Greengard's ChessNinja.com

Heat in London

| Permalink | 159 comments

The second London Chess Classic begins Wednesday. The already-impressive field has received huge boost with the participation of world champion Vishy Anand. He replaced last year's last-place finisher Ni Hua. Carlsen, Kramnik, and Nakamura are the other foreign invaders, back from 2009. Defending the honor of Blighty is four-fifths of the English Olympiad team: Adams, Short, McShane, and Howell. Last year's event was something of a triumph for the local squad, with plus scores from Adams and Howell. But Carlsen stole the show and the title, beating Kramnik in a terrific game in the first round, marking the difference between them in the final standings.

Of course Anand is a big ticket, but honestly the match-ups between Kramnik, Carlsen, and Nakamura are more intriguing to me these days. They are all playing great and have turned in some of the most interesting chess and storylines of the past year. Kramnik beat Carlsen twice this year, running up his career plus. Big Vlad also beat Nakamura at Corus and narrowly escaped the American in a wild game a few weeks ago at the Tal Memorial. Nakamura and Carlsen have drawn their handful of classical games while swapping blitz blows. If they both hold their rating spots in London Carlsen will recapture the #1 from Anand and Nakamura will enter the top ten for the first time.

Anand might be warming up, however, and turned in a solid second-place performance in Nanjing in October. But he was a full point behind Carlsen despite winning in the final round and the Norwegian has made it clear that when he's on his game, second is the best everyone else is playing for. He's not going to win every event, but right now he's capable of results nobody else can approach.

The English side are known quantities and, rating expectations being what they are, will be jockeying for best score for the home team. But I guess anything can happen in just seven rounds. Adams has been on the rebound this year and went through the Euro Club Cup undefeated. Short tried his best to mix chess with politicking for Karpov until the FIDE election, so we'll see if he's got yet another comeback up his sleeve. McShane just won a short warm-up event in the Netherlands ahead of Giri. But the game to see from that one is L'Ami-van Wely, which has a hilarious twenty-check finish that must be seen. PGN after the jump.

There are an impressive number of side events, turning it into a real festival. Most of the Classic rounds begin at 1400 (2pm) local time, but the second round is two hours later and the final round two hours earlier. Garry will be on hand to commentate the final round. I'll toss in any comments he has before then. I'm still buried with looming book deadlines until February, but I'll try to keep up the threads at the very least.

[Event "3rd Remco Heite GM"]
[Site "Wolvega NED"]
[Date "2010.11.27"]
[Round "2"]
[White "L'Ami, E."]
[Black "Van Wely, L."]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D16"]
[WhiteElo "2626"]
[BlackElo "2666"]
[PlyCount "115"]
[EventDate "2010.11.26"]
[EventType "tourn"]
[EventRounds "5"]
[EventCountry "NED"]
[EventCategory "17"]
[Source "Mark Crowther"]
[SourceDate "2010.11.29"]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 dxc4 5. a4 e6 6. e3 c5 7. Bxc4 Nc6 8. O-O
Be7 9. Qe2 cxd4 10. Rd1 O-O 11. exd4 Nb4 12. Ne5 Bd7 13. h4 Bc6 14. h5 Rc8 15.
Ra3 Bd5 16. Nxd5 exd5 17. Bd3 Nxd3 18. Raxd3 Ne4 19. Rb3 Rc7 20. Bf4 Qc8 21.
Qb5 Rd8 22. Rf3 Rc2 23. Qb3 f6 24. Re1 fxe5 25. Rxe4 exf4 26. Rxe7 Rc1+ 27. Kh2
Qg4 28. Rh3 h6 29. Qf3 Qf5 30. Qd3 Qxd3 31. Rxd3 Rc2 32. Rxb7 Rxf2 33. Rc3 Kh7
34. Rcc7 Rg8 35. Rf7 a5 36. Kg1 Rd2 37. Rxf4 Kh8 38. Rg4 Rf8 39. Rgxg7 Rf1+ 40.
Kxf1 Rf2+ 41. Ke1 Re2+ 42. Kd1 Rd2+ 43. Kc1 Rc2+ 44. Kb1 Rc1+ 45. Ka2 Ra1+ 46.
Kb3 Ra3+ 47. Kc2 Rc3+ 48. Kd2 Rd3+ 49. Ke2 Re3+ 50. Kf2 Rf3+ 51. Kg1 Rf1+ 52.
Kh2 Rh1+ 53. Kg3 Rh3+ 54. Kf4 Rf3+ 55. Ke5 Rf5+ 56. Kd6 Rf6+ 57. Kc5 Rc6+ 58.
Kb5 1-0



Interesting story about ELO-system, worlds best player and world chess rankings:


Hardly an interesting story. Not one argument he makes is new. I'm amused it took him a three year thesis to come up with his findings. Silly article really - and like Mig a big Carlsen fanboy.

I went along to the Chess Classic on one of the days last year, which was great... hoping to get there for the final day this year to see Anand & Kasparov.

How right you are!

Mig! Thank God, you're alive!

I'll be looking for fan favorite Luke McShane to post some surprising results - hopefully in the positive direction.
He'll probably make everyone prove their endgame technique if it takes 100+ moves, and more than half the time (esp. lately), his is better. Carlsen is doing that too when he has to, as many of us know, but Luke set the standard.

Just want to add that as Mig suggested, this year we should see some stout resistance to the higher-rated blokes - and a decent score - from Mick Adams.

Yes, more interesting than that rehash of stuff about the WC is the ChessBase analysis of the game Mig gives:

Doesn't "(Kramnik) narrowly escaped the American" give the impression that Kramnik was close to defeat instead of close to victory?

Mea culpa, wrong game (a KID) in mind.

Yeah, but you probably still mean Kramnik-Nakamura (from the Olympiad). It will be interesting whether Nakamura will follow his "career approach" of always playing for a win with both colors, or his Tal Memorial approach of "safety first with the black pieces".

@Mig: "the Norwegian has made it clear that when he's on his game, second is the best everyone else is playing for"
Isn't this a bit unfair at least to Kramnik, who had chances for first place in most events he played together with Carlsen, and sometimes succeeded? "He can only win if Carlsen is out of form"!? I think his own form is at least as important ... .

The author could have gathered his research material from daily dirt 3 years archive!

Now coming to the topic, I'd be interested in seeing the results from a sub cross table with Anand, Carlsen, Kramnik and Nakamura. But anyway they get to play with only one color against the other, so not much to infer from this tourney.

"Doesn't '(Kramnik) narrowly escaped the American' give the impression that Kramnik was close to defeat instead of close to victory?"

Yup. At Tal Mem Fritz says, "+1.71" for Nakamura with a blistering attack, but the position was very complicated when Nakamura allowed three-fold repetition a few moves later (Fritz thought he was crazy).

Thanks for the PGN, that was fun.

Last time they all played in the same event was Corus 2010, with the following internal result: Anand, Kramnik 2/3, Carlsen, Nakamura 1/3. Decisive games were Anand-Kramnik 1-0, Kramnik-Nakamura 1-0 and Carlsen-Kramnik 0-1. So in London, with Bilbao rules, the winner would have been "Drawnik" despite having two blacks.

Final standings Corus 2010:

1. Carlsen +4
2-3. Kramnik +3
2-3. Shirov +3
4-5. Anand +2
4-5. Nakamura +2

Good idea I'm rooting for McShane too. And Kramnik.

Correct (of course!) as Carlsen, as well as Nakamura, were more efficient in beating weaker players. But I replied to Pirc Alert, who wrote "I'd be interested in seeing the results from a sub cross table with Anand, Carlsen, Kramnik and Nakamura".

Of course, I know. But I thought it would be interesting to see the final standings in connection with the "sub cross table".

"in London, with Bilbao rules, the winner would have been "Drawnik""

In London, with Bilbao rules and Corus results the winner would have been Kramnik, but lightning won't strike twice :)

Lightning did already strike twice: In Bilbao, with Bilbao rules and (+-) Corus results, the winner was Kramnik. Bilbao only had a "sub cross table", not a 'full' one including results against (then absent) weaker opponents.

"Correct (of course!) as Carlsen, as well as Nakamura, were more efficient in beating weaker players."

Among the "weaker players" in Corus 2010 were Shirov, Short, Ivanchuk, Karjakin and Dominguez.

Could you please make a comprehensive list of strong (or maybe non-weak) players so that we know which players are worth following at all these days? Said list must be a lot shorter than I thought it was.

With hypothetical rules and results Kramnik has won every tournament this year :)

Meanwhile there's no coverage of the opening ceremony in the mainstream media; the same outlets that endlessly cover stupid 'talent' and 'reality' shows. Aaarrggghhhh!
What do we need to do to make chess popular? Maybe get a pre-teen player from an aristocratic family to run away with a crossdressing post-menopausal prostitute?

This is absurd: "weaker" is obviously on a relative scale, and doesn't mean at all that they aren't worth following. Hell, even the players from the C group were pretty strong (compared to my own level), and the event was worth following if only because it was rather bloody: noone had more than 6 draws in 13 rounds, two rising stars (Vocaturo and Grandelius) each had 11 decisive games.

Of course you can make your own list on who's strong (enough), who's (too) weak, and who's worth following.

This is also absurd: never did I suggest anything like this. But fact is that Kramnik won Bilbao, a real event with real rules (he also would have won with 'conventional' rather than Bilbao rules) and the real Carlsen among the participants. Or was it an "unreal" look-alike, while the real one was busy with fashion modelling? ,:)

"This is absurd: "weaker" is obviously on a relative scale, and doesn't mean at all that they aren't worth following."

But what is this "relative scale", then? If wins against Shirov or Karjakin only count as "efficiency against weaker players", then that scale must be incredibly discriminate. Hence the need for you to show us the exact list of strong players in the relative sense, because how else could we possibly know?

Anand gets White against Nakamura, Carlsen, McShane, Kramnik and Black against Howell, Short, Adams... sounds almost like starting with an extra half point if you consider that Carlsen, Kramnik and Nakamura all get 4 Blacks and only 3 Whites.

Yea, that's in the champ's favor, but he has a good chance of seeing Vlad's Petroff and a KID from someone (Hikaru or Magnus), so it won't be picnic.

It seems Kramnik would be most affected by having more Blacks. He has a surprisingly poor record with Black compared to other top players. 7 wins and 13 loses in his last 87 Black games (as per data on fide.com corresponding to last 3 years or something) giving him an expected score of less than 0.5 (50%) with Black.

However, Kramnik has 35 white wins and only 3 loses in his last 85 classical games giving him an expected score (69%) with White better than that of Anand (62%) or Carlsen (66%). Nakamura does slightly better with White (71%) but that is probably due to weaker opposition than Anand, Kramnik and Carlsen have faced. Nakamura however seems to lose more with White than Black.

Of course, all the numbers above don't take opponents rating into consideration, but still bring out lots of interesting facts... like Anand has played only 150 classical games in the same period Kramnik has 172, Carlsen 296 and Nakamura has 303. Anand has only lost 12 games overall (which is 8.0% of his games, compared to 9.3% for Kramnik, 13.2% losses for Carlsen and 12.5% for Nakamura)

"However, Kramnik has 35 white wins and only 3 loses in his last 85 classical games... "

should read more like:
"However, Kramnik has 35 wins and only 3
loses in his last 85 white games... "

Yes yes, he did win two games in Bilbao :) Not a good year for him apart from those two games, but who knows, he is good enough to win a tournament like London if Carlsen has a bad week.

"Anand gets White against Nakamura, Carlsen, McShane, Kramnik and Black against Howell, Short, Adams..."

It's actually a disadvantage to have white against the stronger half of the field and black against the weaker half.

In a tournament like this, it's "Win against the lower half; draw against the upper half." Harder to win with black against the lower half than to draw with black against the upper half.

Korrection: Kramnick is capable of winning the whole thing even if Carlsen has a good week.

And Uff Da makes a good, if arguable point.

Sorry about the misspelling - of Vlad's last name, that is.

An empirical observation: Ever since Dortmund 2009, Kramnik had relatively good results whenever Carlsen played in the same event, and not-so-good ones when Carlsen didn't play. For Carlsen it's the other way around - I readily acknowledge that his overall results were a bit better. This even applies to the Olympiad, apparently each other's presence in the same big room was sufficient ,:) .

As I said it's empirical, so there may be neither particular reasons nor predictive power for London 2010 (or Wijk aan Zee 2011).

"And Uff Da makes a good, if arguable point."

-I think Kasparov voiced something similar last year when in a tournament (I dont recall which) Magnus Carlsen had a "lucky" draw similar to Anands draw of colour now.

Tal Memorial, I believe.

Incredible. You just declared that if Kramnik wins London, Carlsen must have had a bad week. Don't you ever feel ashamed of yourself?

Terrible pairings for Naka. Four blacks and black against Anand, Carlsen and Kramnik. Could it be any worse?

I think it could be worse, Stephen. It could be seen as a psychological advantage for Nakamura. If he wins a few of those, it's a big-time celebration. If he loses 'em all; the deck was stacked against him to begin with. He can play with the abandon of a small child in the tournament room. Ever notice - or remember - how relaxed children are at tourneys? What is there to lose? They're just there to cope and hope. As long as Hikaru hasn't broken into the top ten, he's an interloper.
Right, I know you wouldn't know that watching him have a small death when he isn't winning, but it doesn't have to be that way...

Come on you cannot be this stupid.

Explain it, then. While you're at it, also explain what one gains by following this kind of reasoning. What can you learn by studying sub cross tables that you cannot learn by simply LOOKING AT THE GAMES?

If you can't look at the actual games and make a case that player X played better than player Y, but you instead need to construct some sort of meta-tournament with sub cross tables and color distribution adjustments and whatnot, then what exactly is that good for?

Black against the top half may ideal. It gives Nakamura the white pieces against all the "weaker" players - against whom he has the best winning chances to begin with.

lol, you must be my favorite poster.

If Carlsen plays on his usual level he won't finish behind Kramnik. He had a fever in Tal when he was 0.5 behind, and a terrible week in Bilbao. His usual level is Nanjing times two, London, Corus, Bazna.

GM Jan Gustavson on the LCC

He is looking forward most to the duels of Carlsen, Kramnik and Nakamura.
He is not convinced that Naka can hold his level from the Tal memorial, but would't be too much surprised if he can. His favorite for the tournament win ist Magnus. Not for beeing stronger than Anand or Kramnik, but if in shape, 'has mor punsh to beat weaker players with black.'

Gusti does not use quotation marks for the term 'weaker'.


You're unbelievable. And it can't be blamed on ignorance either.

What's unbelievable about it acirce? gg is right on the button.

In playing strength, Carlsen is the Fischer to the Petrosian of Kramnik.
Carlsen would beat Kramnik in a 10-game match. But of course this 4-game thing is a lottery. Even Fischer wasn't ahead of Petrosian after 4 games of their 1971 match.

Can I have a swig of what you're smoking?

Since Dortmund 2009, Carlsen and Kramnik played a "7-game match" at classical time controls (a slightly unusual one as Kramnik had black in 5/7 games). The score is +3=3-1 in favor of Kramnik. Maybe things would be different in a 10 game match? Maybe Carlsen had the flu whenever he lost against Kramnik? But Kramnik himself was also ill during Tal Memorial 2009.

Thomas' claim that you are disputing is that Carlsen and Nakamura score better against the weaker 1/2 of the table than Kramnik and Anand. To anyone who has any clue about chess this should be self evident.

As far as your questioning who the "weaker" players are, in this tournament it's clearly Adams, Short, McShane, and Howell. I hope I cleared things up for you.

Nope. Just the opposite.

Anand having an extra white is not an advantage at all. In a tie the number of games played with black is the first tiebreaker, so Anand must finish ahead of Kramnik and Carlsen by at least 1/2 points to win the tournament.

Carlsen lost the odd couple of games to Kramnik, pressing too hard for the win in a tournament situation. Big deal.

The same thing happened to Fischer vs Spassky, leading people at the time to question Fischer's prospects before the 1972 match.
Fischer's "5-game match" [a "7-game match" over nearly as many tournaments is not the same as a real match, of course] vs Spassky prior to 1972 was +3=2-0 in favour of Spassky - worse than Carlsen's score vs Kramnik.
Guess who won in 1972.

You cannot just take one player's score against one particular other. You must consider overall performance. This is what ratings measure. Who has been considerably ahead of Kramnik in the ratings for some time now?
Doesn't make it absolutely certain, of course, but it's indicative, and don't need to smoke nuthin to see that.

I didn't dispute the claim by Thomas, but rather asked him to explain it. I also specifically asked you why it's supposed to be significant, which is sort of, you know, the crux of the matter.

In Tal Memorial 2009, Kramnik won by beating only players from *gasp* the weaker half of the table. In Bilbao he again only beat players from the weaker half. In Corus 2010 he beat two players from the weaker half and two from the stronger half, which is about the same as Nakamura and Carlsen (and Anand, whose two victories were against the better half).

It's no wonder you can't explain the alleged significance of these table halves, because there isn't one. The point of a tournament is to collect as many points as possible against all your opponents. Score the most points, bag the first prize and leave the post-doctoring of the results to the sore, sore losers. Frightening how simple it is, ain't it?

Bit last minute, so it might all go horribly wrong, but I'm translating Shipov's live commentary on Anand-Nakamura: http://www.chessintranslation.com/live-game/

Three games start 1e4 e5.

Two of them turned into Spanish Petroff or Ruy Lopez Russian, i.e., Berlin Defence.

The third game is an exciting Bishop Opening by Short.
The Kid is facing English Opening of the Englishman McShane (He may be of Irish descent, I don't know), difficult to score a point for the Black pieces.

As Chess In Translation presents it, Shipov on Crestbook has commented that Anand-Nakamura are following Kasparov-Kramnik 2000 (1st Game) with a different move order. That game ended in a draw. Shipov wonders what new improvements have been made in one decade in this line.

If you want to, replace 'weaker' by 'other' in my earlier post. But overall there can be little doubt that the current top5 are (were in Topalov's case?) slightly but consistently stronger than everyone else, only Nakamura's status is debatable. Among the other players you mentioned, Ivanchuk and Shirov can compete with and finish ahead of the top5 at some occasions (but lack consistency), Karjakin may be on his way (but hadn't yet arrived in January this year), Dominguez and (currently) Short clearly aren't potential world champions.

Regarding the significance of sub crosstables, ask PircAlert why he asked ... . IMO they are an alternative predictor, and a better one than Elo, for a player's performance in the very strongest events such as Bilbao or the candidates event.

Can somebody send me the analysis by Shipov at the moment? The page is blocked at my office...


Thank you in advance

Ok, I would be satisfied with the moves posted here...

From the live commentary on McShane-Carlsen (in British English): "It looks like our boy is doing the business." In other words, the kid is in trouble?

Adams-Howell ... ¡Ay, caramba!

McShane-Carlsen 1-0

Looks like Aronian may become live world #1 soon after all

Nice aggressive effort by McShane...he really took it to Carlsen

McShane-Carlsen 1-0
Short-Kramnik 0-1
Adams-Howell 1-0

McShane-Carlsen 1-0.

The English refutes the Viking's invasion !!

The interesting thing is Carlsen was totally outplayed from beginning to end.

Luke is not to be taken lightly. I wrote my post (above) yesterday not just because I like him, but because he's been a force since leaving his alternate occupation in the business world, doing well in events here and there. And it should have been a warning sign that he did so well in last year's London event after being out of full-time chess for a while.

Everyone talks about bishop pair. I have been trying to improve my knight play. McShane's knights' maneuverings are just pretty !! This game should be in some textbook.

I think its time to revisit the whole Nakamura versus Yue controversy that was on these message boards a while back...a lot of haters were spouting that once Naka got in "serious" super-GM events, he wouldn't hold up. He's clearly proven them wrong with his performance at the Tal Memorial and Corus; on the other hand, look at Yue's performances at Bazna Kings and Pearl Spring.

A good start here for Naka -- 2 draws against Anand this year (both with Black). If he can get through Kramnik tomorrow unscathed (a tall order, but not impossible), Naka will have real chances to win this event.

And it all started with 1.c4! This game may have been more "terrific" than Carlsen's first-round win against Kramnik last year with the same move. I guess soon we will hear that Carlsen cannot cope with the freezing winter temperatures, a big handicap for the only Norwegian in the field ,:) .

For what it's worth, Kramnik is currently leading the standings (tiebreak is number of wins with black).

A genuinely beautiful game by McShane with his Knight maneuvers being an especially pleasing feature. What's really shocking is how thoroughly McShane outplayed Carlsen. Maybe Carlsen didn't take McShane seriously enough and thought he could get away with less-than-strong moves/ideas, at least this game seems to illustrate that and his recent tendency to play superficially, perhaps resulting from his being taken in by all the hype about how truly strong and amazing he is. Best not to believe such silly stuff about yourself.

A genuinely beautiful game by McShane with his Knight maneuvers being an especially pleasing feature. What's really shocking is how thoroughly McShane outplayed Carlsen. Maybe Carlsen didn't take McShane seriously enough and thought he could get away with less-than-strong moves/ideas, at least this game seems to illustrate that and his recent tendency to play superficially, perhaps resulting from his being taken in by all the hype about how truly strong and amazing he is. Best not to believe such silly stuff about yourself.

This game was more about McShane than Carlsen IMO..its not like Carlsen played g6, Nf6 and Nh5 like he did against Adams at the Olympiad. Carlsen was energetically and completely outplayed, beginning with b4!, then Nc6!, later Na6! followed by b6, and then Rb7!. This was definitely more impressive than Carlsen's win in the English over Kramnik a year ago.

"This was definitely more impressive than Carlsen's win in the English over Kramnik a year ago"

I'm sure Thomas and acirce agree with you on that one :)

Definitely agree that the closest analogy to Carlsen-Kramnik is Fischer-Spassky.

You will very soon see the aptness of this analogy when:

a) Carlsen scores 20-0 in his next twelve games against top-level opponents, and

b) Carlsen develops a 125-point ratings edge over Kramnik.

Definitely agree with that the closest analogy to Carlsen-Kramnik is Fischer-Spassky.

The analogy will become even clearer in the near future when Carlsen scores 20-0 against top-level opponents and when he builds up a 125-point ratings advantage over Kramnik.

The only problem is that Carlsen's withdrawl from the Candidates matches prevents him from demonstrating his Fischer-like superiority over Kramnik (and everyone else).


Well Carlsen's got Vishy, Kramnik and Naka -- all top 10 players. Lets see if your still so confident after those games.

And Carlsen needs to beat 2600 level players before talking about developing a huge rating edge over Kramnik -- McShane today, plus his Olympiad results facing 2550-2650 competition.

"Carlsen lost the odd couple of games to Kramnik, pressing too hard for the win in a tournament situation. Big deal."

Pressing too hard for the win? Laughable. Did you actually WATCH their last 2 games, where Carlsen was positionally strangled with black, and then had to BEG for a draw with white?



Some bits and pieces about the opening from the press conference:
- McShane's choice of 1.c4 was inspired by Carlsen's game against Kramnik last year.
- Carlsen already played the setup with 6.-Nh6!? (creative and provocative, but not necessarily bad?) at the Olympiad. [His opponent Flores played the rather tame 7.b3, to me it seems that his subsequent play was quite plan- and clueless, maybe just begging for a draw and eventually getting crushed]
- McShane was aware of that game and came up with 7.d4 cd4: 8.Bh6:!?, setting up the knights vs. (passive) bishops theme.

As to whether today's game was more "terrific"(Mig), "impressive" (pioneer) or 'better' than Carlsen-Kramnik, it's obviously a matter of taste. Fact (or maybe also matter of taste) is that the earlier game didn't have a single move that's particularly remarkable or surprising - I still think it wouldn't have gotten nearly as much attention or praise if "lesser" or "weaker" players had been involved.

I disagree with you on that, Thomas. McShane's play was very creative - some knight moves in particular that you have to look hard for. Go back to the game and try to imagine finding all that stuff. It's a case of most credit to Luke, and a lot less to inferior play by Magnus. I've seen this kind of creative stuff before in his games - especially in his endgames. He's not likely at all going to win this whole thing, but he should take more scalps before it's over.

If Nakamura does earn a spot in the Top 10 after this tournament, then let the debates about whether or not he will crack the Top 5 begin! I'll confess to being a skeptic (not a hater) about Nakamura's destiny, and I'll admit to being more wrong than right about the heights that he's reached. There's obviously some upside still to his playing strength. He should be getting the occasional Top 5 scalps now that he encounters then on a semi-regular basis.
London 2010 is a very strong event, but not full Elite. I suppose that it is an ideal set-up for Hikaru: a short event, just 7 rounds. Single Round Robin. And at least a couple of players--Howell and Short--who he should have good prospects to defeat.
Based on his game with Anand, he seems committed to the hold with Black (against "stronger" players) strategy. Still, even =1st would remove the doubts for me.

More interesting is how McShane fares. He could be poised for a real step-up in the rankings. A plus score could earn him some nice invitations, where he could gain more points.

Well done Mr McShane. A lovely game, full of energy. Carlsen isn't at his best always, and you made mincemeat of him today. But I expect good stuff from him, too, later. Short does badly v Vlad, as expected.
This Nh6 stuff v the English is known. Botvinnik v Gligoric. Karpov got away with it a few times. It is inherently dodgy, I liked seeing it punished.
Mr Nakamura, well done, very impressive, I hope you bought Vishy a consolation beer.
I hope one of the English players comes out on top or second. Just for fun.

Hey DOug, wanna bet that Hikaru does NOT beat Nigel?

DOug, I appreciate your honesty about your doubts regarding Naka. London is about as elite as there is...with the exception of this years Tal Memorial (3rd strongest tournament in chess hx) where Naka was +1 and was very close to at least +2 (Grischuk and Kramnik games come to mind).

Remember that Hikaru is doing all this despite getting predominantly the black pieces against the super-elite. I would expect his results to improve as he gets more whites against them (although in this tournament, as in most others, he's got black against Anand, Kramnik and Carlsen).

Would be interesting if he plays the Dutch against Kramnik tomorrow.

Short IS something of a customer for Kramnik, isn't he? A bit odd to describe him as such, given that most of the time Kramnik outrates him by ~100 points, but still.

Well, remember that Short threw away a complete win against Kramnik at Corus in January after a nice novelty versus the Petroff...had to settle for a draw. So certainly Kramnik has respect for Short when he has the white pieces.

"As to whether today's game was more "terrific"(Mig), "impressive" (pioneer) or 'better' than Carlsen-Kramnik, it's obviously a matter of taste. Fact (or maybe also matter of taste) is that the earlier game didn't have a single move that's particularly remarkable or surprising - I still think it wouldn't have gotten nearly as much attention or praise if "lesser" or "weaker" players had been involved."

Quoted for truth. The most interesting thing about the Carlsen win over Kramnik last year was how Carlsen played an opening that got him nothing, but due to the pregame advice of Kasparov knew that it would be a position that Kramnik wouldn't like to play...sure enough, Kramnik played inaccuracies and Carlsen punished him. However, if two other super-GMs were playing that game, it wouldn't have gotten nearly the post-game publicity that it did.

I think it's because of the way he plays with Black, often either stodgy (QGD) or dodgy (offbeat lines)...just the sort of stuff Kramnik's style is honed to beat. And his prep can't match Kramik's sometimes when he has the white pieces, too. It's surprising to see the difference between the hyper- aggressiveness as white and the meekness as black of some English players, Adams another good example.

It seems that we agree, but you misunderstood me because I wasn't (too) repetitive. I gave my own opinion on McShane-Carlsen in an earlier post (Dec 8 2:36PM), where "may have been" just indicated that I - obviously - only speak for myself. In the post I replied to, pioneer listed McShane's remarkable moves. And in my latest post, "the earlier game" was Carlsen-Kramnik, London 2009. Still not minimzing McShane's performance: maybe (in hindsight!) his knight moves weren't THAT hard to find, but for sure they were hard to anticipate for Carlsen.

In summary, yesterday's game would be (considered) remarkable even if it was between two underdogs, e.g. McShane-Howell. l'Ami-van Wely in Mig's item is a similar case, either game might even make it on this blog if (Mig spotted it and) it was played between two amateurs.

By comparison, I can come up with three reasons to highly praise Carlsen-Kramnik (some people called it THE game of the year): "I like/love Carlsen." "I dislike/hate Kramnik." "Hmm, it looks like Kramnik in the wrong seat, usually he wins such games." Only the last makes some sense (note that "I" isn't Thomas in the previous quotes).

"...Carlsen-Kramnik (some people called it THE game of the year)"

Probably because it was a great game.

Off topic: In the private Nakamura vs Carlsen blitz match played in Moscow, there is a video of game 38 http://www.facebook.com/MacauleyPeterson

Curiously in that game in the final position, Nakamura lets his clock run down and prepares to start a new game ( I suppose he resigns). But that is odd since as I see the board he has an obvious perpetual with his rook. one rook cutting of the king and other rook giving perpetual side check. not sure what i am missing.

I expected to Carlsen's rating to go lower than Anand (whos is no #1) after the loss, but actually he is #3 even behind Aronian in the live list.

"Regarding the significance of sub crosstables...IMO they are an alternative predictor, and a better one than Elo, for a player's performance in the very strongest events".

Thomas, I suggest you make a "sub crosstable" of all Fischer's results up to the beginning of 1971 against his main opposition for the world title ie Spassky, Petrosian, Korchnoi, Larsen, Botvinnik, Tal, Keres Geller.

You will find, possibly to your surprise, that up to the beginning of 1971 Fischer had a significant overall minus score against this group (minus 5 by my reckoning).
As a predictor for Fischer's results in his first ever Candidates Matches in 1971, it doesn't look very good to me.... I prefer Elo myself.

Of course, any predictor isn't perfectly reliable - else there would be no point in sitting down before (opening preparation) and during a game of chess.

That being said, I don't believe in going more than 30 years back in chess history - for one thing, greg koster correctly pointed out that Fischer's rating gap vs. the rest was MUCH bigger than what Carlsen achieved so far. Let's instead stick to 2010: Anand, Carlsen, Kramnik and Shirov all played Corus and met again (then without 'additional' players) in Bilbao. What was the best predictor of the Bilbao result?
1) Elo (overall Carlsen, Anand, Kramnik, Shirov)
2) full Corus tournament table (Carlsen, Kramnik+Shirov, Anand)
3) sub crosstable (Anand 2.5/3, Kramnik 1.5/3, Carlsen + Shirov 1/3)

I go for option 3), with Elo being the "tiebreaker" between Carlsen and Shirov. Of course it got Anand's results wrong, there were special circumstances:
- Vishy played two "real" games against Kramnik and Shirov and conserved energy in the other 11 games.
- His game against Shirov could have had a different result (one half-move made the difference between win, draw and loss).

I don't see any real reason why going back 30 years in chess history is not valid.
"Fischer's rating gap vs. the rest was MUCH bigger than what Carlsen has achieved so far." What you are forgetting here is that it took Fischer until his late 20's to achieve this gap. Give poor Magnus time! I think Carlsen's current strength is as high as Fischer's was when the latter was 19 or 20. (And no, Carlsen won't get a 125 point rating gap or win 20 in a row - it was easier to absolutely dominate then because the general level of opposition was less than it is now.)

I don't think is it really fair to base your argument on just Bilbao 2010 [how about applying it to a 2009 tournament?]. It is clear that this was an atypical situation - for the first time in 2 years it was clear that Carlsen had suffered a serious loss of form (at the Olympiad). If Carlsen had been in his pre-G-Star form, I would have predicted him to win Bilbao, but not here - I didn't think he would win it. [and to me he should have flat out played for a draw in his first two games against Kramnik and Anand to stabilize himself, instead of playing 'creatively'.]

At the moment it is not quite clear how much Carlsen has recovered his form - I think this G-Star stuff [UGH!, anyway] has stuffed him up; Carlsen will need to get his focus back on chess to succeed.
On his pre-G-Star form I would have predicted Carlsen to beat both Kramnik and Anand in a 10-game or longer match. They could match Carlsen for 5 games or so as Petrosian did to Fischer in 1971. Then the pressure would tell. This is why these 4-game things are so stupid. They don't allow long enough for the better player to assert himself.
I believe that if Carlsen continues to concentrate on his chess, he can obtain a 50 point rating gap in 2-3 years - unless Nakamura keeps on improving at his current rate; he may be Magnus' biggest opposition in 2-3 years.

Regarding Carlsen's loss of form, a remarkably similar thing happened to Fischer at the same age. After his extremely good results at Bled 1961 and the 1962 Interzonal, Fischer was regarded as 2nd favourite only to Tal to win the forthcoming Candidates. Then came:
(a) 1962 Candidates at Curacao, first 6 rounds: loss, loss, win, draw, loss, draw. Worse than Carlsen at Bilbao!
(b) Then 1962 Olympiad at Varna: Fischer also lost 3 games, with a very mediocre result.
(c) 1962/3 US Championship: Fischer lost in the first round.
So there's hope for Carlsen yet!

I didn't say that Corus 2010 means much for Bilbao 2012 or 2013, similarly current ratings are "subject to change". But I don't take it for granted that Carlsen's rating will rapidly further increase - regardless of whether or not he cuts down or quits his other career in fashion modelling.

I don't think Nakamura is the only future threat to Carlsen. What about Karjakin who, after all, finished Tal Memorial ahead of Nakamura? Maybe even Anish Giri .... he is now 16 years old and approaching 2700. It took Carlsen about 2 1/2 years to get from 2700 to 2800, and he did it starting at roughly the same age.

If you need another argument besides Bilbao 2010: What about the Kasparov-Kramnik match? Kasparov was about 80 points higher-rated and (hence) considered clear favorite. But Kramnik had a roughly even head-to-head score against Kasparov before (and also after) their match, accordingly - using that as a predictor - his win wasn't such a big surprise.

So how is it going with the sub crosstable Anand-Carlsen-Naka-Kramnik in London? :)

I didn't say anything about Bilbao 2012 or 2013, I asked for an example of your prediction method for a 2009 tournament.
Instead of this you have very selectively with K-K 2000 gone back to your other 'theory' that one-on-one history is a better predictor than Elo.
I already provided a good counter-example to this with Fischer-Spassky 1972 - Elo ratings accurately predicted the winner (and the score), whereas the head-to-head count would have predicted the opposite result.
If you need more, another counter-example is Petrosian-Portisch Candidates Quarterfinal 1974. It was legendary that Portisch had a 4-0 in decisive games lead over the 'unbeatable' Petrosian. So the result should have been a foregone conclusion, right? Well, actually, Petrosian won the match 7-6; Elo ratings predicted a close match.
And there was Capablanca-Alekhine...
Of course the Elo ratings are not always going to get it right, but I contend they will do so with more accuracy than either of your methods.

Yes, of course there are other future threats to Carlsen, Caruana is another. Giri looks very promising, but he and Caruana are just too young to say with certainty yet. I am not too convinced about Karjakin - he stalled for quite a while. He could end up being another Pono or Leko. At the moment, Nakamura looks the biggest potential threat - 'The Force' seems to be with him; he's currently giving as good as he gets with the very best players in the world.

I, too, would be interested in your sub crosstable Anand-Carlsen-Naka-Kramnik prediction for London. How about it? (Preferably before too much more of the tournament is played).

To be fair, my own prediction was Carlsen (no surprise there, obviously). This was based on his Nanjing performance rather than his Elo; it seemed he had perhaps recovered his form. However he seems to have reverted to his Olympiad/Bilbao form so the tournament winner is quite unpredictable to me now, anybody other than Short, Howell or Adams could win it.

Very interesting tournament, Malcolm is to be congratulated getting this field together.

I'll take issue with what you said there about challengers to Carlsen. I want to put not only Karjakin, but Max Vachier-Legrave at the front. Both of those guys are more consistent than Hikaru, and certainly less emotional - which I realize can be double-edged.
Karjakin has the respect of all the Soviet block players certainly, if not everyone else. Max is very hard to beat. Look at his record over the past year. Solid.

Sure, Vachier-Legrave is another possibility.

Karjakin, a bit older than Magnus, has as yet nowhere near achieved the magnitude of Magnus' successes, eg No 1 on the rating list. Perhaps with Russian training he might take a quantum leap.

Nakamura is older again of course, but it seems to me he has only got really serious in the last year or two. It just feels to me that he has more room for improvement and is more dynamic. Question is if he can keep it up. Otherwise he might become another Walter Shaun Browne.

Generally speaking it seems to me that Blitz strength translates to real strength.
At the World Blitz, scores were
Nakamura 21.5
Karjakin 20.5
Vachier-Legrave 18.0
Caruana 13.5

It was Nakamura, and not one of the others, that was invited to London both this year and last. Given that Malcolm Pein seems to have a clue or two, perhaps this says something?

No big deal to me, just what I have observed from the Internet. I don't have first-hand knowledge.

I mentioned Bilbao 2012/2013 just because you wrote "give poor Magnus time!" - two or three years from now, he may or may not be well ahead of everyone else. My method can't be applied for Bilbao 2009 simply because three of the participants played only one qualifying event, hence didn't face each other.

Bilbao 2008 is an intriguing case: all six participants played Corus AND Linares, four met again at MTel. Sub crosstables were a poor predictor, so was Elo. I can come up with two explanations:
- Three Bilbao participants had rather big form swings (Topalov, Ivanchuk and - at the time - Aronian)
- Anand played Bilbao with a handicap due to his forthcoming match against Kramnik, which might explain his last place (despite highest Elo and +1 against the other five in Corus and 50% in Linares).

The best "predictor" were ratings AFTER the event, but that's circular reasoning ,:) .

On the various young and not-that-young talents: You already hinted that players can be "late bloomers": Nakamura is one example, Aronian is another one.

One or two years ago I would have agreed with you about Karjakin - it looked like he "stalled", but then he made a big decision (controversial federation change to work with the best possible coach) which now seems to have effect: he gained 40 rating points since January (+9.5 from Tal Memorial not yet included - where he was as good as or better than Nakamura).

Vachier-Lagrave hasn't yet been as comprehensively tested by the world top (read: he didn't get the invitations he deserves). I won't make too much of his drastic losses at the Olympiad against Ivanchuk and Aronian [the French team captain said that he was extremely tired in the final rounds], nonetheless they imply that he hasn't arrived yet. Neither has Giri been "tested", but he is even younger. I also rely on Kramnik who considers Giri a big threat in due course - if Malcolm Pein has a clue or two, Vlad may have three or four ... .

Another name to watch is Le Quang Liem even if he seems to stall a bit at the moment - not unheard of for young talents. I am least sure about Wesley So, IMHO a case of comparatively little substance behind the hype (hard to explain why I think so). And five years from now, 14-year young prodigies Ilya Nyzhnyk and Richard Rapport may or may not have risen to the world top ... .

Finally about Naka's London invitations: There may be other (additional!) reasons involved. With their big press conferences, they like players who are eloquent, talkative, maybe a bit provocative and fluent in English - from the four names you listed, only Caruana might qualify (but his rating isn't high enough yet).

Karjakin's surge has only been for a short while yet - let's see if it continues. And getting all those whites against selected opponents in the Olympiad certainly helped...

I agree entirely with Kramnik about Giri (and I'm sure he does have three or four clues about such things...). If I had to pick the biggest potential threat of the under 21's, it would be Giri.

Like you, I am not too convinced about Wesley So at this stage.

Regarding your possible 'additional' reasons for Naka's London invites: I am pretty sure that such superficial stuff would have played little part in deciding his invites; just his chess reputation compared with the others.
Karjakin would have been at his 'stalled' stage in 2009, so Naka may well have looked a more interesting prospect. And not unreasonably, they invited him back in 2010. If I was them, I would also invite Naka back again for 2011 over Karjakin; and they will probably do so.

I believe you are right about Anand's last place in Bilbao 2008 [which is the sort of thing as to why I recommend a three-year WC cycle - to give the WC a decent breather, and not have too many tournaments spoiled; a three-year cycle would of course need to be decently rigorous, not this upcoming absurdity]; I think such one-off factors need to be taken into account when making predictions, as does an assessment of current form. Combined with an assessment of underlying strength (ie elo rating, more or less!)

Would still be interested in seeing what your prediction for London 2010 was (or is), whatever method you chose/choose...

Good to know that we agree on some points ,:)

About Karjakin, having extra whites at the Olympiad did help ... to gain 14 Elo points from a total of 50 this year (including Tal Memorial which still has to be FIDE-rated). His other results this year:
- Corus 7/11 (not great but Elo +5, including a win with black against Nakamura)
- Russian Club Cup 5.5/7, Elo +14 (5 blacks in 7 games!)
- Poikovsky 7/11, shared first, Elo +7.6 (he was favorite ahead of Jakovenko, but the favorite doesn't always win ...)
- for the sake of completeness, a not-so-good result at the European Club Cup, 3.5/6, Elo -1
- then Tal Memorial

All this doesn't mean that he's better than Nakamura, but is he worse by any objective criteria (including live rating)? I agree with you that "superficial stuff" plays a small role for the London invites, but everything else being equal (it never is) it may be a 'tiebreaker'. "Chess reputation" is a vague and subjective term, just because one organizer has personal preferences it isn't gospel truth. You may be right that Malcolm Pein will invite the same players next year (maybe minus Short if he decides to retire?) which is interesting, arguably odd by itself. Dortmund often got criticized for having three regulars: Kramnik, Leko (not next time? I read that he's taking a sabbatical) and very local wildcard Naiditsch who lives in Dortmund.

Finally, would you agree that earlier results between players have at least some predictive value - while of course the past is no guarantee for the future? Three examples:
- Shirov's big minus score against Kasparov (of course he is/was the weaker player, but Elo would predict better than a "roughly even" score of +0=15-17 - source chessgames.com including some rapid games)
- Anand's negative score against Aronian
- Nakamura's negative score against Svidler
In all cases, underlying reasons might be clash of styles (or, Shirov vs. Kasparov, similar style over-emphasizing differences in strength) and some psychological factors.

Forgot to mention one thing: Probably hypothetical, but maybe Karjakin would have declined a London invitation: rather unnoticed by most (western) chess fans, he's currently playing the Russian championship. Along with, among others, Grischuk - so it might cause some shifts in the top10 at least for the live rating list* (Grischuk is currently #5 2.8 points ahead of Topalov)

* The event may finish too late for the Jan 2011 official list

Thanks for the statistics on Karjakin, Thomas. I have not looked at it in this depth.
I did not say that I thought Karjakin was currently worse than Nakamura (Perhaps they are about equal at present), I said that I thought that Nakamura had the greater potential to be the bigger threat to Carlsen in 2-3 years time. Contrawise I think it is also less likely that he will be in the top 10 in 2-3 years time than Karjakin. In other words, Nakamura seems a more an 'all or nothing' personality; his possible highest being higher than Karjakin's and his low lower than Karjakin's.
Just my feeling at present (it could change later); he just seems a more chessicly interesting guy to keep an eye on at the moment.

My feeling is that the London organisers would have invited Nakamura on his "chess reputation" alone without the need for a 'tiebreaker', but I guess only they could really tell you. Maybe it's just personal organiser preference; but it feels to me that London would be less intersting if Karjakin was there instead of Nakamura.
(re 2010 invitation, would Karjakin have been committed to the Russian Championship at the time he would have received such an invitation?)

"Do I agree that earlier results between players have at least some predictive value?"
This is not such an easy question to answer simply, but my general answer would be: to a smallish extent, and something to be kept an eye on, but not a decisive or really serious factor.

However, I think some qualifiers are necessary.
Firstly, how did the actual games that led to such results go? Did the guy who has the lopsised plus result also dominate in tne games, as did Kasparov against Shirov, or Botvinnik against Keres in the 1940's, or Korchnoi against Polugayevsky in the 1970's, or Capablanca against Bogojubov? In these cases, the predictive value is much greater. Or were the games a real slugfest, with three results possible, the loser was not dominated but simply lost concentration at a crucial point, or was just unlucky? And he just has a run of these, it does happen. In this category I would put Anand-Aronian, Fischer-Spassky [Fischer should have won his first game with Spassky, (the 1960 King's Gambit game), and also had an advantage in the 1970 Olympiad game], and I dare say, Carlsen-Kramnik and Carlsen-Anand. In these cases, I would say the predictive value is very small. For example, I think if a 10-game Anand-Aronian match had been held this year, Anand would have won. On the other hand, I would have expected Kasparov to handily beat Shirov in a match [as an aside, part of the lopsided score here is probably due to Shirov being psyched out after the 1998 happenings]. I don't know enough about how the Svidler-Nakamura games went, but I would not particularly expect Nakamura to lose to Svidler in a 10-game match.

Secondly, it depends on whether you are predicting the next tournament game or a match. I think the predictive value is greater if you are predicting the next tournament game.

With matches, there have been just too many historical cases where the guy way behind in the head-to-head count turns it around and wins the match, eg
Alekhine-Capablanca 1927. No comment needed!
Fischer-Spassky 1972, as I already mentioned.
Petrosian-Portisch 1974, as I already mentioned. Nor was the expectation before this match being that Portisch would win.
Short-Karpov Candidates Match 1992.
Korchnoi-Portisch Candidates Match 1983. Portisch had built up a handy lead over Korchnoi, including 2.5-1.5 in World vs USSR 1970. Korchnoi obliterated him in this match.
Portisch-Spassky Candidates Match 1980. Spassky dominated Portisch up to this time. Yet Spassky could not win this match, and Portisch went through on tie-break.
Geller-Smyslov. Smyslov dominated Geller in their earlier tournament games (eg 4-0 from the two Candidates tournaments 1953 and 1956, results which went a long way in helping Smyslov win those events). Yet Geller dominated Smyslov in their two matches (USSR Ch playoff 1955, and Candidates match 1965).
Also cases where a match has only just been won with the greatest difficulty by the player with the big head-to-head plus score:
Korchnoi's enormous plus over Tal from the second half of the 1950's and first half of the 1960's was legendary. So what happened when they met in their 1968 Candidates match? Korchnoi barely scraped through by 1 point after losing the sixth game and then desperately hanging on with 4 difficult draws. Tal should probably have won the first and third games as well.
Korchnoi utterly dominated Polugayevsky in the 1970's, including a whopping match victory in 1977. Yet in their 1980 Candidates Match, Korchnoi needed extra time (after 12 games) to finally put him away.

Just too many cases where the guy way behind wins or nearly wins the match! So I consider the predictive power for a match of the head-to-head count very small and don't consider it much of a factor in predicting a future Carlsen-Kramnik or Carlsen-Anand match.

Much more relevant for a match prediction for me is a sense of a player's fundamental strength.
The really great Champions all seem to have a period where they just dominate, they win just about everything they play in, viz;
Lasker 1896-1918
Capablanca 1916-1922
Alekhine 1927-1932
Botvinnik 1941-1948
Tal 1957-1960
Fischer 1967-1972
Karpov 1971-1984
Kasparov 1985-1999
Seems to me that Carlsen had a similar period in the two years up to G-Star, and at a younger age. Whereas Kramnik and Anand have never had such a period. This is a good part of the reason why I think Carlsen (in reasonable form) would beat either of them in a 10-game or longer match.

It is known that at the time of the FIDE elections that Carlsen intended to withdraw from the Candidates if the format was not changed (re Danailov comment). This was before his form slump and it was obvious he feared nobody. Therefore those crying 'chicken' are just being vindictive. I'm sure Carlsen would have played if the format had been reasonable (even the 6-6-8 which is far from perfect).
It must be aggravating to see your chances reduced from say 50% in a double round-robin, or say overall 40% in three separated 10 game matches, to under 30% as this intended idiot format will do. I don't blame him for being p****d off.
Those blaming Carlsen should put the blame where it really belongs - with Ilyumzhinov. And ask the key question: why did Ilyumzhinov make it this idiot format in the first place instead of the logical double round-robin?

Chris (and Thomas),

Here's my two cents again:

Karjakin is very strong. Stronger than his results so far. You watch. But also ask Levon! Sergey will be a force to be reckoned with. Nakamura may not be in his class because, although the more mercurial and "interesting" (to organizers) player, he is not as solid. Today's game with Luke McShane together with his mistake draw with Grischuk at the Tal Memorial is some proof. Sergey would not have blown those. He's relentless. Hikaru is a great player; very clever, but more clever than Sergey? I don't think so.

I don't even think he is overall better than Max Vachier-lagrave, who may not be 'fully tested' as Thomas says, but nevertheless has little downside results other than that mentioned at the Olympiad late in the tournament against two top-tier players.
He had a lot of fun at World Blitz. That he also scored 18, beating all the favorites at least once should also be considered. He's a good guy (by Facebook, interviews etc.), but talks too quietly, his English is so-so, and might not endear to Malcolm, who is after all a promoter.
Hikaru has the advantage also of being from America, a country always on British minds.

Last on Max, he is a college student, not a full-time professional! Imagine the potential!

I agree with Thomas about Le from Vietnam, especially because he is not coached, and has had recent impressive results. His win at the last Aeroflot alone should have made one sit up and take notice. A lot of good GMs in that event.

So for me, look mainly to Sergey, Max, Anish, Fabiano, and Le for the near future. Hell, don't even rule McShane out! His results in London right now are probably not a fluke. If he stays pro, he'll have to be dealt with. No one knows how good he really is, yet. And Thomas - at least -knows I'm not grandstanding about Luke.

p.s. I don't mean to imply that Hikaru Nakamaru doesn't belong in that last group. I just personally name Sergey the man to beat, as he is the younger, more solid, full-time pro going for it right now.

Must say H-Bomb is disappointing in these tournaments. I am sure the organizers will cease to invite him if he plays like a slightly weaker Gelfland.

"I agree with Thomas about Le from Vietnam, especially because he is not coached, and has had recent impressive results."

No doubt that Le is a fine prospect, but he is coached, isn't he?

"About a year ago I began to collaborate with GM Evgeny Bareev, and I believe that my good results arrived mostly thanks to him. Evgeny did a lot to help me to progress, he can identify weaknesses in my game and help me make steps for the overall improvement." (http://interviews.chessdom.com/le-quang-liem-moscow)

Thanks for the correction. I may have him confused with Nguyen in that.

Myself included, at least three people seem interested in this discussion ,:) , so I will continue:

Karjakin - I guess the main reason for his "surge" are changes to his chessic and private life (controversial federation change and moving to Moscow to work with Dokhoian). A bit oddly, a Chessbase report on the Russian championship links it to his marriage, but methinks his relationship with Dokhoian (who could be his father, maybe his grandfather) plays a bigger role.
Caruana did +- the same some time ago. Nakamura made smaller changes to his chess life. Carlsen also found a prominent and competent coach but maybe isn't 120% up to the challenge - though I consider Kasparov's "Magnus is lazy" more of a cheapo ("his Olympiad and Bilbao [and London!?] results were his own fault, not mine ...").

Vachier-Lagrave - I also follow him closely, partly because I am "a bit French" (I have lived in France for 1 1/2 years). I can add that he appears more open and talkative in French language EuropeEchecs interviews. So there are some English language issues, as maybe for other French (and Russian and Chinese and ...) players.

Le Quang Liem - don't forget his Dortmund result!

Separately as this mostly concerns Chris's post(s):

Invitations - I am sure country of origin and geographic diversity plays at least a bit of a role. Nakamura might be invited anyway, but certainly Wang Yue and Dominguez benefited from being the strongest player from China and Latin America, respectively. Karjakin is one of many Russians or "Soviets" - such organizers' habits are even more harmful to players like Vitiugov, Tomashevsky, Nepomniachtchi, ... .

Before Corus this year, a French guy on Chessvibes wondered and complained why Vachier-Lagrave and Bacrot were "ignored" - I answered along these lines: they already have three Dutchies, Carlsen (who doesn't need justification), Caruana (who qualified), Short (who almost qualified and has some ties with the organizers), add "Spatvian" Shirov and they may have decided that (half of the field) is enough from western or rather non-eastern Europe.

Ironically, invitations at another Dutch event (Rising Stars vs. Experience) might indicate that Joop van Oosterom considers Karjakin - who was NOT (re-)invited - the stronger or more mature/more established player with respect to Nakamura who was (at the time of invitations) "still just a rising star"!?

BTW (we would have to ask Karjakin himself) I wouldn't rule out that he, as a "new Russian", would consider the national championship more important than London which is "one of several supertournaments".

Agree. All good points.

Karjakin is a funny-talking kind of guy. A good spirit, but I think a bit nerdy at this point in his life. Not an engaging personality, but some charisma anyway. I believe that he will have to slowly convince people of his strength. Really, Carlsen is not much better in the personality department. Just different, but that hasn't stopped the invites. All this is to highlight what I think organizers and promoters look at. I know they love jocular, but that's an uncommon trait: Spassky, Kramnick, Svidler come to mind.

Chess talent does not go hand in hand with great personality, but exposure to people over time will help just about anyone become more sociably adept.

Here's Sergey's nice win today in the Russian 2010 Championship over Ian Nepomniachtchi, who has been rising lately.
Karjakin is my favorite to win the whole thing this year - in sole first or shared.


Off-topic, but at least kenhabeeb may be interested: Today was the European blitz championship in Warsaw - which, in mishanp's words on Chessvibes, "hasn’t had the most impressive PR of any invent in chess history". The winner with 22/26 was Vachier-Lagrave ahead of Ivanchuk, Ponomariov, Movsesian and Gashimov. The strongest Russian (and Norwegian) players didn't participate, still a fine result for him.

Off-topic, but at least kenhabeeb may be interested: Today was the European blitz championship in Warsaw - which, in mishanp's words on Chessvibes, "hasn’t had the most impressive PR of any invent in chess history". The winner with 22/26 was Vachier-Lagrave ahead of Ivanchuk, Ponomariov, Movsesian and Gashimov. The strongest Russian (and Norwegian) players didn't participate, still a fine result for him.

Thanks for that, Thomas. Yea, watch out for Maxime (I know YOU will). Calculating ability, this dude has. Positional understanding? I would not rank Carlsen very far above him. Seriously. Vachier-Lagrave is VERY talented, and if he doesn't get too involved in his mathematical studies in college, he will soon be among the top-ten.

Just an add that Mishanp's favorite, Radoslaw Wojtaszek, is also doing well there - as one would expect. I hope he also gets more chances to play in stronger tournaments, because he needs a showcase.

Next stop for Vachier-Lagrave and Wojtaszek is probably Wijk aan Zee in January. Wojtaszek plays in the B group which also has an interesting field, just mentioning the other "rising stars": Fressinet, Le Quang Liem, Wesley So, Luke McShane, Jon Ludvig Hammer. One of them might qualify for the crown group in 2012, but has to get past top seed David Navara (also a former rising star, but not quite living up to the highest expectations).

I didn't mention Wojtaszek because 15th place isn't such a remarkable result for the 4th seed. Some other results may be worthwhile mentioning: 6th place for Romain Edouard (completing the success of the young Frenchmen, like V-L he was born in 1990), 7th place for Daniel Fridman (stronger in blitz than at slower time controls, so I heard), 11th place for Judit Polgar (and the very fact that she participated). Though only the medal winners created a gap with the rest of the field, below it's a bit of a lottery - the difference between 7th and 30th place was just one point (18 vs. 17) and some unknown tiebreak criteria.

Today and tomorrow, the event continues with the European rapid championship, where Shirov joined the field.

It was a bit of a shame for Wojtaszek as he was near the top all day only to slow slightly towards the end and then come to a juddering halt against Ivanchuk in the last round - that was the only mini-match he didn't manage at least 50% in. If he'd won 2:0 instead of losing 2:0 (yep, a big if, I know!) he'd have been level with Ponomariov for silver.

There's also text commentary on the event by Stanisław Zawadzki - often funny and also the only way to work out what's going on when the boards have the inevitable technical problems: http://www.poloniachess.pl/amplico2010/en/livecomments

Written by a Wojtaszek fan!? I can imagine that the local audience hoped for more, but one reason for slowing down was probably that he got stronger opponents in the second half of the event - typical of the Swiss system as long as you're doing well. And the last round was VERY important ... for everyone but Vachier-Lagrave who had already secured clear first place.

Incidentally, Romain Edouard used the strategy recommended here for "Bilbao Swisses": losing 0-2 against Vachier-Lagrave in the penultimate round (no presents between countrymen), then beating Naiditsch (not exactly an easy opponent) 2-0.

I would need to see Wojtaszek's games against Ivanchuk (are they available anywhere?) to decide whether he was unlucky after all. On the plus side, he drew his matches against Gashimov and Vachier-Lagrave.

It looks as though the games aren't available, crazy as that sounds. I only saw the last game where Wojtaszek had White against Ivanchuk - he unleashed what looked like a crushing combination to me (the computer might well disagree), but Ivanchuk consolidated and might have been winning before Wojtaszek simply blundered a piece.

I'm not saying he was unlucky at all - but it was just a shame that I think 15th place was the lowest place he had all day. Maybe he pushed for a medal against Ivanchuk, as sharing the points would have seen him finish joint 4th (probably a fair reflection on his play).

Good news: the games are available right now at:
Spotty reception.
Find your player on by board group.

Bad news: Wojtaszek just lost to Markowski a few minutes ago in just 12 moves! He either missed eating his Wheaties this morning, or forgot the coffee. Horrible. I feel for him.

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave-Robert Kula is a wild affair, with Max a pawn up and Robert in time trouble after the smoke has cleared somewhat. Board 17.

Well but that's just the live broadcast, isn't it? A pity if the earlier games are no longer available, some were quite interesting.

His countrymen aren't nice to Wojtaszek, before he lost against Kempinski who just drew in 8 moves against Macieja. Understandable at the end of a long day, but I hope we won't see (much) more of this tomorrow.

Poland has several aces in the competition, France for the time being relies on Edouard (7/8) as Vachier-Lagrave fell a bit behind.

Yep, I meant you can't see the games after the round's over. I think the commentator's right that everyone's just exhausted - Wojtaszek's blunder was quite comical as he "defended" an attacked piece but "missed" that it was being attacked twice...

Of the games I saw you have to admire the 16-year-old Dariusz Świercz for playing Ng5, Qh5 and then sacking the knight on e6 (all before move 15) against........ Shirov :) It didn't end well, but judging by the length of time Shirov was thinking it was probably more or less sound to start with!

Yes. Gutsy.

Phenom Nyzhnyk had a nice, short win today.

Tomorrow - or tonight as far as kenhabeeb is concerned, the round starts at 9:30AM local time - "heroes" Kempinski and Edouard will gace Ivanchuk and Shirov on the top boards. Wojtaszek gets Grabarczyk, another countryman.

As you mentioned Nyzhnyk, I remember two other remarkable games:
Ivanchuk-Nyzhnyk 1-0: Black gave a rook (planning) to give perpetual check, but Chucky returned his queen for a knight and ended up winning: his pieces were well coordinated, his king (now) safe and the black one exposed.
Korobov-Jussupow 1-0: Queen and two passed pawns on b5 and c6 turned out to be stronger than rook and three minor pieces.

Will check into those games. Thanks for the note. Today's round appeared to start @10:30 am in the morning here on the U.S. west coast.
What time do they start for you?

By the way, I'm now very much looking forward to Wijk and Zee. Thanks for that update as well.

Sorry. I meant to write Wijk aan Zee - which I can pronounce properly these days!

You mean today's 8th and last round? The first round started at 9:30am local time (I am in the same timezone) which would be 12:30am in California. Tomorrow it starts again at 9:30am and runs until about 3:30pm - again minus nine hours for you, so you'd have to do a Carlsen-Nakamura and stay up all night long to follow the action live!

The games I mentioned were from earlier rounds and seem to be no longer available, unless someone conserved the scores while they were transmitted live (I didn't, maybe someone else did - it should be done by the organizers ...).

I wonder how many, if any, of those games could end up on the Chessgames.com Website?

Both Kempinski and Edouard survived (drew) their games against top seeds - Kempinski after some excitement, Edouard with white rather easily (Slav exchange, 15 moves, three minor piece exchanges).

OK, I'm puzzled. Why are there pairings for the last round on boards 19-28, but w/o games being shown? eg., Vachier-lagrave v. Dominick Pedzich

These were probably transmission problems. What puzzles me most, as I also follow the German players: Neiksans-Fridman was a win for black on the board, why is it a draw in the official results? Otherwise, Neiksans (Elo 2503) is an overperforming IM: wins against Vachier-Lagrave, Naiditsch and Wojtaszek.

The tournament is over ... well not quite: six players are tied for first (favorites Ivanchuk, Gashimov and Shirov plus Almasi, Naiditsch and Korobov), some sort of tiebreak has to be played for gold, silver and bronze.

Last resort was to see if Chess Bomb banked all the games. It did not, but it does have (I notice belatedly) all the games from World Blitz. Now I see what Max was talking about when he said in Facebook "Awful result, thanks to some awful wastes. Especially liked the waste vs Boris. From +16 to -5 in a single move doesn't happen that often." He had missed the killer move to Boris Gelfand in round 34.

But also again I see that he tires as these events wear on. That may explain why he won the Blitz event in Warsaw, but couldn't muster the energy to win the Rapid tournament. You would think that the winner of the first would be very competitive in the second. Slower clock time. He's either just not a robust fellow, or he has a health issue that needs to be addressed; something chronic - perhaps gluten intolerance, because he has had stomach troubles.

Not sure where they got them from, but the German Chessbase site has links to PGN files with the games: http://chessbase.de/nachrichten.asp?newsid=11211

Ah, thank you.

Women's games?? why not just watch mens world championship crocheting.

Why shouldn't we picture you sitting across from Judit Polgar or You Hifan and trying not to look like a complete patzer?

Judit,yes...the others LMAO they can only beat women,as Dan Akroyd would say "you ignorant slut".

Stefanova said that she once when already a GM won against an 1800 rated guy that after the game shook his head and irritatedly said: "I never thought I'd lose against a WOMAN!"

Right. But you wouldn't catch James or his trolling ilk anywhere near such a situation. They don't have the guts to play an expert (who happens to be woman) and give it a go. Afraid they could lose their manhood if crushed. Well, they'd likely get crushed.

... or Krush-ed, of course! (And I know it rhymes with 'whooshed.')


The most prominent player named "James" is Jim Plaskett who is about 2500. I'm sure even he would not make these claims. This "James" is a poser.

It could be Robert James Fischer, in which case he has more serious problems than sexism.

My dear father named me James,may he RIP.

"My dear father named me James..."

...because we all know naming babies is the father's duty and mom wasn't available (she was barefoot in the kitchen, cooking supper because father was exhausted after standing around all day waiting for his son to be born).

The competitions are fun for me to read about because I know I do not have the aptitude to compete in them myself. So I live vicariously thru these posts and comments. http://www.outdoorlightsgalore.com | http://www.outdoorlightsgalore.com/landscape-lighting-ideas/outdoor-party-lights | http://bestpelletstoves.blogspot.com/2009/08/used-pellet-stoves.html | http://bestpelletstoves.blogspot.com/

Twitter Updates

    Follow me on Twitter



    About this Entry

    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on December 5, 2010 9:40 PM.

    90 Degrees of Annoyance was the previous entry in this blog.

    Women's World Championship 2010 is the next entry in this blog.

    Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.