The Nepo Shuffle -- The 2021 World Chess Championship

SumnerH

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This game of Eric Rosen's that he just played in Gibraltar at the battle of the sexes vs. GM Olga Girya is fairly peaceful. But the post-analysis is pretty impressive:

especially given that it's between an IM and a pretty low-level GM and not between Magnus and Alireza or something: 0 blunders, mistakes, or inaccuracies by either player, and an average 8 centipawn loss for Eric and 7 for Olga
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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Interesting. I watched a recap and it sounds as though Rosen was out of preparation by about move 10 or so, making it even more impressive. There was at least a move or two in there that seemed maybe not quite what a human should play, so maybe we're becoming the borg?

Meanwhile at Tata Steel, Dubov has tested positive. Earlier in the tournament he was asked to wear a mask against Giri after one of his close contacts tested positive, and he refused and took a forfeit. Dubov was one of Calrsen's last two games and so now Magnus gets the point and likely will win the tournament. Though it's not all that unfair because the top 3 all get a free point against Dubov. Weird stuff. And of course they have all been playing without masks for the whole tournament so who knows what the next two days will bring.
 

Bread of Yaz

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Fabi crumbles today at Tata Steel to Carlsen, losing his way in the middle game as white in a Rossolimo Sicilian. Its sad to see as he was straight up Carlsen's equal in their world championship match but is not the same player now for whatever reason. Makes Carlsen's long period of sustained dominance all the more impressive.
 

YankeesIsrael

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The FIDE Grand Prix series is underway in Berlin, with two more tournaments (Belgrade and Berlin again) to follow. The top two finishers will join Nepomniachtchi, Radjabov, Duda, Karjakin, Firouzja, and Caruana in the Madrid candidates tournament. More information about the Grand Prix series here. Live streaming and commentary can be found in the “World Chess” (with live video), "ChesscomLive" , “chess24” YouTube channels.
 

coremiller

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FIDE's decision not to include a candidate's place based on rating has totally screwed Ding Liren, who is currently the third-rated player but hasn't been able to play in any of the qualifying events due to COVID-related visa issues.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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FIDE's decision not to include a candidate's place based on rating has totally screwed Ding Liren, who is currently the third-rated player but hasn't been able to play in any of the qualifying events due to COVID-related visa issues.
Yeah, it's true but it's hard to judge them too harshly. I think they thought they were actually being fair with respect to pandemic issues when they gave Radjabov the spot.

The pandemic just sucks. You can try to do the right thing in good faith without knowing what all the unintended consequences will be.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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Naroditsky's speed run today had a game he played where intentionally played into a bad line against the Scotch gambit, then wound up with a very instructive endgame.

View: https://youtu.be/NqtT3roFaBs
How do these speed runs work? Seems a bit unfair that someone thinks she's playing a 1400 but it turns out she's playing a GM. I assume Narodistsky must clear it with the website first so that they know he is doing it. I bet they get some cheating reports about the 1100 who has 98 percent accuracy. I would hope his opponents get rated based on his actual rating not on the basis of the rating of speedrun account.
 

SumnerH

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How do these speed runs work? Seems a bit unfair that someone thinks she's playing a 1400 but it turns out she's playing a GM. I assume Narodistsky must clear it with the website first so that they know he is doing it. I bet they get some cheating reports about the 1100 who has 98 percent accuracy. I would hope his opponents get rated based on his actual rating not on the basis of the rating of speedrun account.
He clears the run with chess.com before hand, and they refund the opponents' rating.

Lichess doesn't allow them.
 

coremiller

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Yeah, it's true but it's hard to judge them too harshly. I think they thought they were actually being fair with respect to pandemic issues when they gave Radjabov the spot.

The pandemic just sucks. You can try to do the right thing in good faith without knowing what all the unintended consequences will be.
Probably they never should have allowed the first half of the Candidates to go forward at the time in 2020. If FIDE had postponed it like they should have, Radjabov would have been able to play and they wouldn't have had to give him a free spot in the next cycle.
 

SumnerH

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First players through to the knockout phase at the Grand Prix.

Really great play by Hikaru to show that he's still got something in the tank in classical time controls. A couple fancy games earlier on, and a tenacious defense today to hold off Esipenko.

Great game by Rapport today to hang on as well.

Moderately interesting rules note about the end of the Dubov/Aronian game today (spoilers for the result):
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H1XzLN-u0gs&t=1310s


It was a draw, but they started the drawn position with castling rights. So they had to repeat the board position 4 times because technically position-with-castling-rights is different from position-without-castling-rights
 
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DennyDoyle'sBoil

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I am not going to spoiler because I don't talk about any results below, but it could imply them, so don't read further if you don't want to be spoiled, etc.

I love arcane stuff like that. Ordinarily, it won't ever matter with simultaneous moves resulting in three-fold repetition because usually the sequence begins and ends with the same castling rights. The only time it can happen in a three-move three-fold repetition is when, like this, one player's move actually a involves the king or rook and castling was in order before the first move -- as happened here. It was the movement of black's rook that started the sequence and so created a new position for move 2.

Where it really could matter is where the three-fold repetition is claimed later in the game after the position was reached the first or second time, earlier. In that case, I would think it very unlikely that the players would notice that castling was in order earlier in the game, unless one player was really anxious to avoid a draw and made a point of it to the arbitrator.
 

YankeesIsrael

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Castling isn’t the only exception. It isn’t a threefold repetition draw if en passant capturing was possible in the first occurrence of the three.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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Castling isn’t the only exception. It isn’t a threefold repetition draw if en passant capturing was possible in the first occurrence of the three.
That one seems to me to be interesting like the castling one but so unlikely as to be entirely academic. If en passant capturing was possible in a position then either the advancing pawn is captured en passant or there are passed pawns at least to the opponent’s fourth last rank. Either way it’s hard to imagine that position repeating. So you would have to imagine a game in which the pawn is not taken en passant, the passed pawns do not advance and neither pawn or other piece is taken. Hard to imagine unless the players are trying to construct a novel game starting a three fold repetition with a pawn move from the 2d/7th rank.
 

Bread of Yaz

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Hikaru Nakamura, after taking two years off classical chess, breezes through and wins first leg of the Grand Prix. Its both a testament to his genius as a chess player, to be able to do this while not in over-the-board-form, but also an equal measure of what he has squandered: Naka was up to No. 4 in the world at one point if memory serves, but chose to pursue online streaming. Far more lucrative, but I will always wonder what he could have accomplished if he had the single minded focus of a Carlsen, Kasparov or Karpov.
 

SumnerH

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Hikaru Nakamura, after taking two years off classical chess, breezes through and wins first leg of the Grand Prix. Its both a testament to his genius as a chess player, to be able to do this while not in over-the-board-form, but also an equal measure of what he has squandered: Naka was up to No. 4 in the world at one point if memory serves, but chose to pursue online streaming. Far more lucrative, but I will always wonder what he could have accomplished if he had the single minded focus of a Carlsen, Kasparov or Karpov.
The flip side is that he's talked throughout the Grand Prix about how he's playing much looser now than when he was dedicating his life to winning classical chess, which is letting him flow more and stress less. It's possible that getting away from single-minded focus has helped his game.
 

Bread of Yaz

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The flip side is that he's talked throughout the Grand Prix about how he's playing much looser now than when he was dedicating his life to winning classical chess, which is letting him flow more and stress less. It's possible that getting away from single-minded focus has helped his game.
True. Also, before his streaming time, I seem to remember Naka playing very loosely in the opening, refusing to follow best lines, then getting blown out as a result or struggling to salvage draws. But his opening play this event has been sure and solid, with no offbeat diversions to get himself in trouble.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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I don't remember where I saw it -- it may have been his own stream -- but that he takes losing pretty hard and just had enough of it. I get the sense he's a bit of a piece of work, but that he's softened just a little bit and has really grown into his role as sort of the standard bearer for the Queens Gambit inspired chess streaming renaissance.

Nakamura's second leg in the Grand Prix is the third round. There will be some tough players in the third round. Anish, Ding Liren, MDL, etc. Aronian plays his second leg in the second round, so we'll have a fair amount of information about how well Nakamura will need to do to get one of the last candidates spots. It's still a tough ask and he's not going to take anyone by surprise now but he has a real chance. I think it would be fun to have him in the candidates.

Four of the top 5 in Berlin round 1 were Americans, interestingly.
 

SumnerH

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I don't remember where I saw it -- it may have been his own stream -- but that he takes losing pretty hard and just had enough of it. I get the sense he's a bit of a piece of work, but that he's softened just a little bit and has really grown into his role as sort of the standard bearer for the Queens Gambit inspired chess streaming renaissance.
He certainly has a reputation as being an asshat with an explosive anger problem (there's YouTube footage of him getting in an actual physical fight with fellow hothead Eric Hansen while they're both wasted).

In the initial Queens Gambit/COVID renaissance he did a lot of streaming with GothamChess, Naroditsky, Eric Rosen, Anish, Samai Raina, etc, and then some stories of earlier rectal-millinery came out alongside his online manager kind of dicking around with giving rival content producers unwarranted copyright strikes (later retracted, and Hikaru says that the manager was acting alone and he didn't know about it).

Since then he's basically been put in a weird world where he's still obviously popular but he's also isolated from all the other big streamers as far as collabs go. You'll still see him playing against some of those people online in Titled Tuesday and such, but he has no collab streams since the kerfuffle with most of them.
 

Bread of Yaz

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I don't remember where I saw it -- it may have been his own stream -- but that he takes losing pretty hard and just had enough of it. I get the sense he's a bit of a piece of work, but that he's softened just a little bit and has really grown into his role as sort of the standard bearer for the Queens Gambit inspired chess streaming renaissance.

Nakamura's second leg in the Grand Prix is the third round. There will be some tough players in the third round. Anish, Ding Liren, MDL, etc. Aronian plays his second leg in the second round, so we'll have a fair amount of information about how well Nakamura will need to do to get one of the last candidates spots. It's still a tough ask and he's not going to take anyone by surprise now but he has a real chance. I think it would be fun to have him in the candidates.

Four of the top 5 in Berlin round 1 were Americans, interestingly.

Though Aronian and Dominguez are Sinquefield Citizens, they may be naturalized but money lured them.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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I think I posted about it back in the early days of this thread when I was talking about the world cup, but Praggu was one of the players that I was watching in that tournament and just generally speaking he seems like a really neat kid. Most of the up and coming prodigies hailed as the next big thing obviously don't make the leap to super gm. He seems like he may have a chance. The funny part is that Praggnanandhaa is not even that highly rated in rapid. Not really mentioned in much of the press is that he won with the black pieces too. Carlsen pretty clearly is not himself, though. I watched the recap of the game and while he didn't blunder, he did allow some uncharacteristic openings. And he seems pretty focused right now on trying to get to 2900 in classical so may not be really taking rapid all that seriously. Still, you know, 16 year old beats the world number 1 rapid player with the black pieces and it's a pretty big day.
 

Bread of Yaz

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I think I posted about it back in the early days of this thread when I was talking about the world cup, but Praggu was one of the players that I was watching in that tournament and just generally speaking he seems like a really neat kid. Most of the up and coming prodigies hailed as the next big thing obviously don't make the leap to super gm. He seems like he may have a chance. The funny part is that Praggnanandhaa is not even that highly rated in rapid. Not really mentioned in much of the press is that he won with the black pieces too. Carlsen pretty clearly is not himself, though. I watched the recap of the game and while he didn't blunder, he did allow some uncharacteristic openings. And he seems pretty focused right now on trying to get to 2900 in classical so may not be really taking rapid all that seriously. Still, you know, 16 year old beats the world number 1 rapid player with the black pieces and it's a pretty big day.
Carlsen has been battling COVID.

And Prag may have already been eclipsed in India by Argun Erigaisi. That country will be a massive chess powerhouse very shortly.
 

blueguitar322

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https://chess24.com/en/read/news/fide-bans-russia-from-holding-chess-events

Russia, the biggest superpower in chess, has been effectively banned from the game it considers its own, alongside its neighbour Belarus.

FIDE, the world governing body of chess, took the momentous step to take action against both countries at an emergency meeting of its FIDE Council held today. It follows the international outcry over Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
The key measures FIDE agreed were:
  • Russia and Belarus banned from holding official FIDE chess competitions and events
  • Russian and Belarusian players banned from displaying national flags at FIDE-rated events and nationals anthem will not be played
  • FIDE will terminate all sponsorship agreements with Russian or Belarusian sanctioned and/or state-controlled companies
FIDE also said it condemns "any public statement from any member of the chess community which supports unjustified military action". It said two Russian grandmasters, Sergey Karjakin and Sergey Shipov, will have to face its Ethics and Disciplinary Commission following controversial comments online.
While not quite a true ban (it seems more equivalent to the IOC ban, where athletes can compete without the flag), this is pretty shocking. Much (most?) of FIDE's money comes from Russia. Not to mention the national pride angle: this is somewhere in the ballpark of a hypothetical rogue, militant Canada being banned from international hockey events, or US from international American football events.
 

YankeesIsrael

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https://chess24.com/en/read/news/fide-bans-russia-from-holding-chess-events
While not quite a true ban (it seems more equivalent to the IOC ban, where athletes can compete without the flag),
The first one is very significant, because the upcoming Olympiad and FIDE congress are to be moved away from Moscow.
this is pretty shocking. Much (most?) of FIDE's money comes from Russia. Not to mention the national pride angle: this is somewhere in the ballpark of a hypothetical rogue, militant Canada being banned from international hockey events, or US from international American football events.
It’s shocking, especially since FIDE president, Arkady Dvorkovich, is Russian. I don’t know about the money, but chess wasn’t invented in Russia or any part of the former Soviet Union, they haven’t won a men’s Olympiad since 2002 (and guess which country won twice since), and haven’t had a men’s world champion since 2007/2008.
BTW, in addition to Karjakin and Shipov, Anatoly Karpov was also sanctioned.
 

YankeesIsrael

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The FIDE Grand Prix series is underway in Berlin, with two more tournaments (Belgrade and Berlin again) to follow. The top two finishers will join Nepomniachtchi, Radjabov, Duda, Karjakin, Firouzja, and Caruana in the Madrid candidates tournament. More information about the Grand Prix series here. Live streaming and commentary can be found in the “World Chess” (with live video), "ChesscomLive" , “chess24” YouTube channels.
And now the Belgrade tournament started. Russian players playing under the FIDE flag. Live broadcast in the above channels. The moves and machine evaluation only are in the chesss24 site.
 

Bread of Yaz

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And now the Belgrade tournament started. Russian players playing under the FIDE flag. Live broadcast in the above channels. The moves and machine evaluation only are in the chesss24 site.
Meanwhile, Sergey Karjakin, well known Russian stooge who played Carlsen for the title a few years ago, has been tweeting up a storm supporting the invasion, attacking Ukraine, pushing wacky views about the conflict etc. He's likely played his last major chess tournament for a long time. There was a mention on Hikaru's stream that he's already been excluded from the Norway Chess event
 

Bread of Yaz

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Meanwhile, Sergey Karjakin, well known Russian stooge who played Carlsen for the title a few years ago, has been tweeting up a storm supporting the invasion, attacking Ukraine, pushing wacky views about the conflict etc. He's likely played his last major chess tournament for a long time. There was a mention on Hikaru's stream that he's already been excluded from the Norway Chess event

Now officially out or Norway and also London, and probably more to follow. F him and the horse he road in on.

Sergey Karjakin shunned by top chess events | chess24.com
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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Now officially out or Norway and also London, and probably more to follow. F him and the horse he road in on.

Sergey Karjakin shunned by top chess events | chess24.com
It's really interesting how united the Russian chess contingent has been in trying to promote a peaceful solution. All of the big names have gone out of their way to sign on to a letter to Putin asking for an end to the conflict. It looks like the actual place they posted it may be blocked but the text is in this article. https://chess24.com/en/read/news/russian-chess-players-tell-putin-to-stop-the-war

I was especially happy to see Dubov signed on. He has already pissed off many in Russia by being a second for Carlsen to prepare for his tournament against Nepo, but I was sort of on the fence about Dubov when he threw a hissy about having to wear a mask in the rapid championships. He still may be a jerk, but at least he's on the right side of this particular issue.
 

Bread of Yaz

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Gonna be a great candidates.
I'll say. A lot of interesting questions to be answered:

  • Does Nepo recovered from his collapse in the WCC? I bet not
  • Can Fabi lift himself out of his long funk? Love the guy but seems doubtful?
  • Can Naka continue his excellent form that he's displayed in the Grand Prix?
  • Will Firouza take the next leap? Possible, would be exciting
  • If Ding qualifies as highest rated I put my money there
 

Bread of Yaz

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I'll say. A lot of interesting questions to be answered:

  • Does Nepo recovered from his collapse in the WCC? I bet not
  • Can Fabi lift himself out of his long funk? Love the guy but seems doubtful?
  • Can Naka continue his excellent form that he's displayed in the Grand Prix?
  • Will Firouza take the next leap? Possible, would be exciting
  • If Ding qualifies as highest rated I put my money there
Ding is in. Would love to see him take on Carlsen.
 

YankeesIsrael

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The FIDE Grand Prix series is underway in Berlin, with two more tournaments (Belgrade and Berlin again) to follow. The top two finishers will join Nepomniachtchi, Radjabov, Duda, Karjakin, Firouzja, and Caruana in the Madrid candidates tournament. More information about the Grand Prix series here. Live streaming and commentary can be found in the “World Chess” (with live video), "ChesscomLive" , “chess24” YouTube channels.
And now the candidates tournament itself started. Online YouTube coverage in the above channels. A quick evaluation of all games in chess24 site.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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Nepo is having a really strong candidates so far. Early days but he is playing the best.

It’s interesting that if Nepo wins, I think the fight for second place will be intense and important. I don’t think Carlsen will play if it is Nepo.
 

Jnai

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Nepo dominating. Fabi also playing well. Alireza has completely flamed out. What a sad state if Nepo wins the title against whoever finishes second in this tournament because Magnus doesn't want to play him again.
 
What a brutal day today. I like Rapport a lot - he's basically a pirate - but letting Nepo convert a draw into a win so effortlessly was clownish in the extreme. Fabi's win over Radjabov, though...*that* was worth watching, even if it only serves to cement the fact that this is a two-horse race already at the halfway point.
 

Jnai

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It's weird because this might be an extremely dramatic finish, especially with Caruana set to face Nepo with the white pieces, but it also might be completely meaningless, if Magnus refuses to play either of them.
 

Bread of Yaz

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What a brutal day today. I like Rapport a lot - he's basically a pirate - but letting Nepo convert a draw into a win so effortlessly was clownish in the extreme. Fabi's win over Radjabov, though...*that* was worth watching, even if it only serves to cement the fact that this is a two-horse race already at the halfway point.
There have been other famous king walks -- but I don't remember one like Caruana's yesterday where the king when to the middle of the board in an open position with queens and rooks on the board. Sublime.