29 November 2016

World Championship Fizzle

For the first time in the 2016 Carlsen - Karjakin World Championship match I was all set to watch a game in its entirety. And what a game it promised to be: the last of the games at standard time control with the score tied at 5.5 for each player! After getting agreement from my wife, we had an early dinner (the games start at 20:00 our time), did the dishes, and I headed up to my attic office just in time to see the first moves on my second PC. It was another Berlin Defense -- not the sort of opening that makes for exciting games -- but I knew that Magnus can whip up complications in any opening if he so desires.

At one point I must have spent too much time looking at some new email on my first PC, because when I turned my attention back to the game, the Chess24 chat squad was already announcing that a draw had been agreed. Huh? A few moments later the official result was appended to the move list. Half an hour to play the last game of the match! I turned off the second PC, set up the first to analyze a position I was interested in, and headed down to the living room to rejoin my wife. She was watching a movie starring Cameron Diaz and Kate Upton, so the evening wasn't an entire loss.

Good thing I didn't realize that dream to travel to New York and watch the match live. With my luck, I would have arrived just in time for the 12th game. This morning I watched the press conference, where the players said that they understood spectators might have been disappointed by the short, bloodless draw. They also pointed out that there will be considerable compensation in having the tiebreaks, but I doubt I'll have the opportunity to watch.

Despite the lack of resolve by the players, the mainstream press continued to show the same level of interest seen in More World Championship Hubbub. Here is another composite of Yahoo News stories.

This time all four stories are filed under the Sports section.

2016-11-22: Lightning strikes at the World Chess Championship as Magnus Carlsen loses Game 8 (businessinsider.com) • 'After seven straight draws, we've finally witnessed a decisive result at the World Chess Championship. Sergey Karjakin of Russia, the challenger, claimed the first full-point on Monday against titleholder Magnus Carlsen of Norway.'

2016-11-23: The World's Best Chess Player Beat Bill Gates in 9 Moves. Here Are 3 Business Lessons (inc.com) • '1. Know who [sic] you're dealing with. 2. The devil is in the details. 3. It's important to fail.' • As derived from 9 Lessons to Learn from Bill Gates’ 9 Move Loss to Magnus Carlsen (chessimprover.com; January 2014). • My own contribution, Carlsen vs. Gates, The Aftermath (January 2014), might also be titled '8 Quips to Learn from Bill Gates'.

2016-11-26: Chess grandmasters on track for possible ‘Armageddon’ at world championship • 'The situation looked dire for reigning world chess champion Magnus Carlsen on Tuesday when a slew of uncharacteristic errors allowed his opponent, Sergey Karjakin, to break a seven-game tie at the World Chess Championship. [...] On Thursday, Carlsen recovered by winning Game 10 to even the score at 5-5.'

2016-11-28: Game 12 of the World Chess Championship was nothing like what chess fans were hoping for from Magnus Carlsen (businessinsider.com) • 'Chess is a game of strategy, and reigning World Champion Magnus Carlsen was nothing if not strategic in Game 12 of his match against Russia's Sergey Karjakin on Monday. With the score tied at 5.5-5.5, the title-holder from Norway, with white, invited Karjakin to play the Berlin Defense, and the challenger obliged. The Berlin yet again lived up to its drawish reputation, and after a mere 30 moves and roughly 45 minutes of play, the men shook hands.' • The first substory -- 'The Strange Politics of the World Chess Championship' -- is even more interesting than the main story. It led to World Chess Has a Big Problem; While grandmasters earn millions, the sport still can’t shake ties to tyrants and a leader under U.S. sanctions (bloomberg.com).

That's not too shabby -- full reports on games 8, 10, & 12; a taste of Magnus folklore; and a basket of chess politics. After the game 12 fizzle, the tiebreaks promise plenty of sizzle.

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