THE WORLD championship has changed hands. Norwegian Magnus Carlsen is the 16th world champion, having beaten Viswanathan Anand in Chennai.
Former world champion Garry Kasparov said: “The guard has been changed. Last week, 22year- old Norwegian prodigy Magnus Carlsen easily toppled world champion Viswanathan Anand, 43, of India. The challenger won three games without a loss, plus seven draws, ending the match two games before its scheduled length of 12 games.
“Carlsen’s domination renders unnecessary any extensive punditry on the match itself. He has been the world’s top-ranked player for two years already while Anand’s results have tailed off… Anand was fighting not only a stronger player but also the tidal forces of time and history.
“Carlsen’s greatest chess strength is his remarkable intuitive grasp of simplified positions and his accuracy in them. I coached Carlsen for a year, in 2009, and I was amazed at how quickly he could correctly evaluate a position ‘cold’, seemingly without any calculation at all.”
Commentators have given indepth opinions as to what happened, but none has commented on the effect their diets may have had on their play.
Carlsen breakfasted at about noon on a four-egg omelette with ham, cheese and bacon, followed by a roti, then a banana and sweet lime juice. He usually had dinner just before the start of play which included pasta and two slices of pizza.
Anand, a vegetarian, had breakfast at about 9am: muesli and fruit, sometimes orange juice; lunch at noon: spinach dal; and dinner was an aubergine dish or mushroom pizza.
● One of the big sports news stories of the week has been the mental problems of Jonathan Trott. Cricketers get a lot of publicity, but there are less-known examples of chess players suffering mental breakdowns. Ameri- can Paul Morphy gave up chess because he felt he wasn’t taken seriously. Jose Capablanca suffered a breakdown during his losing match against Alexander Alekhine in 1927, but recovered to continue for 34 games.
Ten-times British champion Jonathan Penrose suffered from nerves and collapsed mid-game at the 1970 Olympiad.
Closer to home, JC Archer jr (1909-1974) found the stress of chess too much and gave up in 1949. I tried without success to invite him to play in the 1960 Lubowski Memorial in Pretoria.
The point is that mental preparedness is a vital factor in a young player’s training, so look after your kids.
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