The word on the street

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
What a great match! The battle between Topalov and Kramnik started only Saturday, but already the chess world seems divided. The first half grinds its teeth about the way Topalov gave away his great positions, and about the amount of luck Kramnik has had, and that we will be stuck with 'boring Kramnik' for another six years.

The other half mentions the Art of match playing, ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú something that Kramnik is much more experienced in ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú people whisper the names of Petrosian and Karpov, and they remind us how unpredictable matches can be. The historical examples are there for the taking and don't have to be repeated.
Kramnik-Kasparov (foto?Ǭ†
I think it took many chess players a long time before they could admire Kramnik. In 2000, being one of the few people from Holland, I went to London in order to see Kasparov, the hero of my youth, beat Kramnik. (By the way, it was quite understandable that there were so few people interested, since the entry fee per day was around 40 UK pound!) But what I saw was a psychologically superior Kramnik, full of self-confidence, brimming with ideas of his own. I also saw a scared Kasparov, who with White couldn't get passed the Berlin Defence, and only started playing 1.d4 when it was all too late. In the London rain I realised I was witnessing an historical match: the strongest chess player of all time had found a superior opponent, someone with a completely different style and just as much guts. Kasparov was clearly not at ease, as was obvious from his attitude during the analysis after the games. Kramnik was now a mature match player, and had humiliated the most fearsome match player in history.

So what about Topalov? There are people that make a comparison between Topalov now and Kasparov in 1984. Ambitious, agressive, highly motivated. Topalov can also bounce back!

Foto: FIDE

But in 1984, Kasparov was already quite an experienced match player, and besides, the match setup was completely different: Topalov can hardly hang in the ropes by endlessly playing for draws ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú at the time a brilliant strategy of the Kasparov camp ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú for the match will be over long before that. And still, Topalov can learn a lot from Kasparov, especially now that he is behind in the match: not to despair, not to try to force things too much, to stay as calm as possible. Kasparov was not only behind against Karpov, but in 1995 against Anand as well. Then too the commentators smelled blood, but Kasparov won the match convincingly.To be honest I don't understand what the whining is all about. Matches are always nerve-wrecking ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú that's what makes it fun, doesn't it? And mistakes ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú ah well, it's so easy now that we all have Fritz. "Topalov has blundered like a child!" is the word on the street after just one day ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú a verdict that in the past used to take months.

Topalov and Kramnik are only human, not computers ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú that's what makes this match so great.
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