Sunday, July 29, 2012

Chess Disappointments

Just like in any activity, chess can be both exhilarating and uplifting, while also sometimes disappointing. Let me give you some typical examples of disappointment, to my mind.

1. Players withdrawing from tournaments. This is very annoying for organisers, other competitors, and fans (not to mention sponsors). Players withdrawing from swiss system events can be very disruptive, sometimes leaving a bye in the field and sometimes creating some odd pairings. Especially annoying is a player who withdraws from a swiss event after a few rounds having spoiled the chances of some players, but then not having to play their competition. In a round robin, things can be even more disruptive. If the tournament is being held primarily for norm purposes, a withdrawal can, and probably will, eliminate the chances of the tournament producing a norm.

Recently at the top level the high profile withdrawal of Alexander Morozevich from the Biel tournament occurred. Morozevich left the tournament for health reasons, and that is always a worry for chess fans. The loss of Morozevich from the chess scene 2 years ago was a big disappointment for his fans, and I amongst many hoped for his recovery and return to the international chess elite. Now we can only hope he is ok to keep playing, even if he has to play less.

2. Chess politics. I don't usually get involved in politics on this blog, but the resolution offered by Turkish Chess President to penalise chess federations who took legal action against FIDE seems ludicrous. Ali Nihat Yazici has stated that the federations of France, US, England, Germany, Georgia, Ukraine and Switzerland

"must be given suspension from FIDE including players, arbiters, trainers, ratings and organising FIDE rated events, till damage is covered by those federations". To be honest, I couldn't believe that arbiters were being refused from certain countries (ie. those countries mentioned above) to act at the Olympiad. Then again, we are talking about a federation that can take action against one of its own Grandmasters in what appears a somewhat arbitrary way.

I think I'll stay away from chess politics. The more I think about it, the more disappointed I get.

3. Chess play. We are at the end of week one of the British Championship, and my only disappointments is that my friends aren't doing better. After his great start, Don Mason has lost 3 in a row, while Mike Surtees started indifferently, but picked up toward the end of the week. The tournament itself has now seen the cream starting to rise to the top with GM's Jones, Howell and Gordon leading a pack of titled players. The live coverage is excellent and the games that I've seen (not as many as I'd like, but I'll get through more) have been exciting. It is a bit disappointing that our super GM's Adams, Short and McShane aren't playing as all have been in decent form this year and are in the 2700 club. It's also a bit disappointing that there are no aussies in the field, though WIM Sue Maroroa from New Zealand is playing, scoring just below half points in the first week including a draw against strong FM Peter Poobalasingam.

Congratulations to all the prize winners from the first week, including age group champions.

A few disappointments have occurred to me, though. First, the dour World Championship match was not a spectacle for fans who were disappointed by the tactics of both players. Since the match, Anand has stated that matches are different to tournaments and he always knew the match was going to be tough. To the untrained eye, at times it seemed as if neither player was really trying to win, but preferred to not lose.

Another disappointment came today for me when I turned up to play a match for my club to find that someone had taken my place. There must have been some mix up, as I arrived a little late to find that the match had started without me. I had expected to find my clock running, but not someone sitting in my place!

With so much doom and gloom in my post, I want to finish in inspirational mood. Probably, my favourite game of all time is the following queen sacrifice game played by Paul Keres against Max Euwe in 1939. If you haven't seen the game, you will be in for a treat, and if you have, then please enjoy it again. I find it no bad thing to go back to the things that have inspired and exhilarated us in the past!

Loading embedded chess game...

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