Sunday, 2 March 2014

Would Fischer lose to the current generation?

GM Hikaru Nakamura is well known for speaking his mind. His twitter feed is often quite entertaining/controversial, and he can usually be relied upon to give a good quote or two during an interview.  In his latest interview (during a Reddit "Ask me anything" session) he was asked how Bobby Fischer would do against the current generation of top players. His reply that "Fischer would certainly lose to all of us" is the kind of answer that headline writers love, as it is guaranteed to provoke an animated discussion. Nonetheless, even if that was his entire answer, I would be inclined to agree with him.
But of course as with most headlines, there was more to the answer than that, and Nakamura did qualify his reply. He sensibly pointed out that the game has changed since Fischer played (the rise of computers being his main observation) and if he availed himself of these tools, he would soon catch up. I also think another factor to be considered is the increased competitiveness of top level chess these days. The era of the short draw is over, and even in games where a draw is the desired result, it is often a hard fought draw. So if Fischer was to challenge the new generation, he would have to lift the intensity of his game to match theirs. Of course Fischer was a player who strived to win each game, so he might have found the transition a little easier than his contemporaries, but I suspect he still might have been surprised out how much extra effort was required.

** Correction: As pointed out in the comments section, Nakamura's actual quote was "Fischer would almost certainly lose to all of us", which is less emphatic than what I've presented in the body of the article.

1 comment:

shane lawson said...

The quote I saw was "Fischer would almost certainly lose to all of us", which is slightly different from what you quoted.
Cheers, Shane Lawson.