Greengard's ChessNinja.com

G-Man Shootout in Candidates Final

| Permalink | 429 comments

Better late than never? Have they drawn yet? LIVE. If Grischuk has white, they probably have. You get better mileage from a Hummer with three flat tires than the Russian gets out of the white pieces in Kazan. In his four classical whites against Aronian and Kramnik, all drawn, he has averaged 20 moves. Twenty! His two rapid whites against Kramnik were 14 moves and 8! But we're not supposed to criticize the winner, and it's not really criticism, it's just bizarre. Kramnik failed to punish his younger compatriot by winning with white, so whatever works. Grischuk also has a big plus score over Gelfand in recent years, with about a win per year until Gelfand nailed him with black last year in the Russian Team Ch.

If you had "Gelfand-Grischuk" in the final, you win the internets. Gelfand is the veteran of the field at 42, though he's been carefully rationing his efforts for years in order to maximize his strength, which paid off at the World Cup in 2009 and again here in Kazan. He was fresh enough to come back against Kamsky and eliminate the American champion in blitz. As you know, I give little more than zero credence to blitz as tiebreaker and even rapid is more because we have to than anything meaningful about worthiness. Flipping a coin or spinning a roulette wheel (both used in past candidates matches) is tidy but cruel. At least in the speed games the players have a say in their destiny.

Speaking of, check the index for "destiny, player of" and you find Alexander Grischuk. He knocked out the two big favorites, first Aronian and then former world champion Kramnik. Sure, he hasn't won a single game of classical chess yet, but that's the way this thing seems to be going. Reaching the speed games for Grischuk is like a man crawling through a desert reaching an oasis where the pool is filled with vodka and the palm trees grow caviar. Okay, that sounds sort of gross, but you get my point. There have been so few decisive classical games in Kazan (Two. Seriously. Two of 24. Arnold Schwarzenegger probably has made more love children than that over the same time span.) that it's pointless to talk about anyone really making a mark with their chess. Had Kramnik gone through we'd be talking about his clock breaking in a timely (sorry) fashion against Radjabov in the quarters. Kamsky came a drawn rapid game away from making the final despite escaping from completely lost positions in both his matches. We've known from the start that this event was about FIDE politics and money, not about a rigorous method of determining the most worthy challenger for Anand.

That said, as much as Gelfand and Grischuk deserve to be there, Anand is not crying in his mulligatawny that Topalov, Aronian, and Kramnik are out. Whoever comes through next week will be a first-timer on the biggest stage, though Gelfand can't be called a newbie at anything and I can't imagine the phlegmatic Israeli feeling much pressure. He finished a very solid =2-3 with Kramnik behind Anand at the 2007 Mexico City world championship tournament while Grischuk finished last. Regardless, Anand will be the huge favorite against either one.

This candidates final match is six games with a break on Saturday after game three. I hope it's possible to root for Gelfand and hope for Grischuk because that's what I'm doing!


It is probably unlikely that Grischuk will use the same "draw early with White" strategy against Gelfand, because he knows that Gelfand -- unlike Kramnik -- is very good at blitz.

Its obvious you cant come to terms with Grischuks genius. He exploited the format like no one else and you are just bitter (and perhaps sore) that Carlsens 'replacement' went this far.
The owner of the blog is trolling - lol. Three blog entries in a row at that.

All these claims by Mig of FIDE politics and money is getting more and more ridiculous and irritating. I can bet that he can’t substantiate any of that but when did criticism of FIDE require any of that. We know how much better were the formats chosen by kaspy (for WC) and Mig (for US ch)!


This has to be the shittiest Candidates Tournament in history.

The game is dying...

I am surprised at all the shock at the success of both Gs. They have historically done well under pressure and at WC playoffs (both matches and tournaments). Also, currently their recent form has been good and they are in the top 10. Also, Kramnik and Topalov haven’t done well lately. The only surprise is Aronian but he hasn’t proven himself to be a great match player and WC is about match play.

Agreed, that Anand would be the fav against either of them but so would he be against Kramnik or Topa (in current form) or against Carlsen (look at their classical record). Also, Grischuk and Gelfand (more so) deserve to at least the WC challenger given their past accomplishments.


Exactly. There is no challenger that Anand wouldn't be a big favorite against, except possibly Carlsen -- but then again, Magnus has yet to show he can win matches.

I don't understand so much fuss about the format, it is surely better than tournament format and you really can't blame the format when favorite doesn't play to potential. Nobody blamed 16 match Kramnik-Kasparov match when clearly inferior player Kramnik won it using better strategy. So if Grischuk using some strategy to suite his style why people are complaining.

Grischuk strategy was quite amusing when you look at the games back at home after a day of work.

However, I can't imagine my reaction had I taken a day off to watch the games. This behavior is not acceptable. After that, try to sell the game to sponsors...

Sofia rules everywhere please. Otherwise, next we will see a world championship match with 12 short draws followed by Armageddon game?

Please Grischuk change this strategy, you are hurting the game.

I don't think there's a reason to think Carlsen can't win matches however.
But I wonder if it's harder or easier for a young player as brilliant as Carlsen to choose chess as a career than it used to be.

Misha (or anyone who speaks Russian):

Just after Grischuk played Kf6, the Russian commentators had a chuckle, and after he played f7, they mentioned Kamsky with another chuckle. Can you tell me what that was about?

THANKS in advance!


Soory, it was about at 19:35:00 on ...


Well, first of all, Kramnik was NOT "clearly inferior" to Kasparov in their match. Kramnik was +2 and threw away two more wins -- so he should have easily been +4 after 16 games -- thats about as badly as Kasparov beat Short in 1993, and no one in their right mind would argue that Short was comparable to Kasparov.

Secondly, I don't have a problem with Grischuk -- the rules are the rules. His blitz prowess and defensive capabilities are why his strategy worked against Kramnik. Otherwise its foolish to throw away Whites -- which is why he didn't throw his away today against Gelfand but pressed (unsuccessfully) to win.

Lots of Luck. Top level chessplayers don't care if they harm the game of chess. They are happy to cannibalize chess, or put on some tawdry show to legitimize some dictator, all to line their pockets with a few extra Euros.

You think that 8 move draws give them any qualms?
(Karpov once offered Leko a draw on Move 1. Karpov was White, and Leko quickly accepted.)

When Grischuk's strategy was evident, why didn't Kramnik press harder with Black?

Exactly! No one forced Kramnik to accept a draw offer on the 8th move.

I don't think that Sofia rules for a match makes much sense. In order to have a hard fought game, it just takes one player who is willing to insist on a real struggle.

Usually, since Black is often content with a Draw, it is up to White to press, and keep the game from becoming sterile--a dead draw.

If you had Sofia rules, and both players were desiring a fightless draw, then it is easy to imagine that a tacit understanding can be reached early in the game.

For instance, they could play quickly, happily trading pieces and pawns, and reach a "bare Kings" draw by move 40.

They could contrive a repetition of the position--including one that is absolutely forced (i.e. sacrificing for Perpetual Check)

Or, they could simply shift pieces until they reached the Final Time Control--say, Move 60. At which point, a "decent interval" would have eleapsed, and appearances would have been maintained.

The problem wouldn't have occurred if the Sofia rules were in place. A lesson to FIDE and future organizers. Make these mandatory for important tournaments and matches to sustain the interest of fans and save the game.


probably cause he had picked such defensive openings that winning from is very difficult. He hadn't come prepared with an aggressive black repertoire (QGD, Petroff and Berlin are not agressive).

For whatever reason, Kramnik had always matched up well versus Kasparov, throughout the 1990s. The score between them, in tournament games, was practically even.

It was Hubris on Kasparov's part to effectively handpick his most dangerous rival to contest the World Championship match. Most players in his position would have arranged a match with an amiable, accomodating "Customer".

It's interesting: Kasparov had suffered a blow to his psyche form losing to Deep Blue, and he was uniquely vulnerable. He was also ill prepared for the Match, or at least used poor judgment in burning through White after White by hitting the Berlin Wall.

Probably, on a subconcious level, the responsibilities of being Champion weighed heavily upon him. Also, he was used to having players collapse against him, and become cowed when he would initiate complications. There must have been an element of masochism, as compared to his usual superb level of preparation for tournaments, his match strategy was just pathetic.

Players like Kramnik or Joel Lautier were some of the few players who did not underperform (or even managed to raise the level of their game) when facing Garry.

That may be true, but tactically it may have made sense to wear Grischuk out, as Topa did with Anand.

You call it hubris, I call it karma. Garry got what he deserved. Kramnik rightly refusing the rematch was karmic interest.

Stop whining about the format! How did Kramnik get to play his WC match against Kasparov when he lost to Shirov in a match?

I am rooting for Gelfand. Of course. How could one do otherwise after the last round...?

The state of world chess:

1. Nobody outside of chess has any idea how the world champion becomes the world champion; and a lot of people inside chess have no idea what's going on.

2. The world nr. 1 or 2 (depends upon when you're counting) doesn't bother to show up to play.

3. The others who do show engage in ridiculous drawfests, pushing their match-ups into rapids and blitz.

4. The whole thing is presented with the amount of exitement and savoir faire you would reserve for a parallel parking championship.

Kiss this game goodbye if FIDE keeps this nonsense up.

Stop whining about FIDE. As corrupt as they are, there are no good alternatives right now -- we saw what happened when Kasparov tried to take them on. I would vote for the first legitimately noncorrupt alternative to Kirsan...unfortunately, that alternative has yet to develop.

Chess has a great world champion with integrity, and that's always a good thing. His challenger in 2012 will have earned the right to be challenger by winning, rather than being hand-picked. That is also a good thing.

There have been tons of fighting draws in this tournament. True, there have been only 2 wins out of 24 games, but it could easily have been much higher. The fact that it wasn't is due to the players' poor skill in converting advantages (or their good defensive skills, depending on how you look at it).

I agree that Grischuk's short draws are disgraceful, though.

Those are some low expectations, pioneer. Sure, the challenger earned it by winning... one blitz game over his opponent. A good thing only if you're comparing it with being hand-picked. Sure, there is no alternative to FIDE -- and guess what, Kirsan is delighted that you understand this so well, because he would like nothing better than for all of us to shut up out of sheer hopelessness. Whining fans can be a bit of a pain for him, because god forbid the whining trickles up to commentators and players and sponsors. So, yeah, I and others are going to whine and you'd better stop bawling about it.

Don't whine -- do something about it. Whining accomplishes nothing.

i pity the bafoon who just predicted the demise of chess.

I like to think you meant bassoon. (Stridency of tone)

no, i meant buffoon. i went n looked up the spelling. an i looked up bassoon too bit did not catch the drift. care to explain? :)

bassoon is an instrument. He references tone which has a double meaning. 1) The tone of the instrument vs 2) the tone of your post. It is supposed to be a humorous wordplay joke.

"He was fresh enough to come back against Kamsky and eliminate the American champion in blitz..I give little more than zero credence to blitz as tiebreaker and even rapid is more because we have to than anything meaningful about worthiness. Flipping a coin or spinning a roulette wheel is tidy.."

Probably one of the nastier 'sour grapes' outburst from Mig after a loss by a boss/countryman.

Yep, I don't remember such comments from Mig when Nakamura won blitz tiebreaks against Ponomariov and Giri - maybe if Hikaru had lost it would have been "it was just blitz".
True, there was less at stake at these events (San Sebastian and Rising Stars vs. Experience), but the basic situation was the same: a (perceived) need for a clear winner.

"Gelfand -- unlike Kramnik -- is very good at blitz."
Just one event, but the most recent one we have: At the World blitz championship, players scored as follows: Aronian 24.5/38, Gelfand 21.5/38, Kramnik 20.5/38, Grischuk 19/38.
Aronian stood out, the other differences are rather minor. Grischuk's strategy wasn't about being clearly better in blitz or rapid, but about being (on paper) inferior at classical time controls - which isn't the case against Gelfand. Then his chances are better at faster time controls, both because the differences between players (regardless of their "sign") are less and because there is more randomness and elements of chance.

How could anyone think that Kramnik is not very good at blitz?

@chess observer
At 19:35:00 Gelfand plays Kb6 (not Grischuk Kf6) and the commentators note that although the move is not one they where discussing it, as any of the viewers with 6 piece tablebases can readily verify, any move leads to a draw. "Except for ..Rf5", Khalifman corrects himself. Both chuckle.

At 19:36:21 Mark Glukhovsky (?) "I guess Boris needs to check now." Khalifman answers: "The same as Kamsky against him. The similarity of the positions is simply frightening". Both laugh. (They had already discussed the similarities between the rook endgame on the board and one played in the Kamsky-Gelfand match).

Thanks, Amos!


Yes, and if blitz results were so random that it wasn't a worthy tie-breaking tool, the World Blitz Championships would've routinely seen rank outsiders winning at least occasionally.


Apart from Domínguez (comparable to Ponomariov/Khalifman/etc wins), no real outsider has won.

In rapids its even tighter (except for Kamsky).

All said, I am a Kamsky fan too - he seemed pretty graceful in defeat. Just that its sad to see Mig trolling on a once-upon-a-time insightful blog.

Yes, Mig claims to have no time to blog, but he DOES have time to tweet about stupid websites he's (had plenty of time to have) visited.

Frankly, I'm surprised as many people return here as do when he DOES make an entry. Of course, I'm sure he knows most of his readers are gone anyway.

What a waste.

"If you show great potential, it means you are not living up to it." -- Donald Trump

thanks misha

is it me or is shipov's suggestion of 41. ra5 preposterous? doesnt it lose to a knight fork? what am I missing?

Bear in mind in Tal Blitz Kramnik plays unusual openings (not for surprise value because he keeps playing them) but to keep his real openings "hidden". He wouldnt want to "waste" a strong novelty in a blitz game. Although Grishuk completely outplayed him in the 2 blitz games I would still rate their chances 50:50 in the same situation again.

It might be the end of Vlad - must be hard to regain motivation when world championship possibility is years away

Time management, Sasha !

Nonsense, Anand. The question is not whether it's random over a 40 game period but over a 2-game period at the end of a strenuous day. Kosteniuk beating Carlsen, anyone? And in any case I'd have thought Dominguez winning a world title should have been random enough for anyone.

Actually though you hint at a good point. A much better tie-breaker would have been a 12-game blitz match played the day after the rapids.

Rb1 saves the exchange in that line (after ..Nd4+, ..Nb3)

Sure the logistics can be worked out, but my point was that comparing blitz chess to a coin toss when your favorite loses is just too petty..


his favourite did not lose. his favourite was just too scared to play. too much at stake for carlsen because he had to get past 4 levels to finally be wch. easier is to crib till someone sponsors a direct match with the wc.

it needs the help of 'eminent' chess 'journos' like mig to make the direct match a compelling argument. i dont think mig himself likes what he is doing. these last few posts are probably directed by kasparov the fox. lol. my conspiracy theories.

Yet another disappointing draw at Kazan in 2nd game. I agree with Mig that the high draw percentage is a big letdown. If only Kirsan and FIDE had let politics and money take a back seat!

If by "disappointing" you mean double-edged, complex, and hard fought, then yes, disappointing.

There was nothing disappointing about that draw...unless you were rooting for Grischuk. High draw percentages happen in high-level matches...which is why very long matches (i.e. more than 12 games) lead to a LOT of boring, quick draws (i.e. 1990 Kasparov-Karpov, 1995 Kasparov-Anand). Remember that 13 of the 15 games between Kasparov and Kramnik were drawn, and the first EIGHT games of Kasparov-Anand were drawn.

I could not have said it better myself!
Thank you.

Meantime we have one more 2700+ guy according to www.2700chess.com It's 20 years old Le Quang Liem from Vietnam. Moreover, if he holds today against Ivanchuk he will win his first super tournamnet in Havana (Capablanca Memorial)

And in (yet) another event in Lublin (Poland) Shirov seems back on track with 4.5/6, while Wojtaszek (1.5/6) barely remains in the 2700+ club. The other participants are respectable GMs in the 2650-2680 range (Grachev, Zhigalko, Sasikiran, Socko, Roiz, Alekseev).

Yep, the less said the better about Wojtaszek's tournament :(

Grischuk - Gelfand with Sergey Shipov: http://bit.ly/bqNkym

Grishchuk-Gelfand looks even. There was a computer line for 13...Nb6 14.Qa4 (14.Qxa7?? Ra8!) cxd4 15.Ne4 Be7 16.Rac1 Bb7 17.Nc5 Bxc7 18.Qxc5 d3! 19.exd Na4 20.Qxa7 Nxb2 21.Rb1 Bd5 22.Ne5 Bxg2 and 23.Kxg2 Qd5+ 24.Nf3 Qxd3 with approximate equality. But Gelfand chooses to play 13...a4.

After 13...a5 computer suggests a line that leads to an interesting repetition draw when white tries to hold on to his extra pawn.

14.dxc5 Nxc5 Qc2 Qb6 Rab1 Rd8 Nd2 Ba6 Nde4 Nxe4 Bxe4 Bc4 Rd1 Rdc8 Qa4 Qb4 Qc2 Qb6 Qa4 to escape c-file pin and the move repeats.

Man, can you believe? Seems like they knew this line and after 14.dxc5 a draw accepted!

Get your red hots....Anand (the dull lapdog of Kaspy) vs the LapDog Gelfand for the WC. Who cares ,no one!!! But get your red hots......

A lot of people care, so stop whining.

Nice novelty by Gelfand to neutralize Grischuk's penultimate white. Now its best 2 of 3 with Gelfand having 2 whites...you'd have to think Gelfand has a slight edge the rest of the way after tomorrow's rest day.


Sasha is obviously playing for a victory! We have another great game today!
Update: What a surprise, they drew! My last sentence sounds weird now!
Thank you all for following the live coverage with GM Sebastien Maze on ChessBomb.com and Chessdom.com!
Stay tuned for a video analysis here.
See you again Monday 13:00 CET.


that is why ur dumb @ss will allways be doing commentary punk!

Yes, let's all stop whining. Especially when the whining is about other people whining.

(any whining about this post to be included in the next blockbuster whineception).

At the very least, they could have played out this line (which doesn't look forced to me). Which computer suggested it? Rybka, Stockfish (and Shipov) deviate earlier.

Grischuk's classical games with white so far:
Grischuk-Aronian 1/2(22)
Grischuk-Aronian 1/2(17)
Grischuk-Kramnik 1/2(16)
Grischuk-Kramnik 1/2(25)
Grischuk-Gelfand 1/2(49 - huh? such a waste of energy ...)
Grischuk-Gelfand 1/2(14)

But Shipov and mishanp get a well-deserved semi-restday!

And don't forget the St Louis Chess Club will always have matches to determine who is a 2500gm (weight not included in Fatgold matches)

What a terrible thing to say. I assume he bilked your family out of money, or sullied your daughter's reputation.

I was thinking he shouldn't apologize for his last sentence. It did look like it was going to be a great fight after dxc5. Maybe Grischuk and Gelfand should be apologizing to us! But I'm really not offended by the short draws.

Grischuk may become the world champion challenger without having won a single game in the candidate matches!

That would simply look bad.

Or... that would simply be genius!!
Having a strategy, sticking with it and making it work.

Gelfand and Grischuk need not play to please potential sponsors anymore. It’s already pretty clear that a match between Anand and Gelfand/Grischuk would only take place if FIDE itself or a country like India or Israel/Russia provides the prize fund of $ 1,000,000+.

Corporate sponsorship is most unlikely, Grischuk and Gelfand ar no-names outside the chess community ranked 10+ in the world.

Like it or not, but no western country or corporation is going to sponsor anything but a Anand-Carlsen match and it won’t be easy for Anand to resist a multi-million dollar offer to play this match for the title instead.

if sasha wins, he should challenge carlsen to an 8 game match, considering he replaced carlsen. the winner plays anand

and can someone start an online petition to sponsor a wc match in india please. if the media picks it up i'm sure niit or tata will throw in a couple of million. tata is a $100 billion co. wtf?

How old was Smyslov when he played a match people cared about which Kasparov dominated!! 70+ years old??? Please correct me if I am wrong...

Morons are at it again.

Thomas, that must be stockfish. I took it from chessdom live game computer analysis. It is not very forcing. But if that is what the line they had in mind that leads to a draw, I agree, both should have played it out until the repetition.

A Russian interview I was considering translating mentioned that there were some talks under way about holding a match in India. To be honest - it's a bit odd when people complain about a lack of sponsorship for Grischuk/Gelfand playing Anand - it's not as if there was any commercial sponsorship for Topalov - Anand. You just need a government to put up most of the money, and given the sums involved aren't huge by the standards of other sports it shouldn't be that hard (though of course having signed a contract with e.g. London prior to the Candidates Matches would have made a lot of sense!).

I don't know about today's game - it was short in terms of moves, so of course some people will complain, but then they thought more about the crucial moves early in the game than players often do when they get to move 30+ following theory. It's just "36-move draw" doesn't make such a "good" headline. (Of course I might be biased due to the fact that Shipov managed to include more analysis than in most long games!)

To lighten the mood... Gelfand was asked in the press conference about his first meetings with well-known grandmasters. Well... there was a tournament in his home town and he was surprised that a grandmaster came over to his board to watch his game - and all the audience was paying attention and so on. Then the grandmaster asked... "do you know who the blonde girl in the 5th row is?". Sadly, Gelfand didn't, so not much came of his first encounter with a grandmaster...

I think Topa said that Anand wasn't too keen on playing their match in India.If its true, its disappointing.

There were sponsors like M-Tel and IBM and I think a prize fund of € 2,000,000 for the Anand-Topalov match, interest was considerable not only in Bulgaria, Danailov did a great job organizing the event.

And last but not least the chess community was almost unanimously looking forward to this event, it "felt" like the right match to determine a worthy champion in the tradition of ...Karpov/Kasparov/Kramnik/Anand.

Gelfand or Grischuk are more or less "random" challengers, which naturally attracts less interest and makes sponsorship even more difficult.

There are only two "natural" challengers at the moment: Aronian and Carlsen, where only the latter guarantees international media interest and sponsorship money.

Of course, we are already used to the marginal existence of chess in society, so let's just continue with mini-matches and follow them up with mini-world-championships.

Never again should speed chess (rapid, blitz, armageddon) be used to tie-break an important chess match between two players.
The speed chess tie-break rules must be contributing to the 25/27 = 93% draw rate. Many posters on ChessNinja.com/DailyDirt/ have insisted that the high draw rate is no problem at all IF the drawn games are "hard fought".
Their viewpoint can no longer be taken seriously.
Candidate matches should be -- First player to win two games wins the match, with no limit on the number of games.
Being so draw prone, sadly that is the best that chess can offer in a practical world.
Even the 1962 Curaco candidates' "collusion tournament" format, that Bobby Fischer rightly and successfully railed against, was better than this Kazan draw-smothered speed chess fiasco.
"Action is supposed to occur on the scoreboard too, not just on the chess board".
(Mig wrote something like the above quotation a few years ago, in response to the enormously high 60% draw rate problem.)

I won't comment on the Topalov-Anand match, how it was financed, whether Danailov "did a great job" etc. - enough has been said about it here, I guess most people will agree that the chess community doesn't have a unanimous (or clear majority) opinion on it ... .

Apparently, someone who qualifies in a system that may be imperfect (but what would be a perfect system?) is a random challenger - at least if the wrong person qualifies. Others who were eliminated (Aronian) or declined to participate (Carlsen) would be logical challengers. The criterion seems to be Elo - in that respect Topalov was a logical challenger for Anand even though he didn't properly qualify. But which Elo list should be used? And should this actually replace a qualifying system??

Your next argument is that Carlsen would attract more sponsorship money, which apparently could serve as a tiebreaker between him and Aronian. Then it comes down to a popularity contest where country of origin might play an important role:
- Carlsen might attract more money than Aronian
- Nakamura might attract more money than Karjakin
- Radjabov might attract more money than Gashimov (both are from the same oil-producing country, but one has better connections).
IMO that's more random than anything else, and sooo early 20th century until World War II - even if Radjabov tried to buy a WCh match just a few years ago.

In my opinion a regular FIDE Grand Prix Cycle (prove yourself over several tournaments, basically cancelling out randomness) to determine the challenger combined with the right for anybody > ELO 2700 to challenge the champion with enough sponsorship money would be a much better system than some mini-matches or a single candidates tournament. Nothing new here, FIDE could easily implement those rules for the next cycle.

Of course, this system should only be applied if you try to make chess more popular and attract media attention and sponsorship money. If you strive for pure sportsmanship and fairness this is not a system we will agree upon for sure.

"There were sponsors like M-Tel and IBM and I think a prize fund of € 2,000,000 for the Anand-Topalov match, interest was considerable not only in Bulgaria, Danailov did a great job organizing the event."

I don't really want to get into it now but M-Tel chose not to sponsor the match (their logo was left as a "courtesy"). I doubt IBM did any more than offset some of the cost of the Topalov team's super computer use. Other sponsors were very minor or companies heavily linked to the government (it looks like a face-saving operation in the middle of an economic crisis).

I don't see where Danailov's "great job" comes from either, except for finding the money from whatever source. The coverage was nowhere near the level of the current Candidates Matches (or the Tal Memorial, or London Chess Classic...) - and if you were there in person there was no commentary, analysis room, refreshments or even indoor toilets. The positives were the absence of serious negatives - e.g. a worse scandal than just complaining about Anand's volcano delay. But we should be setting our sights a little higher than that.

I'm not saying the coming match won't be a hard sell, just that Topalov - Anand wasn't sold either!

Interesting details. Btw, "great job" wasn't referring to the coverage of the event but the fact that Danailov raised € 2,000,000 for a chess(!) event under difficult economic conditions. "From whatever source", agreed, we are talking about Bulgaria, but this is still a great accomplishment, imho at least.

Just trying to imagine a prizefund close to 2.8 Mio American Dollars for a possible Anand-Gelfand/Grischuk match makes me chuckle in disbelief...

Fair enough on the great job if you were just referring to finding the money. All I'd say is that I don't see it as being any less likely that the Russian government would fund, say, Grischuk - Anand, to the tune of 2-3 million euros, than that the Bulgarian government provided that for Topalov - Anand. After all, Russia's much wealthier overall than Bulgaria and there must be some patrons among the very rich (+ you've got Dvorkovich as Medvedev's advisor). Even an event like the Tal Memorial has a budget of around a million euros (or perhaps dollars - a million was quoted in an interview in any case). For comparison, a "budget" super-tournament like the M-Tel Masters was getting 300,000 euros a year from M-Tel.

So the particular players might be relevant if FIDE was an efficient organisation and there were commercial sponsors for chess etc., but as it is I'm not sure it makes any real difference.

I still have problems also with respect to "finding the [government] money". In a way, it wasn't their own money but indirectly my tax money because Bulgaria received financial support from Brussels.

I don't want to offend anyone from these countries, but what would we say if Portugal, Ireland or Greece organized an expensive chess match with public money? That's of course hypothetical, they don't have any potential world champions in chess ... .

I could sort of agree with respect to the Grand Prix, this would mean a match between Anand and Aronian. Though for the current cycle there would be one problem: some players couldn't really participate in the GP series because they were busy preparing for, playing and recovering from WCh matches - this was the case for Kramnik and Topalov, and would have been the case for Anand if he had lost either match.

I strongly disagree with "the right for anybody > ELO 2700 to challenge the champion with enough sponsorship money". If 2700 is enough, we might see a match between Anand and - for example - Vallejo, Naiditsch, Jobava or Wojtaszek ... . No need to discuss whether they would be worthy world champions (it wouldn't happen) but how many such matches should Anand play? What if several players challenge him at the same time?

And if we put a more restrictive "within 50 Elo points of Anand's rating" (which allows for so-called rating inflation) it's still fundamentally unfair. Some players then have one chance (they have to qualify), while others have a plan B: being rich or knowing some rich people. And these wouldn't necessarily be the "most logical challengers". Did I say Radjabov??

Here's my final version of Shipov's live commentary on Grischuk - Gelfand, including some quotes from the video he made after the game: http://bit.ly/jQhuaz

p.s. it'd almost be worth learning Russian just to hear Shipov talking about a "stupid penguin", that turns out not to be so stupid, when explaining one line :)

Although 25 draws out of 27 begs criticism, I almost want to attribute it to lack of rest days.
There should absolutely be a rest day between each game of classical chess. To play for 5-7 hours with such concentration must surely drain every bit of your energy. As if that is not enough, the computers have ensured you keep working harder after the game.

Lack of rest days and players tend to "discover" it by quick draws.

How about a scheme where any player ranked in the Top 5 (or 10) AND who has a rating of 2800+ (with ratings inflation, it won't be long before there are 10+ players over 2800), would be able to get in a queue to challenge the World Champion--IF they could get 1 Million Euros?? The highest ranked challenger would get priority. If you challenge, and lose, you go to the back of the queue, and have to wait a minimum of 3 years to Challenge again (or 5 years to Challenge the *same* Champion to a re-match)

This system ensures that the Challenger would be "World Championship caliber".

FIDE could still keep its Championship Candidates' qualification cycle, and the winner of the Candidates who emerges would have precedence in getting paired for a Match vs. the Champion.

The Champion wouild only have to defend his title once per year. However, as an option, the Champion could accept additional money challenges at his discretion.

Figure a 2 year FIDE cycle, and the World Champion defends once against a Cash Candidate, and once against the Winner of the Candidate's cycle. Or make it 3 years, and the Champion will defend twice against Top 5 $$ Challengers, and once against a cycle Candidate.

This would balance between the desire of Chess fans to see marquee match-ups between well known Top players, and the need to have an open system that allows anybody to (theoretically) earn a chance to become World Champion via a Title match.

Not acceptable. Popularity more than performance would drive who gets the right to challenge the champion. That undermines the credibility of the title. The title of World Champion is about who is the best player in the world -- not the most popular.

The challenger becomes credible only by winning matches in a Candidates tournament that he/she has earned the right to participate in. End of discussion.

Chess players should actually be looking at professional Go federation for the ways of saving the game and themselves (http://www.nihonkiin.or.jp/index-e.htm). Both games are of the same order of complexity and success in both carries the comparable level of prestige (if you compare Netherlands for example to Japan). I would go so far as to say that go players are no less crazy than we are and just as unruly. Nevertheless the Nihon Ki-in (Japanese Go Association) holds it's tournaments structure and rules for ranking and championships (there are more than one champions in Go) stable since 1924.

professional chest players should be looking at better places.

Interview with Gata Kamsky after the Candidates Matches: http://bit.ly/mJRMPZ

Including: "I can’t play like Grischuk and Kramnik – making short draws. It’s not my style…" & "I’m going to quit chess when I’m 40, so the next cycle will be my last."

Once we have a challenger, a match in India shouldnt be a problem ....thats if Anand is willing. He has done a lot for chess in India...and he needs to make the corporates a little more 'involved' in the game. After all the game originated in the country and we have a world champion. Its just shameful to see the game being neglected and other sports..err cricket having a rabid following.

I will not blame Anand for this if he fails to find a corporate sponsor...3-5 million Euros is small change these days in India. The fault lies with the people and the dependence on cricket. He may well have tried and knowing how India works cricket rules all !

I doubt India will have a World Champion in the near future, so please Champ if you run by this forum please have the match Anand-Gel/Grishuk in India and make sure the coverage is on par with the russian coverage.

kudos to you all for the amazing coverage.....its amazing to see the players and the emotions.

this Russian coverage has been terrible... better to ask it to be on par with Tata/Tal Memorial/London Classic.

I think FIDE should have a no agreed draw rule in future for any candidates matches not because it would make it more entertaining but because it would tend to increase the chances of getting decisions in classical games.

Well i would have preferred English commentary. The video feed is excellent and you can always follow various other sites like ICC.
But again there is always scope for improvement ;)

Shipov's live commentary on today's game: http://bit.ly/bqNkym

And in case you missed it, Gelfand and Grischuk had some great quotes in the press conference after the last game! http://bit.ly/koQNhN

The start's apparently delayed half an hour...

Ok, another draw. Two more draws and the players will reach what they are looking for: rapid and blitz games. I find it really disgusting. What a crap of Candidates tournament!

I really hope the winner doesn't get to face Anand and that this sad, sorry excuse for a tournament becomes inconsequential. It's become an utter disaster for the game of chess.

Maybe Malcolm Peinn should try and arrange a real championship for the London Olympic year.

What you armchair warriors fail to consider is the tension these players have been under for now three weeks. Fatigue is known to produce draws. That is plain human nature.

The problem is FIDE Candidates' system, not the players. Take rapid and blitz games off and the players will try to win games. Put rapid and blitz games on and players will delay the fight until the last moment. Crystal clear, my armchair friend.

The match is pathetic. I suggest the two pretenders be auctioned off on Ebay. Expect some bankrupt European nobleman to pay $25.00 or more for each.

good one :)

There have now been only 2 decisive classical games in Kazan out of 28! Yes, draws, even short draws, are a part of top level chess. But well over 90% draws? No, draws plainly are not THAT big a part of chess. What we have here is something altogether different. I call it a farce. Call it what you will, but it isn’t chess.

I am not that sure that all players are looking forward to (even more tension in) rapid and blitz games - some might, but not all.
And what should replace rapid and blitz as a tiebreaker, that might be needed after ANY number of classical games, be it 2,4,6,8,12,24 or 268 ... ?

The problem is the players. Rarely have players opted to press ahead in an unclear situation, let alone play on in an equal position.

In this match, Grischuk seems happy enough to settle the match with Faster Time controls, whereas Gelfand is "merely willing".

Given Grischuk's track record in these Candidates' matches, I'd be almost surprised if he didn't offer a quick draw with his final chance with White, in Game 5....

It is up to Gelfand to confound Grischuk's strategy, find a way to unbalance the position, and play for a win. As it happened, he did manage to unbalance the position in Game 3, giving up a pawn for ample compensation. Boris played it safe, and agreed to a Draw.

One of the downsides to holding all of the matches at once is that quick draws can become "Viral". The safe draw strategy employed in one match soon "infects" the players on a neighboring board. A quick draw occurs due to the fear of both players, and fear is quite contagious.


What the f*** are you talking about?

Don’t blame the players for this ridiculous and sad travesty.

After all, they are just acting rationally under the current set of rules (chess being the only “sport” where the opponents can agree to a draw and all that).

Blame the organizers, i.e. FIDE, for not adopting the Sofia rules.

Call me old fashioned but I don't believe in tiebreaks. I remember only one even Candidates' match after 14 games: Smyslov-Hubner, 1983. Gosh, one match out of... how many?

The fact is I don't recognise rapid and blitz as serious categories of chess. Rapid and blitz are all right for club players and patzers like me, but not for a world championship. They devaluate by force the quality of play and the world champion's credibility.

The solution is simple. Draws don't count in match play. You have to win x # games.

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. --Santayana

What I think is really funny: after years of backbiting against Topalov and Danailov, the exponents of fighting chess after 2005, the (german) ChessBase report of G4 presents us with a picture of Kazan metrostation instead of the "game" score...

Chess is dead.

Welcome to the parade of the clueless. Very good introduction...

It might not be such a bad thing if there are no sponsors for Anand vs G*

Maybe Anand would offer a match to Carlsen or Aronian for the title (like some of his great predecessors)...

Has ANY top player, when it was in his strategic interest, EVER declined a quick draw?

The difference between Kasparov and lesser mortals was not that Kasparov was a greater quick-draw hater, but that he was a greater PLAYER.

Kasparov was so much better than everyone else that only two twice in his long career was there any reason to make quick draws for strategic purposes. And, surprisingly enough, Kasparov availed himself of the tactic both times: Karpov 1984 and Kramnik 2000.

How many of our apoplectic, morally superior, player-blaming, blog-heroes would actually decline a quick draw if that was their best shot at a million-dollar world-championship match?

Carlsen declined a quick draw against Kramnik in one of their games. I'm not exactly sure which one.

This candidates series is rubbish. Both players are very cautious because of the short match length (should be minimum 6 games per classical match) and I believe that FIDE should remove draw offers from the rules as well.

Players will use the best strategy for them, change the rules!

FIDE should stop listening to top players as well when selecting the world championship format. Players always have their own interests at heart, pick a format and stick with it. Change it when it does not work, not when it does not work for Carlsen, Topalov, Kramnik, Kasparov or Fischer.

Sepp Blatter is a much better leader than Kirsan, even if everyone in the UK thinks he is an idiot about goal line technology.

"The solution is simple. Draws don't count in match play. You have to win x # games."

We'd still be in the first round.

Gelfand has to go for a win. Grischuk is a much better rapid player, as you can see from their head to head record:


So what if we were still in the first round? If you can't beat someone you shouldn't advance.

"Has ANY top player, when it was in his strategic interest, EVER declined a quick draw?"

Well, Topalov for one wants to eliminate the possibility altogether. Of course, it's in his strategic interest that short draws be abolished. Firstly, he wants his opponents to be weary from a rough game the day before (Topa is (or at least used to be) in better physical shape than most other elite players). Secondly, when the lure of the short draw isn't there, people may find it in them to play the kind of exciting chess that might make the game more commercially viable.

"How many of our apoplectic, morally superior, player-blaming, blog-heroes would actually decline a quick draw if that was their best shot at a million-dollar world-championship match?"

Yeah, yeah. You're right. Hope they'll enjoy the money as much as I'll be enjoying the time not spent watching anymore ridiculous matches.

From our perspective, Gelfand probably should "Go for Broke" so that he could avoid the disadvantage of playing Grischuk under faster time controls. The problem for Gelfand is that if he loses, he is out. Does it make sense to do a Topalov style freak out in the Final game of a match? An actual loss of the match in regulation is a pretty steep price to avoid the probability of a lost match, in the rapids...

Gelfand might have pleasant memories of surviving against Kamsky, in the recent rapid play-offs. Myabe he thinks that he can win in the rapid or the Blitz. After all, results are more random, and upsets more likely, the faster the games are...

Obviously, he will have to plaay much better than he did against Kamsky, but maybe he reckons he will!

On the contrary, I am suggesting that one must have a minimum of a Top 5 Ranking AND a 2800 + rating in order to have the right to issue a Challenge in off years (i.e. when the FIDE Candidates' cycle is ongoing). If a players earns ranking in the Top 5, it has everything to do about performance. Such a player is demonstrably among the Elite. Morever, the highest ranking challenger gets priority. Given that most--if not all--of the Top 5 players would be able to come up with the money for a Challenge, "popularity" is not so much of an issue.

In any case, a (hopefully improved) FIDE Candidates' Cycle would still be in place. Every 2-3 years, some Official Challenger would emerge--somebody probably quite strong, and possibly in the Top 5--who will have earned the right to Challenge via the customary route. How are those players harmed, since FIDE clearly has neither the capability nor the intention to have full Candidadates' cycles each and every year?

Thus, players who fall outside of the Top 5 would have as many shots at a Title Match as they would with the status quo.

Unless you are referring to the popularity of a Match that chess fans actually want to see!

Unfortunately, the World Chess Title often has less credibility than you might imagine--as does current Candidates match system.

how about abolishing candidates matches, select major events from around the world and have qualified statisticians come up with a system of tournament points (similar to tennis) that gives more weightage to higher category events, more weightage to win-loss/draw ratio such that even a player who loses more than a person who draws more gets higher tournamment points, and so on, and have the player after a 2-yr cycle with maximim tournament points become the challenger?

Which elements would count as major, and how do you assure equal chances for everyone, i.e. an equal number of invitations for all potential challengers? This was the case for the FIDE Grand Prix series - which was also heavily criticized, maybe just because some people like FIDE-bashing and never miss an opportunity to do so. Or maybe only Swiss events should count where everyone can participate - yeah, let's make the Aeroflot Open a qualifier and proceed with a match Anand-Le Quang Liem! ,:)

I see the Chessbase report on Game 4 has been edited, with their commentary changed from the match being 'disgusting' to 'very disappointing'. I'm sure translation will be blamed, but I think they got it right the first time.

It seems Gelfand and Grischuk have run out of opening ideas. They don’t have the confidence to play something “new”. Probably their preparations prior to the Candidates were not that deep. Their team of seconds on site (if they have any) doesn’t seem to come up with much either.

In match play like this, I believe players with a more diversified opening repertoire have an advantage. Probably it would produce more excitement for the kibitzers, too.

Does anyone believe that if Grischuk and Gelfand were playing a 12-game match for the World Championship, their games would look much different from this? Probably not. I think the relative dullness of this match is due to the players and not the format. After all, the Anand-Kramnik and Anand-Topalov matches also had rapid tiebreaks, but there was hardly a dull moment.

Shipov's live commentary on today's game: http://bit.ly/bqNkym

And my final version of yesterday's commentary: http://bit.ly/if8G6c

There's more there on everyone's favourite topic of draws :)

It is quite entertaining to watch the expressions on Gelfand's face at times. Sometimes you can almost see him thinking "Hey man, that was not the line I was calculating !"

Thanks to mishanp for providing translations of Shipov's commentary.

Funny how all good chess commentators are Russian: Shipov, Khalifman, Svidler... Should have learned Russian rather than French !

You can never make tournaments sole qualification criterion. Your fate not in your hand only and there is a possibility of collusion.

However, one can make tournament performance over two years a qualification criterion for matchpaly. Top 4 players qualify, with just two rounds. Each round 8 games.

The fundamental issues are these: (1) tournaments alone cannot be used to find a challenger (2) many players should have a chance (3) short matches are unreliable (4) long matches between many players take too much time.

All these problems can be solved by the above system. Play few matches, so you can have more games and hence reliable results. You can play with how those few players are selected. Could be ratings, tournament play, or the combination of the two.

Did anyone look at recent classical games between Gelfand and Grischuk? I did, here's a quick summary:

Tal Memorial (11/2010)
Gelfand-Grischuk 1/2(41): a crazy game with mutual sacrifices, in the end white has Q+R vs. 2R+2B and gives an exchange to obtain perpetual check against the naked black king

Russian Team Championship (4/2010)
Grischuk-Gelfand 0-1: a speculative piece sacrifice in the anti-Moscow backfires against accurate defense

Linares (2/2010)
Gelfand-Grischuk 1/2(60): white tries hard for a win in a very interesting (double) rook endgame
Grischuk-Gelfand 1-0: white systematically removes the (pawn) cover of the black king

World Team Championship (1/2010)
Gelfand-Grischuk 1/2(30): the least interesting of the six (a positional Catalan), but the final position is obviously drawn

Nalchik GP (4/2009)
Grischuk-Gelfand 1-0: grinding out a win in the QGD (apparently, prior to Kazan, the only time that Gelfand played that line)

This may or may not answer your question ... .

"This candidates series is rubbish. Both players are very cautious because of the short match length (should be minimum 6 games per classical match)"

This is a 6 game match...

New books on the shelter:

1- How to become world champion without winning regular games, by A.Grischuk, forwarded by B.Gelfand. ( Russian version only).

2- The living peaceful mind, by B.Gelfand, forwarded by A.Grischuk.

3- Do not fear your enemies, by GM V.Anand

4- Lost: final episode, by G.Kamsky, forwarded by V.Kortschnoj & A.Shirov.

5- Bluffing, its secrets and hidden dangers, by M.Carlsen.

6- The most stupid bloggers I saw, by Mig Greengard.

Do we need a world champion? Tennis doesn't have a world champion.

7- Do we need a world champion? By, V.Ivanchuk

Good one!!

Vishy Anand rightly put it in one of his interviews that over the past decade FIDE has tried several formats for the wch cycle and it never could satisfy everyone and finally it has settled down a format that is OK with most. People unhappy with FIDE for the way it handles the wch cycle is a different issue. I am only talking about the "format bashing". So the basic answer is that you can never satisfy all and just need to stick with that with which the majority are ok with and that is the current format.

Perhaps the tiebreak should be six-guns at five paces. Bet that might be the only draw.

That would be the LAST draw.

Near 90% of classical games were drawn in the 1st round (14/16), but since then, in the semifinals and the final, so far 13/13 games have been drawn, 100%.

This must be a record for the most drawish series of candidate matches ever!

Gelfand has 1 more white to try to avoid the rapid tiebreak, I hope he doesn't play a passive opening like last time and go for more. I hope that I am surprised and we are not deciding this match in rapid tiebreak afterall, but that hope seems too good to be true.

I understand some games are well played and hard-fought but end up drawn anyway- I have no problem with that. But the tiebreak system I have a problem with- I would prefer if games were settled before then.

Will be interesting to see how hard Gelfand tries to avoid rapid games. Topalov apparently was desperate.

Thanks. Indeed, it does answer the question, as does today's game.

Here's my final version of Shipov's commentary on today's game, including his musings on Highlanders, wrestlers and worldwide protests against FIDE if we'd had longer matches :) http://bit.ly/kdVXoT

What a joke! These short craptacular draws just kill it. If I were the organizer, I'd move e4-c5 and say play on!

I am a huge chess fan and have been for the last 40 years. While I appreciate these games between Gelfand and Grischuk, I wish they had more fire in the belly. For example, with his strong innovation a couple of games back, why did Gelfand so readily agree to the draw so quickly? One of the only conclusions that can be reached here is that these players prefer to live or die in the more randomized and mistake-prone settings of rapid or even Armageddon games. I guess they want to demonstrate how badly they can blunder. Good luck...

Hey! Looky who is now #4 on the live list (behind Anand, Carlsen, and Aronian) ...

Ivanchuk!!! Woo-hoo!!!

CO (*not* being very unbiased today)

What to reduce GM draws to zero? RULE: "Assuming no player is checkmated or resigns, each player is required to play fifty moves; the first player to be on the move and repeats the same position a third time loses."

A great way to further kill interest in GM chess. Want to reduce GM draws to zero? RULE: "Assuming no player is checkmated or resigns, each player is required to play fifty moves; the first player to be on the move and repeats the same position a third time loses."

Yes, it is genius, just not related to the playing of chess.

Well I've got an extra $5 and would be willing to sponsor the WC match.

Special Edition For Hans Arild Runde!

Jerusalem Report
Norway: Purveyor of Anti-Semitism
05/24/2011 23:23 By MANFRED GERSTENFELD
Norway is falsely ranked among the leading countries concerning freedom of the press.
Talkbacks (11)
Norway flag
Photo by: AVI KATZ
THAT THE OFFER OF FREE LECTURES ON THE MIDDLE East conflict by Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz, one of the most eloquent advocates of the Israeli case, was refused by three universities in Norway should come as no surprise. Besides being a substantial producer of oil and gas, the country is also a major purveyor of Israel hatred and anti-Semitism.

Several ministers of the Labor and Socialist Left governing parties have endorsed hate-inciting acts. The state TV and radio company NRK has an anti-Israel bias officially approved by the Broadcasting Council. There is a dominant anti-Israel attitude in the media and significant anti- Israelism in academia. Trade unions make periodic boycott calls. Some Lutheran bishops are major inciters. There is substantial anti- Semitism in schools.

In 2008, comedian Otto Jespersen urged his nationwide TV audience to remember “all the billions of fleas and lice that lost their lives in the German gas chambers, without having done anything wrong other than settling on persons of Jewish background.” There are also a number of true friends mainly among opposition politicians and parties, as well as pro-Zionist Christians.

But they do not come close to balancing the bias propagated by the cultural elites.

For a long time this Norwegian reality went almost unnoticed abroad. It surfaced with a vengeance in the “Wall Street Journal” in late March when Dershowitz attacked the heads of the universities who refused his offer. “Only once before have I been prevented from lecturing at universities in a country. The other country was apartheid South Africa,” he observed. Then, turning to Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre, who claims that Norway’s philosophy is ‘dialogue,’ Dershowitz wrote that “Hamas and its supporters are invited into the dialogue, but supporters of Israel are excluded by an implicit, yet very real, boycott against pro-Israel views.”

Jay Nordlinger of the “National Review,” the only foreign journalist who occasionally writes about the Nordic country, usually does so sympathetically. Yet a few days after Dershowitz’ article, Nordlinger remarked: “Norway is a splendid country, and its citizens are right to be proud of it. But it has a problem, one common to many countries: anti-Semitism. Not just opposition to Israel [which is problematic enough], but plain, old-fashioned anti-Semitism.”

This rare foreign criticism of Norway was followed by an interview in “The Jerusalem Post” with American author Bruce Bawer, who argued that Norway’s cultural elite has replaced its affinity “to the Soviet Union with sympathy for the great totalitarian ideology of our time: Islamism. Thus they romanticize Palestinians and despise Israel.”

He recommended that Norwegian Jews leave for Israel.

Norway’s authorities, however, need the small organized Jewish community with 800 members in Oslo and Trondheim to help whitewash its anti-Israelism and anti-Semitism.

The community’s leaders believe that to survive as a collective, they should never fully expose what they and their children are confronted with.

The attitude of the ruling cultural elite toward Israel can best be described as a national mutation of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. As Dr.

Jekyll, it presents itself as a great supporter of human rights and major contributor of development aid; as Mr. Hyde it rarely misses an opportunity for Israel-bashing.

Where do the Israel hatred and anti- Semitism originate? The Lutheran creed, which dominated the country in the past explains much. In the 19th century, Norway was the last European country to let Jews in.

During World War II, it also behaved like Jekyll and Hyde. While a significant number of the Jews were helped by the resistance to flee to Sweden, more than 750 others were arrested by the Norwegian authorities, who, after confiscating their possessions, delivered the captive Jews to the German occupiers. Almost all were killed in Auschwitz. Norway is also one of a handful of countries in which kosher slaughter is outlawed.

It preceded Nazi Germany in passing a bill to this effect by a large parliamentary majority in 1929. However, to this day Norway has not seen fit to outlaw whaling and the brutal slaying of large numbers of seals.

Norway is falsely ranked among the leading countries concerning freedom of the press. That is because in this democracy, censorship is executed by the editors of the papers rather than by the state. The end result, though, makes for far less than a free market of ideas, especially when it comes to issues like anti-Semitism and Israel hatred.

A typical example is a letter of complaint last August by then-US senator Sam Brownback to the Norwegian ambassador in Washington about the hatred against Jews and Israel. To back up his claims, Brownback attached a 10-point document from the Simon Wiesenthal Center with serious allegations of hate-supporting acts by the Norwegian king and several ministers, including Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and Foreign Minister Støre. Only the small Christian “Norge Idag” newspaper mentioned Brownback’s letter. All other media ignored it, even though it is unlikely that an American senator had ever written anything as critical of Norway and its leaders. But serious public debate, as is often the case there, was stifled.

Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld has published 19 books, including ‘Behind the Humanitarian Mask: The Nordic Countries, Israel and the Jews.’


"The problem is that not everyone abroad are aware of Norway's "role" in WW2. I doubt US children learn too much about in school, and when some guy portrays some distant, European nation as Nazi collaborators, some younger readers might think "Ok. Those awful Norwegians. Pitiful" or something to that effect."

-- Hans Arild Runde ( http://www.chessninja.com/dailydirt/2009/12/bulletin-board-material.htm )

Yes, tell us why the great Norwegians do not allow Harvard professors to speak at their universities while welcoming terrorists and their sympathizers with open arms. Why is that, Hans?


kenh replied to comment from hack | May 24, 2011 3:15 PM | Reply
That would be the LAST draw.


haha so funny....please make us laugh more clown

News flash: Frogbert eventually tired of feeding the trolls here and hasn't posted anything in months.

Audit returned:

[x} outdated
[x] irrelevant
[x] non-inflammatory

Yes, did you also look further than the rankings? Ivanchuk and Kramnik have both exactly 2780.6, but Chucky played two more classical games (ten at the Capablanca Memorial vs. eight in Kazan).

Anyway, rankings for the official July 2011 list will be decided at the upcoming Bazna event with Carlsen (live #2), Ivanchuk (#4), Nakamura (#6), Karjakin (#7), Radjabov (#13) and Nisipeanu. Ivanchuk, Nakamura and Karjakin are within five points of each other, so a single game can change their rankings - internally and with respect to Kramnik.

A few quick points:
1. Many people here have no memory of the old-style Candidates matches.
2. Candidates matches are by nature tense, close, energy-draining, psychological and highly strategical affairs.
3. Candidates matches are very different from tournament games (or, for that matter, from friendly matches à la Saint-Louis).
4. A lot of the anti-match whiners were anti-tournament (à la San Luis) whiners.
5. If you advocate a Candidates format (like I do), you must accept the limitations that inevitably go with it.
6. Longer matches with more rest days would obviously be more satisfying and fair (but no guarantee against draws, be they short or long draws)
7. Remember Grischuk is a poker player (that probably explains why he can psychologically assume such a risky and original strategy as the one he chose against Kramnik)
8. World champions rarely get much involved in seeking funds for title matches (Kaspy was the exception that confirms the rule) - and I can't see that changing soon...

"1. Many people here have no memory of the old-style Candidates matches."

There had never been an all draws Candidates Match before and now both semis and the final (and two of the quarters) will be all draws unless a miracle happens today. So it's not just a question of young people today knowing nothing about chess history and failing to see that this is how it always has been.

"2. Candidates matches are by nature tense, close, energy-draining, psychological and highly strategical affairs."

I guess so, like Candidates tournaments.

"3. Candidates matches are very different from tournament games (or, for that matter, from friendly matches à la Saint-Louis)."

Not enormously different from the games in a Candidates tournament though.

"4. A lot of the anti-match whiners were anti-tournament (à la San Luis) whiners."

Some people whine regardless, but that doesn't make it impossible to dislike this format. San Luis was about the FIDE Championship and the complaints were at least partly concerned with that many Kramnik him as the World Champion, and that the tournament wasn't about finding a challenger but a Champion.

"5. If you advocate a Candidates format (like I do), you must accept the limitations that inevitably go with it."

If you like the Kazan format you can't complain about it, that's true.

Suggestion for you, Mig.

Change the name of this blog from "daily dirt" to "occasional dirt" since you've shown over the years really can't keep up, whether because of professional obligations, personal indolence or a combination of both.

Sergey Shipov's final live commentary from Kazan!


Thomas: "Yes, did you also look further than the rankings?"

Of course. What kind of observer would I be if I didn't? And, if I am not mistaken, the extra 2 played games would serve as a 'tiebreak' for the upper spot, yes?

Looking forward to that tourney.


Looks really bad for Grischuk!!

Congrats to Gelfand! At last, a challenger to the undisputed world champion who EARNED the right to become challenger by match play.

Gelfand is a deserving challenger. His lifetime accomplishment at the least merit this. Also, a result Anand would've preferred. His firm fav status also might make it easy to get sponssorship in India. Or 2 phases jointly hosted in India and Israel. Both countries are friendly and there are a number of IT giants who have huge prescence in both countries.


Congrats to Gelfand!! Superb last game!

Looks like Anand is 15-1 over Gelfand in all games since 1994 - http://bit.ly/l2Cjt3

Can someone identify the classical games from in there? Could be as high as 6-0 in Anand's favor in classical games.

Congratulations, Boris Gelfand!!!

Gelfand is now in "the second rank of heaven", so to speak: among the set of people of managed to play a title match. In addition to 15 world champions, this set includes Zukertort, Chigorin, Gunsberg, Marshall, Tarrasch, Schlechter, Janovsky, Bogoljubov, Bronstein, Korchnoi, Short, Leko, and Topalov. So, if I calculate correctly and if I don't forget anyone, that is only 28 people in the history of chess.

Congratulations, indeed, Boris Gelfand!!!

Shouldn't you include Shirov too? He did qualify after all, not his fault there were no sponsors?!

Hats off to Gelfand! He was able of handling the pressure in the same way he succeeded in Khanty-Mansiysk in 2009 while Grischuk nerves broke down in the last game.

Congratulations to Vishy Anand for retaining his World Championship crown.

Do not underestimate Gelfand.

Nice post... however Topalov would like to point out that he was not merely a challenger, but also the champion.

Boris Gelfand results:

World Cup 2009

1/64 Obodchuk +1=1
1/32 Amonatov +1=1
1/16 Polgar +1 -1 (rapid +2=1)
1/8 Vachier =2 (rapid =4 , blitz +1=1)
1/4 Jakovenko =2 (rapid +2=1)
1/2 Karjakin +2
Final Ponomariev =4 (rapid +1=2-1, blitz +3 -1)

Candidates, 2011

1/4 Mamedyarov +1=3
1/2 Kamsky =4 (rapid +1=2-1, blitz +2)
Final Grischuk +1=5

Total: +7=22-1 (rapid +6=10-2, blitz +6=1-1)

Grand Total: +19=33-4

Given that Anand treats other players with respect, I doubt he is going to take for granted that he will beat Gelfand.

I am not even sure Anand is the favorite.

Topalov might have been desperate to avoid rapid Tie-Breaks against Anand, in the Sofia World Championship of 2010. His play in the 12th game seemed to evince that, and his comments afterward inplied it, as well.

In truth, after Topalov lost as White in the 2nd game of his "Match" against Kamsky, he was desperate to get INTO the Rapid Tie-Break gamesn with a last ditch win vs. Kamsky.

His loss in game 2 vs Kamsky probably stemmed more from an excess of self-confidence, rather than a lack of it. He was playing for complications in the expectation that Kamsky would crack in Zeitnot. Topalov simply misjudged the riskiness of such a strategy.

Topalov was a champion...just as Anand, Ponomariov and Kasimdzhanov were as well prior to the unification. Anand, of course then won the undisputed title as well.

There has been a lot of whining about the number of draws...in ANY high-level match, you're going to have a draw rate of at least 60% more often than not. Remember that 13 of the 15 Kramnik-Kasparov games were drawn (87%!!). Even Anand-Topalov, which had many more decisive games than usual for a World Championshp match, still had a draw rate of more than 50% (7/12 games).

I understand that there is a lot of frustration with the current playoffs, but tournaments (as Carlsen wants) are not the solution.

Consider, how are tournaments won in recent times?

Usually by an unimpressive performance against the top half, and a large positive score against the bottom half.

Anand won the WCC 2007 tournament with an even score against the top half, and a +4 score against the bottom half.

The last major tournament, the situation was even worse, with Nakamura winning with a NEGATIVE score against the other top finishers (lost to Carlsen, did not beat Anand).

The champion has historically been decided by matches, and that is what we need to continue. Showing the ability to beat up the bottom half is not the way to become a champion.

Tournaments are viable as well -- they just test different things than matches do. I prefer matches to decide the World Champion, but a Champion who wins via tournament is no less worthy (i.e. Anand in 2007, who proved all the haters wrong by thrashing Kramnik in 08).

Tournaments are about breadth of knowledge, while matches are about depth of knowledge. Both are important.

Is there ANY reason why the Wch could not be decided by a combination of tournaments (perhaps two), and matches (six classical games each)?

Champions have traditionally been crowned by beating existing champions in matches. Also matches are less susceptible to "weaker" players winning compared to tournaments (witness Nakamura winning even though he lost to Carlsen).

Thankyou for giving me what I had asked for!
A win with white for Gelfand in the last round to qualify to meet Anand without need for tiebreaks!

I am pleased with the delivery.

Final version of Sergey Shipov's commentary on today's game: http://bit.ly/k4lAig

By the way, I really recommend following the links to the Crestbook interview with Gelfand: e.g. http://www.chessintranslation.com/2010/05/gelfand-at-crestbook-part-i/

Gelfand: I already mentioned the first time I lost a candidates match to Short, in 1991… [he described it as the most painful defeat of his career] At that time, by the way, among the match losers were Ivanchuk, Anand, myself and Korchnoi… I remember as if it were today the closing ceremony at which Korchnoi sat between me and Ivanchuk. And he said: “guys, don’t get upset, you’ve got every chance of becoming world champion. I reached my peak playing in Bagio, aged 47… Then I played another match for the world championship when I was 50. In this hall here there are lots of guys who shout that they’re going to be world champion, or promise they will be. They haven’t got a hope, while you’ve got every chance. So work on it and everything will be ok”. I remembered Victor’s words and continue to work, not thinking about results, but about the process of improvement itself.

Moronic statement about weaker players winning tournaments -- Carlsen wasn't "weaker" than Kramnik or McShane despite winning Corus 2010 and London 2011 after losing to each of them. Just as Naka wasn't
"weaker" than Carlsen in Tata 2011 (Carlsen shouldn't have gotten destroyed with W against Giri AND Nepo if he was so strong).

Matches are great -- but aren't an excuse to bash winners of world-class tournaments. Period.

Yea sure, why not. Lets also have a limbaugh tournament, some judo, and face-painting too.

DOug: "His (Topalov) loss in game 2 vs Kamsky probably stemmed more from an excess of self-confidence"

According to mishanp http://www.chessninja.com/dailydirt/2011/05/kazan-candidates-2011-r2.htm#comment-233102 Topalov forgot his prep on move 2 in that game.

Wow, great quote. Thanks.

Mr Non-Penguin: As usual you do us a great service. (Though one can only wonder why?!) Thank you.

I'll join the chorus of thanks to mishanp. You've made following the Candidates matches truly enjoyable.

Regarding Topalov not merely being a challenger, but also a champion. Strictly speaking, he was a FIDE champion, but never a champion in the Steinitz line (which ran through Kasparov-Kramnik-Anand). However, in the Steinitz line, Topalov was a challenger *TWICE* already. This puts him (=Topalov) in a very elite club of players who have lost two championship matches without actually having become champion themselves. This elite club includes Chigorin, Bogoljubov, Korchnoi, and Topalov.

Was since 1994 carefully chosen? It excludes six earlier wins by Gelfand, vs. one for Anand ... .

I agree that more recent games count for more, but 1994 is also (too) long ago. Since 2004, Anand's score in classical games is +1=7. The sole win is from the last round of Corus 2006 - that game mattered for Anand (to catch Topalov, both won the event with a +5 score) more than it did for Gelfand.

BTW, I am a bit surprised as noone blames Gelfand (or Grischuk) for depriving us of an exciting tiebreak tomorrow ,:) .

I agree that tournaments and matches are both important. However, there are plenty of (super)tournaments vs. just a few serious high-level matches. IMO, the world championship should be something special - hence it should be decided in matches.

The final match will be decided between the #1 ranked player and world chamo, and the #15 ranked player, a kinda of David vs Goliath duel , so the outcome will be once again a big surprise...

In 2006, Kramnik (2743) beat Topalov (2813). Current live ratings are Gelfand (2746) vs. Anand (2817) ...

I've just been to Haaretz in English, online and print editions. There's no coverage of Gelfand's victory!:(:( Shame on them!:(:( Chesswise, that looks an awful lot like the way most of the media treats chess in the US.

When championhship match time comes, I say take away everything electronic from the players and their hotel rooms and their entourages. And no telephone calls to anyone either. Gelfand actually has a shot at winning the title if Anand doesn't go crying to Carlsen for help.

There is a huge dif. for kramnik have been world champ for a while before losing some rating, so it was just a moment of weakness so to speak.

Now we face another tale, a David-Goliath one. Who´s David?

Right, however Kramnik have been world champ before, and that kills any kind of comparison...

Dershowitz is a complete prat and thoroughly dishonest to boot - just thought I would mention that. :) Hmm maybe he is Chess Auditor LOL

There is no way that Carlsen will be giving Anand any help for this match. If anything, he might quietly end up helping Gelfand.

Anand is the clear favorite, but to beat Gelfand, Vishy will be required to simply outplay him (which won't be easy). Boris probably won't self-destruct, like Kramnik did in his match vs. Anand.

I remember (not so long ago) Kasparov making some predictions about Anand's fall and how the youngsters would inevitably overcome him soon enough.
Is nice to confirm what i thought at the moment , that Garry was just expressing his wishes and showing his own fear of aging chesswise , which i bet it had a lot to do ( along with Kramnik's panic for rematch ) with his retirement .
This will be the second WCH match in a row with no russians in it , slowly but surely chess is starting to look a lot less like the mafia.

You make a good point. While Gelfand's current ranking is more or less within range of his career norms, I still think that he is a different, markedly improved, player from when he lost a slew of games to Anand in the late '90s.

His playing style has become more universal, he has a ton of knowledge and experience, and his play shows a poise and a fighting spirit that it previously lacked. I think that it took Gelfand a while to recover from some of the thumpings that he suffered in various matches, especially by Karpov (in the Candidates Semi-final Match?)

It is fair to say that he is a different player now, and that is reflected by his success in the World Cup, and the current Candidates' match cycle. Frankly, it showed a lot of self-awareness to switch from the Sicilian to the Petroff.

You are certainly correct that recent results between the two players are the more relevant data points, and should therefore be given more weight when prognostications are made.

There are various other factors at play here:

*Motivation: Anand was probably uniquely motivated to prepare for his WC match vs. Kramnik, since that would finally place him in the Classical Line of World Champions (he had already won FIDE KO titles, plus the 2007 Tournament Championhip, but his win over Kramnik cemented his legacy. He has nothing left to prove.

Now, Anand is a new father, and he seems to enjoy the good life in Spain. One gets the sense that he isn't training 10-12 hours a day, as Gelfand is purported to do.

*Skills: Anand hasn't really had to push himself. He is playing with less frequency, and has not been dominating the tournaments in which he does participate. True, when he plays against Carlsen, Anad does seem to reaise the level of his game. But, one gets the sense that he is content to eschew complications (let alone speculative sacrifices), endeavoring to play with minimal risk. He clearly is the superior tactician, but the gap has closed.

*Knowledge base: To an extent, Anand may be relying on preparation that has accrued throughout his career. The question is whether he has a big stash of powerful novelties, which he can unleash vs. Gelfand. Against Topalov, his novelties were double edged and interesting (such as Anand's 15. Qa3 in Game 2, but few of the moves would rate am "!" [However, Anand's Game 4 preparation (10. Na3!) was superb, and netted him a point]

*Nerves: Anand himself had a slow transformation, as he tended to underachieve in high pressure situations. Clearly, he has turned that around, but I still would not label him as the iultimate clutch player, either


to respond to another idiotic comment, I'm sure Carlsen will 'serve' Anand just to get Championship experience from a real champoion. What better training than to get coached by Kasparov and Anand !!.. lol

Anand will beat Gelfand easily me thinks...

You are still not wanted on these borads. Go away again and do not come back.

"Now, Anand is a new father"
A little detail from the German magazine "Schach" - maybe just triviz, maybe it affects them (Anand AND Gelfand) in some chessic way:
"After the tournament [Amber] he [Gelfand] flew home quickly to get to know his new-born son born during the tournament (in that respect, Vishy Anand was more lucky, his son waited with birth until Daddy was back). Boris almost cancelled his participation for the last Amber event but apparently got green light from his wife; they already have a little daughter."

It will be interesting to see where the sponsorship comes from for the Championship match and where it will be held. We can now rule out Russia, the Arab countries and London on both counts. Despite Anand's presence for so long at the very top, he has never managed to raise any significant levels of support in his own country - last time he seemed content to let Danailov do all the work. Maybe this time now it's his "own" title on the line he'll do better ?

Neither India nor Israel has held a major event for aeons. Maybe in the current Middle East political situation the Israelis will see this as a chance to give themselves some positive publicity and strengthen their own identity to the world at large ? Maybe in combination with some Indian IT companies.

Seems an excessively simple statement. Carlsen's help may be valiable but whether it proves the difference between the two is far from clear. Anand has demonstrated his skill at high pressure match play and held on to his title against all comers and in very stresful conditions in the home country of the challenger. Ability to handle pressure, general level of play, novelties, match strategy etc. all play a part. Carlen's help if any as a sparring partner need not be decisive either way. Quite insulting to Anand if that was the tipping point - look at his rating, record against Gelfand and ability to handle pressure in match play.

well, anand is one mean fellow for sure

1> he goes to take help from carlsen (without which he would loose for sure (as per mr mark...)

2> he keeps on humping carlsen in tournaments.
He should loose a few to return carlsen's favour .

My personnal feeling about those candidate matches is that I was right (with many other people) to be afraid that the result of the qualifiers would be decided in such short matches. Short matches means randomness of the result, and that's what we got there.

Eventually I guess we may agree that if we're given the choice between a double robin of eight players and those matches, the double robin would quite certainly show a winner that would have much more chances to be the strongest player of the field.

After all, Topalov in 2005 and Anand in 2007 were a bit more significant as winners than the 42 years old Gelfand today. When was his last victory in a supertournament? Dos Hermanas 1994?

It's obvious that a cup system from the very start will give more random results than a championship - or tournament - system.

Therefore, the qualifier tournament and the world cup won by Gelfand are certainly big achievements, but still I'm not quite convinced that he's the right man to be world challenger in 2012.

Anand-Gelfand. Not quite sure it's going to attract media, sponsors, and even chess players. If Anand wins, everybody will think he had zero merits. If Gelfand wins, we'll have the most unsignificant world champion ever.

Illumjinov's continuous efforts to devaluate the world champion title during those last 15 years are maybe going to reach their goal. With a world title depending on short matches being quite often decided by blitz, the outcome was predictable.

I'm not a fan of Gelfand, but why is all this hate? He won the World Cup to qualify, and that is really hard to do.
In Kazan he played active attractive chess in all matches, trying to get a fight with both colors.
Two of his three matches didn't go to the tie-break, and the one that did was really good too!

This may be the last time in observable future when someone qualifies to play the World Champ by playing the Najdorf. Think about it.

"When was his last victory in a supertournament? Dos Hermanas 1994?"

And there Karpov was his only opponent to be close to the top ten.

Gelfand is a very versatile player as evident by his playing the petrof (kramnik) and najdorf (topalov). Against kramnik, anand had an obvious strategy of playing sharp openings with black while against topalov he sought to defend inferior endgames in slav. Against gelfand neither of approaches will have any obvious advantages. Possibly gelfand will prove to be a very tough opponent for anand. Especially if he can survive the first few games.

Its baffling that Mig cant find time to write an article about Gelfand winning the candidates. He tends to become an instant post-whore with any news 'Karlsen'. This much disrespect for top level chess because your pretty faced white boy was too chicken is shameful to say the least.

What more, slander the ones who uphold the game and side with the moronic fatheads who bring it to disrepute. I will take Kirsan anyday over the the rat poison mix of Kasparov, Karpov, Carlsen, Pein, Mig and plenty others on this board too.

I agree. Its nice to see Gelfand earn his way in. He should be invited to the Grand Slam superfinal in September (Anand, Carlsen, Naka are already in) if Carlsen or Naka win the Bazna Kings tournament.

Or even if someone else wins Bazna - Ivanchuk and Karjakin are the other favorites, Radjabov has outsider chances (but, different from Kazan, would need to win at least one classical game), safe to say that Nisipeanu won't finish in first place.
The point is that Bilbao will be a six-player double round robin, hence at least two wildcards are still available.

Mostly agree, but there is still value in a match to determine the challenger and not just a tournament.

Just to reiterate the suggestion I made in a previous thread - a much better format for the candidates (with very few changes from the status quo) would be to have:

a) An 8-player double round-robin candidates tournament with pre-determined tie-break rules (SB, Black wins, etc.)

b) An 8-10 game match between the top 2 finishers in the candidates tournament with draw odds to the winner of (a) - so no tie-breaks will be needed (draw odds if the tournament winner was a clear winner and did not win on tie breaks, otherwise, I guess they'll have to play a tie break)

c) A 12-16 game World Championship match between the Champion and winner of (b)

d) A World Cup to give all top 100 players a shot at qualifying for (a) in the next cycle.

This way you'd have 2 high-quality events every year:

Odd years:

Candidates tournament in April-May
Candidates final match in Sept-Oct

Even years:

WC match in April-May
World Cup in Sept-Oct

The double round-robin candidates tournament will do a lot better job at identifying the strongest players than the 4-game mini-matches, but the candidates final match and WC match will ensure that the very top of the cycle still has 1 on 1 matches.

This way the cycle values both tournaments and matches and sharply reduces the use of rapid tie-breaks after short matches. The predictability of the timing will also allow for longer term planning of sponsors and venues with say 'named' sponsorship rights for different parts of the cycle (say the "Intel" World Cup or the "Cisco" World Championship Candidates Tournament).

The 8-spots for (a) could be:

Loser of WC match
Loser of Candidates final
#3 finisher in previous candidates tournament (provides incentives for everyone to play their best till the end even if not in contention for top spots)
2-3 players from the World Cup
2-3 players from the rating list (based on average of all official ratings over the entire 2 year period from one World Cup to the next - so the rating spots are known before the World Cup and participation decisions can be made accordingly)

It was hard to get excited about these candidates and I think the arbitrariness of the short matches is a big part of the reason. Gelfand is both a legitimate and worthy challenger and has been in the chess elite for over 20 years, but it's hard to not feel that this recent tournament was more of a lottery than ideal. The format above is probably a better one (and not unrealistic in terms of budget and logistics) and will be great to see something like this emerge for the next cycle.

One more thought - if there has to be a tie-break (though the proposal above sharply reduces them), it will be great to play it BEFORE the classical match and treat the tie-break results as providing draw-odds in the classical match. This way you are more likely to have higher quality classical games because the person who loses the tie-break will push much harder, and it's less likely to see both players coasting towards a tie-break and willing to 'take their chances in the rapid/blitz'.

A quick (and incomplete) summary of the current situation:

-We now have a challenger who indeed earned his spot by winning the World Cup and the candidates tournamnet. From a sports point of view Gelfand is a worthy challenger.

-FIDE tries to recreate a cycle in which the world champion has to defend his title on a regular basis.

-India, Israel or FIDE themselves will have to come up with a sponsor, neither Russia nor any western country is going to sponsor a Anand-Gelfand match.

-We got a "worthy" challenger but not the "strongest" challenger based on e.g. recent major tournament successes, ELO rating etc.

-Despite the sporting value, a Anand-Gelfand match will conceivably not help popularizing chess as much as a title match should due to a lack of media coverage.

Conclusion: If FIDE succeeds in organizing the match in 2012 at least chess enthusiasts will follow and appreciate it. If FIDE fails...well, Anand might have started thinking about his options already.

You're sure that its 6 players this year instead of 4 (like it was last year)? In that case, the wildcard probably should be Kramnik (the defending champion). For 6 players:

Anand, Carlsen, Naka, Gelfand, (winner of Bazna), Kramnik (or World Cup winner)

If Carlsen or Naka win Bazna, then:

Anand, Carlsen, Naka, Gelfand, Kramnik, and either Grischuk (would be good to invite both finalists from the Candidates tournament here) or the World Cup winner

Completely agree , and that is one of the reasons many people prefers tournaments rather than matches .
Except for the final instance ( the WCH final) matches are harder to promote and organize than tournaments , with the aggravating factor that they tend to raise levels of boredom that would make Leko jealous .
I always liked tournaments more , the fact that all the players remain fighting till the end gives an extra value to the event , i respect tradition but tournaments are easier to sell and a lot more interesting to watch .

Playing the tie-breaks beforehand is a brilliant idea:)

For example:
Day 1:
Event 1- Blitz. Black/white until there is a winner.
Event 2- Four rapid games. If drawn, winner of blitz is winner of tie-break.
Days 2-5
Event 3- Four game match.

Everything is in the open. The loser of the tie-break has an incentive to push for a win.

Bonus: Plenty of blitz and rapid games.

The co-organiser wasn't known at the time (20 April this year), now the organisers mentioned that it's Sao Paulo. This news hasn't really spread yet, because everyone's attention focused on the candidates event.
As to (remaining) wildcards, yours are logical ones, so are Ivanchuk (maybe depending on how he performs in Bazna) and Aronian. But maybe they want a Spaniard, that would be Shirov - who recently regained some Elo in Lublin and might gain more soon at the Sigeman event (9-13 June, single round robin with Giri, So and locals Hector, Grandelius and Tikkanen). It wouldn't make much sense to nominate a Brazilian ... .

Reports of elation in the Anand camp. Either finalist was viewed as relatively easy pickings, but the quickly brilliance of Grischuk was viewed as a wildcard that was best avoided.

"Play the tiebreaks first."

Concise and simple, as most brilliant ideas are.

Just an observation ...


Playjunior, you are hallucinating. I don't believe there has been a cross word about Boris Gelfand. There appears to be near universal respect for the man. Sure most of the 'pundits' here believe Anand to be the favorite, but a cake walk?

Thomas, my question about format, ie., 'why not decide this by a combination of tournaments and matches,' was meant to apply to the candidates, not the world championship title itself. So I guess that places me closer to the Carlsen camp, and that's fine by me.

pioneer, your choice of players for the Grand Slam Superfinal induces a yawn. Why limit the lineup to just the candidates - again? There are at least two or three other toughs in the top twenty who would be very competitive, and add interest. Assuming it's six entrants, I believe by that time most people will want to see Anand (because he is the champ), Carlsen (because some believe he is the best player who is not the champ), Nakamura (because of his result at Tata Steel), and perhaps Gelfand (because he is the challenger in waiting). Then you grab two other lesser-exposed players who have shown that they can mix it up with the top-rated...

The players comments after the game (translated from Russian): http://bit.ly/mPduYM

It's being killed by the unwillingness of FIDE to eliminate short draws: "Unless a checkmate or resignation has occurred, each game will proceed until sixty moves have been played by each player. The first player having the move to repeat a position three times looses. Stalemates are losses for the stalemated player". Problem solved.

Dev -- I am not saying Amand can't train with Carlsen prior to the start of the match. What I am suggesting, however, is that once the openiong ceremony is completed, then BOTH PLAYERS should be completely cut off from all forms of electronics and media. Let them both rely STRICTLY on whatever is in their own heads at the time. Moreover, I believe all future WC matches should be conducted with this in mind, regsrdless of who the combatabts are and where the location is. There was no insult to Anand intended. Our sport can gain more credibility when there are guarantees of no outside assistance during the moments of truth.

Harami -- Excuse me, but if you or anyone else concerned looks back at the most recent WC history, you can't ignore the facts. Topalov was given some of the latest technology to work with, while Anand turned to the best humans. This was all reported on rhe Chessbase site. Measures beget countermeasures, and therefore, this is why I made my suggestions about ridding both sides of any form of outside assistance while the match is being played. Ergo, my comments were not at all idiotic. What is idiotic, however, is when history is ignored, not only in these, but in all human endeavours.

oh ... gotcha. by that rationale kids taking term exams should be locked up for the two weeks. no books or pens or mentors to help. on off days two slices of bread 4 times a day. a paper bag and a plastic bottle to assist with ablusions.

the moments of truth are the 6 hours that each game lasts. really dont understand what you are even trying to accomplish here

Indeed, there isn't much "hate" towards Gelfand here (more at Chessvibes) - only one person called him (and Grischuk, their match was still underway) "random" challengers as opposed to the "natural" ones Aronian (eliminated) and Carlsen (who chose not to participate). And some people suggest that "Anand has already defended his title" ... .

Actually in a way, this cycle was "a combination of matches and tournaments": three players qualified for the final stages via the FIDE Grand Prix Series, and Kramnik by rating - which is also primarily an end product of tournament results (same story for the absent rating qualifier Carlsen). But in the end the "pure match player" Gelfand prevailed, and the other match player Kamsky overperformed. Once again: IMO there are plenty of tournaments, and not that many (not enough?) matches ... .

As to Bilbao: I guess you have a player with a double name in mind whose native tongue isn't Spanish (hence not Vallejo Pons or Dominguez Perez) ,:) . I would disagree: Bilbao is for qualifiers and "fully established players" as opposed to rising stars (two years ago Karjakin, rising star back then, qualified by winning Corus). All the names pioneer and I mentioned would fall in the former category - well, maybe Shirov would be a rising star, but not for the first time in his career ... .

I do not see anything extraordinary or extreme ab out my idea. Is a WC chess match supposed to be about what is in the brains of the combatants, or what is in the brains of outsiders? Based on your reasoning, perhaps trial juries should be allowed to read the newspapers.

I would rather see Karjakin than Kramnik at this point in time - no particular offense to Big Vlad. Based on World Blitz, Tata Steel, Biel, etc., the guy with the double last name would probably perform quite well, but I didn't mention him because he's 'only' 19th in the world, if performing more like #10. I'd also like to see more of Kamsky. He appears to be getting a little stronger with each tournament in his comeback. I don't know why Bilbao HAS to be for fully established players. Carlsen wasn't "fully established" when in his first Bilbao. Nor were a few others.

I could get behind that. Tie breaks first idea is great. I would still worry about picking two players from a single tournament. There is a lot of possibility of collusion, with players giving up easy draws or even losses in the last couple of rounds to help/hurt one player or the other. Games between other players affect your standing and that is an issue. Second, you would likely get a bunch of players tied for the top spots. There could be four players tied for the second spot, and it will all come down to rapid blitz again, very possibly resulting in a "second tire" player.

While this is never completely avoidable, it can be mitigated. I would start the matchplay stage with 4 players instead of two, with two 8-game rounds. Some combination of ratings and tournament performances in the last year would decide those four players.

Bob's a class act; proper player, devoted himself to the game, seeks the truth, handled this event very well, reinvented himself brilliantly in these KO events. He thoroughly deserves a world title match except for one thing; he's just not quite strong enough. I love the guy and I'll be chuffed if he beats Anand, but at the moment he looks like another Ponomariov proving yet again the format's stupid.

It would be an improvement, but not a panacea. The 4 Kasparov-Karpov matches that were concluded (i.e. K-K II--K-K V) all had Draw Odds for the defending Champion, and all had a large number of draws, many of them fightless. In several of the matches, Kasparov had the Draw Odds, and even with the White pieces proved amenable to short, fightless draws.

I like the idea that the Draw Odds can be earned by either player. In the end, if a player can only draw, and a draw means conceding the match, most top pros will accept the reality of the position, and take the draw, rather than "play for the loss".

In Previous KO events, FIDE has opted to actually give an incentive for both players to draw their Mini-match. FIDE had a Winner's share and a Loser's share for each round.

For instance, those who were eliminated in the First round (of 128) were guaranteed (say) $6,000. This amounted to an appearance fee for being a Qualifier. The winner would be guaranteed a *Minimum* of $12,000, for making it to the next round. Of course, if they won their next match, they stood to earn much more.

This structure encourage players to hedge their bets: They would tacitly agree to settle things via Tie-Break games, by playing 2 Short draws. One player would still be eliminated in the Tie-Breaks. The difference was that the Prize Fund for that match would be split, so that each player would end up with $9,000.

There was a certain logic to this: for the player that was eliminated, the additional money gained, in comparison to just losing outright, was a nice little consolation, which would make defeat less bitter. To the victorious player, the amount ceded by splitting the prize for that match was trivial to the potential gain from staying in the tournament, with a chance to win the big lottery.

Question: How was the prize fund divided up for these recent matches, in Kazan?

Since you tried reasoning with me, I will try an analogy. On the day before a math exam if I discuss with peers some math trivia, it does not mean I pass the exam the next day. I am going to assume that you do not understand the 'numbers' involved in chess, as you seem to have concluded that the 'discussion' with Carlsen, halfway through the match impacted which game again? Ah, yes, the last one with black. Thats right, the previous night of the game Carlsen was giving Anand tutorials on the QGD Lasker. Give me a break pal. Those conversations have squat to contribute to Wch results.
Anand was being polite in the fact that these guys called to check on him during the match, and yeah, had words of advise on some lines.

Read the Chessbase articles on this subject. Are they incorrect? Is Chessbase lying? Perhaps shouldn't believe a lot of the things I read there? Measures beget countermeasures. If you believe chess trivia is discussed on one side, while the other side is invited to use the latest technology, isn't that a bit naive? Kind of like believing in Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy?

But an open ended match (x wins required) with draw odds is not the same animal as a shorter, defined-length affair.

Just an observation ...


I would hope for both K's in Bilbao, Karjakin and Kramnik - i.e. that Karjakin, rather than Carlsen or Nakamura, wins Bazna. Nothing particular against Magnus and Hikaru, but their fans can get a bit annoying whenever they win something (see also Mig's overly enthusiastic tweets on the Naka-Ponomariov match). It would be equally nice if Ivanchuk wins Bazna.
As pioneer correctly states, Kramnik won Bilbao last year - and usually all tournaments re-invite the defending champion.

"I don't know why Bilbao HAS to be for fully established players."
Because it is, or at least claims to be different from other supertournaments? The first edition had Anand (world #1), Ivanchuk (#4), Topalov (#5), Carlsen (#6, which I would call fullly established), Radjabov (#7) and Aronian (#12). Aronian might have been a "borderline case" at the time, but he had qualified by winning Corus together with Carlsen. That year, Carlsen was also second in Linares half a point behind Anand.

well, anand is one mean fellow for sure
1> he goes to take help from carlsen (without which he would loose for sure (as per mr mark...)
2> he keeps on humping carlsen in tournaments.
He should loose a few to return carlsen's favour .

Right, but you must admit that "fully established players" is a sticky wicket, isn't it? You wrote: "That year, Carlsen was also second in Linares half a point behind Anand." ?
Well, I could cite a few other players who have won major tournaments, qualifying them as established: a World Cup winner, a Biel winner, etc...

Wijk aan Zee is great because we get to see many talented players, a few of whom will be tomorrow's elite, or very close to it. Different personalities, different styles. Good stuff, right?

Latest FIDE spat - Danailov to run against Kirsan for FIDE President in 2014 ? Can you vote for both to lose I wonder ?

All right lets start the bidding for (Baboo Bot) Anand vs (Mr Magoo) Gelfand....do I hear a staring bid of uh $200 dollars...remember we take change

I totally agree. The term is oligopolization.

The as it were nature of strange attracters to pull in all energies around them, making themselves centric to large domains, not just for being gigantic, but gigantism actually reinforcing the tendency itself, can be taken as similar to the top ten of twelve of chess hegemony.

To the extent that the highest level chessplayers--the supergrandmasters to the supergrandmasters--have some factor of being where they are due NOT just to their being the best of the very best, but to the tendency of ranking social groups to self reinforce, where the winners cannot be approaches except by other winners, then this is a real buffering. Now, this guys are great. No question. Full stop. But some small factor of systemic self reinforcing energy does exist, is in place to hold that energy in place.

Ivanchuk, previously Nakamura, maybe Almasi if this does not insult to include him off that margin but to make a point, these sorts fight off all comers, in size and frequency.

Nice to see you all. Love the comments. Very, very hearty thanks to Mishanp, always appreciated, others like Thomas always delight. Peace, dk

Since your comprehension seems bad, I will be more elaborate.

This is the statement you made - Gelfand actually has a shot at winning the title if Anand doesn't go crying to Carlsen for help. It has patzer written all over it.

Do you recall the sequence of games? The last six games had 2 decisive ones. G10 and G12. The only one that went in favor of Anand was G12. So whatever help it is you are saying Anand received was effective only on G12 - when he was playing black - QGD - Lasker. So whatever 'help' Anand received was impacted through that game as per what you are saying. What a dolt!

A very well deserved victory for Boris Gelfand! Now, does this mean the possibility of seeing 1.e4 in a WC match is gone, yet again? Unless Gelfand plays it!? I know Gelfand played the Najdorf only a week ago, but.. you know..

Anand did not go to Carlsen for help. Carlsen was a sparring partner , with whom he payed blitz for 2 days.

By the way is having seconds or trainers equivalent to going crying for help?

You mix two things: My definition of "fully established player" would be top10 and probably bound to stay there - or, if you prefer an arbitrary Elo threshold, >2750. From the current top10, I am not that sure about Mamedyarov and Gashimov (incidentally #s 9 and 10), and Topalov might leave that club in the foreseeable future but has been there for quite a few years. But I put the term in scare quotes for a reason ... .

I mentioned tournament results for "pre-Bilbao 2008" to point out that Aronian or Carlsen qualified by winning Corus (no idea who happened to be first on tiebreak, it made sense to invite both). And a month later in Linares, Carlsen demonstrated that his result in Wijk aan Zee wasn't just an accident. Put it that way: even "Carlsen haters" couldn't really question his Bilbao invitation at the time.

As to tournaments, I would arbitrarily divide them into three categories (with some overlap, and of course there's much more which isn't extensively covered on the Internet):
1) those catering to the 2750+ crowd: Linares, formerly MTel, Bazna, Tal Memorial (all but the last just six players), and Bilbao always invited that type of players and/or those who managed to qualify.
2) those catering to the 2700+ crowd: Corus/Tata, Capablanca Memorial, what else? Indeed Wijk aan Zee is rather special and has its right to exist (the B group falls under 3) below).
3) those catering to the 2600-2750 crowd (who usually don't attract or cannot afford the very strongest players): e.g. Lublin that just finished, Poikovsky.
Dortmund is between 1) and 2), so is Biel. And for London, generally you have to be English or 2750+.

All events have their right to exist, I just don't think that Bilbao would or should become "1.5" by inviting Vachier-Lagrave, or Kamsky, or Vitiugov, or Dominguez, or .... .

Anybody knows what is statistics for Anand - Gelfand? I believe it's not so great for Boris. uhmm

I was expressing a personal preference as much as anything. I would not expect to change the minds of tournament organizers. They want the top of the top. Trouble is, as you suggested with Topolov, for one, that's a category in flux anyway.

I don't disagree with you ... basically I pointed out that there are events which fit your personal preferences - maybe not enough, and maybe the boundaries should become more flexible. Bilbao wouldn't be the most logical candidate), Dortmund opened itself up by inviting the Aeroflot winner. In some years it was/is an "incipient rising star" (Le Quang Liem, earlier Nepomniachtchi), in other years a respectable subtop player like Bologan or Bacrot.
My own preference: there's a variety of events, let's keep it that way. In that respect [off-topic: not when it comes to political opinion] I am conservative and see no compelling reasons to drastically change the status quo.

I fully agree about "category in flux" but don't consider it troublesome. Already this year, Topalov wouldn't be a logical Bilbao wildcard (also because he twice declined an earned invitation). Conversely, Vachier-Lagrave might qualify for Bilbao 2012 or 2013 - either by winning a qualifying event, or by becoming (at least) a top10 player.

I know, Mark does not.

Yes, and looking back on chess history, it would appear that the cream of the crop players win more than, let's say, one elite tournament. I believe, for example, that Bogolubov won one somewhere, sometime, but he wasn't consistently at the top of the tournament standings like Capablanca or Alekhine or Lasker. Same for Marshall, who was winning everything in the U.S. (if Pillsbury wasn't), but had trouble overseas. Guys like Nepo and Vachier-Lagrave and Vitiugov are still young, and I expect they'll continue to impress --- of course, they'll need to get invited to more elite events to do that.

I agree.

" 'When was his last victory in a supertournament? Dos Hermanas 1994?'

And there Karpov was his only opponent to be close to the top ten."

Yeah, the same year (1994) that Karpov destroyed the Linares field to have the single greatest tournament performance in history. That Karpov.

As we discussed Bilbao (25 September - 11 October), I might also mention the Unive event (14-22 October) which features last year's winner Vachier-Lagrave, local hero Giri, Kramnik and Polgar. Would Kramnik actually play two events with basically no break in between?

Yes, but Karpov played many tournaments in 1994 and only won one of them. In all the others he was the favourite but finished behind Epishin, Piket, Kamsky, Salov, Bareev, Polgar, etc. Linares was of course enough to make it a good year for Karpov, but finishing ahead of him in another tournaments that year isn't something that makes Gelfand all that exclusive, especially not since no other participant was close to the top ten list, so it wasn't really anywhere close to a super tournament.

The point is that finishing ahead of Karpov in 1994 was meaningful and shouldn't be used to discount Gelfand's tournament win back then. Besides, the World Cup 2009 was as strong as any tournament over the past 10 years with a few exceptions (Bilbao, Tal Memorial 2009, and a few others).

According to Gelfand's post-match interview (thank you mishanp!!), Gelfand was +5 until 1993, then -5 from 1993-1997, and has been -2 ever since.

I expect a good match...with Anand victorious.

I still remember the ONLY ONE person Anand had tough times during his younger days was Gelfand. I am assuming most of Gelfand advantage was from theoretical or opening edge he had over Anand then.

Emil Sutovsky's political questionnaire!!


Quote:What is more suitable system for Candidates – matches or double round robin?

If the match system is used, what format would you prefer (4+4+6, like in Kazan, 6+6+6, other...) Do you have positive/negative remarks about the format used in Kazan?

Should the World Champion's privilege stay intact or should the World Champion join the Candidates in the future cycles?

Do you think FIDE should preserve two-year cycle or consider switching to a yearly Championship? [unquote]

Another chess mess in the making!

Is it that hard for a high rated chess player to understand collision in tournaments? Why do they still ask for tournaments? To enable politicians to collude and capture throne?? If there is a tournament qualification, at least 4 must be selected.

Why should the question be placed about World champion starting from candidates who has reached the peak from qualifying from the previous cycle? Isn't that again the reflection of the sentiment of Carlsen who wants title without any qualification or fight?

One year championship?? Who will sponsor?? Suddenly 2 years title span look long when Anand is on the throne??

Will any of these or a format change or longer matches would make players to avoid draw? I strongly doubt.

So it sounds like politicians attempt to create some mess at the backdrop of some of the high rated player's inability to overcome their opponents in the candidates. My opinion is, longer games would matter only for people like Topalov who would like to fight and lose in the process and the shorter version making it difficult for them to comeback. Others don't need a longer version candidates.

Only matches at high levels are going to generate interest. So may be FIDE should have only a candidates semis and finals of 6 games each followed by tie breaks.

Title match should only be 12. For talk of any more than 12, FIDE should be able to provide fool proof security against off the board cheating like stealing seconds, stealing preparations etc.

I can't believe this dumb questionnaire is sent out to top 20 players and will be discussed in WCWO or whatever (I can't google and find what that committee is)!

Hmm, what was Anand's score against Kasparov? As to your assumption ("most of Gelfand advantage was from theoretical or opening edge"), what is it based on? Did you actually look at the games?? I did ... and Gelfand's first three victories were positional grinds from rather innocent openings - vintage Kramnik, Leko or ... Gelfand:
Gelfand was simply the better player at these occasions, who managed to impose his style upon the opponent.
Then Anand's first victory was superior opening preparation (9.-Nb4!!), "described by Gelfand as one of the best [novelties] he had ever had to face"

I won't comment on Sutovsky's letter, but regarding "Commission for World Championships & Olympiads (WCO)", that's one of the few things which actually can be found at the FIDE homepage:
Members are Chairman Makropoulos, Gelfer, Bareev and Sutovsky himself. Most other commissions seem to have about ten members, and it's funny (but absolutely unrelated to Gelfand's qualification) that WCO has two members from Israel.

Grischuk gave a very interesting interview after the Candidates Matches: http://bit.ly/iZBVaM

e.g. as well as responding to the criticism of his tactics, he has a more drastic take on "the problem of draws" that most top players:

"Boris and I have an excellent relationship, but on that point our opinions differ. He thinks my statement about “the burial of classical chess” is complete nonsense, while I still think that classical chess doesn’t have long to go."

Pioneer wrote "Just as Naka wasn't "weaker" than Carlsen in Tata 2011"

You are quite entitled to idiotic beliefs like Naka isn't weaker than Carlsen, enough said...

"The point is that finishing ahead of Karpov in 1994 was meaningful and shouldn't be used to discount Gelfand's tournament win back then. Besides, the World Cup 2009 was as strong as any tournament over the past 10 years"

Gelfand was ranked first in the World Cup 2009, to say that it was as strong as any tournament over the past ten years is just not anywhere close to be true, exceptions or not.

Finishing ahead of Karpov in 1994 was meaningful, but if you have to go 17 years back to find such a result it means that his record isn't too good. In Linares where Karpov played well he scored +9 and Gelfand -2, in other tournaments Karpov played much worse and he was the only player in the top ten in the tournament Gelfand won.

Pirc, I'd take the positives out of this.
Anand, the last great WCH in the Stntz line. And then may be we can statr the carlsen line of clowns

[quote]Hmm, what was Anand's score against Kasparov? As to your assumption ("most of Gelfand advantage was from theoretical or opening edge"), what is it based on? Did you actually look at the games?? I did ... and Gelfand's first three victories were positional grinds from rather innocent openings - vintage Kramnik, Leko or ... Gelfand:[/quote]

Okay, Thomas, my assumption is wrong then! Thanks for correcting, I will check out the games. Gelfand could have been better and beaten Anand in middle or end game. I know Anand was not that strong in end games in his initial days. But as for Kasparov, he had political backing, he ducked Anand, so I don't want to do comparison with him.

In any case, I'm looking forward to this Anand Gelfand match. I want both them to give their best and there is no reason either one wouldn't. I'm sure this title match will be very exciting. I want Anand to give the best ever for this match!

But come on, you should tell frank your opinion Sutovsky's letter!!

george, haha, I too am afraid that is what they are gearing up for! I mean, the WCO World Clowns Organization! ;)

George the creep.

ken the retard

I wouldn't be so harsh as that comment, but I also do not think that Hikaru Nakamura (I'm American, by the way), could hold his own in a match with Magnus Carlsen. I believe it would be a lopsided result.

LMAO, the truth is so funny

well, there is further proof that you are a retard.

A parable which might contain the answer to the eternal question:

"George and Kehh, who is the moron?"


Two parties to a dispute come to the rabbi.

After the first presents his case, the rabbi says, “You’re right.”

And after the other presents his case, the rabbi says to him, “You’re right.”

Whereupon the rabbi’s secretary says, “Rabbi, you just told them both that they’re right when they take opposing positions.” And the rabbi said famously, “And you’re right too.”

Parable or paradox?? May be, parable. You're right!

"If the match system is used, there must be definately six or even eight games matches, because otherwise most of the matches might be decided in rapid or blitz, like in Kazan, and it makes little sense because it is a classical chess championship"

Kramnik's opinion on four games being quite enough for Candidates matches changed quickly after Kazan, for some reason.

He wasn't. That's why he won the tournament and Carlsen didn't. Thank you and come again.

I don't have to go back 17 years...the World Cup was 2 years ago.

OK, I will give my opinion on Sutovsky's questionnaire - it will be lengthy, for me there are no simple answers and nothing is all black or all white.

0. Does it make sense to contact the top players? Spontaneously I would say "why not" - "a majority of the world top wants" would be a stronger argument than "Carlsen wants" or "Anand (Kramnik, Topalov, ...) wants". However, several issues can arise:
- What if there is no clear majority but a 10-10 tie or an 11-9 "tiebreak victory", e.g. for matches vs. a tournament? Asking 21 players wouldn't guarantee a decisive result either - some may reply "no comment" or "no preference", or don't reply at all.
- Why (just) the top20? Why do they ask Svidler (#14) who, with all due respect, is unlikely to play a role in future cycles? Why don't they ask Caruana (#28) and Nepomniachtchi (#31) who could be future WCh candidates?
- Several players might think about "what's best for me" rather than "what's best for chess" - or genuinely consider this one and the same thing (but it isn't). Would it be better to consult an expert panel of _former_ world top players, e.g. Bareev, Seirawan, Short, Karpov, Korchnoi, ...? [no spot for Kasparov IMO as he isn't neutral/unbiased about the current world top]

1. Matches or a tournament? I prefer matches, repeating myself: there are plenty of tournaments and a relative scarcity of high-level matches. A candidates tournament would more or less be another Bilbao, albeit with fairer qualification criteria.

2. Short or long matches? Longer matches would be preferable, within certain limits (24 games or more is "ancient history"). The problem was: while some players preferred longer matches, apparently they didn't want to spend more than three weeks in Kazan (or, so I presume, any other venue). Within a few weeks, Radjabov (who might have played more than one match) and Carlsen (who could have played more than zero matches) already play Bazna .... . For several dates and probably several venues it would be even harder to find empty spots in the tournament calendar, as well as sponsors. And players also complained that the cycle was already too long ... .

thomas könnte ein Harz4ler sein. So viel Zeit wie er hier in seine Meinung packt...

3. Privileges for the defending champion? I am inclined to say "yes", out of tradition and because the champ should have some time to enjoy what he achieved (call it "rest on his laurels").
But PircAlert's argument that the WCh has already proven that he's the best is IMO questionable, couldn't it be extended to other players? The (losing) challenger has proven that he's second-best, why does he have to play another candidates event rather than getting a rematch? The final eight have proven that they are the eight best, why do they need to qualify again?? In such a "system" newcomers wouldn't get a chance until someone retires or is "disqualified" (you lose your spot if your rating falls below 2700) ... .

A compromise might be to start the candidates event (in a match system) with 12 players, narrow the field down to 3 and have the WCh join at this stage. He would need two match wins to keep his title, and noone could really argue that his (sole) opponent happened to be an easy or convenient one, as some now say about Gelfand.

4."Do you think FIDE should preserve two-year cycle or consider switching to a yearly Championship?"
I agree that the latter would be utter nonsense - note the semantics: a yearly Championship wouldn't have a cycle!!? How would the challenger qualify? Always the highest-rated one (currently: sorry Aronian but 2808 ain't enough, Carlsen has 2815)? Always the one who can find sponsors to buy himself a WCh match? Which might again be bad news for Aronian because Armenia is a poorer country than Norway, Russia, USA or Azerbaijan ... .
I wonder whose suggestion this was in the first place: there were many suggestions for changes to the cycle, but this seems all new!?

Good points, but no way does Seirawan deserve a place on any panel. He was never even a top player in his prime 30 years ago (top = consistent world top-10 player) and he is in no way unbiased considering the "Prague agreement" fiasco -- which would have left Anand out in the cold, BTW. Karpov is not unbiased - he quietly benefitted from FIDE favoritsm for years without standing up for fair play -- he is no more credible than Kasparov ( I would include both Karpov and Kasparov on any panel).

As for matches, I think that 12 games is a nice number...even the 16 game match in 2000 b/t Kramnik and Kasparov had a lot of short, toothless draws, and the 24 game match (i.e. 1990 Kasparov-Karpov stype) had a TON of terribly short, boring draws.

12 games for the title is about right...players know that the match is long enough for a clear winner to be decided w/o tiebreaks, but not so long that you can afford to waste your Whites by agreeing to quick draws.

Andere gucken währenddessen das Champions League Finale - but let's stick to English

I'm not against asking opinion from Top 20 or Top 100 for that matter. Mostly likely it would be better than the opinion of general chess public.

But my question is,
1. How relevant are these questions? What is that the committee wants to achieve at the end of it?
2. Has the pros and cons of the 2 sides of the arguments of each question discussed for the players to make a good judgement when they answer the questions?

When you do that and when top 20 answer, we can see how responsible they come up with their opinion and answer. Otherwise it will like Mamed answering "I want tournament because that improves my chance!". What is the point of having 11 such Mameds and therefore majority opinion when there is no merit in their opinion??

"A compromise might be to start the candidates event (in a match system) with 12 players, narrow the field down to 3 and have the WCh join at this stage. He would need two match wins to keep his title, and noone could really argue that his (sole) opponent happened to be an easy or convenient one, as some now say about Gelfand."

That is exactly like the FIDE 1996 cycle...I don't think that should be a paragon for deciding the world champion.

[quote]A compromise might be to start the candidates event (in a match system) with 12 players, narrow the field down to 3 and have the WCh join at this stage. He would need two match wins to keep his title, and noone could really argue that his (sole) opponent happened to be an easy or convenient one, as some now say about Gelfand.[/quote]

First off, why compromise? What is the idea of abolishing the title bout and making the World champion play in the candidates? Hand-picking a challenger is outrageous, that needs to be abolished, and that is abolished. But why devalue the title? Is that because you can't find one man to dethrone Anand now you have improved chances to dethrone Anand when you make him play two matches instead of one? Let us talk of compromise when the players who want champion play in the candidates first get the title in a title bout and then change the system for champion to play in candidates. Otherwise they shouldn't come up with such ridiculous suggestions. It only underlines their weakness that they can't dethrone a champion by properly qualifying and taking him on in a match!

Going through some original Mission Impossible episodes on youtube, I came across this:


"A Game of Chess" (circa 1967). Martin Landau uses a radio receiver to get the moves a computer program suggests. The boards are set up right and every game ends in checkmate.

I'm not sure about the tournament format, but it seems like it's double elimination. I wonder, would it have been better if FIDE had run the knockouts as double elimination (meaning you had to lose two matches before you were out of the tournament).

Nakamura won one tournament in which Carlsen took part, so he in your mind is the superior player? Or is it just that you don't believe in a lopsided match result?

I say that if Magnus is better than Hikaru at blitz (Nakamura's strong suit), what should that suggest for the classical outcome?

Hikaru is not likely to improve his blitz game. His classical game, yes, but if so, then Magnus should be right there as well, yes?

This whole thing regarding the cycle is frankly cyclical.
The best players of their generation always go on to become world champions and they stay at that perch for sometime. Now, one can start making excuses about world champion privileges but the fact is unless you darn good you don't keep it for more than one term. And when someone does, there are ways to dethrone him. Kasparov was smart and scooted with the title, but they eventually caught up with him. Kramnik managed to cling onto it through Leko and Topa but they eventually dragged him into a tournament, instead of playing him directly in a match with Anand. Anyway, Anand acknowledged to some extent the significance of their Bonn match and the chess community in General consider that as the true handling over of the title rather than the 2007 tournament. Now that Anand has cleared Topalov too and is favorite against Gelfand, the warmongers are at it again. With Kramnik, they had the pretense of unification, now I guess, the high draw percentages in the qualifiers. What the hell does that have to do with World Champion privileges? God the fk knows.

I totally agree. Period.

Agree. The candidates event is for identifying a challanger for the Champion. The challenger is to be iedntified from a group of deserving players selected through a legitimate and decent system.
Why should the champion play in a candidates. Does not make sense to have the champion double up as a challanger.

On Gelfand and his not winning tournaments (a sneak preview of an interview with Emil Sutovsky!):

"The thing is Boris is very often underestimated in predictions based on his rating, or that for many years he hasn't won top tournaments where the strongest players took part. That's all true. But on the other hand, Borya, as a typical student of the Petrosian school, shows up at the most important tournaments and matches for the World Championship, and so on. If you recall: during the years he was champion, from 1963 to 1969, Petrosian perhaps didn't win a single tournament. Or maybe he won one. He would even often play badly, getting 50%. i.e. he could allow himself to play badly, but in the crucial moment he nevertheless played very, very well. It's the same with Borya. He has a very clear idea of which tournaments are important. You can see it in his results: in Elista in the Candidates Matches he confidently won two matches; after that the World Championship tournament in Mexico... [...] It seems to me that those who write off Boris should look at the high quality of his games."

"Anyway, Anand acknowledged to some extent the significance of their Bonn match and the chess community in General consider that as the true handling over of the title rather than the 2007 tournament."

Absolutely not true and completely delusional. Anand from the beginning has been quoted as stating that the right of Kramnik to directly challenge him for a rematch after the 2007 title win was "ridiculous".

Vishy has never put his match win over Kramnik in 2008 as validation of his title -- he has been the undisputed champion since 2007. Its only the Kramnik-tards who refused to acknowledge (until Anand thrashed him in 2008) what the rest of the chess world has known since the end of the Mexico tournament in 07 -- that Anand is clearly without peer as world champion.

Carlsen is Anand's peer, and you know it. You can feel it in your bones. In the opening, middlegame, and endgame, at least equal.

One issue is whether only "Kramnik-tards" thought that the WCh title should ultimately be decided in a match. Indeed, Anand made such a statement ("ridiculous") to an Indian journalist (he might have put it differently for a different audience?).
"[Anand] This clause (of dethroned champion Kramnik getting a one-time right to challenge Anand) is ridiculous and I hope that it never comes back in the future."
And then he had to play a match against Topalov ... .

You're also wrong about Yasser Seirawan. He was in fact at a top player in his prime - which was @ ten years - with wins against Karpov, Timman, Short, Kasparov, and most of the other best of the time.

ken, you stupid rat. shut up. you dont have to butt into every discussion. carlsen will take at least another 4 years before he reaches the same level of chess understanding as Anand. Can you stop bragging abt the twit even before he's achieved anything

pioneer, the reason I said Anand acknowledged..., after his match in an interview he acknowledged the sentiments of those who insisted on a match. He said something along the lines of, now I hope every one is happy. he also admitted that he felt relieved that he won or others would mark an aster ix against his title.

Carlsen vs. Anand -- equal -- except when it matters most, of course (Anand +2 over Magnus since his last title defense, BTW).

And Seirawan was NEVER a consistent top-10 player. He had wins over some top players, but that doesn't make him a top player. You fail again.

That sounds a little better, because your earlier post made it seem as though Anand felt the Kramnik match vindicated his 2007 title, which it certainly did not. He was the best in 07, and proved it convincingly in 08 just in case there was any doubt.

To be clear, according to Sonas, Seirawan was very, very near the top ten, agreed, didn't stay up there for long.

That said, A. being world Junior Champ was no joke in 1979 when beating a soviet or two without all the current data, B. he beat Karpov three times in a row in blitz back in the day ('Yasser, NO one EVER did that to me!'), C. beat Kasparov a few times as few Americans ever could, was it, and D. Informant is FILLED with many games versus top players, 'because they were always gunning for me'.

If he was not a firm world top ten, then for very long he was and is a world top ten human being. :-). Easy calculation.

'filled with games, many of them LOSSES because...'

Being World Junior Champ does not equal being a top pro -- ask Mark Diesen, Tal Shaked, or Ilya Gurevich -- other Americans who won the World Junior Championship over the past 25 years.

Seirawan never even came close to playing for the world title. Yes he had some isolated wins -- I remember the US chess media harping about his victory over Karpov a few times, but those were ISOLATED events. My ELO is 2200 and I've beaten 4 GMs in my career at FIDE-ratable time controls -- that doesn't make me a GM. Neither do Seirawan's scalps make him an elite player.

For that tournament, yes Naka was superior to Carlsen -- that's why he won the tournament and Carlsen didn't (both faced the same field of top players). Overall, I would SPECULATE that Magnus right now is better than Naka, but its only speculation. When the dust settled at Tata, Naka proved superior (to just about everyone's surprise, including mine). I would expect that Carlsen will have a better result at Bazna than Naka -- but I would love to be proved wrong again :).

And as for blitz, Naka beat Carlsen in his own country 3-1 in 09 and they split their two blitz games at the 2010 World Blitz Championship. So the jury is still very much out in blitz between those two.

I (as you and others) would love to know the outcome of the blitz night between Magnus and Hikaru after the '10 World Blitz. Speculation was that Magnus won many more games than Hikaru, but it's only speculation and could be wrong.

As for Yasser, had you gotten a chance to play him in his prime, you would have been crushed mercilessly. He wouldn't have given you as much as a chance. If you don't believe that, ask a few grandmasters who've seen his games. That's where I got my info from.

"during the years he was champion, from 1963 to 1969, Petrosian perhaps didn't win a single tournament. Or maybe he won one. He would even often play badly, getting 50%. i.e. he could allow himself to play badly, but in the crucial moment he nevertheless played very, very well. It's the same with Borya. He has a very clear idea of which tournaments are important"

There are some differences between Petrosian and Gelfand as well :-) Chessmetrics have Petrosian as #1 in the world the years before he won the title. He lined up top result after top result against the best players. Gelfand has never been anywhere near Petrosian's level in that respect.

As World Champion Petrosian usually finished top two with +6 +7 +8, but also had two bad results, none of them with a minus score. Far from players like Kasparov and Karpov, but probably normal results for a normal World Champion.

Gelfand does seem to play his best at the right moment, but one should also look at how close it has been that he never reached this far. The Grand Prix series were also "when it mattered" and he scored bad result and didn't qualify. Then he succeeded in the World Cup, but he was ranked first and the blitz tiebreaks went his way, Amonatov missed a win, etc. And then in Kazan he didn't have to play any of the top ranked players, and Kamsky missed the move that would have eliminated him. So there are similarites but Petrosian was on a much higher level compared to Gelfand.

The result of the blitz night between Carlsen and Nakamura was actually revealed - first in comments here by Bobby Fiske and frogbert - it was 23.5-16.5. Later NewInChess confirmed the score and mentioned that the winner was Carlsen. IMO, this isn't proof that Carlsen is the better blitz player - it was one match under special conditions. Nor is Kramnik a chicken: NIC mentioned that Magnus and Hikaru met him on the hotel floor before their match and invited him to join, Vlad shook his head and questioned their sanity.

Nor is their earlier four-game match (with prize money at stake) proof the other way around: it was basically decided when Magnus lost a winning endgame. To make this a bit on-thread (though Carlsen and Nakamura didn't play in Kazan): a four-game blitz match is much more random than a four-game classical match.

The best indicator might be their respective results at the last world blitz championship: Carlsen 23.5/38 vs. Nakamura 21.5/38 - slight advantage for Magnus, and refuting earlier rumors that Nakamura is "simply the very best" in blitz. Not much more than this, but I guess only Nakamura and his fans believe that it was just an accident, and he would have won easily if he hadn't been completely out of form.

Of course Seirawan would have had a very good chance to crush me, he's a GM and I'm not...duh. That doesn't mean he's an elite player...there are a lot of players better than me.

Regarding blitz b/t Magnus and Naka, we still don't know who is better between them. I suspect we'll find out over the next 2-3 years.

"Gelfand does seem to play his best at the right moment, but one should also look at how close it has been that he never reached this far. The Grand Prix series were also "when it mattered" and he scored bad result and didn't qualify. Then he succeeded in the World Cup, but he was ranked first and the blitz tiebreaks went his way, Amonatov missed a win, etc. And then in Kazan he didn't have to play any of the top ranked players, and Kamsky missed the move that would have eliminated him."

Wow are you hating on Gelfand. He had already clinched a spot in the Candidates before the Grand Prix ended (because of his World Cup win), so obviously he had little incentive to push all the way there. In Kazan he didn't play Aronian, Topalov or Kramnik because they WEREN'T GOOD ENOUGH to face him there. That's why.

IMO the World Championship 2007 was where Gelfand unmistakably showed he is worthy of challenging for the title. He was clearly the second-best player (to Anand) for most of the tournament, and was the only reason Anand hadn't clinched the title outright prior to the final round.

"Wow are you hating on Gelfand. He had already clinched a spot in the Candidates before the Grand Prix ended"

Only one of the six Grand Prix events were left when the World Cup was played, so it's hard to say that he had little incentive in the Grand Prix because he knew he would win the World Cup. He just played his normal level in the Grand Prix and had the type of results he's usually been having the last decade.

Gelfand won in Kazan and that's why he is the challenger, and that is what counts, but these knockouts, as in Gelfand's case, often have sensational winners. Someone claimed that Kazan proved that Gelfand is #1 or #2 in the world, and that the rating list says nothing about playing strength since Gelfand isn't ranked #1 or #2 on it. But it was just one knockout, and I think people tend to overestimate them as a measure of players.

"Wow are you hating on Gelfand. He had already clinched a spot in the Candidates before the Grand Prix ended (because of his World Cup win), so obviously he had little incentive to push all the way there."

Not quite. Gelfand's position in the GP was pretty dire after placing 12th in Sochi and shared 6th in Nalchik (he did much better with a shared 2nd place in Jermuk, but it was already too late to catch Aronian).

It's true that at the time of Astrakhan he was already qualified for the Candidates. So his only incentives would have been the joy of playing good chess, winning a tournament, picking up some rating points, and the first prize money for the event itself (not sure how much that was) plus some 40-50k Euro for the overall GP result. He ended in 10th place with +1 =10 -2.

Here is my theory: The best chess players get invitations, prepare, and go to tournaments like Wijk and Linares. Sometimes one player is sick, sometimes another is in bad form, sometimes a third has a match coming up, etc. But on the whole they try their best, and if they score -1 it's because they aren't better than that, and if they score +3 it's because they aren't worse than that. Not in one single event but on average. If they never beat the top players and never win the top tournaments it isn't because they don't try but because they aren't good enough to do it. I don't think Gelfand will lose with a big margin against Anand though, nowadays all players in the top 20 can score fairly even results against each other. 7-5 or something like that, maybe.

Anand had tough times against Ivanchuck too simply because Ivanchuck was quite unpredictable. As Kasparov once quoted, Ivanchuck is capable of playing at 2800 level as well as 2600 level. Whether you beat him or not depends on which Ivanchuck decided to show up at the tournament. Of course he said it when Ivanchuck was rated around 2700.

Anand found this out to his chagrin during the 2001 FIDE championship when he lost to Chucky in semifinals. Then Chucky went on to lose to a 17 year old kid called Ponamariov...

You wrote: "It was 23.5-16.5. Later NewInChess confirmed the score and mentioned that the winner was Carlsen. IMO, this isn't proof that Carlsen is the better blitz player - it was one match under special conditions."

That's not close! I'll tell you what, if I was Hikaru and I played anybody that many blitz games, walking away with that kind of lopsided score, I wouldn't be thinking that it should be closer because of the so-called special conditions. I'd be questioning my reputation as the hottest blitz player in the land, period.

Allow me to repeat what has been written above: Seirawan beat Karpov three times in a row in blitz, he beat Kasparov several times, he vanquished Nigel Short, Jan Timman, and a host of the other elite GMs of the time. No, they weren't matches, but were all those games just accidental? Are you implying that many any other players did that? No great accomplishment?
Cheesh. How about this: Mr. Nakamura isn't an elite GM either because he hasn't been in the top ten long enough. How does that sound to ya?

Actually, Nakamura himself sort of questioned his reputation - saying, claiming or complaining that he is no longer as strong in blitz as he used to be.

But come on, an all-night blitz match right after an exhausting blitz tournament is by no means definite proof. We don't know how the score emerged, we haven't seen any of the games. It could have been a case of "when it rains it pours" - Naka falling behind and then taking (too) drastic measures trying to save the match. Yet it's obvious (at least to me) that Nakamura was hoping for and expecting a different result when he spread news about the match on Twitter - and might have been more talkative or "tweety" if he had won ... .

I used to play some blitz tournaments lasting until well after midnight in Germany (in my younger years and when I was living there). The main objective for many participants, amateurs and GMs alike, was to get more or less drunk - joking, trash talking and some arguments were part of the picture. By comparison, Carlsen and Nakamura took their match _very_ seriously. There was video coverage, and at the end of a game they didn't even exchange a few words, just put up the pieces to start the next game.

You bet he would have been more talkative about it had he won. Interesting that Carlsen didn't crow about it.
Well, let's just say that if you're not drunk, you take your blitz games fairly seriously. Who doesn't? People don't like losing no matter what the situation. You would never convince me or countless others that Hikaru didn't care about those games. He cared. He just met someone who is better. In fact, in World Blitz Hikaru wasn't greatly better than at least half a dozen other guys, including Kramnik, Gelfand, Karjakin, Nepo, Radjabov, and Levon Aronian. Some of his boosters thought he was 'completely out of form.'?
Sure. ;)

"IMO the World Championship 2007 was where Gelfand unmistakably showed he is worthy of challenging for the title. He was clearly the second-best player (to Anand) for most of the tournament, and was the only reason Anand hadn't clinched the title outright prior to the final round."

I was busy doing other stuff during Mexico, so that particular tournament went off the radar. Your wholehearted endorsement of his play there made me curious, though, so I decided to check it out. He indeed won three games there, twice with the white pieces and once with the black. Inspecting his remaining white games (drawn), however, yielded the following results:

r2 vs Grischuk, 23 moves
r8 vs Anand, 20 moves
r10 vs Leko, 24 moves
r11 vs Svidler, 22 moves
r13 Kramnik, 26 moves

Hardly a beacon of fighting spirit and true grit, however impressive it looks when compared to Grischuk's recent efforts in Kazan. His 26 mover against Kramnik is especially puzzling, as a win would have put him in serious contention for the title... Not enough incentives this time either?

Too much emphasis is placed on Blitz and Rapid chess. FIDE is damaging classical chess by instigating these ridiculous formats for World Championships. Only a return to zonals, interzonals and candidates matches would undo that damage. In that format, the best player would challenge the reigning world champion. Everything is now reduced to mini-matches where one bad game is enough to lose the match, hence the caution and numerous drawn games. How can that do any good for the image of chess throughout the world? Why would any global company want to sponsor something like that? It makes no sense.

There was nothing wrong with the old system of determining the world champion. It wasn't complicated, and the general public at large could understand it. Try explaining the current system to someone unfamiliar with chess, it's bordering on impossible.

Is Don King on this forum trying to promote this garbage of a championship? Comparing Boris to Petrosian - shame on anyone that even puts them in the same sentence. If Boris wins and I hope he does he will be the worst champion from the Lasker line and will probably end the line. Petrosian..lmao

Regarding Gelfand-Kramnik, did you just note the number of moves, or also look at the final position or even play through the game? The final position seems a clear draw - white is symbolically better but 20, 40 or 60 additional moves wouldn't have made a difference in my (and their) opinion. True, a few moves earlier white could have chosen a more double-edged continuation, Gelfand's own words: "I wanted to play 21.d5 and spent a lot of time on it but I think then Black will have an excellent position." (Engines apparently disagree, but Gelfand had to decide over the board without silicon assistance).

For the other games you may have a point, but note that most of them are in the second half of the event. Back in 2007, Mig wrote (daily reports which included) "Will Gelfand try to make a move or is he going to try and sit on +1 to the end? Don't forget there's a huge amount of money on the line even in the middle of the pack. World Champion: 390,000 2nd place: 260,000 3rd place 182,000 4th place 130,000 5th place 104,000 6th place 91,000 7th place 78,000 8th place 65,000. The half point that separates 2nd from 5th could mean more than anyone outside of the top few usually makes in a year. Does that make you more or less conservative? Hmm."
At the time (and now) it was already a big success for Gelfand to qualify for a WCh event. It was an even bigger success to finish in second place (which he finally shared with Kramnik). In a forthcoming match, second place is already guaranteed - so he might show more ambition and take more risks to fight for first place. I won't bet money on Gelfand (Anand is obviously the favorite), nor would I say he has no chances whatsoever.

"Regarding Gelfand-Kramnik, did you just note the number of moves, or also look at the final position or even play through the game?"

I did indeed flip through the game. That in itself does not (for an amateur such as myself) give anywhere near a full picture of what went on. The only online commentary of the game I could find concluded thusly: "This was well played game by Kramnik and I am disappointed with Gelfand's choice. He had his chance, but he had to show more will for playing on win today." (Chessdom).

The end position admittedly looks very drawish. But if one routinely finds oneself in such drawish positions early in the game, then maybe it's not a coincidence, but a logical result of one's chosen opening lines.

"Gelfand's own words: "I wanted to play 21.d5 and spent a lot of time on it but I think then Black will have an excellent position." "

If you absolutely, positively don't see any upside to playing an adventurous line, then playing it is indeed tough. But the potential upside in this particular game was huge. It wouldn't be a bad time to venture into the unknown and move all-in.

"Don't forget there's a huge amount of money on the line even in the middle of the pack."

I'm not privy to Gelfand's financial statements. I'd like to believe that he's well off after 20 years of being a top pro, but let's say for the sake of the argument that he really wanted or needed that money. That would be something else - I was responding to the claim that Gelfand's play in Mexico was truly outstanding and (in pioneer's words) "unmistakably showed he is worthy of challenging for the title". What I found was not what I was expecting after that remark.

So, what will the next cycle look like after the WCOC has collected the views of the top 20 GMs?

Good thing that the regulations for 2011-2013 are already decided and published - otherwise we wouldn't get to enjoy another round of

1) matches being postponed, and
2) regulations being changed

In case nobody provided the link yet: http://www.fide.com/FIDE/handbook/regscandidates2012.pdf

The lucky winner of Anand vs Gelfand is supposed to defend the title again in 2013, while the loser of the match in april-may 2012 is set to play a(nother) round of knock-out "candidates" with the exact same format as the one used this year (4 + 4 + 6, followed by rapid and blitz tie-breaks).

FIDE said that's how it'll be, so I guess that's what's going to happen too. Right?

I know people say like you say but I used to think Ivanchuk was like Anand's bunny. You may be right but do you have the game statistics between them? I think another notable one who frequently lose to Anand was Simon Adgestein!

Mig tweeting instead of posting yet again. What a chump ...

huh? 2013!!
so if anand wins against gelfand he has to defend within 12-18 months again? thats pretty mean. the marathon continues...

I believe the idea is that FIDE's schedule has already collapsed. Since the title match is supposed to take place in May 2012 and the next candidate matches in "the first half of 2012", it would mean that the loser of the title match would have to travel immediately to the candidate match venue.

That clearly isn't doable, so either the cycle is rescheduled or the loser of the title match is excluded from the cycle (with, as you mentioned, the added bonus that the champion will have to defend the title after just 12-18 months worth of reign)

I think Gelfand in his current form is the deserving winner, He will beat Carlsen for sure.

New Rule: “If a checkmate or resignation has not occurred, play will continue until both players have played sixty moves. The first player who on the move brings about a three time repetition of the position loses. A stalemated player loses”.

"Comparing Boris to Petrosian - shame on anyone that even puts them in the same sentence."
I'm sure there is a joke hidden somewhere in there...

No, the pro chess is commiting suicide....NEW RULE: “If a checkmate or resignation has not occurred, play will continue until both players have played sixty moves. The first player who "on the move" brings about a three time repetition of the position loses. A stalemated player loses”.

I've translated highlights of Gelfand's interviews after the Candidates Matches: http://www.chessintranslation.com/2011/05/boris-gelfand-a-completely-happy-man/

He talks about ratings, Carlsen, the match against Anand... and lots more. Here are some fairly random quotes!

"You don’t need to reduce chess to a level that it’ll be comprehensible to people who aren’t interested in it."

"If it’s a question of whether to look for ideas in the Grunfeld Defence or to polish my Hebrew, then the answer’s unequivocal: the Grunfeld Defence comes first!"

"Avital (Gelfand's daughter) kept asking, “Daddy, haven’t you finally won yet?!” I told her, “Not yet”. She said, “But you’ve got three helpers! Why aren’t they able to help you?!” I said, “They’re helping. We’re working”. She said, “Well, you’ll at least come back by my birthday?” That’s in September. I told her, “I’ll be back before then”."

"I look at you now and see a completely happy man…

That’s how it is. What else do you need? My son’s been born, I’m going to play a World Championship match, tomorrow I’m flying to the Champions League final… Although, to be completely happy, I still need Barça to win." (they did!)

Chess and Oscar,

the Nominees are:

1- Keep walking trophy:

( ) Shirov ( ) Korchnoi ( ) Gelfand
( ) Kamsky ( ) Gurevich ( ) Portisch

2-Superblunder in team work:

( ) Svidler ( )Carlsen ( )Wang ( )Cheparinov

3-Best no handshaking excuse:

( ) Cheparinov
( ) Topalov
( ) Kramnik

4-Easiest WC title defence:

( ) Petrosian 1966
( ) Karpov 1999
( ) Kasparov 1978

5-Most difficult WC title conquest:

( )Alekhine 1927
( )Spassky 1969
( )Kasparov 1987
( )Kramnik 2000

6-Most drawing games leading to WC final:

( ) Schlechter
( ) Petrosian
( ) Gelfand
( ) Leko

7-Most surprising world champion

( ) Euwe
( ) Petrosian
( ) Ponomariov
( ) Spassky

8-Best #1 player without world title

( ) Carlsen
( ) Korchnoi
( ) Topalov
( ) Kasparov after denied rematch

9-Best ELO jump 2010-2011

( ) Ivanchuk
( ) Nakamura
( ) Wang Yue
( ) Wojtaschek

8-Most forgotten second country best player:

( ) Bacrot
( ) van Wely
( ) Short
( ) Sasikiran
( ) Leko

9-Most awful short draw ever:

( ) Grischuk-Kramnik
( ) Kasparov-Karpov
( ) Botwinnik-Smyslov
( ) Botwinnik-Bronstein
( ) Botwinnik-Petrosian

10- Most denied Visa

( ) Milov in Lybia
( ) Taimanov out of Soviet Union
( ) Fischer out of Japan
( ) Alekhine out of Portugal

11-Most sad world championship denied match

( ) Capablanca- Alekhine
( ) Alekhine- Botwinnik
( ) Fisher- Karpov
( ) Kasparov-Kramnik

12- Most deserved world champion

( ) P.Morphy
( ) Phillior
( ) Tarrash
( ) Rubinstein

How many players won multiple Interzonals? Double-check my list, but I count Bronstein, Tal (3), Fischer, Smyslov, Mecking, Korchnoi, Portisch, Larsen (3), and Gelfand.

How many players won multiple Interzonals in cycles with only one Interzonal? That's an even more exclusive list: Bronstein, Tal, Larsen, Fischer, Gelfand.

Most of today's top players had no chance to make this list, as the last Interzonal was 1993. But Gelfand's résumé is easily as impressive as Ivanchuk's, and who would question an Ivanchuk-Anand rematch?

Thanks, Bill. Good stats and final question.

Gelfand is OK, but he didn´t won any Soviet/Russian Championship, so it would be the first WC possible winner without any national title in his résumé...

You have to favor Anand for his achievements and the fact that he is very difficult to defeat, but given Vishy's recent performance, it should be close. Also, once can compare the recent performances of Boris Gelfand to Topolov. Topolov kept the last WCh match close, and he hasn't been playing overall better than Boris during the past year.

Gelfand is from Minsk, Belarus. So before emigrating to Israel, he wasn't eligible for the Russian Championship.

I think that Gelfand only played in one Soviet Ch. (Odessa 1989) http://www.thechesslibrary.com/files/1989OdessaUSSRCh.htm Again, check this!

Has Kramnik won the Russian or Soviet championship? Has Anand won the Indian championship? Maybe Gelfand has won the Israeli championship? What about Aronian, Carlsen, Topalov, ... ?
In all cases (but Kramnik's), they could win such events easily - if they didn't it's because they didn't participate. But would Nakamura be a more logical challenger because he played and sometimes won the US championship? What about German champion IM Huschenbeth? ,:)
Bottom line: Stop coming up with ever new "evidence" why Gelfand isn't a worthy challenger. Whoever wins a candidates event IS a worthy challenger, period - even if there might have been a better format for the qualifier.

Gelfand certainly is a worthy challenger.

The current and the published 2011-2013 cycle have a format unworthy of the classical Chess World Championship.

Both viewpoints can easily be combined.

"Gelfand's résumé is easily as impressive as Ivanchuk's"

Are you sure about that? Ivanchuk has been sole winner of Linares three times, beating players like Kasparov and Karpov at their best, and shared first once after that. In Sofia 2008 he scored +6 in 10 games and performed close to 3000 in a category 20 event. The same year he won the even stronger Tal Memorial with a clear margin. The next year he won Bazna and Jermuk. He's won the Capablanca Memorial in his last five starts, has won Wijk aan Zee, beaten Anand in a match (if four game matches count), etc etc. Not a bad resumé.

" Has Kramnik won the Russian or Soviet championship? Has Anand won the Indian championship? Maybe Gelfand has won the Israeli championship? What about Aronian, Carlsen, Topalov, ... ?
In all cases (but Kramnik's), they could win such events easily - if they didn't it's because they didn't participate."

Kramnik is a world recognized Avis Rara, a natural champion who ended Kasparov´s winning strikes, do not compare with BG failure to win, as you almost said, the piece of cake all Russia championship...

There, its local matador P.Svidler, won several times, what´s explain why BG, did not have many real chance to come over as winner, however, if you fail to win your country league, that´s ok to try and win a world cup. Barcelona for instance, never get a title in Spain, just abroad... no wait, Barcelona got all titles...

Svidler did win the last ever USSR Junior Championship (something Gelfand also won 4 years before that), but then it was Russian Championships... which Gelfand wasn't in the running for as he was from a different country :)

Carl Schlechter did not win anything special before got enough money to challenge the world champion, so historically it is OK to call for a fight.

Tyson also did not mind fighting against lesser heavy weights, until he got Lenoxx!

You conveniently did not mention the times that Ivanchuk fell flat on his ass. As I remember, 2009 was a very uneven year for him.

Anand did win the National Championship thrice in a row, 1986 to 1988, when he was a teenager. In 1988, he became India's first ever GM. Since 1988 he has not played in the nationals.


Ivanchuck is an special case. He can play a match against any of the top 10 and win +5-1 or lose +1-5 depending on his current mood.

That brings us to the following question: Does a such volatile player deserve to be a World Champion?

IMHO, I don't think so, that's why I prefer that one player had to pass several ordeals in a period of 2 years to become WC.

As an example, there is another way to select the WC. Instead of a face-to-face WC match, a WC KO tournament match or a WC round robin super tournament, one could imagine the WC being proclaimed using the following way:

1) Select a period of time (2 years, e.g.)

2) Select a minimum level for the regular tournament to be counted (let's say category XIX-XX: Linares, Bilbao, Dortmunt, Nanjing, etc.)

3) Proclaim as WC the player who obtained the best Performance Rating in those selected tournaments.

That way I am quite sure Ivanchuck would have much more options to become WC.

I meant:

"3) Proclaim as WC the player who obtained the best Performance Rating in ONE OF those selected tournaments."

Your wasting your time doting on Wch options for Vassily. He doesn't have the nerves - or maybe even the interest - to go for the whole enchilada. He said so himself in a recent interview. That explains his inconsistentcy as well.
He will be in his era, like Akiba Rubinstein and Paul Keres before him, the strongest and most deserving player not to become world champ (that is, unless Levon Aronian misses the mark for similar reasons; then there will be two).

Yeah and I think you found it. Still would Gelf have ever qualified before?? Is he stronger at 42 than before...could he beat Kasparov right now in a match?? Carlsen would be a 2.2-1 favorite over Gelfand and the money would come in on Magnus of course in a 12 game match.
Also nice work Kiloton.

you didn't read the interview because he said he COULD STILL become WC.

"You conveniently did not mention the times that Ivanchuk fell flat on his ass. As I remember, 2009 was a very uneven year for him."

He won Bazna and Jermuk in 2009. Of course he has had many bad results as well, but the question is if those really make his resumé as a whole no more impressive than Gelfand's. Just the last three years Ivanchuk has won many strong tournaments (Sofia, Tal, Bazna, Jermuk, Amber, Cap d'Agde, Capablanca Memorial, Gibraltar, Olympiad gold, Aerosvit, etc) while Gelfand hasn't won a top tournament for more than 15 years.

More tweets for the chump ... when a simple Banza post would have sufficed.

Like I said, read what Vassily had to say. I think he's a great player, and should be World Champ. But he's apparently not interested in going for it. And he isn't getting any younger. He might have one or two more chances to change his mind.

Mig --

I agree with you that Bazna will rock. Looking forward to it, and looking forward to a new thread here soon. Why not, huh?
My twitter feed is on the fritz. ;)

Hey Mig,
blow ken while you're at it. poor fella seems neglected and aloof.
he's got a one-one discussion running with everyone else on this blog so much so that he argues against two others at opposite ends of the debate.

The World Cup 2009 was much stronger than Bazna or Jermuk that year, so it hasn't been 15 years since Gelfand won a strong event. Ivanchuk is one of the best players to never become world champion, but that is because:

1. He doesn't have the nerves to handle match play at the highest level (with the exception of the 2002 FIDE championship, which he still failed to win even after beating Anand in the semis) -- see: 1999 FIDE championship, 2000 FIDE championship, 2004 FIDE championship, 2005 World Cup, 2007 World Cup, 2009 World Cup -- ALL of which he bombed in early.

2. He is too erratic in tournament format -- he can beat anyone at any time, and lose to anyone at any time.

If he can become more consistent, he still has a shot someday to become world champion. But not before that.

Gelfand > Ivanchuk because when it matters most, Gelfand is at his best, while Ivanchuk shrinks (even though overall Ivanchuk has more raw talent).

"The World Cup 2009 was much stronger than Bazna or Jermuk that year"

Gelfand was ranked first in the World Cup. Bazna had Gelfand, Radjabov and Kamsky (three Candidates participants) and Shirov apart from the clear winner Ivanchuk. Jermuk had Gelfand again, but the top ranked players were Aronian and Leko. Ivanchuk won though, and was undefeated in both events.

Those two wins were by no means Ivanchuk's biggest over the last years (Sofia and Tal Memorial 2008 were much more impressive, in even stronger fields) but I mentioned them again anyway since it was claimed that Ivanchuk's resumé doesn't beat Gelfand's and 2009 was said to be an exceptionally bad year for Ivanchuk. Still a couple of decent tournament wins for a bad year even if compared to Gelfand's best year.

It's true that Ivanchuk has done badly in knockouts while Gelfand has done better in them. I just don't agree with the common assessment here of Gelfand's overall achievements compared to Ivanchuk's. But there's no point continuing disagreeing on the subject so I leave it for good now.

Hello, just to say we were both right (again after the World Cups) that experienced match players like Kamsky and Gelfand would win the Candidates matches, despite being the lowest rated players!

Each time they get under-estimated by people just looking at their ratings, it is nice being proved right once again!

Anand won't take Gelfand lightly, it should be a good match, between two players totalling 85 years for a change after all the Carlsen/Nakaruma excitement!

Anand should be considered favourite, but it will be a tough match for him.


Right. He's great to follow, but you never know what you'll get, although lately his play has been streaky.

Anand will destroy the senior-wonder.....don't know why anyone would even want to watch it...much more than sponsor such a travesty...hmm maybe sponsoring it is worth it if it excuses you from watching it :)

Cheerios? A tweet about Cheerios? Good lord, man, write a frickin' POST!!!!!!! Sheesh.

James wrote:
Anand will destroy the senior-wonder...

Very unlikely. Elite chess is so draw prone nowadays that the idea of crushing an opponent in a 12 game World Chess Championship match are as tiny as the chance the majority of games will be decisive.
There just are not enuf decisive games for either player to crush the other.
Besides, I expect Gelfand will play very well in the upcoming match.
I see no appeal in reading the tweets. Their content is banal.

"Elite chess is so draw prone nowadays that ..."

That's more or less a myth, isn't it? The last few championship matches have seen plenty of decided classical games. 50% in Kramnik-Topalov (counting the game that was famously not played, but not the playoffs), 33% in Kramnik-Anand, and finally 41% in Topalov-Anand.

A +3 or +4 in a match of 12 should be considered "crushing", meaning Anand came pretty close in his battle against Kramnik.

Amen to that. Its more than just about ratings and previous supertournament performances when predicting match-play competitors. Glad to see Gelfand and Kamsky prove us correct :).

Agreed about the title match -- Vishy should win, but it will be closer than a lot of people think...Gelfand is not to be underestimated.

Amen to that. Its more than just about ratings and previous supertournament performances when predicting match-play competitors. Glad to see Gelfand and Kamsky prove us correct :).

Agreed about the title match -- Vishy should win, but it will be closer than a lot of people think...Gelfand is not to be underestimated.

No. Anand crushed Kramnik, winning 3 of the first 6 games of that match (2 with the black pieces) and winning the match without the final game being needed to be played. So it can be done. The 12 game format is better than the old 24 game style because it reduces the likelihood of quick draws -- because both players know how important every game with White is in a 12-game match.

"Gelfand was ranked first in the World Cup. Bazna had Gelfand, Radjabov and Kamsky (three Candidates participants) and Shirov apart from the clear winner Ivanchuk. Jermuk had Gelfand again, but the top ranked players were Aronian and Leko. Ivanchuk won though, and was undefeated in both events."

Yes, Gelfand was ranked first in the World Cup -- ahead of Radjabov, Kamsky, Grischuk (that's four Candidates participants -- 1/2 of the field!!). as well as Ivanchuk, Ponomariov, Svidler, Karjakin, Shirov and Gashimov among others. So there is no way that those other 2009 Grand Prix events were stronger than the World Cup in 2009.

With that said, Gelfand is a worthy challenger who has just won two of the strongest events in the game over the past three years. Time to move onto another subject.

Did you read that Mig? We're beating a dead horse. Give us some Bazna inside to work with.

While we wait for Mig to fill the trough (oops, I guess that would make us the horses), here's something to listen to:


Top GM's draw so often against each other in matches because they are afraid they might lose. Should this attitude be tolerated in GM chess matches that presumably want to have some interest to the general chess playing public? Yet short GM draws are so easily prevented: NEW RULE: “If a checkmate or resignation has not occurred, play will continue until both players have played sixty moves. The first player who "on the move" brings about a three time repetition of the position loses. A stalemated player loses”.

You have my vote,you could be chess' NBA Stern...what it really needs and soon.
ps that new thread idea sounds good too.

I think it was the Dundee Int. Tourn. of 1867 (Steinitz, Blackburne etc) in which for the first time draws were given 1/2 point. Before then the game result for a draw was just ignored or the game had to be replayed.
Once players could get in effect half a win for a drawn game various unexpected and unintended practices crept in like multiple repetitions of the same position, arranged draws, playing a perfunctory few moves and shaking hands etc etc.
The ill effects of the 1867 change do not seem to have been adequately addressed.

Steve, your suggestions re threefold repetition and stalemate are interesting. I suggest a modification: the player with the more material is declared lost (you've got a material advantage so use it or lose it!!)

Or... eliminate the half point up to 60 moves *including* when one player can more or less forces a draw by three-fold repetition or stalement. A player should be rewarded for ingenuity.

By the way, thank you for the historical info and conjecture.

Thanks for your comment, Ken. I believe the only way to cure the disease of short GM draws (I'd have the NEW RULE enforced in all FIDE sanctioned tournaments and matches) is to force the players to play a minimun number of moves,...."ingenuity" in my mind would be demonstrated by winning the game. IMHO, GM chess would be rejuvenated by adoption of my NEW RULE. BTW, note all the rule changing in the service of increasing spectator interest in the major sports.

Except, with some frustration, for major league baseball which moves with glacial speed.

But to follow up on what you just said, wouldn't you eliminate the short draw by forcing GMs to win or take each game to at least 60 moves?

Ken, You make an excellent point re rewarding ingenuity. At present and since the 1867 "innovation" it appears all the rewards have gone to those players whose ingenuity has resulted in a negative impact on the game.

It seems that the 1883 London Int, Tourn. saw the introduction of the modern double-sided clock and the new rule that the player who exceeded the time limit lost the game. Before that it appears timing devices like sand-glasses were used but there was no loss on time rule: players were made to pay a monetary fine! Of course some gamesmanship arose with games extending over v. long times prior to that.
Players soon reacted to the new regime of time forfeit by, when short of time, simply repeating moves many times to get to the time control. Of course this then led to the three-fold repetition rule coming in to stop n-fold repetition where n could be v. large!
And so the game goes on, stroke and counter-stroke.

My mistake (I'm a little tired today). There is no ingenuity in draw by repetition. But there can be in forced draw by perpetual check. And that's really what I was thinking about. The former can be done by agreement between both parties. The later isn't usually.

Yes, "...wouldn't you eliminate the short draw by forcing GMs to win or take each game to at least 60 moves?", but the repetition of moves needed to addressed explicitly.

Imagine as the players approach move sixty and start randomly sacrificing material to win when " the player with the more material is declared lost (you've got a material advantage so use it or lose it!!)

Monte Carlo 1901 and 02. Drawn games were 1/4-1/4, a second game was played for the remaining half point with colours reversed.

Works only in tourneys of course, in today's setting the second game would have to be rapid chess.

As for candidates'/ wc matches, I think they should simply be long enough to make room for a number of short draws. All games do not have to be memorable. It's the shortness of the match that constitutes the problem.

Down the ranks it's not an issue.

Your latest comment makes no sense at all to me: if a player obtains a material advantage (because the opponent chooses to sacrifice randomly) he can then try to convert it!? But the rest makes no sense either - I hope you guys are only joking, if not I hope you will never be in a position to enforce your rules! ,:)

There are too many flaws: it would change endgame theory - if stalemate wins rather than draws, king + pawn vs. king is suddenly always won. Or if the guy with more material loses, the stronger side loses if he carelessly plays on to stalemate. Sacrificing a rook for perpetual check would suddenly win the game. An opposite-colored bishops endgame with an extra pawn is suddenly lost for the stronger side if there's no win? And what about the following game?
Could Kramnik claim a win against his good friend Topalov?? If so, Danailov would protest saying that Kramnik had the material advantage: Topalov's knight is just a knight, Kramnik's pawn is a potential queen.

Off-topic: can anyone (maybe Mig himself) explain Mig's latest tweet?
"FM Natsidis admits to cheating with smartphone app at German Ch. Being Germany, of course it involved the toilet."
Does it matter that the event was in Germany? The Anand-Kramnik match (in Bonn like the German championship) didn't have a toilet scandal. The Topalov-Kramnik match was in Elista - last time I looked on a world map that's in Russia rather than Germany.

There may be some deeply hidden humor which I don't understand - sorry but I'm German ,:) .

"Imagine as the players approach move sixty and start randomly sacrificing material to win ...."

Mm? randomly sacrificing material to win??... against who? a GM? an IM? an FM? OK, patzer maybe!?.

Mig doesn't come here anymore, Thomas. Why should WE? Stupid jackass has time to evidently watch TV, but not to give us a thread on the WORLD CHAMPION having a match RIGHT NOW!

Hi Thomas, Some of my best friends are German & my better half is a fluent speaker having worked for some years at the Max Planck in Munich. Yes I heard some story about Katsidis being caught, the toilet reference of Mig's may be an oblique ref to the E Coli outbreak which is of course often associated with faecal matter due to poor hygiene. Maybe Mig was offended by the original blame for the outbreak being put on Spanish vegetables due to his Castillian forebears.
Now it seems the poo bacteria came from a German restaurant si?

I don't think that's what Mig was thinking. Not that I know what he was thinking. I didn't get it either, so I didn't think it funny or clever.

Earth to Mig...

Yeah this could be it - another story is whether it's appropriate to make jokes about it: so far 21 people died, more than 600 are in critical condition under intensive care.

The Spanish cucumbers are indeed innocent: they contain E coli bacteria, but not the particular strain that was subsequently(!) identified as causing the disease. Maybe German authorities prematurely spread the news - on the other hand, if early suspicions had been true, it might have saved some lifes. Overall, my impression is they do what they can facing an unprecedented challenge, and it's easy for foreign media (also Dutch ones, I currently live in the Netherlands) to criticize them from a distance. Spanish media might also react strongly because Germany critized Spain for how it does (not) handle their financial crisis ... .

BTW, the restaurant itself is also considered innocent, i.e. it didn't violate hygiene rules and wasn't closed - another story is whether it has many remaining customers as it was shown and mentioned by name on TV. At the moment, their suppliers are checked. Now there seems to be another suspect (a German sprouts producer importing raw material from several other countries) - but that's breaking news and might be another false alarm in the end.

Another Thomas tangent in the making. Perhaps if you read the article you are commenting on, you would not appear so foolish. Nah.. it wouldn't make any difference.

Which article?? Basically I had commented on Mig's tweet, dysgraphia responded, and I felt like clarifying some things. (Of course I am by no means an expert on E coli diseases, and there's no need to discuss this further)

I would hope dysgraphia is yanking your chain. He's probably serious though. Bizarre how these threads originate from misinformation propagated by Melvins.

I don't need to defend Thomas, but what are you talking about??

there goes ken the butthead butting into another post that has nothing to do with him.

See what I mean? No one is questioning the the e.coli reference in Mig's tweet. It's utterly amazing. Thomas asks a question, someone responds with a bizarre correlation, and voila another inane topic begins based on a misread one-off twitter comment. Not unlike similar ridiculous threads that always seem to involve Thomas for some odd reason.

I'm not going to explain anything. If you can't figure it out, join the crowd of Thomas et all.

Which magnifies the fact that we need TOPICAL threads to have MEANINGFUL discussions. But Mig just sits on his butt pretending he's too busy to spend the 10 minutes it takes to post a new thread.

The ecoli probably came from the thumb up his own ass.

there's hack, who must not have a life because he's SO dependent on Mig to write something, anything; lwolfe, who evidently is on the rules committee for what can be discussed here; and george the creep.
Criminy. Blog degeneration.

Since you obviously have the time to whine and complain every 10 minutes about the completely unsurprising lack of updates, why don't you fill the void by making your own chess blog.

You can call it The Daily Squirt, and you'll have a blast catering to all the trolls and ingrates who'll flock to your site in droves.

The WORLD CHAMPION had a match just NOW. Give us a 500 word write-up on that one with proper analysis and open it up for comments so we can dissect your skills word for word and paragraph for paragraph. Do it RIGHT NOW, you lazy bum.

and then there's the love affair Thomas and Kenh. Get a room boys!

gosh, that resonated.

Nothing to be ashamed of ken.

"I would hope dysgraphia is yanking your chain. He's probably serious though."

It seems posts are stripped of anything html-like
eg in pointy brackets: hence the intended tone of some of my comments did not appear.

Other commentators also raised the issue of the Anand-Shirov mini match. (Alexei has posted here in the past I believe.)
The result belies the 100 pt or so rating difference. If the 2900 plus rating performance of Anand is any indication then Gelfand is going to need some v. serious prepn to climb his Anand mountain. The shortened time control favoured Anand but even so Shirov got a spanking.
Some of his choices like IIRC game 2 playing black, uncastled, denuded king against a world champion did not make any sense to me.

I don't think you can read to much into the Shirov-Anand match as far as predicting the upcoming Anand-Gelfand match.

1) Anand has always been a difficult opponent for Shirov
2) Gelfand is unlikely to try risky stuff like g4 and h4 in the opening.
3) This was a rapid match, and Anand is quite probably the best rapid player in the history of the game.

@matchthis: It's not the lack of updates that pisses me off per se, it's the fact that he has time to do all the other crap, and then claim he doesn't have time for anything but work. Mig will do what Mig chooses to do. And I will chastise him for choosing to be two-faced about it, instead of owning up to it.

And while we're at it, any write-up I would make would not have 'proper analysis' at all. I don't ask for analysis -- I ask for this forum to be updated with current topics for discussion. It's not a tough thing to do. This used to be THE place to go for a lively, meaningful discussion about current chess topics, quite often with the grandmasters themselves. It now sucks. And there's only one reason -- Mig's apathy. I don't care if he's burned out and doesn't want to update anymore. I just ask that he be forthright and honest with himself and us, and admit the truth, whatever that truth may be.

@kenh: You're right. Really foolish of me to hold on waiting for something that's never going to happen. I'm outta here (even though I DID get a few people to actually comment on Anand-Shirov!).


Hey, hack, are you Luke?


MIG: Is it me?? Is it something I have done?

I cant live like this anymore. If this relationship is going to work we need to communicate.

I understand that you have a lot on your mind these days, but we have come so far together - you cannot ignore me altogether! I think I deserve better. If you dont wont this to continue, please be honest!

So, please start blogging, please!

Or... Is there someone else?? I want an answer now, goddammit!

Here is an alternative approach to handling short GM draws in matches. It involves no changes in the rules of chess at the game level, but it affects only how tiebreaks are handled.

If a match was drawn and if any game in that match was agreed drawn prior to White's 31st move being played, then there will be no playoff games to break the tie. Instead, the tie will be broken using the following rules:

- The person who was White in the game of the match that had the fewest number of moves, will simply lose the tied match.
- If there was more than one game of the same length that had the fewest number of moves, the person playing White in the game later in the match would lose the tied match.

Note that these rules apply only to agreed draws, not draws by stalemate or three-fold repetition.

In a match context, I think this will provide sufficient disincentive for players to agree to a short draw:

- If White was behind in the match, or if the match was tied, White certainly would be taking a big risk by giving match draw odds to his opponent, especially in a short match.

- If White was ahead in the match, Black would have a disincentive to accept an early draw, and at the same time White would have to feel comfortable enough with his lead to give up match draw odds.

While the proposal wouldn't eliminate the possibility of short draws, it would eliminate the appeal of the "Grischuk" strategy to just draw all the classical games and get on with the tiebreaks.


"I just ask that he be forthright and honest with himself and us, and admit the truth, whatever that truth may be."

What is there to be forthright about? It's quite obvious that he's not as excited about this little ant farm as he once was. He blogs when he feels like it (and sometimes just to complete the series, like with this item). This isn't a truth he's hiding from us or himself - it's staring everyone in the face.

You're right about this not being THE place anymore. A lot of the regular posters seems to have migrated to chessvibes. Their commentary section is hopeless for longer discussions, but that's probably where "it" is at, at least until somebody steps up and makes a fresh blog.

Any chance your observation re this site is because the site reflects a sickness at the heart of top level competitive chess (absurd short draws that would never be tolerated in an endeavor that was at all interested in attracting public interest). And a simple rule change is all that is necessary to turn the tide (see my above posts).

"Any chance your observation re this site is because the site reflects a sickness at the heart of top level competitive chess"

It was more a general observation that Mig seems less and less interested in this site now that he has children of his very own...

That being said, I'm as appalled as just about anyone by the drawfest in Kazan. Some of the players there have forever lost their right to complain about the lack of sponsors. Your proposed changes would eliminate short draws, alright, but it would also make it a lot more risky to sacrifice material as you no longer have perpetual check as a bail-out and a lot of those endgames with material down are now simply lost.

(A lot of otherwise uninteresting endgames will now also be thoroughly confusing... consider white: king on b3, pawn on a4; black: king on b6, pawn on a5. If white is to play on move 30, who is winning? With your proposed rules, the trick here is to avoid being the one who repeats the position for the third time. I feel that somehow one of the players must eventually run out of viable moves and lose, although I cannot prove it offhand. It doesn't "feel" like chess, though.)

Mig finds time to tweet about crap again. No one 'waiting for banza' anymore, we're waiting for a writeup on it. Could hsve done it in the time it took to worry about his Amazon cart or that poem. Bleah! Bet if Naka was 5-0 there would be an update every round.

The same newspaper became more cautious later on:
World Championship likely in Chennai
"Anand ... may get a chance to defend his World title at home"

Thanks for your comment: "I feel that somehow one of the players must eventually run out of viable moves and lose, although I cannot prove it offhand. It doesn't "feel" like chess, though."....The more skilled player who is able to look further ahead than his opponent would hopefully win...a type of zwugzwang (?). To me, chess is a game that should be won by the player who is able to look into a position further than his opponent and hence find on of the paths to victory....Not having a perpetual in one's back pocket is a good thing, it would force the player who makes the sacrifice be correct in his appraisal of the position each step of the way.

As pioneer kept asking (though in another thread): The World Cup participants have now been announced @ http://chess.ugrasport.com/?page_id=261

Most notable absentees are Carlsen, Anand, Aronian, Kramnik (who all play the Botvinnik Memorial which overlaps), Gelfand (who doesn't need to defend his title), Topalov and Nakamura. What does this mean for Nakamura's ambitions to become world champion? This now (after Bazna) seemed his best chance to qualify for the next candidates event!?

Maybe the most surprising participants are Feller (hmmm) and Leko(!). Presidential wildcards went to Kasimdzhanov, Sutovsky, Peter Heine Nielsen (maybe compensation for his protests against the European Championship tiebreak system?), Ding Liren, Bologan and - for whichever reason - Moradiabadi from Iran. Giri didn't get the wildcard he was hoping for.

Elsewhere, Bilbao still hasn't announced the sixth participant joining Carlsen, Anand, Nakamura, Karjakin and Aronian.

"The more skilled player who is able to look further ahead than his opponent would hopefully win..."

Yes and no. Opposition is a powerful and elegant factor in current practice, but with your proposed rules it's rendered worthless.

A few seconds after my last post (a while back now), I realized that the position (white: king on b3, pawn on a4; black: king on b6, pawn on a5) is plain winning for white. He plays Kc4 and black cannot maintain opposition because of 3-fold repetition rule, he therefore loses the pawn and cannot block it because of the new stalemate rule.

The weird thing about this is that the 3-fold repetition rule is originally a meta rule that did not change the evaluation of the position in any way. With your proposed changes, this former meta rule would now fundamentally alter the game.

"Not having a perpetual in one's back pocket is a good thing, it would force the player who makes the sacrifice be correct in his appraisal of the position each step of the way."

A vital part of chess is that there are too many variations to possibly calculate them all. Hence
many sacrifices are rooted in principles or guided by intuition. With your proposed changes these principles and intuitions will change. It's really hard to tell exactly what the net effect of these changes might be, but there is a real risk that material will in general be too precious to give up.

Thanks, Thomas for the info...much appreciated.

Your article is amazing I got an effective knowledge from you article. I want to read more about your other articles on Swords

Your article is amazing I got an effective knowledge from you article. I want to read more about your other articles on Swords

While reading your blog it seems that you research on this topic very much. I must tell you that your blog is very informative and it helps other also.

Great post I hope to see more, keep up the good work.

It is my humble request to please keep up on updating your blogs. I enjoy reading your blogs and I am regular visitor to this site. Thanks.

This is such a great article. I specially like this part 'If you had "Gelfand-Grischuk" in the final, you win the internets. Gelfand is the veteran of the field at 42, though he's been carefully rationing his efforts for years in order to maximize his strength, which paid off at the World Cup in 2009 and again here in Kazan. He was fresh enough to come back against Kamsky and eliminate the American champion in blitz" more power

Resources like the one you mentioned here will be very useful for me!

Twitter Updates

    Follow me on Twitter



    About this Entry

    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on May 19, 2011 8:13 AM.

    Nakamura-Ponomariov Match was the previous entry in this blog.

    Waiting for Bazna is the next entry in this blog.

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