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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Analysis of 2009 World Cup of Chess Quarterfinals

The match -ups for the quarterfinals of the 2009 World Cup of Chess have been established.
Gelfand (Israel) - Jakovenko (Russia),
Gashimov (Azerbaijan) - Ponomariov (the Ukraine),
Svidler (Russia) - Malakhov (Russia),
Mamedyarov (Azerbaijan) - Karjakin (the Ukraine)
   1. Analysis of the  match between Gelfand (Israel) and Jakovenko (Russia)
    Boris Gelfand is the top-seed in this event. When he has the white pieces he prefers to begin by using the move 1.d4 and playing a Queen's Gambit Opening.  When Jakovenko is playing the Black pieces against the Queen' s Gambit, he usually plays either the Queen's Indian Defense or the Nimzo Indian Defense, depending upon whether his opponent begins with 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 or 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3.  Gelfand's second choice as an opening move with the white pieces is 1.Nf3 If Gelfand plays 1.e4 then expect Jakovenko to reply with the move 1...e5 and play classically on the Black side of a Ruy Lopez.

When Jakovenko has the white pieces  he  can play either 1.e4 or 1.d4 to begin the game. If Gelfand is faced with the move 1.e4 when playing the Black pieces, he has favored playing the Petroff's Defense (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6. When faced with the move 1.d4 as Black, Gelfand prefers to play the move 1...Nf6 and if his opponent continues with the move 2.c4 (The Queen's Gambit), then Gelfand most often continues 2...e6 (although he has also played the move 2...g6, and will play a King's Indian Defense after 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6). If his opponent then plays 3.Nf3 Gelfand will play the Queen's Indian Defense (3...b6), and if his opponent instead plays 3.Nc3 then Gelfand will play the Nimzo-Indian Defense (1.d4 Nf6 2.d4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4). According to my database,these two players have only faced each other twice in their careers, with Gelfand having the white pieces in both games.Both of these games ended in draws, with Gelfand essaying the Queen's Gambit Opening in both games.

2. Analysis of the Gashimov (Azerbaijan) - Ponomariov (the Ukraine) match:


Vugar Gashimov     is currently the sixth-highest rated player in the world with an elo of  2758. When he has the white pieces, he prefers to play the move 1.e4 to start the game. Ponomariov is currently the 13th-highest rated player in the world with an elo of 2739.

When Ponomariov is faced with the move 1.e4 when playing black he favors playing the Sicilian Defense (1...c5). However, he can also play 1...e5,  1...c6 (the caro-kann defense), 1...e6 (the french defense), 1...g6 and 1...Nf6 (Alekhine's defense).

When Ponomariov has the white pieces, he favors the move 1.e4 although he has also played 1.d4 and 1.Nf3.This makes him a difficult opponent to prepare for. When Gashimov is faced with the move 1.e4 when playing the black pieces, he usually plays the Sicilian defense (1..c5), although he also has played classically using 1...e5, and he has also played the hypermodern 1...d5 (Center-Counter Defense). If Ponomariov plays 1.d4 then expect Gashimov  to play  1...Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 c5 (the Benoni Defense) or the Nimzo-Indian Defense, if Ponomariov plays 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 ie 3...Bb4.

In their chess careers these two players have faced each other only once, in the 2008 Russian Team Chess Championship. Gashimov had the  white pieces in that game and he played 1.e4 to start the game, the opening was a Ruy Lopez (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5) and Gashimov won the game in 44 moves.

Analysis of  the Svidler (Russia) - Malakhov (Russia) match


Peter Svidler is currently the 8th -highest rated player in the world with an elo of 2754.  At the present time his opponent in the FIDE World Cup quarter-finals is Vladimir Malakhov, has an rating of  2706, and is the 31st-highest rated player in the world.

When playing White, Svidler almost always begins by playing the move 1.e4. When an opponent plays 1.e4 against him to start the game Malakhov almost always plays the Sicilian Defense (1..c5), although he has also played the Caro-Kann Defense (1...c6), the Center-Counter Defense (1...d5), 1..e5, 1...g6 and 1...Nf6 (Alekhines's Defense)  in his career. When Malakov has the white pieces, he is quite versatile.He favors opening 1.e4 however he has also frequently played these moves to open the game as white: 1.Nf3, 1.c4,  and even 1.g3. If Malakov plays 1.d4 and 2.c4 we can almost be certain that Svidler will play the Grunfeld Defense (1.d4 Nf6 .c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5). If Malakov begins a game by playing 1.Nf3, Svidler favors replying 1...Nf6 although he has also played 1...d5, 1...d6, 1...c6, and even 1...c5.  If Malakov plays 1.e4 Svidler will likely respond by playing 1...c5 or 1...e5, although he has also played the moves 1...d6, 1...g6 and 1..c6 in response to an opponent's 1.e4.

Analysis of the match between Mamedyarov (Azerbaijan) - Karjakin (the Ukraine)


Sergei Karjakin is currently the 18th-highest-rated chess player in the world, with an elo of 2723.His opponent in the quarter-finals is Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, who currently has a rating of  2719,which makes him the 19th-strongest chess player in the world.
When Karjakin has the white pieces, he always begins the game by playing the move 1.e4. When an opponent of Mamedyarov begins the game by playing 1.e4, Mamedyarov favors responding in a classical fashion, with the response 1...e5, although he also plays the Sicilian Defense in this circumstance as well (1...c5). When Mamedyarov plays the white pieces in a game, he favors opening the game with the move 1.d4 (although he can also play 1.e4, 1.c4, 1,Nf3 and even 1.g3).If Karjakin is faced with an opponent who begins the game by advancing the White d-pawn to d4, then the Ukrainian GM  usually responds by playing 1....d5 (although he has also played the opening moves 1...Nf6. )If an opponent of Karjakin's plays 1.d4 d5 2.c4 Karjakin will usually play the Slav defense 1....c6. If Karjakin plays 1.Nf6 in response to an opponent who has played 1.d4,then Karjakin will play either 2...e6 and play a Queen's indian Defense or Nimzo-Indian defense (depending upon whether his opponent has played 3.Nf3 or 2.Nc3), or he will play 2...g6 and play a Grunfeld Defense (with the moves 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5).

Karjakin and Mamedyarov have faced each other over the board 12 times in their chess careers, with Mamedyarov holding a 5-2 advantage in wins , the remaining 4 games were of course draws between the two.

Best wishes to all of the players in these matches!

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Thoughts worth thinking about

"Our subconscious minds have no sense of humor, play no jokes and cannot tell the difference between reality and an imagined thought or image. What we continually think about eventually will manifest in our lives."-Sidney Madwed

Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every woman and man present their views without penalty, there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population.- Albert Einstein Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. - Leo Buscaglia

A person's true wealth is the good he or she does in the world. - Mohammed

Our task must be to free ourselves... by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. -Albert Einstein

The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others. - Ghandi

The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves. - Helen Keller

Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life. Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make yourself a happier and more productive person. - Dr. David M. Burns

Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures. -His Holiness The Dalai Lama

Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it. -

Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them. That's the essence of inhumanity. -George Bernard Shaw

Ego's trick is to make us lose sight of our interdependence. That kind of ego-thought gives us a perfect justification to look out only for ourselves. But that is far from the truth. In reality we all depend on each other and we have to help each other. The husband has to help his wife, the wife has to help the husband, the mother has to help her children, and the children are supposed to help the parents too, whether they want to or not.-Gehlek Rinpoche Source: "The Best Buddhist Writing 2005 pg. 165

The hostile attitude of conquering nature ignores the basic interdependence of all things and events---that the world beyond the skin is actually an extension of our own bodies---and will end in destroying the very environment from which we emerge and upon which our whole life depends.