As the victor in the recent Candidates’ tournament, Norway’s Magnus Carlsen won the right to challenge world champion Viswanathan Anand of India for the title this November. Carlsen has become a world celebrity. Only 22 years old, he possesses the highest chess rating in history. Recently he was listed in Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world and named by Cosmopolitan magazine as No. 5 on its list of sexiest men in the world. He is reserved and affable and has made a handsome living at chess, in modeling men’s clothes, and in other commercial activities. Carlsen has recently been interviewed on the “Charlie Rose” show. Some of his more memorable remarks included the observation that he has not thought that losing is a natural part of the game.
Carlsen will be favored to defeat Anand, but the result is by no means clear. The match is to be a short one, only 12 games, and one or two blunders could be decisive. Anand, a very even-tempered and popular man, has been one of the great speed players of the world, and a capable champion. Following bad performances in a number of 2012 tournaments, he vowed to play a lot more in 2013 to keep in trim playing shape. Recently, in the Alekhine Memorial, he placed third behind winners Levon Aronian of Armenia and Boris Gelfand of Israel. Carlsen’s success is attributed to a style which accedes to slightly inferior opening play in order to get his opponents out of prepared variations. It seems clear that this method works for him and his conversation with Rose indicated no change in his approach.
There are substantial questions now about the venue and the terms of the match, as determined by FIDE, the International Chess Federation. In the prior championship match between Anand and Gelfand, there was an open bidding process to be the host. But when India made the winning bid, FIDE allowed Russia to bid a second time. It apparently is India’s turn to get the match, but Anand is worried about local pressure in his hometown of Chennai, and Carlsen is worried about the heat. Now the hype about Carlsen has raised the bidding on the match and the issue has changed to money.
The Norwegian chess federation has issued an official protest about FIDE not holding an open bidding process. The Norwegian statement was followed promptly by a bid from the Paris of over a million dollars higher than that of Chennai. This sounds like an offer FIDE can’t turn down, but will there be further bidding? We will have to wait and see, but not since Fischer-Spassky has there been such interest in a chess match.
Brevity: A. Kogan v. N. Templier (2005) 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.e3 c5 4.Bd3 Nc6 5.0–0 Be7 6.b3 0–0 7.Bb2 b6 8.Nbd2 cxd4 9.exd4 Bb7 10.Re1 Rc8 11.c4 d5 12.Qe2 Qd6 13.Rac1 dxc4 14.bxc4 Rfd8 15.Bb1 Ba6 16.c5 bxc5 17.Qxa6 cxd4 18.Ne4 Qd7 19.Nxd4; 1-0
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