Monday, 24 March 2014

Chess is not dead, it just looks weird

I'm having a difficult time understanding what is going on at the 2014 Candidates Match. Apart from Anand, every other player seems to take turns at self destructing. Pre-tournament favourites Lev Aronian and Vladimir Kramnik both lost horribly in round 9, leaving Anand with a full point lead.
I've seen a number of theories about what is going on, some serious and some not so serious. Top of the "not so serious" pile, is that everyone except Anand is afraid to play Carlsen in a match, so second place is the real goal.
Of the serous theories some claim that Anand's left over opening preparation from his match with Carlsen is proving the difference. I think there is some merit to this idea, although it does not explain everything.
My own thoughts start with the fact that everyone in this tournament is a high class GM, and the difference in ability is not actually that great. Therefore it is experience in tournament like this that can prove the difference, and Anand is simply keeping his head, understanding it is the tournament result, and not necessarily each games result, that is important. As he has only won 3 games, it is his 6 drawn games that separate him from his rivals. Of course Kramnik has as much experience as Anand in situations like this, but he seems to be playing some strange chess. In his case it may just be a form issue, but if he manages to beat Anand in round 11, then the tournament will once again take a strange turning, and all previous theories will have to be rewritten.


Shane Bonetti said...

Kramnik is playing some strange chess. The worst of it is 7.... dxc4 in Round 9. I would have thought most club players would not make this mistake. It was a truly inexplicable mistake.

Shane Bonetti said...

And so 32. Rd4?? Kramnik - Svidler, Round 10. Poor Vlad. Imagine being so great and playing such dross.