1) People are often stupid
2) Bureaucrats are the same stupid people, with bad incentives.
Here is the official site where the games played in Morelia are relayed (not much else going on there apparently). The Linares-games will be relayed here. This Danish link has some more information as does this chessbase-article.
Radjabov has been replaced by the Ukrainian grandmaster Vassily Ivanchuk who happened to be in Mexico at the time – so the withdrawal will luckily not result in any cancellations or postponements of games. Ivanchuk has won the tournament 3 times, although the last time was in -95, so he is definitely not the worst replacement they could have found.
One of the things likely to be debated the next weeks is Topalov’s performance and the allegations of cheating that have followed in his footsteps for some time now (the Danish link supplements Short’s analysis). The first round he didn’t do anything to draw attention to himself though; his game with Anand ended in a draw after an un-ambitious opening and some uninteresting shuffling around with the pieces. Last years tournament winner Levon Aronian chose to defend himself with the Marshall Attack against Svidler’s Ruy Lopez, and this game ended unsurprisingly in a draw. The two other games were somewhat more interesting. Ivanchuk was in an attacking-mood against Leko:
18. a4!?… Rxa4, 19.Nf6+!?
However, even though the sacrifice is probably correct, there is no doubt it was an over the board move (non-home prep) – and the resulting timetrouble in the end led to a perpetual.
The outcomes of the other three games mean that the only winner in the first round, the youngest and lowest rated of the contestants, is actually alone in the lead now, as (
K)Carlsen outplayed Morozevich in a technical endgame with opposite coloured bishops. I would believe that move 50…Bc5 (played in the position above) was the move that in the end cost Morozevich the draw, as it allowed the advancement of the f-pawn and in the end makes it impossible to stop the queening of at least one of the Q-side pawns (not without losing the black bishop, that is) – without being allowed to play f4, I don’t see any way ( K)Carlsen could have gotten anything out of that position, even if he is two pawns ahead.
The graphs are from a new working paper by Martin Paldam, avaialable here. The top one displays the development in real growth pr capita. The lower one displays the development in foreign aid payments in pct. of GNI during the same period. We’re of course talking about Africa south of Sahara.
The paper is in Danish, but I guess foreigners get the picture as well.
A lot of money down the drain. Depressing.