Chess is like Philippine politics

Posted by watchmen
December 1, 2018
Posted in OPINION

“Chess helps you to concentrate, improve your logic. It teaches you to play by the rules and take responsibility for your actions, how to problem solve in an uncertain environment.” –Garry Kasparov


Political combat in the Philippines can sometimes be compared to chess; both camps believe they will win and neither entertains the possibility of losing. If they lose, they were “cheated.” However, in politics, there is no draw. Unlike in chess, where victory is achieved through a tiebreaker or after the full regular match in a best-of-12 format, much like the recently-concluded FIDE World Chess Championship between Norway’s Magnus Carlsen and American Fabiano Caruana.

I was wrong when I posted “I have the gut feeling that the world will have a new world chess champion tomorrow (November 28)” on social media just hours before the start of the championship tiebreakers. My gut feeling erred as the Norwegian retained his title.

Had he won, Caruana would have been the first American to claim the championship since Bobby Fischer in 1972.

Carlsen came in as the favorite and was crowned champion three times prior. He won after three time-limited games.

I chose the American after Carlsen offered a draw in their final match before the tiebeakers; a match many experts, including former world champion Garry Kasparov, believed was a winning game. They suspected the Norwegian was panicking after the title match ended in a 6-6 deadlock.

Kasparov even tweeted: “In light of this shocking draw offer from Magnus in a superior position with more time, I reconsider my evaluation of him being the favorite in rapids. Tiebreaks require tremendous nerves and he seems to be losing his.”

“Carlsen was the first to deviate from the earlier contests, perhaps a stratagem to take Caruana out of his seemingly excellent preparation for the championship, and to angle for a decisive result at last,” said a report in The Guardian. “By the 12th move, the two were in uncharted territory, looking at a board that no two people had created before at this level of chess.”

Kasparov tweeted again after the victory: “Carlsen’s consistent level of play in rapid chess is phenomenal. We all play worse as we play faster and faster, but his ratio may be the smallest ever, perhaps only a 15% drop off. Huge advantage in this format.”/WDJ

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