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    « Bilbao, Round 4 | Main | Bilbao, Round 2: Kramnik Wins Again, Carlsen Loses Again, Anand #1 in the World »
    Monday
    Oct112010

    Bilbao, Round 3: Kramnik Continues to Lead (Updated)

    The Anand-Kramnik clash was a typical "professional" draw. White played solidly, enjoyed a small edge, but Black successfully defended and drew. The battleground was a Catalan and I'm sure both players were in their home preparation to at least move 18. On move 19 Anand eschewed the option chosen in three 2010 OTB games for one chosen in a 2006 email game, and it looked like the right choice. Still, Kramnik found (or knew) the elegant defensive idea Black chose in that game, and they continued in the earlier game's footsteps until move 24. The difference wasn't enough to change the basic evaluation, and after long thought on move 25 Anand decided to call it a day - not that they drew on that move, but he chose a continuation which allowed the game to be drawn even under Sofia rules as quickly as possible.

    Shirov-Carlsen was a completely different story. The players whipped out 15 and a half moves of Breyer Ruy Lopez theory, and then Carlsen surprised Shirov by playing 15...cxb5 rather than 15...axb5. Carlsen had played the latter move against Anand earlier this year, but 15...cxb5 wasn't unknown: Shirov faced it earlier this year against Baramidze. Nevertheless, Shirov thought for more than half an hour after this move, and varied from the Baramidze game on move 18. The game soon became a tactical morass, but somehow the players negotiated their way through with remarkable (but not quite perfect) accuracy. The complications came to a conclusion when Carlsen chose 40...Qxa8, resulting in a queen vs. three minor piece ending where neither side could undertake anything constructive.

    Unfortunately, this didn't dissuade Carlsen in any way, as he spent the next 134 moves trying to draw blood from a stone - or perhaps trying to flag. Charming. Happily, Shirov won the last two psychological battles of the game. First, Carlsen missed an opportunity to play ...e3, which would have continued the idiocy for another 50 moves. Second, Shirov made the perfect final move to accompany his successful 50-move draw claim: he deliberately allowed his queen to be forked on the final move. [DM: According to Shirov himself, this did not happen. Shirov went to get the arbiter after his 174th move, and Carlsen agreed to the draw without forcing Shirov to go through the whole business of proving the 50-move claim. Relayers should not make stupid jokes like this.]

    So at the end of the first cycle, going into the one and only rest day, the standings look like this:

    1. Kramnik 7 (+2 =1)

    2. Anand 5 (+1 =2)

    3. Shirov 2 (=2 -1)

    4. Carlsen 1 (=1 -2)

     

    The pairings for Wednesday's round 4 are Carlsen-Kramnik and Anand-Shirov; obviously this round is pregnant with possibilities: Carlsen will have White in a game that's crucial for his tournament success; for Kramnik, this is probably the last game where losing is a very real possibility. Likewise, Anand will have what is on paper his best hope for a win in the second cycle, with White against the tournament's lowest-rated player.

    Meanwhile, the tournament website is here, and the games (with my comments) are here.

    [UPDATE: As noted in the next above, Shirov's alleged 175th move wasn't actually played. The game file will be fixed presently.]

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    Reader Comments (27)

    Dennis: not so convinced by the flagging hypothesis. Carlsen could have delayed playing ... g4 for another 20 odd moves. Or played ... e3 later on, as you point out. Once they reach the Q vs. minor pieces ending, it's a two result position, and it isn't at all obvious to me (not that that's saying much) that black doesn't have a chance of at least conjuring up something tricky. Before he started modeling, you seemed to quite admire Carlsen trying to (and often succeeding in) grinding out wins in "clearly" drawn positions. But thanks for the comments on the games, always a pleasure.

    [DM: You may not be persuaded, but I am. As for not playing ...e3 in time, he simply screwed up. Meanwhile, to persuade yourself, try to find anything that even remotely resembles a Black plan over the last 134 moves of the game. One hundred and thirty-four moves. Good luck.]

    October 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDavid McCarthy

    Hi Dennis! Good blog, but I think you are a bit-too ironic with the Norwegian boy. Yes, he did a photo session with Liv Tyler, but in spite of a jealous feeling, he plays really strong. What do you would say if your favorite player remains over 150 moves on the board? . Perhaps you would write "Stamina" or "Conviction" or "Faith". Maybe he will rest in the free-day and his counter-attack could be thundering. Greetings from Spain!

    [DM: What jealous feeling? All these guys are way beyond anything I can aspire to the game. If I were going to be jealous it would be a full-time occupation. As for modeling, no thanks, and as for Liv Tyler I'm way too old for such silly fantasies. As for my favorite player, if he made a habit of such a thing he wouldn't be my favorite player for very long. Anyway, there are other drawish endings that Carlsen pulled out and I made no similar comments. This just seemed an especially egregious example to me, as he not only made no progress, he didn't even come close.]

    October 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterConan

    I would not be so harsh on Carlsen, every single GM would play this for Black till the end (except for Svidler maybe, he would just resign). In fact, this game was commented on chesspro by GM Golubev and also several GMs in chesspro chat, and none of them were sure that it's a draw.

    [DM: Now who's being harsh? Poor Svidler. Anyway, trying is one thing, doing practically nothing for 134 moves is another.]

    October 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAndrey

    Shirov wrote on the Chessvibes forum:

    "After I gave the 174.Qe3 check and Magnus replied, I pointed out the 50 moves rule and called the arbiter. Magnus agreed immediately, so we didn’t have to restore the game."

    [DM: Yes, someone else informed me about that too, thanks. I've made the corrections to the post and the game file.]

    October 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJ.A. Topfke

    Well, well, well…
    You really crossed a red line with such derogatory comments as: “All this garbage is intended to do is to run Shirov low on time, even if it takes another 100 moves to do it, and then hope to get lucky. It's chess completely devoid of art, reduced to the lowest and least interesting level of sport.”

    To begin with, two bishops + knight against a queen can win even with pawns on one side:
    Spassky – Geller, 1959
    http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1048900
    Notice that Geller, a world class player, resigned as soon as this endgame was reached.

    Lautier – Gurevich, 1993
    http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1089912
    Here, the stronger side won with very few pawns remaining.

    Now, in Shirov-Carlsen the drawing chances were higher, because there was an even number of pawns (in the above examples the stronger side had a pawn majority), and white’s pawn structure was more solid than black’s. Still, there are winning chances and the stronger side should try to win without being subjected to insults by commentators. Also, Carlsen is known for winning (on the board and never on time!) endgames which are seemingly completely drawn and symmetrical, so there are all the reasons to try to win such an interesting one with material imbalance that clearly favors black. What would you say had he managed to win the f2 pawn towards the end, and then the game? Most of the time he was searching for better positions for his pieces and he did try to make progress in various ways, learning the position.
    First, he fixed his pawns. Then, 53…Nd3 attacking f2, but since Bc5 isn’t possible he moved around, until 83…Nf6 was a good square for the knight. 91…Bf4 was the next part of his plan. It was now that white didn’t allow …e3, so he changed plan and prepared instead 103…g4. After a few moves he prepared a knight transfer to g5, and then went h3. Later, 144…Bf3 was a new attempt to create threats around the white king, and towards the end he tried to prepare Nf3 just before the 50-moves rule ended the game. Those were all futile attempts because Shirov defended well.

    During the game, while his pawns were still on h4 and g5, I thought he should try to bring the king to e2, shielded from checks by the other pieces (that’s the hard and risky part), play e3, exchange those pawns, and try to mate the white king. Imagine the following position:
    White: Kh1, Q – anywhere, g2, h3
    Black: Kf2, Bf4, Be4, Ne2, g5, h4
    White to play cannot avoid mate, the black king will eventually hide from checks in either g3 or f1.
    I don’t have a computer (not even a chess board) to verify the practicality of this plan – I’m sure that with perfect play white can avoid it, but also with perfect play the starting position of chess is a dead draw, so why play at all? So many times you complained about short draws in positions that beg to be played. Now you complain harshly also about long draws? You can’t have it both ways!

    Other details that need mention:
    Shirov did not play 175.Qd2 – see his own comment in the comments section on chessvibes.

    Carlsen did not “miss” playing 164…e3. Without pawns the ending IS a draw, while with pawns there is still life in the position.

    Regarding Anand-Kramnik, judging by Kramnik’s use (or lack of use) of his time, the entire game was home prep on his side, and not only up to move 18.

    (please do not block this comment. These are important matters, and I must say that most of the time your analysis is excellent, but this time I disagree with your interpretation)

    October 11, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterb3wins

    In my previous post I suggested that up to the very end there were still chances for Carlsen to attack the f2 pawn. Between 144…Bf3 and 167…Nd4 black could try to achieve the following position:
    White: Kg1, Qh8, f2
    Black: Kh3, Bh4, Bf3, Nf6, e4.
    White to play cannot avoid Ng4, which wins for black.

    With accurate defense white avoided this, but you really can’t blame black for trying to win the BBN vs. Q endgame, which is full of possibilities.

    October 11, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterb3wins

    b3wins:

    The two games you cite are no more relevant to this one than noting the existence of the Lucena position "proves" that someone should play on for 50 moves against someone who has achieved the Philidor position in a rook and pawn ending. Obviously some three minor piece vs. queen endings can be won by the minor pieces; for that matter, there are surely some such endings where the queen wins. This isn't one of them. (One *gigantic* difference in those cases was that the winners had a pawn majority on one side of the board.)

    What would I have said if Carlsen had won? Well, for one thing, I would have revised all my critical comments before they got published. :) I'm not *that* stupid! But seriously, it's because the ending was so firmly drawn that it wasn't much of a possibility to begin with.

    What about the plan of going after f2? Well, I mentioned that at the start of my notes to that ending - it was the very first thing that caught my eye. But Shirov was able to defang it, and it seems to me that after a bit of trying at it, it would have been reasonable to call it a day. It didn't take 134 moves to figure out that Shirov could prevent it from working.

    The reason I say Carlsen "missed" e3 is not because playing e3 is intrinsically desirable, but because of the pending 50 move rule, and the fact that he wasn't making progress with the pawns on the board. (And Shirov's clock hadn't reached the desired 0:00 yet.)

    By the way, you mention a lot of things that Carlsen "did" (he moved this here, that there, etc.), but aside from the original anti-f2 plan, I don't understand what any of those maneuvers are supposed to do. Why was f6 a good square for the knight? Good to what end? And what plan was Bf4 a part of?

    The original position is a "dead" draw? Hardly. To say that a position is objectively drawn doesn't mean it's "dead" for us.

    I complain about short draws, now about long draws: what gives? Well, neither part of that statement is actually true as a general rule. Maybe I complain about this short draw or that long one, but I have no problem with either per se. (If anything, I'm more draw-friendly than the average chess fan. It's only when there are a rash of short draws, especially by players in competitive situations where it's imperative that they try for a win, that I start to needle them.) Second, you might catch me complaining about the winters here when it's 30 below zero. Does this mean I should be thrilled when it's 100 degrees with high humidity? There's more than one way for weather to be bad, and there's more than one way for a player to come in for criticism. Maybe I'm wrong about my criticism of Carlsen, but there's nothing inconsistent about it.

    October 11, 2010 | Registered CommenterDennis Monokroussos

    @b3wins: My last comment was in response to your first comment. As for your fantasy positions, sure, I can make up positions where White wins, too. (I did in my notes to the game.) But unless you can come up with a plausible story about how to get there, it doesn't mean very much. (That doesn't mean you shouldn't try to think up such positions - it's a great endgame technique. But the mere existence of logically possible winning positions doesn't entail their plausibility.)

    October 11, 2010 | Registered CommenterDennis Monokroussos

    Dennis,

    Thanks for taking the time to respond in earnest.

    I just looked at the live commentary at chesspro.ru (with google translation):
    http://chesspro.ru/chessonline/onlines/index_3297.html

    As has been pointed above by Andrey, the result wasn’t obvious to the GMs following the game, and Carlsen did seem to make some progress. When you ask what’s the point of Nf6 or Bf4 – you are being impatient. Nf6 protects the king from checks, and Bf4 prepares e3. In long games the maneuvering phase may or may not have meaning, but that is understood only in retrospect. Top players have the patience to work hard and try to make even the slightest progress. Let’s say that even if in 9 out of 10 cases it does not yield results, the persistence is eventually rewarded in the long run.

    My “dream position” (in the second post) may not be attainable, but it is possible that no more than one or two inaccurate moves by white were needed in order to get there. That alone would justify the length of the game.

    [DM: Nf6 protects the king from checks, but again, to what end? You need a target. What's the only target there? The pawn on f2. You can attack it with the bishop on the a7-g1 diagonal, and it's protected by the White king. So you need to attack it with something else. The light-squared bishop? Not possible - it moves on the wrong-colored squares. The knight? Sure! Oh wait, it's on f6 protecting the king from checks. Maybe you want to achieve ...e3 instead as your plan? Well, the dark-squared bishop can support it, but the white queen and f-pawn cover it. Black will need more help. The light-squared bishop? Again, it's ruled out by the fact that it's a light-squared bishop. The knight? Sure! But wait, once again no: it's on f6 protecting the king from checks.

    I did think about this endgame - it's not just shooting from the hip.]

    October 11, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterb3wins

    Dennis,

    I enjoy reading your blog, but notice a resurgence of your past tendency to make digs at Carlsen. Can the man be blamed for trying to branch out from the short-lived and rarely lucrative world of professional chess?

    [DM: What's my past tendency? I remember a long time ago claiming that he received disproportionately more attention than Karjakin at a time when there was practically no difference between their ratings. That was not a dig.

    I can also remember expressing a lack of enthusiasm (though most definitely not a lack of admiration) about his tendency to win a high percentage of very dry games - as this would have been, had he succeeded. That's not a dig either, but a comment about my preferences as a chess fan.

    As for his career choices, he can do what he wants. But let's think: chess is rarely lucrative, yes. I'm not getting rich off the game and you probably aren't either. But it *is* lucrative for Carlsen, so "rarely" is irrelevant here. Second, the reason he got the modeling gig isn't that he was discovered by some talent scout, but because he was #1 in the world. It's his chess prowess that will open doors and bring in the bucks/euros/kroner IF (when) he becomes world champion. Considering that he has lost more games in the past 2-3 weeks than in the previous year and a half (in classical chess), it looks like he's at least injuring the goose that lays the golden eggs.]

    October 12, 2010 | Unregistered Commentersorenzo1

    I have to say Dennis never seems to take unfair shots at Carlsen. He has rarely if ever made a comment that was not completely consistent and defensible with analysis (the few i'm thinking of he withdrew almost instantly). That said, I looked at the position with the three pieces against he queen and worked out for myself it was a draw within a few minutes so I don't believe GMs and players marketedly 500-700 points stronger than me weren't able to reach the same conclusion. Moreover, I left for a run, came back an hour and half later with 100 moves on the boards AND almost the exact same position I had left on my board to analyze. Truly no progress at all. At that point, I concluded Carlsen and Shirov had not found anything that I had missed and didn't even wait for the 174th move before I closed the browser.

    October 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDaniel

    Carlsen is justified in trying hard in this game . http://www.e3e5.com/article.php?id=1179
    Incidentaly this article mentions on an earlier Carlsen Shirov game .
    "Magnus Karlsen made good, even strong impression on me. It seemed to me that the main thing was not a chess aspect, but his extraordinary strong psychology and he uses psychological aspect of his mental power (something of that kind) over the board. I saw him playing a game against Shirov in the tournament where he did not shine out, and during the game it seemed that he should have struggle for a draw, he had a worse position, but he suddenly played an incredible combination. I thought that Shirov was really more psychologically vulnerable than other strongest grandmasters, the same thing felt Karlsen and he decided to risk: instead of playing for equalization, he posed such a problem for Shirov, which he did not manage to solve. "

    October 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNish

    Maybe we should step back from examining the tree-rings for a second & look at the whole forest. I must say that although I haven't examined all the details, Carlsen's on & off-board behaviour over the past few weeks just looks to be adding up to a classic burn-out, too-much-too-young scenario. For the sake of chess I sincerely hope that's not the case, but a dispassionate observer has to admit that the pattern isn't good.

    Carlsen might think of himself an iconoclastic John McEnroe figure, but at the moment he's looking more like Andrea Jaeger...

    (not that devoting your life to good works is a bad thing- just from a tennis/chess perspective)

    October 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNick Funnell

    With regard to the criticism of Carlsen I have always found this column to be very fair with much praise of his skill , bravery and determination. I sometimes find the pro and anti Carlsen camps on some chess web sites to be almost disturbing. I think that the Shirov game was largely a reflection of frustration. Carlsen's play at the Olympiad showed disturbing signs of hubris [ against Adams in particular] and I think that he has found it hard to get back on track. I think that the world of chess needs him and that he needs a strong and supportive team around him and not a marketing team. Does anyone know who if anyone is currently coaching him?

    To look at the Shirov game my initial and very brief look supports the opinion agrees of Dennis. There may have been a winning plan but I can see no sign that Carlsen was doing anything but shuffling pieces. It is difficult to know when this over steps the boundaries of the acceptable but this was very close.

    Best wishes

    Mike Twyble

    October 12, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermike Twyble

    I would not be so harsh on Carlsen, every single GM would play this for Black till the end (except for Svidler maybe, he would just resign).
    [DM: Now who's being harsh? Poor Svidler.

    I think the comment about Svidler isn't harsh at all, Dennis. It's fine irony. I'm sure you know and recognized the Kramnik - Svidler game it refers to.
    Regarding the ending I'm not sure - simply because GM Golubev wasn't at chesspro.ru, commenting live. If I remember correctly he said that there is no practical experience at all with this particular ending and pawn formation. The question is whether Carlsen thought it was drawn or not. Maybe he really wasn't sure. You assume in a very direct way he was.
    Anyway it's a gray area and hard to judge imho. What about playing rook + bishop vs. rook even if you know it's drawn? This is very often played out - even among really strong GM.
    Btw: There is a 10 second increment from move 41. That doesn't prevent you from playing on time or flag, but it's harder I guess.
    In general I'm not enthusiastic about some dry Carlsen games too. They remind me about the Larsen quote Hansen gave recently (http://www.chesscafe.com/hansen/hansen.htm): "If you play the Caro-Kann when you are young, then what would you play when you are old?". But your post ("idiocy", ...) sounds too harsh to me.

    [DM: My comment about Andrey's Svidler comment was meant in an entirely jokey way. As for R+B vs. R, the weaker side loses it about half the time, so there's a track record for it. Not all draws are dead draws. Also, as I've reiterated but without many people seeming to notice, the issue for me wasn't Carlsen playing it out, but his playing it out as long as he did without any obviously constructive purpose.]

    October 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterReyk

    On the "other game" Anand-Kramnik: Kramnik confirmed that it was basically all home preparation (he also spent little time on the clock during the game), but for a different game and a different player - this could have been Leko-Grischuk from the Olympiad! Quoting "alez" reporting from the press conference at Dailydirt [he also does a great job translating Spanish bits and pieces]: "Kramnik says Grischuk was preparing this line against Leko, asked him and he analysed the whole night since he wasn't playing and got the conclusion that it was drawn; sadly Grischuk lost in another line, but the work proved useful for him." (Leko had deviated with 9.Nc3 rather than 9.0-0).

    So the draw wasn't quite as straightforward as it looks (to me and maybe Dennis)? Where is the tricky part? Maybe Shipov's suggestion 24.h4 Rb4 25.Bh3!? e5 26.Be6+ Kf8 27.Rc7 "It doesn't look fun... Although, of course, black might be able to survive in computer analysis."

    Leontxo Garcia at the press conference was apparently a bit deceived by the early draw, while praising Kramnik's preparation and endgame technique. (Some hours) later he praised Shirov and Carlsen for their "combativity" - but this might also have been the case if their game had ended in a draw after move 40 or soon thereafter ... .

    [DM: There was another game yesterday?]

    October 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterThomas

    DM: “...e3, which would have continued the idiocy for another 50 moves”.

    -Seems to me the idiocy mainly took place on the commentator side of this game. First of all, previous posters have outlined that indeed black had actual winning chances. Second, the 50 move rule is a borderline against pointless moves. It is not 20 moves or 100 moves, it is 50 moves. In this game black played on the right side of that border.

    More important, black’s moves were not pointless (like we see in bullet chess with 3 seconds left on the clock). Black had a clear plan. Advance his pawns, 3 pieces and the king. Attack the f pawn. Try to queen. Try to mate.

    It is unfair to blame Carlsen for the length of this game. If you feel the need to stick your “idiot” label on someone, you might as well reverse to roles. The reason the game lasted so long, was because Shirov kept on with all his checks. If he hadn’t kept on with his frantic checks, Carlsen wouldn’t have needed “20” interim moves with his king/pieces for each pawn move. He could have completed his plan much quicker. If Shirov truly knew the end position would be drawish, he could have left his Queen waiting on the 3rd rank and let Carlsen’s position run out of steam. Let black advance and exchange the pawns. Demonstrate to him that it was not possible to win in the end.

    However, Shirov didn’t dare to follow such a plan. He did all he could to prevent Carlsen’s pawns from advancing. It was Shirov who based his play on the 50 move rule. Shirovs fear of pawn confrontation and uncertainness of the outcome, justified Carlsen’s attempt to win.

    [DM: Carlsen had whatever winning chances there were, but (for the tenth time) it became clear well before more 174 that they were negligible. As for Shirov sitting and waiting, it's an interesting suggestion, but part of the reason it is drawn is that the minor pieces can't both focus on White's potential weaknesses and keep themselves and the Black king from attack.]

    October 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBobby Fiske

    Dennis,

    Ordinarily I quite agree with your comments, but I think you underestimate the difficulty of trying to make progress with 3 pieces against queen.

    Many of Carlsen's moves were tests of different formations trying to find the one where he could a double attack on f2 without allowing perpetual. I don't think we can say at this stage that it was impossible.

    Who knows, some day in the future an 8 piece tablebase may show it takes 200 moves for the 3 pieces to win, even if the more likely result would be to show a dead draw.

    I think the harsh rhetoric ("idiocy") should be reserved for playing out known drawn endings.

    [DM: And with this well-formed statement of an opposing point of view we draw a curtain over the topic.]

    October 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBill Breidenthal

    Shirov has the energy to go trawling the Internets after 174 moves - witness his post on ChessVibes! Oh these Latvians!

    October 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJaideepblue

    b3wins: "Those were all futile attempts because Shirov defended well."

    Those were all attempts to achieve just one thing -- to try to get Shirov under time pressure. And then, when that happened, Shirov just played faster and kept his clock up. So it ended in a draw. So all carlsen did was to fake out several plans in an attempt to make progress, but no progress was made. His only goal was to get Shirov under time pressure when he would blunder. Now ofcourse thats still within the rules of chess, so its ok i guess. but i feel, carlsen was just desperate for 3 points and flagging or getting shirov in time trouble was his only chance, and only because of that he played on.

    October 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHarish Srinivasan

    The ChessVibes video with the comments from Carlsen say it all. Carlsen thought he was better and knew he had a free day the next day, so he figured he could attempt to go for it all. Carlsen added "I couldn't find a plan that [Shirov] couldn't prevent".

    October 12, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterestirodri

    Alexei Shirov suggested a possible winning plan for Black in chesspro forum: leave pawns on g7 and h6, put bishops on e8 and g5, then move king to h7 and bishop to g6. After that, Nh5 forces g3 and the resulting ending is evaluated by Shirov as winning for Black.

    October 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAndrey

    Andrey, where in the ChessPro forum? In the thread devoted to Shanghai/Bilbao, I see commenter "Igor" saying he thought of that idea while watching the game, giving most of what you say, http://chesspro.ru/guestnew/looknullmessage/?themeid=16&id=275&page=23 He does not seem to be quoting Shirov himself. Is there something by Shirov in another thread?

    By the way, one cool thing with Google Translate is that when you click on a link (at least to another page in that forum), Google goes on translating. My little knowledge of Russian still enables me to "translate the translation", but Google is tons better than Babelfish used to be---when I really needed my slovar and grammatika.

    I thought Black had serious chances during the game, and said so in Susan Polgar's blog while it was going on. However, I don't see why Shirov's plan forces g3---I think the light-square Bishop needs to be on d5 for that, threatening to push ...e3. Anyway, my little bit of computer analysis inclines me more toward Dennis' view. In reply also to Harish, whether we should accept this kind of running people down on time as part of the game---especially when the event has a faster control like 40/90+G/60+increment---is a different issue.

    October 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKenneth W. Regan

    From Carlsen's blog:

    "On move 40 he held his rook at d8 for a while (which would have been a blunder) but chose a8 instead and I went for the three minor pieces against queen ending as I thought it would be rather difficult to defend for white. After the game Shirov said he had thought it might be lost for white. I gradually pushed my pawns but did not succeed in exchanging my weak e-pawn which would have made the situation very difficult for white. With the rest day coming next I played on and gradually traded off the other pawns continuing to try to attack f2. I couldn't find a decisive plan, he defended well and could claim a draw on move 174 (!) based on the 50-move-rule."

    Speaks for itself.

    [DM: For the eleventh time: no problem with him playing it a while, but I'm sure Shirov gathered well before move 174 that it was drawn.]

    October 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDavid McCarthy

    Kenneth, it's in the same thread, Shirov's nickname is not "Shirov" :)

    October 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAndrey

    Kenneth, it's in the same thread, Shirov's nickname is not "Shirov" :)

    Yes, it's "Fandorine" - sorry if this was some kind of spoiler. I'm wondering whether Shirov is an Akunin fan.

    October 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterReyk

    [DM: SNIP. This discussion is closed. Some people agreed with my original remarks, plenty did not, and there's nothing to be gained by dragging this discussion out any further.]

    October 14, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterhgf

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