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  1. Subscriber Marinkatomb
    wotagr8game
    07 Dec '11 14:11 / 1 edit
    I'm really starting to wonder if Anand has gone totally off the boil. 11 draws and a loss yesterday against Nakamura. Even before that he hasn't really beaten anyone notable for a very long time. Obviously the usual excuse is being wheeled out about a badly performing World champion "he's not showing too much before the Title defence" but seriously, when does this excuse become completely untenable?

    Ok, I think he can beat Gelfand next year, but it's far from a a gimme. At least Gelfand has won some tournaments 'recently'. World cup 2009 and the Candidates tournament (which was VERY strong indeed). On the flip side, when did Anand last win a tournament? Botvinnik Memorial 2011? Well that was rapid so doesn't count. Corsica Masters? Again a rapid tournament with only one player from the top 20 involved so definitely doesn't count. So when was his last major win? Well it turns out it was Linaires 2008! That's nearly 4 years without winning a tournament at classical time controls.

    Let's contrast that with Carlsen over that period..

    1.Nanjing 2009 (Category 21 tournament, wins with 3002 rating performance!) wins by 2.5 points!!
    2.London chess classic 2009
    3.Corus 2010
    4.Bazna Kings Tournament 2010 (not the strongest tournament by his standards but included Gelfand)
    5.Nanjing 2010 (2901 rating performance)
    6.London chess classic 2010
    7.Bilbao 2011
    8.Tal memorial 2011

    Is there anyone out there who would like to state that Anand is the strongest player in the World? Or for that matter Gelfand? I think it's about time the title of chess World champion reflected this. While i like match play (i look forward to following the long matches for the championship, Anand-Topalov was great!) but why not a tournament to select the challenger? The candidates in Kazan were, to put it mildly, dull. I am a chess fanatic, i follow every major tournament, but even i found it uninspiring. I'm watching the snooker on TV right now, why can't chess have a similar annual format? We need an exciting championship and an exciting champion if chess is going to increase it's appeal.
  2. Standard member atticus2
    Frustrate the Bad
    07 Dec '11 17:05
    I doubt even Anand claims Anand is the strongest player in the world right now. That claim goes to Carlsen. But Anand is World Champion, and deservedly so. He won the title in a match. What more could he do? And Carlsen has chosen not to compete in the current championship cycle. He has good reasons in my view. But that shouldn't discredit Anand.

    Maybe we'd all like the WC to be the world's strongest player. Maybe we got used to that when Kasparov was around; Fischer, too. But it doesn't always run like that. For much of Karpov's reign, and all of Kramnik's, Kasparov was stronger. But Kramnik won the WC match. End of.
  3. 07 Dec '11 17:32
    atticus really hit the nail on the head, though I think the situation is more similar to Fischer vs. the Soviets. There aren't many who would dispute that Fischer was the best player in the world from the early-60s til the end of his career. After Curacao though he opted out of the WCC cycles until '71 in protest, just like Carlsen is doing now. It must have been frustrating for the chess community, but eventually the tension lead to the most hyped chess match of all time. The same will happen with Carlsen. He'll make it eventually and it'll be epic.
  4. Subscriber Marinkatomb
    wotagr8game
    07 Dec '11 17:53
    Originally posted by atticus2
    I doubt even Anand claims Anand is the strongest player in the world right now. That claim goes to Carlsen. But Anand is World Champion, and deservedly so. He won the title in a match. What more could he do? And Carlsen has chosen not to compete in the current championship cycle. He has good reasons in my view. But that shouldn't discredit Anand.

    Maybe w ...[text shortened]... reign, and all of Kramnik's, Kasparov was stronger. But Kramnik won the WC match. End of.
    I'm not knocking Anand per se, when he became World champion he probably was the strongest player. When he beat Topalov, he deserved it, but is the chess World championship really the pinacle event in the chess calendar? Personally i feel the London chess classic is a far more interesting event, as is the Tal memorial, or Linaires. When Anand battled his way through a 100 player knockout in 1995 to challenge Karpov that was an incredible achievement and an incredible event in general. Would a knock out format (possibly with seedings for later rounds) not make the World championships more exciting? Currently only the established elite players get to compete, what of the up and coming players? Where are the upsets? The 15 year old junior getting to a semi final?

    Fine, lets keep the current match play to take the title, but why not hold it a couple of weeks after the qualifying and force the players to take chances? Preparing for a year with 5 seconds might have been good for chess prior to the 90's when the WC match pushed theory foward, but now computers dominate opening preperation so much, the strong players look to show their class more in the end game anyway. I believe Anand is good enough to hold any player given a year to prepare with 5 seconds preparing him, but that's not much different from any number of the top the players. The World champion, in my eyes, should be the one who is most diverse, who can deal with facing lots of different styles and come out on top. Beating one guy every two or three years really isn't a strong enough test imo.
  5. Subscriber Marinkatomb
    wotagr8game
    07 Dec '11 18:00
    Originally posted by NotEvenWrong
    atticus really hit the nail on the head, though I think the situation is more similar to Fischer vs. the Soviets. There aren't many who would dispute that Fischer was the best player in the world from the early-60s til the end of his career. After Curacao though he opted out of the WCC cycles until '71 in protest, just like Carlsen is doing now. It must ...[text shortened]... of all time. The same will happen with Carlsen. He'll make it eventually and it'll be epic.
    Look, Fischer was a great player, but he didn't do chess many favours when he disappeared. It left a vacume that chess didn't recover from till the 80's! The same thing applies with Kasparov. Great champion! But he really messed things up by being so bullish. The whole of the 90's were ruined by the split with FIDE. While he had his reasons, and i don't neceserily disagree, chess has had very few champions that truely champion the game! What we're far more used to is great players with HUGE ego's that put their own needs above the needs of their fellow professionals and fans alike. When you watch tennis or golf or snooker (which are somewhat comparable games) how often do the players make demands about the format? The events they compete in are regular enough for them to have 4 or 5 shots at topping their game during their career. In chess you're lucky to get 3 and many never get a shot at all! In snooker, a young player can go through a long qualification and become World champion at any age, why not in chess?
  6. Standard member Thabtos
    I am become Death
    07 Dec '11 18:12
    Originally posted by Marinkatomb
    I'm really starting to wonder if Anand has gone totally off the boil. 11 draws and a loss yesterday against Nakamura. Even before that he hasn't really beaten anyone notable for a very long time. Obviously the usual excuse is being wheeled out about a badly performing World champion "he's not showing too much before the Title defence" but seriously, when does this excuse become completely untenable?

    Check Anand's tournament performances before his match with Topalov. Less than stellar. Anand has become a modern day Botvinnik, solely a match player. Carlesn has a couple of years to get some match experience, and he'll snatch the crown.

    I never count draws against GM's at that level. After all, the opponents are highly-skilled individual playing for a win.
  7. 07 Dec '11 23:13
    Petrosian reign as World Champion did not exactly set the world on fire either.
    Though he did become the first player to make a succesful winning defence
    of his title in '66 when he beat Spassky.
    Before then you have to go back to Alekhine v Bogoljubow 1934.
    (Botvinnik retained the title in 1951 and 1954 with drawn matches.)

    It will be a different Anand that sits down opposite Gelfland.
    At the moment he is content not to reveal too much of what he is planning v
    Gelfland and as World Champion to command the top appearance fee when
    he takes part in these meaningless closed shop tournaments.
    There are too many of them, he can rest on his laurels in a few of them, he
    has nothing to prove.
    He is the current Chess World Champion what else can he do to top that?

    I've no doubt Carlsen will have his day but first he will have to return to
    the fold and qualify like everyone else.
  8. Subscriber Paul Leggett
    Chess Librarian
    08 Dec '11 02:37
    Originally posted by atticus2
    I doubt even Anand claims Anand is the strongest player in the world right now. That claim goes to Carlsen. But Anand is World Champion, and deservedly so. He won the title in a match. What more could he do? And Carlsen has chosen not to compete in the current championship cycle. He has good reasons in my view. But that shouldn't discredit Anand.

    Maybe w ...[text shortened]... reign, and all of Kramnik's, Kasparov was stronger. But Kramnik won the WC match. End of.
    I really like this thinking. I'm a big sports fan, and there are plenty of times where where a wild card team squeeks into the playoffs and ends up winning the championship.

    My sense of harmony would prefer that the strongest player and the world champion be the same person, but I definitely believe that a person who enters the world championship process and emerges victorious deserves the title.
  9. 08 Dec '11 03:15 / 1 edit
    This is the problem with chess players... most of us are content to let a bad system stay a bad system.
  10. Standard member nimzo5
    Ronin
    08 Dec '11 13:00
    It's not abnormal for a rapidly rising young player to have to wait a few years to get a shot at the title.

    Anand's tournament results have been marginal for sure, but excluding Kaspy and Karpov who both had plenty of "help", WC's don't always dominate the big tournaments. Gelfand has been quite good the last couple of years, albeit not maybe top 5 but certainly top 10.

    I suppose we should just be thankful that we are having a "regular WC" cycle at all. Carlsen will get his chance, one way or another no doubt.
  11. 08 Dec '11 20:48
    Originally posted by tomtom232
    This is the problem with chess players... most of us are content to let a bad system stay a bad system.
    No, the problem with chess players is that they all think any system except their own fayve is, ipso facto, a bad system.

    But let's be honest... the strongest player is not the world champion... well, can you give me any sport where those are always the same?
    Not snooker, certainly. The number one changes every few months, and it's not nearly always the who won the last Crucible. And many fans still believe that Ronnie is the best player around - even though he himself disagrees.
    Not tennis. There is no real WC there, but Federer won the Masters, Djoko is #1, and who knows who is really the best? For starters, it depends on the surface.
    Not football. Sure, right now Spain are world champion, and top of the FIFA list, and possibly the best team around (or maybe, this month, the Germans are). But that is an exceptional situation. For several years Brazil was number one, France was world champion, and the best team was (again, arguably until the cows come home) Germany.

    It's no different in chess. One player has won the title in a proper match, another player has won the top spot in the list over several tournaments, and maybe at times there's a third who is really the most brilliant player. This is just as it is in any other sport.
    But in chess, apparently, that's not good enough: we demand a perfect system which always agrees with our own personal preferences. Well, we ain't getting it - we certainly ain't all going to get it. Get used to it - this is how it works in the real world.

    Richard
  12. 08 Dec '11 20:54 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by Shallow Blue
    No, the problem with chess players is that they all think any system except their own fayve is, ipso facto, a bad system.

    But let's be honest... the strongest player is not the world champion... well, can you give me any sport where those are always the same?
    Not snooker, certainly. The number one changes every few months, and it's not nearly [/i] going to get it. Get used to it - this is how it works in the real world.

    Richard
    No, I don't have a favorite system but the current system is bad because of how slow it is and not who the champion is.

    Maybe a system like this; certain tournaments are qualifiers where the winner gets a match with the champ and whoever wins becomes/remains the champ. This would give incentive for the current champ to play in more tournaments since if he wins these qualifying tournaments then he doesn't have to play a match and at the very least he can try manipulate the winner so he can play somebody he thinks he can beat in match play. Maybe there are other better ideas but when there is a year between determining the contender and the actual world championship match something is awfully wrong.
  13. 08 Dec '11 21:59 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by NotEvenWrong
    ...I think the situation is more similar to Fischer vs. the Soviets. There aren't many who would dispute that Fischer was the best player in the world from the early-60s til the end of his career. After Curacao though he opted out of the WCC cycles until '71 in protest, just like Carlsen is doing now...
    You seem to believe that Bobby Fischer already was the world's strongest player
    in 1962 and therefore deserved to win the tournament at Curacao and then defeat
    Mikhail Botvinnik in a 1963 world title match. Fischer, improving at age 20, might
    have defeated Botvinnik, declining at age 52, in a 1963 match, though Fischer had
    not proven that he was stronger than an aging Reshevsky in their 1961 match.
    But I doubt that Fischer already was stronger than every one among Petrosian,
    Keres, Korchnoi, Geller, and a healthy Tal (who was far from his best at Curacao).
    As I recall, Gligoric (who played at Curacao) did not accept Fischer's claim that he
    had been unfairly deprived of winning the tournament only by Soviet collusion.
    And Fischer came to regard Gligoric as one of his closest friends among GMs.

    Also, it's untrue that "after Curacao...he (Fischer) opted out of the WCC cycles
    until '71 in protest". Fischer entered the 1967 Interzonal at Sousse, though he
    did not complete the tournament. If he had been determined to boycott FIDE
    on principle, he never would have entered that tournament in the first place.

    Many of Bobby Fischer's admirers seem to have forgotten how strong Boris
    Spassky was during 1965-69, particularly when playing matches. I am by no
    means convinced that Fischer would have defeated Spassky in a match held in
    the late 1960s. (Before 1972 Spassky had scored +3 =2 -0 against Fischer.)
    After becoming world champion in 1969, however, Spassky (who described himself
    as naturally indolent) worked less hard at chess and, in my view, did not play at
    his best against Fischer in their 1972 match, particularly in the first half. But
    the match's second half was closely contested between Spassky and Fischer.

    Bobby Fischer enjoyed a great run of victories during 1970-72, but, in my view,
    it's far from a foregone conclusion that he was the world's strongest player earlier.
    Unfortunately, the many controversies around Fischer's life seem to have made it
    harder for many people to examine his chess achievements more objectively.
  14. 09 Dec '11 10:38
    However, in football 54 teams get to enter in the qualifiers for the WC, based on the FIFA ranking. The WC itself takes 3 to 4 weeks in which 32 teams are present. Furthermore, the current world champion has to take the same track as any other team.

    Compare that to chess where only a small number of people take part in the WC and the winner challenges the world champion, who is automatically placed for the 'final'.

    It's obvious that this system does not encourage consistent high level play of the current world champion. The champion should be the one who beats all the rest. At least at the moment he receives the title.
  15. Standard member nimzo5
    Ronin
    09 Dec '11 12:03
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    You seem to believe that Bobby Fischer already was the world's strongest player
    in 1962 and therefore deserved to win the tournament at Curacao and then defeat
    Mikhail Botvinnik in a 1963 world title match. Fischer, improving at age 20, might
    have defeated Botvinnik, declining at age 52, in a 1963 match, though Fischer had
    not proven that he was stron ...[text shortened]... e made it
    harder for many people to examine his chess achievements more objectively.
    I would largely agree with this, it is not clear to me at all that Fischer was the best player in the world in 1963- particularly in match play.