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Chess World Championship

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These days everybody is writing about the Chess World Championship between Anand and Carlsen in India.  I only have a passing interest. When Kasparov (yes, the guy who now wants to become President of FIDE … -This is as if Guy Fawkes would have wanted to become PM…) and Short broke with that very same FIDE splitting into two the world of Chess, I predicted that was going to be disastrous for Chess. An easy prediction. After that , things were never the same. With Kasparov retired and Kapov nearly retired too, the Chess world saw how children of lesser gods became Champions of the World to vanish into thin air forever. Even the media lost their interest, and what was worse: most sponsors began to leave Chess and devote their money to other more profitable devotions. Thank you Gary  (Kasparov) for destroying a beautiful building to have a stone to sit on. Thank you Nigel (Short) for your greed and your lust for money. One of the side-effects was that if in the past even non-chessplayers knew the name of the Chess World Champion, today nobody knows and what is again even worse: nobody cares either. When you have lived with the names of Botvinnik, Tal, Spassky, Karpov, Fischer, Smyslov , Petrosian (to mention the period post WW2 only) , with those gruelling matches like those between Karpov and Korchnoi, Botvinnik and Tal , Spassky and Fischer, etc.

I agree with GM Spraggett when he says that neither Anand nor Carlsen will be like Fischer. And for my part, I don’t expect much from this match either. We are in an age of sheer and shameless pragmatism (see the first two game of this match.  What would have thought Fischer, Botvinnik, Tal, etc.?). Today’s players play mainly for a) money, b) ELO points -and I don’t know in which order…- So they fear losing. They play “not to lose” instead of playing to win at all costs. They are afraid of  losing ELO points like the plague while asking for good financial conditions. In the past, most of us spent our money buying the books dealing with World Championship matches because we were enthralled by the event and the charismatic players. And we used them to study the games, one time after another, TO LEARN Chess from them. Even today I spend many evenings with Fischer and Spassky in 1972, or with Tal and Botvinnink in 1960. I’m afraid I will pass NO time with Anand and Carlsen 2013… I accept that many people may consider the first two games of the match as something typical of World Championship matches . I have read somebody has calculated that every game costs around 166,000 euros… If it is so, these two guys should work a little harder. (I hope all this will change for the rest of the match…). At least the third and the fourth games have been  much more interesting. 

In 1971 Karpov and Korchnoi agreed to play a secret training match (this method was used in the Soviet Union. Botvinnik did it on several occasions too). In the end, the games crop up and here I have included two of them in case you prefer combine them with those played in India. I’m sure you will enjoy yourselves with them.

(You may argue Chess today is very different from Chess 30 or 40 years ago. But the attitude of the chessplayers has also changed perhaps forced by more pragmatic conditions. In any case, Chess offers plenty of occasions to create masterpieces and terrible fights one time after another. When this happens, no matter if the final result is a draw.   Perhaps this is why many people keeps mentioning Fischer, Tal, Keres, Bronstein, et alii and new books about them keep being published on a regular basis? Who knows…)

W.: Karpov (1)

B.: Korchnoi (0)

Leningrad 1971 (Training Match)

1. e4  e6 / 2. d4 d5 / 3. Nd2  c5  /4. Ngf3  Nc6 / 5. ed  ed /  6. Bb5  Bd6  / 7. dc  Qe7/ 8. Qe2!  Bxc5/ 9. Nb3  Bb6/ 10. Ne5!  Kf8 !? / 11. Bf4  Qf6 / 12. Bg3  h5/ 13. h4  Nge7/  14. 0-0-0  Nxe5  15. Bxe5  Qxf2  16. Bxg7  Kxg7/ 17. Qxe7  Bf5/  18. Qe5!  f6/  19. Qxe7  Kg6/  20. Rd2!!  Be3/ 21. Rf1  Bxd2 / 22. Nxd2  Qd4!/  23. Rxf5!  Kxf5/ 24. Bd3  Kf4 / 25. Qd6  Qe5 / 26. Qb4  d4?!/ 27. Ne4!   Kf5?/ 28. Qxb7  Kg4/ 29. Be2  Kxh4/ 30. g3  Kh3/  31. Nf2  Kh2/  32. Qh1  Kxg3/  33.   Ne4  Kf4 / 34. Qf3  mate. (Punctuation marks by Korchnoi who when annotated the game said this was the best game Karpov has played in his whole life…)

W.: Karpov (0)

B.: Korchnoi (1)

Leningrad Training Match 1971

1. e4  c5/ 2. Nf3  e6/ 3. d4  cd4/ 4. Nxd4  Nf6/ 5. Nc3  d6 / 6. Be2  Be7/ 7. Be3  a6/ 8. f4  Qc7/ 9. g4  d5/ 10. e5  Ne4/  11. Nxe4  de/ 12. h4  0-0/ 13. g5  Rd8/ 14. c3  Nc6/ 15. Qd2  Bc5/  16. h5  Bd7/  17.Bg4  Be8/  18. g6  Qa5/  19. gf  Bxf7/ 20. Nxc6  bc /21. Qf2  Bxe3/ 22.Qxe3  Rab8/  23. b4  Qa3/  24. Qc1  Qa4/ 25. Be2  c5/  26. bc  Bc6/ 27. Qe3  Rb2/ 28. Rg1  Bxh5  / 29. Bc4  Qa4/ 30. Bxe6  Kh8/ 31. Bg4  Bxg4/ 32. Rxg4  Rxa2/  White resigned.

Six games were played and the final result was two draws and two victories for each side .



Written by QChess

November 15, 2013 at 7:50 am

2 Responses

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  1. I agree with your comments on the World Championship. In addition to the factor you mentioned (playing “not to lose”), I think a lot of the blandness of professional chess today is due to reliance on computer analysis. Everyone has access to the same engines and most seem to play what the engine tells them to play in a given line. This has lead to a conformity where the clash of the personal styles of individual players has become less of a factor and that’s what makes chess interesting, in my opinion.

    p.s. Great blog!


    November 21, 2013 at 8:01 pm

    • Dear Sir,
      Thank you very much for reading the blog and submit your ideas.It greatly helps me not only to gather strength to continue but also to see that other chessplayers have similar thoughts. When I remember 1969, 1972, even 1978 I fell pity for Chess. On those days the press gave great coverage to the Chess World Championship: pre/durin and post match interviews, the games annotated by specialists, etc.Today…
      Thanks a lot again and I hope you continue reading the blog and making any sort of comment, for or against.


      November 22, 2013 at 8:09 am

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