Carlsen, Boy Wonder, Burning Out?
From Tata Steel Tourney Final Report:
"The Norwegian former Boy Wonder played white in an advance Caro-Kann against China’s Wang Hao .., who complained afterwards that he “couldn’t focus on the game."
Listen to the tone of that paragraph -- "Former Boy Wonder". Carlsen has not been winning everything in site and will not participate in the World Championships.
I found this a little harsh. Hikaru Nakamura played a wonderful tournament down to the finish. Yet his play was so off during the US Championships that people where saying he was another boy wonder "washed up."
Current World Champion Vishy Arnand played very well down the stretch also, but could not over take Nakamura. He had nice things to say about Hikaru and said of his own play that it "was above his rating". In other-words, if Nakamura had not play so well, Vishy believes he played well enough to win.
There are been conversations since the time of Bobby Fischer that if you are not a GM by the time you "quit suckling from your mother's breast" you are no longer good enough. Someone forgot to tell the middle aged Arnand.
These young players who play so well are human. We have seen that with Carlsen lately and we see that with Nakamura.
Chess has its up and downs, even for the "boy wonders". I heard a US Baseball manager talking about a rookie. He said of him (and I am paraphrasing) "He will be stacking his money while other players just count theirs he is so good."
He washed out of the league about 4 years later.
I do not think a player who became a GM at 14 is that much better than one who became a GM at 21. It is what you do with this God-given skill later in your life. If nothing else, Vishy has shown that.
The one that really pissed me off was about Judit Polgar. She lost a bit (despite being rated at 2700+) and everyone has said she is done, finished, washed up --- because she decided to get married and have kids. If a male player had kids and decided to spend more time with his family would the remarks from the press be so sexist?
It is time to talk about chess players as the smart human beings they are - still human and still prone to error at times.