The duel for the world chess championship between Jan Nepomnjaschtschi and Ding Liren is entertaining and unusually varied. But one thing it is not always: high-class. Russian grandmaster Daniil Dubov is firmly convinced that superstar Magnus Carlsen can only laugh at the level of the games.
The fight for the World Chess Championship is going a little differently than usual this year. Most games at this level usually end in a draw, and it is not uncommon for a winning game to make the difference in the end. In Astana, on the other hand, there were already five wins for one of the two challengers in the first eleven games. For grandmaster Daniil Dubov, this is a clear sign of the poor quality of the games.
“It’s interesting and gets on my nerves. This match is wonderful for spectators. As a commentator, I can’t say that I don’t like it either. But in the eyes of the professionals, this duel is a bit absurd,” said Dubov, who Carlsen’s last title defense was part of the Norwegian’s team, told Championat.
Chess is a sport in which a draw is a “normal result”, Dubov added: “With a minimally adequate game, most games should end in a draw. You can’t be so brilliant that there is a win every two days. If two players play brilliantly, there’s a win or two in 12 games. When things go like this match, any pro would say it’s a sign of a low level.”
The Russian grandmaster compared the numerous victories in the duel between Nepomnyashchi and Ding with extraordinary results in football matches. “The probability of winning chess is like that of a high result in a football match. It’s like every game between Real Madrid and Barcelona ending 5-2 or 3-0. So I repeat: the World Cup in Astana leaves one behind strange impression,” said Dubov.
“Even drunk or stoned I would have hit Ding”
Dubov was particularly harsh with the Chinese in view of the second game. Ding had chosen an extremely rare opening line and was subsequently swept off the board by his opponent in less than 30 moves. “If I had lost a game like that when I was 13, I would have been advised to give up chess.” Even “drunk or stoned” he would have beaten Ding in that game, the Russian scoffed.
What’s more stressful for Nepomnjaschtschi and Ding: Magnus Carlsen has set the bar for outstanding chess so high in recent years that no other player can cross it. It is only logical that the level of the World Cup does not reach that of the Carlsen games.
“Magnus Carlsen is like the US basketball team”
“Objectively speaking, it’s very difficult to compare the quality of the games at this World Cup with the quality of Magnus’ games. The world champion will be legitimate in the end and he will deserve it. But you can’t compare it. For me, Carlsen is like the US basketball team. If someone wins gold at the Olympics, but the Americans are without their NBA stars, it’s a completely different thing. You can’t compare it,” Dubov explained.
The Russian said he will not be in contact with the Norwegian during the World Cup in Astana. “But in my opinion, the quality of the games makes him laugh,” Dubov speculated that the Norwegian was also one of the observers who saw an entertaining, but certainly not the highest-quality World Cup match in recent years.