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1  General / Chess Tournaments / Re: Candidates 2020 how to proceed
 on: Today at 21:34:54 
Jack Hughes wrote Today at 09:32:01:
trw wrote yesterday at 23:34:06:
Also we are assuming that all 9 people survive which is very very unlikely.

This part confuses me. Do you think that there is an above fifty percent chance that one of the players will die from Coronavirus? Given the age profiles of the players and the well documented effect of age on mortality rates this seems like a very strangle prediction to me.

50% chance? No. And I would love for it to be a 0% chance to be clear, but it is a non zero number. Data is not good and estimates vary wildly. Original thesis put the death percent at 2-3%... The US was at 1.4% and is now at 1.6%. China doesn't release real data. Germany is at .4% Italy is at 9%... Unfortunately, NYC is set to make a record 10% or higher. We do know that FIDE increased their chances dramatically by exposing them to this debacle, travel, opening ceremony, more border and public spaces etc etc etc. They're young and healthy... but we don't know what is causing some cases to be mild vs gnarly. 17 year olds healthier than them have died brutally and painfully with no connected comorbidity. Sure, they're not in the target danger demographic of elderly, infirm or infants... but right now we don't know enough. Still, 8 people with a long enough time frame does not spell well for all 8 surviving. I would doubt we get through this crisis without each of us losing someone we love sadly.  Cry

Bibs wrote Today at 12:36:00:
Let's keep it civil shall we?

I am afraid I disagree with you that I haven't been "civil." The only reason people aren't mercilessly attacking ?? to the e5 move is because Caruana played it. If it had been someone else outside the top 10 or heaven forbid a 2000 player, people would laugh at it forever. It will not be played in correspondence since I can assure you since white wins by force.

As for CBT, it's pretty clear I haven't done anything wrong here at all. He proposed 4 options that make no sense whatsoever.

TopNotch wrote Today at 17:44:42:
I agree with you for the most part, and I would add that as a chess fan I was thrilled with the 7 games we got, but as an impartial observer the Candidates going forward was a bit reckless to begin with. This whole argument about ultimatums feels like nonsense to me, Radja asked or as fide indicates demanded the tournament be postponed in view of a spreading pandemic. Fide refused, Radja dropped out and was replaced. Later the tournament had to be cancelled just like all other major sporting events due either directly or tangentially to the effects Covid-19 globally.

Clearly this a big mess, I suspect the players agreed to play reluctantly for various reasons, financial being a big one stigma being another. It is possible that legally FIDE may not owe Radjabov anything, the LAW is funny like that, but morally they surely need to do something to make Radjabov whole. The assertion that Radja may not be in shape 2 years from now, is simply not a strong enough counter argument, besides he is a proud guy and i'm pretty certain he wouldn't play if he felt he wasn't in good enough shape. The other argument that Radja would be robbing someone else of a spot may have some merit, but there is also merit that he is being robbed now.

The stance that Fide could not have foreseen what happened and took every precaution is weak, since every precaution would have included postponing the tournament until it could be better determined the impact of Covid-19 globally especially in the absence of a vaccine.   

Now here we are, and this is what we are left with. Clearly Radja has been aggrieved, Fide has made a misjudgement and needs to attempt to find an amicable remedy for all concerned. However the current players in the Candidates cannot be disadvantaged any further and I say again the best, though not perfect solution is to resume the candidates at a later date and to try to make amends with Radjabov by seeding him directly into the next Candidates. This is the humane thing to do under the circumstances.

Lastly I hope everyone remains well, calm and rational and that a cure is soon found for this scary disease. There is a 2011 film entitled Contagion that eerily mirrors what we are going through now right down to the source of infection and I would highly recommend viewing it while most of us are 'sequestered' in our homes, as it may offer some hitherto new perspective and gravity to what we could be facing going forward.

I agree with you mostly except that Radjabov didn't drop out he was forced out with an ultimatum. Kramnik also agrees with your solution. I hope FIDE is smart enough to repair this situation without forcing the courts to do it for them. It was totally reckless on their part to push the candidates forward and without consulting with any competent medical professional anywhere at any point that would have advised them against this decision. It makes one wonder why FIDE doesn't have a chief medical officer...

At any rate, now the question is what to do and how to course correct. The prevailing opinion from top players seems to vary on how to compensate Radjabov but thus far no one seems to question that he needs to be made whole.

Vladimir Kramnik:
Sergey Karjakin:
Gata Kamsky:
Azeri National team:

2  General / General Chess / Re: Worst Chess Books Ever?
 on: Today at 18:20:52 

3  Chess Publishing Openings / d-Pawn Specials / Re: Noteboom players and d4 Deviations....
 on: Today at 15:57:38 
Very useful thread all, even after some time ! I play the QGD based on the book by Ntirlis. I have been thinking of looking for a sharp alternative, at least in faster paced games at first and have hit on the Triangle, getting the Semkov book. This precise dilemma had hit me after 1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 i.e. that 2..., Nf6, rules out the Triangle after 3.c4. I'm going to go with 1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 e6 as I can't see any drawbacks to the d-pawn sidelines, at least in the lines Ntirlis recommends, to this move-order.

4  Chess Publishing Openings / d-Pawn Specials / Re: The Raptor
 on: Today at 02:27:51 
pirx wrote yesterday at 19:50:08:
After 1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5 Ne4 3.h4 c5 my preference is for 4.dxc5 Qa5+ 5.Nd2 Nxg5 6.hxg5 g6 7.c3 Qxc5 8.Ne4 following a nice game of Richard Rapport quoted in CP August 2014 (game 1). Against 4...Na6 the best line for white seems to be 5.Nd2 Naxc5 6.Nxe4 Nxe4 7.Qd5. The CP reference here is November 2018, game 1. My main reason is that I don't like 4.d5 Qb6, because this is (presumably) what the black player wants to see. Obviously 4.d5 is very playable, however, especially if you are Leela. See CP December 2019, game 2.

Definitely take another look at the 4.d5 Qb6 lines! I don't think Black should be happy to see it at all. You've got games as old as Hodgson - Sareen 1993 and as new as Sedlak - Yang, Djenovici 2018 which show what White is aiming for. The pawn on b2 does not matter if White gets active counterplay!

5  General / Chess Tournaments / Re: 2020 Candidates Interrupted
 on: Yesterday at 21:41:28 

pirx wrote yesterday at 19:32:16:
"Playing the tournament under duress". It appears (based on a statement from one of the players quoted on chess24) that the players' contract specified than anyone withdrawing would be excluded from the next world championship cycle. To judge from the quality of the play (especially with regards to Ding and Caruana) the fairest solution would be to start a new tournament, replaying rounds 1 to 7. As to whether Radjabov is included in the new tournament …

If that is true then it's a pretty harsh contract condition. A serious fine or so would be more normal I suppose. It sort of makes sense though. Fide would not want any late withdrawals in case someone got cold feet because of the virus and if the tournament was halted they'd really want to avoid someone boycotting when the tournament would be about to start up again. Given how things have developed it's basically looking like a savvy prevision.

Confused_by_Theory wrote yesterday at 16:04:31:
My personal opinion about allowing Radjabov in the next candidates cycle (i.e. not this one even if all results are cleared) is that it would be a nice gesture. I will say though that if he truly is looking into a lawsuit then why would Fide ever do something like this?
Why in today’s society do people even share things like this in the media...
trw wrote yesterday at 19:11:34:
What do you mean? That interview is basically the only logical thing I have seen yet anywhere regarding the candidates. At the very least, Radjabov has gained some fans for life.

That Radjabov is looking into suing Fide; which is seriously dumb to announce in the media. The interview itself is for reference.

Have a nice day.

6  Chess Publishing Openings / Flank Openings / Re: Double Fianchetto by Hausrath
 on: Yesterday at 20:01:10 
I hope it is a good book. It is a difficult subject. I tried to build a double fianchetto repertoire for white starting with 1.Nf3, using some material from GM Damian Lemos. I put quite a lot of effort into it and played some OTB games, but I didn't enjoy the games as much as I usually do, sad to report. I've gone back to the Trompowski with 1.h4 for variety. No dull games with those (especially 1.h4!).

7  General / General Chess / Re: Bobby Fischer - The Final Years
 on: Yesterday at 00:22:14 
an ordinary chessplayer wrote on 03/10/20 at 02:54:34:
Fischer made a similarly ludicrous claim about the K-K matches all (!) being rigged. Somehow in Fischer's mind all the other world champions were bent, and only Fischer was straight. Yeah, right ...

It is interesting that in regard to the K-K matches, Spassky held a very similar opinion to Fischer. Not agreeing with it, just pointing this out.

8  Chess Publishing Openings / 1. d4 d5 2. c4 / Slav / Re: The line that killed the Slav
 on: 03/26/20 at 22:33:03 
mn wrote on 03/26/20 at 15:53:27:
Last time I looked at the Slav (which was a while ago), a line that Avrukh recommended, IIRC, with ...f6 and ...g5 seemed okay. Is there a refutation to that line nowadays?

Considering that 11... g5 has fallen out of fashion and that 12. Nxe5 gxf4 13. Nxd7 is perhaps the main reason why I find it very hard to believe that the exact same position with the moves ...f6 and 0-0 inserted (which arises after the mainline of 11... f6 12. 0-0 g5 13. Nxe5 gxf4 14. Nxd7) could be an attractive option for black. If you click through the lines it seems like pretty much every comparison of the two lines is in white's favour: after 14. Nxd7 black cannot reply with 14... 0-0-0 because white's king there are no checks on the d-file, after 14. Nxd7 Qxd7 white gets the extra options of 15. Qc1 and especially 15. a5 that would work well for black without 11... f6 12. 0-0 inserted, and even if white just treats the positions identically with 15. Qxd7+ it is not so obvious that black has really benefited (amusingly enough it seems that both sides would be better off without their free moves, since the white king is better placed on the queenside and the pawn on f6 restricts the scope of the dark-squared bishop that is likely to find itself e7). In all these lines it seems like black is just hoping to hold some depressing endgame with the bishop pair as compensation for the pawn, and ICCF practice both in this line and in similar endgames arising after 11... g5 suggest that even with engine assistance the draw won't be so easy to get.

9  Chess Publishing Openings / Anti-Sicilians / GPA / Re: 2...a6 against the Grand Prix
 on: 03/26/20 at 15:35:53 
Laramonet wrote on 03/26/20 at 13:45:22:
New to the Sicilian, so sorry is this is an odd question. Ftacnik recommends 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 d6 but doesn't mention 2.f4 at all.Is there anything wrong with 1.e4 c5 2.f4 d6 trying to get the same positions after 3.Nc3 ?

The only thing that I'm aware of is that White could try a "Big Clamp" setup, where he puts his pawns on c3, d3, e4, and f4.  Similar to a King's Indian Attack where White might argue that he hasn't had to move his knight away from f3 to push the pawn to f4, so maybe similar to a Leningrad Dutch Attack? 

I don't think that it's anything to be especially afraid of, but I don't really know because I've always just played 1.e4 c5 2.f4 d5!.  I think that 2.f4 is slightly dubious due to 2...d5!.  White can't force you to transpose anywhere outside of your normal repertoire, this is an independent line that you just learn to play for Black because White is already looking for equality.

10  Chess Publishing Openings / Anti-Sicilians / Re: Why don't Najdorf players play 2.Nc3 Nc6?
 on: 03/26/20 at 13:41:42 
    I'm new to the Najdorf and have consulted the Ftacnik Quality Chess book for his anti-Sicilian recommendations. With reference to the discussion above, he goes for 2..., d6.
One issue I've run into is that although he examines 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 d6 3.f4, he doesn't appear to consider 2.f4 at all. Could this also be answered with 2..., d6, as an alternative to the often recommended 2..., d5 ?