19 November 2014

Carlsen - Anand II, the Second Week

It was a great week for world class chess. Last week's report, Carlsen - Anand II, the First Week, left the match tied +1-1=2. During the seven intervening days, we had four games and three rest days, Carlsen taking the lead with +1-0=3 in the new games.

The overall score of +2-1=5 leaves Anand in a better position than at the same point last year (see Anand - Carlsen, the Second Week, November 2013), when the score was +2-0=6. In 2013 Carlsen won the ninth game and drew the tenth to clinch the title with two games left to play. In 2014, with four games remaining, Anand must win at least one game and draw the rest if he wants to take the match into tiebreak.

Here's a summary of the past week's events, presented by TheHindu.com, one of my favorite Indian news sources. Their chess correspondent is Rakesh Rao.

If I were responsible for the match, what would I change? Not much, with the possible exception of the press conference. I spent time reviewing all of the press conferences held since the opening ceremony and am relieved that they are not re-broadcast on mainstream, network television. The press officer in charge shows no enthusiasm, the players show no interest in communicating, and the assembled journalists show no desire to extend the proceedings. Here's a typical exchange from the session after game eight.

Q: You say you weren't in the best of shape at the beginning [of the game]. Could you elaborate? • Carlsen: No.

Is it any wonder that outside interest in the match is nil? I can understand that the players are tired after a long game and that they don't want to give information about their preparation, but the purpose of a sporting event is to provide some entertainment to the world at large. The entertainment value of chess press conferences is close to zero.


The introduction to the official videos usually features the logo that I captured in my 'C-A II, First Week' post. The animated sequence starts with chess pieces dropping on to an empty board, then the board morphs into the player's eye, then the eye morphs and rotates into the full logo. I managed to capture the board morphing into a player's eye.

That's more entertaining than the typical press conference that follows.

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