Kramnik Oligopoly 3.0
For the last year, maybe two, it really started to look as though the World Chess Championship set between Anand and Gelfand had the two wrong persons. It seemed that without holding a match between Magnus Carlsen and Lev Aronian that somehow this would not really represent the best of chess. I respect Gelfand, and Anand is a chess player who for many years represented dependably lots of sharp, fast, venturesome chess. Thanks for the good years.
But now with the combination of the weakness of that recently completed match with its pervasive sense of lack of excitement, of dullness if not ennui, when that great sense of lack of venture is put next to the great character and initiative and creativity on the part of both Carlsen and Aronian (and has been that way for a long time and frequently) makes this a memorable juncture in the WCC, a striking picture of the highest level of the chess pyramid.
And now for today. I have a new thought. Seeing Kramnik's new position in 2700chess.com's Live Chess Ratings, near world number two Aronian, really makes me feel that now we instead have not two, but three in the mix as they say. Carlsen of course is around 2836, but now Aronian at 2814 is quickly being approached by Kramnik at 2812? Trivial? No.
The chasing crowd of recent world forth Radjabov to Ivanchuk at tenth, is comprised of a swarm of 2788 to 2769, and among them Ananad. I am not saying that Anand does not have a legitemate WCC imprimateur, only that its poetency is surely in doubt this time round.
Often in the past if the highest rated was not AT THE top was at least NEAR the top, but Ananad is--currently--surrounded by a considerable swarm of gigantic talent, and champion means standing over the rest, and currently there are now three who do that demonstrably. Is Anand distinguished now? We know the answer. No, but these three clearly are.
Contesting three persons this way, of course, can be mathematically parsed in easily imagined ways, but that of course will remain a matter of fancy and speculation. Whatever it is, Kramnik retains his great force and color of the last two or three years, and all great chess keeps adding up to the inevitable confidence vote. And we all know confidence votes never occur just for kicks, but out of necessity.