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Nanjing 2010: The Great Brawl of China

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With barely time to put down your forks and pick up your chopsticks, we have another supertournament getting underway. The first round of the 3rd Nanjing Pearl Spring event is on the 20th, but at least for those in the western hemisphere that means the middle of the night on the 19th. It's GMT+8 in China and with the US still on DST, that puts Nanjing exactly 12 hours ahead of me with the rounds beginning at 1430 local, 0230 NY time. Official site.

The field: Anand, Carlsen, Topalov, Wang Yue, Gashimov, Bacrot. Last year Carlsen put up an all-time amazing result with 8/10, finishing a ridiculous two and a half points ahead of Topalov. But after two mediocre results in a row and no time to rest or prepare, it's hard to call the world #1 the favorite with Anand and Topalov there. We just saw Anand look solid in Bilbao and Topalov got a warm-up at the Olympiad, although he didn't distinguish himself, losing twice.

Gashimov, frozen out of the Olympiad by his federation, hasn't played much classical chess lately either. Let's hope he's still crazy enough to play the Benoni against this lot. Bacrot has become something of a 2700 journeyman, warring in the big opens and lots of team events. I hear a lot about his playing serious poker, a usual story to hear these days. He is an outsider in Nanjing, but only just, and I hope he plays for more than survival. If he wins, "The Great Gaul of China" headline is ready to go. Wang Yue has his rating back up to top-ten levels and that means we are under the threat of another bucketful of Petroffs and other methods of inducing tedium. But Wang Hao didn't impress much in Shanghai and Wang Yue was his usual solid self on board one at the Olympiad.


Do the players get to choose the colors of their pajamas?

Kasparov interview at chessvibes:


About Carlsen:
"[H]e’s nineteen and nineteen there are... temptations in life."

Someone was asking earlier for a link to the Hort-Kortchnoi match. Here's a little info and some pics, in German:


Kortchnoi won pretty handily! And saved a nice draw in one game two pawns down in the theoretical rook and f and h pawn versus rook.

That interview from Kasparov in going to create some talk. Next they are going to ask Carlsen "What do you think about Kasparov saying you dont work hard...... and you attitude is not right..."

Kasparov is surprisingly dumb away from the chess board. His delusions and lack of sophistication guarantee that he will never achieve anything in any political arena. A few "pearls" of his "wisdom":

"Karpov would have won in any other country but Russia."

That's completely delusional. No comment is really necessary.

"The fact is that chess is the only major sport that hasn’t any commercial sponsorship."

More delusion. Chess is NOT a sport, let alone a MAJOR one. Has Kasparov ever stopped to compare the number of people showing up for a baseball, soccer, basketball or tennis match versus the handful of weirdos attending a chess match?

"In Russia they [Kirsan] succeeded because they pretended that the Russian regime, Putin’s regime, was behind them but in fact this time it was not about Putin, it was about one very arrogant, impudent Russian bureaucrat who had support of some top business people and they put the power behind Ilyumzhinov, and it was quite convincing. It was more about fear and intimidation rather than about a conscious choice for Ilyumzhinov."

Laughable. He treats (and analyzes) FIDE as some sort of Russian little agency subject to all the standard Russian corruption and machinations.

The only reason Kirsan won [and will win every time against the Inept KK Duo] is that - in spite of his alien escapades - Kirsan is more in touch with the realities of the chess world.

"In a year or two, maybe earlier, they will see that Ilyumzhinov’s promises, they are as unreal as his contact with aliens"

There is absolutely nothing people ignore about Kirsan - the man has been in charge of FIDE and travelling with aliens for more than a decade. This "awakening" is just wishful thinking on Kaspy's part.

Kasparov is a "bona FIDE" moron.

Kaspay lies one more time:

"People should remember that Ilyumzhinov destroyed the classical system in 1996"

I guess the year 1993 and the match against Short never happened, according Kaspy's "New Chronology" :-)

"I worked with him and I promised to bring him at the top, so I did. He (Carlsen) definitely doesn’t have enough ideas, enough chess mass… Magnus is a brilliant player, but he really has to want to work hard. Otherwise he won’t succeed."

Yeah, sure... Carlsen is a lazy failure of a player who only reached the top because Kaspy "trained" him. From now on, anything good in Carlsen's career is because of those training sessions with Kaspy. Anything bad is because he is lazy and he didn't really listen to Kaspy.

I hope Carlsen releases a clarification.

More on Kaspy's "legendary" honesty and intelligence:


Since the split between Carlsen and Kasparov, Carlsen did well in one event (Bazna kings) and not good in two events (Olympiad and Bilbao) -- not considering rapid and the vs. World game. Kasprov may well be right in his statements about Carlsen, but its still too early to comment. But by the end of the year we can assess after his performance in Nanjing and London.

Well, by now it should be obvious that, outside of the chess board, and especially in politics, Kasparov is a delusional ambition-driven wannabe and very often comes accross simply as a dumbass.

This interview will not be remembered as one of Kasparov's best moments. When I read it, I felt bad for him. I hope he can recover from this fiasco. Otherwise, he'll soon become Kasparov the Klown.


"Karpov would have won in any other country but Russia."

Probably false, but you've gotta make these statements. Repeat them enough so that people believe them. When in doubt, double-down. Classic power-base politics.

Bridge is another sport that is popular, yet hard to get sponsorship money. Usually rich guys/gals pay pros to partner them, or just on the team.

1993 Short-Kasparov was classical. The Khalifman FIDE champ was farcical. Look at fide.com, whose pic is on the front page? Now do the same with FIFA. Is the prez such a limelighter?

Bazna Kings was the thing that you can prepare for, with 10 rounds and specific opponents. Exactly where Kasparov's help would help. Not so the Olympiad, where Magnus was on his own, and only knew about Anand in Bilbao by the time prep was up.

Carlsen gets White against the 2716 Bacrot in Round 1, but then has to play Anand as Black in Round 2, who has two Whites to start. Topalov is White to start too, so all the first team gets White in Round 1, but Topalov doesn't get it in Round 10, if there's anything to play for.

It's funny to read the comments here about the Kasparov interview and then actually to read the Kasparov interview.

I did not think that the interview put Garry in a bad light at all. Yes, as with all things in what was, after all, a political campaign, there is some post mortem spin, but so what?

I will, however, join the bandwagon of taking issue with one aspect of the interview that nobdy has mentioned: Garry's frowning about Magnus's G-Star extra-curricular activities. Garry came up in the chess world and became world champion in the Soviet era where chess was fully supported by the state. He now is a strident advocate – and who can disagree? – for greater corporate sponsorship of chess. Magnus has gotten a terrific start on garnering high-profile corporate support. Yes, it unfortunately takes some time and attention away from chess but, as a chess professional in the sponsorship system that Garry and Karpov foresee, perhaps that is the necessary price. It’s all a balance, of course. But corporate sponsorship, like that of G-Star, etc., although it may demand temporary distractions from chess, is plainly NOT a disincentive to hard work and top performance at chess. Heavens knows there is no shortage of young, fit Grandmasters from the West who can pose for fashion pictures. But, as the G-Star campaign underscored again and again, there can be only one “World #1.” That is a distinction that Magnus very much needs in order to continue on the professional path he has charted.

Rather than reacting negatively to Garry's remarks about Magnus generally, I think that what shines through in his tough candid comments is the fact that he really does care about the kid fulfilling his promise. As Garry has set forth in his magnum opus of writings, true world champions bring something to the development of the game that constitutes a marked advancement of chess wisdom and performance. The fact that Garry believes that Magnus is most able to make such a contribution says alot. The fact that Garry, like countless chess fans, are very excited by that prospect and eager so see it happen is hardly grounds for criticism.

Garry was obviously confused during the interview:

“With a confused expression on his face Garry Kasparov walks into the lobby of the stylish Hotel Julien.”

“Sorry if I seem a bit confused,” Kasparov starts the conversation, “but I’ve been very busy the last few months.”

Ok, maybe mental confusion is one reason for his ranting interview.

Evil forces were conspiring against him:

“…the top aid for Mr Medvedev was breaking every law of the land to help Ilyumzhinov…”

“All they did in Khanty-Mansiysk, especially the General Assembly, was a criminal act of violating literally every provision of FIDE rules.”

Criminals breaking every law…Yikes.

Who is responsible for the big "Karpov for President" flop?

“I was running the campaign.”

At least he is man enough to admit it.

"I was running the campaign."

He ran a great campaign - but lost because 'It was more about fear and intimidation rather than about a conscious choice for Ilyumzhinov.'


I think he must have consciously done that, so it looks like Mig is the only person in the chess media/blog world who has given due credit to an undisputed world champion and has listed him in top of the order! You've got to give Mig credit for that!

Aronian is over 2800!

Already the 4th moves in Nanjing.

Topalov (White v Gashimov) has transposed into a queenless middlegame which looks pretty like the Slav one defended by Anand in the match. I am not sure which of the players chose it, as I don't know the opening well and can't say if it is recommended for White to go into precisely this line. But it is either an interesting piece of psychology by Gashimov or an interesting piece of stubbornness by Topalov.

I think 8.ed4: (rather than 8.Qd4:) is the main continuation for white. The resulting IQP position last appeared at world top level in Kramnik-Shirov from Bilbao - same variation, slightly different move order (black delayed the exchange on d4). So basically it was Topalov's choice, I see two conceivable reasons:
- sidestepping Gashimov's preparation
- psychology from his side: Gashimov may feel less comfortable than Anand (and earlier Kramnik) defending such a slightly inferior and somewhat passive position.

That or good ol' fashioned cussedness (new word for you).

You know we learn good english here :D
If it were Kramnik playing, i would say he would draw sooner than later with black and push for a win for a long time with white(it's really his kind of position). Being Topalov-Gashimov, i don't know, in this kind of positions the bulgarian used to lose his patience and make mistakes, but who says it isn't some kind of finding he made after the match, would it be on his openings or that he progressed in his positional understanding of such positions? So all in all, i think white as a small plus, but we'll have to wait and see. Will Anand be able to use his bishop pair against Wang Yue? He apparently is working more on his chess now that University is finished, but one wonders if he won't be a bit rusty against the top, such things don't improvise themselves. And for Carlsen-Bacrot, white has some play and the position is open and complicated. Hopefully we will find out soon if Carlsen has left his bad form behind...

cussedness = "deliberate and stubborn unruliness and resistance to guidance or discipline" !!?

But I see what you mean. Yet I think it mostly applied to Topalov during the WCh match - a surprise to team Anand according to their post-match comments, and it eventually paid off. Another example of stubbornness and maybe cussedness is van Wely's Najdorf addiction.

Currently, move 28, I predict Wang drawing (0.68 on computer), mostly because this batty endgame is his kinda thing. Carlsen got White against the tail-ender, and as Chess Vibes said, this is a huge psychological edge in round 1. Should be 1-0 in a few minutes. Topalov-Gashimov now at move 26, should be a draw I think, with the symmetric pawns. White has more space in a bit, but pushing the kingside pawns should lead to trades if Black is careful.

Well 2 of 3 guesses so far. Wang could actually play for an edge with Ra2 rather than repeating. It still should be a draw, but things could happen. Behind by 2:1 on the clock, a draw looks sager.

Carlsen looked good against Bacrot. 1-0

Oh, I am wrong. Wang would get an extra hour at move 41, though maybe it is tricky before that.

Gashmiov's Be7 allowing Rc7 complicated matters, but it still looks tricky to breakthrough for White.

Rather, Bacrot looked bad against Carlsen, I would say. But he still gets credit for picking up the easier points.

Topalov made the time control, but didn't look all that great in doing it. However, I think the main factor is still that this is not his sort of position. I will still be quite surprised if he wins it, though Gashimov might feel the pressure too.

The white bishop is also not a great piece.

Bacrot's time management was a bit strange - Carlsen's Scotch couldn't come as a surprise (any more), yet he was quickly far behind on the clock. Does he commonly have that problem, or is it nervousness as he hasn't played such a strong event in quite a while?

Scotch may not have been a surprise, but has MC played the Nb3/Qe2 setup before? Looked new...

Also, since it's the early rounds, Bacrot might still be suffering from jet-lag

Bacrot has never given an impression of taking chess seriously. Always kinda droop-sy looking, too casual, too much of a good life to spend 6 hours a day. Is he is also an amateur, merely a (slightly) less talented Moro?

What color were their pajamas?

so carlsen is #1 now, Aronian #2 (i think so after his win today) and Anand #3.

Slightly further down the list, Ivanchuk lost against Jon Ludvig Hammer - with black in a positional Catalan, I guess the other Norwegian or Kramnik couldn't have done a better job. Grischuk and Shirov are still struggling against low 2500ish opponents.

Bacrot was probably in an untenable time situation given the big hole he dug for himself on the clock but, in reality, the final position is not so easy for white to convert. The machines show a big advantage but, with best play for black, can't readily find a way to make headway. I'm not sure what more intensive analysis would show, but this is a bit like Magnus's recent win over Shirov in Bilbao, where dispite a considerable and growing positional advantage and an opponent in time trouble, Magnus blitzed out some less than exact moves that created a risk of a fortress defense.

That said, Magnus's obvious opening prep here was well conceived. I only hope he has more of it to use against the big guns.

The fact that Magnus has the only win in round 1 opens the door to a stategy of just seeking quiet draws against Anand and Toiletov. But perhaps those two will view Magnus as potentially vulnerable and not easily allow this.

Can we stop referring to Carlsen as the "kid" he is an adult male for chrissake not a boy.Karjakin is the about same age and 30 odd elo points below him on the live top list but no one talks about him as the kid. i thought kasparov was spot on on his comments about the "kid" ..... Like perhaps a lot of players he was pleased when Adams punished his opening play in the olympiad.

Carlsen can not legally buy vodka in his home country. Hence, he is a kid by law:)

Anybody under the age of 21 can be called a "kid," has been called a kid for decades, and will continue to be called a kid by older adults. Serge is a kid, too. Work with it. If you, yourself, are under that age, don't expect to understand what I just said!

Speaking of Serge, he completely outplayed Francisco Vallejo Pons in an endgame yesterday. A few inaccuracies by Vallejo Pons, and some good calculation by the other kid.

So far, no pictures of the players at the board. Just a bunch of acrobats and little kids.

Right, I was just looking for some pics there myself. I'm particularly curious to see the Carlsen-Bacrot table: the fidgeting force versus the immovable object. ;)

"Just a bunch of acrobats?"

Ah, don't try to do that at home.

Well actually, go ahead and try. And good luck with that.

I just learned that in Chinese, "Wang Yue" is expressed by two relatively simple characters, while "Viswanathan Anand" requires three hieroglyphics of exceeding complexity.

The Guiness Book of Records has "Kid Malanga" listed as the oldest kid on record at 76 years old. So, yes, Carlsen is still a kid.

Speaking of records, the oldest child prodigy on record is 47 and lives in the remote Australian aboriginal village of Babatur.

The tallest midget is listed at 7 feet (an Indian), while the shortest giant (from southern Kalmykia) is a mere 42 inches tall and weighs 543 pounds.

Learn, kids...

I just saw the pictures of round one. No pajamas.

I'd be curious to which people found more disrespectful/evidence of misplaced arrogance:

A. Hikaru Nakamura playing 1. e4 e5 2. Qh5 as White against a 2600 FIDE GM, or:

B. Magnus Carlsen playing 1. e4 g6 2. d4 Nf6 3.e5 Nh5 as Black against Michael Adams (2725+ FIDE)

IMO, Carlsen's behavior may be attributed to a two week-long "burnout and youthful rebellion phase" and Nakamura's behavior to the strongest "own-self" cognitive bias ever observed in mankind.*

*Reading Naka's annotations of his own games show how he consistently and always, wildly overrates his position. And he's a true believer in whatever position he has.

Hey, why not 13. Bxe3 fxe4 14. Qe4 in Bacrot-Topalov? There is the double threat of taking Black's e-pawn on e6 and check on g6??? Some really deep tactical line where Black plays 14. .. Nc5 and walks his king over to the Q side??

After 14.Qxe4, Black plays 14...Qf6 I think and the exchange of queens on e6 leaves White with extra material but a ton of pawn weaknesses. I think that's been played a bunch of times before, but without any special success for White.

Ah OK, thanks!

Can anyone explain why Bacrot was invited ? He's playing like a rabbit trapped in the headlights, and I can think of at last 10 other players who would be more interesting to watch. Or did the organisers just run out of money and he was all they could afford ?

Nakamura played Qh5 against Sasikiran in 2005, when his rating was 2657, while Sasikiran was 2642. Basically equal strength. That's an insult.

Whenever someone rated 2700-2730 is invited, people will complain that 1-10 other players would have been a better choice ... . Seriously, Bacrot has been 2700+ (with short interruptions) for six years and hardly got "corresponding" invitations [the only one I remember is Dortmund, where he qualified by winning the Aeroflot Open], maybe it was simply his turn? Rating-wise, he is roughly comparable to, for example, Dominguez.

His apparently shaky form is another story - it seems that he is one of those players who split their time between chess and poker. And he had skipped the Olympiad, noone in the French camp seems to know why.

In the mean time, that "patzer" is most likely going to draw against Topalov... And Wang Yue destroyed his nice position. Even chinese suffer from jet-lag? :P

Perhaps the chinese organizers is just trying to achieve some diversity, and wanted to get a top player from western europe (besides Carlsen). If that's the criterion, then there is actually not many alternatives: Bacrot, Adams, Vachier-Lagrave, ... who else?

Given he plays the Benoni (the same goes for some King's Indian players) I think Gashimov's just used to playing that sort of "objectively hopeless" position where the computer gives white a +2 or so advantage (although material's level) - so it wasn't such a shock that Gashimov managed to turn it around. I'd still guess Wang Yue draws...

It seems that Wang Hao is also becoming a favorite of big time organizers. He is invited in Tal Memorial and Tata (Corus).

Given the definition of a "kid" as under 21, there will be 4 kids running around in the A group of the 2010 Tata (Corus) tournament. Carlsen, Vachier-Lagrave, Nepomniachtchi, and Giri. Plus Wang Hao who is just 21.

Anand has dropped to no 3 in the live rating list. Carlsen is back to no1 and Aronian at no 2.

If 2700+ is mandatory, the only other ones would be Fressinet and Caruana - both crossed 2700 only very recently.
Three French may compete with each other for top invitations, Tata/Corus chose the other ones: Vachier-Lagrave in the A group, Fressinet in the B event.

To bad for Anand. He plays one game against a very strong opponent, does not lose, but still tumbles from #1 to #3. In just one game! At that rate, he'll drop out of the top 10 before the end of this tournament. Poor Vishy.

Too bad for Vishy. He's probably down to #4 by now.

Congrats Carlsen!
Glad to see you took only the briefest break from being World No. 1. :)

Tata (Corus) is clearly forward-looking with those choices. Nepo is on the rise, but a better choice IMO than Wang Hao would have been Serge Karjakin or Nikita Vitiugov, if either was available. Who are the others in A & B? I hope Fabiano is coming back.

Some interesting matchups in the Euro Club Cup today:

Laurent Fressinet v. Boris Gelfand

Michael Adams v. Ian Nepo..

Evgeny Alekseev v. Alex Grischuk

Luke McShane v. Fabiano Caruana

What is with the Pearl Spring tounament website? For all the pomp and circumstance associated with this affair, one would think that the website would look and work better than a third-rate beta test. Has it occured to anyone that 99.9 percent of those paying attention to this are doing so on-line? Someone should be shot. (Ooops ... I forgot where I was speaking about ... I should stress that I am speaking figuratively.)

And what Carlsen did to Adams (long-time super GM, world #4 in the 90s, 2004 FIDE championship finalist) wasn't?

the official website has the text of the press conference. some very interesting questions.


Anand has apparently shot a documentary about the wch expereinces. Wonder when that will come out.

"some very interesting questions."

There were only five questions, all very boring and lame. At the end, the "host" requested that people please raise their hand if they had a question. Apparently, nobody had any further questions, so the press conference was ended, people sleeping in their seats were woken up, and the cleaning crew came in to mop the floor.

Sorry you find them boring. Its just me, I rarely find anything involving chess boring.

Anish Giri is back with his unique commentary on chessbase for Nanjing. Liked his note on Anand's Rf1! amongst many others "A strong Sofia rule plan" .... He has some style.

Thanks much for that, Harish.

Agree about Giri. He is a very good commentator.

The Karjakin game with Vallejo Pons was a long exploitation of an isolated d-pawn. Eventually Black cracked, but it is not obvious if Ne6 is not played whether White can win. Karjakin had another convertible edge as White today, but I think team considerations made him suffice with a the draw in a heavy piece endgame and the pawn on f2.

Wasn't Bacrot invited to Biel at least once? He had a mediocre Grand Prix, and is an ex-prodigy, which hurts saleability.

While Carlsen seems back on track, Topalov may have some deja vu feelings: being under pressure, probably (according to engines) losing on the white side of a QGD Lasker variation. Is this (supposedly drawish) line THAT good for black??

Yep, when he was interviewed after the match Topalov agreed that it was probably the first time a top GM had lost with white in the Lasker... http://www.chessintranslation.com/2010/05/chronicle-of-a-suicide/

It's interesting that both players must have had a lot of preparation left over in the line (Topalov said he was expecting Anand to play it sooner during the match).

I'm not normally a fan of bashing the play of GMs, but WTF, Topa?? It's supposed to be an equalising variation for Black and Topa should have known it inside out by now after his experiences!

I just read Golubev's commentary on the game: http://chesspro.ru/chessonline/onlines/index_3309.html & it looks as though Anand's 16...Bg4! is simply a very strong novelty - though admittedly you'd think that IBM supercomputer might have noticed it :)

It's surely Wang Yue who deserves any criticism going today - unless he'd worked it all out at home going for that sacrificial line against Carlsen was pure madness...

"it was probably the first time a top GM had lost with white in the Lasker..."
Maybe not quite - it depends on who qualifies as a top player and whether blitz games count: Bacrot once lost against Roiz in a similar way, two queens and two rooks left on the board and initiative/king safety deciding the game:
But he seems to be the only company for Topalov (based on chessgames.com).

Speaking of Bacrot, he plays a fine game with black (justifying his invitation?) but could have spoilt everything on move 36 (36.-Ra6??) yet Gashimov returned the favor (37.Be7?? rather than 37.Bc5: =).

For what it's worth, Anand and Carlsen should now be exactly tied for the #1 spot: Anand's win against Topa means +5, Carlsen's against Wang Yue only +3.7 putting both at 2808.3 - Carlsen should be ahead based on number of games played.

At the end of article:

Question: "I’ll ask one “philosophical question”. My Moscovite friend, Ravi Abhyankar, who you know well, told me that for the Brahmins, to whom you belong, a loss is not sorrow and a win is not joy. The main thing is peace of mind. If you hadn’t won the match would you have managed to maintain that peace of mind?"
Anand: "In general, of course, Ravi is right. If I’d lost the match I’d have been sad, but nevertheless my life would have gone on. But having won the match, I’m really glad."

I'm confused... It seems like Anand IS saying that a loss is a sorrow (he'd be sad) and a win is a joy (he'd be glad)...

since they still use the Sep 1 rating list for Elos won/lost, Vishy should get more for beating Topalov than Carlsen for beating Wang. Cant wait for Hans to refresh the list today to see how close Vishy and Carlsen are..

whoa! (if my calculations are right) the liveratings site should soon have Anand and Carlsen both at 2808.3!!

yes, hopefully their next game here in China will be decisive! :)

Yep, I think he was just being polite :) A curiosity is that Ravi Abhyankar wrote the marketing plan for Karpov: http://www.karpov2010.org/2010/08/marketing-plan/ (perhaps one of the least discussed documents in history) - and, as we've come to expect, was then given a FIDE position after the election: http://www.ugra-chess.com/node/472 ("marketing consultant")

and which is exactly why FIDE should refresh the 'official' list more often than once in 2 months. Then Topalov and Wang would've been closer to their actual ratings and Vishy would have gained less and Carlsen more..

Aronian and/or his fans might disagree - if he/they care about the #1 spot themselves ... .

A draw by both Anand and Carlsen tomorrow will put Carlsen ahead since Wang Yue is ahead than Gashimov.... althoug Carlsen is ahead than Anand in the published rating. These players are giving something for fide to think about the rating updates.

Aronian needs to win today against Eljanov to keep up with the race. This is fun.

Topalov should have enough material now to write the first chapter of his next book (after toiletgate) "How to lose as white against the Lasker defense" ..
Chapter 1: King to h4 -- A deep idea

Easy win for Anand against Topalov. Very easy. Very, very easy. Like a simul game.

Macauley's round 2 report is here -- some reason its not yet made it to chessvibes page


Nope, tomorrow has Gashimov(2719)-Carlsen (2826) and Bacrot(2716)-Anand(2800), so draws in both games would give Anand a whopping 0.3 point lead in the live rating list (2807.1 vs. 2806.8) - still a tie if digits behind the decimal point are neglected. But why should FIDE think about more frequent rating updates? Methinks this situation (both equal to each other, "too close to call") may well be closer to "the truth" than one of them being 'better' than the other.

BTW, Aronian had a quick and easy draw with black against Eljanov. It's a team event after all, (if things go wrong) his colleagues might not appreciate if he tries to reach the #1 spot at any prize ... .

It will be good for Chess when and if Aronian manages to crack 2800+, both on the "Live" and on the Published FIDE rating lists. It will be even better for Chess (and for Aronian, of course) if he can manage to get on the record as the World's #1 Ranked player as well.

Hopefully, he will be successful in his last 2 Rounds in the European Clubs, so that he can stake his claim. It's a pity that he didn't manage to qualify for Bilbao from the Shanghai event.

He's had some real troubles with consistency in the past, but there is little doubt that despite this, his career is still in an upward arc.

I'm really a bit surprised at how meek Topalov was in his loss to Anand. It looks like he hasn't recovered pychologically from his match defeat.

Topa has always been both a slow starter, and noted for his resiliency after a defeat. So, we'll see how he fares in his next game or 2, and in the "2nd Lap" of the tournament.

It is paramount on the part of Anand to win this tournament if he has to remain a worthy world champion. Anand is without a tournament win for more than 3 years and I don't think any world champion had such a long drought. If he is unable to win then it is better for him not to play in any tournaments at all and just concentrate on world championship matches. It is a do or die tournament for Anand.

"But why should FIDE think about more frequent rating updates? "

I assumed Anand Nair is right and hence Carlsen loses more points with a draw tomorrow since he is calculated from 2826. If there were more frequent updates then that will not be the case as Carlsen will not be at 2826 (for eg. if the olympiad and bilbao were already rated).

Oh yes, it's been quite a drought these last three years, unseating Kramnik as champion and defending against Topolov. As for tournaments, Anand seems to have his priorities aligned with those of Botvinnik, whose historical reputation has hardly suffered.

We need to live in the present and there is no point in brooding over the past and historical facts. Now, to be called a world champion you need to keep conquering new frontiers but Anand has hardly won anything other than two world championship matches. According to me to be called a world champion you need achieve two things simultaneously. One, prove your superiority over your direct competitors. Two, prove your superiority over the rest of the players. Anand has certainly achieved the former by quite a mile by defeating both Kramnik and Topalov in matches but failed miserably in the latter.

*to be called a world champion you need to keep conquering new frontiers*

To be called World Champion you need to defeat the previous champion in a match (in the cases were that is possible).

Lets live in the present, so who has achieved the two things you mentioned..... no one.
if you dont want to live in present, then other than Kasparov who dominated all tournaments being a wch... no one else

Since winning 2007 Mexico ch tournament, he performed badly only in Bilbao 2008. Here is Anand's performance

Corus 2008: 1/2 pt behind winner
Linares 2008: Winner.
Bilbao 2008: Finished last
Linares 2009: 1 pt behind winner
Tal Memorial 2009: 1 pt behind winner
Corus 2010: 1 pt behind winner
Bilbao 2010: 1/2 behind winner

Considering that he has played in 3 wch cycles in 4 yrs 07, 08, 10 and in these days where opening novelties lasts only for that game, you need to sort out your priorities. Anand has done extremely well.

Its crazy when he won lots of tournaments... there were claims the "he needs to win matches". now when he wins matches .. there is "he needs to win tournament". Before the claim is made, you need to think if it is feasible in the first place.

You are absolutely right as far as the title of world champion is concerned. But here I mean World's best chess player at present regardless of elo rating or the title of world champion.May be you can replace world champion by world's best chess player in my post.

I am not claiming that you need to win each and every tournament if you are a world champion but at least you should win one super tournament in a year.
Finishing behind one point or half a point behind the winner is of no consequence to a world champion.It can be termed as a good result only for upcoming players but not for the world champion. I don't think it is not feasible to win even one tournament in three years if you are a world champion. It is laughable that you are making such a statement.

russianbear ... still smarting from kramniks loss to anand i see. probably thats why you want to look past historical...

you say 'according to you to be called bla bla bla...'

the point is no one gives a rats arse about your definition of world champ ... so stuff it.

anand is playing the best chess in his life ... the wc apart the can you tell me how many games he has lost to either of carlsen, kramnik, topalov in the last 3 years ... go figure

It seems more people are laughing about your statement than mine.

Whats all this about one tournament, three years, two conditions, "world best player"... you just make up these as per your convenience.

Anyway, I am giving this topic a break. You can keep barking if you like.

People are blind to their faith. Same thing is happening here. People are blindly taking positions for or against Anand without any proper reasoning and explanation. My point is that Anand is a worthy world champion but he needs to be more assertive by winning super tournaments. His failure to do so is certainly bad for his reign as world champion.

Russianbear, you have always had negative things to say about Anand since I have been reading this blog! Just get over it. Not sure why.

Anyway, he won Linares in 2008, so not 3 years yet.

At almost 41 years of age, I doubt Anand will win more than 2-3 supertournamenet in the remainder of his career, especially with the World Championship coming up. I still consider him to be in the top ten all time greats and top rapid player of all time. If he wins the next world championship match, I would put him in the top 5 all time and maybe even top 3.

Who would have thought? The normally mild-manner Lasker variation could turn out to be a king hunting game. When watching this I thought it would have been a long drawn out endgame.

Second time in a row (including the last game of the WC match), Topalov got whipped in classical QGD, with his King ends up on h4/h3.

This guy is ahead in the live ratings by .2496301, but that could be eclipsed tomorrow if that guy draws... I'm going to stop reading Thomas. Pretty stupid.

Recently I have been studying the QGD (with the help of Matthew Sadler's very good QGD book) because I think having good understanding of the QGD would help me to understand chess in the early 20th century (Lasker, Capablanca, etc.) and would help me understand why there was a need for more dynamic openings.

And what was going on with Carlsen-Wang game? It took Carlsen all of 40-odd minutes and almost two hours for Wang. Either Carlsen is having very very good form (so Kasparov can stop breathing down his neck) or Wang played very badly, or both.

Topalov looked weak in his vs. Anand. He got absolutely nothing from the opening and was thoroughly outplayed by Anand. Topalov doesn't seem to know how to play well when he has a passive position.

As for Anand? We're in an era of non-dominance possibly due to the influence of computers. The playing field is not so hilly as it once was, so it's harder for one person to win everything. And I believe the field is only going to get more towards level in the future.

I think Topalov is psyched out with Anand just like Anand was with Kaspy after the World Championship match....
It would be a shame to see that as Topa is such a dynamic player...
On the contrary he should take inspiration from Kramnik who is playing at the same level if not more than Anand after his loss....but again Topalov does not agree with Kramnik to begin with...

The Lasker is a good psychological choice against the impetuous Topalov, who may overextend himself in trying to win.

I would not play the Lasker against Kramnik.

Incidentally, Matthew Sadler wrote in his QGD book that the Lasker variation is good to play against active, aggressive player. Looks like Anand have the same thought, with good result.

Looks like it took more than two years for RussianBear to recover from Bonn. Must be some kind of record.

"To be called World Champion you need to defeat the previous champion in a match (in the cases were that is possible)."

No. A match is not necessary; it can be a tournaent as long as the previous champion is in it. Anand was rightfully World Champ from 2007-2008 and then silenced all the mindless haters (who claimed it wasn't "real" b/c it wasn't done in matchplay) by throttling Kramnik in the 08 match.

You didn't take me literally ("draws ... would give Anand a whopping 0.3 point lead"), did you? Of course it's all stupid but (IMO) fun nonetheless.

These rating games will continue for a while ... . Aronian now seems too far behind in the short term. Kramnik and Aronian will play Tal Memorial (Anand and Carlsen declined the invitation which might save their pole positions). Anand, Carlsen and Kramnik will play London ... and then the big Wijk aan Zee showdown with Anand, Aronian, Carlsen and Kramnik - Topalov is now 30 points behind and unlikely to enter the equation.

Yeah, Kramnik himself recovered more quickly. How long will it take Topalov to recover from Sofia?

Its not topalov's fault that he has lost 25 pts in a jiffy. It's a woman, i tell ya. They always manage to undo things

How come no pajamas like last year? Is it because of Carlsen and Anand?

You can find him kibitzing fanboyish on PlayChess.com when Kramnik plays ;-)

Ah, yes, that would explain a lot. I remember Anand having very disappointing results the year following his marriage.
And I agree with the statement someone made about playing te lasker vs. Kramnik -- Kramnik would milk that for all it was worth. Anand made an interesting statement about how everyone would love to play like Kramnik. Eventually, most chess players will learn to appreciate the beauty and the power of Kramnik's play.

I don't suppose you are identical to the Russian Bear who plays on chessbase, RB?

Wow, what a game from Anand! Lot of tactical possibilities from a d4 opening!

I think people are beginning to realize Anand's talent. GM Kavalek in chessbase says "Vishy Anand is the most versatile world chess champion."

GM's annotations here.. http://chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=6758

Give it a rest on RB, folks. RB is definitely nor Russianbear. Russianbear is a fearless, 'I'll have the last word' blogger. He also shows some level of sarcastic disrespect for fellow bloggers that he disagrees with. He would never hid behind some other handle such as RB. RB's comments were pretty mild and more or less accurate compared to what our good old friend Russianbear is capable of writing.

RB, keep'em coming, my friend. Anand seems to be focusing on winning matches more than tournaments. Frankly, it's his choice and I don't think he needs to prove anything any more. He's at the age Kasparov retired but is playing the best chess of his career with his best rating.

Of course there's a bit of ratings inflation by looking at the # of 2700+ players.

Doesn't sound like Russianbear but Russianbear or not, this fake RB must be a guy who frequents this forum. He seems to have borrowed my arguments for who can be considered a world champion in the absense of title championship! In Anand's case he has proved his superiority over others in many cases like in round robin tournament championships, by his rating etc. He was not airlifted but he worked his way to the top to be a champion. So he doesn't have to prove his worth everyday.

When title was gone out of his hands, Karpov's performance rating in 1994 went way up! Similar is the case with Kasparov when he can't arrange a rematch with Kramnik! Why not other times?? So I wouldn't be surprised if someone goes above Anand in ratings now. These are just propaganda stuff against Champions. When Karpov, Kasparov "dominated", the candidates finalist was Smyslov, a 63 year old man! Can a 60-year old Karpov reach that stage today? 100s of GMs today are likely to beat him in a match. So I think rating inflation is again more of myth than fact. However, Anand is a truly dominating world chess champion! He beat Kramnik and Topalov as if he was like 50 rating points at least above them!

Ditto Harish. I remember these arguments when Anand won in Mexico. Everyone was saying how good Kramnik was in matches (false assertion if you look at his match record). They said Anand needed to prove himself by winning in a match. Now they complain that he only saves himself to win matches. He is by far the most versatile player ever. He's won in every format available.

Anand-Bacrot. 14 move into the game and Anand is on king hunting mission again !!

hm... standard moves in this variation.

> standard moves in this variation

Is it? I'm surprised by Anand's 15..b5. I play the variation myself, with White. Usually I can take the c4 pawn back without a fight, while Black completes his development.

I was able to find games up to 17...Qxd7 in chess.com data basse.

Yes, Chessok gives 18.Rhd1 as the novelty (18.Qc5 is Grischuk-Vallejo Pons, Linares 2010). Overall, my impression is that this piece sacrifice variation is a bit out of fashion lately. Anand made an "intermediate" choice: logically avoiding the (Elista-Sofia) endgame after 6.-c5 where he can only hope for a draw, as well as sharp semi-Slav variations - trying to win if the opportunity arises without taking much risk?

Is Anand in some trouble @move 40? Hard to impossible (for me) to assess such endings ... .

I can't say either... GM Zagrebelny at Chesspro says that Anand's position's probably hopeless, but various people commentating there don't agree. The one clear thing is that if black can exchange white's g-pawn (even for all 4 black pawns) it's a draw because of the wrong bishop to queen the h-pawn.

I think its drawn. There are some neat little nuances, such as Black only has to exchange off white's g pawn, as his B is the wrong colour to queen the h pawn.

Here's the link to that Russian commentary, by the way: http://www.chesspro.ru/chessonline/onlines/index_3312.html

Zagrebelny's changed his mind & says it's drawn. There are some nice lines - e.g. this one, which didn't happen: 40... h5 41.Be2 h4 42.h3 e5 43.Kd5 e4 44.Bd1 g5 45.Be2 g4! 46.hxg4 fxg4 47.Bxg4 e3 48.Kd4 h3!

Not sure Zagrebelny's the most useful endgame commentator in the world :) He realised one of his earlier drawn lines wasn't drawn... and now he's just quoting the computers as not liking Vishy's ...g5 - all very non-committal - meanwhile various commentator's appear to think 43. Ba6 (with Bb7 to follow) is winning for Bacrot.

Meanwhile Carlsen's gone for a position a pawn down that he presumably thinks, like Anand, that he can hold.

Engines disagree with each other: Rybka says 0.00, Stockfish gives white a clear advantage - but never trust engines too much in endgames.
In the meantime, Carlsen may get a dose from his own medicine: Gashimov tries to squeeze out something from a slightly favorable position.

I don't think this was what Anand had in mind when he went into that sac line, but I don't think he's going to lose. He seemed to go into this endgame voluntarily, as he had could have tried to maintain the tension on the Q side without exchanging heavy pieces, or at least maintaining Q+R and exchanging off just a pair of rooks.

Bacrot played 43.Ba6 - who are the various other commentators? Don't be too harsh on Zagrebelny - live commentary ain't easy ... .
If Anand and Carlsen both lose and Aronian beats Adams in a few hours, he will be live #1 after all ... the most unlikely of all possible scenarios.

In fact, surely its drawn now after Bacrot's 43. Ba6. Black just pushes g4, f4 and h3.

Anand is lost. He'll be forced to move his pawns, they will then become immobilized, the bishop will stop the king from infiltrating, and then the white king or the bishop picks off the pawns. It's lost.

Predictably, French chess fans (at france-echecs.com) are also going crazy - GM Dorfman and "Petiteglise" seem to believe it's won for white after 43.Ba6.
"Petiteglise" is Joachim Iglesias (Elo 2244) who also found a win for Bacrot yesterday if Gashimov had sacrificed his bishop for the last two white pawns.

Any site for live telecast?

Anand played 43...g4 and now 44.Bb7 should lock up the win. Even 44.Bd3 could do it also.

Further Internet rumors: Giri reportedly agrees with Dorfman (no idea which sources those guys are referring to). Those Frenchies also claim that Anand missed the draw with 35.-Rh1 forcing h2-h3, making a decisive difference in the endgame (first suggested by Hauchard).

Will be quite a boost for Bacrot's reputation if he manages to down the Champ like that.

"Those Frenchies also claim that Anand missed the draw with 35.-Rh1 forcing h2-h3"

Surely it would have been easier simply never to have entered this ending in the first place :)

Now both Zagrebelny and Golubev at Chesspro agree Anand's losing. When will Rybka join them!?

And Anand resigns just to ensure Rybka's embarrassment's complete :)

So easy to see a win.

Do you mean that Rybka did not see the win? Amazing. If so, I will not buy Rybka. It must be a fish.

Rybka still hasn't joined, but Anand has ... and resigned after 46.Ke4. There seems to be an endgame bug in the Rybka software - in various lines she voluntarily exchanged the white g-pawn while "every Russian schoolboy" would know that this has to be avoided as long as possible.

this is such a embarrassment for rybka. so well played Bacrot, an ending which was always won after the rook exchange. amazing black just is not able to give up even 4 pawns for that one g pawn.

The odd thing is Rybka correctly assesses those lines as absolutely drawn - but why it doesn't assess the lines where White keeps a couple of pawns and the bishop as totally won!? Or at the very least as better than 0.00!?

It was quite a simple position after the exchange of major pieces and it is bad that Anand evaluated it as a draw. I don't know what went wrong with the world champion. With this Anand's chances of winning this tournament got a huge setback.

Just now - some time after the end of the game - "someone" edited the Chessok page: "46... f3 47. g3!)(46... f3 47. gxf3 gxf3 48. Kxf3 Kg7 49. Ke2 e4 {Rybka Aquarium (0:00:39)} {+0.00|d30} {equal chances}"
Hmmmmm ... .
Yet Rybka and Stockfish agree that Anand's 30.-Rb2: (more or less leading to the endgame) was an inaccuracy or mistake.

"It was quite a simple position after the exchange of major pieces"

simple?? huh. There were GMs out there saying it was draw. GM Hammer and GM Lagrave on icc amongst several others said it was draw first and then changed mind after GM Ian Nepomniachi gave a detailed analysis. it was not simple by any means.

ofcourse keeping rooks on board was best but f7 was weak at that point. and it feels intuitively that black can give up 4 pawns for the one g pawn somehow.

Plus it's still by no means clear if the ending was actually drawn or not. I think it was Zagrebelny who thought Anand should have waited to see what Bacrot did rather than voluntarily pushing his own pawns.

When I say simple anyone can see it will end up with Bishop + 2 pawns against 4 pawns. And I thought for any player of Anand's level it should be fairly simple(Maybe after this game I should change my expectation).I feel Kramnik would never have gone into this ending in the same position. As far as other GMs who are commentatingare concerned, they cannot evaluate it easily when engines are of no help.

Zagrebelny wrote (improving on the Google translation) "The white strategy is extremeley unspohisticated: just wait until your opponent runs out of pawn moves." But I don't think this means that Anand should have moved only with his king - in that case the white king will penetrate and some zugzwang(s) cannot be avoided: after all, white has unlimited waiting moves with the bishop.

Such endgames are by no means simple, if seemingly small details (e.g. if the white pawn is on h2 or h3) can affect their evaluation. Several decades ago, a (somewhat) similar endgame was hotly debated as part of Grunfeld opening theory(!!!), with Novikov's novelty 36.h4 putting that particular line out of business:

BTW, this is the second time this year that Anand puts a shade on Rybka: first by winning a WCh match against the opponent's superior hardware - I guess once would have been enough for him ... .

Tournament organisers, Anand's manager please note!!!!

Anand has clearly proven himself a cut above the rest. He is an undisputed world champion and he deserve to be on top of the list. Please do not show your bias against Anand or be carried away by some ever changing public opinion to project world#1 as the top. Any joker fixing a couple of games could take one above Anand rating wise.

Anand's manager should demand that any tournament Anand plays in should list him on top to bring in some sanity to the order. It is so ridiculous to see Anand listed down the line somewhere!

Oh please. Anand is the least out-standing world champion since the 1960s.

I mean that literally - he does not stand-out from his peers. He's not even necessarily the First Among Equals.

The best that can be said is he is At Least Second Among Equals.

About 98% of the time Anand is beneath Kasparov, or Topalov's rating, or without Kramnik's classic title, or beneath Carlsen.

I suspect that the people who kept claiming that the position after the 40th move was drawn were simply parroting whatever Rybka mistakenly told them to say. I started watching this game at move 40 and at first I thought it would be hard for white to win, but then I saw the idea of moving the bishop behind the pawns and forcing them to move forward, then moving the king over to pick them off. Just don't end up with only the h-pawn for white. It looked so simple. But, if you only rely on Rybka to do your thinking for you, even if you are a GM, you'll look silly.

(And the worst stain is, Anand in his prime was not better than the elderly Kasparov. Not even close. And perhaps would still be behind Kasp had he remained in chess.)

I thought it was an easy win for White (Bacrot).

True - it *appears* that black can somehow swap off one of his 4 pawns for the g-pawn. Unless you've played such positions.

In practice, the pawn mass plods forward slowly and predictably; it is much too easy for the side with bishop side-step cheap tricks and induce zugswang.

Stain? Kasparov was a monster. Anand along with Kramnik have always been 2, 3 behind Kasparov and there is no shame in that.

Anand has cemented his place in history.
It is more interesting to see who will claim the title next. Aronian, Carlsen, Karjakin all look promising as likely candidates.

Anand's manager should demand that any tournament Anand plays in should list him on top to bring in some sanity to the order.

Quite funny! Have you drunk something disagreeable recently?

Absolutely correct. I've played these types of positions, unfortunately from both sides, and the extra pawns are only visually impressive at first. Like a line of foot soldiers marching forward with bayonets. However, the bishop is like a long range gun that can be easily redeployed here and there. The foot soldiers are no match for a long range gun. Rybka and its parrots don't seem to understand that.

hcl, rating is manipulatable, that is my point. So Anand was second in rating all these years hardly matters. IMO, Kasparov was NEVER better than Anand! You can't take into account any private championship results where you won't know what is going on behind the scenes. When Kasparov is arranging funding, you can't be there making your own demands. Everyone knows even a money guarantee from Anand was rejected. Anyway, Kramnik asked Kasparov to play an official match with Anand. Later on Anand himself also offered to or showed willingness to play an offical match with Kasparov. But Kasparov refused, why? I can only speculate, a possible computer advantage Kasparov had over the years to pull up novelties was fast vanishing by then.

Let me ask you this. Why is Karpov today asking for a longer matches? Does he genuinely think a 14 or 16 would accurately decide the best? And why do you think FIDE says they have to consult with top players for longer matches? Practical difficulties are there, but these people are looking for loopholes. Everyone knows it is hard to keep seconds locked up into a room for longer periods. I assume for no reason Anand is not disclosing his second's names or he is putting them all in one block of the hotel during the match.

One more thing. If Anand is 1st among the equals, I am sure he wouldn't be able to beat Kramnik or Topalov that easily. That has to tell something.

What a game from Bacrot !!!
It looked just like he was giving an elementary-level endgame lesson to a teenager schoolboy !!!

Isn't that why we have world championship to decide the best player? How come world #1 gets ahead of world champion in the list?

"IMO, Kasparov was NEVER better than Anand!" (someone called PircAlert)

You could read a thousand postings a day on a thousand blogs for a thousand years, and never find a statement as idiotic as that. Something must be seriously wrong if this "PircAlert" truly believes what he said.

To hcl (and all other Anand-haters):

Anand is in his prime NOW, not in the 90s when Kasparov owned him (hence his trouncing of Kramnik while Kasparov couldn't beat Vladdy ONCE in a 15 game match!).

Kasparov is the GOAT, so of course he's had a better career than Vishy. That doesn't mean Vishy isn't an all-time great. Just because Kobe Bryant is no Michael Jordan doesn't mean that Kobe isn't one of the top 5-10 players of all-time. Same for Vishy.

I like that, GOAT. It took me a minute to figure out, but it's neat.

hag, it may sound idiotic but don't you know truth is unpopular.

While I have some sympathy for your point (Anand should be listed first ...), much of what you write is plain nonsense:

- Kasparov "owned" Anand also in tournament games, no need and no rationale for conspiracy theories to argue away Anand's loss in their WCh match. Nothing wrong either with being in the shadow of Kasparov throughout their common careers - Kasparov retired so this is history. @hcl: Yes, currently there are several players of roughly equal strength at the world top - all the better for chess if a tournament winner isn't known beforehand!?

- While Anand beat Topalov (and I was happy about it), it wasn't (that) easy. Maybe his win against Kramnik was easy, but Kramnik did his homework after the match - so if they played another match tomorrow there would be no clear favorite. And Anand yet has to play a match against Carlsen.

- While rating may be manipulable, where is the evidence that Topalov and/or Carlsen manipulated their ratings?

BTW, it is a tiny bit funny that you bring this up right after Anand's loss against Bacrot ... .

"...don't you know truth is unpopular."

No, I do not know that, and I live in the truth. Are you really such an idiot or are you just pretending to be one, like IM Stoopid?

"About 98% of the time Anand is beneath Kasparov, or Topalov's rating, or without Kramnik's classic title, or beneath Carlsen." Haha! This is funny! And it's funny because there is some truth to it. Perhaps the chess world is spoiled by the dominance of Fischer,Karpov, and Kasparov. Our recent world champions have been rather average. At the same time, I do think that the chess world is tougher than it ever was, and that both Kramnik and Anand belong in the list of top 10 players of all time. I tend to favor recent players when making such an evaluation.

Thomas, thanks, but no sympathy needed!

In the case of Anand - Topalov, it became like Anand winning with a game odd. (I am not trying to take any credit away from Topalov for the win.) But it is not just the results, it is the way the games went and Topalov wasn't able to hold or breakthrough but Anand was just dominating even from a point behind.

Leaving conspiracies aside, Kasparov couldn't beat Karpov convincingly (and therefore the "together they dominated" instead "none of the two dominated"?). And Kramnik convincingly beat Kasparov. But Kasparov is the greatest ever player by virtue of his #1 rating and other tournament results? And not taking into account some computer advantage he had over others? Contrast that with Anand against Kramnik or Topalov where he battled it out on a level playing field, and busted the myth of rating!

Is that true to play in a Kasparov simul you should be a player never to have reached a 2000? If then, compare that with Anand and I believe his simul opponent floor is 2200!

btw I don't want to go into the past, but moving forward, I see things are getting geared up once again to swindle the title from Anand.

"BTW, it is a tiny bit funny that you bring this up right after Anand's loss against Bacrot ... ."

I know, because I believe in Anand's skills!

Hello Toledo!
"Perhaps the chess world is spoiled by the dominance of Fischer,Karpov, and Kasparov."

Please consider the quality of the competetion from their contemporaries before you make your judgment on dominance.

Kasparov's competetion for the challengership came from 63-year old former world champion and GM Smyslov. That is the kind of the field Fischer, Karpov, Kasparov dominated! People like Lev Alburt and all played completely new openings with just one-day prepation and have became nation champions, which you can't even think of today. So to make a comparison with todays competetion and to see how great are today's champion and players, you would have to pitch today's champion against a similar type of competetion where your opponent strengths are below a former world champion who in his sixties. In other words, you would need to floor the players who can beat, say, Karpov today. And then if you conduct a tournament selecting from among the rest, and then measure the world champion's performance in that tournament, you would know how much they would dominate. Besides some adjustments are always necessary for today's champions for computers that have made winning not all that easy to prove your dominance.

One more tournament failure for Anand and it is really disappointing to see his performances in these tournaments. I don't know how long we need to wait for him to win a tournament.Better he stops playing in tournaments if he cannot win one.

Disappointing to see Aland's performance. He is unable to win even one game from white(including the tourney at Bilbao) and now he loses with black. He has won two games with black but it is only because opponents made mistakes while trying to force the issue rather than intent to win on the part of Anand. He is only trying to get a draw in the tournament concentrating only on matches and if he continues with this strategy it is better if he completely abdicates tournament play.

Hey Pirc!

Not sure I understand your argument, but I vigorously disagree with your statement that Fischer, Karpov,and Kasparov faced poor competition. I actually lived through those years, and I can tell you that people like Tal, Petrosian, Spassky, Geller, Korchnoi, Larsen, and Stein would all be top tenners today. Petrosian and Tal and Geller were so strong that they would even defeat Karpov and Kasparov sometimes in tournament games. Smyslov was one of the greatest players of all time. He got far into the candidates in part due to winning on a roulet wheel. Kasparov dominated todays players such as Topalov, Anand, Ivanchuk, Grischuk, and Shirov. His dominance is still very much relevant today. I take nothing away from Kramnik and Anand. They belong in history's top ten, but I repeat, they are "average" champions when compared to their three predecessors. Even Karpov easily defeated Anand when he was old and washed up. Anand is the best of today's bunch, but he could only squeeze past Topalov even with Kasparov,Kramnik,and Carlson helping him. Carlsen and Aronian represent the next championship contenders. I love both Kramnik and Anand. Great players! We just have to keep things in perspective.

Or may be you shouldn't conduct a championship match spending millions of dollars on two players if tournament and #1 rating is all that matters.

I think Anand should just go out and enjoy tournaments experimenting and making piece for 3 pawns sac right out of opening and what not.

I have had the impression for a while that Anand is garnering most of his points from prep, and often failing when it comes to a real battle over the board against top players, outside of his prep. Note: there have been exceptions to this, yes indeed, nice win v Carlsen, etc. But generally speaking, as a trend, I feel that this has been the case for a while. I think the fact that Anand does not play so often is the root cause here. He is concentrating too much on prep, saving himself for big tournaments and matches. Even Kasparov remarked on their match that Anand's over-focusing on prep was hindering his normal creativity. Looking at several recent games, when his opponent escapes his pre-game analysis, he has failed in the middlegame on several occasions. I think he should play more, and not just the top tourneys where often the players swap prep, but slightly lower ones where he can have a real tussle with his opponent. I welcome any dissenting views.

His arguments and statements are completely non-sensical, so it's best just to ignore him.

of course, if you do the math, there are at least 20 players in my top ten.

What I have observed from Anand's play over the past few years is , he is hardly trying to create any opportunities for a win. He simply plays without any creative ideas if he fails to get any opening advantage.While this strategy suits match play very well, it utterly fails in tournaments. Anand should learn to switch between match mode and tournament mode especially when the match is still a long way away and even don't know who the challenger is.

@Toledo Paul

So you think that two days of sparring with Carlsen, and unsolicted calls from Kramnik and Kasparov that probably lasted some minutes were the reason Anand won against Topalov!

And you don't even know what it is that Kasparov and Kramnik told Anand in the middle of the match, or for that matter if it was really so earth-shattering that Anand and team had missed it completely.

I mean it is laughable given that W'ship contenders spend months, sometimes a year preparing for their match-up.

This observation of yours simply displays your prejudice against Anand.

By the way, Kramnik hammered Kasparov in their W'ship match-up. In 15-16 games they played, Kasparov was not able to win EVEN A SINGLE ONE!!

Topalov hammered Kasparov in tournaments.

Kasparov hid his title for several years, and did not have to defend it every 2 or so years that Anand has to.

Kasparov played inferior opposition, far inferior opposition. And of the current crop he played then long before they reached their peaks.

I know it will be hard to accept but I will put it this way.

Is it possible for someone who is in his sixties to reach up to a challenger match level today?

63 year-old Smyslov plays at challenger level means,

1. Either Smyslov was so great a player and greater than Karpov or Kasparov who weren't able to sustain that level as they got older and retired so early from chess life. In that case Kasparov cannot be called a greatest ever!

2. Or the competition was so weak that even a player in his sixties like Smyslov could reach upto a challeger level. In that case, to make a comparison of Kasparov with todays champion, you would have to measure todays champion's performance against a similar weak competition that would allow a player in sixties to be #3. Meaning, a tournament should be conducted where you would only include todays world champion, vice champion, a 60-year old Karpov, and any one rated below Karpov. All the others above Karpov should be excluded because that was how strong was the competition in those days.


More rats crawling from the woodwork, who can't stand the fact that Anand beat Kramnik and Topalov head-to-head.

Smoke the excuses you're giving for Kramnik and all that bulls** about him not being prepared.

Thomas, what's this about? Colour? Is that what makes you squirm in your pants?

Anand won the W'Ship in Tournament format, Knockout format, and Match format twice (Against Kramnik and Topalov).

Who else has done it? Who else?

F*** these tournaments where some players will win them by cleaning up the bottom half of the draw.

Face-up in W'Chip match-ups where each player has the opportunity to neutralise the opponent and his prepapration over several matches instead of a hit and a miss.

W'Ship match exposes how good a player really is.

In Bacrot v/s Anand it seems the decisive mistake was 42..g5. He could have drawn with something like 42..e5+ . So Anand might have evaluated the position correctly when he decided to exchange all the major pieces but miscalculated in the end. Now a days Anand is losing many games like this may be because of the age factor.

> but don't you know truth is unpopular

...and therefore everything unpopular, however unliklely, must be true.

Anand should have stayed with known and tested concepts, and not have messed around with moves, quite possibly underage, I don't know of.

Interesting viewpoints, guys. Fiend: I have no prejudice against Anand. I repeat that he is one of my fav. players and easily fits into my top 10 of all time. I even named my son (middle name) aftger him in 1992. Kaspy's tournament record against Topalov is overwhelmingly in his favor. No player could approach him. He had trouble with Kramnik in the match primarily due to an inability to crack the Berlin during a short match. He likely would have defeated him in a rematch. You, on the other hand, must be a complete homer. You see nothing but greatness, which is fine, but have no objectivity at all. You probably lick his dirty shoes. Pirc: Smyslov was not #3 in the world then. He got on a hot streak and scraped past (was it Ribli?) in one match then won his next on tiebreaker (Hubner, I think) by spinning a roulet wheel. He wasn't even in the top 50 at the time, I don't think. Kasparov had to defend his title against the second or third greatest player of all time: Anatoly Karpov.

Yep, I posted Shipov's analysis of 42...e5+ drawing at Chessgames: http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1599149 And no-one's found a hole in it yet...

It was still probably a bit reckless to go for that ending given that it was so hard to accurately assess and play. Obviously not for the Hags of this world, though :)

Actually, one thing I'd add is that I don't think it's to do with age, but that one of Anand's relative weaknesses (i.e. he's still brilliant...) is in endgames. That needs to be distinguished from his ability to calculate lines in positions with limited material (without queens), as he's possibly the best in the world at that, but when you get to a pure endgame and it becomes more of a matter of thinking conceptually (mathematically, geometrically i.e. the sort of thing that Kramnik likes) he can be a little weaker. He's lost more relatively simple endings than you'd expect for a player at his level (not that I can easily quote you the evidence!).

Lifetime records listed:
Kasparov v. Topalov +19 -6 =17
Kasparov v. Kramnik +22 -21 =79
Kasparov v. Anand +26 -8 =43

on the other hand: Anand v. Aronian -8 +4 -19.

It's not like these guys only played a couple of games against each other in the backyard. This doesn't mean that Aronian is better than Anand. I just want to show that some players have difficulty with certain opponents. Kasparov had a tough time w/ Kramnik. But this argument gets tiresome. I now retire from it. I hope that Anand continues as world champion for the foreseeable future. He is a great player and one of my heros. But I am not a blind homer.

"...and therefore everything unpopular, however unliklely, must be true."

No Bartleby no. I know that is how the world spins today in its axis!

May be positions like this against Bacrot offered drawing chances at best. If so, Anand should opt for lines that offers him winning chances for the risks that he takes. In any case, it is more important for Anand to just go out and have fun in all the tournamnents until his next title match that matters most!

Can not help but thinking that Kramnik would have drawn that game.

Mishanp, you wrote :
"but when you get to a pure endgame and it becomes more of a matter of thinking conceptually (mathematically, geometrically i.e. the sort of thing that Kramnik likes) he can be a little weaker"
In other words, you mean a separate WC should be set, one for opening, one for middlegame, one for endgame. -) ! So, Anand is a WC for Opening and Middlegame only a kind of "a Christ on crutches "!

Bacrot could have been WC sooner, but he has such a lovely wife (specialist of French Kiss)....

Yeah, Le Metis. I know the feeling and that's why I never became a GM too.

Petrosian Tigran said in an interview to "Sovietsky Sport" after world championship match with Spassky " I believe only in logical, "correct" play, moves..."
You made the correct move ! :)
-Enjoy life with Flesh, Wood will come anyway with the coffin!

You or Shipov, or both of you are wrong. 42...e5+ does not draw, e.g., 43.Kd5 e4 44.Bf1.


In the meantime, there is similar analysis by endgame expert Karsten Mueller at Chessbase. But Peter Doggers at Chessvibes writes "It looks like 42.-e5+ also loses". As far as I can tell, he doesn't refute Shipov and Mueller but shows various ways how black can still go wrong - including positions where white loses his g-pawn but still wins by zugzwang: stalemating the black king and forcing g4-g3.

In Shipov's line "42...e5+ as a draw, if I understood the analysis correctly: i.e. 42...e5+ 43. Kd5 e4 44. Bd1 Kg5 45. Ke5 f4 46. h3! f3 47. gxf3 exf3 48. Bxf3 Kh6 49.Kf6 Kh7 50.Bd5 Kh8 51.Kf7 Kh7 52.Kf8 Kh6 53.Kg8 g5 54.Bf3 g4! 55.hxg4 Kg5 56.Kf7 h3 57.Ke6 Kf4 draw>"

46. Kxe4! (43.h3 blunder! I guess) and how does it draw??? if 46...h3 47.g3 fxg3 48.hxg3 and white wins I guess.

Anand must have known 42...e5+ or 42...g5 wouldn't matter!

Allright, 46.Kxe4 draw to h3 g3 fxg3 hxg3 h2 bf3 h1Q bxh1 Kg4 and Kxg3. But yeah 44. Bf1 probably..

Question also to hag: What's the difference between 44.Bf1 and Shipov's as well as Mueller's 44.Bd1 ? It takes a bit more to refute expert analyses ... .

Question to PircAlert: Why is it, apparently, soooo hard to admit that Anand may have made a mistake? Everyone does once in a while, nobody is perfect.

Thomas, please work the rest of this out for yourself.


Thomas, yes, nobodys perfect. Anand could have misjudged and could have made a mistake! But you know there are people seems to see only half of as much Anand sees but are considered as end game experts by very many!! :)

Bacrot "Bamboozled" Anand in the engame ! very instructive ! Look!

Philidor said : "Pawns are the soul of Chess", be aware of that if you play french GM's ! :)

42...e5 43.Kd5 e4 44.Bf1!! yeah looks brilliant 44...Kg5 idea wouldn't work. for example 45.Ke5 f4 46.h3! f3 47.Kxe4 fxg2 48.Bxg2 and white can corner black king to a "stalemate" position at h8 and force allow his pawn to change file from h to g!

> white can corner black king to a "stalemate"
> position at h8 and force allow his pawn to change
> file from h to g

No, White can't. There are some positions where this idea works but it's not automatic. When the black g pawn stays om g6, White can't force the stalemate/zugzwang position without taking the pawn.

"But you know there are people seems to see only half of as much Anand sees but are considered as end game experts by very many!! :)"

Well, it was the other way round today...But this gave a very bad impression, on numerous chesswebsite it was said that once out of the books he blunders too easily.

Here is my line to force king to "stalemate" when pawn on g6.

42.Be2 e5
43.Kd5 e4
44.Bf1 Kg5
45.Ke5 f4
46.h3 f3
47.Kxe4 fxg2
48.Bxg2 Kf6
49.Kf4 Kf7* (*Ke6 another variation, but basically one of the two ideas addressed here. either drive king to a "stalemate" position or drive king to an unreachable from queening square position)
50.Kg5 Kg7
51.Bd5 Kf8
52.Kf6 Ke8
53.Bb3 Kd8
54.Ba4 Kc7
55.Ke6 Kd8
56.Kd6 Kc8
57.Bc6 Kb8
58.Bd5 Kc8
59.Be6+ Kb7
60.Bd7 Kb6
61.Bc6 Ka5** (**Ka7 another variation below)
62.Kc5 Ka6
63.Bd5 Ka7
64.Kc6 Kb8
65.Be6 Ka7
66.Bc8 Kb8
67.Bb7 Ka7

Now, pawn has to move now to g5. White can free up black king and can create another "stalemate".

61... Ka7
62.Kc7 Ka6
63.Bd7 Ka5
64.Kc6 Kb4
65.Kd5 Kc3
66.Bb5 Kb4
67.Bf1 Kc3
68.Ke4 Kd2
69.Kf4 Ke1
70.Ba6 Kf2
71.Kg4 Ke3
72.Kxh4 Kf4
73.Bc8 etc. wins
Basic idea here is to drive the black king to the white side of the board so King can't reach the queening square.

Now your turn to poke holes in my analysis, if any!

Clearly, Anand has never been better than Kasparov in any respect. The lifetime score Anand vs Kasparov is 3-15=30. Anand only won 3 times, against 15 for Kasparov, that's a mediocre one against five, and Anand never won any single game after 1995.

If we look more carefully, Anand's 3 wins against Kasparov includes 2 at the beginning of his career, when he was not well known yet (newcomer's surprise effect), plus 1 win at the beginning of their 1995 match, before he was crushed 4 times in a row in that match. That's all. Just 3 times, against 15 losses against Kasparov.

Even in fast games (rapid/blitz) supposedly Anand's strength, he has negative score against Kasparov.

Fischer, Karpov, and Kasparov, at their best, clearly showed better domination compared to Anand or any of today's top player.

None of the current top player has been able to remain at no. 1 for more than about 2 years.

Recently, Anand showed superior tournament performance only once in his 6 last tournaments (since 2008). Not only is he not dominating, but he isn't even 2nd in the other 5 tournaments, and finished last in Bilbao 2009. Didn't happen to Fischer, Kasparov, or Karpov during their best (dominating) years.

Oh and don't give me that nonsense about Anand performing lower because he was focusing on the WC matches. Kasparov, Fischer, and Karpov won World Championships AND tournaments in the same period.

For the record, here is Anand's tournament results since 2008

=3rd 2-0=11 Corus 2010
4th 2-1=6 Tal 2009
4th 2-2=10 Linares 2009
6th 0-2=8 Bilbao 2009
1st 4-1=9 Linares 2008
=3rd 3-1=9 Corus 2008

By the way, Toledo gave the following:

Kasparov v. Anand +26 -8 =43

That score includes a mix of different time controls. Besides, the total is not accurate.

Kasparov vs Anand
Classical games: 15-3=30
Rapid & blitz: 12-5=13

"The lifetime score Anand vs Kasparov is 3-15=30."

First you have to scrap the private championship scores from that. Because no official supervision. It was about political breakaway and no sponsor would simply want to the title to change hands and go back to FIDE.

Apart from that, some of the wins can be attributed purely to Kasparov's computer advantage. Also winning one or two here and there amounts to nothing much. Between 1995 and 2005 Kasparov and Anand should have faced in at least 2 or 3 matches, but that didn't happen because Kasparov ducked. Now Anand has much better computer access, more confidential seconds, which again is very important in a head-head score comparison.

Also you can't make much out of lifetime score sometimes. Say if Anand retires today, can't Carlsen ever be the best ever? So the comparison is not simple as that.

51..Kf8 is the wrong plan. Just hide behind the untouchable pawn and travel between g7,h7,h8(!).
In your line 51..Kh7 will do the trick.
If 52.Kf6, the cool 52..Kh8 will hold. (Mueller's idea, not mine.) You have to make sure, the white king doesn't come to h6, but Black has just enough squares to do that.


Do not manipulate history.

Anand himself refused to play in 1999-2000. He might have a legitimate reason, but that's beside the point. In any case, he himself refused to play.

As for the 1995 match, what demand of Anand was refused that brings him to a significant disadvantage?

As for the so called money guarantee from Anand, prove that it existed.

Besides, even if we don't take into account the 1995 match, the score is still 11-2 for Kasparov.
In fact, it is even worse than 15-3 that includes the match. And if we don't include the 1995 match, then there is not a single win for Anand after 1991. (Not once in the remaining 14 years of their encounters.) Only a twisted biased logic can bring one to the conclusion that Kasparov is not better.

As for ratings, I agree being 1st and 2nd may not make a difference if the gap is small. However, Kasparov, Fischer, and Karpov were ahead with a wide margin during their peak. Such a wide margin is statistically significant. Which is never accomplished by Anand (or any current top player).


51...Kh7 loses easily. For example,
52.Kf6 Kh8
53.Kf7 Kh7
54.Kf8 Kh8 (Kh6 would also lose)
55.Bg8 and the "stalemate" idea and black has to commit g5. And another "stalemate" would allow h-pawn to switch file.

Lol, funniest post in years, keep up your defence! More laughs ahead for sure.


Anand himself agreed to play in the 1995 WC, and never complained about the conditions. So you better shut up about it. The only way you can make a logical argument here is to show a complain by Anand himself (not from your imagination, but from Anand, I'm not interested in your storytelling abilities).

Furthermore, as I showed just now, not including the 1995 games will make the lifetime score even worse for Anand.

If Anand retires now, his lifetime score vs Carlsen may not matter much because they cover only a short period of time. However, lifetime scores matter if they cover a long period of time. The Kasparov - Anand lifetime score covers
15 years. That is significant.

Kasparov never ducked any match with Anand. It's Anand who refused to play in 1999/2000. Besides they did play in 1995.

henry, what I am doing is not manipulation. What was done to Anand was what is manipulation. There was precedence for money not being given (shirov's case) and the match was being postponed once and with that background and with no guarantee money who would play except those who are desperate or would not get a chance otherwise. It was basically playing games! Anand did not fall for that trap.

As for Fischer, Kasparov, Karpov dominace, please read my earlier posts.

How do you intend to go on after 54..Kh6? You won't create a stalemate in the middle of the board, will you?

In that case of 54...Kh6
55.Kg8 Kg5
56.Kg7 Kh5
57.Bf3+ Kg5
58.Bg4 Kf4
59.Kf6 and the second idea, that is, you can drive the king far away from queening square.


Read history. Anand refused to play in 1999/2000. That's fact. Anything you are telling us is not proven. Even Anand himself is not saying those things you said.

And you haven't answered my question: In the 1995 match, what demand of Anand was refused that brought him to a significant disadvantage? When did Anand officially complain?

As for Fischer, Kasparov, Karpov dominance, it's already clear. Your argument on the difference in quality of competition is only speculation. BTW, Kasparov's competition in the 1990s includes Anand, so Anand is an example of lower quality competition? :-) :-)

You ask, why is Anand as World Champion not no. 1 rated? Just see his recent tournament record I just posted.

In what sense is Anand the most versatile world champion? Because he won it in different formats (tournament and matches)? Didn't Botwinnik do the same?

The other world champions didn't win WC tournaments (only matches) because they didn't need to. It's not a strong argument to say someone is better in something if others never tried because they didn't need to. If we have an example of Tal playing in a WC tournament and failed, then we can say Anand is better, but if Tal never played in a WC tournament, there is nothing to argue about.

As for winning blitz world championships, in the past there were no regular events for them. It is conceivable that Tal, Fischer, or Kasparov might've won them, if they existed. Again, without that, there is nothing to compare, and saying someone is the "best" (or "most versatile") doesn't amount to much.

Nice try, but I doubt that you can drive the black king away far enough. He just has to enter f6 after White takes on h4. That should be possible even from your final position.
But I would prefer not to concede space so readily: The white king on g8 has a too long way home. Black plays 55..g5 (instead of Kg5), intending g4, and the bishop alone can't defend his pawn against the black king, and hold the h pawn simultaneously.

I have a question.

Anand, as world champion, finished last in Bilbao 2009.

Is there any other world champion who finished last in a tournament during their tenure as world champion?

As far as I know, there is no such example. It only happened to Anand. But please correct me if this is wrong.

Yeah g6-g5 was good idea, so to prevent that let us first do Be6 and g5 can be stopped by a Bg5. Once that is prevented, the "stalemate" idea or the king to the white side of the board idea is revived now.

henry, been here for unusually long today so logging off now. Talk to you later..

But the black king just lingers around f6. You can't force him more than two squares away from f6. At least I don't see how. Once the white king takes on h4, the black king heads for the corner h8. When the h4 pawn is gone, the stalemate trick doesn't work for White any more, because after hxg the stalemate stays stalemate.

"First you have to scrap the private championship scores from that. Because no official supervision."

The most absurd post in weeks....and that's no mean feat around here.

In my personal opinion Kasparov was the most dominant but that's like comparing apples and oranges in a way. Elite chess today is a completely different animal than before this level of pre-computer anlaysis. Plus parity is among us with quite a few amazing talents..

I don't think there is more talent today compared to say the early 1990s. What is different is the preparations (including the use of computers). But not in terms of raw talent.

That's why it's not convincing to say that the quality of competition today is stronger such that nobody can dominate anymore. I mean it can be argued that if Kasparov, or Fischer, or Karpov (or Alekhine for that matter) were 20 years old today, they might be able to adapt with the current approach and, combining that with their unique talent, still dominate, like they historically did.

Another thing to notice is that the top of today (Anand, Topalov, Kramnik) have been more or less equals since 1990s, when Kasparov dominated. Their careers did significantly intersect Kasparov's, and they were dominated. It cannot be said they are so strong that no one can dominate. Kasparov did dominate them.

In other news, J Polgar plays in her first tournament since she was ___ years old where she isn't the only woman player... and shows why

Random question:

Why does there exist today a "glass ceiling" of 2800 to 2850 for humans, with such a tight spread from 2700 to 2800, when chess programs now reach the strength of 3000 to 3250 elo?

A biological limitation? Or put another way:

What prevents the human species from producing a 3250-rate human who would beat today's super GMs 99% of the time?

All your analysis is interesting and potentially helpful (if ever you get such an endgame yourself with either color), but a quick look at tablebases puts an end to your story:
The initial position is drawn (it would be won with black king on h6, pawn on g5 AND white to move - with black to move it's still a draw). In your analysis, only 64.-Kb8 is the losing move (64.-Ka6!). Good luck trying to prove tablebases wrong, to my knowledge it never happened before ... .

Regarding endgame experts, they had several "unfair" advantages over Anand:
- They don't have pressure with the clock ticking
- They knew what happened in the game (before starting their own analysis)
- They can move pieces around and "take back moves they made"
- They can consult tablebases
Taking all this into account plus the fact that two experts, Shipov and Mueller, reached the same conclusion independently (so I presume), I believe that - in the given situation - they may well be 'stronger' than Anand.

Zagrebelny doing live commentary had less advantages over Anand, and also no clue on how to assess the position ... .

You mean it is not possible that Anand finished last in Bilbao 2009 before his WC match because he did not want to reveal too much of his preparations? Not possible?

Very much possible.

And he finished second at Bilbao this year. Second but undefeated. So he went from being worst in 2009 to being second in just one year?

Congrats to Levon Aronian!
He crossed the 2800 bar at Plovdiv- He is 2803 on the next FIDE List (Chessbase)

Congratulations Bacrot !

He really understand Chess, like the former Soviet players of the good old days and not reciting "learned-by-heart" lines, like some poor parrots !

Didn't Kramnik finish last in Dortmund 2005?

Or was it in Sofia 2005?

What prevents the human species from producing a 3250-rate human who would beat today's super GMs 99% of the time?

2 answers, hcl.
1. There's a limit to the computational and analytical capacity of the human brain, at this stage of human evolution.
2. There are only 24 hours in a day.

Thomas, Bartleby,

Looks like
1. a "stalemate" position is not achievable with King+Bishop when opponent King can get to the center.
2. Driving black king to white side of the board is not forced like as from 64.Ka6 or 67.Ka5 etc.
3. Therefore pawn position of g6 or g5 really doesn't matter.
4. Only black King going to h8 will help white win.

So I think we can conclude 44.Bf1 is interesting but is a draw. I believe most GMs won't even try like I (or we) tried and would immediately conclude from 44.Bf1 that it is a draw because they would already know they can't corner king for black to commit a g5 or a g4.

Thanks guys, it was good to study this position though!


Did Anand have so little good openings that he cannot even use some of them for Bilbao and save others for his matches?

Why did he need to finish LAST, just to keep his secrets?

If Anand is really strong he should be able to win, or at least get a decent result (for example draw all his games) AND still win the world championships.

Fischer, Kasparov, Karpov were able to still win tournaments close to their matches AND win their matches as well. They didn't need to sacrifice anything. They won ALL. That's the evidence they are really strong. That was my comparison. If Anand needs to lose something to keep his secrets, he is not as strong as Fischer or Kasparov.

Kramnik didn't finish last in Dortmund 2005. He finished in the middle, with a +0 score, which is not great, but he didn't finish last.

There are various examples of world champions getting so so results during their tenure (not all of them were like Kasparov), but they didn't finish last.

So far it seems that Anand's Bilbao 2009 is the only example of a world champion finishing last at a tournament during his tenure. I checked the records all the way back to Steinitz. But if I miss something, you tell me.

And again, not revealing secrets is not enough as an excuse for finishing LAST. If he is strong, at least he could draw all his games. The other world champions didn't have any need to finish last just to keep some secrets.

Oh yes Sofia 2005.
Kramnik equal last, with Adams.

I didn't count it before, somehow I thought Topalov was already world champion at that time.

In that case, Kramnik and Anand equally share this bad record. It confirms the fact that they are both not dominating as world champions. Unlike the great champions.


The evolution and learning ability of the human species are much slower than the improvement of computers, at least for the type of problems that includes chess.

I expect computer chess to keep improving, even if mainly for the speed (people say it's only quantity, but great quantity creates quality). Plus probably better evaluations, and better endgame knowldge (the tablebases will expand in their coverage). In the meantime, I don't see how humans can improve as fast in the same timeframe. Perhaps more humans might get around 2800 (which is already happening), but not better.

Karpov finished last in Las Palmas 1996 while he was FIDE champ. Does that count?

Actually the last comment was not for HardyBerger, but for hcl. I am confirming HardyBerger's comment.


I only counted Karpov as world champion before he was beaten by Kasparov.

If we count FIDE champions, then we have to check e.g. Khalifman and Kasimdzhanov's records as well, which I didn't do.

When I said I might've missed some records of world champions finishing last, I was thinking of e.g. the old Soviet world champions playing in local soviet tournaments. Strong events, but the records of them might not be widely known.

It is easy for a local Soviet event in the 1960s to have a majority of the top 10 playing. Hence it is plausible that the world champion had a bad record in such an event. However, the records of those local Soviet events are not widely available.

I differ. Unless of course you want to use Anand's last placing as one that's definitive of his ability during his reign. I'm sure you're not attempting to prove that.

If we need to arrive at a mean that can predicate well then we will need to jettison the extremes, especially those extremes that are a rarity, like his placing last.

Having said that, you, and me included can only guess, that too from our own biases for or against, as to what might have transpired with Anand in the tournaments leading up to the next World Championship Cycle. Only Anand would know for sure.

It is well possible that in an attempt to guard his efforts, he might have let slip even drawing opportunities once he began playing under constraints (in all probablity self-imposed).

Since he has been the title holder for the last three years (or is it more?) I would expect that it is a factor in his tournament play.

We only need to look at his tournament play prior to his winning his World title (Rapid, Knockout, and Match formats), especially the period preceeding his win over Kramnik, that is until a year before his actual match play began.

And lastly, for all we know, maybe tournaments do not motivate his as much as a World Championship match anymore, a possibility.

But does that make him a bad player? I dont think it does.

For the same reason that Kasparov's loss to Kramnik in their World Championship match did not make Kasparov a bad player, even though he did not win a single game, not even a single game in the 16 they both played.

Maybe we should celebrate them instead of constantly nit picking over each statistic.

For one, Anand would not have lasted this long in an age where computers have helped even the field considerably as opposed to say, Kasparov's era.


My point is to compare Anand with the other World Champions. The discussion started when somebody said Anand is better than Kasparov.

Even if (suppose) you are correct that Anand intentionally lowered his performance in tournaments to "guard his efforts", that makes him weaker than the other champions, IMHO, who didn't need to lower their performance and still won world championships.

Furthermore, not all of Anand's failures in tournaments were from the opening. Both failures to draw, or failure to win. So your argument about "guarding efforts" fail to apply comprehensively.

Fair enough. You are entitled to your opinion, and maybe you are right in your own way too.

Like the someone else you mentioned, I too believe that Anand is far better than Kasparov. It is my opinion and there will folks who will not agree with it. I am okay with it.

I used to believe Kasparov was the best, but not anymore.

If Kasaprov has some things going in the debate of if Anand is better than Kasparov, then Anand too has a few things going for him.

Anand winning World Championships in all three formats - Knockout, Tournament, and Match is no mean achievement. No one has done it.

I doubt if any other World Champion other than Anand in Classical chess can lay claim to his reputation in Rapid. This makes him versatile as well.

Unlike say, Carlsen, Anand was not born in the digital age, so unlike Carlsen-aged prodigies (include Giri in it as well), Anand's DNA was not digital from the start, especially in those growing years where capacity to absorb, and assimilate is the greatest. So maybe Carlsen knew more of chess (in terms of Openings, Middle, and Endings etc. and most of the lines) at say, 15, than Anand did at 15.

The challenge for Anand was to kick in a gear or two at an age when it is possibly tougher than say, at 15. Yet, I believe he has, atleast because Carlsen is yet to 'masacre' him, which is quite an achievemt of sorts.

Kasparov quit the scene before he could be challenged by the Digital prodigies. One can only speculate if he would've matched up with current crop coming through. Anand has, and so has Kramnik to an extent. So that's another plus for Anand.

The telling story is of Kasparov unable to win even a single game in the 16 games he played against Kramnik in their World Championship match. Not one single game!!!

Why? Because Kramnik, having assisted Kasporov as a second in his World Championship match against Anand knew of all his preparation and knew the openings to avoid and instead throw something new at Kasparov on the board?

Thats what happened. Berlin caught Kasparov blind. Kasparov did not know what hit him. And maybe he was not such great a player because if he was he would have neutralised Kramnik's Berlin on the board. He could not.

Kasparov was possibly the greatest Opening Prepapration player of all time, but like most, drag him out of his preparation and he is just as fallible.

If Kramnik was not a Second to Kasparov in Kasparov's title match against Anand, Kasparov might have stood a chance against Kramnik in the 16 games they played.

Unfortunately that was not the case and Kasparov could not win a single game of the 16 or was it 15.

Kasparov is a great player no doubt but surely not the greatest. Anand is better.

I was his fan once but over time his lack of respect (voiced loud and clear for anyone who cared to hear) for opponents and the damage he did to chess careers with his PCA shenanigans put me off.

Also the fact that Anand had to play two candidates matches for the FIDE and PCA gigs to challenge the two K's, while they sat pretty while the challenging candidate went through a gruelling 25-30 games before gaining the right to challenge for the World Title. It was a joke.

Anyone knows how many games Anand had to play in the PCA Candidates cycle to challenge Kasparov for the PCA title? Was it in the range of 25-30 matches? I think it was.

Would anyone be left with any energy or preparation secrets after having to play that many?

The PCA candidates cycle

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