Probably says more about circumstances than people! The Le Meridien Hotels and Resorts conducted a recent poll of some 7,455 coffee drinkers –55% of them female–and found that 51% felt that they could go longer without sex than coffee! The poll, commissioned for the International Coffee Day festivities–September 29– also found that 53% would opt for a hot cup of coffee over a hot woman. Furthermore, a wopping 78% of them felt that they would rather give up alcohol, social media or sex with their spouse for a year rather than coffee.
Results difficult to understand, but surely a positive vote for the world’s most popular drink (after water). Somehow I think that the results would have been different had the poll asked couples(!), or had they bothered to knock on the rooms of the other 87,652 hotel guests, many of whom–no doubt–were feverishly engaged in (illicit) passionate lovemaking…and couldn’t be bothered to go down to the coffee shop!
Predicting a winner no easy task!
The official FIDE World Championship Match should begin in the next couple of days in Chennai,India. In case you had just recently awoken from a long coma, 22-year old Magnus Carlsen (Norway) is the challenger to title holder 43-year old Vishy Anand (India). The match will be best of 12 games and the purse will be a few million dollars.
As can be expected, there is a lot of bullshit in the pre-match hype and score predictions. Both players are immensely popular–having over the years avoided the Kasparov-style alienation that comes with not getting involved in scandal or controversy. (Or perhaps, to be fair to Garry, circumstances were such that neither Anand nor Carlsen were ever obliged to take a stand on any sensitive political position; something very different from Kasparov’s rise to the top of the chess world.)
Both Carlsen and Anand are over-rated, in my opinion. Neither was, is or will ever be a Bobby Fischer. I think that both players have roughly equal chances of coming out victorious. A lot will have to do with how many decisive opportunities occur over the board. In Carlsen’s favour is his youth (he is 21 years Anand’s junior) and that he has firmly established himself as the number one tournament player in the world. In Anand’s favour is his incredible match experience and that he has established himself as perhaps the most difficult player in the world to beat.
Anand has a 6-3 advantage in score (slow games) going into the match (plus some 20-draws). Besides this, he is better prepared in the opening than his rival and is a more disciplined competitor. He never takes risks, defends impeccably, and has iron nerves. While Anand’s tournament results have certainly suffered since winning the crown, nobody seems able to beat him in matches.
Carlsen won the last tournament game against Anand and thus has a sort of psychological edge going into the match. While his openings are the weakest point of his game, Magnus makes up for it with superb technique and an uncanny knack for grinding down his opponents with just the slightest of edges. Many have remarked that Carlsen seems to win with Capablanca-type ease…
My only hope is that the match will be interesting. The match with Gelfand was incredibly boring and detrimental for chess’ popularity. Another such black eye and we can just about bury Steinitz’ world championship title and look for another way to promote the game. Taking a quick glimpse at the commentary and predictions in the press media, I think that two likelihoods are overlooked: 1. Anand is really not much weaker than he was at his best; 2. Carlsen is not as strong as people think. I await the duel to begin. May the best player win!
Kasparov gets travel insurance!
KASPAROV SEEKS LATVIAN PASSPORT!
In October the government of Latvia passed a law permitting holders of Latvian passports to have double nationality. Former world champion turned global crusader, Garry Kasparov, immediately jumped upon the opportunity to add to his trophy collection. LINK
As Kasparov himself explains on his FACEBOOK page, the move is intelligently designed and aimed primarily to avoid complications as the 2014 FIDE presidential campaign gets underway:
”I am dedicating my life to this FIDE campaign and I cannot entrust my freedom of movement to Putin’s foreign ministry. An accident (real or a KGB “accident”) with my passport or a “routine investigation” in Moscow that revokes my documents could effectively end my campaign at any moment. Running against a Putin proxy on a Russian passport was clearly impossible.”
As Kasparov explains on his FACEBOOK page, he has no intentions of giving up his Russian nationality/passport. The key words are ”double-nationality”. When Kasparov is in Russia he will not be able to use his Latvian nationality to his advantage. Kasparov also mentioned that he intends to continue his political plan/goal to get rid of Putin (whom he mentions not less than 7 times in the FACEBOOK article), but that he has no immediate intentions to return to Russia for the immediate future. PERHAPS the Russian opposition don’t care about Garry anymore, anyway.
SINGING THE BLUES…
In the chess world English star grandmaster Nigel Short is known for his unique ability to enthusiastically express himself. Nigel can do so with eloquence, colour and vitality. Often with passion, not unsurprisingly, especially when it involves some person that perhaps Nigel feels has rubbed him the wrong way…
Case in point is when Nigel’s archenemy ,grandmaster Tony Miles, suddenly and unexpectedly passed away in 2001. Nigel dedicated his entire Sunday Telegraph chess column to the fact…a sort of rejoiceful obituary that many feel crossed the line, and no doubt was intended to do so by the author. Among its revelations were that Nigel had once deliberately slept with Tony’s girlfriend just to get revenge…
Just the other day, The Indian Express published Nigel Short’s prognosis for the upcoming Anand vs Carlsen match, and it sort of reminded me of Nigel’s 2001 hack-job of Tony Miles, EXCEPT that this was a sort of obituary of Vishy Anand…no doubt in eager anticipation of his being quickly gutted and cremated by the Norwegian horseman!
I recommend the readers to take a look at Nigel’s recent article. It is very well written, as usual, with the customary polish so as to avoid being unnecessarily subtle. Some have been offended by Nigel’s lack of tact, but not me, ofcourse. I consider it just part of Nigel’s charm…
But just for the record, I think the readers might be curious to know of the personal life-time score between Nigel and Anand: 9-5 for the Indian, with 11 draws. NOT SO BAD at first sight, but did you notice that since 1994 the score has been 7-0 in favour of Anand!
Just to show that I can be nice, here is an exciting dance vídeo that I know Nigel will like as much as I do!