Saturday, 9 June 2007

2007 Candidates Matches - Round 2

Round 2 of the 2007 Candidates Matches has already reached the halfway point, with a clear leader in each match. Closest to qualifying for the Mexico World Championship tournament is Peter Leko who has two wins and a draw against Evgeny Bareev. In the other 3 matches Aronian, Grischuk and Gelfand lead 2-1 over their opponents, having each won a game, and drawn the other two.
Just as in Round 1, the matches are over 6 games, with tie-breaks played if the score ends 3-3. While 6 games is still a little short to decide who is the superior player in a match (8 games would be my preference) it is a vast improvement over the lottery that is the 2 game 'mini-matches' used in previous World Championship Knockouts.
Coverage of the event has been good, with live game broadcasts followed by a news summary, and post game GM analysis available for download. The games are even on at a reasonable time for Australian spectators (late evening) so you can catch a good part of the opening before going to bed. Of course this can be a trap as I had caught the first 22 moves of Grischuk-Rublevsky Game 1, and decided that Grischuk's sacrifice was unsound and that he was already lost. Of course it was home preparation and when I awoke the next day Grischuk had won.
Alongside the Candidates Matches is the Deep Junior v Deep Fritz match, with Deep Junior leading 2-1. It appears the major interest in this match isn't who will win, but why Rybka (believed by most to be far stronger than both programs) isn't involved.

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