While we are taking time to digest Magnus Carlsen’s victorious and relentless erosion of his opponents’ positions at the Tata Steel tournament, there is time to consider a potpourri of events in the chess world. As the world turns, veterans tend to drop away and youngsters appear.
One veteran who had appeared almost indestructible was Viktor Korchnoi, the Grandmaster who almost but never quite became world champion. Ten times he tried and 10 times he failed, often narrowly. One player stood in his way for an entire decade, world champion Anatoly Karpov. Korchnoi played him as the challenger three times in the period 1974-1981 but lost them all.