OK – so chess is a game where you simply play the moves. No pressure. No drama.
I remember watching a YouTube video a few years ago and I loved it. Garry Kasparov was the greatest chess player in the world when I was growing up, and Magnus Carlsen is the best player at the moment and has been for a few years. They first played each other in 2004 in Reykjavik, Iceland.
Magus Carlsen was 13. Garry Kasparov was 41. Magnus Carlsen was already an International Master and ranked 700th in the world. Garry Kasparov was a Grandmaster and ranked No.1 in the world.
A crowd was watching. People were filming and taking photographs. And… Garry Kasparov was late. Garry Kasparov turned up late to the game keeping the 13 year old waiting at the board. No pressure? No drama?
Part way into the game, Carlsen goes for a wander while Kasparov is considering his next move. While Carlsen has his back to the table, Kasparov plays his move. If Carlsen is not careful, his clock will be ticking down while he is wandering around the other boards. What happens? – almost instantly Carlsen senses that Kasparov has played his move and he returns to the board to play a move he has clearly planned.
The result of the match is a draw. A truly fantastic achievement for a 13 year old against one of the greatest players of all time. But what interests me is the drama and the pressure and how Carlsen dealt with it.
I would expect a lot of people to find those circumstances difficult to handle. Especially a 13 year old. But Carlsen never lost his cool – he stayed calm and focused on the moves. He controlled those parts of the occasion which he could control, and he did not get concerned about things going on around him which he could not control. I think that is a great lesson for all players – and not just when playing chess.
Oh – and by the way – the opening? It was Queen’s Gambit Declined. This is one of the best openings for young chess players to learn.
The YouTube video can be seen below. It is a great video to watch.
My apologies, it has been a couple of week’s since I have done an article – I was away last Wednesday and busy over the weekend, so there has not been a report for a couple of weeks. My apologies.
This week I am not writing up the games – there have been a few too many for that, but the results and links to all of the tournaments in the last few weeks are provided below. If you have a ChessKid login, you can use these links to see the full results and look through the games.
Results: 13/09/2020 Sunday Blitz 2
Results: 13/09/2020 Sunday Bullet 2
Results: 16/09/2020 Wednesday Carlsen
Results: 20/09/2020 Sunday Blitz
Results: 20/09/2020 Sunday Bullet
Results: 23/09/2020 Wednesday Seven’s