Carlsen vs Karjakin And Crude Oil

Carlsen vs Karjakin And Crude Oil

| 32 | Fun & Trivia

The world championship match between Magnus Carlsen and Sergey Karjakin is getting closer, and it is time to update our old forecast. This time I will channel my inner Nate Silver and provide you with some numbers. 

Let's look at the rating chart of the challenger, which you can find on the official FIDE website. What do you see there? There is a meteoric rise from an Elo rating of 2206 in January 2000 to a peak of 2788 in July 2011. After that, Sergey Karjakin unfortunately hit a plateau, and his rating didn't go anywhere for the next five years. When everyone was about to write off the still young and very talented grandmaster, Sergey managed to win a dramatic Candidates' Tournament in March 2016 to earn the right to challenge World Champion Magnus Carlsen. 

Now, take a look at the long-term chart of crude oil prices courtesy of Wikipedia.

You can see that oil started its unbelievable ascent from the low twenties in the year 2000 to a peak of around $115 per barrel in May 2011. After that, the price of crude oil went nowhere until the summer of 2014, when it started its epic collapse. When some experts started talking about virtually free oil, the price staged a massive rebound in February and March of 2016.  From a low of $26 per barrel, the price eventually jumped to over $50 per barrel. Now do you see a correlation between GM Karjakin's results and the price of crude oil? 

I know, it sounds weird. There is even a website that collects random correlations. While some of them are truly absurd (The number of people who died by falling out of their bed correlates with the number of lawyers in Puerto Rico.), others are not so random. For example, money spent on movie theater admissions in the U.S. correlates with precipitation in Pennsylvania. I guess people go to see movies more frequently when it rains outside.

Film and rain do share a rich history.

Karjakin has announced that he'll need a cool one million euros to prepare for the World Championship match. If you consider that the Russian economy and their national currency are directly correlated to the price of oil, then the similarity in the charts of Karjakin's rating and the price of crude oil won't look that random. Moreover, one of Karjakin's main sponsors, the Forex company Alpari, almost became insolvent in the beginning of the year after the Swiss Bank unexpectedly removed the Swiss franc's artificial ceiling against the euro. So, as you can see, the world's financial cataclysms can potentially affect the challenger's preparation for the match.

Meanwhile, it appears that crude oil has finished it's rebound. Analysts will probably say that the short covering is over and chartists will mention a double top in the $50 area. One way or another, the oil continued it's slide at the most inappropriate moment: during the super-tournament in Bilbao. As a result, Magnus Carlsen won his mini-match vs Sergey Karjakin.

Delicious-looking black gold! Or possibly sodastream® syrup. You just never know.

Try to find several typical Carlsen moves that look so natural after Magnus played them!

Now find how Carlsen finished the game.

So, what's our forecast for the Carlsen vs Karjakin world championship match? If you look at the chart of crude oil, you'll see that it is only matter of time till the price per barrel finishes its irrational exuberance and finally settles down around $20 where it has stayed for about 100 years. Therefore, barring a significant geopolitical event that would spike the price of crude oil, or even get the world championship match cancelled altogether, Karjakin has a major headwind in the coming battle!

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