The Great London Chess Debate
Posted: 12/20/11 12:02 PM ET
by GM L. Kavalek

Four Tops

Kramnik’s victory was inconspicuous, but very efficient. He finished undefeated, drawing with the superstars and smashing the four lowest rated players – all Englishmen. The organizers again used the soccer scoring system to determine the final results: three points for a win, one point for a draw, no point for a loss. Nakamura was the only player who profited from it.

Still, Carlsen added a few points to his rating and may soon find out how lonely it is at the top of the FIDE list as did Bobby Fischer in 1972 when he was above Spassky by 120 points.
As the world champion Anand knows, he should be performing better than the 50 percent he managed in Bilbao, Moscow and now in London. He called his latest results disastrous, slipping to the fourth spot on the next FIDE rating list. We expect the January 2012 ratings of the top four to be: Carlsen 2835, Aronian 2809, Kramnik 2801 and Anand 2799.

Clash of cultures

There seems to be a pattern in the criticism leveled by some graduates of the Soviet Chess School at the young western talents. Vladimir Kramnik thinks, for example, that they should be more serious in their preparation. Carlsen and Nakamura put their hearts into actual playing, instead. Each of them tried to learn more about chess by taking lessons from Garry Kasparov. It’s over now, the youngsters left him. It is easy to imagine Kasparov forcing them not only to play precisely on the chessboard, but also trying to influence their lifestyles. Transplanting the strict Soviet chess discipline into the free-spirited young Westerners turned out to be a challenge. It worked better for Carlsen, but Nakamura’s coaching relationship with Kasparov ended after he finished last at the Tal Memorial in Moscow last month.

Nakamura took a rather simple view of Kasparov’s accomplishments: “His strength was in openings. You look at middlegames and endgames and I am quite convinced there are other players who were better than he was but he was able to get advantages out of the opening, so that was his strength. And when he wasn’t able to do that that’s when he lost his title to Kramnik [in 2000].”

Kasparov is well aware of what others say. He wrote in his book: “Throughout my life it has been said that I won mainly thanks to deep and comprehensive opening preparation. The art of preparation has been a distinguishing feature of many world champions and has always furthered the progress of chess thinking.”

Full article here.

Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar
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