Chess candidates, round 4 results

Leko and Kramnik both won again, meaning they qualify for the last eight. Carlsen, after his tremendous win yesterday, lost to Aronian today, putting him in extreme difficulties with only two games remaining. Adams won a tense and sharp game over Shirov, with black, which makes him favourite to emerge from that match. Bareev and Grischuk look almost certain to win their matches against Polgar and Malakhov respectively, after both winning again today. Indeed, today saw 6 decisive games from 8 matches, a fairly unusual happening at this very high level of chess.

I must confess, I am boggled at times by how top players play. Genuinely, I cannot understand a lot of their games! And I am an average club player, rating 1786. I am not a beginner by any means, but certainly have a lot still to learn.

To illustrate what I mean, look at the Aronian-Carlsen game, and look at the four moves Carlsen makes with his rook from 21….Rd8-d5, 22…Rd5-c5, 23…Rc5-c8, and finally, to cap a remarkably deep (!?) series of moves, the sweet 24…Rc8-d8. After four moves of the rook, it is back to where it started. If this is good chess…well, I am confused. Surely if the rook belonged on d8, then it should have been left there? Of course, white did some moves while black was moving his rook aimlessly about. I respect totally these players and if there is a problem here it is undoubtedly my amateur lack of understanding. I’ll try and study it later today to see if I can figure it out!

 Aronian-Carlsen, Rnd 4 Candidates Match

1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 e6 3. c4 Bb4+ 4. Nbd2 b6 5. a3 Bxd2+ 6. Qxd2 Bb7 7. e3 O-O 8. b4 d5 9. Bb2 Nbd7 10. Bd3 dxc4 11. Bxc4 c5 12. O-O Rc8 13. Qe2 Qe7 14. Rfc1 cxd4 15. Nxd4 h6 16. Ba6 Bxa6 17. Qxa6 Rxc1+ 18. Rxc1 Nb8 19. Qc4 Rd8 20. h3 Ne8 21. b5 Rd5 22. Qe2 Rc5 23. Rd1 Rc8 24. Qf3 Rd8 25. Rc1 Nd6 26. a4 e5 27. Nf5 Nxf5 28. Qxf5 f6 29. Qe4 Qf7 30. Ba3 Kh8 31. Kh2 Kg8 32. Bd6 Qd7 33. Bc7 Rf8 34. Rc2 Re8 35. Rc4 Qf7 36. Bd6 Rd8 37. Rc7 Nd7 38. Qc6 Qe6 39. Rxa7 Kf7 40. Qxb6 1-0


Heraclitus and LaoTze on change

Heraclitus FRAGMENT 88(quoted in pseudo-Plutarch, Consolation to Apollo )”As a single, unified thing there exists in us both life and death, waking and sleeping, youth and old age, because the former things having changed are now the latter, and when those latter things change, they become the former.”


“The world is shaped by the Way;
It cannot be shaped by the self.
Trying to change it, you damage it;
Trying to possess it, you lose it.”

Lies, damned lies, and statistics

The front page of today’s Irish Times has a very well-written article about house prices in Ireland and Dublin. But one thing has always annoyed me and this article reminded me about it. It is that estate agents always quote the “annual year-over-year price increase”. They’ll say, “prices rose 5.5% from January 2006 to January 2007”, or whatever. It looks good – certainly, at first blush, you’d be thinking, oh gosh, prices are up 5.5% and I better jump on that bandwagon before it leaves town. I’ll have to sell that granny of mine, might get a few bob for her, although the prices for grannies has been going down recently. And that guitar in the attic will have to be dusted down and used on Grafton St. If all else fails, I have my Brian Kennedy cds to sell….
But the point is, this is all a con. To illustrate my point, let’s look at a (fake) graph I’ve made up to show my point below. Imagine that prices rise inexorably from January 2006 to August 2006 (which they pretty much did in Ireland!). Imagine also that they then took a decided downturn around October, which continued until January 2007. In fact, let’s say that prices dropped 4% from August ’06 to January ’07. But, out pounce the estate agents! The January ’07 prices are 3% higher year-on-year. Hmmmm…curious how the price drop over a 6 month period has magically disappeared. No….not magic, just estate-agent-speak.
So, next time you read that headline and see the words “year-on-year”, stop and consider. Oh, and next time prices stop dropping and start rising, the agents will magically start talking about “the rise over the past month has been of 4%” blah blah. Oh dear.

On a more serious note: prices are dropping in Ireland, although not, apparently, in Dublin. Every little doggie on the street knew that for the last 6 months. But you’d have waited in vain for an official publication like the Irish Times to actually say so, enthralled as they are to the “property experts” out there. That’s another bug-bear of mine…another posting perhaps.


Chess, Candidates, Round 3

Carlsen won a superb endgame, following a middle game bind. The kid is back in the hunt! Leko and Kamsky are storming away with their matches. Adams and Shirov don't seem to want to win. Singularly boring games.


WCh Candidates s/f Elista RUS (RUS), 27 v-3 vi 2007


Aronian, Levon  g  ARM 2759  1   =   0   1.5  2693 Carlsen, Magnus g  NOR 2693  0   =   1   1.5  2759


Leko, Peter     g  HUN 2738  =   1   1   2.5  2908 Gurevich, Mi    g  TUR 2635  =   0   0   0.5  2465


Rublevsky, S    g  RUS 2680  =   =   1   2.0  2842 Ponomariov, R   g  UKR 2717  =   =   0   1.0  2555


Gelfand, Boris  g  ISR 2733  =   =   =   1.5  2677 Kasimdzhanov, R g  UZB 2677  =   =   =   1.5  2733


Kamsky, Gata    g  USA 2705  =   1   1   2.5  2982 Bacrot, Etienne g  FRA 2709  =   0   0   0.5  2432


Grischuk, A     g  RUS 2717  1   =   =   2.0  2804 Malakhov, V     g  RUS 2679  0   =   =   1.0  2592


Bareev, Evgeny  g  RUS 2643  =   1   =   2.0  2852 Polgar, Judit   g  HUN 2727  =   0   =   1.0  2518


Adams, Michael  g  ENG 2734  =   =   =   1.5  2699 Shirov, Alexei  g  ESP 2699  =   =   =   1.5  2734

Kilmainham, Dublin

I live in Kilmainham, Dublin. It’s a very old, historic quarter of Dublin, where a lot of the events of the 1916 Rising took place. Indeed, if there is one ‘holy’ place in Irish history, it is Kilmainham Gaol, where many of the leaders of the 1916 Rising were executed by the British. It is now a museum, well-worth exploring. It preserves not just a record of Irish early-modern history, but is a fine example of a 19th century gaol itself. Kids can enjoy the gloomy dungeon-like cells, while adults can learn a bit of history.

Right across the road from the gaol is the (pedestrian) entrance to the Royal Hospital Kilmainham. This is now the Irish museum of modern art, IMMA. Aside from whatever exhibitions might be on at a particular time, the Royal Hospital is worth visiting for the stunning architecture and the fabulous gardens. It has a very long entrance path which also manages to have fine views out over Dublin city and the Phoenix Park. 

Just opened is a brand new Hilton. It is quite controversial, being situated bang opposite the gaol and near the entrance to the Royal Hospital too. But it at least is an attempt at regenerating an area that was sadly lacking in many amenities.

What do I like most about Kilmainham? I like the tree-lined South Circular Road. I like the canal and the Liffey, the Phoenix Park, and the War Memorial Gardens. I like the fact that it is just 15 minutes from town, that you can hop on a 123 or take the Luas, or catch a 19 bus and be in St. Stephen’s Green in no time. And the local people are very down-to-earth. Our neighbours couldn’t be friendlier. Our house has character and charm. Kilmainham is a good place to be. 

Carlsen beats Aronian

[Event “FIDE candidates Matches”][Site “Elista, Kalmykia Russia”][Date “2007.05.29”][Round “?”][White “GM_Carlsen”][Black “GM_Aronian”][Result “1-0”][WhiteElo “2693”][BlackElo “2759”][Opening “English: symmetrical, hedgehog system”][ECO “A05”][NIC “EO.40”][Time “06:30:47”][TimeControl “7200+0”] 

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 b6 3. g3 c5 4. Bg2 Bb7 5. O-O e6 6. Nc3 Be7 7. Re1 d5 8. cxd5 Nxd5 9. d4 Nxc3 10. bxc3 Be4 11. Ne5 Bxg2 12. Kxg2 O-O 13. e4 Qc8 14. Qg4 Bf6 15. Nf3 Kh8 16. h4 Nc6 17. Bg5 cxd4 18. Bxf6 gxf6 19. cxd4 e5 20. Qxc8 Raxc8 21. d5 Na5 22. h5 Nc4 23. Nh4 Nd6 24. h6 Rc3 25. Rac1 Rfc8 26. Rxc3 Rxc3 27. Nf5 Nxf5 28. exf5 Kg8 29. Re4 Kf8 30. Rg4 Rc7 31. Rg7 b5 32. Rxh7 Kg8 33. Rg7+ Kh8 34. d6 Rd7 35. Kf3 b4 36. Ke4 Rxd6 37. Rxf7 Ra6 38. g4 Kg8 39. h7+ Kh8 40. g5 fxg5 41. f6 White wins 1-0


World Chess Candidates – Round 1, Game 2 results

Early leads for Aronian, Leko, Kamsky, Grischuk, and Bareev. With such short matches, that could be decisive. 3rd games on today.


Rating 1 2 3 4 5 6  Tot.   Perf. 
  1. Magnus Carlsen
2676 0 ½         0.5  
  1. Levon Aronian
2759 1 ½         1.5  
  1. Peter Leko
2749 ½ 1         1.5  
  1. Mikhail Gurevich
2635 ½ 0         0.5  
  1. Ruslan Ponomariov
2717 ½ ½         1.0  
  1. Sergei Rublevsky
2680 ½ ½         1.0  
  1. Boris Gelfand
2733 ½ ½         1.0  
  1. Rustam Kasimdzhanov
2677 ½ ½         1.0  
  1. Gata Kamsky
2705 ½ 1         1.5  
  1. Etienne Bacrot
2709 ½ 0         0.5  
  1. Alexander Grischuk
2717 1 ½         1.5  
  1. Vladimir Malakhov
2679 0 ½         0.5  
  1. Judit Polgar
2727 ½ 0         0.5  
  1. Evgeny Bareev
2743 ½ 1         1.5  
  1. Michael Adams
2734 ½ ½         1.0  
  1. Alexei Shirov
2699 ½ ½         1.0  

Failure to nominate Taoiseach?

What happens on June 14th if neither side can obtain a majority in the nomination of Taoiseach? We have to assume that the current Ceann Comhairle will be reappointed (Rory O’Hanlon, FF), unless a deal is done beforehand. Also, last time out, Sinn Fein abstained from the vote, apparently on principle. Since no one is speaking to them this time either, they will not vote on either option. If they do abstain, then the two opposing sides still have to get 83 votes from 161 remaining deputies. The constitution doesn’t specify the numbers but definitely indicates that it has to be the majority of the Dail. My central thesis is this: that on June 14th neither FF or FG will be able to form a solid 83 seats vote.

There are precedents for the non-election of a Taoiseach. It happened in 1989 and confusion reined about the proper, constitutional solution. The Dail transcripts make for interesting reading. Haughey: “The situation which now obtains, where the Dáil has failed to agree on the nomination of a Taoiseach is unprecedented in our history.” Well, it can happen!

Eventually, a recess would be ordered and a deal would have to be hammered out in the interim, before a new nomination process would be ordered.

Why will neither side be able to reach 83? Because I believe that FG+Lab+Greens (=77 seats) will try to force a vote for an alternative coalition, without any realistic possibilty of it happening. Throw in Michael Lowry and one of Finian McGrath or Tony Gregory, and you have 79 votes. The PDs are in a difficult position now, especially with the growing rumblings from the on-going Mahon tribunal. If they decide to not enter a new coalition with FF, then FF would be left without sufficient votes to form a government. That would be 80 (their 78 seats – Rory) and possibly 3 independents.

I do believe this scenario is unlikely, but possible.

World Championship Chess

Chess is my main hobby. Mental warfare and mind-wrestling. An art, a science, and a sport all rolled into one.

The big event right now is the candidates matches to decide four entrants to the World Championship. Don’t ask me to explain this system of deciding competitors…it is truely byzantine- probably more complex than the game of chess itself. Here is the main page of the event…

Calcutta Run Results 2007

The Winners of Calcutta Run 2007

1st     Eanna Cunnane   34:00
2nd    Padraig McCriostail     36:36
3rd     John Power              36:41

Needless to say, I was quite astonished when I saw an old colleague of mine, Eanna, storming past me around the 8k mark. I knew he was a “runner” but didn’t realise just how good he is. My congratulations to him for winning in style.

Meanwhile, Simon walked for the most part, picking up nothing more than sore feet and a red face. He speeded up remarkably when he passed us…hmmmm.

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