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    Entries in Le Quang Liem (3)

    Tuesday
    Jun112013

    Le Quang Liem Wins World Blitz Championship

    As noted already, the tournament is considerably weaker than usual due to all the high-level classical events going on - the Tal Memorial starts Wednesday and siphoned off Anand, Carlsen, Kramnik, Caruana, Karjakin, Nakamura, Gelfand and Morozevich, for instance, though not Mamedyarov and Andreikin. (They didn't play in the earlier super-tournaments, however, so they probably had more energy to burn.) Despite those high-profile absences, the World Blitz Championship was still very strong, as a perusal of the final crosstable will reveal, and the surprising but convincing winner was the very strong young Vietnamese grandmaster Le Quang Liem. His score of 20.5/30 only gave him a half-point margin of victory over the pursuing troika of Alexander Grischuk (silver), Ruslan Ponomariov (bronze) and Ian Nepomniachtchi (heartbreak), but as he led more or less throughout the tournament his victory was well-deserved. Also performing very well were Le's countryman Ngoc Truong Son Nguyen and Rauf Mamedov, both of whom finished with 19.5 points. (Below them the next finishers had 18 points, so they weren't really in the running for the top prizes.)

    Congratulations to Le, who is, if I'm not mistaken, the first male from East Asia to win a non-age-based world championship. One would have expected the Chinese (who didn't participate for some reason) to get there first, but they didn't!

    Sunday
    Jun092013

    Le Quang Liem and Nepomniachtchi Lead World Blitz Championship

    The World Blitz Championship is a 30-round event, or if you prefer a 15-round event with two games per round against the same opponent. It is broken up into two days, with the first 16/8 rounds taking place on Sunday and the last 14/7 on Monday. Sunday's action is over, and Le Quang Liem and Ian Nepomniachtchi are tied for first with 12/16, with the former beating the latter 1.5-.5 in the final match of the day. Ruslan Ponomariov is half a point behind, and then there is a group of four players at 10.5: Ivan Cheparinov, Ngoc Truon Son Nguyen, newly crowned World Rapid Champion Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Rauf Mamedov.

    Some great players are present, but most of the world's absolute elite is unfortunately missing, probably due to the very crowded calendar of classical events. A pity, but this has been a very entertaining event all the same.

    Thursday
    Jan312013

    A Non-Cheating Scandal

    The Sophia/Corsica Suggestions, nee Rules, were violated by Vassily Ivanchuk and Le Quang Liem in round 7 of the 2013 Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival. According to those "rules", or at least the modified version in use in Gibraltar, players could not agree to a draw before move 30.* Ivanchuk and Le Quang apparently weren't terribly impressed by this, and uncorked the following:

    1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. cxd5 cxd5 4. Nc3 Nf6 5. Bf4 Nc6 6. e3 a6 7. Rc1 Bf5 8. Nf3 e6 9. Qb3 Ra7 10. Ne5 Nxe5 11. Bxe5 Nd7 12. Bg3 Be7 13. Qd1 O-O 14. Bd3 Bxd3 1/2-1/2

    The position is level (and dull), but it's by no means a forced or otherwise dead draw. Clearly the players wanted or were very willing to draw, but even so they could have made eye contact and tacitly gone on to move 30. (A series of exchanges, harmless moves or a long series of repetitions could have done the trick.) Instead, they decided to provoke the arbiters,** who faced a decision. The penalty given in the tournament "regulations" was that the players would have a choice: replay the game from scratch, or suffer a double forfeit. This "rule" was apparently carried out on lower boards.

    Our heroes (especially Ivanchuk) being super-GMs, however, it was decided that such fundamental skills as the ability to read the "rules" did not apply to them, and apparently they weren't interested in submitting to them after the fact either. And so an expedient was worked out - here's GM Stuart Conquest on the matter:

    We had a long talk with them and they stated that even though the rule is mentioned in the regulations, it was never announced before the rounds. And they are right about that, so tomorrow we will make the reminder to all players at the start of the round.

    Indeed. Perhaps they should also mention the touch-move rule (Garry and Zurab might appreciate that), and for that matter they might want to explain how the horsie moves.

    Of course, I'm being naive. There is one set of policies for GMs and especially super-GMs, and another one altogether for the rest of us. Therefore, even though no one outside the circle of their friends probably cared at all about the games on the lower boards that prematurely finished in draws and plenty of spectators were interested in the high-rating, high-board fight between Vassily Ivanchuk and Le Quang Liem, the latter was allowed to stand and the former wasn't. (Not to mention that the latter two surely received conditions while the amateurs surely did not.) No matter.

    It would be better to end the hypocrisy one way or another. Either turn the "rules" back into rules and apply them to everyone, or eliminate the sham altogether. (I'm still a fan of my old suggestion: when a player who's getting paid to play makes a habit of quick draws, disinvite him and encourage other organizers to do the same.) The Solomonic solution here (ironically, splitting the point!) is slightly absurd.

    [HT: Hylen]

    * I suppose that means that followers of Sax-Seirawan and Kovchan-Peralta must repeat the sequence ...Be3+ Ke1 Bf2+ Kf2 ten times so the arbiters can be happy.

    ** A strange species of human being characterized by a talent for getting in the way of the webcams and an inconquerable inability to master the DGT technology at the end of a game.