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Kramnik Takes Early Lead in Bilbao

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World #1 Magnus Carlsen has now lost four of his last eight games. Three defeats came at the Olympiad in Khanty-Mansiysk (where he also won four) and today Vladimir Kramnik beat him in a very impressive game in the first round of the Bilbao Grand Slam final. Big Vlad got the type of queenless middlegame he adores out of a Queen's Indian. The opening was already something of a surprise since Carlsen usually plays 3..d5 to head into Queen's Gambit territory instead of 3..b6 as he did here. Perhaps Carlsen liked something he saw in Kramnik's game against Bacrot at Dortmund last year, since they followed it until move 13. Bacrot held the draw handily there and Kramnik improved with 13.Qb5 and an unpleasant bind after exchanges.

A long maneuvering spell left White with his advantage and Carlsen decided to break with 29..d5!? He must have been depressed with the looks of the obvious 29..Nd4 30.Nxd4 cxd4 31.a4 Bf6 and after, say, 32.Ng4 Bg7 Black is very passive. Carlsen got his pawn back quickly but at the cost of having no coordination at all facing White's doubled rooks, majestic knight on e5, and superior king. I don't doubt a computer might grovel its way to a draw, but for a human, even the #1, against Kramnik, it would take several miracles. And while Carlsen may be the Chosen One, he doesn't walk on water just yet. Kramnik steamrolled his way home, 42.Ne5! a nice concluding touch leading to a domination typical of more than a few of Kramnik's best games.

While the former world champion was beating the future world champion, the current world champion was playing the Berlin against Alexei Shirov. Anand doesn't use it often, thankfully, but he employed it to good effect here. It briefly looked like Black was for choice with the bishop pair but accurate play on both sides held the balance into an opposite-colored bishop endgame where White had a nominal plus. At least that sounds like something reasonable to say about a game that would take more time and IQ than I possess to analyze competently, so let's run with it.

What an event, eh? A real shame it's not a quadruple round-robin. Category 22 with three of the top five and an in-form Shirov is all well and good, but six games is little more than a snack. Carlsen has now lost around 20 points, but it shows what a great year or so he has had that he could lose 20 points and still be #1. I hadn't perused the live list lately, or the regular list for that matter, but it's getting hot at the top. Great to see Nepomniachtchi cracking the top 20.

Round 2: Carlsen-Anand, Kramnik-Shirov. Official site. Live games.


A double round robin with Topalov and Aronian included would be the best tournament ever! But this is good enough...

I a very strange twist of fortunes, it is reported by Chessbase that Azmaiparashvili has lost his position as FIDE Vice-president. Former World Champion and Putin-wannabe Garry 'It Wasn't Me' Kasparov is said to be negotiating a return to chess with old nemesis Kirsan. Wasn't me performed a very deep study of the chronology of FIDE's last 25 years (based on some secret documents stolen by Azmaiparashvilli from Kirsan's alien volt) and his mathematical mind came to the conclusion that his split from FIDE never took place. Therefore, an immediate match against an opponent of his choice - with a generous prize fund provided by Kirsan - has been requested by the former champion.

Kasparov emphatically denied Big Vlad K is his chosen opponent. Said the former champion: "I will NOT let history repeat itself". When confronted with the fact that history can't repeat itself given that his split from FIDE never took place, Garry denied making the statement everyone heard a minute ago.

Hey, cool, Korchnoi seems to be playing a match against Hort. Didn't know about it til I saw games apparing on Chessbase...anyone have info?

Korchnoi probably missed a win in the first game (38.Nd6+ wins a pawn) and looks ok in game 2 so far. Playing better than some 19-year olds.


Link for the Korchnoi match?

Kasparov has chosen Boris Spassky as his challenger for the upcoming World Championship Match to take place in Kalmikya's Buddhist Alien Retreat.

According to Kaspy, Spasski was chosen because, absent Bobby Fischer (the famous recluse has gone underground for good), Spassky is the last surviving lineal champion. Karpov was not a consideration because he was given the title without a match and he recently lost to Kirsan in a bitterly un-contested campaign. "Tolya is a loser", Kasparov responded when asked about the possibility of facing his one-time nemesis and current lackey.

Contacted over the phone at his Moscow hospital, Spassky seemed quite disoriented and had this to say: 'Ver am I?'.

Can't find any info or link anywhere, RS. Chessbase are broadcasting it, you don't have to be a member. The second game is an interesting Bird's opening/reversed Dutch.

Translating Shipov again today: http://www.chessintranslation.com/live-game/

It's Carlsen - Anand (don't worry, Thomas, I'm pretty sure Shipov will pick Shirov tomorrow whatever happens!).

"I'm pretty sure Shipov will pick Shirov tomorrow whatever happens!"
Which would mean picking Carlsen three times in a row .... .

Kramnik - Shirov -- 22... Be6?? What the heck??

After 22.-Rb8 black would also lose the exchange: 23.Ba3 (23.-Rd8?? 24.Rd8:+ Bd8: 25.Re8 mate).

Leontxo Garcia is now interviewing Corus organizer, who praises Bilbao organizers on his turn, saying the glass cage is a nice idea which contributes to make chess popular and so on, when L.G. praises Corus on his turn, saying how great it is that in spite of the cold and other problems they get on with the tournament. Kramnik has a great advantage and is making the steps to convert it (their commentary, not mine. I also think Kramnik is better here ^^) and now trying to evaluate Carlsen's sac. They talk about how wonderful is chess when positions can change so much in a moment (...)

They analyze Carlsen-Anand saying Carlsen is in trouble because Bc6,Nc6. b8,Nb8. Nb8,Bb5 -+
They suggest playing the bishop, although not saying very clearly where.

Kramnik says he was far more confident from his Kasparov match experience where he got similar positions. He says Shirov didn't see 18. b4 after which he was simply better. He also points 16 ..., Qe7 instead of Qe8 as a mistake, allowing the tactics, although he isn't completely sure Qe8 works much better.

Shirov says he just got a worst position from the opening and that he tried to fight but couldn't really manage it, getting and endgame that was really hopeles.

Yikes! Reprinting those Magnus posters is going to cost a bunch...

Anand! World champion, and (in half an hour?) World #1!

LG asks Kramnik about his relationship with Kasparov.
It started when he was a junior, was "advantageous" for Kramnik as he was the only one from the elite who was getting equal balance against him. In 1994 he realised Kasparov worked much harder than him and that if he wanted to be WC he had to work much more. He says one has to understand he was only 19 and that he enjoyed himself going out and so and that he realised he had to change his habits.

Next they asked about his physical preparation.
When he was younger he liked tennis a lot but every sport became harder with his back problems. He had to adopt a better lifestyle by quitting smoking and drinking (almost) and eating and resting better.

Last LG asked about what to expect from the other game.
He thought that Carlsen-Anand was drawn but that Carlsen rushed things and may have spoilt it. He says 50-50 draw-Anand loss, but also says he's a bit tired so please don't ask me anymore questions :D

That's all, folks!

Thanks, but will you stay around for the next press conference (with Anand and Carlsen)?

Don't know, it depends the game finishes. Will try in any case.

Would like an edit function, so i may add what LG is saying now to my comment before (so i wont have to spam the whole thread): in short, he explains Carlsen's bad form at the Olympiad by saying he was forced to play by Norwegian government. Did anyone know about this?

They also say he's in trouble because he is the prey of the tournament :D
I would say be careful however, this one can bite badly.

It seems Magnus doesn't want to leave post-mortem with Anand. I don't blame him. Who would want go to a mandatory press-conf after two loses in a row?!

Such interesting bits and pieces are never spam!

"Did anyone know about this?"
Maybe Kramnik did, because a few weeks ago in an interview he was convinced that Carlsen (like Anand) would skip the Olympiad ... .

Press conference starting now.

Poor Carlsen.

Well, LG highlights Carlsen is losing 1st position in ranking (one wonders how important is Live Rating list nowadays, they should definitely officialize it and give frogbert a nice check). He also says Sofia rules are very good for this tournament (and also in general) as it forces players to fight not letting them draw in complicated positions as a escape way. He also finds Bilbao rules (3 1 0 scoring system) positive in spite of its criticism. They talk about a recent episode on Spanish team Championship concerning a dubious team draw and saying Sofia rules should be implemented into team competitions.

[Carlsen comes in]

They praise Carlsen's kindness for joining them in spite of his loss.

Carlsen praises Anand's idea in the game (taking twice in d4 and playing d5) saying afterwards it was completely equal. He was thinking he could get an advantage but he was wrong. When he played b6 he thought it was a dead draw. He says 32 d5 was better than Nc5 (as Shipov pointed out) and that Anand told him so. He misjudged the position not seeing his N would be trapped on b8 and that the last mistake was 38 Kf4, while Bd1 was better. He says he isn't sure it was enough for draw but was certainly better than what he got.

[Anand came in at some point before :D ]

They congratulate Anand, who says he wasn't too fond of his opening, which was too passive. He was already thinking of d5 posibilities when he played 14 ...,Qc7 and realised it was the critical moment, with a6 to make him play a5. Then they discuss (Anand and LG) the posibilities to 21 Qc3, while Anand was at least as well as in the game. When he played Be5 he thought it was drawn. He saw of course the Ne3 idea and was thinking it was a draw all the time, but saw d5 as the only way to manage it for white. When he played Nc5 he found he was better. He panicked a bit until he found Be8 but afterwards he was cool and knew he was winning all the time. They work some variations with d5 and find drawish (although not completely conclusive) positions. He says the only way to survive for white was to play until the Nb8-Bb5 position and hover with the king to the pawns on the Kside to manage the draw, so he put them into white cases so he could defend them easily.

Next they ask him if he thinks Carlsen isn't still good enough to be claimed the best player.
Anand says all that matters is how he is when the Candidates start and that it's too soon to write Carlsen off, as form affects everyone.

LG asks him about the ambiance in Bilbao with more weaker aficionados, the need to make chess more accessible to general public and the different approach of this tournament.
Anand praises the tournament, says it's very nice for him and that it's true that it's better to get a broader audience. He likes very much the ambiance and finds himself very comfortable in this conditions.

Thanks for your attention and excuse my english, already not that good when having time, nevermind when I have to translate that fast. I don't know if i will be able to translate tomorrow, will say so in any case.

And, oh, sorry for such a brick.

I would like to thank mishanp, i find Shipov comments delicious. What do you think, Carlsen is really that "distracted"? I think it's dangerous to consider him as the prey, as he is extremely dangerous especially if he doesn't have to carry the weight of the fight, something I think was hindering him when he was in bad form. I think he imposes himself the need to play for a win and when he isn't in form, well, judge by yourselves. Olimpiad seems to have made some good to Kramnik! It will be interesting tomorrow to see how he takes it against Anand. And for Shirov-Carlsen, who knows?

!Gracias, Alez!
^upside down

Thank you very much!!

Was there a forced draw with 23...Ne5? I somehow seems to think so with Ng5+ idea. or may be not.

Anyhow, splendid display by Anand! Precision play as usual though he bluffs in the press conf. otherwise the Nf5 retreat wouldn't have been so quick! :)

I think we are very fortunate to have the comments of both Mishanp and you, Alez. Both of you are quite good at translation, IMO.

In this tournament, Carlsen is either pressing or distracted. I don't know which it is, but as Yermolinsky said, he might have had chances (better chances for sure) in this game had he taken the time to see the merits of b7-b8 instead of 36.Nxa6.

Looks like Carlsen is burned out and he's facing a gauntlet of tournaments coming up. Ouch.

Yes, Shipov mentions 23.-Ne5 leading to a draw by perpetual check (of course you mean Ng4), or black can aim for more if white doesn't find the best reply - 24.Bb2 is =+ at the end, 24.Nc2! forces the "Sofia draw".
I wonder if Anand saw this (but aimed for more with 23.-Bd6) or didn't see it - both his opening choice and his remarks in the press conference suggest that he would have been happy with a draw with black before and still at that stage of the game?

... What do you think, Carlsen is really that "distracted"?

He may be in love, he is a fashion star and he is at the age when so many things happen.

There are any number of reasons indeed. Could just be a simple bad streak and he will be back soon. Could be that deficiencies in his game are showing. Perhaps he got overconfident and took things too lightly, just expecting to win. Or maybe he is just tired. He has been intensively studying and playing at top level for quite a while now. I imagine that at some point it goes from being fun to being drudge if you don't manage to relax enough. And he went from being the promising upstart to the world no 1 who had to defend his reputation. The crown of lead : ) Anyway enough speculation. Kramnik-Anand is going to be fun, and we'll see if Magnus pulls himself up...

"...he explains Carlsen's bad form at the Olympiad by saying he was forced to play by Norwegian government. Did anyone know about this?"


-Magnus' best friend and Norways board #2 player in the Olympiad, GM JL Hammer, says on chessgames.com this is utterly nonsense. The Norwegian goverment cannot and will not force anybody to play. That is for sure.

I think the word "forced" must be a misspelling/misunderstanding. Perhaps it was ment as "obliged" or something.

-However there is no doubt that the long and tireing Olympiad was "bad" in regards to Magnus' heavy tournament schedule this autumn. Last year coach Kasparov told him to skip the European Team tournament. If Magnus could choose egoistically, he would have withdrawn from the olympiad too, like Anand did. But he didn't. He chose to play, probably for the fun and honor/obligation.

Kramnik and Shirov played the Olympiad too, so the 3 are "equal" in this regard.

BTW: Todays endgame was dead draw untill Magnus tried this foolhardy b7 svindle.

I don't think Carlsen is "burned out". He didn't play a lot the last few months. His horrible Olympiad score was merely the result of his weird opening choices against oponents he thought he might nevertheless draw or win against.

His last two results came against two world champions who obviously are in form. While Carlsen at his best might be at least equal to them, even slight errors prove costly against this kind of opponents - as Carlsen had to learn the hard way, again.

Don't panic of write him off just yet. These losses (not the ones at the Olympiad) taught him more than two draws would have. And this experience may come in handy sooner than we think, at the candidates matches.

Don't forget that despite his many brilliant wins and tournament results he is yet a teenager and does not have the experience that players like Anand and Kramnik have.

It's better that he gets to know the bitter taste of streaky losing times when it doesn't count too much than if it happened at a world championship match.

He will win twice and end the tournament at an even score.

Kids are not supposed to get tired, but I think it happens (as I remember). Max Vachier-Legrave reportedly felt the presence of the sandman at the end of the Olympiad. But in Magnus' case - he was dropping games there at the get-go - I think it's distraction or lowered form, what with all the obligations. Nevertheless, if he rakes in some cash in exchange for some lost rating points, not much harm there, and in chess that's a windfall.
He'd have to fall a lot lower to lose the interest of fans and elite tourney organizers.
We should all also bear in mind how easy it is theoretically to lose to guys like Kramnick and Anand. Recovering against that sort of competition?
Ah...not so fast buddy boy.

As GM Jermolinsky stated on ICC today, if Carlsen finishes with two more points out of his last four games, that would be a decent result (considering his present self-destructive tendencies, of course).

Has anyone run computer analyses of Carlsen's games a-la the Guid-Bratko study (http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=3455), and compared them with similar runs on Anand, Kramnik, Topalov, Aronian...?

I think such an analysis would find that Carlsen in 2009 enjoyed an unusually high rate by his opponents in the Guid-Bratko "Average Error" metric. One could attribute this to "Fischer Fear", or the GK factor. If this is so, then statistically he was due for what stock-market people call a "correction" anyway, even aside from poor form at two events.

World #1 Magnus Carlsen has now lost five of his last nine games.

Ah yes, it's Buenos Aires 1960 all over again! How much trouble could Magnus have found in Siberia? Given the fast lifestyle of modeling and celebrity endorsement, it is even possible that some flacks who work for the jeans company arranged some ...."liaisons" for Carlsen.

I doubt that Magnus felt much inclination to represent Norway in Khanty. It was always a venture with much more downside in risk than upside in reward.

But, with Tromso, Norway vying for the rights to host the Olympiad (with a large chunk of the money coming right out of the Norwegian government
coffers, and with the possibility that many of his generous corporate sponsors are also generously underwriting the costs of the Tromso Olympiad, it would be rather surprising if some quiet pressure were not brought to bear on Carlsen. In this sense, he is a victim of the circumstances he has brought about. Without his success, there would have been no effort to bid for the Olympiad.

The Carlsens have understandably chosen to cash in, but the result is that Magnus is not his own man.

That said, Carlsen hardly seems like the Manny
Ramirez or Randy Moss type, who give less than their best when they are in one of their frequent snits. Besides, while the Olympiad is ostensibly "Team " chess, effectively tanking games would only serve to cut off his nose to spite his face.
If he has damaged some aura of invincibility that has stood him in good stead for the past couple of years, he is really jeopardizing his future results. It is much better for a player to have opponents who merely play to achieve a draw, rather than to achieve the best possible results.

Yes, Carlsen has been playing a lot, and might be tired or burned out. There is a reason why Kramnik and Anand are so selective about which tournaments to play in. That affords them the chance to take breaks from studying chess 8, 10, 12 hours a day, and smell the roses a bit.

His non-chess activities might be eating in too much to his time that he can devote to chess preparations.

Maybe he has been overconfident, or is seeking to play for the win when it isn't warranted by the game position. His opening play at Khanty speaks for itself.

I still would not be surprised if Carlsen manages to claw back to 50% in the next 4 rounds.

... What do you think, Carlsen is really that "distracted"?

He may be in love, he is a fashion star and he is at the age when so many things happen.

Sensible points well made!

Bilbao is displaying old FIDE ratings rather than live ratings. They had the opposite the last time around, so either they are inconvenient, or they listened to us! You can't gift money to frogbert for them when they tell the wrong tale other than the big media line.

I agree there was a fear factor, and also a sophomore jinx, as especially the underclasses can deal with Carlsen better now than a year ago when he was mowing down everyone, in particular in the late rounds when they had nothing to care about. The Olympiad doesn't allow full-time prep, so the GK factor disappeared. Distractions are everywhere too, but instead of all this, the statistical mean is probably truthier. Ratings are plus-minus 50 points say the boffins, so up and down can always take place.

Botvinnik always said money corrupts chess, and Fischer was used to it, giving him a big edge when the Iceland money against Spassky was doubled. For us fans, a better question is whether Carlsen can be induced to do high-quality analysis.

I suspect Mig has forever corrupted Young Carlsen... suddenly he's found the world is more than 64 squares. If his career now crashes and never wins the WC it's Mig's fault ;).

After all, who'd want to play boring boring chess after a few weeks of supermodel, high fashion, and whatnot? Wasn't Liv Tyler openly sweatin' Carlsen? (And I don't mean to suggest anything improper by this, but Carlsen suddenly has the zoned-out, burnt-out look of dope-heads I've met... but it's just burnout...)

"While the former world champion was beating the future world champion.."

@mig: crystal ball? or just simply boss' pupil bias?

I hope not, but can't help wonder if Magnus' recent comments about John Nunn being "too smart to become a world champion" (or something along those lines) will come back to haunt him. With Aronian and so many upcoming players around, and with the format of the candidates being just 4-6 games followed tie-break games, anything can happen imo. Factors seemingly unrelated to chess (physical condtion, moods, happiness/feel-good level etc.) will come into play much more than 'experts' give weightage to when coming up with their predictions.

common sense & DOug: Well said!

"he [Carlsen] was forced to play by Norwegian government."

Let's not forget that alez did an ad hoc translation from a video which sometimes has poor sound quality. When I translate or even quote from video interviews, I often listen several times to check what was _exactly_ said. If I have one suggestion to the Bilbao organizers: make the videos (at least partly) available later on, last year this was the case at the Tal Memorial.

Maybe the Spanish original was ambiguous regarding "forced" (could it be pushed, urged or 'encouraged'?) and "government" (could it literally be 'authorities' or 'instances', which may also refer to sponsors or media?). It can't be ambiguous regarding "Norwegian" ... .

Along with DOug, for me it's plausible that Carlsen didn't really want to play at the Olympiad. I see supporting evidence in the Kramnik interview(s): Vlad seemed convinced that Carlsen wouldn't play in KM, and genuinely surprised when he heard that he will. This was held against him ("he's talking nonsense"), but maybe he had heard some rumors or even had first-hand info from Carlsen himself? In the latter case, don't expect confirmation from Carlsen given what may have happened subsequently.

On the main discussion: Carlsen may be sort of victim of the hype around him. If Anand or Kramnik had started with two losses, we would notice but wouldn't speculate about love affairs - or rather marriage problems as both are married. If Shirov had started with two losses, we might just shrug shoulders: he is an erratic player and, after all, the underdog in this event ... .

Anyone can view Carlsen's sad-sack impression in the Chessbase articles for Rd.1 and Rd.2. He's visibly sleep-deprived, has uncombed-looking hair, and for the first time ever looks in emotional misery.

He's not just sleep-deprived...

Is it indeed troubled love?

Unusually strong cocaine habit picked up three weeks ago under the misguidance of Mig, Kasparov, Karpov, and half-dozen models?

Career-choice crisis? (...Why am I playing stupid chess with this world so much more to offer??)

It's one or more of these.

For one thing i was sure, LG said that unmistakably. What value has such a comment in front of an audience not too deep in chess (they're after all proud of how Bilbao Tournament brings chess to such wider publics) one wonders, but in any case, he said that in a clear way: he was force to play by Norway. If it was done by persuasion rather than enforcing, i don't know (remark, neither do i know if LG's remarks are true, but he isn't the kind of journalist to spread nonsense). I wouldn't explain his current state just with that: for me it's a bit of this, and then his age, a difficult tired moment, and after all, Anand and Kramnik are as strong as it gets in chess. So I will still wait and see. I think (in a very subjective manner) he still has something to liberate in his play, and that once he unleashes it everything will fit. I will not comment some of the remarks here which may seem funny to someone, but not me in any case (come on, cocaine already?). He may as well crush Shirov today and put an end to all the speculation.

Even Fischer, who considered Chess to be the most important thing in his life far above all else, had the occasional "relapse". Give Carlsen a break; his Chess in the past couple of years has been so impressive and profound and deep that this is clearly nothing more than a temporary blip. He'll be back to his world beating ways soon enough.

For the sake of clarity: I didn't question or put doubts on the entire story, just some "details" regarding the exact words. "Norway" or, probably better, "Norwegians" may well be more accurate than "Norwegian government" provoking Hammer's reaction (BTW, where on chessgames.com?). The government cannot force anyone - Carlsen or Hammer or Bobby Fiske or frogbert or ... - to play chess at the Olympiad, in a way as it can force all of them to pay taxes or, if applicable, enter compulsory military service.

And if there is some truth to the story (I agree that Leontxo Garcia wouldn't make this up, but wonder about his source or sources), neither Carlsen nor Hammer will talk about it in public.

Thomas are the games starting now (1430 CET) or an hour from now at 1530 CET?

In about two hours (or roughly 100 minutes remaining) at 1630 local time, which is actually Central European Summer Time.

Thomas, it looks as though I was wrong and Shipov's going to (reasonably enough) commentate on Anand-Kramnik instead of the Shirov game. I'll be wrestling with Shipov's obscure idioms here: http://www.chessintranslation.com/live-game/

Thomas: "If Anand or Kramnik had started with two losses, we would notice but wouldn't speculate about love affairs - or rather marriage problems as both are married."

And if Carlsen's two losses had not been preceded by weak results at the Olympiad (loss against 200 pt underdog, draw against 275 pt underdog in last two games; two losses against 100 pt underdogs a few round earlier), there wouldn't be such speculations about what's going on with him either.

Mishanp, thanks yet again! With these translations you really are spoiling us.

As Capablanca once said, you learn a lot more from your losses than you do from your wins. Carlsen is amassing a good deal of learning experience! ;-)
I expect Carlsen to pay very close attention to his game today vs. Shirov and press for an advantage.

I agree with Regan's comment. I feel last year, he also played risky middle game moves trying to press (like the Ne3 against Anand) and his opponents cracked and erred, and we all praised Carlsen's play. This time around he is in a tough field and his opponents not only NOT err, but play very accurately to put pressure back on Carlsen and then he errs.

Anyway, 2009 was his best year. But how many did he played against the top 5 and whats his record. His comment on the Wch matches (while in New York) that they are not very high quality and he could have played either side and did well was I thought was rude. Now its some reality check.

I see your point, let's bring in another (former) 2800+ player: Topalov's result at the Olympiad was comparable to Carlsen's, or even worse TPR-wise. His follow-up or trend reversal will be soon in Nanjing.
One or two people proposed that Topalov's recent marriage could influence his play, that was it ... .

"Do you take this woman....?"
"I dunno, Father. What will be my net ELO loss?"

Sleep-deprived, sad sack appearance? Those are his hallmarks! He's looked like that for a long time.

Interesting semi-closed game with Shirov just now. Bad bishops everywhere.

Just when he really needs to have a quiet solid game to consolidate, Carlsen gets Shirov :-), and it is now going to be an exciting game. Will the two connected pass pawns do it?

The only problem is that now there are too many choices and Shirov is spending a long time evaluating them all he is down to 19min for the next 16 moves. ... and he just pushes 24 d6. hm ..

Man you gotta love Shirov! Crazy is his middle name!

Alexei loves playing an interesting game ..taking a lot from his time to make it so when the opportunity is there is quite typical for him

Hi everyone, i'm back today.

Anand-Kramnik just finished, as yesterday i will try to translate.

They're right now praising Kramnik's preparation and endgame technique, with a veiled slight critic of Anand, meaning the game should have been more combative. LG says the endgame is pretty instructive and that Kramnik's preparation is very good, as he knew the whole thing in and out. They seem a bit upset by the early finish and the draw.

Meanwhile, they look at Shirov-Carlsen and seem to think that white is worse but that the position suits very much Shirov's style, and also stating it's "the real chess". They think white's position is better now after 21 c4. They like very much white's position, and think black will have to give back one piece for several pawns.

Now onto Kramnik and Anand.

LG asks Kramnik about his strategy in this game, which surprised him.
Kramniks says Grischuk was preparing this line against Leko, asked him and he analysed the whole night since he wasn't playing and got the conclusion that it was drawn; sadly Grischuk lost in another line, but the work proved useful for him.

LG asks Vishy if it was a bit strange for him to see Kramnik go into a seemingly worse endgame.
Vishy says it's interesting and says he couldn't find a way to crack the black position and so headed for the endgame which seemed nice for white, thinking he could pose problems. He didn't know Kramnik knew the endgame that well, but he understands that such things happen with the Catalan (such drawish endgames).

Then he tells Kramnik that aficionados hoped for a more agressive aproach today since he had won two in a row (one can dream! Translators note).
He says draw with black against the world champion isn't bad at all and that having still one white against him he wasn't as (over)confident as to throw himself against Vishy although if he had had a suitable position he wouldn't have ducked the challenge.

Then he asks Vishy for a balance of the tournament after the first half.
Vishy says it's ok and that he is in wait and see mode still.

LG asks Kramnik about if chess is as popular today in Russia as it was in USSR time.
He says it's pretty different, since in USSR it was amongst ice hockey and soccer the most popular sports and was a state affair. He says now it's healthier since there's no more politics into chess and that it's still quite popular as Women's medal on the Olimpiad proves.

LG asks Anand if there's a shift to Asia in chess and if it's the future of chess.
He says it's logical since a big part of the world's population is in Asia and chess is being introduced into school programs in several countries.

Then they asks Kramnik about the new talents in Russia and the second (the young) team in the Olimpiad.
He points it's a rule that allows the organizing country to get more than a team and he praises the Russian Federation idea to put up a young team. They didn't play that well but it will be a very good experience for them since they will probably be the A team for next Olimpiad.

Then one person from public asks Vishy about becoming number 1 on rating list again.
He says it's not that important, he couldn't anticipate it anyway.

Then they ask both about Carlsen bad form and what would they advice for a young player who can't get over such slumps (saying it wouldn't have to be explicitly Carlsen)
Kramnik says if the young player is 2800 he should keep playing and if he is 2000 he should get another job (laughs). Then he adds that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, that he also had sometimes the impression his play wasn't good and that he didn't know why. He says winning a lot is dangerous since you lose the sense of reality. It's important to properly analyze the situation since there's always a reason. He finishes joking that it would be worse if it happened to older players like Vishy or himself.

LG then asks about how it felt when he lost against Anand in WC.
He says losing a World Championship against Anand can happen to everyone but that nevertheless he didn't like the way he lost and then he decided to change a few things which he can't tell, but that after the match his daughter was born and it gave him a real push.

Then they ask Anand about the youngster slump.
He agrees with many things Kramnik said and adds one has to be patient

Last they ask both about Shirov-Carlsen position.
Kramnik says the only clear thing is that the position is a mess and that he doesn't risk with an evaluation. Vishy then says he thinks black is at least OK.

Someone from public jumps in since he wants to ask them about their idols when they were younger.
VK answers he didn't really had anyone but in any case he liked a lot Lasker, Aliojin and that of course he and Vishy should have a say in the matter. Vishy says he really liked Tal.

Overall Kramnik seemed pretty happy and confident (very talkative) and Anand was a bit less satisfied by the game. I think if there is a "moral winner" it should be Kramnik who was in total control for the whole game, in a way that impressed the journalists in spite of their striving for combative chess.
Sorry again for such a mess (i put some space today, didn't I?) and for the bad style and grammar. Just a tip, i found that playing the stream with VLC was giving a better sound overall, if it can help someone...

I don't know if i will still be around when Shirov-Carlsen finishes, if I am i will try to translate again.


Whoa! 25. Nc4! Nice move :-)

I don't know if alez is around to report from the press conference ... . I missed the part on the game itself (maybe not too much to say today?), and then Leontxo Garcia _again_ asked a somewhat nasty question to Kramnik: Saturday it was about the Olympiad, yesterday about his relationship with Kasparov, today on his WCh match against Anand, what will be next?

Kramnik said that the match loss was painful (even if anyone can lose a match against Vishy) but that he drew the right conclusions - "I won't go into details as I still want to fight for the title again". He added that the birth of his daughter, one month after the match, gave him a lot of positive energy. Nothing surprising or new ... .

Then Kramnik was asked "what's wrong with Carlsen?", answering "I don't know, do you?". Question from the audience to both players: "Who is your favorite player or idol?"
Kramnik: "It's not in my character to have idols. All world champions are great: Lasker, Alekhine, ... Anand (laughter all over)"
Anand - probably doing a big favor to one "colleague" here - picked Mikhail Tal.

Excelente Alez. Gracias!

Oops, you WERE around, typing simultaneously with me - and you got to watch the whole press conference. Adding one thing which you and I forgot: Kramnik also named Kasparov among his list of great players.

@d_tal: Engines (at least Stockfih at Chessbomb) don't like 25.Nc4 because of 25.-Nc5:!? They preferred the even more spectacular 25.Ra4: . Carlsen is in deep thought - more than 20 minutes already?

That was really great, alez! Might mention the bit about Kramnik's preparation to Shipov :)

Mind you, Stockfish isn't that impressed giving a -1 in 20 ply with 25...,Nc5 although the move i liked (25...,Nd7) is inferior as i thought to Rxa4. In any case, what a mess! Everything can happen.

Ooops, overlap again :D

Yes, Kramnik mentionned Kasparov but i was typing furiously and wasn't so sure so i didn't put it. It was a nice conference. Is the video down for everyone now?

They speculate about the relay error saying Shirov may have placed the rook on d8 (which was losing on the spot) and that withouth releasing, moved it to a8 (which it seems, gives him anyway a worse position) Video is back! Or my connection, whatever. Shirov isn't looking that good now, me thinks.

Most of the time I'm only a lurker, but I just have to express how much I appreciate alez and mishanp for the work they do. I get so much pleasure from reading their translations. And Shipov! There's someone who knows how to annotate a game! I can't say if his analysis is always spot on but he must be the most entertaining commentator I've heard. Many thanks for bringing his analysis to us, mishanp. I think you must really be in sync with Shipov as he's both so entertaining and instructive in your translations.

With so much interesting bits and pieces in the press conference, it isn't bad that two people are listening and reporting (but I have to focus on the English part).

Next question to Kramnik: What do you think about Topalov declining the Bilbao invitation? !?

Leontxo is telling Fischer stories right now. He was once visiting him at the States after his retirement and were chatting a long time. Fischer told him how he got fascinated when he visited Komodo island and saw dragons there. LG says his son was about 5-6 years then and he had a bit of the same feeling listening Fischer as when listening to his kid. They chatted a lot and then Fischer asked if he wanted to go for a walk, albeit a very long one. Leontxo liking walks himself, he obliged saying he enjoyed very much his company and talking. They walked for at least 1 hour and a half and then Fischer said, "Can you see that bus stop?" (about 100 meters away) LG acknowledged and then Fischer asked him to wait there since he didn't want him to see which bus he was taking home since he didn't want him to know where he lived.

After that, LG said he knew a bit about Spassky's condition and said he is mostly out of danger but that he has half of his body paralyzed and it will be very hard (albeit maybe possible with the proper rehab') for him to completely recover.

Wow. I think that is my favorite Fischer story!

C'mon, guys. Let poor Carlsen play his game. Yes, he's under-performing. Yes, he looks like crap. But he is under a lot of pressure with his recent jump to international actor/model status. His participation in Bilbao follows a grueling 10-day schedule shooting Geico commercials and interviews in the USA:


I was dumb enough to click on Irv's link. Don't you be.

You LIKE anyone in the chess world, Irv?

Carlsen has been stung, how hard is he trying to win this??

A nice one from Ivanchuk: LG was at Nice for the Melody Amber and asked Ivanchuk to explain him a little bit for the public how players do to play blindfold at such a high level: did he remember the positiona as in a picture? Did he see the relationship between the pieces, attack, defense, and so on? And Ivanchuk glared at him for a moment and he said, "Do you know this animal, this insect with lots of foot? (note: centipede) In russian we say it walks, but it couldn't explain how it does to walk."

Great Chuky!

On a side note, they are completely unfocused from the game, although their chat is interesting :D

Wow, impressive one from Najdorf. LG says he decided to break the world record for blindfold simul (which he managed twice) to make his name travel to Poland to see if his family was alive. It was later he learnt they were killed by nazis. So sad.

On the game, they say if Carlsen can achieve Bf3 Kh3 Ng4 and Bh4 he should win. It was the public (don't know if in Facebook, Twitter or on stage) who proposed it.

"On a side note, they are completely unfocused from the game, although their chat is interesting :D"

I can only catch bits of the Spanish, but that was my impression :) A bit like English cricket commentary...

Minor plug, I've already cleaned up Shipov's commentary from today (not too much happened on the board, but the commentary was still entertaining!): http://www.chessintranslation.com/2010/10/shipovs-live-commentary-on-anand-kramnik/

On the whole I think I'm glad he chose that game...

Wow! Drawn by the 50 move rule?

So finally the marathon ended!

They ask Shirov about the game and he says he can't remember anything. He says he somehow didn't expect the defense Carlsen put up. He on his turn says the game was a complete mess and very interesting. He says with the position with 2R against 3 minor pieces maybe a rook can be exchanged for a piece to enter a drawn endgame. He says he didn't have any experience with such and endgame and that he tried to get e3 on at some moment, but Shirov defended very well and got the draw.

Then LG asks about how he will spend his free day.
MC says it made sense to play for so long the day before and that it's in any case to play like this when it's you who is pushing. He also says tomorrow will be a real rest day with no chess at all.

Then LG praises their combativity and thanks them for their effort.

Thanks alez. I was curious no one asked them about the last two moves which were made for joke. 175.Qd2 Ke5

Qd2 allows Nf3+ fork -- does not matter as its already 50 moves even if the queen hangs.

and then ...Ke5 allows white the fork with Qg5+ winning a bishop and the game.

Thanks alez, Thomas and Mishanp.

Your work is highly appreciated! Mig's efforts nowadays pales in comparison ;-)

Absurd game by Carlsen. He does looks as someone with an average IQ who can to play anything because he wants to win, no matter how.

I believe that what a poster here said (few months ago) about Carlsen that he "plays chess as if it were tennis" is the best way to characterize him, tenacious yet sterile, routine-based, approach to chess.

Much like Centovic

Right, Nielsen

Just to name one game, you obviously didn't see his beautiful destruction of Ponomariov's Sicilian earlier this year. Not your sterile routine chess. Did you survey his games? I think your big pronouncement is baseless.

Guess who wins Gold in common wealth games 2010 Tennis!

A picture here..

That's very nice whoever that guy is, but we're not all Indian here.

(Btw, that guy has the face of an Indian-make of Bruce Lee.)

uh huh.. :( I thought he somewhat resembled Carlsen.. At lease he always reminds me of Carlsen!

I wonder if the tennis player gives the Bruce Lee yells when he hits the ball. (smile)

hmm.. never really watched him play yet.. but I think he is more like Carlsen, quite, composed..

hcl, I will make an american connection.. He has studied in Virginia University. won three consecutive NCAA singles titles...


Pace your spelling, I would be happy if anyone understood what you meant.

If it is not a joke that I am not getting,
j nielsen refers to a novella by Stefan Zweig.

Nielsen makes a very nice reference - Knallo misses the combination.

Centovic would drive opponents mad with his stolid, solid, slow, suffocatingly strong style.

A good endgame lesson for Carlsen yesterday. He said afterwards he didn't have any experience with this kind of endgame N+B+B vs Q, so he played it to the end to see what was possible.

Such endgame studies are dificult to do against a computer because of the horizon effect. It must be played out by humans.

-I wonder if N+N+B would have been stronger than N+B+B? At least the Knights could cause more threats to Shirovs King in the very last stage of the game. On the other hand, the pair of Bishops probably are more effective protecting from Queen checks from behind.

That was an epic endgame. It's amazing that some people dislike chess so much that they actually condemn Carlsen for playing on.

But I guess it's a common misconception among weaker chess players that if you're in the endgame and you don't have a clear and obvious winning plan, you're somehow morally obliged to accept a draw.

I think that's disappointing from Monokroussos (which is a shame as his site's good overall). That was absolutely an endgame that pretty much any player would keep playing for a win (especially with a rest day ahead). The worry would have been if Carlsen hadn't tried - then you'd have to ask if there was a problem with his motivation.

For instance, Mikhail Golubev commentating at Chesspro wasn't sure whether black was winning or not: http://chesspro.ru/chessonline/onlines/index_3297.html At the very least black has decent practical chances.

Agreed, it's embarrassing to see how little respect DM has for such a great player as Carlsen, it's not just the comments this time or when he talked about what a shame it was that Carlsen won Wijk aan Zee earlier this year, he just seems to dislike the Norwegian so much that he finds it hard to hide it. Much stronger players than DM thought Carlsen had clear winning chances, and when the opponent has to save an endgame like this with a couple of minutes on the clock it can't be wrong to play on.

Well, at some point somebody is going to get a similar position, where he'll be able to press Carlsen, albeit only slightly. Let's see how Carlsen likes coping with that for 125 moves.

Carlsen had the right to play on, if he felt that he had some sort of winning chances. However, he mever seemed to make an attempt to achieve his best configuration of the minor pieces, or even to make progress. For most of the last 125 moves, it seems that Carlsen was content to merely shuffle his pieces around, in the hopes the hopes that shirov would simply blunder under the strain of perpetual Time Pressure.

I suppose that somebody like Kasparov has chosen to play on in similar situations, and even been rewarded for it.

What are the longest games that Anand has played in his career? And Kramnik? I don't recall them going over 100 moves many times, and no "monster length" games where they were casually probing for a win.

"That was an epic endgame."

yeah, that's why Alexei said at the press conference that he "can't remember anything"

Never has a Rick-Roll been so well deserved

I actually thought Carlsen was going to win that game by coralling the f2-pawn with knight and bishop. However that queen was too nimble.

In defense of Dennis Monokroussos: He is arguably against, or disrespectful of Carlsen in three respects:

1) saying that his fashion modelling activities hurt his chess. Currently he isn't the only one, it's interesting how the majority opinion seems to have shifted: initially it seemed to be "it's good for him and good for chess" (even though there were early dissenting views), now after he lost a few games ... .

2) yesterday's game. One doesn't have to share DM's assessment of the ending as "dead drawn" - my own irrelevant opinion was "only black can try for a win, but how?". The issue isn't that Carlsen tried, but that he tried "forever" while "doing nothing for 134 moves". What would have been the right moment to call it a day? Maybe on move 54, completing black's ideal setup (Nd3 and Bc5) allowing white to give perpetual check?

3) Corus: He actually wrote that Carlsen didn't play any memorable games, nor did he beat his direct competitors (Anand did that job for him) and actually lost against Kramnik. Opinion and facts so far, then drawing his subjective conclusions.

Overall, DM has the same "problem" as any other blogger: Giving facts and background information is fine, his (express) analyses are also widely appreciated, once he expresses his opinions it becomes controversial - mind you, as he knows I don't always agree with him, but in the given case at least I don't see (enough) evidence for a systematic anti-Carlsen attitude.

I really don't understand all this criticism. Giving how hard it is to figure the right winning position(s), let's not even talk about how to get there. With such an imbalance it's normal they have to try and see while being careful. Maybe with another time control Carlsen would have managed the proposed winning position (Kh3-Bh4-Bf3-Ng4 winning f2 while keeping everything save) or maybe not. I find in any case at the least disrespectful to criticize them for searching in such a position. I can already see people writing them off if they would have managed a draw before exchanging Q for 2R. I found the game very interesting and one worthwile analyzing, as all its phases had something interesting.Slightly new opening, imbalanced middlegame, new endgame... Personally such a position makes me wish they could have adjourned the game to work on it. What do you people want from a chessgame? Cheerleaders?

"he never seemed to make an attempt to achieve his best configuration of the minor pieces, or even to make progress."

It's a well know principle of endgame play that you shouldn't rush things. Especially in a position like this with no counterplay, and especially if you don't see a clear path to victory.

There may not be an obvious "best configuration" of the pieces, so instead you try those configurations that seem to make sense and see what happens. You'll see this principle at work in games by all the great endgame players through history (they just didn't play 174 moves because they didn't play with increments, instead they adjourned the games which allowed them to sit down and find the best plan eventually).

But Carlsen *did* seem to make some progress. That f2-pawn finally became isolated, it just turned out that Shirov was able to defend anyway.

Playing out endgames above 60, 70 moves has been a recent trend ever since Luke McShane was invited to the London Classic. I think Luke has been averaging @50 or more moves a game since. Then there was the recent game (Corus?, Amber?) between Magnus and, I think Pono (again), where Magnus played on past the point that most everyone thought he should - in a "dead draw" - and it was discussed here. Well, the kid won that game to the surprise of many and the dismissive comments of a few that it would have been a draw if his opponent had played it right! Like finding the right moves isn't what the game is all about anyway.
I say more power to the GM who wants to test the walls for cracks.
The gentlemanly thing of acceeding the draw because of politeness should be out with starched collars. We're breaking new ground here.

The guy plays out an advantageous, if drawn ending, and people are complaining. And if he had agreed to a draw earlier -lack of fighting spirit, what's wrong with Magnus, etc... lol.

So the game is a draw after move 41 or so? Care to prove? Obviously at least Carlsen did. And I am glad he did.

I do not know if white had many chances to go wrong or if his play was more or less clear throughout the last 130 moves. But at least we were not left wondering if black could have won the game.

This discussion about "should Carlsen have played on or not?" is unreal. As if uncontested draws do not exist in chess. They do, and way too many of them.

As it was written above, isn't it all about finding the right moves, even under time pressure?

Too often, players do not battle it out, assuming their opponent wont err at some point. Magnus' 2826 were in part a result of this "show me you don't make a mistake in 60 moves" mentality, when he won games where the "dead draw" comment count was at 1000+.

Thank you, Magnus, for playing on!

Agreed with your sentiments, but we are not really breaking new ground; that honour rests with a certain Robert James Fischer.

As in "of course not" to draw offers even when having an inferior position, and playing out almost to bare kings often. I remember David Levy saying in "How Fischer Plays Chess" that he was in Larry Evans' hotel room and Larry was showing him his game against Polugaevsky (Not 100% sure, could have been against somebody else), where he had the option to go for a pawn up ending that was well known to be theoretically drawn (again, my memory may be inexact, but if not a pawn-up rook ending, some other ending that had a nominal advantage which however was a known theoretical draw). Larry had instead chosen another variation, which had also ended up in a draw. Fischer had criticised Larry for not going for the theoretically drawn endgame saying "Polugaevsky is weak, he won't know that ending"!

So Fischer was well ahead of Carlsen in all respects, in torturing his opponents in endgames that were drawn with best play but had some life and required precision, in not agreeing to draws except in totally sterile positions, and in believing his illustrious Grand Master opponents didn't know their basic endings...

Btw, such endgame maestros as Petrosian and Taimanov have failed miserably against Fischer when examined in this way...

Fischer avoided e4, one of the very rare cases in his career. Afraid of "weakie"'s Najdorf? : )


(Strangely, Karpov also had a low opinion of Lev. Maybe due to their match where the latter missed several promising opportunities and also failed to win a won game).

In principle, I don't have an objection to seeing a chess struggle that features such Stakhanovistic exertions. And, as the cited game against Ponomariov demonstrates, Carlsen has had success in winning Drawn games, by continuing to play, and create problems for Ponomariov. In the end, Ponomariov cracked, and lost a game that he ought to have saved without too much difficulty.

At Morelia-Linares in 2008, Carlsen won a long (80 moves) game against Shirov,in which Shirov was worse but was managing to hold after lengthy maneuvering. Then, at the very end, Shirov cracked (probably due to Time Pressure and/or exhaustion), and missed the drawing line.

As long as Top level players like Ponomariov and Shirov keep giving him points in such situations, Carlsen has every incentive to play on.

The only question was whether Carlsen played on to move 174 by dint of legitimate winning efforts, or was he simply shifting his pieces around, hoping for Shirov to flag or blunder?

If it was the latter, then it shows a certain contempt for his peer. Of course, it is beginning to seem as though Carlsen only considers Anand to be his peer, and maybe not even him...) I was surprised that Shirov managed to survive such a test for 130+, moves. If Shirov's position was worse, it was a microscopic disadvantage, and evidently not all that tricky to hold.

Would Carlsen had played on for so long if he had the same position against Anand? Or even against Kramnik? I suspect not.

Would Carlsen had played on for so long if his particular tournament position wasn't what it was: 2 Losses, Bottom of the Crosstable, and playing a "customer" of his? Probably not.

Carsen also admitted that he was motivated by the fact that there was a Rest Day before the next round.

Still, there is no doubt that Carlsen was exploiting the nature of the Time Control for all he could. While the per move Time Bonus sufficed for Shirov to play well enough to save the game, there is no reason why a player ought to rely on it for solely for 100+ moves.

This game illustrates the need for continuning time controls, in addition to the Time Bonus.
I like the idea of having a Time Control at Move 40 (adding 60 minutes) as at the Bilbao Tournament. However, I prefer the option of then adding 15 minutes at Move 60. This Time Controlis still seen on occasion.

It is rare for a game to go longer than 80 moves, but if it does, I think that the players should continue to get an additional 15 Minutes.

Even at 174 moves, the Shirov--Carlsen game only lasted 5 hours, 40 minutes. Adding 2 Time Controls of 15 minutes each, per player, only extends the playing session by 60 minutes.

From there, there could be additional time injections every 30-40 moves. For an extraordinarily long game, approaching 200 moves, I don't think that a playing session lasting about 8 hours would be inappropriately long.

I'm not sure of the effect of adding those Time Controls, but I suspect that Carlsen would have much less incentive to grind away in as similar position, if his opponent was reguarly being given "time to catch breath". In any case, the clock would be less of a factor in determining the result, which is always a good thing in anything more consequential than blitz or Armegeddon style chess.

DOug wrote: "The only question was whether Carlsen played on to move 174 by dint of legitimate winning efforts, or was he simply shifting his pieces around, hoping for Shirov to flag or blunder?

If it was the latter, then it shows a certain contempt for his peer."

Hah. Care to give at least one argument for that assertion? In every game of chess I ever played I hoped an opponent wouldn't see a certain move or just blunder and hand the win over to me. That hope is natural and has nothing to do with contempt.
However, most blunders at the 2750+ level are not the result of simply shifting pieces. And actually it would have been Carlsen in danger of hanging a piece, since it should be harder to protect three of them than one, even a queen.

Time, as well as the pieces and the board, is a central part of the game. If you manage to create a lot of early problems for your opponent where he consumes much of his time then there is no reason why one should not profit from it at a later stage even if the game might be a draw with best play.
Trying to flag an opponent by creating problems for him is as legitimate as a mating attack.

In short: if you feel your position is safe and you are the only one who could play for a win, then go for it, no matter if the position looks drawish. And if it takes a blunder or a flag to win, so be it. After all, both players start with the same time and the same chance to commit a blunder or a mistake.

No contempt on Carlsens side whatsoever. Just a true love for the game.

P.S. And yes, he would have played on in that position even against Kramnik or Anand.

"So the game is a draw after move 41 or so? Care to prove? Obviously at least Carlsen did. And I am glad he did."

Me too. Carlsen isn't much different than Topalov and Nakamura in this regard. They all tend to play things out to the bitter end and it wouldn't be at all surprising for these other two to play a game like this out also.

I think the complainers prefer more gentlemanly chess.

"I say more power to the GM who wants to test the walls for cracks.
The gentlemanly thing of acceeding the draw because of politeness should be out with starched collars. We're breaking new ground here."

Let Carlsen test away! But I see no harm in adhering to a tacit code of competition. For instance, it used to be the case in cycling races that the top competitors would not attack the race leader, in the event that leader lost time in a minor crash. Or jockeys would try to avoid trampling their brethren, even if it meant pulling up on the reins.

Seriously, according to Game Theory, Carlsen's decision to play this way ought to have consequences. Namely, that many of the other players in the "Guild" of top chessplayers will tacitly agree to treat Carlsen in the same way, if the opportunity arises (when his opponents have even just a wisp of an advantage, which might not happen so often!).

But, this is akin to "Bitter End-ing" in a defeat, and is unlikely to endear Carlsen to his rivals on the elite tournament Circuit. Time may come when Carlsen has the flu, or a raging headache, and would appreciate some "starch collared" politeness from a strong opponent, with a less than pitched battle on the chessboard.

By the way, the reason why Professional players generally *Don't* play to stretch out (nearly) equal positions to 175 moves is that it is rarely even in their short term interest to do so. The game is likely to be drawn anyway, and all of the extra effort will have been for nought. Worse, they will find themselves with (somewhat) less energy in the coming rounds.

But we can be pretty confident that Carlsen will a adopt similar strategy, if he gets to play a match of length against Anand or Kramnik. Not that playing long games to exhaust his match opponent worked all that well for Topalov....

d_tal: Btw, such endgame maestros as Petrosian and Taimanov have failed miserably against Fischer when examined in this way...

Interesting choice of words (re Taimanov)!

Another observation ...


Every player plays on if he sees winning chances. Have you ever watched Leko or Kramnik squeeze out tiny advantages in (nearly) equal positions?

This game was special because of the unique combination of pieces. The decision to play to the end was logical given the circumstances.

"No contempt on Carlsens side whatsoever."

Your opinion (or mine) doesn't really matter.
What matters are the conclusions drawn by Carlsen's peers at the top level.
If Carlson's choice to win by "any means necessary" is deemed to violate tacitly accepted norms, then there will be consequences...eventually. Topalov's "tactics" won him the 5th game of his match against Kramnik. But when the time came for Topalo to play Anand, he found the considerable talents of nearly all of his (and Anand's) rivals all opting to help out Vishy.

Frankly, I think that you'd be a bit exasperated if you were playing a game, which simplified to K+R vs. K+R, and your opponent insisted on playing out to the 50 move Claim.

Or, this position, with your opponent White:
and a Pawn on a2


Imagine that you are in time pressure:

Only after 49 moves of shuffling the King or Bishop does your opponent move his pawn...to a3
Another 50 moves before the pawn is moved to a4
etc., etc., etc....

You'd probably think that your opponent is a complete jerk.

Obviously, these above situations are egregious, and in no way analogous to the Shirov--Carlsen game. However, according to Super-GM conventions, Carlsen may well be perceived as acting like a Jerk, and of treating Shirov with contempt.

"Time, as well as the pieces and the board, is a central part of the game."

Seriously? It's as if you think that a Player's Time Management skills are as important as his tactical and strategic skill?

Maybe you ought to put together an anthology of games featuring superior rationing of alloted time.

Lets see:
"100 Immortal wins by Time Forfeit"?
Amazingly, just when Player X was was about to deliver checkmate after some "brilliant" sacrifices on the Chessboard, it was pointed out by player Y that his flag had fallen just before he executed the mating move.

"My opponent was shocked: It was only move 39, but I had sensed my opponent, in his time pressure, was glancing at my scoresheet. Unfortunately for him, I "inadvertantly" wrote down the same move twice! Pretty clever, eh?"

"Infinite Moves: Flagging your opponent in Dead Drawn positions"

"....My 86 years old opponent, with his palsied hands, finally lost the game when he tried to pick up his Knight, but only knocked it over and off the table. I'm particularly proud of the fact that I didn't help him pick up the piece"

The Art and Skill of Superior Clock Management:

"I simply adopted a strategy in the tournament of taking the alloted time to Time Control, and dividing my time by the number of moves I needed to make. I made my moves every 2 minutes, without exception, and ended up with a perfectly even distribution of my alloted time."
See attached graph

"I'm proud to say that I won the Best Clock Management Prize for the event"

"You can keep your Kasparov or Alekhinem with their beautiful tactics and profound strategies: what is remarkable about GM Fastmovovich is not his Tournament record, or the number of Titles won, but the fact that he has never been in Zeitnot in his career. Not even a hint of Time Pressure....ever!!"

Chess is bigger than the Clock. If organizers are striving to have a serious (Classical length) event, and they allow the Clock to become the dominant or decisive factor in the game or the Championship, then in my opinion they have demonstrated incompetence.

This goes for the Krush--Zatonskih fiasco, this goes for elite level games without time bonus, and this goes for a game where a player has to survive 100+ moves on increment.

Wow, check out Fred Lucas' photo gallery of Bilbao!


With respect to Magnus, the wrong Carlsen is modeling; check out photo 18 of his sister Ingrid playing chess. She is quite charming!

Starting with general points, then getting back to Shirov-Carlsen:

You are certainly right about Fischer (I cannot tell, it was before my time ...) but he wasn't the only one among currently dead or less active players. A famous Korchnoi quote about slightly better but drawish endings is (replying to a draw offer or "claim") "not yet - it's a draw but you'll have to prove it". But I don't know if he talked like that to fellow world top players, or only to nominally weaker opponents. I just find it a bit odd that Fischer criticized Evans ... isn't it any player's choice which continuation he considers the most promising one, and even if Fischer can successfully "examine" Polugaevsky, Evans might not be capable of the same.

But methinks kenhabeeb is also right that playing out endgame became more common recently, yet I think it started before London 2009 and McShane's game. I see two reasons for this:
1) ever faster time controls particularly at later stages in the game, hence it requires less effort to play on and on and on and chances for success (an opponent blundering under time pressure) increase. This is especially the case if - in addition to a nominally better position - you also have a substantial advantage on the clock. I am not sure whether Shirov would have preferred to defend his position for seven or ten hours, but I also doubt that Carlsen would have wanted to play on until midnight or beyond.
2) Sofia rules which encourage or even enforce such behavior: there are situations (and Shirov-Carlsen is an example) where it isn't easy to find a move repetition, or simplify into a completely drawn position.

Now if DOug (and Dennis Monokroussos suggested the same) is right that Carlsen was only hoping for a blunder or flag fall ... : What would we write if the game had ended in such a way? We might blame Shirov, to some extent deservedly - if only for his poor time management earlier in the game (e.g. spending 33 minutes on 17.d5, a move he had played before in exactly the same position). Would we praise Carlsen? Personally, I would consider it a pity if the game ended in such a way - after their earlier play (which was creative if not perfect by engine standards) neither player deserved to lose.

Thanks - one of my favorites is #9: dress code for players, but clearly not for photographers ... .

DOug care to explain what do mean by Carlsen was playing a "customer" of his? As far as I know Carlsen's all time score against Shirov is 3 wins 2 losses and 7 draws. Hardly a "customer".

Me: "Time, as well as the pieces and the board, is a central part of the game."

Doug: Seriously? It's as if you think that a Player's Time Management skills are as important as his tactical and strategic skill?

Me: Are you denying that time is a part of chess? Yes or no? If yes, then why do they push the clock after each move? If no, then it doesn't matter how big its part is.

A pawn is part of the game and yet I am not copmparing it's importance to that of the king or a rook, etc. It's simply a part of the game. And time is a part of the game as well. Not hard to understand, really.

If you are a pawn up in a drawish position, go for it. If you are 30 minutes up in a drawish position, go for it. Doesn't matter how important the part of the pawn or time is for the game of chess. But it is a part, so use it for your good.

Funny, how in many earlier posts you mentioned several occasions where you say an opponent cracked under time pressure (happens quite often, actually) and then you say time management plays no role whatsoever.
And even if the flag never falls, many games are de facto won on time, as many mistakes and blunders happen right around time controls with little time left on the clock.

ZEITNOT is not chess vocabulary for no reason.

And now go on fantasizing about game theory and how Carlsens peers should react and all that nonsense. Or get over Carlsens 175 moves game. It's yours to choose.

Quote 1:

"I like the idea of having a Time Control at Move 40 (adding 60 minutes) as at the Bilbao Tournament. However, I prefer the option of then adding 15 minutes at Move 60. This Time Controlis still seen on occasion.
It is rare for a game to go longer than 80 moves, but if it does, I think that the players should continue to get an additional 15 Minutes."

Ok, we can agree on this. Makes sense.

Quote 2:

"Or, this position, with your opponent White:
and a Pawn on a2
Imagine that you are in time pressure:
Only after 49 moves of shuffling the King or Bishop does your opponent move his pawn...to a3
Another 50 moves before the pawn is moved to a4
etc., etc., etc...."

I'd definitely think that my opponent was a jerk in this case. I'll tell you what I'd probably do:

I'd take a long, thorough 2-second think and play Kb8, then think for another 2 seconds about my next move and play the king back to a8.

With a 30 second increment, I'd collect an extra 28 seconds on the clock after each move. In the 250 moves it takes until he plays a7, I'd build up something like 2 hours on the clock. When it's clear that his next move will be stalemate, I'll leave the board while it's still my turn and start walking around in the playing hall.

After 1 hour 55 minutes I'll return to the board and make my move. He will have to wait me out, or if he wants to leave earlier he'll have to resign the game. That should teach him.

Quote 3:

"Obviously, these above situations are egregious, and in no way analogous to the Shirov--Carlsen game. However, according to Super-GM conventions, Carlsen may well be perceived as acting like a Jerk, and of treating Shirov with contempt."

I agree that your examples are not analogous to Shirov vs. Carlsen. You seem to believe that some super-GMs disagree with you and me on this. Do you have some reason to believe this, or is it pure speculation on your part?

Do you really believe that 3 pieces and pawns versus Q and pawns is equivalent to K+R v K+R?

Was Carlsen trying to clock Shirov, or hoping for him to drop dead, or commit a blunder with his palsied hands?

Are you a super-GM? Do you have any evidence that super-GMs were offended by Carlsen's play?

Without evidence on my part, I will speculate that the organizers and spectators were delighted and excited to see a hard-fought game. I know I was.

Seeing Carlsen being criticized for trying so hard to win that endgame is a surreal experience. Completely bizarre. I would even have guessed that it was objectively won myself. Now I suppose it was not, but there must have been quite decent practical chances, especially for such a resourceful player as Carlsen. And the longer you try the bigger are those chances.. (that either you find a winning plan "independently" or that your opponent makes a critical mistake, etc)

It must have given a sense of playing minesweeper to Shirov! Everytime he had to move the queen in the ending, mostly he had to find a square on the queenside where he can safely drop his queen. I believe earlier he had dropped his rook on a landmine that he now had to be extra careful with his queen.

Mr. Lucas is a genius at this kind of work, indeed.

Or it must have been a different piece game for Shirov from like 50 forward where he had to play like Ludo or like a chutes and ladder where he had to use just 1 piece, you know. All along he was moving his Queen finding some rest for her at times with His Majesty's help.

I know how much the super GMs enjoyed this Shirov-
Carlsen ending!! See for yourself..


"Seeing Carlsen being criticized for trying so hard to win that endgame is a surreal experience. Completely bizarre. I would even have guessed that it was objectively won myself."

Shirov said after the game that he thought the endgame might be lost for him, so all the talk about Carlsen's "idiocy" is surreal to say the least.

"Shirov said after the game that he thought the endgame might be lost for him,"

-This quote says it all. End of discussion.


(But of course dislikers of Carlsen might go on forever criticizing his tie, jaw, income, career or whatever hook they can hang their anger on).

Okay, I didn't know that. Really says it all, yes.

I was following this on ICC. When LarryC fired up his computer, way into the marathon Shirov-Carlsen game, he was surprised to find that the computer evaluated the position as =, he had been convinced that black had chances.

People criticizing Carlsen here are just revealing their lack of respect for the game, and the fact that they have substituted their brains for prechewed PSU.

"End of discussion" makes sense to me, because everything has been said. But claiming victory for your side in the debate, I am not convinced ... . Of course (as far as I am concerned) it made sense to continue after move 41: black had a nominal advantage, and it was worth a try to convert it into something tangible. The issue is whether it was still warranted to continue beyond move 80 or 100 or 120, when it became clear(er) that black couldn't make progress. It is and remains a matter of opinion, regardless of whether Shirov or other experts thought or said that he had "losing chances" at some stage.

General point: if anyone criticizes Carlsen for something he does or says, it doesn't (necessarily) mean that he "structurally" dislikes him as a person. Love him or hate him ... or somewhere in between.

Shipov's commentating on Carlsen-Kramnik today and I'm translating it live(-ish) here: http://www.chessintranslation.com/live-game/

He's clearly setting up Kramnik for a fall :)

At great peril of stating the profoundly obvious to those who read your rather over-frequent posts, I suppose the statement "But claiming victory for your side in the debate, I am not convinced ..." makes you a... "Doubting Thomas"? (insert rim-shot here)

Today's game between Anand vs Shirov is interesting. Both positions are ugly.

How nice to see my beloved e4 again at last. It's been bad enough seeing one of its greatest champions ditch it at crucial stages of his career!!

I guess you mean Anand ... he never ditched 1.e4 completely, only during WCh matches.
Apparently Shirov plays this (ugly!?) McCutcheon variation for the first time ever - surprising his opponent, and being ahead on the clock at least for the time being.

"ditch it at crucial stages of his career!!"
that was clear enough, wasn't it?? did I say anything about "completely"?
Anyway, nice mix today, positional battle one board tactical another. The Norwegian is playing an English against the Russian while the now- Spaniard is playing a French against the Indian, very multiculti.

OK, (to me) "stages" combined with "e4 again at last" sounded like 'it's been a very long time' ... . In the meantime, it looks like something went wrong with Shirov's preparation - the idea of 15.Qf6 could hardly be a surprise in that position, but he took about half an hour for his reply.

I'm not sure it's that clear in Anand-Shirov, although it's hard to tell right now ;)

I won't be at home today for press conference (unless both games last really long) so if someone can capture the stream i will make a pleasure of translating it later, if possible. This tournament reminds me a bit of Linares ambiance, i mean, the very top players (i think we can count Shirov there or at least sometimes there") with the feeling it's extremely hard as there are no easy ones.

Shirov played the McCutcheon!!!! I've been waiting ages for some top GM to show how to play the McCutcheon, but I have a feeling this won't be it! He's treading a very fine line there..

Hard to choose which game to concentrate on today.
Tactical fireworks vs positional maneuvering.
They are both interesting.

Thank you for your translation! Some of the best chess commentary...so eloquent...a real credit to Shipov and to mishanp (anyone who's read really butchered translation will know what I mean)!

I think Rf3 by Carlsen was a mistake, and that Rf5 had to be played.

Man! Shirov may need a vacation after these last two rounds. Having to defend that 174 move endgame against Carlsen and now having to defend this position against Anand (although he's generating some counter play now).

Shirov looks dead lost to me after Anand's 28. Qg7!

Anand just played 28 Qg7, instead of the natural 28 Nf7+.
Wonder why.

Carlsen-Kramnik. Like the previous games, Carlsen allowed the files to be opened (with 32 f4) and now, again, Kramnik's rooks own the g and h files. Also, looks like it might have been better to have take on d4 with the knight instead of the bishop. In this position black's bishop is better than white's knight, I think.

Wow, I missed Shirov 28. ... Qa4! :-) So it was a perp.. wonder whether Anand missed a win. I really thought Black looked a goner..

don't have enough time to check (jumps between two games) but I think 28 Nf7+ would have won.

With Shipov's comment it feels just like playing oneself. He dives into the position, looking what to do next. He is best when he describes how they poke around for small advantages during the quiet phases of the game, where lesser commentators just give a bored "nothing happens".

I like 45 ... rb3+ before taking the knight. A little finesse to drive the king back first.
Next the a5 pawn will fall.

And after 28.. kc6 ?

Nice choice of word, roamingwind, I've just given it to Shipov :) (I had "nuance")

Carlsen seems to know his Capablanca "the pawn that controls two". With best play this must be a draw after 59...Rxf5. Should the b7 pawn move it's exchanged for the a5 pawn and the resulting rook and a-pawn vs rook is a draw as well as the rookless rook pawn endgame. Great hold by Carlsen, his turn to survive a little endgame torture.

Yes, quite impressive if he saw this rook endgame coming when he played 17.a5 ,:) . More likely: the position was always drawn despite Kramnik's (pawn) advantage, Carlsen didn't do anything special because he didn't have to do anything special.

60...Kc6. Unlike Magnus's fair handling of Shirov yesterday, this you can argue is getting to be disrespectful.

Maybe alez is again typing at the same time ... . The press conference was relatively short, it's late already ... .

Kramnik said that the rook ending was "close to winning", but never actually won. Something about missing just one tempo (didn't get which position he meant) - "you can't win every game". I had some trouble understanding Carlsen's words about the endgame, at some stage both players discussed variations together looking at LG's computer screen.

On the earlier part of the game, Carlsen said that the idea of 17.a5 was to follow up with a6 (also Shipov's suggestion), but suddenly he didn't like something about it. Also consistent with Shipov, he called 36.Bd4: inaccurate and 36.Nd4: "the proper way to reach a draw".

My own opinion on the final stage: playing 10 or 15 redundant moves isn't such a big deal and may be required by Sofia rules - at least their proponents argue that even weak amateurs have to understand why players agreed to an unavoidable draw.

"More likely: the position was always drawn despite Kramnik's (pawn) advantage, Carlsen didn't do anything special because he didn't have to do anything special."

Agreed. Of course, me coming to realize that is always about 10 moves after the GM's do, but that's the plight of all fish.

dude, Carlsen had the white pieces today. Generally, you try to WIN with the white pieces; not just survive.

For those who didn't listen to chessfm radio today, it was an interesting discussion especially toward the end of that game when various strong GMS chimed in via email etc to say they believed the game should be drawn. Caruana was one of them, and probably the earliest to call the outcome.

One other thing I wanted to say earlier: I had the distinct pleasure (not) of playing a cc game earlier this year where I had queen + pawn v. rook and knight + pawn. It ended drawn as the books predict, but it was stressful!

Any press conf info on Anand-Shirov ? How much of it was into Shirov's preparation ?

Was surprising to see Carlsen play the English opening against Kramnik , one of the greatest experts in such type of quiet and highly strategical positions .

It's like trying to beat a Japanese at Shogi . I thought Carlsen would go for something sharp to try to bounce back from his recent losses and make his tactical skills and stamina shine .

But seeing that he chose 1.c4 , it seems his confidence has been affected more seriously than expected , maybe he wants to avoid losing the rest of the games then forget about this tournament and have some rest though

Maybe he should have some lessons with Kasparov again in a few months , to find back the Karlsen of Nanjing :p

Might not be easy to handle pressure and success that came so quickly , Kasparov could help him here too probably

xy, remember Carlsen beat Kramnik with the English Opening in London last December, so you can't blame the opening as such (of course this time it can't have had the same surprise value it might have had back then).

Interesting mishanp , i had forgotten about that one . Perhaps it is only me then , but the English opening 's lack of immediate pressure and the freedom it gives to Black to develop never really convinced me of its efficiency at the highest level , it looks like an eccentric choice or like you said , a surprise weapon like when Carlsen used the King's Gambit and won

Still , i hope that Carlsen will bounce back , he has been winning a lot of games for almost 2 years non stop , everybody tells him every day that he's the most beautiful thing that ever happenned since sliced bread , so it must not be easy for him to keep his feet on the ground , put himself into question like the old guard Anand and Kramnik , who also had difficult period during their career and managed to come back stronger . I think that tiredeness + pressure + complacency is an unhealthy combination hitting Carlsen at the moment , but i also think it can be overcome quickly in a matter of weeks

Shirov's side of the board was set on fire and Shirov had to do a fire fighting job. I believe towards the late middle and end Anand played it safe and settled for a draw. Highly complicated and tactical position though.

alez missed that press conference, so did I (and I wouldn't have understood much anyway as Anand and Shirov both talk in Spanish). But from watching live, Shirov was in deep thought after the logical 15.Qf6, so his preparation wasn't very deep?! And (according to chessgames.com) he never played the McCutcheon before - all the more amazing that he survived in the complications while many, including Shipov, were already preparing for his funeral. In a way, he fought fire with petrol going for a counterattack on white's also vulnerable king.

He actually thought for 20+ minutes after 14.h5 already, which was quite a surprise as he had blitzed to that point - could he really not have considered that in his prep!?

27. Bb2 is a move that Carlsen ended up wishing he hadn't made. He would have liked to save that tempo, and have the B assisting the kingside advance.

But he put it on b2.

from d_tal: "And after 28.. kc6 ?"

sorry for the late reply ... been working for a living.
I think 28 Qe7 threatening 29 Qd6+.
Say 28 ... Qa4 29 Qd6+ Kb5 30 Rhb1+ Ka4 31 Qc7+ +-

28 ...Rxf7 29 Qxf7 Qa4, now it is White's to move (as opposed to in the game it was black to move in this position) so white would have one extra tempo to deal with black's Qc2+.

from mishanp: "Nice choice of word, roamingwind, I've just given it to Shipov :)"

Glad to be able to make a minute contribution to your wonderful site and stranslation.

Okaayyyy...not really the point. I was referring to Carlsen trying to survive a worse endgame, NOT playing to purposefully defend a worse endgame as White. If by your comment you meant that Carlsen wasted a chance at victory with White, I agree. All in all, a difficult month over the board for young Magnus.

btw, Dennis Monokroussos has the same evaluation for
28 ... Kc6; with a note that "29 Rhc1 may be even better.".

Some of he dirts appeal used to be migloids references to kasparovs thoughts on chess events/players - there's nothing but silence theae days. It looks like blogging has become a chore that he dreads and he can barely summon up the energy to type a few lines or even twitter

Sorry about the misunderstanding, Zinger. By the way, I think that's spelled 'ohhhhhkay.' ;)

You're right, there are relatively simple forcing lines. Very unlike Anand to miss these.

"the English opening ... really convinced me of its efficiency at the highest level"

It seems that Aronian and Gelfand disagree - both play it quite regularly and with relatively good results. In very similar 1.c4 e5 lines, Aronian has wins against Shirov (Bilbao 2009) and Topalov (Morelia-Linares 2008) - true, in both cases he didn't get much from the opening, but that's not the point.

And in a different line, he found one of the most spectacular novelties of the current millennium (9.Qa4!!?):

Oops, cut too much from xy's quote - of course it should be "never really convinced me"! Where's the edit function??

The edit function is "don't be in such a hurry to always want to say something before you proofread what you are about to say."

Should work for you.


Well... chesshire cat, this thread is our last stand. We cannot let them win!

Some positive spam :)


Shipov's finally commentating on a Shirov game! You'd think Carlsen will be desperate to win... and Shirov will be Shirov... so it should be spectacular. (Though after saying that it'll probably be a quick draw!)

Both games are nothing right now. All four of them seem content to fluff around and draw. Perhaps when they get to the ending something may be of interest. Years ago, the ending used to be boring. Now, because there is no adjournment, all sorts of bizarre things happen. Not so in the opening, which is gotten to be just a memory excerise.


Agree with you to some extent, Hag. Take a look at Hort-Korchnoi, which is just beginning, if you want some relief.

Maybe there is a point about "opening ... just a memory exerise [sic, what about proofreading?]" but this phase seems to be over now, at least for Kramnik and Shirov. But why do you think that all four players are happy with a draw?

Very good. I think they are only waiting, and if their opponent screws up, then they pounce. If their opponent does not screw up, then so be it...draw.

That's what chess is like - you can only win if your opponent makes at least one mistake or inaccuracy. Even squared Bilbao rules (nine points for a win, one for a draw) wouldn't change anything.

Just a short summary of the Kramnik-Anand press conference (have to rush away in a minute). As Anand talked in Spanish, I didn't understand much - something about "psychologically interesting" and the Bonn match. Then he gave some variations which really impressed LG - they appeared on his computer screen, Kramnik looking at them smiled and seemed to agree.

Kramnik: The double pawn sacrifice wasn't just meant to force a draw, he believed that he would have some chances to end up with a better position. In some line he "forgot" that his rook ends up on e2 (after the queen exchange) rather than e1 - don't ask me why this would be relevant.

On the obvious question about their chances to win the event, both gave the obvious answer that the tournament isn't over yet. Kramnik: "As far as I understand, if Vishy doesn't win I can do whatever I want ... but of course I don't plan to lose tomorrow". Was he making a bit fun of the Bilbao rules? Who (among his detractors) would have predicted that they might favor 'Drawnik' in the end??

Looks like Carlsen is close to beating Shirov and getting back over 2800. Will the Pearl Spring tournament (Oct 18-29) be rated in time for the official November FIDE ratings? If not, then tomorrow's Anand-Carlsen match will determine who officially finishes 2010 as year-end world #1.

In Carlsen-Shirov, Shipov criticized 32. Qe3, suggesting 32. f4 instead, but giving only 32...Nd7. After 32...Ng4! it looks to me as though Black has great counterplay (Qxe4+ is coming winning the B on d4)...would be interesting to see what the computer engines think.

"It seems that Aronian and Gelfand disagree - both play it quite regularly and with relatively good results. In very similar 1.c4 e5 lines, Aronian has wins against Shirov (Bilbao 2009) and Topalov (Morelia-Linares 2008) - true, in both cases he didn't get much from the opening, but that's not the point.

And in a different line, he found one of the most spectacular novelties of the current millennium (9.Qa4!!?):

Interestng Thomas , i believe you have a point and you guys convinced me to study the English more seriously

However i still tend to think that statistically , it's not really a prolific opening at the top GM level , as i thought the percentage of draws and black enjoying pressure and excellent control of the center is quite high compared to say 1.d4 or e4 . Of course White always has the advantage whatever "main" system he plays (1-e4/d4/Nf3/c4) as long as he plays strongly , because of the extra white tempi .

When i look at top GM like Topalov or Anand who both rely on very strong opening preparation and win so many games thanks to it , i tended to think Super GM who are looking to bounce back should also fight for an opening advantage at the top level , to gain some pressure and psychological edge , i phrased badly when i said 1-c4 is eccentric , i was thinking about the term "unambitious" , i thought that playing the English somewhat limited his options for gaining an edge in the opening.

But of course there are numerous examples of victories by Kasparov , Korchnoi etc even Fischer played it occasionnally , Ivanchuk who plays everything or Aronian , it is surely a deadly system when White knows exactly what he's doing or when Blacks pushes to much to avoid a draw

don't have time to follow the games today. Just glanced at Carlsen-Shirov game. That's a pretty formation on the f-file - bishop followed by 3 pawns.
All the planets line up properly -- doomsday for Shirov. Too bad, he plays such exciting chess.

hm ... but didn't they just have a similar endgame
few days ago? :-).
May be all is not lost for Shirov?
Another marathon? Hope Shipov and mishanp have
enough food supply :-)

Carlsen is about to win his game , that's a welcome relief for him , if he wins a few more in the next event he'll be back on top in term of confidence .

Quite disappointed for Shirov though , he lost to Kramnik because of the opening advantage Vladimir got after he reacted badly to Bb3 . I hope Alexei will not be too affected , he tried to play for a win in every game but wasn't lucky

Anyway , here Carlsen played 1-e4 , and had a really good game since the opening phase , apparently , the silicon intelligence says Shirov got a bad game since he took on d4 on move 25 , when he perhaps should have kept the bishop pair and played Nd7

Well in fact he was lucky against Anand when vishy could have played Nf7 yesterday , but by lucky i meant he could not give his best at the right moment and get some positions where he would have had more chances to win . but i nevertheless appreciated Shirov's never say die attitude and fighting spirit since the Olympiad anyway and wishes him the best

Can shirov hold this position? Not according to Rybka but can someone throw some light on this?

In the press conference Shirov said he was surprised by Carlsen's 17.Na7. Magnus said it's a move one doesn't make without home preparation, honestly.

So on a tie at the end of the tournament, is there a tie break game or any rules to determine the winner. Its possible if Anand wins (he has white against Carlsen), although its unlikely Carlsen will lose again to Anand and Kramnik draws -- both will be at 10 points.

Just in case anyone was following Shipov's translation - originally here: http://www.chessintranslation.com/live-game/ and wondered what happened to it mid-way through... (when Shipov thought Shirov might survive)

...I ended up having to finish it here: http://www.chessintranslation.com/2010/10/shipovs-live-commentary-on-carlsen-shirov/

For some reason I can't edit that first page at all at the moment.

Thanks mishanp, those translations are very enjoyable.

I'm glad people appreciate it! Shipov seemed to be taking a bit of a beating on Chessbomb, though his defenders outnumbered his detractors - if anyone has a premium account there could you please point out to "TheSame", when he says for the 20th time that "Shipov never reached 2600", that of course he did (and would probably have been 2700 by today's standards) - not that chess strength and the ability to commentate necessarily have much correlation!

I think I've solved the problem with my site now...

A long time ago my father said, 'you're never going to please everybody.' In a wider sense, I understand that well now.
I can't imagine anyone with any sense making such derogatory comments, but as we all know...

"please point out to "TheSame", when he says for the 20th time"

sounds like Thesame and irv should form a club together.

Thanks for the translations!

ditto. Great job mishanp.

Seen from a different angle: nobody would consider the Sicilian an unambitious opening, let alone an eccentric one - so the Sicilian with an extra tempo (1.c4 e5) can't be THAT bad?! A priori, white should have at least the same winning chances as black in the Sicilian and less losing chances (with the extra tempo)? I know it isn't that simple, I won't go into detail due to space constraints as well as lack of (my) chess understanding.

A different story is that white couldn't be happy with the outcome of the English opening in two recent very high level games - the other one I have in mind is Anand-Topalov from their WCh match. This may be primarily because white didn't "know exactly what he's doing" - lack of practice in such structures, and they don't really fit their style?

From the other end of the opening spectrum: Kramnik had very bad results with the Najdorf. This doesn't mean that the Najdorf is a bad opening, nor that Kramnik is a bad player - just that Kramnik and Najdorf (the opening, not the person! ,:) ) aren't friends of each other ... .

Well , from my understanding , the Sicilian Najdorf with Black does really well , aside from the fact that it is full of theory and tactical nuances , there is also no way back for White as soon as he enters it , it becomes a very sharp positions , precisely because White expands and challenge openly the black position , occupying the space black left to White (by playing passive structural moves a6,e6,d6 , whereas White play only active moves ) . When you expand , you take risks and leave weakness behind which allows counter-play and sharp positions .

However IMHO reversed Sicilian is a completely different thing , even though the structure is the same , the dynamics of the position is not the same because Black is a tempo down and is generally not willing to expand and go for the white King (like White does against the Najdorf )simply because it is not possible as White is also tempo up . So it is more drawish than usual whereas the real Najdorf is think the system where Black wins the most against White at GM level , i don't know a top GM that did not play it at some point

It is the same in the King's Indian , if White does not want to attack , usually there isn't much counterplay for black hence why many love to use the Saemisch when they want to torture a KI player into an slightly worse endgame quite often , well that is my opinion and also my experience in the Benoni , if White is not aggressive but playing solid chess , there is little potential for Black if he's looking for winning at all costs

For Kramnik i think he doesn't do as well in the Najdorf probably because even though his calculation ability is amazing , he's very uch an old school player who prefer more stable positions where he can shine more through strategical subtelties and endgame technique , i may be wrong though

You are right 'xy', the same with Catalan vs. Grunfeld, very different dyanmics ..you play the Catalan for a small but enduring edge while Grunfeld needs to be played tactically and striving to unbalnace the game otherwise you will be toasted positionally.

Here's the cleaned up and "all in the same place :)" version of Shipov's commentary today on Carlsen - Shirov. It was quite an epic win in the end... http://www.chessintranslation.com/2010/10/shipovs-live-commentary-on-carlsen-shirov/

Thank you for your post. I learn so much here.

"That's what chess is like - you can only win if your opponent makes at least one mistake or inaccuracy." (Or, in other incarnations, "the normal result of a chess game is a draw")

I beg you, somebody tell me how do you know this?

Otherwise, I'll keep believing that this is the most cowardly, sheepishly, out-of-habit held urban legend I've ever seen. The only proof ever given is reference to some authority preaching the dogma. Well worthy of middle age medical practices.

I essentially agree with your points about Sicilian vs. reversed Sicilian and hinted at the same ("it's not that simple ..."). However, not every Sicilian is a Najdorf - I mentioned "Kramnik and the Najdorf" just as an example that an opening can be bad for one player while it isn't bad (only risky) in general. And even within the Najdorf, white can choose quieter setups, e.g. Karpov's 6.Be2 or the positional 6.Be3 e5 7.Nf3 followed by castling short. Black can still get active play along the c-file, whether this implies winning chances is another story. But a draw is usually considered a fine result for black - unless the white player is significantly weaker, and then the difference in playing strength and chess understanding still matters.

"i don't know a top GM that did not play [the Najdorf] at some point"
Interestingly, (throughout his career) Aronian played it only rarely, and only against somewhat weaker opponents. I guess the primary reason is that he is perfectly happy with his various Ruy Lopez setups ... still it's small additional evidence that he is "a different world top player"!!?
Radjabov NEVER played the Najdorf - but he does play the Dragon which is just as promising, risky and double-edged.

Back to the English opening: In the two cases I mentioned (Anand-Topalov and Carlsen-Kramnik), white's approach may have been "safety first" - Carlsen was out of form, Anand was under some pressure at that stage of the match even with the white pieces. This doesn't imply only playing for a draw, but could still mean being happy with a draw. Hence it says little about the overall merits of the English opening!?

To add my two cents, i think most players consider the EO as a way to put play into middle game rather than trying to fight for initiative right away from the 1 e4 or d4 move. As some lines show (hello Berlin) it's not such a bad idea, but it is nevertheless better when the opponent will be happy with a draw, meaning you have better chances for him to go for a passive position which may look good but still will allow you to push in a long long game with plenty of chances for him to go wrong... if your plan works. As for Najdorf, it has evolved as the way that promises most play for black against every possible variation for white, while still usually giving some liberty for black in his strive for a win. It kind of forces white to play for a win, as many of the not-so-agressive lines for white are perceived at least equal, if not straight better for white (with a few exceptions that usually don't stand the test of time) It's extremely complicated, which forbids it use as a unique black weapon. If you're out of form, you will be kicked out of the board in about 25 moves or so.

On a side note, i think i will be able to translate the press conference today, and will also try to translate some of their ingame comments. Leontxo's collection of stories is really worth a book or two. Thanks again mishanp for the Shipov's translation. Seriously, isn't he writing tournament books? He would be awesome at that.

I agree (that you should translate the press conference today if you get the chance, but also with your first paragraph ,:) ).

If players were given a choice between
1) +1 or +1.5 in a Najdorf or KID (no guarantee that you get that far, but let's assume ...): you have obvious winning chances, but you may need to play the very best (engine) moves consistently - else your advantage is gone and you may even end up worse. Particularly difficult in time trouble.
2) a solid and stable +0.5 in an English opening or Catalan, or even just +0.1 (but plenty of play left). No real need to play the very best move over and over again, easier to survive time trouble (maybe even with moves like Kg1-h1-g1), then try over again after the time control.

Some (Topalov, Nakamura, Shirov, ...) will usually prefer option 1, Kramnik might prefer option 2, methinks Gelfand and Aronian are equally strong in both situations. Then it depends on the opponent. And if your opponent happens to be an engine that never blunders and never gets nervous, many may prefer the second option.

At my amateur level, having an advantage is obviously nice, but as important is that you understand and enjoy the position on the board more than your opponent. Why should things be fundamentally different at GM or world top level?

Shipov's commentary today is on Anand - Carlsen: http://www.chessintranslation.com/live-game/

Just in case something goes wrong with my site as it did yesterday, I'd switch to: http://www.chessintranslation.com/2010/10/shipovs-live-commentary-on-anand-carlsen/

mishanp, can you post the moves maybe. until shipov's comments come through. stuck at work and no access to off site or chessdom or chessok ... nothing. i hate this place

Do you remember Shirov-Carlsen? Same (Ruy Lopez, Breyer variation) until move 17, then 18.Ra3 Nh5 19.Nf1 g6

Ok, especially since Shipov's comments aren't working for the moment i will try to put up some of the spanish ones:

They are at the moment hopeful it will be a very interesting final round since the openings are fighting ones in both games. They review the possible results and the tiebreak (rapid games and then armageddon, it seems) saying it would be great to have such a disputed finish.

They point that Anand goes for the jugular against Carlsen's line for this tournament (this Ruy Lopez with cxb5) and that they play also for number 1 on live rankings, since if Carlsen wins today he will retrieve the top position, truly an achievement considering his bad form.

They also point how Kramnik has recovered the psychological advantage against Shirov lost after the infamous Cazorla match (hehe, in Spain too, and a very interesting one, i was a youngster and was thrilled with it at the time, note from translator :D ) culminating with his win on last round in Olimpiad. Right now they say black has neutralized white's initiative by exchanging his bishop pair and that he may even start to be a tiny tad better, although the position has many subtleties yet. Black still has dificulties developing his Qside for example if white plays 19 Bc4 now and people already suggest saccing the c5 pawn to get counterplay on c-file.

Oh, cheers, i see now mishanp's site is on. :D:D:D

They are explaining how Kramnik himself suggested adding a 2-sec increment after his win against Aronian on Grand Slam saying in a 5 vs 4 min game white has a certain advantage, although they don't exactly agree. They are also saying Anand in particular wasn't ok (although they explain it by saying such a time-control favours him) and talk also a bit about Aronian who is quite popular in Bilbao, not only from his last year win but also because he is quite pleased there and even wore an Athletic de Bilbao shirt at team competitions (he really knows how to conquer them :D )

On Anand-Carlsen they say the pawn structure is very favourable for white because of the d5 pawn. Capital for black is the counterplay coming from Nf4 and that black pieces aren't exactly well placed in this variant, stating the onus of proof is on Carlsen's.

What a solid, well-orgnized event and what nice professional comraderie without Topolov. The only negative for the event and sponsors was that Kirsan showed up briefly. Eveyone diplomatically held their nose for a few hours until he left.

On the other hand, it would have been interesting if Topalov played a tournament against Anand and his seconds Carlsen and Kramnik .... would the last three still work together on opening preparation?

"people already suggest saccing the c5 pawn to get counterplay on c-file"
Done by Kramnik - can he hear the live commentary? ,:) This was an issue at previous Bilbao editions.

Don't think so, since he did it in a way they didn't even look at (Bc6) They are not very fond of black on Anand-Carlsen although they say the computer says black is OK. They don't believe the comp and say white looks quite better. They're not so sure anymore after a couple of moves (heh, i can't translate that fast) but also have found (like on Chessbomb) that Anand blundered a pawn but Carlsen didn't see it (22 ...,Nxd5)

Anand's 22.Be3? was a mistake that was not taken advantage of by Carlsen, who could have played 22...Nxd5! Even so, Carlsen still looks better.


Indeed it would seem as if it was no blunder and that white would have a very good compensation after an exchange sac. I can't work out the variations since it's hard without a board, but someone suggested it and they concluded Carlsen and Anand are indeed geniuses if they saw all that. I hope someone will find out that variant at some moment, if they don't talk about on press release.

Do they suggest a plan for white (Anand)? To me, his rook on a3 doesn't look better than the black bishop on b7, and only black has something to look forward to - f7-f5 at the right moment. In other words: I have more faith in the engines ... .

They already started telling stories from Philidor without further analysis of the games. I put my comp on stockfish on that variant to see if it can find anything. They were saying that black seemed at least OK although didn't talk a lot about the position, rather focusing on if 22 Be3 was a blunder or not.

Personally i also think black is at least OK on both games.

I think the position looks dangerous for Anand. His king side is weak on the dark squares, could be opened all up with Nxh3 sac.

OK, they're back to the games.

On Anand-Carlsen they say it's very tense, that it's good for black that he managed to push f5 and that while he still has some questions to answer as to where to put his minor pieces, he's got scope for his rooks and that Anand is on the defensive, something the computer agrees with.
Some time after, they point the holes on the black squares on the white Kside which gives scope for the black bishop. They like black's position more with the time.
( On a side note, that's what Stockfish gives on the 22 Nd5 variant: 22...Nxd5 23.exd5 e4 24.Be2 exf3 25.Bxf3 Rxc3 26.Rxc3 Bxc3 27.Bxh5 Bxe1 28.Bg4 f5 29.Qxe1 -0,24 Stockfish. I think they were also looking at a capture on c3 with the black bishop, which would give more compensation for the exchange after say 25 ...,Bxc3 26 Rxc3,Rxc3)

On Shirov-Kramnik, white returned the pawn and after the tactics the position is almost symetrical, with weak pawns on e6 and e3, with only the a6 pawn giving a very small advantage for white as it makes a7 pawn a weakness. They wonder if Shirov will try to push for more. They admire Kramnik's ease for equalizing and say Kramnik puts the pressure on Anand as he strives for a draw.

Anand's rook on a3 now can see the sun light.
Defending the 3rd rank and attacking the a file at the same time. Wonder what Carlsen could have done on move 29th. He must have seen 30 c4 was coming.

Kramnik has drawn his game (in hindsight, it looked easy) and will be a Carlsen fan for the coming minutes or hours ... .

They say as the tournament leader a draw is not that good for Kramnik (they certainly don't like draws)
They say Kramnik looks impetous as if wanting to analyze some variant.
He says Shirov played the same variant in which he caught him offguard last time but on this ocasion he was much better prepared. He checked the variant with the computer which confirmed his view black's position is solid, although it's difficult to play for a win, something he wanted to do. The game was as expected, a bit of white pressure but a likely draw. He doesn't know if white could have improved at some point, he is certain black couldn't.
Shirov says there's not much to talk about. He thought he would have some pressure but Kramnik managed to exchange the a6 pawn and so it was completely drawn. He says in the Bc4 line it's hard to get something with white.

LG says it's time to make a balance of the tournament.
Kramnik says tournament isn't still over as Anand may win and he would have to play a tiebreak.
LG congratulates "Kramnik Laboratories" on his opening preparation.
He says that adding to his prep his head was also working very well and that he is satisfied of his tournament.

Shirov says he's a bit tired after the Olimpiad but he managed to hold his tournament however. He says he's OK physically but that sometimes mental fatigue is harder to cope with. He also points that such a tournament is extremely hard.

LG asks Kramnik on his upcoming tournament plans.
He says it's intense as he is headed for Tal Memorial, then the Rapid WC on Moscow, then London, then more and finishes confirming the Candidates in May next year.

LG asks them about the Fide election.
Shirov says they have no control over the election but that's stability is a good thing and that the Karpov-Kasparov isn't clear.
Kramnik says he isn't sure Ilyumzhinov is good. Fide seems to get better than in the past, but the past is so disastrous it's not for sure a good thing overall. It's already a very good thing there's only ONE WC and one championship and that while the president himself may be a good person to have around, he can't think well of some persons on his staff. Maybe he could clean his team of people who only look for their pockets and get a good tendency (more tournaments, better tournaments) to go even better.

Last LG asks them about the whole organization of Bilbao Tournament.
Shirov says he likes the proximity with public and the ambiance. He likes also the city where he already played and stayed since long time ago. He likes the Grand Slam Final definitely.
First of all Kramnik likes a lot to play in "old Europe" and praises the organization and the city. He says organizers have been very helpful and very careful about the players' need. He hopes that Bilbao can become a chess capital for the future.

Then they ask them what they would say to a complete starter (they say 99 % of population) to make him come to chess.
Shirov says if it's about children chess can be very beneficial for them; he says when he was a child he liked a lot the game and that find it very interesting, stating it could be a very enjoyable experience for everyone.
Kramnik says when you like chess so much it's hard to explain why. He says if he wouldn't be succesful maybe he wouldn't like chess so much. He says it's very important chess is very useful for children and it makes them much more succesful at school. It helps in a certain way to train the "brain muscle". Chess is certainly one of the best ways for children as it is much attractive for children as for example, maths. Many parents send children for soccer or swimming lessons but they neglect their mental development. He will certainly take care about his daughter's mental growth.
Last LG asks them about Anand-Carlsen
Shirov says it's quite complicated but that Carlsen is certainly OK and Anand has to be careful. However, it's the last game and so strange things can happen. The only important thing is Carlsen is a bit better.
Kramnik finds it very sharp and tricky and both players have little time so everything can happen. Maybe white's position could be a bit better but black's is easier to play with many tricks waiting to come. He says that 35 Qa4 (suggested by their engine) is certainly a computer move which will not happen, and laughs when Anand plays it, stating: "Anand is a genius".

Just as they pointed out before, in case of a tie the tiebreaks are a 2 game match with 4min+3sec to be played today, with an armageddon game 5-4 min if necessary.

At the end of the press conference (I will leave the rest for alez) they asked the players about their opinion on Anand-Carlsen. Kramnik: "It's unclear, anything can happen in time trouble. I would rather have black, but this doesn't mean that white is objectively worse. The only thing I can predict is that the first line of Rybka Qa4 will not be played."
While he was talking, Anand played 35.Qa4 ... .

Now all white's pieces are ready for full scale queen side invasion, while black's light square bishop is looking for a job.

Impressive, this brick surpasses the precedent ones :D
They're now pointing Anand is playing very much like a machine, with cold calculation, and they find it difficult to make comments since it's complicated. LG thinks however Anand should try to start playing like a human or it could get too serious with every black piece pointing to his king with his queen on the other side as in such positions he doesn't trust computers.

Old news by now, but Shipov had suggested 29.-Nd3 30.(Re1 moves) Bh6 with pressure for black [c3-c4 wouldn't work, at least not immediately because of -Nb2 and/or -Be3:]

oh no, I totally missed it. Carlsen is aiming the bishop at h3 pawn. hm...

I can't really follow the Spanish (other than "effe quatro" ...) but they get so excited, it sounds like football commentary - probably all too fast for alez to translate for us ... .

Oh, no, it's ok, since they talk fast but repeat the same thing. The thing is they don't get any conclussion so i still wait. At the 40 move, they didn't like Bxf4 at all, they think black should have an attack but they can't see with clarity ;) They're thrilled about the game and very happy the tournament gets such an end... or maybe not, as if Anand wins there's still the tie break. Then you will see them excited!

LG was asked if Kasparov still is working with Carlsen and he says he thinks he still does, although at a less important way than before. Does anyone know anything about this?

Their press release at the time said that they would downscale, but not abandon their cooperation - something like no more training sessions together, but still (semi-)regular contact by phone or email.

I wonder what Kramnik is doing now: watching the Anand-Carlsen game or having dinner - but probably without a glass of wine as he might still have to play tiebreak games.

BTW, there would be "nothing but honor" at stake in a tiebreak: no Elo points, and according to Peter Doggers from Chessvibes (present in Bilbao) there is no prize money, only [secret] appearance fees.

anyone knows ball-park figure of appearance fee for these guys?

Anand will be paid highest among current top players followed by Topalov, Carlsen and Kramnik.

seems like Anand is offering a draw with Qc6.

They just said he's on VIP room (or some especial room in any case) watching calmly the game, relaxed.

44 Qc6 is suspicious. May be Anand returns the favor for Magnus help in WCC match?

Both against Shirov and against Carlsen today with whites, Anand has not been at his best. These are two games which he could have won.


Qc6 by Anand is indeed surprising. Qxd6 is much better. Perhaps Anand is tired or being friendly for the WC help from Carlsen.

Nah! I think Anand is more tired than gifting anything to Magnus. He would have done that in their first game.


We may soon find out what Anand missed when he played 44.Qc6? - and let's not forget that he was in danger around move 30 so a draw might be considered a "correct" result after all ... .

And now Kramnik can fully relax and have a drink of his choice ... .

but it's been only 4 hours of play. not that long
to be very tired.

I agree that tiredness seems more likely. The lines after the suggested moves (Qxd6 or Kf2) are very complex and Anand at 40 must have been tired at the end of a grueling tournament.

Any idea what the liveratings are after the draw?

- Kapalik

Indeed Anand might have gone for a safe move .
Can't be too harsh coz its 4 hours and I feel Kramnik is the deserving winner of this edition . His play has been flawless almost . Congrats to Volo here !

The tournament is over and quickly before they take the table away, we're getting the last press conference. Magnus already arrived while Vishy is still chatting with Kramnik.

LG asks Carlsen if they had seen the whole variant with Nd5. Anand arrives at that very moment and says it's complicated and not clear at all and that the game was better for black. Magnus hadn't calculated the variant at all and that it was maybe a good thing for him, suggesting some alternatives but agreeing the game seems much better for him.

LG asks Anand to pinpoint the critical moment of the game.
Anand says it was a 33...Bh6 he must be winning but there's always some counterplay, maybe with the computer he can find a white win but at the board it's complicated.
Carlsen says something went very wrong on the Qside and that he had to attack white's king out of necessity and so he had to play like in the game. (he seems exhausted Trans note) The fact is that between 25-29 move he seemed to stay very well but at move 33 he wasn't feeling his position was that good and afterwards his position became very difficult. He wasn't sure at all about his posibilities on the Kside but didn't have a choice.
LG asks them then for a balance of his tournament.
Anand says since he didn't win he says he isn't happy and in spite of his regained number 1 standing he says there's still lots of tournaments and that it isn't definitive.
Magnus says he liked very much his game against Shirov but not the rest as his game was very irregular and inconsistent.

LG asks both about the tournament and the differences over other tournaments with the ambiance, the glass wall and everything.
Anand likes it and finds it interesting.
Carlsen likes very much the ambiance and the playing conditions, but unfortunately there's something which prevents him for playing well, completely unrelated to the excellent treatment they get and the nice atmosphere.

Next they're interviewing Kramnik. They're going to let the public ask questions on Kramnik instead of conducting it themselves. And then sound went off! I'm only getting a bit of noise, it seems someone unplugged something!

Thanks Alez. Its strange nobody asked about Qxd6. Anand and Carlsen were discussing after the game, but I dont know if it was about Qxd6 and the h4! shot by white which is what may be Anand missed (apart from ...Bd7 at the end)

Does anyone hear anything on the live stream? I have only some noise. I can try to read their lips but not sure what i will get :D

Seriously, congratulations on Kramnik, he was in total control and showed a great level both in his "labs" and his play. Anand can be happy about his number 1 but he seemed not satisfied with his play. Shirov seemed a bit tired to succesfully compete at this level (although he finishes last, i think his play was mostly OK) and Carlsen surely will look forward better play. However, he wasn't that bad, losing against this players is hardly catastrophical; if he manages to adjust and correct his bad form, he will come back stronger.

Thank you for your attention and enjoy the games! It was a seriously high level tournament.

Well heck. We're back to the days of Kramnik's +2 and a cloud of dust...

It is interesting that despite more points for a win, only a third of the games were decisive as is normal in such tournaments with normal scoring system.

Thank you Alez for your translations , that was kind of you , i was happy to read them when coming back from work late

Kramnik scored 66%, better than Topalov's 65% (6.5/10) at the first edition of Bilbao ,:) . Anyway, if his TPR of 2947 means nothing to you, well heck ... .

did magnus have an explanation for not going for 22...Nxd5! 23.exd5 e4 ? I must say that the narative, by Shipov and others, that fatigue is causing Magnus to avoid going down the path of tough calculating lines seems credible. The oldtimers probably had better prep, as has always been the case with the "teamless" Magnus, but when opportunities presented themselves, Magnus did not demonstrate the ability to outwork the oldtimers over the board, as he has in the past. He seemed less willing or capable to work OTB than Anand and Kramnik.

Or maybe at this level there is no substitute for all that prep of Anand and Kramnik. What I mean is, it may not be a matter of finding clear wins in home preparation, but preserving OTB calculating effort until when there really is no substitute for it - staying fresh until crunch time.

I'm certain that by year end, Magnus will be on top again. He needs some of the Karparov willfulness that seemed, more any other benefit, to have rubbed off on him during their training. Perhaps Kasparov, his database, and (indirectly)his writing team benefit Margus because, while not a traditional team of seconds, they are far better than no team. Whether it is Garry or assembling a real team of seconds - although it is not easy to think who they may be -- I see some productive use of some of that G-Star $.

At this point Magnus can remain in the elite top 6 in the world with little effort. Life is better as # 1, however, and worth the work.

"I'm certain that by year end, Magnus will be on top again"

Its a battle between him and Anand for sure. They still play in Nanjing (starting in 83 hrs -- with Topalov in it, 6 players double round robin), and then the both play again in London before the year end.

Plus at least 3 draws were very hard fighting games: this one, Anand - Shirov (where Anand missed Nf7+), and Carlsen - Kramnik (where Carlsen was saved by the a6 vs a5-b6 pawn formantion).

Over all this was an excellent tournament in term of chess playing.

"(where Carlsen was saved by the a6 vs a5-b6 pawn formantion)."

sorry. "I meant a5 vs a6-b7 pawn formation."

History of Chess Masters Winners:

2008: Topalov
2009: Aronian
2010: Kramnik

Interesting that neither Anand nor Carlsen have ever won it.

You haven't seen those lines above. It was actually worse than what he got in the game. In any case, he didn't see it (Anand did) and was surprised at the press conference. I seriously think this bad period can serve him to rebound and get much stronger (even!); just look at for example, Karjakin: he also got a period of apparent stagnation and then all of a sudden, he banged back on top ten. I think (from my own observation) that some people progress like that, by jumps (myself with music and chess was a bit like that sometimes). He seemed exhausted at the press conference, i think a bit of rest will do him well.

On another comments, i don't understand how people can criticize players after this tournament. High level fighting chess, one could only hope for a longer tournament with more players, but the ones we got were extraordinary, in spite of the slightly fast time control. Maybe people would prefer that in today's game Carlsen blundered at move 30 and resigned about 35 instead of the transition to the drawn position they got. Looking forward to Nanjing!

-Several good points, there!

Kramnik deserved to win the tournament with his +2. He won convincingly against Shirov and Magnus.
Shirov deserved to lose, he was not quite up to the task this time.

In this tournament Anand (+1) was only slightly better than Magnus (-1), if you consider that Magnus blundered the endgame in their individual match in 1st round.

So, all in all, the only convincing player in Bilbao was Kramnik.


Actually don't forget the others within striking distance - Kramnik, Aronian and Topalov. Topa's chances seem worst because he is coming from behind and plays only in Nanjing. Aronian plays the European Club Cup (starting tomorrow) and Tal Memorial, Kramnik plays Tal Memorial and London.

And whoever is on top at the end of the year might already lose his (live) spot again in January (Tata formerly Corus, with Anand, Carlsen and Kramnik), with another one taking over in February (Linares, nothing yet known about the field?).

Few things..

1. Is 28.exd5 forced after 27...Nxd5? 28.Bxb5 for example was my immediate response to that and I believe there is lot of things to work out after that.

2. "He (Carlsen) seemed less willing or capable to work OTB than Anand and Kramnik."
May be he was distracted that he couldn't calculate well and couldn't play out the best moves but I want to point out that Carlsen did take more time than Anand or probably Kramnik.

3. "Perhaps Kasparov, his database.."
Old database wouldn't be any good. If it is new and updated, how clean is that? hcl pointed out sometime back KK team had intelligence agents.

This is one of the most exciting short programs I've seen in a long time. Yes... there were only four decisive games from twelve, but several of the draws were very rich in possibilities. It was a good showing.

Today was a bit of a battle (with computers and the web, not Shipov's Russian, for a change!), but here's the final version of Sergey Shipov's commentary on Anand-Carlsen: http://www.chessintranslation.com/2010/10/shipovs-live-commentary-on-anand-carlsen/

I also translated his views on the Olympiad and the FIDE Elections: (chess players of the world unite!) http://www.crestbook.com/en/node/1348

"I must say that the narative, by Shipov and others, that fatigue is causing Magnus to avoid going down the path of tough calculating lines seems credible."

many theories with no way to prove any of them, maybe he has burn out, or got fed up with playing chess, or got lazy, or he is hating the basque people

Priceless pictures on the lebensraum of chessbase. How did they persuade Kramnik to put a lampshade on his head? What a plonker....

"hcl pointed out sometime back KK team had intelligence agents"

Yea, I think Irv was onto that too. It's 100 percent I believe.


Gee PircAlert, where did I suggest KKC had agents to filch the opening prep of Anand prep for Carlsen's advantage?

What geopolitical purpose would that serve?

And if it were so, how about getting your RAW to bug the opponents of Anand (I'm thinking get into Topalov's supercomputer to forewarn of whatever TNs he has headed Anand's way...)

Hey hcl, I didn't suggest you suggested that they got into Anand's prep! RAW working for Anand?? Or may be to work against Anand?? Anand has to be careful of them too if they are going to get involved!

lwolf, so you don't believe intelligence are involved here, fair enough. But you don't seem to deny the possibility of stealing someone's prep if intelligence are going to be involved!

On a sidenote, I'm in France at the moment and saw a few G Star Raw billboards with Magnus and Liv on them.

Maybe it's more important than I think, but I'm clearly with Anand in downplaying the importance of the live rating contest, especially with all these contests coming up. Silly. I follow the live ratings in general, but tournament and match results are way more interesting than who is top dog by .582 points.

I also get a kick out of speculation as to why a particular player made - or did not make - a particular move. Too tired? Feeling generous? Hah! Good grief. How many times have *even* grandmasters guessed wrong about what will be played on a board? In the heat of battle, these titans see far more than we do, and they doubtless have reasons for what they play that are not even on the radar screens of 99% of amateur pundits.
The chill pill should be in everyone's regimen.

Anand openly talked about his desire to return to world #1 3 months ago, so regaining that mantle again is clearly meaningful to him, no matter how much he may try to downplay it.

The World Champion is ranked world #1...all is right in the chess world once again.

Well, on that score I guess it is a little weird for the world champion not to be the top-rated player in the world.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on October 10, 2010 12:47 AM.

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