Skipping Ahead -- Or Catching Up or Something

Vishy Anand

I fell behind the Mexico Championship posts, I guess that's what happens when your a soon-to-be-dad. Ah well, my dreams of being a Chess Journalist probably weren't going to come to fruition anyway. I guess I will just boil down what has happened since.

Anand (8.0) is cruising now though with 4 wins and 0 losses he leads the pack by a full point. Boris Gelfand (7.0) is clear second with 3 wins and 1 loss. Kramnik (6.5) is pulling up third 2 wins, 1 loss. With two rounds to play it would take a suprising result for Anand not to win clear first without tie-breaks.

My pretournament predictions panned out in some respects. Anand is winning, Kramnik coming third because he draws too much so those predictions were pretty spot on. However my 2nd place finisher is in dead last, and the guy I picked for dead last is clear second. I think one of the results of this tournament for me, will be to clear some time to review some of Boris Gelfand's games. He is winning a new found respect from me at least.

Sacrifice or Kamikaze, Strategy or Tactics?

A recent Timeforchess.com game of mine began
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nf3 Bg7 4. Nc3 O-O 5. g3 d6 6. Bg2 c5 7. O-O Na6 8. Bg5 h6 9. Bxf6 Bxf6 10. Qd2 Bg7 11. Rd1 Be6 12. d5 Bd7 13. e4 Nc7 14. Nh4 b5 15. cxb5 Nxb5 16. Nxb5 Bxb5 17. Re1 Rb8 18. b3 a5 19. Bf1 Bxf1 20. Rxf1
Qxh7 vs. TimeforChess Opponent
FEN Position 1r1q1rk1/4ppb1/3p2pp/p1pP4/4P2N/1P4P1/P2Q1P1P/3R1RK1
Black to Move

This is a very instructional game to me. The game continues
20. .... a4
21. bxa4 Rb2
22. Qd3 Qa8
23. Rd2 c4
24. Qe2 c3
25. Rc2 Qxa4
26. Rfc1 Rfa8
27. Kg2

Black to Move

And white's game looks hopeless to me. a4 was a subtle dagger that lead to all of this. Granted my knight is misplaced on the edge there at h4, but beyond that it was a very competitive game. Suddenly a quiet little "sacrifice" of blacks isolated a-pawn and my world comes crashing down.

Color me impressed. Its something I will certainly remember. I'm not certain I understand it enough to make use of it in my own games though. Was a4 a tactical manuever, or strategic? I'm not sure. It certainly lead to a windfall strategic position for black. Who would be more impressed by a4, Silman or MDLM?

The game finished

27. Kg2 Qb4 28. Nf3 Ra8xa2 29. Ne1 Kh7 30. f3 Qb3 31. Kh3 e6 32. Qd3 exd5 33. exd5 Qb6 34. f4 Qd4 35. Qf3 Qd2 36. Qg2 Rb2xc2 37. Rc1xc2 Qd1 38. Rc2xa2 Qh5 0-1

I overlooked a simple mate in 1 at the end, mostly because I had been preoccupied with the passed pawn for over a month of real time (thats correspondence chess for you) and when I finally saw a chance to eliminate some of that pressure I just jumped and made a move immediately.

C'est la vie!


Round 8 Pairings - Predictions

At the midway point, Vishy Anand takes a full point from Grischuk to move into clear first. The surprise in the standings has to be Gelfand (who I had pre-tournament picked for last) in second spot. Kramnik coasting where I predicted in 3rd taking draws in what at least to this patzer seem like winnings chances games.

Viswanathan prepares to take Mr. Grischuk to task

Both of my pretournament "darkhorses", players whom I hoped would make a run at this thing are playing fairly poorly in my mind. Svidler and Aronian need to make serious strides to get back into this thing. Despite Moro's early round win, he and Grischuk still look like the place to try and take full points. Leko looks like he could potentially make a run to the near top of the standings with a few good games down the stretch.

Round 8 Pairings
Peter Svidler vs. Vladimir Kramnik
Levon Aronian vs. Alexander Morozevich
Boris Gelfand vs. Viswanathan Anand
Peter Leko vs. Alexander Grischuk

Qxh7# Predicted Round 8 Winners

Actual Round 8 Winners

Watch Live 8th Round Action, Friday at 3PM ET


US Chess League

What in tarnation is going on with the USCL. What has the makings of a decent way to promote chess here in the U.S. is becoming more a soap opera than a sporting event. Like the NY Post back pages, articles and comments are popping up all over the place filled with scandal and childish behavoir.

What happened to Chess being a gentleman's game? Why the poor sportsmanship and the nastiness surrounding this league? Can't you guys just play the games and promote chess without the bickering?


Round 7 Pairings - Predictions

Who would have predicted Gelfand tied first after 6 games?

Boris Gelfand is the man. He is having an amazing tournament. I had totally undersold this gentleman. Meanwhile I'm predicting Leko will win today because Moro is getting torched. Svidler and Aronian my two "darkhorses" play each other today, lets see if at least one of them picks up the pace by winning!

After todays round we are half done so it will be a good opportunity to review the crosstable and see how things are stacking up.

Also thanks to Mig for pointing out that the pairings on the www.Chessmexico.com were reversed for round 6 and 7. He also notes they look messed up for the second half of the tournament. I will be sure to check closely when I make a post next time. For now I have corrected yesterdays post.

Round 7 Pairings
Peter Svidler vs. Levon Aronian
Vladimir Kramnik vs. Boris Gelfand
Alexander Morozevich vs. Peter Leko
Viswanathan Anand vs. Alexander Grischuk

Qxh7# Predicted Round 7 Winners

Actual Round 7 Winners

Watch Live Round 7 Action at 3 PM ET Thursday


Round 6 Pairings - Predictions

Round 5 is in the books as the bloodiest clash yet. Anand, Gelfand and Grischuk all winning with the white peices. Gelfand and Grischuk are really acquitting themselves well in this tournament. I thought they would be "targets" and then today they step up and take full points for themselves. The only players with 2 losses so far are the players I picked as dark horses for the actual title, Aronian and Svidler.

Still one part of my early predictions is coming to fruition. Kramnik is making too many draws to win, in my opinion. Yesterday he allowed a draw as black that I gaurantee is played much further in your average weekend swiss.

Would you offer a draw after 24. ... Bxe3?

Doing a simple "Silman Imbalance Check" on this position I thought.
Black has more space, better pawns (white has two sets of double pawns to blacks 0), black controls the open D-file and after 25. Qxe3 Rd3; OR 25. Rxe3 Rd7, is ready to begin doubling on the file and penetrating the 7th rank and attacking those "weak" white pawns.

I guess that's why he is world champ and I'm not though.

Round 6 Pairings
Alexander Grischuk vs. Peter Svidler
Peter Leko vs. Viswanathan Anand
Boris Gelfand vs. Alexander Morozevich
Levon Aronian vs. Vladimir Kramnik

Qxh7# Predicted Round 6 Winners

Actual Round 6 Winners

Watch Round 6 Live Tuesday at 3PM ET


Round 5 Pairings - Predictions

Not much time available for me atm to comment on Sunday's games. But Aronian was the only winner and has pulled in closer to the lead!!

Round 5 Pairings
Viswanathan Anand vs. Peter Svidler
Alexander Grischuk vs. Alexander Morozevich

Peter Leko vs. Vladimir Kramnik
Boris Gelfand vs. Levon Aronian

Qxh7 Predicted Round 5 Winners


Actual Winners

Watch Live at 3pm ET


Round 4 Pairings - Predictions

More fighting chess today despite the 3 draws. The shortest game actually ended on a repitition which is a valid part of chess in my opinion because both sides believe their best possible move is the repeating pattern. Moro beat Svidler, but in my amateur opinion he could have fought on a bit more. He did have substantial pressure against the white monarch. I gather that Svidler thought Rg1 solidified enough that the passer would overwhelm him.

Anand vs. Kramnik was fought to a truly drawn position, but I thought Kramnik was going to win until 59. ... Rc1. Can't he simply keep moving the King over till he gaurds the a-pawn and win?

Call me a dumbass, but doesn't 59. ... Kc2 Win here?

Leko vs. Gelfand was a mammoth 100 mover. Much more spirited chess than the opening round. Good show.

Neither of my predicted winners came through. So far my prediction of Aronian and Svidler being top half of the final standings doesn't seem to be lining up. Still I think it will finish


But I'm impressed with the performance of all the players so far, especially Moro with his win today.
Round 4 Pairings
Peter Svidler
vs. Boris Gelfand
Levon Aronian
vs. Peter Leko
Vladimir Kramnik
vs. Alexander Grischuk
Alexander Morozevich
vs. Viswanathan Anand

Qxh7 Predicted Round 4 Winners

Actual Winners



Round 3 Pairings - Predictions

Well, round two had much harder fought battles with the exception of Gelfand vs. Grischuk. At move 23 I thought Aronian had a win against Anand, but not only did Vishy ward off the white attack he capitalized on it and pulled out the full point. Kramnik did in fact win with white over Moro as I had predicted. The final game worthy of comment Svidler vs. Leko ended in a hard fought draw, even still with queens on the board and a Pawn advantage (2 if you could Leko's doubles as 1) I would have though Svidler would push for the full point.

I thought Levon was a winner after 23. f4

Round 3 Pairings
Alexander Morozevich vs. Peter Svidler
Viswanathan Anand
vs. Vladimir Kramnik
Alexander Grischuk vs. Levon Aronian
Peter Leko vs. Boris Gelfand

Qxh7# Predicted Winners

Actual Round 3 winners



Round Two Pairings - Predictions

Wow -- I wanted to make a table and everything like I did yesterday but its far too cumbersome with this blasted Blogger editor crap. So I will just make predictions each day on games I see a winner in.

Yesterdays games all ended in draws, many with still much play on the board. I hope that some of the players push the action for actual results soon. It is the highest level of play for the title of World Champ, so I guess you can't fault people for not wanting to take a risk on positions they may evaluate as +0.13 pawns or ==+ or what have you. Still 23 move draws with both Queens and several minors still on the board isn't exactly "fighting" chess.

Not Exactly Fighting Chess

Round 2 Pairings
Peter Svidler vs. Peter Leko
Boris Gelfand vs. Alexander Grischuk
Levon Aronian vs. Viswanathan Anand
Vladimir Kramnik vs. Alexander Morozevich

Qxh7# Predicted Winners

Actual Winners

Watch Live Beginning 3pm ET

Round One Pairings - Predictions

Round 1 on Sept 13th 2007 at 14:00
White Black Pred Result Actual Result
GM Kramnik Vladimir GM Svidler Peter 1/21/2
GM Morozevich AlexanderGM Aronian Levon0-11/2
GM Anand Viswanathan GM Gelfand Boris1-01/2
GM Grischuk AlexanderGM Leko Peter1/21/2



To beat a machine

fen position r2r2k1/p1q2ppp/2pb1n2/1pn1p1B1/8/1QN2P1B/PP2PP1P/3RK1R1
White to move


This is a position from a game I played on my lunch hour against a Java applet on the igoogle.com site. I will post the game score to the best of my memory.

This browser is not Java-enabled.

I won the endgame and scored a very infrequent for me at least, win versus the machine.

I wanted to check my accuracy -- Crafty says the following line is +2.19 pawns for white, and the best variation at depth 15.
17. Bxf6 Nxb3 18. Rxg7+ Kf8 19. Rxh7 Ke8 20. Rxd6 Qxd6 21. Rh8+ Qf8 22. Rxf8+ Kxf8 23. Bxd8

23. Bxd8 I had missed when I played axb3 and still won.


If this is what it takes

To get my daughter to play chess, I can deal with it.