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Magnus, is this all he has?

User Rating: / 15
Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 13 November 2013
By GM Daniel Gormally, England, FIDE 2504

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So we've played 3 games in the World Championship and it's now time to take stock.

This doesn't look like the same Magnus Carlsen that has terrorized the world elite for the last five years.

If anything he himself seems immobilized by fear, perhaps aware finally of the magnitude of the achievement he is now so close to- to become the first Western world chess champion since Fischer.

His openings have looked limp so far and as a consequence Anand has been supremely comfortable- even pushing for the win with the Black pieces today.

Carlsen needs to inject some more venom into his openings- this limp g3 stuff is clearly not cutting the mustard. The problem with these top guys they are so stubborn I'm not sure he can change- it evokes memories of Kasparov's ill-fated match with Kramnik, when he insisted on "beating his head" against the Berlin wall for the duration of the contest, despite it being clear to pretty much everyone else that he should switch to playing 1.d4.

Magnus and Garry are both lone wolves and ultimately listen to themselves only- but that stubbornness can be both a weakness and a strength.

It is clear that far from Anand being afraid of Carlsen, it is more the other way around- Carlsen seems to fear Anand's preparation. But clearly this avoidance strategy has not worked so far- he needs to change. But does he have the resources to do so?

It would be a great shame if Carlsen were to lose his challenge for the world title by playing the Reti. This would be the equivalent of Andy Murray losing a Grand Slam Final against Novak Djokovic because he insisted on serving underarm for the entire match.

We all know that Carlsen likes to just get a position and then play- when his considerable middle and endgame skills come into play- but you can take this approach to extremes. Why not play 1.d4 or 1.e4 and get after Anand? You'd at least learn where his strengths and weaknesses lie.

Clearly Anand is very well-prepared for these side-lines. It's entirely possible, if not very likely that he is just as well prepared for any kind of main-line battle. But what about Carlsen?

I'm not so sure. I wonder how hard he has been preparing these last few months, if the best he can come up with is the Reti. You really begin to wonder...

Photo by Amalie Dehli

Still there is some good news for Carlsen. Some rather attractive Norwegian females have stripped off for the cameras, showing their affection for the world's number one chess star. Now if only I could be Carlsen for a day....

Originally published in GM Danny Gormally's blog

Other posts by GM Danny Gormally:
A clash of kings
Do we overrate ourselves?
Computers and their all-pervading influence on modern chess
From Russia with love
The England Chess Team & Jack Wilshire
Should the grandmaster title be scrapped?
ECF Book of the Year?
Is being a chess pro worth it - continued?
Is being a chess pro worth it?
An Elitist Game?
Does hard work in chess pay off?
World Cup Final preview
World Chess Cup Semi-Final preview
World Chess Cup Quarter-Final preview
World Chess Cup 1/8-final preview
Why are Russians so good at chess?
British Champs-2013
Ghent and now the British
I'll never be fat again!
Lessons learnt!
The sad case of Borislav Ivanov: Part II
Does Anyone Have a Cure for Anger Problems?
The Depth of Chess
Fundraising in chess
Nurturing a Chess Prodigy
The Sad Case of Borislav Ivanov
4NCL Impressions: no country for old men - Part II
4NCL Impressions: no country for old men
One move, one line - Part II
One move, one line
Candidates Final Review & Preview of Upcoming World Championship Match
Would Carlsen have beaten Capablanca?

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Comments (1)
1. Written by 0_x on 05:56 13 2013 .
geezz.. Was the stripping really necessary...? LoL 
I think men should do the 'stripping' too during Women's Championship.. 
Ha . .! :p 

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 13 November 2013 )
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