Hangover tables and chess psychology
Chess players know well that the worst mistake you can make on the board is to keep thinking and let yourself be influenced by the previous one. Recreating yourself in past misfortunes is not only useless, it is often counterproductive. Ian Nepomniachtchi faced this Saturday a new opportunity with White, but after losing the marathon sixth game of the World Chess Championship, a quiet draw is not the worst possible way to lick your wounds, even if the scoreboard reflects a 4-3 in favor of Magnus Carlsen. It is also true that the Russian has used another bullet and has not that many left, although anything is better than shooting himself.
The press conference was almost the most interesting of the day, with dialogues like this between a journalist and Nepo:
“Was today’s game a missed opportunity?”
-Probably not. It was a very balanced game, I think it was just boring.
“When will you attack?”
-When the moment comes.
The Russian again raised the Spanish opening and Magnus Carlsen He kept his faith in a line that gives him a very slight disadvantage, enough so far to equalize without suffering too much. It could even serve to counterattack, if the opponent tries to force too much. The tables were signed after 41 plays, when both players only had a rook and three pawns per side, in an absolutely symmetrical position.
Nepo, on the other hand, revealed a little mystery: what it does when it gets up and disappears from the board. The applicant said that he goes to his room (each player has a rest area, with drinks and something to eat), sits on the sofa and follows the game through the monitor: “It reminds me of the times of the coronavirus, I look at the screen and I think ».
Carlsen also has his little tricks to prepare emotionally and confessed that he usually arrives at the place of play on time, listening to music in the car: “It is nice to lift your spirits, so we usually arrive a little earlier. Playing some lighthearted joke is also very healthy. ‘
Let’s look at another illustrative dialogue of the applicant’s state of mind and the psychologist couch in which the great masters sit when they finish their games, usually with a very good atmosphere:
“Ian, you are on the cusp of your career.” Is it fun for you?
–It depends on the result. As soon as you start winning, it will be fun. If not, obviously it will not be so.
“Did you sleep well last night, Ian?”
“I slept a little less than normal, but in general, when you’re tired, of course you sleep well.”
-Yesterday was a day full of ups and downs. How do you stay mentally strong and how are you able to play today?
-I believe that in general I am mentally strong.
The Russian also spoke about more chess aspects and what he is achieving with his approaches in each game, which at first glance does not seem like much. “I must say,” he countered, “that I am accomplishing a lot more than i bargained for at openings».
Magnus, meanwhile, seemed more secretive, always with a touch of humor in his responses, perfect as a breastplate. They asked him, for example, where he would place the previous game in the history of the world championships, as a great chess historian that he is. “Let’s leave that to the historians who are not involved in this duel,” he replied. On the other hand, he did get wet, because it caught him further, when they asked him to choose a duel for the world title, of all those celebrated: «I think it would be tight for a confrontation between Kasparov and Karpov from Seville, closely followed by the Alekhine–Capablanca from Buenos Aires, “he said.
“I think it would be a close race between… Kasparov-Karpov from Seville closely followed by Alekhine-Capablanca from Buenos Aires” –
We just got over the test equator And, although Carlsen has four games left with white and three with black, the color of the pieces has not been as decisive so far as the control of emotions and the ability to finish off the advantages. And in that, the Norwegian does seem superior. We’ll see if Nepo finds a way to hurt him and other interesting games like the second and sixth are seen.