This is the list of players, along with their world rankings:
1 Carlsen, Magnus
2 Kramnik, Vladimir
3 Aronian, Levon
4 Radjabov, Teimour
10 Grischuk, Alexander
13 Ivanchuk, Vassily
14 Svidler, Peter
18 Gelfand, Boris
Why were these folks excluded, all of them higher rated than the last 4 players?
5 - Karjakin, Sergey
7 - Topalov, Veselin
8 - Nakamura, Hikaru
9 - Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar
Biggest highlight of the day for me was in the press room. The Russian chick interviewing Radjabov was rather obviously flirting with him. The body language and behavior gave her totally away. Man, being a top-five chess player must be a great life. Imagine what it would be like to be world champion and single!
Old dog for the hard road!
More irritating to me is Gelfand, playing with captured pieces, thinking hard for one or two minute stretches and then seemingly daydreaming for five. I guess all chess players do this; they are not machines. But his way of doing it is exasperating.
“It was a new experience for me. When he played 27…Rd7 he looked away, and after I played 28.a4 and pressed the clock, he lost about half a minute trying to figure out which move I made,” said Svidler.
This all happened with Ivanchuk having a minute on his clock. To me this is borderline mental illness.
Gelfand is actually not so strange. He always plays with pieces, he also did it against Anand. And what you describe as daydreaming is actually thinking. These guys don't need a board to play. They can see the board clearly in their minds eye where they can move the pieces around.
Anyway Kramnik is playing a solid but complicated Pirc, which will put Ivanchuk's mind at work.
Kramnik must be put on suicide watch now. Carlsen--he will need medication after the second half of the tournament he had. He went in with so much swagger and exited on top curled in a fetal position. Aronian--a broken man. Radjabov--shattered. Svidler is the probably the guy who got through this thing with the least perturbation of his psyche.
The big winner in this tournament: Anand.
I'm looking forward to the big match at last. I can't help thinking that Carlsen mightened be 100% ready to take Anand down yet, but he's capable of thrashing him if he is!
It could also be immaturity or perhaps the constant, fawning media attention he gets, which could ruin just about anybody's patience and work ethic. You have to wonder how he holds the women at bay, too. They can ruin a chess player as well!
I haven't decided who I would like to root for; Anand is a first-rate gentleman while Carlsen is the boy genius. I probably lean toward Anand, but expect Carlsen to prevail, just barely.
> But now we can add another: long-term mental stamina. He really faded badly in the second half and it wasn't just pressure. Carlsen is a mental sprinter, not a marathoner. He can grind out a long, hard win (we saw that a
> couple of times) but day after day, not really.
Wow! What a bold conclusion from a sample size of 1.
By the way, how many tournaments did he win in the last rounds after a bad or mediocre start?
It will completely different in the WC match. The only thing that can stop Carlsen is falling into Anand's opening traps several times. But that’s hard to do since Carlsen deviates a lot more than Kramnik did.
I don't think Carlsen stumbled under pressure. I think he was exhausted. And yes, so was Kramnik. But until the final round, who was more solid? Kramnik.
I don't want to speculate on the WC. I honestly don't know what is going to happen. Normally you'd think the more brilliant player would prevail, or the one with more stamina. But brilliancy comes in different flavors and stamina can be measured within a single game or a series of games. Before this match I thought "if Carlsen wins the Candidates he'll clean up against Vishy". Now I am not so sure. I can almost picture Carlsen taking an early lead, holding it for several games, and then cracking.
He is the person who suffers the most from this defect - he would probably have become world champion if he had the mental strength of Karpov or Kasparov. What is the point of blaming him for it?
Time management can be trained. If you can't handle your time you're not worthy of playing in a candidates tournament for the chess crown.
Saying that Ivanchuk doesn't care about results just shows that you know nothing about him. I don't know any other player who is as devastated by losses.
This talk of him not being worthy and acting disgracefully doesn't make any sense to me. He played there because he qualified. He qualified because he is a fantastic chess player. He scored 6 out of 14 - how many people in the world would have managed that? And he beat both Carlsen and Kramnik.
I'm not sure how many Super-GMs would've scored -2 in that tournament, a few come to mind. But I'm sure not a single one would've lost on time five times.
So you propose that the win against Kramnik doesn't count? Sounds very reasonable. Generally speaking, only those games should count which support your case. Due to my limited understanding of chess, I had thought that Ivanchuk played excellently and was in command throughout the game.
> a few come to mind.
> I'm sure not a single one would've lost on time five times.
And as we all know, this is the most important criterion by generally accepted standards. In the future, FIDE should pick only players who are guaranteed never to lose on time. How about you? I am sure you would score your 0/14 very gracefully, with plenty of time on your clock.
Nevertheless, I am not stupid enough to continue this pleasant conversation with you.
> How about you? I am sure you would score your 0/14 very gracefully, with plenty of time on your clock.
This is funny I just recalled a conversation I had with a child friend when I was about 10. I think I said something along the lines "That footballer isn't very good" and I got the response "Do it better". Even then I immediately thought "How does the fact that I'm not as good as someone at football imply that I don't know how good football looks like." And now I see this argument again, makes me chuckle.
Or you know the whole situation of the tournament, you know Kramnik was desperate to win with black, thus was forced to play something different and more risky, then you can call that true knowledge of what happened. This game didn’t happen in a vacuum, it had context. I'm not sure why I even have to point this out, seems basic to me.
Context? Sure. But there's context to every game played on the planet, isn't there? Ultimately it's outcomes that matter.
You could make a good case that the tiebreak rules were ass-backwards. I would have gone with (1) S-B, (2) direct results, (3) wins, (4) rapid games. Instead it went 2, 3, 1, 4. If I had made the tournament rules Kramnik would have won! Carlsen's win was based on the misguided idea that players should be encouraged to play for victories. That's overregulation of player behavior and a distortion of incentives IMO.
But it’s not true what you're saying about context. Some games are different, it happens in all sports actually. These must win situations are very rare in chess though. If it was a normal tournament with price money only the last game would've been just a normal game and Kramnik wouldn’t have played the Pirc. I can only think of one other game from the top of my head that can be compared to this situation and that was the last game of the Kramnik-Leko match.
In other sports it happens much more often though. There was a poker tournament with a structure such that you only advanced if you had a certain amount of points. Gus Hansen needed to win the last round to advance so he went all in in the dark every hand. Also the situation on the bubble is very similar.
In general you could say that in situations where the difference in reward between winning and losing is exceptionally high people will take exceptionally great risks to win. This is also supported by game theory. But these situations are exceptions.
> This was a tournament like none he has ever played in before.
I agree with that. Nevertheless, he has played quite a number of important games in his career. Most of the time, his nerves have been good.
>... and you can draw some conclusions.
Sure. Still - it was just one tournament. And it is never rational to draw such far-reaching conclusions about a player from a single tournament. If he played ten such tournaments, do you think he would lose the last round every time? Assume that in ten comparable situations, he would win three, lose one and draw six. Then the first one might be the one in which he loses.
Even Kasparov collapsed a couple of times at crucial moments in his career. (By the way - I wouldn't say Carlsen collapsed. His main mistake was to use too much time - which is indeed often a sign of nervousness.)
> I don't know how you could make that case for Ivanchuk, for example.
Unlike Carlsen, he has quite a track-record in this respect.
Generally speaking, it puzzles me how people who otherwise know a great deal about statistics completely forget about this when it comes to judging humans.
My point is that this was a moment when someone's mettle is tested to the absolute max, and how they perform under those circumstances tells you more about their inner reserves than any number of other situations. And since they come around so infrequently, you will never have a good sample size. Indeed, the peculiar high-stakes, double-blind situation that existed in the final round of this tournament was probably unprecedented in the annals of world championship-level chess. And what was revealed? Even the very best are only human.
> (By the way - I wouldn't say Carlsen collapsed. His main mistake was to use too much time - which is indeed often a sign of nervousness.)
I have a slightly different, though similar, explanation here, and one quite different from Nelson's (with which I would normally agree if the tournament situation was a little bit different from how it actually was). I don't think that it was nervousness--I believe that both Carlsen and, to some extent, Kramnik made judgment errors here in using too much time...because each wanted to see what was happening in the other game before making major decisions on how to try to direct his own game. In so doing, each let his clock run too low without making any major commitments, with the result being that in the distractions and in the eventual time trouble, Carlsen turned a win into a loss and Kramnik turned a draw into a loss. Their opponents, who had no such distractions (though Chucky was very short on time compared with Kramnik until the last few moves before the time control), were better focused on their games during the latter stages and were able to sweep up the full points.
Regarding one of your other points:
> [Ivanchuk] would probably have become world champion if he had the mental strength of Karpov or Kasparov
I definitely agree with this--indeed, I would go further in that I believe that if you take all of the top players on their best days, Ivanchuk would be stronger than all except for Carlsen (though I still do think that Carlsen would have top honors here).
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