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It's been several weeks, perhaps almost 2 months I think, since I did a Pardon our Blunders recap so forgive me if I am a bit rusty on the formatting. Today's show was open to Platinum/Diamond members and began at 11 AM Pacific/2 PM Eastern/7 PM London time and of course, was hosted by IMs Danny Rensch and David Pruess.
There were 12 topics up for discussion today including the Blunder of the Week and a couple of topics about a certain tournament and player really got the debate going and the sparks flying this episode. For all of you that are interested, because my recap definitely won't do it justice, go back and watch today's show. You have to be at least a Platinum member to check out the "VIDEOS" section on the Chess.com/TV page to do so.
So before I start writing a "War and Peace" length blog (it's still going to be pretty long regardless), here's the recap for the week, which will have accompanying links either in the topic heading or actual discussion...or both. Let's get to it:
Topic #1 - Naka's performance at the U.S. Champs "impressive" or "expected"?: After not playing last year (but still attending it to do commentary) Hikaru Nakamura reclaims the U.S. Championship for the third time in his career and his first since 2009 after edging out Gata Kamsky by a full-point in the standings. So, is Naka's showing impressive or was it to be expected from the country's top GM and eventual World Championship contender? In the resurgance of Gata Kamsky making the tourney more difficult, it was important, and impressive in Danny's eyes, that Naka won the Championship. It was needed after the whole Kaspy/Naka divorce and I many expected him to win the tournament because of being one of the top 8 players in the world and U.S.' top GM. David was impressed by it, but not as surprised by the performance of Naka. Supposedly Kaspy made the choice last year for Naka not to compete and it was something Naka didn't agree with I'm sure and he beat Kamsky with black in this year's tournament when it mattered in the game below:
Naka earned and deserved the Championship this year in my opinion just from that game alone.
Topic #2 - Was Gelfand/Anand the most boring WCC match ever?: Many thought it was going to be a dissection of Gelfand by Anand and a blowout score in the end, but it wasn't so. Yes Anand still pulled it out (in Rapids) and a couple of the games were pretty short, especially Game 8, the shortest in WCC history, but was the overall match a snooze-fest or was it interesting enough to watch every day? Me personally, except for all of the museum "commercials" which felt like I was sitting through a lecture in school which I hit the mute button on, I would say the match was interesting but perhaps not as entertaining as Anand/Topalov or matches of recent memory. Many, including Peter Leko, enjoyed it and it seemed like Petr Svidler, who did commentary on the match through the official site, was interested as well. How many were actually looking forward to this match? Karpov and Kasparov's duels were filled with draws but what makes the older matches more interesting? Only one win was gained by Gelfand (game 7) and Anand (game 8) and the match was criticized but Levon Aronian said on his Twitter that the match was really interesting for him. So perhaps it does take a fresh pair of unbiased eyes to look at it objectively and this was where the debates started between Danny and David on the show, so I would go back and watch it just for that.
Topic #3 - Do "Rapid Tie Breaks" *ever* have a place in deciding chess tournaments at any level, especially a World Championship? This was another segment that even the TV chat room members got real passionate and heated as many had different opinions. Comparisons were made by members to tennis tie-breaks and football (soccer) penalty kick shoot-outs. I go with Danny in saying that rapids shouldn't be used to decided World Championships but on lower-level tourneys (National, amateur, youth etc.) the quicker time controls can be more entertaining. Case in point, IM Irina Krush won the 2012 U.S. Women's Championship via tie-breaks, does that make her less deserving of the Championship? Does it make Anand less worthy of winning/being the World Champion since he won in the Rapids? At what level should rapids NOT be included to determine winners/champions and should there be a co-champion at lower levels? What system(s) for tie-breakers should be used to avoid rapids as a whole?
Topic #4 - Do YOU consider Anand World Champion?: This goes back to topic #3 in relation to the rapids. Is Anand the best player in the world? According to FIDE ratings...no. He actually *dropped* spots on the list after the match with Gelfand. So is Anand just lucky and will he drop it to Magnus or Aronian (#1 and #2 respectively in the world) after next year's Candidates tourney? Anand has been the FIDE Champion since 2007, but that doesn't make him the best in the world and in fact, he barely competed in chess since he beat Topalov back in 2010 in their Championship match. I know Anand has many fans (and detractors), but I think his reign will end after the next Championship match, especially if Magnus or Aronian win the 2013 Candidates.
Topic #5 - Was SM Hasbun's Death-match performance the most dominant one yet? In May, Chess.com was treated to it's 5th installment of the newly implemented monthly "Death-matches" pitting two players in several stages of time controls usually over a 3-hr match. His opponent: GM Jon Ludvig Hammer, one of Chess.com/TV's biggest fans. Hammer might've been favorited to win the event, but once things were said and done and the dust settled, the picture was painted differently than many might've expected defeating Hammer 17.5 to 11.5. In an excerpt from IM Danny Rensch's article about the match (click on the link in the above topic heading):
"Hasbun grabbed an early lead with taking 3.5 out of the first 4 games, and though Hammer did win 3 consecutive games to start the 3 1 segment of the match, once Hasbun started winning again, the match was never close. Hammer said in his post match interview with IM Danny Rensch that he felt he missed some opportunities to convert better positions early on in the match."
Danny and David both said during the show that this was the most dominant showing in a deathmatch, despite not having the bigger point-spreads as the other's have had. Sam Shankland's DM vs. Robert Hess was probably the most entertaining, but SM Rasbun won every time control, something else none of the other winner's have done.
Topic #6 - Who will win the Tal Memorial?:Here's the line-up of participants:
David: Magnus Carlsen Danny: Levon Aronian
Who would be a "dark horse" in this tournament? Caruana? McShane? Maybe anyone who's not named Aronian or Carlsen can be considered a dark horse.
Topic #7 - How large an impact does rest, diet, and exercise have on your performance during a chess tournament? I'm personally not going to say anything here but just read these two blogs about this topic, one of them by GM Sam Shankland and the other by FM Evan Ju.
Topic #8 - At what age/level does winning a youth Championship of any kind relevant? (link #2 as well) - Danny said right off the bat that winning the U.S. World Youth's up to the World Junior Championship and he said that he's not going to pay any attention to you if you've won the National Junior U-14 Championship tournament but will pay attention to you when you've won the National Junior U-18 Championship then asking David if that makes any sense. David then took it one step further by adding that it depends on what country you're from and which one you're talking about, as other countries have different levels of chess culture, history, and accolades. He made the comparison that you'd be a stronger player growing up and winning a National tournament in Ukraine than you would in Malta and would be at least a strong IM coming from Ukraine. (I hope this makes sense as we don't want to insult anyone here from any country. It's probably better to go watch the show for yourself on this topic )
Topic #9 - Where will they be in 5 years? Kayden Troff? Jeffrey Xiong? Awonder Liang? Obviously we all know Kayden from his blogs and activity here on Chess.com as he just claimed his 2nd IM norm at the recent 2012 Chicago Open. Danny pretty much said if you want to learn more about these three players, just Google their names, so I will leave this one up to you guys to do.
Topic #10 - Aronian loses a game in the French Kids Simul! Typical "Coffee House" mistake? In a recent Chessbase article, Armenian GM Levon Aronian played a simul against eight french teams, winning 7 games and losing one, making a "coffee house" blunder by playing the Closed Sicilian Grand Prix. Danny said he played a "coffee house" opening in "coffee house" style chess makes him a "coffee house" player. If you remember, earlier this year, Anish Giri coined the phrase "coffee house" at the TATA Steel tournament. Watch the game which Aronian lost and Giri's video here:
I guess now, as Giri thinks, Aronian is more of a "coffee house" player than anything.
Topic #11 - Is there *ever* going to be a cure/perfect system to decide the World Chess Championship? Yes we're going back to this to try to find out what could/should be done to better organize and implement much needed changes to the WCC cycle and WCC match as a whole. Danny said forget history right now and let's look at the modern era of chess and what we just saw with the match between Anand/Gelfand, is there a cure-all way to decide the World Championship? One word. No! But that didn't stop David from trying to think of a new system. This is also something I don't want to mess up, so go watch the replay and fast forward until about an hour or so in, around the 62 minute mark.
Topic #12 - Blunder of the Week:
IM Daniel Ludwig vs. GM Michael Adams - 2012 Chicago Open - Round 3
There was no blunder, but the blunder is on him nonetheless for Adams giving up a draw and a loss in the first 2 of 3 rounds of the 2012 Chicago Open.
David's choice: For not doing a PoB last week for no apparent reason as he said himself there was no reason to not hold a show.
Chess.com/TV will be beginning coverage of the 2012 Tal Memorial tomorrow morning starting at 5:30 AM Pacific/8:30 AM Eastern/1:30 PM London time hosted by GM Dejan Bojkov and Jason Stoneking. Tomorrow's coverage will be open to ALL Members. For more information on this, check out the Chess.com/TV page and don't forget the rules of the Chess.com/TV Chat Room.
Have a good night everyone!
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