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View Full Version : Topalov versus Kramnik: Twelve Games too soft a measure?



dkTransform
17-09-2006, 07:00 PM
It used to be that in the old days, much longer matches took place. With twelve games for this unification match, who is kidding whom? We are going to have a world chess champion after just twelve games? Or settle it with tie breaks in rapids? Super size it or drive up fast food window? What has become of classic chess?

Think of Karpov-Kasparov, Capablanca-Alekhine, Bottvinnik-Tal? How long were many of our top matches? We all already know the answer to that. What does this say about us?

Is this a practical adaption to a results hungary world, or have we all just gotten soft and this is but of a reflection of our own selves?

Garrett
17-09-2006, 07:48 PM
yeah i'd prefer 16-24.

Carl Gorka
17-09-2006, 11:21 PM
My problem is not the length of the match but the lack of emnity. I just looked at the FIDE website story.....how can you have a World Championship without some hatred:hmm:

Kevin Bonham
17-09-2006, 11:41 PM
Indeed. It's hardly a grudge match, is it? On another forum I post on, someone who also posts here a bit wrote as follows re Topalov:


No nice smiling man should ever be World Champion.

As for the 12 games, indeed too short, but beggars can't be choosers. At least it is a real match for the World Championship and accepted by FIDE as such and we haven't had one of those for well over a decade.

The usual excuse being offered is that these things cost more than they used to to stage.

bergil
17-09-2006, 11:47 PM
Indeed. It's hardly a grudge match, is it? On another forum I post on, someone who also posts here a bit wrote as follows re Topalov:



As for the 12 games, indeed too short, but beggars can't be choosers. At least it is a real match for the World Championship and accepted by FIDE as such and we haven't had one of those for well over a decade.

The usual excuse being offered is that these things cost more than they used to to stage.Agreed let's get a unified champion first.

Carl Gorka
17-09-2006, 11:51 PM
Indeed. It's hardly a grudge match, is it?


For once all the focus will be on the games, and just the games....hope they live up to it....

Kevin Bonham
17-09-2006, 11:55 PM
For once all the focus will be on the games, and just the games....hope they live up to it....

I'm fearing that the shortness of the match will produce a reluctance to take risks and that both players will be happy to draw a bunch of games and head for the playoffs.

However it may lead to interesting play with both striving to land the "knockout punch". I also think that Topalov just can't sit back and play a dozen draws, it isn't in his nature.

Carl Gorka
18-09-2006, 12:02 AM
I'm fearing that the shortness of the match will produce a reluctance to take risks and that both players will be happy to draw a bunch of games and head for the playoffs.

However it may lead to interesting play with both striving to land the "knockout punch". I also think that Topalov just can't sit back and play a dozen draws, it isn't in his nature.

Hope you're right, but I'm feeling pretty cynical at the moment.....wonder what Kramnik will defend against 1.e4?

Rincewind
18-09-2006, 07:02 AM
Karpov-Kasparov

Let's not mention 1984.

But I think the world has moved too far from those days. This match is a step in the right direction I think the important thnig is that we are moving in that direction. We can't go from chaos to perfection in one iteration.

Desmond
18-09-2006, 08:55 AM
If the match is completed, I will be more than happy.

dkTransform
18-09-2006, 09:11 AM
"But I think the world has moved too far from those days"...

Dear Rincewind, I got on line today not sure if there would be zero or a dozen replies, sincerely with no expectations. To me this is a valid question that I have asked, since we have instant noodles, instant communication, instant lab results... we want our results, and we want them fast. Your reply that I can see is the only one that responds to what is being said, as aside from two friends chatting or grandstanding publically so see who can...

If we go back to Petersburg, New York, London or any of the big tournements, we had truly epic contest of minds. Of course, in tournements, all play all is the big test, if not all play all white and black. Then not only do the leaders go toe to toe, but we get to see who has the best score against the lagging players. And so in the old Soviet Chess Championships, we had gigantic battles. Recently, to be very honest, I was truly shocked to see Dortmundt over so fast... I had been busy in a new relationship, and despite being a good student of the game, failed to see how abbreviated was the contest. Kramnik wins, was the headline. This short tournement tested to see who was the best for that span? Excuse me?

Now Topy and Kramn. Twelve games. Compare that to some other WCC matches, let me go grab my Gelo, Chess Championships, All the Games, All the Diagrams, 1834-1998 (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/customer-reviews/0786405902/ref=cm_cr_dp_pt/103-4118474-2576665?ie=UTF8&n=283155&s=books) compendium (to those who don't know of it, it has all the game of all the matches, in one handsome volume, McFarland, 1999 2nd Edition): I open randomly and cite figures to some major matches:

Alekine-Euwe 1935, 30 games
Botvinnik-Smyslov 1954, 24 games
Tal-Botvinnik, 1960, 21 games
Spassky-Petrosian, 1969, 23 games
Kasparov-Karpov, 1987, 24 games ...

this does not even mention Steinitz or Capablanca, etc.

Of course, now we have big sponsers, luxury resorts, the press, television, the internet, publicity and marketing and coaches, and seconds, and families, the whole works, the entorage that follows....

I respect T and K both. Both are great artists who will furnish beauty for sure. But despite being a unification match, sadly feel that something is wrong, and percieve that T and K are both 'cashing in' (or Kashing in!) while the going is getting good.

david, seattle

Kevin Bonham
18-09-2006, 10:38 AM
I respect T and K both. Both are great artists who will furnish beauty for sure. But despite being a unification match, sadly feel that something is wrong, and percieve that T and K are both 'cashing in' (or Kashing in!) while the going is getting good.

I can't blame them really. Actually for players who are the best in the world in what they do and given the amount of preparation that goes into a match of this size the prizemoney is really pretty modest.

Matches used to be longer partly because it was practical to play to X number of wins. These days with so many draws that is no longer an option. As matches have increasingly gone over to set lengths it seems the set lengths are gradually becoming shorter.

The concept of a match that is long enough to rigorously test which player is the best seems to have vanished. Still better than many other sports in which the supreme title can be decided by one final game.

Also this is probably the last match of its kind since FIDE's plan is to have the WC as eight-player 2xround robins (like the one Topalov won) rather than matches in the future.

It's actually a no-win scenario in terms of having longer matches in future. If this match is a fizzer it will strengthen the case for supertournaments not matches. If this match is exciting it may be used as a case for more matches, but will be used as an argument against longer ones.

Ian Rout
18-09-2006, 11:14 AM
I don't know that it has a lot to do with a general trend for instant results. Most sports are played over the same time frame as they always were. I can't think of a sport that has shortened itself (cricket has introduced one-day and more recently 20/20 but that's an extra, not a replacement). The world game has even abandoned "golden point". In the US, where they allegedly like things done quickly, they still play golf for four days, baseball for nine innings, and as far as I know basketball and gridiron games are still the same length.

I would point the finger at Kasparov who in his private title defences always came up with excuses why matches should be shorter than previously. Perhaps it was to differentiate "his" matches from the FIDE marathons of the late 70s and 80s. Some might say he was planning to take an unassailable lead before his opponent settled. Maybe it was that as promoter he was bearing the costs. Whatever, the principle seems to have become embedded.

Certainly I would agree the match is too short. It's conceivable that it could be decided 1-0; Kramnik only won two games in the match against Kasparov. In any case it's a pity that such an exciting contest is going to be over so quickly.

Garvinator
18-09-2006, 11:24 AM
I just hope that one of the players wins a game early.

Garrett
18-09-2006, 12:52 PM
I just hope that one of the players wins a game early.
Yes that will mix things up a bit. I wouldn't bet on it though, I think both players will start very conservatively, probably even a couple of 'Grandmaster draws', although I hope against it.

dkTransform
20-09-2006, 06:37 PM
Just think of it: Imagine if these headlines posted in Buenos Ares:

due to logistical practicalities, the players and arbitors decided to settle upon a twelve game match... after 25 years as champion, it was found that twelve games were enough to settle who was champion of the world... and since it was a tie, and the rapids were 2-2, the two gentlemen decided to chance it all on one blitz game after 1-1 in two previous blitz games. Alekhine fashioned a prepared line in the cambridge springs defence, and make a king shelter, and burgeoning himself into a hole for a draw as black, is crowned world champion and upon being asked how he felt to wrest the crown from the cuban champion, who was busy with the ladies, just said: "awz, zshucks!"...

everyone had already gone home, so they just did it on playchess and icc.

since no suitable challengers of merit could be found for at least another nine or ten years, and nimzovitch found unsuitable or unstable despite perhaps demonstrating his number two place, instead opted for bogoljubow, only to die many years latter penniless with a crazed cat in a cold empty room, choked on a piece of meat lodged in his throat, the position of that same blitz game before him on his table, since his hiarcs had malfunctioned and reboots failed all attempts, or notes to steve lopez of chessBase.com, who as we know does NOT give technical advise but is a writer. authorities conjectured he in fact died of shame at winning from the old champ in a mere game of skittles... lamenting, twelve, twelve, like citizen kane, rosebud, rosebud...

dkTransform
25-09-2006, 04:26 AM
yes, topalov lost a second game, but if he wins one in the next five games, we have five games to see if he can draw it out. twelve games is just not enough... kasparov lost, what was it, five games or six, but he kept winning after that--game after game. dk

dkTransform
02-10-2006, 04:21 AM
my point exactly: twelve games is not enough to decide who is the best. and topy had an advantage in the first two games, and K could easily have stepped off the precipice.

ER
02-10-2006, 12:30 PM
[QUOTE the position of that same blitz game before him on his table.[/QUOTE]

I thought the pieces on the board were in the initial position unless you used poetic licence

cheers and good luck!

Desmond
02-10-2006, 12:35 PM
my point exactly: twelve games is not enough to decide who is the best. and topy had an advantage in the first two games, and K could easily have stepped off the precipice.He did step off the precipice, but gravity was momentarily not working :doh:

dkTransform
08-10-2006, 06:07 AM
Many chess lovers had hoped for a Topalov win, since he embodied fighting chess, and Kramnik, despite to the acclaim of all, as having the greatest understanding of chess if not genuine illness, was an inactive champion, in many forms and guises, so it was natural to root for T, before toiletGate boiled over....

Then with the first decisive win by T at the board, it made it that if T won a second game at the board, that after the match should T win, this in all likelihood could go to court. I do not wish to handicap or armchair adjudicate the worth of lack of worth of such claims, just predict that this would happen.

So I wished for a K win, so that we could have unity and to punish bad sport by T and camp.

But now we have three games left. What now? If T wins again, in the next three games without loosing, it is settled without likely claim legally. Maybe not cleanly or without rancor or embittered and wounded feelings, but a single champ nevertheless.

But if K wins one back, it would be 3-3 and then it is a real legal fight. A mess.

Rapids or not, as I said before, twelve games is not enough, and this whole mess means my initial suggestion or assertion comes to roost, and if it is true that 12 games is too soft a measure, then we have a random champ. As it is, T had near wins in the first two, so chess only speaking, I am ok with a T overall proven win, but he needs at least 3-2 in decisive games, and we all agree, it is only 2-2 in pure chess terms. In moral terms, he now needs 4-2 for the upset he caused K in mood or spirit.

Most scenarios at the end of game nine are now bad;
K win one more, and the match is even, although he is decisive at chess.
If K wins, and it goes to rapids, we choose a classic champ based on a set of 25/10 games? Not good for chess.
If K wins and looses at rapids, he has won more classic games but looses his title over a game of skittles?
If K wins but looses at rapids, he is better in true chess but loses his crown to a rapid opponent?
T wins one more, and we have a unified chess champ.

Any reasoned comments or considered responses much appreciated. :)

Kevin Bonham
08-10-2006, 10:58 PM
On the main thread I've commented about how no matter what Topalov does from here it is still possible that Kramnik would win the match if he was allowed to replay game five.

One thing I've been thinking that is relevant to this thread is this: twelve games is a very short match in terms of momentum. In a long match a player can go through a bad patch where they lose a few games, and they have time to reexamine their approach, come up with some new ideas, play a few draws and get back into the match and so on. Twelve games leaves so little margin for error. A few bad days in a row and a player can be gone.

Although it's a very short match it is not the shortest ever; Lasker-Schlechter 1910 was only 10 games (+1=8-1 and Lasker kept his title.)

eclectic
08-10-2006, 11:21 PM
Two factors to consider concerning the brevity of this match:

1): the fact that the loser gets shut out of the cycle with no way to get to Mexico makes this match twice as intense in a sense.

2): that Mexico is perhaps really the place where the title of world chess champion becomes truly ratified and unified and that the winner of the present match will merely hold it "interregnum" as it were until then hence the eschewing of a long match now.

dkTransform
12-10-2006, 04:47 AM
likesforests said...
Thanks, Dave! It looks like you were right about Topalov-Kramnik. Who wins the title will all come down to their last game... a longer match would give us more confidence in which the superior player is. Ahh, well. Today's game was another interesting one. Topalov again came up with a novelty--8.Rb1, threatening to advance the queenside pawns.
10/10/2006 9:51 AM Likeforests (http://www.chesschat.org/search.php?searchid=144038)

yes, if K wins the last one, it is all settled. as i have said, for fighting chess i want T as winner, but now it is really too late for that. whether K will win a protracted legal battle or other matters well discussed today (Cox letter) at chessBase.com is beyond me, but if for any reason T wins, we have a real mess. 6 1/2 to 5 1/2 but 3 wins by K via chess, but only 3 wins via chess from T. that is IF he can win one, then of course we have no unification, since unification is a spiritual and not just a titular matter. lastly, if it goes 6-6, first, it is not clear K will go for rapids, and instead take his chances with the courts, maybe swiss courts. but if it DOES go to rapids and T wins, then he got to it with 2-3 decisive games, again, NOT unity. if K wins rapids, again, it is all resolved again. for god, i want K to win, for chess, i kind of want T to win, but not comfortable whether this is good for chess, probably not. then K would contest it, saying he never lost a CHESS game, game five. so K and Carsten Hensen who surely is possessed of gravitas and the imprimatur (sp?) of i feel real human authority (im not being sarcastic but mean it), will fight it all the way. no matter what, unless K wins, we will not have unity.

what do i predict? kirsan will toss open the box of his 16 contestants from fide to find 8 challengers, as sadly indicated by borris gelfand of israel that he has already been preparing for a specific opponent, not a round robin, and so just as kirsan has recently put his plan in jeopardy and changed terms and conditions in mid course on a whim as he often does, so he will toss it open to create room for T (i predict) in the next cycle, cheapening the integrity of his own promises and contracts with archetypal asian capriciousness violate to written and signed agreements, as is often the case 'over there'. sorry, but true... the chinese in 1995 reneged on a $ us 300,000,000 futures or stock transaction for no other reason than it did not go there way, and i have seen these myself. dk

dkTransform
12-10-2006, 08:21 PM
if K wins this morning, we have unification.

if T wins today, we have a mess, as we'd have 6.5-5.5 but only three wins each in actual chess--with or without a legal action, we'd have gigantic conflict.

if K-T draw, it is still a mess, as K can refuse to play rapids and say he has more wins in OBP. if K plays rapids, we choose a world champ off of a game of skittles?

if K-T draw, K can insist they play game five knowing he has white or all deals are off.

If K-T draw, T can offer to play it out in the interests of unification, knowing that with or without legal action, it is in everybody's best interest to resolve it at the board, trying to resuscitate his reputation thus, but also knowing that he is not only surrending his rights to tie via the forfeit, but is handycapped slightly as having black for the last game, or makeup game five.

Kevin Bonham
12-10-2006, 09:24 PM
if K-T draw, it is still a mess, as K can refuse to play rapids and say he has more wins in OBP.

K has said he will definitely play the rapid match then protest if he loses in this case. He has requested FIDE hold game five. but will play the rapid match if they do not.

pax
16-10-2006, 09:00 AM
I think it's ludicrous for a world championship match to have fewer rounds than your average elite tournament (e.g Linares or Wijk).