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Kazan Candidates 2011

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Can we start talking Candidates Matches? First off, capital "C" in candidates or not? Second, apostrophe in "candidates'" or not? We have kids' menus and ladies' rooms, right? Ahem. So take your Strunk, your Funk, and take a hike, punk, because we're here to talk chess. You know, like we always do here. Mostly. Sometimes.

The entirely superfluous candidates matches of 2010 2011 are finally upon us, taking place in Baku, Azerbaijan Kazan, Russia as scheduled six months later than planned. Official site. Only the corruptness and incompetence of Ilyumzhinov's FIDE could finally give Vishy Anand a year off from what was turning into a world championship match marathon, and for that we thank them. No, wait, we don't. Creating a world championship qualification event out of thin air against the published rules just to have a tasty plum to give out in an election year (adding an organizer wildcard for extra sugar) is just good old-fashioned leadership. And hey, some of the announced 500,000 euro prize fund will probably even go to the players.

But we're supposed to ignore this latest example of why even the chess world championship -- especially the chess world championship -- is a political joke designed to scare off legit sponsorship and just talk about the chess, so let's get to it. The official site sez May 3, but that's for arrival and then there's the mandatory onslaught of folk dancing at the opening ceremony on the 4th. The games actually begin on the 5th at 7am EDT. Kazan is the capital of the region of Tatarstan and is also known for illegal music downloads and that Disney movie with Shaquille O'Neal as a genie. But srsly folks, I'm sure every reporter who isn't watching Will and Kate walk to their carriage on the backs of 400 contiguous peasants will be there to cover this important event. If Kazan goes well we can dream of holding our next big event someplace even less yaktastic. No! I kid! Really, it's lovely. Been there. Nice train ride. Book your summer vacation tours now.

In the run-up to these matches the biggest two stories have been 1) Magnus Carlsen dropping out and 2) Danailov saying Topalov will refuse to face a Russian opponent on Russian soil. Those are both better than, say, 3) "Mamedyarov and Topalov accuse each other of cheating and agree to settle things with a duel, eyebrows at ten paces." Topalov can't meet a Russian player until the final since Kramnik and Grischuk are in the other bracket, but it's not an unreasonable forecast since Topalov and Kramnik are favorites. Ironically, Topalov's first-round opponent, newly re-crowned US champ Gata Kamsky, is a Russian Tatar and could be considered the real hometown player in the group. I recommend that Kamsky insist they play outside in a field and piss on a tree to avoid the old cables in the ceiling gambit. My other suggestion is for him to take Sebastien Feller as a second and watch Danailov's head explode.

Let the bracketology begin. Top half winner faces bottom half winner.

Winner of 1) Topalov-Kamsky plays winner of 2) Mamedyarov-Gelfand
Winner of 3) Aronian-Grischuk plays winner of 4) Kramnik-Radjabov

If, in order to protect your sanity, your brain has purged the details from your mind, the first two sets of matches are just four games long, plus tiebreaks. There are no rest days during the matches, but there are two rest days between match rounds. The final is six games with a rest day in the middle.

First the usual disclaimers and caveats about how in a match this short, anything can happen. Done. Topalov has to be the favorite against Kamsky, who made the professional decision to collect $40,000 at the US Ch instead of resting/preparing for Topalov. They played a longer and rather terrible candidates match in 2009, dominated by a still-unconvincing Topalov 4.5-2.5. Kamsky continues to impress by how well he does on sheer talent against his opening handicap against the top 20. Still, a player of his match experience and grit can never be taken lightly and if he survives the openings against Topalov he might solve the organizer's concerns about the Bulgarian boycotting the final. As for Topalov, he's played so rarely of late it's hard to say what to expect. Losing to Anand seemed to take the wind from his sails and he hasn't played a classical event since his mediocre Pearl Spring appearance (4.5/10) way back in October. If he's on his game only Kramnik and Aronian are threats to him. I love Topalov's chess and would love to see him playing his best again, but of course I'm rooting for the Brighton Beach Bomber.

Mamedyarov-Gelfand has B-side written all over it, I'm afraid. Wildcard Mamedyarov is a serial underachiever at the elite level while Gelfand is overachieving consistently while only rarely nailing the big guys. Their recent database score in classical chess is 3-1 Gelfand, all four games decisive and won by white. Both players should be very well rested; like Topalov they've been mostly inactive this year. In a short match I'll take Gelfand's experience over Mamedyarov's energy, but it's really a toss-up.

I'd be happy to watch the other two matches go for twenty games. What great match-ups! Aronian-Grischuk pairs two of the most creative players of this generation. Aronian has a clear edge in strength and results, and usually on preparation, but Grischuk has very high peaks when he's on form. They've swapped wins several times in the past few years with the exciting games you would expect. Grischuk tanked pretty badly in Wijk aan Zee while Aronian cruised, but that was three months ago and the only event for either of them since then was Amber.

Kramnik-Radjabov is a wonderful clash of styles. The methodical majesty of the former world champion versus the scrappy chaos of the former wunderkind. I'm surprised at how rarely they've met; their last classical encounter was at Wijk way back in 2008. Big Vlad is the heavyweight in this entire event and everyone knows it. He has more match experience than all the other players combined according to my wild ass guess department. (Kamsky's up there.) But he was unrecognizable at Amber and merely good for most of 2010. Motivation can be an issue for him and I hope he'll be up for this event big time. He's not the invincible Kramnik of old, but he has an aura that will stay in place in Kazan until someone makes him tip his king. Radjabov has turned into the elite game's most unpredictable counter-puncher. He slacks off for a game or two and then can play with wild abandon.

There's an even split in the ages between the elders and the younger set. Gelfand is 42, Kamsky and Topalov 36, Kramnik 35. Aronian is 28, Grischuk 27, Mamedyarov 26, Radjabov 24. Yow, seeing the "youngsters" Aronian and Grischuk at 28 and 27 is a little depressing. Okay, now I'm definitely rooting for Gelfand. He's one of just eight players born in the 1960s left in the top 100. (Nigel Short, born in 1965, is the oldest player in the top 100.)

Predictions in KOs are for fools, so here I go: Topalov beats Gelfand, Aronian beats Kramnik, and in the final Aronian beats Topalov to challenge Anand! Sure, if I were betting the baby food and playing it safe I'd say Kramnik all the way, but this is consequence free and it's more fun to pick an upset and dream of what would surely be a dazzling world championship match with a new set of storylines. And it would be nice to get a next-gen guy in there before Carlsen decides take off the skinny jeans and put on his man pants and take over.

If this isn't enough match play for you, Hikaru Nakamura is playing Ruslan Ponomariov in a special ten-game challenge match in Saint Louis starting on May 17. (That's the first of the two free days before the candidates final, which is nice.) Six classical games followed by four rapid, should be a great match between two of the hardest fighters in the sport. (Impress me by finding a top player with a higher move average in drawn games with white, one of my odd-but-effective fighting chess metrics. Pono's is 44, Nakamura's 45. Topalov and Grischuk, other well-known fighters, also hit 45.) St. Louis Chess Club resident GM Ben Finegold will play a match against 80-year-old Viktor Korchnoi at the same time.


'My other suggestion is for him to take Sebastien Feller as a second and watch Danailov's head explode.' man this is why i luv ya

but id like to see kramnik go all the way, beating both aronian and topalov [who im sure will chicken out the whole no russian on russian ground thing]

Ah, the good ol' Mig is back. :-}

Yes, vintage Mig - but at this occasion I disagree with almost everything he wrote. Just two points:

Making fun of the venue - I guess Russians could just as easily make fun of St. Louis!? And, for example, Wijk aan Zee and Linares are also rather obscure venues for top level chess events ... .

"Mamedyarov-Gelfand has B-side written all over it, I'm afraid. Wildcard Mamedyarov is a serial underachiever at the elite level ..."
One doesn't have to like Mamedyarov, though personally I find it a bit odd that he gets more ongoing blame for incidental cheating accusations than Topalov for sustained ones. Still one can (and should) recognize his achievements. "Serial underachiever" may have been true until about a year ago (including Dortmund 2010), his rating gain was mostly due to effectively beating weak opposition in team events. Then his latest team events (Olympiad and European Club Cup) included 5.5/9 against 2700+. Then he finished shared first in an obscure event called Tal Memorial - for some reason, this received less attention than Nakamura "almost winning" (i.e. almost making it a four-way tie for first place). Granted, Mamedyarov could have been sole first if not for a drastic last-round loss against ... Gelfand.

As to Gelfand, at the World Cup he proved that he can cope with short matches including rapid/blitz tiebreaks. BTW, he recently warmed up with four draws at the Russian Team Championship - against Nepomniachtchi, Ivanchuk, Jakovenko and Ponomariov, leaving weaker first-board opponents to his teammates Caruana and Wang Hao.

Altogether, I see no reason why their match would be less interesting or at a lower (fighting) level than the other three encounters - even if both players aren't favorites in the entire event.

And now trying to impress Mig: What is Kamsky's move average in drawn games with white? OK, it depends on how "top level" is defined - he is somewhat lagging behind the four names mentioned in the report.

"Kamsky continues to impress by how well he does on sheer talent against his opening handicap against the top 20." Err... what? You're kidding, right? He's been 30th-40th in the world for the last few years, and when was the elite last tournament he scored well in? I think Kamsky's "talent" is non-existent next to the top 5 or 6 players, (it's certainly no more than any other 2650-2700 GM), he hangs on and makes things difficult for his opponent. Remember his comeback? Fischer he is not. Topalov will batter him. And what's this opening handicap? It's his choice not to study.

Just an interesting note, here there will be commentators that can actually be a second trainers of any of the players http://previews.chessdom.com/2011/candidates-matches-2011 namely Naiditsch and Bacrot, both 2700+. So that must be the place to watch commentary during the Candidate Match.

Shipov's also going to be doing his traditional commentary (perhaps with video round-ups later). I'll almost certainly be translating it live, so that's another option :)

Meanwhile - here's part 2 of the recent Ivanchuk interview: http://bit.ly/logapS

And part 1, in case you missed it! http://bit.ly/eSK0WJ

On the live rating list, which hasn't been updated for a couple of months I think (where's frogbert?), Kamksy is no. 16.

Has Kramnik actually won a lot of matches? Off the top of my head: he lost to Shirov, beat Kasparov, drew Leko, beat Topalov in a tiebreak, and lost to Anand. Why is he considered so invincible in match play?

I like Aronian to win this thing.

Yeah, for some reason Kramnik's reputation still preceeds him... I guess It will finally be proved or dismantled in Kazan...
Mig's "fun guess" is actually my serious one, only that in the mamedyarov-gelfand toss-up I'd go with Mame...

And lost to Kamsky

Kramnik won one match....but it was against the best so he is the best.....capice?

Against both Leko and Topalov, Kramnik did what was needed or what was enough to defend his title, i.e. "mission accomplished". Draw odds for the defending champion may be questionable (rapid/blitz/Armaggedon tiebreaks are a more recent "discovery"), but both Kramnik and Leko knew about it beforehand.

Moreover, Kramnik could handle match-specific situations: winning on demand in the last game against Leko, coping with dirty tricks from the opponent's camp and winning the tiebreak against Topalov. This means more in terms of specific match play than a 6-0 walkover where you're simply the better player.

However, this is all some years ago - Kramnik's match loss against Kamsky goes even further back in time to the last century/millennium. So it may or may not mean much for the upcoming candidates matches. I would say ample high-level match experience (regardless of the results) could be an asset for Kramnik - he has more of it than any of the other participants (but Kamsky if we include his young years before his career break).

These matches should be fun and it's good that they will, at last, be getting under way soon. I'll follow Mig and predict an Aronian victory. I love his unpredictability and I have Armenian ancestry, so he's the closest I'll get to a fellow countryman competing right at the top, unless McShane or Howell can make the step up to the next level.

Kramnik has won 2 matches in his life against top-level competition: Kasparov in 2000 and Topalov in 06. That's it. Anand, Kamsky, Shirov have all crushed him in past matches, and he barely drew Leko in 2004.

My predictions (for the record -- no one has the right to laugh unless they too post their predictions BEFORE the match starts):

Kamsky over Topalov
Gelfand over Mamedyarov

Aronian over Grischuk
Kramnik over Radjabov


Kamsky over Gelfand
Aronian over Kramnik


Aronian over Kamsky

Uh...the Chess World Cup where he beat Svidler, Ponomariov, Carlsen and Shirov. He hasn't been invited to super-GM events since b/c of his age -- certainly not because of his rating, as he is #18 in the world right now. VERY few players have the record in match play comparable to what Kamsky has done.

Agree about Mamedyarov...his performance at the Tal was severely underrated. Should be a great match against Gelfand.

Rather than Feller, Hauchard is the one who should have a high market value as a second. It would be wonderful to observe him pacing around the boards and stopping at strategic angles, and it might even be a good exercise for mind-game experts to see if they can "crack the code" without knowing the secret beforehand...

I've secretly always dreamed of writing ChessBase-style reports :) http://www.chessintranslation.com/2011/05/chess-in-krakow/

Attention: Major news at Fide.

FIDE President signs agreement with World Meditation Academy.


Fide Federations AROUND THE WORLD will be offering scholarships for monthly Meditation courses. This is a major news event for chess players and demonstrates to the naysayers that Kirsan Ilyumzhinov can attract independent sponsorship for chess.

If you are wondering just what the World meditation academy is, try a google search and you will find thousands of articles testifying the achievements of this fine group!


Irv, you should be proud!

I botched the the google search link try this:


If that doesn't work just key "World meditation academy" in the http://www.google.com search box to find all about this wonderful organization.

Fair enough to mention the World Cup. But (post-comeback) it rather was an outlier, and what you write about his invitations seems misleading.
After the World Cup, he played the FIDE Grand Prix series (doing well in one ouf of four tournaments) as well as Tal Memorial 2008, Corus 2009 and Bazna 2009. (Only) then he was no longer invited to top events, presumably because his rating dropped below 2700 (and recovered just recently due to several good results in Opens and team events).

He seems the dark horse in the candidates event, his chances initially also depend on Topalov's (unknown) current form.

I doubt the World Cup was an outlier...it was the only match-play event against super-GM competition other than his 09 match with Topalov that is anything similar to these upcoming Candidates matches. Topalov won't have the advantages of being at home with his government-subsidized Rybka engine this time, however.

Kamsky didn't do as well against the non-superelite from 08-09, but against those elite in match play format, he's done just fine since his return to chess. He's been back in top form for more than a year now...that rating under 2700 was last seen in the January 2010 ratings -- he's been comfortably over 2700 ever since, and comfortably over 2720 pretty much the last 6 months-1 year.

Also, Topalov hasn't played a match outside of his home country for 5 years, so to assume that being away from all the comforts of home will be a plus for him regaining his top form is to me a stretch at best.

We have different ways to interpret the same data. For example, for me Elo 2702 or 2705 wasn't "comfortably over 2700": one half-bad event or even a single loss against a slightly lower-rated opponent (at Aeroflot 2011, he lost against Le Quang Liem and Ding Liren) and you're out of the club again.

Regarding match play, you forget or ignore the latest World Cup, though technically you're right: he didn't even get to play the elite but was eliminated earlier by Wesley So. Regarding tournaments, he had a plus score in one out of seven super-events (Sochi GP). True, he won Reggio Emilia, Baku Open (twice) and US Championship (twice), all sub-2700 events.

As to Topalov's home advantage: He may actually have the same government-subsidized Rybka engine at his disposal, in the Internet age it doesn't really matter that it would be many miles away from the venue. There is some evidence that - as he claimed himself - he had extra pressure playing at home. Maybe it was rather a "Bulgaria disadvantage" for the opponent: coping with a hostile environment where the organizers are openly biased. He won strong events away from home: Linares, Bilbao (hmmm, he actually lives in Spain), Nanjing.

Note that I have nothing against Kamsky, and I am certainly not a fan of Topalov, I just try to be objective. I actually hope that you will be right, and I as well as e.g. Dennis Monokroussos (who also predicts a win for Topalov) will be wrong!

Thomas, I appreciate your viewpoints...I am trying to be objective as well -- like you said, we are each interpreting the same facts.

Bottom line with Topalov-Kamsky: if the games are crazy, wild and tactical Topalov will win. If they are simple, solid and boring, Kamsky will win.

I think your bottom-line observation is valid.


Pionner, the mine exactly:

Kamsky over Gelfand
Aronian over Kramnik


Aronian over Kamsky

Bonus prediction:
Anand over Aronian

Saying that Kramnik only won two matches in his life is true, but who cares? He beat #13 to become #14, that's all that matters. It's like saying Capablanca only won one match in his life (and one in which his opponent resigned early, for that matter). Again, who cares...?

It matters, because it shows that Kramnik is not some unbeatable match player as the chess media have proported for the past 10 years. His victory over Kasparov has salvaged an otherwise VERY subpar record against top players in matches...including the last time he played a match against a top player, where he was thumped convincingly.

So all this talk about Kramnik being the "safe pick" because of his great match record is complete nonsense. That's why it matters.

Ok, got you. You have a point here.

Seems theres a bias towards this:

Kamsky over Gelfand
Aronian over Kramnik


Aronian over Kamsky

Maybe part of the prediction for Gata is hope, but it would be nice. I also belive the margin in favor of Aronian over Kramnik is extremely small...


My Predictions.

Mamedyarov over Topalov.
Aronian over Kramnik.

Aronian over Mamedyarov.

Anand over Aronian.


Kamsky and Radjabov are two of the mentally toughest players on the circuit. Gelfand is too, making the most of his ability, but lacking vs the very top. They are the ones I would back to find a win from 1 game down with 1 to play...

Aronian may not ever be 1 down with 1 to play.

Mamedyarov could be the joker in the pack. The underserving last entrant can often play with no pressure and will be a dark horse.

Hope that the winner is one of Aronian, Grischuk or Kramnik.

I agree Mamedyarov is the joker. However, the players that seem to really struggle with openings are Kamsky and Radjabov (strangely mostly with white!).

I am rooting for Kamsky, Gelfand, Aronian and Kramnik though!

Last "silly season" story before the Candidates Matches start? Sergey Shipov's assessment of Slyusarchuk (the amateur genius who beat Rybka blindfold...) is good fun. He ranks him firmly among magicians/illusionists: "Slyusarchuk’s achievements won’t be believed by anyone with even the slightest grasp of modern chess."

It also offers a neat summary of the human v. machine chess matches "For those who aren’t up-to-date with the chess life of Planet Earth..."


Mig obviously pretty drunk when he produced his screed its even more incomprehensible than usual

Nobody seems to think Grischuk has a single chance, but he's a true fighter and a great competitor when in form! It's not like Aronian had had a bye to start, or like he won't feel his heart beating during the match play cause it's too easy for him! Ok there will be insane time trouble and so on, but Sasha is capable of any kind of comeback and he knows he won't have many chances more in his life. Remember: the guy was used to play and draw Kasparov at the age of 18/19. He has nerves! Come on Sasha!

As some know, I'm not into fauning over rating lists, but I found TWIC's mention of the May 2011 Fide list interesting for several raisons. Luke McShane and Wesley So, who are respectively "only" 74th and 75th, have public profiles certainly much larger than that.
Mishanp's guy, Wojtaszek, Radoslaw, has risen to 24th, which is pretty impressive. I've been boosting Maxime Vachier-Lagrave for the past year, and I see that he's solidly 20th in the world, now well ahead of Etienne Bacrot at 34th representing France. The blokes above him and Woj are "household" names, excepting Vitiugov, who has in a stealth way made his way up to number 15! We were all focused on the meteoric rise of Mr. Nakamura whle Vitiugov was waxing various big names enroute to that rating.

' Kramnik won one match....but it was against the best so he is the best.....capice? '

ah ... James, you must understand this is Kasparov Adoration forum. Anything goes as long as the point you are trying to make is that Kasparov fluked the loss to Kramnik, that it was a major aberration in his honest, upright and otherwise spotless career.

So anything that his contemporaries do count for squat. Nevermind the fact that he did not win a single game in a 16 game match - 2850 ELO and all.

And Mig, dont worry about Carlsen and skinny jeans. He will man up once the old men he dreads walk out.

I mostly agree with what you wrote, but you seem to neglect that each rating list is just a snapshot. I will comment on the names you mentioned and add two more:

So and McShane: Wesley So is rather hyped, has stagnated for a while and now seems to be a bit tired of and considering a break from chess. McShane's "public profile" is due to his results in London and Tata B - he lost some ground due to bad results in team competitions (German Bundesliga and Icelandic League) but I still consider him a potential 2700er.

Wojtaszek and Vitiugov - I agree.

Vachier-Lagrave and Bacrot: Bacrot recently had one bad event, losing 20.5 points in the Neckar Open - else the gap between him and VL would be negligible. Nonetheless, he may be a bit past his prime, while Vachier-Lagrave (and very arguably Feller) are the future of French chess.

As I mentioned the Neckar Open, some German pride: Naiditsch scored 8.5/9 in the same event, which - together with his 13.5/15 score in the Bundesliga - puts him well above 2700 and next to more widely known names such as Leko, Caruana, Wang Yue, Eljanov and Nepomniachtchi. But for the moment, it's a snapshot ... .

My final name is Almasi, world #25 and for what it's worth Hungarian #1 2 points ahead of Leko. How many supertournament invitations did he receive??

Does anyone have any information about Leko? Did he even play a single classical game in the last 12 months? I really like the guy, i never understood why he had to face so much hate, and i think he is able to perform top class chess...

As I understand the FIDE rating list, Leko played 55 rated games in 2010. None in 2011. http://ratings.fide.com/id.phtml?event=703303

No argument there at all, Thomas. And you'll note that I made no value judgement about Wes So... that is, that he deserves a higher rating. I don't think so. I could not say that about Luke. He is clearly not yet top 20 material overall, but definately dangerous, as are Naiditsch and Almasi. Very strong players, all, who you would be reticent to bet against.

As to the upcoming candidates, I don't want to get into it as to who is the weaker of each pair etc., but I'll say that I expect some great games from Grischuk and Aronian.

"Wesley So is rather hyped, has stagnated for a while and now seems to be a bit tired of and considering a break from chess."

Really? I've heard that he's been training with Carlsen for the last several months now...that's hardly the action of a player suffering from burnout. I still expect him to do some great things over the next 1-2 years.

How did the Kadaver Korchnoi do against Four-chinned Finegold???No informaion here???Why??

Hi George,

Yes never question the K...so sorry...please forgive my ignorance....please?

James, I'm not sure such an ill-mannered question deserves a response, but Korchnoi-Finegold match doesn't start till May 16th.


I was referring to an interview or statement by So himself, saying that he and his family would move to Canada and he'll go to university - just saw it as a quote here (or elsewhere), does anyone remember more? I think it was during or, for himself, after the Aeroflot Open (he dropped out with a 2.5/6 score).

I dunno if your "I've heard that he's been training with Carlsen" is fact or rumor, do you know? In any case, yes he might still do "some great things" ... but objectively, what HAS he done recently? Winning two World Cup minimatches against Ivanchuk and Kamsky counts for something and shows that he's "dangerous". Still, from his age group (born 1993 or later), Giri is now clearly stealing the show from him ... .

As to Leko, his last (ten) classical games were at the Olympiad in September 2010. Someone here mentioned a Hungarian source stating that he's on a sabbatical this year, while a German source suggested that he will play at the World Team Championship (15-27 July in Ningbo, China).

I agree with you that all the hate he got is undeserved, but am not that sure he'll return to the world top. Things went rapidly downhill for him since September 2009 (back then he was world #6), I guess now it's time to take a break and recharge the batteries - as for example Shipov had suggested - and then we'll see. It's even questionable if his (long-term) reputation is enough for further supertournament invitations!?

George is still a creep, and James might be a close relation.

i am very much talented in playing chess can any body play with me online

Actor Kiel Martin played a great character on Hill Street Blues (J.D. LaRue).

Just an observation! Is this a tribute handle?


Here's one link about Carlsen and So training (I don't just post rumors :)):


So has gotten to his level with almost no support, compared to peers like Giri who have already had the opportunity to work with Anand, for instance. I still believe that So has the highest ceiling of any of those juniors...as he showed in the World Cup. Time will tell.

Name calling is for third grade Ken. Grow up.

No, George. When you have truly earned a title, then it's all yours. You established yourself earlier as a genuine creep, with all its connotations.

That blog entry isn't proof that Wesley accepted the offer, and has been in Norway. It also doesn't discuss what Magnus gets from the arrangement. Money? Friendship?

Thomas --

Given Giri's current position on the rating list, will he still be invited to near-future elite tournaments?

Rd 2: Kamsky > Gelfand, Aronian > Kramnik
Rd 3: Aronian > Kamsky

They were training together in Maijorca as well:


I'm sure Magnus gets a good sparring partner who probably won't be a threat to him for another year. And So gets to train exclusively 1-on-1 with a superGM -- just as Giri did when he helped Anand prepare for Topalov.

Thx Thomas for answering my question.
I think the main problem for Leko is : does he really have enough energy and will to go back in the sub 2700 melee? Sure he should be able to beat some of these "Bologan" or "Volokitin" and "Macieja" guys, but does he really want to PLAY? I hope so. I think a couple of open tournaments could kick his drawing ass somehow and put him in the right direction... We will see.
Just one thing for the haters : Leko is one of the best Petrov killer these last years. And he suddenly started to loose so many games that you can't blame him for drawing too much anymore. Yeah, this is weird, i am a sort of leko fan.

sure, since you keep at it like a broken record, it must be true.

Does anybody know why Mamedyarov got the only wild card? The candidates are being held in Russia so a Russian GM would naturally be the candidate for the wild card. I don't quite understand it but I am sure I am missing something. Please help!

From your choice of words ("I heard that ...") I wasn't sure how sure you are about it, and "for the last several months" still sounds like an exaggeration. And I also don't agree with your (implicit) suggestion that Giri got that strong because he worked with Anand, it's rather the other way around: Anand invited him to be his assistant or sparring partner because he's a pretty strong player. Same story now for Carlsen and So - I don't question So's talent, it's just that other rising stars are rising more rapidly.

I neither under- nor overestimate So's results in the World Cup, for me they still fall under "anything can happen in such mini-matches". Ivanchuk is well-known, notorious or (in)famous for such results every now and then, and Kamsky was still in his rating dip at that time.
But it could well be that So's "I am tired of chess" was momentary frustration after his bad Aeroflot result - somewhat reminiscent of Ivanchuk announcing his retirement after So(!) eliminated him from the World Cup.

"I'm sure Magnus gets a good sparring partner who probably won't be a threat to him for another year."

Eh? What's a year? Magnus can't/won't enter the WS cycle until well after that length of time.

First, Giri doesn't get _that_ many supertournament invitations. He qualified for Tata A by winning last year's B event - though, being Dutch, he might have been invited anyway. Now he plays Dortmund, somewhat surprising or surprisingly early in his career. Anything else??
But the rationale to invite him would be that he is #2 on the world junior list, behind Caruana but ahead of many "older young players". True, it takes less these days after the 'generation 1990' (Carlsen, Karjakin, Vachier-Lagrave, Nepomniachtchi) turned 20 and no longer count as juniors.
London seems to be the next supertournament that still has to complete its field (besides Tal Memorial that certainly is out of reach for Giri at the moment). If they should invite him, it would be because they expect his rating to improve between now and December.

Because originally it was supposed to be in AZE, and so that federation chose its wildcard. Gashimov was likely the most deserving, but they hated him and consequently gave it to Mamedyarov.

I'm sure Mig would be happy to tell you about it ad nauseum in more detail, but basically, the FIDE president used the switch from AZE to Kazan last summer as a bargaining chip to sequester Russian votes for his re-election -- however, they allowed the AZE wildcard to remain in the tournament.
That's one reason Mig (who hates the current FIDE president and worked tirelessly on the campaign of his opponent who lost the presidential election last year) is so bitter about the current location of this tournament.

Well, according to the referenced articles I've listed, So and Carlsen have been working together since the time of the London Chess Classic -- so no, that's not an exaggeration that they have been working together for the past several months.

About Giri vs. So, we'll see. Giri has had a lot more resources behind him and has done only marginally better (although so far in 2011 he has done much better). I still expect So to be the better player in the end.

"If they (London) should invite him (Giri), it would be because they expect his rating to improve between now and December."

Ahh, right. A lot!

A correct but incomplete account of what happened ... . Apparently, Azerbaijan still pays at least part of the expenses (60% if I remember correctly and if the source I have in mind is accurate), thus keeping their wildcard nominee. The reason why the event was moved away from Baku wasn't just Ilyumzhinov's presidential election campaign, but the fact that Aronian would, to say the least, feel uncomfortable and probably wouldn't have played in AZE - quite understandable, Armenia and Azerbaijan are in a state of war or, at best, armed and fragile peace with each other.
And as you mentioned the election campaign: Karpov (supported by Kasparov and Mig) wanted to move the event to Kiew and replace an Azeri with an Ukrainian wildcard (he mentioned Ponomariov rather than Ivanchuk) - Ukraine supported his election campaign ... .

" I still expect So to be the better player in the end." ?

What are your grounds for that assessment? Surely not 2011 results?

Kiew is radioactiv polluted. Games there would be dangerouse.Beside people travel there are spreading it!!

There are other events besides WCh cycles - supertournaments, for example. Giri already was a serious threat for Carlsen in Wijk aan Zee this year (or rather: Carlsen had a complete offday against him).
But moving back to the candidates event, while adding to this mini-thread: Chessvibes - quoting a Russian source - mentioned Kramnik's seconds: Efimenko and Karjakin. Hmm, on one hand the latter is the best one he could get, namely one of the highest-rated players who doesn't play himself. On the other hand: Kramnik was Kasparov's second and later beat him in a WCh match. Karjakin most likely will play a role in the next cycle ... .

I think opening selection is a key for Kamsky. If with the black pieces he doesn't play the French, he can beat Topalov.

Pairings for Game 1 (courtesy of chesspro.ru):

Kamsky - Topalov
Radjabov - Kramnik
Aronian - Grischuk
Mamedyarov - Gelfand

The top two reasons I would favor So over Giri in the long run are:

1. Overall marginally worse results with MUCH less support (his ELO is only 20 points behind Giri's right now).
2. So's performance in the most pressurized event either player has participated in thus far (World Cup) -- I would rate it ahead of Giri's at Tata Steel this year by a small margin.

Fair enough. We'll see how it unfolds. I can imagine both of them being eclipsed by someone else in the future. Caruana works pretty hard. Or perhaps Ilya Nyzhnyk. Not that I want that to happen.

It also could be that Wesley and Anish will never be as good as their immediate elders Nikita Vitiugov (24), Max Vachier-Lagrave (20), Hikaru Nakamura (22), Magnus Carlsen (20), and... you might be able to think of a few others.

(I realize I could be off by some months in the ages above)

Thanks pionner and Thomas for your replies. It makes sense but it seems to me the Russians got the short end of the stick.

I don't know about Gashimov being more deserving than Mamedyarov, he's played a couple of top events (Linares and Nanjing) and finished with a minus in both, while Mamedyarov is considerably higher rated and shared first in Tal Memorial, and was even with Kramnik in Dortmund.

The start of the candidates reminds us how absurd and tragic Carlsens decision to withdraw was which Mig incomprensibly described as "commercial". As if it can be commercial to turn down guaranteed fees for the matches and the realistic chance of 500,000 to 1m usd for a WCC!!! It is true however that these short sprint matches will favour the better prepared. It seems hard core preparation and the grind of continuous hard work is something Carlsen does not seem motivated to do. He prefers to get through on his huge talent something that might work in a long match or tournament. Presumably Carlsen aims to demonstrate by regaining the no 1 rating slot that he is clearly the best player in the world without winning the WCC.

"Russians got the short end of the stick". Indeed, and if the "procedure" was meant to secure votes, it would rather be those from Azerbaijan and Armenia.

True, the procedure doesn't deserve a beauty prize, an Azeri wildcard (or wildcards in general) are questionable, but IMO holding the event in Baku without Aronian would have been worse. So the mistake was made at an earlier stage - FIDE awarded the event to Baku knowing about the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict and knowing that Aronian would probably qualify. This was corrected, "better late than never".

Then a 'diplomatic' solution had to be found to partly honor promises made to Azerbaijan, which else might have even taken legal action. Once again: no beauty prize but still the best solution for a self-inflicted problem.

The procedure was weird as usual, but to me it would have been even weirder to give the wild card to Russia when the Azeris won the bidding and pay for the event. Aronian's refusing to play in Baku would then result in the Azeris having a player removed. It should be bad enough for them to have Radjabov and Mamedyarov playing away instead of at home just because of Aronian. Either Baku is an acceptable venue and no player can refuse to play there, or it isn't an acceptable venue and FIDE shouldn't agree to play there in the first place. In the end it was probably a good solution by FIDE, and one can understand why Aronian has been much less critical of them lately.

Sergey Shipov's live commentary on Aronian-Grischuk has already begun: http://www.chessintranslation.com/live-game/

I'm liking Kamsky's position after 30. Bd3...we'll see.

Come on Gata, Make my day!

Alas...only a draw. Maybe Gata should have played c4 earlier. Once the black rook got to c3 it was hard to make progress.

Nice work, Grischuk. Lost ending. Long battle. Draw.

Topalov beats Kamsky
Aronian beats Grischuk

Gelfand beats Mamedyarov
Radjabov beats Kramnik

Aronian beats Topalov

Gelfand beats Radjabov


Aronian beats Gelfand

Bonus: Aronian beats Anand

this is not how the bracket works.
Winner of Topalov-Kamsky faces winnter of Gelfand-Mamedyarovl. Ie for Aronian to play Topalov this is final not semi final. For Gelfand to beat Radjabov this is final not semi Final.

This becomes interesting now psychologically, i.e., will Aronian be so preoccupied with beating himself up for having blown the win that he puts extra pressure on himself in game 2? Or will Grischuk be so exhausted for having to fight so hard that it'll take the fight out of him for game #2?!
Offhand, I'd say it favors Grischuk for 2 reasons: 1) he'll have White, and when you're on the defensive as Black it's easier for things on your mind to "get to" you; 2) as a strong and experienced poker player, I'd imagine Grischuk is more used to the whims of fortune than Aronian.

Sergey Shipov's commentating on Kramnik - Radjabov today. My live(ish!) translation:


Caution the order of the day in Kram-Raj; I do hope it heats up soon. Understandable, with the stakes being what they are. For me, Kamsky the most entertaining so far. His strategy is the uppercut! May the best slugger win!

Kamsky may be proving me wrong about those sharp positions, because he's looking great after sacrificing the material back on move 29...Topa is in big trouble unless he can find something ingenious and fast.

And Kamsky strikes first!!! A win tomorrow and Topalov will be officially done :).

Nice win by Kamsky!

Mamedyarov has 4 minutes to make eight moves.


Kramnik is still busy (move 54) ... with a parody of Sofia rules!!?


Gata love him.

Shipov better be doing the Kamsky-Topalov game tomorrow...disappointing today that he didn't scramble over to cover one of the other games once it was obvious that Kramnik-Radjabov's game was going to be a draw -- a la at Tata when he covered the Giri-Anand game after Naka-Kramnik was a quick draw.

No real surprises in the Kramnik-Radjabov press conference. Both agreed it was just a slightly unpleasant endgame for Black with some practical chances. The highlight was Kramnik joking that Carlsen would have won it :)

Topalov-Kamsky's conference earlier was amusing as neither player wanted to say anything. Topalov just said, "I played badly" as far as I could tell.

Shipov's live game is selected "by popular vote" - presumably mostly Russian/"Soviet" votes. And apparently he felt obliged to stick to the popular decision till the (bitter!?) end.
I agree that it makes sense to cover Kamsky-Topalov tomorrow - if only because that's the only match that could be over in about 24 hours.

"Shipov better..."?

C'mon Pioneer, are you paying for Shipov's commentary and mishanp's translation??

Be thankful for any crumbs you can catch, for God's sake.

I'm appreciative of Shipov's (and mishanp's) contributions, but I'm not going to pretend to be satisfied with their talents being spent on less than ideal games. That doesn't mean I'm ungrateful for their many contributions and talents. What is best for the game is if the best commentator comments on the most important game. Period.

Its similar to when Mig in the mid 1990s was the best chess blogger and working for TWIC -- he was AWESOME, but then became silenced for several years after Kasparov hired him in 1997. I miss the days where Mig wasn't afraid to call out Kasparov the way he now calls out Kirsan, Topalov or anyone else.

The thing is 1) It's a lot of effort to switch games (and get up to speed/comment on the earlier moves), 2) Kramnik and Radjabov had played a normal game up until the point they should probably have called it a day - it wasn't an incredibly short non-game.
3) Shipov does a (Russian) video analysis of all the games each night, so there's less point doing a rushed commentary mid-way through.
4) Yesterday's game was long and intense, so even commentators/translators deserve a rest - especially when neither of them is getting paid :)
5) If he'd switched games we probably wouldn't have got this summary!

"The game consisted of two parts. In the first there was a sandstorm – a continuous series of exchanges that led to complete equality. In the second half two bedouins wandered the desert in search of something that didn’t exist. Final impressions – thirst and sand on your teeth…"

Delicious, mishanp! Thank you!

By the way, theres is a TONC (chess tournament) in the cooking in the boards: http://www.chessninja.com/boards/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=159344#Post159344

(Excellent, Gata Kamsky!)

A special for fans of Vachier-Lagrave (partly related to the candidates event):

1) During the Chessdom live coverage, Feller mentioned that Kramnik "worked since some months in Paris with Vachier-Lagrave". A practical choice - no need for travel expenses - but also a sign of recognition or stamp of approval.

2) German Chessbase mentions the field for Biel (16-29 July, hence overlapping with Dortmund): in rating order Carlsen, Gashimov, Vachier-Lagrave, Caruana, Morozevich(!!?) and local hero Pelletier.

Kamsky and Seirawan talked about why Morozevich hasn't been playing recently is because his parents were sick. Sic, he had to take care of them.

No disagreement here - basically I wanted to point out that Shipov still primarily "works" for a Russian audience.
BTW, is there also other Russian live commentary, as was the case for other events? If so, I can at least use Google translations and replay the variations.

Well then, perhaps you alone should be billed for the service you require.

Uh...no. Shipov should do what is best for the game -- and that is to cover Kamsky-Topalov tomorrow. I'm sure he will.

There's also Russian commentary at ChessPro on 2 or 3 games a round.e.g. Kramnik - Radjabov today: http://chesspro.ru/chessonline/onlines/index_3651.html (you can see the other links in the middle column on their homepage).

Tomorrow will almost certainly be Kamsky - Topalov. Currently that has 21 votes while the other games have 5 votes combined (none has more than 2 alone). I think the voting's picked out the most promising games so far - Kramnik was always going to push Radjabov with the white pieces, though it would have been better if it had been in a King's Indian!

No kidding, Shipov got a WAY with commentating, and the summary was not to be denied.

It also seems generous of him to let the fans vote on the coverage, instead of pleasing himself on that.

I truly enjoy seeing Topalov lose, especially in light of Danailov's moronic comments.

"I'm sure he will." ??

Yes he will. But if he did't? Were you going to scream and cry like a small child?
You're throwing up lots of dust, dude, but only digging yourself a deeper hole.

Ken h, the only one screaming is you...your previous comments here and in other forums (i.e. the Tata 2011 tournament) are testatment to your own immaturity...as are your personal attacks on me.

Ritch, I came here with the thought of posting the link but how cool it is you already did it! Great job!!

Folks, people who have beaten GMs have participated in our online tournament. Our quality of games varies from I would say 1400 to a 2600 so rated or unrated or titled or retired does not matter. You will find people at all levels and it will be challeging to you! So come, participate and fight for the CHESSNINJA ONLINE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP TITLE!!!

Please check out the link Ritch has provided.

Roger Ebert, a self-confessed chess enthusiast of modest ability, has a nice review of the film 'Queen to play' with Sandrine Bonnaire.

Another FWIW, there is a new ratings page to compete with frogbert's site...


Just an observation ...


Sergey Shipov's commentating on Kamsky - Topalov. LIVE now: http://bit.ly/bqNkym

Thanks for the link!

Interesting...queenless middlegame with rough equality after 16. Re1. Sounds like a position favoring Kamsky's style over Topalov's...we'll see.

Another exciting endgame to commentate on/translate for the next four hours? :)

Commentator on the Russian feed (Rublevsky?), talking about Topalov's tricky situation: "I can see how to play for a draw, but not how to play for a win."

Glukhovsky (or vice versa): "The drawing plan is to offer one." :)

Unlikely :). Thanks again, mishanp, for all of your hard work in translating these games...it is invaluable for the chess fan.

wow...Gelfand with 6 pawns for the rook!

You and Shipov are probably glad that you don't have to keep following Aronian-Grischuk, where white may play another few dozen moves trying to convert his extra pawn ... .

Three, no, sixty-four cheers for mishanp's amazing work!

Lasker defence in the Queen's gambit is a forced draw? Or maybe with initiative for black if Anand plays it :-)

I could really enjoy watching Topalov pushing too hard in Game 4 tomorrow, and watching Kamsky win 2 of 4 with the black pieces.

Three cheers also for Boris Gelfand. Nice game, Boris!

Yeah, I just looked at that game. Outstanding.

Mig: to quote "Impress me by finding a top player with a higher move average in drawn games with white, one of my odd-but-effective fighting chess metrics. Pono's is 44, Nakamura's 45. Topalov and Grischuk, other well-known fighters, also hit 45."

My own wild-ass guess is that Luke McShane should be close or higher.

Someone said "chess metrics" and my spidey sense started tingling. I don't often track game length in my databases but I did have it reasonably handy for ChessBase games from 1999-2008. Taking only the players with average ratings of 2650+ over that time, and only considering players with 50 or more draws with White, we get this list:

From 1999 through 2008 (all players with 50+ white draws and avg rating 2650+):
47: Bologan
45: Kamsky
44: van Wely, GeorgievKir
43: Malakhov, Topalov
42: PolgarJ, Azmaiparashvili, Morozevich, Ponomariov
41: Bareev, Aronian
40: Onischuk
39: SokolovI, Karpov, Shirov, Leko, Ivanchuk, Short
38: Adams, Grischuk, Kasparov, Dreev, Kasimdzhanov
37: Bacrot, Kramnik, Gelfand, Lautier
36: (none)
35: Akopian, Radjabov, Anand, Svidler, Almasi
34: Rublevsky, Movsesian, Smirin
33: Ye
32: Nisipeanu
31: Zvjaginsev
30: (none)
29: (none)
28: (none)
27: Khalifman

From 2004 through 2008 (all players with 50+ white draws and avg rating 2650+):
51: Bologan
50: (none)
49: Navara
48: PolgarJ
47: (none)
46: Milov
45: Kamsky
44: Sasikiran, Onischuk, Carlsen, Malakhov, Topalov
43: Harikrishna, Short, van Wely
42: Bareev, Karjakin, Jakovenko, Morozevich, Bu, SokolovI, Ivanchuk, Wang Yue
41: Ponomariov, GeorgievKir, Aronian, Vallejo, Volokitin
40: Eljanov, Kasimdzhanov, Mamedyarov, Grischuk
39: Shirov, Dominguez, Bacrot, Leko
38: Adams, Kramnik
37: Karpov, Alekseev, Sutovsky, Dreev
36: Akopian, Lautier, Svidler, Tiviakov, Anand
35: Gelfand, Radjabov, Almasi, Rublevsky
34: Sakaev, Movsesian
33: Nisipeanu
32: Motylev
31: Smirin

And finally from 2004 to 2008, just looking at all players with an average rating of 2400+, and at least 50 draws with White, here is the top of the list:
55: Arakhamia-GrantK
52: KostintsevaT
52: PetrosianT, PengZ
51: BologanV, VolkovS, KosintsevaN
49: NavaraD, NakamuraH, OnischukV, Hou Yifan
48: PolgarJ, SulskisS, KovalevskayaE, PogoninaN
47: CmilyteV, CheparinovI, SebagM
46: BeliavskyA, MaciejaB, OleksienkoM, InarkievE, FierA, Hoang Thanh Trang, MilovV, SavchenkoB, NaiditschA, RodshteinM

Sorry but I don't have it handy for more recent years. By the way Luke McShane didn't qualify because he only had 31 draws with White between 2004 and 2008, but he would have been near the top of these lists as he did average 50 moves per white draw

Shipov's commentating on Topalov - Kamsky today. Intro already up: http://bit.ly/bqNkym

Congrats to Gelfand. 1 for 1 in predictions so far :).

Looks like Gata Kamsky blundered on move 38 just before time control! So topolov escapes to play tie breakers

The fat lady isn't singing for Kamsky quite yet--it's still complicated.

if you want to know, I would happily subscribe to a translation service if the games were provided for download in PGN. If I had pgn translation of Sergey Shipov's comments... you can bet I'd pay a subscription fee.

Gata's got this.

It's a draw!

I'd say Topalov is finished ........

Congs to Gata! It was a nervy end....but he pulled through when he got the chance.

Gata getting it done again...outstanding. 2 for 2 in pre-tournament predictions so far :).

Danilov's power decreases even more now. I'm guessing that Topalov will now be forced to play in the Chess World Cup in August in order to have a shot at the 2014 championship cycle.

How far Topailov has fallen. Little more than a year ago he was scheming to win the WC by default judgment. And now ... good luck getting invites outside of Bulgaria.

I've never warmed to Topalov, but this last year he has been unrecognizable and that can only be bad for chess. I don't expect him to drop Danailov (after all, whatever we might say, their team has achieved great results and attracted more sponsorship) but he certainly needs to do some serious thinking about his game. Who would have guessed that his killer instinct would have failed him so badly?

While that's true, we could also acknowledge the obvious...that Kamsky is a superior match player to Topalov whenever they aren't playing in Topalov's backyard. He has the years, results and experience in match play to prove that...if this current match hasn't already demonstrated this.

Not so sure about that ... it wouldn't really surprise me if the next candidates event will be held in Sofia or, for a change, Plovdiv with a wildcard for Topalov.

I actually wouldn't be surprised if the St. Louis group held the next candidates (hence why Ponomariov vs. Nakamura this month as a preview)...they have incentive to see Naka and Kamsky in the tournament. Topalov's unlikely to get any free lunch into the next candidates tourney.

Or London as IM Macolm Pein has made several attempts to get it.

Quite different from their 2009 match where Kamsky
lost his nerve and his way within the wild complications, this time Topalov returns the favor.
Too many ways to win and he could not decide on one.

Well, there could be several competing bids, and Danailov (now ECU president) still has connections to FIDE - while the USCF supported Karpov in the presidential campaign .... . I wonder if London is still interested after what happened to their bid for the next WCh match.

But - highly speculative for the time being - St. Louis might host another top event. Bilbao will again be split between Bilbao and another city, Chessvibes mentioned (while "leaving the scoop to the organizers") "serious negotiations with a city outide of Europe". Would there be a need for negotiations with a city in China? Something like Dubai seems rather risky to say the least, given political unrest in the region that could spread to other countries 'tomorrow'. This might leave St. Louis, given Nakamura's participation ... . And they have to provide him with 'proper' opponents, else he doesn't play ... .

"Kadaver..." LOLOLOL

This just in from FIDE.

"Due to contractual obligations Topalov has been seeded to play the winner of the Candidates for the right to play Anand and if he should somehow lose that he will have a WC match with the winner of the Anand WC match within 2 months."

Come on...as bad as Topalov has been, its nothing compared to what Kramnik was doing up until 2008. He's been very nice since then, so most people have forgotten how sleazy he was with the rules in order to keep his title without having to work for it...but I haven't.

@pioneer, What sleazy things are you talking about?

No time to rehash in detail, but some highlights:

1. Kramnik's viewing of Anand when he first won the title in 2007 (i.e. how it wasn't "real" until he won it in match play, etc.)
2. Even before that with regard to how he regularly ducked Kasparov (although Kasparov did deserve it for how he screwed over Shirov, it was still sleazy how Kramnik went about it)
3. How he would have refused to recognize the Topalov/Kamsky 2009 match winner as a challenger for the title if he had beaten Anand in 2008.

Those things...and that's just a start. He's not much different than Topalov in his repeated demonstration of putting his own selfish interests ahead of the good of the game. Thankfully, Anand is not like that...and that's why there is relative oneness and peace in the world championship cycle for the first time since Kasparov threw it into chaos by breaking away from FIDE in 1993.

Congrats to Gata - that draw was a swindle in the style of Frank Marshall. It is also funny the way Topalov played for complications in time pressure, got a winning position, then tripped on his own rug.

It's chess, baby! Wish GK luck in round 2.

Pioneer: Your hate for Kramnik is obvious, but frankly your post are getting boring and very predictable.

Onesided but accurate summary of facts.
Real sportsmanship is very rare at the elite. Very difficult to judge if you're not an insider. Anand seems to be a rare exception.
Neveretheless I wish Kramnik could show his best chess once again.

"Predictions in KOs are for fools, so here I go: Topalov beats Gelfand, Aronian beats Kramnik, and in the final Aronian beats Topalov to challenge Anand!" - Mig

Been rooting for Kamsky all the way. I guess he'll win this elimination cycle, and challenge Anand for the crown. I think he's the only player Anand can't handle in the 2700s club.

Kamsky probably has got tremendous motivation, compared to others in the present field, because he was a WC candidate long before and feels it is his 'right' to become a WC now. However, Gelfand is also a very experienced wild boar, long time top-10 member who can be expected to be also highly motivated because it is almost a last chance for him to appear in a WC match. Plus, unlike Topy, Gelfie is not going to be psyched up playing Kamsky. So Kamsky will have a tough match against Gelfand in the next round. Let's see who wins in that round. If Kamsky does, of course he will have a definite plus going into the candidate finals.

Kamsky probably has got tremendous motivation, compared to others in the present field, because he was a WC candidate long before and feels it is his 'right' to become a WC now. However, Gelfand is also a very experienced wild boar, long time top-10 member who can be expected to be also highly motivated because it is almost a last chance for him to appear in a WC match. Plus, unlike Topy, Gelfie is not going to be psyched up playing Kamsky. So Kamsky will have a tough match against Gelfand in the next round. Let's see who wins in that round. If Kamsky does, of course he will have a definite plus going into the candidate finals.

No Shipov commentary today (although it would have been entertaining to see him and me trying to keep up with rapid/blitz chess!). I've cleaned up yesterday's translation, though, and included some highlights from the video round-up he makes after each round: http://bit.ly/mf7RPJ

I don't hate Kramnik...I hate self-serving behavior by top players that jeopardizes the integrity of the game. Kramnik's behavior from 2001-2008 is just one example. Kasparov's break from FIDE is another, as is Karpov's "winning" of the FIDE title in 1998....and of course Topalov.

Only players who put the good of the game over their own self-interest can be trusted to bring the game to its maximum potential. That's why Anand is the greatest champion the game could currently have. Hopefully his successor will carry out his selfless mindset.

grischuk proved in 2nd rapid game that he does not have the guts-character-of a champion.he is as good as anyone in the world as a player but has a weak character,at this level if you cannot draw with white on demand,than u dont belong there.topalov,mamedjarov lost white,but only because they took chances to winn,i dont see kramnik,or aronian-for instance-loosing white if they need a draw.not be able to draw white in a q gambit exchange variation is unnacceptable at this level.chickennnnnnnn!

Kramnik-Radjabov is probably the dullest match in the history of WC-cycles.

@danyplayer: That was probably the dumbest comment in the history of this blog.

Like I have said before...Kramnik is NOT a great match player. Congrats to Radjabov :)

Now all the pressure is on Vladdy...lets see if he can send it to an armageddon.

Still nine games away from an Armageddon, pioneer, I think?

Anyway, what's happened now?! Vlad didn't make much of a fist of it on the board. but no-one's looking very happy about something.

Does Kramnik have any chance to win in this position?

I guess he did!

And Vladdy stays alive!!

There was some dispute at the end of the second blitz game Kramnik-Radjabov. The live video indicates that both players have left the stage, the only thing I understood in the Russian commentary is "arbiter". Does anyone know more??

The clocks simply stopped working (seems they reverted to 0.00 for both players). They eventually set up the position again and Kramnik somehow won it!

Ilya Levitov's talking now and explaining that the rules say they had to set up the clocks again at as close to the correct time as they could... and play the position out.

Funny point from the live commentary - one commentator said "Maybe Kramnik's used that delay to find a brilliant zugzwang". The other laughed but the first explained he was serious, as the position on the board was already winning for Kramnik.


Wow...Aronian gone.

There goes my pick.

Im trying to see the games on my phone but chessbomb isnt working. Anyone want to summarize whats happened today? Aronian beat Grischuk and Kramnik survived by Radjabov by the skin of his teeth so far I take it?

So much for my bracket (and choice for the eventual winner). Maybe Kramnik will still squeak through to make 3 of 4 of my picks going into the second round at least.

Yup. Kramnik and Radjabov are now playing their second set of blitz matches (2 games each) after Kramnik won to tie the first blitz match and stay alive...if they draw their next 4 blitz matches, then its armageddon. Grischuk beat Aronian in the last rapid game.

Maybe the iPad version of the RCF website works for you, Andy: http://www.russiachess.org/online/ipad/

Grischuk beat Aronian in the match. Kramnik and Radjabov are now playing 2 more blitz games.

More of Grischuk's weakness of character on display.

This tournament is a perfect illustration of why the challenger for the World Championship should NOT be decided by rating alone -- all the higher rated players have lost so far.

The old DGT clock bug. Sometimes when punched hard (as in a blitz game), the batteries move slightly, so the clock is without energy for a split second, enough to reset the clock. Fortunately as there were a BGT board broadcast, the screen shows the last time registered, so it is easy to set the clock with the correct times. I am surprised that DGT has not solved this problem (and the freezing of the clock when a flag falls, preventing that the opponent also oversteps the limit in a rapid or blitz game).

I think I can speak for the rest of this forum regarding that comment...EPIC FAIL!!

Grischuk won in the fourth rapid game to take the match with Aronian. Kramnik and Radjabov have traded blitz wins, with apparently some sort of clock issues in the second Kramnik-must-win blitz game.

It rather illustrates that the candidate should be a tournament, not a mini-cup.

Nope, Grischuk beat Aronian. Their rapid match went like this: first they exchanged wins with the black pieces, then Aronian couldn't convert a favorable position with white (draw), then Grischuk won with white - BTW the first white win in the entire event.

Kramnik-Radjabov: all rapid games drawn (Kramnik had an advantage in the first game, the other ones were "balanced as usual"). Then Radjabov won the first blitz game, and Kramnik 'somehow' equalized. More blitz underway (in total, up to five matches before Armaggedon).

Thanks - what does this mean about Kramnik's reputation as a match player?? ,:) At least it didn't happen between Kramnik and Topalov - in Russia with a 'Russian' clock ... .

Kramnik won another very drawish ending! Good as he missed a cheap tactical shot that would have won on move 40: Rxc7!

Pressure's on Radjabov.

Pity we didn't do a pool. I wonder whether -anyone- would have made it through round one with four winners. (Or even the three winners we have so far.)

@Thomas: I think on the time axis Radjabov's win in the blitz came earlier. But as the matches progress Grischuk's was indeed the first win with white.

Grischuk took Carlsen's place, didn't he?

how I wish this had been a six-game matches.

And Kramnik survives!!

Given that it is now guaranteed that a Russian will be in the final, I am even happier that Topalov was handled by Kamsky on the other half of the draw.

If Topalov had advanced, would he have bothered to play the semifinal knowing he would face a Russian in the final?

Personally, I think it was a bluff on Topalov's part.

Radjabov is also still alive - currently both are at the press conference ,:) . But the great match player Vlad Kramnik couldn't resist putting his fist in the air right after the last blitz game. Seriously, handling situations such as Kramnik's about an hour ago say something about match-specific skills - for example, Topalov couldn't win on demand against Kamsky (having a won position wasn't enough).

The post game press conference seems to be quite animated. Radjabov has a lot to say ... can anyone elaborate?


Well, Kramnik is definitely a better match player than Topalov. That doesn't mean he's a great match player, though.

Looking at the giant poster with the player faces, all the players with red background are in the semifinals. Interesting.

Radjabov went through all the games with analysis!! Very hard to follow as he speaks quicker than Kramnik, though I might try to translate some of it later.

Radjabov said that occasionally happens with those digital clocks and he had no complaints. Kramnik mentioned that on the whole having extra time to think should have helped the defending side, so he was upset when they had to break. He thought it deprived him of any chance whatsoever... though obviously things worked out differently!

Good catch. Pity Bobby isn't with us to interpret that!

Thank you!

Boy! Your predictions could not have been more wrong.

I'll do this for you, Pieoneer:

2 for 4 in pre-tournament predictions so far :).

Actually, I'm 3 for 4...I only got Aronian wrong (as did everyone else on this forum).

Aronian looked totally out of sorts. I guess missing the win in the first game was a huge blow.

ptui to the predictors.
LMFAO @ DOug's and Migs prediction. The bonus predictions were fun too.
Go Vlady, wonder what tunr the match player debate will take now.
Awesome show sasha

Interestingly, Sanghinagar '94 (i was there!) looking like a historical junction, apart from Grishchuk, all the candidates were involved, with Gelfand beating Kramnik (!) and Kamsky beating Anand.

whatever; crowing about the correct guesses, and silent about the miss

but (speaking for everybody) we still think that you are the finest prognosticator in the land.

I also got 3/4 (Also Aronian wrong.)

Well, shithowdy, CAL! Way to go.

I'm smiling, by the way.

Now the hamsters are going to claim more creedence to Crapstens case sighting Aronians loss.
The simpler, more logical reasoning off - You lost because you opponent was better - does not hold any water.
The twisted arguments of - 4 games too few / what if I have an off day? - all make a lot of sense now.

Yep, Mig got it quite wrong, so did many other people. BTW he was also wrong about the character of the matches:
"if he [Kamsky] survives the openings against Topalov ..." - I guess he did, particularly in game 2.
"Mamedyarov-Gelfand has B-side written all over it" - I would disagree
"Aronian-Grischuk pairs two of the most creative players of this generation" - this (still) makes sense
"Kramnik-Radjabov is a wonderful clash of styles. The methodical majesty of the former world champion versus the scrappy chaos of the former wunderkind" - correct, as far as the blitz games are concerned

Aronian was the one guy who could've given Anand a real run for his money next year. With he gone, unless Kramnik really picks himself up, I wouldn't be surprised if even sponsors become hard to find. Kamsky will keep the western world interested but, with Sanghinagar being more of an anomaly, it'll more likely be another Las Palmas type drubbing if he sneaks through.
Hope Carlsen "decides take off the skinny jeans and put on his man pants" for the 2014 cycle..

FIDE really screwed up losing that London bid. They'll hold the championship in Kalmykia with zero press attention.

I'm sure that suits Kirsan just fine.

Dont bet on it Anand. I think Grischuk has what it takes to be WC. Imagine if that happens. Carlsen chickens out and the guy who comes in his place goes on to... the laughing stock of the chess world

p.s. Carlsen will grow man boobs before he wears man pants.

The fist pump after the last game by Kramnik was epic.

Sasha did it! I hate saying that, but I was right, and all the people who were already discussing the opening choices of aronian vs anand are quiet now!
Nakamura rooted for Kramnik on the ICC, as he kept saying that Radjabov did not try to win a single game (before the blitz part of the match). Right, and Radjabov already did that in all FIDE KO previously. Why be a chessplayer if you don't want to play chess? Plus Radjabov is super strong and smart. Why not playing your game Teimour?
And now we have 3 (or maybe 4 with Grishuk who has an intermediate status imo) pre-comp area in competition to meet the WC who is also from the same generation. To me it is just amazing. I mean come on guys, Ivantchuk won his first Linares in 1992 right? This Kasparov generation is just incredible! If Carlsen don't kill them all, then who will? They will die before any serious loss! Maybe it has some value to learn with books and teachers!

You remember London 2000, I suppose.

Ivanchuk won his first Linares in 1989, the same year as Anand won his first Wijk an See.

Also GMA Super Swiss Qualifier Palma at 1989:
1. Gelfand 7.5 out 9; 2-3 Kamsky and Antony Miles, Anand was tied for 4th

Kramnik Radjabov games were extremely boring (except the Blitz of course). I hope FIDE resets the ELO of both players to 125. Drawnik sucks, Grischuk will crush him.

The sites are all saying Kramnik won the last game ... it was really a draw, right (giving K the match win)?


On the live video feed, Radjabov resigned...its semantics anyway (b/c perpetual check and the match victory with it was inevitable), but officially it counted as a Kramnik win with black.

Kamsky-Gelfand should be quite a battle. Both players look ready to rock! Maybe Kamsky will prevail in tiebreakers.

Is there a place where we can see the press-conferences archives or they're only available live?

It's over guys. Why are we continuing with this farce? Everyone knows it is going to be another Anand-Kramnik WC match in 2012.

So much for the Aronian hype created by the Aronian fanboys. Yes, Aronian is a super GM, but can he perform under the extreme pressure of a WC match? I guess not.

Topalov surprised me. I thought he was mentally stronger. But apparently Anand has irreversibly shattered his self esteem.

The Aronian situation should serve as a warning to the Carlsen fanboys. May be Carlsen has what most of us lack - true self knowledge. He knew there was a pretty good chance that he would not make it and his "super boy" image would be damaged beyond repair. So he stayed away.

On http://video.russiachess.org you can always watch coverage from previous days, at least while the event is still underway. But you need to have a rough idea when games were over and press conferences took place, or do a lot of scrolling, or watch the whole thing lasting several hours. And of course you have to understand Russian to know what they're talking about.

The last blitz game Radjabov-Kramnik ended the same way as, for example, their first rapid game: players shook hands as the draw was obvious. Then it doesn't really matter that Radjabov was the first one to offer his hand, though it was interpreted as resignation - which is sort of correct: he resigned himself to a draw ... . Chessvibes gives the result as a draw. Anyway, it's irrelevant, there weren't even rating points at stake.

The official site http://kazan2011.fide.com/tourview/show-21.html says the tiebreaks ended 4½ - 3½ in favour of Kramnik which means the last game was a draw officially.

My interpretation of the video feed was "Oh, crap, that's a perp. Well, that's that," so they shook and were done. The clock had not expired (as some said), as the handshake came almost immediately after K's last move.

I can accept that R resigned the match, but not the game. And it is, indeed, irrelevant.


I'm delighted Vlad got through - I had to leave watching when clocks stopped and thought it was going to be a sure draw (looked that way for ages). If Vlad failed to qualify might be hard for him to get the motivation back. He's been my favourite player (love his style) for some time and wow nerves of steel ....... Go Vlad. Would love to see him get another crack at Vishy (Next time hopefully he'll avoid a variation yielding two white losses in a row :-)

Kramnik and Anand always lead the 90s gen pack. So when both Ks retired, they took the lead. Topalov was an entertaining interlude but another clash is coming. It'd be nice to be wrong. IMO Gelfand has a better shot against Kramnik than Kamsky. As for Grischuk, he makes too many mistakes. It might works against an erratic Aronian but Kramnik is another story.

I'm surprised people keep underestimating Sasha. In terms of positional understanding he's up there with the best (he plays what my trainer calls 'correct chess') and his skill in defence is at least as good as Kamsky's. Don't forget that Kramnik's bid for the Mexico title died when K failed to convert against him.

Genghis, you'd think that if there is anything to learn from round one, it is that foregone conclusions regarding these matches is foolish.

Well said.

Somewhere, in an alternate Universe, both my predictions and my brackets were all correct.

Yes, it was a "fail", but I'm more amused than chagrined about it. And I almost got all of the Quaterfinal Matches wrong, although those picks seemed reasonable at the time.

It's almost a pity that Topalov was eliminated, but Kamsky's upset effectively eliminated Danailov as well.

Kamsky got humbled by Gelfand in a previous Candidate's match. It will be interesting to see how Gata might try to adapt his play.

But, anyway:

Gelfand beats Kamsky

Grischuk beats Kramnik


Gelfand beats Grischuk

And finally: Anand beats Gelfand

If Grischuk and Kamsky advance, we can look forward to some epic Zeitnots

Aronian is showing some nerves, although he will have a few more cycles to earn a Title Match. Blowing the wins in Game 1 vs. Grischuk seemed to take the wind from his sails.

I finally managed to decipher (99% of!) the Kramnik - Radjabov press conference. Lots of interesting details (e.g. Kramnik offered a draw in the 3rd blitz game he won!), and of course their views on the clock incident: http://bit.ly/iFTefz

George is still creepy. Lord knows what he looks at on the computer late at night.

THANK YOU, Misha!! Your work is awesome!

Just an observation ...

CO :)

Ok, ken. You got me. Late at night, your girl n me write stuff online to flame you. One more thing, about her getting fat, I throw her a cookie everytime she blows me. That's right, its a lot of cookies yea but she insists. Sweet tooth I guess.

"Genghis, you'd think that if there is anything to learn from round one, it is that foregone conclusions regarding these matches is foolish."

The foregone conclusions are not foolish - they are merely conclusions. And folks who make foregone conclusions are not foolish; they are just having fun.

That being said, round one did have a lot of surprises.

Further proof of the fact that you don't belong here is not needed.

I read the vitiol you keep posting, how many others you abuse and how much you're liked around here. When you get some back, you decide to climb the hill, you pretentious, two faced, holier than thou, coward?
And @ 10% of the total posts on this thread, YOU truly belong here.

"Losing a drawn endgame in the most important game of your career after a clock malfunction is tough, but if it had to happen to anybody..."

Hehe, Mig really liked that one :)

It is now crystal clear that this format is more suitable to an exhibition event than to a candidate cycle designed to make meaningful distinctions between the participants. Surely it was entertaining as an exhibition, but so is a circus. Another FIDE fiasco.

Some conclusions from the quarterfinals.

- Match play has its own rules. Players of the old guard (Kamsky, Gelfand) who have the experience of playing numerous, gruelsome matches in their youth (both played Karpov, for example!) have an obvious advantage. Young players simply don't have the nerves it takes to succeed.

- Topalov is now (barring some amazing comeback in the next cycle) clearly one of the strongest player to never have become world champion. He lost two world championship matches without ever winning one. Only Chigorin, Bogoljubov, and Korchnoi shared this fate. Topalov is now a member of this illustrous circle.

- Kramnik really *IS* a match player, after all. Amazing how he was able to pull back in a must-win situation.

- "Winning chessgames" is not the same as "winning chessgames when it matters". Aronian, for example, now has a long and established record of playing below his level at important events.

1) What led you to this colorful inference?
2) There have been endless debates before and proposals, but I am curious and eager to know what you would propose as an effective candidates cycle. You could skip the part of picking candidates, just elaborate on the playing format.

I agree with you said for the most part, TM, with some a sad nod to Levon, who most folks thought was the best of the bunch. But after one round at the recent Wijk aan Zee, he said in a short response to a question something to the effect of playing less for results than for entertainment value.
That was to me a shocking statement from someone preparing to play for the World Championship.

I only disagree with you about match experience and the younger players. Yes, match experience is important, but younger players have youth on their side(!), and has some compensation - especially in a longer match. And without favoring the younger set, I don't think the candidates matches are long enough. There should be twice as many classical games. The first round was over far too soon.

Three points:

1. While age and experience certainly play a role in matches, Kamsky has been a phenomenal match player his entire career, even when he was young -- he smoked the experienced old guard (Short, etc.) during his run to the FIDE title match -- so talent and mental fortitude play a much larger role than just experience.

2. Topalov was FIDE world champion from 2005-2006, so its not as though he was never world champion. He has yet to become undisputed world champion, and it looks as though he may never get there now.

3. Kramnik barely squeaking out in blitz in a match he was heavily favored to win without supposed to needing a playoff does not yet prove he is a "big time" match player. His overall record in matches is average -- with perhaps the greatest match result in history (convincingly beating the GOAT without losing once in 16 games) balanced by getting destroyed by other top players in matches numerous times (Kamsky, Shirov, Anand, etc.).

Misha, thanks for the translations; a real service.

Nice to see Radjabov showing a lot of class, I thought. I haven't always been a fan, but I was impressed. We can all think of players who'd have reacted differently.

Incidentally, the big mistake was 60...Kf6, allowing 61 Bc2, which Radjabov had already played before the adjournment. OK, it didn't work out that way, but if I'd have been Kramnik I'd have been pretty pissed off too at the adjournment. You don't need much to see Bc2-b3 threatening mate, as radjabov himself said int he press conference; it's for Black to find a defence. I really doubt Radjabov would have held anyway, certainly in principle Kramnik is right to say that a delay is going to favour the defender. In a blitz game the position after 60...Kf6 isn't "dead drawn" as was reported; nothing like it.

Mishanp, thanks for the translation. Funny picture; it is truly Kramnik's choice.

GOAT? You mean as in "Greatest Of All Time"? By which I guess you mean Kasparov?

Well, although I'm not sure he is worthy of the expanded title, the acronym GOAT seems appropriate because he does bleat like one. Incessantly.

According to chessgames, Kramnik and Grischuk have played six classical games, all draws. I'm surprised that's all those two have played.

Kramnik, Gelfand, Kamsky challenging Anand ..

Are we in 2010's or 1990's??

Anand, Kramnik, Ivanchuk, Gelfand, Kamsky ( add Shirov, Topalov) etc has to be the Golden generation of chess..

Carlsen, Aronian, Karajkin - please stand up

"Kramnik barely squeaking out in blitz in a match he was heavily favored to win without supposed to needing a playoff does not yet prove he is a "big time" match player."

No one had given Radjabov a chance but in the end it was only after some hilarious blitz confusion that Kramnik edged past him in the only Candidates match ever to be decided first after eight tiebreak games, four of them blitz. I think the margin would have been bigger in a tournament, Kramnik is just stronger than Radjabov.

Interesting post, but I don't quite agree with the picture you paint:
"Young players simply don't have the nerves it takes to succeed."
Is this solely based on the Kramnik-Radjabov match, which could have gone either way? I agree that it says something about Kramnik's match-specific skills - once again, winning on demand in a critical situation is more pertinent than winning "easily and convincingly" because you are simply the better player. Was Kramnik really _heavy_ favorite? I would say only Topalov-Kamsky had a clear favorite, and that one didn't make it into the next round.
In the other matches, Gelfand (*1968) beat Mamedyarov (*1985) - OK that one goes to the old generation (my generation ...) but was it a matter of nerves? - , Kamsky (*1974) beat Topalov (*1975) and Grischuk (*1983) beat Aronian (*1982). Maybe you thought that Aronian is younger than his actual age? He is a relatively recent addition to the world top, but that's because he's a comparatively late bloomer.

A big "huh" for "Aronian ... has a long and established record of playing below his level at important events". Which other examples do you have in mind? I checked his record, in 2008 he scored 3/10 at MTel after shared first at Corus and a decent 7.5/14 in Linares. Do you mean to imply that MTel was more important? Losing a blitz tiebreak against Kramnik in the Shanghai-Bilbao qualifier last year might be one example, how many other ones exist??

I'm so glad Grischuk knocked out Aronian!
I can't stand that Aronian guy.
Especially his comments about women I find quite idiotic.

What did he say?

He said that women can't play chess. But he rarely sounds very serious and didn't seem too serious n that interview either, at the same time as I guess it's more or less true from his 2800+ perspective. Only Polgar is close to 2700 and then it's another 100 points down to the next woman.

Wonderful stuff. Thanks, Misha!

An impressive display of sportsmanship by Vlad, repeatedly attributing his victory to luck and heaping praise on his young opponent. Just minutes after inflicting a soul-crushing defeat, Kramnik has Radjabov smiling.

It seems we're getting more sportsmanship generally. After generations of bitterness between WCC contenders...from Capablanca-Alekhine to Korchnoi-Karpov-Kasparov, it's nice to see photos of Anand, Kramnik, Aronian, and other top players laughing and enjoying each others' company.

I more impressed by Radjabov than by Kramnik, for as Fischer said already after his 6:0 against Taimanov: "It is easier to be a gentleman when you are the winner".

I am more impressed by Radjabov than by Kramnik, for as Fischer said already after his 6:0 against Taimanov: "It is easier to be a gentleman when you are the winner".

Yes, Radjabov certainly seems to have matured quite a bit; it certainly would've been understandable if he'd been disgruntled, or at least complained, about the clock failure contributing to his losing the match, yet he didn't take that easy way out. But I seem to remember a couple of years ago he'd made some nasty remarks re: Armenia, no? Does anyone else recall this, or know if he (or Mamedyarov, for that matter) get along okay with Aronian?

You're probably thinking of this interview: http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=4245

Make sure to read the addendum at the bottom, though...

I didn't even realise these candidate matches were on I completely missed the first round!

What do you think of Kamsky getting his revenge on Topalov this time?

4 of the final 5 players were playing for the title in the early 1990s about 20 years ago!

I think Gelfand and Kamsky get under-estimated but they both won the World Cup partly due to their experiences and match toughness they got from when they were young.
People like Frogbert don't understand that and go by ratings too much. I predicted both to win the World Cup (mind you Gelfand was top rated- but Kamsky wasn't when he won).

Kamsky-Gelfand is an interesting match- Gelfand should be considered favourite going by his earlier match win over Kamsky but Topalov had beaten Kamsky before and it was turned around. However Gelfand is so much more solid than Topalov that I don't think it likely for him to take so much risk.

Kramnik should beat Grischuk but these matches are very short so not that predictable.

My prediction is Gelfand beats Kramnik in the final. (A match between the 2 runner-ups in Mexico!)
I think that Gelfand can be as good as Kramnik as a positional player and as a tough match player. kramnik used to lose to Gelfand and Kamsky in the 1990s, and that is not that much longer ago than the 2000 match now which a lot of his match credentials are based on.

Anyway I am excited to see who meets Anand. It would be good to see 2 players in their 40's playing the match for the world championship to show these older guys are still in the mix.

Thomas, thanks for your reply. Here some replies:

- "Young players simply don't have the nerves it takes to succeed." I see your point here. Maybe my using the term "nerves" does not really capture what I mean. My point was that players of the older generation (Kamsky, Gelfand, Kramnik) were able to raise themselves to win when it mattered, either by playing at the top of their game (Kamsky, Gelfand) or by having nerves of steel (Kramnik). In contrast, the younger players didn't...

- As for Aronian cracking under pressure. I had the following examples in mind: a) Losing tie-break to Kramnik in Shanghai-Bilbao qualifier and b) underperforming in 2007 world championship tournament. In hindsight, I admit that this is only two examples...., but now it's three...

Is it just me or does anybody else notice that once Anand hammers somebody, they take a long time to recover?

First it was Drawnik and recently Topalov. Of the remaining players, I think Kamsky is the man to give Anand a run for his money. The rest will be cannon fodder.

It could also be construed as a bold statement. God knows chess needs more exciting players. So what if he has a cavalier attitude? I'd take that over ten Drawniks.

"Is it just me or does anybody else notice that once Anand hammers somebody, they take a long time to recover?

First it was Drawnik..."

Except Kramnik had one of the best years of his career after losing to Anand, so it might just be you :) You could even say he'd recovered after game 6 of their match, if you wanted to stretch a point!

I think the point about Aronian relates most to his performance at the 2007 World Championship, where he performed WELL below his ability...sadly for him, that trend continued against Grischuk here.

Regarding Kramnik, most pundits felt that his match was the most one-sided going in -- according to the previews from the official website that is in fact stated. Kudos for Kramnik to avoid the upset, though. Hopefully for him, he will be able to improve his play against Grischuk.

I agree. Kramnik was a little shell shocked in the first half of the WC, but he seemed to have recovered by the time the WC came to an end.

Of all the candidates, I think Kramnik will give Anand a run for his money. I wouldn't be surprised if Kramnik becomes the WC again.

Kamsky, on the other hand, I think only has an outside chance, if at all. Anand has changed a lot mentally since the Sanghi Nagar incident. But a Kamsky-Anand match will likely raise more money than any other match-up.

Thanks for that reference (interesting reading!), including the important addendum; but I'm wondering how things stand now, e.g., how Radjabov and Mamedyarov (and any other Azeris) get along with Aronian (and any other Armenians). Are they moderately civil, or less? Or do they allow themselves to actually be on friendly terms? E.g., if they're playing each other - which, alas, didn't happen in these matches - would they do a postmortem together, or just shake hands - if they're required to do so - and then go their separate ways, etc.? Anyone know? (perhaps some of our European contributors, e.g., Thomas or Mishanp, who I believe are "on the scene")

Everyone is underestimating Gelfand...I think he would give Anand a struggle as well. I wouldn't mind seeing Kramnik-Kamsky in the final, though; it would be interesting rematch of their 1990s Candidates match.

pioneer, that's what I have been saying. Gelfand and Kamsky get under-estimated as their match experience is not taken into account. That's why they both won FIDE World Cups- it is no fluke.

As far as "young players (past the rising star stage) vs. Experience" is concerned, I would say experience still mattered. I think it was Gelfand who once said, responding to a related question: "I played dozens of classical games against Kasparov, Karpov and Korchnoi, and analyzed all of them in detail. That's my advantage with respect to the younger generation." Note that classical time controls were slower than nowadays, and analyzing meant 'by hand' without computer assistance.

As to Aronian, I don't consider the results you mentioned (borrowing a phrase from someone else on this forum) 'epic fails'. In Mexico, he was seeded 5th to finish shared 6th - largely because another player, a certain Boris Gelfand, played what might still be THE tournament of his whole life. In Shanghai, two players of equal strength (at the time, Aronian's rating advantage was a whopping three points) had to battle it out in a tiebreak - one of them had to 'fail'. Making a big story out of this is IMO somewhat insulting to Kramnik - and it all happened because another player (Shirov) played above his usual or average level.

Grow up. Seriously.
His comments were very tongue in cheek. Any one with 2 brain cells to rub together can see that.

I totally agree...that's why I picked them both to win their first round matches. :)

The winner of Gelfand-Kamsky has a great shot to face Anand, IMO.

Regarding the Radjabov interview, I guess he must have actually said something like 'we hate Armenians' - it's hard to imagine how something innocent could have been misquoted, as he claimed in the addendum. Rather he may have been surprised by the amount of "feedback" he received, and then decided to take back that move ... . In his defense, he was just 20 years old or young at the time.

To answer your question, I wonder if I am qualified because Europe is a big continent ,:) - it's like asking someone from Colorado or Texas about relationships between chess players from New York and Boston ... . My impression is: Armenia and Azerbaijan played several tense team matches (no surprise, both are medal candidates wherever they play) but the atmosphere was at least correct or professional. Nothing like the artificial and basically one-sided hatred between Bulgaria and Russia - which may also have reasons in recent history, but also reflects Topalov's character ... . And regarding Aronian, I don't think he hates anyone - it's a separate story that he didn't want to play in Baku.

Interesting article from Chessbase:


regarding the impact of the failed "Prague agreement" attempted by Seirawan which would have screwed over Anand; people forget how it also would have hurt Grischuk as well.

Would be interesting of Grischuk advanced to play Vishy for the title...nearly 10 years after neither was deemed worthy of inclusion in the unified world championship cycle.

Thanks for that reply, Thomas; appreciate it. Glad to hear there's no personal animosity among the players. Make chess, not war!

And how exactly would Prague have screwed over Grischuk, pioneer?!

This is really good to know "But we're supposed to ignore this latest example of why even the chess world championship -- especially the chess world championship -- is a political joke designed to scare off legit sponsorship and just talk about the chess, so let's get to it. The official site sez May 3, but that's for arrival and then there's the mandatory onslaught of folk dancing at the opening ceremony on the 4th. The games actually begin on the 5th at 7am EDT." more power...

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Sometimes, chess is mostly a online game to kill time. The chess online game regularly takes time. Then, it's a just right recreation to train logical component with the game.

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I am new to the professional chess circuit and still find it hard to recognise some of the more famous names. Outsiders might think that chess is a gentleman's game, though it largely is, chess is still plagued by politics and mind games outside of the games itself. This is to be expected when pride, reputation and money is on the line.
David - http://www.regencychess.co.uk

Sometimes, chess is really a recreation to kill time. The chess recreation often takes time. Then, it's a incredible endeavor to apply logical component with the game.

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Chess game is truly intently regarding one's frame of mind and strategy. a participant has to suppose right now what strategy should be completed in a depressed state. So this requires one of a kind thought.

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Quite many guys don't love enjoying chess. They even do not find out how to play chess. The reason for this is that chess not easy to play and the rule is too frustrating to appreciate in the brief time.

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Sometimes, chess is really a online game to kill time. The chess online game generally takes time. Then, it is a perfect recreation to observe logical factor with the game.

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Every chess player always want to involve in the tournament. They want to see their skill. Then, they want to get a prize.

Many sport players want to involve in the tournament. Then, the chess players also will participant in chess tournament. They will be interesting even though it is a small one.

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A lot of game avid gamers involve inside the event. Then, the chess avid gamers additionally will participant in chess event. They will be wonderful though it's a small one.

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Learning to play chess sometimes is needed a long time. It happens because people do not have potency in the game. Otherwise, they are not interesting to the game.

Chess can help people to practice the logic. The strategy in chess will make people learn about think fast. Therefore, it will make people have a good respond in spontaneous.

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It typically is required a very long time. It takes place due to the fact that individuals will not have efficiency in the game. Or else, they aren't pleasing to the game.

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Learning about chess typically is needed a very long time. It takes place on account that people shouldn't have efficiency inside the video game. Or else, they aren't enjoyable to the game.

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Learning about chess occasionally is needed a long time. It occurs on the grounds that guys wouldn't have efficiency within the online game. Or else, they are not pleasing to the game.

Chess will help men or women to apply the good judgment. The procedure in chess will make men or women study suppose immediate. In this case, this may make men or women have reply in spontaneous.

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    About this Entry

    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on April 29, 2011 2:06 AM.

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