Tag Archives: predictions

Vinastradamus

Anyway, back to prognosticating. I’ll go out on a limb and say: Anand will win the match (possibly in tiebreaks), he will use both 1.e4 and 1.d4 as white, and will largely use a Nimzo move order of 1…Nf6 and 2…e6 as Black against 1.d4.

– Vinay Bhat, before the Anand-Gelfand World Championship Match in 2012

Not a bad prediction, if I may say so myself. The Nimzo move order didn’t quite come true for much of the match, as he only played it twice as opposed to the Semi-Slav four times in the regular portion. However, Anand did win in tiebreaks, so that’s not so bad.

In that post, I also wrote “Either way, I think this [the Gelfand one] is the last World Championship that Anand can win, so if he has to pass the baton, I’d rather it go to one of those two (Carlsen or Aronian) than to anybody else.”

Some time has passed since then and Anand definitely has been making some improvements in late 2012 and through much of 2013, but I don’t think it’ll be enough to offset Magnus’s simply better form now. So my brain says +2 for Magnus (6.5 – 4.5, over in 11 games), and I have some worries that it’ll be a bit like the Kasparov – Kramnik match from 2000 in that Kasparov made no headway really and was never in the driver’s seat. In fact, Kasparov was somewhat lucky that the score only ended as +2 for Kramnik and didn’t even seem to be fighting in some of the games.

That said, I’ve always been an Anand fan and I’m hoping for a great match. I think there’s a pretty short list of people who – at the height of their powers – could play with Magnus when Magnus is in best form (or whatever 2870 buys you these days). Anand is one of them, and if he can get himself back into physical and mental shape, then who knows.

Some of my colleagues have been asking me more about chess recently  some even showing up to the USCL games at the Mechanics Institute which is just a few blocks from our office. One analogy that I tried to make was that this is a bit like LeBron and Kobe going at it one-on-one now, with Magnus as the younger, stronger, and better player, but Kobe as the aging and wounded “Lion in Winter” who can still put together a brilliant performance but can also turn in a real clunker from the field as well.

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US Championship Predictions!

The US Championship started yesterday, and since I’ve gotten into the prognostication business, I might as well continue.

One round is already in the books, but I made some predictions a couple weeks ago (I’m on the record elsewhere!), so I’ll post them here: Kamsky and Shulman from Group A, and Onischuk and Christiansen from Group B, with Onischuk winning the title in the end.

The highest rated player in the country is not playing, which should open up the field a bit. Given that Nakamura lives in St Louis and seems to be sponsored by the Chess Center there, I’m chalking it up as another reason to think Kasparov is working with him. He does have a couple super-tournaments lined up in the next few months, though, so he can try to build on his Wijk aan Zee success.

Name Changes, Openings, Predictions

The Tata Steel (formerly known as Wijk aan Zee, before being called Corus) super-tournament is underway now. The field is pretty much as good as it can get in my view. No “boring” 2700s were invited this time around. With two rounds already in the books, it’s a bit late for predictions, but I did think Anand might finally break his tournament-non-winning streak this year. For the B and C groups, I’ll go with McShane (I have to admit I was influenced by his 2/2 start) and then a tie between Bluvshtein and Vocaturo.

Anand did get off to a good start with a solid win as black against Ruslan Ponomariov. Back in Bilbao and Shanghai in late 2010, he played the Berlin every time against 1.e4. But in London, he played the Sicilian in all his black games, and he repeated his once-favorite Najdorf against Ponomariov. I remember Grischuk said something to the effect that “Ruslan doesn’t understand the Najdorf,” but I think that was mostly in regards to Pono on the black side.

The opening choice was also notable because a couple weeks ago, I had dinner with Hikaru Nakamura, Patrick Wolff (Anand’s former second), and John Donaldson. Hikaru contended that the Sicilian had been largely replaced at the top levels because it was no longer tenable for Black. Maybe Hikaru will change his mind, although I’m sure he’s focused enough on other openings. Grischuk actually said something similar about the Najdorf about a decade ago, but then he decided to make the Najdorf a central part of his Black repertoire …

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NBA Finals – It’s Like Déjà Vu All Over Again

The NBA finals start tonight, with the Lakers playing in Boston. I’d love to see the Celtics win it all (especially for Pierce and KG), but I have a feeling that as the best player around right now, Kobe is going to go nuts and carry the Lakers forward. And despite statistical evidence to the contrary, I’ll say Lakers in 6.

The stats are from me playing around with R again, which I used to use a lot at UC Berkeley. Essentially I took the teams’ won/loss records at home and on the road this season and ran a bunch of finals simulations. The records incorporate the playoffs up to this point, so Boston has a home record of 45-7 so far this year. LA has a home record of 38-11. Meanwhile, on the road, Boston has a record of 33-17 (that’s after a stellar 31-10 during the regular season) while LA has a record of 31-16. Using those home/road splits, the simulation plays out a 10,000 7-game series and has the most likely result being a Boston win in 6 games. The most likely win for the Lakers, though, also occurs in 6 games.

Of course, the Lakers team improved dramatically after they traded for Pau Gasol at the start of February 2008, so maybe their record in the Post-Gasol era should be considered. That brings them to 21-4 at home and 18-7 on the road. Now the simulation predicts a slightly tighter series, with Boston expected to win in 7 games. In terms of an LA victory, the Lakers seem to win in 5 games just as often as they win in 6 now.

Essentially, home-court advantage is the difference maker there. Despite the Celtics playoff road woes (which they partially shook against Detroit), the 4 home games gives them a nice cushion.

My thoughts were that the Lakers would take on game in Boston, then take 2 of 3 at home, and Kobe would finish things off in game 6 in Boston.

Funnily enough, the simulation picked the Lakers in 5 over the Spurs by a hair (Lakers in 7 followed, and then Spurs in 6 were the next most likely hypothetical results), which was precisely how the series ended.

Anyways, enough talk – I normally root for Batman, but here’s to hoping that Joker’s are wild: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hRztEpUXBEc

Update: Celtics won game 1 quite nicely! Kobe never really seemed to get into the flow of things, especially in the 4th quarter where he was somehow held silent. I’ll stick with the Lakers in 6, but now I’m hoping my gut was right and that the Celtics win it all.