Wednesday, 28 January 2015

More Right Than Wrong?


I rarely do this but recently I have been working late every night and so it was a no brainer to keep one of the many live game links to Tata Steel open in my browser.

My analysis/review of chess in 2014 (see http://chessasia.com/chess-highlights-of-2014/) was a litle different from most others, not only because I took the trouble to try and identify the underlying challenges for the world of chess and offer solutions (or at least materials for debate) but I also did not consider some things that others raved about to be such a big deal.

As expected, Magnus Carlsen started slowly in Tata Steel but once he started winning it was clear that he would, baring his now usual drop in level towards the end, emerge as the champion.

But to me it was also once again the case of no one quite able to do more rather than Carlsen being dominant and I did expect Wesley So to do as well as he did and even believing that with some luck he could finish on top!

No, its not that I think So is that good already - it is more that he is as good as the others given all have their strengths and weaknesses and he is also certainly as well prepared as anyone.

What was becoming certain is a changing of the guard with the older players largely not going to be able to compete much longer and probably that is more an issue of having less motivation to work like the younger naturally more ambitious players growing up with computers, together with an increasingly diminishing physical ability to sustain hard and long calculation move by move in game after game, all factors that are nullifying their still superior class.

Yes, someone reading this would have now realised I did not place any significance on Fabiano Caruana's 7-0 winning streak in the Sinquefield Cup. (The same reasoning of course applied for the older Alexander Grischuk who actually had a golden period at the end of last year to break 2800 and not just one performance).

Don't get me wrong as Caruana is of course already one of the best players and should get better given his age and total dedication to chess but the same can be said for the many young players who are thereabouts in his rating league like Anish Giri, So, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, perhaps even Ding Liren already and there are many equally young not so far away (or arguably already there sans the experience of playing and the opportunity to play such elite events) amongst them of course Yu Yangyi (and perhaps sooner than later the likes of the much younger Wei Yi's).

Live ratings are fun to see as even the monthly official FIDE ratings but as we all know it depends who is playing and what and who is not at that moment (amongst many things!).

So for our further entertainment it is on to the Grenke Chess Classic in Baden Baden, Germany, for young Carlsen and Caruana who together with Levon Aronian are fellow Tata Steel participants and where they will be joined by old man Viswanathan Anand and the not so much younger English No. 1, Michael Adams, a former prodigy but now also veteran Etienne Bacrot, and locals Arkadij Naiditsch and David Baramidze.

Not as strong as Tata Steel but a nice mix and will show only for that moment if I am more right about the young or less wrong with the elders!

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