Sunday, March 21, 2010


Magnus Carlsen has a better chance than Vassily Ivanchuk of becoming world champion. It's not just that Ivanchuk occasionally implodes, and you never know when, it's that chess is a "conventional" game where consistency counts.

Ivanchuk is not consistent except in one thing, he wins the Amber events to the extent he is called Mr. Amber!

And what is Amber? It is two games each against a variety of talented opponents. Each pair plays one game "blindfolded" and the other at "rapid" speed (game in 25). This is not regular chess although, amazingly, these games are included in databases of "conventional" chess such as 2010 Mega.

Ivanchuk is like Bronstein, and you know how that worked out in 1951? I might add, last year when Ivanchuk had a terrible result, he was "going to give up chess." He was serious! But he didn't. Mercurial? Emotional? Yes, and damn interesting.


  1. Bob,
    I mostly agree with what you said about Carlsen having a better chance of becoming World Champion than Ivanchuk. But (there's always a but!) Ivanchuk's unpredictability is exactly what makes him extremely dangerous—even Aronian said that Ivanchuk is the most creative player in the world today. And remember the year he had a while back that shot him to #3 I believe—when he's hot, he's hot!!



  2. Don't dis' the Amber, at least not the blindfold section. The speed section is not really speed it's what most of us have been forced into as chess players 30/30, eg.

    Most grandmaster (if not all) are quite capable of playing without sight of the board. If fact in "Genius in Chess", John Levitt was impressed that Alexi Shirov didn't even own a chess set and did all his chess work in his head.

    Some players (including me sometimes) find that staring at the board is a distraction if one is trying to see a position into the future and often times look away from the board to develop the position in one's mind without the distraction of the immobile setup before us during a tournament game.

    There is also an old saying, probably originating from Keres that Estonian players all learned to play blindfold because they were too poor to afford chess sets.