Wednesday 19 March 2014: 15:00 in Khanty-Mansyisk, 14:30 in Chennai, 11:00 in Tel Aviv, 10:00 here in Frankfurt/Main, 09:00 in London, 05:00 in New York, 02:00 in Seattle, and in Honolulu it’s still Tuesday 18 March 23:00! The chess world is waiting for round 6 of the Candidates tournament with the following pairings: Topalov-Kramnik, Anand-Karjakin, Mamedyarov-Svidler and Aronian-Andreikin.
The world is not only waiting for the games, but is also waiting for a simple handshake: On Tuesday, Associale Editor of Chess Magazine John Saunders and “The Week in Chess” editor Mark Crowther had a conversation about this topic: @johnchess: “Pleasant pictures of Kramnik and Aronian chatting amiably after their game. These days it is the chess patzers who feud, not the stars”. @marktwic: “Might be a tad early to make that assertion. Lets wait until tomorrow”. @johnchess: Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof…! @marktwic: Sure but it’s not every day we get Topalov-Kramnik… I hope they just shake hands and get on with it.”
Kramnik and Topalov played in Wijk aan Zee 2007, the year after the infamous “Toiletgate” scandal of the Chess World Championship 2006. If you are interested to read something about this black page in chess history, go to this Wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Chess_Championship_2006.
I was in Wijk aan Zee to cover the Corus Tournament and it was the first game they played after the scandal.I took this picture of the media frenzy:
No handshake in 2007…but a lot of photographers. You might recognize Dirk Jan ten Geuzendam, Bianca Mühren and Fred Lucas.
And in 2014? @chessdom: “No handshake in Topalov – Kramnik. After 1.d4 Kramnik said j’adoube and adjusted the pawn”. Mike Rosa, @DeepMikey editor of the Chess Tigers website: “Kramnik should have surprised Topa by offering the handshake. This would have given him a psychological advantage, imho. 🙂 Mike received a reply from India, @asimpereira: “But then there was always a risk of Topa preparing a novelty by responding with a two-handed shake and a lovely smile!!”
@TarjeiJS tweeted a picture: “Topalov & Kramnik not shaking hands today, is already news in Norway’s @vgnett“
@pookita: “Funny how not shaking hands in chess makes bigger news than a hockey fight which leaves men without teeth.” GM Stuart Conquest @stuthefox:” Had Kramnik or Topalov offered to shake hands, would the other have refused?”
One final word on this unpleasant item from Natalia Pogonina: (until round 12, when they will have to face each other again!) @pogonina: “In real life the first one to offer a handshake after a tough conflict is not the weaker person. S/he is the more mature & forgiving one.”
Well, let’s go to the games: @borisshipkov“A theoretical duel in Berlin Spanish in Anand-Karjakin. Mamedyarov-Svidler, Dutch. Surprise”! @albertomuniz: “I’m Spanish so I don’t mind to play my own country opening but… poor Polish people!!”
For newbies: The Polish opening is also known as “Sokolsky Opening” or “The Orangutan” and starts with the move 1.b4. The Polish gambit is 1. e4 b5.
Eric Barber @BarberChess replied: “Traxler Counterattack has an alternate name, named after my home city… not sure how I would feel about playing that every game”.
Asking for the name of that city would be a good “Who wants to be a Millionaire” question, but before you start looking things up:
“Czech problemist Karel Traxler played 4…Bc5!? in Reinisch–Traxler, Prague 1896. Some decades later, several Pennsylvania chess amateurs, (mainly K. Williams) analyzed the variation and decided to name it after their hometown Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, so today 4…Bc5 is known as both the Traxler Variation and (in the U.S.A. and the United Kingdom only) the Wilkes-Barre Variation.”
Dusan Krunic, head of Sales at Chess Informant @DusanChess tweeted: @polborta “Clearly showing what his hometown is – playing Leningrad (Dutch)!” @pags1189: “This is not a stonewall. It’s a bit of a wall here and a bit of a wall there!! LOL”
Back to the games: how is the tournament leader doing? @olimpiuUrcan observes: “Anand (having spent only a few minutes of his time for 21 moves) walks by Karjakin and yawns… #HomePreparation“
No yawning in Toppi-Vlady: @anishgiri: “Topalov-Kramnik leaves up to the expectations. Peculiar preparation from the Bulgarian and complicated fight on the board!”
Talking about preparation: GM Pavel Eljanov @eljanov comments: “It seems so far that two participants from Candidates are totally unprepared for the tournament.” You do not have to be Einstein to see which player he is tweeting about: “It’s hard to believe that Andreikin can manage a way out, with this position and with this opponent”, according to @chess_anyone.
Pablo Byrne @anbhanna noticed: “I saw Eljanov tweeting to the effect that Andreikin has turned up without prep, without mentioning names. But I’m sure he has.” Jonathan Tisdall, GMjtis answered: I think it is a question of degree – Andreikin is not a theoretical opening type. But today looks oddly unaware.”
More tweets about preparation, anyone? @robertris: “Wasn’t it Grischuk who said Kramnik is badly prepared with Black?” @anishgiri: “It used to be a good joke…:)”, but… @robertris: “I thought so, but after his game vs Svidler and this one you’d believe Grischuk is right :)”
@OlimpiuUrcu: “Danailov & Cheparinov are watching this with the kind of excitement not seen since Bulgaria’s 1994 World Cup soccer matches.”
And what about the other games: @poisondpwnpress:“The World might beat Russia by a big margin today.” @GMjtis: “Fantastic fighting going on in all #Candidates2014 games today. This event seems to deliver tremendous spectator value.” @chess_anyone: “Karjakin’s position is a hard nut to crack. @vishy64theking will need to create a second weakness, but is it possible ?”
Mamedyarov-Svidler was a game that did not get much attention, but @anishgiri is following the game carefully: “Meanwhile Shakhriyar is creating an initiative out of nowhere- powerful idea h4! He is getting back in shape it seems!” Another top GM, who will certainly play a role in the next Candidates: @fabianocaruana: “24…h6 is unimaginable. I can’t explain it.” Chess player and author Gary Lane explained: “It is called a blunder! Maybe he thought the rook was protecting it.” @jakedarmanin: “Mamedyarov’s 31.Rg5!! vs Svidler is a gem”.
@Unudurti:” Classic PH 🙂 “Could be quite decisive to a certain extent”. And that brings us to a nice question for the commentators and honeymooners Peter Heine Nielsen and Viktorija Cmilyte: @Indicrace: “Victoria and Peter, have you both played each other?”
And we have a result: @arunmanick: “What a come back for @ShahriyarMamedy After back to back defeats now back to back victories !!” Time for the press conference: @carokann: “Peter Svidler takes the lead in every press conference. This is so neurotic. Why, Peter? #Candidates2014 You lost!”. @bekmirahmedov “Swidler doest allow the translator lady to do her job”. Other tweeters are more positive: “The very best press conferences are Svidler’s”, tweeted by @mistruster.
Another result: Anand-Karjakin ended in a draw: “@indicrace: Anand remains unbeaten through round 6. Another win will psychologically seal things and will see him cruise from there on.”
And back to Topalov-Kramnik: @jonbobahn: “Kramnik drinking Pepsi, doesnt that make you tired?” @Eljanov: “Yesterday Kramnik didn’t convert winning position and today he lost. In general this is a frequent case unfortunately”. @acepoint: “Kramnik resigned. No handshake as far as I saw”.
@eivindsalen: “The press conference between Kramnik and Topalov will be interesting. I think Kramnik would be anywhere else in the world.”
@traderDXB: “Not very sporting of Kramnik to skip the press conf”.
@erniecohen:“Aren’t players required to attend the Press Conferences? Will Kramnik be disciplined for not showing up?” @TarjeiJS: So according to regulations, Kramnik will be fined for not attending the press conference after his loss vs Topalov.
However, Kramnik came to the press conference: alone. ChessDom co-founder Goran urosevic tweeted: @goranurosevic: “Kramnik didn’t know the rules, he never lost before (except London last round). He would have come to press conference”.
@candidatesfide: “Kramnik: I was afraid of Topalov’s computer preparation and tried to go to the more solid way. Today is not my day”. “Kramnik…100% pure class even when he looses”, according to @skakblog.
One more game to go: Aronian-Andreikin. @TarjeiJS: “Aronian should be easily winning against Andreikin now, meaning he will join Anand in the lead”. However, the Norwegian was corrected by @susanpolgar: “Chess is a beautiful game. To make predications can sometimes be very hard. Seemed close to winning in that ending!”
“@anishgiri: “I read everyone saying ‘if Aronian converts he will tie for first’, but is there a single idea in the position?” @pookita: “Its like @LevAronian is in training to play @MagnusCarlsen already with all of these long grinding games. #stamina“. @jonathan_rowson: “Topalov *very* impressive today, Anand flat, Svidler unrecognisable, Aronian winning”.
Aronian winning? According to @LennartOotes there is no doubt:
“Just now I realize @LevAronian is wearing the same type of shirt as I do. It’s even my lucky shirt.”
But: Aronian did not win his game against Andreikin. @angusjfrench: “Ah, they’ve agreed a draw. Fantastic defence throughout game by Andreikin”. @gunjangodbole: “Aronian must be looking forward to the rest day after two very long games in a row. Jon Ludvig Hammer @gmjlh thinks that Aronian has a plan, “Aronian’s first round loss was a ploy to get better tiebreaks”
@marktwic: “Anand leads alone on 4/6. So far he’s avoided stress and problems but can’t believe he’ll do that for the entire event.” @chrisbirdIA: “Anand in the lead but I’m hoping he doesn’t win as a rematch with Carlsen will only go one way zzzZZZ zzzZZZ”. @traderDXB replied: “You are obviously an expert, like all other “experts” who gave no chance to Anand in #candidates2014. You Must be Right.”
I wll leave you into the second rest day with one last tweet, one to think about on the rest day:
@vishwaskrishna: “None of the candidates this year, in their current form, can defeat Carlsen, if they continue to play in the same level”