"Always make a total effort, even when the odds are against you." - Arnold Palmer

Friday, 3 February 2012

GM Konstantin Landa: Chess is a Sport Which Should Be a Part of Olympic Games...

GM Konstantin Landa
Konstantin Landa (born 1972) is a Russian chess grandmaster (rated 2645) who was awarded by the FIDE Senior Trainer title last year. He is known as a chess commentator and last year he made his live comments during the tournament in Khanty-Mansiysk
Today I would like to present a part of his article published on ChessPro.ru where he presents some thoughts on the last "super-chess-tournament" in Wijk aan Zee. It is the first part dedicated to the tournament. The second part dedicated to analysis of one of very provocative games in the tournament - Carlsen vers Topalov - already published on this blog, I will bring later.

Wijk aan Zee
Couple of words for a defence of a loser.

Well, an interesting tournament in good old “Wijk” has finished. Ceremonial speeches have been given, prizes were awarded, and everybody was rewarded according to his merits. A crazy chase between Carlsen and Aronian has finished by the victory of the later one. Flourish of trumpets has finished – and why should we remember this tournament in The Netherlands?

Frankly speaking, I haven’t asked my chess friends, however, this morning in the column “What the people talk about” the Carlsen’s game against Topalov was published. And this game mainly creates some impressions about this tournament in the circles of people which I have met recently.
“Here Topa blundered! A computer offers easy win for Black, alas, he did not even manage a draw!” On the ground of such assessments I decided to commit a “commentator’s hara-kiri”: I put myself in the Topalov’s shoes and.... I switched off the computer! The result of this deed you will see soon, and in the meantime I would like to share with you some personal opinions from this tournament.
Well, what shocked me was: 
  • the enormous number of zeroes in the cross table at the name of talented Anish Giri
  • the glittering result of Caruana
  • the resilience of Radjabov (the only player who did not lose a single game in the tournament!). 
And also the fact, that the best player of the Dutch became Loek Van Wely who went till the end of the tournament for draws to be able to gain his dreaming money. It is like in the film “Titanic”: all around watch the ship nicely going and all around know that in one moment of the film the ship will be hit by the iceberg and will be sunk. Luckily, Loek met his iceberg not far from shore – in the round 11. And it was Sergei Karjakin who became an iceberg for Loek. 
So I also say a word about him. 
Sergei demonstrated an emperor’s potential in this tournament. He overplayed even Magnus Carlsen! When I looked at his games in this tournament I started thinking that a draw is an anachronism belonging to the past.
The most important fact is that the basic impressions which I have are rather joyful news.
First, it hasn’t been heard for a long time any idea about a “draw death” of chess. To be able to win the participants make an enormous effort, occasionally they take the high risk and they let the opponents play! To prove what I have said have a look at the results of round 11. One draw only and 6 successful games have been played. As a commentator I can just welcome this fact.
Second, the game became tougher. The players complicate the game intentionally, not only to confuse an opponent but also the audience. Then, to comment adequately what is going on in the game becomes more difficult. Such an attitude brings also some fruits – less well prepared players start doing serious mistakes in certain moments.
Third, it is just a conclusion from two previous points: chess – it is a sport and time has come for it to become a part of The Olympic Games with adequate commentaries for the public.

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