Thursday, April 29, 2010


As some of you know, Anand won yesterday against Topalov and the score is now 2-1 in Anand's favor.

What does the media do? They remind us of things our teeny little brains can't seem to comprehend:

1. The pressure is on Topalov. Will he have to change his match strategy?
2. Sleepless nights in Bulgaria. He's down one point for crying out loud.

And it goes on like this. Topalov was crushed, humiliated. And so was Anand in his first game. These news people never seem to think that the players, and their teams, are most likely a lot more prepared and smarter than all the rest of us. Who are "we" to be giving advice?

There could be, should be, some jitters early on but their poker faces are fine. Aren't they?

The news media (chess and others) have NO, absolutely none, idea of what each camp is doing, how well prepared they are, if they have secret "team" members, etc.

There was ONE thing I "learned" that was interesting and new: Anand is playing using Kramnik's openings (the Catalan) against Topalov. Recall, Kramnik edged out Topalov in the last world chess championship. But, Anand has played Catalans before too. Whether Topalov has I do not know.

Topalov made a mistake yesterday and the tiger from Madras ate him up. "A" mistake.

What should the press say? Good question. How about something new? Remember football games or baseball games where the headset guys would say things you could see for yourself. If you want to get their commentary while doing something else, why not listen to the radio, that's what my Dad used to do?

People seem to like stats. They could use more of that maybe. Or better yet, give chess a boost and talk (write) about former world champions and weave it into coverage. That's what Paul Hoffman said he did on ESPN (from his book King's Gambit.)

I've seen a little commentary by Ian Rogers... he's kind of interesting.

I've read many books on world championship matches, as no doubt some of you have, and I recall how guys like Lasker would lose the first game in a match or a tournament (quite often). It's like he was a taking a "first strike" as we see in baseball. Warming up. Looking for weaknesses.

When Kramnik won his first game over Kasparov how many of us realized he would win the match with only one more win and Kasparov, the "world's strongest player of all time" (which I repeatedly read from ChessBase and New in Chess) had ZERO wins! The last time that happened was in 1921 when Capablanca had 4 wins to Lasker's none. 79 years earlier.

So... enough of the hyperbole, fear, and hoopla. Give me more on the looks on their faces, how much time do they spend at the board, whether Danailov is pacing around in the press area. Instead we find that by Sofia Rules (which Anand didn't agree to) Topalov was in the uncomfortable position of offering a draw in Game three to Anand through the arbiter only to have Anand decide to play on. It looks as if Topalov was hoist by his own petard and that may damage him more than anything else.

Let's realize one thing: Anand still has his work cut out for him against Topalov. If he makes the slightest error, Topalov will be all over him just as if it were the other way around. THIS will be exciting chess.

Unfortunately, the only place which has exploded with chess fervor is in India. Did you see the photos of the playing hall? There was hardly anyone in there. What? 30 people, a few more. THAT is news. Lots of reporters and photographers, maybe more than spectators. You don't see this at Wimbledon.

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