

An amazing number of posts...
...but all in all a rather depressing read.

I come here to read about Chess.
Can’t we please drop the animosity and innuendo, the vile attacks, the bile and the bickering?

The Daily Dirt would be a better place for it. And I, for one, would be tempted to read the contents herein more often. I don’t I’m alone in that view.


* I don’t think I am alone in that view.

Anand was dead lost. It wasn't a case of him wiggling out like Houdini, it was simply a complete failure by Carlsen to put him away. 61.Kg1 unpins the bishop, stops any Qf1 stuff, and threatens the killing Bxg6.


Anand only gets 1/2 point for not hanging up in desperation. He was toast in this game. As an experienced player he simply tested to see whether Carlsen would falter. And Magnus did. Anand would have resigned had he not been determined to play out the games. That is how he won that single game against Magnus in Bilbao.

I remember game against Topalov that Anand resigned when it was lost positionally. He stopped playing the Queen's Indian against Topa after that.

Objectively lost may be, but it is not a mate in 10 position or some thing like that for carlsen to gift the draw. Of course it was Houdini! Can you show us the winning line for white with computer help?? It requires extraordinary effort from white to win, especially against Anand! For every move you have to work to see if your king escapes from a perpetual. If not, Anish Giri with computer help would come and complain about your quality of play! Whether the players solves it or not, whenever a position like this happens, my opinion is the quality of game is high because of the sheer complexity. 21st centurty positions.. Anyway the key is this - How will you "stop any Qf1 stuff"?

I would like to understand how complete fish like Anand and Carlsen get to be rated 2800+, and the true geniuses among us like Hag and Senthil are stuck at 1200.

What an injustice! Well, no doubt every one of Hag's opponents was cheating with Rybka and Stockfish.


i can speak for myself. I do not need anyone to combine with any one else like Hag. I play chess. Follow Anand religiously. Was there in NY when he played in NY against Kasparov. Played him way back and got whupped. Gave him one of the earliest softwares that allowed chess players to save chess positions.

Simple question: If this position were to be played 100 times by GM level players, do you want to hazard a guess as to which side any level GM would want to play! Time controls and all other constraints kept the same.

If Anand were not the self-critical player that he is he would not have reached the levels that he has. He would be under no illusion as to whether or not he was toast in the game against Carlsen. Posters, comps, and self-anointed band masters aside!

It is testament to a renewed committment to be the best that has seen him really dig in and defend. He tested Magnus and Magnus faltered.

As I said in my post check the game Anand lost against Topalov with black. You will wonder why he resigned as did many (GM) others who thought he could have played on. Being the player he is he has successfully reinvented his game, openings, and his preparation to become the best.

As I said before opinions are like assho!!!. every one has one. But watch before you think you can sit in judgement of another!

Anand would have resigned if he sees a clear, winning line for his opponent. If he only sees a clear advantage for his opponent that can be converted by a logical plan, he tries to see if the opponent shows the plan. He doesn't normally prolong the torture when he knows his position is crumbling.

He only played on today because he must save seen some realistic chances of draw.

Only player who would have resigned under such position without a clear winning line for his opponent is Ivanchuck.

Do you hang around with Kamil Miton?

Nope. i would lova to play if I were to get a chance play a GM since he is one.

I knew one guy, quite sometime back, don't even recall the name correctly, but he hangs around with Kamil. I thought it could be you. Never mind then.. but I think you should be able to get friendly with some GMs at least to play some blitz games if you are in the US...

Diverting in a (one hopes) more positive way than the usual here at the Dirt now the master is out, take a look at Shirov's game against Tiviakov in the Unive Tournament

Takes out the wish to play anything not very-theoretical-Sicilian and Ruy Lopez.

Oh, and the games started already at Nanjing. Good luck players, you need it with such a demanding public!

I have received letters of complaint from several herbivores about todays proceedings. Such truculence cannot be tolerated. I will endeavour to slap each of these misfits around the face with a limp eel. I will be watching you all closely and anyone who does not exhibit profound sagacity will be egged severely.

I think Dr Gibberish makes more sense (at least it's funny) than the passionate Anand lovers and haters.

As I was saying', FIDE should simply discard the oh-too-short farce of candidate matches and go straight to Kirsan diktat:

Next WC match in 2011: Aronian v. Anand.
Next-next WC match in 2012: Carlsen v. Anand in year 2012.
Next-next-next WC match in 2013: TBA.

This simple system of brain-ocracy (using one's brain to make decisions) avoids the boring mismatch that would result were a non-candidate Leko, Adams, or Ponomariov (though I wouldn't mind him) sneaking through the mini-matches.

This presumes that Anand wins his proposed match against Aronian, I wouldn't be that sure about it ... . And why should a reasonably fair qualifying system be replace by subjective "brain ocracy"? I would agree with you only to the extent that the candidates matches are too short - but even then an outsider qualifying, then winning three consecutive mini-matches can't be just lucky.

What do you mean ''sneaking through''? What has a lower rated player got to do for his win to count where you are concerned? At the end of the day, everyone should be given a fair short at the title.
On another note, the comments ''back and forth'' make for hilarious reading. While i may not agree with some of the things Hag says, if you look past that, you can see the points he is trying to make.

Seems the players today were in a peaceful mood...especially Bacrot and Gashimov...one wonders why...

Please do not glorify this Hag troll creature who offers nothing but insults to the best players in the world.

I'm bored with all these Catalans, Petroffs, Slavs and Queen Indians.
Maybe the organizers should give a bonus to the players who dare to play Sicilian or Modern Benoni.

I don't understand chess enough to dismiss any GM game as boring. I wouldn't know how to spice the final position(s) up without losing.

An interesting comment in the video http://blip.tv/file/4306391 Anand mentions how he almost blundered into mate in 3. Instead of 64...Ra2 Anand said he was almost about to play ...Nxe5 and calculated that dxe5 ...Qxe5+ Kg2 was a forced draw due to ...Rxc2 Qf8+ Kh7 and draw. And then he finally saw that white was not obliged to take the knight instead he could could mate with Qf8+ Kh3 Rh2.

The upward trajectory of Max Vachier-Lagrave continues with a win from the black side over Alexei Shirov at Unive'.

Correction last line Qf8+ ...Kh7 Rh2+

Oh well ...Kh6* .. finally


Thanks for the link. I found it very insightful to play and read GM Spragett's notes.

I'm getting pretty bored of the Catalan. I hate playing it as Black,and as I occasionally play the Nimzo, more and more people are dragging me into it. Several of Topalov's (and Ivanchuck's) hair-raising variations might kill it, at least I hope they do. I liked the ideas Topalov showed v Anand, Black throwing a bomb at White.
Saying that it's a pleasure to see Kramnik or Aronian squeeze out a win with a microscopic advantage, I just hate playing against it myself!!
I'd like to see some Nimzo lines other than Qc2 come back into fashion, there's great battles to be had in those lines.

Your post is one of most down-2-earth and funny one I have read in some time.

"I'm getting pretty bored of the Catalan. I hate playing it as Black"

"Saying that it's a pleasure to see Kramnik or Aronian squeeze out a win with a microscopic advantage, I just hate playing against it myself!!"

Priceless 'cause it is so straight from the chess mind.

Here is wishing the winds of change give Catalan the miss.

Hey any of you toadstools (HAG) that can even play within 200 pts go ahead and try to get into a tournament with them,cant; that is because u suck relative. So criticize your momma,criticize your papa, but don't criticize those who make your recent ancestors compare to crapola.

Dear Hag,
People do really hate you man! Do you really want this? or like this?Why dammit why??

Try the Durch defence, cat. You could even enter the Stonewall variation via d5/e6 if white insists on the Catalan formation.

The Dutch defence

Benoni is boring, Sicillian is boring, Modern is boring. Slav is interesting.

It's interesting that all Russian chess fans associate Magnus Carlsen with a cartoon character :) http://www.chessintranslation.com/2010/10/the-kid-carlsen/

Yes but how can he enter the Dutch if he actually wants to play the Nimzo? 1.d4 Nf6 rules out the Dutch ... it would still be possible to enter one line of the Benoni, avoiding the need to study other sharper ones - 2.c4 e6 3.g3 c5!? Even then it's time to complain or be unhappy if white is positionally inclined and plays 4.Nf3 rather than 4.d5. Too bad that a game of chess involves two people ,:) .

Ouch! It would seem Topalov blundered. To be fair, he was under some pressure although Carlsen wasn't playing the best moves (well, suggested by SF, which was claiming the position was equal by the moment). It was preceded by an innacuracy (well, until further analysis, it seems like one) of exchanging rooks on b2 leaving the 2nd for black. Amazing how Carlsen turned such an umpleasant position into a slightly better one (true, also with the help of Topalov who definitely makes lots of small mistakes by top standard on this type of game)

Topalov just resigned. So Carlsen has already won the tournament with 1,5 advantage points before the final round. Congratulations! He also put a 2-0 against Topalov. And to those who will point how he is out of form, Carlsen is the only one to have beaten him twice in this tournament. Impressive come back after his bad performance on Bilbao.

A truly miserable tournament for Topalov... It's very painful to watch a great talent like Topalov making horrendous blunders and being so easily outplayed. Seems like his match vs. Anand did a lot to shatter his confidence in himself. He probably should take time away from chess and find himself again.

Very surprising mistake by Topalov.

I am also surprised by Bacrot's lacking fighting spirit. He was at the top of his game, even fighting for a tournament win and then he just deflates, not even trying to win with white.


No just less talent...How much better is Magnus than Anand at the same age??? Has he won more top tournaments?

Bacrot just consolidates: yesterday it was just rather normal (and often recommended) procedure to insert a [short] draw after a loss, and today - well even the strongest or most talented players do not always manage to beat the Petroff or even to get some winning chances. His final score will be 50% or better - not bad at all compared to pre-tournament predictions.

Comparing teenage Carlsen with teenage Anand makes little sense: how many top invitations did Anand have at that age, compared to Carlsen and even other from the current bunch of teenagers?

"It's very painful to watch a great talent like Topalov making horrendous blunders and being so easily outplayed."

Maybe for you it's painful, but I love watching it and hope to see some more.


Thanks, Senthil.
Thomas, it is actually possible to transpose into the Dutch from the Catalan. You can transpose into a Stonewall from the Closed Variation, or play an early Ne4 and f5 in other variations. Whether the latter is particularly good is another question. The Dutch is not for me, hardy, I always misplay it and end up with horrible holes all over my position.

Topalov is over-reliant on prep these days, I think. It's been a long time since I have seen him outplaying opponents on a regular basis. And the positional deficiencies of his style (deficiencies compared to other top GMs, that is) have been showing themselves a lot in the last year or so. Turn it around, Topa : (
Carlsen is NOT over reliant on prep. He can make something out of harmless openings AND he can use prep effectively too. Put your money on him!!

People talk of being outplayed in a match. although 6.5-5.5 score to lose a match would be called close, it seems on the contrary it has had a much greater effect!


I have no means to confirm this but it seems at the moment (given the past few months/1 year) track record of 1:1 contests has the following current status:

Kramnik has a plus against Carlsen
Carlsen has a plus against Topalov
Aronian has a plus against Anand
Anand has a plus against Kramnik, Topalov each
Anand - Carlsen about equal
I am not sure about Aronian - Carlsen

Does this seem right?


SJ, anand Carlsen about equal? ... Really?

Definitely not a fair comparison, imo. Harikrishna, for example, had taken over from Anand as India's youngest GM. But it is obvious to all now that he is nowhere as compared to Vishy. Re: Carlsen, there seems little doubt that he has the potential to become one of the all time greats. Right up there with the Kasparovs, Fischers and Anands. However, potential is one thing but achieving it is not a given. And, like my namesake asked of Carlsen on Wednesday, "Prove it OTB". Can't wait for the candidates matches to see how Carlsen does in a match against Kramnik/Aronian.

Anand has +1 against Kramnik, as far as I can recall. Before their match it has been +1 in favor of Kramnik. I think in general Their encounters are equal.


I believe Aronian - Carlsen is very close. In classical time controls, I think Aronian is +1.

Anand appears to be +4 against Carlsen in classical time controls.

Re: Anand, it seems he just used 12 minutes on his clock today? Its not as if he knew Carlsen would win today. Apart from San Luis '05 and Mexico '07, he only seemed really determined at the Tal memorial last year (which got spoilt by a blunder against Aronian which took him from won to lost). His attitude towards "lesser" tournaments is certainly questionable, although perhaps understandable. He was never the fittest around, but now isn't young enough either to want to grind down opponents like Carlsen does today or Topalov used to do last year. If I were him I wouldn't have signed up for all three (Bilbao, Nanjing, London) in such a short span of time. Instead, only play short elite events with few rounds. But, maybe he actually feels the need to play against the current generation (Gashimov/Wang/etc) for the sake of his own evolution as a chess player. Maybe he uses these events as experiments in a larger scheme of things to help in his match prep. Some things we fans can only guess, but never really get close to fully understanding.


I am only looking at head-to-head results. I believe they have same score in the last year or so.


Chessgames.com has such statistics readily available - for the last year (including Nanjing 2009) it looks as follows:
Kramnik-Carlsen +2=2-1 [Kramnik had 4* black]
Carlsen-Topalov +3=1 (with a similar history going further back in time)
Anand-Aronian 0-1 (Tal Memorial 2009, also consistent with their overall record)
Anand-Kramnik +1=3 (roughly even rather than clear advantage for Anand)
Anand-Carlsen +1=5
Carlsen-Aronian 1/2 (Tal Memorial 2009)

This is for classical games - including rapid, blindfold and blitz would favor Carlsen a bit. IMO it makes sense to limit things to the past one year: before Nanjing 2009, Carlsen was "just a star" but not a superstar. And for Anand vs. Carlsen, including their WCh match would distort the picture of their _current_ relative strengths.

Note that Aronian played relatively few games against fellow top 5 players recently, for several reasons:
- he was the only one playing Bilbao 2009
- he didn't qualify for Bilbao 2010
- he was the only one playing the FIDE Grand Prix series.
So it's a bit unclear where exactly he stands at this very moment in time!?

+1 Carlsen, actually. And btw, 2009-2010 counting all decisive games, Carlsen is +5 -1 vs Anand.

ur dreaming rogge.

in all time controls with not timeframe involved its something like +12-8 in favor of anand

in classical time control i cant remember anand having lost more than once to carlsen.

where did you get your +1 carlsen?


Linares 09. Carlsens first win against Anand. I cant remember him winning another game since other than in rapid or blitz.

Carlsen is the next World Champ. But hhe has to learn to win against anand and has to first get past kramnik

Sorry mate, I'm right. Check it yourself, chessgames.com can provide what you need. I repeat in 2009 + 2010 Carlsen is +5 -1 in decisive games vs Anand.

AND he's +1 against Aronian (classical time controls, all games).

sorry mate read your post again. u've not specified aronian anywhere. which implies ur talking carlsen anand.

i repeat carlsen has ONE classical victory over anand in his lifetime.

and as recent as a month back lost to anand in bilbao

"Anand appears to be +4 against Carlsen in classical time controls."

That's true, if counting from their first encounter when Carlsen was 16. I don't think that's very relevant for Carlsen's current strength, do you?

In general, head-to-head records don't make much sense as a measure of "current head-to-head strength relationships" unless we wait until BOTH players have reached basically their mature level. For players capable of reaching top 5 (like Carlsen, Grischuk, Anand, Kramnik, Ivanchuk, Gelfand, Topalov and so on) this means at least waiting until the player has been officially top 10 for the first time.

Just to exaggerate - if Carlsen had played Anand when he was 14 and rated 2500, it wouldn't be any useful input to the question of their current internal strength relationship, would it?

Carlsen was top 10 for the first time in April 2008 (with a rating of 2765). If you want "meaningful" head-to-head records between Carlsen and the other top players, you should start there. Or the result is instead coloured by the fact that Carlsen is much younger than all of Aronian, Topalov, Kramnik and Anand and reached his mature level at a much later date - even some 3-4 years after Aronian established himself as a top player.

The purpose of such head-to-head stats is to say something about the internal strength relationship between the MATURE versions of the players, right?

fair point.

so if we looked at anand carlesen since April 08, it think its dead even at +1-1

Mate, I replied to Morley's claim Aronian was +1 up vs Carlsen. He isn't, Carlsen is +1 against Aronian (as I wrote in my reply to him).

But Sorry George, I mixed you up with Morley in my 2nd post :) I know Carlsen has only one win vs Anand (classical time controls), but tides are shifting (+5 -1 2009-2010) OK?

Hi george,

rogge means that in ALL formats, counting only 2009 and 2010, Carlsen is +5 -1 against Anand:

Carlsen - Anand 1-0 (classical, Linares 2009)
Anand - Carlsen 0-1 (blindfold, Amber 2009)
Carlsen - Anand 1-0 (blitz wc, Moscow 2009)
Anand - Carlsen 0-1 (blitz wc, Moscow 2009)
Carlsen - Anand 1-0 (rapid, Kristiansund 2010)
Carlsen - Anand 0-1 (classical, Bilbao 2010)

5-1 decisive games, Carlsen
1-1 classical
2-0 blitz
1-0 blindfold
1-0 rapid

10 draws (6 classical, 4 rapids)

1-1 in classical, though.

Yes, in classical it's 1-1 since April 2008. With a bunch of draws - 8 I think.

of course the tides are shifting .. carlsen is the future there is no doubt. but he just does not have enough wins against anand and kramnik yet.

he has to learn how to shut out these giants and he has some way to go before he gets there. classic example is what happened in his game with anand the other day
for all who think carlsen has peaked, he hasnt.

i'm pretty sure kramnik is gonna stuff everyone including carlsen in the candidates and am looking forward to what I would rate as the greatest WCH match of all time


I think we may see 8 result games in that match

Yeah, I agree. Kramnik is Carlsen's biggest (and only!) problem right now.

the funny thing about the match that carlsen won against anand.

Anand offerred a draw - carlsen said no.

about 8 moves later carlsen offerred a draw - anand shouted NO

then anand pressing for a non-existant win, blundered

i meant game in the above post

If my memory serves me correctly, the game you mentioned was drawn. Further, it was a rapid chess game, and Carlsen had already won the blindfold against Anand in that event. The event was Melody Amber. Anand later said that he was upset when Carlsen rejected his draw offer because the position was drawn, and Carlsen had already won the blindfold. We wanted to get back at Carlsen by rejecting his draw offer in return, and in retrospect realized that he was loud in declining the draw offer.

"i'm pretty sure kramnik is gonna stuff everyone including carlsen in the candidates"

I also happen to consider Kramnik slight favourite over Carlsen in the candidates, but I actually think there's roughly a 50% chance that someone ELSE than Kramnik or Carlsen qualifies to play Anand - simply due to the few games in each match and the "randomness" it adds to the mix.

So, collectively, I give


more than 50% chance to produce the eventual challenger. Actually close to 60%...

I consider Anand to have at least a 50/50 chance to defend his title no matter who goes through to challenge him, and hence this gives Kramnik and Carlsen only roughly a 10% chance each to be the 2012 World Champion by simple probability math, counting from BEFORE the candidates commence. :o)

The above is based on the assumption that Topalov gets his act together and becomes a real obstacle for either Carlsen or Kramnik in a potential candidates final; if the play he's shown lately continues (which I think it won't), both Carlsen's and Kramnik's chances increase, of course.

actually ur right, reasoning with hag has kind of scrambled my thoughts

Congratulations to Magnus on dominating yet another world class event.

Magnus's spurt over the short time that he has declared himself a full-time chess professional is remarkable. He has at the least proven himself to be the finest tournament player today. Moreover, the colorable proposition (advanced by Kramnik among others) that there is essentially parity between Carlsen, Anand, Kramnik and Topolov can be soundly countered by posing a simple question: Among this elite, whose performance over the last year or two shows unmistakable signs of significant further potential? That question answers itself. Notwithstanding the fact that Magnus has secured the # 1 rating spot, he shows as much potential today as he ever has.

"So, collectively, I give


more than 50% chance to produce the eventual challenger. Actually close to 60%..."

Since you're frogbert and have an answer to everything, may I ask on how you derived this number? Is this your gut feeling? Since you also give Anand a "50/50" chance and combine the two into a thesis that Kramnik and Carlsen have "10% chances" in what you refer to as simple probability math, my assumption is that your math is based on arbitrary prediction numbers (60 and 50 respectively) and hence pretty useless. Of course you're allowed to guess like all the rest of us, but again, since you're frogbert, I'm just curious whether you're guessing or counting...

It almost feels like Topalov made the OTB equivalent of a "mouse slip" by playing 32. RC3?? instead of 32. RC4.

Poor Topa, I feel sorry for him. he's slowly becoming his former self when he used to sac material against Leko and lose promptly...

"since you're frogbert, I'm just curious whether you're guessing or counting..."

I'm frogbert, so I'll explain my numbers for Carlsen, then. :o)

Of course it's based on some initial "guesstimates" of chance to beat individual opponents - which I could've derived from the rating system directly, but I didn't. I've actually given Carlsen slightly HIGHER odds (on average) than what the rating system would prescribe, but here goes:

Round 1 (quarter-finals):
Radjabov: 65-35 for Carlsen to advance.


Round 2 (semi-finals):
80-20 for Kramnik to beat Mamedyarov
55-45 for Kramnik to beat Carlsen
65-35 for Carlsen to beat Mamedyarov

80%*45% + 20%*65% for Carlsen to advance
= 49-51 for Carlsen to advance


Round 3 (final):
Shortcut in my estimation method: I've assumed that either Aronian or Topalov wins the other half and given Carlsen the same chance against either.

55-45 Carlsen to beat Aronian/Topalov


WC final against Anand:
50-50 between Anand and Carlsen


1) Chance for Carlsen to win the candidates:
65% * 49% * 55% = 17,5%

Rounded up to 20% to yield nice and round numbers. :o)
(The equivalent setup for Kramnik yielded a number slightly below 20%, but somewhat higher than Carlsen's 17,5 %)

2) Chance for Carlsen to be 2012 WC:
ca 18% * 50% = 9%¤ - alternatively - 20% * 50% = 10%


You might disagree on the individual opponent estimates, but the basic "setup" according to probability math is like I've outlined it.

"I've actually given Carlsen slightly HIGHER odds"

I meant higher _chances_ or lower _odds_ of course...

They seem to be the best match players out there,I just believe Carlsen is ready to dump the old timers and start his title run. There is not much more left for him to do and after he has done it imho then all this talk will be moot. I believe the time has come. Anand and Kramnik are greats but I think players such as Capablanca, Alekine, Botvinnick, Petrosian, and even the uber-talented Morphy are just over looked because of the trend to only look back 20-30years now and forget how great those players were,but then this thread would never end. Bring on the games,should be great.

Kramnik assessed the current situation at the world top, "potential" (even taking its existence for granted) is something that may or may not be realized in the future. Specifically, it's unclear for the time being just what Carlsen's tournament results mean for his chances in candidate matches.

Taking other examples:
- Nakamura may have upward potential (that's what his fans claim), will he realize it? The future will tell.
- As this is the Nanjing thread: When Bacrot was a teenage prodigy, his coach Dorfman said he has the potential to become world champion. Was Dorfman wrong? No, such statements can't be wrong ... .

In another respect, Carlsen has more downward potential than the others mentioned ,:) - referring to women/girls and related "complications": Anand, Kramnik and now also Topalov are (from all appearances, happily) married.

If anyone reacts to this:

80-20 for Kramnik to beat Mamedyarov
55-45 for Kramnik to beat Carlsen
65-35 for Carlsen to beat Mamedyarov

I can just briefly tell that the alternative

70-30 for Kramnik to beat Mamedyarov
55-45 for Kramnik to beat Carlsen
70-30 for Carlsen to beat Mamedyarov

giving Kramnik and Carlsen the same probability to defeat Mamedyarov, increases Carlsen's total chance to win the candidates to 18,9% roughly.

Also giving Kramnik the same chance as Carlsen against Radjabov, results in the following chances for Carlsen and Kramnik to proceed from the semi-final:

Carlsen IF he gets to the semi-final: 52,5%
Kramnik IF he gets to the semi-final: ca 61%

Hey, that's more than a 100%! Hehe. Yes. ;o)


PS! I should probably have written about the candidate final:

55-45 Carlsen to beat Aronian/Topalov/whoever in order to be more precise. :o)

"55-45 Carlsen to beat Aronian/Topalov/whoever in order to be more precise. :o)"

Nah, 80-20 Carlsen against Topalov, 60-40 Carlsen against Aronian ;)

couldnt agree more.

cant wait to see a woman come into carlsens life and drive him nuts. will be fun to watch

A final correction regarding Kramnik's chance to prevail:

assuming the numbers given in my latest post

Kramnik-Mamedyarov 70-30
Carlsen-Mamedyarov 70-30
Kramnik-Carlsen 55-45
Kramnik-Radjabov 65-35
Carlsen-Radjabov 65-35

and adding

Kramnik - Aronian/Topalov/whoever 55-45

actually results in Kramnik getting a 23,5% chance to win the candidates (and not below 20% as I wrote in my first post), with 18,9% for Carlsen.

That's about 42% for Kramnik/Carlsen and 58% for the others. Sorry about the mistake regarding Kramnik - my intuition failed me slightly there.

Carlsen should stay well away from these "wimmen". As we know, Rating Points, Innovations in the Grünfeld, and Beating Kramnik are far higher priorities. In fact he should hire a bodyguard to keep them all away.

rogge, I prefer to err on the pessimistic side, if anything. :o)

I tend to agree with Frogbert's logic and probability assumptions. They are close to what I was thinking. I think at this time Kramnik is the biggest threat in Carlsen's way.

Interesting question, I was toying with in my mind was, will Anand be neutral or will he be duty-bound to help Carlsen or Kramnik (or both) prepare against each other? Helping both is outrageous to think about but not impossible (if one is just a sparring partner, one can perhaps play with both). What do you all think?

"Nah, 80-20 Carlsen against Topalov, 60-40 Carlsen against Aronian ;)"

Of course, if we adjust our "guesstimate" for the other half like this:

Kramnik - Aronian/Topalov/whoever 60-40
Carlsen - Aronian/Topalov/whoever 60-40

we get
Kramnik to win candidates: 25,5%
Carlsen to win candidates: 20,5%
Others to win candidates: 54% (down from 60 and 58)

Kramnik as 2012 WC: 13%
Carlsen as 2012 WC: 10%
Anand as 2012 WC: 50% IF Carlsen/Kramnik/Aronian prevail
Anand as 2012 WC: 55% or more with anybody else as challenger

360 posts...
...isn’t it time to start a new thread? ;)

The main take-away from the above, is how HUGE the advantage of the reigning champion is, compared to the basically equally strong potential challengers (Aronian, Carlsen, Kramnik).

Based on the assumed strength relationships, giving Kramnik an edge against Carlsen, and all of Kramnik/Carlsen/Aronian a 50% chance against Anand, it leaves us with

50% chance Anand (assuming one of Kramnik/Carlsen/Aronian through)
13% chance Kramnik
10% chance Carlsen

and as I wrote: Anand's chance only becomes higher if anybody else prevails (I'd say 55% against Topalov, more against the rest).

5 times as high chance to be 2012 WC as Carlsen
4 times as high chance to be 2012 WC as Kramnik

despite all 3 of them being EQUALLY STRONG, roughly. Is it about time that we get a system where the reigning champion's privileges aren't so enormous?

Also, it illustrates the HUGE bonus it was for Topalov to only have to go through a one-match qualification stage (against Kamsky) in order to get the match against Anand. The task is incredibly much harder for Carlsen, as the numbers above clearly illustrate.

I suspect (or at least hope) that you are purposefully missing the point. For someone to have said years ago that Bacrot has the 'potential' to be champion is a lot different from saying that, among Kramnik's list of himself, Anand, Topolov and Carlsen, only Carlsen alone shows potential -- clear signs of breaking through to a different level that manifest themselves with greater frequency. Only Carlsen has been working at chess as a full-time professional for scarcely a year, and look what has come from that focus already. Call it momentum, call it trajectory, call it potential. Magnus has it and the others don't. If you want to believe that it is only something theoretical that will not have an impact on the upcoming candidate cycle, you are more than entitled to your unrealistic opinions.

I would have thought that a true chess fan would not care an iota about who was champion, who should be champion, who was better than who etc., and would simply enjoy and study games played by players better than themselves, and understand that blunders are part and parcel of the fight and are always the reason for a loss. Perhaps a chess GM would care, but I wouldn't know.

The thing about potential is that it is potentially relevant, or possibly or - if you want to - probably but certainly not certainly. Bacrot's case is of course different and dated: maybe he cracked under the pressure of high expectations (he was even younger than Carlsen now at the time ...), maybe - with all due respect to anyone with a GM title - Dorfman isn't the biggest chess expert on the entire planet ... .

I slightly disagree with you: Kramnik himself also showed "clear signs of breaking through to a different level" - playing more dynamic chess, winning with black against strong opposition (Carlsen as well as Aronian in Shanghai), winning strong events [stronger than and not held in Dortmund]. Though in Vlad's case, it's hard to say if he is currently stronger than ever before.

Aronian is a bit of a dark horse: He likes to leave the impression that he doesn't take chess (and life) all that seriously - maybe he changed his attitude recently, though I rather think he was always just pretending and fooling around.

BTW, I obviously refer to the ongoing WCh cycle: In the next one, he might rather have to deal with Giri, Karjakin, Nakamura, ... (cross out some names or add other ones).

"No true chess fan" sounds suspiciously like "No True Scotsman."


It's a fair cop :)

I think Anand has at least 65% chances over the strongest qualifier, including Aronian!

A few losses here and there, scattered over a period of time doesn't matter at all, especially if it had come from some opening surprises. A 5 game sample in a year time with say 2 win, 1 loss and 3 equal also wouldn't tell anything. It has be like a 20 game sample in a year for a good prediction but then players won't get that much to play against the other. If you take many such small sample comparisons with other players and if you put together, then rating is what that is basically. Even a 50 point difference didn't prove much. However, one thing matters though - the quality of moves you make! That you make in different style game positions and in different departments of the game. That strength/weakness will be the focal point in a match play situation. So to me a favorite would be the one who has more precision than the others. In that respect Anand stands way apart from the rest of the crowd! That showed in both the wc matches! This is the basis for my initial assertion.

You can select potential top 5 players, dedicate a GM each to study their games, and hand it over to a player you want to hype, it could show some difference in rating in a close circuit competition. But when one on one, it is a different piece game altogether, and the other too will be equally prepared if not more. Then the true talent will show up as seen before!

All this talk about Carlsen vs. everyone else is just that -- talk. While I agree that he has the best upside of anyone in the top 5, the truth will be told in April 2011. I suspect that Carlsen will win the Candidates, but remember that Kramnik has owned him this year and Aronian won't be an easy out.

"the main take-away from the above, is how HUGE the advantage of the reigning champion is, compared to the basically equally strong potential challengers (Aronian, Carlsen, Kramnik).....Is it about time we get a system where the reigning champion's privileges aren't so enormous?"

Absolutely right you are, frogbert.
There should be a system of quarterfinal matches (10 games), semifinal matches (12 games), final match (16 games), with the latter being the World Championship match; with the World Champion being obliged to participate at the quarterfinal stage.
Jeez, how hard is it for the powers that be to work this out?

The top 4 or 5 players should be directly seeded to this event [eg in the current situation Carlsen, Anand, Aronian, Kramnik, Topalov] with 3 or 4 qualifiers.
All the matches should be held within one year and it should be a three-year cycle, NOT a two-year cycle. This would then allow there to be some decent tournaments where at least some of the top players are not having to hide their prep.

Indeed, Seirawan proposed something very similar in his "A Fresh Start" unification proposal in early 2002. Nearly everyone was agreed on it, including Kasparov, Ilyumzhinov..., but it was torpedoed by a certain somebody, who having not had to play a single qualifying game for his own title challenge, decided to be extremely selfish.
Thus was missed the best chance in all chess history of having a decent system for deciding the World Championship.

The currently intended Candidates system with matches of only 4,4,and 6 games, all played as one event, is of course just absurd.

"the truth will be told in April 2011"

The truth being that as usual anyone can win Kirsan's knockout tournaments, can anyone even imagine players like Fischer or Kasparov playing in such events in a WC cycle? Too much of a lottery with four games followed by rapid-blitz-Armageddon.

Next episode of Candidates will look , as usual, as a Las Vegas extravaganza held in some sandy,ugly hole located in an unknown country..

Any one follows the Le-Naka rapid match in Cap D'agde? That was a wild game. Naka had the advantage, but could not find the winning method, he tried and tried, then blundered a bishop. Then Le won. Naka must be very upset.

@Chris B
I'm 75% in agreement with you especially about the length of the Candidates matches although sponsorship is going to be difficult and top players want more money than they are able to/can be bothered to generate.

However the World Champion ought to retain the priviledge of playing one match, the final one in the cycle, for the title. The champion is one who dethrones, by showing superiority and not equality, the incumbent mano-a mano. The champ should enjoy draw odds as well. Any other arrangement reduces the prestige of that title.

The game Wang-Topalov was an assault to the senses. Topalov came out of the opening finding himself in a worse position (as seems typical for him lately) and was outplayed into a losing position. Then something really ugly happened: in a totally won position (something Topalov has experienced a lot in this tournament), Wang blundered (33.Ra2??) and completely threw away the win. Undoubtedly shaken by the turn of events, Wang made more attrocious mistakes and ssentially gifted Topalov the victory (or perhaps Wang was being a very gracious host for his country and felt sorry for Topalov...). However, the final position does look atractive with a rare decisive Black pawn duo on White's 3rd rank. Is this the way Topalov wins now? Topalov doesn't seem capable of outplaying his opponents like he used to, and is reduced to hoping they will blunder... A rather miserable place to be, especially if you are a Topalov and have a ferocious will to win.

Best of 4 and best of 6 matches aren't knockout events...we have finally come back to a legitimate Candidates tournament format for the first time since Kasparov and Short tried to destroy FIDE -- thanks largely to Anand maintaining his position as champion.

The truly best player will win the Candidates in April 2011...I am looking forward to it.

"Is this the way Topalov wins now? Topalov doesn't seem capable of outplaying his opponents like he used to, and is reduced to hoping they will blunder... A rather miserable place to be, especially if you are a Topalov and have a ferocious will to win."

Uh...this is the way Topalov typically wins -- see Linares 2010 for at least 3 examples. He loves unbalanced games, although usually he isn't dead lost prior to the complications starting.

This just goes to show that even an woefully out of form Topalov is still better than 95% of super-GMs...unfortunately for him, those top 5% are all he is going to face in the Candidates matches. People are just assuming that he's going to beat Kamsky...I'm not convinced.

BTW, I'm looking forward to seeing Naka in a real super-GM tournament at the Tal Memorial. Wang Yue's performance in his past super-GM tournaments should put to rest any thought that he is clearly superior to Naka.

"a legitimate Candidates tournament format for the first time since Kasparov and Short tried to destroy FIDE"

Adams and Tiviakov played 14 games already in the QF when Anand in the end won the final against Kamsky to face Kasparov. Those were real matches between qualifying players. And these four game knockouts with blitz tiebreaks and players picked for various reasons after all kinds of cycle changes are more legitimate?

There were longer candidates matches in the qualifications for 2007 as well (12 six-game matches). For those seeing Kramnik as the Champion until 2008 Mexico must at least have been a proper candidates tournament. That is, where all participants have qualified, play 14 games, and there is no blitz and such stuff. But Kazan will be fun, partly because the format means there will be some upsets.

I don't remember anyone stating or claiming that Wang Yue is "clearly superior to Naka" ... but, as you say yourself, Nakamura still has to play that type of events.

BTW, Wang Yue's supertournament results were "bad" in 2010 (Bazna and Nanjing) but relatively decent in 2009 with consecutive -1 scores at Corus, Linares, MTel and Nanjing. Not great and no reason to invite him soooo frequently, but some players have to finish in the middle of the field in any given event. I don't know what changed recently: people getting more used to Wang Yue's solid style (and finding his weak spots), maybe also extra pressure because Wang Hao threatens to take his Chinese #1 spot and already takes some of "his" invitations!?

Hi HardyBerger, and thanks for your reply.
I know where you're coming from and these issues are of course worthy of discussion.
I'll start with the more minor points first:

Draw odds: I simply cannot agree with this one. I don't believe one player in a match should be favoured like this.
True, a Champion should show superiority, but this should equally apply to a defending Champion as to a Challenger. A Champion who retains his title on a drawn match has in my opinion an incomplete, tainted title - which lowers its prestige.
On the other hand, it seems to me that a player who is superior is nearly always superior in rapid chess as well, so to win a rapid playoff shows superiority to me.

If the World Championship Match was separate from Candidates Matches, then my lengths would be 10, 10 and 12 (as in the Sixties).

Sponsorship difficulty: I am not sure about this. This 'difficulty' impression seems to be based on the experience of the pre-Mexico 2007 matches. I think the sponsorship problem for these matches was because they were too early in the cycle, ie the strength of the match participants was not sufficient to generate interest.
The last time we had matches at the end of the cycle was in 1994 which is so long ago that who can say what the situation would be now.
In addition, my suggestion has the matches one step further up the chain, ie the Final match is the World Championship.
In any case, what sponsorship is generated is still bound to be much better than it was in the Sixties, eg see Larsen's complaint about his 1968 match with Spassky!
Today's players moan too much about money. In the end, becoming World Champion would certainly more than compensate financially, so probably the biggest moaners are those that have little chance of taking the title. ie if you're serious about becoming Champion, bite the bullet and take a temporary financial hit.

The World Champion 'should retain the privilege of playing the final match':
So how do you counter frogbert's point of the HUGE advantage the incumbent Champion has?

Things depend on the nature of the sport a bit. Boxing has the defending Champion in the final match; Tennis, Soccer, Rugby etc do not.

Personally I don't think it fair for an incumbent Champion to be able to sit back and take on a Challenger who has been through 3 exhausting matches (and exhausted his preparation). eg this is why Spassky lost in 1966 though he was almost certainly stronger than Petrosian by this time. [actually under this system, I think a round robin Candidates Tournament would be fairer on a Challenger, but this brings its own problems.]

My suggestion postulates a three-year cycle (this alone ensures more prestige for the Title) and I think that after this much time a Champion should be required to start from quarterfinal stage, earning his title for another three years properly against his competitors.
If a Champion cannot win at quarterfinal and semifinal stage [I would have the top four players in the top half of the draw], then he can't really be that much of a Champion, can he?

My other concern with having the Champion guaranteed the final match is that it will take 2 years to go thru the whole process which will always create the situation like we have now, ie Anand can hardly ever give his all in tournaments because he is continually having to hide his prep.
I think this is a serious problem for tournaments.
Thus I would like to see the whole World Championship process completed in one year, leaving ALL the top players free the next two years to concentrate properly on tournaments.

No doubt I'm dreamboating here (especially under the current administration), but what I would like to see is:
The establishment of an OFFICIAL yearly World Cup on a three-year cycle.
Year 3 is World Championship year; the winner of the Final match is also World Cup winner for that year.
In year 1 a Supertournament along the lines of the old Soviet Championships is played for the World Cup. 16 or 18 players, with about the top 12 seeded; 4-6 qualifiers.
In year 2 a different sort of supertournament for the World Cup. All players selected, and depending on the current configuration at the top of chess, the most interesting of one of the following:
(1) top 4 players, quadruple round (ie 12 games)
(2) top 6 players, triple round (ie 15 games)
(3) top 8 players, double round (ie 14 games)
eg currently the most interesting would be a triple round tournament of Carlsen, Anand, Aronian, Kramnik, Topalov, Ivanchuk.

Such tournaments would effectively carry the title of 'World Tournament Champion' for that year.
And because an official title is being played for (World Cup winner for that year) it would tend to attract ALL the top players and avoid boycotts such as we are currently seeing with Topalov vs Kramnik or Soviet Union vs Korchnoi in the late Seventies.
And ALL the players would really be able to concentrate on the tournament.
I'm sure such events would generate enormous interest and would outshine even Corus [of course there would be no bunnies in these tournaments as there are at Corus].

Well, that's my ideal, perhaps I should have suggested it to the Karpov campaign.

Notwithstanding Aronian's recent rise in the ratings, I would consider Carlsen and Kramnik to be the two strongest players in the world apart from Anand, and consider it very likely that one of them will be his next Challenger.
That which one of them it will be is to be decided by a 4-game knockout match is quite farcical.

I assume you're talking about the now defunct PCA which could only get sponsorship for one Candidates match.

The current system is the closest we've had since the 1993 Candidates, when everyone was vying for a shot at ONE champion -- not two, which occurred in 1995 and wasn't resolved until Mexico 2007 (but really not until Anand beat Kramnik to silence the "title should be determined in a match" haters, and then Topalov -- since Topalov couldn't play in the 2007 Mexico tournament).

The players in the current Candidates tournament have all made it on their own merit -- with the lone exception of Mamedyarov, who has never won anything of significance at the elite level. Even Kamsky won the Chess World Cup, which in terms of strength was probably the strongest non-world title tournament involving more than 10 players. Everyone was ready to make a big deal about that tournament (because they assumed that Radjabov, Shirov, Ivanchuk, Karjakin or Carlsen would win it) until Kamsky won it.

So, yes, for the first time since 1993, we have clarity in the Candidates tournament, which will produce a legitimate (rather than hand-picked) challenger for the world championship.

Well, first Aronian has to beat Gelfand...not an easy task, and then either Topalov or Kamsky to even reach the Candidates final -- if Aronian faces Carlsen or Kramnik, it would be best of 6, not best of 4. The best of 4 match b/t Carlsen and Kramnik isn't nearly as "farcical" as Kramnik being hand-picked to face Kasparov -- even after LOSING a 10-game match to Shirov. Without that "farce", Kramnik never even gets a shot to become World Champion, b/c he has repeatedly shown that in non-title match format he doesn't win (1994 candidates, 1998 candidates, 1999 FIDE candidates, etc.).

I would like to see the matches longer than best of 4 (or even best of 6), but that can be improved on for the 2013 candidates cycle. The current Candidates system is easily the best since 1993.

BTW, does anyone know when the FIDE Grand Prix for the 2013-2014 WCC cycle begins?

The Live ratings list shows the true top-5 players as of Nov 1st - Carlsen, Anand, Aronian, Kramnik, & Topalov. Thy all have enormous talent; the 2012 World Champion will be the player who combines tough work ethics and strong nerves to complement his talent. Carlsen and Aronian haven't been thoroughly tesed in these areas. Topalov has weak nerves and at times relies on his opponents blundering rather than positionally outplaying them.

This leaves only Anand and Kramnik as the top contenders. Anand has a better work ethic than Kramnik. Carlsen is a dark horse but I somehow I doubt his enormous talent can compensate for his apparent lack of hard work - based on what Garry has observed - against Anand and Kramnik.

We will see in the next 18 months...

Congrats to Magnus for winning yet another Super-GM tournie.....wow can't wait for him to study hard and see what his limits are.

"Anand has a better work ethic than Kramnik"
How so?

Maybe saguni refers to the young Kramnik who sometimes seemed to enjoy (more than) a few drinks - e.g. during his first Olympiad when he was still a teenager, and played well nonetheless. Probably outdated but still brought up, like people still calling him "Drawnik" ... .

"Anand has a better work ethic than Kramnik"
How so?

Yeah I too would like to know how from Saguni.

I remember Anand saying he watches TV and his seconds enjoys coffee and listening to music while they let the computer do the work for them!I would also think Anand is kind of lazy. But I believe his memory and brilliance is more than enough to compensate for that. (vaguely remember his former coach Ubilova mentioning on his brilliance, something like he hasn't seen in anyone else! that means that anyone else list should include Karpov too! Another strong point for Anand's genius.)


Spiegel Online: How do you prepare for the upcoming world championship match? What does a chess player’s work look like?

Kramnik: I work at chess even when you do not see it. Don’t think I’m crazy, but I can give an interview and at the same time be thinking about a very complicated position. Sometimes when I go to bed in the evening I can still work.

Spiegel Online: So it is not a 40-hour week?

Kramnik: No, it is possible to work for 20 hours a day from time to time. But sometimes a walk is more creative than analysing for five hours on the board.

Spiegel Online: How do you work when you are in an uncreative phase?

Kramnik: Then I finish off the routine work. There are a lot of mechanical jobs. Every week between 1000 and 1500 new games are published, which I have to go through. I don’t need any inspiration for that.

OK, it's some years old, but still, shows his attitudeand capabilities...such things are why I ask for proof that Anand works harder..

Talk is cheap and the proof's in the pudding. Anand spanked Kramnik in their WC match, 3-1. Game over. Proof enough for ya?

Saguni is perhaps just a fan..like me. But i dont think theres anyway to prove it.Neither through news nor through ratings. The difference whatsoever should be miniscule and the results impossibly tough to predict.

Actually, I think the incumbent's privileges add greatly to the prestige of the title of world champion, by prolonging his reign beyond what his strength would warrant in a more equitable system. Longer reigns make for a more prestigious title. You want to be world champion, then prove you're the best.

If you're really superior to the other candidates, like Fischer was in his 6-0 qualifying victories, then you should make it through. If the candidates are closer in strength, like Kramnik, Carlsen, Topalov and Aronian, then I think it's a good thing that they are disadvantaged compared to the champion.

I know this is quite counterintuitive as we are used to valuing fairness in sports, but if you really think about it maybe you'll realize how big a part champion's privileges have played in your perception of the strength and superiority of historical champions. I think this is a good thing, though illusory in part.

BTW, Anyone going to the 2nd London Chess Classic in December? It is going to be a real extravaganza- something for everyone, and right in the 'middle' of London. And the thrill of bumping into Carlsen, Anand,Kramnik etc is nearly worth the admission price. Thomas it's 3.5 hours by road from Amsterdam!

Difference between working hours and results. I said nothing about results. But don't let that spoil your fun.

Hardyberger, I'm going to the London event on the 14th and have booked a board against Korchnoi in the simul that evening-that will be a highlight. Can't wait!

If I go (there are also other things to see and do in London), I will rather take a cheap flight ... I am not as enthusiastic as mishanp going for a tiring bus trip to the Sofia WCh match. But for several reasons, Corus/Tata is higher on my list:
- it's easier travelling, doable as one (or several) day trips
- admission is free ,:)
- In terms of top 5 players, the next edition has Aronian in addition to those you mentioned, plus of course many other super-GMs
- I can also meet some "less famous" chess friends and watch their games in various amateur groups.

True, Wijk aan Zee in January isn't attractive as a tourist destination, but foreigners can combine it with visiting Amsterdam which has all kinds of things to offer!!?

"Even Kamsky won the Chess World Cup"

He did, but that was qualification to the PREVIOUS cycle, not this one. He did nothing but lose some ad-hoc "candidate final" to Topalov to get to play in the candidates of the next cycle. If he'd won, he would've been playing against Anand. Kamsky's has done zilch to be prsent in the candidates final of the CURRENT cycle - and there is no rule in place explaining how "Kamsky's spot" will be filled next time around.

"The current Candidates system"

Would you be as kind as to point me to any article, paragraph, document, whatever on the FIDE web site that explains how the "system" is after the announced 2012 WC match?

The truth is: there is NO system in place. Just another ad-hoc iteration. Just go look in the handbook: the only thing described there is past events and the current cycle.

The latter here: http://www.fide.com/FIDE/handbook/regscandidates.pdf

The "general" overview here: http://www.fide.com/fide/handbook.html?id=22&view=category

Btw, the only "general" and lasting thing about that overview is the definition of the various zones and how strongly each should be represented in initial WC-qualifying events.

Why doesn't FIDE have any rules or regulations for how WC cycle GENERALLY is supposed to be, following the 2012 Match? Short answer: because there is no system in place, and new ad hoc rules for the next cycle will be made up, as usual with notable holes and inconsistencies about which the President (and indirectly, those associated with him, this way or the other) will be given supreme authority/power to add and subtract what he (they) like(s).

That's the current "system".

"BTW, does anyone know when the FIDE Grand Prix for the 2013-2014 WCC cycle begins?"

You mean, 2012-2014 cycle? You mean, the one with a FIDE Grand Prix series over two years, typically 2012-2013, or 2011-2013 or 2011-2012? You mean, the one where one player qualifies from a WCC event in 2011? 2012?

What if none of the top 4 players (excluding the world champion) bothers to play the FIDE Grand Prix? Do you even think players like Kramnik or Carlsen or Topalov will play 4 events over 2 years, only to receive a place in a bingo-candidate event?

And as I hinted: who would get the "Kamsky spot"? The losing candidate finalist? Somebody else? And if the losing candidate finalist would get it - would that decision even be taken BEFOREf the fact, or will such a "loser" be gifted such a privilege in retrospect, if he happens to be the "right" player, as seen by some?

If there were a system, it would be easy to give these answers.

The short answer is: nobody knows; or rather, the information doesn't exist in the public domain. But I would not be surprised if someone present at the presdiential board has a "plan". For the next cycle, of course. That's the horizon. Who cares what happens next?

World Chess Cup 2011 in Tallinn?

So did the Presidential Board decide in 2007. Maybe it's off. Maybe it's on.

Maybe there's some info in these minutes:

http://www.fide.com/images/stories/news2009/80th_fide_congress/minutes_and_annexes/minutes_of_2009_halkidiki_fide_eb.pdf (see pt 5.1 and annex 26 to same minutes)

What do you know. The fide calendar says the 2011 WCC takes place in Khanty Mansyisk, Russia.


There is nothing about the World Championship cycle for 2012. I wasn't present at the FIDE Congress of the 2010 Olympiad, and unfortunately I haven't seen any substantial documentation from the 2010 FIDE Congress yet - only the headline news regarding elections and so on.

Does anybody know if the next World Championship cycle was a issue debated there?

is probably a nice place to start in order to whet one's appetite. Among the quarter-final match ups, Kramnik-Mamedyarov seems to be the most one-sided, easy to predict. Radjabov will be hoping to repeat his Corsica '07 result -
http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=3867 (don't forget to scroll to the bottom and smile at my name;)

If Aronian gets past Gelfand, it'll be nice to watch him play Kramnik/Carlsen (Radjabov won't get past Kramnik, even if he overcomes Carlsen).

You understood that I was talking about what happens _after_ the current cycle, right? Just checking...

Meanwhile, Nakamura tried a King's Gambit against Ivanchuk. Easy draw for black.

it wasn't a "reply" to your thread.. ;P

It wasn't an easy draw for black in their first game when Ivanchuk tried the King's Gambit against Nakamura. That game turned positional, maybe Naka blundered in the end and lost.

The second game was wild - at some stage the live commentators thought white was lost, then changed their mind and suspected it was all Chucky's home preparation!? If so, he spent some time on the clock either remembering it, or giving his opponent a false sense of security.

So it's all over already? I just stumbled on the official site's live viewer, and there's only one game. A draw after 19 moves. The game looks like a slight variation from Fischer's d6/Nc6 "refutation". Nf3-e1 looks odd, but sacrificing the knight (and the bishop on f7) might just lead to a theoretical draw.

Yep. Cap d'Agde are over, and Hikaru met his match - at least with regard to playing the King's Gambit. Ivanchuk handled it pretty well, only deviating from the Stockfish line occasionally. the commentators were trying to figure out why Vasily isn't higher-rated, and they chalked it up to consistentsy. But he has certainly been on a roll lately, and they were joking about his schedule. 'Where am I off to now?'
Of course that could be said about Shirov as well.

Yes, match and tournament over - the Chessdom live site still has both games. A draw in the second game was enough for Ivanchuk, else he might have played 17.-Kd8 (rather than 17.-Kf8) with advantage for black.
Under the circumstances, he didn't mind losing his 100% score with the King's Gambit (with either color): chessgames.com has two wins with white against Piket (1997) and Nikolic (2004) and a win with black (Corus 2001) against Fedorov - maybe the only strong GM who plays the King's Gambit regularly with reasonable results against somewhat weaker opposition. Nakamura had one earlier game, a draw with white in a worse position against Ivanov (Foxwoods 2009).

Speaking of Shirov, he beat Giri at Unive, but couldn't stop M. Vachier-Lagrave, and had to take second there. Will keep saying to watch out for Max. A very serious cat who just celebrated his 20th birthday and is heading straight for the elite ranks alongside Karjakin.

1500 games a week? How is that even possible? Surely he must have someone go through them to find out the handful he needs to focus on.

On Twitter, Nakamura complained about the hostility of the fans towards him in his games against Ivanchuk. He really needs to talk to Lance Armstrong about the conduct of the fans towards him during his Tour de France racing days, from spitting, expletives and the like. As Armstrong said, it's big time sport and if you'd better be able to take the heat. Hopefully he learned that if you're an American, you aren't going to be the favorite of the fans in Europe, bicycling, golf (Ryder Cup) or chess.

It's better to evoke strong reactions amongst fans of your sport, than to evoke no reactions at all I guess.

Chesshire cat is right - my opinion of Kramnik's work ethic comes from articles and books I read about Kramnik when he was young - before he won the World Championship. I vaguely remember an article I read in Chessbase magazine several years ago about some candidates match Adams, Anand, & Kramnik were playing and Kramnik was more interested in spending time at the pub. He was also a heavy smoker those days. When asked about Chess, he dismissed it as not needing more than a couple of hours to brush up.

Anand's work ethic was explained by David Norwood in his book "Vishy Anand - Chesss Super Talent' published in 1995 before Anand played Kasparov. Even Kasparov and Kramnik think Anand will play strong chess for another decade. This book also casts a picture of casual laziness about Adams as well. He's another player that reached top-10 by sheer brilliance.

Of course, this is all still my personal opinion and I have enormous respect for Kramnik's chess.

Seconded - especially since I've followed the Tour de France closely for 15 years, and remember the vitriol. Unlike Lance, who didn't do anything to antagonize the Europeans, Hikaru was not the best of sports at the chess table. I watched him shake hands with people when he lost. He was clearly less-than-sporting in that manner. Look for yourself, if you don't believe what I'm saying. he can do better, and really, there's no reason to be so cavalier when you're good enough to make it to the finals.

Nakamura himself polarizes and may actually thrive on hostile reactions from spectators - BTW of course after rather than during the games. Some European chess fans (and maybe also some Americans?) may not appreciate his arrogance, here are some of his twitter gems:
"6.5/7 in the prelim stage. Not great but it'll do. Now onto the quarterfinals and time to crush Hammer."
"I played like an idiot and Ivanchuk won."
Hmmm, does he show ANY respect towards other players?? And my preferred one:
"I do not appreciate _the lack of_ [sic!] open hostility and rudeness directed at me by the spectators though." This may well be a (subsequently corrected) Freudian mistake!!??

For what it's worth, anti-American feelings in France are partly related to (or were at least reinforced during) the Iraq war - the period when French fries were called liberty fries on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. I happened to be on a French research vessel in US territorial waters and harbors back in 2003, quite some stories to tell on how we were treated badly by official American authorities.

Anand is world #1 (although 3 below carlsen in live) in fide nov list. http://ratings.fide.com/topstat.phtml?lstid=3&prid=176

He will have a chance to retain that since Anand Carlsen play in London in December

Rarely have so many made so much of so litte.

I sometimes wonder if Nakamura actually understands the "implicit" messages he's sending. Consider this:

"I played like an idiot and Ivanchuk won."

Interpretation 1:
- What else can explain that I lost to this 40-year old chess player?

Interpretation 2:
- If I would've been on my normal level, Ivanchuk wouldn't have stood a chance.

Interpretation 3 (close to the truth?):
- I expect to win everything I participate in, and when I don't, the only explanation I can see, is that I played like an idiot (THIS time).

Maybe Nakamura could consider this hypothesis?

Hypothesis 1: In general and in the long run, there's a strong correlation between skills/capabilities and results.

If you want to know what someone meant by what they said, the first interpretation shoud be what they said.

My first interpretation of what Naka said was that he played like an idiot and Chucky won.

Hypothesis 1 : Nakamura has unusual social skills.
Hypothesis 2 : Nakamura does this because he finds it funny to see people reacting to his comments.
Hypothesis 3 : Nakamura does this because he wants to intimidate opponents.
Hypothesis 4 : Nakamura likes when we speak about him.
Hypothesis 5 : Nakamura has a very high opinion of himself.
Hypothesis 6 : Nakamura wants his opponents to hate his behaviors so badly that they will try to win at any costs.

I'd say all 6 hypothesis apply, but 3 and 6 does not actually work with the current top players. I for myself find it funny (sometimes with bad taste) and that's all.

I wrote to Hikaru via twitter to no avail. His tweet "I played like an idiot and Ivanchuk won," was sent three hours after mine went out last night. I don't know how many he gets his way. Tens, hundreds, thousands?
Anyway, he apparently cares about his image and how he is treated by the gallery, and he should grab a clue to staunch that bleeding sooner than later.

Just as accurate a statement by him would have been: 'I acted like an idiot, and Ivanchuk won.'

After he lost the first game to Le, he turned his head to the side to look away, leaned back in the chair, and extended his arm for a real fish handshake.
Criminy. There's no mistaking that for disrespect.

I certainly honor his achievements, but he is embarrassing himself, and not a good rep for the U.S.

I've heard lots of GMs say words to the effect that they played like idiots when they lost. Even Carlsen has done this on occasion. I think it means the GM feels he/she played beneath his capability. It doesn't mean the opponent didn't play well, only that maybe the opponent was not tested as severely as he should have been.

OK, "I played like an idiot ...." is still sort of acceptable in the heat of the moment - it might have been better to remain 'silent' (who forces him to twitter minutes to hours after the game?).

What about "6.5/7 in the prelim stage. Not great but it'll do."?? The draw was with black against Bu Xiangzhi, not exactly a random patzer.

Hikaru's words are far less important than his actions.

Daaim --

If you're a friend of HN's, and not afraid to unload a little truth, send him a note. Let him know how he appears, because is not aware of it himself for some reason. The guy needs a little help.

"who forces him to twitter minutes to hours after the game?"

Yeah, I don't understand this twitter culture at all. Why should we be so interested in the things people just blurt out mindlessly?

Ivanchuk's c4! in the endgame was a brilliant shot that led to a worse ending for Nakamura already. And then he blundered. So he was indeed outplayed in the ending to begin with and Nakamura just cant accept that especially it being a rapid game.

"I played like an idiot and Ivanchuk won."


"Ivanchuk thoroughly outplayed me, made me look like an idiot and won."


"I had no clue what Ivanchuk was up to until I was dead lost and had to resign. Then I realized how stupid he made me look."


"My name is Hikaru Nakamura and Ivanchuk just beat me"

At the same age Short was a much better chess player then Nakamura,why do we hype up so many sportmen these days, hes just a decent player at the top level.

"My first interpretation of what Naka said was that he played like an idiot and Chucky won."

That's not an interpretation. I was talking about possible "implicit messages". What does it tell when he says what he says? What does he think about himself? What does he think about others?

For instance the other tweet mentioned by Thomas:

"6.5/7 in the prelim stage. Not great but it'll do."

If he thinks he didn't do great when going 6.5/7 - how does he rate his opposition if only a perfect score qualifies as "great"?

What would have been your reaction if say Carlsen after Nanjing would've said

"7/10 was not great, but it'll do."


"I played like an idiot against Anand and Gashimov, wasting two wins and another 3000 TPR."

Just asking...

May be when your expectation is to crush your opposition like a bug but you couldn't quite do it as your play and scoreline (6.5/7) suggests, you wouldn't feel so great about your performance. Would you? ;) ;)

If something strikes our rhinocerus-hided friend as (implicitly) offensive, you KNOW it's offensive.

Ivanchuk's c4! in the second game was exactly what Rybka recommended to put the game firmly into his territory. I couldn't understand it when it was first suggested (I was watching it live on Chessbomb, while listening to the four guys on the tourney site, and occasionally watching the players via Webcam). It became clear to me only after Vasily played the move. Hikaru commited the losing move, Nd6, shortly after.

I liked this quote from Ryan @ chessvibes.

"Hypocrisy can take the face of modesty, while arrogance can show a glance of honesty."

Anti-American sentiment existed in France long before 2003, as any American tourist who has experienced dining in a Parisian cafe can attest.

I doubt that the U.S. Coast Guard, as stretched as it is, would have spent the scarce resources it would have taken to harass a French "Research Vessel".( Unless you happened to be researching BLue Whales, in the manner of, say, Norway)

"For what it's worth, anti-American feelings in France are partly related to (or were at least reinforced during) the Iraq war - the period when French fries were called liberty fries on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. I happened to be on a French research vessel in US territorial waters and harbors back in 2003, quite some stories to tell on how we were treated badly by official American authorities."

U.S.A. owe its liberty to France.

I know a bit about France and French mentality, as I lived there for 1 1/2 years in total. Yes they can be unfriendly to anyone who doesn't speak French (I do ...) and won't even try a few words - how do Americans treat tourists who don't speak English? And well, the "average" American tourist, or rather the stereotype one immediately recognizable as such isn't exactly a role model either - neither are German or English tourists.

In brief about my/our research vessel experience (BTW it was climate research, maybe not appreciated by the Bush administration?): We had troubles not with the coast guard, but with customs and harbor authorities in Baltimore. People from some countries need a visa to enter the USA by ship, even if there's no need entering by plane - fair enough, rules are rules whatever the underlying rationale, but this rule had never been enforced before in similar situations. The problem was that 10-20 people had to catch a flight back to Europe - we already thought about an unscheduled time- and money-consuming extra port call in Halifax. Eventually the people were escorted to the airport by police, with a prize tag of about 50$ per person, and the ship wasn't allowed to leave harbor until their plane had left American airspace.

No way to prove that this was anti-French (unless a British ship had been treated differently), but many thought so - including our American colleagues on board saying "this is ridiculous, I am ashamed of my country!". Well, at least the younger generation, the senior scientist was a hardcore George W. Bush supporter ... .

"I played like an idiot and Ivanchuck won."

My personal interpretation would be something what every chessplayer knows: You make an inaccurate move. You just realize it, when you did it. The refutation is not too difficult, you see it right before your opponent did his move. Of course, if your opponent is Ivanchuck, you are already lost.

Yes, I think Naka is not an idiot. He knows, everybody can loose anytime against Chucky, without playing 'like an idiot'.
He is kind of honest. He doesn't care too much about possible interpretaions of his words. He is clearly not a diplomate. In my own cultural (europeean) context it would be very easy to classify him as arrogant.

Working continuously for 40 hour each week, means 96 seconds per game if you look at 1500 games. Of course, most games are irrelevant for a player like Kramnik, which leaves more time for the relevant ones. Sounds exhausting, but possible.

> Anti-American sentiment existed in France long before 2003, as any American tourist who has experienced dining in a Parisian cafe can attest.

Hehe... I think this applies to any tourist in France. People keep going there, though:)

Yep, the raw database will include games in the Alekhine (which he doesn't play with either color), maybe some draws in 10 moves or less, ... . It's a bit like reading a daily newspaper: even if you look at every single page, you won't read every single article.

The Truth shall set us free,AMEN

Gregster, where did i STATE that _I_ consider Naka's tweets offensive? :o)

As a matter of fact, I don't consider any of the recent tweets offensive in any way. I find them a bit childish and immature and an expression for lack of consideration to what (many) people will find appropriate - but NOT offensive.

Sure you didn't read something between the lines that wasn't there O koster? Guilty of picking up perceived, implicit messages, maybe?

Cheers! :o)

I looked at that game, and was amazed how poorly Nakamura played the endgame. It was like he wanted to lose, placing his pawn on all the wrong colors. Ivanchuck's c4! temporary pawn sack seemed fairly obvious also. I agree with Naka on that one. He played like an idiot.

If that's already playing like an idiot, what should Jon Ludvig Hammer say about blundering a piece against Nakamura in an even endgame? That's quite rare under GMs, but not as uncommon for the average untitled player ... . Apparently the majority of chessplayers are idiots, at least every now and then.

It's generally not considered particularly sportsmanlike to downplay your own performance when you lose a game (at least not in a dimissive manner like Nakamura's), because in so doing, you diminish your opponent's play. There's also the implication that if you played better, you would have beaten your opponent.

So it's a mild display of ungraciousness by Nakamura.

Thomas, we could debate what playing like an idiot means. Hammer grabbed a pawn and overlooked the tactical response Nb6 and was immediately lost. I'm guessing he was in time pressure, but I don't know. Too bad chess notation doesn't include time stamps on the moves.

Naka's errors seemed more routine, fixing his king side pawns on dark squares for example, where it seemed like he was assisting Ivanchuk's only plan for winning. Once black's pawn got stuck on c5, the game was lost I think.

According to the Europe Echecs video, Hammer had nine minutes left in the final position vs. five for Nakamura!!?

Nakamura's "gracious" comment after the game: Hammer's mistake was to pick white for the first game putting additional pressure on himself. Such a comment was, well, not necessary - even neglecting the fact that a draw with black in the first game would still imply a must-win situation with white for Hammer, given that his chances in a blitz playoff would be worse (negligeable to non-existing in the view of Nakamura and his fans?).

"Hammer's mistake was to pick white for the first game putting additional pressure on himself"

Thomas, I think you read way too much into these one-off comments. It's unfortunate that you use these to make judgements on people's character.

I think it would be nice for (American) fans of chess to just once in a while hear Nakamura say something like: "I played my best game, but my opponent was better today. Congratulations!" [Period. Full stop.]

We're lucky to be able to watch so many great chess players on video these days. Judging by the videos, I think that Kramnik, Ponomariov and Grischuk, to name three top players, would have no difficulty in responding to a loss in a classy manner.

"I played my best game, but my opponent was better today. Congratulations!"

Comments like that are inane. They don't give me any information on what happened in the game from the losers perspective. I much prefer the Kasparov school of thought on commenting and posturing about lost games. Far more interesting and real.

Naka nedes a brian. Bad people

"...inane." ?

Passive-aggressive wording there. Back off a little. Why insult? You might remember what you're speaking about in the first place.

Anyway, Hikaru Nakamura's worse manner was in his actions, not in his words.

Inane - –adjective
1. lacking sense, significance, or ideas; silly: inane questions.
2. empty; void.

"I played my best game, but my opponent was better today. Congratulations!"

Yes, that statement is inane and that's why you will seldom hear it from the losing side of a chess game. At best it qualifies as a meaningless platitude, designed to make the victor feel better. Making a statement like that is like having to cry "uncle" after you lose a fight. It's just ridiculous and unnecessary.

I think you may have to learn how to read a bit better. Until now I don't think I insulted anybody. You and your cohorts go on a yes man rampage insulting Nakamura based on a few comments he made. I question your logic, and you accuse me of being insulting?

Are you, like, 15 years old?

The word inane is a fighting word where I live.

And once more for ya...Hikaru Nakamura's worse manner was in his actions, not in his words.

Why do you try to defend him? Are you family? Did you actually see any of what I am talking about?

"The word inane is a fighting word where I live."

What the hell is wrong with you?

I said that the statement:

"I played my best game, but my opponent was better today. Congratulations!"

is inane.

It has nothing to do with you or the original poster. NO ONE MADE THAT STATEMENT. It was suggested that people around here, particularly Americans, would somehow respect Nakamura more if he made a statement like that after one of his games. It's just stupid, ridiculous, pathetic etc. to expect any chess player to make a statement like that after losing an important game. If some players can eek out a response like that more power to them. It's not something I'd expect of anybody.

Fighting words? Either your comprehension of written English is limited, or you are off your rocker.

I agree with lwolf that "I played my best game, but my opponent was better today." is a platitude (and don't get the distinction between American and European chess fans). There are many approaches in between "I played my best game ..." and "I played like an idiot ...".

Take Kramnik's reaction after losing a WCh match against Anand, something like "I was highly motivated and had prepared seriously - me and my seconds didn't spend time on the beach. It wasn't enough, Vishy was better, credits and congratulations! I will have to think about what went wrong with me and my game." Nakamura's reaction in a similar situation would, from all we know, presumably be more similar to Topalov's comments after the Sofia match.

[lwolf:] "insulting Nakamura based on a few comments he made"
Just how many such comments are required, and what else could one use to "judge his character"? Maybe - and here I agree with kenhabeeb - his behavior on the board. BTW regarding his comments after beating (not crushing) Hammer, all I wrote is that they weren't necessary, standing next to the opponent who had all reasons to feel like and to call himself an idiot.

Maybe Mr Nakamura is a little overconfident of his abilities. Good for him. I am sure most, if not all, of the greats had very high opinions of themselves, though only some of them stated it.
More power to him. Y'need a good dose of self-confidence in most things to succeed. So far he has done pretty well in what he does, by any standards except some hardcore Dirters, whom it is impossible to satisfy anyway. His results will show whether his words are correct, and if they are not, well I doubt too many people will lose too much sleep over it, except maybe the man himself.
A young man who wants to get to the top in what he does and has full confidence in himself. I wonder if the rest of us had that driving us, how far would we get in what we do? Instead of the compromises and mediocrity which occur in most "normal" lives. Yes, other players got to the top and were modest etc. That is their way. This is his.b Also, he is not living in a society where chess is respected and status is gained from it. He needs to be his own motivator, to some extent.
Best of luck Naka!

What's kind of funny, is that I've lost games before and said the exact same thing when someone asked what happened: "I played like an idiot". Maybe it's an American thing. It's not an uncommon expression around here. What it means is "I played poorly", without going into details as to the exact cause.

The main difference, is no one recorded me saying it, and it wasn't posted on a web site to be a critique of my character. My opponents had no problem with my comment, and did not appear to be offended that I failed to give them credit for a brilliantly played game. I think their victory was satisfaction enough.

So forget what Hikaru said. Watch the videos.

If professional chess players expect their sport to become mainstream in the West, and to obtain consistent commercial sponsorship, they will have to learn to speak in "platitudes." (Not all the time - just some of the time.) It's not impossible - several top players manage it well.

If chess players are content with remaining a fringe activity, run by Eastern European gangsters, and with important tournaments held in Siberia in the winter, then they can continue to behave like immature 15 year old boys.

Personally, I'd like to see chess become more mainstream. Maybe others don't care, or prefer the status quo.

"Personally, I'd like to see chess become more mainstream"

I think most of us would, but the stumbling blocks have nothing to do with players speaking in platitudes. I didn't notice Fischer mealy mouthing platitudes when he first brought chess to the western public eye for example.

Getting rid of the gangster in charge, or forming a new organization would be the first steps to mainstreaming chess.

Just because my main understanding of a statement coincides with the ad verbatim, does not mean that it is not an interpretation.

But if the implicit meaning is that important to you, I must say you failed to see any implicit meaning in my statement. So I'll just try to express myself more directly:

What people actually say should matter more than your interpretation. Interpretations are relative and biased and inacurate.


PS. Tweets are not meant for very high standards of precision.

Peter Svidler's going to answer reader questions at Crestbook and you can now ask in English: http://www.chessintranslation.com/2010/11/your-questions-for-gm-peter-svidler/

Check out the article on Magnus Carlen's blog on chessbase. Magnus provides a matter of fact yet insightful round by round summary (NOT platitudes), and even while finishing in distant first with +4-0, he manages to avoid any hint of arrogance or snottiness, nor does he disparage or demean his opponents - in fact, he frequently, and apparently genuinely, compliments them.

This is what the chess world needs.

Everything you say is true except for the conclusion. Chess world ("world" like in "world series" :) needs arrogant heroes.

Ah, Mr. Pole, I beg to differ. The 2010 World Series champs San Francisco Giants baseball team got feted yesterday in a parade, and several hundred thousand people showed up. If the arrogant one, Barry Bonds, were still on the team, I guarantee you that the crowd would not have been anywhere close to that size. The team is loved because everyone made a contribution. There are no arrogant players like Bonds, and the press corps has no problems with this team.

lwolf, are you a professional chess player, Top-20GM whose remarks are regularly quoted on chess blogs like this one (and potentially, in mainstream media stories about major chess events or the occasional chess-related feature or profile)?

If you aren't a widely followed chess pro -- and I don't know, you may be, I've been away from this blog for the past year or two -- then the lack of awareness of context that permeates your comment about Naka that's excerpted below, is simply mind-boggling.

One might just as well imagine someone complaining that the TSA yanked him out of the terminal after he'd regaled fellow passengers with a joke about a bombing... then exclaiming, "What's the matter? My teenage nephew and his friends often crack jokes about bombs while sitting around their living room getting high."

Here's the remarks I'm referring to:
"...I've lost games before and said the exact same thing when someone asked what happened: "I played like an idiot". ... It's not an uncommon expression around here. ...My opponents had no problem with my comment, and did not appear to be offended that I failed to give them credit for a brilliantly played game."

Fly, so what did Naka say to that effect??

A question for you. Will this be acceptable to you if tomorrow someone removes you from your professional job quoting something you said on similar lines on a blog?

In general,
I think Naka hasn't interfered with anything, so we should leave him as he is. May be he should truly be a "west" and say "You lucky dog!" when he loses next time!

unfortunately context gets lost quickly here.

Earlier, someone indicated that Hikaru's statement "I played like an idiot" (approximation - it may be slightly off) - was an insult to his opponent, Ivanchuk.

There's a lot of individuals here, that apparently feel the same way.

For myself, I don't see what the big deal is. It's what he said, it's how he felt at the time. Why are individuals on this site blowing his statements so far out of proportion? I finally get someone telling me to watch the videos. So I watch the videos. I don't see anything that merits the bs discussions that are going on here about nakamura's attitude.

For more context, look at the Korchnoi video where he loses a blitz game to Sophia Polgar.


Now there's something you might want to shout about. Even there, it more entertaining than anything else.

Btw, it would help if the individuals that are so offended by Nakamura's behavior posted a link to these horrible transgressions of his. I keep looking around and see nothing. I'm beginning to think they are making this stuff up or just have nothing better to do than bitch about something.

What's it called when someone questions your character or abilities, instead of using a logical argument?


Ad hominem I think it is. You should study this.

Most people's work creates a direct value for which they are compensated.

Chessplayers, like other athletes and artists, do not create any "tangible" value for a direct "employer." If they hope to make a good living, almost all of their compensation originates in the marketing budget of some company. That is not good or bad - it is fact. Or, ok, from the deep pockets of a rich individual, like Rex S. Same principle applies there.

As a marketing person who has worked for many big companies, with at least one world chess champion wearing my company shirt, I can tell you that big companies like to pay celebrities who will represent them well and *will not embarrass them*. (Google "Tiger Woods.") These are realities of the business world.

Nakamura can say what he likes. He doesn't have to care whether anyone on this board likes him. But he would do well to recognize he consequences for his own professional career, and his sport, whenever he opens his mouth. By virtue of his excellence over the board, he is the primary US ambassador for chess, whether he likes it or not.

The embarassing is going to matter only when it will have a direct impact on a company's business. But like you say chess is different and is dependent on deep pockets, some budget etc. If say Rex S. has decided to sponsor Naka, he is going to do no matter what. If Rex S. doesn't like to sponsor Naka, he is not going to do that. Public opinion is not going to alter that. Or say Rex S.'s criteria is different than xyz and he could probably think a bad publicity is better for him than no publicity. Then well behaved players may very well be left out! Case in point, Kasparov and Anand, and who got more sponsorship money? Also I would tend to think a "crush like a bug" statement could well be a sponsor initiated thing.

We have a set of off the board and on the board rules. So my point is, if at all you have something to influence your sponsor, you can influence by 1. your performance or skills 2. your playing by the rules. I strongly doubt your personal behaviour that not in violation of any of the rules would come in any professional sport. But if you would still hear someone is not sponsored or uninvited for behavior means, I would guess 90% it was decided against you even before your behavior and the 10% your behavior was only a pretext to ban you!

But you can prove me wrong!

Nakamura says "I played like a complete idiot"

Oh the humanity! horror of horrors! and look at how he said it, with that disgusted look on his face. They should ban him from chess.

Korchnoi is a much better loser, and an example for all chess players:


Sofia looks so pretty and innocent! :)

Well Naka needs to get good before anyone really cares wtf he says or does,he is a nobody at the top level. LMAO at Naka wankers

I don't know why you bring in Korchnoi - yes he hates to lose even casual blitz games (I could add some stories from a blitz tournament in the Netherlands where he participated). But does this make Nakamura "innocent"? Is it, figuratively spoken, OK to break someone's leg just because others commit murder?

It's not just one unlucky tweet or bad joke by Nakamura, it's his long-term record - another example was "Time to crush these Arizona clowns in the US Chess League tonight." I know little about the US chess scene, but I don't think the Arizona players (all) earn their living as clowns ,:) - and unlike Nakamura's team, they qualified for the next stage.
One Cap d'Agde video has Kateryna Lahno cheerfully losing a bullet game against Nakamura, what would have happened in the (unlikely) case of Nakamura losing??

Main point IMO (referring to the origin of the whole discussion): If Nakamura acts the way he acts, he cannot complain about reactions he gets - also @chesshire cat: "If you cannot handle heat, stay out of the kitchen!"

Finally in fairness to and in defense of Nakamura, his latest tweet was "different": "Good opening ceremony for the Tal Memorial. Always nice seeing chess getting the respect it deserves. Russians have it figured out." Maybe someone told him that he should be Mr. Nice guy at least once in a while?


Magnus Carlsen drops out of World Championship cycle!

Yes... I read that. Carlsen will have trouble justifying this decision.


This is what is called "trash talk" here and it is not to be taken literally as "clowns".

He is well aware of the impact of his comments. He even makes more of them when we chat, but I try to steer away from these discussions. He really wants to destroy his opposition, but while he is playing, he has ultimate respect for them. This idea about him not respecting Ivanchuk or Bu is totally false.

I know ... hence the smiley in my previous post. What I meant to say was: it's OK if it is meant literally AND is literally true. In all other cases - if he says "clown" and actually means patzer, coffehouse player, whatever - such a comment is at least unnecessary.

In Europe (at least in the countries and towns where I lived) trash talk is OK for casual blitz games, but not for official team competitions ... .

There we go..
Steinitz line
born on Sunday,
died on Friday,
will be buried on Saturday!
This is another beginning of hype and rule and promote-a-split politics..

Not unexpected at all. He knows he won't be favorite in a candidates *match* against Kramnik/Aronian. Therefore he'll continue playing the one format he likes best - closed *tournaments*. There he will get to play a lot of games against players outside of the top 5, win convincingly, earn Elo points, etc. I just hope this is an honest personal decision and not influenced by Kasparov in any way. Anand did all that was asked of him to earn the title of world champion and it is a pity to see Carlsen seeking an easier path for himself. He will never gain the respect of the public (at least the connoisseurs) even if he attains a 2900 Elo but loses/refuses to play matches.

I know a lot of visitors here are unfamiliar with cricket, but I cannot resist the analogy. This is like a team winning most T20/ODI tournaments but losing/refusing to play 'test' cricket. Like 'test' cricket is what true champions seek to excel in, 'match' play is what every chess player in history has sought to excel in. But Carlsen is a nice guy and a champion player. Hopefully he will reconsider soon..

Most commentators ignore that Carlsen says he is not motivated. That is a frank and fair reason. He is not motivated to take on this lengthy WC cycle. He knows that if should stand a chance to win the WC he must “give it all”. Something halfhearted will not do.

But of course chess fans are disappointed. We want the players to perform continuously, so we can be amused.

You take rest and come and play another day. Fine. But what is the talk reform, privileges or no privileges etc.?

If absolutely no privilege for anyone, should it be a worldwide open tournament where anyone can participate including you and me and the winner will be the world champion??

What you said is arguable, Daaim. What is definately not arguable is that Hikaru is a sore loser. And that has much more to do with his actions than his words.
Especially as an American, I'm looking forward to the day when his emotional quotient catches up to his chess talent quotient. Jesus, George Bush and his ilk were bad enough for America's image. We don't need a poor sport as a top level rep of anything.
Now on to the Tal Memorial.

I think you are making this stuff up. Post a link to some video where you show this supposed abhorrent behavior, or just shut up about it.

If you are talking about the video after his game with Ivanchuk, yes .. please post his response to that. No normal person would take exception to his response there. I think a lot of individuals don't realize how trivial this whole discussion is.

Too me, you all sound like Naka haters, looking for the slightest perceived miscue by him, so you can vomit up your nonsense. This whole thread about his "attitude" is a joke, except there is the possibility some individuals are falling for it, because they are either too lazy or don't have the time to search for these supposed incriminating incidents.

Shut up or put up.

I've never specifically mentioned his response to Ivanchuk because I didn't need to.
I saw the live nearly non-handshakes after his losses to Ivanchuk - which are no longer available, but you'll see his 'style' in the video called Semifinal on this Web page: http://www.chess.co.uk/twic/chessnews/videos/9th-cap-dagde-videos-2010

About half-way thru, he's losing a game to Le, and can barely bring himself to acknowledge it. Like Le is a slouch with no palmares of his own.

You'll nevertheless make your own interpretation, and I don't care. My interest in Hikaru's play is colored by his behavior. I hope it changes someday.

This is my last comment here, you guys can have the last word if you want. I'm also responding to Thomas here from another thread, so we don't hijack that conversation also...:

>> OK, "he looks dirty" is sort of understandable,
>> in a way the same as "I don't like his haircut"!?
>> But "He's a Russian", huuuhh??

>> Particularly as it comes from a leading Nakamura
>> defender - I agree that it doesn't make sense to
>> dislike Hikaru because he's American, but then
>> it's as wrong to dislike Grischuk for being
>> Russian. "Check the videos out" is also vague -
>> in the Nakamura debate several people (I was one
>> of them) came up with several specific examples
>> or quotes, you kept asking for more ... .

This is to Thomas quoted above:

Thomas, you are the biggest troll on these boards and you don't even know it. You can't tell sarcasm from opinion, and respond to just about everything regardless of propriety.

Several comments above mine someone made some flattering comments about Nakamura's play, with the final statement "I'm not a big fan of Naka as a person". It was a very odd comment too me. So, I posted a similar comment to point it out, flattering Grischuk's play, with the final statement "I don't like Grischuk as a person though"

I think everyone got it but you.

Regarding this whole topic of Nakamura's character, I just call bs on it all. No one can post anything that means anything. There's zero context to the very few actual videos, and there's a lot of conjecture and assumption being made by individuals that obviously enjoy disparaging other people whenever they get a chance. And then there's Thomas, who blithely has to always put in his two cents to extend these asinine topics.

It would be so easy to tear apart all of the nonsense pointed out here, misquotes by Thomas for example, but all I would be doing is extending this idiotic thread further.

That is all, blather on.

I have to reply - not to have the last word but because you play on the man and insult me.

I didn't get the connection between your Grischuk comment and macuga's on Nakamura ... but even if they are (meant to be) related to each other, there's a difference between "I don't like Grischuk" and "I am not a big fan of Nakamura". macuga could still be a small fan of him, or he merely wanted to imply that you don't have to be a fan or fanboy to praise him when praise is due (but only then). BTW kenhabeeb also replied to your Grischuk quote - well he may also be on your personal troll list because he disagrees with you?

"misquotes by Thomas" - how can Copy-Paste from Nakamura's Twitter account ever be a misquote? At most I wrongly read between the lines ... but Nakamura's words remain his responsibility, and he and his fans have to accept that others try to find out what he really means.

If you're in a not good position and have no cash to get out from that, you will need to receive the loan. Just because it would aid you for sure. I take financial loan every time I need and feel good because of it.

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