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Magnus Carlsen vs Vladimir Kramnik
"Drawing Conclusions" (game of the day Jan-29-2010)
Tal Memorial (2009), Moscow RUS, rd 1, Nov-04
Nimzo-Indian Defense: Classical Variation (E32)  ·  1/2-1/2


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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: Superb game, btw. But Kramnik's comments lift it onto another plane. He'll write a great book someday.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: Commentary on the game by Glazer:
Jan-29-10  Everett: <domdaniel> No, you're mistaken about Karpov. In a drawn position he would take a draw, but he was well known for playing for a win after hours of being on the defensive. Once the pressure was let up, it was often as if he wasn't ever under any pressure at all.

In fact, this showed up in match play as well. It is this resiliency throughout his matches, particularly after a loss, that made Karpov so difficult to beat.

Jan-29-10  WhiteRook48: Kramnik: drawing material
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: <Everett> I agree, actually. Karpov was a much better tactician than people realize. He wasn't lazy in the way both Capablanca and Petrosian sometimes were.

But he *was* willing to take short draws with black, if he respected the opponent sufficiently. That wasn't very many people, admittedly.

His 1974 candidates final with Korchnoi was the first match book I ever really studied, and both players hugely impressed me. But Karpov did seem to tire near the end, losing a long game and a miniature, before rallying - a pattern he later repeated.

This -- < he was well known for playing for a win after hours of being on the defensive. Once the pressure was let up, it was often as if he wasn't ever under any pressure at all.> -- is a familiar bounce-back effect, where the player who has been attacking loses the thread. Karpov played to win such games because he could see that he already had an advantage.

Premium Chessgames Member
  veigaman: <Karpov was a much better tactician than people realize> agree and i would say that petrosian was a good tactician as well.
Premium Chessgames Member
  acirce: <But he *was* willing to take short draws with black, if he respected the opponent sufficiently. That wasn't very many people, admittedly.>

Agreed, Karpov obviously played his share of short draws. These are those contained in this database that are in 20 moves or less and with Karpov as Black alone:

14.4% of all his Black games. Similar figures based on this database for some other players, while knowing that for lots of reasons it's senseless to compare directly: Kramnik 11.9%, Lékó 7.2%, Kasparov 6.7%, Fischer 2.5%.

Incidentally, I ran into Anand vs Karpov, 1997 the other day, researching Anand's tournament record. Karpov being 0.5 points behind Anand agreed to an 11-move draw against him in the last round instead of fighting for tournament victory. I'm sure <this> kind of short draw was never representative of his fighting spirit at his peak, it was just curious. But then again, who doesn't respect Anand..

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: The opposite color bishops were a signal for a draw. Black tried to avoid the impasse by sac-ing rook for bishop but couldn't escape the rook checks.

I like it when the pun fits the game,it's harder to do than a pun on names or location.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: ps-an example of the latter would have been "Kramming for the finals"...
Jan-30-10  Everett: Good points <domdaniel> and <acirce>.

<acirce>, would Karpov be risking 2nd place in that 1997 tournament if he lost as black vs Anand? I ask because he was ever the pragmatist, and it is here where he may depart from Alekhine and Fischer in particular, who I must concede may have acted differently in that situation.

Premium Chessgames Member
  acirce: Gelfand would have caught up, but no more, had he beaten tail-ender Pelletier with White and Karpov lost. (As it is, both drew.)

Game Collection: Biel 1997

Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: <acirce> Karpov is almost 20 years older than Anand ... OK, about 18.5 years, mid-1951 vs Dec '69. Effectively a generation, and I'd guess that 1997 was around the time that the age difference really began to tell. Anand had even taken over AK's role as WC challenger.

Take it from me, age makes a difference. My awe for Korchnoi only increases as I watch my own play decline, taking my rating with it.

I've dropped from 2000 (old 1980s rating) to 1900 (estimated rating given to me on returning to tournaments in 2006) to about 1700 now. As my first-ever rating on the way *up* was 1650, I'm in danger of reaching an all-time low.

*But* - if I could somehow exclude all my last-round games in 6-round weekend swisses, I'd spring back to 2000 on the spot. I've lost 12 out of 14 -- and both wins came in tournaments where I began badly, so was on low boards in later rounds.

I can only conclude it's a kind of mental exhaustion, even if I don't feel tired. My play becomes either listless or erratic: blunders happen, or I try too hard to win unsoundly, etc etc ... all the things I contrive *not* to do too often in earlier rounds. My two last-round wins, btw, were also against opponents *even* older than me.

And I'm only 51. Korchnoi was 44-45 when he *began* to play at World Championship level, and he stayed there for another ten years, and comfortably over 2600 for a long long time after that.

It's an incredible exception. I've spoken to GMs who talk about a noticeable decline from age 35, certainly 40. The 48-year-old Fischer was a sad ghost in 1992.

There are others beside Korchnoi. Smyslov's wonderful candidates run in '83-'84, with a brilliant win against Ribli thrown in. Botvinnik, certainly in rematches, into his mid-fifties. And players from an earlier (unrated) era - Keres, Najdorf, Stĺhlberg, Reshevsky, etc - went on at a high level.

It seems different now. Perhaps more hard work is required, physical as well as mental. But few near the elite level can stay there long after age 40. At best, they become very erratic, like Short.

Feb-02-10  Everett: <domdaniel> great post. Thanks for sharing your experience. At 37, it seems I am fated to play weaker chess before ever becoming strong in the first place.

As for Karpov, from '73-'95 he was the number 1 or 2 player in the world near continuously, with no significant rests or breaks. And then there is his inimitable style, accurate positional pressure with great tactics and glacial patience. Really one of the all-time greats.

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Good points, I think, for you both. Didn't Karpov actaully beat Anand in a qualifying match, in the FIDE WC cycle, when Karpov was in his mid-40s? Then, I think he lost a similar match 3 years later.
Premium Chessgames Member
  acirce: <Didn't Karpov actaully beat Anand in a qualifying match, in the FIDE WC cycle, when Karpov was in his mid-40s?>

No, he was exactly 40 when he beat Anand in the Candidates Quarterfinal in 1991.

Of course there was also the final of the FIDE World Championship in 1998, played between Karpov as the reigning champion and Anand as winner of the Groningen KO - Karpov won in rapid tiebreaks.

Feb-03-10  Everett: Karpov vs Anand 1991 Qualifiers

Game Collection: WCC Index [Karpov-Anand 1991]

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: ok so Karpov did beat Anand, at age 47. A chess powerhouse for many years. Maybe Anand will also age like fine wine? (or good sourmash).
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jim Bartle: Once again, I'd like to point out the conditions of that 1998 Anand-Karpov match.

Anand had just fought his way through a 6- or 7-round knockout tournament, then was given three days to travel to new site (not too far, but still) to play a fresh and rested Karpov.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: <Everett> -- < At 37, it seems I am fated to play weaker chess before ever becoming strong in the first place.> I don't think so. My 'decline' came in my late 40s, after more than 15 years away from all competitive chess. A lot of people have improved radically in their 30s, with the right application.

In fact, I persist in thinking I can still do it myself ...

Feb-04-10  Everett: <Jim Bartle>
Please do not forget that Anand agreed to the terms well in advance.

Also, Karpov had every reason to not do well: rust from not playing, age, clearly not the same player he even was in '95, etc.

Feb-04-10  Petrosianic: <Please do not forget that Anand agreed to the terms well in advance.>

That only means that Anand can't complain. It doesn't mean we can't. We never agreed to it. So if one of us wants to discount Karpov's performance, there's nothing stopping us.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jim Bartle: I understand he accepted the terms. He had the choice of accepting or not playing, and he played. That doesn't change the fact that the conditions were stacked against whichever player won the knockout, and had to play Karpov.
Feb-05-10  Everett: Of course, everyone is entitled to their opinion. Wouldn't have it any other way.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Wasn't much of a surprise to me that the game was drawn.
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: The game went down to the wire.
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