You're one of Fabio's Seconds. How would you help him beat Magnus?

SeniorPatzer

Besides the usual fare of studying Magnus's games and probing for weaknesses, and the regular opening preparation, I would incorporate a lot of physical exercise.  Magnus is in superb physical shape.  He runs, he plays soccer, basketball, ping pong, swimming, anything to build his cardio and increase his stamina.

 

Fabio has to do the same or better exercise regimen.

 

Second, I would get a reputable sports psychologist.  At this level, you gotta have strong nerves, and a strong mental frame of mind to win the cerebral combat match against Magnus.  Maybe even incorporate two sports psychologists IF their methods and techniques overlap and reinforce each other and don't contradict themselves.   I was thinking of traditional Western sports psychology and an Eastern approach ala Josh Waizkin and Tai Chi.    Actually, now that I think about it, there's probably already a sports psychologist that already incorporates both approaches.

 

So I suggest a purposeful, planned training regimen for Fabio with plenty of financial assistance from the US Chess Federation and the Italian Chess Federation:

 

1)  The Regular Chess Prep.  2)  Lots of Exercise, Nutrition, and Sleep.  3)  Sports Psychology.

 

What would you recommend for Fabio that you think would really help? 

IMBacon

My main piece of advice would be this:

Study the openings Magnus plays, and get very familiair with the non main lines.  I think this is part of what makes Magnus so strong.  He doesnt always play main lines.

SeniorPatzer
FishEyedFools wrote:

My main piece of advice would be this:

Study the openings Magnus plays, and get very familiair with the non main lines.  I think this is part of what makes Magnus so strong.  He doesnt always play main lines.

 

Yes, Magnus does do that.  That's why I like Magnus so much:  He wants to steer the game away from opening prep, away from computer lines, and into mano-a-mano chess.

 

I remember one time where Big Vladimir Kramnik gently critiqued Magnus about not having adequate opening preparation, and then the next game they played, Magnus played 1. f4! and proceeded to beat Big Vlad with the Big Bird to the face!

SeniorPatzer

I have another idea.  How about hiring Bu Xiangxi from China for a week or two?  Learn from him from his approach to battling and defeating Magnus over the chess board in 2017.

 

Why should we consider Bu for temporary recruitment to Team Fabio?  One, he knocked out Magnus out of the World Cup through the Classical Games format.  In game 1 he defeated Magnus with the Black pieces in a sparkling attack/sacrifice.  I've never seen Magnus dispatched so effortlessly.  In game 2 where Magnus HAD TO win, Bu obtained an easy draw with the White pieces and was never in trouble.   Boom!  Magnus Bu -  ooted from the World Cup!

 

Then in the 2017 Rapid Championships where you know Magnus wants to avenge his World Cup loss to Bu Xiangxi, he loses again to Bu!

 

Now Magnus has literally got an aura of invincibility to him.  But then comes along a happy-go-lucky Chinese Grandmaster, albeit 2700+ whose been bypassed by the Chinese Chess Federation in favor of Ding Liren and Wei Yi, and he just plays his own game against World Champ Magnus, seemingly fearlessly and unfazed by Magnus, and just beats Magnus as if taking a casual stroll in Central Park. 

 

Thinking that Fabio could get some pointers from Bu, yes?

EOGuel

Do what any other player would do... study the statistics, data, and math of Carlsen's game and weaknesses. Look not only at specific opening lines where he struggles, but check out the structures where he seems to struggle against. Find out which openings he tends to have difficulties with.

IMBacon
EOGuel wrote:

Do what any other player would do... study the statistics, data, and math of Carlsen's game and weaknesses. Look not only at specific opening lines where he struggles, but check out the structures where he seems to struggle against. Find out which openings he tends to have difficulties with.

Trying to prepare openings against Carlsen is precisely why he is the best.  While other GM's are boning up on what everyone else is playing, and, or current theory.  Carlsen is looking at and playing the #2, and #3 best moves in a position.

AntonioEsfandiari

Psychological warfare, which was almost successful for karjakin.  One thing Carlsen CAN'T STAND, is being in a "better" position for hours while his opponent casually defends with a goofy smile on his face.  This broke carlsen before, so much so that he violated his contract and skipped the press conference to pout in his room.

SeniorPatzer

Based on this comment by Fabio, it's why I think adding a sports psychologist (or at least training in that area) is important for him to defeat Magnus:

 

Interviewer:  What do you think the difference was between the two (the 2016 Candidates and the 2018 Candidates)? 

Fabio Caruana: This time I was just much better prepared. Last time I came to the tournament and I just wasn’t prepared and somehow I only got as far as I did because I was fighting very hard. I was also very lucky — I could have lost so many games, against Svidler, against Anish — I could have been out of contention long before the end. And this time it went well from the start. And then I had a rocky patch of a few games, but it was clear that this time I was in better shape, more prepared, and more ready to actually try to win it. Last time I don’t think I was really, before the tournament, thinking that I would win, and here I had some sort of belief that I had a good chance. 

Fabio must have the mindset and the nerves that he can and will defeat Magnus for the World Championship.

A sports psychologist will help tremendously in that regard.

 

BonTheCat

Despite being a grinder, Carlsen is impatient. Given Caruana's more active style, I don't see how this can be of any great help. Caruana's chance lies in the fact that Carlsen has still not rounded out his style, and I think this match will be decided entirely on form.

IMBacon
AntonioEsfandiari wrote:

Psychological warfare, which was almost successful for karjakin.  One thing Carlsen CAN'T STAND, is being in a "better" position for hours while his opponent casually defends with a goofy smile on his face.  This broke carlsen before, so much so that he violated his contract and skipped the press conference to pout in his room.

In that respect, Carlsen has some Korchnoi in him.  He enjoys defending tough positions.  

SeniorPatzer

Besides Opening Preparation, I think Caruana will be really well served in boning up on his Endgames and Deep Positional Analysis.  Magnus wins so many games out of drawish positions it's crazy.  If Fabio can blunt Magnus's relentless pressure from late middlegame and endgame positions with sterling endgame virtuosity, then he'll save himself a lot of critical half-points.

 

But I really don't know how Super GM's approach Endgame preparation.  I never even hear about it.  All I ever read about is Opening Prep at the GM level.  Never Endgame prep.  Seems like it's taken for granted.  

 

And it just seems like Magnus just squeezes and squeezes and squeezes everything possible out of a position.  Just relentless pressure.   Fabio's gotta turn the tables somehow and put Magnus on the defensive.  I went over Magnus's games against Bu Xiangxi, and Bu just does Kung Fu chess and turns Magnus's aggression back on Magnus, and then Magnus wilts.  Bu's games against Magnus in the World Cup and in the 2017 World Rapids were really quite remarkable.

DamonevicSmithlov

I think Carlsens record against Bu Xiangxi is 3-2 in classical. 2 wins for Carlsen, 1 win for Bu, and 2 draws.

SeniorPatzer

"I think Carlsens record against Bu Xiangxi is 3-2 in classical. 2 wins for Carlsen, 1 win for Bu, and 2 draws."

 

Wouldn't surprise me at all if that was the case.  What impresses me is the recency effect of Bu's wins against Magnus.  

 

#1.  Bu won with the Black pieces in the World Cup against Magnus.  He even sacrificed to get an attack against Magnus's king.  Then he pressed it home in a rather easy fashion.

 

#2.  Magnus in a must-win game against Bu in game 2 of their World Cup match could do nothing against Bu's moves.  Draw in less than 40 moves.

 

#3.  In the interviews with Bu about his play with Magnus, he was very casual, smiling, like it was no big deal to play Magnus, and he was completely unfazed about the Magnus Mystique.  Rather nonchalant about playing Magnus in the World Cup.  Just a disarming smile and a shrug of the shoulders.

 

#4.  In the 2017 World Rapids Championship, Bu gets paired up against Magnus.  You know, YOU KNOW, Magnus wants payback.  He wants to avenge his loss in the World Cup, guaranteed.  Magnus keeps tabs.  Eg., he has a mini-twitter thing going with Anish Giri.  He kinda disses Kramnik.  So obviously, even though his overall record is better against Bu, he wants payback for getting Bu-oooted out of the World Cup.  And Magnus has the White pieces against Bu in the 2017 World Rapids.  And in rapid chess, Magnus is even more dominant than he is in Classical Chess.  

 

So then here comes Bu.  A happy-go-lucky gait strolling into playing Magnus.  No fear at all of the Magnus Mystique.  Shrugs shoulder, disarming smile, and plays Black against a ferocious Magnus intent on avenging his World Cup loss.

 

What happens?  Another Magnus loss!!  His revenge against Bu must wait another day!  It's like ping-pong, and Magnus slammed the ball as hard as he could to win the point, and Bu just casually flicked his wrist with an easy backhand return and scored the point as Magnus could only look on helplessly. 

 

So THAT is why I suggest Fabio bringing Bu on to help him in his preparations against Magnus.

RoaringPawn

 I think Fabiano should play Random

SeniorPatzer

"I think Fabiano should play Random."

 

What's your thinking undergirding this recommendation?

SeniorPatzer

Team Fabio will need more seconds.  His coach Rustam Kazimdzhanov, former FIDE World Champion and 2676 grandmaster, just lost to an untitled 2148 player in the Grenke Chess Open.  

 

Bring on Bu Xiangxi!

Geodexic

Play correspondence chess as many as he could distribute his time.

Play regular chess once a day.

knighttour2

It's true that sacrificing for initiative is a good way to beat Magnus, or any other top player.  Anand's only win against him in their title matches came in a QGD where he gave up material for a far advanced c pawn and Magnus couldn't handle the complications.  Given how strong top players are, trying to seize the initiative and then pressuring them into mistakes (a la Tal) is perhaps the best way to win, but other than finding opening novelties or totally changing his style of play, there's not much Fabi can do.  He's strong enough of a player to beat Magnus and his biggest weakness has been time trouble, which he mostly solved in the Candidates.

I don't put much on Bu's win at the World Cup.  He hit Magnus with an opening novelty, then in the second game Magnus blundered a perpetual combination.  That's not the kind of thing that translates into the WCC match.  Everyone has players that they struggle with for some reason and others that they beat easily, but I don't think it can be replicated by someone else.  I don't think Fabi needs to do anything drastic with his coaching or his prep.

SeniorPatzer

@#18, I'm not sure about that.  I suppose it depends on how you define "drastic."  If someone were to define "drastic" as doing something that's different from your current routine and training regimen, then yes, I think he should do something "drastic."  Because to defeat Viking Magnus requires "drastic" measures.  Same old, same old will not suffice.

 

Incidentally, Fabio plays with Black tomorrow against Magnus in Round 1 of the Grenke.  It will likely be a draw, but I wouldn't be surprised if Magnus goes full out against Fabio to send a message to him.

 

Magnus wins tomorrow against Fabio, then hopefully Fabio learns that he needs to do something different (not drastic) in his training regimen in order to wrest the crown away from Magnus.

knighttour2

I don't think Fabi needs to do anything crazy to beat Magnus.  He's beaten him before, and even Sergey had a real chance to win his match against Magnus after winning the first decisive game.  Caruana is a strong enough and dynamic enough player to beat Magnus, although Magnus must be the favorite.

I think that if Fabi has good seconds, good coaching, plays well, and isn't intimidated by the fact that it's his first WCC match, he has a decent chance to win.  Trying to learn how to be Tal in 6 months before playing the biggest match of his life isn't a good idea.  I don't think changes to his chess style are necessary, although opening prep, analysis of Magnus's recent form, and a match regimen are definitely needed.  I would add someone who has played this format before and use his experience in playing a 12 game match for the WCC.