Posts Tagged ‘world chess championships’

Unfair Criticism of Kramnik

October 8, 2008

Tonight I attempt to defend Vladimir Kramnik from those who cast stones at the former World Chess Champion. I believe the upcoming 2008 World Chess Championship will be an exciting event played between two outstanding chess players who are wonderful ambassadors for the game of chess. Below are my opinions about the three most common critical myths that haunt Kramnik.

1) Kramnik plays “boring” chess.

   Kramnik has a very solid style that sometimes receives criticism for being boring. The fact that he can draw at will as black actually makes hims very exciting to admire in chess matches. If he gets ahead of Anand in the match, Anand will have to try radical ideas to make a come back. In this way, Kramnik’s solid play actually inspires exciting games.

2) Kramnik consults a computer in the bathroom.

   This is simply not true. From what I’ve seen there’s no conclusive evidence to support cheating by Kramnik, just circumstantial tid-bits that seem important out of context and are perpetuated by Topalov’s fans.

3) Kramnik refuses to recognise Anand as the World Chess Champion.

   Those critical of Kramnik enjoy taking his comments in the interview quoted below out of context. Perhaps to some deranged minds creating controversy where it does not exist adds excitement to the match.

EURO: You reach arguable better results during matches then in tournaments. Traditionally, the World Champion title was to be won in matches. A challenger had to beat the reigning World Champion in the direct fight in order to become the new World Champion. The only historical exception was the situation just after the end of the Second World War, when Alexander Aljechin had died during his reign and so a tournament was played.

KRAMNIK: You can call me an old- fashion guy, but I still believe that the real chess championship is actually a match between the best players, not a tournament. So that is going to be the match which will take place between me and Vishy Anand this autumn in Bonn. The tournament in Mexico which you are asking me about was from my point of view a huge compromise.

The problem was that the situation around the World Champion title was still difficult even after my unification match against Top alov. There was a need to find an acceptable compromise. After the unification my aim was to come back to a final match contest for the world champion crown under the umbrella of FIDE. In all the years after defeating Kasparov I felt this responsibility. Anything else would not have been in accordance with chesshistory, and also not with the desire of the overwhelming majority of chess fans all over the world.

It was always my goal to end the unhappy period when the World Chess Federation organised their ridiculous knock-out or round robin tournaments for the title. The problem was that the tournament in Mexico had already been agreed and I was informed that if I had refused to play there, the event would not have taken place at all. This would have ended in another impasse. So in order not to cause another split I, in the end, agreed to compromise and played the tournament, which FIDEcalled World Championship. The truth is I did not win in Mexico, the winner was Anand, and I will compete against him this year in the real contest for the chess crown. I attach ten times more attention to the coming match in Germany – consequently this event is ten times more important to me than the tournament in Mexico. 

EURO: So d o you consider Vishy Anand to be the World Champion or not?

KRAMNIK: It is not a question of simply yes or no. Anand won the tournament, which was called the World Championship Tournament, and I competed in that tournament as well. The I nternational C hess F ederation FIDE agreed to do it this way, so I have no right not to consider him the World Champion. A question is, however: what is the value of such a title? Similary I considered Kasimdzhanov to be a FIDE Champion, after winning the knock-out tournament in Libya. However I did not consider him to be the real champion. He had won a tournament and by FIDE’s definition he was a FIDE World Champion . But the value of this title was lower compared to the classical title won in a one-to-one match by Champions like Lasker, Spasski , Kasparov or me. The winner of the match Kramnik -Anand won’t be World Champion only from a legal point of view , he will be considered to be the World Champion and best chess player by the entire public.

The interview was published in the magazin “Weekly Euro”.

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Kramnik vs. Anand 2008 (preview game revisited)

October 7, 2008
Cathy Rogers

source:Cathy Rogers

Seven Days until the Anand vs. Kramnik 2008 World Championship Match. I am revisiting a game they played in 2007 at the request of several fans of my blog.

Kramnik-Anand 9/13/2007 was a Moscow variation of the Semi-Slav Defense. The Moscow variation which starts after 5…h6 can lead to very sharp play especially because Anand gambits a pawn by playing 6. Bh4. This game was identical to a 2006 game between Radjabov and Anand for 16 moves. Then Kramnik played 17. Qh5. Anand answers by sacrificing an exchange to achieve a position where he obtains a powerful knight and an extra pawn with move 21. Rxd6. If Kramnik had played 29. Qg5 play would have continued 29…Ne2 30. Kh1 Qh2 31. Kh2 Rh8 32. Qh4 Rh4#. Another example of the difference between the chess elite and the rest of the world. The resulting end game shows how a powerfully placed knight can equal a rook. Kramnik missed 35 Qh6! after 35…Qd6 36 Qxg5 f6 37 Qg8 Rd8 38 Qh7 Rd7 39 Qh4. After running computer analysis on that line I feel Kramnik would have had much better winning chances.  

 
[Event “WCh”]
[Site “Mexico City MEX”]
[Date “2007.09.24”]
[Round “10”]
[White “Kramnik, V.”]
[Black “Anand, V.”]
[Result “1/2-1/2”]
[ECO “D43”]
[WhiteElo “2769”]
[BlackElo “2792”]
[PlyCount “81”]
[EventDate “2007.09.13”]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 e6 5. Bg5 h6 6. Bh4 dxc4 7. e4 g5 8. Bg3 b5
9. Be2 Bb7 10. O-O Nbd7 11. Ne5 Bg7 12. Nxd7 Nxd7 13. Bd6 a6 14. Bh5 Bf8 15.
Bxf8 Rxf8 16. e5 Qb6 17. b3 O-O-O 18. bxc4 Nxe5 19. c5 Qa5 20. Ne4 Qb4 21. Nd6+
Rxd6 22. cxd6 Nd7 23. a4 Qxd6 24. Bf3 Nb6 25. axb5 cxb5 26. Bxb7+ Kxb7 27. Qh5
Nd5 28. Qxh6 Nf4 29. Kh1 Qd5 30. f3 Rd8 31. Qg7 Rd7 32. Qf8 Ne2 33. Rfe1 Nxd4
34. Red1 e5 35. Rac1 Qd6 36. Qg8 f6 37. Rc8 a5 38. h3 a4 39. Qe8 Kb6 40. Rb8+
Ka5 41. Ra8+ 1/2-1/2

World Computer Chess Championships 2008

October 3, 2008

Kasparov vs. Deep Blue

   On 9/28/2008 the 16’th World Computer Chess Championships began in Beijing, China. The IGCA has scheduled an eleven round accelerated swiss tournament format for the top  chess engines in the world to compete for the the title of World Computer Chess Champion 2008. The accelerated swiss structure strikes me as odd being that there are only ten competing chess programs.  The principle of a Swiss tournament is that each player will be pitted against another player who has done as well (or as poorly) as him or herself. The first round is seeded according to rating. Players who win receive a point, those who draw receive half a point and losers receive no points. Win, lose, or draw, all players proceed to the next round where winners are pitted against winners, losers are pitted against losers, and so on. In subsequent rounds, players face opponents with the same (or almost the same) score. No player is paired up against the same opponent twice however. This is where the organizers of the 16’th World Computer Chess Championships are going to run into trouble. With only ten competitors and eleven rounds, it will be impossible to follow a swiss format. The schedule of the chess events have been taken off the the IGCA website and I expect them to alter the pairings and tournament schedule. Obviously this should have been done before the tournament started.

   My criticism of the tournament structure aside, this event should, once again, demonstrate that computers are now playing much better chess than humans ever will. Case and point: When Viswanathan Anand faces off against Vladimir Kramnik in eleven days, it will be computer chess engines that will provide humans with the most definative analysis as to who won the championship and why. I doubt we will see any humans evaluating Rybka’s games with out the help of a chess engine.

   Speaking of Rybka… After five rounds the reigning 2007 champion is tied with Hiarcs at 4.5/5. The two leading engines have yet to play each other. Below is the cross-table and a nice game played by Rybka.

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1
0
1 Rybka       =   1 1 1 1  
2 Hiarcs       = 1     1 1 1
3 Junior       1   =   1 = 1
4 Cluster Toga = = 0     = 1      
5 Sjeng   0         = 0 1 1
6 Shredder 0   = =     = =    
7 The Baron 0     0 = =       1
8 Jonny 0 0 0   1 =        
9 Falcon 0 0 =   0         1
10 Mobile Chess   0 0   0   0   0  
    = = = = = = = = = =

 

[Event “16th World Computer Chess Championship”]
[Site “Beijing, China”]
[Date “2008.09.28”]
[Round “1”]
[White “Rybka”]
[Black “The Baron”]
[Result “1-0”]

1. e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nc4 Nxe4 5.Nc3 Nxc3 6.bxc3 g6 7.d4 Bg7 8.Bd3 o-o
9.o-o Nc6 10.Qf3 Re8 11.Bf4 Bd7 12.Ne3 Na5 13.Qg3 Bc6 14.h4 Be4 15.h5 Qd7 16.Rae1 Qc6
17.h6 Bxd3 18.cxd3 Bf6 19.c4 Bxd4 20.Nd5 Rxe1 21.Rxe1 Qc5 22.Re7 Nc6 23. Rxc7 Qa5 24.Qh4 Qxa2
25.Nf6 Kh8 26.Rxf7 Qa1 27.Kh2 Bxf6 28.Qxf6 Qxf6 29.Rxf6 Kg8 30.Rxd6 Rf8 31.Kg3 a5 32.Bc1 a4
33.f3 Rd8 34.Rxd8 Nxd8 35.Kf4 Kf7 36.d4 g5 37.Ke4 Ne6 38.Kd3 Kg6 39.d5 Nc5 40.Kc3 Kxh6
41.Be3 Nd7 42.Kb4 a3 43.Kxa3 Kg6 44.Bd4 Kf7 45.Ka4 Ke8 46.g4 Nf8 47.Ka5 Kd7 48.Kb6 Kc8
49.Kc5 Kc7 50.Be5 Kd7 51.Bf6 h6 52.Bg7 Ng6 53.Bxh6 Ne5 54.Bxg5 Nxf3 1-0

India in the Chess Spotlight

October 1, 2008
Harikrishna after winning the 2008 Spice Cup.

Harikrishna after winning the 2008 Spice Cup.

   The sub-continent that invented the game of chess in the sixth century is now becoming the focus of chess in the twenty-first century. Viswanathan Anand, the current World Chess Champion, has ignited a nationalistic enthusiasm for the “Game of Kings” not seen since the Soviet era. Anand has received rock star status in his home country of India and bagged many prestigious awards including the Arjuna Award, the Padma Shri, the Rajiv Ghandi, and the Padma Bhushan. The effects of Anand’s success can be seen in recent chess news of his Indian compatriots.
   In September of 2008, 22 year old Koneru Humpy was the top ranked player in the Women’s World Chess Championships. While competing in the semi-finals she shocked the world by loosing in a blitz play-off against the 14-year-old Chinese wonder girl Hou Yifan. I believe her loss was a combination of folding under pressure and not having a coaching staff (Humpy is trained exclusively by her father). Despite this disappointing loss, Humpy  remains the second highest rated female player in the history of chess with an astronomical rating above 2600.
   On September 28, 2008, another Indian chess player made chess history in Lubbock, Texas. GM Pentala Harikrishna, India’s third highest ranked Grand Master, won the strongest chess tournament of its kind ever held on United States soil. The category-15 2008 Spice Cup ended in a four way tie with Harikrishna winning on tie breaks. GM Pentala Harikrishna did not loose a single game in this nine round event that touted an average player rating of 2605.
   On October 14, 2008, Viswanathan Anand will defend his title against Vladimir Kramnik in Bonn, Germany. Regardless of this matches outcome, Viswanathan Anand will continue to be recognised as the chess trailblazer who led India onto the world stage.

The 2700 Club Is Becoming Crowded!

September 30, 2008

The October 2008 FIDE Rating List now has 32 players with ratings above 2700. Here they are in order of ranking:

2005 WCC Press

Topalov wins 2005 World Chess Championships. source: 2005 WCC Press

Rank Name Country Rating

1Topalov, VeselinBUL 2791
2Morozevich, AlexanderRUS 2787
3Ivanchuk, VassilyUKR 2786
4Carlsen, Magnus NOR 2786
5Anand, Viswanathan IND 2783
6Kramnik, VladimirRUS 2772
7Aronian, Levon ARM 2757
8Radjabov, TeimourAZE 2751
9Leko, Peter HUN 2747
10Jakovenko, DmitryRUS 2737
11Wang, YueCHN 2736
12 Adams, Michael ENG 2734
13Movsesian, SergeiSVK 2732
14Mamedyarov, ShakhriyarAZE 2731
15Karjakin, SergeyUKR 2730
16Kamsky, Gata USA 2729
17Svidler, PeterRUS 2727
18Shirov, Alexei ESP 2726
19Eljanov, PavelUKR 2720
20Gelfand, BorisISR 2719
21Dominguez Perez, Leinier CUB 2719
22Ponomariov, RuslanUKR 2719
23Grischuk, AlexanderRUS 2719
24Vachier-Lagrave, MaximeFRA 2716
25Alekseev, EvgenyRUS 2715
26Bu, XiangzhiCHN 2714
27Polgar, Judit HUN 2711
28Ni, HuaCHN 2710
29Bacrot, EtienneFRA 2705
30Nakamura, Hikaru USA 2704
31Gashimov, VugarAZE 2703
32Rublevsky, SergeiRUS 2702

Can Kramnik Win With The Black Pieces? Will It Matter?

September 30, 2008
Vladimir Kramnik playing for a win.

Vladimir Kramnik playing for a win.

   Between 1989 and 2008 Viswanathan Anand and Vladimir Kramnik played 51 head-to-head games under classical conditions. The results below show that Kramnik has yet to win a game as black when up against Anand. This is a remarkable statistic based on the number of match-ups these two chess players have had. Vladimir Kramnik’s win with white and draw with black strategy can hurt his tournament results but is exceptionally difficult to crack in match play. Unless he should find himself in danger of loosing the match, I would be very surprised if Kramnik changes his goal for the black pieces.

  Anand Draws Kramnik
Anand (White) – Kramnik (Black) 2 19 0
Kramnik (White) – Anand (Black) 2 22 6
Total 4 41 6

15 Days Until The World Chess Championships

September 29, 2008

Tonight we look at another brilliancy from the current World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand. This game was played before Anand was World Champion and after his opponent Anatoly Karpov had lost his title to Garry Kasparov. Once again we see Anand’s desire to be adventurous in the opening by playing the off-beat line 4. e4 rather than e3. The latter would have lead to traditional Queen’s Gambit Accepted lines. On move 17. Be2 Anand starts a redeployment of his bishop which eventually joins an attack on Karpov’s king with the move 20. Bd3 and then 21. Bxh7! Anatoly Karpov’s fatal inaccuracy occurred when he played 23… Bxe5.  23…f6 would still have left Karpov with plenty of issues but is an improvement. On move 36 Karpov lost on time. 


[Event “?”]
[Site “Las Palmas,ESP”]
[Date “1996.??.??”]
[White “Anand,Viswanathan”]
[Black “Karpov,Anatoly”]
[Round “7”]
[Result “1-0”]
[ECO “A06”]

1. Nf3 d5 2. d4 e6 3. c4 dxc4 4. e4 b5 5. a4
c6 6. axb5 cxb5 7. b3 Bb7 8. bxc4 Bxe4 9. cxb5
Nf6 10. Be2 Be7 11. O-O O-O 12. Nc3 Bb7 13. Ne5
a6 14. Bf3 Nd5 15. Nxd5 exd5 16. Rb1 Qb6 17. Be2
axb5 18. Rxb5 Qc7 19. Bf4 Bd6 20. Bd3 Ba6 21. Bxh7+
Kxh7 22. Qh5+ Kg8 23. Rb3 Bxe5 24. Rh3 f6 25. dxe5
Qe7 26. Qh7+ Kf7 27. Rg3 Ke8 28. Rxg7 Qe6 29. exf6
Nc6 30. Ra1 Kd8 31. h4 Bb7 32. Rc1 Ba6 33. Ra1
Bb7 34. Rd1 Ba6 35. Qb1 Rxf6 36. Bg5 1-0


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