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    Entries in Kasparov (28)

    Sunday
    Dec112011

    London 2011, Round 7: Leapfrogging Leaders

    Going into the round Hikaru Nakamura enjoyed a two-point lead over Magnus Carlsen, Vladimir Kramnik and Luke McShane. Not a bad place to be, and although they had already had their byes and he was about to take his in round 7, you'd still expect him to be in good shape by round's end, right?

    Nope! After yet another massacre of the British (McShane counts as an honorary foreigner in this tournament), Nakamura dropped to fourth place with just two rounds to go. Magnus Carlsen was engaged in a tough tussle with Michael Adams, and despite having Black it was Adams who had the initiative much of the way. At some moment, however, Adams' queenside initiative came to an end, and in the meantime he underestimated Carlsen's sneaky threats on the kingside. Ultimately, Adams blundered with 35...Nc4, when 36.Rxd5 basically put an end to the proceedings.

    Vladimir Kramnik had his way with David Howell in a QGA sideline. Howell followed theory and made natural moves, but somehow - and even Kramnik wasn't really sure what went wrong - the former world champion had a nice edge. Howell's 19...Bc6 may have been the decisive error, costing him a pawn and eventually the game.

    Finally, McShane also won, and unlike his co-leaders he did it with Black. Nigel Short essayed the good old King's Gambit, but at some point got a bit too conservative. The compensation dried up and McShane took his extra material to the bank, eventually winning.

    Finally, Levon Aronian failed to get anything from the opening against Viswanathan Anand, and their game was soon drawn.

    Standings After Round 7 (on 3-1-0 scoring; note that Adams and Howell have played 7 games; everyone else only 6):

    1-3. Carlsen, Kramnik, McShane 12
    4. Nakamura 11
    5-6. Aronian, Anand 7
    7. Short 4
    8-9. Adams, Howell 3

    Round 8 Pairings:

    • Anand - Carlsen (already drawn)
    • Howell - Aronian
    • McShane - Kramnik
    • Nakamura - Short
    • Adams - bye

    Here's the tournament site for the London Chess Classic, and here are the round 7 games (without notes). Let me recommend ChessBase's report on the round, as it includes videos of the post-game press conferences. (Kramnik's was especially entertaining, and should prove a real eye-opener to fans who think that a super-GM's solidity has anything to do with his ability to imagine and calculate tactics!)

    Perhaps even more noteworthy in that report is the brief transcript (and audio clip) of Nakamura answering questions about his working relationship with Garry Kasparov. One doesn't suspect it's going in a fantastic direction - especially after this interview.

    Tuesday
    Nov012011

    No Longer Mere Rumor: Nakamura Is Working With Kasparov

    Not that I would ever stoop to telling my readers "I told you so" - that would be childish. It's official, though, from at least one of the horses' mouths, as Hikaru Nakamura acknowledges the collaboration and has lots to say about it in an interview coming out in the current issue of New in Chess Magazine. (There's also more about the story here, including a timeline of the now ex-rumor's progression.)

    Sunday
    Oct092011

    Kasparov Beats Short, Sadler Wins Oslo, And More

    Garry Kasparov is still retired, only peeking up from time to time for little blitz events and/or rematches with former opponents. This time he played an eight-game blitz match (5' + 3" increments) against Nigel Short; it was their third match. The first was a rapid match in 1987 with six decisive games: Kasparov won 4-2, losing games 3 and 6. Then they played a world championship match in 1993, a 12.5-7.5 drubbing in Kasparov's favor that wasn't even as close as the lopsided score might suggest. (It was 10.5-4.5 after 15 games!)

    This time it was closer, a 4.5-3.5 squeaker for the former world champion. Kasparov generally had the better of it in the first three games, but they were all drawn. Games four and five were deserved Kasparov wins, and it looked like the rout was on. Surprisingly, it didn't materialize. Short won games six and seven to level the match, and had White for the final game. Fortunately for Kasparov and his fans, he rose to the occasion, as he almost always used to before his collapse in the second Deep Blue match in 1997. He won a very good game against 4.Ng5 in the Two Knights to eke out an overall victory.

    Another event finished today, the Swiss-system tournament in Oslo. As noted yesterday, Matthew Sadler had already clinched first place with a round to spare, but he finished in style by defeating the strong Russian GM Sergey Volkov. Sadler's score of 8/9 (2849 TPR!) gave him a 1.5 point margin of victory over Sipke Ernst and two full points over the next group of players. If he keeps this up, he might wind up in elite events again.

    There were three decisive games in the Governor's Cup in Saratov, Russia: Morozevich beat Vitiugov, Alekseev defeated Ponomariov and Ni Hua was upended by Alexander Moiseenko. The three winners co-lead the tournament with 1.5/2; as you may recall, all six games were drawn in round 1.

    Nothing happened today in the Karpov tournament in Poikovsky. That has been true for the most part even when they've had rounds, but this was a rest day so the players had an excuse.

    Tuesday
    Oct042011

    Former World Champions in Action

    Garry Kasparov recently played (and defeated) Maxime Vachier-Lagrave in a two-game blitz match; now he's getting ready to face off against Nigel Short on this coming Sunday, October 9. According to Mark Crowther of TWIC, it will be an 8-game blitz match with a time control of five minutes per game (per player) with a two second increment after each move.

    In his heyday, one of Kasparov's best and most impressive publicity stunts involved taking on national teams simultaneously. His most impressive such achievement was a two-day match against the Israeli national team back in 1998. Gelfand wasn't playing, but the remaining players were all very strong, clustered around 2600 when that was still an elite rating. The first day Kasparov won two games and drew two, and the second day he whitewashed the Israelis for an incredible 7-1 match victory.

    Now Veselin Topalov has apparently given it a whirl, but against a significantly weaker Irish squad. Alexander Baburin (the El Jefe of Chess Today) is a strong if semi-retired GM, but the other three players were IMs with day jobs. Topalov drew the match 2-2, losing to Baburin, defeating Mark Quinn and drawing Sam Collins and Alex Lopez. (There was a problem with the match relay, but the games will apparently be posted here later.) Not exactly a Kasparovian performance, but these things do take practice. It would be interesting to see if Topalov (or some other elite GM) tried to make a habit of this as Kasparov once did. (And even if they do, it's unlikely that any of them will take such events anywhere near as seriously as Kasparov did!)

    Thursday
    Sep292011

    Nakamura (Is? Was?) Working With Kasparov: Confirmation

    Have a look here, and scroll down to the section on Dortmund, paragraph two, which reads

    For this ChessBase Magazine the serial victor of Dortmund has chosen to annotate his win against Hikaru Nakamura. The American went into a theoretical duel in the Nimzo-Indian and chose an unfashionable variation with 8.Qb3. However, Kramnik points out in his analysis that in his day Kasparov championed this move. And especially since Kramnik knew that Nakamura had been working with Kasparov recently, he would probably not have been all that surprised at the choice.

    HT: "anonymous coward"

    Wednesday
    Sep282011

    A Kasparov Blitz Game

    Just came across this earlier today, on YouTube. It's not in TWIC, and while it's not against a professional player, his opponent is at least strong enough for the game to have entertainment value. Here's the video; the game score is reproduced below.

    Ghannoum vs. Kasparov

    1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 a6 3. f4 b5 4. Nf3 Bb7 5. d4 cxd4 6. Qxd4 e6 7. Bd3 Nf6 8. h3 Qc7 9. Be3 d5 10. exd5 Nxd5 11. Nxd5 Bxd5 12. O-O Nc6 13.Qb6 Qxb6 14. Bxb6 Nb4 15. Be2 Rb8 16. Bf2 Bd6 17. a3 Nc6 18. Be3 O-O 19. a4 bxa4 20. Rxa4 Rxb2 21. Bd3 Nb4 22. Bd4 Nxd3 23. cxd3 Rb3 24. Rxa6 Bxf4 25. Ne5 Bxe5 26. Bxe5 Rxd3 27. Ra7 f6 28. Bd6 Rc8 29. Rc7 Rxc7 30. Bxc7 h5 31. Rf2 Kh7 32. Kh2 e5 33. g3 Bf3 34. Bb6 g5 35. h4 g4 36. Bc5 Rd1 0-1

    Monday
    Sep262011

    The Daily Update: European Club Cup, Day 1; Sao Paulo/Bilbao Pairings (And An Interesting Rumor)

    While I don't have time to cover it, I'd be remiss not to remind everyone that the European Club Cup got underway Sunday. Whether or not you're interested in it as a club competition, it's hard for a chess fan not to notice an event with 2700s participating. Some of them were nicked for draws in round 1, but I didn't notice any grand upsets. Anyway, if any of you notice any games that look like compelling, must-see chess, please let us know!

    Meanwhile, in Sao Paulo/Bilbao, we have the first round pairings for this double round-robin event:

    • Hikaru Nakamura - Vassily Ivanchuk
    • Viswanathan Anand - Magnus Carlsen
    • Levon Aronian - Francisco Vallejo

    The games start Monday (as in today or tomorrow, depending on your time zone) at 8 p.m. CET/2 p.m. ET.

    And now, rumor time. Emphasis on rumor: the information is at least three people away from an original source, so cum grano salis and caveat lector. It is...that Nakamura is working with Garry Kasparov. If true, I'll repeat what I said when it came out a few years ago that Carlsen was working with Kasparov: it's good news for Nakamura and his fans, and very bad news for his competitors. Will they manage to make it work? (Assuming they are working together!) Time will tell - it's not hard to imagine some massive ego clashes - but if they can I think it will be great for Nakamura. Kasparov's discipline and deep researches nicely complement Nakamura's talent and fighting spirit. My prediction is that if the story proves true and they make it work, the American will reach 2800 within a year.

    Sunday
    Sep182011

    "Get Me Out Of This"

    Here's an article on Magus Carlsen's split with Garry Kasparov (HT: Brian Karen). The split is old news, as the oxymoronic phrase goes, and that there was acrimony or at least tension is also reasonably well-known, thanks to the New Yorker profile of Carlsen earlier this year. The new article at least manages to fill in some details, and is also newsworthy for the information that while they're no longer working together, their relationship has at least returned to normal.

    Saturday
    Sep172011

    Kasparov In Action(!), Beats Vachier-Lagrave 1.5-.5

    Only blitz, alas, but it's nice to see Garry Kasparov in action again. It was an exhibition in Clichy, France, in two rounds. The first round saw Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Laurent Fressinet battle for the right to play Kasparov in the final round. After a pair of draws, Vachier-Lagrave won the Armaggedon game to advance. In the final, Kasparov won with White, setting up and executing a nice promotion combination, and then the former world champion held on to draw an up-and-down game with Black. (There was a tandem game after that which was surely memorable to the amateur participants and a good thing if it helps keep sponsors coming, but the play was abysmal and the game score ought to be destroyed before it gets into TWIC and other databases.)

    Official site here, TWIC coverage here.

    Wednesday
    Sep072011

    Kasparov On His Career, 1973-1985, Coming Out Soon

    Many years ago, Garry Kasparov wrote The Test of Time, which was a pretty good summary of his career as a teen and young adult through his triumph in the candidates final over Vasily Smyslov. It didn't really touch on his development as a youngster, though, and wasn't so much autobiographical as an account of his matches and tournaments from 1978 through 1984. Igor Stohl and Tibor Karolyi have both written worthwhile two-book collections on Kasparov's career, but now at last we will have the man's own account of his career, complete with the latest and greatest version of his analytical reflections on those games.

    Kasparov has already finished his series of books on his encounters with Anatoly Karpov, so the subsequent works will look at his games with everyone else. Volume 1, which Amazon claims will ship on October 18, will cover his career from 1973 (when he was 10, or even 9, depending on how early in the year he begins) through 1985, the year when he won the world championship title. It should make for interesting reading and, of course, for an incredible chess feast.

    The product and ordering information for the U.S. Amazon.com site is here.