Moscow Grand Prix R07: From sizzling to fizzling

by Alex Yermolinsky
5/19/2017 – After a period of genuinely exciting chess, the leaders are all playing extremely cagey now, unwilling to take risks, and many times demonstrably so with quick draws. The result is that while Ding and Mamedyarov lead still, they are followed just a half point behind by seven others. Completing the Fellowship's nine is Anish Giri, winning a fine game against Saleh Salem. Hou Yifan also played a gritty win, breaking down Jon Hammer's fortress. Report and analysis by Alex Yermolinsky.

Photos by Max Avdeev

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed with the cautious way the leaders approached today's games. Vachier Lagrave-Radjabov and Mamedyarov-Grischuk were not the kind of games we wanted to see. One can blame the system that puts players on the brink of elimination from by a single loss.

Standings after seven rounds

Rk SNo Ti. Name FED Rtg Pts rtg+/-
1 4 GM Ding Liren CHN 2773 4,5 7,1
  5 GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar AZE 2772 4,5 5,0
3 1 GM Vachier-Lagrave Maxime FRA 2795 4,0 -2,8
  2 GM Nakamura Hikaru USA 2786 4,0 -0,5
  3 GM Giri Anish NED 2785 4,0 -2,7
  6 GM Svidler Peter RUS 2755 4,0 1,6
  8 GM Grischuk Alexander RUS 2750 4,0 1,7
  12 GM Gelfand Boris ISR 2724 4,0 8,3
  13 GM Radjabov Teimour AZE 2710 4,0 10,2
10 15 GM Tomashevsky Evgeny RUS 2696 3,5 4,2
  16 GM Hou Yifan CHN 2652 3,5 7,3
12 7 GM Nepomniachtchi Ian RUS 2751 3,0 -10,1
  9 GM Harikrishna P. IND 2750 3,0 -8,7
  14 GM Vallejo Pons Francisco ESP 2710 3,0 -3,0
  18 GM Hammer Jon Ludvig NOR 2621 3,0 4,7
16 10 GM Adams Michael ENG 2747 2,5 -9,2
  17 GM Salem A.R. Saleh UAE 2633 2,5 1,2
18 11 GM Inarkiev Ernesto RUS 2727 2,0 -14,3

Isn't it remarkable that the top 10 players in this list haven't lost a single game in seven rounds of play? Apparently, being cautious pays off. As for risk-takers, ask Nepo how it's working out for him in Moscow.

Not wishing to take chances, this was the most common result: a draw with still most of the pieces on the board

Nakamura and Svidler gave a bit more effort today against, respectively, Ding Liren and Gelfand, only to be turned away by accurate defense. I particularly liked Ding's exchange sac to seal the draw.

Svidler's face of approval says it all

All this did nothing but preserve the status quo, and let the door open for some players yet stuck at 50%. One of them took advantage of the opportunity afforded him.

Anish Giri vs Saleh Salem (annotated by Alex Yermolinsky)

[Event "FIDE Moscow Grand Prix 2017"] [Site "Moscow"] [Date "2017.05.19"] [Round "7"] [White "Giri, Anish"] [Black "Salem, A R Saleh"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B12"] [WhiteElo "2785"] [BlackElo "2633"] [Annotator "Alex Yermolinsky"] [PlyCount "131"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] 1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 Bf5 4. Nd2 e6 5. Nb3 {In this line White goes after the f8-bishop.} c5 {Question is, can Black find a different plan?} ({The answer is, yes.} 5... Nd7 6. Nf3 Qc7 7. Be2 f6 $5 (7... c5 8. dxc5 Bxc5 9. Nxc5 Qxc5 {Rublevsky-Bologan, 2012, is essentually the same thing as in the game.}) 8. O-O fxe5 9. dxe5 O-O-O {has been tried by two American GMs, Lenderman and his coach, Kacheishvili.}) 6. dxc5 Bxc5 7. Nxc5 Qa5+ 8. c3 Qxc5 9. Be3 Qc7 10. f4 Ne7 11. Be2 O-O 12. Nf3 Nbc6 13. O-O $14 Na5 $6 {This isn't going to accomplish anything.} ({Black must seeks exchanges, so} 13... Be4 14. Nd2 Bg6 15. Nb3 Na5 {Rublevsky-Dreev, 2012, appears more logical.}) 14. Bf2 a6 15. Rc1 Rac8 16. b3 $1 Nac6 17. Qd2 Rfd8 18. b4 $1 Be4 19. a4 {Black is devoid of a meaningful plan, and clearly stands worse.} Nf5 20. g4 Nfe7 21. Ng5 Bg6 22. Bc5 Rd7 23. Nf3 ({More accurate is} 23. Qe3 h6 24. Nf3 $16 Be4 25. Nd2 Bh7 26. Nb3) 23... Na5 $6 (23... Be4 24. Ng5 Bg6 25. Qe3) {Salem is seeking counterplay, but Giri has a direct response.} 24. Nd4 $1 Nc4 25. Bxc4 dxc4 26. Bxe7 Rxe7 27. f5 exf5 28. gxf5 Bh5 29. Qg5 g6 {[#]} 30. e6 $2 (30. f6 Qxe5 31. Nf5 $1 Re6 32. Rce1 Be2 33. Rf2 {is just curtains.}) 30... f6 $1 {Salem fights like a lion.} 31. Qxf6 Rg7 32. Rc2 Bg4 $1 33. Qh4 $6 ({Giri was a bit low on time, and couldn't quite see the end of the following line,} 33. Re1 Bxf5 34. e7 Qd7 $1 ( 34... Re8 35. Nxf5 gxf5+ 36. Rg2 Rxg2+ 37. Kxg2 Qc6+ 38. Qxc6 bxc6 39. Kf3 Kf7 40. Kf4 {is easy.}) 35. Nxf5 gxf5+ 36. Rg2 Rxg2+ 37. Kxg2 Qd2+ 38. Kf1 Qf4+ 39. Ke2 Qxh2+ 40. Kd1 Re8 41. Qd4 {The white king has escaped, but his black counterpart won't.}) 33... Bxf5 34. Rg2 Re8 35. Re1 a5 $1 {A remarkable move.} 36. bxa5 (36. b5 Qc5 {and how does White make progress.}) 36... Qxa5 37. Nxf5 $6 Qxf5 38. Qxc4 Rge7 39. Rf2 {[#]} Qa5 $6 {Just before the time control Salem spoils his great defensive effort.} ({The correct} 39... Qg5+ 40. Kh1 Rd8 { would ensure Black gets to trade queens on d5, with a draw in sight.}) 40. Rf7 $1 Qb6+ 41. Kg2 Qc6+ {A tough choice. The queens come off, but now White has a passed a-pawn.} 42. Qxc6 bxc6 43. Rxe7 Rxe7 {It's not the first time in this tournament a winning position transformed into a borderline drawn rook endgame. Anish Giri makes sure it's not the case here.} 44. Kf3 Kf8 45. a5 Ra7 46. Re5 Ke7 47. Ke4 {[#]} Rb7 {Played by the book: rook activity above everything else. } ({Truth to tell, a passive defense wouldn't cut it. After} 47... Ra8 48. Kd4 Ra6 (48... h6 49. Kc4 g5 50. Kb4 Ra7 51. Re3 h5 52. c4 Ra8 53. Re1 $1 (53. Re5 Kf6) 53... Ra7 54. Re5 $18) 49. Kc4 Ra8 50. Kb4 Ra6 51. Re3 Ra7 52. c4 { Black finds himself in Zugzwang, and must weaken his K-side defenses.} Ra8 ( 52... h6 53. Rg3 Kf6 54. e7 $1) 53. Rh3 Kxe6 54. Rxh7 Kd6 55. c5+ Ke6 56. Rg7 Rb8+ 57. Kc4 Kf5 58. Rc7 Ra8 59. Kb4 Ra6 60. Rb7 {etc.}) 48. Kd3 $1 (48. a6 $2 {blows the win:} Ra7 49. Ra5 Kxe6 50. Kd4 Kd6 51. Kc4 Kc7 $1 (51... g5 52. Kb4 g4 53. Ra4 h5 54. Ka5 Kc5 55. Rf4 $18) 52. Kc5 g5 {and the advancing K-side pawns will deflect the white rook from protection of the a6-pawn.}) ({It's unnecessary to allow} 48. Kd4 Rb2) 48... Rb1 (48... Rb2 49. Re2) 49. Kc2 Ra1 50. Kb2 Ra4 51. Kb3 Ra1 52. Kb2 Ra4 53. Kb3 Ra1 54. c4 h6 55. Kb4 g5 56. Re3 $1 {Anish demonstrates the winning plan.} c5+ (56... g4 57. Ra3 c5+ 58. Ka4 Rb1 59. a6) 57. Kb5 g4 58. h3 (58. a6 h5 59. Kb6 h4 60. a7 Ra2 61. Re4 g3 62. hxg3 hxg3 63. Rg4 g2 64. Rxg2) 58... gxh3 59. Rxh3 Kxe6 60. Rxh6+ Kd7 61. a6 $1 { Anish prepares an elegant finish, but it's not the only way.} ({The notoriouis f+h pawns ending with the defender's king cut off on the back rank,} 61. Kb6 Rb1+ 62. Kxc5 Kc7 63. Rh7+ Kb8 64. Kc6 Ra1 65. c5 {is theoretically winning.}) 61... Kc7 62. Rh8 $1 Kd6 (62... Ra2 63. a7 Rxa7 64. Rh7+ Kb8 65. Rxa7 Kxa7 66. Kxc5 Kb7 67. Kd6 {is the point.}) 63. a7 Rxa7 64. Rh6+ Ke5 65. Kxc5 Ra8 66. Kb6 1-0

A great second effort by Anish Giri, who once again showed he can be a completely different player when facing somewhat lower-rated opposition. Anish's recent performance at the Reykjavik Open is a case in point. When he knows he's the better player, he has the confidence to go all the way.

Pairings for round eight

Bo. No.   Name FED Rtg Pts. Result Pts.   Name FED Rtg No.
1 4 GM Ding Liren CHN 2773   4 GM Giri Anish NED 2785 3
2 6 GM Svidler Peter RUS 2755 4   GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar AZE 2772 5
3 8 GM Grischuk Alexander RUS 2750 4   4 GM Nakamura Hikaru USA 2786 2
4 13 GM Radjabov Teimour AZE 2710 4   4 GM Gelfand Boris ISR 2724 12
5 15 GM Tomashevsky Evgeny RUS 2696   4 GM Vachier-Lagrave Maxime FRA 2795 1
6 16 GM Hou Yifan CHN 2652   3 GM Vallejo Pons Francisco ESP 2710 14
7 7 GM Nepomniachtchi Ian RUS 2751 3   3 GM Harikrishna P. IND 2750 9
8 18 GM Hammer Jon Ludvig NOR 2621 3   GM Adams Michael ENG 2747 10
9 17 GM Salem A.R. Saleh UAE 2633   2 GM Inarkiev Ernesto RUS 2727 11

Anish is facing Ding tomorrow with the black pieces. Will he try to take advantage of his chances should the game turn in his favor?

Evgeny Tomashevsky must be fuming now. Somehow, he failed to win today, in the kind of game he usually succeeds.

Pentala Harikrishna vs Evgeny Tomashevsky (annotated by Alex Yermolinsky)

[Event "FIDE Moscow Grand Prix 2017"] [Site "Moscow"] [Date "2017.05.19"] [Round "7"] [White "Harikrishna, Pentala"] [Black "Tomashevsky, Evgeny"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "C45"] [WhiteElo "2750"] [BlackElo "2696"] [Annotator "AlexYermo"] [PlyCount "119"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 exd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nxc6 bxc6 6. e5 Qe7 7. Qe2 Nd5 8. c4 {A fascinating line, introduced to modern chess by Garry Kasparov. Both sides are struggling with awkward positions of their queens that causes some development issues.} Ba6 9. Nd2 g6 10. b3 {Theory doesn't look kindly to this move. I suppose Pentala wanted to surprise his opponent.} ({On} 10. Nf3 { Black has a choice of acceptable continuations.} Qb4+ (10... Nb6 11. b3 Bg7 12. Bg5 Qa3 {Wei Yi-Ganguly, 2017}) (10... Bg7 11. Bg5 f6 12. exf6 Qxe2+ 13. Bxe2 Nxf6 14. O-O-O O-O-O {Caruana-Kramnik, 2012 and Giri-Dominguez, 2016}) 11. Kd1 Rb8 12. Qc2 Ne7 13. b3 (13. Qb3 c5 $1) 13... Bg7 14. Bb2 O-O 15. Bd3 d5 { Duda-Baramidze, 2014}) 10... Bg7 11. Nf3 (11. Bb2 Nb4 $1 12. Nf3 c5 {solves the problem with the knight that plagues Black in this opening.}) 11... O-O 12. Qb2 {This isn't a novelty, but it had never been tried on GM level.} ({The careless} 12. Bg5 {would land White in trouble:} f6 13. exf6 Qc5 $1 14. O-O-O Rxf6 $3 {with raging attack on the dark squares near the white king.}) ({while } 12. Bb2 {proves totally ineffective after} f6 $1) 12... Nb6 13. Qa3 {A new idea.} Qxa3 14. Bxa3 Rfe8 15. O-O-O Bxe5 16. Nxe5 Rxe5 17. Bb2 {This is White has been playing for. At the cost of a pawn he obtained the bishop pair, while leaving Black's minor pieces stuck on the Q-side. Kasparov used similar ideas, but he would keep his king out of action rather safely tucked in on the K-side. } Re7 18. h4 d5 $1 {Evgeny's timely counterattack in the center exposes the weakness of White's position. Essentually White is fighting for equality here.} 19. h5 dxc4 20. Rh4 Rae8 21. hxg6 fxg6 22. bxc4 {I bet Pentala didn't want to play this move, but he hardly had any choice.} ({On} 22. a4 {Black begins to make threats with} Re1 $1 {forcing} 23. Bc3 (23. a5 c3 $1) 23... Rxd1+ 24. Kxd1 Re6 $15) 22... c5 23. Bd3 Rd7 24. Kc2 ({A more practical solution would be to trade down into an opposite-color bishop ending,} 24. Ba3 Rd4 25. Rxd4 cxd4 26. Bc5 Bxc4 27. Bxb6 Bxd3 28. Bxa7 Be4 29. f3 Bd5 30. Rxd4 Bxa2 31. Rd7 {White cannot possibly lose.}) 24... Bb7 25. Rg4 {Hari must have had dreams of mating Black. White just a bit short of firepower to do that.} ({Once again,} 25. Ba3 Bxg2 26. Bxc5 Bf3 27. Rd2 Red8 28. Be3 {and White shouldn't lose.}) 25... Bc6 { Tomashevsky just being Tomashevsky: a solid positional play backed up by accurate calculation of all possible tactics White might initiate.} 26. Rh1 Red8 27. Rh3 ({Both players must have looked at} 27. Bf5 Rd2+ 28. Kc1 Bd7 $1 { and concluded Black comes out on top after} 29. Rxg6+ hxg6 30. Rh8+ Kf7 31. Rxd8 Rxb2 $1) 27... Ba4+ 28. Kd2 Rd6 29. Rf4 (29. Be5 Bd7 30. Bxd6 cxd6 { and Black will stay a pawn ahead.}) 29... Bd7 30. g4 {[#]} h5 $6 {This just isn't good enough.} ({Black had} 30... g5 $1 {and no, Bxh7 isn't mate! In fact, it leaves White with} 31. Re4 Bc6 32. Re1 Bg2 $1 ({White might survive} 32... Nxc4+ 33. Kc3 Rxd3+ 34. Rxd3 Rxd3+ 35. Kxc4 Rd2 36. Bc3 Rxf2 37. Re5 h6 38. Re6 ) 33. Rg3 Nxc4+ 34. Kc3 Nxb2 35. Kxb2 Rxd3 36. Rxg2 Rd2+ 37. Kb3 R8d3+ 38. Kc4 Rf3 39. Re5 h6 {with a technical win for Black.}) 31. Bf6 Bxg4 $2 {Total bailout. Pieces will quickly dissappear from the board leaving Black only with marginal winning chances.} ({Black would keep his advantage in} 31... Re8 32. Re3 Rxe3 33. Kxe3 Bxg4 34. Be7 Re6+ 35. Re4 {but with the bishop pair still there White is alive and kicking.}) ({Best was} 31... Rf8 32. Rhf3 Bxg4 33. Be7 Rxf4 34. Rxf4 Rd7 35. Bxc5 Bf5 36. Rd4 Rxd4 37. Bxd4 Bxd3 38. Kxd3 Kf7 39. Ke4 Ke6 {with real winning chances.}) 32. Rxg4 Rxd3+ 33. Rxd3 Rxd3+ 34. Kxd3 hxg4 35. Be5 c6 36. Bb8 a6 37. Bc7 Nd7 38. Ke4 Kf7 39. Kf4 Kf6 40. a4 Ke6 41. Kxg4 Ne5+ 42. Kg5 {[#]} Nd3 $6 {Strange choice.} ({Like it or not, Tomashevsky had to try} 42... Nxc4 43. Kxg6 Ne5+ 44. Kg5 Kd5 $1 {although Black most likely won't succeed after} 45. f4 (45. Kf4 Nd7 $1 46. Ke3 Kc4 47. f4 Kb3 $19) 45... Nf3+ 46. Kg4 Ke4 47. f5 Ne5+ 48. Kg5 c4 49. Ba5 {etc.}) 43. f4 Kf7 44. Bb6 Ke6 45. Ba7 Kf7 46. f5 gxf5 47. Kxf5 {Now it's drawn.} Nb2 48. Bxc5 Nxc4 49. Ke4 Ke6 50. Kd4 Nd6 51. Bb4 Nb7 52. Ba3 Kd7 53. Kc4 Kc7 54. Bb4 Kb6 55. Be7 Kc7 56. Bb4 Kb6 57. Be7 Ka5 58. Kb3 c5 59. Kc4 Kxa4 60. Bxc5 1/2-1/2

While Tomashevsky's chances to compete for qualification in this year's cycle are pretty much gone (he only scored 3 GP points in Sharjah), he can still play for pride. Tomorrow, Evgeny has White against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, who appears to be a bit vulnerable in this tournament. Maxime had a tough time defending with black against Grischuk and Ding, can he do it again?

Another intriguing match-up tomorrow is Grischuk-Nakamura. It is not only making their own way forward, it's also sinking of the opposition is what at stake. There's a great history of uncompromising battles between the two, so they'd better not disappoint!

After a period of sizzling games, most are now fizzling. Will the audience be treated to some bold moves tomorrow?

Svidler-Mamedyarov and Radjabov-Gelfand. In these two games I can see the veterans giving it a ride, but I think the players from Azerbaijan are going to be very solid tomorrow.

This report wouldn't be complete if I failed to mention Hou Yifan's gritty win today against John-Ludwig Hammer. How was it possible to break through that fortress? See for yourself.

Hou Yifan vs Jon Hammer (annotated by Alex Yermolinsky)

[Event "FIDE Moscow Grand Prix 2017"] [Site "Moscow"] [Date "2017.05.19"] [Round "7"] [White "Hou, Yifan"] [Black "Hammer, Jon Ludvig"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E05"] [WhiteElo "2652"] [BlackElo "2621"] [Annotator "Alex Yermolinsky"] [PlyCount "159"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] 1. Nf3 d5 2. d4 Nf6 3. c4 e6 4. g3 Be7 5. Bg2 O-O 6. O-O dxc4 7. Qa4 a6 8. Qxc4 b5 9. Qc2 Bb7 10. Bd2 Be4 11. Qc1 c6 12. Rd1 Nbd7 13. Nc3 Bg6 14. a3 c5 15. Be3 Qc7 16. Ne5 cxd4 17. Nxg6 hxg6 18. Bxa8 dxe3 19. Nd5 exf2+ 20. Kf1 Qc5 21. b4 Qxc1 22. Nxe7+ Kh7 23. Raxc1 Rxa8 24. Kxf2 a5 25. Rd4 g5 26. h4 g4 27. Rc8 Ra6 28. Rc7 axb4 29. axb4 Ne5 30. Rc5 Nc4 31. Rxb5 Nd6 32. Ra5 Rb6 33. Kg2 g6 34. Rc5 Nb5 35. Rdc4 Kg7 36. Nc8 Rb8 37. Rc6 Na3 38. Rc3 Nb5 39. R3c4 Na3 40. Rc3 Nb5 41. Rc1 Nd5 42. Kf2 Na3 43. Ra1 Nb5 44. Rc5 f5 45. Kf1 Kf6 46. Ra6 Nbc7 47. Rac6 Rxc8 48. Rxd5 Nxd5 49. Rxc8 Nxb4 50. Kf2 Nd5 51. Ke1 Ne3 52. Rb8 Ke5 53. Rb5+ Kf6 54. Rb3 Nc4 $1 (54... Nd5 {isn't that reliable, as White can prepare e2-e4!} 55. Kd2 Ke5 56. Kd3 Nf6 57. Rb5+ Nd5 58. Ra5 Kf6 59. e4 Ne7 60. e5+ Kf7 61. Ra7 Kf8 62. Rc7 Nd5 63. Rb7 Ne7 64. Kd4 Nc6+ 65. Kc5 Nxe5 66. Kd6 Nf7+ 67. Kd7 {and winning.}) 55. Rb4 Nd6 56. Kd2 Ke5 57. Kd3 Kd5 58. Ra4 Ke5 59. Ra5+ Kf6 60. Kd4 Ne4 61. Ra3 Nf2 62. Rb3 Ne4 63. Re3 Nd2 64. Rd3 Nf1 $5 {[#] A fancy attempt.} (64... Ne4 {was rock solid.}) 65. Ra3 ({ Pull out, it's a TRAP!!!} 65. e4 $2 f4 $1 {and BLACK WINS!}) 65... f4 $4 {Fool's errand!} (65... Nd2) 66. gxf4 Kf5 (66... g3 67. Ra5 $1 { heading to g5 is what Hammer must have missed.}) 67. Ra1 $1 Nd2 (67... Ng3 68. e3 Nh5 69. Ra5+ Kf6 70. Rg5 g3 71. Ke4 Kf7 72. Ke5 {is a deadly Zugzwang.}) 68. Kd3 Nb3 69. Rb1 Nc5+ 70. Ke3 e5 71. Rb5 Nd7 72. fxe5 Nf8 73. e6+ Kf6 74. Kf4 Nxe6+ 75. Kxg4 Nd4 76. Rb6+ Kf7 77. e4 Kg7 78. e5 Kf7 79. Rf6+ Kg7 80. Kg5 1-0

Links

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Yermo is enjoying his fifties. Lives in South Dakota, 600 miles way from the nearest grandmaster. Between his chess work online he plays snooker and spends time outdoors - happy as a clam.
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Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 5/20/2017 02:56
Alex Yermolinsky's reports and annotations are as interesting as ever ! I think I musn't be the only one to be very pleased each time I see his name at the top of a ChessBase article !!
drcloak drcloak 5/20/2017 03:59
Oh look, Mamedyarov's rating has dropped below 2800; lol @ the premature celebrations.
Masquer Masquer 5/20/2017 07:51
"Isn't it remarkable that the top 10 players in this list haven't lost a single game in seven rounds of play? Apparently, being cautious pays off. As for risk-takers, ask Nepo how it's working out for him in Moscow."

Well, well, well... if only they had adopted the 3 pts for a win / 1 pt for a draw Bilbao scoring system, Nepo could be riding high now, and being cautious would not be paying off as much for the others. The whole mess is the result of a poorly thought out scoring system where risk takers are punished, and the CB writer has chosen to ignore the proverbial elephant in the middle of the room.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 5/20/2017 07:53
@ drcloak :

"Oh look, Mamedyarov's rating has dropped below 2800; lol @ the premature celebrations."

Quite sufficient (VERY probably...) to beat you soundly ! (...and, by the way, me too !...)
drcloak drcloak 5/20/2017 07:57
@Petrarlsen

There is no way Mamedyarov can beat me. I utilize multiple engines that are rated 3250+ inside the bathroom stalls during tournament play. Cash me outside.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 5/20/2017 08:13
@ drcloak :

"There is no way Mamedyarov can beat me. I utilize multiple engines that are rated 3250+ inside the bathroom stalls during tournament play. Cash me outside." Quite a good point !!! Poor Mamedyarov !!!
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 5/20/2017 08:15
@ Masquer :

"(...) if only they had adopted the 3 pts for a win / 1 pt for a draw Bilbao scoring system, Nepo could be riding high now, and being cautious would not be paying off as much for the others. (...)" And one more commentator that ASSUME without PROVING it that the Bilbao scoring system is REALLY efficient for a reduction of the draw percentage...

I remind you that several tournaments have been played with this system, so it is now up to the proponents of this system to prove that it is REALLY useful for such a reduction of the draw percentage.

On these pages : http://en.chessbase.com/newsroom/post/gibraltar-rd05-peace-and-war?page=0, http://en.chessbase.com/post/moscow-grand-prix-r05-six-crowd-the-podium#discuss, and http://en.chessbase.com/post/moscow-grand-prix-r05-six-crowd-the-podium/1#discuss, koko48 tried (in my opinion, completely without success, but anyone can obviously give his own opinion on this point...) to demonstrate that the "3 - 1 scoring system" is REALLY useful, and I (in particular...) answered to his arguments ; can you give us OBJECTIVE arguments in favor of this system ? And - to make it clearer... - I am not particularly an opponent of this scoring system ; I am simply waiting for a REAL demonstration of its usefulness by the proponents of this system (...it seems to stands to reason that, to implement such an important change, it must be REALLY proven that, in PRACTICE and not only THEORETICALLY, this system gives the expected results...).
Trinze Trinze 5/20/2017 08:42
Rooting for Grischuk.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 5/20/2017 08:46
@ drcloak :

"I utilize multiple engines that are rated 3250+ inside the BATHROOOM stalls during tournament play." But beware, if Topalov is participating in the tournament !!!
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 5/20/2017 08:59
As for the "draw question", for the moment, I've only looked at the Giri - Salem, Harikrishna - Tomashevsky, and Hou Yifan - Hammer games, but, in my opinion, they are all three quite interesting.

And, for me, three interesting games in a round is sufficient...
lajosarpad lajosarpad 5/20/2017 10:54
@Masquer

There are a few long discussions going on on Chessbase about this topic and none of them convinced me that the Bilbao system is efficient to reduce the draw rates, or to increase the fighting incentive significantly. While I agree with you on the point that the Bilbao system increases the incentive and thus reduces the probability of a draw, I am not convinced that the amount is significant and I find the Bilbao system philosophically unsound, as it rewards a decisive game with 3 points in total and a drawn game with 2 points in total, which is discriminative against played out draws. While we need to increase the incentive to fight, I think using the Bilbao system is not the right means.

@Petrarlsen

They did not prove it, yet in case of tournaments with high stake, like the GP I would not be surprised if they took more risks under the Bilbao system to have a chance to play at the Candidates Tournament. However, I find this system is philosophically unsound and even if its effectiveness to increase the fighting spirit of the players would be significantly increased, my opinion is that under the Bilbao system the chance of the best players not being at the top of the results would increase as well.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 5/20/2017 11:37
@ lajosarpad :

For the "3 - 1 scoring system", my approach is the following :

Step 1 : Q - Is this system giving the expected results ? (...and this must be proven - in a broad sense...)

Step 2 : Q - Is this system a good system ?

And, for me, if this system doesn't give the expected results, it isn't very useful (even if it can still nonetheless be interesting) to determine if this system is or not a good system...
koko48 koko48 5/20/2017 10:45
@Masquer: "Isn't it remarkable that the top 10 players in this list haven't lost a single game in seven rounds of play? Apparently, being cautious pays off"

Of course it does...and in elite round robins under traditional scoring, a +1 or +2 score is often enough to win the tournament or tie for first...so players can usually stay within striking distance just with draws (no matter how they get them)...and "picking their spots" to play for a win

In swiss tournaments, elite or not, a tie for first often wins nearly as much money as clear first....Whereas a loss in the last round usually knocks you out of the real money....so what is a player who is leading the swiss tournament (or tied for the lead), most likely to do in the last round? Under traditional scoring?

And that speaks to your second point: "The whole mess is the result of a poorly thought out scoring system where risk takers are punished"

There is already plenty of natural centrifugal force leading to draws in chess, just by the nature of the game.... A well played, 'real' chess game on both sides, where both sides are playing for a win, will most likely end in a draw anyway

We don't need to add additional, artificial motivation to draw a chess game, in addition to the natural forces that already exist. We need to counteract that natural force toward draws by motivating and rewarding risk taking

The 1-1/2-0 scoring system rewards purposeful draws, which is why GM draws are so common. The risk-reward equation is skewed toward drawing, rather than risking a zero playing for the full point. If a player can stay in contention and doesn't even have to think, gets an extra rest day on top of it, wouldn't a player rather just collude for a draw?

I don't even blame the players, because the format encourages this. It's often the smarter decision, to just agree to a draw

The Bilbao system adds additional motivation to play for a win....it rewards wins, not draws. It eliminates any and all motivation for GM draws, because scoring all draws will most likely put you closer to the bottom of the standings. As opposed to this tournament and most other elite tournaments, where all draws puts you closer to the top

Bilbao scoring also effectively eliminates the all too common "damp squib" of last round GM draws among the leaders. Anybody who wants to win the tournament (even if they're at the top of the standings) has to play for a win in the last round, not a draw
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 5/20/2017 11:43
About koko48's post on the "3 - 1 scoring system".

All these arguments are quite interesting... apart from a "small" detail : quite obviously, practice has shown that this system doesn't work...

Several tournaments have been played with this system, and, for the moment, no one has been able to demonstrate with objective arguments that this system has a positive effect on draw rate, etc.

I will not go into all this one more time, because I think that, for the moment, all (or nearly all) has been said on this question ; those interested can read previous exchanges on this system on these pages : http://en.chessbase.com/newsroom/post/gibraltar-rd05-peace-and-war?page=0, http://en.chessbase.com/post/moscow-grand-prix-r01, http://en.chessbase.com/post/moscow-grand-prix-r05-six-crowd-the-podium#discuss, and http://en.chessbase.com/post/moscow-grand-prix-r05-six-crowd-the-podium/1#discuss.

It isn't quite sufficient to have an apparently convincing system, if this system doesn't keep his promises in practice...
koko48 koko48 5/21/2017 12:11
"Several tournaments have been played with this system, and, for the moment, no one has been able to demonstrate with objective arguments that this system has a positive effect on draw rate, etc."

Aaand...you still haven't looked at the games

Incidentally, it's not the 'draw rate' that is the main issue here...It's the rate of GM draws, or non-games
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 5/21/2017 12:22
@ koko48 :

- "Aaand...you still haven't looked at the games" : As you know very well, yes, I have "looked at the games", and I am absolutely not convinced by the "positive effect" of this system on the games. But this is not the problem : "look at the games" is a subjective argument that can lead us absolutely nowhere (I say that the games aren't more interesting than normal games, you affirm the opposite, and no-one can prove anything).

No need to go further into all this ; it has been developed exhaustively in our previous discussions on this subject.

- "Incidentally, it's not the 'draw rate' that is the main issue here...". I said : "(...) has a positive effect on draw rate, ETC." And it wasn't my intention to enter into the details of the (supposed) interest of this system (this isn't at all the main problem...).
Aighearach Aighearach 5/21/2017 01:00
Hammer should have listened to what Carlsen said about fortresses! This is what happens when you try to hide from a World Champion behind a fortress. It is not enough.
The_Jeh The_Jeh 5/21/2017 01:10
I agree, the draw rate is not what's important. Rather, it is the number of games that are abandoned early that is the problem. I think people prefer to see moves played, whether or not those moves are apathetic. I personally prefer the rule that you can't offer a draw before move 30 is completed, which, by the way, is the way it was in the very first set of FIDE rules published in 1929.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 5/21/2017 01:28
@ The_Jeh :

"I personally prefer the rule that you can't offer a draw before move 30 is completed (...)"

Personally, I haven't anything either against a 40 moves limit.

At least, the result is more or less automatic : the games are (most of the time, at least...) necessarily longer.
benedictralph benedictralph 5/21/2017 01:38
An agreed upon draw is to the audience what a stalemate or three-move repetition is to the otherwise winning player. The audience, apparently, doesn't matter much. Think about that the next time you complain about lack of sponsorship.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 5/21/2017 01:51
@ benedictralph :

A 40 moves draw limit suits me quite well, so I don't think that I disagree with you.

But there is something I don't really understand in your reasoning ; you say : "The audience, apparently, doesn't matter much. Think about that the next time you complain about lack of sponsorship." If this is not a problem for the audience, why would it be for the sponsor ? The sponsor's "value for money" comes from the audience, isn't it ?? So it would seems logical that if all is good for the audience, all must be good also for the sponsor ?
benedictralph benedictralph 5/21/2017 02:28
@Petrarlsen

"The audience, apparently, doesn't matter much" = sarcasm

Of course, I agree an "inevitable" draw starting around 40 moves or so should be acceptable in most cases. The trouble is, players these days are so concerned about their ratings a quick draw is often the safest option. If only there was a rating system where players could only gain and never lose points.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 5/21/2017 03:38
@ benedictralph : In fact, I simply read much too quickly your post, and understood it - I don't know why... - completely upside down !
lajosarpad lajosarpad 5/21/2017 08:35
@Petrarlsen

In this case I do not really agree with your approach. The possible expected/unexpected results might be given by something else than the system as well. And the system might be very good even if it was proposed for the wrong reason. While I agree that both questions are perfectly valid, I think we should not use a dependency relation between the two. Whether the system yields the expected results is a question which addresses its impact on sporting, entertainment of chess tournaments. Whether the system is a good system is a question addressing fairness to the players, accuracy for tournament results. You are right that so far the expected results of the Bilbao system were not shown, but even if they are shown by someone over the level of "look at the games", I think it will not affect the level of correctness of the system. And since the system values a drawn game 2 in total and a decisive one 3 in total, it is discriminative for draws and the discrimination relies only on results. An extreme example is when a defaulting game is rewarded by 3 points, while a draw fought for many hours is rewarded by 2 points, distributed among the players. How is the decisive game more valuable in this case, justifying that it is worth 150% the draw. This is the kind of question the supporters of the Bilbao system should answer when we are debating the fairness of the system.

Practice has not yet shown that the system does not work, however, proponents failed to show it works.

@Koko48

"The 1-1/2-0 scoring system rewards purposeful draws, which is why GM draws are so common. The risk-reward equation is skewed toward drawing, rather than risking a zero playing for the full point. If a player can stay in contention and doesn't even have to think, gets an extra rest day on top of it, wouldn't a player rather just collude for a draw? "

Purposeful draws are rewarded if they are part of a sound tournament strategy, involving wins. When both the players want to draw in a given round to support their tournament strategy, then they will do so. The Bilbao system tries to prevent strategies involving draws, but punishes draws in general. And since it is discriminative, it can be easily hacked. Players A, B and C can agree to have a result of A beats B beats C beats A among themselves, to overcome the players playing real games. In double round-robins even two players can form such a clique.

And looking at the games you choose is cherry picking and is a fallacy. If you say this system works in practice, show us the statistics. But do not provide us comparisons between different formats of the games again, please.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 5/21/2017 09:37
@ lajosarpad :

What I mean is this : The proponents of the "3 - 1 scoring system" try to "sell" us this system for one and only one reason : that it would be useful to solve what they consider as being a very serious "draw problem" in chess. Absolutely no other reason is ever evoked in favor of this system. So, for me, the logical conclusion is that if the only reason to prefer this system to the normal system doesn't in fact exist, there is absolutely no reason to choose this system.

To take a comparison : if someone try to sell me a car, and it turns out that this car cannot move at all and for good, even if the seats are very confortable, the color schemes of the car's interior splendid, if the car is really magnificient, etc., I will not even think of buying this car, because what I want is a vehicule that will allow me to go from one place to another, and if it cannot move, it hasn't any interest for me.

For me, it is the same thing for the "3 - 1 scoring system" : if it isn't useful in connection to the "draw element" in chess, it doesn't seems to have the slightest interest.

This is the reason why I consider that a proof that this system does indeed tend to have a positive effect on the "draw theme", is a prerequisite. Indeed, otherwise, this system would, on the one hand, represent an important change, and, on the other hand, it wouldn't have any significant positive effect on chess. So, why would we implement this change ??? And this is why I chose this "two steps approach"...
lajosarpad lajosarpad 5/21/2017 11:24
@Petrarlsen

I agree with you that the reason given by the proponents of the Bilbao system is that it would solve the draw problem. If we accept that there is a draw problem (which is a subjective decision, but let us suppose that we are concerned about the draw problem) then we want to solve it somehow. The proposed solution is the Bilbao system, which, so far was not proven to be a very effective solution. However, the lack of such a proof is not proving the opposite. As a result we are right to be skeptical that the problem is solved in lack of a proof, but we cannot factually state that the system is not a solution unless we prove that. And in this case the proponents of the Bilbao system are right to be skeptical about our statement until we present our proof, so I would avoid stating that it is not working. I state that it was not shown to be working, therefore I do not see the objective reason as of why should I believe it.

"All these arguments are quite interesting... apart from a "small" detail : quite obviously, practice has shown that this system doesn't work... "

So far practice did not show anything we can rely on. We already discussed that we agree that the sample is very small so far in order to provide the means of any reliable statistical result. So practice did not disprove the theory of the proponents of the Bilbao system, but it failed to prove it as well so far. Since the burden of proof is on them, it is they who must come up with the proofs to convince us, skeptikals. So I disagree with you when you say that practice has shown this system does not work.

I also disagree with your described approach, as even though it is true that this sole reason was provided by the proponents, there might be valid reasons omitted by them, so it makes sense to see whether the system would be fair in case it is introduced in the case the system proves to be effective, or, the system proves to be fairer, more correct than the current one.

"So, why would we implement this change ???"
Absolutely valid question and I agree with you that there was no valid reason so far given. However, I did not advocate implementing the system, but rather the need to have a knowledge about its fairness and accuracy, because if it is not correct or not accurate, then these are very powerful arguments against its implementation even if someone comes out with an unspeculative objective proof or very good, very strong arguments to show us that the Bilbao system works. If we lack this knowledge and someone comes up with good statistics supporting the system, then we will not be ready to discuss the other aspects of introducing this system. So I do not share your view that the effectiveness of the original purpose is a perequisite of thinking about other critical aspects of it. While I understand your approach and respect it and do not think that you should change it, I still think that its fairness and accuracy must be analyzed.
drcloak drcloak 5/21/2017 12:27
@lajosarpad & Petrarlsen

If you compiled all of your work, ideas, theories and debates from these huge comments, it would be enough to warrant a manuscript or small encyclopedic volume. The funny thing is, none of it will ever come to fruition or be implemented into practical reality.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 5/21/2017 05:04
@ lajosarpad : I haven't time to think about your answer for the moment... (and even less to answer you !).

Normally, I think that I will have time enough tomorrow (perhaps also before, but this isn't very probable...).
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 5/21/2017 06:00
@ drcloak :

Most theoretical reflexions are never implemented in reality... and this hasn't ever stopped anyone from thinking ! (...and debating...)

But, nonetheless, generally speaking, as ChessBase is one of the biggest chess websites, I suppose it is possible that debates, for example on the World Championship format or on the "3 - 1 scoring system", can be followed by organizers, etc., and can participate to fuel there own reflexion on these matters. I don't think that the "chess world" is sufficiently large to completly exclude this possibility...
drcloak drcloak 5/21/2017 06:32
@Petrarlsen

As history has demonstrated, the heavens must part, the stars must align and a dazzling miracle of wondrous strength must shine upon the corrupt officials of FIDE for a rule to be changed or implemented.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 5/21/2017 10:48
@ drcloak :

For FIDE, I must say I rather agree... But there are also privately organized tournaments...
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 5/23/2017 08:58
@ lajosarpad :

I think that part of your disagreement with me on this page comes from the fact that I didn't wanted to begin a new lengthy discussion with koko48 (it would be useless : all has been said, for the moment, on this "3 - 1 scoring system" subject), and, so, what I wrote was deliberately simplified to the extreme, thinking that if someone was really interested in this subject, he would anyway read the previous exchanges (following the given links) on this subject, where he would find all the necessary elements to be able to form his own opinion on this subject.

- "(...) we cannot factually state that the system is not a solution unless we prove that." I didn't precise my thought, but my idea was that it cannot be considered as a solution until someone has proven that it is one.

- "So I disagree with you when you say that practice has shown this system does not work."

Same thing ; I wanted to "keep it simple", knowing that all the details where in the pages given in the links. But, indeed, I agree that, if we want to be really precise, practice has not definitely shown that this system cannot work.

But what is clear, in my opinion, is : 1) Several tournaments have been played with this system, and no clear change on the "draw front" has appeared in these tournaments (and if a very small progress did appear, it would not at all, in my opinion, justify such an important change). 2) This system has been discussed in lengths on ChessBase, and as ChessBase is probably the biggest chess website, I think that, very probably, if it was possible to demonstrate convincingly that this system was really useful, one of its proponents would have demonstrated it.

So I think nonetheless that it is MUCH more probable that this system doesn't work at all than the opposite...

- "I also disagree with your described approach, as even though it is true that this sole reason was provided by the proponents, there might be valid reasons omitted by them (...)" My personal reasoning is that, yes, it is theoretically possible that this system could be interesting independently of the "draw theme", but this could be true of many possible systems, so, to really interest myself in this system, I want strong arguments that show that the announced advantages really exist.

- "If we lack this knowledge and someone comes up with good statistics supporting the system, then we will not be ready to discuss the other aspects of introducing this system." This is quite true, but, as for me, I am not much interested in using much time in discussing a system, if no clear arguments on the usefulness of this system has been given to me. (There is, in my opinion, only one clear argument in favor of the "3 - 1 scoring system", and it is about the "draw theme", the "only" problem being that this argument is so far a completely unproven arguement...) So, I prefer a "wait and see" approach ; if, one day, someone does prove that this system really changes things significantly about the "draw theme", I will evaluate the arguments for and against this system.

- "(...) I still think that its fairness and accuracy must be analyzed."

It is objectively quite a good thing to do an exhaustive study of this system now (and slightly better than to wait...), but I nonetheless think that this is essentially a question of taste : I don't think that it would be a "catastrophe" either, if everyone waited, to evaluate all the aspects of the "3 - 1 scoring system", until convincing arguments have being given about its usefulness about the "draw theme"...
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