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    Tal Memorial
Author
Jack Maguire
Date
 2009-09-16 19:42
Quite the impressive lineup for the Tal Memorial being played in Moscow from Nov 5 - 14. Eight of the top ten will compete and Peter Svidler will be the lowest ranked player! Playing in the Tal Memorial will be:


Viswanathan Anand 2788
Levon Aronian 2773 (currently 2784)
Magnus Carlsen 2772
Vladimir Kramnik 2772
Peter Leko 2762
Vassily Ivanchuk 2756
Boris Gelfand 2756
Alexander Morozevich 2750
Ruslan Ponomariov 2741
Peter Svidler 2741
  
Responses
   RE: Tal Memorial
Author
Jack Maguire
Date
 2009-11-15 18:36
True enough, Bob, albeit with a HUGE helping hand from Leko. As Rogers live blogged, that so-called 'defense' by Leko, in a dead drawn game, was absolutely "abysmal". And I will also hasten to point out that all five of my betting favourites did finish in the top five.

Anand was actually having an excellent tournament until the final round. For whatever reason, Aronian absolutely owns him. Lol, it's a good job Anand is not playing Aronian for the World Championship next year. How do you account for four consecutive losses with the White pieces by a World Champion? And how do you account for the fact that Aronian has no trouble with a World Champion but is now -3 against Gelfand? Yet Gelfand has winning career marks against no other player here other than a very modest +1 (+9-8=34) versus Leko?

As to your FIDE regulation query, Bob, a quick Google search seems to indicate that such may well still be the case. Chesck out this interview from earlier this year.

http://interviews.chessdom.com/georgios-makropoulos-sofia
   RE: Tal Memorial
Author
Bob Armstrong
Date
 2009-11-15 10:12
Well, Jack, I'm going to claim to be a slightly better prognosticator than you. My first choice, Carlsen, did finish 2nd/3rd. Your first choice, Aronian, finished 4th/5th.

It was a great tournament, and Anand, as World Champion, cannot be too satisfied with his 4th/5th finish.

And I see that on the live ratings, Carlsen is now # 1, over 2800 still, and ahead of Topalov. I hope he gets a shot at the title soon - but the system of candidate selection is fraught with risk ( the World Cup initial 2-game matches ), and the Grand Prix debacle drove Carlsen out of it. Can he get into next years Candidates Matches for the 2011 World Championship??

There was a regulation at one time in FIDE ( don't know if it is still there now ) that an over 2700 player could put up a million Euros ( I think, or $$ USA ), and could get a World Championship match. Surely there would be someone out there willing to back Carlsen in such a bid? Do you know if the reg. is still there now?

Bob
   RE: Tal Memorial
Author
Jack Maguire
Date
 2009-11-06 09:52
Sigh! 5 frigging draws again!

Still feeling comfortable about Carlsen, Bob? He's 'squandered' 2 of his Whites and today against the only player (my Moro) he had a + score against. He's got Black against the drawmaster himself, Gelfand, tomorrow. They stand +2-2=11 historically, including rapid/exhibition. In classical chess only, Carlsen has yet to beat Gelfand in 6 career matches, losing once and drawing the other five.
   RE: Tal Memorial
Author
Bob Armstrong
Date
 2009-11-06 00:15
Hi Jack:

So Radjabov's KID scores 55 %, where normally Bl scores only 45% - the KID rocks !!! Well, I guess one has to admit though, that top players do play 9 % above the mean, so I guess the KID is just normal - but that at least nukes the theory that the KID is refuted !

And Carlsen plays both W and Bl 9% better than the average player, which figures given his rating - and this means he really does equally well with either colour. Interesting.

Thanks for taking the time to post the stats for me.

Bob
   RE: Tal Memorial
Author
Jack Maguire
Date
 2009-11-05 17:56
Your 55/45 split is pretty much right on the mark, Bob. According to Wikipedia, White scores 55.06%. Interesting enough, the figure is pretty much the same for computer vs computer play, namely, White scores 55.35%.

Carlsen's numbers at chessgames.com break down as follows:

With White: +229 -85 =198 (64.06%)
With Black: +161 -128 =219 (53.24%)

Thus, he scores precisely 9 % points above the mean average for White and 8.3 % points above the mean average for Black. Essentially the same split, but skewered to the right given he's the # 2 player in the world at the moment.
I doubt very much I could find a single top level player who scores better with Black than with White. I just checked Radjabov for you, Bob, given he's the one player who frequently plays your KID. He has similar numbers with the Black pieces to Carlsen and is a couple of points worse with White (i.e. ~62%). He does, however, and you'll be happy to hear this, score 55.18% with his KID (+42 -28 =65).
   RE: Tal Memorial
Author
Bob Armstrong
Date
 2009-11-05 15:22
Hi Jack:

As our Chess5 statistician ( a peer of Jeff Sonas for sure ), do you know Carlsen's stats with white and black. Does he have a preference ( as you know, I like Black better, and do better with it than with White )? I think generally that the stats for top players are W 55 % and Bl. 45 %. Do you know if this is right?

With either White or Black, our young turk will come through !!

Bob
   RE: Tal Memorial
Author
Jack Maguire
Date
 2009-11-05 13:17
Are you happy that Carlsen gets 5 Whites, Bob? Apparently, Kasparov isn't, at least with whom they're against. He wants his star pupil "to seek danger" says Mig Greengard at his blog today:

That also means, and I was just on the phone with an interested party, that Carlsen has five whites. That's the good news. But his coach was a little disappointed that four of them are against guys who are very tough to beat: Kramnik, Anand, Aronian, and Ponomariov! (The other is Moro, who is always dangerous, but apparently Kasparov mostly wants sharp fights, and no trouble with Moro on that count.) This is an interesting piece of strategery, the mostly moot question of against whom you would rather have white. You'd think it would be against the stronger guys in principle, but Garry is more concerned about Carlsen getting the maximum of chances to play with a win with both colors and said he'd be happy swapping all four of those whites for black for whites in other games because then those favorites would have to press for a win. Not sure if his charge would agree, since Anand and Kramnik in particular are far more dangerous with white. Garry just feels that danger is what Carlsen should be seeking. Easy for him to say!
   RE: Tal Memorial
Author
Jack Maguire
Date
 2009-11-05 12:05
As I feared (see my last post), Round 1 produced 5 draws. Hell, even Mr. Excitement drew (with Leko). That's the 22nd draw between the 2 in 44 career matches so Leko becomes the 3rd player here to have 50% draw rates with Morozevich. There's no surprise that Gelfand (who naturally took the quickest draw today) is one of the two others (Moro stands +14-6=20 vs Gelfand). The other name does surprise me, however, Carlsen. They've hooked up 18 times and Carlsen holds the edge +6-3=9 , interestingly enough, the only player in the tournament Carlsen has + career numbers against. I would have guessed Svidler but they've 'only' drawn 40% of the time, standing at +9-9=12. Second choice might have been Anand but that number in only 33% - Anand holding the career edge +14-10=12.

The one player who should be happy with a draw today, albeit Bob may disagree, is Carlsen. His career stats against Kramnki are now +1-7=9 so a draw might be considered a bit of a 'moral victory'. He's also got very bad numbers against both Anand and Aronian, (+5-11=16 and +6-11=18 respectively) but nothing like those Kramnik numbers. Of course, these were all compiled earlier in his career and prior to taking on Kasparov as a coach.

So after 1 round, we have a 10-way tie for 1-10, all with the same 1/2 point.
   RE: Tal Memorial
Author
Jack Maguire
Date
 2009-11-03 07:33
When Ivanchuck is your lowest ranked player (both he and Ponomariov are listed at 2739), there's no doubt that this tournament must warrant consideration for Mark Crowther's "strongest tournament ever", Bob. Unfortunately, at least for me, there's too many players who play for draws to make it a bona fide candidate for the likelihood of 'best tournament ever'. I'd love to boot Gelfand, Leko, and Svidler and replace them with Eljanov, Gashimov, and Topalov (hate the man, love his chess). That, for me, would be a dream tournament.

Although I'm not going to back away from my Aronian pick, I am a wee bit concerned about his Novi Sad performance. Hopefully, that beautiful drubbing by Bacrot has not played with his head. Naturally, the guy I'm really going to be rooting for is Mr. Excitement himself, Morozevich. Lol, only one solitary draw at Novi Sad and he certainly closed with a rush, being the exclusive Russian winner on each of the last three days. I'd love to see him stay 'hot' here.
   RE: Tal Memorial
Author
Bob Armstrong
Date
 2009-11-03 07:14
With the Nov. FIDE Rating List out, the tournament now has 10 of the top 13 players in the world. Mark Crowther of TWIC has given his opinion that this tournament may be the strongest tournament ever.

Jack has Aronian first, and Carlsen third. I have to go with Carlsen first and Aronian second still.

Any other opinions on who will win? Starts Nov. 5.

Bob
   RE: Tal Memorial
Author
Jack Maguire
Date
 2009-10-22 08:33
I'd be a fool to ignore Pearl Spring, Bob. Nonetheless, it doesn't, imho, erase Carlsen's empirical data against this field. I'm going to cut his odds in half and adjust the other favourites upwards by a 1/2 point. Therefore, my revised odds are:

Aronian 7-2
Anand 4-1
Carlsen 4-1
Kramnik 9-2
Ivanchuk 13-2
Morozevich 12-1
Ponomariov 20-1
Svidler 25-1
Leko 30-1
Gelfand 50-1
   RE: Tal Memorial
Author
Bob Armstrong
Date
 2009-10-22 08:14
Well Jack, Pearl Spring results are now in, in spades. Carlsen was phenomenal. And the Super-Strong Tal Memorial is coming closer.

You have Carlsen picked to finish 5th behind Aronian, Anand, Kramnik and Ivanchuk !

Do you want to revise your odds at all re the top 5?

I've now got to change my pick for first from Aronian to Carlsen - his power just can't be denied now.

What do others think will be the final finishing order?

Bob
   RE: Tal Memorial
Author
Jack Maguire
Date
 2009-09-17 18:39
I'm going to make a revision to the odds on my 4 longshots I lumped together earlier today, each at 25-1 odds. Now that I've had a chance to review the empirical evidence, I must list Ponomariov as having better chances than the 3 drawmasters, Gelfand, Leko, and Svidler. Ponomariov has a much better record against these guys than I would have imagined. He's 5+1-12= vs Svidler, 4+1-8= vs Gelfand, and even a very nice 8+4-6= vs Morozevich. He's also only a composite -2 against the triumvirate of Carlsen, Ivanchuk, and Kramnik. The only two guys he can't seem to beat are Anand (2+9-17=) and Aronian (0+5-6=). I'm thus going to reduce his winning chances to 20-1.

Simialarly, I'll adjust the odds of the 3 drawmasters accordingly:

Svidler 25-1 (still)
Leko 30-1
Gelfand 50-1 (if only to have the pleasure of ranking him dead last)
   RE: Tal Memorial
Author
Jack Maguire
Date
 2009-09-17 09:27
If I was an Englsih bookie - and they bet on everything there, including the winner of next month's Man Booker Prize - I think I'd probably establish the following Tal Memorial betting line:

Aronian 3-1
Anand 7-2 (winning records against all competitors other than Aronian)
Kramnik 4-1 (winning records against all competitors other than Anand, but not scoring particularly
well against his fellow Russian contingent)
Ivanchuk 6-1 (with no clock, he'd be my favourite)
Carlsen 8-1 (an abysmal record against this field, having only a + score vs Morozevich)
Morozevich 12-1 (may very well lead the field in both wins and losses)
Leko/Gelfand/Ponomariov/Svidler @ 25-1
   RE: Tal Memorial
Author
Jack Maguire
Date
 2009-09-17 08:27
Do my eyes deceive me, Bob? I can't believe you're picking Aronian! He's always been my pick and never yours. Sigh.

I think the one advantage Aronian brings to the table is his speed of play. He generally extracts a huge time advantage and then sees his opponent blunder near move 40. If time wasn't a chess issue, I'd rather like Ivanchuk's chances. Alas, he loses far too many games due to severe time pressure.

Tangentially, I'd love to see more chess tournaments go with the 3-1-0 scoring system. Of course it would be the death of players like the drawmasters, Gelfand and Svidler, but imho that's a good thing. I might even go with Morozevich in that kind of format, because he draws less frequently (significantly so!) than any other Super GM. I don't think he's about to win this Category 21 event, but I'll certainly be pulling for him.