Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Too Much Chess?

The chess world is gearing itself up for the World Championship next month, but in the meantime there is no end of chess. In fact, there's so much chess it's hard to keep up with it all. Back in the day, the Soviet Championship always used to be among the best tournaments of the year, and now the Russian Championship is also pretty hot. World number 2 and ex World champ Kramnik is in action in a very strong field currently being led by Peter Svidler.Svidler has won the Russian Champs 6 times, more than anyone else, and if the Soviet Champs are also included, then he equals the 6 wins of Botvinnik and Tal and will go one better if he stays ahead in this one.

To be honest, the tournament of the moment should be the Masters Final tournament in Bilbao. It's strong with Aronian, Mamedyarov, Adams and Vachier Legrave in a double round robin, but not as strong as one would expect a masters final to be. However, with the World Championship taking away 2 potential players, and Kramnik playing in Russia, this is still a pretty good field. I'm glad to see the Englishman Adams leading early on. He's a great player, who might just be having his best year to date, knocking on the door of the top 10 in the world again after an impressive win in Dortmund this year. Another small double round robin is happening in Romania. The King's Tournament is a 5 player event with another strong field, Caruana, Ponomariov, Wang Hao, Radjabov and Nisipeanu. Caruana started with a win in the first round, but the tournament has only just started.

It's amazing that 3 world class events should be happening simultaneously. It wasn't that long ago when 3 world class tournaments would make a good 3 month period in chess or even longer. And it wasn't that long ago that a tournament like the Chigorin Memorial with 150 players including 3 over 2700 and over 20 players rated 2600 would have attracted a deal of attention. Now it is passed over as the fourth most important event of the moment. And the 5 player GM tournament in Spain (Rapport, Cheparinov, Bruzon, Salgado, Granda) and the GM section of the Budapest First Saturday event currently being led by English GM Stephen Gordon barely rate a mention.

Is it good that so much chess is happening at the same time? Does it diminish from the worth of one tournament that other tournaments of similar prestige are scheduled at the same time? I know some people would say that you can't have enough chess, but at the moment I'm not sure which event to look at, and I find it hard to keep up with all the top events, let alone the local tournaments here in Melbourne and Australia. Perhaps it would be better to play instead of watching so much. I'm currently playing online at trying to knock out some games every day, and playing about 20 turn based games at a time. However, when I look at the quality of my play, it's no wonder I watch others! Enjoy :)

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