Where does Anand sit in the list of World Champions?

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Rob Thompson
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Re: Where does Anand sit in the list of World Champions?

Post by Rob Thompson » Wed Jun 08, 2011 10:57 am

Judging from the way he is able to adapt his style massively depending on who he is playing, i would suggest pretty high. Certainly I think he compares favourably to those "great" players throughout history who could only ever play one style of chess.
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Re: Where does Anand sit in the list of World Champions?

Post by Mike Truran » Wed Jun 08, 2011 11:29 am

To be fair, most if not all of the champions have been able to adapt their styles according to need - although obviously most of them had a stylistic preference.

LozCooper

Re: Where does Anand sit in the list of World Champions?

Post by LozCooper » Wed Jun 08, 2011 12:41 pm

Warren Kingston wrote:Is it true to say, that todays champions are not looked at in the same light as past champions?
I would expect certain people to think Tal a better Champion than Anand, but is that true?
I suspect that may be true of players who have won the knockout events such as Khalifman and Kasimdzhanov where they didn't have to beat Kasparov/Kramnik/Anand. I find it very hard to compare generations though, the computer age has made chess completely different. I suspect people admire fighting and attacking chess though so players like Fischer and Kasparov and Tal will always have a lot of admirers but equally players like Karpov were very strong and ahead of their time. Kramnik's reputation probably suffers because of the amount of quick draws but like Karpov he is very strong and has amazing understanding.

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Re: Where does Anand sit in the list of World Champions?

Post by Alex Therrien » Wed Jun 08, 2011 2:05 pm

I think it depends on what you mean by this question. If the question is about strength, Anand is very high up the list.
The level of chess has improved so dramatically over the last 20 years, that, in my view, a list of the strongest players of all time would be dominated by players of the modern generation, with the exception of Karpov who is probably the second strongest player of all time.

In terms of legend, however, Anand would be much further down. He won the championship from Kramnik, after Kramnik had passed his best, and he has not defended it against the strongest active players in the world (Carlsen and Aronian). Also, it's not clear whether Anand would have become world champion if Kasparov had not retired.
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Rob Thompson
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Re: Where does Anand sit in the list of World Champions?

Post by Rob Thompson » Wed Jun 08, 2011 2:16 pm

Bob Clark wrote:I wonder if Karpov would ever have become champion if Fischer had not retired.
I'm not sure he would have. By the time Fischer started to wane, Kasparov would have been stronger than Karpov
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Re: Where does Anand sit in the list of World Champions?

Post by Keith Arkell » Wed Jun 08, 2011 2:45 pm

I think you can only measure players relative to their contemporaries, and for me Karpov and Kasparov (in no particular order) stand head and shoulders above everyone else. The Fischer story was exciting while it lasted, but surely doesn't compare with the deacades of consistent dominance by the two Ks.

If Fischer had stuck around and dominated through the 70s then it would be a different matter, but to do that he would of course have had to continue improving. Tal showed that it is possible to continue getting stronger. In an interiew he stated that the Tal of the 80s would have easily beaten the World champion Tal of 1960-1. If, however, Fischer had already reached his peak by the time of his match vs Spassky then he would have been no match for Karpov.

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Re: Where does Anand sit in the list of World Champions?

Post by Jon D'Souza-Eva » Wed Jun 08, 2011 2:51 pm

I don't think Anand will ever be considered quite as good as the very best ever because of his poor record in games against Kasparov (something like 23-8 to Kasparov).

I think it's 1) Kasparov, 2) Karpov then everyone else.

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Re: Where does Anand sit in the list of World Champions?

Post by Sebastian Stone » Wed Jun 08, 2011 7:59 pm

After Kramnik, before Carlsen.
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Re: Where does Anand sit in the list of World Champions?

Post by Sebastian Stone » Wed Jun 08, 2011 8:39 pm

Warren Kingston wrote:
Sebastian Stone wrote:After Kramnik, before Carlsen.
Thought he beat Kramink to win title??
Yes, that's why he's after him.
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Re: Where does Anand sit in the list of World Champions?

Post by matt_ward » Wed Jun 08, 2011 8:42 pm

Alex Therrien wrote:I think it depends on what you mean by this question. If the question is about strength, Anand is very high up the list.
The level of chess has improved so dramatically over the last 20 years, that, in my view, a list of the strongest players of all time would be dominated by players of the modern generation, with the exception of Karpov who is probably the second strongest player of all time.

In terms of legend, however, Anand would be much further down. He won the championship from Kramnik, after Kramnik had passed his best, and he has not defended it against the strongest active players in the world (Carlsen and Aronian). Also, it's not clear whether Anand would have become world champion if Kasparov had not retired.

Regarding your point about he's not faced the strongest you could argue that Kramnik was not as well prepared as Anand and he's just not as good in my personal opinion. I think equally you could say Anand is disadvantaged to because of his age, in actual fact I believe he is older than Kramnik.

Secondly They have had the cycle Carlsen decided to withdraw that was his personal choice, otherwise maybe he could of had his chance, And Aronian the favourite of the Candidates matches did not play as required.

I mean Anand has faced Kramnik, Topalov I mean who else will contend and keep up with him Maybe Boris will.

I mean look how Anand took Shirov apart, he's in a class of his own.

Matt. :) :D :D

Paul Cooksey

Re: Where does Anand sit in the list of World Champions?

Post by Paul Cooksey » Wed Jun 08, 2011 9:32 pm

Ok, happy to sort this out for everyone. I am sure you will all agree with me.

Group 1 - Great Champions
Kasparov, Karpov, Lasker, Botvinnik, Capablanca, Alekhine
Group 2 - First among equals
Smyslov, Petrosian, Kramnik, Tal, Spassky, Anand, Topalov
Group 3 - Right place, right time
Euwe, Khalifman, Kasimdzhnov, Ponomariov
Group 4 - Doesn't matter how good you are, if you just stop playing you are last
Fischer

I'd bump Anand up a couple of places in group 2 if he beats Gelfand, but I'd want him to beat a next generation player like Carlsen or Aronian next time to make group 1.

Paul Cooksey

Re: Where does Anand sit in the list of World Champions?

Post by Paul Cooksey » Wed Jun 08, 2011 9:42 pm

Warren Kingston wrote:Kasparov should be in group 4 as he has given up as well.
But only after a long period reigning. If you'd said best player, I'd have put Fischer third. But if it is best champion, he just didn't play any more games.

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Re: Where does Anand sit in the list of World Champions?

Post by AustinElliott » Wed Jun 08, 2011 9:54 pm

Keith Arkell wrote:I think you can only measure players relative to their contemporaries, and for me Karpov and Kasparov (in no particular order) stand head and shoulders above everyone else. The Fischer story was exciting while it lasted, but surely doesn't compare with the decades of consistent dominance by the two Ks.

If Fischer had stuck around and dominated through the 70s then it would be a different matter, but to do that he would of course have had to continue improving. Tal showed that it is possible to continue getting stronger. In an interiew he stated that the Tal of the 80s would have easily beaten the World champion Tal of 1960-1. If, however, Fischer had already reached his peak by the time of his match vs Spassky then he would have been no match for Karpov.
Interesting to hear Keith's GM view. Speaking as a retired patzer I wouldn't quarrel with K & K, though I reckon the issue of where Bobby F stands relative to them is a tricky one.

I thought that both Kasparov and Spassky had suggested a Karpov-Fischer match in 1975 would have favoured Fischer, but only narrowly? I read an interview where Kasparov said this somewhere, saying that he thought Fischer would have had to "play himself into" a match in 1975 as he had been so inactive (the same mistake Spassky had made before playing Fischer in '72, of course).. but that peak-of-powers Fischer would probably still have been a bit too strong for a 1975 vintage Karpov. After all, Karpov did not beat Korchnoi by all that much the first time, though I guess one could say that Korchnoi too was still improving at that point.

It is one of the great chess imponderables whether FIscher had really peaked in 1972. One does have to remember, though, just how much better than the others he was at that point and perhaps for some time before. Remember he crushed Taimanov and Larsen 6-0, respectively a solid super-class GM and the second best non-Soviet player, and then beat Petrosian, still at the time the hardest man in chess to beat, in the Candidates final. And he was doing all this essentially solo. All the Soviet players, and certainly Karpov and Kasparov in their matches later on, had major back-up from their teams, while Fischer operated in tournaments and through the World Championship cycles essentially as a one-man-band - no help with openings, no help analysing adjournments etc. etc. Similarly, one can also note that Fischer never really had a chess trainer. Had he had the kind of assistance as a kid that all the Soviet players got, he might have been even better.

Also recall that Fischer took himself out of the World Championship cycle in '67 having decimated the field in the Sousse Interzonal (until he walked out). So one could certainly make a reasoned argument that Fischer was already the strongest player in the world several years before he won the title in 1972 (see e.g. chessmetrics here). And if one agreed with that, then even losing to Karpov in 1975 might have left FIscher as no. 1 in the rankings for almost a decade, even if he wasn't Champion until 1972. Which would put him head & shoulders above his contemporaries in the late 60s and early 70s.

Isn't Karpov on record somewhere saying he always regretted that he had never got to play a match against Fischer, as he thought it would have made him (Karpov) an even better player in the longer run? It is another of the lost chances in chess that one never got to see Fischer have to play a match against any really competitive challenger, like Karpov would have been. The consensus was that Spassky played pretty indifferently in 1972, and one of Kasparov's reasons for saying a 1975 Fischer-Karpov match would have been close was that Karpov had beaten Spassky handily in the candidates, where Kasparov said Spassky had played noticeably better than in the match against Fischer in 1972.

Paul Cooksey

Re: Where does Anand sit in the list of World Champions?

Post by Paul Cooksey » Wed Jun 08, 2011 10:07 pm

AustinElliott wrote:Isn't Karpov on record somewhere saying he always regretted that he had never got to play a match against Fischer, as he thought it would have made him (Karpov) an even better player in the longer run?
I recall this too. A little later than his famous "48 free lessons" barb, but was made with a similar implication I think

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Re: Where does Anand sit in the list of World Champions?

Post by Andrew Bak » Wed Jun 08, 2011 10:22 pm

Paul Cooksey wrote:Ok, happy to sort this out for everyone. I am sure you will all agree with me.

Group 1 - Great Champions
Kasparov, Karpov, Lasker, Botvinnik, Capablanca, Alekhine
Group 2 - First among equals
Smyslov, Petrosian, Kramnik, Tal, Spassky, Anand, Topalov
Group 3 - Right place, right time
Euwe, Khalifman, Kasimdzhnov, Ponomariov
Group 4 - Doesn't matter how good you are, if you just stop playing you are last
Fischer

I'd bump Anand up a couple of places in group 2 if he beats Gelfand, but I'd want him to beat a next generation player like Carlsen or Aronian next time to make group 1.
How could you forget about dear old Steinitz? Surely he is group 1 material also?

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