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Alexander Grischuk vs Viswanathan Anand
Linares (2009), Linares ESP, rd 13, Mar-06
Sicilian Defense: Najdorf Variation. Poisoned Pawn Accepted (B97)  ·  1/2-1/2


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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 25 OF 25 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Premium Chessgames Member
  acirce: <Hesam7> That's true, but you can make it harder for him to do it than others would. That is, the probability that he will win becomes lower because of your skills. So, a mediocre defender might give his opponent a 75% chance of winning a won position, but a great defender might give him 40%. Then the mediocre defender is going to save roughly 25% of his lost games and the great defender 60%. But that is not luck as I see it as they are both going to score according to the probabilities that they themselves have created. If it is according to you we simply differ in our definitions and that's that. I just personally think it's odd to take your defensive skills into account when talking about luck. And I don't think you'd seriously argue that defensive skills are irrelevant once your position is objectively lost, just because you'd lose 100% of the times against God. It is still possible to make his task more or less hard in practical play against a human.

It's also relevant how your playing style affects the <nature> of your lost positions. A complicated position like this one is harder to win than a simpler position - let's say being just two clear pawns up.

Mar-06-09  OneArmedScissor: this is such a dumb discussion... christ.
Premium Chessgames Member
  acirce: And I don't know if my figures are realistic, but that's also not the point..
Mar-06-09  VaselineTopLove: <Don't know how serious you are but no player is luckier than others in the long run.>

<Luck is distributed randomly per definition.>

If luck were distributed randomly, then it means it would favor some players over others, and not everyone would get lucky, i.e. luck is not evenly distributed, if it is randomly distributed at the same time.

Mar-06-09  VaselineTopLove: Anand won this game psychologically speaking, and Grischuk lost it psychologically.
Premium Chessgames Member
  acirce: <VaselineTopalove> Yes it would be basically evenly distributed in the <long run>. It's called the law of large numbers. Of course you can get terribly lucky in individual games or even clearly more lucky than others over the course of a whole tournament, but for much longer than that, very unlikely. I guess you can argue that it's possible to be significantly more lucky than others if you happen to get extremely lucky in a few games with much higher relevance than the vast majority of other games -- for example Kramnik in game 2 of Elista. Even so, I don't know about it.
Mar-06-09  arnaud1959: Someone who sees chess just as one of strategical games would laugh after seing those comments. Imagine, the poker wc plays with randomly distributed cards but wins because he's the best. The backgammon wc rolls dices but wins because he's the best. The chess wc wins because he's the luckiest!
Mar-06-09  blacksburg: <Imagine, the poker wc plays with randomly distributed cards but wins because he's the best. The backgammon wc rolls dices but wins because he's the best. The chess wc wins because he's the luckiest!>

all you guys with your silly numbers should read this again. :)

Mar-06-09  himadri:
Mar-06-09  you vs yourself: The word "luck" usually is tossed around when a player makes a mistake in a won position or a bad blunder in a drawn position.

If we agree that GMs are humans who make mistakes and have no problem when they err in worse positions, why are we so shocked when a GM makes a mistake in a won position under time trouble? When his position is better, he's supposed to start playing perfectly? If the opponent with the lost position starts playing better moves on average, sometimes won positions won't be won.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: I've noticed that commentaries in several sites point to Grischuk's <20.Bd3> (instead of Rg3+ or Qh6) as the novelty; but actually (as was already pointed out in the kibitzing during the game) it's already been played, though possibly neither of the players were aware of it:

<20.Bd3 f5 21.Qh6 Rf7! 22.Rg3+ Kh8 23.Ng5 Bxg5(?) 24.Qxg5 Rg7 25.Qf6 Qa3 26.Rxg7 Rxg7 27.Bxf5? (27.Bxa6! wins) 27...Qe3+ 28.Kh1 Bd7 29.Qf8+ Rg8 30.Qf6+ Rg7 1/2-1/2 Caceres Cortes-Alvarez Gonzalo, Mexico City 2006> (

[Instead of 23...Bxg5, Chessok's Rybka suggests 23....Rg7 as drawing: 24.Nxh7 Rxh7 25.Qg6 Rd8 26.Bxf5!! Bc5+ (26...Rxd1+? 27.Kf2 Bc5+ 28.Ke2 Qc4+ 29.Bd3 Rd2+ 30.Kxd2 Qf4+ 31.Kd1) 27.Kf1 Qc4+ 28.Rdd3 Qf4+ 29.Rgf3 Qc1+ 30.Ke2 Qxc2+ 31.Kf1 Qb1+ 32.Ke2 Qc2+ etc.]

So the new move was actually Anand's <21...Kh8?> which should have led to his loss.

Mar-06-09  melianis: Not a home prep, I guess.
Mar-07-09  Some call me Tim: On move 19 Anand deviated from Andersson-Poussen corr. 1992 which went 19...Kh8 20.Rg3 Rd7 21.Qh6 Rf7 22.Qh5 Rxd1+ 23.Bxd1 Qa5 24.Kf1 Qd8 25.Qxf7 Qxd1+ 26.Kf2 Qxc2+ 27.Ke3 Bc5+ and the game was shortly drawn.
Mar-07-09  shahjinan: <above discussion>...seems like many of you taking Probability classes:P
Mar-07-09  MarvinTsai: <Hesam7: My argument would be that once you get a lost position it is up to your opponent not to win it. In other words you need your opponent to err. Basically my claim is that Anand's opponents make more mistakes than average.>

I don't think that would been your argument. See what you said in previous post:

<Hesam7: I am serious. As sample just go back and look at Linares 2007, 2008 and now 2009. The number of lost positions where he does not lose in the end are just too many.

And why would it even out in the long run??>

You were using samples in memory to judge Anand's luck and got no clue about <acirce>'s argument at that moment.

And if you'd already knew why Anand usually wins his games like this, you would not have called that "luck".

And I think it's a good thing people learn something from this forum, even if they don't admit it.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: <extremeintellect: Dennis Monokroussos on The Chess Mind has in past termed Anand as probably the best defender alive. Others have termed Anand as Houdini with black pieces. It could be more than luck perhaps>

Indeed - as Grischuk himself notes in the post-game interview (, Anand really made just one mistake in this game - 21...Kh8, and after that defended perfectly, which made it very tough to convert the advantage against him. And like most of the "lost" positions which Anand manages to hold, it was still very complex and double-edged (certainly compared with the position in which Carlsen threw away the win against Radjabov, for exmple), at least if you judge by human standards rather than those of Rybkaland.

Mar-07-09  Hesam7: <MarvinTsai> Sorry I dont get your point.
Mar-07-09  crwynn: <arnaud1959: Someone who sees chess just as one of strategical games would laugh after seing those comments. Imagine, the poker wc plays with randomly distributed cards but wins because he's the best. The backgammon wc rolls dices but wins because he's the best. The chess wc wins because he's the luckiest!>

But the best player in a poker tournament frequently doesn't make it to the final table. Even if he won the wc the year before.

In chess a player certainly gets lucky or unlucky sometimes, the problem here is, where is the evidence that saving a lost position has any particular connection with "luck"? To the extent that chance plays a role in chess - players making oversights that they usually wouldn't, for no obvious external cause, is the primary example - I don't see that this is mainly evident in games where somebody draws a lost position. Those are not the only kind of game with errors that change the outcome.

Premium Chessgames Member
  alexmagnus: In a <single game>,luck often decides. Reason: one may make 10 mistakes, the opponent only 1 mistake - but one wins (though played worse). Mistaekes are not equal in chess. Technically speaking, a move which loses a pawn and a move which on the same depth leads to a (counter-)mate are two equally bad mistakes. But the first one doesn't lose immediately, the second one does. <That> is luck. Mistaekes themselves cannot be attribted to luck - but <which> mistake happens, is an element of luck.

Mar-08-09  chessman95: "The only thing we have to fear, is luck itself!" -- Franklin D. Roosevelt*

*Revised (slightly)

Premium Chessgames Member
  hedgeh0g: My dad is better than your dad.
May-30-18  Howard: Why on earth has this game drawn so much attention, to the tune of 24 pages ?!
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: Because AJ Goldsby claimed both players used engine help.
Premium Chessgames Member
  moronovich: <May-30-18

<Howard: Why on earth has this game drawn so much attention, to the tune of 24 pages ?!>

A live broadcast.

Jun-02-18  Howard: Are you serious ? If so, where did you read that ?
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