NICK BAR­NETT CHESS

Saturday Star - - L I F E S T Y L E -

BY THE time you read this, the World Chess Cham­pi­onship 2018 will be un­der way in Lon­don, hav­ing started on the 9th. Mag­nus Carlsen and Fabi­ano Caru­ana will have played the first of the 12-game match, or­ga­nized by FIDE and its com­mer­cial part­ner Agon, at The Col­lege in Hol­born. It will end on the 28th of Novem­ber. The two com­bat­ants have been un­der scru­tiny for the last year, but per­haps none as much as Caru­ana whose inch by inch improve­ment has brought him within 3 FIDE rat­ing points of Carlsen at 2835.

It is an in­di­ca­tion of the in­ter­est the coun­try has in their Amer­i­can GM, that Time mag­a­zine of the 6th of Novem­ber, fea­tured an ar­ti­cle en­ti­tled ‘This Kid From Brook­lyn Could Re­turn Amer­ica to Chess Dom­i­nance for the First Time Since Bobby Fischer’. It goes on ‘Chess rarely at­tracts much main­stream at­ten­tion in the United States. But chess pun­dits ex­pect that a Caru­ana vic­tory could spark an ex­plo­sion in chess in­ter­est Amer­ica hasn’t seen since Fischer’s hey­day.’

For both Caru­ana and Carlsen (and most modern chess pro­fes­sion­als), keep­ing phys­i­cally and men­tally fit forms part of the train­ing. Carlsen is laid back, shar­ing his sense of hu­mour on his time­line with a rather im­pres­sive video of him­self ski­ing, invit­ing cap­tions for a photo of Caru­ana in chef’s out­fit and a video of his team eat­ing pizza, play­ing poker and watcher soc­cer.

Caru­ana talks of play­ing games for up to eight hours a day. ‘The goal is get you think­ing about chess 24/7 in prepa­ra­tion for the match; it’s play­ing quick games, slow games, any­thing that will get you in that mode where you cal­cu­late very quickly. Your mind is work­ing in the best pos­si­ble shape.’ Think­ing chess 24/7 is what Carlsen was do­ing re­cently when he was taken by an­other in­ter­viewer up in the Lon­don eye where one can have a birds-eye views of the city. For the half hour ride, Carlsen never looked at the view and ad­mit­ted he was think­ing about moves!

Mark Crowther, edi­tor of the U.k.-based ‘The Week In Chess’ is quoted as say­ing ‘Fabi­ano has the power to be bet­ter than Carlsen. There have been very, very few play­ers you can say that about. I hon­estly don’t know who’s go­ing to win this match. It’s a to­tal toss-up.’

To watch the The funny hyped-up promo video on Youtube, search for: 2018 World Chess Cham­pi­onship Match | PROMO VIDEO

To fol­low on­line go to: https://world­chess.com/ twit­ter.com/the­world­chess

For com­ment or news write to thechess@gmail.com

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