Wei Yi and Magnus Carlsen have the same natural trait that Bobby Fischer had: their mere presence at the board often induces their opponents to play less strong than they are capable of. (In sport psychology lingo, we often say that the opponent is ‘psyched-out’ )
Although many early Fischer watchers had already observed a phenomenon that they coined ‘Fischer fear’, things definitely became more palpable in the early 1970’s when Fischer started his run up to the World Championship.
Both Larsen and Petrosian went to see a doctor during their respective matches with the American genius, complaining of various ailments that seemed to prevent them from playing their ‘normal’ chess.
In the Spassky-Fischer match of 1972, at one point ‘experts’ were called in to try to figure out why Spassky was playing so weakly. Even the chairs were X-rayed looking for some mysterious influence!
Not surprisingly, nothing unusual was found.
Below is a game from today’s team championship in China. Wei Yi’s opponent is a strong grandmaster (rated more than 2600), and he gets crushed in 24 moves! One slight imprecision, and the chinese superstar is all over his opponent. Enjoy!