The Nepo Shuffle -- The 2021 World Chess Championship

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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So Ian Nepomniachtchi outlasts Giri, MVL and Caruana in a solid Candidates tournament field and wins the right to face Magnus Carlsen in Dubai in November and December, for all the marbles.

Nepo is something of a nemesis to Carlsen. Carlsen has a very poor record against Nepo in classical chess. Here's a video from agadmator where he talks about it a little. Carlsen has since this video won a match or two against Nepo but it is still pretty lopsided. I believe that Nepo is the only player in the top 100 or 200 or so to have a winning record against Carlsen. He actually has a strong record against all former world champions. Nepo has an attacking style and so there's a decent chance there are going to be more decisive games and fewer draws than the last championship.

Not sure if there's enough interest to have a thread but chess is having a bit of a renaissance. Let's see if we can get double digit posts before the tournament starts in November.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BAu_TyiBFNE
 

Bread of Yaz

lurker
Mar 12, 2019
162
So Ian Nepomniachtchi outlasts Giri, MVL and Caruana in a solid Candidates tournament field and wins the right to face Magnus Carlsen in Dubai in November and December, for all the marbles.

Nepo is something of a nemesis to Carlsen. Carlsen has a very poor record against Nepo in classical chess. Here's a video from agadmator where he talks about it a little. Carlsen has since this video won a match or two against Nepo but it is still pretty lopsided. I believe that Nepo is the only player in the top 100 or 200 or so to have a winning record against Carlsen. He actually has a strong record against all former world champions. Nepo has an attacking style and so there's a decent chance there are going to be more decisive games and fewer draws than the last championship.

Not sure if there's enough interest to have a thread but chess is having a bit of a renaissance. Let's see if we can get double digit posts before the tournament starts in November.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BAu_TyiBFNE
Thanks for starting this. Played chess my whole life (Arlington Chess Club and the Boylston Chess Club) in the 70s as a teenager. Have loved the game since. The Queens Gambit and the pandemic combined to make online chess explode. I fear it will revert once life gets back to normal.

Nepo presents an interesting challenge for Carlsen. He plays extremely fast and is tactical and doesn't back down, and so that mental toughness is something that many GMs lack when they run into Magnus. He attributes his recent success in the last 3-4 years to finally growing up, devoting himself more fully to chess. Nepo will need to try to get games into more complex positions he likes rather than the long positional manouevering that Carlsen excels at. He said after the candidates that Peter Leko, an opening genius, is one of his seconds. He needs him and more like him to win.
 

SumnerH

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If you're a casual chess fan, I find the GothamChess recaps to be pretty good and engaging enough to interest people who aren't super up on the subtleties of the game (they're probably too basic and breathless for advanced players).

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-wuZ64XVhU&list=PLBRObSmbZluQ-9Wnwy_7Apm9gZn2gZH_r&index=67
is the start of his recaps for the FIDE Candidates 2021, which was the qualifying tournament that Nepo won in order to gain the honor of facing Magnus.The Candidates actually began in 2020 and was suspended due to COVID, but the first recap will cover all those details.

He also has a breakdown of one of Nepo's wins over Magnus: View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0JJ2ZKxEhOw

And more Nepo highlights: View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCwLLsNgOjc
 

Bread of Yaz

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Mar 12, 2019
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Many top GMs now stream on Twitch. But all they do is play games and talk. I have taken to following GM Maurice Ashley. He is the first black GM, and was raised by a single mother in Brooklyn, and so he is super fun and light and cool. But he is also super intellectual and spends his stream showing interesting puzzles, fantastic game, unusual positions and the like. Extremely entertaining. He is usually online on M, W & F from 700-1000.
 

Jnai

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Daniel King's Power Play Chess Channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMBATpFb--uLNAODOVWvCTA) is another solid addition to the chess analysis lineup above. I think his analysis is slightly more in-depth than Gotham or Agadmator and he really takes you through the complexity and history of some of the positions, and also really enjoys exploring alternate ideas or possible moves in a way that I think is a different style than those two. He has recaps of many of the big candidates tournament games, but also has some really fantastic historical series. His stuff on the previous world championships is phenomenal.

He's got 43 Nepo videos: View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m66ElI2bVKU&list=PLhyM8toCZs_rfUcxniIq0xl1vWf5X-dAa
and some 400 Magnus videos.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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For those who may want to tune in but are unfamiliar with classic chess format and rules. Some format and custom and tradition points.

This is classical over the board chess. Only the players and officials from the chess governing body, FIDE, are in the playing area. Spectators are behind glass. No outside assistance or coaching is allowed during the games. There is a rest area where a player can go while waiting for his opponent to move but it is visible to the spectators. Shared toilet. By custom the players generally do not speak to each other and would only speak to the arbitrator if there is a dispute. They can mumble to themselves, and often do! Otherwise, generally the only talking is to announce you are adjusting not moving your pieces and to offer a resignation or offer a draw or respond to a draw offer.

There are a number of detailed rules about how you must move your pieces, when you have committed to a move, how you must promote a pawn or castle, and things like that. These are very rarely disputed in high level games. A crucial difference between over the board and online chess is that when you are playing online your opponent doesn’t see what you are doing until you have made a move. So you can hover over squares or model how a piece will look on a different square. In over the board if you touch a piece you must move it or capture it if it is legal to do so. Some players hover their hand over pieces before touching them and some players think this is gamesmanship to see if an opponent reacts but this is not a thing for players at this level.

There is a complicated set of arbitration decisions and protests like in every sport or game but they are rarely needed. The arbitrator has power to make decisions in cases not covered by the rules to do justice and keep with the traditional chess principal that “we are family”. (Gens una sumus) In other words, the game is ultimately the thing above any individual player or result.

The final is 14 games. One point for a win and a half point for a draw. First to 7.5 wins. Players alternate with the white pieces. One game per day with four rest days.

Each player gets two hours to make the first 40 moves. If the game continues beyond 40 moves each player if they have not run out of time gets an hour for the next 20 moves. Thereafter each player gets 15 minutes for the rest of the game plus 30 seconds per move. If the clock hits zero you lose.

If the tournament ties 7-7 there is a day of tiebreakers. First is a four game match with each player getting 25 minutes per game plus ten seconds per move. Each player gets the white pieces twice. If it ties 2-2, then it moves to a 2 game match with each player getting five minutes per game plus three seconds per move. They do up to five of these two-game matches until there is a winner. If all five tie 1-1 they move to the chess version of penalty kicks in soccer — Armageddon. One player is chosen by a draw. He gets to pick black or white pieces. White gets five minutes and black gets 4 plus 2 seconds per move after move 60 if by chance they make it that far. White must win to win the tournament. Black wins the tournament with a win or a draw.

Carlsen would be expected to be favorite in the speed games. In the last world championship it was 12 games. All were drawn and Carlsen won in the speedy format.

Edit: One other interesting feature. The players cannot agree to a draw before the end of the 30th move although there are ways for players to achieve a draw before that if they were so inclined.
 
Last edited:

ninjacornelius

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I'm a total patzer but I enjoy the game and I'm looking forward to following this thread. Chess is so uniquely suited to the Twitch/livestreaming era that it's like they were made for each other, and anyone who can give Carlsen a run for his money will be appointment viewing.
 

Bread of Yaz

lurker
Mar 12, 2019
162
For those who may want to tune in but are unfamiliar with classic chess format and rules. Some format and custom and tradition points.

This is classical over the board chess. Only the players and officials from the chess governing body, FIDE, are in the playing area. Spectators are behind glass. No outside assistance or coaching is allowed during the games. There is a rest area where a player can go while waiting for his opponent to move but it is visible to the spectators. Shared toilet. By custom the players generally do not speak to each other and would only speak to the arbitrator if there is a dispute. They can mumble to themselves, and often do! Otherwise, generally the only talking is to announce you are adjusting not moving your pieces and to offer a resignation or offer a draw or respond to a draw offer.

There are a number of detailed rules about how you must move your pieces, when you have committed to a move, how you must promote a pawn or castle, and things like that. These are very rarely disputed in high level games. A crucial difference between over the board and online chess is that when you are playing online your opponent doesn’t see what you are doing until you have made a move. So you can hover over squares or model how a piece will look on a different square. In over the board if you touch a piece you must move it or capture it if it is legal to do so. Some players hover their hand over pieces before touching them and some players think this is gamesmanship to see if an opponent reacts but this is not a thing for players at this level.

There is a complicated set of arbitration decisions and protests like in every sport or game but they are rarely needed. The arbitrator has power to make decisions in cases not covered by the rules to do justice and keep with the traditional chess principal that “we are family”. (Gens una sumus) In other words, the game is ultimately the thing above any individual player or result.

The final is 14 games. One point for a win and a half point for a draw. First to 7.5 wins. Players alternate with the white pieces. One game per day with four rest days.

Each player gets two hours to make the first 40 moves. If the game continues beyond 40 moves each player if they have not run out of time gets an hour for the next 20 moves. Thereafter each player gets 15 minutes for the rest of the game plus 30 seconds per move. If the clock hits zero you lose.

If the tournament ties 7-7 there is a day of tiebreakers. First is a four game match with each player getting 25 minutes per game plus ten seconds per move. Each player gets the white pieces twice. If it ties 2-2, then it moves to a 2 game match with each player getting five minutes per game plus three seconds per move. They do up to five of these two-game matches until there is a winner. If all five tie 1-1 they move to the chess version of penalty kicks in soccer — Armageddon. One player is chosen by a draw. He gets to pick black or white pieces. White gets five minutes and black gets 4 plus 2 seconds per move after move 60 if by chance they make it that far. White must win to win the tournament. Black wins the tournament with a win or a draw.

Carlsen would be expected to be favorite in the speed games. In the last world championship it was 12 games. All were drawn and Carlsen won in the speedy format.
One small difference from the last two title defenses is that Karjakian and Caruana were not great at the rapid format. Nepo is much better in that format and so could make things interesting if the match gets that far. I do think Carlsen's match experience and his extraordinarily solid style will win out and he will prevail before that (as much as I'd like to see a changing of the guard).

Also: one sidelight is that Nepo is the same age as Carlsen and apparently beat him in some under 12 championship back in the day. Plus, Nepo helped Carlsen in prep for one of his world championship matches. And so the saga continues.
 

SumnerH

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Edit: One other interesting feature. The players cannot agree to a draw before the end of the 30th move although there are ways for players to achieve a draw before that if they were so inclined.
The latter understates the situation a bit, the rule in practice is completely meaningless. It's very common for players to (by agreement) draw before the 30th move, they just move their pieces back and forth to repeat positions rather than formally agreeing to a draw.
 

SumnerH

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DennyDoyle'sBoil

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If you haven’t been following it and are into chess at all the FIDE world cup is taking place right now in Sochi Russia.

This is a single elimination tournament. It started with 206 of the best players in the world with the top 50 getting byes into the second round. It is down to the last 32.

In many ways it’s the greatest chess tournament in the world – it’s sort of like the soccer world cup. It is over the board classical chess with classic time controls. The players play two games on consecutive days, each with the white pieces once. Half point for draw and full point for win. If it is tied 1-1 after the first two games, then there is a third day with progressively shorter and shorter games with each player getting to play with the white pieces once in each round until the chess version of penalty kicks -- a very fast game in which black can advance with a draw.

Winning the world cup is a big deal, but the other reason it matters is that the top two finishers both qualify to play in the candidates tournament, which is an 8 person tournament to decide who gets to take on the then-reigning world champion.

Currently, two players have qualified for the next candidates tournament, so the world cup is for two of the remaining six slots. (One slot is reserved for the loser of the upcoming world championship and the other slot is being held for Radjabov, who had qualified for the candidates in 2020 but pulled out due to the pandemic only to have FIDE later postpone it anyway, so they granted him a spot in the next one.)

Nepo and Radjobov are not playing in the world cup, presumably because they already have their tickets to the candidates. But otherwise it’s basically a who’s who of professional chess players.

It can be watched live on various streaming platforms. I’ve been watching recaps of each round at night. The round 4 match up that intrigues me is Maxime Vachier-Lagrave against Praggnanandhaa. Praggu was one of those “one of the youngest ever” prodigies as a child who seems to have made the jump to world class and will be competing at the highest level soon if not already there. He also seems to be a good dude. Vachier-Lagrave has an entertaining style. He was the player who got into the most recent candidates tournament when Radjabov dropped out (I believe) and then he came a half point from winning the thing.

One of the most interesting developments so far is Fabiano Caruana has been eliminated already. Caruana has been the second-highest rated player in the world for much of that last several years and he was the most recent world championship challenger. In prior years there was a way to get into the candidates tournament with rankings but not this year. So Caruana is running out of chances.

I’m pretty bad at chess but I’ve really been getting into watching some of the high level chess lately and I think I’m absorbing it by osmosis. I’ve sort of been into non-USA dominated international competitions lately and with the Euros and Tour de France ending, the FIDE world cup has stepped up for me.
 

Bread of Yaz

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Mar 12, 2019
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If you haven’t been following it and are into chess at all the FIDE world cup is taking place right now in Sochi Russia.

This is a single elimination tournament. It started with 206 of the best players in the world with the top 50 getting byes into the second round. It is down to the last 32.

In many ways it’s the greatest chess tournament in the world – it’s sort of like the soccer world cup. It is over the board classical chess with classic time controls. The players play two games on consecutive days, each with the white pieces once. Half point for draw and full point for win. If it is tied 1-1 after the first two games, then there is a third day with progressively shorter and shorter games with each player getting to play with the white pieces once in each round until the chess version of penalty kicks -- a very fast game in which black can advance with a draw.

Winning the world cup is a big deal, but the other reason it matters is that the top two finishers both qualify to play in the candidates tournament, which is an 8 person tournament to decide who gets to take on the then-reigning world champion.

Currently, two players have qualified for the next candidates tournament, so the world cup is for two of the remaining six slots. (One slot is reserved for the loser of the upcoming world championship and the other slot is being held for Radjabov, who had qualified for the candidates in 2020 but pulled out due to the pandemic only to have FIDE later postpone it anyway, so they granted him a spot in the next one.)

Nepo and Radjobov are not playing in the world cup, presumably because they already have their tickets to the candidates. But otherwise it’s basically a who’s who of professional chess players.

It can be watched live on various streaming platforms. I’ve been watching recaps of each round at night. The round 4 match up that intrigues me is Maxime Vachier-Lagrave against Praggnanandhaa. Praggu was one of those “one of the youngest ever” prodigies as a child who seems to have made the jump to world class and will be competing at the highest level soon if not already there. He also seems to be a good dude. Vachier-Lagrave has an entertaining style. He was the player who got into the most recent candidates tournament when Radjabov dropped out (I believe) and then he came a half point from winning the thing.

One of the most interesting developments so far is Fabiano Caruana has been eliminated already. Caruana has been the second-highest rated player in the world for much of that last several years and he was the most recent world championship challenger. In prior years there was a way to get into the candidates tournament with rankings but not this year. So Caruana is running out of chances.

I’m pretty bad at chess but I’ve really been getting into watching some of the high level chess lately and I think I’m absorbing it by osmosis. I’ve sort of been into non-USA dominated international competitions lately and with the Euros and Tour de France ending, the FIDE world cup has stepped up for me.
It is a fun tournament. Chess.com carries it live daily if you want to dip in and see some real time action.

Fabi has been in a funk lately. Unclear what is going on but he is not playing at the level he was 2-3 years ago when he as essentially the equal of Carlsen.

MVL also in a big funk this year, had a lead half way through the Candidates and then relinquished it to Nepo. So dont be surprised if Prag takes him down.

Oh - today is International Chess Day. Geeks of the world, unite!
 

SumnerH

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It is a fun tournament. Chess.com carries it live daily if you want to dip in and see some real time action.

Fabi has been in a funk lately. Unclear what is going on but he is not playing at the level he was 2-3 years ago when he as essentially the equal of Carlsen.

MVL also in a big funk this year, had a lead half way through the Candidates and then relinquished it to Nepo. So dont be surprised if Prag takes him down.
I believe Fabi falls out of 2nd place in the rankings with his ouster, behind Ding Liren.

MVL turned it on in that last game, but yeah he's been struggling hardcore. Anish Giri and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov getting knocked out is pretty huge news, too.

I'm kind of pulling for Haik Martirosyan, the kid who just knocked out Shak.

GothamChess is doing daily recaps of highlights. Today's:

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I7Q2JjbWyFA
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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In some senses the world championship is the worst possible tournament to televise if hoping for broad appeal or to try to catch lightening in a bottle like the ESPN poker craze several years back.

The games take five hours and are usually draws. With the level of computerized preparation that goes on now and with the players having lots of time to avoid mistakes, it is usually possible for players to eek out draws if they want to, and in a head to head long match there is almost always at least one player that wants a draw. In regular tournaments you need wins so they are more exciting.

Even the exciting moments are very hard for most of us patzers to appreciate. There are no ah ha checkmates in games between super grand masters. Most games are resigned due to a positional advantage that will inevitably result in checkmate with perfect play in a dozen or more moves. They see it but you and me don’t. The most exciting moments will be when a player eeks out a draw from a losing position.

For those not used to classical chess games watching this would be like introducing someone to cricket by televising a test match.
 

Bread of Yaz

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Mar 12, 2019
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In some senses the world championship is the worst possible tournament to televise if hoping for broad appeal or to try to catch lightening in a bottle like the ESPN poker craze several years back.

The games take five hours and are usually draws. With the level of computerized preparation that goes on now and with the players having lots of time to avoid mistakes, it is usually possible for players to eek out draws if they want to, and in a head to head long match there is almost always at least one player that wants a draw. In regular tournaments you need wins so they are more exciting.

Even the exciting moments are very hard for most of us patzers to appreciate. There are no ah ha checkmates in games between super grand masters. Most games are resigned due to a positional advantage that will inevitably result in checkmate with perfect play in a dozen or more moves. They see it but you and me don’t. The most exciting moments will be when a player eeks out a draw from a losing position.

For those not used to classical chess games watching this would be like introducing someone to cricket by televising a test match.

All true. But if anyone can make it entertaining, it will be the host Maurice Ashley. Fascinating guy: world's first black GM, raised by a single mother in Brooklyn, expert in Aikido. Streams on Twitch and has had everyone on there from Neil DeGrasse Tyson to RZA of Wu-Tang to John Urschel. Dude is non-stop energy and a born teacher.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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All true. But if anyone can make it entertaining, it will be the host Maurice Ashley. Fascinating guy: world's first black GM, raised by a single mother in Brooklyn, expert in Aikido. Streams on Twitch and has had everyone on there from Neil DeGrasse Tyson to RZA of Wu-Tang to John Urschel. Dude is non-stop energy and a born teacher.
Hopefully if Magnus wins a game Maurice will not ask him whether he thought the win was smooth enough! Or actually maybe that would be awesome. I would watch.
 

Bread of Yaz

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Mar 12, 2019
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Hopefully if Magnus wins a game Maurice will not ask him whether he thought the win was smooth enough! Or actually maybe that would be awesome. I would watch.
Carlsen did give Maurice a hard time once. But Carlsen (like many of the greatest GMs of all time) can be an arrogant prick.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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Carlsen did give Maurice a hard time once. But Carlsen (like many of the greatest GMs of all time) can be an arrogant prick.
Yeah, Carlsen was being a tool and Maurice is great.

But even if Vin Scully were calling these matches, playing five hour games that are usually drawn 12 time zones away or however many it is on a Wednesday will be a tough sell for the casual fan.
 

coremiller

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Yeah, Carlsen was being a tool and Maurice is great.

But even if Vin Scully were calling these matches, playing five hour games that are usually drawn 12 time zones away or however many it is on a Wednesday will be a tough sell for the casual fan.
I don't think NBCSN is going to air the matches live. Instead they're going to do a 30-minute summary/highlights show for each match, which makes a lot more sense.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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I don't think NBCSN is going to air the matches live. Instead they're going to do a 30-minute summary/highlights show for each match, which makes a lot more sense.
Aha -- probably pretty smart. I'd watch that. I usually prefer agadmator for recap videos and I'm sure I will stick with him during the championship. I think agadmator is better for lower ranked players than Gotham with his recaps and I usually find I absorb more. I think Gotham is a higher rated player than Agad and I think his recaps tend to kind of reflect that. Both are enjoyable but I get a little more out of Agadmator. I'll definitely also watch the NBC recaps though.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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Good day to watch tomorrow -- 7 tie breaks. I didn't think there would be that many because a number of players yesterday ended up getting results with the black pieces.

It's down to 23 now and getting serious.

MVL turned it on in that last game, but yeah he's been struggling hardcore.
Three strong games on the trot now. It's a grueling tournament and momentum and stamina seem to matter.

It is now looking extremely likely that at least one player who did not play in the candidates this year will get a ticket to the next one. Still theoretically possible it won't work out that way but the two remaining players other than Carlsen are on the same side of the bracket and would have to meet in the semis and then the loser win in the third place game with Carlsen making the final.
 

SumnerH

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Aha -- probably pretty smart. I'd watch that. I usually prefer agadmator for recap videos and I'm sure I will stick with him during the championship. I think agadmator is better for lower ranked players than Gotham with his recaps and I usually find I absorb more. I think Gotham is a higher rated player than Agad and I think his recaps tend to kind of reflect that. Both are enjoyable but I get a little more out of Agadmator. I'll definitely also watch the NBC recaps though.
Interesting. I find Gotham easier to follow (I'm a totally unranked scrub), I think being a long-time instructor makes him good at explaining positions. Probably a matter of which style you find more approachable.

I'm also a fan of Daniel Naroditsky and Eric Rosen for general chess instruction, but they don't do recaps as well as Gotham and Agadmator.

Hikaru and the Botezes are both way below all 4 of those, though they're okay when they're teaching beginners (or learning from GMs in the case of the Botez sisters)—that seems to be the only time they actually focus on any kind of strategy/instruction rather than blasting out bullet games with no commentary or playing weird variants or something.

(and, yeah, Levy is higher ranked, he's a 2350 IM who peaked at 2420 whereas Agad is 1940 and peaked at 2010).
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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Interesting. I find Gotham easier to follow (I'm a totally unranked scrub), I think being a long-time instructor makes him good at explaining positions. Probably a matter of which style you find more approachable.

I'm also a fan of Daniel Naroditsky and Eric Rosen for general chess instruction, but they don't do recaps as well as Gotham and Agadmator.

Hikaru and the Botezes are both way below all 4 of those, though they're okay when they're teaching beginners (or learning from GMs in the case of the Botez sisters)—that seems to be the only time they actually focus on any kind of strategy/instruction rather than blasting out bullet games with no commentary or playing weird variants or something.

(and, yeah, Levy is higher ranked, he's a 2350 IM who peaked at 2420 whereas Agad is 1940 and peaked at 2010).
Agree that they are both the tops for recaps. One thing that Agadmator adds is his deep historical knowledge. I think they are both probably using the same databases and engines to help analyze the games before they do the recaps, but Agadmator also has a very deep ability to do callbacks based on memory and his study of important games. In between tournaments when there's nothing much to recap, there's so much Agadmator content to catch up on, and then he frequently references it during modern games -- he did this just a day or two ago during one of his world cup recaps where he referenced the 1959 candidates tournament. I guess there's a certain level of historical continuity that I like. One nice thing about Gotham though is that he goes more quickly and so he'll often recap 5 or 6 games in the time it take Agadmator to do one or two. He's also a little less dry, though Agadmator can be subversively funny at times.

The Botezes are fun in small doses. I also like Eric Rosen and Hikaru but just not really quite as much as the other guys. I keep meaning to check out Naroditsky.
 

SumnerH

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Agree that they are both the tops for recaps. One thing that Agadmator adds is his deep historical knowledge. I think they are both probably using the same databases and engines to help analyze the games before they do the recaps, but Agadmator also has a very deep ability to do callbacks based on memory and his study of important games. In between tournaments when there's nothing much to recap, there's so much Agadmator content to catch up on, and then he frequently references it during modern games -- he did this just a day or two ago during one of his world cup recaps where he referenced the 1959 candidates tournament. I guess there's a certain level of historical continuity that I like. One nice thing about Gotham though is that he goes more quickly and so he'll often recap 5 or 6 games in the time it take Agadmator to do one or two. He's also a little less dry, though Agadmator can be subversively funny at times.

The Botezes are fun in small doses. I also like Eric Rosen and Hikaru but just not really quite as much as the other guys. I keep meaning to check out Naroditsky.
Naroditsky has a series of speedruns where he starts at 400 or so ELO and climbs to 2000+. This lets him give advice across the spectrum: the early games are very beginner-oriented, and he builds on that up to Candidate Master-level advice. They're 10 minute games so he can sit and discuss the options he's considering, and then after the game he'll get into the history (if he played a named gambit, he'll go back and talk about where it came from and such).

They're super helpful to me, but definitely more of “I'm trying to learn” than “turn brain off and be entertained”. One of the runs starts here (it's very basic at first so skip ahead to an interesting ELO level):

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0WPNVHZmYE8&list=PLT1F2nOxLHOefj_z54LNBpnASnIROm43e


Eric Rosen grew on me over time. He's got a lot of very tricky approaches that are interesting, and he's always looking for fun ways to play that are still effective rather than the most effective. He's also a good teacher; here's him teaching Andrea Botez some of the more advanced ins and outs of the London system:
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIIpCCsqePk
 
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For those not used to classical chess games watching this would be like introducing someone to cricket by televising a test match.
FWIW, I fell in love with cricket precisely because the first form of the game I ever watched was a test match. (And it featured Michael Atherton batting for 11 hours and making 185 not out against South Africa to draw the game from a massively losing position.) So don't discount the fact that a few loony-minded people like me might fall in love with chess precisely because this is the form of the game they're watching, or having on in the background while they mostly focus on something else.
 

Bread of Yaz

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Eighteen year old Velimir Ivic (who I've never once heard of, and I follow the game pretty closely) makes the final sixteen. He is rated just 2324, and so this is similar to a D-III team making the Sweet Sixteen in the NCAA tourney. Amazing accomplishment even if he goes no further.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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Eighteen year old Velimir Ivic (who I've never once heard of, and I follow the game pretty closely) makes the final sixteen. He is rated just 2324, and so this is similar to a D-III team making the Sweet Sixteen in the NCAA tourney. Amazing accomplishment even if he goes no further.
Are you thinking of a different player? Ivic came into the tournament as a 2581 GM and was seeded about halfway down the bracket.

Agree that he is having a great tournament but when GMs play pretty much anything can happen.
 

SumnerH

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Are you thinking of a different player? Ivic came into the tournament as a 2581 GM and was seeded about halfway down the bracket.

Agree that he is having a great tournament but when GMs play pretty much anything can happen.
Bread of Yaz was looking at his rapid rating (which is 2324), not his classical rating. The latter has ticked up to 2582 since the tournament started.

https://ratings.fide.com/profile/950122
 

Bread of Yaz

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Are you thinking of a different player? Ivic came into the tournament as a 2581 GM and was seeded about halfway down the bracket.

Agree that he is having a great tournament but when GMs play pretty much anything can happen.
Doh! Still, he is a total unknown and 100-200 points lower than most people left in the field.
 

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In case anyone is trying to avoid results, spoiler.

Esipenko beats the world champion on demand in the second game of the second round of blitz (Edit: rapid) tiebreakers and they are going to a third and final tie break before Armageddon. I hope there are not two draws here. Also, there will be at least two brand new candidates.
 
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DennyDoyle'sBoil

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Rats. Shankland is out. He won the first game in both the classical round and the first tie-break round but Karjakin won right back and then it looks as though Shankland ran out of gas and got steamrolled.

So the semis are set and two out of the three other than Carlsen will get their tickets. I think the way it works is that if Carlsen loses in the semi final than the two finalists will get Candidates slots but if Carlsen wins his semi than the two semi final losers will play a match for third place and third place will get the spot.
 

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After one of the more amazing games on either the open side or the women's side yesterday, Alexandra Kosteniuk wins the championship today. She only needed a draw and actually could have probably forced one early in the game but appeared to be playing for the win. She ultimately accepted a draw after promoting to a queen in a winning position and obviously had proven her point. Pretty amazing career and a pretty remarkable tournament. She won without having to play a single tie break.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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Duda knocks out Carlsen in the semis. Carlsen never really looked comfortable and he is generally dominant in tie breaks so it's a pretty interesting result. The real loser is Fedoseev, who was rooting for Carlsen. Because Carlsen lost it means that the two Candidates places go to the two finalists, and so the third place game is just for pride (and rating).
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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Bumping as we are five days away now. Predictions?
Lots of draws in the first 14, Carlsen wins in rapid.

Meanwhile, 6 of the 8 for the next candidates tournament are set with only 2 to be determined from the Grand Prix.

Firoujza and Fabi qualified in the Swiss.

Firoujza has just completed a massive run in the European Team competition and his live rating is now second highest in the world, at 2803. Assuming he doesn't play any more over the board chess for the next week or so he will be the fastest ever to 2800 when the December 1 rankings come out, beating out Magnus by about 6 months. He gained over 30 rating points this month, which is pretty crazy when you start around 2770.

He is in incredible form right now. I almost wish he were playing Carlsen now for the championship. He might actually be in good enough form to win it.
 

Bread of Yaz

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Lots of draws in the first 14, Carlsen wins in rapid.

Meanwhile, 6 of the 8 for the next candidates tournament are set with only 2 to be determined from the Grand Prix.

Firoujza and Fabi qualified in the Swiss.

Firoujza has just completed a massive run in the European Team competition and his live rating is now second highest in the world, at 2803. Assuming he doesn't play any more over the board chess for the next week or so he will be the fastest ever to 2800 when the December 1 rankings come out, beating out Magnus by about 6 months. He gained over 30 rating points this month, which is pretty crazy when you start around 2770.

He is in incredible form right now. I almost wish he were playing Carlsen now for the championship. He might actually be in good enough form to win it.
I really hope we don't see a replay of the Karjakian match. I'm hoping that Nepo's creativity, his penchant for agreeing to fewer draws that most GMs, and perhaps the Russians' desire to get the title back (which may have led to a well-funded training) will result in more decisive games.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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I think the match will be like a soccer game -- it will need an early goal to get going. If someone wins a game early, or even better if someone wins with the black pieces, then there could be fireworks.

But by and large this format is not conducive to excitement. It's just so hard to avoid draws with super GMs who are only concerned about preparation for one opponent. The game declares itself very quickly for black and Carlsen is just so hard to beat when he decides that he wants a draw with the black pieces because he perceives that his opponent has a preparation advantage.

It's one thing for Ian to think that he won't want to agree to draws but I think the pressure is really great once you're over the board in a format where one win can be decisive to want to avoid an end game where you don't have enough time left on your clock to calculate exactly which player is going to win the pawn race 20 moves into the future.

But, yeah, if they can manage to get into some long end games that last enough time for someone to make a mistake, and it happens in the first two or three days to someone with the white pieces then I think we're going to get a good tournament. I don't think it's going to go all draws like Fabi match in 2018 but I do think we're maybe looking at each player going something like 2-2-10 with a couple of white piece wins each.

Edited to add -- I found in the world cup there was actually quite a bit of excitement when players were playing to find draws out of potentially lost positions. That could happen here but I realize that is not quite what people hope for in these matches and they want the Bobby Fischer/Gary Kasparov "where did he find that move" moments.
 

Bread of Yaz

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I think the match will be like a soccer game -- it will need an early goal to get going. If someone wins a game early, or even better if someone wins with the black pieces, then there could be fireworks.

But by and large this format is not conducive to excitement. It's just so hard to avoid draws with super GMs who are only concerned about preparation for one opponent. The game declares itself very quickly for black and Carlsen is just so hard to beat when he decides that he wants a draw with the black pieces because he perceives that his opponent has a preparation advantage.

It's one thing for Ian to think that he won't want to agree to draws but I think the pressure is really great once you're over the board in a format where one win can be decisive to want to avoid an end game where you don't have enough time left on your clock to calculate exactly which player is going to win the pawn race 20 moves into the future.

But, yeah, if they can manage to get into some long end games that last enough time for someone to make a mistake, and it happens in the first two or three days to someone with the white pieces then I think we're going to get a good tournament. I don't think it's going to go all draws like Fabi match in 2018 but I do think we're maybe looking at each player going something like 2-2-10 with a couple of white piece wins each.

Edited to add -- I found in the world cup there was actually quite a bit of excitement when players were playing to find draws out of potentially lost positions. That could happen here but I realize that is not quite what people hope for in these matches and they want the Bobby Fischer/Gary Kasparov "where did he find that move" moments.
Chess.com has an article up with predictions from GM and others. Most line up with what you're saying: more wins than last two matches with Carlsen prevailing in the end (though many think it wont get to tiebreaks). I'd like a shake up at the top after a decade of the same champion. Rooting for an upset, but not expecting one.

Carlsen-Nepomniachtchi: Predictions - Chess.com
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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I think Nepo actually has a decent chance. Carlsen didn't look great in the World Cup and he's been grinding pretty hard for a while. It's hard to stay on top of the mountain too long.

I'm looking forward to the match, but the truth is that I kind of think the whole method for determining the "champion" is artificial. It feels a little like a college bowl game to me. You get your ticket for the candidates tournament a year before you play it and then you play it a year before the championship. And the candidates tournament itself is kind of arbitrary. The guy who makes it and wins by .5 is not necessarily the guy you want to see in the championship a year later. A lot happens in chess in the year. I almost think that watching Ian and Firoujza play in a big match would be more exciting right now.

I actually find some of the tournaments leading to the candidates to be more enjoyable than the actual chess championship.

I'm not sure there's a better way to do it. The days of undisputed number 1 and number 2 facing off for a month in some very cold place trading wins with the black pieces are probably long gone.

I'll follow it and I'm sure I'll enjoy it. I am already looking forward to the Agadmator recaps. But I really got into the World Cup this year. That was really fun to follow in a way that I think this match won't be and the truth is that I think winning the World Cup, with the field involved and how it is set up, is practically as much of an achievement as winning this match. The World Cup was kind of the NCAA tournament of chess whereas this match is more like a national championship game. I always loved the tournament better.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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Nepo with a slight edge in the early game and then a bit of inaccuracy after the queens came off the board. Carlsen actually had a chance to win according to the computer if he could have found a very non-human pawn move in the middle game but they just settled for the draw.
 

SumnerH

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Nepo with a slight edge in the early game and then a bit of inaccuracy after the queens came off the board. Carlsen actually had a chance to win according to the computer if he could have found a very non-human pawn move in the middle game but they just settled for the draw.
It was a pretty interesting game despite the draw. I think that in human terms Magnus was the one pressing for advantage after Ne5 and the ensuing trade of pieces, even before the queens came off.
 

Bread of Yaz

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Nepo wanted to avoid the Marshall but Carlsen equalized easily and had the better play. Nepo is going to have to shift gears next time with white if he wants any winning chances.