10 December 2013

Mainstream Comments on Magnus

A couple of weeks ago I posted about a pair of Carlsen articles on sports.yahoo.com: Mainstream Press and More Mainstream Press (see those posts for background and links to the originals). One of the features of Yahoo articles is the comments section. Often there are thousands of comments, especially on political themes, but I was happy to see hundreds on each of the chess articles.

I collected a few comments for this post. First, the inevitable jokes...

  • As a kid I was always getting into trouble. My father finally got weary and decided to put a stop to it. My punishment? I had to sit and watch him and his friend play chess.
  • It would be cool if he was half Czech and half Australian. Checkmate!
  • I heard chess players make terrible lovers, cuz they can take forever making their next move.
  • Justin Bieber + IBM Deep Blue + Mr. Potato Head = Magnus Carlsen

Next, the 'Not Everyone Likes Chess' department...

  • Yea, a model will turn chess around... You know those riveting matches where each move has the crowd on edge...
  • In the immortal words of Buck Henry on Saturday Night Live in its heyday, "I get so excited sometimes, I almost make a noise".
  • I got a chess set as a kid. Found it was more fun to shoot the pieces off the picnic table with my BB gun.
  • I stopped playing in chess tournaments when I realized I didn't like chess players very much. That's their real problem, when it comes to popularity. The top players are not ambassadors of the game, but egotistical narcissists.
  • I've always thought that great chess champions, with their obviously brilliant minds, ought to be doing something with those gifts to benefit mankind, rather than playing a game.

Then there are the inevitable comparisons to the 13th World Champion...

  • I doubt if he could beat Kasparov. That Russian is the best chess player who ever lived.
  • Chess needs a charismatic personality to help grow the game again. Garry Kasparov started the outgoing chess personality and needs someone to take over after his retirement.
  • I remember Garry Kasparov was a classy guy, and had this old-school film noir charisma. Carlsen is a chilled out, likeable guy, and the sport of chess will benefit from his success.
  • Not impressed until he faces Deep Blue and doesn't storm off crying, like the other guy did. Beat a robot and you ARE champion... of the universe. To me that day sticks in my mind as the one argument someone can have that machines are superior.

And the 11th World Champion...

  • Chess needs a new face desperately -- nobody since Bobby Fischer or Alex P. Keaton on a Family Ties episode when he solved the cold war thru a game of chess.
  • I wish that these chess matches would be featured on TV as was during the Fischer / Spassky match. With so many stations you would think that at least one would be dedicated to chess.
  • I hope he does for chess what Fischer did for chess in the 70's. Every once in a while a champion stirs the imagination of the people and chess becomes king.

And comments on his name...

  • What kind of parents stick their son with the name Magnus?
  • Dudes named Magnus win strongest man competitions not chess matches. If someone doesn't stop him we are all doomed.
  • Dang, Magnus is a cool name.

Some comments defy classification...

  • Why is it that Armenians never get their stories told. Time and time and time again, the Armenians are the best at chess...
  • I'm sure I want to party with this guy, he must be a wild man.
  • How does one even become a professional chess player? That just seems so foreign to me.
  • It's probably a matter of time before he starts playing professional poker. Chess has its limits as an income generator.

The headline of the second Yahoo article said, 'Chess champion could revolutionize the sport'. Someone asked the same question I had asked...

  • I like chess and play occasionally, but I do not know how chess can be revolutionized.

While someone else guessed the real reason for all of the media atttention...

  • And he has a great PR team.

There were a few more themes worth noting, but I'll save those for another time.

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