Random Posts

Thursday, January 31, 2013

At this stage of the game (Carlsen) is not a strong player…

      Can you believe that’s what Sveshnikov said? Carlsen won the 2013 Tata Steel with a fantastic score of 10/13 and as a result many people have been praising his play and noting the variety of ways he has won.
      Anand said of Carlsen, “Magnus is much more efficient at collecting points. He is winning every kind of position… it’s an amazing skill.”
      Against Pentala Harikrishna, he actually played the Ponziani which resulted in an even position and eventually a decisive win. What’s the last time you heard of a player of Carlsen’s caliber playing the Ponziani?!
      Some have even been comparing him to Bobby Fischer but amazingly Evgeny Sveshnikov (and Boris Gelfand) have spoken with disdain about Carlsen and other new kids on the block. Sveshnikov said of Carlsen’s openings, “He is interesting as a practical player, but… Carlsen’s weakness is above all the opening. At this stage of the game he is not a strong player. He should be outplayed in the opening, while his opponents do the opposite. The way new generation plays the opening… I would say those aren’t neither Polugaevsky nor Kasparov. They lack succession in openings. They just play chess, that’s why their chances to fight for the title are small.” What?! Sveshnikov thinks Carlsen is not a strong player?!
      He even went on to add, “I would say Magnus’s future doesn’t look so promising. He is surely a very talented player, but only those who will be making the strongest moves can become the champions. Only scientific component of chess has a chance to win nowadays. Not a single practical player has a chance of becoming the champion without scientific approach to the subject.”
      Reminds me of those guys who said Fischer didn’t have a chance against Spassky.


  1. Sveshnikov is primarily referring to the preparation of Carlsen. He argues that inexactness in the opening will prevent Magnus from winning the World Championship title. At least, that's what comes across in the English translation (the original source interview in Russian is also available) at:

    GM Evgeny Sveshnikov: "You Should Outplay Carlsen in the Opening, but His Opponents Play h7-h5..."


    But in another interview, at:

    Evgeny Sveshnikov: "I'm Surprised by Anand's Insipid Play"


    he criticizes Kasparov for similar reasons: "There was an article by Gagarin in 1998 about how the World Champion Kasparov plays the Chelyabinsk Variation very well with white. And he showed his wins. I wrote a counter-article saying that Gagarin didn’t figure it out properly. The Champion played very badly and only won because of good play later on in his games. He played openings badly."

    To be fair, successful match play and successful tournament play require different skill sets. Everyone expects Magnus to win the March 2013 candidates tournament in London, and he may well do just that. But defeating Anand later this year for the World Chess Championship would be an enormous task for any challenger. Anand doesn't have to win to keep his title; he just has to avoid losing, a skill he has honed to near perfection.

    More about Sveshnikov:



  2. Thanks for the comments. You are quite correct that match and tournament play are different.