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Gelfand Shocks Nakamura In London

  • SonofPearl
  • on 9/21/12, 1:23 PM.

London 2012 FIDE Grand Prix banner.jpg

The opening round of the 2012 FIDE London Grand Prix at Simpson's-In-The-Strand produced plenty of effort and high quality chess, but only one decisive game.

It was top seed Hikaru Nakamura who came to grief with the white pieces against recent world championship challenger Boris Gelfand. 

Vassily Ivanchuk fought hard for 110 moves but couldn't make his extra pawn count against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov.  Michael Adams was a late replacement for Peter Svidler in the line-up and had a great opening game against Wang Hao, which didn't quite produce a full point..

Hikaru Nakamura lost his opening game to Boris Gelfand

London 2012 FIDE Grand Prix Round 1 Hikaru Nakamura Boris Gelfand.jpg

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Vassily Ivanchuk pressed Shakhriyar Mamedyarov hard

London 2012 FIDE Grand Prix Round 1 Shakhriyar Mamedyarv Vassily Ivanchuk.jpg

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Anish Giri also had the better game with the black pieces against Leinier Dominguez Perez

London 2012 FIDE Grand Prix Round 1 Leinier Dominguez Perez Anish Giri.jpg

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Michael Adams had a promising first game against Wang Hao

London 2012 FIDE Grand Prix Round 1 Wang Hao Michael Adams.jpg

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Veselin Topalov drew his game with Alexander Grischuk

London 2012 FIDE Grand Prix Round 1 Veselin Topalov Alexander Grischuk.jpg

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Peter Leko was surprised by Kasimdzhanov's choice of 1.e4 and chose the solid Berlin

London 2012 FIDE Grand Prix Round 1 Rustam Kasimdzhanov Peter Leko.jpg

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The London Grand Prix is the first tournament of the 2012/13 FIDE Grand Prix series. After the first contest in London, the series moves on to Tashkent, Lisbon, Madrid, Berlin and Paris.  Each tournament is a single round-robin featuring 12 out of the 18 players in the Grand Prix, and each player competes in four of the six events.  Details of dates and participants can be found here.

The overall winner and runner-up of the Grand Prix qualify for the March 2014 Candidates Tournament.

The schedule for the London Grand Prix:

Arrival & Opening  20th September
1st Round  21st September
2nd Round  22nd September
3rd Round  23rd September
4th Round   24th September
5th Round  25th September
Free Day  26th September
6th Round    27th September
7th Round    28th September
8th Round   29th September
Free Day    30th September
9th Round  1st October
10th Round    2nd October
11th round & Closing  3rd October
Departure  4th October

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Rounds start at 14:00 local time (13:00 UTC). The time control is 40 moves in 2 hours, followed by 20 moves in 1 hour, then an extra 15 minutes to a finish with a 30 second increment after the second time control.

Draws can only be claimed for triple-repetition of position, theoretical draws, or 50-move rule.

The official regulations for the 2012 FIDE Grand Prix can be found here.

Official website here. Games via TWIC. Photos by Ray Morris-Hill.

Look out for coverage at Chess.com/TV!

5992 reads 49 comments
4 votes

Comments


  • 2 years ago

    Elubas

    It seems that you believe my thesis to be that the two are in different classes, but in fact, I actually said the opposite: I said that Nakamura is not in a different class compared to Gelfand. Hopefully that clears things up.

    The difference is rather minor, so Nakamura would only be a small favorite to win.

  • 2 years ago

    _valentin_

    Elubas:  A basic rule of thumb is that 100 ELO points corresponds to roughly one class difference, but 40 points is much smaller and more tentative.

    According to the ELO formula, if one player holds a 200 point advantage, they are expected to get 1.5 points out of every 2 games, i.e., one win, one draw, one win, one draw.  That's significant.

    With a 40 point difference, the expectation is that the higher-rated player will get approximately 0.6 points out of a game, i.e., 3 points out of 5 games, which is barely winning.  This is hard to call a difference in class, assuming you believe in the ratings that the ELO system presents.

  • 2 years ago

    Elubas

    Veggie monster: When comparing the two players, I was referring to this present time. Gelfand has achieved more at the moment, since he has a long history, but I am saying that, now, if I knew nothing of each of their styles, and how they match up with each other (some people score better against certain types of players, so it's not all about overall skill level), I would expect Nakamura to be more likely to win a game with Gelfand than the other way around.

    Don't take my "proves itself" statement too seriously. It's supposed to be an exaggeration. What I mean is that, the way rating reacts to your results, and how it rewards you for them, is in sync with performance of course -- if you perform much better than your opponent, you will win, and you are directly rewarded for it with points. Indeed, I think it is intuitive. For me, it's really as simple as that. Rating rewards you when you play well. True, sometimes you can play better than your opponent and still draw, but in the long term, it simply makes sense to me that the rating system, well, makes sense Smile

    Surely, the rating system can't be perfect. But I would imagine that it is good enough that a 40 point difference will probably give you a clue as to who is the favorite; if it was, say, a 10 point difference, maybe things wouldn't be as clear.

  • 2 years ago

    fabelhaft

    "If both players ended their careers today, no doubt Gelfand would be remembered for being the better player. With his 11/17 record against Naka, and Candidate and World Championship experience, and Naka's lackthereof, it would be hard to argue otherwise"

    Yes, but such a comparison is a bit unfair when one player has played top events for 25 years and numerous Candidates, while the other reached top 10 for the first time last year. In this short time Nakamura has done well though, winning a tournament like Wijk ahead of players like Carlsen, Aronian, Kramnik and Anand is an achievement Gelfand never was anywhere close to in his long career.

    Gelfand is 4-2 in wins against Nakamura in classical chess, but that includes games more than 7 years ago, the last time Gelfand won a tournament, in Biel. It's doubtful if that head to head score means that much (and the last two years Nakamura is 2-1), and I think results in knockouts say even less, especially considering that none of the players Gelfand was successful against in knockouts were top 10 level. Nakamura is the only player in the world to have a plus score against both Anand and Kramnik, and that is quite impressive, even if he has some way to go to amass a similar body of results as Gelfand has achieved since the end of the 1980s.

  • 2 years ago

    FM VEGGIE-MONSTER

    Elubas:

    I do agree with you that Nakamura is probably the better player, but that's because of his imaginitive play and my biased American feelings, and not so much his rating. If both players ended their careers today, no doubt Gelfand would be remembered for being the better player. With his 11/17 record against Naka, and Candidate and World Championship experience, and Naka's lackthereof, it would be hard to argue otherwise.

    Earlier, I was stating that while rating is a decent indication of ability, it's more of a ballpark number, and in this case it's hardly definitive evidence of superiority. Your statement that the rating system "proves itself" simply defies logic (you're basically saying p implies p, which is circular logic), and the only meaningful conclusion I can draw from this is that you think the system is intuitive, despite the fact that your description for rating calculations by FIDE is false. K-factors and the correct distribution curve play a major part in calculating a rating, and is a point of difference, for example, between the USCF and FIDE rating systems. So then, how do you know the USCF system would not produce more accurate ratings than the FIDE system? Or maybe some undiscovered sytem? If the system is not perfect, then how good is it? How could you calculate the potential error? My point is simply that you shouldn't rely on ratings too much to draw conclusions of chess strength; their importance is often misunderstood and overstated. If I was offensive, then I apologize and mean nothing personal.

  • 2 years ago

    _valentin_

    Andre_Harding makes a good point.

    Some players, like Gelfand, are able to "outjump" themselves when the stakes are high, such as the World Cup 2009, the Candidates Tournament 2011, and eventually the World Championship 2012.  And especially when it's in a knock-out event, which is clearly Gelfand's prime strength lately.

  • 2 years ago

    Andre_Harding

    fabelhaft: "Stronger" and "More accomplished" are not the same thing.

    I do think that Nakamura's strength on an average day is, now, higher than is Gelfand's. In World Championship-level events, Gelfand has proven that he is as strong as any player in the World, and he's proven it many times over.

    Nakamura's accomplishments as a chessplayer (career-wise) do not approach Gelfand's. Of course, Nakamura is almost 20 years younger, and has plenty of time.

  • 2 years ago

    fabelhaft

    "are you really trying to say that Gelfand is NOT more accomplished than he, with a straight face???"

    Of course. Nakamura has a plus score against both Anand and Kramnik, won Wijk 2011 and is ranked more than ten places ahead of Gelfand. The latter winning a single game against Nakamura a couple of days ago doesn't suddenly make him the stronger player of the two (and winning a knockout didn't make Kasimdzhanov and Khalifman top five level any more than Gelfand). Look at his scores against all the other top players, after Radjabov and Carlsen turned 18 he's 0-6 against them, since somewhere around the middle of the 1990s he was close to a total of 0-20 against Kasparov, Kramnik, Anand and Topalov until the one game he won in the title match. Today Nakamura is just the stronger player of the two.

  • 2 years ago

    Elubas

    Veggie-monster: Certainly, I am not saying that a 40 rating point edge means that Naka is in a "different class" than Gelfand. Nonetheless, I do think 40 points is enough to say that Nakamura is probably the better player.

    You ask me for proof of why the rating system is the best, or at least a good, indication of ability, but I would argue that the rating system proves itself: it's an average between who you beat, and how often you win. So a rating edge like that is simply saying that Nakamura either gets more wins than Gelfand, beats stronger players than Gelfand does, or, most likely, a combination of the two.

  • 2 years ago

    plutonia

    ealdor and Aarnos, thank you for your answers. Really helpful!

  • 2 years ago

    Andre_Harding

    fabelhaft: "I don't agree about that one."

    I like Nakamura, but are you really trying to say that Gelfand is NOT more accomplished than he, with a straight face???

    If so, there's nothing left for me to say.

  • 2 years ago

    SonofPearl

    Since many people seem to feel that the use of the word 'shock' in the title of this article was a little overstated, I'll bear that in mind in future.

    As I've already said, no slight to Gelfand was intended. Far from it! Smile

  • 2 years ago

    ceddy28

    Could somebody please tell ChessNetwork to analyze the nakamura vs. gelfand game, we would learn so much from that game!

  • 2 years ago

    fabelhaft

    After Nakamura lost the game yesterday it's easy to forget that he never lost against Anand (but has beaten him), and I expect Nakamura to finish ahead of Gelfand in this tournament in spite of the bad start.

  • 2 years ago

    fabelhaft

    "Gelfand has demonstrated a superb level of play against Anand in the single most significant and strongest chess event in the world, which makes him a more accomplished player than Nakamura"

    I don't agree about that one.

  • 2 years ago

    philidor_position

    Thank you DDayman, that explains everything.

    On the other subject,

    I also found the title unobjective and out of facts. It really doesn't reflect the current state of affairs at top level chess. I would be more surprised if Naka beat Gelfand, as Gelfand has demonstrated a superb level of play against Anand in the single most significant and strongest chess event in the world, which makes him a more accomplished player than Nakamura. The only surprise in the win above is black beating white which is a rare occurance at the highest level, but that's just about it. I don't think Gelfand will care the slightest about the word shock being used, so I guess it shouldn't even qualify as an insult but perhaps more like a lack of knowledge.

  • 2 years ago

    fabelhaft

    It will be interesting to see what happens today, Gelfand's career score against Topalov is quite bad, his latest win being more than 15 years back. Topalov has dropped in strength though and is black. Giri wants revenge against Wang Hao after losing twice in Biel. Probably many draws also today, if there's a winner my guess would be Grischuk with white against Dominguez. 

  • 2 years ago

    drumdaddy

    I'm shocked at the shocking use of 'shocks', and I'm considering blocking the shocking Naka-mocking!

  • 2 years ago

    _valentin_

    fabelhaft: "He probably underestimated Gelfand a bit when he tried too hard to win in a position that was just equal."

    Underestimating opposition is (usually) due to lack of experience or overly high self-esteem, both of which are factors in a person's abilities in a given domain.  So, while Nakamura may be playing strong against players he knows to be extra careful against, he gets carried away sometimes out of emotions and, as you said, overestimating his abilities or underestimating those of his opposition.

  • 2 years ago

    fabelhaft

    "Nakamura is regarded as being significantly stronger than Gelfand because his rating is slightly higher. But Nakamura probably cares about his rating more than Gelfand does, and puts more effort into maintaining it."

    I think all top players care about playing well, and if you do you get a higher rating. It isn't as if the rating somehow is detached from the actual results of the players. To me the rating list gives a decent measure of the "real" world ranking. It is a question of scoring good results over a long time, for example Nakamura's career plusses against both Kramnik and Anand says something about his strength, and I don't think one should judge players too quickly depending on their last game.

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