06 May 2014

Assault on the Throne

Chesscafe.com's latest book review, Game of Thrones, discusses Carlsen's Assault on the Throne by Kotronias & Logothetis. The reviewer notes,

Carlsen's Assault on the Throne is billed as "the ultimate book on how Carlsen became the 16th undisputed World Champion."

That 'billing' sounds like a quote from the back cover of the book, a fact nearly confirmed by the publisher's site: Quality Chess sales page.

In 2013 chess returned to world headlines. The energetic Norwegian prodigy Magnus Carlsen was front page news and his fans were not disappointed: the World Number 1 won the World Championship.

Carlsen’s Assault on the Throne gives an inside view of Carlsen’s dramatic journey: from one of eight challengers in the London Candidates tournament, with the near disaster in the final rounds, ending with triumph in Chennai.

With behind-the-scenes stories and top-level analysis of the games Kotronias & Logothetis have written the ultimate book on how Carlsen became the 16th undisputed World Champion.

Earlier this year, in Counting the World Champions, I managed to reduce the number to 17, but where does 16 come from? Here is Mark Crowther on the day that Carlsen drew the last game and won the match.

Carlsen (22 years and 357 days) is the 16th undisputed World Chess Champion and the second youngest behind Kasparov (22 years and 210 days). The split between Kasparov and FIDE in 1993 makes all numbers in this area controversial, the Indian press release of champions names the maximum 20 champions in which case FIDE's 2002 champion Ruslan Ponomariov would be youngest at 18 years old. • Magnus Carlsen is the new World Chess Champion [22 November 2013 ]

Writing on the same day, Peter Doggers gave the complete rundown of champions.

Magnus Carlsen is the new World Champion of chess, and follows Viswanathan Anand's reign as undisputed world champion between 2007 and 2013. From the traditional lineage of chess players who won or defended the crown in a match, Carlsen is the 16th champion after Wilhelm Steinitz, Emanuel Lasker, José Capablanca, Alexander Alekhine, Max Euwe, Mikhail Botvinnik, Vassily Smyslov, Mikhail Tal, Tigran Petrosjan, Boris Spassky, Robert Fischer, Anatoly Karpov, Garry Kasparov, Vladimir Kramnik and Viswanathan Anand. If we include FIDE World Champions Alexander Khalifman, Ruslam Ponomariov, Rustam Kasimdzhanov and Veselin Topalov, Carlsen is the 20th Champion of the game. • Magnus Carlsen World Champion of Chess

Topalov has been lumped in with the FIDE Knockout World Champions, apparently because he never 'won or defended the crown in a match'. In fact, he did the defend 'the crown' in the 2006 Unification Match against Kramnik. He defended unsuccessfully, but he defended. I suspect this method of counting is another way to punish him for his behavior in that 'Toiletgate' match. The chess world has forgotten how popular he was after winning the 2005 San Luis World Championship tournament.

Future winners of World Championship tournaments beware. Your victory only makes you World Champion after you *successfully* defend the title in a subsequent match.

1 comment:

Mark Weeks said...

Carrying the logic to another level, if we adhere to the requirement that undisputed World Champions are in 'the traditional lineage of chess players who won or [*successfully*] defended the crown in a match', we would have to exclude Botvinnik. He never won a match in defense of the title: he drew twice (1951 & 1954), then lost three times (1957, 1960, and 1963). His only wins were in rematches, when he wasn't the titleholder. - Mark