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Tuesday, December 1, 2015


     Magnus Carlsen thinks he would beat Tahl pretty easily and even Fischer, who would be more difficult. He said that in an interview with The Telegraph. Was he joking? His sense of humor is a little confusing to people at times, but in this case I don't think it was a joke. I think he really believes he could beat them. Read article… 
     I agree with Carlsen. It is my firm opinion that today's players are better than players of the past just like the post-WW2 players took what they learned from the previous generation and built on it. I remember reading a note by Alekhine who claimed 1...g6 was unplayable; today everybody knows that's not the case. 
     Back in 2002 Fischer said in an interview where, in between tirades against Americans and Jews, he commented on chess. “I'm finished with the old chess, it's rotten to the core!” he said. He went on to say he'd never play “old” chess again, only Fischer Random, because old chess is played out. 
     He went on to say that he did still follow the game though adding that at the highest level it is all prearranged, move by move. He said the games were very interesting, beautiful prearranged games being created by very intelligent players, working with computers, working in teams. He also stated that, while he had no objection to people creating such games, he thought they should admit that they were prearranged and not claim that they were finding the moves over the board. As for the annotations of said games, he called them “cooked-up notes,” fake and flawed. 
     According to Fischer, the first Kasparov match against Karpov was prearranged move by move. Why did he say all that? I think it was because he realized he couldn't beat either Karpov or Kasparov...chess knowledge, however it was come by, had passed him by. Those guys were better than Fischer...maybe their results weren't as spectacular, but that's because the opposition they faced was stronger than the opposition Fischer faced. 
     Reshevsky once said of Capablanca that the reason his results fell off in his later years wasn't because he played worse, it was because the players he faced were stronger. GM Alex Yermolinsky told about how is old trainer in the Soviet Union was stuck in a time warp when it came to how chess should be played. And, Alexei Shirov wrote of his meeting with Botvinnik where they discussed the Botvinnik system in the QGD. Botvinnik rejected modern analysis because he simply didn't understand it. There's a pattern there.

    Before his visit to the US to negotiate the venue of the 2016 World Chess Championship (Los Angeles, San Francisco or New York) FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov has been hit by sanctions of the US Treasury. The reason: he supposedly has direct business dealings with Syrian banks. Currently US citizens are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with not only Syrians, but anybody who has business relations with them. Reminds me of the second Fischer-Spassky match! 
     The US government claims Ilyumzhinov has been assisting and acting on behalf of Syria, Central Bank of Syria, Adib Mayaleh, and Batoul Rida. This, like Fischer's match, has nothing to do with chess. It's because Ilyumzhinov has been linked to all sorts of shady financial deals and is considered a criminal. Read article...
     Without getting into a political discussion, it looks like there may be repercussions that could hurt the possibility of the match taking place in the US and that would be unfortunate. But, that's chess life in the real world. 
     About a year ago I posted on J. Edward Bomberg and the big brouhaha that got ignited in Chess Review after WW2 over the publishing of Alekhine's games. Of course that wasn't the only time politics touched the chess world...there are hundreds of examples of political decisions "interfering" with chess. That's just the way it is.

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