Posts Tagged ‘world chess champions’

Carlsen vs. Anand 2014: Rematch of Generations

November 8, 2014

Former World Champion Garry Kasparov has offered his thoughts on the 2014 FIDE World Chess Championship Match between Magnus Carlsen and Viswanathan Anand. Garry Kasparov’s letter is written from his uniquely experienced perspective and hits many of the same points I raised in my own preview for the match. 

Garry Kasparov is "excited to watch this rematch of generations."

Garry Kasparov is “excited to watch this rematch of generations.”

Last year’s first world championship match between Magnus Carlsen and Vishy Anand was quite one-sided. After a predictably anxious start, Carlsen dominated to claim the crown in just ten games of the twelve scheduled, a 6.5-3.5 score without suffering a loss. A year has gone by and Carlsen is already forced to defend his title. To the surprise of most, myself included, his challenger is Anand, who played his best chess in many years to win the Candidates tournament handily.

At first sight, this rematch looks like an unequal proposition. Both players are a year older, which can hardly be to the advantage of the 44-year-old Anand against his 23-year-old opponent. Over the past year Anand has been playing well and Carlsen playing less than his best, although tournament form has rarely been a useful indicator for world championship match success. Match play has many unique considerations and rematches have their own as well.

The quest to become world champion is a fire that burns hotter than any other. It is not possible to maintain the same level of a challenger’s relentless desire as champion. Anxiety and complacency are the natural enemies of the defending champion and they can be difficult to deal with, especially for the first time as Carlsen is doing in this match.

It has long been my belief that the anxiety of defending his reputation and his title, of facing even the tiniest possibility he might lose, is what drove Bobby Fischer away from the board for 20 years after he became champion. I stayed on top of the rating list for 20 years, even after losing my title to Kramnik in 2000, by always trying to find new challenges. I retired in 2005 when I felt I could no longer maintain my motivation in professional chess, without feeling like I was making a difference.

I played five world championship matches against Anatoly Karpov, though only the fourth, Seville 1987, was truly what I would consider a rematch in psychological terms. The first match was terminated, the second gave me the title, and the third was Karpov’s guaranteed rematch that really felt like an extension of the second. When Seville began it was the chance to finally put the endless cycle of matches, and Karpov, behind me for a while and I felt a very different kind of pressure, which showed in my inconsistent play. Karpov, like any great sportsman, sensed his opponent’s anxiety and took strength from it. When I won the final game to tie the match and retain my title the feeling of relief was indescribable. My victory cry to my team, “Three more years!” was the release of years of constant pressure.

Anand is playing in Sochi free of expectations or burdens. He has already held the highest title and will be remembered as a great champion. And he cannot do worse than the last match, after all! Carlsen is in the opposite position. With barely a year to enjoy his title, the goal of his short lifetime, he is now on the defensive with everything to lose and little to prove.

Of course, chess is not only about desire and psychology! Carlsen is stronger than Anand and should win the match -– and I hope he does. Magnus is an active and ambitious young champion who will do many good things for the chess world I still care about deeply. It is only that it is a rematch that gives rise to any doubts at all. The human mind is not a computer and our powers of calculation cannot be isolated from our emotions. That is why chess is a sport and not a science, and why I am excited to watch this rematch of generations.

Garry Kasparov

November 7, 2014

New York City

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15 Days Until The World Chess Championships

September 29, 2008

Tonight we look at another brilliancy from the current World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand. This game was played before Anand was World Champion and after his opponent Anatoly Karpov had lost his title to Garry Kasparov. Once again we see Anand’s desire to be adventurous in the opening by playing the off-beat line 4. e4 rather than e3. The latter would have lead to traditional Queen’s Gambit Accepted lines. On move 17. Be2 Anand starts a redeployment of his bishop which eventually joins an attack on Karpov’s king with the move 20. Bd3 and then 21. Bxh7! Anatoly Karpov’s fatal inaccuracy occurred when he played 23… Bxe5.  23…f6 would still have left Karpov with plenty of issues but is an improvement. On move 36 Karpov lost on time. 


[Event “?”]
[Site “Las Palmas,ESP”]
[Date “1996.??.??”]
[White “Anand,Viswanathan”]
[Black “Karpov,Anatoly”]
[Round “7”]
[Result “1-0”]
[ECO “A06”]

1. Nf3 d5 2. d4 e6 3. c4 dxc4 4. e4 b5 5. a4
c6 6. axb5 cxb5 7. b3 Bb7 8. bxc4 Bxe4 9. cxb5
Nf6 10. Be2 Be7 11. O-O O-O 12. Nc3 Bb7 13. Ne5
a6 14. Bf3 Nd5 15. Nxd5 exd5 16. Rb1 Qb6 17. Be2
axb5 18. Rxb5 Qc7 19. Bf4 Bd6 20. Bd3 Ba6 21. Bxh7+
Kxh7 22. Qh5+ Kg8 23. Rb3 Bxe5 24. Rh3 f6 25. dxe5
Qe7 26. Qh7+ Kf7 27. Rg3 Ke8 28. Rxg7 Qe6 29. exf6
Nc6 30. Ra1 Kd8 31. h4 Bb7 32. Rc1 Ba6 33. Ra1
Bb7 34. Rd1 Ba6 35. Qb1 Rxf6 36. Bg5 1-0


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