Saturday, 15 June 2013

Burn out or fade away?

Every now and then Anatoly Karpov pops up playing an exhibition match or rapid, but for all intents and purposes he is retired as a top level player. What occurred to me when seeing news of his latest exhibition is that I'm not sure when he actually retired. Unlike Kasparov (explicitly) or Fischer (implicitly) there was no dramatic announcement, just a gradual withdrawal from serious tournament play.
And Karpov would not be alone in bowing out this way. While age is no physical impediment to playing chess (unlike other sports), it may bring a decline in interest and enthusiasm. Certainly a number of strong GM's simply played less and less as they got older. Of course there are some notable exceptions (eg Korchnoi), but even older GM's seem to gravitate to either Senior only events, or specific tournament designed to cater for them.
I'm not sure the same thing happens in club/weekend chess, as the fields still contain a healthy number of older players. Of course the work dynamic is at play here, with amateur players retiring from their careers to spend more time at the board, with professional players retiring to spend less time at it!


Anonymous said...

Korchnoi has suffered a strong recently and in appearances would likely take time before he could play again on recovery.

Anonymous said...

Korhnoi has suffered a STROKE...