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Vladimir Kramnik vs Viswanathan Anand
16th Amber Tournament (Blindfold) (2007), Monaco, rd 4, Mar-20
Nimzo-Indian Defense: Three Knights Variation (E20)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  acirce: Blindfold is such a farce sometimes. I really wonder what the point is. In the BEST of cases you get games that are almost as good as they could have been. Even that is rare, and many of the games are rather "oh, this was pretty good.... for blindfold, that is." And then you get some games that makes you think you're on a circus.

Speeding up time controls at least has a purpose. I really don't get the point of unnecessarily weakening the quality of the games up to the point of the embarrassing.

Mar-20-07  chessmoron: Move over Morozevich...the God of Blindfold is Kramnik.

Mar-20-07  petrovalovski: <acirce> I don't quite agree with you there. I think it can be quite fun for the fans, most of which usually don't understand the top-grandmaster games, to be able to understand what the games are about. And besides, playing a few rather silly games doesn't take anything away from the top players. We still now they can play some decent moves if given sufficient time in classical games.
Mar-20-07  aragorn69: What a pity! A masterful positional game by Kramnik (who would have said that the bishop pair is more than sufficient compensation for the pawn structure, at move 13 for instance - you have to be a master to see that) ruined by two manifest blunders (due to not seeing the board, no doubt).
Premium Chessgames Member
  acirce: How do fans suddenly "understand what the games are about" just because they are of lower quality and marred by horrible blunders? But <aragorn69> is of course right that we shouldn't let Anand's blunders divert attention from an otherwise nice game up to that point. So I was a little unfair in that regard.
Mar-20-07  mynameisrandy: <And then you get some games that makes you think you're on a circus>

Now you're getting it!

Mar-20-07  artemis: acirce: I have to disagree with you strongly there. I play better blindfolded than I do in rapid play. This is due to my ability to visualize the board and get very focused on the exact position. First of all, it is a very good training program. When you are at the board in classical chess, you may desire the ability to see far ahead, which is most harshly punished if you try to play blindfolded. Secondly, you mention that speeding up the time controls has a purpose. What purpose? to make it easier to follow for spectators? if this is so, consider the fact that in blindfold games, the time limit will also provide this effect, as it would be incredibly difficult on a person's mind to try to keep track of the game for 6 hours. If you did not mean that it is less boring for spectators, than I would presume that there you are either suggesting that it is good for practising in time trouble, or in getting a general feel for the game. Blindfold excersizes one's visualization techniques as mentioned above, so I wont bore you with redundancy here. As for the point about the quality of the games, well Anand's blunders here are incredible. But what about mistakes in a blitz game that might be made right before the flag is to fall? are these blunders more acceptable than forgetting where a piece is in your calculation?

Finally, in regard to the comment that the games are "pretty good... for blindfold that is." I have seen the same thing applied to blitz and rapid play. I think that Anand just had a truly horrific day today. May he suffer from a very localized amnesia and forget this game, or work hard to eliminate these types of mistakes from his blindfold play.

That said, it is interesting how Kasparov almost never published analysis of his rapid or blitz games. He understood that deep analysis of these games would not show him more about his game, since he did not have the time to give them a true effort (Who does in blitz?). IF your point is that short time controls, or blindfold does not produce chess that is as aesthetically pleasing I will support you fully. But if you merely wish to point your finger at bindfold chess, than I must disagree.

Mar-20-07  micartouse: <Blindfold is such a farce sometimes. I really wonder what the point is.> Easy - because it's fun. No other reason need apply.

Not everything is about quality. For instance, advanced chess is ultra high quality but so boring that it's absurd.

Mar-20-07  samikd: LOL ! :)

what a funny game

Mar-20-07  Hot Logic: I think often my own blindfold play can be better than my normal 'slow' play simply because I am motivated to pay more attention to my moves (and especially my opponent's!) and make less awful blunders. The big downside for me is that tactical calculations can be harder without sight of the board but I haven't been disadvantaged by that so far.

I'm personally amazed by Anand losing track of where the pieces are and am given to suspect that staring at a blank board instead of having the game in your head might have something to do with it.

Mar-21-07  Atking: Well, even without mistake (As in his game against Radjabov), Kramnik was clearly better and could put pressure on his opponent for a long time.
Mar-21-07  hitman84: Its difficult to say at which point things went wrong but just before the point where it did go wrong, these might have occurred...

1)Anand didn't have enough time to go over the game from the beginning and arrive at the current position. This is like refreshing/flushing your brain cluttered with too many visualized positions.

2)In one of the calculated variations white ♖ was on f2 and he didn't reconstruct the current position correctly by leaving the ♖ on f2 itself.

I'm speculating here, there may be other reasons.

Mar-21-07  hitman84:

<Rules for the blindfold games

1. Play will be governed by the FIDE Laws of Chess, except where they are overridden by the following rules.

2. Players are not allowed to record the moves.

3. At the start of the game each player has twenty-five minutes on his clock. Before a player makes his move twenty seconds will be added to his remaining time.

4. The computer clock marks the end of the time-control period.

5. The monitor will show the players when the same position has appeared on the board three times or that the "50 moves rule" can be applied. In this case either player has the right to claim a draw.

6. If a player makes an illegal move, the monitor will display the message: "Illegal move, make another move". In this case there is no need for additional action by the player.

7. If a player needs the assistance of the arbiter, he may call the arbiter. The arbiter will in this case interrupt the game; interrupting of the game takes about 5 seconds. In this situation the players may not leave the playing area of the playing hall and may not watch the position on the monitors.

8. Players, who leave the playing area without permission of the arbiter, will lose the game immediately.


Are the same rules being followed in this edition ?
What about the last move shown to the players ?

Premium Chessgames Member
  acirce: <artemis> I actually agree that blindfold can be good training. My point was that here we have some of the world's greatest players, and for some reason that to me looks just senseless, they are being made to play (far) below their capabilities. Just allow them to see the pieces and we will see a lot of great games. Now it is "wow, pretty good for blindfold, and apart from that bizarre blunder." Such a waste.

<you mention that speeding up the time controls has a purpose. What purpose? to make it easier to follow for spectators? if this is so, consider the fact that in blindfold games, the time limit will also provide this effect, as it would be incredibly difficult on a person's mind to try to keep track of the game for 6 hours.>

Yeah, but I didn't get this argument. It was exactly the blindfold part I was questioning.

Anyway, this was my point, whether you agree or not. It was not criticizing every form of blindfold play, since I agree that it can be good for training purposes. Btw, I don't doubt you when you say you play better blindfold, but it has to be pretty rare!

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: I tend not to follow blindfold or rapid chess for the reasons acirce states (although there have been some incredible rapid games played over the years).

Still, it must be nice for the players to have one event per year in which they compete for relatively high prizes under conditions of relatively low stress.

If I were king I would organize a tournament with players at varying levels with lots of game prizes (in other words, a tournament like those in fashion a hundred years ago -- like Hastings 1895 or London 1922). I think it would be enjoyable for spectators and for the players too.

Mar-22-07  nimzo knight: <acirce> Some players report playing better blindfold, or when they have just have moves written in front of them but not the pieces on board. One reason for this is following: the sight of pieces on board can confuse while calculating deeper variations. For you might assume for a second that a particular piece was on its original square while it actually moved in earlier moves of the variation. Of course this is heard mostly from amateur players.
Mar-22-07  artemis: nimzoknight: This is the sort of thing that happens to me all of the time (but not in rapid play or blitz. In those games, I try to keep my play less spectacular and more controlled). I actually will look away from the board if I need to do a deep calculation.

Acirce: I think it would be interesting to know if there was some commotion or unexpected stop of play at this point. If that was the case, then the interruption could have thrown off Anand, because blindfold or not, this is a gross error. (Also, could there have been a manual mistake in moveing the piece on the computer board?). As chess purist, I prefer classical time controls and nothing else, but these sort of games are great ways to promote chess because they are so incredible. I did a two board blindfold simul and a lot of people stopped and played games on the side, while I was doing this (or so I was told!). Again, from a chess purist's point of view, I agree with you whole-heartedly, but blindfold, rapid and blitz all have their place, and as long as they are played there will be competitions.

Mar-23-07  timhortons: never seen anand made such mistake, he gave away all his pieces
Mar-23-07  Marvol: <<artemis> Also, could there have been a manual mistake in moveing the piece on the computer board?>

Unlikely, as Anand gave away his bishop quite purposefully the move before. He was positive there was a white rook on f2.

Mar-23-07  Timex: I think he was thought he saw a stalemate or something, or is Anand tired from an amazing performance at Linares.
Apr-01-07  Chess Carnival: Its very difficult to imagine a variation where the rook goes to f2. But who knows what in a GM's mind?
May-02-07  Ragh: An explanation from Anand himself about this rather bizzare blunder in this game.

<If you are not fresh or not feel 100%, blindfold is the most punishing format. I just started playing badly in the blindfold. I understood quite early in the event that my blindfold is going to turn out quite bad. In the game against Vlady (Kramnik), I forgot where his rook was. I played rook takes f2, thinking his rook was on f2. Because, in all the calculation I made I was not able to figure out where his rook was. Rf2 was a clear blunder. I lost my rook and the game. >

May-13-07  Hot Logic: Long time controls in blindfold are MUCH better than short ones. As for the 'strain' of keeping track of a position for six hours I would have to say that a position will be stamped inside your brain if you keep thinking about it. The real 'work' is of course calculating and evaluating variations, much the same as a 'real' game.

Still can't believe Anand lost track of the pieces though, he must have been really tired.

Dec-19-07  VaselineTopLove: Blindfold lets you view beautiful combinations being played out because some one has erred, which you otherwise might not have been able to see if both sides had played perfectly.
Nov-18-10  Tigranny: What was Anand thinking - giving away a bishop and rook? It must've been hard to play being blindfolded.
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