Monday, May 10, 2010

Thoughts on Anand vs Topalov

Following the ongoing World Championship on Mig Greengard's excellent chess blog over the past couple of weeks has been a bit of an eye opener. The banter on the blog has everything going for it - highbrow analysis from Rybka simulations, translations from Shipov's magnificently abstract Russian commentary, cheap shots by fans, a lot of Indian jingoism and some absolute gems from Nigel Short makes for compelling reading. Who knew that Chess could generate such edge of the seat excitement. The match has turned out to be an absolute cracker generating abundant drool worthy content for the layman and expert alike.

Following Vishy's career over the past two decades has been a satisfying experience. Vishy is the perfect blend of insane talent and copious amounts of hard work. Breaking into a predominantly Russian and Eastern European bastion and consistently staying in the top 5 for more than 15 years with three World Championship titles speaks of a steel and resolve for which he is seldom given any credit. Finally all the talk of mental frailties and stage fright for big occasions were laid to rest when he comprehensively beat Kramnik for the World title in 2008.

The current match against the mercurial Topalov has been a fantastic advertisement for the sport. Topalov's off the board antics with his pig-headed insistence on imposing Sofia Rules governing draws have actually made the match more exciting on account of mistakes made by both sides due to fatigue and sheer pressure. Anand has proved to be the better chess player but Topalov's relentless energy and a penchant for provocative moves has kept the contest finely balanced.

The decider awaits tomorrow with Topalov playing with white pieces and a distinct advantage. I cant wait to log in.

PS: Mig Greengard's chess blog is probably the chess equivalent of Pete Bodo's excellent Tennis blog.