Anand-Carlsen. Let's Call the Thing What It is: Playing Like Pansies?

Anand-Carlsen. Let's Call the Thing What It is: Playing Like Pansies?

Nov 13, 2013, 11:35 AM |

Who stole my chesse?

Admittedly, we all are very disappointed with Anand and Carlsen’s performance so far. 

“You may watch an interesting theatrical performance, or perhaps you leave the theater after a few minutes. In the past chess was sort of intriguing, pieces somehow get engaged and performance begins. Each actor puts forward his plan, mounts challenge, shows boldness. But only the result is important now.” GM David Bronstein, and

“In chess, like in the theater, there should be lively play. Actors do not go on stage to do the drill. The audience will chase them out. They should perform a play. Likewise, the chess players should be playing, not going over the same lines over and over again. In the past, there was something in chess we might call ‘responsibility.’” –Bronstein in the 2003 forgotten interview.

art Margo Selski

Lets see what Bronstein may have meant by responsibility and respect to, I would say, chess and the chess public, those millions and millions of chess fans having been waiting for months in anticipation for somereal chess:

This is how it looked like in the past. So please someone show this to the Chennai warriors (Eugene Milutka, 1986)

This is what it looked like in the past, the “bury-him-half-into-the-ground” style. So please, please someone show this to the Chennai “warriors” (Eugene Milutka, 1986)

Steinitz-Zuckertort 1886 1-0 Gm1 0-1 Gm2
Steinitz-Tchigorin 1889 0-1 Gm1 1-0 Gm2
their rematch 1892 0-1 Gm1
Gunsberg-Steinitz 1890 0-1 Gm2
Lasker-Steinitz 1894 1-0 Gm1 0-1 Gm2
their rematch 1896 1-0 Gm1 1-0 Gm2
Lasker-Marshall 1907 1-0 Gm1 1-0 Gm2
Lasker-Tarrasch 1908 1-0 Gm1 1-0 Gm2
Janowski-Lasker 1910 0-1 Gm1
Capablanca-Alekhine 1927 0-1 Gm1 1-0 Gm3
Alekhine-Euwe 1935 1-0 Gm1 0-1 Gm2
their rematch 1937 0-1 Gm1 1-0 Gm2
Smyslov-Botvinnik 1954 0-1 Gm1 0-1 Gm2
Smyslov-Botvinnk 1957 1-0 Gm1
Tal-Botvinnik 1960 1-0 Gm1
Tal-Botvinnik 1961 rematch 0-1 Gm1 1-0 Gm2
Botvinnik-Petrosian 1963 1-0 Gm1
Petrosian-Spassky 1969 1-0 Gm1
Fischer-Spassky 1972 0-1 Gm1 forfeit Gm2 1-0 Gm3
Karpov-Korchnoi 1981 1-0 Gm1 1-0 Gm2
Kasparov-Karpov 1985 1-0 Gm1
Kasparov-Karpov 1987 0-1 Gm2
Kasparov-Karpov 1990 0-1 Gm2
Short-Kasparov 1993 0-1 Gm1
Kasparov-Kramnik 2000 0-1 Gm2

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We do hope that Anand and Carlsen will get their fighting spirit back. Otherwise, Bronstein may have been right, “Chesse is no more a game.”


The word “chesse” appears in The Game and Playe of Chessebook by William Caxton, the first English printer, published in 1474. It is the second book ever printed in England.

William Caxton's The Game and Playe of Chesse illustration

William Caxton’s The Game and Playe of Chesse: The thirde chapitre of the first tractate treteth wherfore the playe was founden and maad

Now, imagine what Mr. Caxton and his contemporaries may ask about the Anand-Carlsen “match”? What is going on here? An apathetic and ultimately boring draw in the game one in only 16 strokes? And you guys are “fighting” for the beste of the beste? Are you really playing on your own, or you are only trying to use those “cheape chips” to take your opponent by surprise? And so on…

Well, Mr. Caxton and Co. might simply say, it is a total non-event, but for the “players” cashing in millions…

* * *

And to wrap up, let me just to remind you, once again, of how chess was looked at and played in the past (another illustration from The Game and Playe of Chesse).

Illustration from William Caxton's The Game and Playe of Chesse

Disclaimer: this illustration is NOT showing bold and highly ingenious moves being made so far in the Anand-Carlsen match