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Monday, January 07, 2008

Russian People in Microcosm

The New York Times reports:

Alexander Morozevich of Russia is almost certainly the most dangerous player in the world. Players like Viswanathan Anand of India, the world champion, are more consistent. But Morozevich is like a roller coaster; he can defeat one of the world’s best players in one game, and lose to a relatively ordinary player in the next. He has a vast opening repertory, and will play openings that are offbeat or even considered unsound. He also strives for wild, unbalanced positions where his natural tactical ability usually gives him an edge. Of course, those who live by the sword also die by it. Inconsistency has prevented Morozevich, 30, from achieving greater success. But when he is on a roll, “he is practically unstoppable,” says Gata Kamsky of the United States, the recent winner of the World Cup.

Morozevich got on a roll in the recent Russian Championship Superfinal. After drawing his first game and losing his second, Morozevich ripped off six consecutive victories against some of the world’s best players, winning with an 8-3 score. In his victory over Peter Svidler, he wove his typical magic.

The opening was the Najdorf variation of the Sicilian Defense, a system that is dynamic and double-edged. After 10 g5 Nh5, Black’s knight was awkwardly placed, but it also impeded White’s attack. Svidler’s 16 Rg2 was new. Previously, White had tried 16 Qf2 and 16 f4. The rook turned out to be badly misplaced. Morozevich countered with 16 ... f6, which was unusual as Black does not normally open up the position in front of his king. Svidler should have played 17 gf, but he erred with 20 Nc5 Qc6 21 Nd3. It allowed Morozevich to seal the d file, usually Black’s greatest weakness, and it cost White a pawn. After 24 ... Bg5, White was worried about 25 Rg5 Nh3 26 Qg3 Ng5 27 Qg5 Qb6. But the game could have gone 25 Rg5 Nh3 26 Rg6 hg 27 Qg3 Nf4 28 Be3 Qe8 29 Bf4 ef 30 Qg5, which would have given White better chances. Svidler’s 27 Qh3 was too simplistic a threat (28 Rg5). Better would have been 28 Nd5, bringing more pieces into his attack. It also removed the queen from the defense of the king. Morozevich’s 28 ... Rc3 was a brilliant thunderbolt out of the blue, although Svidler could have survived if he had played 32 Rg2 Qc5 33 c4 Qa3 34 Rg5 Qc3 35 Kb1 Qd3, when the game would end in a draw by perpetual check. Instead, Svidler blundered with 32 c4 and resigned after 38 ... Bf6 because 39 e5 de (39 ... Be5 40 f4 Bf6 41 Qd3 and White is still kicking) 40 Rgg1 Qe7 (not 40 ... Qc4 41 Rc1 Qd5 42 Rc8 Bd8 43 Qh4, and White wins) is hopeless.
In other words, as we understand it, he got lucky. If he would reform he could be great, but he won't, and seems proud to go on behaving like a madman. Well, there's certainly no doubt about it: He's a Russian.


copiedmap said...

Sorry to spoil your thrills (hmm, when did you get your newfound 'appreciation' for chess), but Svidler's also Russian. Can't have it both ways.

La Russophobe said...

You idiot, this post is not saying there are no Russians who are capable of acting reasonably, it's an argument that a certain Russian is a microcosm of most Russians generally. Can you read AT ALL? Do you think AT ALL before you jump to your ridiculous conclusions?

We know perfectly well that there are some Russians who depart form the norm, AND WE SUPPORT THOSE RUSSIANS. Like Oleg Kozlovsky.

Moreover, this article doesn't say a word about Svindler being a great champion.

You do make a good point, though, that this is a Russian tournament so winning it means nothing as far as Russia's ability to compete internationally is concerned.

Anonymous said...

Where does the article say that Morozevich acted like a mad man?

And BTW I love you calling Svidler "a Svindler". Way to make fun of Jewish last names, La Judophobe!

BTW, don't knock American chess palyers. America has had a great champion: Bobby Fischer. He is really insane, and the US government is trying to throw him in jail for his crime of having psychiatric problems. Luckily for Bobby, the Icelendic governemnt gave him refuge and is refusing to give him to hte American butchers. Otherwise, this crazy genius would have been waterboarded in Al Ghraib or Guantanamo for his "anti-American activity".