Magnus Carlsen will play Vishy Anand for the 2013 World Chess Tournament
April 1, 2013 11:26 AM   Subscribe

Magnus Carlsen will be playing Viswanathan Anand for the 2013 World Chess Championship.

After a great tournament with plenty of great fighting chess and drama, going into the last round of the London Candidates match to determine who will challenge Viswanathan Anand (age 43) for World Championship, Magnus Carlsen (age 22 and the highest rated player in history) was tied with Vladimir Kramnik (the man who dethroned Kasparov, but who has lost to Anand in a previous WC).

Both had 8.5 points, and no one could catch them. However, Magnus lost his game to Peter Svidler (MC had beaten PS with black in round 6) AND Kramnick lost his game to Vassily Ivanchuk (who had a terrible tournament, despite winning one game against both MC and VK).

The tie-break rule means Magnus Carlsen will be facing Vishy Anand for the World Championship!!! (He's the youngest challenger since Kasparov--at 22--won against Karpov in 1985)
posted by whatgorilla (28 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Craziest tournament ever, I can't believe Magnus pulled it out. He was a nervous wreck in round 12. losing to Ivanchuk (who is definitely my favorite chess-player - he's erratic, but brilliant as hell).
posted by facetious at 11:35 AM on April 1, 2013

Also I'm really glad Kramnik lost in the last round for the additional reason that it puts to bed the nasty talk that was going around about friendlies throwing games to Kramnik to let him win. He didn't win!
posted by facetious at 11:37 AM on April 1, 2013

As you can probably guess, Magnus Carlsen is the reason chess gets more mainstream media airtime than ever here in Norway.
posted by Harald74 at 11:41 AM on April 1, 2013

I guess this might signal the fading away of the old chess elite from the 1990's. Pro chess players used to be finished at 40, as far as their chances to win the world title, and Anand's achievement is impressive, but I don't think he's going to be able to hold off Carlsen in a WC match.

Maybe computers have made the difference in allowing the older super GMs to keep competing at the top. Preparation is so critical at this level of chess now, and this may help them compensate for the deficits of memory and energy that they have relative to players in their 20's.
posted by thelonius at 11:52 AM on April 1, 2013

I wouldn't count Vishy out. He's been flat this year, but he can still win top-rank speed chess against the youngsters. I think the dude's mind is 100% intact. It's going to be a great world championship match.
posted by facetious at 11:54 AM on April 1, 2013

For those not familiar with Carlsen ...

CBS News/60 Minutes profile [13:00].
posted by ericb at 11:56 AM on April 1, 2013

facetious: Ivanchuk is definitely too eratic to ever be a WC (he came in second to last here), BUT--like other non-World Champs such as Chigorin, Frank Marshall, Keres, etc.--he plays some of the most beautiful games (though I prefer Morozevich). In a recent tournament, a commentator asked Nigel Short what he thought Ivanchuk was thinking--instantly, Short replied, "You want ME to get inside the head of Ivanchuk? No thanks!"

Harald74: Yeah, I hear Magnus also does fashion modeling there (though he has a cro-magnon brow). I'm rooting for Magnus, since in 2012, Anand (#4 at the time--now #6) could only BARELY beat Boris Gelfand (#23 at the time--now #18)...which isn't to say Anand isn't dangerous.

Thelonius: Common chess-wisdom says players peak around it appears Magnus has a long career ahead of him; though I do think with computers and tons of young Grandmasters, the competition is getting tougher at a younger age (look at Carlsen, Nakamura, Caruana, and Karjakin).

PS -- all of the games from the tournament can be viewed (and PGN downloaded) at the "London Candidates" link, or you can play through them HERE.
posted by whatgorilla at 12:00 PM on April 1, 2013

Carlsen interview [05:31] with Stephen Colbert.
posted by ericb at 12:04 PM on April 1, 2013

Magnus Carlsen is also probably my favorite male model.
posted by raihan_ at 12:15 PM on April 1, 2013

Wow, such an exciting tournament these last few days. Great moment for chess. And even though Kramnik probably feels like shit for losing like he did he's had a great career: Beating Kasparov for the World Championship when Kasparov was widely considered one of the if not the best chess player the world had ever seen. And then defending against the "evil" Topalov.

And then Anand, everybody's favorite loser who was just always on the outside looking in, pulled a Kramnick against Kramnick and came up with a stunning performance to take the title away from him.

And now Carlsen. We've been waiting for this moment for so long (I made a comment about this a few years back when he pulled out of the candidates competition for the last WC match). He is the best player in the world right now and has been for years. But will it be enough to topple Anand? Yeah, most likely. Anand won't have the drive that Carlsen should have. Carlsen could be the next Kasparov with quite possibly a 10-year reign as the WC, but of course he has to get there first.

Also, this has to be one of the few times in the history of the game that neither player is Russian or from that general cultural/political area. It should be a terrific match with two really big names battling out.
posted by bfootdav at 12:16 PM on April 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

I hadn't been following the match, looks like I missed some great stuff.

I wouldn't count Vishy out.

It would be foolish to do so! I guess my gut feeling is on Magnus, but who knows. Especially with the short WC matches they have now and the tiebreaking rapid games, anything could happen.
posted by thelonius at 12:22 PM on April 1, 2013

What an unbelievable way to end the candidates tournament. I have a feeling Vishy will feel some extra motivation trying to keep his crown away from Magnus that he did not have with the Gelfand match.

I've always slightly resented all the attention the mainstream American media's given to Magnus to the exclusion of a home grown top player like Nakamura, especially since I feel like it has a little something to do with Magnus' white/blonde Nordic looks to Nakamura's Asian look, but I guess any mainstream pub for chess is good for chess.
posted by gyc at 1:08 PM on April 1, 2013

Anyone have links to video from the highlights of the tournament?
posted by lazaruslong at 1:12 PM on April 1, 2013

Here are archived videos for the tournament. The ones from the last two rounds are not up yet but I'm sure they'll be added in due time.
posted by gyc at 1:22 PM on April 1, 2013

That's pretty cynical, gyc. Has mainstream American media ever given any attention to any American chess player aside from Bobby Fischer? The only time I ever hear about chess at all in popular media it's about the top 1-2 players, or some unprecedented event like Magnus becoming the highest player ever and having at least a non-ridiculous argument to be one of the best players ever.
posted by skewed at 1:22 PM on April 1, 2013

Here are archived videos for the tournament.

Your link is borked. Here's archived video and commentary, as well as press conferences from Round 14.
posted by ericb at 1:30 PM on April 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

The New Yorker did a profile of Mangus Carlsen two years ago. I suspect that was the first time a lot of Americans (who don't follow chess) had heard of him.
posted by mattbucher at 2:18 PM on April 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

yeah i don't think it has to do with looks, i think it has to do with the fact that the mainstream u.s. media can literally only care about one chess player in the world at a time. garry kasparov was best in the world for many years, he was the only chess player. before him, karpov (korchnoi was too weird for mainstream attention). magnus has been clearly ahead of the field for a couple of years, he's a true wunderkind.

look at it this way: nakamura gets no less attention right now than fabian caruana, who (while italian) "looks" like a white dude, and whose ratings went up just as fast as nakamura, and who is currently playing on almost exactly the same (world-class) level. seriously, america just doesn't know anything about or give any kind of a shit about chess. if they gave a shit about american chess players at all, they would give a shit about nakamura.
posted by facetious at 2:22 PM on April 1, 2013

Nakamura can also come off as a bit pompous and immature, but I love him--again, his play is always exciting. I'd love a Naka vs. Morozevich match.
Certainly Magnus has a lot of work to do in prep--several of his candidate match wins weren't based on superior opening or middlegame play, but just playing very drawish endgames out and capitalizing on every slight blunder to eventually win. I predict he beats Anand.
posted by whatgorilla at 4:43 PM on April 1, 2013

I suspect the only chess players the average USAian has heard of are Bobby Fischer, "that Russian guy" (probably they mean Kasparov, but it could be just about anyone), and "that guy in Searching for Bobby Fischer" (and they don't know if he's actually a real person).

Look at it another way. The non-chess playing US population has never heard of Judit Polgar and she's both (a) good and (b) good looking. This should be a slam dunk, and I'm probably the only person in the world who has heard of her who doesn't play chess.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 4:58 PM on April 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

Nakamura has gone much farther than anyone I can think of from US Chess in many many years. Even players like Yermolinsky got kicked around hard at elite tournaments like Linares. Nakamura has shown that he can compete at that level consistently. I know he was kind of a loudmouth kid and seemed arrogant to a lot of people, but he seems to have outgrown that. For whatever reason, though, the USCF crowd never seemed like they were behind him.
posted by thelonius at 5:01 PM on April 1, 2013

Compare the treatment that Waitzkin got, despite getting no farther than the IM title.
posted by thelonius at 5:04 PM on April 1, 2013

Magnus Carlsen will play Vishy Anand for the 2013 World Chess Tournament

Then who will play the part of Magnus Carlsen?
posted by hal9k at 5:29 PM on April 1, 2013 [2 favorites]

Then who will play the part of Magnus Carlsen?

I nominate hal9k. You can do it kiddo!
posted by amorphatist at 10:29 PM on April 1, 2013

Is there an analog for all of this excitement, in the form of international Go matches?
posted by Theta States at 9:01 AM on April 2, 2013

Is there an analog for all of this excitement, in the form of international Go matches?
I'm not sure what you're asking. If you're wondering if there is an equal amount of interest in Go titles, there certainly is (maybe more) in Japan, China, and Korea.
posted by dfan at 5:51 PM on April 2, 2013

Excellent tournament. The last three rounds were some serious nail-biters.
posted by Anything at 8:52 AM on April 3, 2013

Anand discusses Magnus' win and the upcoming Championship in November: "Carlsen will be ridiculously difficult to play against."
posted by whatgorilla at 1:23 AM on April 4, 2013

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