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trond 19 ( +1 | -1 )
Yesss! Kramnik won! May Topalov never be a WCC challanger again, and be banned from high flight chess for at least two years. What he's team has done is a disgrace.

Who's in another league now, huh?

Trond :-D
trond 28 ( +1 | -1 )
Update ... For those of you who didn't follow the tie-breaks:

Game 1: Topalov - Kramnik 0.5 - 0.5
Game 2: Kramnik - Topalov 1 - 0
Game 3: Topalov - Kramnik 1 - 0
Game 4: Kramnik - Topalov 1 - 0

In pratice Kramnik won both matches, both the 11-round match (I don't count the forfeited game) and the tie-breaks by one point.
yanm 40 ( +1 | -1 )
true? That's great news! Both -> and -> are down at the moment :(

Topalov's team behaviour was quite questionable and so they deserved the loss. May chess be reunited now!... and Topalov hides in disgrace! I hope he had some nice words for Kramnik at the end?
farhadexists 13 ( +1 | -1 )
I hope so Haven't been able to log on to either website due to excess traffic. Was able to watch the game upto 21 moves.

trond 23 ( +1 | -1 )
It's true :-D I followed Susan Polgars live blog as it was the only place I could get in contact with to get the moves in the last game. ->
More: Chess
ketchuplover 1 ( +1 | -1 )
trond 278 ( +1 | -1 )
The 4rth game ... with comments ... from Susan Polgar. Topalov even hung a rook in the end :-)

"1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.e3 Nbd7 6.Bd3 dxc4 7.Bxc4 b5 8.Be2 Bb7 9.O-O Be7 (He play 9...b4 in game 8 where he won with the 2 Knights versus a Rook.)

10.e4 b4 11.e5 bxc3 12.exf6 Bxf6 13.bxc3 c5 (I play this line many times with White.)

14.dxc5 Nxc5 (Some of you questioned my description of the game. Well, it is simple. Topalov is a head hunter. He goes all out for the win. He is a one man wrecking machine. If he succeeds, he wins. If he does not, he crashes and burns. Kramnik on the other hand is the minister of defense. It is much harder to describe a defensive victory. Ooooh, he found the best defensive move and made his opponent say: "Uncle". You are welcome to try to follow the game, analyze rapid games LIVE, type, and check ALL comments from the readers at the same time. I am only human :) Believe me, my style is closer to Kramnik so it is a lot easier for me to understand him than Topalov.)

15.Bb5+ Kf8 16.Qxd8 Rxd8 17.Ba3 Rc8 (This position is somewhat equal.)

18.Nd4 Be7 (I see this game going to the Blitz playoff.)

19.Rfd1 a6 (I like 19...Ne4 better.)

20.Bf1 Na4 21.Rb1 (A good move. White is slightly better. Black needs to be very careful due to the Rook on h8 being stuck. White's weakness is the c3 pawn. 21...Bd5 or Be4 are both possible.)

21...Be4 22.Rb3 (Now Black should be played to provoke c4. White is still slightly better in my opinion. The other option is Bxa3 then Nc5. White's position is certainly easier to play. Kramnik is doing the right thing in this game. He is trying cautiously, playing for 2 results.)

22...Bxa3 23.Rxa3 Nc5 24.Nb3 (Black SHOULD be able to hold if he does not do something crazy. Ke7 is must to wake the other Rook up from his nap.)

24...Ke7 (Some of you asked why the logo for this blog? :) Well, ask President Kirsan :) It's his logo. It looks like Bambi to me and not a baby antelope. Maybe because I have 2 young kids so I am more familiar with Bambi.)

25.Rd4 Bg6 26.c4 Rc6 (This is a mistake. 26...Nxb3 would have been better.)

27.Nxc5 Rxc5 28.Rxa6 Rb8 (White is now clearly better. 24.Rc6 was clearly a mistake.)

29.Rd1 (This is the kind of position where Kramnik is far superior to Topalov. I am not sure if Topalov can hold this in normal time control. Of course in rapid, anything can happen.)

29...Rb2 30.Ra7+ Kf6 (White is up a pawn but Black has some activities.)

31.Ra1 Rf5 32.f3 Re5 (Very strange plan for Topalov. White is clearly better.)

33.Ra3 Rc2 34.Rb3 Ra5 (This is very hard for Topalov to hold. Kramnik is marching on with his endgame technique.)

35.a4 Ke7 36.Rb5 Ra7 (a5 is coming. The match may end here.)

37.a5 Kd6 38.a6 Kc7 39.c5 (This position looks horrible for Black.)

39...Rc3 40.Raa5 Rc1 41.Rb3 Kc6 42.Rb6 Kc7 43.Kf2 Rc2+ 44.Ke3 (Setting a trap. If 44.Rxc5 then 45.Rb7 wins a Rook)

44...Rxc5?? 45.Rb7+ Game over! Black hung a Rook! (If Rxb7 then Rxc5+ followed by axb7.) A shocking ending to the most bizzare match! Unification has been achieved! Congratulations to Kramnik! Well done!"
ccmcacollister 4 ( +1 | -1 )
What a coup ... for men with irritable bladders everywhere! }8-)
ganstaman 78 ( +1 | -1 )
Topalov is the highest ranked player right now, and his past tournaments have shown that he is on fire. To disclude him from any high-level chess event is to punsih the world of chess. Take a look at some of his games -- he is a brilliant attacker who makes moves that makes your jaw drop, and then proceeds to show why he deserves that win.

I was rooting for Topalov the whole way, but once it got to tiebreaks I wanted Kramnik to win. Now, at least half the chess world feels that the rapid tiebreaks are legit since they don't feel Kramnik's game 5 forfeit should have counted (though I still can't see why, if you don't show up for a game and don't protest it in time -- like right then instead of sitting in front of the toilet... -- you deserve your loss).
rallyvincent 15 ( +1 | -1 )
Congrats to Kramnik Winning the match under these circumstances is something he can be proud of. The World Championship is dead, long live the World Champion!

Rally V.
zenbum 49 ( +1 | -1 )

In the words of Mig Greengard: "I don't know if the better player won today. But looking back over the past few weeks I'd have to say that the better man certainly did."

Topalov seems intelligent so maybe he'll get a clue and grow up a little. And fire Danailov.

BTW according to the current FIDE rules, Topalov will not be invited to the WC Tourney in Mexico City next year. Before this match, I would have said that was silly and unfair.

But now I have a new motto:

zenbum 102 ( +1 | -1 )
ganstaman writes:

"Topalov is the highest ranked player right now, and his past tournaments have shown that he is on fire."

Kramnik's performance rating during this match was 2844, while Topalov managed to eke out a 2702 (->

Perhaps Topalov has appeared to be "on fire" lately only because both Kramnik and Kasparov have been absent from the tournament scene. And of course, there are those who say that Topalov's recent meteoric rise is due to cheating.

Historically, Kramnik definitely has the edge in their encounters. Now that Kramnik's illness seems to be in remission, maybe we'll see more of him.

I would agree with you that Topalov has the more exciting playing style. I hope we can look forward to more games between them. And I hope that Topalov learns some manners.
cep2eu 2 ( +1 | -1 )
I am happy for Kramnik! The man deserved it!
ionadowman 32 ( +1 | -1 )
On balance... ... a desired result, though Kramnik got my sympathy vote only on account of the cheating allegations levelled by the opposing team. Ordinarily, I would go for the 'headhunting' style, as Susan Polgar puts it.

Looking through the games, the most entertaining for me was the penultimate blitz game, ending in a win for Topalov. Great game!
schaakhamster 11 ( +1 | -1 )
come on zenbum performance ratings for a match are meaningless... they only have meaning when playing tournaments...
ionadowman 113 ( +1 | -1 )
I agree... ... with schaakhamster on this one. Apart from anything else, the quality of the play comes into question - one of the major problems associated with matches, generally speaking.
It would be interesting to see what a (more or less) impartial judge has to say about the quality of the games in this match. Was the play up to level to be expected of 2800-level players? The impression is one of Kramnik's consistency overcoming Topalov's inventiveness, but Kramnik wasn't so much more consistent, nor Topalov so much more inventive.
One is inclined to hypothesize that, in general, match performances based on the moves actually played is - let's take a wild guess - about 2-300 ELO points less than the players are capable of in a different playing milieu. It will vary a bit, I dare say, depending on how one takes to matches. Because it varies, you may occasionally find that a weaker player will defeat a stronger in a match e.g. Capablanca-Alekhine, Alekhine-Euwe, 1935 (tho' admittedly Alekhine had a drinking problem which made it worse), and - let's get provocative - Tal-Botvinnik, 1961...
There: that should provoke a lively correspondence...
ccmcacollister 161 ( +1 | -1 )
ionadowman ...hmm,OK I'll bite on that offer :) But does that apply in this case? For looking at the record, Kramnick has pretty much Always beaten-up on Topalov. Whether tournament, or now in match play. :)And also has a better record vs the top 5 or 6 players than Topo. (Kasparov, Leko, Anand & I forget a couple). Also it seems to me he just simply out analyzed & outplayed Topalov in the 2nd half, when the chips were down; except for the last Topo win.
Don'cha think so? Besides rating has Kramnick in any way shown weaker!? Not head to head (fast or slow), nor vs the rest of the best. Granted everybody maybe played a little shakey at the start of the match. But even there Kramnick had the nerves, experience or something going for him.
PS// It's hard to argue a Botvinnik match, when its been alleged Keres was told to throw games to him; and the Bronstein match !? Who knows, but ... it was very convenient to Tie it seems, after trailing. As much as I think Botvinnik Was a very strong player ...
I can't seem to come around to believing no favors or favorites were played, imo. (Just look to the K-K matches later, where one has a high party member backing and the other a highup in the sports heirarchy ... or K vs The Other K, Korchnoi ... with the son arrested, perhaps beaten. Seem to recall it being something like that.) WEll you did ask for something lively :) And I think Botvinnik can be a lively one to really delve into here! Of course I am not laying any new allegations here as these things have all emerged from GM ranks, where I believe there has been an ongoing question, to some anyway, for sometime. From before his demise in fact.
ccmcacollister 53 ( +1 | -1 )
PS/ Ion , I always have to wonder ... How great might Tal have been without the kidney problems?! Consider that in such a situation one would be frequently under the influence of pain & discomfort, (its always Something in that situation, and I would venture near constant interference from it in some manner of distracting discomfort or worse, that is exceedingly hard to focus thru.)
or something on the order or narcotic analgesics to cover it; and what that does to concentration; yet the games he did play with such precision ... What If ? What if ...
ganstaman 102 ( +1 | -1 )
"For looking at the record, Kramnick has pretty much Always beaten-up on Topalov."

Yes, but there's a good explaination for Kramnik's great record vs. Topalov. Topalov peaked just recently, at least after 2000. And during that time, Kramnik was dealing with his illness and played less. I believe that this year to come will truly tell us which is the better player, now that both are in top form and ready to play the rest of the world.

Another thing, Kramnik beat Kasparov in a match and has a good record vs. Kasparov. But it would be difficult to convince anyone that Kasparov is not still the best player in the world (or at least the best player from 1985 until he retired, maybe his time off since then has put him at number 2 or so...).

That said, without Kasparov in the picture, Kramnik definitely deserves to be rated in the top three. Let's just hope that he tries to prove that he deserves to be number 1. An exciting year will follow.
ccmcacollister 134 ( +1 | -1 )
ganstaman ... I guess one will deserve to be Rated, ala Elo, whatever they Are rated most of the time, albeit there are ways to manipulate that.. :)
But as far as what he should be Ranked; clearly Kramnick deserves ranked #1. He just proved it! I dont think he has to prove it again. Not for the now.
Next year everone is older, healthy, sick, who knows. But clearly he earned the spot imo.
Kasparov did not participate. If we are going to include him in speculations, well there is a reason he retired, so i doubt Kasparov considers himself the strongest now. But who can know. Should not Fischer be included then, who had the highest inflation adjusted Elo in history ? By such Korchnoi, Spassky, Karpov and others would be around this 2800 league I think.
What I don't understand I guess is why you grant Kasparov status during absenteeism, but deny Kramnick the same tho he has been much less absent :)
Not even retired.
I just want to see Kramnick get his due, and right now he has defeated the strongest players (who Play, anyway) in the world, or defeated the one who did defeat them.
I dont see him as Champ beyond another cycle. Two at most. With any health issue that is not purely acute. So of course, expect Topalov to exceed him by then
and actually several others. But this is his time again Today.
3 cheers for Kramnick! }8-)
PS AND who knows what breakthru'
s may be made in restroom technology by then! :)))
zenbum 16 ( +1 | -1 )
New Ratings I don't see anything online about this, but I'm guessing some of you Elo geniuses here can do it in your heads. :)

How has this match affected Kramnik's & Topalov's ratings?
mattdw 14 ( +1 | -1 )
zenbum I calculated the new ratings at:
Kramnilk = 2783
Topalov = 2770

...but that's the first time I've tried to do that so I might have messed it up. :)
mattdw 9 ( +1 | -1 )
...edit! Kramnik = 2786

I knew I should have checked my working before I posted! ;)
mattdw 24 ( +1 | -1 )
...double edit! By the way, I didn't include Topalov's 'win' from the toilet incident. If we have to then the ratings would be:
Kramnik = 2780
Topalov = 2776

Someone who has done this before should probably double check! ( is a K-value of 16 for 2400+ isn't it?)
zenbum 8 ( +1 | -1 )
toilet win My understanding is that forfeited games aren't included in rating calculations.
ionadowman 381 ( +1 | -1 )
ccmcacollister... ... You raise several points of interest - let's see, now...
Having read the Larry Evans (?) article you directed me to (pvt. msg.) does lead one to wonder...
1) First he says that the 2 non-Soviet players (ahead of the game!) suspected the Soviet players would conspire to make life easy for themselves. Let's see. The 5 Keres-Botvinnik games were all decisive, going 4-1 in Botvinnik's favour.

2) Ah-Ha! Keres must have thrown some of them. Well, it is true Keres lost 4 before winning one. But the losses went for 58, 23, 72, and 42 moves. Doesn't look all that much like thrown games. We could look at the game moves, of course. And why didn't he throw some against Smyslov? Maybe he did - just the one. Two wins and 2 draws were the other results.

3) It's always possible Smyslov and Botvinnik took a friendlier attitude towards each other - only 1 decisive game out of 5 there.

4) As for Reuben Fine's pulling out - I have a feeling he had more or less been gradually withdrawing from chess since his losing out to Keres in the 1938 AVRO Tournament, and to Reshevsky in the US Champs. (I reckon Fine's book "The Psychology of the Chess Player" was his revenge on the game, but then Freudian psychologists of his era seem to be characterised by a peculiarly jaundiced view of humanity at large...).

5) I always understood that in the mid-1970s FIDE tried very hard to incorporate Fischer's ideas in the WCC matches, except that the "First to 10" seemed far too excessive (In discussions, Fischer was talking in eager anticipation of matches lasting 6 months and more, a prospect Karpov found appalling. I think he was right). With Fischer it was all or nothing, so he got the nothing. Well, it didn't take long for the stupidity of the "first to x wins" format to reveal itself (as I was pretty sure it would - you would have thought the 1927 match had never happened...). It would be interesting to discover what Karpov's state of health was even, say, a third of the way through the match. I can think of no other explanation for his failure to knock off the match that had begun so well for him, and rather, to wait for Kasparov's mistakes. All credit to Kasparov, though, for his Fabian strategy, avoiding defeat
until Karpov should collapse. At the beginning of that match, Karpov was by far the stronger player; by its premature end, Kasparov had superseded him... Weird.

6) I have no comment on the Calvo affair, nor much on Campomanes, except to say the kinds of corruption being described is also to be found in the other Olympic movement. Americans blame themselves for their naivity in the dealings with FIDE. I find that very hard to believe. I guess you can always say that if you are overreached by someone as corrupt, but smarter. (I seem to recall that Mr Evans - if he did write the article - does not overlook sharp practice in the USCF, neither. Good on him!)

7) Back to this particular match: my comment - hypothesis - was really that matches reduce each player's playing standard, how much or little depending on the relative degree to which they are ill-suited to matches. If Kramnik dropped 200 ELO (to c.2550) and Topalov 300 ELO (to c.2500), say (putting rather arbitrary numbers to the idea, and bearing in mind ELO's system is relative, not absolute) we wouldn't actually know anything about it except that Kramnik won a close match.
Could we in fact find out whether something like this actually happened? The number, type and degree of errors might be an indication. One approach might be similar to tests of one's playing ability by playing through a master game, seeing what you would play before revealing the master's moves.
If, however, there is in fact no way my hypothesis can be tested, then that's where it remains. And maybe it doesn't really matter at that, if one thinks matches are the best means to decide the World Chess Championship.
ganstaman 123 ( +1 | -1 )
Ratings People on were saying that Topalov's rating will be 2798, and I believe Kramnik's to be 2768. However, this is me going from memory and I don't know for sure if these people are correct.

Craig: I think I may have been slightly misunderstood (or I'm the one misunderstanding). Kramnik has a great record vs Topalov, but I think that this is because most of their games were played when Topalov was a weaker player. They have played less games when Topalov soared in ability, and those games may be tainted by Kramnik's illness. We now finally have both of them healthy and in top form, which is why I think that any comparison between the two should start now.

Another issue is match vs tournament. Kramnik beat Kasparov in a match, but Kasparov was still winning the tournaments after that. Kramnik is definitely a world class player, but Kasparov is a legend. It may seem contradictory, but I feel Kasparov is the better player even though Kramnik beat him in a match. I'm not saying Topalov is a legend at all; he's likely near Kramnik's status. But I feel that even though Kramnik beat Topalov in a match, he's not necessarily the better player.
ionadowman 176 ( +1 | -1 )
I incline to ganstaman's view... ... that likely enough Kasparov was a slightly stronger player than Kramnik when he lost the title to him. Just as Capablanca was almost certainly stronger than Alekhine in 1927. Observe that Alekhine made damn sure there was never a return match. Outside the 1927 match, Capa's record against Alekhine (barring draws) was 6-1, the 1 loss occurring in the 1938 AVRO Tournament, the last time they faced each other OTB.

Over the years, the title "world champion" - in any sporting field - has, for mine, lost a good deal of its lustre. The Kiwis, New Zealand's national Rugby League team, is the world champion. But Australia's Kangaroo remain No. 1, crushing the Kiwis earlier in the year by a huge margin (50-12, I think). England won the Rugby Union World Cup in 2003, and has been dismembered by antipodean sides ever since. As for the Soccer World Cup, don't get me started... Chess champions like Spassky and Petrosian would content themselves with thirds and fourths in tournament play; Botvinnik rarely played in them at all; Fischer never once sat at the board as World Champion.
Even in this match, Kramnik didn't really demonstrate a real superiority over Topalov - much less did Topalov over his adversary. So ... what does the title mean, exactly?

Unusually, Karpov and Kasparov were respectively worthy world champions, setting the standard for others to surpass if they could. But the place to surpass them was in tournaments, not matches. As Kasparov continued to win tournaments after his title loss argues that he remained No. 1 - though I seem to recall Kramnik was taking out his fair share by 2000...
I'm rambling, amn't I ... damn...
far1ey 9 ( +1 | -1 )
I've been away for the past games. What was the Tie-break time controls? Thanks
mattdw 37 ( +1 | -1 )
ganstaman It appears I made a mistake (again!), attempting to recalculate the new elo's, this is how it's done isn't it? (Thanks wiki! ;))

The expected performance of both players in each game:
(let Ex=Topalov's expected score and Ey=Kramnik's, Rx=Topalov's rating and Ry=Kramnik's.):
Ex = 1/(1+(10^((Ry-Rx)/400))) = 1/(1+(10^((2743-2813)/400))) = 0.5994
Ey = 1/(1+(10^((Rx-Ry)/400))) = 1/(1+(10^((2813-2743)/400))) = 0.4006 (or just 1-0.5994)

Letting the new ratings be R'x and R'y:
R'x = Rx+16(6.5-Ex*15) = 2773 (Topalov)
R'y = Ry+16(8.5-Ey*15) = 2782 (Kramnik)

bogg 13 ( +1 | -1 )
mattdw I am not certain but I don't think the fast tie-breaker games are rated. If that is correct then the rated score would be 5.5-6.5.

CTC (Bogg)
bogg 4 ( +1 | -1 )
mattdw I am making a lot of mistakes today. 5-6 not 5.5-6.5

CTC (Bogg)
mattdw 47 ( +1 | -1 )
bogg + ganstaman Ah thanks bogg, with the score as 5-6 then Kramnik gets 2768 (as ganstaman suggested) and Topalov 2788 (but not as ganstaman suggested!?). ganstaman, I'm not sure how it would be possible to calculate the scores they found on as I thought both players ratings had to change by the same amount, unless it was just a typo.
bogg 23 ( +1 | -1 )
mattdw Topalov may have started out with a rating 11 or 12 points higher than you used because of recent activity. Just a guess, but then Kramnik should have picked up two or three more points.

CTC (Bogg)