22 December 2021

2021 Carlsen - Nepomniachtchi, Wrapup

With this post we bid farewell to the recent World Championship match, following a series of posts on this blog under the heading '2021 Carlsen - Nepomniachtchi'.

Because I spent less time following the match than I did with previous matches, I had fewer posts on my main blog. I could find only three.

Given GM Nepomniachtchi's performance, it's unlikely that we'll see him back for another match against Carlsen. This is a good time to document a series of posts from earlier this year, also on my main blog.

What to do tackle next on this blog? I have open actions from two series of posts started before the match.

It might have been premature to 'bid farewell' to the match. For example, I still haven't tackled the material in the 'Flood of Videos' post. Then there's the little matter mentioned in the 'Third Week' post -- World Champion Carlsen might decline to play any further matches unless the conditions suit him.

That stance, trying to dictate the rules for subsequent matches, follows a long tradition established by previous World Champions. Several of the pre-FIDE champions were guilty of arranging the cards in their favor. It continued with Botvinnik, the first FIDE champion, then later with Fischer and Kasparov. I thought this had been settled with Kasparov, who ultimately accepted that the title belongs to FIDE. The world federation, not the champion, sets the rules.

With Carlsen there is the additional complication that he has profited from branding his name through the 'Play Magnus' company, using it to acquire other companies involved in chess. I gave an outline in Carlsen's TMER 2019-21, Chess24 (November 2021). Now he has shareholders who might not be so thrilled that he risks damaging his own brand.

Yesterday GM Carlsen expressed his position in writing: Dubai Expo FIDE World Championship Match (svw.no; 'Written by Magnus Carlsen').

I have by now played against the previous generation and three leading players of my generation. Being result-oriented has worked out for me in these matches, but it doesn’t feel sustainable long term. Passion must be the main driver. It is unlikely that I will play another match unless maybe if the next challenger represents the next generation.

Will the next title match be held in 2022 or 2023? The FIDE calendar (fide.com) currently lists 'FIDE Candidates Tournament 2022', without being more specific, and has no entry for the next World Championship. Whatever happens, there promises to be plenty of drama for Magnus Carlsen's many fans.

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