In 2010, when I was a member of Team Anand, I was lucky to be in Sofia at the Word Championship to see the dramatic finale in game 12. After 11 nerve-wrecking games Anand had to play with black against Topalov. You probably remember what happened: Anand won.
From Wikipedia: “This was the only win for Black in the match. Anand’s choice of Lasker’s Defense in the Queen’s Gambit Declined appeared to signal his willingness to accept a draw, which would have tied the match at 6–6 and forced a rapid chess playoff. Most people believed that such a playoff would have greatly favoured Anand, due to his superior rapid chess resume, and Topalov in the postgame press conference noted his desire to avoid a rapid playoff given his loss in the World Chess Championship 2006 playoff to Vladimir Kramnik.”
@unudurti: “Safe to say that this won’t challenge Topalov-Anand, G/12 Sofia 2010 as the most dramatic finale in this format”.
Speaking of Topalov, his manager @silviodanailov tweeted: “I’m not sure if those guys have realized what crime they did. Chess goddess Kaissa is watching and someone will be badly punished tomorrow”.
Harsh words from a man who will always be linked to “Toiletgate”.
I spotted thousands of tweets about the outcome of game 12. The majority of the chess fans was, ahum, not amused: @portisdos: “The damage that Magnus has done to classical chess today may be irreparable. Tiebreaks are a resource not a purpose”.
@nemets18: “I slept in the afternoon in order to not fall asleep in the night and watch this match. You both outsmarted me”.
@DavidHowellGM: “Can’t believe I cancelled my evening’s plans to stay in and watch the World Championship match…”
@danalitman: “This was embarrassing for chess, I’m glad I didn’t pay money to watch that garbage.”
@ChrisBirdIA: “All those people complaining they could make the game on Sunday but not on Monday are probably thanking their lucky stars”.
However, there were some milder comments as well:
@philgood2day:“I dont understand people who are upset about the last game More Chess for us & logical approach from Carlsen”.
@chessturf: “Why waste time playing a stressful classic game when you’re the number one rapid player in the world, right?”
@britt_dj: “Too early to know if this is good strategy by Carlsen. If he wins the match it will be good. If he loses it will be bad”.
Yes Don, but at least they have a day off to prepare for the tie-break: GM Simon Williams, aka @ginger_gm: “Good to know that they have a day to rest after this epic encounter.”
@nigelshortchess:“I guess the players must be exhausted by their surfeit of rest days”.
@lawrencetrentIM: “My two cents: If final game finishes in under 2 hours, have playoffs the same day. If it’s a long fight, rest day “deserved”.
Yeah, explain that to your wife, Average Joe aka @oziomajnr: “How do I explain to my wife that it’s same World Chess Championship game that kept me till 3AM that’s ended in just 30mins”.
Change the system!
After the last classical game and many angry tweets, the discussion on Twitter went into a different direction:
Grandmaster Nikita Vitiugov: @n_vitiugov:” Experts and “experts” should first and foremost criticize the people writing the rules, rather than the players playing according to them.”
@RobertRis: “You can’t blame Magnus, only the system!”
Robert Ris, a Dutch IM, trainer, author and founder of the Amsterdam Chess Acadamy has an idea:” I think it would be better to have a tiebreak before the Classical match determining the winner in case match is 6-6″.
Jon Ludvig Hammer, what do you think: @gmjlh:“This was a fantastic idea two years ago – and still is! Creates brilliant dynamics “
And @outis refines the idea: “And the winner of the tie break gets BLACK in last game of classical time controls!”
Other suggestions? I found a tweet by GM Illescas: @illescasmiguel: “My proposal would be to play 4 classical games, 2 days for rapid (4 games each), 2 days for blitz (8 games each) and 2 days for basque chess”.
Sounds great but……@portisdos: “You forget chess-boxing.”
That would be great. But I think they should do the boxing after the basque thing.
More ideas please! @stefanloeffler: “Abandon tiebreak. Pay each third of the prize-fund. Keep a third. Let world champion play next in line within six months.”
Others like a tie-break, for different reasons: @itherocky: “A Rapid playoff is like an Uninvited Ex at your wedding. Avoidable and Unnecessary, But Helps you find a Winner!”
Words of wisdom, can you top that @reachvsara? “Actually, Tiebreaks R like the Babe at traditional wedding – U pretend she’s odd to the place, secretly wishing she makes her move :-)”
Come on guys, we have a serious problem here. Tweet me your idea, @gregshahade: “I think there should be no tiebreak in the World Championship and the champ should retain the title on a draw. Forces more interesting play.”
@berlin_endgame: “Totally agree with this >> “There should be no rapid tiebreak. If you want the title you need to beat the reigning champion.”
@TarjeiJS:” Can’t believe those who think reigning WC should keep title in case of tie. Challenger should get more not less privileges”. Tarjei added: “A rapid/blitz tiebreak is the ultimate show for fans. Can’t imagine anything more exciting. Ending match if tied is BAD”.
We have another suggestion from @jamesrustock: “Don’t you think Chess960 would be more interesting than always the same openings??”
Not a bad idea at all! If you want to know more about Chess960, go here. It is my first article (from 2001) about FRC/Chess960. And it is time to reveal a little secret: I wrote the rules of Chess960 for the FIDE handbook, together with teh legendary arbiter Geurt Gijssen.
More ideas, suggestions and tweets @ChessClassic are welcome!
And the last tweet of the day: @Loulasher: “Deciding a classical time control WCC w/rapids is like deciding a powerlifting meet w/50 m dashes. It’s kinda meaningless”