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    Sunday
    Jun032012

    Anand-Gelfand, The Aftermath

    Here's a nice summary article over on ChessVibes, with among other things, video clips of both Anand's and Gelfand's homecomings and a compilation of various Tweets on the match. Here's a funny exchange:

    Levon Aronian
    Congrats to World Champion Anand! Great comeback in the later stage of the match! Gelfand deserves a praise for his creative & dynamic play!

    Mig Greengard
    @LevAronian What, did they play another match? ; )

    Levon Aronian
    @chessninja How come the less a person knows about a subject, the more he treats it with disrespect.

    I'm with Aronian on this one. To put the match in restaurant parlance, the problem wasn't with the food, which was generally tasty, but with the size of the portions. If Mig had complained about that, then my sympathies would be on his side.

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    Reader Comments (13)

    Thank you, Lev. You have made me a bigger fan with that remark. Maybe someone should ask Mig why he left his blog readers to wither on the vine without paying them the minimal courtesy of telling them that he apparently wasn't interested in blogging anymore.

    June 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMikeO

    Is Mig still around?? He always did have a problem with being habitually pompous and annoying. After his cute little, "911 game" with Shahade it seemed like he sort of fell off chess journalism. Maybe he just became a bit less prominent.

    [DM: Ouch: definitely some not-Mig fans here. I generally didn't follow his blog and have no idea what the "911 game" is, but I know he started a family in the last few years and am sure that his work with Kasparov, if it's still ongoing, is probably keeping him busy. So he probably made a strategic decision at some moment that he was too busy to blog merely for fun or as a public service. Serious blogging can be very time-consuming, so I can't blame him at all.]

    June 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRoss

    In Mig's defense, he did put the wink face at the end of it, meaning he was at least half joking.

    June 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommentercheVelle

    Nice of Aronian to be so supportive. The games were good as far as they went, but they didn't go as far as one might expect. It was unusual in that most world championships consist of an older experienced champion and a younger hungry challenger - and the latter is always looking to push to try and get that crucial victory.

    Gelfand knew this was his one chance to be champion, but being older and cautious (not to mention being pragmatic) he wasn't prepared to push the play. It appears he was looking for a 1-0 win, and Anand's comments after G7 reveal he read it the same way. Anand was happy to go along with the early finishes, as he's similarly older, pragmatic, and comfortable with winning in the rapids/blitz!

    Next years challenger is surely going to be one of Carlsen/Aronian (the tournament format making a cautious Gelfand approach unlikely to work) and they will push Anand all the way I suspect. So I'm hoping for a world championship contest just like old times!

    June 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

    It will be interesting to see if Gelfand starts playing Grunfelds at big tournaments?

    I was thinking Anand would retire from chess, but I think he will hang in for one more WCC to pick up the losers pay cheque, which should be hefty. Im starting to see Carlsens point about the WC being a bit too privileged, waiting on a perch while the others scrap it out, disclosing all their big weapons and using up all their energy. And it also leads to positions like this where a player in decline can just hang on for a pay cheque.

    [DM: What weapons did Gelfand disclose? He had a long time between Kazan and the match to prepare.]

    June 4, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteraussie

    I am not at all surprised that Anand did not retire. And I don't think he is playing for the loser's hefty paycheck the next WCC. I wouldn't be surprised if Carlsen quit chess before Anand did (specially if Anand would beat Carlsen in the next WCC - although clearly Anand is past his peak now and so, Anand is a underdog- although very marginally so, I would think)

    Carlsen had a point about the Champion's title being privileged....but his reasoning has less weight now (because, now, unlike in the past, a tied 6-6 score doesn't mean that the Champion retains title and nor does the Champ have rematch privileges). But even if the Champ had these privileges, Carlsen's quitting the candidates matches showed lack of tenacity in my opinion. My history may be wrong, but, in the past, the Challenger has had to surmount quite difficult challenges (unfairly so, many times), to become the Champ. Part of the glory /charm of the title of WCC is exactly that (i.e. that it is difficult to get) in my mind. The World Chess Champion (determined, traditionally through a long, grueling match , generally speaking) is a distinct achievement than being ranked No. 1 or No. 2 in the world (for which - for clarity - I have all the respect for, and certainly recognize Aronian's and Carlsen's ratings and rankings - their play is certainly at par with Anand's or Kramnik's and maybe even a shade better - although not so much better that it makes them overwhelming favorites in the next WCC, if either Aronian or Carlsen become the challenger)

    June 5, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermk

    If anyone is/isn't Mig-fans, the twitter conversation (if that's what you call it) is worth reading in full. Mig has a good point in distinguishing between "good" (which he does think the match had) and "fighting" chess (which he doesn't think the match had). Ultimately, I think it's Aronian (who, if I am not mistaken, was rumoured to be a secret second of Gelfand) who comes off as pompous, actually.

    [DM: I completely disagree. If Mig had started with the distinction, then fine. (That's a point made on this blog many times during and after the match.) But Mig was responding to Aronian, and Aronian said nothing about "fighting" chess in his tweet. I doubt Aronian was a "secret second" - it's unlikely he would have played the match with Kramnik if he were busy helping Gelfand - but that's an irrelevant ad hominem argument, just as it would be if one were to dismiss an argument from Mig based on his relationship with Kasparov.]

    June 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRobert Davis

    Just a clarification on Mig / 911 game / ChessNinja etc ...

    it was a year or two post the 9-11 attack and Jen Shahade and Mig made a strange short story about it using a chess game to play out the events. it wasn't particularly cute or clever but I can understand being offended or not depending on your personality.

    A lot of people wrote them to give them some grief over it and they - in typical fashion for mig - dismissed everyone as idiots, having no taste for art and not being able to take a joke. Probably a gentler approach could have eased some tensions but whatever. i wasn't so much annoyed at the game, though I thought it was in poor taste. I was annoyed because of the later name calling when they were rebuked. No ones opinion but Migs is valid in a conversation with Mig.

    Regarding the chess ninja blog ... well people were paying for access and reading his blog much like they do yours and he had some active forums going on. Then he just ... disappeared without at all talking to his subscribers. So some people are pretty annoyed at that as well.

    [DM: I see. But 2003? He had certainly been around and prominent for years after that. As for the newsletter, I remember there being some flap about that; I don't recall how it got resolved.]

    June 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRoss

    Dennis, maybe I am reading too much into Mig's ";)" but I just don't see his comment being as out of bounds as plenty of people seem to think. Sure, it is snarky, but he is a fairly snarky person, right? I find Aronian's reply to be quite nasty. Obviously, Mig knows a thing or two about chess and match play and I do not think he was disrespecting the match in humorously calling into question the assertion that the match was full of "creative & dynamic play" (as was Kramnik-Aronian).

    The point about the second is not intended as an personal attack, nor is it irrelevant. If Aronian had been a second, or involved in Gelfand's prep, that would clearly be motivation to praise Gelfand's play so highly. However, maybe I hit that point too strongly. It was more of a passing thought.

    [DM: Not all ad hominems are irrelevant, that's true, but there wasn't an argument to the effect that the play wasn't strong or creative. An ad hominem is only worthwhile and non-fallacious when one lacks data and the only way to proceed is to investigate the authorities' credentials, vested interests, etc. That isn't true here - we can see and investigate the games for ourselves and consult with other strong commentators, plus there's no special reason to think Aronian would lie or stretch the truth even if he was helping Gelfand. Mig has his own axes to grind, and when it comes to the ability to assess the quality of a game, Aronian is obviously far more competent than Mig.

    I'm less inclined to appeal to Mig's habitual snarkiness as an excusing factor. A crime isn't made less heinous by its perpetrator's being a repeat offender! (I don't mean that this was a crime; it's an analogy.) Nor is adding an emoticon an all-purpose get out of jail free card: "You're the worst person on earth and you and your family should die a horrible death. P.S.: :)"

    Aronian's remark was rather blunt, that's true, and he could have been more gracious. On the other hand, it wasn't as if he went looking for trouble. The world's #2 player tweeted his compliments to both players, and Mig, who is around 800 points weaker, give or take a little, didn't just offer his view in his own corner of the world, but tweeted a reply to Aronian directly, essentially ridiculing the latter's comment. Seriously, how would you react to someone 800 points weaker than you publicly telling you and broadcasting for wide consumption that you don't know what the [heck] you're talking about, when you do? Mig knows a thing or two about chess compared to the average chess player, definitely. Compared to Aronian? Not really, no.

    Finally, the fact that Mig's subsequent tweets changed the subject from Aronian's point to a different, more plausible one also suggests, if not the truth of Aronian's remark, then at least that Aronian's original tweet was unrefuted.]

    June 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRobert Davis

    I had heard a number of rumors (even acknowledged by guys like Kramnik), that Aronian helped Gelfand in some way. I'm not sure what his source is, but Ian Rogers over at Chess Life Online wrote in his closing article that Aronian was indeed one of Gelfand's helpers (http://main.uschess.org/content/view/11757/666/). It could be as little as a few blitz games, a la Giri, or a few slow games, a la Carlsen, in Anand's previous match with Topalov. If so, I imagine he might've given Gelfand some practice as Black in the Grunfeld?!

    [DM: Thanks for that info. The word "second" seemed a bit strong, but that he helped seems more plausible. I'm a little surprised though, because while I knew that Aronian had a lot of respect for Gelfand, based on his comments after Kazan about the latter's victory, I'd have thought the reasonable chances of their meeting again soon in the Candidates would have encouraged one or the other of them to avoid this. Anyway, I appreciate the comment!]

    June 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVinay Bhat

    DM:
    Gelfand used a novelty against Grischuk to win for eg, that then he then couldnt use against Anand. Also he has to prepare 6 or so times, Anand once.

    [DM: Of course once a novelty is used, it can't be reused. But this is the lot of any professional chess player. Poor Anand used tons of preparation against Topalov in 2010 he couldn't reuse for this match. (Boo hoo.) A year is a LONG time to produce tons of new ideas, especially with a large team helping out.]

    MK:
    Anand has psychological problems with Carlsen, just like he did with Kasparov. If it came to that match Carlsen would win relatively comfortably I think.
    I dont have a problem with the road to the WCC being gruelling, but it should be gruelling for everyone equally. I cant think of another sport that doesnt put the champs back on equal footing with others in the fresh cycle.

    [DM: I'll help you out with two examples off the top of my head: boxing (champions can often sit and wait for the challenger they want) and soccer (the World Cup, until recently, gave the defending champs a free berth into the final, and they only changed it because it adversely affected the champions by letting them get out of practice!).]

    June 5, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteraussie

    Dennis,

    Actually I did consider boxing (well, mixed martial arts, Im more of a fan of UFC... boxing is like checkers compared to the much more complicated and interesting mixed martial arts (the chess of fighting)) and soccer as well... they are different though.

    In soccer, they are seeded into the super final, but its still a huge path from there (but actually I dont agree with that system either, and am glad they changed it to be more fair)

    Also boxing?/UFC is different. All fighters fight 3-5 times (im not 100% sure about boxing, but in mma thats how it works) a year with each other, the champion doesnt get priveledges, he is fighting as often as the guys beneath him. Actually he is disadvantaged because he always has to fight the top contenders and is forced to defend his belt as often a year as the other guys are fighting as well. The chess cycle is different because the champ just sits out, and fights once a year, while the other guys are going at it for months.

    [DM: Boxing is very different, and the World Cup wasn't changed to make it more fair, except to the champion. As for "the other guys" "going at it for months", I have no idea what chess cycle you're talking about. Some made it to the Candidates through the World Cup, which is impressive but just one event, while others like Carlsen isn't going at anything - he automatically qualified. So he (or Aronian, or Kramnik) just has to win one strong but not terribly atypical double round-robin super-event, and he's in the world championship.]

    June 6, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteraussie

    "Anand has psychological problems with Carlsen"

    Hmm...he has a 6-1 record in classical. I think Aronian is the problem for him. 1-6 record there. Aronian and Kasparov are the only two who have given Anand serious problem over a few years.

    June 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJay

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