Sunday, October 11, 2009

Endgames Are Where 'C' Players go to Die

At least that's how I beat them. The last two weeks I've played two player rated 1600-1700ish, and in each case I've taken them into endings in which they're slightly worse (if not equal) and beaten them without a whole lot of trouble. I swear I'm not that good at the middlegame, except in terms of preparing favorable endings. My tactics are not so great but by God if I see a potential endgame weakness I can usually highlight it. It helps when your opponents are oblivious to their own weaknesses, or at least don't perceive the seriousness of them. Here are the games:



I feel that I've really consolidated my rating lately, so to speak. I pretty much always beat players 100-200 points lower than me, and I feel that's a big part of being a stronger player. You just can't give away points to much lower rated have to find a way to beat them. Drawing people slightly stronger on a regular basis is a big part of it too, and I've definitely gotten better at that as well. Of course, sometimes I get rolled by someone at a higher level, and I have a painful example of that as well from three weeks ago. The line is one that I believe is good for black if he's playing for a win, but it's not easy to play (it's a gambit in the Alapin Sicilian). Anytime black gambits a pawn a lot of accuracy is required, and I didn't have it. I really need to study this position deeply because I've had a lot of trouble with it both over the board and online. Still, I wouldn't give it up as it's one of the few lines versus the Alapin Sicilian that isn't drawish. Here's the game:


Ouch. That one still hurts. Though I have very little time to study now that I'm working (which is going well, thanks for asking), this position is worth some time and effort. I just can't stand the early ...Nf6 lines, they're just so boring.

In the chess stratosphere these days, Carlsen is owning everyone like they're a bunch of 'A' players in a weekend Swiss. This guy is really ridiculous. I love how in the last round of Nanjing he beak Javojenko, even though he had already won outright. How many GMs would have just taken a short draw? 80-90% would be my guess. He's as flexible as Kasparov in the types of openings and positions he can play well, and he has the drive to win every game like Fischer did. And I believe he's about to be 2800+ before his 20th birthday. If he keeps this up, he could challenge Kasparov for best all time. I realize that's preposterously premature, but the way he's playing is just astonishing. Nobody wins as many games these days as he does. Defensive technique is just too good, but he just seems to throw people off their games. I'm a huge fan. I hope Anand whips Topalov soon and that Carlsen gets his shot quickly thereafter.

You know who I think could be Carlsen's great rival? Aronian. He plays in a sort of offbeat way, but he's tremendously strong at simply playing the game (as opposed to opening prep) in the same way as Carlsen. A match between those two would be excellent. The older generation is starting to fade somewhat in my opinion, in prominence if not in rating, and it's time for Carlsen, Aronian, Radjabov, Karjakin, Grischuk, etc to step up. I look forward to it.


CHESSX said...

In game 1 i liked your knight outpost on d4 very useful.
3 connected passed pawns on the kingside,i suppose he thought this is a win.
Game 2 the extra pawn always meant he had to give ground,then your king was in.
Was he playing for time?
Why did he make you checkmate him.
Game 3 9....O-O-O that was brave,would 9...f6 have been any good.

In the mid 1990's Kasparov said the future chess kings would be Kramnnik,Ivanchuk and Anand.

Kramnnik was world champion but never set the world on fire,Anand is world champion and the same,my favourite Ivanchuk will always just be a top player.

Carlsen just plays to win evry game
like fischer and kasparov(who is now his coach).
If Fide had not be derailed by kasparov in 93, the next title match would have been 2011,i think it could of been Carlsens year?
Would he beat Anand?

Fide seem to keep messing about with world championships,so time may be against him being the youngest world champion.

Caeruleum Canis said...

I believe he would have good chances against Anand today. I have always felt that Anand's taking the title was more a formal acknowledgement of the place he holds in the chess world, rather than his being the best player. If you look at his performance over the past few years, he doesn't really look like a dominant player. He was more dominant 4-5 years ago before he had the title, though in general the last 10 years of chess have been years of remarkable parity among the top guys.

Getting back to Carlsen, if given a chance to go through the candidate match cycle and play for the title I think he' do it. He needs the match experience, but except for Anand, Aronian, and maybe Kramnik there's not anyone he wouldn't handle in a match. Topalov is no match player, and I frankly think Carlsen would kill him. So give him three matches against strong players, he wins them, gets some match experience, and plays for the title...he'd win. He's probably already the best in terms of pure strength, he just needs a little seasoning. It'll happen sooner or later, and after it does I don't see anyone taking if from him anytime soon with the possible exception of Aronian (who may get a shot against Anand first, it's hard to say).

CHESSX said...

Nicely put.

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