Chess Triumphs and Blunders
Posted: 02/05/2014 5:26 pm EST Updated: 02/05/2014 5:59 pm EST
Lubomir Kavalek
International Chess Grandmaster

Magnus Carlsen won the Zurich Chess Challenge, the first tournament he played as the world champion. It was an amazing event, a chess triathlon, with the superstars showing their skills in blitz, rapid and classic chess, the latter being the most important.

Undefeated, with three wins and two draws, the Norwegian grandmaster finished the classic part a full point ahead of the Armenian Levon Aronian.

Looking at the crosstable, Carlsen’s victory may seem easy, but, in fact, it was hanging on one game — a swing game against the American Hikaru Nakamura, who was rated for the first time as number three in the world. A loss by Carlsen would have injected a new life into the event.

Nakamura never beat Carlsen in classical chess, but he came close in Zurich. Choosing the same variation against the Nimzo-Indian defense that gave Carlsen problems in the world championship match against Vishy Anand, Nakamura outplayed his opponent. There were no obvious blunders on Carlsen’s part, perhaps just a string of inaccurate moves, a strategic plan going slightly awry — but it was enough to land him in trouble.

…In early February 1993, I went to Lucerne to represent Nigel Short at the FIDE bidding for his world championship match against Garry Kasparov. The results were not encouraging: Kasparov’s supported bid of one million Swiss francs came from the Galician town of Santiago de Compostela. But there was an incredible bid of $5 million from Jezdimir Vasiljevic. It was the same amount Vasiljevic put up for the 1992 match between Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky. 

I flew to Budapest to check it out since Vasiljevic was the main sponsor of the match between Spassky and Judit Polgar. He came to the lobby of the hotel with his bodyguards.

I asked him: “Are you really going to sponsor the match Kasparov – Short?”

He laughed: “Oh, Kasparov, Kasparov. He should be careful. One day he may try to cross a street and he may not make it to the other side.”

Vasiljevic was never going to sponsor anything Kasparov. That was clear.

Full article here.

Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar
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