The previous post on this blog, Anand - Carlsen Resources, offers a good metric in a Google News search on 'anand carlsen', currently showing 'About 12,700 results'. Many of those results are from Indian news sources, what you might expect from a country with a population of over a billion people celebrating a national hero.
It's impossible to keep up with that volume of reporting, but here are a few articles that caught my attention in the week running up to the start of the match.
- 2013-10-29: Who's first among 'seconds'? [dnaindia.com]
- 2013-10-31: It will take more than just home advantage for Vishwanathan Anand to win World championship title clash in India [dnaindia.com]
- 2013-11-02: Anand will need ‘fire in his game’ to beat Carlsen: Polgar [firstpost.com]
- 2013-11-03: Anand, Carlsen opt for no-nonsense zone [indiatimes.com]
- 2013-11-04: Kasparov to visit Chennai during World Championship tie [thehindu.com]
- 2013-11-04: Hard to rate Anand, Carlsen, says Polgar [newindianexpress.com]
- 2013-11-04: Magnus Carlsen wary of Viswanathan Anand ahead of World Chess Championship [ndtv.com]
- 2013-11-04: Carlsen arrives well prepared for world championship [indiatimes.com]
- 2013-11-05: Garry Kasparov: A Win For Carlsen In The Upcoming World Championship Match Will Be A Huge Win For The Chess World [businessinsider.com]
- 2013-11-06: It all boils down to style [dnaindia.com]
- 2013-11-06: Anand, Carlsen on different planets before Battle Royale [indiatimes.com]
- 2013-11-05: Anand is as much a national treasure as Tendulkar [thehindu.com]
caught my eye not only for its many comments, but also for its 'Infographic', embedded below. (Note to myself: find out how to make one of these.)
In every parade there's someone standing on the side complaining about it, and chess makes a particularly easy target.
- 2013-11-04: The World Chess Championship is an embarrassing anachronism. It’s time to end it forever [slate.com], subtitled, 'No More Kings - Magnus Carlsen is the world’s best chess player, but he shouldn’t be the world champion.'
Why shouldn’t he be the World Champion?
The problem with the title of world champion is that it’s too crude a measurement of chess skill in an era of instantly updated ratings, and you get embarrassing, confusing situations where the player who is clearly the best isn’t labeled as such. Having a world champion makes sense in boxing, where infrequent matches make comparing fighters a tricky proposition. But in chess, as in tennis, the world’s two best players will meet head-to-head as many as four or five times in a year.
Tennis doesn’t have a world champion, and rightly so. That sport measures greatness by elevating four tournaments (the grand slams) above all others and assessing a player’s results there. Peaks and valleys are measured by a ratings algorithm that’s updated from week to week.
The author, who 'blogs about crossword puzzles', can go back to his word games. The rest of us will enjoy the ultimate test of chess skill that transcends 'instantly updated ratings' and the one-off 'head-to-head' meetings that prove nothing beyond who was in better form that day.