The Chess Mind

Writing on his blog, “The Chess Mind,” (http://www.thechessmind.net/blog/2014/11/20/the-world-championship-on-espn.html) Dennis Monokroussos takes exception to the title of an article appearing on the Grantland website, “Alien Space Tours, Vladimir Putin, and World-Exploding Double Blunders: Welcome to the 2014 World Championship.”
(http://grantland.com/the-triangle/world-chess-championship-aliens-vladimir-putin-magnus-carlsen-vishy-anand/). He writes, “I have only one real complaint about the article, and chances are it’s not the author’s fault: the headline.” Later he has this to say, “Thanks for nothing, Bill Simmons and ESPN.”

Dennis is obviously unaware of the expression, “There is no such thing as bad publicity.” (“The proverbial expression began to be used in the early 20th century. The earliest version that I have found in print is from the US newspaper The Atlanta Constitution, January, 1915:

All publicity is good if it is intelligent.

The thought behind the proverb had been expressed earlier by Oscar Wilde:

The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.” (http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/there-is-no-such-thing-as-bad-publicity.html)

It is good for the Royal game when those outside of chess write about the game, and it is even better for those involved with the chess to listen to those on the outside looking in because perception is reality.

Spike Friedman, author of the aforementioned article, wrote this, “I didn’t see the blunder. I mean, I saw it. I was watching the match at about five in the morning, but I didn’t see what happened as it happened. The Houdini computer I was watching along with immediately registered the swing in win expectancy, but it frequently shows wild results in the first few seconds after a move. I’ve grown numb to the initial burst that suggests a move may have been a crucial blunder, as the computer often needs to push a little deeper before seeing that the status quo has not shifted. Additionally, the broadcast had gone to a break, so there was no live commentary on the moves. You can hear a snippet of the ad in the YouTube capture of the moment. Anand had already played before the commentators were back on air.”

I checked the USCF website but could not find a rating for Spike, so he must be one of the “many” who play and/or follow chess but cannot find a reason to join USCF.

The article contains a video of the missing moments during the now infamous double blunders.

This is incredible! Vishy did not, as I wrote earlier, make an instantaneous move. How could Vishy have sat there a full minute and not have seen Knight takes pawn? Only one who has been there and done that can understand the chess mind.

Spike writes, “…chess is a game of two people trying to be the better human.”

Actually, Spike, the reason they are playing the match is because, like the Highlander, “there can be only one.” Spike goes on, getting carried away with, “A generous interpretation of a world championship in chess, then, would be to say that it’s the crowning of the ultimate human.”

All I know is that both of the humans have held title of World Chess Champion. I suppose one could think of them as the “ultimate” chess champion, but “ultimate human?” I will leave that for others to decide.

Spike has also determined, “…it also means that the world championship is being contested at a lower level than usual.”

Spike does not mention what his buddy Houdini has to say, but it could also mean this is a much better match “than usual.” I read a quote contained in one of the excellent blog posts by GM Vlad Tkachiev translated and printed on the Chess24 website (https://chess24.com/). “The level of the match will be determined by the level of Anand’s play.” Vishy has played much better chess and, unlike the first match, this one is not a “walk-over.” A close match produces much more stress and strain. The only explanation is that both players “cracked” and happened to do it in back to back moves.

What damages the credibility of the Royal game is a headline like this one: “Fide yet to get World Chess Championship prize fund”

The article begins, ” It is inconceivable that the Russian organizers of the ongoing world chess championship won’t pay Magnus Carlsen and Viswanathan Anand their match fees, but a top official on Friday revealed that the world chess federation hadn’t yet received in its bank account the event’s prize fund of €1 million. Coming at the halfway stage, barely two weeks before the match is to conclude, it points to the state of affairs at the world chess federation better known by its French acronym Fide (derived from Federation Internationale des Eches).” (http://www.livemint.com/Consumer/T6963pMV10OYMUy1K7e9SK/World-chess-federation-yet-to-receive-prize-fund.html?utm_source=copy)

The insular chess world needs to take note of how the game is portrayed in the media, especially social media.

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