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Amber 2010 Home Stretch

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Some fresh thread for this final edition of Amber. Three rounds to play, including today's. Aronian leads the combined standings by just a half point over Carlsen. Everybody else is far behind, led by Anand and Ivanchuk trailing Carlsen by 2.5. Amazing gap. Even more amazing is Kramnik at the bottom of both the rapid and blindfold crosstables. Even when Big Vlad is in middling form he's usually challenging for the top spot in the blindfold, so something must be up. Your theories welcome in the comments.

Carlsen has Anand today and then finishes against Grischuk and Gelfand. Aronian gets Kramnik and then has Topalov and Karjakin. Based on opponents' form in Monaco, that's a much easier path to the finish for Aronian. Carlsen has won two explosive rapid games in a row vs Kramnik and Topalov. Flashy stuff. Aronian's rapid win over Anand was also very high quality.

So what's the next big event after this? I see my man P-Svidy is heading the participant list at the Euro Ch in Aix-les-Bains, already underway. Last year's winner, Ian Nepomniachtchi, is the second seed. Live game page. As usual it's a brutally strong event, with half of the top 100 in an 11-round swiss with one off day. What some men will do here for diamonds; What some men will do here for gold; They're wounded but they just keep on climbin'; And they sleep by the side of the road...


No shout out to Ivanchuk for climbing out of -4 cellar to +1

On the European Championships page, I like how Google translates "Live Games" (in French) to "Party Live."

I think u mean 2011 not 2010. And 0 is far on keyboard from 1 so it seems u rreally forgot the year. Time to live in the now, man.

Interesting that Anand is also having a bad tournament - but he is still up there and even took out Carlsen.

Johnny, Mig is a notorious user of ten-key so it really was just a simple typo.

Why would Anand's tournament be "bad"? For what it's worth, his TPR after round 8 is 2794 (a 2800+ player cannot perform exactly at or above that level in every single event). He lost against Aronian (this happened before) and Ivanchuk (always dangerous, even when his form is, or rather was poor).
As a matter of fact, only Aronian and Carlsen overperformed by roughly 100 points, only Kramnik underperforms big time (TPR 2650, before losing against Aronian today in the blindfold).

Perhaps Kramnik's arthritic problems have come back?
If not, his mind is seriously elsewhere.

lol@ P. Svidy

Because he played like a 1600 and lost to Carlsen in the Rapid.

Carlsen has Anand today - Mig

Did not go exactly as planned, did it? - They had each other

I was wondering about that myself, but I have to say, seeing him both at the board, and outside of it a few times in Monaco, he seemed perfectly "normal". If he's not feeling well, he's doing a good enough job of hiding it, I felt.

Kramnik's probably hiding some serious prep and playing these games OTB only. I dont think he really cares about Amber this time. He holds the record for most wins anyway.

Maybe George,but no pro chess player likes to lose.
It isn't exactly a confidence booster before the candidates.

This time it's a really dumb comment from creep George.

In 2004 Kramnik suffered from arthritis and prepared for a title match, but still won Linares ahead of Kasparov, and Amber as well. In the World Championship year 2007 Kramnik won Amber two points ahead of Anand. In 2008 Kramnik was second in Amber while preparing for Anand. Strange to see him outplayed in so many games this time.

Re Kramnik: Even if he is not interested in the tournament or hiding his preparation, one would expect him to score around 50% on autopilot. I cannot help but think something is wrong, and I am worried, and sad.

"Bad" - i'm talking about play not just TPRs - he has been better in so many games, not able to convert etc. not the usual clinical style we are accustomed to. but yes, Kramnik et al can still do very well even not in touch, its very strange seeing what happened this time.

I'm completely flummoxed about Kramnik as well, but I'll take the opportunity to point out the silliness of the who's-on-top-of-the-rating list-cake-now contest. The world's third highest rated bloke is leading everyone at Amber by a full point.

The top three of the classical chess rating list is the same as the top three in this rapid/blindfold tournament, silly or not. But with a few points between the three top players one can hardly see it as if the rating list is refuted if they don't finish in the same order in every event, classical or not.

this is blindfold n rapid chess. whats the friggin connection?

in the last classical event that these three played there was 0.5 separating these three players. that was after 13 rounds!

Other players also had ONE bad Amber event: Last year, Aronian scored just 50% - not all bad but rather pale compared to winning in 2008, 2009 and (so much is already virtually certain) first or second place this year. In 2010, only debutants Ponomariov, Smeets and Dominguez were behind him. In 2008, Anand had just 50%.

Of course Kramnik's result is worse - less than 50% even if he should win his four remaining games ... . For a professional, if one bad event is 'needed' it's best to "choose" one that isn't rated - instead, Grischuk "picked" Tata ... . I am also a bit worried about Kramnik, but at face value: he started badly with 0-2 against Grischuk, then rounds 2-6 weren't all bad (obviously not good either by his standards and track record), then it went downhill again against Carlsen, Gashimov and Aronian. He may have lost interest thinking that it doesn't really matter if he finishes 6th or 12th (last)?

No one would be talking about this being a bad tournament for Kramnik if he was on 50%. He's on -6!! Has Kramnik ever been on -6 in his life?

Few tournaments nowadays have as many rounds as Amber, so -6 is easier to achieve, if I may speak ironically.
But I also doubt whether Kramnik has had a 33% score in the last, let's say 20, years.

sure fair point, but you can convert it to last place, or % as you did to ask the same question.

To be clear, I wasn't calling into question the efficiency of the live rating system. Only the zeal with which some folks dote on it at the cost of looking damn silly. It's transitory(!) - especially now w/o a clearly dominant GM.

I guess some people, at least Kramnik-haters, would also call 50% a bad result. In any case, his result doesn't have to mean much for the candidates event and doesn't need to affect his self-confidence. Anand scored 40% (4/10) in Bilbao September 2008 to win his Wch match against Kramnik in October. Or is 40% in classical chess acceptable, but 33% in blindfold and rapid beyond repair??

Happy Birthday to GM Victor Kortchnoi! 80 years young!

You don't have to be a Kramnik hater to call 50% a bad result for Kramnik in Amber, in all his starts he has never had a minus score. Now he's -6 and it could have been even worse if for example Gashimov and Ivanchuk hadn't missed wins. Also years when there have been world championships Kramnik scored excellent results in Amber, and Aronian is on the way to +10 here, in the same situation as Kramnik with regards to candidates.

In classical one can't play suboptimal openings and get worse positions against top players to just turn it around later. But to like Kramnik get good positions and just make mistake after mistake in the middlegame or endgame is more surprising. If nothing else Amber in March is at least some training ahead of the Candidates in May. It can't harm to try to play some good moves against top opposition to get in shape in the one event the players have to do just that. And Kramnik definitely doesn't like to lose against Topalov and Carlsen in the way he has done here.

I'd have to agree with Thomas here. Melody Amber is a glorified exhibition that means absolutely nothing in the big picture -- besides the appearance fees and chance for top players to play in a nonpressurized setting. I don't think it will be missed much in the future.

Remember how Anand finished dead last in his final 2008 tournament prior to walloping Kramnik in the WCC match? Didn't think so.

No one will care about Melody Amber two months from now.

Whether important in the scheme of things, or not, it is a not readily explainable thing to see Vlad play so poorly. I'm glad to see that he held his own today against the recovered Ivanchuk.

In the five latest tournaments where they've both played Nakamura has finished ahead of Kramnik, a couple of them haven't been classical but it still shows how well Nakamura has been doing lately.

if in fact kramnik and topalov are crumbling under genx, its pretty impressive that anand can still hold them at bay

In fact Kramniks performance is hard to understand.
For example he outplayed Karjakin in masterly fashion and then played the rest of the game 1000 points lower - i was quite shocked by the outcome of this game...

You're dead wrong. Melody Amber will be remembered years from now.

Well, it adds some intrigue to the upcoming Candidates matches. I don't know if Vlad is playing Dortmund S. this year, but to that as well, which he has excelled in so many times. Hikaru is playing in Dortmund this year for the first time, which adds some appeal for many fans as well.

Kramnik is playing Dortmund.

Dortmund field so far:

How many other places are left in Dortmund besides those 4? Is it a single round-robin? And when is it? Thanks.

The dates are July 21-31.
2 More will be playing but at least one will be local (the rumor I've heard is two will be local... but guess we will see). Could be Meier, Naiditsch, Fridman or Gutassfon.
Double round robin.

If that German source ( http://www.schach-welt.de ) is reliable, the German player won't be Naiditsch this time. Nor is it Gutassfon but it could be Gustafsson - sorry CAL|Daniel, couldn't resist pointing out a rather extreme typo ,:) . The sixth player is indeed also somewhat local, about as close to the venue as Gusti from Hamburg: Anish Giri.

I put the "if reliable" disclaimer because author IM Stefan Löffler had announced a completely fake Dortmund field last year on his now discontinued personal blog - calling it satire later on and now saying that he isn't allowed to be satirical on that multi-author blog ("boss" is GM Hickl). In any case, "traditionally" organizers come up with a press release to announce the field ... .

Who won Melody Amber in 2008? In 2009? Who finished dead last each year? Does anyone remember? Of course not.

Not everyone got into the full spirit of the Korchnoi 80th birthday celebrations! GM Evgeny Vasiukov, a contemporary of Korchnoi's, decided to put the case for the prosecution: "Everyone talks only about the chess side, but life – it doesn’t end with chess."


Of course everyone does....
Kramnik 2007, Aronian 2008, Aronian 2009, Ivanchuk & Carlsen 2010

You can shut up now.

Ummm... I remember who won in 2008, 2009, etc.. I think alot of people on here are really underestimating Amber's importance. This has been a key tournament for many years.

If you doubt - look who's playing! You've got what, 9 of the top 10 in the world??? It's a stronger event then every single tournament held in 2010.

I also more or less remember past Amber winners but have trouble remembering who finished at or near the bottom - usually qualifiers, "wildcards" (frequently van Wely) or debutants. Actually, at the VERY bottom this year is no exception: Nakamura-Kramnik 0-1 in the blindfold combined with Giri's 0-2 against Anand means that Vlad won the battle against last place ,:) .

Overall, my opinion is somewhere in between pioneer and "no": Amber has/had its right to exist. It is what it is, it was what it was - an exhibition event with or for the world top, the strongest and (for blindfold) even the only one of its kind. Some people may miss it in the future, and not only the players themselves.

I just don't draw big conclusions either way for future classical events: Kramnik's chances in the candidates event aren't much worse, Aronian's aren't much better now. Believe it or not, I would say the same if Kramnik finished on top, and Aronian behind him.
It is even more, hmm, premature to suggest that the end of his career is near for Kramnik (as the ICC commentators did at some stage of the event). Vlad recovered from illness and from losing a WCh match against Anand, Amber 2011 won't kill him either.

Anand's performance in rapid was as shocking as Kramnik's, which is masked somewhat by his decent showing in blindfold.

For someone who is widely regarded as the best rapid player of all time, whose performance in this time control is better than Kasparov's, his even score going into the last round is woeful.

It's been a while since Anand was playing entire games in <20 min though, as you get older your thinking slows...

I think Anand and Kramnik can hold off the young guns in classical for a bit longer though.

No, because you had to look that up. And you still didn't mention who finished last in those years.

I don't think Anand can be considered the best rapid player of all time. His rapid result at Amber is not that shocking. He might have been the best rapid player 5 years ago. In the recent past, at least Aronian and Carlsen have upstaged him in rapid prowess.

Even if he/she had to look it up: would you readily remember the corresponding results for Corus/Tata since 2007? Of course you will always remember who won this year, but that's another story ... ,:) .

Um. That's exactly my point, he is no longer the force in Rapid as he once was.

I believe he can be considered to be the greatest ever at rapid. I certainly remember the sensation he was in the 90s when he would play entire games against elite opposition in < 30 min per game. He may be a better overall player now, but his thinking (not surprisingly) has slowed.

BBC Article on the French cheating scandal:

"French chess hit by Russia olympiad 'cheating' scandal"


I know Kramnik's poor showing at Amber will be a bitter pill for him to swallow. At the very least, it tells him his chess skills are not what they once were. Will it affect his confidence two months from now? Perhaps a little, but then it is classical chess he will be playing where he can keep things in firmer control. Still, Amber has been a horrible experience for Kramnik, and it will undoubtedly gnaw at him for a while. Why did he play such horrible moves?
Aronian has played happy chess at Amber, full of swindles and the unexpected, and has shown himself to be an extremely resilient and resourceful competitor. Most of Aronian's games here convey a feeling of fun.

Any talk of a player being "the best of all time" is nonsense. First, how can you even talk about "all time" when we've no idea what the future holds? Yes, at particular moments, someone could be playing better than everyone else, but those are temporal events. Surely, Anand was a much better at rapid chess 5-10 years ago than he is today -- growing older slows you down and it can't be helped. There have been players throughout chess history who were dominant players at one time or other, but that does not mean they were the best of "all time". We all can recount dominant players, and that's just where it should end. There's no sense comparing players of different time periods with one another.

yea, try convincing the kasparov hit squad that he wasnt the greatest of all time. they'l figure out where you live and burn you

I didn't have to look it up and no one ever cares who finishes last.

They would be right. It's been over 5 years since Garry retired and no one has even come nearer to his all time high rating. so, until someone breaches it, he'll be the all-time high :-)

Aronian and Carlsen are so good they have pretty much decimated the rest of the field to the extent only one other player - Anand - came out with a positive score.

This is simply unbelieveable...

Exactly my point. NOBODY CARES WHO FINISHES LAST!!! So there's no reason to make a big deal about Kramnik's result here (even when he was in danger of finishing last a few rounds earlier).

No your point was Amber was worthless. Now you're just changing the argument to not look like the fool that you are.

Spot on.

all time high? wow, whats he smoking?

Way to keep it classy, Vasiukov!

A patzer from a middling town in central Ontario takes a valiant stab at placing himself in the shoes of a Russian ex-world champion living with his family in Paris....

How does Jim know Amber will be a "bitter pill" for Kramnik to swallow? that's it's been a "horrible experience" which will "undoubtedly" gnaw at Kramnik for a while?

Jim-from-Sudbury would doubtless feel this way but....

Chessbase's reporting shows Kramnik in high humor, laughing with Aronian and cracking jokes about his poor Amber performance.

A better guess is that in the midst of preparing for the candidates matches and changing diapers, Kramnik's already forgotten about Amber.

Kramnik has become Naka's client lately, even if not in blindfold. In the last four games where they have seen the pieces Naka has won three and drawn the fourth, and in Tal Memorial 2010 he missed a win. The last three games where Naka had black he won, in blitz, rapid and classical. In the last five tournaments where they faced each other Nakamura finished ahead.

Man! Talk about holding a grudge. How many years has it been?

Newflash: Korchnoi is/was not universally loved. Much respect, scant affection.

I had seen enough during his involvement in a young vs experienced tournament a few years ago, when he was just a pill after several of his losses.
If his funeral was in my backyard, I would go only for the chance to see other GMs paying tribute just out of respect, and for the chance to visit with other GMs etc.

An combined impression from the 20th Amber, Tata Steel etc.: Aronian, Carlsen, and Anand are so close in ability right now that one would be a fool to bet heavily on any one of them.

A classical match result between any two of them would be impossible to predict, in my very humble opinion. Carlsen's demolition of Grischuk's Sicilian was the sort of thing that left the ICC guys shaking their heads in wonder. Anand is the world champ for a good reason. Aronian is the magician from Armenia (apologies to Tal, rest his soul) who can hardly be beaten.

Who's better? Frickin' search me!

hc, judging by the interview it's possible the "grudge" has only been since 2006:

"I was surprised by what he did at the World Senior Championship, when he behaved incorrectly. But I don’t want to go into any detail about it – after all, it’s his birthday now, and I don’t want to…"

There's a report on that here: http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=3358 I don't know what happened, though, except that Korchnoi beat Vasiukov in a critical game.

gg, very creative stats :)

Apparently in their second game at the world blitz championship (won by Nakamura) both players saw the pieces, but the first game won by Kramnik was actually blindfold? Breaking news, never mind that video coverage demonstrated that both players moved (hence saw) the pieces ... ..

Apparently I am a herbivore. How obstetric is that?

But to move onto more serious matters we need to discuss the eating habits of the malcontents that frequent this message board. It is clear to me that some of them require bibs. Not to mention the lack of handwashing that is all too obvious. How could I shake hands with some of these limp fish during a game of chess? Some of them also require diapers but lets not go down that avenue.

Aronian's performance was quite impressive. Indeed, he has a great record of success, despite having played in only a few editions of Amber. Carlsen's +8 score in the Rapid ought to strike fear into his rivals' hearts. In a sense, Rapid Chess measures the raw skill in being able to navigate the late Middlegame--say, between move 30 and Time Control on Move 40. By then, players are usually down to their last 30 minutes...or less. Carlsen will rarely get outplayed in that phase of the game, and that entails many extra half-points saved or won.

Nakamura had a respectable event, but did not meet the expectations that he set. It is no surprise that Giri finished last, but nevertheless it has to be a bit of a disappointment. For the most part, everybody's Performance Ratings hovered within a few dozen ELO points of their respective ratings.

Ivanchuk showed great resilience to fight back from a horrid start, and play some great games.
Aronian owes Chukky a debt of gratitude.

Naka won the last game in world blitz, then London, then Amber rapid, that's three wins and one draw in their four latest non-blindfold games.

The fourth game of course being in Tata, where Naka just went for a draw in round 12 to secure the title.

"Any talk of a player being "the best of all time" is nonsense."

I guess you haven't read the latest chessbase article where it says Kasparov is the greatest of all time!


Not long ago one of the Chessbase article said something like Kasparov was arguably the greatest or considered greatest by many. Then came an interview in Chessbase from Peter Svidler which said Kasparov was the greatest. I don't know if the interview was just coincidence or was arranged interview that a well established player should praise Kasparov. Because just before that interview I was arguing with people in dirt that Kramnik was dumbfounded by Anand's play and appreciation came out of someone from whom it is hard to come by. Topalov was appreciative of Anand before and after their match etc. But I also said none like that came out for Kasparov from his opponents or from top level players. It is not that another one endorsing you is going to make you great or greatest. But the thing in Anand case was the spontaneous praise!

Anyway my point here is, a retired player who cannot possibly show any more improvement was greatest of all time with some doubt before but days go by and he becomes the greatest of all time with certainity??!! It is possible theoretically but practically??

Please check out Anand-Topalov Amber blindfold 2011 for why Anand is the greatest ever! And please compare that with great predecessors classical time control world championship matches! Anand-Ivanchuk blindfold bulleting/blitzing was very impressive too!

Yeah, but in your initial post you added "and in Tal Memorial 2010 he missed a win". So it was, in mishanp's words, 'creative' that you mention their classical game played on 8th November, Naka's blitz victory on 17th November but not Kramnik's win on 16th November - was this deliberate or selective memory?
"Naka missed a win" is fair enough, but somehow I think you consider it less relevant that Kramnik missed a win against Carlsen in London ... .

Yep, the "creative" bit I was mainly thinking about was taking half of the blitz championship - and ignoring blindfold. After all, blindfold has a longer time control than rapid at Amber, and there's every reason to at least put it above blitz in terms of importance. And of course the fact that Nakamura was happy to take a draw at Tata doesn't mean he'd have got more if he'd played a proper game! Or if you want to go into "explanations" then you could argue that Kramnik deliberately took a huge risk in London (and even then should still have drawn after the time control).

But basically, one victory in classical chess isn't quite enough to start talking about "client" status :)

Naka has won three in a row with black against Kramnik, that's quite unusual, as is finishing ahead of him five tournaments in a row. It shows that Naka has improved a lot the last year. As for it being creative to ignore blindfold, well, Naka had never played a blindfold event while Kramnik is very good at it since many years. And yes, Kramnik said after the game in London that he could have drawn if he had wanted to. But now I'm bored with teasing Kramnik fans about client stuff so I'll leave the subject for good :)

A good thing for you that you're leaving the subject, because you embarrassed yourself trying to defend your position.
Perhaps you could try to strike up a conversation with your naka, and see if he replies in kind. Good luck with that.

Or you could say that Kramnik beat Nakamura in blindfold despite being in the worst blindfold form of his whole career (he would have finished last except for beating Naka) :)

Switching topics... here's Sergey Shipov commentating on Peter Svidler playing 1. g3! (Shipov's exclamation mark!) at the European Championship yesterday: http://www.chessintranslation.com/2011/03/the-future-belongs-to-1-g3/

Kramnik might have won three in a row with black against Nakamura, if Hikaru hadn't successfully begged for a draw with white in Wijk aan Zee ... . At the very least, that game indicates that Nakamura still respects and is a bit afraid of Kramnik - he seriously considered the possibility of a loss with white. Likewise, Kramnik respects Carlsen, but maybe Kasparov didn't respect his "client" Shirov (that series lasted longer and included more games).

Regarding Kramnik-Nakamura 0-1 in London: maybe Kramnik "deliberately took a huge risk" - these were his own words (long) after the game, but would he actually admit if he simply blundered a piece? In any case, that game was about as odd as Carlsen-Giri 0-1 in Wijk aan Zee. Nakamura and Giri might win again in classical games against the same opponents, even with black, but not in a similar fashion.

Regarding Kramnik's vs. Nakamura's tournament record, it's not as convincing or dominating as you suggest. Let's go back in time:
Amber - no big deal that Nakamura finished ahead of Kramnik, so did many others. For whichever reason, we didn't see the real Kramnik, maybe some look-alike and speak-alike (in the sole press conference by Kramnik: "ziss isss complicated and has to be checked with a computarr")
Tata goes to Naka, no questions asked
London: both scored 4/7 and 10 football points, only tiebreaks favored Nakamura
World Blitz Ch - 21.5/38 for Naka vs. 20.5/38 for Kramnik, a small gap that only opened in the last two rounds
Tal Memorial - 5/9 for Naka vs. 4.5/9 for Kramnik, same story.
You can argue that Nakamura could and should have scored more points at Tal Memorial, but then you have to acknowledge the same about Kramnik in London.

Actually, if Kramnik became anyone's client, it would be Karjakin who won their last five decisive games in all formats (rapid, classical, blitz and blindfold). Even here one can argue about the rapid games: Karjakin's win at Amber 2010 was one of Kramnik's failed experiments with the Pirc, and he should have lost this year - it's remarkable and a bit worrying that Kramnik "refused to win that game", still it means something that he had completely outplayed Karjakin earlier in the game.

In any case, it might indicate that Karjakin is at least as strong as Nakamura - an assessment supported by facts, but it didn't really penetrate into this and other blogs.

Thanks for your contribution, I'm glad that I won't embarrass myself more, I was worried about that for a while there.

Good. Most normal people are concerned about that.

Agree about Karjakin.

Now I'll get out on a limb for the sake of argument to say that I think Vachier-Lagrave would have been more competitive at the 20th Amber than Anish Giri - especially in the rapid event - and that he would be more competitive than Mr. Giri in 2011 Dortmund, acknowledging that Anish might be the flavor of the day with some fans. Did Amber herself have a say in anything?

I will pick up the gauntlet: You know that I am not a Lagrave hater, but what exactly makes you think that he would have performed better than Giri at the Amber event? Who should have finished behind VL in the standings? At Tata, he predictably finished ahead of the Dutchies, ahead of Nepomniachtchi and Wang Hao (who are about his Elo and experience level) and ahead of Grischuk and Shirov (established super-GMs who had a very bad tournament). At Amber, he may have done better than the unrecognizable Kramnik - but this wasn't predictable before the event.
Giri's rapid result in Monaco: win against Karjakin, losses against Carlsen, Aronian, Anand, Grischuk and Kramnik (nothing to be ashamed of, certainly not considering it one game at a time). It's not a disaster to finish in last place, someone has to do it!

Giri was invited to Amber for, so I think, two reasons:
- The Dutch sponsor wanted a Dutch player
- He almost qualified in "Rising Stars vs. Experience". I still consider it a bit odd that Nakamura was invited to that qualifier, both almost insulting to him (was he still "just a rising star"?) and a bit unfair to the other young players (Naka was the only one who already had supertournament invitations to events with top5 players).
The issue might rather be why Vachier-Lagrave was never invited to the NH event. From western (or rather non-eastern and non-Dutch) Europe they preferred Caruana (another obvious pick) and Howell (not the most obvious one IMO).

Giri was invited to Dortmund - now I am speculating - because he sort of invited himself. I refer to an interview with his coach Chuchelov in the German magazine "Schach": "We are in contact with the Dortmund organizers and hope they'll invite him". I guess a newcomer doesn't negotiate his appearance fee, but merely indicated that he would like to play!?
A while ago I asked Jan Gustafsson on his blog why he didn't play any round robins last year, while his countryman Georg Meier had several invites. His answer: "I didn't decline anything. I am my own manager. A good manager provides you with invitations, mine isn't very good." This referred to subtop events, but maybe it works like this even at the highest level?

Good stuff, but somewhat edible nonetheless. As you are a Dutchman, I will tread carefully :)

There's a lot of respect in this quarter for Anish Giri as a rising star. I don't know where he's headed, but he's already impressed the right people, so my intent was not to denigrate in the slightest. And I forgot - doh! - that the sponsor has a Dutch name. I think I'm already cornered on this, so I'll just sort of stake out a small piece of land here and reiterate that V-L would in all probability have done significantly better than Giri in the rapid competition, given what we have seen in the last six months for sure. That's not to say he would have a bunch of 1-0s under his belt, but rather holding ground, keeping him out of the cellar.

If the invitees were assembled after, not before Tata Steel, his inclusion makes more sense. For positive progress - or potential - no one is more deserving per the Live Rating list, for one metric. I don't know how strong Radjabov or Mamedyarov are at blindfold, but they are on the same level with V-L at rapid, I believe. So it comes down to who hadn't been there before, and who is a recent standout? That would be Maxime. Of course again, the invites were probably in the mail long before Tata Steel.
It's not too late for Dortmund or for 2011 London, in which he is under consideration, if not the first choice.

And yes(!) like Jan G., Max may not have the best representation for securing top-level invites. He should have if he's serious about it. I don't know what he's doing now. Woodshedding? Hopefully not just sitting around playing video games. That would be a waste of excellent talent.

While we are talking supertournaments: Bazna will take place June 11-22 with Carlsen, Ivanchuk, Karjakin, Nakamura, Radjabov and Nisipeanu.

Those choices make sense to me, with at least one Romanian in there.

To add a little levity to our Amber discussion, the only guys I know that were as deserving of playing in Amber as Max based on rating and/or lack of previous participation: Gashimov, Nakamura, and Gelfand. ;)

Bazna went for a super-strong field to compensate for Nisipeanu's (logical) presence that brings down the rating average - no room for rising stars with a, for the time being, somewhat lower Elo (Nepomniachtchi, Vachier-Lagrave, Caruana, Giri).

Regarding Amber, Nakamura, Gashimov and Gelfand are all top 10 players present or fairly recent past. Gashimov sneaked back into the top 10 - the live rating list (last updated 23rd February) doesn't even include his two latest wins in the Bundesliga where he now scored 4/4. Vachier-Lagrave may well have top10 potential, just like the three other youngsters I mentioned, but isn't there yet.

Assuming that the blitz game is a good indicator of talent, for two cents, who is better at blitz between Gelfand, Vachier-Lagrave, Nakamura, Nepo, Giri, or Caruana?

Not easy. But you can probably put Giri and Caruana on the lowest rungs, if not by much. The top rung is in a cloud. You would not want to bet on it! And you will not be able to give a convincing answer. They are that close.

I am not that sure about your assumption: in a way it depends whether one loses because he's too slow, blunders or gets outplayed (IMO, the last means most in terms of talent). Moreover, there are relatively few blitz tournaments among the world elite, so the database is too small - anyone might simply have one bad day ... .

Bearing this in mind (just one tournament), the players you named had the following results at the World Blitz Championship: Gelfand and Nakamura 21.5/38, Nepo and VL 18, Caruana 13.5, (Giri didn't participate). I would agree that Caruana and Giri are a bit behind, but they are also younger than the others. Ilya Nyzhnyk presumably would have scored even worse, which doesn't mean that he isn't talented.

When I wrote "potential top10 players", I didn't specify or speculate when it could happen, in one, two or five years. And "potential" also implies that it might never happen.

The head-to-head is interesting, although not necessarily more conclusive.

But who would you want in your small tournament aside from the top five? The younger, lesser skilled but perhaps equally talented, or the older, known talents with mature skill?

If you go by rating, you'll come to pretty much the same stats.

I'd want a mix of known quantity and intriguing comers who haven't played at the venue; so Gelfand and (arguably) Nakamura over V-L, but V-L over Giri or Caruana, Giri or Caruana over Nyzhnyk.

Basically Vasiukov says that Korchnoi was not as talented as the super-GMs, but achieved more because of his competitiveness, hard work and desire.

Besides talent, I also admire competitiveness, hard work and desire. His treatment of his family leaves a bad taste, otherwise there is a lot admirable about Korchnoi.

As previously noted, his treatment of players sitting across the board has not always been pretty either.

I just try to understand organizers' decisions, without necessarily endorsing that "things go the way things go": First, the key term is "small tournament" - the current habit to have just six players means that choices have to be made, organizers have to 'ignore' players who would also deserve to be invited, and who might actually be next on their list. Why Giri in Dortmund?
- It's the closest foreign country, many Dutch players are part of local Bundesliga teams, Giri himself plays for Emsdetten which is roughly 50km north of Dortmund (Vachier-Lagrave plays for equally nearby Mülheim, but this season just a few games).
- He might also be rather popular in Germany because he provides entertaining commentary on Chessbase, after all a German company.

Similar considerations may have helped Vachier-Lagrave and Caruana to be invited to Biel 2009, then an elite event with Ivanchuk, Gelfand and Morozevich (of course Giri didn't compete with them at the time).

And obviously, Nyzhnyk's time is still to come. He will play Tata B next year, but needs to make quite some progress until then in order to follow the example of Caruana and Giri, who ended up in Corus/Tata A two years after playing in the B group.

Ok,who thinks Kramnik goes down vs. Radjabov in candidates?

Radjabov's mom?

Ilya Nykhnyk is the love child of Mr. Mxyzptlk.


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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on March 22, 2011 10:22 AM.

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