11 November 2010

The World Championship in the Court of Public Opinion

Everyone else is talking about Magnus Carlsen's sudden exit from the current World Championship cycle, so why shouldn't I? Yesterday, I listed a number of similar episodes on my World Chess Championship Blog (see Carlsen Quits) and a few years ago I detailed the circumstances around GM Carlsen's first exit (stage right; see Groan Prix, same blog). His latest exit was more stage left -- he's gone but far from forgotten.

In Magnus Carlsen drops out of World Championship cycle, Chessbase.com published Carlsen's letter to 'FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov & FIDE World Championship Committee'. His reasons are clear enough, if not completely consistent. At the end of that page are links to previous Chessbase articles on the 2011 candidates. The organization of the event has exposed FIDE to one of its most incompetent series of actions in recent memory (a lot to choose from there), of which someone has been keeping track on Wikipedia: World Chess Championship 2012.

For me, the most interesting aspect of Carlsen quitting has been the discussion it generated on the leading news blogs. The most informed commentators are generally found on the Daily Dirt (Chessninja.com) and, although the rhythm of new posts has tapered off dramatically over the past few months, the Carlsen episode was worthy of a new post.

A relative newcomer to the chess discussion blogs is Chessvibes.com. Lately it has been filling the commentary void left by Chessninja's frequent, lengthy absences.

As a keen observer of the World Championship, I'm interested in any informed discussion of the subject. There are dozens of knowledgeable chess fans making comments on these two blogs, covering the complete range of opinion, speculation, and historical fact. An example of opinion would be the ideal structure for a World Championship cycle; of speculation, the *real* motives behind Carlsen's announcement; and of fact, the chronological sequence of other events in the current and preceding cycles (which ended with Anand's win over Topalov a few months ago).

There's a lot to digest there, and after the dust has settled, I might attempt a summary. Those comments represent, after all, the court of public opinion in full session.

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