Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Generic Training Schedule

Putting together a training schedule for yourself sounds like an easy task. No problem! I'll just study openings on Monday, do some middlgame strategy on Tuesday, then perhaps some endgames on Wednesday, and sprinkle some online games here and there. But in reality, if you are like me, it's difficult to do because we, as chessplayers, are averse to doing anything that is not really fun. Half way through your opening sessions you find yourself suddenly emmersed in a bullet tournament on ICC or Playchess. Endings? Bah! I know Lucena's - good enough.

It is a lack of discipline in our non-playing activities that keep us right were we settle in the rating scale. ANY player can steadily improve if they apply a basic schedule to their studies and become persistent in executing those studies. In fact, I would venture that outside of any extraordinary talent, any player can see improvement up to the 2100-2200 rating level using this study plan as a guide.

This 4-day study plan encompasses all facets of chess study as well as playing blitz and rapid games on a steady basis, which is important if you want to get feedback from your play for obvious reasons. The study plan rotates on this 4-day schedule. After you complete Day4, revert back to Day1 the next day.

Day1 - SO2, VT1, SG1
Day2 - VE2, PL1, VT1
Day3 - SG1, VG1, PL1, VT1
Day4 - SO2, VE1, VT1

S = Study
V = Solve
G= Strategy
E = Endings
T = Tactics
O = Openings
PL= Play (4x 5min, 3x 10min, 2x 15min games)
# = Units of Time

The first step in any study plan is to know how much time you have to spend doing it. This is where the # of units comes into play. If, for example, you can devote 4 hours a day to studying chess, then your Study unit of time would be 1 hour, as each day contains 4 study units of time. On Day1 you would:

Study Openings - 2 hours
Solve Tactics - 1 hour
Study Strategy - 1 hour

Of course, not everyone has 4 hours to put aside to study chess each day. If you have an hour a day, your time unit = 15 minutes. In this way, you can automatically customize your schedule depending on how much time you have. An alternative is to make the unit of time 30 minutes, and simply run the schedule as time permits. For example, you set 30 minutes of time as your unit:

Study Openings - 1 hour
Solve Tactics - 30 min
Study Strategy - 30 min

In this method, it does not matter that you complete all the activities for a particular day on that day, but it is important to maintain the order in which you do that activity. It may take you 2 days to complete the Day1 program, so be it.

To implement this study program effectively, we need to have at our disposal some good chess books on each subject. Consider obtaining a good Opening, Strategy, and Endgame book, as well as a tactical puzzles book.

For openings, I personally like the "Starting Out" series by Everyman Chess. For strategy, Pachman's Modern Chess Strategy or Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy by Watson are good books. For endgames, A Guide to Chess Endings by Euwe and Hooper, Fundamental Chess Endings by Muller and Lamprecht, or Just The Facts by Alburt are all good books and all very readable. You might prefer other books. These are just suggestions.

For more details, see the source of this summary at ChessOk.com

Chess Puzzle

White to move and win:

highlight below to see answer:
[Gavrilov (2370) - Kevorkjan Correspondence, 1989/90
1.Bg5!! hxg5 [ 1...f6 2.Bxf6!+-; 1...Qf8 2.f6! (/\ Qf5) 2...hxg5 3.hxg5! Bb6 4.Qh5+ Kg8 5.g6+-] 2.hxg5 Nd7 [ 2...Kg8 3.f6 Qf8 4.Qh5 Nd7 5.Qg6+ Kh8 6.Bxf7 Nxf6 7.Qxf6++-] 3.Bxf7! [ 3.Bxf7 Kg7 ( 3...Nf6 4.Qh3+ Kg7 5.Be6 Nh7 6.f6+ Nxf6 7.Qh6#) 4.f6+ Nxf6 5.gxf6+ Kxf6 6.Qg6#] 1-0


Friday, October 27, 2006

Endgame Lab - Rook Endings

White to move and draw:

highlight below to see answer:
[Landa (2445) - Cebalo (2505), Zagreb 1990
1.b4? [ 1.Rb6! Rxb3 2.h4
a) 2...Kg6 3.h5+ Kg7 4.Rb8 Rb4+ (4...h6 5.gxh6+ Kxh6 6.Rb7 Kg7 7.h6+=) 5.Kg3 h6 6.g6 fxg6 7.Rb7+ Kg8 8.Rb8+ Kf7 9.Rb7+ Ke8 10.Rb8+=;
b) 2...Rb1 3.Kh5 b4 4.Rb8 b3 5.Rb6 b2 6.Rb7 Kf8 7.Rb8+ Ke7 8.Rb7+ Ke8 9.Kh6 Rh1 10.Rxb2 Rxh4+ 11.Kg7 Rh5 12.Rg2 Rh1 13.Ra2 Rg1 14.Ra8+=;
c)2...h6 3.gxh6+ ( 3.Kh5! hxg5 4.hxg5 Rb1 5.Rb7 b4 6.g6 b3 (6...Rh1+ 7.Kg5 Rg1+ 8.Kh5 Rxg6 9.Rxb4=) 7.Rxf7+ Kg8 8.Rb7 b2 9.Rb8+ Kg7 10.Rb7+=; 3...Kxh6 4.Rb7 Kg7 5.h5 b4 6.h6+ Kxh6 7.Rxf7 Rb1 8.Rf2 ( 8.Rf6+ Kg7 9.Rxe6 b3-+) 8...b3 9.Kf4 b2 10.Rh2+ Kg6 11.Rf2 Kf7 …Ka2 -+]1...Kg6 [ 1...Rc4+ 2.Kh5 Rxb4 3.Rb6=] 2.h4 Rc4+ 3.Kg3 Rxb4 4.Rb6 Rb1 [ 4...Kh5!? 5.Rb7 Rg4+ 6.Kf3 Rxh4 7.Rxf7 Kxg5 8.Rf6 Rh6 9.Rf7 b4 …Kg6 Xe5 -+] 5.Kg4 h5+ 6.gxh6 Kxh6 7.Rb7 Kg7 8.h5 b4 9.Kg5 Rf1 10.Kg4 Rf5 11.Rxb4 Rxe5 0-1


Monday, October 23, 2006

One way to study annotated games

It is common knowledge (and a dirty little secret!) in chess circles at every level below titled players that reviewing well-annotated games by Grandmasters in the opening of your choice is one of the best ways to improve your play. All at once you get an opening lesson, instruction on plan development, transition from opening to middlegame, review of vaious tactical elements, execution of attack and defense, and if you are fortunate the game goes long enough, an endgame where you can see both sides struggling to win or hold the position.

A certain flow to the game only exists when you take the time to review a well-annotated game by a GM.

So, where do we start?

First and foremost, you need to define a clear methodology. We do not want to experience 'chess thrashing' - the act of jumping from one subject to another in a unorganized manner - during our study sessions.

Our basic steps are:

1) Define the opening we wish to examine via our own personal repertoire
2) Obtain well-annotated games by GM's in that opening (more on what 'well-annotated' means later)
3) Block off enough time each study session to absorb two games of annotations.

Step 1 - repertoire - is directly related to what you play. It will do you less good (still, some good however) to review Ruy Lopez games when you play 1. d4, so the point should be made here that we want to examine games within our opening repertoire, and most probably, the portions of our repertoire we feel the least comfortable in.

Step 2 - well-annotated games - does NOT mean Informant-Style annotations. In actuality, we are most interested in annotations that deal with concepts and ideas, and less with copious amounts of annotations. Books like Botvinnik's 100 Best games and Alekhines Best Games of Chess are two examples of well-annotated games that have a fine mixture of annotations (variations), concepts and ideas. Any good games collection that has text as a good portion of the annotations will work here. But, be sure we are in line with Step 1, for maximum effectiveness.

Step 3 - time - is of the essence. You want to be sure you have blocked off enough time, hopefully in the evening, to examine two complete games. We learn/retain knowledge as we rest, and since this being the last 'chess act' of the evening, we will have it in the forefront of our minds when we sleep.

Ok, so we have picked our repertoire, found the games, and are ready to examine. What do we do now?

One of the primary items is to examine the games on a real, 3D chess board, and not some graphical board on a computer. Chess is a spatial game, and the mind will retain and learn better if performed on a real board. Another of the prime goals is the examination of variations within the annotations. Here, we will refuse to move the pieces around on the board, but instead, visualize the variations in our head. Our goal is to visualize the entire variation before we move any pieces. If we are sure we got the variation visualization correct, then move on to the next annotation in the game. If we are not 100% sure, then we need to re-visualize the variation again and again until we are sure. If we cannot seem to get it right, then we will visualize as far as we can, then go back and move the pieces in the variation up to the point we could visualize, then begin to visualize again.

This visualization exercise coordinates well with what you do during a game: 'if I go here, he goes there, I take, she takes, pawn push...' etc., etc.

Some variations have sub-variations. Here is a way to do these annotations that makes sense:

1) Visualize the main line completely
2) Moving backwards from the end of the variation to the beginnning, visualize each subsequent side-variation.

Be sure you accurately examine each branch. If you cannot, go as far as you can, move the pieces, then continue until that side variation is completedly visualized.

Ideally, we would want to repeat this every night for several nights within the same opening, so we learn a good deal about how that opening transitions into the middlegame - one of the achilles' heels of club players.

Using this simple method to review annotated games by GM's, us sub-superstar players can begin to experience some of the nuances of high-level chess and improve our game steadily. The most important aspect of this study method is the correct association of YOUR opening repertoire with well-annotated games, which will result in hours of well-spent study time at the chessboard, hopefully translating into OTB victories.

If you have any additional suggestions or comments on how you review annotated games, feel free to comment on this post!

Endgame Lab - Knight Ending

Black to move and win:

Highlight below to see solution
[Sanson - Estevez (2420)
Sagua 1990
1...Nb2+! 2.Kb3 [ 2.Ka5 Ke3 3.b6 Kxf2 4.b7 d1Q 5.b8Q Qa4+ 6.Kb6 Qb3+-+] 2...Ke3! 3.Kc2 Nc4! [ 3...Kxf2? 4.Kxd2! Nc4+ 5.Kd3 Nxa3 6.b6+-] 4.Nd1+ Ke2 5.Nc3+ [ 5.a4 Na3+ 6.Kc3 Kxd1 7.b6 Kc1 8.b7 d1Q 9.b8Q Qd2+ 10.Kb3 Qb2#] 5...Ke1 6.a4 Ne3+ 7.Kd3 Nd5! 0-1

Chess Puzzle

Black to move and win:

highlight to see anwser below
Meister,P (2445) - Brynell (2405)
London 19901...Rexc7! [ 1...Rexc7 2.bxc7 Nb4+ 3.axb4 Ra8+ 4.Kb1 Ra1#] 0-1


Friday, October 20, 2006

Chess Puzzle

Black to move and win:

Highlight below for answer:

Oslouhov - Nedobora SSSR, 1990
1...Qh4+!! 2.gxh4 [ 2.Kxh4 Rxh2#] 2...Re3+ 3.Bf3 Bxe6+ 4.Qxe6 Rxf3#


Happy Birthday! - Susan Lalic

"Happy Birthday, to you, Happy Birthday, to you..."

Here are two games by the Birthday girl:

Lalic,S (2351) - Gormally,D (2505) [B26]
Guernsey op 27th Guernsey (7), 27.10.2001

1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.d3 d6 6.Be3 Rb8 7.Qd2 b5 8.Nge2 Nd4 9.0-0 h5 10.h3 Bxh3 11.Bxd4 cxd4 12.Bxh3 dxc3 13.bxc3 Nf6 14.a4 Bh6 15.f4 Qb6+ 16.Kg2 bxa4 17.Rxa4 0-0 18.Rfa1

18...e5 [ Better is 18...Rb7] 19.Rxa7 d5 20.R1a6 Qd8 21.Qe3 dxe4 22.dxe4 Rb2 23.Qc1 Rb5 24.Qe3 Rb1 25.Qd3 Ng4 26.Rd7 Qb8 27.Bxg4 hxg4 28.f5 1-0

Lalic,S (2325) - Flear,G (2495) [C47]
Hastings op8788 Hastings (9), 1987

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Bb4 6.Nxc6 bxc6 7.Bd3 d5 8.exd5 cxd5 9.0-0 0-0 10.Bg5 c6 11.Qf3 Be7 12.Rfe1 Re8 13.h3 h6 14.Bf4 Qb6 15.b3 Ba6 16.Na4

16...Qb7 [ Better is 16...Qa5] 17.Rxe7 Rxe7 18.Nc5 Qb6 19.Nxa6 c5 20.a4 Rae8 21.Bb5 Re1+ 22.Rxe1 Rxe1+ 23.Kh2 Ne4 24.Nc7 c4 25.Nxd5 Qd4 26.Ne7+ Kh7 27.Nf5 Qa1 28.Ng3 f5 29.Bxc4 Nxg3 30.Kxg3 g5 31.Qb7+ 1-0

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Wikipedia - Random Article

Here's some fun:

Go to Wikipedia and click on the Random Article link in the left sidebar. Add "Chess" to the primary result and google it. Today I got an article about "Devon" that lead to a Google search of Devon Chess.

Check out the Devon County Chess Association web site.

Rook Ending

White to move and win
Highlight below to see solution
[Correa (2320) - Tsuboi (2315)
Brasil (ch), 1990
White mistakenly played 1.Rf5?[ Winning was 1.g4! Rh1 2.Rg7 Kc5 3.Rxb7 Re1+ 4.Kf5 Kd4 ( 4...Rf1+ 5.Kxg5 Kxd5 6.Re7) 5.Rd7!+-] 1...Kc5 2.g4 Rh1 3.Rxg5 b5 4.d6 b4 5.Ke6+ Kc6 6.Rd5 Rh6+! 7.Ke5 Kd7 8.g5 Re6+ 9.Kf5 Rxd6 10.Re5 b3 11.g6 b2 12.Re1 Rc6!= 13.Rb1 Ke7 14.Kg5 Kf8 1/2-1/2


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Chess Puzzle

White to move and win

Highlight below to see solution:
[Tal - Lozov, Riga, 1952 16. Nxf7! Kxf7? (better is 16...e5 17.Nxd8 Qxd8 18.Be6+ Kh8 19.Be3) 17.Bxe6+ Ke8 18.e5! Bf8 19.Qxh7 Rxd5 20.Qg6+ Kd8 21.Bg5+ Be7 22.Qf7 Nd7 23.Qg8+ 1-0

Monday, October 16, 2006

WCC 2006: Rapids Tiebreak

Topalov,V (2813) - Kramnik,V (2743) [D18]

WCh Playoffs Elista RUS (1), 13.10.2006

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 dxc4 5.a4 Bf5 6.e3 e6 7.Bxc4 Bb4 8.0-0 Nbd7 9.Qe2 0-0 10.e4 Bg6 11.Bd3 Bh5 12.e5 Nd5 13.Nxd5 cxd5 14.Qe3 Re8 15.Ne1 Rc8 16.f4 Bxe1 17.Rxe1 Bg6 18.Bf1 Rc2 19.b3 Qa5 20.Bb5 Rd8 21.Re2 Rcc8 22.Bd2 Qb6 23.Rf2 a6 24.Bf1 Rc6 25.b4 Rc2 26.b5 a5 27.Bc3 Rxf2 28.Qxf2 Qa7 29.Qd2 Ra8 30.Rc1 Nb6 31.Bb2 Nxa4 32.Ba3 h6 33.h3 Be4 34.Kh2 Nb6 35.Bc5 a4 36.Ra1 Nc4 37.Bxc4 b6 38.Qe3 Rc8 39.Bf1 bxc5 40.dxc5 Qxc5 41.Qxc5 Rxc5 42.b6 Rc6 43.b7 Rb6 44.Ba6 d4 45.Rxa4 Bxb7 46.Bxb7 Rxb7 47.Rxd4


Kramnik,V (2743) - Topalov,V (2813) [D45]

WCh Playoffs Elista RUS (2), 13.10.2006

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.e3 Nbd7 6.Qc2 Bd6 7.b3 0-0 8.Be2 b6 9.0-0 Bb7 10.Bb2 Re8 11.Rad1 Qe7 12.Rfe1 Rac8 13.Bd3 e5 14.e4 dxc4 15.Bxc4 b5 16.Bf1 g6 17.Qd2 Rcd8 18.Qg5 a6 19.h3 exd4 20.Nxd4 Qe5 21.Qxe5 Nxe5 22.Nc2 g5 23.Bc1 h6 24.Be3 c5 25.f3 Bf8 26.Bf2 Bc8 27.Ne3 Be6 28.Ned5 Bxd5 29.exd5 Ned7 30.Rxe8 Rxe8 31.a4 b4 32.Ne4 Nxe4 33.fxe4 Nf6 34.d6 Nxe4 35.d7 Rd8 36.Bxa6 f5 37.a5 Bg7 38.Bc4+ Kf8 39.a6 Nxf2 40.Kxf2 Bd4+ 41.Rxd4 cxd4 42.a7 Ke7 43.Bd5 Kxd7 44.a8Q Rxa8 45.Bxa8


Topalov,V (2813) - Kramnik,V (2743) [D12]

WCh Playoffs Elista RUS (3), 13.10.2006

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 Bf5 5.Nc3 e6 6.Nh4 Bg6 7.Be2 Nbd7 8.0-0 Bd6 9.g3 dxc4 10.Bxc4 Nb6 11.Be2 0-0 12.Nxg6 hxg6 13.e4 e5 14.f4 exd4 15.Qxd4 Qe7 16.Kg2 Bc5 17.Qd3 Rad8 18.Qc2 Bd4 19.e5 Nfd5 20.Rf3 Nxc3 21.bxc3 Bc5 22.Bd2 Rd7 23.Re1 Rfd8 24.Bd3 Qe6 25.Bc1 f5 26.Qe2 Kf8 27.Rd1 Qe7 28.h4 Rd5 29.Qc2 Nc4 30.Rh1 Na3 31.Qe2 Qd7 32.Rd1 b5 33.g4 fxg4 34.Rg3 Ke7 35.f5 gxf5 36.Bg5+ Ke8 37.e6 Qd6 38.Bxf5 Rxd1 39.Bg6+ Kf8 40.e7+ Qxe7 41.Bxe7+ Bxe7 42.Bd3 Ra1 43.Qb2 Rd1 44.Qe2 Ra1 45.Qxg4 Rxa2+ 46.Kh3 Bf6 47.Qe6 Rd2 48.Bg6 R2d7 49.Rf3 b4 50.h5


Kramnik,V (2743) - Topalov,V (2813) [D47]

WCh Playoffs Elista RUS (4), 13.10.2006

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.e3 Nbd7 6.Bd3 dxc4 7.Bxc4 b5 8.Be2 Bb7 9.0-0 Be7 10.e4 b4 11.e5 bxc3 12.exf6 Bxf6 13.bxc3 c5 14.dxc5 Nxc5 15.Bb5+ Kf8 16.Qxd8+ Rxd8 17.Ba3 Rc8 18.Nd4 Be7 19.Rfd1 a6 20.Bf1 Na4 21.Rab1 Be4 22.Rb3 Bxa3 23.Rxa3 Nc5 24.Nb3 Ke7 25.Rd4 Bg6 26.c4 Rc6 27.Nxc5 Rxc5 28.Rxa6 Rb8 29.Rd1 Rb2 30.Ra7+ Kf6 31.Ra1 Rf5 32.f3 Re5 33.Ra3 Rc2 34.Rb3 Ra5 35.a4 Ke7 36.Rb5 Ra7 37.a5 Kd6 38.a6 Kc7 39.c5 Rc3 40.Raa5 Rc1 41.Rb3 Kc6 42.Rb6+ Kc7 43.Kf2 Rc2+ 44.Ke3 Rxc5 45.Rb7+


G12: Kramnik,V (2743) - Topalov,V (2813)

WCh Elista RUS (12), 12.10.2006

[IM Malcolm Pein]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 Bf5 5.Nc3 e6 6.Nh4 Bg6 7.Nxg6 hxg6
Unexpected but a back handed compliment to Kramnik. Topalov uses his opening line. Its solid and so it suits for thisgame 8.g3 Nbd7 9.Bd2 Bb4 10.Qb3 Bxc3 11.Bxc3 Ne4 12.Bg2 Nxc3 13.Qxc3 f5 Like in the Stonewall the white squared pawns act as a barrier against the white bishop. Black must be slightly worse and it feels like the players have swopped roles [ 13...dxc4 14.Qxc4 Qa5+ 15.Qc3+/=] 14.0-0 [ 14.0-0-0!? Fritz, would never have occurred to me] 14...Qe7 15.cxd5 Kramnik opts for clarity and the plan of a minority attack on the queenside 15...exd5 16.b4 Nf6 Diagram

17.Rfc1 [ 17.b5 cxb5 18.Qb3 Qd7 19.Rfc1 Actually look quite good as d5 is very weak because of Rc1-c5 and a2-a4 might be good later. However its too risky for the circumstances 19...a6 20.Rc2 0-0 21.Rac1©] 17...Ne4 18.Qb2 0-0 19.b5 Rac8 20.bxc6 bxc6 21.Qe2 Nice move with many points. Black's only counterplay is pawn g5 and then pawn f4. The possible pin on the e file after f4 exf4 holds this up. Also Qa6 is a plan now 21...g5 22.Rab1 Qd7 [ 22...Nd6 23.Rxc6 Rxc6 24.Bxd5+] 23.Rc2 Rf6 Black can probably defend this position because he only has one weakness 24.Rbc1 [ 24.Qa6 g4 25.Rb7 Rc7 26.Rcb2 Nd6 Defends] 24...g4 25.Rb2 Rh6 26.Qa6 Rc7 27.Rb8+ Kh7 28.Qa3 Threat Qf8 but Black's resources are adequate 28...Rb7 29.Qf8 [ 29.Ra8!?] 29...Rxb8 30.Qxb8 Qf7 31.Qc8 Qh5 32.Kf1 Nd2+ 33.Ke1 Nc4 34.Bf1 Black needs to defend f5 before taking on h2 [ 34.Rxc4 dxc4 35.Bxc6 Rf6 36.Bd5 Qxh2 37.Ke2 also leads to a draw] 34...Rf6 35.Bxc4 dxc4 36.Rxc4 Qxh2 37.Ke2 [ 37.Rxc6?? Qh1+ 38.Ke2 Qxc6] 37...Qh1 38.Rc5 Qb1 39.Qa6 Qb2+ 40.Kf1 Qb1+ 41.Ke2 Qb2+ 42.Kf1 Rh6 As ever Topalov tries all possible routes to win. Qd3 is forced now when Black can win a pawn but a rook and pawn ending with a7 and c6 weak is a draw 43.Qd3 Diagram

43...g6 now Qc4 or Qb3 keep it level Qd3 g6 [ 43...Qa1+ 44.Ke2 Qxa2+ 45.Qc2 Qxc2+ 46.Rxc2 Rf6 47.Ra2 Rf7 48.Ra6 Rc7 49.Kd3 and the idea of e4 undermining g4 is one way to draw] 44.Qb3 Rh1+ 45.Kg2 Rh2+ 46.Kxh2 Qxf2+ 47.Kh1 Qf1+ 1/2-1/2

Kramnik gives important press conference

Kramnik gives important press conference · Oct 17, 09:28 PM

Today in the “Central Chess Players House” Vladimir Kramnik gave a press conference together with Alexander Zhukov, Vassilii Smislov, the chief of President’s Putin administration Arcadii Dvorkovich, Gir Ginsen (the arbiter of the Wcc 2006 match), and Carsten Hensel.

Alexander Zhukov congratulated Vladimir Kramnik for the victory, emphasizing that “his success – this is not just the success of an outstanding chess player, but also “rescuing” for the entire chess world and, certainly, enormous success of Russian chess.

Alexander Roshal gave the idea that Topalov should be admitted in a round robin in Mexico and then the winner should then play with you a final match. How do you accept this idea?

V.K.: The manager of Topalov, Silvio Danailov, certainly did not show his best side at the WCC 2006, but Topalov as a chess player undoubtedly deserves admittance at the tournament. I consider the old formula with some corrections was most successful in comparison with all the others. They will answer: the match of the Karpov-Spassky, Fischer… and so on… I will defend my position.

Yesterday information appeared about a possible rematch?

V.K.: I have not thought about it yet. I just found out on the Internet. Today Topalov may challenge me, tomorrow Anand, Leko… Ignoring one of these suggestions and playing many matches with one player will not be right.

Mr. Hensel, what is your opinion about Silvio Danailov?
Hensel:For us, it was necessary to fight not only with Danailov, but also with their entire team. All video cassettes during the 4th day were released to Topalov’s team and were reviewed in the presence of the appeals committee. This protest was with the sole purpose to distract Kramnik.

Mr. Zhukov, should Kramnik be given a “Soviet Union style” award?
Zhukov: We are thinking about an award, but let’s not draw parallels to the Soviet Union methods.

How will you comment that the appeals committee was mainly formed by Topalov’s supporters?
V.K.: I did not agree with that, but this was the only thing that we could not discuss. We could choose the main arbiter, but not the appeals committee.

During the match you said you were interested in the Champions League more than the games themselves?
V.K.: True, whenever there is Champions League and a Russian team plays, I watch the games. This time was no exception.

Mr. Kramnik, are you thinking of obtaining higher education?
V.K.: Higher education is not a goal for me. Obtaining a diploma while playing at tournaments is impossible. I have some self-education, which I consider a proper education itself.

In the end of the press conference, came the Vice President of the Russian chess federation, Valerie Zubov, and said, “We should all be happy. Now it is time for women to take first place in the world also.”

The conference was reported by 64.ru, RIA Novosti, the site of the Russian Chess Federation, and other news sites. Special thanks for the updates to ajedrez cozelino .We have published only confirmed information, since many of the statements are “decorated” with the enthusiastic words of the people reporting it. We will keep on reporting for you from Moscow.

Source: veselintopalov.net

Radjabov vs. Kramnik?

Youth and Sports Minister: Azerbaijan Does Not Deny Attempts to Organize A Contender’s Match between Teymur Radjabov and Vladimir Kramnnik.

Source: Trend
Author: Z. Safarov


“We are not going to deny attempts to negotiate with Vladimir Kramnik concerning holding a contender’s match between Teymur Radjabov and him”, Azad Rahimov, Azerbaijan`s Youth and Sports Minister exclusively told Trend commenting the possibility on organizing a match between the Azerbaijani grand master and the FIDE Champion.

An agreement between the Azerbaijani Sports Ministry and their Bulgarian counterparts on holding a match between Teymur Radjabov and Veselin Topalov, who was a possessor of the chess crown till recently, was signed in the spring this year. However, the Bulgarian gross master lost it as a result of the recent match with Vladimir Kramnik of Russia, and due to that, the preliminary agreement with Bulgarians has lost its force.

“It is too early to say anything concrete in this regard today, but I think it will be very difficult to come to an agreement with Russians. Moreover, he gained this crown in a very tense struggle”, pointed out Mr. Rahimov.

Source: Trend News Agency

Chess Club – where primal male aggression is set free

I just HAD to cc this over here: Chess Club

Source: ChessBase

The Kitchen Debacle

(Note: there is no specific credit to this article online, so the 'I' in the story is left to the imagination. If you know for certain who 'I' is, please post a comment!)

On Feb. 23, 1993, FIDE President Florencio Campomanes announced Manchester, England, as the venue for the world championship match between Nigel Short and Garry Kasparov. That day Short was unavailable, crossing on a ferry from Italy to Greece. Instead of Manchester, the English grandmaster preferred two bids from London. By not consulting Short, Campomanes broke FIDE rules. Suddenly, Short had a reason to pursue the bids from London even at the cost of breaking up with FIDE -- provided Kasparov agreed. When Short contemplated how to reach Kasparov, I pointed to the phone in my kitchen and said: "Call Kasparov in Linares directly." Kasparov answered Short's call in Spain shortly after midnight on March 3. In a 13-minute conversation they discussed for the first time playing their match outside FIDE. Kasparov later called it one of the biggest mistakes of his chess career. Not only did they get less money in London, but they began the 13-year split of the world titles that ended only last Friday with Kramnik's victory.

Source: Washington Post

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Mate with B + N vs. K

White to move and win.

Basic Guidelines:

  • Keep King in opposition or a Knight's move away from the opposing king.
  • Force the opposing King into a corner of the same color as the Bishop.
  • Use the Knight to cover flight-squares of opposite color of the Bishop.
  • Use the Bishop to create Zugzwang positions.

(highlight below to see one possible answer)
1.Nf2 Kf1 2.Bh2 Ke1 3.Ne4 Kd1 4.Ke3 Kc2 5.Nd2 Kc3 6.Bd6 Kc2 7.Be5 Kc1 8.Kd3 Kd1 9.Bg3 Kc1 10.Nc4 Kd1 11.Ne3+ Kc1 12.Kc3 Kb1 13.Kb3 Kc1 14.Be1 Kb1 15.Bd2 Ka1 16.Nc2+ Kb1 17.Na3+ Ka1 18.Bc3#
Source: Fundamental Chess Endings

Interview with Topalov

Veselin Topalov and his manager Silvio Danailov arrived yesterday at Sofia airport. They were glad to share some thoughts on the WCC 2006. Veselin was met by a crowd of journalists and fans. He gladly answered some questions. The resulting interview was published on the inofficial Topalov web site, www.veselintopalov.net.

Question: Veselin, how do you feel?
Topalov: I am happy to be in Bulgaria again. I would like to thank all the people that supported me. I am sorry I could not achieve more.

Are you sorry that the match took place in Russia?

No, Elista is a great place with very nice people. The organization was perfect. The problems that occured could have occured at any other place.

How did the match go?

I was dominating the game, but Kramnik was defending well and used his chances.

Did you expect a tie break?

No, I thought I would win the match in the regular games. I had not prepared for a tie break at all.

Why did all the games start with a Slav?

That was my strategy. I always had advantage in the opening. We had many ideas and were creating serious problems for Kramnik in the beginning of the games.

Did you feel that Kramnik is more experienced in such type of matches?

I would not say so. The rules are not much different than any other type of tournament.

Tell us more about toiletgate?

I do not think this issue is closed. I do not want to take part of the scandal, though. This is the job of my manager and I do not know all the details. Of course, that was something very strange that the team Kramnik could not explain.

Did Kramnik’s going to the toilet disturb your concentration?

No, I was calm. I would not say I have problems with nervousness in general.

Do the rules give you a chance for a rematch with Vladimir Kramnik?

These are things decided by FIDE. As far as I know, there will be changes in the regulations soon.

Will they let you play in Mexico 2007?

To be honest, I do not know.

There are rumors that you received money to lose the title.

Of course I received money. But this was money according to the contract and I was going to receive the same amount no matter if I had lost or won. The way I fought in every game does not leave place for doubts.

Silvio Danailov summarized the past WCC on the way out of the airport. “We were under a lot of pressure, the hosts made everything to win the title. Expect a whole book on the events in Elista where the scandal with the toilet will be explained in details.”

Source: Chessbase

Book Review: How to Choose a Chess Move - Andrew Soltis

This will be my first book review here at this blog. I hope to review a book once every while to give my readers out there an idea of some of the better chess training books available to the public. Andrew Soltis' "How To Choose A Chess Move" is one such book.

Holy Grails, in chess, are like those in real life, unattainable. Improving players constantly search for the 'holy grail' of chess - that one book, method or inspiration that will show them the light and allow them to advance beyond their current level. Every chess player has reached their own personal ceiling at one point. Some teachers shout 'tactics! tactics! tactics!' from the balcony, but for Expert to Class A players, that may be insuffucient. The derelictions in their play is usually not a tactical flaw. I think Andrew Soltis' book is geared very specifically to the Category B/A/Expert level player, or, Club player as Batsford likes to categorize, and comes as close as possible to being the 'Holy Grail' of chess for us human players.

The book begins with some really good examples of the thought processes of players considered Post-Beginners up through Masters. Soltis defines what he thinks are the best ways to disseminate good moves - 'Candidate Cues' - move triggers you should look for when trying to decide on your group of candidate moves. He continues on with 'Move Triggers', an organized thinking process of what to do in reaction to your opponent's last move. The beauty is in the details, however, and Soltis' dives right into it by going over how much analysis is too much, Analysis trees, Evaluations, several thinking models, reality checks, tweaking, risk assessment, and finally clock management, all important factors when trying to select a chess move.

This is a very practical book on selecting very practical moves.

This book is everything Think Like a Grandmaster by Kotov tried to be. Soltis' writing is clear and concise, and wastes no time in getting his point across to the reader. The ideas he presents and the methodology he outlines in choosing playable candidate moves is intuitive, practical and accessible to players of any grade. Simply reading Chapter Two 'Candidate Cues', if duly applied, will reorganize your chess thinking and improve your game probably 100-200 points, and find yourself avoiding blunders on a regular basis.

I give this book 5 stars in my adhoc scale of 1 to 5.

Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Batsford (October 28, 2005)
Language: English
ISBN: 0713489790

Topalov Challenges Kramnik to Rematch

Bulgaria's chess king Vesselin Topalov, who lost the title of world's best chess grandmaster with a narrow defeat against Russia's Vladimir Kramnik, will challenge his rival in Sofia.

Sports: 15 October 2006, Sunday: Bulgaria's chess king Vesselin Topalov, who lost the title of world's best chess grandmaster with a narrow defeat against Russia's Vladimir Kramnik, will insist on a return game, his manager announced in Sofia.

The regulations of the World chess federation (FIDE) allows every former world champion to challenge his opponent should he secure the prize of EUR 1,5 M, Silvio Danailov told journalists on Sunday.

According to Danailov the return match could take place in Sofia, on March 3, 2007.

Danailov suspects Kramnik will not accept the offer, which will force FIDE to strip him of the world's only chess king title.

Kramnik won the title of world's best chess grandmaster defeating Vesselin Topalov on the fourth game of a tiebreak. The title was settled Friday by "rapid-play" and then "blitz" chess - shorter games relying on instinct as much as calculation, which ended 2.5:1.5.

For the past three weeks, chess fans have been gripped by the most dramatic world championship match for the last twenty years. The match was held in Elista, the capital of the Russian republic of Kalmykia.

Topalov and Kramnik inspired reminiscences of Kasparov and Karpov, who first started the schism in the chess world back in 1993.

Source: Sofia News Agency

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Kramnik: ‘Now I have to relax…’

First press conference of the unified world chess champion

Immediately after Topalov extended his hand in a sign of resigning the fourth tiebreak game, the crowd became ecstatic. There were shouts, applause, friendly slaps and handshakes… Kramnik left the table, raised his fists in the sky, just like in Moscow 1994 after his sensational victory over Kasparov, and went into tight embrace of his manager Carsten Hensel. Other team members were also there – Illescas, Rublevsky, Motylev, Krylov, Rösch, and even the cook… A few minutes the new ‘absolute’ FIDE world champion moved on to the press conference hall, where he was warmly met by dozens of journalists.

Question: In a situation that was similar to yours Mikhail Tal said "My head is filled with sun!" What were your first words after the match ended?

Vladimir Kramnik: I was very concentrated on the play, and even after I won the last game, I was still in a fighting mood. The moment after Veselin played 44…Rc5 was very emotional for me – I felt very happy. The joy passed after I replied 45.Rb7+. I need time to realize what happened. This was a very tough match, and I think I did a good job, considering the odds given to the opponent. Maybe it was the first case in the history of the world championship matches when one of the players had extra point and extra White. I am glad I managed to win under such circumstances.

Black played 45...Rxc5+ and White won win 45.Rb7+

What can you tell to your Russian supporters?

I am very glad that the crown stays in Russia. Personally for me this achievement is comparable to the victory against Kasparov. There aren’t many three-time world champions in the history, and I hope I will not stop there… Considering the atmosphere around the match and behavior of the opposing team, winning the match was a matter of principle.

This match will now be extensively discussed within the chess community. Can you tell which tendencies of chess development it revealed?

First of all, this was extremely tense match. Chess changes – for instance, nobody paid attention that there was not a single serious time trouble in 12 games. It is a significant step forward. People play faster and more practical, and the crisis occurs at fourth or fifth hour of play. This match signified certain tendencies of modern chess, which are still to be found. And the main conclusion, I repeat, is exceptionally high level of tension. There were no short draws at all. I think all chess fans are happy about it! Maybe not everybody is happy about my victory, though…

I got a feeling that chess fans’ delights were caused by the fact that the title was determined at a rapid pace. Maybe we should talk about speeding the play up?

My opinion on time controls did not change. There are three controls in chess: classical, rapid and blitz. All three have the right to exist. They should supplement each other, like in tennis, where the games consist of three or five sets, depending on significance of the competition. I adhere to the opinion that the most important events must be held under classical time control; however, I am not against seeing many rapid tournaments. They are spectacular and attract the crowd. But classical chess must stay, at least for such matches. Classical chess has many supporters, and it is not out of place to say it has more than a century of history.

Do you consider symbolic that both players won games in their styles? Topalov won a tactical battle, and you converted two calm endings! Do you think you won the title because you showed more versatility than Veselin?

I am not sure about versatility, but I am objectively stronger in such positions as occurred in 2nd and 4th games – i.e., slightly better endings. I was somewhat lucky to get them. I handle them very well, I can say it without false modesty, while Veselin is not that good in them. I squeezed two wins out of nothing, so to speak, and he won an attacking ‘all-or-nothing’ game: g4, f5… In this regard the tiebreak was a litmus paper, revealing styles of the players. I am very glad that in the end I won one game more than Veselin.

Vladimir Belov, official match commentator, said that the tiebreak games turned out to be nearly the most flawless in the match. What do you think about it?

Flawless? I wouldn’t say that – just recall Topalov’s blunder in the Game 4 (albeit in a lost position), or my play in the Game 3… In principle, 25 minutes plus 10 seconds per move is sufficient amount of time to avoid bad mistakes. The struggle was nervous and tough, and I think the level of play is high enough for such circumstances.

Vladimir, after you won on the board, will you continue the duel in Arbitration Court in Lausanne?

Let us not talk about sad things. I’d rather enjoy the moment of triumph and talk more about the games I won! I am not thinking about future right now, except for the match against the computer. I was so concentrated on the WCC match that I am not going to start making plans any soon. Today I have to relax and drink with my team and people who supported me in Elista. And only then we’ll start thinking…

Could you tell more about the match against Fritz10? Are you going to be the last man standing?

I’m afraid it will be a very difficult match. Playing against computer is generally hard. Every year a tournament 3 vs. 3 is organized in Spain: three computer programs play against three top grandmasters. Last year there were Topalov, Ponomariov… And every human win there is seen as a great gift! I realize that I am not a favorite in that match. However, I really want to win it – not because of the money, but because this may be one of the last chances to beat the machine! I’ll do the best I can. After all, I have some experience playing against computer. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t have much time for preparation, but it can’t be helped. I am a professional.

How could you evaluate your team’s work at the match?

I am highly satisfied with it. For some reason newspapers wrote that I implied that I was dissatisfied, but this is not true. If I said I got a worse position in the opening, it doesn’t mean that I am unhappy with anything. I am the only person responsible for the loss in the Game 9 – Black had no problems, but I found them… I am very pleased about both atmosphere in the team and the boys’ determination…

What are your feelings now, as you leave Kalmykia?

I feel deeply tired. But of course, Elista will become a memorable place for me – such events do not occur often. It was a very hard test – even harder than I expected – but the winner’s joy outweighs everything negative.

Source: FIDE World Championship site
Pictures by Murat Kul, Deputy President of Turkish Chess Federation

Friday, October 13, 2006

Write a letter to Kramnik or Topalov!

Hi all,

Heads up to all of you chess fans out there! If you visit Chessbase, you can write and send a letter to Kramnik or Topalov through Chessbase.

I urge everyone to write a letter to both players expressing your congratulations to both for a fine match. Don't waste your time ranting about 'ToiletGate' - the letters will be pre-screened by Chessbase. Read the fine print!

2007 World Championships

Topalov's dead body is barely cold, but we JUST CANNOT WAIT to get the conversation rolling on something other than ToiletGate.

The candidates

Four players in the chess World Championship in Mexico City qualified by finishing in the top half of the last event, held in 2005 in San Luis, Argentina. They are the reigning champion,
Veselin Topalov, plus Viswanathan Anand, Peter Svidler, and Alexander Morozevich. Veselin Topalov, by virtue of his defeat in the 2006 World Chess Championship Match against Vladimir Kramnik, should be replaced by Kramnik himself. The remaining four players are as yet unknown. They will come from these sixteen candidates, who will face off in two series of matches until the four finalists are found.
The Matches

Congratulations Vladimir Kramnik, World Chess Champion!

This morning at approximately 11:00 AM EST, Vladimir Kramnik defeated Veselin Topalov in a decisive Game 4 Rapid Tie-break to become the Unified World Chess Champion.

Congratulations To both players for a match well played. Topalov deserves alot of credit for the hard work he put into this match. He gave very little, but in the end, Kramnik's exceptional positional style won the day in a 2R+B vs. 2R+B endgame, in which Topalov dropped a Rook in complications.

Tie-Breaks, Topalov, White:

Game 1: 1/2 - 1/2
Game 2: Kramnik, 1-0
Game 3: Topalov, 1-0
Game 4: Kramnik, 1-0

It is interesting to note that the three decisive games were all won by white.

Media Coverage:
International Herald Tribune/Europe

Games to follow...

Press conference after game 12

Question:Vladimir, what is your score against Topalov in rapid chess, and will it affect the outcome of the tiebreak in any way?

Vladimir Kramnik:
The match booklet states it is +4 in my favor. However, it counts rapid and blindfold games together. Will the score matter? I hope it will, but actually the tiebreak is a lottery. A lot will depend on small details: luck, the night’s sleep, etc. It is impossible to predict the result. In principle, I have already won the match from my point of view, so I think this will make playing easier for me.

What can you say about today’s [the 12th] game?

It is a very interesting and combative game. I exerted pressure, but the opponent managed to create counterplay and made a draw. Maybe I could play more accurately, I cannot tell without detailed analysis. But the draw is generally logical.

And yet, you had White, which means something at the WCC…

Modern chess theory develops in such direction that it is very difficult to find sharp positions with an advantage. So it is not surprising that both opponents were satisfied with a complex position. Maybe my advantage wasn’t big, but playing White was more pleasant. Veselin was lucky to organize his defense on time, but there was a chance for me, too! I did my best, but alas… I played for a win, but did not want to go too far. My attitude in the Game 10 was the same – and that time it worked.

Are you superstitious? The tiebreak is scheduled on Friday, 13th… Also, tomorrow is 13th, 10th month, year 2006, and the sum of all digits gives 13. Kasparov would have been very pleased, and what about you?

Fortunately I am not playing against him tomorrow. So I am alright! All these horrors are applicable to my opponent as well, so I do not feel any discomfort…

Which color is better to have at the start of the tiebreak?

I think it doesn’t matter. A tiebreak is decided by nerves.

You wrote an open letter before the 11th game. What further steps will you take, and do you think the unification idea works?

I have nothing to add to the letter. As for the unification, you realize it is difficult to talk about reconciliation in such a heated atmosphere…

One could note a certain rotation order of your suits during the match against Kasparov in London. Why did you alter it today?

I began to experiment by the end of the match: wearing the same dress is boring. I changed my trousers and jackets, and even combined a jacket with jeans in the Game 10. I am trying to catch my luck!

Do you consider this research promising?

I don’t know; we’ll see tomorrow. I have to consider my dress for tomorrow quite seriously!

Did you feel any agitation during the game?

I was a bit nervous in the end, as I felt I am winning the game and the match. The opponent made several saving moves to make a draw. As for agitation – this is not my first game at the highest level…

Veselin, how do you evaluate the course of the match in general?

Veselin Topalov: On the whole, I was better prepared, and obviously had more fresh ideas and winning opportunities. I had the initiative in most games, but only managed to convert two chances. Kramnik, on the contrary, utilized everything he had. It was a very strange match: after a false start I not only managed to tie the score, but even took the lead at some point. And then committed another blunder, making the score even again.

Do you feel the burden of unforced errors?

It is impossible to make an error if you agree to a draw after 15 moves. If each of your games lasts 50 moves, errors are unavoidable. Errors are natural consequence of struggle! If we always played at maximum effort, there would be more errors – we are humans.

You always play for a win, but if you were told before today’s game that it is going to end in a draw, would you feel happy?

That depends on the way this draw is achieved. I am not satisfied with the way I drew today, because I felt the victory is very near; but maybe the feeling was false, and the position was drawn.

Veselin, how do you see the future of chess? For example, for the next ten years… How will it develop, and will it become unified?

Unified? I have no idea why some people consider chess split! In my opinion, chess is unified since San Luis. The unification has already taken place! I don’t know what will happen in ten years. There is FIDE, and there is FIDE President and Executive Committee; it’s their business. The only thing I can do as champion is to try improving the image of chess. I cannot solve all our problems.

Let us talk about tomorrow. What do you think about the tiebreak? You had a chance to play rapid against Kramnik in Monaco…

To be honest, I am still not sure whether we will play 25 or 15-minute games. In general, Kramnik has a small plus… Actually, talking about the tiebreak, I’d rather blunder a queen or a mate in one than appear in the situation of Leko in 2004. He did not yield to Kramnik two years ago, but Leko is nobody now, and Kramnik is a world champion. Tiebreak is a good thing, and it doesn’t matter for me how it ends. If I lose, it will happen because of my own fault, not because of the regulations.

This match arose many suspicions. Don’t you think such scandals will soon scare away everybody but fanatics?

I don’t think the popularity of chess suffered because of the misunderstandings that occurred during the match. Looking back at the history of chess, it enjoyed maximum popularity at times of political confrontation. First it was Spassky-Fischer match, then Karpov-Korchnoi, and then Karpov-Kasparov. A high point for 20 years straight! At the same time, only a small group of professionals was interested in pure chess content. Others are excited by scandals.

So, ‘world peace’ does not benefit chess in your opinion?

No, I am against war! And we did not plan unleashing it. Our team just submitted a casual appeal… Laymen do not always understand complicated maneuvers of pieces or players’ ideas, but they like watching hand flicker in time trouble…


Triskaidekaphobia is a fear of the number 13. It is usually considered to be a superstition. A specific fear of Friday the 13th is called paraskavedekatriaphobia or friggatriskaidekaphobia.

Let's hope these fears do not manifest in Elista today. I'm sure we all are looking forward to some great chess. It is my hope that Kramnik wins, if for no other reason than to put the unification debate to rest.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Fischer - Karpov, 2006/7?

Mr. Ed Trice of GothicChess.com, during the show "Ask the Renaissance Man", hosted by NM Dan Heisman, on chess.fm, has just made an announcement that a Gothic Chess match between Fischer and Karpov most likely to take place.

Prize Fund: Winner - $10,000,000, Loser - $5,000,000

Mr. Ed Trice and his team flew to Reykjavik for this negotiation. This has been an ongoing negotiation for the past 2 years.

What Is Gothic Chess?

Gothic Chess is *different* from standard chess in that in Gothic Chess, the board is 10 files wide. The first 4 files from the left are identical in setup to standard chess - R, N, B, Q. The three rightmost files are also exactly the same as Standard Chess - B, N, R. The King of each color resides on the square of it's own color in the center of the back rank. Two new pieces, the Chancellor (moves like a Rook or a Knight on any Turn), and the Archbishop (moves like a Bishop or a Knight on any turn), reside next to the King. From White's perspective, the Chancellor resides to the Left of both kings, the Archbishop, to the right. When Castling, the King moves three squares instead of two.

Gothic Chess(tm)


Nothing was settled today, as with a well-played game by both sides today, we end up with a drawn game and a Rapid/Blitz/Armageddon playoff on Friday.

Here are the rules for the Tiebreaks:

3.7 Tie-breaks
3.7.1 If the scores are level after the regular twelve (12) games, after a new drawing of colours, four (4) tie-break games shall be played. The games shall be played using the electronic clock starting with 25 minutes on the clock for each player with an addition of 10 seconds after each move.

3.7.2 If the scores are level after the games in paragraph 3. 7.1, then, after a new drawing of colours, two (2) five-minute games shall be played with the addition of 10 seconds after each move.

3.7.3 If the score is still level, the players shall play a single decisive sudden death game. The player, who wins the drawing of lots, may choose the colour. White shall receive 6 minutes, black shall receive 5 minutes, without any addition. In case of a draw the player with the black pieces is declared as winner.

Game 12 Pre-game Report

So, here we are.

After 13 years of pitted confusion in the chess world, brought on by Gary Kasparov's breaking away from FIDE, we have come full circle. Will Kramnik remove all doubt with a victory here today? Or will Topalov be able to further expand the schizm in the elite chess world with a Victory himself, careening Top-Level chess into the courts? Or, will we have - what probably everyone in the chess world wants - a drawn game today so that the combatants can battle it out on Friday in tiebreaks?

My personal feeling is this: Kramnik was definitely attacked by the Topalov team in a manner that has been regarded as a 'dirty trick' by most chess journalists, patzers, and titled players. Being a Kramnik supporter, I have to hope that there is justice in the stars and that Kramnik defeats Topalov today outright.

We will know in about 6 or so hours.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Lover's Spat

Well, this has reached my inbox somehow. Here is a conversation between Gata Kamsky and Nigel Short, witnessed by thousands as it was played out on the Playchess Server:

"Gentleman, Let's have a clean fight, Break when I tell you to. Good luck!"

Nigel Short: Gata, in our 1994 match you delivered a written protest to the arbiter accusing me of visiting the bathroom too often. Was that done to disturb me, or because you thought I had a desktop hidden in the cubicle?
Gata Kamsky: ask me something i can remember nigel
Nigel Short: I remember it well, Gata.
Gata Kamsky: all i remember is that you started talking to me during the game
Nigel Short: Yes, and the arbiter had overheard a conversation between your father and yourself immediately after the game. He told you to complain. You said that there was nothing to complain about. And yet within the hour there was yet another written protest about me cheating during this match.
Nigel Short: I guess Daddy had his way
Gata Kamsky: i would be careful with making assumptions
Gata Kamsky: back then i didn't understood your dirty psychological tricks nigel
Nigel Short: I was also accused of "looking at Anand too much"
Nigel Short: and what a pity that the match organisers failed to erect a wall on the stage , like you insisted that they must
Gata Kamsky: nigel you had your chance against garry no?
Gata Kamsky: so stop complaining
Nigel Short: I do remember the death threat from your father, delivered in an extremely irate manner about 2cm from my face.
Gata Kamsky: so talk to my father about it
Gata Kamsky: lol
Nigel Short: "Talk to my father"? Why not "talk to Danailov"? we can all benefit from hiding behind our henchmen
Gata Kamsky: nice try nigel
Gata Kamsky: trying to do others all work for you?
Nigel Short (il répond à Susan Polgar): they have relevance, Susan. It is the only time in my career I have accused of cheating. I was accused repeatedly. There are obvious similarities with the current match.
Nigel Short: the only thing that Danailov has not done is to physically threaten Kramnik with death
Gata Kamsky: i have no idea what you're trying to drag me and my dad back into nigel
Nigel Short: No doubt you would prefer to remember the result, rather than the manner in which it was attained, Gata.
Gata Kamsky: you mean your little dirty tricks ?
Gata Kamsky: we can go all day, you have your opinion and i have mine. So let's leave it at that
Nigel Short: It is funny, how you are the only person to have observed that I am a cheat, Gata. Indeed the protests and accusations went on even when you were 3-0 up. I must have been the most inept cheat in history.
Gata Kamsky: nigel
Gata Kamsky: i don't want to talk about it, but if you want to do something about this, we can settle this like real men, outside. I'll be waiting
Nigel Short: Yes. That is exactly how your Dad wanted to settle it too.
Gata Kamsky: it is YOUR problem
Gata Kamsky: but your insinuations are insulting me
Gata Kamsky: so put up or shut up
Nigel Short: Your comments reveal a complete abdication of responsibility. A player is 100% responsible for the actions of his delegation

It's pissing matches like these that really make you wish Chess-Boxing was a real sport...

Endgame Lab - Rooks - Lucena's Position

Salvio, 1634 - White to move and win

General Setup: Defender's King is pushed out of the pawn's way and cannot access the Queening square. Attacker's king is in front of his pawn, on the queening square.

The basic winning technique here is to "Build a Bridge" - interpose the attacking Rook between the checking Rook and attacker's King. Once that is achieved, the position is lost as the exchange of Rooks results in a won K+P vs. K endgame.

The general technique is as follows:
1) Superior side advances pawn to the 7th rank.
2) Superior side uses Rook to push defender's King out of the way.
3) Advance Attacker's Rook to the 4th Rank in preparation for 'Building a Bridge'.
4)Move attacker's King out of the way of his pawn.
5)Advance attacker's King toward defender's checking Rook.
6) Interpose attacker's Rook on the 4th rank to block checks - 'Building a Bridge'.

1.Rd1+ Kc7

"Superior side uses Rook to push defender's King out of the way."
Other moves lose as well: [ 1...Ke6 2.Ke8+-; 1...Kc6 2.Ke7 ( 2.Rd4 Kc5 3.Rd7 Kc6 4.Ke8 Rf2 5.Re7+-) 2...Re2+ 3.Kd8 Rf2 4.Rd7 Rf1 5.Ke8 Rf2 6.Re7+- ( 6.f8Q?? Rxf8+ 7.Kxf8 Kxd7=) ]


"Advance Attacker's Rook to the 4th Rank in preparation for 'Building a Bridge'." [ if 2.Ke7?! Re2+ 3.Kf6 Rf2+ 4.Kg6 Rg2+ 5.Kh5 Rf2 does not work for white.]

2...Rg1 3.Ke7

"Move attacker's King out of the way of his pawn."

Re1+ 4.Kf6

"Advance attacker's King toward defender's checking Rook."

Rf1+ 5.Ke6 Re1+

[if 5...Rf2 6.Rd5 Rf1 7.Rf5+-]

6.Kf5 Rf1+

"Interpose attacker's Rook on the 4th rank to block checks - 'Building a Bridge'."


"Building A Bridge". The point of 2. Rd4!

Of course, it is not as simple as it seems. Achieving a win from the Lucena Position is one thing; reaching the Lucena Position itself can be a completely different and difficult task, and we will examine that in our next Endgame Lab.

Source:Fundamental Chess Endings, Just the Facts!

Around The Horn...

Kavalek's take on Topalov's protests

SI's Take on Topalov's Protests

11th IBCA individual world chess championship for the blind

2006 Caraga National Open Individual Chess Championship

Round 4: European Club Cup / 08.-14.10.2006, Fuegen-Austria

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Endgame Lab - Rooks - Philidor's Position

Philidor - 1777, Black to move and draw

Philidor's Drawing Method in the R+P vs. R endgame can be summarized as follows, given the defender's King is in front of the pawn on the queening square:

1) Defender prevents his opponent's King from advancing to the 6th Rank. The superior side is forced to push his pawn to use it as a shelter for the King to cross the sixth rank. 2) When the pawn moves to the sixth, defender shifts his Rook to behind the superior side's King to give checks. 3)With pawn on the sixth, Superior side cannot escape checks from Behind - Draw!

Let's examine this move by move:


"Defender prevents his opponent's King from advancing to the 6th Rank." It is clear that White, in order to make progress, will need to advance the pawn to screen the King from the Rook. Exchanging Rooks leads to a drawn endgame. In fact, any Rook move on the b-file draws except the obvious 1...Rb7?? (2. Rxb7 +-), and 1...Rb5? which allows 2. Kg6! and if 2...Rb6+ 3. f6 with mate threats wins, or if 2...Rb1 3. Ra8+ Ke7 4. f6+ wins as well.

2. f6

Only real try.


"When the pawn moves to the sixth, defender shifts his Rook to behind the superior side's King to give checks." Black now shifts his Rook as far away from the White King as possible, preparing to give harrassment checks.

3. Kg6 Rg1+ 4. Kf5 Rf1+ 5.Ke6 Re1+=

Of course, with White on move, Black is lost due to the mate threats White can generate:

1. Kg6! Rc8 (if 1...Rb1 2.Ra8+ Ke7 3. f6+ Ke6 4.Re8+ Kd7 f7 +-.)2. f6 Kg8 3. Rg7+ Kf8 4. Rh7! Kg8 5. f7+-.

It's also important to know that Black can survive if instead White has a Knight or Rook pawn. The mechanism just shown no longer exists, as White is short one rank to play his Rook maneuver. This defense is known as the "Back Rank Defense".

It is certainly worth the time to understand these simple Rook endings and know them intimately, so when they appear in your games (they will), you will know how to proceed to defend or win the position. Next, we'll look at the other most well-known Rook Ending - Lucena's Position.

Source:Fundamental Chess Endings, Just the Facts!

G11: Topalov,V (2813) - Kramnik,V (2743)

WCh Elista RUS (9), 07.10.2006

[Malcolm Pein]

(Thanks to Mark Crowther, The Week In Chess, and Malcolm Pein for commentary and analysis)

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 Bf5 5.Nc3 e6 6.Nh4 Bg6
A big surprise to me. Kramnik plays the same line that led to disaster in game 9. 7.Nxg6 hxg6 8.Rb1N An interesting choice which has the benefit of being new but it does rule out 0-0-0 for White which can be a useful option There is a huge choice of moves here. A sample: [ 8.Qc2; 8.Qb3; 8.cxd5; 8.g3; 8.Bd3; 8.Bd2; 8.a3 Nbd7 9.g3 Be7 10.f4 dxc4 11.Bxc4 0-0 12.e4 was much better for White in game 9 of the match and led to a fairly easy Topalov victory.] 8...Nbd7 9.c5 a5 Played after about 5 minutes thought. Black needs this file for counterplay 10.a3 [ 10.f4 b6! and b4 is not possible] 10...e5! Again essential to get counterplay before f2-f4 rules it out 11.b4 axb4 12.axb4 Qc7 13.f4 Diagram

The same strategic idea from Topalov. As in game 9 White tries to take over the whole board. Topalov was moving quickly again. 13...exf4 [ 13...Nh5 Was a wild idea which Kramnik may have avoided on the principle that Topalov might have analysed it at home 14.Ne2 a) 14.fxe5 Ng3 15.Rg1 Rxh2=/+ 16.Qf3 Be7 17.Bd3 Bh4 18.Kd1~~; b) 14.Qg4? Be7!? 15.fxe5 Ng3!! is a very attractive idea which is much better for Black 16.Rg1 Rxh2-/+ 17.Qxg3? Bh4; c) 14.Qf3!? e4 Blocking the position gives White a free hand on the queenside so Black needs to follow up with b7-b5 15.Qf2 b5 (c) 15...Be7! 16.h4 (c) 16.g3 Nxg3!; c) 16.b5 Ng3!) 16...Nhf6 17.Be2~~) 16.Nxb5!? cxb5 17.Bxb5; ] 14.exf4 Be7 [ 14...Ne4 15.Nxe4 dxe4 16.d5 A great position, all the White pieces are on the back row but he is better] 15.Be2 Nf8 16.0-0 Ne6 17.g3 Diagram

Black is fully mobilised and although he does not have much space his knights are OK and his rooks active. White's plan is b4-b5 but he never gets to carry it out to any great effect 17...Qd7! Preparing Ne4 which will force open the d file and tactically preventing b4-b5 18.Qd3 [ 18.Be3 Ne4 19.Nxe4 dxe4 20.Bc4 Nc7!=; 18.b5 Nxc5! 19.dxc5 Bxc5+ 20.Kh1 ( 20.Kg2 Qh3+ 21.Kf3 Ng4-+) 20...Qh3] 18...Ne4! Kramnik is always comfortable with the queens off even if he is going to be slightly worse. 19.Nxe4 dxe4 20.Qxe4 Qxd4+ 21.Qxd4 Nxd4 22.Bc4 The danger for Black in these positions is the unchallenged white squared bishop which has targets on f7, g6, b7 and c6. 22...0-0 23.Kg2 Ra4 24.Rd1 Rd8 [ 24...Bxc5 25.Be3 Ne6 26.Bb3! Rxb4 27.Bxc5 Nxc5 28.Bxf7++-] 25.Be3 Bf6 Black's activ ity compensates for the bishop pair and White is only marginally better [ 25...Nc2!? 26.Rxd8+ Bxd8 27.Bf2 Nxb4 ( 27...Rxb4? 28.Bb3! Na3 29.Bxf7+) 28.Rd1 Bf6 29.Rd7 Nd5 with good drawing chances 30.Bxd5 cxd5 31.Rxb7 Rc4] 26.g4 Kf8 Interesting, Kramnik is comfortable and avoids [ 26...Ra3 27.Bxd4 Bxd4 ( 27...Rxd4 28.Rxd4 Bxd4 29.Rd1 Be3 30.Rd7+/-) 28.Bb3 Raa8 29.Rd3 Bf6=] 27.Bf2 Ne6 28.Rxd8+ Bxd8 going to c7 29.f5!? Again attack at all costs but this relinquishes any advantage and was played pretty quickly [ 29.Bxe6 fxe6 30.h4 Bc7 31.Kf3 Ke7 32.Be3 Would give White no winning chances despite Black weakened structure but; 29.Be3 Bc7 30.Kf3 Was the careful way to play then if 30...Ra3 31.Rb3 Rxb3 32.Bxb3 Bxf4 33.Bxf4 Nd4+ 34.Ke4 Nxb3 35.Kd3 traps the knight] 29...gxf5 30.gxf5 Nf4+ [ 30...Ng5 was also OK but Kramnik has a nice reconfiguration of his pieces in mind. This is second nature to him.] 31.Kf3 Nh5 The optimal setup might be Be5 and Nf6 32.Rb3 Bc7 33.h4 Nf6 34.Bd3 Nd7 35.Be4 Preserving the bishop 35...Ne5+ 36.Kg2 Ra2 Black is slightly better now, the pawn on f5 ruins the white squared bishop, this is the key difference. f5 is actually a square the bishop would like to go to, c8 would beckon 37.Bb1 Rd2 38.Kf1 Ng4 39.Bg1 [ 39.Be1 Also holds] 39...Bh2 Diagram

40.Ke1 White has been driven back substantially over the last dozen moves and Black is slightly better but his rook, bishop and knight are not going to overwhelm White's rook, two bishops and king. 40...Rd5 [ 40...Rg2 Many commentators and even strong players who were letting their engines think for them thought this was stronger but in fact in practical terms its weaker and gives no winning chances whatsoever, Kramnik's move continues the fight 41.Bd4 Be5 42.Bxe5 Nxe5 43.f6! gxf6 ( 43...g6 44.Ra3) 44.Bf5=] 41.Bf2 Around here it was clear the best Kramnik could get was a pawn up in a rook and opposite coloured bishop ending. However the b4-b5 break brings about a queenside liquidation so there are very few winning chances. 41...Ke7 42.h5 Nxf2 43.Kxf2 Kf6 44.Kf3 Rd4 45.b5 Rc4 46.bxc6 bxc6 47.Rb6 Rxc5 48.Be4 Kg5 Its a matter of when, not if the draw is agreed. 49.Rxc6 Ra5 Kramnik plays on, there surely can't be anything here though. 50.Rb6 Ra3+ 51.Kg2 Bc7 52.Rb7 Rc3 53.Kf2 Kxh5 54.Bd5 f6 55.Ke2 Kg4 56.Be4 If Black could organise Be5, Kf4 and Rg3 he might have some practical chances but because White can always threaten to swop rooks he can hold easily 56...Kf4 57.Bd3 Rc5 58.Rb4+ Kg3 59.Rc4 Re5+ 60.Re4 Diagram

60...Ra5 [ 60...Bb6 Even if Black reaches bishop, king plus e and g against bishop and king the endgame is an easy draw 61.Rxe5 fxe5 62.Be4 ( 62.Bc4 Kf4 63.Be6=) 62...Kf4 63.Kd3 even losing the pawn is a draw 63...Bc5 64.Bd5 Kxf5 65.Be4+ Kf4 66.Bg6=] 61.Re3+ Kg2 62.Be4+ Kh2 63.Rb3 Ra2+ 64.Kd3 Bf4 65.Kc4 Re2 66.Kd5 1/2-1/2

Monday, October 09, 2006

Endgame Lab - Rook Endings

Endgame Lab

Black to move and draw:

Answer{Drag over to expose}:
[I. Rogers (2535) - Sirov (2580), Groningen 1990: 1... Kg2? (1... Kg3! 2. Rh8 f5+ 3. Kxf5 Kxf3 4. Rxh2 Kg3=) After this initial error, White demostrates an excellent display of shouldering the opposing king away from defending it's pawn: 2. Kxf4 h1=Q 3. Rxh1 Kxh1 4. Kg3!! (4... Kg1 5. f4 Kf1 6. Kf3 Ke1 7. f5 Kd2 8. Ke4 Kc3 9. Kd5 Kb4 10. f6 +-) 1-0

Sunday, October 08, 2006

G10: Kramnik,V (2743) - Topalov,V (2813)

WCh Elista RUS (10), 08.10.2006

[IM Malcolm Pein and Mark Crowther]

(Thanks to Mark Crowther, The Week In Chess, and Malcolm Pein for commentary and analysis)

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.g3 Bb4+ 5.Bd2 Be7 6.Bg2 0-0 7.0-0 c6 8.Bf4 Nbd7 9.Qc2 a5!?
Again a wrinkle off the main line. 9...b6 and 9...Nh5 are the normal moves but this may well lead to the lines where Black plays b5 and a5 10.Rd1 Nh5 11.Bc1 b5 Diagram

[ 11...b6 12.Nbd2 Ba6 13.e4 Nhf6 14.e5 Ne8] 12.cxd5 [ 12.c5 f5 Gives Black a reasonable Stonewall Dutch where White has no automatic play on the queenside now it is blocked 13.Nc3 g5 14.a3 Bf6 15.Qd2 h6 16.h4 g4 17.Qxh6 gxf3 18.Qxh5 fxg2 19.Qg6+ Kh8 20.Qh6+ Kg8 21.Qg6+ 1/2-1/2 Rahman,Z (2542)-Ghaem Maghami,E (2500)/Doha 2003/CBM 94] 12...cxd5 13.e4! The optimal time when the Ra8 and Nh5 are loose but [ 13.Ne5 was interesting 13...Bb7 14.Nc6 Bxc6 15.Qxc6 Rb8 16.e4] 13...dxe4 [ 13...Nhf6 14.Ng5!? ( 14.e5 Ne4 15.Ne1! is just good) 14...dxe4 15.Bxe4 ( 15.Nxh7!?) 15...Nxe4 16.Qxe4 Bxg5 17.Qxa8 Qc7 18.Bxg5 Bb7 19.Qa7 Ra8 20.Bf4 Qc8 21.Rc1 Qxc1+ 22.Bxc1 Rxa7] 14.Qxe4 Rb8 15.Qe2 Nhf6 16.Bf4+/= Rb6 17.Ne5 Nd5 [ 17...Bb7 18.Bxb7 Rxb7 19.Nc6 Qe8 20.Nxa5] 18.Bxd5! Before Black can consolidate with Bb7 or Ndf6 18...exd5 19.Nc3 Nf6! 20.Nxb5 Ba6 21.a4 Ne4 Black has some play because of the pin on the Nb5 22.Rdc1 Qe8 23.Rc7 [ 23.f3!? Nd6 24.Qe1] 23...Bd8 24.Ra7 Diagram

24...f6?? Kramnik stated at the press conference that before this error "I think Black holds if he plays correctly - it should be a draw.". Topalov said about f6, "Just a bad blunder. There were so many pieces on board. Really, I just blundered."... What did you overlook? Was it Nd7 or something deeper? - My oversight was a bit deeper, but it doesn't really matter. I think I had to take on b5, and there is nothing to worry about. This was my initial idea, but then I decided 24...f6 was interesting, too." ... "I decided that 24...f6 is a more complex move compared to taking on b5. After 24... Bxb5 White has certain pressure in the resulting endgame. I glanced at the clock, saw the opponent running behind on the clock, and decided to play the sharpest move. " [ 24...Bxb5 25.axb5 Qxb5 26.Qxb5 Rxb5 27.Ra2 White has better coordination and activity and Bb6 can be met by Rb7 but with active play the White pieces can be driven back ( 27.Nd7 Re8 28.Ra8 Rxb2 29.Bc7 Rb7) 27...f6 28.Nc6 Bb6 29.Rb7 ( 29.Rd7 Rf7 30.Ne7+ Rxe7 31.Rxe7 Bxd4 32.Kg2+/=; 29.Ra6 Re8 30.Be3 Nd6 31.Nxa5 Nf5=) 29...Rf7 30.Rb8+ Rf8 31.Rxf8+ Kxf8 32.f3 g5!] 25.Nd7 This seems to win, a pawn falls and there is a horrible pin on the e-file. [ 25.Qg4 Is another very strong move.] 25...Rf7 26.Nxb6 Rxa7 27.Nxd5 Rd7 28.Ndc3! Diagram

28...Rxd4?! Played instantly. Around here f2-f3 wins but gives Black the possibility of some tricks so Kramnik avoids it in time pressure [ 28...Re7 29.Qc4+ Doesn't offer too much for black but at least it doesn't offer a piece.] 29.Re1 [ Kramnik said after the game "28...Rxd4 is another error; he had to move the rook to e7, after which White must display some technique. After Black's 28th move, White wins anyhow. I tried handling the position in the most human way, avoiding any risk. In principle, I could have taken the piece by playing f2-f3, but preferred to exchange everything and proceed to a won ending instead." 29.f3 Bxb5 30.Nxb5 Rb4 31.Re1 Bb6+ 32.Kg2 is however crushing and not particularly complex. Perhaps Kramnik simply couldn't believe his luck.] 29...f5 30.Qc2! Rb4 31.Nd5 [ 31.f3 was the last chance to play to win the pinned knight. Its still good.] 31...Rxb5 32.axb5 Qxb5 33.Nc7 Qc4 [ 33...Bxc7 34.Qxc7 Qxb2 35.Qd8+ Kf7 36.Qd7+ Kg6 37.Qe8+ Kf6 38.Be3] 34.Qd1 [ 34.Qxc4+ Kasparov said he didn't know why Kramnik didn't just exchange queens here.] 34...Bxc7 35.Qd7 But this is strong 35...h6 [ 35...Bxf4 36.Qe8#] 36.Qxc7 Qb4 [ 36...Qd4 with a few cheapo tricks for time trouble looks better according to Kasparov. It does keep the queens on longer 37.Qc2 Bb7 38.Rd1 Qb6 39.Be3 Qb4 40.Bxh6 gxh6 41.Qc7] 37.Qb8+ Diagram

Off with the queens! and its decisive 37...Qxb8 38.Bxb8 Nd2 39.Ra1 g5 40.f4 Nb3 41.Ra3 Bc4 42.Bc7 g4 43.Bxa5 For a player of Kramnik's ability this is trivial. 1-0

Kramnik finally breaks through Topalov's opening preparation and scores a much needed victory against the Bulgarian.

The match is now tied at 5:5 with 2 games to play, forfeit withstanding. Tomorrow is a rest day, with Game 11 on Tuesday and Game 12 on Thursday.

This has turned into an exciting match no matter which side you are for!

Go Kramnik!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

G9: Topalov,V (2813) - Kramnik,V (2743)

Kramnik succumbs to pressure and drops second game in a row.

Arguably the worst played game of the match so far, Game 9 saw Kramnik completely fold in time pressure.

Topalov,V (2813) - Kramnik,V (2743) [D12]

WCh Elista RUS (9), 07.10.2006

[IM Malcolm Pein and Mark Crowther]

(Thanks to Mark Crowther, The Week In Chess, and Malcolm Pein for commentary and analysis)

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 Bf5 5.Nc3 e6 6.Nh4 Bg6 7.Nxg6 hxg6
A solid line, Black gets a lead in development and White the bishop pair plus space. Black must attack the centre at some point withc6-c5ore6-e5 8.a3 Nbd7 9.g3 [ 9.h3 Be7 10.Bd3 0-0 11.0-0 e5 12.cxd5 cxd5 13.dxe5 Nxe5 14.Bb1 Rc8 15.Ba2 Nc4 16.Qd3 Qd7 17.Rd1 Rfd8 18.e4 dxe4 19.Qxd7 Rxd7 20.Rxd7 Nxd7 21.Nxe4 b5 22.Bg5 Bxg5 23.Nxg5 a5 24.Re1 Kf8 25.Nh7+ Kg8 26.Ng5 Kf8 27.Nh7+ Kg8 28.Re7 Kxh7 29.Rxd7 f6 30.a4 Ne5 31.Rd4 g5 32.axb5 Kh6 33.Bb3 Rb8 34.Ba4 Rb6 35.Kf1 Nf7 36.Rc4 Ne5 37.Rc8 g6 38.Rc7 Re6 39.Bb3 Rb6 40.g4 1-0 Finegold,B (2539)-Zaremba,A (2342)/Philadelphia 2003/EXT 2004]
9...Be7 Diagram

10.f4! The first real novelty. Topalov told a press conference afterwards that this was an idea of one of his seconds, Francisco Vallejo. Kramnik in his seperate conference said: "It is difficult to play well in positions such as the one I got today. Topalov's novelty turned very strong - at least for one game. I didn't manage to find adequate response to it." 10...dxc4 [ 10...Ne4 11.Nxe4 dxe4 12.Qc2 f5 13.Bd2 or; 10...Qc7 11.c5 b6 12.b4 a5 13.Bd2 and White has space both look preferable.] 11.Bxc4 0-0 12.e4 b5?! Both players criticised this move after the game. [ 12...Nb6 was almost certainly a better idea.] 13.Be2 b4 Trying to create counterplay but ruining his pawn structure 14.axb4 Bxb4 15.Bf3 Diagram

15...Qb6? Almost universally condemned by commentators. [ 15...c5 16.e5 Kramnik said he didn't like this move. 16...cxd4! with many complications.] 16.0-0 e5?! This was Kramnik's idea he uses pins on b6-g1 and d8-d1. It was still not too late to back out with [ 16...Rfd8 17.Be3 c5 and although white is better he's nothing like as good as he is in the game.] 17.Be3 Rad8 Kramnik was as good as dead in this position, certainly psychologically. He admitted in his press conference afterwards: "After the opening, I continued resisting because it was inconvenient for me to resign that early, but the game was basically decided by move 17. One could play brilliantly afterwards, but it wouldn't change anything. So far my openings are disastrous. It is easy to play good in good positions, and vice versa. If I manage solving my opening problems, everything should be different." [ 17...exd4 18.Na4!] 18.Na4 Qb8 [ 18...Qb5 19.Qc2 exd4 20.Bxd4 c5 21.Nc3 Qb6 22.Bf2 a5 23.e5!] 19.Qc2! Not [ 19.fxe5 Nxe5 and Black play c6-c5 with some play due to the strong Ne5.] 19...exf4 This doesn't look all that great either. 20.Bxf4 Qb7 21.Rad1 Rfe8 22.Bg5 Be7 23.Kh1 Nh7 24.Be3 Bg5 25.Bg1! Black has no space White avoids exchanges 25...Nhf8 26.h4 Be7 27.e5 Nb8 28.Nc3 Bb4 29.Qg2 Qc8

30.Rc1 Diagram

30...Bxc3? With 15 minutes for 11 moves Kramnik cracks 31.bxc3 Ne6 32.Bg4 Qc7 33.Rcd1 Nd7 34.Qa2 f7 is horribly weak 34...Nb6 35.Rf3 Nf8? Blunder but [ 35...Nd5 36.Rdf1 Rd7 37.c4 Nb6 and; 35...c5 36.d5 are both weak.] 36.Rdf1! Re7 37.Be3 Threat Bg5. 37...Nh7 38.Rxf7! Nd5 [ 38...Rxf7 39.Rxf7 Qxf7 40.Be6]

39.R7f3 Diagram

[ 39.Be6 also wins out of hand.; 39.R7f3 Kh8 40.Bg5 Nxg5 41.hxg5 intending Qh2+ 42... Kh8 43.Qc2 and takes on g6.] 1-0

Friday, October 06, 2006

Rest Day:- Kramnik,V (2730) - Short,N (2645), 1995

Rest Day at the WCC

Since we have a rest day, let's throw up a puzzle:

Kramnik,V (2730) - Short,N (2645)

Dortmund Dortmund (5), 1995

[Notes by Bangiev,A]

22.Bxe6! Strong! [ 22.Nf4! Rxd4 23.Nxg6! Qe8 ( 23...fxg6 24.Bxe6+ Kh8 25.Qxg6+-) 24.Bxe6 fxe6 25.Nf4+-; 22.Nxe6? Qxh4] 22...fxe6 [ 22...Nxe5 23.de5, 23.Ba2
23.dxe5 Rxd1 24.Bxf7+ Qxf7 25.Nxf7+-] 23.Qxg6+- Nxe5 [ 23...Nf6 24.exf6 24.exf6 Qxf6 25.Qh7+ Kf8 26.Nf4!+-] 24.Qh7+ Kf8 25.Nf4! [ 25.Nf4 Ke8 26.dxe5 Rxd1 27.Qg6+ Kf8 28.Nfxe6++-] 1-0

G8: Kramnik,V (2743) - Topalov,V (2813)

Kramnik, possibly exausted from three Blacks in a row, capitulated to a nearly perfectly played, unbalanced position by Topalov. As Susan Polgar put it so well in her blog, I paraphrase: "These kinds of positions you should play out hundreds and thousands of times. It is the only way you can understand them. That was part of my training as a young girl".

G8: Kramnik,V (2743) - Topalov,V (2813)

WCh Elista RUS (8), 05.10.2006

[IM Malcolm Pein]

(Thanks to Mark Crowther, The Week In Chess, and Malcolm Pein for commentary and analysis)

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.e3 Nbd7 6.Bd3 dxc4 7.Bxc4 b5
So this is Topalov's surprise, its a line Kramnik also plays with Black 8.Be2 Bb7 9.0-0 b4 10.Na4 c5!? Sharper than the standard 10... Be7 Topalov's pre-match preparation emerges. 11.dxc5 Nxc5 12.Bb5+ Ncd7 13.Ne5 Qc7 14.Qd4 [ 14.Nxd7 Nxd7 15.e4 ( 15.b3 Bd6 16.Bb2 Rd8 17.h3 0-0 18.Rc1 Qb8 19.Bxd7 Rxd7 20.Qg4 f5 21.Qg5 Qd8 22.Qxd8 Rfxd8 23.Nc5 Bxc5 24.Rxc5 Rd2 25.Bd4 Rd7 26.Rfc1 Rxa2 27.Rc7 Rxc7 28.Rxc7 Bd5 29.Rxg7+ Kf8 30.Rxa7 Rxa7 31.Bxa7 Bxb3 32.Bc5+ Kf7 33.Bxb4 Bd5 34.f3 1/2-1/2 Taborska,V-Hasek,V (2154)/Czechia 1999) 15...Rd8 16.Bg5 f6 17.Be3 Qe5 18.Qe2 Bd6 19.f4 Qxe4 20.Rad1 a6 21.Bc4 Bb8 22.f5 Qe5 23.Qh5+ g6 24.Qh3 Bxg2 25.Qxg2 Qxe3+ 26.Kh1 Ne5 27.Rxd8+ Kxd8 28.Qb7 Bd6 29.fxe6 f5 30.e7+ Ke8 31.Qc8+ Kxe7 32.Qe6+ Kf8 33.Qf6+ Ke8 34.Qxh8+ Kd7 35.Qxh7+ Kc6 36.Qg8 Qe4+ 37.Kg1 Qg4+ 1/2-1/2 Shinkevich,V (2440)-Somkin,E (2309)/Bor 2000/EXT 2001] 14...Rd8! [ 14...Bd6 15.Nxd7 Nxd7 16.Rd1 Ke7 17.Bxd7 Rad8 18.Bd2 Rxd7 19.Bxb4 Rhd8 20.Rac1 Qb8 21.Nc3 f6 22.Bxd6+ Rxd6 23.Qc5 Kf7 24.Rxd6 Qxd6 25.Qxd6 Rxd6 26.Rd1 Ke7 27.Rxd6 Kxd6 28.f3 Kc5 29.Kf2 Ba6 30.Ke1 Bd3 31.Kd2 Bg6 32.Ne2 Bb1 33.Nc3 Bg6 34.Ne2 Kc4 35.Nd4 Bf7 36.b3+ Kb4 37.Nc2+ Kc5 38.a4 a5 39.Kc3 e5 40.Na3 Be6 41.Nc2 Bc8 42.b4+ axb4+ 43.Nxb4 Kb6 44.Nd3 Ba6 45.g3 Bb7 46.f4 exf4 47.Nxf4 Kc5 48.Ne6+ Kd5 49.Nxg7 Bc6 50.a5 Ke4 51.Nh5 f5 52.Kd2 Kf3 53.Ng7 Kg2 54.Nxf5 Kxh2 55.Kd3 Kh3 56.Kd4 Kg4 57.e4 Kf3 58.e5 Kg4 59.Kc5 1-0 Avdeenko,V-Novikov,I (2370)/Rostov on Don 1980; 14...Rd8] 15.Bd2 Diagram

[ White may have gained a tempo with Bb5+ but his Na4 is very bad and taking on a7 would not be advisable after 15.Qxa7 Bd6 16.f4 0-0 when the White queen and knight are both badly placed.] 15...Qa5N [ 15...a6 16.Rfc1 Qa5 17.Bc6 Bxc6 18.Nxc6 Qxa4 19.Nxd8 Kxd8 20.a3 Qb5 21.axb4 Nd5 22.Ra5 Qb6 23.Qc4 Nc7 24.Bc3 f6 25.Bd4 Qb7 26.b5 Nxb5 27.Qxe6 Nxd4 28.exd4 Bb4 29.Rxa6 Re8 30.Qa2 Bd2 31.Rf1 Bf4 32.g3 Bb8 33.Re6 Rxe6 34.Qxe6 Qxb2 35.Qg8+ Kc7 36.Qxg7 Ba7 37.Qxh7 Bxd4 38.Qf5 Qd2 39.h4 Nc5 40.Qh7+ Kd6 41.Qh5 Ne4 42.Qf3 Ke5 1/2-1/2 Cvetkovic,S-Bagirov,V/Vrnjacka Banja 1974] 16.Bc6 Be7! This is the idea 17.Rfc1 We are going to get a material imbalance so Topalov must be pleased and he was moving fast as usual [ 17.Bxb7 Nxe5 wins as a4 and d2 hang] 17...Bxc6 18.Nxc6 Qxa4 19.Nxd8 [ 19.Nxe7 was extremely risky but both Kramnik and Topalov seemed to suggest this could be played.] 19...Bxd8 20.Qxb4 Of course Kramnik gets the queens off but Black can probably unravel. Either way we are [ 20.Bxb4 a5 21.Bc5 Qxd4 22.Bxd4 e5 23.Bc3 Bb6 looks very comfortable for Black] 20...Qxb4 21.Bxb4 Nd5! After the game Kramnik said he'd missed this move and black's next when committing to this variation. 22.Bd6 f5 to play Kf7 and gradually get the rook into play. In the absence of any obvious targets for the white rooks and no imminent passed pawn Black must be OK. 23.Rc8 N5b6 24.Rc6 Be7 [ 24...Bf6 25.Rac1 Bxb2 26.Rc8+ Kf7 27.Rxh8 Bxc1 28.Rxh7 Looks good for Black, a2 may be loose] 25.Rd1 Kf7 Diagram

26.Rc7 Kramnik succeeds in preventing any activity for the moment. It was interesting to note while watching this game online how the stronger the spectator the more they liked Black's long term chances because any change in the pawn structure on the kingside tends to create better squares for the Black knights. [ 26.Bxe7 Kxe7 27.Rdd6 Nb8 28.Rxe6+ Kf7! 29.Rxb6 axb6 30.Rxb6 was suggested by Kramnik as offering decent drawing chances for white.] 26...Ra8! Keeping rooks on. 27.Rb7 Ke8 28.Bxe7 Kxe7 29.Rc1 [ 29.f3] 29...a5 30.Rc6 Nd5 Black has totally unravelled and can look to expand on the kingside. Kramnik has been unable to find an active plan. Perhaps he should have centralised his king quicker. 31.h4 h6 32.a4 Fixing the a5 pawn but making the a pawn slightly more vulnerable. At some point the black rook might leave a8 to get active and then this pawn is one move closer topromotion 32...g5! A far sighted plan, Black gains space and prepares to move his knights forward. 33.hxg5 hxg5 34.Kf1 Ke2 and f2-f3 is a plan 34...g4 Now f3 can be met by g3 and a Black knight might usefully come to e4 35.Ke2 N5f6 36.b3 Ne8! Coming to d6 and forcing a white rook off the b file. 37.f3? [ 37.Rc1 Nd6 38.Rbc7 Ne4] 37...g3! Of course Topalov wants to keep pawns on but this pawn may provoke a crisis, in order to attack it Kramnik must make a concession elsewhere for example by removing the Rc6 from the queenside. Then the black king couldroam 38.Rc1 Nef6 39.f4 To attack the pawn but White is getting stretched here. Black can unpin the Nd7 and play Ne4. If he could get knights on e4 and d5 a 'levelling' of the score would be on the cards 39...Kd6 40.Kf3 Nd5! Diagram

Black has another active possibility e6-e5 41.Kxg3? This seems to be very very bad after Nc5 see the following line [ 41.Rb5 e5 42.Kxg3 Nxe3 43.fxe5+ Nxe5 44.Rh1 Rg8+ White could get mated if he is not careful but Kramnik is pretty careful most of the time 45.Kf4 Nxg2+ 46.Kxf5] 41...Nc5! Suddenly its over the knights spring into action. 42.Rg7 [ 42.Rb5 Ne4+ 43.Kf3 Rg8 44.Rxa5 Rg3+ 45.Ke2 Rxe3+ 46.Kf1 Rxb3] 42...Rb8 43.Ra7 Rg8+ 44.Kf3 Ne4 45.Ra6+ Ke7 46.Rxa5 Rg3+ Two rooks and a knight can deliver mate. 47.Ke2 Rxe3+ 48.Kf1 Rxb3 49.Ra7+ Kf6 50.Ra8 Nxf4 51.Ra1 Rb2 52.a5 Rf2+ 0-1