Sunday, May 29

Carlsen thinks the exception is in the “shameful” trend

The reaction comes in the wake of the long chess tournament in Wijk aan Zee, which ended last week.

In the tournament, which Magnus Carlsen eventually won, 49 of 91 games ended in a draw. A too high proportion of draw results, says chess expert Atle Grønn, who turns on all plugs.

In a Twitter message, he calls the end of the tournament “shameful”.

I react to the fact that many of the top players here fail when organizers, the audience and the media line up and expect top entertainment, says Grønn to NRK.

Will not lose face

The chess profile believes that more players will deliberately get games done as quickly as possible, with the least possible risk, precisely to achieve a draw.

– Why do they do this?

Because it’s it safe the solution. There is no risk, they get away with a decent income and do not lose much face. The rating is also at rest. They are cynical because the top players know they are in and in good company. They have no incentives to beat each other, says Grønn.

Atle Green

RESPONDS: Atle Grønn is upset about the attitudes of several players to classic chess.

Photo: Jørund Wessel Carlsen / NRK

He not only reacts to the results of the major tournament that ended last week, but believes this is a general attitude among several top players in chess.

Hundreds of thousands are now watching this and the audience is a completely different factor than before. This means that there is an opportunity for sponsorship, professionalisation and lifting of the entire concept. Players must understand that they have a responsibility to deliver. There are lots of people who have invested their day in this. I believe that they should not escape without shame if they cowardly as they do on the final day and as they often do in such situations.

Carlsen understands the concern

Green believes one of the exceptions is the reigning world champion in long chess Magnus Carlsen.

The impression you get is that only Magnus takes this seriously. He is the big exception. It is extremely deserved that he leaves the field as he does, because he tries to win even when he does not have to win.

Carlsen himself understands Grønn’s concern. Via his father and manager Henrik Carlsen, the chess player writes the following in a statement to NRK.

For some it is situational and understandable, while for a few it happens so often that I understand that it is a concern for the audience and organizers.

Magnus Carlsen

WON: Magnus Carlsen in action in the big tournament in the Netherlands last week.


– Down

Chess player Sheila Barth Stanford supports the concern and also believes the phenomenon has been there for a long time.

This is something we are used to. The difference now is that it is more often broadcast on TV and has a larger audience. There is then a slight downturn when the entertainment stops after an hour. For me as a spectator, it is far more interesting to look at when they are willing to risk something. A 20-move draw is not very interesting, Stanford says to NRK.

The chess profile adds that she understands those who choose to play it safe, and believes that it is up to the organizers to take action.


SUPPORTER: Sheila Barth Stanford (left) believes the phenomenon of choosing safe ways out of the long jacket has been around for a long time.

Photo: Rune Stoltz Bertinussen / NTB scanpix

A loss can cost a lot, you need ranking points to be invited to big tournaments, but it is up to the organizers that they invite players who are willing to play. My suggested solution is to mix established players with more challengers who are willing to risk a little more to climb, says Stanford.

– The interest is less

Now Green fears for the future of the long jacket if the trend continues.

Interest in chess decreases as this spreads. The long jacket is already vulnerable considering the long format. There are few long chess tournaments before, so it is important that it shows its best side when it first appears.

Green believes one is dependent on creating a better product to continue to attract sponsors and organizers.

There is a cycle here where everyone is dependent on each other. The players are not only dependent on each other, but also on sponsors organizers and the audience.

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