NIGHT WATCH №1: WATCH THE OTHERS
From today onward I will do a night watch of the world championship. I will have to change my day regimen, adjust and readjust a modem and joy local "Web-plus" provider in every possible way. A good thing is that I can do without pig blood dieting.
The column will not be limited just to watching the Others. You will hear voices (it sounds good, otherworldly!) of well-known chess experts, I also place reliance on the reports of our special correspondent in Argentina. We’ll see. I think, that the world championship (with FIDE prefix, though) will anyway give us enough interesting chess and near-chess news.
As a traffic warden can not let a caravan go without parting words, the same way I’m unable to let the WCA start without getting acquainted with another pseudostatistic forecast. An experienced chess web-sites reader will grin – what new can the night watchman tell? Even without that Russian-speaking chess public is stunned choosing between disjoint figures of our “Crossroads” and ChessPro. The first and the third world countries read correspondence between Kasparov and Short in the original and scramble through the terminology of a professional statistician Jeff Sonas (I recommend those who have not read his usually perfect article on ChessBase website).
And nevertheless... Well, excelling Somas on his pitch is like scoring against “Chelsea”: only a few manage to do this, and this happens rarely as well. On the other hand, no one can violate my right of knocking out a table of relationships between eight temporary registered in San Luis persons. However, it won’t be an ordinary table, but, as we used to say in our school “a little bit screwed” one.
I proceeded from several factors when charting. Firstly, personal encounters' results are the most significant thing. When forecasting, many reputable specialists take into consideration results of participants’ games against other strong chess players. I doubt their relevance in our case. Secondly, I include only classical games in the table (except rare, but very important FIDE championships tie-breaks). Thirdly, and this is a small know-how of the Night Watch, I’m not interested statistically in David vs Goliath encounters. In the table there are only those games, which were played by our heroes, when they had already had serious rating.
Rating seriousness criterion was chosen at random, but for some reason. A little bit of numerology will be of no harm. 600-pointers and 700-pointers classification became a commonplace. This is a too broad approximation, gentlemen! In one of the interviews grandmaster Shipov suggested a milder criterion of if not elitism, then the strength of a chessplayer. 2666. “Beast chess”. Chessplayers with 2666 and higher rating play beast chess!
By the way, comparing internal results of the WCA participants rated no less than 2666, I came across some curious results. But an adjective “curious” has much in common with “interesting”: a more exact synonym can always be found in a particular situation. For this reason it’s better to call the research results “unobvious”. Look:
Table 1. Beast chess results between the WCA participants.
Did you like the colored table? Its polychromy in the multinational tolerant society spirit pleased me highly.
However, scored points percentages are not enough to complete the picture of interpersonal conflicts in “beast chess”. In order to do this I used a widely known option of “Fritz” – the creation of rating lists basing on all games results of one database. I won’t explain how “Fritz” does this, those who are interested in this can read the program description. Important is that “Fritz” can take a database, riffle it for 2-3 seconds and show its version of participants ranking regardless of anything happening outside a certain circle – that’s what I need.
Here comes the main table of the first “Night Watch”.
Table 2. “Fritz” opinion about the WCA participants rating, basing on their ‘beast chess” encounters.
To tell you the truth, I was sure that Anand is to win. Perhaps, doubts I have today are caused by the imminence of the event, but not by some rational considerations. However, who knows? Maybe we are simply hypnotized by Anand’s results, especially by his fantastic successes in rapid chess? Perhaps we forgot that he is one of the few world champions who in the flower of his strength had taken the last place in a strong tournament. Finally, a player’s age in chess is such a thing that can start telling unexpectedly. As any sportsman, who has wonderful human qualities, Anand has to compensate this disadvantage (I’m not joking) by the highest level of playing in order to win a major event, it means that he has to be head and shoulders above the others. The elder you are, the more difficult it is to make any excessive efforts…
Generally speaking, we’ll look forward to the first round – it will be played by the favorites.
Round forecast: Olena Boytsun, WIM, Ruslan Ponomariov’s manager.
“This forecast bases itself on the psychological characteristics of the participants. However, through the experience of my previous forecasts, in Dortmund in particular, I can tell that I guess about 25% of the results. It usually happens like this: I guess everything on one day, and guess almost nothing on other three days. It was a lucky day when I guessed right the result of Naiditsch – Kramnik game in Dortmund…
The forecast is based on their last encounter in Dortmund, which I witnessed. I think, it’s results will have an effect on today’s game.
Polgar – Anand 0-1
It seems to me that it’s important for Anand to win in the beginning of the tournament. It will give him confidence. He will try to defeat Polgar with all his might.
Svidler – Adams ½:½
I based on temperaments of the players when making this forecast.
Morozevich – Kasimzhanov ½:½
Usually it’s difficult to foretell results of Morozevich’s games. The last time I observed him was in Wijk aan Zee, where he played worse than he can. In this game Morozevich will certainly play for a win, but his opponent is far from being a beginner. I wager on a draw.