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Rorshach

Chess - the world in black and white

106 posts in this topic

On 2 December 2016 at 10:26 AM, Calibandar said:

And another question: why is it that these all these best of the best level guys are all so young? All of these guys are in their twenties. Where are the guys in their 40's? Seems like only Anand. I seem to recall the Karpovs and Kasparovs of old were still going at it and being the best even when in their 40's or 50's? 

It's a generational trend happening at the moment due to the ease of training. In Kasparov's day, competing against the very best to practise most effectively meant competing in top level tournaments around the world. And no Grand Master is going to agree to frequent casual match-ups with a rival so that their opponent can learn how to best them.

These days, though, with computer simulation, even a free iPhone app can give near GM quality opposition and quite cheap software can accurately imitate a real-life opponent's moves and style. That's invaluable practice. Computers can also, during training, indicate the optimal move with far better foresight than any human can.

Younger players who've grown up with computer chess are at a huge advantage. Older players can still use this, but they're starting from behind.

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It's not just that the silicon GMs have muscled up. It's also databases and the internet. 

Let's go twenty years back, there we still had those huge informant books. With all the latest development's in theory. Now you can find pretty much any game online, or on those chessbase megabases (hell, even some of my games can be found online, and I am far from being a titled player). The access to information has made the game somewhat more democratic if you will. 

If you go back even further in history, I think Fischer even learnt Russian, so he could read their publications. 

What some of the older players bemoan however, is that the younger generation seems to lack a bit in depth as far as positional understanding goes.

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17 hours ago, Plessiez said:

Rapid tiebreaks to decide a world championship are still a horrible idea.  Defending champions should stay on after a drawn match.  Pleased a challenger is yet to win that way but it's surely only a matter of time...

I think that was tried at some point, but it's not common in other sports and it has a decent chance of making the match more boring. Also, the rapid games are pretty fun to watch -- sure, the quality is not as high, but the level of excitement is much greater.

Regarding people playing at a high level well into old age: the famous example is Victor Korchnoi. He was not quite at the level of world championship challenger anymore, but he was in the top 100 grandmasters even at age 75 (he's 85th on this 2007 rating list). That said, he's pretty unique: the oldest player on the current to 100 list is Nigel Short who is only 51 years old.

Kasparov is a strange case in that he probably could have kept playing, but didn't really have anything left to prove. He had been on top (rated #1) for 20 years nearly straight (there are a couple of short breaks, but it was obvious that they were temporary fluctuations) and had won every tournament (even the ones he more or less invented).

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On 12/4/2016 at 8:19 AM, Altherion said:

I think that was tried at some point, but it's not common in other sports and it has a decent chance of making the match more boring. Also, the rapid games are pretty fun to watch -- sure, the quality is not as high, but the level of excitement is much greater.

 

It was tried for almost the entire history of the chess world championships (except for the handful of matches where only wins counted and so a drawn match wasn't possible).  I agree that it's a tradition not much like other sports, but then chess isn't much like other sports in the first place (indeed, most people don't think chess is a sport).  The principle in chess has always been that you need to prove yourself better than the reigning champion to become champion (when the defending champion is still actively playing chess, anyway).  I don't see why that should be changed simply to make chess more like 'other sports'.

I don't agree that it makes matches more boring, either in theory or in practice.  If the challenger needs to win the match outright, then one player is always effectively behind in the match and the two players are never going to be happy to just quietly draw (unlike this match's game 12).  And one of the most memorable final games of a match was played under this system, with Kasparov losing to Karpov in the penultimate game of their '87 match and needing to win the last game to retain his title.  I don't think that match would have been more exciting if both players had had the option of quietly drawing the last two games and going into tiebreaks.
 
On 12/4/2016 at 8:19 AM, Altherion said:

Regarding people playing at a high level well into old age: the famous example is Victor Korchnoi. He was not quite at the level of world championship challenger anymore, but he was in the top 100 grandmasters even at age 75 (he's 85th on this 2007 rating list). That said, he's pretty unique: the oldest player on the current to 100 list is Nigel Short who is only 51 years old.

 

Lasker was still playing in top-level tournaments in his mid-sixties, and Vasily Smyslov qualified as a World Championship candidate aged 62.  But yes, players like those are definitely the exceptions (and not really seen anymore).

On 12/4/2016 at 8:19 AM, Altherion said:

Kasparov is a strange case in that he probably could have kept playing, but didn't really have anything left to prove. He had been on top (rated #1) for 20 years nearly straight (there are a couple of short breaks, but it was obvious that they were temporary fluctuations) and had won every tournament (even the ones he more or less invented).

I think the timing of Kasparov's retirement was a least partly a result of his frustration at the various failed attempts to re-unify the title.  (And certainly those reunification efforts seem to go much faster after Kasparov's retirement.)  Had the Kasparov-Ponomariov match gone ahead as planned, I suspect Kasparov would have gone on playing for a good few more years. (Though I'm not sure whether he'd have regained his title.)

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That was Kasparov's version.

The less kind version that was floating around when he retired was, that there were early signs of decline in his chess, and he chose to bow out instead of getting slowly passed down on the rating list. Which would have damaged his brand.

What always annoys a bit about that reunification bit is this, it was Kasparov (and Short) who broke away from FIDE. And the Kasparov chess organisations, were somewhat of a mixed success story. True, he managed to get sponsorship/funding for his matches with Short and Anand. But he failed to get anything in place for his match with Shirov. Remember, that Shirov was the legitimate challenger not Kramnik. Kramnik became challenger after Anand turned down the offer to play as a substitute for Shirov. And Shirov really got screwed over by Kasparov on that one. 

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Kasparov's chess has always been better than his organization skills. He has lots of ideas, but he also tends to be a very divisive charachter, and as such a lot of his projects fall through, either because he can't get the support needed to get it off the ground, or because he drives people away in the process. 

He was unquestionably the best player of his time, though. The generation following him wasn't on his level. So it was perhaps for the best that he bowed out before turning "ordinary", as he was nothing of the sort at his peak.

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Calling Kasparov's character divisive is putting it mildly. Yes, Kasparov is arguably the greatest chess player of all time. But there are reasons why quite a number of people did not and do not want him to become FIDE president, and who consider him a total ass, and masterful self-promoter. And that list is not restricted to Shirov or Kramnik. 

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I usually hate double posting, but the London Chess Classics are currently played and the field is really strong, despite the absence of Carlsen and Karjakin.

We are two rounds in, So is leading with 2(2). His victims were Nakamura and Adams.

Anand, Caruana, Kramnik and Aronian share second with 1.5 (2).  At the end of the table we find Topalov and Adams with 0(2).

Kramnik's win over Topalov must have been particularly sweet.

Side note, Giri is being Giri has drawn his first two games.

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London Chess Classic is a part of the Grand Tour this year (together with St. Louis, Paris and some other rapid tournament, I believe). So you get the same participants, plus a wildcard.

Topalov is invited to the Grand Tour, but I think it's his swan song - he has stated he doesn't put much effort into chess these days. His rating shows this. That said, I do think Kramnik enjoys beating him.

Adams being at the tail end is to be expected in this company. Two losses is a bit much, however, but his first one was a one-move miss. Aronian said as much after the game (was a draw, not a situation with anything in it - until Adams blundered).

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Talking about Leva, his position against So looks very interesting.

Not a fan of how he played the opening with 5.e4, still interesting.

Caruana-Kramnik is also interesting. Kramnik with a pawn down in the double rook ending, but with his rooks on the second rank. That should be enough to hold.

Nakamura - Anand should be winning for Nakamura. Unless Anand finds a fortress idea I am missing. I think those shouldn't work thanks to Nakamura's extra pawn on the queen side.

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Nakamura did win, and So drew, so I guess Nakamura's still in with a slim chance of winning the overall Grand Tour, though So seems a clear favourite.
 
I think it's a bit of a shame that the new format of the London Chess Classic doesn't allow for the same number of British players as previous iterations.  Was this basically a funding issue?  I had the impression the organisers were struggling a bit in previous years.

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Hum, I was about to rant about Giri playing a pretty unambitious opening, when I recalled he also played Najdorf in this tournament. But this round (against So) it looks pretty dull.

And Nakamura plays Caro-Kann, has he played that before or was it a surprise for Topalov?

Games of the round for me Kramnik-MVL (also from an opening perspective, well at least for me), and Caruana - Aronian should be fun to watch.

 

Nice to see Kramnik playing so motivated.

Edited by Notone

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Interesting opening from Kramnik. Clearly prep, but it looks interesting. MVL also tends to like these unbalanced positions, so it should be a good game. 

Giri ... I don't know. He's a very good player, I like his jokes and his personality, but his chess .. at the moment I'm resigned to him being utterly dull. Sad.

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Looks like Kramnik will torture Max for a good while. 

Caruana - Aronian looks unclear to me. I slightly prefer black though. 

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QUite a few interesting games the last two rounds.

MVL - Caruana was interesting because it was that theoretical battle in the New Main Line Petroff. A pity Caruana left Max of the hook with 24...Rd2 instead of 24...Nb4!

Nakamura - Kramnik was also fun to watch in the end. Though it looked a very drawish earlier with the pawn formation.

Today's demolition of Nakamura's Najdorf by Caruana was highly entertaining. For me the game of the tournament thus far.

A pity Leva lost to MVL today.

And Topalov's slump continues.

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On 12/15/2016 at 10:09 PM, Notone said:

Today's demolition of Nakamura's Najdorf by Caruana was highly entertaining. For me the game of the tournament thus far.

Yes, I think I'd agree that this ended up being the best game of the tournament.  Nakamura's win the next round (on the White side of the same line) was also fun, but there were some strange inaccuracies from both players towards the end.

In other news: Carlsen is no longer World Champion!  Karjakin is now the World Champion!    Admittedly, those are only true statements for rapid chess and blitz chess respectively, but since FIDE insist on running annual speed chess tournaments and calling them 'world championships', this is presumably something we're supposed to take at least semi-seriously.   (It really doesn't seem like a great idea to host these two 'world championships' at the same time, or so soon after the actual world championship, but it's always nice to see Ivanchuk winning things, I guess?)

In other news, Wijk aan Zee / Tata Steel starts this month.  Slightly worried by the 'Chess On Tour' stuff advertised on the official website, but at least somebody's still sponsoring chess tournaments.  Anybody going to be watching?

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Well, Karjakin did not win the Rapids though. That was Ivanchuk.

As far as Blitz goes, I did not follow the games (well, I also did not follow the rapids too closely tbh), but how on earth did Dubov manage to finish third. I know he is one of Russia's bigger talents (the biggest being Artemiev) in recent years, but it looks like he was really overperforming there. Even if it was just Blitz.

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I'll be watching the Tata Steel somewhat, as much as work and family allows. 

As for the World Championships .. well, they're fun to watch. Quite a few blunders as well, which makes me feel better about my online blitz games. It was also telling, with regards to the player's expectations how Carlsen ended up in third (on quality) in Rapids and second (on quality) in Blitz, and was - seeminlgy - the most annoyed player in the hall. 

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Nepomniachtchi is really having a hard time at Wijk. -2 and he still has some heavy hitters to play.

Second observation, the Najdorf seems to be under fire atm. Skimming through the games seems to be more enjoyable to me, than spending time on the Trump inaugaration.

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Nepo isn't doing good, indeed. He has eight lower ranked players in the tournament, and he's still on -2 (well, Hari may be higher ranked in the live rating now). 

However, since I'm sort of scrolling through the Challengers as well, he's doing way better than Mrs. Giri (I'm not going to even try that Georgian surname!), who so far has ... a draw. 

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