Monday 28 April 2014

The stuff nightmares are made of

By beating Hikaru Nakamura for the 2nd time in the Gashimov Memorial, Magnus Carlsen has extended his record to 10 wins and 0 losses over Nakamura at classical chess. In both games Nakamrua was better at one point, but as in a number of previous games, allowed Carlsen to equalise and then take control. No doubt the mounting score has something to do with this, as Nakamura must be wondering where his first win is going to come from.
While such lopsided scores aren't that uncommon in chess, this one stands out in part due to the margin, but also due to Nakamura's recent claim that he is Carlsen's biggest threat. The unfortunate side effect of this claim is that every game is seen as a test of its accuracy.
Of course Nakamura could turn it around. Bobby Fischer lost a fair number of games against Mikhail Tal before scoring his first win, and he had never beaten Boris Spassky until their World Championship match. Of course Fischer then made it hard for any one else to even the score with him by retiring in 1972 (apart from one match in 1992).
Of course it can be a matter of timing. I have a +5 score (no losses) against a couple of strong players, but this was achieved early in their careers, and it is unlikely we will meet over the board anytime soon. On the other hand I have lost all 4 games I have played against Fritz Van der Waal, and as I mainly play club chess these days, I can't see myself turning that around in the near future.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yes, Naka made a couple of criticisms of Magnus's play. When asked if this bothered him, Magnus said it might have, had Naka been a better player. Ouch.