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    Wednesday
    Sep272017

    Tracking Kramnik's Ratings Progress for September 2017

    It has not been a good month for Vladimir Kramnik, from his early exit in the World Cup to an absolutely disastrous time at the Isle of Man. Today, he only managed to draw against Lawrence Trent (2427), coughing up another 4.1 rating points and going down a whopping 25.9 rating points for the month.

    Here's a helpful chart tracking Kramnik's recent rating progress.

    Of course, this happens to just about everyone sometimes, and it's the most maddening feeling in the world. You just have to wait it out; sooner or later, the ship rights itself.

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    Reader Comments (9)

    Anand has also lost 16 rating points.

    [DM: That's true, but it was mostly at the World Cup; he has only lost about five points at the Isle of Man. And the main reason I've highlighted Kramnik's unfortunate drop is that it's relevant to the race for the Candidates. At the start of the month Kramnik was very much in the running for one of the rating spots, but Anand wasn't.]

    September 28, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSridhar Vijendran

    Anand had also lost 22 rating points in Gibraltar 2016 - two losses against Elo 2535 and 2515 (Kramnik now lost against 2799 and 2412), three draws against players rated (well) below 2600 (one for Kramnik). He needed all year 2016 to repair the Elo damage.

    Mamedyarov had lost 26 rating points at the 2012 European championship - six consecutive draws against Elo 2508 or less, then a zero tolerance loss (unrated, not clear how many seconds he was late - ten according to himself, eight according to Steve Giddins armed with a stopwatch, "more than a minute" according to the tournament bulletin). Then 0-0 (not castling, official result of the game) against IM Alonso Rosell: they agreed a draw after move 19, thus before move 40 - forbidden without repetition according to the regulations. Then Mamedyarov dropped out "for private reasons".

    Yes, neither result affected qualification for a candidates event [Mamedyarov actually did qualify via the 2012/2013 FIDE Grand Prix series].

    [DM: Well, okay...but what does this have to do with the price of tea in China?]

    September 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterThomas

    Go Kramnik go - maybe there are still ways to move up the rating with a couple of wins in the next few weeks. Fingers crossed!

    September 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterTiger-Oli

    Great to see this happening to Kramnik - a little bit of karma for the unjustified cracks at the World championship he engineering for himself in 2006-8. Of course, he'll probably get given the wildcard anyway - this wildcard thing being another totally unacceptable scandal. The entire process of qualifying players for the Candidates is utterly absurd.

    [DM: I'm not sure I see the relationship between this and the 2006-8 cycle, but okay. (Kind of a long time to hold a grudge though, maybe? :) Then again, I still root against Topalov when he faces Kramnik, but then he's still keeping his story. Moving on...I kind of like the qualifying process, except for the wildcard. (I wouldn't mind that, either, if it were up to an independent panel rather than the organizers' whim.) It gives players several chances to qualify, with higher-rated players likeliest to benefit (as they should - they are higher-rated for a reason) but allowing others outside the absolute elite an opportunity to qualify as well. What would you offer instead?

    The old approach with an interzonal...or two...or three...is problematic because nowadays there would have to be many more interzonals, and woe to those who come from elite zones. Another problem is that a player might be #1 all year, but come in second an interzonal (if we say that there's one spot per tournament), and he's done. The current system rewards sustained excellence (average rating), excellence over a series of tournaments (the Grand Prix), and excellence in one monster mega-event (the World Cup). I'm not a huge fan of the Grand Prix, at least/especially in its current form - the first one in particular was extraordinarily boring, plus Agon's blackout helped kill fan interest - so if I were the emperor of FIDE I'd be open to eliminating it and creating a third rating spot and a third World Cup spot as well (making the third-place match at the World Cup would increase the event's excitement. Also, maybe there could be a repechage bracket at the World Cup, say, for players who get to the fourth round. Too crazy? Tweaks could be interesting.

    In any case, the broad framework makes sense to me, as it gives favorites very good chances to advance and to overcome a single bad event, while allowing others their shot too. There's something for elitists/monarchists and democrats alike. But have at it: what's your proposal?]

    October 1, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterobserver

    "Grudge" against Kramnik: Well, he has never apologised for his behaviour after taking the WC title in 2000, which was: (a) Insist on what was effectively a knockout qualifier, knowing that Kasparov was vehemently opposed to that format. Later on, he claimed he was "surprised" that Kasparov refused to take part in it, when in reality, he must have known that this was virtually a certainty. So, thus, his intention must have been to avoid a rematch. (b) A public outcry about this virtually forced a compromise which turned out to be the Prague Agreement in which Kramnik promised to play winner of Kasparov-Ponomariov if he beat Leko. But immediately upon beating Leko, Kramnik made it pretty clear he was not going to houour this - he probably never intended to when signing the Agreement. This was a main factor in causing the retirement of Kasparov (irrrespective of FIDE messing up the Kasparov-Ponomariov match).
    I agree that Topalov's story is ridiculous. However, Kramnik's behaviour in continually going to the toilet was very strange. Supposedly due to a medical condition (if so, why couldn't he have informed his opponent and the organisers to this effect beforehand?), he didn't seem to have this problem in events he took part in after the match finished! I suspect he was playing psychogically dirty by giving the impression that he might be going to the toilet to cheat so as to play on Topalov's paranoia and thus distract him. If so, it worked very well with Topalov incomprehensibly blundering the first two games away, the second from a totally winning position. In such a short match, this was already virtually decisive if the match went normally, so I suppose Topalov then decided he had to do "something".
    As you say, moving on...which I will see if I can do in the next post.

    [DM: I don't think there's much new to be said about "Toiletgate", but I think that a look back at what pretty much everyone but Topalov and Danailov said back then will put Kramnik's behavior in a better light. There are lots of players who like to get away from the board when it's not their move, and increased bathroom use is also pretty common under stress. Kramnik also did a really terrible job of cheating, too - the early games were filled with serious errors by both sides. But this is 13 year old stuff.

    I think you've mixed up the timeline on the other point, though it's also possible that I'm confused. It would be better to drop this, but if you really want to continue it, please include a link to something contemporaneous with the events, if you can find it. My recollection is this: the Kasparov-Kramnik contract was explicit: no rematch. Kasparov had held the title as his personal fiefdom since 1993, and Kramnik was uninterested in maintaining that tradition. That benefited both the broader chess world and, of course, himself as well in case he won. Kasparov agreed to this, and then proceeded to complain loud and long that he was entitled to a rematch. Well, no. But what about Kramnik's free ride to the title match? A fair question, and I think Shirov got a very bad break. But two wrongs - or rather, three wrongs - don't make it a right.

    As for the failure of the Prague Agreement, I've always seen it attributed to the breakdown of the Kasparov-Ponomariov match - see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruslan_Ponomariov#FIDE_World_Chess_Champion_2002, for example. I guess you're not denying that, but I don't know where the Kramnik-won't-play part of your objection comes from. But as I said, I may be misremembering something.]

    October 1, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterobserver

    Candidates qualifying process:
    Yes, the wildcard idea would be greatly improved by having an independent [if such a thing is possible - how would you avoid corruption?] panel. What we have at the moment is a throwback to pre-WW2 days when money and connections helped big time.
    The problem with giving players "several chances to qualify" is that all these chances are quite slim - it thus splinters the whole process and thus randomises it considerably.

    [DM: Actually, it's the opposite. Think about flipping a fair coin. The likelihood of getting heads is equal to that of getting tails; it's a 50-50 proposition. But if you flip a coin a couple of times, there's a 50-50 chance you'll get two heads or two tails, as opposed to getting one of each. Flip the coin a hundred times, or a thousand times, and the percentage of heads will grow closer and closer to 50%. Give a stronger player more cracks at qualification, and it reduces randomness.]

    In addition, the KO is the worst possible format - heavily dependent on non-classical chess (for a qualifier for the Classical title), a horribly squashed schedule, leading to exhaustion, and although in the end, mostly two reasonable players may qualify, it is almost entirely random which two it will be - a great deal depends on the luck of the draw. etc, etc. There are serious problems with the Grand Prix in addition to those you mention, and the awful long-winded grind of this thing is such that several top players opted not to play in it even though doing this reduced their qualifying chances(!!). The two rating spots are the only sane part of the system, but even this is done badly - ratings older than 6 months should not be used, for example.
    I agree that the old Interzonal system per se was not that great and would not be now.

    What is my proposal?
    It seems to me that there are (and have been for quite a long time, probably fairly naturally) around about 12-14 players that are really serious contenders for the WC title. I believe a system should cater for these in the sense of not putting them through too many hoops - we all know that they are the best, anyway!.
    So for a Candidates that has 8 places [though I think the number of places would be better 16 or 18 - see below], I suggest something like the following [which could perhaps be improved a little with a few tweaks, but I will keep it simple here]:
    (a) A "Candidates Qualifier" of 18 players [with a week's break for rest in the middle]. 7 of these qualify for the Candidates (the 8th being the loser of the previous WC). 14 of these players are seeded from the rating list. The other 4 qualify from an event described in (b).
    (b) A "Qualifier for the Candidates Qualifier". 4 qualifiers from this. A 128 player Swiss, the 128 players being selected as they are for the World Cup now. 17 rounds (with a break in the middle), so that there are enough rounds to enable a proper sort-out according to ability. This would be MUCH better than a KO. While still keeping the "democratic" element and allowing everyone a shot.

    As said above, I believe the Candidates should probably be 16 or 18 players. This would enable all the 12-14 serious WC contenders to be taking part at the final stage - this is where we want them all on an equal basis. There could be two possibilities:
    (a) If it is insisted that the WC should have the right to do nothing but meet a Challenger:
    An 18-player Candidates tournament [with a week's break for rest in the middle]. 14 (or so) players to be seeded from the rating list, the other 4 to qualify from a "Candidates Qualifier".
    (b) If the WC should not have such a privilege (as Carlsen suggests), then 16 Candidates. Made up of WC, next 13 on rating list and 2 qualifiers. These to play a series of matches of at least 10 games, like the Candidates matches of the 1960's - 8th finals (10 games), quarterfinals (12 games), semifinals (14 games), final (18 games). The Final is the World Championship match - the winner of this becomes WC. As this would be a fairly exhausting process, it should be done on a 3-year cycle, not 2.

    I hope these proposals are of interest. They are based partly on Seirawan's "A Fresh Start". I have thought it should be something like this ever since the Kasparov/Kramnik fiasco of 2000-2. If only it had been!

    [DM: I can't really see how these proposals improve the cycle, and the length of the events and returning the cycle to a three year period seem to make things worse. But others' mileage may vary. Look at the rating list, by the way: do we need to guarantee the participation of Yu Yangyi? He's a fantastic player, and he's continuing to improve, but at the moment the gap between him and those we'd consider the most plausible contenders is pretty major. He could pull off a miracle upset in 16-player Candidates, perhaps, but it seems to me enough that he have a shot to qualify for a smaller Candidates through the Grand Prix and the World Cup.]

    October 1, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterobserver

    Thanks for reply.
    Yes, some players like to get away from the board and increased bathroom use is common under stress (I can vouch for that!).But Kramnik's behaviour was something else - he was spending virtually all his time, and after every single move, in the bathroom when it was not his move.

    [DM: Look at Peter Svidler in action: he gets up after every move like there's a spring in his seat that gets activated when he pushes his clock. I've had times in my chess "career" where I've done that as well. But the numbers were exaggerated a bit, too.]

    He did not behave like that in future events, eg in his WC match with Anand in 2008. Of course Kramnik was not actually cheating (Topalov's claims were ridiculous), but he may have been trying to give the impression that he could be - to disturb Topalov. I think this is the most likely explanation of his behaviour.

    [DM: Possible but unlikely - we may be reading motives back into his behavior based on what happened next. Prior to that point there was no reason to think anything of the sort. And the only bad behavior prior to Toiletgate was Topalov's, who talked a great deal of trash before the match.]

    Re K-K, I am not quite sure why you think I've mixed up the timeline.

    [DM: I don't - I was referring to the timeline of Prague Agreement. I guess I could have been clearer there - sorry.]

    Yes, the K-K contract was explicit: no rematch - no argument from me there. But what an utterly absurd qualifier when its format came out! It's ironic that when Kramnik was eliminated from the KO Candidates of 2011, he complained what a poor format it was. Yet this format was nearly identical to the format of Kramnik's Dortmund qualifier that he insisted Kasparov had to play in. But no apology from Kramnik about this in 2011!

    Kasparov did not simply "agree to this" (a Qualifier) and "then proceeded to complain loud and long that he was entitled to a rematch".

    [DM: I didn't say he agreed to a qualifier; he agreed to the no rematch clause. In fact, he boasted about this sacrificial gesture. Based on what happened next, he didn't mean it (though he may have thought he did at the time), or he thought there was no real chance he'd lose to Kramnik.]

    I studied this whole thing closely at the time, and I can say absolutely that Kasparov made no serious noises at all about demanding a rematch and refusing to play in a qualifier until AFTER Kramnik insisted on a completely unacceptable format for the qualifier and refused to change it after repeated requests. So I think Kramnik is more to blame than Kasparov here.

    [DM: I'm not sure that's right, but here I'd have to check on the timeline. But unless Kasparov claimed that he'd be happy to play in a different sort of qualifier - as opposed to no qualifier whatsoever - that's kind of irrelevant.]

    As to the Prague Agreement, again I studied closely what happened here at the time. Once Kramnik had retained his "Title" from the Leko match, he repeatedly refused to confirm he would play the winner of Kasparov-Ponomariov, mumbling something about FIDE not having undertaken certain reforms. Reading between the lines, it became pretty clear it was unlikely he would play this match. The breakdown of the Kasparov-Ponomariov match was the final straw that led to Kasparov's retirement, but you can be very sure that had Kasparov believed that he had a serious chance of a WC match with Kramnik if he won the Ponomariov match, he would not have let that breakdown get in the way - he would have got it organised somehow!

    [DM: Again, sourcing?]

    Re Shirov, he WAS offered a match, but considered the prize fund too low (he was not a drawcard like Kramnik or Anand) and rejected it, claiming he could find a better offer; but couldn't, and Kasparov couldn't be bothered (perhaps not too unreasonably) after that. So Shirov didn't get nearly as bad a break as he claims.

    [DM: My memory is that it was the other way around: Kasparov rejected the offer (from California) as too low. Here's Shirov from *Fire on Board Part II: 1997-2004*, p. 11:

    "During the Polanica Zdroj tournament in August I received a phone call from Luis Rentero, and he horrified me with the news that my match against Kasparov in Seville was cancelled and nothing similar was being offered in its place. When I told him that it was his obligation, in that case, to pay me two hundred thousand dollars cancellation fee according to the contract signed in March, his answer was that he would eat that contract and didn't want to compensate me anything. After that conversation that man stopped existing for me of course, but he regained his standing in the chess world surprisingly quickly, perhaps because human memory is very short nowadays.

    "The hellish period began. First I had some conversations with people close to Kasparov about a possible match against him in California for a prize fund of one million dollars instead of two, and it seemed that an agreement to play under those conditions might be made. But then I received a fax from the other confidence man, this time the vice-president of the WCC, Dr. William Wirth, saying that California was also cancelled. I tried to get the match to Barcelona with the support of the Catalan government, but then--it was October 1998, only four months after Cazorla [the match with Kramnik - DM] - Kasparov publicly announced that he was going to look for a new challenger. As for my rights... nothing."

    This, and Kasparov's giving Anand the runaround the next year, and Kasparov's futsing around with maybe playing a match with Karpov in '96 and then maybe not, is why Kramnik was right to try to create some sort of real cycle, and to work for reunification. Did he do this an entirely selfless way? Nope. But he did do it, and chess is better for it.]

    October 1, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterobserver

    Whew, quite a lot to cover. I'll deal with the Kramnik, etc stuff first.

    Sure, Svidler might get up after every move, but does he then spend the entire time he's not on the move in the toilet? This is what Kramnik was doing. This extraordinary behaviour was much commented on BEFORE Topalov did his thing.
    Yes, Topalov did talk a lot of trash before the match (and I did not agree with much of what he was saying), But I think Topalov had been angered by accusations that he had cheated at San Luis. And I think some of these accusations had come from people in Kramnik's camp (such as Bareev, I think, but I would have to check to be sure). So he may have had some cause.

    [DM: "Toilet" is ambiguous. He wasn't sitting on or standing over the pot. He was walking in an off-camera area. Why? Who knows - maybe he wanted to pick his nose, or just not be looked at. And Svidler often walks offstage, as I saw for myself in this year's Sinquefield Cup.]

    You say: "I didn't say he agreed to a qualifier; he agreed to the no rematch clause." Well, yes, but I would think the one pretty much implies you would have to do the other, so I don't see any great need to differentiate.

    [DM: They are different. Kasparov's agreeing to no rematch doesn't mean that he accepts some particular qualifying method. He might reject one proposal and accept another, or he might reject them all.]

    I did check the timeline extensively at the time as I was in discussion with other people. They tried to refute me, but the best they could ever come up with were a couple of hints/pleas by Kasparov that he would like a rematch [and these were only because Kramnik was taking so long to come up with something]. But at no time with these did he demand [quite different from saying he would "like"] a rematch or in any way state that he would refuse to play in a qualifier. If you can come up with anything different here, I would be very surprised.

    Had Kramnik offered a reasonable qualifier and Kasparov refused it, I would certainly have taken Kramnik's side. Kasparov would have lost all credibility in this case and would never have been able to get the Prague Agreement. That he was able to get this Agreement shows there was something seriously amiss with what Kramnik was doing.

    Re Prague Agreement info, my sourcing was chess news sites on the web. In particular, I remember 'The Week in Chess' as being very useful. (I do have a lot of this stuff stashed away somewhere, but it would take me a considerable amount of time to find it at present.) After all the enormous amount of trouble that Kasparov had gone to to try and get another match with Kramnik, is it credible to think that he would let a simple postponement of the Ponomariov match derail him? Only credible if Kasparov believed he had little chance of a Kramnik match if he beat Ponomariov, and thus just couldn't be bothered anymore.

    [DM: Once you supply it, we'll continue. Until then, let's table it.]

    Re Shirov, hmmm, who do you believe?

    [DM: That's very easy: Shirov. Shirov wound up losing money from that whole cycle, while Kasparov engaged in slash and burn with the chess world: the GMA, the PCA, Intel, IBM, FIDE and the World Championship, etc. He didn't do a lot better in his personal relations with other players, either - read accounts of the collapse of the PCA, for instance. Botvinnik was once asked who he'd rather be on a deserted island with, Karpov or Kasparov. Botvinnik replied that he'd rather be alone - and remember, he was one of Kasparov's trainers when the latter was young, and then they spent several years co-leading Botvinnik's chess school. So, yeah, I'm lining up with Shirov here.]

    My understanding is that the Seville cancellation was due to the organisers not being able to come up with the funding and was not Kasparov's fault. Hardly the impression you get from Shirov's story. Re California, there is [among others; I think I remember reading something similar in "the Week in Chess" of the time] an article on ChessBase 18 May 2002 "Yasser Seirawan sets the record straight" in which he says: "When a bid for a modest $600,000 prize fund came from California, Shirov [note: not Kasparov] declined, fully expecting that a better prize fund would be forthcoming. It did not come, and Shirov never played Kasparov for his title."
    Unlike the stuff above, I don't claim to be an expert on this one and it needs more investigation. I am not sure who is correct here.

    You say: "Kramnik was right to try to create some sort of real cycle." Fine, if he had. But "real cycle", Dortmund most certainly was not - it was a travesty. "And to work for reunification". No, he continually worked against it: (1) He could have had reunification in 2001. It was his, and only his, refusal to take part in Seirawan's "A Fresh Start" that prevented reunification right there and then. (2) He signed the reunification Prague Agreement in 2002, but once having safely retained his "Title" against Leko in 2004 repeatedly refused to confirm he would play the winner of Kasparov-Ponomariov. (3) Refused to play in the reunification San Luis 2005 tournament. Every other top player played in it. In was, in fact, Topalov who reunified the Title by granting Kramnik a match against the Title he had won at San Luis 2005. Kramnik's actions had made him quite unpopular with the general chess public by the time and his "Title" was regarded as nearly irrelevant.

    [DM: Those are interpretations, not facts. First, I don't see why Dortmund was a "travesty" - except for the participation of Lutz, which struck me as an abuse of the sponsor's wildcard privilege. On 2004, I'll again wait for evidence. Re San Luis 2005, I think he was right not to play. That's not "reunification"; it's abdication. You might as well say that Kasparov failed to reunify the title by not playing in Las Vegas 1999. As for Kramnik's "irrelevance", it wasn't so much because of the supposed unpopularity of his actions, but because his illness had rendered him inactive and unsuccessful for a couple of years. If he had maintained his usual 2800 give-or-take rating there wouldn't have been an issue, but his rating fell to something like 2740 at its nadir.]

    October 2, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterobserver

    World Championship System:

    I'm not sure I entirely follow your coin example. "give a stronger player more cracks at qualification" - but if these cracks each offer only quite a small chance (as the Grand Prix and World Cup do), I'm not sure it follows. Although not an exact analogy, lets take, say, an Interzonal of 30 players with 6 qualifying places. Now let's splinter it into 3 Interzonals of 10 players each, with two qualifying places from each. Which system would be better at qualifying the best players? I think if you did an analysis of this, it would show the 30 player event to be considerably better. The splintering produces more randomness.

    [DM: You misunderstand, because in the current version the top prospects aren't limited to qualifying by rating OR (exclusive or) the Grand Prix OR (again, exclusive or) the World Cup. They can try through all three methods.

    I am really quite surprised that you seem to think the KO is ok as a qualifier.

    [DM: Yes, as *A* qualifier. For two of eight spots (give or take on both numbers - maybe three of ten, for instance).]

    In addition to what I think are really serious problems that I mentioned, there is the following: Around 2002, Jeff Sonas did an extensive analysis of many different formats. In this, he found that (apart from hopelessly weird outlier systems) the KO to be the worst. He said that to his surprise, he found the KO to be considerably worse than a Swiss - he had expected it to be better. It was no surprise to me - to me it's intuitively obvious that it's worse - and I'm sure it was to Kasparov, too.

    [DM: I'm open to an argument being made comparing the merits of a 128-player Swiss vs. a 128-player K.O. as a means of generating two spots. Bear in mind, among other things, the costs that all the players who are finishing at the bottom must bear if they stick around for the whole event. Also bear in mind the tiebreak mischief that can happen, unless ties are broken through playoffs.]

    My events are a bit more lengthy [I think this is necessary because there are so many draws at the top level these days], but there are far fewer of them! Far better than having 4 or 5 mickey-mouse Grand Prix and World Cup events in one year, each one of which players have to specifically psych themselves up for. And not longer than the World Cup in any case. Re 3-year cycle [well, we used to have this with a WC match with a decent number of games, and it worked far better than what we get now], plenty of other interesting events that can be organised in the intervening period. At the moment, a lot of the best tournaments are half wrecked because players can't focus properly on them - they keep having to keep an eye on the many intrusions the current system makes into the calendar.

    [DM: The old system didn't work well, and to the degree it did it was because there were far, far, far fewer players back then there are now. They used to get by with one Interzonal, then two, then three - and that was almost 30 years ago. And almost everyone, except for the champion sitting regally on his throne, felt that three years was far too long and too time-consuming. The current system is actually much better and much easier on the top players, as lots of them qualify for the World Cup and the Grand Prix by rating, and need not go through, say, the brutal meat grinder of the Soviet Championship cycle. Note too that they don't play in all of the Grand Prix tournaments, but only three of the four (not four or five), and they don't even have to play in that. They can play in that, or they can participate in the World Cup, or both.]

    Re Yu Yangyi - I presume you are referring to the suggested 18-player event - he does not get in, the seeded rating places stop at Topalov. Also, it should probably be an average of the last 6 rating lists.
    But, apologies, I also forgot to include a tweak: There should be 2 or 3 wildcards and 2 or 3 less rating spots. These wildcards to be decided by an independent panel, and are for players that are not quite there on rating, but obviously have serious potential to be a real threat. So currently, such wildcards would go to Wei Yi and probably Nepomniachtchi. That would distance players like Yu Yangyi out fairly well. Meanwhile, every serious threat to the WC is in, very much unlike the current system - surely this is the ideal!

    [DM: I don't at all understand why Yu Yangyi gets excluded in your system but Nepo and Wei Yi don't, but whatever - that's a rabbit trail. Let's say Topalov and Yu switch places, which doesn't require much drift. Then reconsider my question, when the luster of the name "Topalov" as the final qualifier no longer gives it that little extra shine. (This of course is the point of selecting Wei Yi and Nepo, who are also well-known, and either about to climb much further up the list anyway or having already been much further up the list. Substitute Li Chao and Wojtaszek, and again, the shine smudges away. (With all due respect to those outstanding players! Wojtaszek's fine resume includes a 2015 win in classical chess over Magnus Carlsen, and he has been high enough on "your" list to qualify without a wildcard. But I don't think anyone would consider him a serious threat to Carlsen in a match.)]

    October 2, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterobserver

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