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With two consecutive losses the pundits are saying that Wesley is done. Kaput. Out of it. They didn't think his chances were very good going into the tournament, but with two consecutive losses, and the psychology that goes with starting 0-2 in a 14 round tournament with the best players in the world, well, it's over for Wesley.
I've also heard that in tournaments like this, when you have a bad start, the other competitors smell blood in the water. Wins are hard to come by, so when a player is weak, they're targeted. Opponents are no longer content to play for a draw in an equal position with you as white or black (so they may even change the openings they play against you), and in endgames they'll draw it out as long as possible waiting for you to crumble.
I've read the same thing. All the hungry sharks have to feed off the carcass of the weakie (it's nothing personal against Wesley), else they lose maximizing their winning chances. I.e., "If my nearest rivals are scoring 1.5 to 2.0 points off Wesley and I'm only scoring 1 point or less, then I'm losing ground."
Wesley is going to seen as the punching bag, and while this is disconcerting for Wesley, this is also his best opportunity to get back in the tournament. If other players overreach in trying to score wins off Wesley, then Wesley needs to counter-attack and punish his opponents.
P.S. Wesley stopped the bleeding today by getting a draw with the White pieces against Ding Liren in Round 3.
Did he stop the bleeding? He entered a line well known that leads in drawn endgame.
He didn't try to win , he only tried not to lose. And this is a tournament where only the first place counts.
In my opinion he doesn't believe it.
I hear you. It's either 1st place or Nothing. A respectable showing (+1 or the upper half of the tournament standings) is really the same as doing poorly if you ignore the prize money.
The old saying of "Win with White, Draw with Black" is a time-tested strategy. By that measure, Wesley has failed 3 games in a row: 2 losses with Black and a draw with White.
The early front-runners are looking good: Kramnik (beating Aronian with the Black pieces in a sparkling game), Shak, and Fabio.
And per my Original Post (OP), all three of the front-runners have an excellent team of Seconds.
If I were an informal yet influential advisor to Team Wesley, I would counsel him to politely request the services of either of the following people to be his coach or Second:
1) Garry Kasparov.
2) Anatoly Karpov.
I would also say Vishy Anand, but he's still active. But if Wesley were to get one of the former World Champs on his team, with their knowledge of training regimens, and putting some fire into Wesley's belly, I think it would be enough to put Wesley into the very, very top tier or inner circle of players.
I mean, right now, he's already a top 10 player, but with Kasparov or Karpov overseeing his preparation, Wesley's skills and potential would be maximized and he'd be giving Magnus a run for his title and money.
While he is still in okay shape, if I was Aronian, I would probably go back to my seconds and say "Okay, so whose idea was it to play into the line that Kramnik almost single-handedly revived? Lets not do that again!!"
Lo, what if Levon's seconds said, "That was your idea Levon! You knew Vlad was going to play the Berlin against 1e4. Why didn't you play the Scotch or the Giucco Piano?"
Yup, he's back to top form! The other players better watch out!
I think Aronian had prepared something. So did Kramnik and his prepared move was faster.
It is possible, but frankly, if there is one line even Magnus would avoid with Kramnik, it would be the Berlin. Kasparov learned that the hard way.
White side or Black side?
Everyone's an expert on the Berlin these days.
Kramnik was playing Black. If Aronian was Black, he would play the Marshall Attack.
Yes, but there is a difference in "an" expert and THE expert.
but there are who only copy ideas and there are innovators like kramnik.
Wesley does have a 2nd there. He has the lord.
If I was a believer, I wouldn't ask for this type of help. I remember the case of a cyclist, can't recall his name. He said once he would pray for not losing his life on a mountain pass, but not for winning a race.
While that's true, Wesley will probably say that every player, and every person has the same Lord as he does (whether you recognize and trust the same Lord as he does is another matter altogether). Akin to saying that everyone has the same Sun shining upon them. It's not Wesley's Sun, but everybody's.
Again, if I was a trusted advisor to Wesley, I would counsel him to reach out to Garry Kasparov or Anatoly Karpov for help. To have former World Champions, nay Chess Legends, to help grow your game, and he certainly needs it if he wants to challenge and topple King Magnus, is a must.
Kasparov's and/or Karpov's experience and knowledge of the highest levels of chess competition, priceless. Next cycle, Wesley, next cycle.
It's way too late now for Wesley to try to get a 2nd to help for this tournament because they need time. But for future tournaments I'm thinking Karpov would be a much better fit than Kasparov because Karpovs style is closer to Wesleys than Kasparovs. Just a hunch I have. Also, personalities and other qualities matter as well, so it's really hard to guess who'd really be best.
That's why I said "next cycle Wesley" in my comment above yours.
A fiery Kasparov might be better for Wesley precisely because his temperament and style is different from Wesley's.
Svidler was second in a number of cases(he mentioned that in once case he was hired one day and fired the other , that has to be somekind of record) and he also had second in a number of cases.He has talked about this experience quite a lot.
The second must have a style of play as close to the player as possible. Wesley So is well known for not taking risks. He is almost always on the better side of a draw and his very good technique and talent has given him a lot of wins. Something that Kasparov might consider good, So might not. Then it is the intimidation factor. The relation with the second is a complicated one. If you think it's all laughs and civilised discussions about chess , then you are wrong. They spend a lot of time together and eventually there are fights.Choosing someone that is a legend , makes things hard. It will make So feel more like a student than a player. The second must be a guy willing to obey. Karpov and Kasparov were always on the side of "giving orders". Can they be on the other side?Carlsen was preparing with Kasparov. Why did he stop?
Also a second has to spend countless hours in front of a screen looking for possible lines or possible defects on opponent's play. I am not sure Karpov is willing to do that and have a kid telling him "do that" and "do this" or "I want that" and "I want this".
So getting Kasparov or Karpov is not that easy as it sounds. There are many factors that make the relationship player-second thrive and the experience of the second is just one of them.
I think Kramnik did the most wise choice with Giri and I also think he would never take Kasparov or Karpov.