On Some Recent Events

I haven’t commented on the blitz and rapid world championships mostly because I prefer classical chess, but Carlsen’s achievement cannot be overlooked. I think Carlsen will be successful in defending his classical title, probably more than once, but I am not so sure about his rapid and blitz titles. The reason is obvious, it’s much more difficult to win these events (let alone that they’re played one after the other) as they are swiss events and the element of luck is rather big. This makes it even more incredible that he has managed to unite all 3 titles, it’s difficult we will see again. As a tidbit, I noticed that in the blitz event, playing black, Carlsen castled long in 3 games (Fedoseev, Nepomniachtchi and Lu Shanglei) and made an artificial long castle in 1 (against Meier). Just a coincidence probably and not a new element of playing for a win with black.

Hou Yifan closes the rating gap between her and Judit Polgar. She seems to be completely dominating the female players and after winning her last 2 Grand Prix events with 1.5 and 2 points advantage respectively, the gap is down to less than 30 points. In fact, I’d dare say that in a direct match Hou Yifan would have the better chances! Judit has practically left the elite and plays only occasionally, but what’s worse she doesn’t seem to do much work in between events. This shows in her poor openings and the problems she faces in this phase (a loss in 11 moves against Mamedyarov, even though a blitz, is not something a player of her caliber would allow herself!) I’d love to see a match between these two and I’m sure it won’t be too difficult to find a sponsor for that one. But I doubt Polgar would accept, she would have all to lose (the prestige, the image of best female player of all time, sponsorhip deals etc.) and very little to win in that match.
The political battle for the FIDE presidency looks like a future election of a President of the World. I imagine that one day the world will be united and then the election would be just like today’s battle for FIDE – the presidential candidates will be travelling the whole world (in private jets, of course) lobbying for their cause. It’s difficult to say whether it will be less dirty than now, but at least for once the chess world is ahead of time! Back to the present, I don’t know whether the FIDE Rules address a situation when in the best interest of the game of chess both candidates are disqualified. This thought occurred to me just now, as I write this, as I’m watching the France-Germany match in the World Cup and as an England fan the thought of disqualification of both teams arose very naturally.
And speaking of football, on a chess blog, is something not to be encouraged. I’ll try to disguise it by making a chess-related parallel. The underdogs in the tournament (Mexico, Chile, Switzerland, USA) played fantastic and high-quality game, only to lose to the favourites in the same way an underdog loses to an experienced GM – eventually they cracked. They couldn’t keep their level up infinitely and the fatigue coupled with the pressure of the opponent led to their demise. Here we can see why the favourites are better – they have more experience in playing high-tension matches with opponents of the same caliber, thus they are used to keeping their level up for very long periods of time. I addressed this issue in my post about the monotony in a game of chess (https://www.alexcolovic.com/2014/04/why-anand-won.html) and I will soon post here my article from the latest Informator 120 that discusses the same idea.
And I really still cannot decide which team (France or Germany) I like less…
Alex Colovic
A professional player, coach and blogger. Grandmaster since 2013.
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  • Jul 8,2014 at 4:09 pm

    Indeed! 🙂

  • Jul 7,2014 at 10:53 pm

    ''as an England fan'' you said enough about footy 🙂

  • Jul 6,2014 at 12:44 am

    Hi Angus,

    Actually my comment was more tongue-in-cheek, as I don't really think anybody (or any body) within FIDE would contemplate such a scenario. I think a lot of people (yourself included) share my opinion on both candidates, but the system is devised in such a way that we're stuck with choosing the lesser evil (and not only in chess, unfortunately).

    Yeah, I forgot Algeria, I loved how they played, especially against the Deutch! Too bad all the underdogs are out (Costa Rica fought bravely tonight but succumbed) so now it's the usual suspects again.



  • Jul 4,2014 at 9:19 pm

    Hello Alex,

    I was struck by your comment: "I don't know whether the FIDE Rules address a situation when in the best interest of the game of chess both candidates are disqualified". I sort of agree as I think both candidates are terrible but I wondered if you might say more? Are you thinking of the complaints to the FIDE Ethics Commission?

    On football underdogs, don't forget Algeria!

    Angus French (from England)

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