Magnus Carlsen vs. Vishy Anand 2013 Rumblings

Posted: November 13, 2013 in Commentary Articles
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For the first time in a long time, I’m seriously interested in chess at the higher levels.  This year we have the challenger, 22 year old Magnus Carlsen, taking on 5 time champion Vishy Anand.  It seems 99% of everyone I’ve talked to think Magnus Carlsen should absolutely destroy Anand.  After all, he has Gary Kasparov, one of, if not the best chess player of this generation, as well as loads of innate talent.  He’s also the highest rated player in FIDE.  Ever.  Even higher than Gary Kasparov and people thought his rating was unheard of.

As evident by the first three rounds of play, all the pomp and circumstance surrounding the young challenger hasn’t effected Anand too much.  This is very much a match of youth versus experience.  While Magnus my have more talent, he’s never played a match of this caliber, and Anand has been here before.  No matter how much talent you have, nerves will play a factor in a match of this type, especially if you’ve not been there before.

This to me is evident after the first three games.  They ended in three draws, and from most commentary being stated, both players aren’t playing as well as they probably should be.  Either by not taking chances, or not capitalizing on small advantages.  Magnus has had the white pieces twice now, and hasn’t really pushed the pace, and happily accepted the three move repetition draw in the second round.

This leads to seeing and reading all the comments that are live online during the match.  This isn’t just on chess.com or on ICC, but everywhere people are allowed to comment.  I keep seeing things like “he needs to to this…” or “what a dumbass, if he was a real chess player he would have done this…” or “Fischer wouldn’t play like this…” or even “people don’t want to see this, they want to see fireworks, even if it’s bad chess.”

Really?

I spent some time looking up ratings of some of the players that said those things, and not a single one of them were over 1500.  One even so far had an 1100 rating.  I can’t talk a good game about chess.  I couldn’t tell you one variation of one opening versus another variation of the same opening, nor go into any real historical background.  I think I can hold my own at the level I play at though, which is around 1650-1750 (depending on the site) at the time of this writing.  It just really gets me to no end, the amount of hate for these two players because they aren’t producing win after win.  Of course, I would like to see win for someone as well, but you have to understand that at this level of chess, you have people that just don’t make a lot of mistakes, and games will end in draws more often than not.  Just because it was a draw doesn’t mean it was a bad game.

If you watch the press conferences afterwards, they talk about the game, why they made certain decisions, why it was a draw etc.  I think it would help the average player to watch these, as well as the match in order to understand their mentalities during play.  There is some very good insight to what happened during the match that the commentators can’t provide.

I look forward to round four where Anand will have the white pieces again, and I look forward to a tough match again for both players.  I think Anand has proven that he can be a force against Magnus, if not because of his playing style, but because he’s been here before.  Magnus will need to start taking more chances in order to topple Anand, I don’t see him faltering in his careful play.  Win, lose, or draw though, it will be entertaining, be it a four hour match, or a one hour match.

Let’s leave the horrendous commentary and slanderous name calling to the side, and let them compete.  Those that bought the ticket to attend perhaps have a reason to complain about a short 16 move match, but for the rest of us that are watching it live, streaming on the net, let great players play great chess.  Those that are slinging the insults and talking all the trash, are the ones that are in the worst position to be doing so.  It takes a lot of enjoyment out of watching the game, and to be honest, you couldn’t hold their proverbial jock straps in a game against them.

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