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Old September 1st 07, 10:33 AM posted to,
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Now I am reading about the 2007 Mtel Masters event, game annotations
by GM Ian Rogers. There were special rules for this event which
prevented players from taking lazy draws, as grandmasters so often do,
and it seems to have worked; plenty of games were fought out, not just
given up for dead after a random home-cookin' move failed to net a
huge advantage. In fact, the article gives several positions from the
games where we are not told how they reached the position diagram,
which is then discussed at length.

This time, I don't think the Chess Life annotator was doing the
Fritz thing but mainly used his own judgment, as is evident when he
doles out the exclams for second-best moves or overlooks better tries
or just plain gets it wrong. Take the game on page 42 between two
high-ranked players, GMs Kamsky and Topalov, for instance. While
exclamation marks galore are handed out for mediocre moves as well as
truly good ones, what I find interesting is where a grandmaster gets
the whole enchilada wrong, as GM Rogers does at move 33, suggesting it
is a "waste of time" to defend a passed pawn and endorsing an
inferior, defensive move instead.

At move 34, White removes any possibility of a back-rank whammy
against himself by giving his King a bit of air at h2 with the move B-
f4, which of course nets yet another ubiquitous exclam. That whole
"plan" is nonsense, as Black plays ...d5 and thus this renders the
White QB a "bad Bishop" by fixing the White pawn at d4; ugly stuff.

Anyway, White has simply missed the in-between move: Qg4 several
times already, but this was not once pointed out as, I think, GM
Rogers simply missed it as well. Queen-less endgames favor Black
since his pawns are on the correct color and he has one more, thanks
to White's error on move 33. I can only assume that GM Kamsky may
prevail, in view of these silly annotations which endorse bad plans
and inferior moves. This is a sort of sickness, really; in order to
generate more rational game annotations, it might be best to feed some
sequestered grandmasters a game, move-by-move, never letting on what
the result will be.

At move 40, White again deploys his QB to f4 (where he, last time
out, was handed an exclam), and again it is not really so great. This
time Black overlooks a pawn thrust, ...e5, blocking the evil (or was
it merely misguided?) cleric. Tactics abound, but this idea is
spotted in a split-second by the computer, as in bullet-chess speed.
GM Kamsky, as White is down a pawn, but he keeps making annoying
threats and refuses to allow a trade of Queens. Anyway, Black, who
early on was being handed exclamation marks like they were penny
candies, is now beginning to get queries like "?!", for dubious moves
(though Fritz says he is well on top). I sense the end is near... .

I noticed in some of these games that GM Kamsky quite frequently
finds the right moves when he is attacking, as if he practices tactics
against a computer a lot. His 44.Qb1! against GM Topalov is an
example, and in a different article he found the move N-f5, just like
a computer would; this is very impressive, but then at other times he
tosses away material for no reason.

By move 46, Black has thrown away his advantage and White is about
to snatch a pawn and thus equalize the material balance-of-power. GM
Topalov eschews the super-obvious move, 46. ...h4, in favor of a much
weaker one, but the annotator just glosses over this and lends the
impression that GM Kamsky did it all with magic! And again at the
next move, Black rejects ...h4, and after an exchange, there is a
repetition of position and a draw. I am a bit surprised that GM
Kamsky did not win after all those exclams, but apparently they were
just to equalize (Black had gotten four or so ahead earlier in the
game). I am trying hard to resist the temptation to rely on Fritz
over these famous GMs, but it is very difficult when the refutations
are right there on the screen! Many times the moves which are
actually played show up in the early search plies, but are later
rejected in favor of something better.

IMO, the correct assessment of this game would be that White, in
spite of the crazy move c4, gained a pawn advantage and somehow held
onto it but then just gave it away for no good reason. The hullabaloo
surrounding Black's early ...b5 makes no sense, as White easily gained
control of the a-file and effected penetration. Black defended well.

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