The game Ponomariov-Kramnik is the best one in January!
The start of "Aeroflot-open" put an end to the hesitations of our experts. Eight chess players took part in the January polling: "invited" specialists Mikhail Kobalia, Vladimir Potkin, Alexander Rustemov and Alexander Riazantsev and contributor to the website Vladimir Barskij, Alexei Bezgodov, Sergei Ivanov and Ilya Odessky. Their might have been more of them, but it failed for different reasons. Never mind, there are a lot of month to come.
As I've already told, I'm not planning to frighten off our readers with plenty of figures, though the message is mainly an informative one. Having 15 games, I gave 20 points for the 1st place, 17 - for the 2nd, 14 - for the 3rd, 12 - for the 4th and so on descending in increments of 1. The most points (130) scored the champion draw Ponomariov - Kramnik, it has four 1st places (Riazantsev, Ivanov, Rustemov, Barskij), one 2nd place and a pair of 4th places. The average 2nd place has the duel Anand - Adams (116) - two 1st places (Odessky, Kobalia), two 2nd ones and two 4th ones. The 1st place in the list took also two games Mamedyarov - Cheparinov (Potkin) and Kramnik - Grischuk (Bezgodov). The second draw of the world champion according to classical version wasn't estimated high (what is easy to explain - the tense duel is discredited by mutual errors), but the victory of the young Bulgarian over the young Azerbaijanian many of the experts put in the top half of the list. However even good attitude to the game Leko - Svidler, allows the triumphator of Wijk aan Zee to occupy the 3rd place, and Cheparinov is on the 4th one (93 points against 88). Then there follow Adams - Topalov, Kramnik - Grischuk, Gormally - Sutovsky, Polgar - Sokolov, Bruzon - Topalov, Nikolic - Mamedyarov, Belov - Socko, Stefanova - Nijboer, Shirov - Erenburg, Nakamura - Hennigan and Lie - Stefanova.
Creative details will be described in a review, which will be prepared by me at the end of the month. I can tell you straight off that the winner-game is comprehensively commented by Ruslan Ponomariov in the second issue of the journal ?64?, which will come out this week, and we will take the trouble to analyze elaborately the duels Anand - Adams and Leko - Svidler. The game Mamedyarov - Cheparinov is commented by Andrei Kalinichev in the "Chess week", not pretending however to in-depth analysis (there the notorious half litre bottle would be really very useful), but giving some effective variants for orientation.
In closing I should tell that Vladimir Barskij sent his variant with rectification that he would put to the 3rd and 5th places the games, which are not included by me in the best top 15: Sokolov - Morozevich and Anand - Leko. Vladimir explains his choice by the fact that the games will for long stick in memory in spite of the errors made in them (counter-gambit of Albin in the elite competition and the game, which actually decided the fate of the 1st place in the first super-tournament of the year), but many of the games from the Top 15 won't imprint on the minds of people. It's an interesting consideration, if I have time to discuss this subject with other experts during Aeroflot-open, I'll tell you about it in a review. But after all it's a question of world outlook, besides the columnist has some rights, including the sacred right to a mistake.