Candidate Wesley So: Thou Shalt Not Rely Exclusively on Computer Engine Preparation

SmyslovFan

I just heard a great line by Jan Gustafsson:

"Memory checks and main lines won't get you very far" as a Candidate. Basically, at the highest level, you gotta prepare some non-theoretical and new stuff.

BobbyTalparov
DeirdreSkye wrote:

    Svidler was second in a number of cases(he mentioned that in once case he was hired one day and fired the other , that has to be somekind of record) and he also had second in a number of cases.He has talked about this experience quite a lot.

     The second must have a style of play as close to the player as possible. Wesley So is well known for not taking risks. He is almost always on the better side of a draw and his very good technique and talent has given him a lot of wins. Something that Kasparov might consider good, So might not. Then it is the intimidation factor. The relation with the second is a complicated one. If you think it's all laughs and civilised discussions about chess , then you are wrong. They spend a lot of time together and eventually there are fights.Choosing someone that is a legend , makes things hard. It will make So feel more like a student than a player.  The second must be a guy willing to obey. Karpov and Kasparov were always on the side of "giving orders". Can they be on the other side?Carlsen was preparing with Kasparov. Why did he stop?

    Also a second has to spend countless hours in front of a screen looking for possible lines or possible defects on opponent's play. I am not sure Karpov is willing to do that and have a kid telling him "do that" and "do this" or "I want that" and "I want this".

   So getting Kasparov or Karpov is not that easy as it sounds. There are many factors that make the relationship player-second thrive and the experience of the second is just one of them.

    I think Kramnik did the most wise choice with Giri and I also think he would never take Kasparov or Karpov.

A second can also be very useful if they have a style similar to a key opponent.  Magnus, for example, had seconds mimic Anand's style when preparing for the 2013 WC match.  Giri was an excellent choice by Kramnik; his preparation is very flexible and known to be very deep - and despite his projected persona, would not let his ego get in the way of helping Kramnik go forward.

SeniorPatzer

Wesley got a draw against Shak Mamedyarov in Round 4 today.  Watched a little bit of the commentary today with GM Aman Hambleton and GM Yasser.  Aman said:  "Wesley is stabilizing the ship."

 

Now Yasser said something which I totally expected, if you read my comments above.   Paraphrasing, but essentially the correct gist.   Yasser:  "If I was Shak's second, I would be angry and disgusted.  Shak, what are you doing?  You have to beat the tail-ender Wesley while he's wounded.  Take more risks.  You have the White pieces and you had a rest day yesterday.  Plenty of preparation to obtain an imbalanced position against Wesley, and go for the jugular.  Shak, you gotta win with the White pieces against the cellar dweller!"

 

Yasser saw this as a terrible lost opportunity by Shak.  This makes complete sense to me.  And recall that Yasser was Korchnoi's second against Karpov back in the day.

 

On the flip side, if I was on Team Wesley, I would make sure that Wesley knew that the other players are going to take chances against him, and THIS is his best chance to get back into tournament contention.  Pray and hope for the over-reach, and then counter-attack hard when they press for the win against you.

nighteyes1234
SeniorPatzer wrote:

 

Yasser saw this as a terrible lost opportunity by Shak.  This makes complete sense to me.  And recall that Yasser was Korchnoi's second against Karpov back in the day.

 

 

I suppose Yasser saw something I didnt. The games I looked at Wesley sabotaged himself, and the position was dead draw otherwise. Liren pressed with the Marshalls and it was a draw.

Of course all this when the elephant in the room is Kramnik. If they cant stop Kramnik, what chance do they have against Carlsen? Zero. And its been that way since before day 1 of this tourney. You either have the talent to get ahead or you dont....at the end of the day the wins come from being a better chess player.

 

 

BobbyTalparov
nighteyes1234 wrote:

Of course all this when the elephant in the room is Kramnik. If they cant stop Kramnik, what chance do they have against Carlsen? Zero. And its been that way since before day 1 of this tourney. You either have the talent to get ahead or you dont....at the end of the day the wins come from being a better chess player. 

Fabiano is making a strong case that Kramnik should not be the front-runner today.  And Aronian is coming back with a vengeance against Karjakin - I wouldn't count him out just yet.

nighteyes1234
BobbyTalparov wrote:

Fabiano is making a strong case that Kramnik should not be the front-runner today.  And Aronian is coming back with a vengeance against Karjakin - I wouldn't count him out just yet.

 

Nice....I remember reading somewhere that players average 100 points above their elo in these key matches...with winners likely somewhere between 125-175 above their elo. And so its good news if the underdogs can pull it off.

SeniorPatzer
BobbyTalparov wrote:
nighteyes1234 wrote:

Of course all this when the elephant in the room is Kramnik. If they cant stop Kramnik, what chance do they have against Carlsen? Zero. And its been that way since before day 1 of this tourney. You either have the talent to get ahead or you dont....at the end of the day the wins come from being a better chess player. 

Fabiano is making a strong case that Kramnik should not be the front-runner today.  And Aronian is coming back with a vengeance against Karjakin - I wouldn't count him out just yet.

 

The Kramnik-Caruana game was just wild.  Simply crazy.  Unbelievable.  Caruana just did a g7-g5 move, kinda like Kramnik did yesterday.  And then he got a winning position.  I did some tasks, thinking the game was over.  Came back to the game and then Kramnik was winning!  Fabio got in time trouble, and not only did he blow the win, but Kramnik was clearly better.  I just laughed, and felt very encouraged that at the very highest levels, blunders and time pressure and psychological pressure affect even the greatest players in the world, and thus, I shouldn't feel too bad about my game.

 

So ran off and did some errands.  Was thinking that it's Kramnik's tournament, 3.5 out of 4 and all he needs to do is draw the rest of his games.  And he'll be playing Magnus for the World Championship.  And that Anish Giri, his second, would just be shaking his head, wondering how Kramnik won a lost game against Fabi.   Kramnik had 2 passed pawns on the 7th rank!

 

So I come back, and Fabio wins the game!!!  I mean, what the heck?!?  How did Kramnik lose that game?  It was just nuts.  Vlad blundered away a rook and that was all she wrote.  Now Fabi is in sole first place with 3.0 points out of 4.  This candidates tournament just got real interesting.

 

Kramnik is not going to forget this game for a long time.  Kinda wished I watched the game the whole time.

DeirdreSkye

To me it's clear after 4th round that it will be a battle between Aronian and Caruana.

 I will be very surprised if someone else manages to keep up with these 2.

Kramnik never convinced me that he can be first. It's a very demanding and difficult tournament and he is not at his prime. He will probably though be in the first 4. In fact , anything can happen for the third place. Even So might recover and go for it if he gets a nice ego boosting win.

SeniorPatzer
DeirdreSkye wrote:

To me it's clear after 4th round that it will be a battle between Aronian and Caruana.

 I will be very surprised if someone else manages to keep up with these 2.

Kramnik never convinced me that he can be first. It's a very demanding and difficult tournament and he is not at his prime. He will probably though be in the first 4. In fact , anything can happen for the third place. Even So might recover and go for it if he gets a nice ego boosting win.

 

Wesley So played an AlphaZero positional pawn sacrifice and won a really nice game as White against Levon Aronian today.  So now he gets back to -1 for the tournament and no longer the cellar dweller.

 

Also, Wesley said this in an earlier press conference:  "I’m not sure why I played very bad. There’s a lot more pressure here in this tournament than in others - also I really badly wanted to win this tournament, as second place is worth peanuts."

 

That's the right attitude, Wes!!

 

Lastly, Levon is not having a good tournament.  He bounced back after losing a brilliancy to Kramnik by winning the next game, BUT he blew a half point by not beating Grischuk in a won game, and today, he lost to Wesley.

DeirdreSkye

Aronian will recover. He knows how to leave behind bad results and plays every game like it is the first one. That is what makes him and Grischuk very dangerous. They never are emotionally affected and they will always do their best no matter what. So on the other hand , is much more talented but a bad result might make him collapse. If a tournament doesn't go well from start it usually never does.Will this one be an exception? That will be interesting.

 

SeniorPatzer

Wesley So got roasted and toasted by the Chess Brahs GM Hansen and GM Hambleton.  They were very disappointed in Wesley's approach with the White pieces today and just playing a perfunctory drawish, symmetrical line.

 

It might be worthwhile to see if Kasparov (or someone like that who) could light a fire under Wesley and motivate him to be more aggressive.

DeirdreSkye

Svidler and Gustaffson said the same.Seems like Wesley is afraid to take risks.If the game happens to sit on his side , he will win it. If it doesn't, he will do nothing about it and he will just take the draw. Even Giri took more risks in the previous Candidates.

BobbyTalparov

I think So and Kramnik are both making the case that MVL, Giri, and Nakamura would have been better candidates.  While Aronian hasn't had the best tournament, at least he is willing to take risks!

DeirdreSkye

Well . it's easy to judge from the comfort of our couch. 

Wesley might be in bad form and instead of losing game after game he decided to be cautious. Competitive chess is a very difficult sport and there is not even one , not even one top athlete that doesn't have bad games or bad tournaments.

BobbyTalparov
DeirdreSkye wrote:

Well . it's easy to judge from the comfort of our couch. 

Wesley might be in bad form and instead of losing game after game he decided to be cautious. Competitive chess is a very difficult sport and there is not even one , not even one top athlete that doesn't have bad games or bad tournaments.

I agree that armchair quarterbacking is easy, while sitting under center is entirely another matter.  But when you are this far behind in a tournament where 2nd place and last place are effectively the same thing, you would think he would at least try to shake things up.  Aronian isn't having a great tournament either, but virtually every one of his games involves fireworks.

SeniorPatzer
BobbyTalparov wrote:

I think So and Kramnik are both making the case that MVL, Giri, and Nakamura would have been better candidates.  While Aronian hasn't had the best tournament, at least he is willing to take risks!

 

Even though Kramnik has been taking a lot of heat for his post-mortem analysis and excessive optimism, at least, and much to his credit, he is trying to win every game!!  I really respect that in Big Vlad.

SmyslovFan

MVL fell apart in the last qualifier. It's easy to judge by the results that the bottom 3 of any tournament shouldn't have been there. But who would have guessed that So, Kramnik, and Aronian would be the bottom three this time?

macer75
SmyslovFan wrote:

MVL fell apart in the last qualifier. It's easy to judge by the results that the bottom 3 of any tournament shouldn't have been there. But who would have guessed that So, Kramnik, and Aronian would be the bottom three this time?

Someone who doesn't understand chess, perhaps?

BobbyTalparov
SmyslovFan wrote:

MVL fell apart in the last qualifier. It's easy to judge by the results that the bottom 3 of any tournament shouldn't have been there. But who would have guessed that So, Kramnik, and Aronian would be the bottom three this time?

I had picked Aronian to win the event (and had Fabiano coming in a close 2nd).  So, it is rather surprising to see him having (another) bad tournament at the candidates.  That said, I fully expected So to be near the bottom, as he has basically been out of sight the last few months (you might say he was almost avoiding the other candidates since Tata Steel!)

 

And it isn't so much that I think they shouldn't be there, but that there are others who I think would have made a better showing.  At the very least, it would be nice if they expanded the field - i.e. a 15-player double-round-robin where all of the top 10 active players are included and most, if not all, of the top 15.

SeniorPatzer wrote: 

Even though Kramnik has been taking a lot of heat for his post-mortem analysis and excessive optimism, at least, and much to his credit, he is trying to win every game!!  I really respect that in Big Vlad.

His excessive optimism, and the fact that he was announced as the wildcard before the final qualifiers had finished, is really what annoys me about Kramnik being there.  That, and it seems the other candidates have figured out the key to beating him consistently:  make the game go for 5+ hours and eventually he will crack.

m_n0
BobbyTalparov wrote:

His excessive optimism, and the fact that he was announced as the wildcard before the final qualifiers had finished, is really what annoys me about Kramnik being there.  That, and it seems the other candidates have figured out the key to beating him consistently:  make the game go for 5+ hours and eventually he will crack.

Isn't Kramnik the one voluntarily making the game go 5+ hours? Against Grischuk he had at least two chances to effectively draw the game instantly and passed them up to """""press for a win""""""