30 July 2013

Friendly Chess Players

At the same time I worked on Magnus Carlsen Interviews, I was reading Yuri Averbakh's 'Centre-Stage and Behind the Scenes: A Personal Memoir'. Near the end of the book (p.238), GM Averbakh divides great players into six groups. Here are quotes from Averbakh describing each group.

  • Group one - the killers. They are the ones who, in the language of boxing, try to knock out their opponents. • Alekhine, Botvinnik, Fischer, Korchnoi.

  • Group two - the fighters. The circumstances of battle inspire them and enable them to mobilize their full fighting spirit. • Lasker, Bronstein, Reshevsky, Tal; Kasparov.

  • Group three - the sportsmen. For them, chess is a form of sport, like tennis, for example. Once the game is over, they become absolutely normal people. • Capablanca, Euwe, Keres, Smyslov, Spassky.

  • Group four - the players. They are attracted by every form of game -- cards, backgammon, etc. • Karpov; Janowski, Najdorf, Geller, Petrosian.

  • Group five - the artists. For them it is important not just to win, but to win elegantly, and to create works of art. • Simagin, Rossolimo.

  • Group six - the explorers. This group strive first of all to understand chess, and to divince its secrets. for them chess is a subject for scientific study. • Rubinstein, Nimzowich, Fine.

Where does GM Carlsen fit in this classification? Here are the keywords I developed from 'Carlsen Interviews': intuitive, professional, likes to win, enjoys playing, likes unconventional tasks, professional for more than chess alone, likes group sessions, self-confident, friendly. Based on this, I would place Carlsen in Group three - the sportsmen, with key elements of Group two - the fighters.

1 comment:

Bill McKearney said...

Botvinnik was a chess researcher, the founder of the Soviet "Scientific School", who happened to be a fighter too. Being a researcher of chess principles is really independent of how much one "fights" during the game.