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Waiting for Bazna

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Linares went on hiatus. Mainz disappeared, MTel seems to be gone, and Amber is definitely over. Someone recently tried to convince me this was all a coincidence, that despite the appearance of a trend, there was a distinct reason for each case. Plus, there are events like London and Bazna taking up some of the slack. I'm not entirely convinced, but it's also true that Dortmund is still rolling and Bilbao is beefing up to a six-player event after last year's recession-sized quad. (Though to do it they split the event with Sao Paulo and put the players on a cruise ship.) My anxiety about the dropoff off top events is also somewhat ameliorated by the fact that Hikaru Nakamura seems to be playing in just about every top event this year, including Bazna, Dortmund, and Bilbao.

My other gripe is more of a pet peeve I've whined about here several times, the increasing prevalence of the six-player double round-robin, the format used in all three of the aforementioned events. There's nothing intrinsically wrong with it, and it has its virtues as a rigorous elite test, but it would be nice to see some balance with bigger fields that provide more dynamism and more room for fresh blood. That's what makes Wijk aan Zee such a thrill ride. But more players, more money...

Meanwhile, there are always fun sprints like Leon, where world champion Vishy Anand just crushed Alexei Shirov 4.5-1.5 in a rapid chess match. Anand won twice with black in the Caro-Kann, which I think runs his personal record against Shirov in that defense to +6; that is, six wins, no losses, and five draws. That, as the kids say, is sick. Even sicker was that in game three, Shirov resigned after move 17. With white. Against the Caro-Kann. That's enough to make you want to call in... sick. It was the second recent dominant rapid showing by Anand, who dusted off his occasional second Kasimjanov in Tashkent in March. I don't know if Anand is planning on playing any classical chess before Bilbao, which isn't until the end of September.

The Bazna Kings Tournament begins on June 11th. The official site isn't easy to find and doesn't have much in the way of information. The winner gets a spot in the Grand Slam final in Bilbao, unless it's Carlsen or Nakamura, who are already qualified. I assume that would create another wildcard. Bazna should be a great one, with a fighting cast of stars plus the local Nisipeanu, who dangerous enough to keep the top-tenners honest. He's usually in the cellar but he did beat Radjabov last year. The field this time is Carlsen, Ivanchuk, Nakamura, Ponomariov, Karjakin, Nisipeanu. It could be really great if Radjabov doesn't draw all his whites in 20 moves. I think they had a 30-move minimum last year, which is better than nothing. Games start at 1530 local, 8:30am NY time.


Mig, the 17 move loss was caused by an exciting novelty by Anand. Chessbase has more:
And you thought Chessbase was interested only in babes!


ChessVibes gave a much better picture of what actually happened - sometimes that old-fashioned thing of actually going to events pays off :) http://www.chessvibes.com/reports/anand-beats-shirov-4-5-1-5-in-leon/

...the second playing day began badly for Shirov. “I was lost before play started,” the Latvian grandmaster said afterwards. “I could not find any satisfactory variation against the Caro-Kann during my morning preparation in the hotel. So I got to the stage in not a very good mood. Then I chose a very aggressive line, with the hope that, playing with White, at least I would achieve a draw. This was clearly not right.”

In the Advance variation (1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 Bf5) Shirov played 4.g4, but the game became a “textbook example” (Anand) of how to exploit this move, and the weakness of a king stuck in the centre. At move 17, in a hopeless middlegame position, Shirov resigned already.

Although 6...c5! surprised Shirov you can see it wasn't really the main problem (or a novelty to go down in history).

Anand, whom I interviewed last night, said he won't play until Bilbao. Since negotiations with players for both wildcards are ongoing, in case Carlsen or Nakamura wins in Bazna, the second (or third) will qualify for what will most probably be the event with the highest average Elo of all time. Greetings from Barajas airport!

A team tournament called the Top 12 is ongoing in France (I believe). The list of top players is of interest here ie., [ Jakovenko, Vachier-Lagrave, Adams, Naiditsch, Navara, Le Quang Liem, Eljanov, Dreev, Bacrot, Wojtaszek, Moiseenko, Giri ]

Is anyone fluent enough in French to advise as to how one might actually see games and game results for this event?

No mention of Gelfand's big win Mig?!

Time for Carlsen to reclaim the No 1 spot after trashing some patzers. Ho hum, what new. There sure will be a new blog everytime MC wins though.

Mig cannot help himself not to poke at Radjabov. He even misspelled his last name as Ponomarev :). I though that would go away since it became clear that former "baby beast of Baku" did not grew to another full-size "beast of Baku".

From the interview on chessdom it seems there might be some rapid tournaments (since Anand only said "my next major tournament is Bilbao") he might play before Bilbao. But its nice he will play both Tal Memorial as well as London chess classic after Bilbao this year.

He also gave his true opinion on the football scoring system saying it favors easy wins against hard fought draws which is not fair.

I am not afraid of the (l)wolf and will answer your question: The tournament is actually over, even knowing French it isn't all easy to find the games. The best source is http://www.europe-echecs.com/actualites/championnat-de-france-des-clubs-3317.html - which has a pgn download and game viewer (rather slow download) just below the picture, left of "Telecharger et voir les parties". Alternatively, if you're just interested in games by 2700ers, there's the game viewer at http://www.2700chess.com .

Results are also at Europe-Echecs (same link), to check the team composition you have to click on the team name, then again on the top of the list that appears. Vachier-Lagrave played for Evry Grand Roque, which had to do without Feller and Hauchard ("for known reasons"). They also have round reports (in French).

Some details on the scoring system:
- A won match counts 3 points, a drawn match 2 points and a lost match gives 1 point just for showing up (forfeits count 0 points).
- Only decisive games count, hence a team result of 1-0 means one win and seven draws.
- BTW, each team has to have at least one French male, and one French male. At least five players have to be French or EU citizens living in France.

On the problem of the 6 (and even 4 and 2) player fields at supertournaments due to "more players, more money". I wonder if organizers could announce that in addition to invited players (getting appearance fee and costs covered) they welcome applications from 2700+ players willing to participate with covering all their costs themselves.

I'm pretty sure many 2700s could find (state or private) sponsorship to participate in a top supertournament, or might even spend their own for the opportunity (and the chance for the prize money). This would certainly make for a hungry field having something other than a few Elo points to play for(eg the invited players also having to prove that their invitation was a right choice). Of course, organizers would still trim and choose the field from the applicants pool, but could gather a nice 10-12-14-player field for the prize of 6.)

Ken the TWIC site has a new serverlink with these and other games available.

Anand will in any case play the Botvinnik Memorial in Moscow "in early September", a rapid event with Aronian, Carlsen and Kramnik - BTW this means that all of them will skip the World Cup taking place at the same time elsewhere in Russia.

I agree with Anand that, while some top events disappeared or at least take a break, there are plenty of fairly new ones on the calendar - how could Mig forget to mention Tal Memorial? Biel is also a fairly recent addition, as far as supertournaments are concerned.

Biel is by no means recent.... its been going for years.

Thanks to all for the info. Thomas, I could say that Mig unintentionally neglected those tourneys because Nakamura is not scheduled to play either. And I think I will.

More likely he neglected to mention Tal Memorial because its so far away (Nov...?) And its participant list isn't even announced so how do you know Nakamura isn't playing?

Regarding Tal Memorial, London is even later (December) and was mentioned by Mig. For Biel, I wrote "as far as supertournaments are concerned": I know it's been around 'forever', but for example in 2005 the field was (in order of final standings) Gelfand, Volokitin, Pelletier, Nakamura, Bauer and Carlsen. Only Gelfand was already world top, three other players were rising stars - Nakamura took some time to rise, Volokitin didn't quite manage.

No big deal that Mig omitted these events, basically I wanted to point out that strong events always came and went away after some years or decades: the Netherlands used to have a second supertournament (Tilburg), so did Spain (Dos Hermanas).

>> it favors easy wins against hard fought draws

Hard to believe Anand said this.

What about hard fought wins and easy draws (like drawing after 15 moves of theory)?

But yes, it favors wins over draws.


A GM who intends to win an event, would not accept an easy draw.
A GM who only accepts easy draws, does not win. kapish?

But London's field is already announced. Tal Memorial's field is not.

Yep, but then again Biel's field is announced, and its dates overlap with Dortmund. So there's some empirical evidence for ken's suspicion that Mig cares primarily about events with Nakamura. Even more than for events with Carlsen? Bazna, Bilbao and London have both of them - but Magnus cannot play in Germany and Switzerland at the same time.

It is not about events with or without Naka. Mig wants to prove that the number of supertournaments is coming down bcos Kirsan got re-elected. He is convinced there would've been many more had Karpov won. He's never explained how!

Who is Carlsen again? Ahh yes, he finished behind Nakamura in Corus 6 month ago, and since then he's probably training hard with leko or something like that. I remember now, he doesn't even care to become WChampion. Go Gelfand!!!

Tata, Bazna, Dortmund, Biel, Moscow, Bilbao, China, London - it is still a lot, plus official events - World Cup, Candidates, plus Team Events, plus Rapid Events

I see that Herr Naidtsch snagged a game from Mssr. Vachier-Lagrave in the French Championships.
Sehr gut!

Just as significant, no doubt, is the add of Anish Giri to the 2700 club. Congrats to Anish.

And to Le Quang Liem, who has recently picked up 27 ELO points! Rated nearly 2715. That's a meteoric climb from year 2009.

I wouldn't call either terribly significant: Naiditsch had already beaten players like Eljanov, Shirov and even Kramnik - he can do it at least on certain days (good ones for him, bad ones for the opponent).
For Giri and Le Quang Liem, crossing 2700 - a symbolic barrier after all - was just a matter of time IMO. They will probably stay in the club and may well continue to rise, while others like Naiditsch and Wojtaszek might just be "visitors". Still nice for Giri and Le that it happened before Dortmund, their most prestigious invitations so far (more prestigious than Giri's local hero spot in Tata A).

Who will be the highest-rated junior after Dortmund and Biel? It could be Le Quang Liem (currently 2715 live), Caruana (2714) or even Giri (2701). Of course all benefit from the fact that the generation 1990 (Carlsen, Karjakin, Vachier-Lagrave, Nepomniachtchi) has gotten old.

It is the French team championship. Of course, Herr Naiditsch can't play in the French championship.

I stand corrected. French TEAM Championship.

I have to laugh at the comment that generation 1990 has gotten old. This is a very strong generation! Those boys will dominate for some time to come. LQL, Giri, and Caruana might pull even, but I don't expect them to surpass. Do you, truly?

And I disagree with your comment about Wojtaszek. Given his meteoric rise so far - similar to LQL - it's difficult to imagine him as just a visitor to the 2700 club. Just conjecture, but I'd wager that he still has upside.

I also know that Naiditsch can sometimes beat folks such as V-L and others named. He's capable. Nevertheless, he took down a player who has relatively few defeats over the past few years. He'd probably be the first to tell you that the win was significant. Ask him.

Of course - but you probably got it - "gotten old" just meant that the 1990ers are no longer eligible for the world junior list.

For all players mentioned, I go with Mark Twain: "predictions are incredibly hard, particularly those concerning the future". I won't be as definitive (on anyone, and either way) as a St.Louis newspaper writing "Short of a massive collapse, [Nakamura is] considered a lock to play in the next Candidates Tournament" - as a matter of fact, he's currently one of at least six candidates (Carlsen, Aronian, Ivanchuk, Kramnik, Nakamura, Karjakin) for three rating spots.

Wojtaszek: Fact is that he didn't do well in his two strongest events (Tata B and Lublin) after crossing 2700, and that he has left the club for the time being. It could well be a temporary dip - it's also unclear how much time Anand's second will have to play 'own events' in the forthcoming 12 months.

Naiditsch - VL: Of course it was an important game, also for the team competition. Yet I think only for young ambitious French players (Feller??) their first win against Vachier-Lagrave (or Bacrot) is a particular career milestone. But I can't ask Naiditsch: I don't know him personally, and the homepage of the French team competition has email addresses for some players (e.g. Vachier-Lagrave), but others (e.g. Naiditsch) apparently objected to make theirs public. ,:)

Naidisch should feel esp. good about that win if only for the fact that not only is V-L a peer for the most part, he's a peer with a higher rating who finished better than Naiditsch ever has in as strong an elite tournament as Tata A. Or did I forget an equally fine showing by Naiditsch? Anyway, you yourself suspect that he might be just a "visitor" to the club.
(I don't really agree with that either, depending upon your definition of "visit.")

Didn't Naiditsch win Dortmund once?

Right. That was the fine showing that I had in the back of my mind. 2005 Dortmund, where he finished ahead of Topolov, Svidler, Kramnik, Adamas, Leko, Bacrot, Van Wely, Sutovsky, and Nielsen.

So he's been very competitive for some time now, but not consistently at that level, unless he's just had poor luck with invites.

Whatever happened in Dortmund 2005 hasn't happened later. For example van Wely and Bacrot shared second behind Naiditsch, but since then the latter has played in Dortmund every year, without success.

Once again, I don't say that Naiditsch can't be happy and a bit proud about this game. But - at all levels - is winning with white against someone (currently) 15 points higher-rated a big surprise or "a dream coming true"?

I agree with you that Naiditsch has been competitive for several years, but not consistent enough. It may have to do with his generally risky style - he tends to play cautiously in Dortmund, but that's not his typical chess. BTW maybe his second-best result was second place in Corus B 2010 (8.5/13, half a point behind Giri). Subsequently there were rumors (or German hopes) that he would be invited to the A group anyway [they often also promote the second-place finisher], but then his rating didn't improve enough (yet).

The pairings are ready:
Magnus - Nakamura
Chucky - Radjabov
Nisi - Karjakin

Link: http://www.turneulregilor.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=164&Itemid=230&lang=en

KID from Radjabov - back to "Radjabov chess" rather than the anti-Kramnik chess he played in Kazan. Solid QGD from Nakamura.

I'm rooting for one of my favorite Carlsen. Keep it up!

Nakamura had prepared "something solid" for his black game against Magnus. QGD. But Magnus castled long, dropping a novelty in Naka's lap. Making Nakamura forget his pre-game promise, forget whom he was facing and switching into blitz-attack mood...

Pscycology is still a heavy factor in the game!

Technically, 10.0-0-0 was a novelty, but there were several predecessor games where white castled queenside a few moves later. It was Nakamura who first played a rather rare move (6.-Bg4 which looks weird to me but seems to be playable) and then introduced a new concept: normally black also castles queenside in this variation, which leads to a quieter "technical" game. BTW, in rapid and classical games (neglecting blitz) this was Nakamura's fourth consecutive loss with black against Carlsen: three attacking games (Tata, Amber and Bazna) preceded by a technical game in London 2010.

Did Radjabov "forget" whom he was playing? I would rather say he didn't know whom he was playing - it's always unclear which Ivanchuk will show up. A bit early after one round, but we seem to have version 2800. There's also version 2600, in its pure form for the last time at MTel 2009 where he scored 3/10.

@Thomas: FYI, with this win, Chucky is now solid #4 on the live list!

Just an observation ...

CO (:

IMO (well, the first part is fact rather than opinion) Ivanchuk now is sole or clear #4, but 4.6 points ahead of Kramnik isn't yet a "solid" lead - I won't bother to check whether it's already gone again in a few hours if he loses against Carlsen today. Conversely, if Chucky continues to score, he might cross 2800 and even become live, and soon after (July list) official #3 ahead of Aronian.

One thing is nearly unavoidable: The live and official top10 will change a bit, one way or another, after Bazna. It will again change after Dortmund (Kramnik, Nakamura, current #11 Ponomariov) and Biel (Carlsen, Gashimov).

"One thing is nearly unavoidable: The live and official top10 will change a bit, one way or another, after Bazna. It will again change after Dortmund (Kramnik, Nakamura, current #11 Ponomariov) and Biel (Carlsen, Gashimov)."

Ha! funny. I like that.

Jeez, Nisipeanu was holding Nakamura even until move 60; then he gives it away. Ouch.

Chess is about to be the focus of a real media circus... Ilyumzhinov just played chess in Tripoli with Gaddafi: http://bit.ly/lCyv9B

And even with his son - they chose the Sicilian: would probably have been asking too much to have a peaceful opening...

Now Anand and Gelfand in particular should seize their chance and agree to play their mini-championship match in Tripoli. Chess will eventually be on the covers of all major newspapers...

Anand will win be default, because Gelfand (as an Israeli) will be banned from entering the country, just like in the 2004 FIDE WC tournament.

Don't be prejudiced!

Rumor has it after all that Kirsan has offered his friend Muammar and his partly deceased family to become the next leaders of FIDE, should he eventually retire.

Purportedly Kirsan has already secured 161 votes from his alien friends' intergalactic chess federations for this literally revolutionary idea...

For what it's worth ... 2700chess.com is already updated, and - after his loss against Nisipeanu today - Ivanchuk is back to live #5 (2779.1 vs. 2780.6 for Kramnik). He would be #6 or almost so if Karjakin-Nakamura had been decisive rather than drawn.

All nitpicking, but potentially serious nitpicking as these four guys compete for the third rating spot into the next candidates event (first and second one are currently for Carlsen and Aronian). If they remain that close for the relevant rating lists (July 2011 and January 2012), a qualifying event for the qualifier might be better than going down to digits behind the decimal point for higher average rating.

[BTW, IMO discussions on "Kirsan in Libya" have a better home on the other thread on cheating scandals - unless/until Mig creates a dedicated thread. I didn't comment because - for once - I am speechless ,:( ]

So, which Ivanchuk showed up at Bazna? Now taking bets...

Thomas: I didn't comment because - for once - I am speechless ,:(

Um ... now I have observed everything!

CO :)

That our Leader should be hobnobbing with ol' bomberballs raised my eyebrows.
But I fell off the chair an spilled me coffee on a vital place when I learned he had silenced me ol' segotia Thomas!

Thomas please regain your awesome power of speech. We need you.

"So, which Ivanchuk showed up at Bazna? Now taking bets..."

Usually it is more than one that shows up at these tournaments. We've already seen two of them.

...they chose the Sicilian:

Gaddafi choose the French defense, Rafale 2.2 Mach variation, and entrenched himself into a solid position.
Our crazy friend Kirsan played the Moscow's game : "it is a illegal move to kill Gaddafi".
Only Kasparov was missing here to tell us how the political games resemble the chess game.

PS Nice game by Nisipeanu today. Did Chucky saw that Nf6+ coming when he played Rd8 ?

"All nitpicking, but potentially serious nitpicking as these four guys compete for the third rating spot into the next candidates event (first and second one are currently for Carlsen and Aronian). If they remain that close for the relevant rating lists (July 2011 and January 2012), a qualifying event for the qualifier might be better than going down to digits behind the decimal point for higher average rating."

Well, the qualifying event already exists -- the Chess World Cup in August. Nothing is stopping any of these players from competing in that event -- top 3 finishers will automatically be in the next candidates tournament.

Yeah, the World Cup is one (or rather THE official) qualifying event, with a total of 128 players - though probably just roughly 20 players have realistic chances to end up in the final three. If, and only if three of the players I mentioned form the top 3 my previous comment is more or less irrelevant.

Else, it could become quite "funny" - disclaimer beforehand: I don't say that anything below will happen (and I don't attack any of the players), but it could happen:
- if Nakamura is NOT invited to Tal Memorial (or declines an invitation), he could play a match against, say, Finegold to gain some fairly easy rating points while his competitors battle each other. [Of course others could apply the same trick]
- London is the final event before the Jan 2012 list, hence Carlsen might have some control on who (Kramnik or Nakamura) joins him in the next candidates.

Something similar happened before: three Azeris controlled each other's fate in the final Astrakhan GP. Mamedyarov lost a strange game to Radjabov, helping to secure Radjabov's qualification AND his own wildcard spot.

"Who plays better, Ivanchuk in good form or Carlsen? It seems to me it’s Ivanchuk in good form."

Another good interview with Boris Gelfand: http://bit.ly/jhhgZx


"In San Luis in general the winner, Veselin Topalov, spent the whole second half essentially just making draws with no play. I don’t know if they were agreed in advance or if they were taken in theoretically drawn positions, but it’s not so important"

I wonder if he really suggests that Anand, Morozevich, Leko and Svidler agreed draws in advance to help Topalov win in San Luis, and that it's not so important if they did. I guess he just wants to draw fire from Kazan and suggest that San Luis was no better with regards to dull draws.

As the list below shows, Gelfand is "(just) a little bit wrong". I also don't think that draws were prearranged, I rather suspect the following: Given Topalov's 2-point lead over the field after seven rounds, the other players were primarily fighting for second place - and taking big risks against the leader wasn't part of their (redefined) tournament approach.

Topalov's second half of San Luis:
Topalov-Leko 1/2(24)
Anand-Topalov 1/2(17)
Topalov-Morozevich 1/2(61 - Moro took risks, ended up in a lost position that he then managed to save)
Adams-Topalov 1/2(45 - a fighting Sicilian)
Topalov-Svidler 1/2(21)
Kasimdzhanov-Topalov 1/2(42 - the final serious test for Topalov, facing his official predecessor)
Topalov-Polgar 1/2(18)

So Gelfand was about half right, and - from the four players you mentioned - only Morozevich may have really wanted more than a draw against Topalov (so did two players you didn't mention).

--My comment in the more appropriate thread:

30 moves. That's how long it took Magnus to dispatch Nisipeanu today.

It is in fact a shame that Magnus was not in the hunt to challenge Vishy Anand for the World Championship, because the contest would have been epic, with near even money on its outcome in my estimation.
Yes that presumes a lot, but sometimes projection is not greatly difficult.

Next time around, if Anand can hold on against Boris Gelfand, folks will say, 'well, but Vishy was past his prime when he played Magnus...'

Also in response to Gelfand: after today it seems that Ivanchuk is not, or no longer in good form!?

For what it's worth (2700chess.com is again updated in near real time) the live rating list now has Carlsen, Anand, Aronian, Kramnik, Karjakin, Nakamura, Ivanchuk etc. . Go Karjakin!! Just because he seems to have few (western) fans and therefore(!?) gets rather few supertournament invitations ... .

I agree with your sentiments.

Yes, Anand-Carlsen would have been an epic. Carlsen is no doubt the player who has had more tournament success and a higher rating than Anand. However in games between the two, Anand has mostly beaten Carlsen in recent games.

In the last 6 decisive games between the two Anand has a 5-1 score. So I doubt that Carlsen would be able to beat Anand in a match.

You know that I'm with you about Sergey Karjakin. Upside potential and not enough opportunity to prove it.

The "cheating" scandal after San Luis put some focus on the draws. Danailov claimed Morozevich accused Topalov of cheating because Topalov had made it public knowledge that Morozevich offered him a draw on move 11 of their game. Kasimdzhanov joined in by saying that he'd twice been offered a draw by Danailov before the 13th round game (which confirmed the WC) even began.

The thing about arranged draws, however, is that it's a fairly common practice - e.g. see Aronian's KC-Conference where he condemns it but admits to agreeing to draws: http://www.crestbook.com/en/node/1514

p.s. I should just add that in the full interview Gelfand did make it clear that of course it was impressive that Topalov won so many games in the first half and he wasn't criticising him for the draws.

Jay, for the record and previous to London 2010, when was the last time Anand grabbed a full point from Magnus?

The last three and a half years after Linares 2008 it's 2-1 to Anand in classical and 6-3 to Carlsen in all formats.

If one forgets about Amber and Mainz 2008, that is. Counting from January 2008 it would be 8-7 to Anand in all formats, but compared to Gelfand's 1-15 against Anand after 1993 it's not too bad. Carlsen's losses in classical from the time when he wasn't yet a top ten player probably mean little with regards to their comparative strength today.

Since Carlsen was a 2690 player, it is 6-1 Anand.
Since Carlsen was a 2730 player, it is 4-1 Anand.
Since Carlsen was a 2770 player, it is 2-1 Anand.
Since Carlsen was a 2800 player, it is 2-0 Anand.

"Just because he seems to have few (western) fans and therefore(!?) gets rather few supertournament invitations ..."

I think it has less to do with the number of (western) fans, and more to do with the "Gashimov syndrome" of being number 3 or 4 in your country. Karjakin used to be in the shadow of Ivanchuk and Ponomariov when he was an Ukrainian, and then in the shadow of Kramnik, Grischuk, Svidler etc. as a Russian.

It's only recently that he's gotten his rating up (he was remarkably stable at around 2725 for years), and if he produces another +1 in the second half of Bazna, he will be the new number one of Russia.

And what about Anand's stats against Aronian? :-)

Since Aronian is a 2800 player, it isn't too bad for Anand ,:) : one draw in Wijk aan Zee this year (though Aronian also won their Amber rapid game).

Maybe Vishy Anand has it in him to rise to the occasion. I would admire that, but it's not an established trait so far, from what I've seen or heard. With such a small sample size, you have to go with your gut feeling, and mine is that a match between him and Carlsen would be very hard-fought and close.

I hope it goes like that next year with Boris. If anything, Boris is the one you could predict will rise to the occasion.

Tournaments and matches are different. Different skill set. Case in point: Karpov was the most successful tournament player of all time, but many people erroneously believe that Kasparov was light years ahead of him in the 80s and early 90s simply because he failed in their matches.

"If Nakamura is NOT invited to Tal Memorial (or declines an invitation), he could play a match against, say, Finegold to gain some fairly easy rating points while his competitors battle each other. [Of course others could apply the same trick]"

I don't understand this comment. If two players with established ratings played a match then their expected scores would reflect their ratings and, on an average, you should see neither an increase nor a decrease in their ratings. You cannot get "fairly easy rating points" simply by beating someone rated below you in a match.

At Nakamura's current rating of 2774 and Finegold's rating of 2494, the FIDE handbook gives a scoring probability for Nakamura of 0.84, meaning that he is expected to win a 6-game match by approximately a score of 5-1. If he wins it 5.5 - 0.5, then (with a K-factor of 10) he would increase his rating by 5 points, and if he wins it by 4.5-1.5 he will LOSE 5 rating points.

There's no free lunch--Nakamura would have to work hard to do at least well as his expected score in a match against the much lower-rated Finegold in order to gain points.

The only way for the quoted comment to make sense is to understand it to mean that Finegold would throw the match in order to give Nakamura free rating points, and that similar patsies could readily be found by Nakamura's competitors seeking to "apply the same trick." Is this what was intended?

'Karpov was the most successful tournament player of all time'

Probably you are right. But could you give some statistics?
All I know is, that Kasparov had this impressing Elo edge over his nearest rivals for years.


First, let me stress (again) that this isn't about, or against Nakamura. I merely chose this example because Nakamura and Finegold both live in St. Louis so such a match could be arranged at fairly short notice - and Rex Sinquefield might provide some prize money (= appearance fee, compensation or consolation money for Finegold?). As a side note, this also indicates that Finegold gets more (trans-Atlantic) publicity than he deserves strictly by rating - I wouldn't even know comparable Russian or Ukrainian players.

Yep, I did hint that Finegold might throw the match or, more likely, that people could suggest such a possibility if Nakamura scores enough to qualify for the candidates event. Second recurrent disclaimer: I don't say it will happen, but it could happen. In any case, it's an opportunity ("trick" may be the wrong word) to improve one's rating while not playing your direct comeptitors - it doesn't matter that there is no guarantee for success.

Something similar actually DID happen at a slightly lower level in October 2008: Vallejo played three consecutive amateur events, scoring 18/18 to gain 20 rating points and get close to 2700 (In fairness to him, he still needed an excellent result at the Dresden Olympiad to actually cross 2700). This was, hmmm, discussed here - I guess noone accused the humble amateurs of throwing their games, noone can possibly call Vallejo's behavior illegal but some considered it "a bit immoral".

shoes that mc though a huge talent has still time to go before he can face likes of anand

"If he wins it 5.5 - 0.5, then (with a K-factor of 10) he would increase his rating by 5 points,"

Those points could be very significant. Looking at the live ratings, there are four contenders for the rating qualifier spots within 5 points of each other: Kramnik, Karjakin, Nakamura and Ivanchuk.

With such a close race, it could pay off to "game the system". For example, you could schedule a 4 game match to be held in mid December. If by that time it's clear you're already qualified, get a doctor to say that you've been hit by food poisoning so that the match has to be cancelled. If you're not qualified, just play the match and hope to gain enough points - no throwing of the match needed from your opponent.

Disclaimer: Not saying any of the mentioned players would do this.

Yep, that's what I wanted to say: it's possible to "game the system". Actually I wonder if such a match needs to be arranged well in advance - followed by a doctor's letter if you don't "need" it any more - of if it could still be arranged at short notice "in case of need". London finishes December 12th, at that stage Nakamura and Kramnik know for sure whether or not they need those 2, 3 or 5 extra rating points.

Or do events have to be registered with FIDE weeks or months in advance in order to be rated? In that case, they could alternatively still play some weak open, just like Vallejo did ... .

But I agree with your final disclaimer - in part I just want to be funny, in part I wanted to stress that the system can be gamed if the race remains as close as it is now.

Not sure if there is a deadline for events that should be rated for the January list, but I just noticed that replacements are selected from the rating average.

So... if you're a few points shy of the last rating qualifier spot, do you throw yourself around to join an open tournament at the last minute or do you sit tight, hoping Carlsen will withdraw again? (Or that the players close to you in rating do not themselves join an open tourney to climb ahead of you?) Fun decisions ahead :)

Isn't it terrific how potent and useful your disclaimer is! Using it as a screen, along with a delicate use of conditional statements, the subjunctive mood and unattributable innuendo (for example, "some consider it a bit immoral"), you have managed to insult and cast aspersions about Nakamura, Finegold, other American GMs, Mamedyarov, Radjabov, other Azeris, Sinquefield, and Vallejo. It is quite revealing to see who has been spared in these snipings.

Your technique at slinging slander is worth emulating. Here, let's see if this will do.

Based on your ramblings here and in other forums, it seems plausible that you are a bigoted German who, in addition to being simply anti-Semitic, also believes that all the non-Nordic types (Japs, Jews, Azeris, Hispanics, etc) are of inferior stock and cannot maintain high ratings on their own merit--they have to resort to cheating and rating manipulation. Some people believe that your uncontrollable penis-envy regarding sleazy players with high ratings will not permit you to sit quietly and watch them succeed while you and yours shrivel and wilt.

Disclaimer: I'm not saying you are actually like this, just that it is one possibility. Also, in part I just wanted to be funny, and in part I wanted to stress that your hypothetical scenarios are malicious.

How did I do?

Uh...Bilbao 2010. Vishy is 2-0 against Magnus in the past year.

Tal Memorial in November:

Anand, Carlsen, Aronian, Nakamura, Gelfand, Wang Hao, Ivanchuk, Kramnik, Karjakin, Nepomnyaschii;

So all six contenders for Candidates rating spots, Anand, Gelfand + plus two other players in.

Although after World Cup in September it could be much more clear who is who.

Right, but like I said, that's one tournament and a very small sample size. I wouldn't judge any potential match by that. Nor likely would you. You follow things closely. We're talking about two chess geniuses. Anything can happen. Experience should win out, but I'm guessing you wouldn't put up anything significant that says Anand would beat Carlsen in a match (I try to ponder this stuff as if someone is baiting me to put money on it).

People that keep bringing up Anand's plus against Carlsen as proof that a match between them today wouldn't even be competitive are either just trolling or know little about chess (or both). Ivanchuk was 4-0 against Karjakin before this week, does that make it a foregone conclusion that Karjakin wouldn't stand a chance in a match between the two? Aronian is 4-0 against Anand the last years, does that mean that Anand would be without chances in a match? Carlsen being 1-2 against Anand after Linares 2008 obviously says nothing at all about how a match between them would finish, except that it probably would be rather even, as all other matches between strong players. No 2800+ player would ever be expected to lose clearly in a match against anyone.

I don't gamble, but if I did, I would bet on Vishy to beat Carlsen, since Vishy has actually proven that he is a big MATCH (and not just tournament) player. Now, over the next 5-10 years, I expect Carlsen to surpass him, but for 2012 I would favor Vishy, and even in 2014, I would make Vishy a slight favorite. After that, however, I think the pendulum would swing to Magnus, but not as much as most people would think. Also remember that there is no guarantee that Magnus even wins the Candidates tournament for the next cycle, although he should be considered the favorite to do so.

Wow!!! Probably the strongest field of all time -- the Champion, Challenger, and the top 7 rated players in the world! Plus the World Blitz right afterwards...wow.

"Also remember that there is no guarantee that Magnus even wins the Candidates tournament for the next cycle"

Let's say we give Carlsen a very generous 70% chance of beating any opponent in a candidate match. With 3 rounds, that means there is only a 34,3% chance he will qualify for the title match.

We could one-up that, and give your favourite player Nakamura a whopping 80% chance of beating anyone. He would still only have a 51,2% chance of winning the whole thing.

With the current format, the strongest player on paper will only get through the qualifier half of the time at best. Which is why some say the format should be changed as the reigning champion has waaaaaay too big a privilege. Sitting around and twiddling your thumbs while your fiercest opponents eliminate each other? It's good to be the king.

The format doesn't need to be changed. The champion has EARNED the right to face the best challenger. VIshy actually made it easier for others to challenge for the title by agreeing to title defenses every 2 years (whereas before it was every 3 years at least).

As far as handicapping the Candidates -- as Kazan has shown us, NOBODY knows what will happen (although I did pick Kamsky and Gelfand to do well, but still thought Aronian would win), so to say Carlsen will win is premature. Plus, match play is different than tournament play -- which is why Ivanchuk hasn't even sniffed a chance at the title since 2002, and why great match players such as Gelfand and Kamsky (who consistently do well at the World Cup) perform well in that setting.

My early prediction for the next cycle: one of the three players who qualifies via the World Cup will be in the Candidates final match, and may win the entire tournament.

"so to say Carlsen will win is premature"

I just said that there's only a 34% chance of him qualifying even when he's given an unrealistic theoretical 70% chance of winning each match. More realistical odds give him bout a 20% chance.

So, the point was that saying "there is no guarantee that player so-and-so will win" is already a tautology.

"The format doesn't need to be changed."

Oh well. I'm glad at least someone is happy with the current state of affairs. I for one won't be watching any more candidate games ever again, but that's hardly significant.

You believe that giving Carlsen a
"theoretical 70% chance of winning each match is unrealistic." ?? And "More realistical odds give him about a 20% chance." ??

Let's make contact so that I can extract some real time gelt off your person.

Noted for the record: Nakamura (with the white pieces) offered the draw to Carlsen.

My bad. Draw by repetition. Black would be slightly better with exchange of queens.

"Let's make contact so that I can extract some real time gelt off your person."

70% is unrealistic per match. If we say 60% per match is realistic, the overall chance to qualify is (0.6)^3 = 21,6%.

I wonder if this post deserves the favor of a reply, but - at the risk of being repetitive - I will explain my three somewhat related points:

1) The recent one was a "spinoff" of rating discussions, after someone pointed out that Ivanchuk is (was) live #4, now he is back to #7. The gaps are so small that one game makes a lot of (fake) difference, but such differences can become relevant. It's one thing if the World Cup has 20 rating qualifiers and #21 has to stay at home. It's another thing if the next candidates event has 3 rating spots - which currently would mean that from four statistically equal players three have to stay at home. I essentially criticize "circumstances".
I suggested a Nakamura-Finegold match because I assume that many people here know both players. I could have suggested an Ivanchuk-Onischuk match which has a similar rating gap, but who knows Onischuk (IM Vladimir, not GM Alexander)? I know that some Nakamura fans are very easily offended, but .... .

2) Regarding Mamedyarov-Radjabov, at least two "Soviet" GMs considered it a strange game (I don't remember their names). Again I primarily blame "circumstances", the fact that three Azeris controlled each other's (and their own) fate. I had mentioned this early during the Astrakhan GP, and suggested to manipulate pairings so they play each other early in the event - when it isn't clear yet who "needs" a full point.

3) Regarding Vallejo, I found back the corresponding thread:
You will notice that I defended him in the comments section - though I grant that others criticizing him weren't nearly as harsh as I remembered from distant memory.

And nowhere did I suggest that players (of any 'race' or religion) "cannot maintain high ratings on their own merit". They all can - it's not at all about whether someone deserves 2780+-5, just about meaningless differences of a few points that could become meaningful due to circumstances.

blah blah blah

"The recent one was a "spinoff" of rating discussions, after someone pointed out that Ivanchuk is (was) live #4, now he is back to #7. The gaps are so small that one game makes a lot of (fake) difference, but such differences can become relevant. It's one thing if the World Cup has 20 rating qualifiers and #21 has to stay at home. It's another thing if the next candidates event has 3 rating spots - which currently would mean that from four statistically equal players three have to stay at home"

Which is all the more reason why, regardless of rating, all top players (except Anand and Gelfand, who are the only ones with nothing to gain) should simply play in the World Cup and ensure their place in the 2014 Candidates tournament by making the top 3. If they choose not to play in the World Cup, they have no one to blame but themselves if they get excluded from the next cycle b/c of fractions of decimal points in their rating.

Off topic but I see that in the live list (http://www.2700chess.com/) Anish Giri has made it 2700 (2701 to be precise) by doing well in Sigeman and the french league. He has a chance to further that by playing in Dortmund.

Why only mention Anish Giri?

How about Sutovsky, Jobaba, Tomashevsky, and Moiseenko?

And if you're just looking for younger guys, then Le qualifies, if a few years older. He's risen faster up the ELO ladder.

Valid point, and - intended or not - a fair criticism of Kramnik: most probably he won't play the World Cup because he committed to the Botvinnik Memorial at the same time. Along with Anand who is already at least qualified for the next candidates event, and Carlsen and Aronian whose rating spots seem fairly safe.

At the risk of sounding like a Kramnik apologist (and anyway it's not the key point I want to make): Can we blame him for wanting to play the second-highest event in his home country after Tal Memorial? It's just rapid, but I guess Botvinnik and the Botvinnik school still mean a lot to Russian chess players. And - when he signed the contract - did he even already know that there will be three qualifying spots from the World Cup? Until now it was just one, and noone can 'plan' to win the World Cup.

My main points: Most likely, the World Cup won't provide a full solution to the problem I pointed out. This would only be the case if Nakamura, Karjakin and Ivanchuk ALL qualify - but (and this is empirical observation rather than hating) I don't have much confidence in Ivanchuk's chances, given that he rarely did well in knockout events. Ironically, Kramnik could end up benefitting from NOT playing the World Cup, if his competitors lose precious rating points (once again, every single one might count in the end). He will like BOTH scenarios: 1) his competitors make the final three, 2) one or several of his competitors are eliminated at an early stage.

And even if Karjakin, Nakamura and Ivanchuk all qualify, the problem may be passed on to the next level about 20 points lower. Currently, Topalov, Mamedyarov, Gashimov and Ponomariov form the next Elo group - their best chance to qualify is via the World Cup (or an organizer wildcard, but that's another dubious story). But IF Kramnik plays badly in his forthcoming rated events (Dortmund, Hoogeveen, Tal Memorial, London) he could join that group. And it could be that he can afford to lose 19 rating points, but 21 is too much ... .

(Except in the second paragraph, I sound a bit like a Kramnik hater - I wonder if reactions had been as harsh if I had done so from the very beginning)

>...I sound a bit like a Kramnik hater - I wonder if reactions had been as harsh if I...

Me Me Myself

YOU wonder what YOU sounded like in YOUR blog comment?? How dare you even mention yourself when there is rogge to talk about!

On planet rogge it isn't "I I I" but "Magnus Magnus Magnus" - how could I write a blog post that mentions him only briefly??

Nothing to be ashamed of being a Kramnik fanboy, mister. The problem is that you're first and foremost a Thomas fanboy. Tiresome.

-It is not Thomas' fault that the rest of us do not blog as much as he does.

If everybody kept up with his pace, then the chess blog world would've been in balanse!


Thomas' only fault - that I read - is some defensiveness. I don't see a need for that most of the time. It's his opinion, and it's within reason.

Carlsen-Ivanchuk went from an even middlegame to a winning endgame for white very quickly. 49..Rc4 was the turning point, which is unclear to me. Anyone?

"And - when he signed the contract - did he even already know that there will be three qualifying spots from the World Cup?"

He must at least have suspected it, as it didn't seem realistic that FIDE would be able to get another Grand Prix going. But then again, you will never see Kramnik playing in a World Cup again, for the same reasons that you never see a former executive take a new job as a busboy: The World Cup is the kind of menial work that is simply beneath him at this point in his career.

Chess is as elaborate a waste of human intelligence as you can find outside an advertising agency. ----Raymond Chandler

Noted for the record: Carlsen (with the black pieces) played for the draw against Nakamura. Carlsen says so himself in his blog:


Yea, not unexpected. It's not like his back is against the wall in Bazna.

This is what Carlsen actually wrote in his blog:

"What's happened in 6 days? Same opponent as in round 1, but today I just wanted to finish the game. I didn’t sleep well and was happy to force a repetition of moves around move 30. [...] When he traded rooks in the a-file black, if any, is probably slightly better. On a normal day I would have continued, but today the early draw suited me just fine."

So it is not entirely fair to say "he played for a draw". He simply wanted to finish the game early, as he wasn't feeling well. I bet he would have liked a quick win even more :-P

Here is what he actually said:

"What's happened in 6 days? Same opponent as in round 1, but today I just wanted to finish the game. I didn’t sleep well and was happy to force a repetition of moves around move 30. [...] When he traded rooks in the a-file black, if any, is probably slightly better. On a normal day I would have continued, but today the early draw suited me just fine."

I guess a short win would have suited him just as fine as a short draw, don't you think?

Obviously he wasn't feeling well, so that influenced his decision to call it a day early - not his usual game approach.

I guess you're right "happy to force a repetition of moves around move 30" and "On a normal day I would have continued" do not necessarily constitute "playing for a draw"...but it does hint at that, don't you think?

I guess you're right "happy to force a repetition of moves around move 30" and "On a normal day I would have continued" do not necessarily constitute "playing for a draw"...but it does hint at that, don't you think?

You read what you want into Carlsen's comment. I read that given the circumstances, he didn't mind taking a draw at that point, although he normally would've continued to push for a win (which was what "happened to" Ivanchuk the next day).

Btw, the choice(s) of Carlsen resulted in two "mini-match wins" after the Ivanchuk game:

1,5-0,5 against Nakamura
1,5-0,5 against Ivanchuk

To put it differently: that Carlsen is happy with winning with white and drawing with black (that is, a score of 75%) against Nakamura should probably not be interpreted as some kind of "exaggerated respect" or whatever you tried to "hint at" with your first post. An easy draw with black against a 2770+ player is usually considered ok, by most players. Even by Carlsen.

Right. Key words from Carlsen: "...was happy to force a repetition of moves around move 30."

Magnus forced it, as trading queens was in his favor. Sure, Hikaru can put up stout resistance as we've seen, but as we've also seen, when Magnus is feeling good he can force near-even endgames until opponents resign.

Hikaru decided to take the draw -- with the white pieces. Probably good judgement.

"Probably good judgement". I tend to agree - Nepomiachtchi's three wins with black at Tata this year come to my mind. In all cases, his opponents (Wang Hao, Giri and Carlsen) declined a move repetition = silent draw offer. I had watched Carlsen-Nepo live at the venue: Magnus went through about 20 minutes of agony pondering "to draw or not to draw" - and then made the, as it turned out, "wrong" decision. Earlier, Giri had been quite harshly criticized by his coach Chuchelov for being overly ambitious.

It seems Ivanchuk has lost motivation completely for this event. He played so fast today against Karjakin today and went down. Anyway that sets up a nice encounter for tomorrow. Unless Karjakin loses, it is most likely that he will invited to Bilbao later this year.

Bilbao would be deserved from a few miles away. We've seen nothing but good solid chess from Sergey Karjakin for some time now. And for whatever reason, he's been missing at few important venues recently.
As well, he should be in the next candidates.

Of course that third sentence should read: ...he's been missing from a few important venues recently.

So in signing off today, Mig states that he has an opinion for any subject, which proves he's a pundit. Then he goes on to say he has a blog for that sort of thing. Gee, where is it? It certainly isn't this one.

Note to Thomas: Relax. Mig's tweet was a reach for laughs (not one of his best); not a poke at Germans.

I'll bet that Thomas, Pioneer, and others here fully expected Ivanchuk to defeat Nakamura today. I know I did. It's just one of those things you sense will happen.

I'll bet that Hikaru was afraid of it. Yesterday he probably said to himself something like 'Oh crap, I have to play the genius who self-destructed but will probably come back to earth on the last round.'

I am rather relaxed: For the last few weeks to months, Mig's tweets are rarely ever funny IMO - regarding the previous "anti-German" one I merely inquired here because I didn't understand it at all. Well, the one about "Nakamura getting desperate to break his drawing streak" is kinda funny in hindsight .... .

Regarding cheating by German chess players: the bad news is that it happened, yet the good news is that the guy was caught and punished. BTW, at the Russian Championship Higher League (Swiss qualifier for the final later this year), there was sort of a scandal around a certain GM Dmitry Chuprov - not (necessarily) cheating, but violating official tournament regulations:

The next of the fashion earrings to take a look at is the drop earring. This is a fashion jewelry item that features a small diamond, pearl or gem that will dangle from the base of the earring. The item that is dangling will be held to the base of the earring through a metallic chain.

The assh--- crashed the party. We're outa here.

After Naka's loss and sub-par peformance, Mig will be quiet for a month, instead of the usual week :)

Some would say Naka performed on his usual level, nothing really sub-par about his Bazna results.

Finishing a tournament where Carlsen, Karjakin, Radjabov and Ivanchuk - all better players than Nakamura - play with just a -1 score is not too bad.

Nakamura has another chance to shine at Dortmund, where a few players who are not as good as he is will play. So he gets a chance to beat them and finish on a + score again - and Mig will be happy.

@Kapalik: Are you saying that chump posts weekly??? Where've YOU been lately? Unless you're talking about that worthless twitter account. You know, the one he throws in our face to show that he's SO busy with his other crap. Fonts, now. Hmph.

Hey, while it is true that Mig doesn't post often, give him a break. Undoubtedly he is the best judge of how to best use his own time, and he does provide this venue.

I agree with you, but it seems that Nakamura himself doesn't - see his tweet after the game:
"With some well timed blunders, I turned a mediocre result into an unmitigated disaster!"

Even more remarkable was Carlsen's blog entry after the last round:
"I’d like to forget my game against co-leader S.Karjakin as quickly as possible. On another off-day (the first was round 6 against Nakamura), I really missed a lot and quickly squandered my slight opening advantage."
A new concept - an angry tournament winner!? Actually, he continued "the result itself was fully acceptable today": in the given situation, not beating Karjakin was 'acceptable' after all ... .

Btw, Mig's tweet "Ivanchuk beat Nakamura but Naka passes him on the rating list at the same time" is WRONG.

Mig is likely looking at the live ratings list. That list has not been updated since the first round at Bazna (June 15). As Nakamura had a negative score in the second round while Ivanchuk had an even score, it is actually Ivanchuk who will be ahead on the ratings list once all games in Bazna are counted.

Thomas, with Carlsen having won 3 out of his 4 white games in Bazna prior to round 10, it would indeed take a lot to make a draw with white a fully acceptable result. He was probably just honest about his feelings. If you had seen him after the game you would have appreciated that he was to some extent "an angry tournament winner". If you were just joking, forgive me for trying to explain the obvious.

I guess Mig is right, only "at the same time" doesn't make sense: The "competing" list http://www.2700chess.com is fully up-to-date (actually it was always updated very quickly during Bazna, even _during_ rounds when one game was still underway).

Though I would say that Ivanchuk 'passed' Nakamura in a downward direction: both lost rating points, but Chucky lost more. Actually most top 10 players lost a few rating points (in Kazan or Romania) - the only "true" winners are Carlsen, Karjakin and Ponomariov (winning the Ukrainian championship). And Anand is +-0 because he didn't play at all (as far as rated games are concerned, since Tata in January).

OK, however - in this tournament - Karjakin was a different calibre than Nakamura, Ivanchuk and Nisipeanu. And Radjabov, the other one who "won half a point with black against Carlsen" was just plain solid in thirteen of his last fourteen classical games (including his match against Kramnik, excluding his KID loss against Ivanchuk in the first round of Bazna).
In fairness to Carlsen, he gave Karjakin the respect he deserves ("Karjakin, also on 6.5 points, played very well"). He also didn't seem "angry" in the press conference, only in his blog entry written or submitted the day after.

Sasikiran and Negi starts with a loss in the Airport Authority of India category 17 tournament. Caruana nicely manuvred his pieces and won against Negi.

For message board discussions,

Yes, he may use his time however he pleases. But lying to us about it is unacceptable. If he chooses not to blog, so be it; just don't believe that it's because he doesn't have the time.

You are correct... Ivanchuk lost 2 games in the second round (not one as I had thought earlier).

FIDE to introduce blitz and rapid ratings? And Vlad Tkachiev launches a chess website that has a lot more to offer than his previous chess beauty contest (though that's there too!): http://bit.ly/kGo6ii

I'm about to get a twitter account just to scream at Mig -- twittering things he used to blog about. Putz!

Getting a little scary now, hack.

I'm harmless -- just frustrated.

hack, are you new here? -I have followed this blog for a few years now, but I cannot recall any posts from you in the past.

The Anand-Gelfand match should definitely take place, with a bid from Moscow confirmed (and FIDE also noting great interest from Israel and India).

Plus the players will stop midway through the games at the Botvinnik Memorial later this year (with Anand, Carlsen, Kramnik and Aronian) to talk about the position (!). http://bit.ly/kUmRT2

"FIDE also noting great interest from Israel and India"

Has to be true then :-) It would be surprising if the Indian sponsors considered Gelfand a more exciting opponent than Topalov though.

For what it's worth I have seen other sources mentioning interest in Israel and India - just that in Israel it seems as though the chess federation and government aren't keen on helping, and in India the potential organisers are in dispute with the chess federation. Anyway, one bid should be enough, if it comes down to that :)

The situation is different - before the Anand-Topalov match there was already a rather aggressive competing bid: Bulgarians offered lots of money (of somewhat unclear origin) and boasted with their FIDE connections, stating that other bids wouldn't stand a chance. Under such circumstances, it's less obvious to make an effort for a bid, and risk the non-refundable bidding fee.

Regardless of playing style or strength and chances in a match, two aspects might favor Gelfand over Topalov:
- he duly qualified (which wasn't as clear in Topalov's case)
- he isn't known for scandals or shenanigans, so - even if he falls behind in the match - there's no reason to expect dirty tricks from his camp. And I guess that's the type of "excitement" sponsors don't really want ... .

I updated my article (link above) to add the news that the sponsor turns out to be a Moscow-based billionaire who studied chess in the Belarus Sports Institute in Minsk, where he met and became friends with... Boris Gelfand. So Gelfand turns out to have been the perfect player to win the Candidates :)

"The situation is different - before the Anand-Topalov match there was already a rather aggressive competing bid"

One repeated complaint from the Bulgarians was that there was no interest at all for the match from India, and at the bidding deadline Sofia hadn't secured the needed bank guarantees but got the event anyway. Also Indian newspapers stated that there never was any interest from Indian sponsors or hosts for the match. I doubt that this was just because the Bulgarians eventually got the event without even fulfilling the demands to make a bid, it was no foregone conclusion that they would get it in the end and an Indian bid with bank guarantees would surely have won the bidding.

"two aspects might favor Gelfand over Topalov:
- he duly qualified (which wasn't as clear in Topalov's case)"

Both qualified, even if I do wonder if any potential sponsor would see it as if Gelfand would be more qualified for a title match than Topalov based on the knockout in Kazan.

"there's no reason to expect dirty tricks from his camp"

No, but I wonder if Indian sponsors really were afraid of dirty tricks from Topalov, there were none of them in the matches in Sofia and the risk would probably have been even smaller if Anand had home advantage. Maybe even more the reason to want Anand to play at home rather than be at the mercy of the Bulgarian organisers.

Now, thats's cute! And very fortunate for the chess society. I hope the underdog win the match!

hack is a second name, alas. My original handle has a much better reputation, I believe.

Look at all of Mig's tweets the past day or so. He's become a chump, and doesn't care about this blog anymore. Why should we?

Here's an interview with Morozevich after winning the Russian Higher League: http://bit.ly/lJArgK

He's now qualified for the Russian Championship, which was moved forward to August to allow Kramnik to play. It's going to be quite an event:

Vladimir Kramnik, Peter Svidler, Sergey Karjakin, Ian Nepomniachtchi, Alexander Grischuk, Alexander Morozevich, Alexander Galkin and Artyom Timofeev.

Interesting that Kramnik will apparently participate - for the first time since 2005 when he finished with a (for him) disappointing 50% score. Now that he isn't world champion AND cannot regain the title in the near future, at least he wants to become Russian champion? [mishanp's article mentions and links to an interview with Ilya Levitov revealing Kramnik's participation]

This also means that Vlad will travel from Paris to Moscow three times later this year: Botvinnik Memorial, Russian championship, Tal Memorial.

I'd guess it's more just that it now fits into his schedule - it was originally planned to be at around the same time as the London Classic in December. Plus it's strong and will probably have a decent prize fund. There was actually talk about getting rid of it (or changing to e.g. a Swiss event without the Higher League qualifier), but apparently Dvorkovich vetoed that idea. Including Kramnik looks like a good way of ensuring much more media attention than it got last year (and Morozevich doesn't do any harm either!).

So, does anyone know which top players are playing in the Chess World Cup (which starts in less than 2 months)?

With Karjakin's 2788 on the July list, unless he implodes by January, Kramnik, Naka, Ivanchuk, Topa and anyone else trying to pass him by rating in order to qualify for the next WCC cycle will pretty much have to have an Jan 2012 ELO of 2800.

"Someone" from FIDE must know already, as the deadline for signing the contracts was ten days ago (June 20th). But I guess they cannot announce the pairings yet - they probably first have to contact replacement players, and maybe they still have to make up their mind whether Feller will be allowed to play.

And of course there are "more important news" on the FIDE homepage: Ilyumzhinov visiting Lebanon, Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos ,:(

Vlad Tkachiev has an excellent interview (and photos) with Grischuk at WhyChess (disclaimer: I translated it). Grischuk again talked about classical chess, and countered the "Carlsen defence" - i.e. that you can't say there's a problem with opening theory if Carlsen still regularly manages to win:

"I’d also like to say a little more about classical chess, as I thought a lot about it in Kazan. Imagine that in football the goal was twice as narrow. How would the majority of matches finish?

V.T.: 0-0.

A.G.: OK. But then imagine another player comes along who represents a mixture of Messi, Bolt and Schwarzenegger, and then he starts to regularly run rings around half the team, and then the goalkeeper, and whack! A goal! His team would, of course, start to win continually. Great! But still, does that mean the goals should be that small? And so now we’ve got Carlsen. Despite often having bad positions with either colour he still manages to post great results. But that doesn’t mean nothing needs to be changed – reduce the time, widen the damn goals!"

Grischuk also talks e.g. about his feud with Nakamura: http://www.whychess.org/node/514

Grischuk: "I’m currently more inclined to evaluate Stalin positively"

Yep, the full version of the interview's now up :) (same link). That wasn't my favourite sentence, although as Vlad notes it's mainly a surprise based on Grischuk's age. When I spent a year in the Ukraine in the late 90s almost everyone over a certain age was nostalgic for the USSR and e.g. despised Gorbachev.

Anyway, there's lots more to the interview!

He is convinced there would've been many more had Karpov won. He's never explained how!http://www.amerisleep.com/

He is convinced there would've been many more had Karpov won. He's never explained how

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Sometimes, people follow the trend. The trend also happens to game like chess. The game has been left because not many people play it again.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on June 5, 2011 12:46 AM.

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