CHESS

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - GOODMOTORING -

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.

● Send your com­ments and news to thechess­nik@gmail.com.

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