Some of you think chess is boring; but I don’t think many of you would think that a $2.55 million prize purse is boring.
This year’s World Chess Championship–in which Viswanathan Anand (India) defends his title against the top-rated player in the world, Magnus Carlsen (Norway)–offers a purse of more than two-and-a-half million smackers, 60% to the winner, 40% to the loser. That ought to make it exciting, right?
Wrong. So far, this is the worst “world championship chess” I’ve ever seen.
Maybe I’m old-fashioned; but I think chess games between the two top players in the world ought to be good games, packed with drama, tension, brilliancy, and art. But the first three games of this match have been terrible.
In Game One they went 13 moves into the game, and while still in the opening phase, repeated their moves three times in a row to force an automatic draw. In Game Two they went a few moves longer before again forcing a draw by repetition of moves. And in Game Three they actually got into the middle game–then, seeming to lose interest, they exchanged all their pieces (chess as a fire sale?) until they had none left, thus forcing yet another automatic draw.
I wonder what a ticket costs. Anything over 49 cents, you got robbed.
A few commentators have tried to defend this fiasco by saying, “Well, hey, these guys play at such a high level, only a few of the top grand masters of chess can hope to understand these games.” As Judge Judy says, “Don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining.” These games stink! Anand and Carlsen are playing like they’re just trying to get it over with so they can enter a Monopoly tournament.
I hope nobody’s thinking, “Gee, even if I lose, I still walk off with over a million dollars–just for showing up! Why give myself grey hairs, trying to win?”
I wonder what would happen if they knocked $50,000 or $100,000 off the purse, every time there’s a draw.
If big-time chess isn’t dead already, events like this will kill it.