The Machine vs The Bull

While watching The Game today I could not understand why Hikaru Nakamura did not play the move 29…b4, the move I would have played. If I had been going over a game by a student and he had played the move chosen by Hikaru, 29…bxc4, I would have shown him b4, telling him the importance of having a protected passed pawn as a lasting strength, etc. These players are light years ahead of me, so when one of the top ten players in the world does not play a move which seems obvious to me, I am flummoxed. For that reason I left TWIC and surfed over to the tournament website because “inquiring minds just have to know.” Sure enough, the program they were using had 29…b4 as best. I then surfed over to the ChessBomb, and their program, Stockfish, also showed it as the best move. When a player of my calibre can see such an obvious move and he does not, there is obviously something is wrong with my favorite player, Hikaru “Red Bull” Nakamura. Could it be too much Red Bull?
I noticed that after the game finally ended, the Hikaru took a sip from his glass of water, in lieu of drinking any of the Red Bull from the can sitting next to the board. That would not happen in NASCAR. Then when Hikaru took his seat for the interview, it was without his can of the Bull. Nakamura is obviously not bullish on the Red stuff. Upon learning Hikaru decided to endorse the product I thought of Bobby Fischer. I recall he said he would not endorse a product he had never used. For that I have always admired him. When asked why he had turned down such offers Bobby said, “People are trying to exploit me.” Normal people could not understand such logic. Penurious chess players were heard to say things like, “Why, given the opportunity, I would sell my soul to the devil for that kind of money!” And they meant every word of it.
The interview was a sad thing to behold. After six hours it was obvious the players just wanted to leave. To make matters worse, they were forced to answer the most inane questions. The first question was to Magnus. He was asked, “Magnus, can you tell us about the key moment of the game?” He was gracious, but mentioned nothing about his opponent missing 29…b4. It was Hikaru who interjected with, “It was around move 30.” When the position arrived on the analysis board on the screen Nakamura still played 29…bxc4, giving a variation that should have “…been fine.” Hikaru said, “When I started losing my mind was right around here when I played (33)…Nb6.” That is two games in a row that the Bull has “lost his mind.” Lay off the Red Bull! I am certain that when the Bull looks at the game with his 3100+ rated program of choice he will come to an understanding, grasshopper, of the exact moment he began to lose his mind.
One of the questions to The Bull concerned his 0-9 score to The Machine. The questioner wanted to know if there was some kind of “psychological problem” when he faced The Machine. At this point the camera panned to the father, Henrik Carlsen, sitting next to GM Peter Heine Nielsen, who had been gazing in obvious boredom. He perked up with the question. The Bull answered that the problem has been in the opening, with it being difficult to play at a disadvantage. He also said he played well “…except for three bad moves in the middle.” He also mentioned something about a “blunder.” Funny how it is always the weaker player who blunders. It was sad to hear, because it is obvious a player cannot make even one bad move against The Machine! I thought about the game Hikaru lost to Magnus in Zurich, a game he should have won. His problem was not the blunder, but much earlier in that game. If he had played correctly the game would have been over long before he blundered. Then there is the comment on the cover of the best chess magazine in the world, New in Chess 2014/1. Hikaru Nakamura: ‘I do feel that at the moment I am the biggest threat to Carlsen.’ The Bull must be in denial. Seems he would wait until he at least beat The Machine one time before mouthing off. As bad as it has been, The Bull should consider trying to make a draw because one has got to walk before he runs.
Magnus is playing like a machine. No matter with which 3100+ program you compare his moves, the majority of Magnus “The Machine” Carlsen’s moves agree with the first choice. Maybe he needs to be checked to learn whether or not he is “hooked up.” Has a chip been implanted in the brain of The Machine?
Seriously, Magnus The Machine is now a class above his fellow Grandmasters. As a matter of fact if his rating improves a few more points he could qualify for the next TCEC tournament! As I write the program Shredder 14, rated 2921, has made it to the elite eight. The Machine was rated 2881 before winning his first two games. He’s got a shot!

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