November 24, 2010 17:55

Videos from the World Blitz, part 1

Videos from the World Blitz, part 1During the World Blitz Championship, won by Levon Aronian last week, we filmed quite a lot of games. So many, that it wasn't possible to produce and present them in time for the final report, in which we concentrated on photos. But this week in two separate reports we''ll return to Moscow and show you a number of games with videos and a game viewer to replay them simultaneously.

Nakamura-Carlsen (round 1)


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Nakamura-Kramnik (round 2)


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Aronian-Grischuk (round 4)


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Vachier Lagrave-Caruana (round 6)


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Svidler-Kramnik (round 7)


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Mamedyarov-Carlsen (round 15)


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Carlsen-Savchenko (round 16)


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Carlsen-Nepomniachtchi (round 18)


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Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers


test's picture

What's the big deal? Carlsen released the piece, Savchenko pointed it out, Carlsen lost.
Pretty stupid mistake from Carlsen, but that's blitz.

Guillaume's picture

Unlike in internet chess, there's no such thing as pre-move in OTB chess. I'm pretty sure touching one's own pieces before the opponent presses the clock is against the rules. Nakamura is the only player I've seen doing this consistently during the Blitz WC. The worst case was probably when he lost to Caruana.

Goendi's picture

Actually, it isn't. If your opponent completed his move, you are allwoed to make yours.

Guillaume's picture

Right, except that it strongly depends on the definition of a "completed" move.

Should it be the following?

"A legal move is completed when a player starts his opponent's clock. Touch move rules will apply."
BLITZ CHESS RULES Revised March 1, 2004
As posted by USCF at the 2006 National High School Championships.

Or should it be this one instead?

"A legal move is completed when the hand leaves the piece."
USCF Blitz Rule Changes Since the 5th Edition. Revised October 2008

Looking at the FIDE handbook, there is no such specification for Blitz game, which means that the general law of chess applies. In particular:

"6.7.a, During the game each player, having made his move on the chessboard, shall stop his own clock and start his opponent’s clock. A player must always be allowed to stop hisclock. His move is not considered to have been completed until he has done so, unless the move that was made ends the game. (See the Articles 5.1.a, 5.2.a, 5.2.b, 5.2.c and 9.6)"

Guillaume's picture

Great videos!

Nakamura should really give up this habbit of moving his pieces before his opponent hit the clock to put time pressure on them. On move 59 of his game against Carlsen, he even plays the dubious Rd7?? in his precipitation, which Carlsen is nice enough to adjust on his own time to the obviously intended Rd8+, before playing his own move.

Felix's picture

Mmh, that's perfectly normal what Nakamura does. You lose quite some time if you always wait for the clock, the move is done if you made it, no reason to wait for the clock. He also never played Rd7, the rook was always on d8.

But what Carlsen did against Savchenko is questionable, if you look at the end it looks quite unfair... he already made the move and moves the piece a second time - Savchenko needed to protest. It's not the first time I see that from Carlsen, he already did that in one blitz world championship if I remember right.

Mr_Toad's picture


You are probably remembering the 2009 World Blitz Championship in Moscow when Carlsen lost to Alexandra Kosteniuk. He was already in a lost position when he moved a rook to a bad place, let go and tried to move it somewhere else. She gracefully swept her hand across the table, palm uppermost - to indicate that he had broken the "touch move" rule and stopped the clocks.

He basically moved away from the board as fast as possible, obviously upset at losing to someone he thought he should have beaten. The general consensus seems to be that his excuse for not shaking hands after the game was - that he was very upset. Well, he's young and under a lot of pressure, I guess. At any rate it was a good win for her.

S's picture

You are completely right.

It's a good thing there are cameras around, otherwise Magnus in all probability woul have cheated Savchenko, and earlier on Gashimov, Aronian, Kosteniuk and others.

For he didn't just do it once, but several times before.
Each time pretending not to know what is wrong.

That having said, it's also illegal to move your pieces in your opponents time, so Naka should stop that as well.

GuidedByVoices's picture

Who is Nakamura? The one who thinks he should have won every single game at the Blitz WC? He looks quite pathetic in every single video, even in those where he wins... And incredibly immature person, a void super-ego...

Is Nakamura the one who said he was going to destroy Grischuk and then lost 1,5 - 0,5? Come on... Get an idol, not an idiot!!!

GB's picture

O.K. why is all that much ado about Nakamura?, has he won Linares, Corus, Dortmund, Memorial Tal, MTel Sofia, Naijing Pearl Springs, or K.O. World Cup?, I know he has not had a chance to play in several of those tournaments, but question is why Carlsen has, being even younger?.
So what is Nakamura's credential, US Champion?, just look what J. Polgar did in Mexico, she beat two Top Ten players convincingly, in rapid games.
Nosomebodu will justify Ivanchuk and Topalov's defeat, and find excuse for Nakamura not winning his next event.
Please stop such fanaticism about just a "no more than strong player".

Daaim Shabazz's picture

I notice you didn't list any tournaments he has won. He has won other tournaments. Nakamura is #10. Why trivalize him as "merely" a strong player?

GB's picture

Thank you for replying. You are right, but I just listed tournaments with the strongest possible opposition. He has won strong tournaments but not such as strong ones, that't why I say he is only a strong player. To be honest, I like his approach in terms of fighting spirit, but I would like to see a more mature and nice person in him. And remember is not just to reach Top ten once, it has to be sustainable, or remember, Eljanov, Malakhov, Jakovenko, Movzesian, Bacrot Kazimdhanov...

Daaim Shabazz's picture

Being nice and mature has nothing to do with chess. There are plenty examples of this. If Hikaru is not nice to you, then maybe you will not associate with him, but ICC and blog reports about him are going to be skewed one way or the other.

GB's picture

Hi and Thank you for your comment,
O.K. I accept that, but if it is just about chess, Nakamura has not proved anything, he is a US Champion, as Shabalov, has been time ago, and yes he has won some tournaments, but What I can not understand is the reason his fans keep tryng to put him as the best in the world, if he is really far from that...
But please don't get my words wrong, I like the way he plays, I was even sorry that he lost that game with 2.Qh5, because had he won it, it would be hopeful to normal players, that deep opening play is not completly necessary to beat a strong GM. I think we should not disscus longer, and enjoy chess, I'm so excited about London tournament and Tata Steel, and Nakamura is in both, it isso big chance to show his powers isn't it?

S's picture

Why is Malakhov in your list?

GB's picture

I'm sorry, maybe I was confused for the high ELO he had sometime. Thank you for point it out

Sooky ree's picture

Guillame, this was discussed in the US women's championship quite innumerably a few years ago. Many persons thought as you, but the arbiters generally sided with those who start moves before the clock is pressed. There are two opinions (FIDE and USCF) from the bottom of the ChessBase report.

However, one issue is that it is hard to police exactly. When it is blatant pre-moving, there could be some distinguishing, though then it is a judgement call. Much of blitz in its hurries comes down to judgement calls by arbiters, though.

Guillaume's picture

Yes, I remember this incident. Thanks for pointing that out. I thought it was a clear indication at the time that tournaments should never be decided over an armageddon game.

I suppose as long as the players and the arbiters are fine with this slight ambiguity in the application of the rules, then there's nothing to add, except that it leaves the door open for other incidents.

Goendi's picture

Yes, and one doesn't prevent the other. It might look weird, but even if your opponent responded to your move, you are still allowed to press the clock, even when he did already left his hand from the piece. Basicly, the part about "a player should always be allowed to stop his clock", is mostly meant for players who put their hand on the clock preventing their opponent from pressing it.

Guillaume's picture

The second definition of a "completed" move (USCF2004) is mutually incompatible with the first (USCF2008). Rules are about logic and precise definitions. If you don't bother to abide to these basic principles, then no discussion is possible.

Guillaume's picture

Hmm, have you seen the video of the game Carlsen-Savchenko above? Carlsen loses because he moves his king to d4, releases the piece, realizes it's on the same diagonal as his rook, moves again the king to c4, and only then presses his clock. Svachenko claims a win, and gets it.

So, it really looks like is Carlsen playing with the rule “A legal move is completed when the hand leaves the piece.”. I wonder if there was maybe somewhere in the regulation of the tournament a rule specifying this precise point, in which case I was wrong from the start and it's perfectly fine for Nakamura to play once his opponent has released his piece, regardless of whether his opponent has hit the clock.

S's picture

Guillame, the previous edition Carlsen did the same thing, including the surprised look when his opponent claimed a win. I think he knows the rules very well-he is the only top player with a record of attemps to breaking the rules, all build up in only a couple of years.

S's picture

It's not just the game against Savchenko, it is about the fact that he has done this before, several times. Exactly the same. Playing against the rules in the heat of battle is absolutely no excuse whatsoever.

Nor is his youth, or being followed more closely.
By the way- at Amber and two blitz editions, all games, not just Carlsens, were being recorded: but no other played did something like this.

There are many equally strong players that have been around far longer than GM Carlsen. Yet few of them have the already impressive record of unsportive behavior that Carlsen has.
The only player that I know of coming close is Kasparov, and he had a career of 40 years to build up his record.

One can argue that it is no big deal-but if it hadn't been for cameras and arbiters Magnus would have cheated in 4-5 games in the last few years!!

Out of memory:

Aronian- Amber
Gashimov (twice) Tal blitz
Savchenko Tal blitz
Kosteniuk (?) Tal blitz
Morozevich ( ? )

And I guess there might be more cases known to the people who follow his every tournament.

Guillaume's picture

I don't know why you make such a big fuss about it. Carlsen has always immediately acknowledged the losses after he had made an illegal move, right? So why do you insist in calling it cheating? Ok, he did leave without shaking the hand of the deserving Sasha Kosteniuk. Everybody can agree this is unsportsmanship behavior. You're not going to hold a grudge against him until he retires because of this particular game, are you?
Just enjoy Kosteniuk's video about her game and relax:

And what is this thing you have against Kasparov? Ok, there was one incident against Polgar. What else is there to build up this record you're talking about?

S's picture

That's just not true.

Against Aronian he denied the truth and the arbiter had to review the tape in order to decide on the game. Against Moro, Gashimov, Savchenko, he initially pretends not to know the problem. But since he has been in similar situations before, that is clearly not the case.

He knows the rules, and tries to break them. That is cheating. Even when he would acknowledge the truth afterwards-knowing the presence of cameras..

S's picture

p.s. Guillame,
I don't understand why you, and others, try to trivialise Carlsen's bad behavior (while condoning that of Nakamura and others).
The actions of Carlsen are clear and proven attempts to cheat (just think of what happens when there are no arbiters or specators around) and alter the result of a game by not following the rules.
That is pretty serious bussiness, especially when it stems from a talented professional like Carlsen who knows the rules quite well.

You must have really loose ethics if you can't grasp this. And I am not making a fuss, I am merely pointing out the truth when you and others try to burry it between insinuations about personal grudges and uncalled criticism of Nakamura.

Face the facts: Carlsen repeatedly broke the rules in order to win/not lose and tried to get away with it.
Is this true or not?
If no, why not?

reality check's picture

A crooked born tree will never grow straight...!?

Dennis M's picture

On another matter, it's pretty disappointing that everyone seemed to film the same games (generally Carlsen's). I had already seen most of these videos (all but one, I think) on bumblebee1607's and/or SergeySorokhtin's YouTube channels - not to mention the official site's live broadcast. When you guys see two other cameras already on the same game, why not communicate, split up and share? There were a lot of great players whose games might have been fun to watch, and not only when they were playing Carlsen (or Aronian or Kramnik).

S's picture

I guess there is more need to tape Carlsen in order to prevent any cheating.
Most of the other guys are more relaxed and less fanatic - honest and abiding the rules.

S's picture

@forest, that is interesting. Because the (lack of ) fide blitz rules says nothing about this. And a move is completed once the clock has been pressed. So you 'd think that only then the opponent is allowed to move.
I wonder if your arbiter is right here. At any rate I consider it not polite to move pieces in your opponents time.
But whatever the rules are, trying to take back a move a la Carlsen is far worse.

forest76's picture

Sorry to say but it is not illegal to do a move in opponent time. A Fide arbiter told me. You should however allow the opponent to handle the clock, so the opponent is allowed to press the clock still.

Joe's picture

I think it's in the nature of playing Blitz that rules are becoming somewhat vague or arbitrary. It doesn't make sense to me to try and enforce a rule like 'don't move until your opponent completed his move'. If you do you probably take Blitz too seriously. It's more natural and also alot more a pleasure to watch to start moving already while your opponents hand is moving to the clock. It's a kind of flow, a game: who will be the first to have to think again? If you keep playing instantly too long you might be watching a hopeless position.
Though of course things like putting a piece and then try to shuffle it somewhere else is clearly out of bounds.

Guillaume's picture

If Carlsen touches a piece, releases it, touches it again and moves it to a different square, that's a fact. If Nakamura touches a piece before his opponent hit the clock, that's also a fact. A documented move is a fact (well, not always, but still). Nobody denies that Carlsen is losing some games because of illegal moves.

What are certainly not facts however are the interpretation you are giving of Carlsen's actions following these illegal moves.

Carlsen does give a frowned look to Savchenko before accepting the loss. He does leave without shaking Alexandra Kosteniuk's hand. You interpret this as a deliberate attempt to get away with the illegality of his move, and therefore as an attempt of cheating. I see strictly no reason to follow you there.

As for imagining what would have happened without camera nor arbiters, that's neither fact nor interpretation, that's fabrication.

S's picture

Apparently you reason that it is not cheating because he is corrected by his opponents or arbiters. But that is no excuse: it's still a deliberate attempt to violate the rules of the games for personal gain.

I don't know if you are familiar with the Aronian-Carlsen incident; where Carlsen denied that he had touched and let go of a piece (in fact he had, so Aronian won). That's the most clear example of a deliberate attempt that you can get.

Take into account all the other incidents, and the absence of them by other players, and you see why it is worth pointing out.

S's picture

besides, do you think he does all this to get a loss?
It's pretty bizarre to think that he makes illegal moves in order to NOT get away with it. Or do you think Carlsen, a 2800 GM with years of experience, doesn't know the rules that are pointed out to him?
Come on..
I know it is not fun to hear, but some great players, like Kasparov and Carlsen, are willing to do whatever it takes to win. Including breaking the rules.

Guillaume's picture

Making an illegal move does not equate to cheating. It's really that simple. You might as well call a tennisman a cheater because many of his shots are called out.

S's picture

Repeatedly making the same illegal moves ( "mistakes") over and over again with the aim of winning or drawing lost games, I think that is cheating. Especially when one denies the illegal proceedings afterwards, or pretends to not have seen them..
And this is what happened.
Just a question;
why do you think Carlsen (and Carlsen alone) has done this several times? Wasn't the purpose of the illegal moves to win the game?

Thomas's picture

While Guillaume's tennis comparison isn't bad, I would rather compare Carlsen's behavior to a 100m runner producing a false start. Yes, he would gain a crucial time advantage, yes he will be disqualified, but was he _deliberately_ cheating? More likely he was just nervous, and the same may be the case for Carlsen.

Maybe it's somewhat comparable to an incident or anecdote I had many years ago in a blitz game: I put my knight on a square where it could be captured, realized it immediately and - as I was genuinely unsure - asked my opponent "did I let loose?". He answered "let's say you didn't", the game continued with a different knight move and eventually ended in a draw. We shook hands, and he said "by the way you DID let loose ...". No big deal for him, he (an IM, now GM) was the favorite to win the event which he did in the end - I was, at mostor rather not even, what Grachev or Savchenko is with respect to Carlsen. He probably thought that he could win the game by "normal" means, but a gap of several hundred rating points can be irrelevant in a single blitz game. Was I cheating?? If so, it wasn't on purpose.

In his game against Aronian, Carlsen may have been 'subjectively' convinced that he didn't let go - cameras and/or the arbiter proved him wrong, he lost and game over. Even this isn't deliberate cheating, at least not IMO.

S's picture

If only it was just the Aronian game.. But against f.e. Gashimov 2x and Savchenko it was pretty clear what he did. And he knows that he breaks the rules. Still he tries it.

I can partially understand your point of view but for me the number and nature of incidents make it pretty clear cases of attempts to win by cheating the opponent.

Thomas's picture

Carlsen may have more _known_ incidents because he is followed and scrutinized more closely? I wouldn't make too much from his game against Savchenko - it happened in the heat of the fight, and he argued just for a few seconds before admitting defeat. BTW, it isn't clear (to me) if Savchenko claimed "immediate" victory, or if he just insisted on Carlsen playing Kd4 - to resign 1/2 move later after Bf2+.

For Nakamura, it may be a matter of American vs. European habits or conventions, and FIDE vs. USCF rules - I also noticed that he sometimes castles with two hands (no big deal, but to my knowledge officially forbidden). On Dailydirt, he wrote in the comments "after playing blitz according to USCF rules my whole life, I pushed a pawn to the 8th rank against Grachev in a winning endgame and lost". What had happened according to other sources: he pushed his pawn, pressed his clock and then wanted to promote it into a queen - Grachev called the arbiter, claimed and got victory.

Rob Brown's picture

This is a wonderful idea. I look forward the next time we can see videos and follow the game on the ChessTempo board simultaneously. Thanks very much.

Brian Wall's picture

If your only complaint about a man is a few illegal moves in blitz games he must be grand indeed. Bobby Fischer said the pressure when you're the best is almost unbearable, the whole Chess world scrutinizes your every move.

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