They think so long

Last saterday it was my turn to go help at the IGM tournament (from 23 august until 31 august) my chess club is organizing with the help of the compagny Iventi. The tournament is named Iventichess 2008 since it’s played in the offices of this compagny. An IGM tournament isn’t cheap so Iventi had to find other firms to co-sponor the event. 10 other firms were agreed to step into the organisation. They are now the sponsors of the players, a firm per player.

When i was watching the games i saw something very strange. One should think that GMs know their openings but on all the boards each player spend an hour or even more to play the first 15 moves. I wonder what was going on in their head when taking so much time for the opening phase of the game. Where they running over all those opening lines they know of variation x of line c? Or did they look for possible improvements of opening c variation d line z? Why did they take so much time for those first moves? Do you know?

Some information about the tournament:

Website (pity it’s only in dutch)



Name age   Country Elo
GM Xiangzhi Bu 22   China   2710
GM Evgenij Miroshnichenko 29   Ukraine   2593
GM Rafael Vaganian 57   Armenia   2594
GM Zoltan Gyimesi 31   Hungary   2586
GM Jan Werle 24   Netherlands   2591
GM Jan Timman 56   Netherlands   2562
GM Kateryna Lahno 18   Ukraine   2507
GM Gerhard Schebler 39   Germany   2453
IM Bart Michiels 21   Belgium   2442
IM Geert Van der Stricht 36   Belgium   2426



Life games (each day start at 14:00 hrs)


8 Comments on “They think so long”

  1. Dennis says:

    First of I would like to say Hello! and thank you for posting on my chess blog! I see your blog is also relatively new as well. I have added you to my blog listing, and I will check your blog out on a regular basis!

    Secondly, how lucky you are to be able to help with such a cool GM chess tournament! It is an interesting thing that such strong players take that long on their opening phase of the game. I thought they would play the first 15 moves with a few minutes, leaving most of the time for the middle game where they can plot their opponents demise.

  2. Ivan says:

    I added your link to my blog.

    Will you add mine to yours?

    Thank you


    Getting to 2000

  3. chesstiger says:

    @ Dennis / Knightfork

    I also thought that the first ten moves would be played atleast in half an hour but nope, more then an hour they thoughed.

    @ Ivan / Getting to 2000

    Linked to you!

  4. Polly says:

    IGMs spend a lot of time preparing for their competitions’ openings. They probably try to bring something new to the table, so the opponent has to spend time figuring out the new moves. Either that or they’re not as booked up as we all think.

  5. chesstiger says:

    @ Polly

    Can be, or they are even looking at the board for improvements of the theory.

  6. I think, I know why they think for so long.
    From the comment to the game Carlsen-Ivanchuk, Bilbao, played today:
    “13… b5 Did Carlsen miss that move or am I missing something? After he spends so much time calculating the consequences of the pawn sacrifice, it may be assumed that it surprised him.
    24.Nd2 After he missed 13…b5, Carlsen is playing only the best moves. Nevertheless his position is difficult.”

    Carlsen just lost.

  7. chesstiger says:

    @Rolling Pawns

    Yes, they calculate every, reasonal, possible reply to their moves. Guess Carlsen just had an oversight or miscalculation. Heck, happens so often by us.

  8. sandrar says:

    Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.

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