Magnus Carlsen piece in the Guardian

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Adam Ashton
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Re: Magnus Carlsen piece in the Guardian

Post by Adam Ashton » Wed Mar 20, 2013 2:06 pm

Whilst I agree with Jonathan's points it's still a very poor article. You would hope a paper like the Independant would try to enlighten readers as opposed to celebrating ignorance.

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JustinHorton
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Re: Magnus Carlsen piece in the Guardian

Post by JustinHorton » Wed Mar 20, 2013 2:56 pm

There's too much about the piece that's stupid to be be generous in considering each of its individual failings.

I really dislike pieces about chess which decide that just because the writer doesn't know or understand anything about chess, the best response is to treat it as something silly, and be stupid about it. I've seen too many. This is one of these pieces.

Lots of times, journalists are placed in a position where they have to write about stuff which they don't know much about. Usually, they try and make a decent fist of it. This chap didn't.
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Jonathan Bryant
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Re: Magnus Carlsen piece in the Guardian

Post by Jonathan Bryant » Wed Mar 20, 2013 3:35 pm

Jonathan Rogers wrote:Something about this article seems to trouble the Streatham brigade out of all proportion.
Perhaps. I'm not sure bloggers can really function with a sense of proportion.

I fully agree with you about the exceptional nature of Short's achievement. I don't agree that there's any need to pretend that he was ever in any danger of winning the title match though. In fact, making stuff up like that devalues what Short did.

As for the article itself - yes it's incredibly poor. Not just lacking in understanding - it would be perfectly possible to write a very good/funny article along the lines of 'isn't chess incomprehensible to outsiders' - but because it resorts to those awful recylced cliches and veered into making stuff up. Where did that claim that Carlsen is "frequently" referred to as the Justin Bieber of chess come from?

Awful, terrible stuff. Everything that the Dominic Lawson/John Humphries interview wasn't.

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Re: Magnus Carlsen piece in the Guardian

Post by Geoff Chandler » Wed Mar 20, 2013 3:43 pm

Thank you Jonathan R.

Nigel Short got to the final of the World Championship.
He was runner up - that is very close to becoming World Champion.
You cannot get any closer without winning the thing.

He rolled up his sleeves and gave it a good go against the greatest
chess player that ever pushed a pawn.

I was fed up explaining to my few non playing friends that although the score
looked heavy some games were very close and could have swung either way.
Never thought I'd have to explain that in a Chess Forum.

Of course the writer of the Independant piece would never have got away with that
in a chess mag but he's writing for a vast majority of non-players. not chess players.

Chris Kreuzer's good report in the Candidtaes thread is what we are after.

However I enjoy reading non players writing about the game, it's often illuminating.
You have to recall your Rabbie Burns 'Ode to a Louse'; (I'll English it up for you.)

"And would some Power the small gift give us
To see ourselves as others see us!"


Here the lad spotted there is something special about Carlsen's presence.
If a non player can spot this what are the players sensing?

I cannot see the sexist remark at all. The lad said:

"3. Don’t come if your wife is heavily pregnant. It will last many, many hours –
and you’re not allowed your phone."

He's saying nothing about not letting women in to watch.
Read what he wrote, not what you want to read into it.

If the wife at home should suddenly require rushing to hospital
nobody has anyway of contacting you.
He is finishing his piece with a joke (OK a rather weak joke - but it's just a joke.)

(Stone me. Now I'm having to explain jokes in a Chess Forum.)

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Re: Magnus Carlsen piece in the Guardian

Post by Jonathan Bryant » Wed Mar 20, 2013 4:40 pm

Geoff Chandler wrote:Thank you Jonathan R.

Nigel Short got to the final of the World Championship.
He was runner up - that is very close to becoming World Champion.
You cannot get any closer without winning the thing.

Well you can only lose 2-0, say, or tie the match, or maybe be leading with a few games to go.


Of course many of the games *could* have gone the other way... but they didn't. I tend to see that as more evidence of Kasparov's superiority - his ability to wriggle out of even very difficult positions.

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Re: Magnus Carlsen piece in the Guardian

Post by Geoff Chandler » Wed Mar 20, 2013 5:13 pm

Hi JB.

The fact Nigel had Gazza wriggling out of difficult positions does say
the match was nowhere near as one sided as the score suggests.
I enjoyed the games. Good fighting chess.

So I think we should let Mr Peck off with his "...very close" statement.
It was possibly fed to him when he was asking questions on who is who
as it's pretty clear he knows nothing about the game.

The media has always struggled with chess, no use moaning on here about it.
Submit to the paper a more detailed and informed report remembering 90% of
your readers will be non-players.
(and for pete's sake leave Fischer's infamous teeth fillings out of it) :)

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JustinHorton
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Re: Magnus Carlsen piece in the Guardian

Post by JustinHorton » Wed Mar 20, 2013 5:23 pm

It's not a player/non-player thing. It's the equivalent of a hack going to a cricket match a nd filing a report which said "Ha ha ha! It rained half the day! They used silly terms like third man and short leg and maiden over! Let's all laugh at it!"

Which, I suspect, the Independent would not do. They would do better. As they should have done here.
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Richard Bates
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Re: Magnus Carlsen piece in the Guardian

Post by Richard Bates » Thu Mar 21, 2013 12:06 am

JustinHorton wrote:It's not a player/non-player thing. It's the equivalent of a hack going to a cricket match a nd filing a report which said "Ha ha ha! It rained half the day! They used silly terms like third man and short leg and maiden over! Let's all laugh at it!"

Which, I suspect, the Independent would not do. They would do better. As they should have done here.
Really? Wait for the first week of the county cricket season. Every paper without exception will i'm sure be carrying the obligatory cliched piece about a crowd consisting of 10 men (and a dog) wearing anoraks, sitting on their own and consuming packet sandwiches and coffee from a thermos.

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IM Jack Rudd
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Re: Magnus Carlsen piece in the Guardian

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Thu Mar 21, 2013 1:10 am

Richard Bates wrote:
JustinHorton wrote:It's not a player/non-player thing. It's the equivalent of a hack going to a cricket match a nd filing a report which said "Ha ha ha! It rained half the day! They used silly terms like third man and short leg and maiden over! Let's all laugh at it!"

Which, I suspect, the Independent would not do. They would do better. As they should have done here.
Really? Wait for the first week of the county cricket season. Every paper without exception will i'm sure be carrying the obligatory cliched piece about a crowd consisting of 10 men (and a dog) wearing anoraks, sitting on their own and consuming packet sandwiches and coffee from a thermos.
Which would probably be a rather more accurate impression of chess events than the writer of this piece managed.

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Re: Magnus Carlsen piece in the Guardian

Post by Jonathan Rogers » Thu Mar 21, 2013 3:50 pm

I was thinking of launching into a long speech about the (in)accuracy of journalism in general. Y'know, chess actually is not the only subject which is treated in the approximate and cliched way that irks so many here - when writing pieces for a general audience with a deadline approaching that same evening, it seems to me that it happens all the time, and I am sure I have seen worse on chess than this effort.

But I'll save that speech for now. It seems to me that this particular piece was commissioned in response to Mr Paulson's efforts to interest the general media in watching chess live (eg with his app) and in the supposed Bieber-Carlsen thing. If that is the background, then I find it hard to blame the Independent for taking up the challenge and coming to the conclusion that chess is still boring when watched live, and that if the most that "Bieber" that can do to liven things up is to sit in the front row of the audience while waiting for his opponent to move (because even the players seem to get bored by sitting in their chairs for too long), then it is really not the experience that its promoter is claiming.

And, ahem, there are those in the chess world who believe that AP is full of *** too.

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JustinHorton
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Re: Magnus Carlsen piece in the Guardian

Post by JustinHorton » Thu Mar 21, 2013 5:09 pm

Richard Bates wrote:
JustinHorton wrote:It's not a player/non-player thing. It's the equivalent of a hack going to a cricket match a nd filing a report which said "Ha ha ha! It rained half the day! They used silly terms like third man and short leg and maiden over! Let's all laugh at it!"

Which, I suspect, the Independent would not do. They would do better. As they should have done here.
Really? Wait for the first week of the county cricket season. Every paper without exception will i'm sure be carrying the obligatory cliched piece about a crowd consisting of 10 men (and a dog) wearing anoraks, sitting on their own and consuming packet sandwiches and coffee from a thermos.
I know that piece very well (as someone who's frozen at MCC v Champion County more than once) and, like Lancashire and Middlesex, it's not in the same league.
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JustinHorton
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Re: Magnus Carlsen piece in the Guardian

Post by JustinHorton » Thu Mar 21, 2013 5:13 pm

Jonathan Rogers wrote:I was thinking of launching into a long speech about the (in)accuracy of journalism in general. Y'know, chess actually is not the only subject which is treated in the approximate and cliched way that irks so many here
No, but I think this happens with chess to a degree which I think is unusual within the general field of sport. Now it might be that I particularly notice these because I follow chess, and maybe so, but I don't think my perception is entirely skewed by that perspective.

As far as the accuracy of journalism goes, I actually think most journalists do their best to be as accurate as time and ssubject knowledge allows. But nevertheless rhere's too much junk about, and I reckon most journalists would agree with that too.
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Clive Blackburn

Re: Magnus Carlsen piece in the Guardian

Post by Clive Blackburn » Thu Mar 21, 2013 5:34 pm

JustinHorton wrote: No, but I think this happens with chess to a degree which I think is unusual within the general field of sport.
I think the problem here is that although chess is in broad terms a sport, it does not lend itself to the usual style of sports reporting.

It is almost impossible to go into any detail when discussing the game in a non-specialist publication. Even those members of the public who know how the pieces move are unlikely to be able to follow algebraic notation. Names of opening variations and strategical concepts will mean nothing at all and if you try to go into detail then the reader will probably lose interest.

So, we end up with bland non-techical pieces like this one.... if you want a serious review of a major chess event, look on a chess website :D

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Re: Magnus Carlsen piece in the Guardian

Post by IanDavis » Thu Mar 21, 2013 6:47 pm

Jonathan Bryant wrote: For anybody interest in the standard of reporting in that article, it claims Nigel Short came "very close to becoming World Champion twenty years ago."
I think this is a strange point to quibble over, but I suppose that it depends on how you measure the distances.

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Re: Magnus Carlsen piece in the Guardian

Post by Jonathan Bryant » Thu Mar 21, 2013 8:04 pm

IanDavis wrote: I think this is a strange point to quibble over ....
You're right, of course, that distance from success is in the eye of the beholder but that's irrelevant to my argument


Do you think that maybe some readers - the non-chessers I mean - would have read that phrase and concluded not that Nigel Short played a match for the World Championship but that he nearly won that match? I think it's impossible not to come to that conclusion.

The author had other phrases available to him that would have recognised Short's historic achievement but which would have eliminated any possible misundertanding Given that he is a professional writer and therefore we can assume he understands ambiguity.

He wrote something that was likely to mislead his audience either

(a) deliberately, with the intention to mislead
or
(b) through ignorance (i.e. he hadn't the faintest clue how the '93 match went).


Either way he fails. Hence I use that point to highlight the weakness of the article.

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