Greengard's ChessNinja.com

Tata Chess Wijk aan Zee 2010

The name is new but the game is the same, and so is the mighty Wijk aan Zee chess extravaganza. The Indian company Tata Steel acquired the Corus Group in 2007 and it was inevitable this name change would come. Most of you probably remember when the event was named for Hoogovens, the Dutch company bought by Corus a decade ago. So it goes. They have kept it a Dutch event, however, with plenty of local players in every group. More importantly, they've kept it one of the premier events in strength and size, the giant 14-player field staying intact. And what a field it is.

Anand, Carlsen, Kramnik, Aronian, Grischuk, Nakamura, Nepomniachtchi, Ponomariov, Wang Hao, Shirov, Vachier-Lagrave, Giri, Smeets, l'Ami.

World #1 Carlsen is the defending champ and is coming off wins in London and Nanjing. Anand, who tied for first in London with Carlsen and McShane by traditional scoring also seems to be in good form. Last year he went undefeated but only got going late with two key wins over Shirov and Kramnik that rearranged the podium. Kramnik was in the hunt last year and tied for second with Shirov on +3. Nakamura is also back after his fine +2 showing last year and a 2010 that saw him rise to #10 on this year's list. (As predicted by Kramnik at Wijk last year.) The organizers must have been happy to see Nepomniachtchi beat Karjakin in the playoff for the Russian championship title since he was invited and the 2009 winner was not. The B and C groups are as formidable and fresh as always.

Two of the top favorites and former Wijk winners meet in the first round with Carlsen-Aronian. The rest of the round one pairings: Ponomariov-Anand, l'Ami-Giri, Smeets-Shirov, Nakamura-Grischuk (grudge match!), Vachier Lagrave-Wang Hao, Nepomniachtchi-Kramnik.

I'll be turning in a cameo with Peter Svidler on ICC Chess.FM bright and early at 7:30am NY for rounds one and two. The all-star crew after that is Seirawan, Benjamin, Christiansen, Yermolinsky, Har-Zvi, Illescas and, surprise, Loek van Wely, who won't be playing in Wijk aan Zee for the first time since his first appearance in 1992! Should be great stuff, especially after the low bar I always try to set to kick things off.


My praying mantis has picked Anand...

Draw really favours Carlsen- 7 whites (including L'Ami, Giri and Wang Hao which should be 3 free points) while the other big 3 get 6 each. Nakamura and Ponomariov and Ctrl + V also get 7 whites.

Good to see the dream team's going to be together again! :) As Svidler said in his recent interview (part I): http://www.crestbook.com/en/node/1364

"- Judging by comments on foreign forums you’ve had great success as a radio (internet) commentator (together with Mig Greengard, in particular). Does it interest you or is it simply work which has (or doesn’t have?) a financial basis?

Svidler: Of course I wouldn’t do it for free – but I do genuinely find it a very appealing format. Firstly, because of the chance to yak on in English with a witty and intelligent interlocutor, and secondly – it’s one of the few ways I know of working on chess when I’m at home. Seeing that as a matter of principle I try not to turn on an engine, 4-5 hours of talking about high-level play forces me to seriously get my brain into gear."

Svidler's clearly the heir apparent, if he wanted to be, to Sergey Shipov, who's also going to be commentating live - almost certainly on Carlsen-Aronian: http://bit.ly/eWgbHA

The game of the day's chosen by a vote. Currently that game has 47 votes, Nepo-Kramnik 25, Nakamura-Grischuk 18, Ponomariov-Anand 4... I'm pleased to report that one person finally voted for Vachier-Lagrave-Wang Hao :)

Who is going to win it?
Champ or The Kid, or any new surprise winner, Nepo like McShane(London).

Carlsen containing 7 Whites is HUGE... might as well mail in it now. He dominates low 2700 and worse players unlike anyone. +4 against the bottom half of the field will offset -1 against the top.

Tata is the anti-FIDE. They do everything right.

1) The invitation of the Top 5.
2) Fighting players preferred (e.g. Pono, Shirov.)
3) Top juniors preferred.
4) Dutchies for big upsets or punching bag (either way, entertaining.)
5) Three sections, with top women and younger prodiges (e.g. Niznik; the young Carlsen) in B and C sections.

I repeat myself, but if Judit were WWC she would more likely receive an invitation. For her fighting chess, and for variety. But alas, she's too proud to admit her gender.

I think Judit would perfect either the A or B section, btw. Why not Humpy, Hou, or the Kosintevas a bit of mystery (i.e., #1, #2, #3, #4, #5.) The Kosintevas have made big improvement lately, for instance.

Tata ought raise the number of women from 2, to maybe 4 or 5 - for added entertainment value and also good PR.

Actually Corus had more women in the past - I don't mean to imply that the change of sponsor or name plays a role. This year, the top women (8 out of the top10, only Polgar and Muzychuk missing) all play Gibraltar which has generous women's prizes and overlaps with Tata.

Technically top 4... no karjakin.

I predict a (-13) score for IM Tania Sachdev in the C group (all losses).

Dunno, but where's Judit?

She requires too high a maintenance to play Opens;
Too idealistic to play women's events;
And no longer does her rating merit super-invites.

And yet, she remains a strong player, and fan fav. A telegenic personality. I'd imagine she's taken half-leave for the kids, but who knows...

For Tata, the issue may be that organizers don't dare to invite her for the B group? After Timman was no longer strong enough for the highest group, he returned only once (in 2008 for the honorary group with Korchnoi, Ljubojevic and Portisch), and this year he'll actually be a commentator. Maybe Nigel Short is the only former world top player who didn't mind being degraded to the B group?

I recently read part I of a long Polish interview with Judit (from the European Rapid/Blitz in Warsaw), and though she found it tough with her second kid and writing a book she's taking chess seriously again now and getting back into form.

Shipov's commentary is here, by the way: http://www.chessintranslation.com/live-game/

Last plug for the day :)

Not a bad day to be a fan of the Scotsh. Magnus' novelty looks fun !

First game to finish is Smeets-Shirov - maybe not surprising, but who would have predicted the result?

Pono's Queen is trapped behind enemy's line.

After the first round today, Sachdev already has 1 point more than (you) predicted - from what may have been the craziest game in all three GM groups.

she'll have to lose 14 of her remaining 12 games for that to happen ;P

Lol at the Ivanisevic-Sachdev game and the queen trappage in Pono-Vishy.

and Pono still plays on !!

Yeah, i can only imagine how Pono was/is feeling...

for what its worth, Anand is back to #1 - 0.2 Elos ahead of Magnus..

Ivanisevic can blame time trouble and his desire to "brilliantly" beat the Elo tailender. But Ponomariov blundered on move 41, i.e. right after the time control - this happens, and happened before ... .

It is not so much a blunder on move 41 as a wrong concept of his queen going on a solo fighting mission.

The computer analysis shows Ivanisevic kept making blunders bring the game to -/+ everytime Tania got the play back to = due to her poor play. I can almost imagine the following conversation going on over the board:
Ivanisevic: Hey Tania, will you go out on a date with me?
Tania: Nah, I don't think so.
Ivanisevic: Here's a blunder on a platter. How about now?
Tania: Sorry, not interested.
Ivanisevic: Pretty please! here's another blunder.
Tania: I'm thinking about it.
Ivanisevic: I insist. Here, I'll self destruct.
Tania: Ok fine... lets wrap this up. Do you know a good restaurant?

The World Champion starts this new year with a bang with a win over the Former World Champion! :)

Another of my favorite, Naka wins too. But of course I like the nice Carlsen.

Sensation Tania is Chess Base's favorite!

It doesn't look good for Anish in his opener w/l'Ami

He needs to get full points against the Dutch crew.

The World Champion has not yet played the former World Champion (Kramnik). Oh yeah! You must be talking about the winner of the funny FIDE knockout tournament a few years back. There's nothing really to distinguish that tournament above other high-level tournaments. In fact, the knockout format is a bit more random and less likely to pick the strongest player in the world than, say, a strong round robin like Corus or Linares. Enough of the BS about WC Ponomariov, Kasimdzhanov, Khalifman, etc.

Quite correct. Someone has mentioned it at last, and finally we've got this long overdue topic out in the open!
What we need is a good discussion of WC formats and legitimate champs. Uff da, please inform us in detail of your opinions on the matter, including a list of whom you consider to be true champs.
If you want to discuss matches that didn't take place, we're all ears. I've left some space for you below to fill all that in.

I'm pretty sure Polgar has been declining invitations to super-tournaments ever since she became a mother. In the 1990's and early 2000's, she was a perennial invitee to supertournaments. I can't imagine much has changed, except for her willingness to participate. If she were in the habit of accepting invites, I'm sure she'd get plenty more. Her world ranking's gone down a bit, but that's probably as much due to rust as anything.

Incidentally, that was a pretty pathetic performance by Shirov. He blundered almost as soon as Smeets hit him with the novelty, and then resigned a few moves later.

Max V-L is down on himself about drawing with Wang Hao with the white pieces; especially because he had winning chances, but credit to Wang for coming up with a clever forced sequence.

Looked at FIDE's rating list. Niznik is number two under 16. Who is number one?

Richard Rapport is rated one point higher than Nyzhnyk.

"Winning chances" is quite an understatement, white had a forced win after 31.-Qb5 32.Nd2! (opening the third row for the rook and - in case of need - defending against -Qf1+). So 31.-Qb5?! was rather "a brilliant blunder"!?
Chessvibes has a short audio of Maxime after the game, I like his "franglais"!

Shipov's commentating on Anand-Kramnik today - intro already up: http://www.chessintranslation.com/live-game/

My turn to translate/paraphrase from German - Smeets' second Jan Gustafsson with some hilarious comments on Jan's win against Shirov:
http://www.jan-gustafsson.de/nc/jans-kolumne/beitrag/ich-liebe-es-wenn-ein-plan-funktioniert/ and related game analysis:
"I love it when a plan works out"

On his daily routine, among other things:
1:30-2:00PM hang around in the press center and follow the opening phases
2:30-5:30PM back to the hotel, catch some sleep
"Yesterday I arrived at the hotel at 2:30, wanted to have a quick look on the game before lying down. To my horror Smeets' game is already over. I cannot work like that! At least he won."

Comments on the game:
6.-Bc5 "Last year Shirov scored 2/3 in Wijk against Leko, Anand and Ivanchuk with this variation, also for them the opening was certainly no surprise. Anand, Leko and Gustafsson also play like that with black. Smeets isn't sooo bad that 1.-g6 or whatever would have guaranteed the point. Still, this was the focus of our preparation. As I wrote several times already: to me it seems that Shirov's prep isn't at the level of other top players."

21.-Rb6! "Shirov's discovery, my state of knowledge the evening before the game was that black is OK here. While Smeets and I discussed various other possibilities the computer was still running on this position. More by accident we noticed that, after some time, another candidate move for white showed up. It was new and looked interesting. And, indeed, new - the surprise effect is often important in such chaotic positions! Soon we decided to check this in detail [Gusti's job midnight till open end]."

22.-Bc5! "the best move. Following such a game live as a second always means mixed feelings: Should I hope that the opponent finds the best move and we remain in our preparation, or that he plays something we didn't check but which is objectively weaker?"

23.-Ra8? "Here it comes, the move I didn't check. First always a small shock, but here it simply doesn't work. Again I don't want to reveal much, but who wants to save the variation should look for improvements at this stage."

25.Bc6: "Resigns. Shirov missed in advance that 25.-Ra1 runs into 26.Rgb2:! Qb2: 27.Ra1: . This trick often plays a role and was quite familiar to Smeets, he would have seen it :) "

And today the "double Jan" preparation on the black side of a Botvinnik against Giri went to move 29 - he has more time on the clock than at the start of the game ... .

If you logged on ICC you will see that Migs commentary got absolutely hammered with criticism. Sadly justified the dream team is yermo and Ronen 2 chess experts. Migs chuckly non chess compere routine is not appreciated after the experience of having 2 GM's commentating

Mig, FYI- the Headline mistakenly says 2010. "Tata Chess Wijk aan Zee 2010"

For crying out loud, it took two days for one of chessplayers to notice that? Embarrassing.

just noticed... whatever, man

to me, the only word of interest is 'Tata'. very appropriately deferential to wait three years before the change. good corporate PR team.

chessplayer: "I predict a (-13) score for IM Tania Sachdev in the C group (all losses)."


Typical moronic, sexist comment. Glad that after only one round its already been proven how dumb this statement was.

"For crying out loud, it took two days for one of chessplayers to notice that? Embarrassing."

sorry, my engine didn't evaluate this correctly

Try this: For crying out loud, it took two days for one of the many supposedly critically-oriented chessplayers perusing this blog to notice that?

Tunnel vision.

Humans read with an 'auto-complete' mechanism set to on (this is known in psychology.)

In this instance, the reader stops at 'Tata' or 'Wijk' in the title, does 'auto-complete', jumps directly to the text. And accrue a time-savings.

No one noticed because no-one actually read '2010'.

Yeah true but only some of the time. I read the 2010 and assumed that someone had dug up an old thread heading.

Well, you have a few extra brain cells and photosensors in the eye.

I had personally read "Tata", stopped, and as I skipped to the blog text thought "Finally, a name change. What took them so long? Very tactful corporate PR."

I think the mistake is less likely to happen for Linares, Dortmund or other events later in the year - it simply means that Mig (and others) haven't yet completely arrived in 2011. Conversely, when talking about Corus 2010 one or two months ago, I had to be careful to write "last time" but not "last year" ... .

Is this all people have to discuss? OK, yesterday's round was, at least superficially, not very exciting.

Sergey Shipov's commentating on Nakamura - Shirov: http://www.chessintranslation.com/live-game/

Her opponent gifted her the win 5 times in that game, every time she somehow contrived to return the advantage by her woeful play. Only in the end when her opponent literally self destructed did she finally get the win.

I think her sex actually helped her in that game - distracted her opponent, or maybe he felt really bad for her...I don't know. Replay that game, it's tough to explain how a 2600 GM plays like that.

I've found playing against girls/women a distraction, at least initially. It makes me play worse, unintentionally.

The following disorganized, conflicting questions and affects have run through my mind:

1. Conflict-related. Social norms encourage boys to play rough & tumble with each other - 'boys will be boys'. But what to do with a girl? Chivalry dictates to "take it easy".

2. Romance-related. Compounded with a physically attractive opponent. A hormone rush does not faciltate clear-headed thinking. Moreso perhaps rash behavior - see Sachdev 1st round game. Enough said (for this blog.)

3. Male identity
(If I lose to a girl/woman, am I still a boy/man? Does losing mean I'm gay? Will my 2 or 3 best friends ever stop make fun of me? Even (many) decades gone a Florida retirement home? - ergo Performance Pressure, of a non-imaginary sort.

Most boys have NEVER had the experience of losing to a girl/girls in physical sports (a 'tomboy', even, rarely equals the athleticism of a wimpy boy...)

4. Novelty Effect. Novelties distract because the mind hasn't yet solved the situation - e.g., "Do women play identical to men? Would it help winning percentage to change my style?"

Even the otherwise inflappable Kasparov did a nervous fingerfelter against the young (and adorable) Judit in their 1st game, IIRC.

Giri may have thought: if I can't acore full points against the Dutchies, I need to (grab my sole chance to) beat a Norwegian ... . Who's that Magnus Carlsen? ,:)

Giri's win against Magnus is marvelous. Winning in 22 moves with black against world's no. 1

Just like the SI cover curse. Everytime he gets in the G-RAW Star campaign, the Zeros total up....

That’s Carlsen still coasting.

“First you get the money, then you get the power, then you get the women.” – The Godfather

The modeling gig did some sort of sequence-inversion/time-warp on Young Carlsen’s destiny, eternally corrupting the spacetime fabric to exclude the WC.

In the movie script “Magnus Carlsen” as written by the Three Fates, Magnus was to meet sweetheart he would eventually marry from neighboring Denmark, win the WC upon his second attempt from Anand at age 24, and only many years later go stud.

Of course I would have firsthand knowledge: too many gorgeous women – all too willingly, takes the fight out of young men. There's the 50-pt marriage penalty, trebled.

Had Aronian won today Magnus and he would have swapped the 2-3 world ranking spots on the live charts. But for now Magnus can hold on to his #2 ranking..

every game carlsen plays he keeps depleting his bag of tricks. he is beginning to get shown up. thats the deal with prodigies, there is always a new one round the corner.
now giri is gonna be the new carlsen!

himo: "5 times in that game, every time she somehow contrived to return the advantage by her woeful play. Only in the end when her opponent literally self destructed did she finally get the win."

Winners win, and losers make excuses. Period. She was the better player on that occasion and deserved to win.

BTW, that's a misquote -- its from Scarface, no the Godfather.

Why would I make excuses for Ivanesevic. I'm not a fan, before yesterday I thought he was a tennis player. I'm just saying based on her rating and actual evidence of her play Sachdev is a pretty weak player.

Ivanesevic's loss may have been normal.

But, going by my list of rules above, I think he may well have alternated between "crashing through like a caveman to impress the girl" and the chivalrous "going easy on the fairer sex". All while in a state of hormonal delirium.

Suggestion for Carlsen: get a copy of a two-movers tactics book, find the "interception" chapter, and solve the diagrams - without a comp.

Really!? You are able to make such a myopic statement on the basis of one game?

Then what about Kramnik allowing mate in one against Fritz? Take it easy against the kid. Just because he put himself ahead of chess and withdrew from the WC cycle doesn't mean we rip him apart at every opportunity. Give him a break. Anand & Kramnik will retire some day and Magnus may well become WC then.

What is this fuzz all about? Yes, Sachdev is relatively weak, and at least some people also consider her pretty ... ,:) . Ivanisevic-Sachdev was a comedy of mutual or reciprocal errors in a crazy position - engines laughed at both players and had no clues that hormones may or may not have been involved.

BTW, Sachdev's final score will be at least 1.5/13, probably 2/13 or better. Currently she has a very favorable rook endgame against Swiercz, using some nice tactics to get there. Maybe the Polish teenager was distracted, or maybe she simply played well.

BTW, years ago two Dutch players rated about 2200 lost almost everything in the C group (they drew against each other, one of them got another half point). They had qualified from the highest amateur group the year before, maybe it was still the tournament of their life ... .

One game does not prove anything. But Carlsen's performance in the last few months suggests that he still needs some time to become a rock solid player, as opposed to a brilliant player, which he already is. This would be needed to become and stay a WC. He does have a lot of time, so there should not be any issue.

Not sure what are this broads complaining about , im sure FIDE did a wonderful job organizing their little tournament ...


And please lets make one thing clear: the point 4.4 of the contract was clearly fair and necessary and they should have wore those FIDE bikinis without making such a big fuzz about it.

does anyone have the tablebases' verdict on Efimenko-Ganguly?

nice site! thanks!!

She could have been 3/3 had she been able to covert her advantage yesterday against Lahno..anyway, 2/3 doesn't look too bad either for the lowest seed, does it?!

And in that game no hormones were involved, unless Sachdev happens to be lesbian ... (disclaimer: that wouldn't at all be a scandal). The way things went, Lahno is in shared first with 2.5/3, and the Elo favorites Ivanisevic and Kazhgaleyev have 1/3.

Tania Sachdev has been having a great tournament so far. She won the first game, against a 2600+ player (albeit with poor play). Had a winning position in second, but lost due to time trouble yesterday. And finally got her time problems sorted, and is about to win today. Great work from the lowest ELO player in group C.

11. Qd2 from Carlsen.

I use to play this setup against the Grunfeld. But, I never even thought of putting my queen at d2. The idea behind it is beyond me. It just looks ugly and produced ugly results.

Carlsen needs a good coach for his opening repertoire (not necessarily Kasparov). He normally plays well after the opening phase if he gets a playable position.

one game?

tell me, who does carlsen have a career plus score against - shirov and topalov?
thats the benchmark for superstardom?

when was the last time carlsen beat a top 5 player. please ... remind me
kaspy shared a few tricks that remained unused in the closet, carlsen flashed some brilliance.

now he earns a livin outplyin 2700 GM's otb after trying to create risky complications. today he ran into someone young enough to not need to spend 50 minutes analyzing his 'novelty'

and to top it all - he chickened outta the wch playoffs. ptui..

You're the sort of person, George, who would say something deplorable like that here, but if given a chance to meet Magnus Carlsen face-to-face, would be all over him with effusive praise.
Who's the chicken?

Hikaru Nakamura's stock is rising along with his rating. Still some tough opponents ahead, but a nice start to the tournament.

What's this? Hikaru Nakamura defeats Shirov? Off to a great start. And Giri defeats Carlsen? This looks like an intersting tournament.

u've got no valid point to make to contradict my argument. and im sorry, unlike u im not a carlsen fanboy. no go refresh his twitter (or blog or whatever) diatribe and continue salivating muppet!

Another person having a strong tournament after his tied 2nd with Anand in London is McShane.

India rules: Notice top 3 @ Curus A standings have indian blood.

1.Nakamura is half indian,
2.Anand, and
3.Anish Giri- half indian.

"Hikaru Nakamura's stock is rising along with his rating. Still some tough opponents ahead, but a nice start to the tournament."

This shouldn't shock anyone anymore...Naka has repeatedly shown that when given an opportunity (i.e. invites), he can handle super-GMs.

Naka-haters getting quieter and quieter by the tournament...

Good for Luke. To be fair, he has been bottom-feeding, and the tougher opponents are yet to come, esp. if Woj wakes up. But given his London performance, you would expect him to shine in Wijk aan Zee.

Nakamura? East Indian or American Indian?

"Nakamura is half-Indian."

Not sure how you came up with this.

We'd all like you, Pioneer, to get quieter and quieter by the tournament. How old are you? 15?
Am I guessing too high?

Re Desi`s: India rules: Notice top 3 @ Curus A standings have indian blood. ....

I disagree. By the way, it`s `Tata` now.

Nakamura`s step-father is Sri Lankan, I think.

And Anish Giri`s heritage is from Nepal.

Last I checked, both Nepal and Sri Lanka were independent countries.


kenh: "We'd all like you, Pioneer, to get quieter and quieter by the tournament"

No, only morons like you would. Unless your ELO is higher than 2000, simply eat your crow and keep your mouth shut.

u sound grumpy enough to be losing all ur teeth. cant see why else u'd be trying this hard for attention

I'm not sure a Sri Lank step-father counts as having "Indian blood" ;-)

I believe hype about Nepomniachtchi is unnecessary, and prefer to wait for results before proclaiming him [world champion/top-10 player/the next Fischer].

I am a Nepomniachtchi-hater.

Well, Hikaru is definitely handling the business at these tournaments! Hopefully, he keeps the pressure on and continues to climb in the rankings.



Good lord, even Mig is indulging in this "haters" crapology! "It's very early, but what will the haters say if Naka wins Tata? "Oh sure, but Shengelia and Charbonneau weren't there"?"

Carlsen will somehow recover. He always does.

No, a hater is someone who is irrational and continues to spout garbage doubting a player's ability despite clear evidence that they: a) can play with super-GMs on a consistent basis, and b) are world top-10, or c) have other strong results against super-GMs.

That's a hater...someone who, for example would act as though its a HUGE surprise for the #10 player in the world to be leading a premiere super-GM tournament after beating the world #7 and a player outside the world top-20...especially when this same player with far less experience a year ago finished equal fourth with the world champion in this same tournament. That's a hater.

Given that Nepo has just won the Russian championship and has had almost zero invites to super-GM tournaments, to repeatedly trash his potential and abilities would be something a hater would do...no top player has been trashed more on this forum than Naka. If you were to trash Nepo as much as many on this forum have trashed Naka, then yes you would be a Nepo-hater. Are you?

The problem for guys like Nepomniachtchi is that #14 in the world just means you're the #10 player of "Soviet" descent, with only Anand, Carlsen, Topalov and Nakamura outside of that crowd. This is the problem that holds back a lot of these guys, even if they change federations, or even if you "know" that Ukraine and Russia are different countries, etc.

However, there's clearly no doubting Nepomniachtchi's strength, but a lot of these guys aren't "sexy" to the public. Look at Mamedyarov, who is now #7, yet no one actively and openly cares about his presence at events. Maybe it's a stylistic issue, but a lot of it has to do with the country of origin. "Soviets" are a dime a dozen, so those with more exotic nationalities help "balance" the tournament from the view of spectators and sponsors.

Either way, roll on Hikaru.

Also, the NY Times had an article on Matthew Herman this weekend which was interesting - I expect Nakamura to show up there soon: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/16/crosswords/chess/16chess.html

Naka said to an interviewer in JAL (Japan Airlines) in-flight magazine January2011 that he was feeling more Japanese as he aged. Something like he is more and more interested in his Japanese roots and Japanese culture, language etc. He didn't mention any connections to India, just that his father is Japanese and mother is American.

I think it is not just that. I tend to think their surroundings allowed them to reach their potential that most of the top Russian players are playing at their optimum level. But this is not the case with players from less popular chess playing nations like Anand, Nakamura or Carlsen. There is always a "best is yet to come" in them! And people are not unaware of that.

Slightly tidied up version of Shipov's commentary on the amazing Nakamura - Shirov game: http://bit.ly/h9I6ey

Great game by Naka!
He is definitely maturing slowly without losing his sting....
This is what we as fans want, fighting chess !
Bring it on....

Thank you. I had so much fun following that today.

What crow would that be, ELO king? I said something positive today about Hikaru before anyone else did. You were just late to the party.

Did anyone spout garbage about Nakamura in this thread? At earlier occasions, it may have been more a matter of opposites attracting each other - Nakamura also has his (very) eloquent and (overly) enthusiastic fans on this forum.

"no top player has been trashed more on this forum than Naka" - I didn't count the posts over the years, but Kramnik also had an (un)fair (over)dose of hatred here ... .

On yesterday's game: Well done by Nakamura, but in this tournament it just took (Smeets') Elo 2662 to beat Shirov more convincingly in the same variation ,:) . I rather feel a bit sorry for Shirov - well, after the first round he said "last year I did well in the first five rounds, this time I want to do better in the final eight rounds", so the tournament isn't over yet for him.

P.S.: For what it's worth, my national Elo is close to 2000 and was 2100ish at some earlier stage ... .

Hmm, will you also claim Indian blood for McShane?

Time for Nakamura, now an elder statesman, to purchase the book "How to Behave like a Gentleman for Dummies."

U.S Champion, Top 10, Tata leader - no longer may he act the average 23 y.o. American man-child, plus chessic braggart and Internet-reprobate.

Shipov's commentary today is on Aronian - Nepomniachtchi. Live here (soon!): http://www.chessintranslation.com/live-game/

Incidentally, the game's chosen based on a vote by the members of a Russian forum - and the top 4 were:

1) Aronian - Nepo: 44
2) Giri - Nakamura: 23
3) Ponomariov - Carlsen: 18
4) Grischuk - Kramnik: 4

Not an impressive showing by the elder statesmen of Russian chess!

Thank you mishanp, today Shipov is especially motivated!

I'm surprised too by Mig's tweet, I wouldn't know who's worse for Nakamura's reputation, the haters or some of his lovers...

I fear dejection may have set in! At least we've already got to the bottom of the whole catastrophe. Nepo was simply supposed to play 9...Qb6 but mixed it up and played 9...cxd4 first - which sadly is enough to make 10...Qb6 a losing blunder.

Still, it could be worse. Anand did something similar in the Grunfeld in a World Championship match!

Quite disapointing! Maybe it's time to test the theory of infinite resistance... for about 5-10 moves.

Well, he successfully extended the game beyond Carlsen-Giri yesterday! :) I must admit personally a short game is a relief after yesterday's marathon...

Just read Mig's - It's very early, but what will the haters say if Naka wins Tata? "Oh sure, but Shengelia and Charbonneau weren't there"? - tweet.

And if Naka lovers like Mig had their way they'd shut shop and go home calling the tournament over as soon as Naka gets into the lead! :)

Eh, neither Naka lovers or haters exist here.

To those commentators who erect their own straw-men and punch away, I say (quoting an ancient Eastern proverb): "Straw men no punch back."

For what it's worth, my national Elo is close to 2000 and was 2100ish at some earlier stage ... .

Thomas, you need to reassess your game. Read Silman's book, work on your middlegame structures and swot on de la Villa's endgame book..

himo wrote, "Sachdev is a pretty weak player". I would say, she is a "pretty, weak player". :)

Jeezzz! That was one of the most eloquent preambles to a chess game commentary I have EVER read.

It's true. Sachdev doesn't seem to have much upper-body strength at all. She probably struggles with 12-lb weights. She is most likely pretty weak.

However, she is a pretty damn amazing chess player.

Version 1
Sachdev is a pretty [adv] weak [adj; def. - chessic] player.

Version 2
Sachdev is a pretty [adj], weak [adj] player.

Version 3
Sachdev is a pretty weak [def. - physically] player.

Improved version:

Version 1
Sachdev is a pretty [adv] [ellipsis: chessicly] weak [adj] player.

Version 2
Sachdev is a pretty [adj], [ellipsis: chessicly] weak [adj] player.

Version 3
Sachdev is a pretty [ellipsis: physically] weak player.

Incidentally, I'm glad I'm not a female chess player. They are probably subjected to endless sore-loserism, and can never legitimately take credit for any upsets they manage to pull off--someone will always attribute it to distraction on account of their gender.

Re: Giri-Naka -- Would anyone have played ...g6 instead of ...f6? The idea is to play ...h5.

Just curious.

CO (curious observer?)

Nepomniachtchi must be feeling blue, and I also feel a bit blue as I went to Wijk aan Zee today (where the decoration is all blue).
Showing off some Russian I learnt from commentator John van der Wiel - or reporting on him showing off: Nepomniachtchi actually means "I don't know my name". He was joking that someone generations ago had gone to the city hall mumbling "Neeeeepoooomniachtchiiiii", and the person on the other side of the table - rather than politely telling him to come back once he recovered from his Vodka hangover - wrote this down ... .
The Russian word for move is "god", sometimes during analyses with Sosonko van der Wiel would say "Good god!". And he wondered whether Nepo thought "Negodniachtchi" (I don't/didn't remember the right move) when he realized that things had gone awfully wrong in the opening ... .

The above is true only to a small extent. Ian's last name means "not remembering" or "forgetful", but there is no part of the word "name" in there. That the Russian word for move is "god" is a very big stretch. The pronounciation is quite different (not to mention the spelling). No Russian would think that "Good god!" is a pun on the Russian word for move. Finally, the closest "Negodniachtchi" comes to a Russian word would be a word for "no good". Which I guess fits with the gist of the comment about Ian's thoughts about the game, but that word definitely does not have anything connecting it to the Russian words for remembering or move. The leading "ne" is a negation and replacing "pom" with "god" is replacing the root of the word "memory" with the root of the word "good". The unpronouncable rest of it ("niachtchi") is just a grammatical construction.

Actually we had the Nepo discussion here at the Daily Dirt! http://bit.ly/fJnARK

Move is "(c)hod" (the ch something like in loch).

Anyway, this is my final translation of Shipov's commentary on the game: http://bit.ly/fQ48Ws

I'll probably change it in a while to add some more details. Shipov got to the bottom of what happened (he asked Nepo). It seems Nepo didn't simply misplay his preparation, but actually decided to play an improvement on the previous game (with 8...Qb6), that he thought up at the board. He saw 10. Qxa8, but was planning 10...Qxb2.

The minor fly in the ointment was that he'd missed that after the pawn exchange the f4-bishop is now defending the c1-rook, so Qxb2 doesn't threaten anything... and its curtains!

"Asked if his opponent had anything to say about the encounter, Giri told the reporters: “No, but he made a gesture that left little to be explained.”

any idea what this was ?!

Oops, missed a couple of moves - Jan was planning on 10. Qxa8 Nbd7 11. c5 Qxb2.

When Magnus realized he was losing an important blitz game earlier in 2010 or late '09, he raised his arm and lowered it quickly as if he was slamming a piece into the ground. At the same his face grimaced, and you could almost hear a grunt. I don't know if that's what he did during this game, but it might be close.

OK, part I of van der Wiel's story doesn't survive scrutiny by people fluent in Russian. He got away with it because noone present knew both Russian and Dutch, or at least noone interrupted and corrected him. Tiviakov and Sosonko weren't in the room, neither was Giri as his game was still in progress ,:) .
Part II was my fault going from Dutch to English. In Dutch, "god" is spelled the same way, but is pronounced "chod" ... . The English "godd...it" is (pronounced) "chodverdomme" in Dutch, which sounds strong enough even if you don't know what it means ,:) . [I hope this didn't offend anyone, and I took care to avoid a possible spam filter ...]

Part II of my onsite report: While today's games were rather bloody, as a spectator you often miss critical moments - I also spent some time watching a clubmate's game in amateur group 5L, at the bar and in the commentary tent. Actually if you just want to see the games rather than sampling the atmosphere, it may be better to stay home tuned to the Internet! So - on popular demand(!?) - I will make it a Sachdev special:

1) I overheard, then joined a conversation between a bookseller and two Belgians (their "Southern accent" talking Dutch is as strong and recognizable as a Southern accent in the USA):
They didn't have enough cash, and the bookseller (who apparently knew them) asked "Did you spend too much on dinner yesterday evening?"
"Well, with Anand and Aronian in the same restaurant we didn't want to go for a simple sandwich"
I forgot to ask whether Vishy and Levon shared a table, but asked whether they were talking to them.
"No, I guess they want some privacy. But we did have a quick chat with the woman in a red coat, what's her name, Sachdev. She played well [yesterday, round 3, she did], is sympathetic .... and good-looking."

2) Before the round, an official (someone with stage access, wearing a suit and a name tag) asked Sachdev's autograph. Two photographers captured the moment.

3) A bit later, her opponent Nyzhnyk arrived, and both were the most photographed ones at least in the C group. Nyzhnyk didn't really collaborate, burying his face in his hands most of the time - one guy next to me in the audience asked "did you catch him, Fred [Lucas]?" Sachdev kept smiling into the camera(s) and switched to full concentration mode or pose only after the game started. I wonder whether she actually enjoys it (day after day after day?) or just knows and does what people want and expect from her.
BTW, for me it was a bit reminiscent (but less or no media attention) of a game in the highest amateur section years ago: Cmilyte-Stellwagen (when he was about Nyzhnyk's age).

4) [not quite]: I couldn't talk to the highest-rated GMs, just briefly to the highest (tallest) one Sebastian Siebrecht. The postmortem of his game with Ivanisevic started with two cigarettes just outside the venue (no smoking anywhere inside). Siebrecht mentioned his first-round game (an interesting KID where his consistent += with white wasn't enough for a win), but I didn't dare to ask Ivanisevic about HIS first-round game. There are limits to what an amateur reporter should do! ,:)

I'm pretty sure Giri is referring to my incessant head shaking after the game ended. It goes without saying that I played like a 1200 today...

If 1200s can get such results, have a word with the organizers and get a few invitations for us all here to play? Cheers! In return we'll let you play in the club championship on Friday week.

Round 4. Anand - Wang Hao

Position at 16.Nd4

How come Anand found this killer novelty? It is nowhere near in the top many candidate moves! Okay it goes without saying nowadays you have to find such moves to be considered novelty.

Here it is almost forced that the Knight @d4 to be taken. The result we saw in the game.

Or else the Bishop has to move. No one would like bring Bishop to his home square c8. If 16...Bd7 17.Nf5 and white takes upper hand. Trading d7 Bishop to either Knight or Bishop does not help and leaves Black with a clear minus. For example, 16...Bd7 17.Nf5 Bxf5 18.exf5 Nbc6 19.Qe4 white is too powerful with 2 Bishops and the extra pawn that cannot be touched. 16...Bd7 17.Nf5 Bxb5 18.Qxb5 Nbc6 19.Rad1 Rfd8 20.Rd5 and rook controls the d-file and the position will be too hot for black to handle.

If Bishop does not move, Nxe6 and white gets a clear plus right there.

Good preparation and beautiful game by the World Champion!

I just tried it out - on an underpowered laptop with Deep Fritz 12 - and it found 16. Nd4 in 21 seconds. So probably not an enormously difficult move to find with better equipment! Besides that it's also very much a human idea.If you see it at all then White's position does look close to overwhelming (and 2 pawns isn't that great an investment).

Anand said afterwards that he'd found it for the Kramnik match, by the way.

Giri was referring to Carlsen's reaction after he lost the day before! Still not clear what the gesture was :)

Okay mishanp, mine was a old fritz 5 in depth 11 or 12. Also true Anand will be having much better equipment. Yeah I was guessing this must be from the Kramnik match when I saw the f3 stuff. But what is amazing is the depth and the amount of preparation! You go into some hardly played lines, prepare a novelty and be prepared for any eventualities in that position and then you recall and play God knows when.

Ok, one day late but Aronian is now #2 - ahead of Magnus at #3. If these rankings hold certainly nobody will miss his withdrawal at the Candidates.

Ah, sorry about that misunderstanding. I hope y'all are enjoying the tournament so far!

I think Hikaru's playing style mostly resembles Anand. I have this feeling for quite some time that he is trying to emulate him, but I could be wrong. He is mostly succeeding in rattling out the opening moves, utilizing opponents clock for his thinking and putting pressure on the opponent on the time front, move by move precision, playing least expected moves and make the opponent sweat in end game phase. Two things I noticed he lack. One, his speed after the opening phase, especially during the middle game phase. Two, end game accuracy but that is just a matter of time.

I think Hikaru is too harsh on himself. He did a nice job getting out of a sticky situation. Bad opening? Yes, but all around not a game to be ashamed of.
Good luck to Hikaru.

Yes, good luck Naka. Holding the tough ones is just as important as nailing down the wins. All the top guns are hard to beat and you are no exception. Don't get dizzy up there. Stay focused!

If Carlsen will be missed in future top events or not will hardly depend on if he is a few points ahead of or behind the A's on the live rating list. Some would probably miss Kramnik if he refused to play even if he is many points behind Carlsen on the list.

I'm afraid to say that if you don't haff excellent endgame technique by now, you will never have such. (You think we aren't watching from on high? Oh yes we are!)

The strongest chess tournament of all (?) time is happening right now ... at TCEC.

Is it just historical tradition that only (or mostly) human games provide the basis for theory and determine what is a TN? When will games from tournaments like TCEC - which could in principle be held 24 x 7 x 52 - be introduced into "the record"?

Naka, consider switching role model from Bart Simpson or Beavis & Butthead to Bond, James. Or pick a house of royals - the ancient ones - and pick up their best practices.

Please switch from impestuous to imperial, if you will.

Otherwise you're gonna end up like a male Britney Spears or Lindsay Lohan, who live their whole life in a perpetual teenage state.

Nice game by Anand, but your comment is (not for the first time regarding Anand's games ,:) ) a bit too enthusiastic:

- The line isn't that rare, once white decides to play 4.f3

- It probably wasn't such a big deal for him to remember or "reload" his preparation for the WCh match. I guess it's still in his notebook, and he may have revisited it the evening before while prepararing for Wang Hao.

- Most important [and that was new to you and me, but maybe not to Anand]: While 16.Nd4! is new in the given position, the idea of the knight sacrifice isn't in this variation. Check Dennis Monokroussos' game analysis ( http://www.thechessmind.net ): He gives three predecessor games and writes that "Moskalenko's _Revolutionize Your Chess_ ... has a mini-chapter ("A Trojan Horse in the Nimzo War") on this very idea." He calls Moskalenko "one of the main specialists of the 4.f3 Nimzo" - the book itself had mixed reviews partly for its overly zealous title, but that mini-chapter may have been quite useful ... . Initial credit for Nd4! may go to Mamedyarov who first(?) played it in 2005 when his rating was a comparatively modest 2646.

To take a good old quote, "if you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all."

First it was that I was fat, (true) then it was that I am only a blitz player (somewhat true) and now it is that I'm still the 14 year old jerk who used to hide behind screens and insult everyone on the face of the earth. What's next?

Grow up and move on! Stop trying to hang onto the past.

While it's true we do watch from on high, I think I know a little bit about endgames. I've learned much more since my, er, passing, than I ever knew before. The Rubinstein post is a fake.

Quiet, you, your endgame book is well known to be riddled with mistakes! Back to sleep!

I like ta eat da big GMs for lunch. I don't got to get to no endgame.

Go home and get yer shine box, ya punk!

Absolutely right GM Yermo and good luck for continued success to GM Nakamura.
Thank you Alex for writing Road to Chess Improvement. It has helped me tremendously in the analysis of my games. You were right...I did not like what I saw, but slowly I came to terms with it. I go back to this book over and over, and I highly recommend it to all readers here in the Dirt. Writing is difficult, and I know you plug away off and on with an Endgame book, but if it is half as good as RTCI then it too will be a golden classic. Keep up the great work on ICC commentary too!

Voor - although I agree with what you said, are you certain that the comment you replied to is actually from GM Alex Yermolinsky? Does he read this blog? I guess I need some sort of identity proof for any of these posts... I've gotten a bit wary, y' know.

(Now don't all you imposters chime in at once.)

Don't be too hard on yourself Hikaru. Be assured that you have a lot more fans than haters in the chess world. And we do forgive geniuses a dose of eccentricity. Personally I think that when you were around 16 or 17 those ICC antics "BEND!" and logging out when you were losing were rather funny, and nothing too serious to condemn a teenager for the rest of his life. If someone like Shipov in the chess world still wants to remind people of it, who cares. Good luck in winning the tournament.

My own kids at that age would do similar antics playing competitive video games like StarCraft. A lot of trash talk went on, and mostly in good humour for them. Some people didn't get it and would get angry.

The chess community is an older crowd on average, so you're going to see more stuffiness from some people like hcl and Thomas, that tend to take everything literally.

Naka, naka, naka, naka... how soon are you gonna get down and lick my boots?

Quite a bit of endgame accuracy was needed to secure the draw against Giri, methinks.

Th fk?

where's Ben Finegold? He used to post until he called us "fish" and disappeared. someone ought stop impersonating the GMs before they all disappear.

P.S. - I'd hope Nakamura links to his blog so we'd have a place to crash whenever Mig's off busy wherever doing whatever he does nowadays.

It would be a good thing if Mig could add a means to verify posts by email address. I have no idea how one would do that, but it might filter out some of the posers anyway.

Haha, this is actually me. I'll post a blog soon enough. Although, I dunno who is impersonating me with this last post about "licking boots." Anyway, I'll try to churn out a blog before the night is out.

With all the focus on Tania Sachdev, it looks like that this blog has become another Chessbase.

That admission from Naka is indeed admirable. It also explains why a matured, restrained Naka is doing so much better.


Whether they should be taken literally or with a few grains of salt, Nakamura's comments on his game against Giri also imply lack of respect for the opponent. The one above may or may not be authentic, his own twittering ("Incredibly bad game, but I drew it somehow. Hopefully I will remember how to play chess for the last 9 rounds!") and Macauley Peterson quoting him on uschess.org ("I just played it like a complete idiot") are.

Maybe he expected an easy draw or a win with black against Giri - but it's still rude to suggest that 'even an idiot' won't lose against him. For what it's worth: even Carlsen in top form (Nanjing 2009) had one game - black against Leko - where he needed to hold a somewhat inferior endgame.

If something was idiotic, it was rather Nakamura's opening preparation or lack thereof: he sank in deep thought already after 4.Nf3 (I was watching live at the venue).

Actually more interesting to me as it's closer to home: "Girimania" is in full swing in the Netherlands - maybe a bit exaggerated (I don't think Sjugirov's win against Carlsen at the Olympiad got nearly as much Russian media attention ...).

Today he got a full page in a major Dutch newspaper, ahead of political news as the situation in Tunisia and the debate about a new Dutch mission in Afghanistan. Well, 75% of the page, the lower right half is a portrait of Magnus Carlsen. The main article is entitled "Our new young chess hero" - with 'our' in scare quotes for reasons given below in the text:
"Only in 2013 when he turns 18 he has to decide which country he considers his home. ... Giri leaves his choice of passport still open [while he represents the Netherlands in chess, he's officially still a Russian citizen]. Russia, and particularly St. Petersburg [where he was born] still feels most like home. He cherishes the Netherlands for all efforts made to develop his chess talent. ... The president of the [Dutch] chess federation says to have signs that Giri will actually choose for Dutch citizenship."

Hmmm, but for the time being it cannot be ruled out that - a few years after Karjakin - Russia will get another great chess talent (back)!?

Question: If Nakamura wins the tournament, can he act any way and say anything he pleases? That goes for anyone; not just Hikaru. I mean like it is/was for Fischer -- you know, 'The Jews this and the Jews that,' but as long as he's a chess genius it's all OK?

This fauning over people gets me down. I think it's great to root for someone, but some people need to take a chill pill and find something else to hang on to. Hero worship is a dead end.

Thomas, this anti-Nakamura campaign of yours is becoming rather absurd.

Well, just one time I'd like to see Nakamura lose and say "What can I say? I made mistakes, but ultimately he played better than me."

It's his failure to credit his opponent for any achievements, and rather blame everything on his (temporary) "stupidity" that's grating.

Back to basics and away from personality with another question for anyone who really knows:

Why the high percentage of agreed (not forced) draws in Wijk aan Zee - or anywhere else for that matter? What percentage of the time are GMs reaching a point of relative equality where they dare not venture for fear of going wrong?
I know that is not the only reason for calling it a day. But how often is it the case that with best play they truly would end up in a flat-drawn endgame not worth getting to?

No, I'm not certain. Mostly I just wanted to encourage my fellow chess players to check out his writing. With so many useless books out there it is so nice to find a gem like RTCI. And in listening to his broadcasts, and the praise from other GM's, it is obvious that he really knows his endgames. In an interview with John Watson (another great ICC show btw) he had said he was going to try and work more on an endgame book he previously started and put down. If he does read this I want to thank him and encourage him to keep up his writing and publishing. He is one of a kind. His writing about treands and shifts in play, emotional ups and downs, etc. are quite interesting and instructive. He is not just cranking out garbage or milking the cash cow.

Thanks macuga, but it seems you missed one "detail": Nakamura did NOT lose his game against Giri ,:) - even though his quips leave the impression that, to him, a "difficult" draw with black against Giri (65 points lower-rated for the time being) is almost as bad and unforgivable as a loss ... . To my knowledge, no other top GM makes similar comments: Carlsen would have every right to call himself an idiot after his loss against Giri but for the moment just remains silent on his blog.

It's a matter of taste but for me some comments by Nakamura fans are more absurd, e.g. one at uschess.org commenting on Macauley's article: "for me, another great moment was Hikaru's Qa8 against the kid (trading queens) because it showed his maturity to play for a draw". That was Jay Stallings, actually a fairly strong player (USCF rating 2072). Hmmm, even a weak and immature player should realize that the position - simplified with a healthy extra pawn for the opponent - offers no winning chances whatsoever, and that a queen exchange gets you closer to the best possible result (1/2).

Yes... Yermolinsky reads this blog and used to be quite regular contributor here. You must be new to this blog.

Carlsen tweeted a comment about the game with Giri.

"Always nice to confirm that I'm still capable of blundering a piece in one move!"

And did he call himself Yermo in the past here?

May be not. ;) Check out l'Ami-Giri first round game. Giri's 51.Kd7 may not be accurate, and could be losing too to 53.Ka5. It costs f7-pawn but l'Ami didn't play it. I've seen some 2100 rated kids play superb end games in par with 2600 GMs.

Thomas, I'm looking at Dennis site, don't see the game analysis?? I agree with what you say that he said that it wasn't a new idea. But the idea has to be supported by well rounded and in-depth preparation. I wouldn't be surprised if Anand plays black and beats an well prepared opponent in that line!

Yes I've been reading this blog for a year or so...but I'm never certain if the GM's are really the actual GM's or just pranksters. Often the level of discourse here is more rude than I can endure.

But let me say that I REALLY enjoy your Chess Drum blog very much professor. I have learned a lot about the African diaspora and chess history from other areas of the world. I hold your work up there with Professor Henry Louis Gates and Professor Cornel West. Your efforts are not wasted. Thank you so much.

You know what, Anand was somewhat weak in end games when he started out but now he is arguably the best end game player ever! It is not just the calculating ability that you don't expect to improve over time, which will remain the same whether you are 2100 or 2600, almost the same when you are 20 and when you are 40, but you will get to learn many end game patterns as you get more experienced. That will improve your calculating range so accuracy I think will automatically improve.

You're right--my mistake. However, I was mostly thinking about a case from a month or two back, when Nakamura tweeted something like "Played like an idiot and lost to Ivanchuk." It's just an issue of sportsmanship: when you lose (or draw from a superior position), don't make excuses. Give your opponent his due.

when was the time

1. Magnus lost to a player younger than him and
2. Anand lost to a player older than him

I might look into opening one of these bank accounts. So in that sense, this was a success :) http://www.chessintranslation.com/2011/01/banking-on-kasparov/

Yes. He used "Yermo".

What I meant was that I'm hoping Magnus isn't #1 on the official March 1 list. Because regardless of who it is, the world number one not being part of the cycle does take a little bit of gloss off the title. The FIDE maybe imperfect, but clearly Magnus has put himself ahead of chess.

However, if a world number one has to miss the cycle, then it'd rather be Carlsen - for he's the one guy with the least credibility among the top-4 because of how consistently he keeps losing to the big boys.

I will agree. The Daily Dirt is not for the faint of heart. There are far too much venom inside of otherwise very spirited debates.

Well... I will not compare myself with Dr. Gates and Dr. West, but I do have a few scholarly writings on chess planned.

One can argue that Naka's comments aren't sportsmanlike; that a gentleman congratulates the opponent, rather than denigrates himself, when he loses.

But whether Naka is being polite and respectful, he's not *wrong*. When you're top ten in all the world, and climbing as rapidly as Naka is doing, it's a legitimate mental stance to take: that you just might actually be the best chessplayer in every game you play, and therefore a failure to win is always due to your mistakes.

Who's qualified to argue the point, except the very people he's playing this week? And the only argument they can make is over the board.

For me, I'd rather have a trash-talking Naka sharing his insights with us regularly, than have yet another polite super-GM who gives chessbase an interview every 6 months then goes quiet again.

No doubt you are one the guys who looked away any time R. Fischer uttered something completely inane or insane. Go right ahead and hang on to those "Naka" coattails. Maybe he'll throw you a bone for your blind defense of his behavior, of which you don't know everything about. Believe me on that.

The good news? Naka, as you call him, appears to be taking hints and acting a bit more the gentleman he should be at this level. I'm personally happy to see that - judging just by the interviews I've seen lately. So I have hope for him there, as the rep of America that he happens to be. It isn't fun being American and holding your breath that he doesn't do something stupid - esp in these high level events.
Again, I refuse to defend the bad behavior of anyone in this game; whatever their achievement. It is what it is. You can't throw a rug over it.

As always, Dennis' game analysis is linked at the end of the report on the frontpage, where he writes "The group A games are _here_, with my comments."
Or try http://www.thechessmind.net/storage/chess-posts/waz2011_rd4.htm .

Actually, in the press conference "Vishy says that when “we” – his team – looked at the knight sac in the past, they just concluded that the resulting position was “very pleasant” and hence did not need to work out all the continuations exactly." [quoting Calvin Amari on Chessvibes here, as I don't want to watch the entire video again]. So it seems the preparation wasn't _that_ deep - was it more a matter of finding the Nd4 idea, or knowing it and being confident that it works in this particular position? Of course Anand might win such a position with the black pieces - I never said he isn't a strong player ... ,:) .

On a less polemical note, I have to say--chess coverage on the internet is *amazing*.

- Up-to-the-minute reporting on TWIC
- High-quality translations of interviews by Misha
- Incredible videos on ChessVibes (I never expected to be able to see Anand analyze his own games--for free!)
- Quality blogs like Dennis Monokroussos', with daily commentary and analysis

Honestly, I wish I had this stuff 15 years ago, when I had a lot more time for chess!

Sigh. Kenh, if you really think that Nakamura (if you insist, sigh again) throwing some jibes at his competitors (like a young professional sportsman of many other sports) is in any way comparable to Fischer's hate-filled, racist, mentally disturbed rantings, I'm not sure there'll be any way for us to communicate meaningfully.

But I highly recommend avoiding 1) newspapers, 2) television, and 3) the Internet, because all three will show you Americans competing at high levels and not limiting their quotes to friendly compliments of their opponents--as badly as that may reflect on you and me.

I'm not sure how being self-critical is necessarily a slight or insult against an opponent.

Comparing Fischer post-career comments with Nakamura's career comments is a bit presumptuous. If you want to talk about Fischer during his playing years, he was a gentleman at the board.

Nakamura is a far different person than detractors imagine. Many are still stuck in a time of Nakamura's ICC "Robocop" days. Move on.

How is it that so many people can have so many divergent opinions when it comes to this? I guess it doesn't matter - what does matter is that the discussion her is fascinating. 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/

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