A Toasted Friday
It’s been a bit of a quiet week. Not that I am complaining…it gives me the chance to catch up on things that had somehow been put on the backburner or been neglected for a while.
A quiet week gives you the opportunity to stop for a moment and re-assess or re-evaluate your present projects and plans. Sometimes inertia moves us without us really wanting to be directed into that direction…
Caruana signs FIDE contract
Earlier in the week AGON announced that Fabiano Caruana, the current challenger for the world championship, had the required contract for his upcoming match with Magnus Carlsen, scheduled for London starting November 9 of this year.
There had been rumours that Rex Sinquefield might have been interested in proposing a counter-bid somewhere in America. After all, it has been some 46 years since an American (is Fabiano 100% American?) has played for the world title, and a USA bid seems quite natural.
Now that the spectre of a 1993 Short-Kasparov type of earthquake that nearly destroyed FIDE and lost numerous potential sponsors to the game has passed, the chess community can now focus on who is the match favourite.
I would normally have picked Caruana to win (I have a weakness for the under dog), but Caruana’s decision to honor his playing contracts with multiple organizers after having won the Candidates, and play NON STOP, has convinced me to pick Carlsen as the winner.
Caruana could have spoken with the organizers and arranged for playing the following year, allowing himself to focus 100% on the upcoming match.
I think that Caruana burned himself out and wasted too much nervous energy. I hope that I am wrong, but remember what happened to Aronian at the Candidates earlier this year. Last year Levon played in and won more important events than anyone else, making him the favourite to win the Candidates earlier this year. What happened at the Candidates? Levon showed up burned out, a shadow of the player he was last year.
In general, a player’s form follows a repetitive cycle of up-time and down-time. One should play in the up-cycle, as one approaches peak form, and rest in the down-cycle when one is off-form. Although each player has his own distinct cycle, on average 6 months seems the rule.
Assuming that Caruana was near his peak when he won the Candidates, in March, then he would have been expected to again be near his peak in March plus 6 months = September. It does not help that the world championship match begins in November, but the real issue that I see is that Caruana has been playing too much in his downcycle, when instead he really should have been conserving his nervous energy.
FIDE election fever
Also a pretty quiet week in the FIDE 2018 Election Campaign, atleast with respect to putting in the kilometres and shaking hands. Nigel Short has been playing real chess in Abu Dhabi, taking a well deserved sabatical from the mudslinging that has become his (and Makro’s for that matter) norm.
As I see it, Dvorkovich has the cleanest campaign so far. He stays on message with respect to his campaign theme, and does not let himself get drawn into Makro’s mudslinging provocations.
Next follows Short, who seems to limit himself to questioning Marko’s track record and the hypocrisy of his actions and declarations made during the present campaign.
And what of Makro? What can one say about an individual who has been one of the darkest personalities and influences of Kirsan’s presidency and who now wants voters to FORGET, IGNORE and OVERLOOK the past 20-odd years?
Up to now Makro has been a survivor, but will not be for much longer. Playing on his above mentioned campaign theme, spicing it up with a pinch of Russophobia and adding a dash of Fake News is not going to make Makro any more appealing a dish. Certainly it is not going to erase his role in Kirsan’s 23 year reign.
All I know is that there are not millions of voters out there for Makro to dupe. There are less than 200 voters who will decide who will be the next FIDE president. Statistics show that it is a lot easier to fool the majority of a million uninformed people than the majority of 200 well informed voters.
Besides, chess players are smart and informed. Those travelling thousands of kms to attend the FIDE vote will come prepared. Trump can play the fake news card. Not Makro.