The Day After…
The Day After
”Like any sporting or cultural activity – pick your classification – the main function of chess is to provide entertainment. Twelve straight draws … that’s not entertainment.” – Mark Weeks.
I could have quoted from amongst numerous other commentators and bloggers who followed, with horror, the meltdown of the match in London, but this typically poignant understatement by the ultra-conservative Mark Weeks – who religiously avoids any sniff of controversy – speaks volumes of the disaster that took place during the past 2 weeks or so.
Can you imagine what would happen if the two best tennis players in the world just stood there and refused to hit the ball? That is what happened in London…the players were happy to just let the clock run out…and then they blitzed.
Where does chess go now? I am reminded of the fallout that came after the 1997 match between Kasparov and Deep Blue. While there was extensive media coverage of the event, and even IBM’s stock price briefly rose(!), chess sponsors ran for cover. Hundreds of chess columns disappeared in the next few years. A financial tsunami hit the chess world…and in the 21 years since, chess has not even recovered its previous level of respectability.
I think the chess world will pay a heavy price for the London match. I agree with many who have suggested doing away with the title of World Champion and simply deciding who is the best player at the end of the year by comparing ELO rankings.
Certainly, if nothing else, it would save us a lot of embarrassment.