Thursday, May 31, 2007

FIDE candidates: No KIDchen sink, and game five preview

Congratulations to Gata Kamsky and Peter Leko, who already won their matches.

Gurevich repeated the endgame from the classical Nimzo main line that was played in game two. He tried the same line that Kramnik used last year to beat Leko, but Peter had prepared the interesting move 16..f5.

Kamsky and Leko now have a few extra days to prepare for their next match.

1. Carlsen - Aronian

The same situation of game three, again, with Carlsen being one point behind. This is Carlsen's last game with White, so it will be very important for him to win. He won't be able to surprise Aronian with the same line again, though. Maybe 1.d4, this time?

3. Ponomariov - Rublevsky

In game three Ponomariov played 1.e4. In the Paulsen Sicilian, after

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Nxc6 bxc6 7.Bd3 d5 8.O-O Nf6

This position had already occured last year in a game between the same players. Last year Ponomariov played the main line, 9.Re1 and won. In game three he preferred 9.Qe2, and lost. The obvious question is, why did Ponomariov not play the main line again?

The comments on the official site mention that after

9.Re1 Be7 10.e5 Nd7 11.Qg4 g6 12.Na4 Qa5 13.Bh6

where Rublevsky played 13..Qb4 last year, the move 13..c5 is better.

In Khalifman's excellent book "Opening for White according to Anand, part 9", last year's game is also analysed. He analyses that Black was not worse in that game as late as move 28, and recommends for White to play 12.b3 instead of 12.Na4. Khalifman also mentions improvements to the game Carsen - Mamedyarov cited mentioned on the official site.

I think Ponomariov should have a look at Khalifman's analysis - it wouldn't be the first time that even on the highest level these books can be used with success.

4. Gelfand - Kasimdzhanov

In game three Gelfand tried the ultra-sharp and highly theoretical Moscow gambit, but Kasimdzhanov was very well prepared. Gelfand is a bit in Zugzwang in his last game with White. Should he play this risky line again, trying to use his advantage of the White pieces with sharp play, but risking a fatal loss? Or should he play something safe, but then face the final game with Black? I think his decision will depend on concrete analysis.

6. Grischuk - Malakhov

Grischuk is almost home, Malakhov has to win with Black. I am again betting on 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 g6.

7. Polgar - Bareev

Judith Polgar lost the fourth game without throwing the King's Indian KIDchen-sink at Bareev.

Bareev only needs a draw from this game to win the match. Polgar must prepare something in the Caro-Kann lines that were already discussed, or play a different line (maybe 3.e5, or 3.f3).

8. Adams - Shirov

Shirov lost game four with White. He is now one point behind. Since he wasn't able to win a game with White yet, it may not be the best plan to play for a draw in game five. Najdorf, anyone?

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

FIDE candidates: Game four preview

The official website has now comments to all games from the first three rounds.

1. Aronian - Carlsen

In the second game Carlsen, being behind in the score played the Volga gambit, as expected. In game four, since he has equalised, I think he is not going to repeat this experiment, but return to his usual Nimzo or Queen's Indian.

2. Gurevich - Leko

Leko played a nice game in the Classical Nimzo-Indian and won with Black. Since Gurevich is already two points behind, I think he is going to play 1.c4 in game four, to avoid Leko's excellent preparation.

3. Rublevsky - Ponomariov

In game two, Rublevsky played 6.Bc4 against Ponomariov's Najdorf. Ponomariov had no problems and even had the better chances in the game, which ended in a draw. Since Rublevsky won game three and is in the lead, I think he will return to his usual 3.Bb5+. Ponomariov will repeat the Najdorf, because he needs a win.

4. Kasimdzhanov - Gelfand

In game two Kasimdzhanov tried Gelfand's Queen's Indian, but it was a draw after only 23 moves. I think in game four Kasimdzhanov will test Gelfand's Petroff.

5. Bacrot - Kamsky

Kamsky surprised Bacrot with the Dutch. His strategy to surprise Bacrot in the opening while avoiding theoretical discussions has worked very well so far. Being to points in the lead I think he will play another surprise opening instead of his usual Slav, but something more solid. Maybe the Queen's gambit accepted?

6. Malakhov - Grischuk

Malakhov came close to defeating Grischuk in game two with 1.c4, so I think that is what he will try again.

7. Bareev - Polgar

Bareev beat Polgar in the topical Queen's Indian line with 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.g3 Ba6 5.Qc2 c5 6.d5. Polgar is one point behind, and has two Black games remaining, with only one White, so may it already be time to bring back the King's Indian?

Bareev likes to play the Averbakh system against the King's Indian (1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Be2 O-O 6.Bg5).

They have played already a few games in this line against each other, but that was a decade ago or more, when the King's Indian was at the height of its popularity.

8. Shirov - Adams

In games two and three a theoretical discussion about the New Archangel line of the Spanish took place: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O b5 6.Bb3 Bc5. After 7.a4 Rb8 8.c3, Adams with Black in game two played 8..O-O, and Shirov with Black in game three chose the main line with 8..d6. I don't know if Adams is going to continue this discussion, or play the Marshall instead.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

FIDE candidates matches: Anti Marshalls

Kamsky-Bacrot

In game three, Kamsky played the following Anti-Marshall:

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O b5 6.Bb3 Be7 7.Te1 O-O 8.h3 Bb7 9.c3

9.d3 is the usual continuation nowadays, but 9.c3 has of course been known for a long time, too. The reason nobody is playing 9.c3 anymore, is that Black can now play his intended gambit anyway:

9..d5 10.exd5 Nxd5 11.d3

Accepting the gambit here with 11.Nxe5 seems too risky, because of 11..Nxe5 12.Rxe5 Nf4. However, this system is completely harmless anyway, Black should have already achieved equality at this point.

11..Qd6

In fact Black doesn't even have to defend his pawn. He could just play 11..Qd7, because after 12.Nxe5 Nxe5 13.Rxe5 Bf6 he has excellent compensation. But 11..Qd6 is fine, too.

12.Nbd2 Rad8 13.Ne4 Qd7

The queen could also go to g6, here, and Black should have nothing to worry.

14.a4 Kh8

Now Bacrot rapidly lost the thread of the game. After 14..b4 I don't see any problems for Black.

15.axb5 axb5 16.d4

Now Black could try 16..f5, with the idea of playing ..e4. White's knights do look a bit dangerous after 17.Neg5 e4 18.Nh4, but after 18..g6 they cannot be supported by the white queen, and Black should be fine.

16..exd4 17.cxd4 f6?

But this move is really bad. 17..Nf6 was probably still ok for Black. After

18.Nc3 Ncb4 19.Qe2

Kamsky won a pawn and later the game.

Monday, May 28, 2007

FIDE candidates matches: Game three preview

1. Carlsen - Aronian

In the first game, Carlsen played the Anti Marshall already on move five (5.d3). As I said in my preview of this match: "In fact Aronian seems to be very comfortable in these positions with Black and scores very well there." In fact Aronian had no problems with the opening and won a nice game.

If Carlsen has prepared something against the Marshall I see no reason not to play it in the first game. I think Carlsen will play 1.d4 tomorrow.

2. Leko - Gurevich

As expected, in the first game we saw the French with 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 dxe4. In the line played, in the following position

Gurevich was no longer able to castle, but found a nice way to bring his rook into play with 19..h5 followed by ..h4 and ..Rh5. Is is not easy to see how White should get an advantage then, and the game ended in a draw.

I think Leko will have prepared more than one line against this French, and would choose another one. However, since Gurevich lost the second game with White and is behind in the match, he may also play 1..d6.

3. Ponomariov - Rublevsky

Ponomariov played 1.d4 and Rublevsky chose the same line in the Slav that Kramnik used against Topalov in their world championship match last year. Of course Rublevsky was a second for Kramnik during that match and must have participated in the analysis of this line during preparation with Kramnik.

On move 13 Rublevsky played 13..Rc8 14.Ba2 a5, where Kramnik had played 13..a6. I don't know if a recent loss in this line by Kramnik against Aronian in their rapid match was so frightening for Black, or if this is just an alternative, in any case Rublevsky didn't look in any danger in this game.

I think Ponomariov is going to play 1.e4 in game three, as reasoned in my preview of this match.

4. Gelfand - Kasimdzhanov

Kasimdzhanov surprisingly played the Slav in the first game. Gelfand was pressing throughout the game but wasn't able to win. I am sure White's play can be improved - Kasimdzhanov should play different early in the game.

5. Kamsky - Bacrot

I was a bit surprised that Kamsky played 1.d4, but because he managed to take the lead in game 2 with Black, there is no reason for him to change strategy.

I don't know if Bacrot has prepared a riskier opening against 1.d4 for this match. Kamsky playing the Dutch in the second game makes you wonder if he has prepared more surprises for Bacrot.

6. Grischuk - Malakhov

I don't know why Malakhov avoided his usual Gurgenidze drawing weapon in the first game - Malakhov was probably wondering too, after the ugly position he got out of the opening.

Because he didn't manage to win the second game I am not sure going back to the drawing weapon would be the right choice in such a short match.

Maybe we will see 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 g6 which Malakhov played a few times with success - albeit against much weaker opposition.

7. Polgar - Bareev

In the Caro-Kann main line after

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Bf5 5.Ng3 Bg6 6.h4 h6 7.Nf3 Nd7 8.h5 Bh7 9.Bd3 Bxd3 10.Qxd3 e6 11.Bf4 Qa5+ 12.Bd2 Qc7 13.O-O-O O-O-O 14.Ne4 Ngf6 15.g3 Nxe4 16.Qxe4 Nf6 17.Qe2

Bareev played the interesting side line 17..Rd5.

I am sure Judith Polgar didn't know this move. She spent a very long time considering her next move and then played the inferior

18.Ne5? Rxd4 19.Bf4 Re4 20.Qd3 Bc5 21.Ng6 Rxf4 22.Nxf4

when Black was already slightly better.

There are two better moves for White here:

A) 18.Bf4

Khalifman analyses this move on two densely filled pages of his excellent book "Opening for White according to Anand, part 3".

A1) 18..Qa5 19.c4 Rxh5 20.Ne5

Khalifman analyses 20.Rxh5 to an advantage, but this seems simpler.

20..Rxh1 21.Rxh1 Bd6 22.Nxf7 Bxf4+ 23.gxf4 Qxa2

Here Khalifman cites a game between two computers that ended in a draw after 24.Qxe6+ and says "it is amazing, but we failed to find an improvement for White". However, my Fritz gives

24.Rh3 as winning.

A2) 18..Bd6

This seems to be the only move, then. Here Khalifman suggests 19.Be5 with a small advantage for White.

B) 18.c4

Now after 18..Rxh5 there are two ideas for White:

B1) 19.Bf4

After 19..Qa5 20.Bf4 we would transpose to line A1 above, therefore Black has to play 19..Qe7. Black's pieces are a bit in a tangle now, but I don't see how White can exploit this.

B2)

19.Rxh5 Nxh5 20.Qe5 Qxe5 21.dxe5

Now White threatens to win the "knight on the rim" with g4, and Black has to make some concessions. It looks as if White can regain the pawn, but I am not sure if there is much more.

8. Adams - Shirov

Shirov surprised with the French. Maybe he thought Adams' 3.Nd2 not so dangerous for Black. Indeed he seemed to equalize completely - I think the complications later were unrelated to the opening. Adams' 12.g3 is a rare line, but Shirov was apparently well prepared with 14..Ne4. Maybe Adams will try the main line 12.Bg5 in the next game? Or Shirov will surprise us again with another opening.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Preview of FIDE candidates matches, part 8: Shirov-Adams

Wow, what a pairing for a quarter-final. Both players have played in finals. Shirov lost against Anand in 2000, Adams against Kasimdzhanov in 2004. And Shirov of course famously beat Kramnik in a supposed candidates final 1998, only to see Kramnik play the world championship match two years later. But this is just to show that both of the players have a lot of experince in matches, not to start talking about chess politics here.

Shirov - Adams

Shirov plays 1.e4 most of the time, but also has a great deal of experience with 1.d4.

Against 1.e4 Adams plays the closed Ruy Lopez, which Shirov allows with White. Adams most of the time plays the Marshall, which Shirov allows only sometimes.

As I said in my preview of the Carlsen-Aronian match, I am not convinced of the various Anti-Marshalls, at least from a theoretical point of view. On top of that, Adams also sometimes plays the Petroff, which may just be what he is going to do in a match.

Therefore I think Shirov - unless he has some excellent preparation against the Marshall proper - should actually look at playing 1.d4. Here Adams likes to play 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 O-O 5.a3 Bxc3 6.Qxc3 Ne4, which looks a bit cheesy to me. In NIC yearbook 62, Adams is quoted: "It isn't very good, but my results are reasonable and I keep playing it". Maybe Shirov can prepare something here.

Adams-Shirov

Adams is a 1.e4 player and almost never plays anything else.

Against 1.e4 Shirov in his career has probably tried almost every decent opening, and even some not so decent ones. In recent years he has limited himself to various closed Spanish systems, a few Petroffs, some Najdorfs, and a lot of Sveshnikov Sicilians.

Adams seems to allow the Petroffs and the Najdorfs. He goes for the closed Spanish unless it is a Marshall, but never allows the Sveshnikovs recently. Instead of a Sveshnikov Adams plays 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 or 3.Bb5.

I think Shirov should play the Marshall move order of the closed Spanish with Black. Adams then has to either play some Anti-Marshall, where he hasn't won a single game recently, or show his hand against the Marshall proper, which he probably intends to use in this match himself with Black.

This match promises to be very exciting - I only hope we don't see too many boring Anti-Marshalls.

Preview of FIDE candidates matches, part 7: Polgar - Bareev

Polgar - Bareev

Judith Polgar always plays 1.e4. Bareev plays the French or the Caro-Kann.

Against the French Polgar always plays the main line with 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3. Here Bareev usually plays the Classical French with 3..Nf6, and sometimes 3..dxe4. After 3..Nf6 Polgar plays 4.Bg5, which Bareev answers with 4..dxe4 anyway.

Both player's opening repertoire here is quite fixed, and hence they have already played quite a number of games with this line.

Against the Caro-Kann Polgar plays both the Panov attack with 3.cxd5 and the main line with 3.Nc3.

Against the main line Bareev usually replies 3..dxe4 4.Nxe4 Bf5. This line was considered so super solid a decade ago or so, that many top players played the advance variation (3.e5), but since then there have been found many interesting ways to play the main line.

My guess is that while Polgar has played the Panov attack recently, she will actually prepare the main line Caro-Kann for this match, but that we won't find out because Bareev will stick to his French.

Bareev - Polgar

Bareev is a 1.d4 player. He sometimes plays 1.c4 or 1.Nf3, but to see him playing 1.e4 would be a huge surprise.

Judith Polgar traditionally played the King's Indian, but recently has relied more on the solid Nimzo/Queen's Indian, as so many other top players. I think in a match she will use the King's Indian only if she is behind in the score.

Bareev is playing the Nimzo Indian with 4.Qc2 a lot, where we could expect to see the main line with 4..O-O 5.a3 Bxc3 6.Qxc3 b6 7.Bg5. Here 7..Bb7 is the main line, but 7..Ba6 is also interesting.

Of course I would like to see Judith Polgar in a world championship final again, hoping she would do better than the last time. But Bareev is a very good player, too - I think this match can see a lot of decided games but still go to the tie breaks. I sure am looking forward to this one.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Preview of FIDE candidates matches, part 6: Grischuk - Malakhov

Grischuk - Malakhov

Grischuk is an 1.e4 player, but has started playing 1.d4 in some of his games a few years ago.

Against 1.e4 Malakhov plays the Gurgenidze variation of the accelerated dragon as a drawing weapon (1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 g6 5.c4 Nf6 6.Nc3 d6 7.Be2 Nxd4). And a drawing weapon this line is in the hands of Malakhov - other results are very rare if he gets to play it. Grischuk would need to have some excellent preparation to beat Malakhov in this line.

Grischuk has been playing 3.Bb5 against the 2..Nc6 Sicilian's for some time now, and this may well be what we will see in the match.

Or Grischuk may prefer 1.d4, which Malakhov usually counters with the Slav with an early ..a6.

Malakhov - Grischuk

With White Malakhov is not nearly as predictable in his openings as with Black. He plays all the major opening moves 1.e4, 1.d4, 1.Nf3, and 1.c4 regularly.

Against 1.e4 Grischuk plays the Marshall, which has completely replaced any other closed Spanish lines he played earlier. He recently made the Najdorf another main part of his Black repertoire. He previously called the Najdorf losing by force after some of his nice wins with the English attack against it, but apparently changed his opinion.

Malakhov rarely plays into these main lines, though. Against 1..e5 he has played the Scottish four knights game (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.d4) and recently 3.Bc4, where we could expect the game to continue with 3..Bc5 4.c3 Nf6 5.d3.

Against the Najdorf, Malakhov has tried almost every system known to man, including sidelines such as 2.Na3.

Against 1.d4 Grischuk has played the Slav or the Nimzo/Queen's Indian recently.

A tough opponent for Grischuk. Malakhov's super-solid play with Black should be useful in a match, while he is unpredictable with White. If Grischuk manages to take the lead in the match though, it will be interesting to see if Malakhov avoids the Gurgenidze and plays something sharper.

Preview of FIDE candidates matches, part 5: Bacrot - Kamsky

Bacrot-Kamsky

Bacrot is a 1.d4 player, but sometimes plays 1.e4, too.

Against 1.d4 Kamsky has been playing the Slav, and the Nimzo or Queen's Indian since his comeback. In the Slav he likes to play modern systems with an early ..a6 or ..Qb6.

Back in the nineties, he played the Grunfeld and King's Indian, however.

I think in a match situation Kamsky is going to play it safe and rely on his most solid opening against 1.d4, the Nimzo or Queen's Indian. If he is behind in the score, he could bring back his King's Indian.

I don't think Bacrot is going to play 1.e4 unless he has cooked up something against Kamsky's super solid Marshall.

Kamsky-Bacrot

Kamsky most of the time plays 1.e4, but sometimes 1.d4. He generally plays main lines after 1.e4, but never after 1.d4, where he likes to play systems with an early Bf4 or Bg5.

Against 1.e4 Bacrot plays the closed Spanish, usually the Zaitsev variation, which would be very interesting to see in the match.

Kamsky has been avoiding the main line of the closed Spanish since his comeback, though. He nowadays plays like

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.c3 O-O 9.d4 instead of the main line 9.h3.

He also plays like this against the Marshall move order, that Bacrot sometimes uses (7..O-O 8.d4 d6 9.c3).

Of course one reason for Kamsky to play lines like this and the Slav with an early ..a6 is that there is less theory than in other lines. He probably preferred these lines after his absence in order to concentrate on getting his practical part of his game back to where it was in the nineties - and even then he was much more a practical player known more for his toughness than for constant delivery of opening novelties.

It will be very interesting to see Kamsky in a match again, some of his matches in the nineties are classics.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Preview of FIDE candidates matches, part 4: Gelfand - Kasimdzhanov

Gelfand-Kasimdzhanov

Gelfand is a 1.d4 player.

Kasimdzhanov plays the King's Indian, the Queen's gambit declined, and the Nimzo Indian against 1.d4.

Against the King's Indian, Gelfand likes to play the main line, sometimes with 7.Be3.

Both players have a very good record with their side of the Kings's Indian, and I hope we are in for a treat. After the damage Radjabov did in Wijk, I am eager to see more.

But maybe Kasimdzhanov is going to play more solid. After 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 Gelfand usually plays 3.Nf3. Kasimdzhanov never plays the Queen's Indian, but continues with 3..d5, transposing to the Queen's gambit declined.

Gelfand then usually plays the Queen's gambit declined with Bf4, or the Catalan.

Kasimdzhanov-Gelfand

Kasimdzhanov usually plays 1.e4, but sometimes mixes in 1.d4.

Against 1.e4 Gelfand plays the Najdorf, and sometimes the Petroff.

Against the Najdorf, Kasimdzhanov most often uses the English attack with 6.Be3. Gelfand has played all main moves 6..e5, 6..e6, and 6..Ng4 here.

Kasimdzhanov has an excellent record with the English attack. Therefore, and especially in a match situation, I expect Gelfand to play the Petroff, unless he is behind in the score.

In the Petroff, Gelfand plays the line with 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nf3 Nxe4 5.d4 d5 6.Bd3 Nc6 7.O-O Be7 8.c4 Nb4 9.Be2 O-O 10.Nc3 Bf5, which is very solid and a good drawing weapon.

Kasimdzhanov will need an excellent preparation to generate winning chances with White against Gelfand.

Preview of FIDE candidates matches, part 3: Ponomariov - Rublevsky

Rublevsky - Ponomariov

Rublevsky always plays 1.e4. Ponomariov usually answers 1.e4 with the Najdorf, or some form of the closed Ruy Lopez, but he has also tried many other openings.

Rublevsky has quite an original opening repertoire with White, though. Against the Najdorf he likes to play 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bb5+, or 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.f3. Ponomariov wouldn't be likely to get a closed Ruy Lopez either, as Rublevsky prefers the Scottish. While these lines aren't the absolute main lines, they still can be dangerous, and Rublevsky is playing them with great success.

Ponomariov - Rublevsky

Ponomariov started as an 1.e4 player, but has been using 1.d4 also quite regularly for some time now.

Against 1.d4 Rublevsky plays the Queen's gambit accepted, or the Slav.

Against 1.e4 Rublevsky plays the Taimanov or Kan Sicilian (1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 or 4..a6).

In the Taimanov and Kan, a lot depends on move order and transpositions. After 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 Ponomariov always plays 5.Nc3. Now Black can play many different moves, and Rublevsky has tried 5..a6, 5..Qc7, and 5..d6.

I think Ponomariov feels very home against these systems, and has had great success against them. So I expect we will see Ponomariov playing 1.e4, and 1.d4 maybe only if he is in the lead and wants to take less risk with White.

I think this match will see interesting games. Ponomariov should be considered the favourite. Rublevsky has to try to surprise him.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Preview of FIDE candidates matches, part 2: Leko - Gurevich

Leko - Gurevich

Peter Leko is primarily a 1.e4 player, but has been using 1.d4 for variety, depending on the tournament situation and opponent, since his match against Kramnik.

Gurevich has a very consistent opening repertoire against 1.e4. He normally plays the French, but if he wants to play more risky, he plays 1..d6. In the candidates match I expect him to play the French unless he is behind in the score and getting desperate, as Peter has an excellent score against 1..d6 systems.

After 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 Peter Leko always plays 3.Nc3, and Gurevich always counters that with the classical French, 3..Nf6, after which Leko has always relied on 3.Bg5. For an important match such as this, he may also prepare the important alternative 3.e5. After 3.Bg5 Gurevich usually plays 3..dxe4.

Gurevich has a lot of experience with the French, and it will be important for Peter to prepare some good lines against it.

Gurevich - Leko

Gurevich is primarily a 1.d4 player, but he also uses 1.c4 regularly.

Against 1.d4 Leko plays the Nimzo or Queen's Indian.

Gurevich plays three different systems here, the Petrosian system against the Queen's Indian (1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.a3),  and the Classical or Rubinstein variation against the Nimzo Indian (1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 or 4.e3).

I expect Gurevich to play 1.d4 unless he is behind in the score, when he will switch to 1.c4.

Leko must be considered favourite in this match, but Gurevich is very experienced - a successfull opening preparation should be a key for Peter to win this match.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Preview of FIDE candidates matches, part 1: Aronian - Carlsen

The FIDE candidates matches will begin on the 26th of May in Elista. The first round will consist of eight matches over a distance of six games. You can see the original FIDE news item here. The most important facts about the match between Aronian and Carlsen can be found on the official site of the Mexico tournament here.

I will resume my previews of the Kramnik-Topalov match and have a look at the openings that we may see in the forthcoming candidate matches. These matches are played over a shorter distance - if one player is behind in the match he may have to risk something immediately. On the other hand they would not want to risk much as long as the score is even.

Carlsen-Aronian

It is remarkable that Magnus Carlsen plays both 1.e4 and 1.d4 regularly at his young age. The ability to play both of these major opening moves has been regarded as important for match play at the highest level, but many world champion candidates started out their international carreer playing only one of those moves and learned the other later. For example Peter Leko had played 1.e4 in almost all of his games, but had prepared 1.d4 for his match against Kramnik.

Against 1.e4 Aronian plays the Marshall. The Anti-Marshall variations with 8.h3 are currently en-vogue on the top level, but personally I feel that while these systems are not so easy to play, they don't pose any theoretical danger for Black. In fact Aronian seems to be very comfortable in these positions with Black and scores very well there.

Carlsen must have noticed that and has started all his White games against Aronian with 1.d4 so far.

Against 1.d4 Aronian usually plays 1..Nf6 2.c4 e6, answering 3.Nc3 with the Nimzo, and 3.Nf3 with the Queens Indian or 3..d5. Carlsen has tried all of these systems with White, and sometimes the Catalan, and both have played different sub-variations of all of these openings, so it is a bit hard to guess what we will see - but unless Carlsen has some excellent preparation against the Marshall, I expect to see 1.d4 from Carlsen unless he is in the lead (because it is not so easy for Black to win with the Marshall either, especially if White plays one of the known forced drawing lines).

Aronian-Carlsen

Aronian is a 1.d4 player and seems to play something else only in the Monaco event. Again, Carlsen plays the same openings after 1..Nf6 2.c4 e6 we just discussed with colours reversed, and Aronian also plays different systems against the Nimzo, Queens Indian, and has also tried the Catalan a couple of times recently.

Aronian sometimes finds amazing ways to play on in positions that look harmless for Black, so Carlsen has to be very careful. If Carlsen is behind in the match, expect him to play something sharper, like the King's Indian or the Volga gambit.

Both players have a very solid opening repertoire with Black. Unless we see some good novelties or some bad blunders, this match may well be decided in the tie breaks.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Update of the WPF integration for the validation application block

In WPF databinding you can bind not only to a property of an object, but also to a path. For example, in the quickstart of the validation application block, the customer object contains an address object. You can now databind a textbox to the city with the expression Address.City, using the common dot notation:

<TextBox Text="{Binding Path=Address.City}"/>

I have now updated the ErrorProvider of the WPF integration for the validation application block to support these data bindings. You can now conveniently nest all the databound controls into a single ErrorProvider, and get automatic validation of the customer and address fields.

You can download the update here.

Here are some answers to questions I received about the WPF integration:

Question: How do I compile the sample application that is contained in your zip archive?

Answer: First, make sure you have the source code of the Enterprise Library 3.0 installed. You can find the business entities in the Quick Starts/Validation/CS directory. You can also extract the zip archive of the WPF integration into that directory and add the projects to the ValidationQuickStart project, and all references should be set.

Question: Can I use the EnterpriseValidationRule directly in my XAML, without using the ErrorProvider?

Answer: Yes, for example:

    <TextBox>

      <TextBox.Text>

        <Binding Path="LastName">

          <Binding.ValidationRules>

            <my:EnterpriseValidationRule SourceTypeName="ValidationQuickStart.BusinessEntities.Customer, ValidationQuickStart.BusinessEntities" PropertyName="LastName" RulesetName="RuleSetA"/>

          </Binding.ValidationRules>

        </Binding>

      </TextBox.Text>

    </TextBox>