When I was a teen-ager Bobby Fischer was revered as a god. (Note the tie-in to the religious theme. Perhaps this should be posted to a “When did you become an atheist?” folder.) Whenever a magazine came out, my top priority (and that of most of my friends) was to analyze the latest Fischer games. His play was so direct and clear that I was convinced by most of his games that they were modern classics. And everybody was playing Fischer's opening lines.
I don’t keep up, and I don’t know much about today’s top players. Anybody have any favorites? Who and why? I'm very impressed by Magnus Carlson, and I'll be disappointed if he does not become World Champion soon.
What do you think about the drug testing at the Chess Olympiade? With one round to go there were ten teams still in the running for a medal. The organizers randomly drew names from these teams for mandatory drug tests. Vassily Ivanchuk, the top board for Ukraine, refused to be tested. At the next meeting at FIDE he is likely to have all of his games in the Olympiade forfeited, and he may be banned from chess for two years.
I understand that the reason is that Karsam Ilyumzhinov, the president of FIDE and also of Kalmykia, wants the Chess Olympiade to become part of the Olympics. So the drugs tested for are the same drugs the Olympics test for. Since there are no performance enhancing drugs in Chess, I think it is pointless.
What do you think? Should there be drug testing at chess tournaments?
Drug testing is still relatively rare in chess. However, it does occur in various official events and was carried out during the course of the Dresden Olympiad. Unfortunately, a high proportion of the tests were scheduled during the last round and there was a lack of personnel, which lead to a procedural error: there was not a designated Doping Control Officer present at this match (USA v Ukraine).
After losing a crucial game for his country, Mr Ivanchuk was distraught. The Hearing Panel concludes that although the arbiter attempted to inform Mr Ivanchuk in English that he should accompany him for a doping test, Mr Ivanchuk apparently failed to understand the instructions, especially since English is not Mr Ivanchuk’s first language. If there had been a Doping Control Officer present, he would have immediately gone to Mr Ivanchuk’s board and there would have been communication between him and Mr Ivanchuk. In that case the outcome might have been different. Because there was no notification by the Doping Control officer, there was no refusal in the sense of the regulations.
The procedural error allied with Mr Ivanchuk’s state of mind led him unintentionally to miss the test. The Hearing Panel therefore concludes unanimously that there should be no penalty.
Historically speaking, my favorite GM is David Bronstein. His writing and games helped me fall in love with chess. As far as nowadays goes, I am watching Kamsky with interest. Of course, my classes have been getting in the way, and since my chess team disbanded (trying to reform it!) I have not had as much time as I would like for chess...
Bronstein was very imainative as a player, and had a reputation for wit and excellence as a chess writer. Unfortunately for me, his books weren't translated into English until I gave up chess in the mid '70s. He should have won the world title in 1951 (there are stories he was forced to throw the match), but I don't think he would have rated very highly among World Champions.
If you're going to root for an American, I guess there is not much alternative to Gata Kamsky at the moment. His win at the World Cup resestablishes him as a contender, but I think Topalov is going to beat him easily in their match.
Has either Bronstein or Kamsky influenced your play?
When I play, Bronstein does because I study him as a player more than any other. I try to have the imagination he had for unexpected answers. If I find a critical position I look at very odd ways of doing things before usually reverting to boring play. (not good enough to use what I see, when i do try i usually miscalculate and end up behind.)
I am following Gata as I can, but I only go through his games sporadically.
Gata has 4.5 out of 10 at Wijk an Zee with three rounds to play. That tournament is so balanced that h'e only a point ahead of last place, and a point behind third place.
When I was young everybody copied Fischer's openings, but really I played everything, as young players are inclined to do. Typically, when I became serious about Chess, my repertoire narrowed. I was especially influenced by Spassky's handling of the White pieces, striving from the outset for a spatial advantage based on a solidly defended Pawn Center. So in '68 I played all of Spassky's openings with White -- main line, classical Queen's Pawn openings. As Black I also copied his treatment of Closed Ruys like the Breyer, but I played different lines of the Sicilian.
At the Parsvnath Open in New Delhi the nine-year-old Hetul Shah defeated an experienced grandmaster, with the black pieces, in a regular tournament game with FIDE time controls. His opponent was 31-year-old Kasakh GM Nurlan Ibrayev, rated almost 600 points higher than the lad, and now probably the world's most embarrassed GM.