Sinquefield Chess Cup: 3 Warnings from Magnus Carlsen to Viswanathan Anand for World Title Match ~ World Chess Championship 2013 Viswanathan Anand vs Magnus Carlsen at Chennai Hyatt Regency

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Monday, September 16, 2013

Sinquefield Chess Cup: 3 Warnings from Magnus Carlsen to Viswanathan Anand for World Title Match

Posted by World Chess Championship 2013 News Blog Monday, September 16, 2013

Magnus Carlsen has won the Sinquefield Chess Cup with 4.5 points out of six, a full point ahead of the rest of the field and with a rating performance of 2966. In the process, not only does the World No. 1 pick up $70,000, but also precious eight rating points to stand only two points short of his own record.

Carlsen raced ahead of Gata Kamsky, Hikaru Nakamura and Levon Aronian to take the trophy in the four-player Sinquefield Chess Cup. Is that a good result? Carlsen said, "Any time you pick up rating points, generally it's a good result overall!"

Speaking about the next event being the World Chess Championship 2013 in Chennai, in November, against Viswanathan Anand, Carlsen said, "I don't have too many worries." 

Viswanathan Anand would have noted three things for sure about Carlsen's play:

-- Carlsen won't accept draws easily: In the final round, Levon Aronian actually outplayed the World No. 1 in the opening and later, in an even position, proposed a draw. Carlsen did not take it even though the draw guaranteed him tournament victory. Aronian himself wasn't that surprised Carlsen turned down the draw offer, "We're not really playing for money here, we're playing chess". 

Carlsen said, "When I finally had the better position, I wanted to use it" about rejecting the draw offer. Just in case Aronian had managed to beat Carlsen in the last round, the tournament would have gone into a three-way playoff with Carlsen, Nakamura and Aronian. In any case Carlsen has always maintained that chess games at top level should be played right to the finish. The credit for the fighting spirit also goes to Carlsen's fitness regime. Seventy moves against Aronian were "nothing" for Carlsen. He's as fit as Hercules!

-- Beware the Carlsen Passion: Anand could consider wearing dark shades: The only person out of the three top Grandmasters playing Carlsen, in Saint Louis, who could get away with draws was Hikaru Nakamura. He turned up for both his games against Carlsen in sunglasses. The US No. 1 later tweeted about his draws: No hypnotism, better chess. 

That sparked off quite a joke and rumour about Carlsen using chess hypnosis. Both Gata Kamsky and Levon Aronian suffered crushing defeats at the hands of the World No. 1 in the Sinquefield Cup. Nakamura was the only one to escape with draws.

But, jokes apart, it's about how intensely Carlsen feels about the sport of chess. If that passion and intensity could be defined as chess hypnosis, so be it. That spirit has actually revived chess across the world when everyone was grumbling that chess being dull was unable to attract sponsors. If a chess practitioner can come out and rekindle the world's passion with chess, none of us would like to complain.  

-- Carlsen's opening prep will be stronger: Grandmasters around the world have consistently criticised Carlsen's opening play that wavers from theory and goes into uncharted territory even landing the World No. 1 in trouble pretty quickly after the start of a game. However, Carlsen makes up for that lapse with his tremendous fighting spirit and deep understanding of the middlegame and endgame. After his victory at the Sinquefield Cup, Carlsen did say he would be working on the openings! Anand and his team would surely have noted that remark. The World No. 1 still has about 50 full days to work on that aspect of his play.