Greengard's ChessNinja.com

What About Bent?

| Permalink | 3 comments

Vishy Anand just won his third Chess Oscar for his near-total domination of the rapid chess circuit in 2003. He also won Corus Wijk aan Zee at the start of the the year. Peter Svidler also had an incredible year and I actually put him first on my ballot, classical chess snob that I am.

The news was deservedly trumpted in the Indian press, but many of the reports talked about Anand being "the only non-Russian other than Fischer to win the award." One even quoted Anand saying this. I thought this odd, because legendary Bent Larsen of Denmark won the first Oscar in 1967 and this is hardly unknown. Then I discovered that the "official" Chess Oscar site starts its list at 1968 with Spassky! No doubt the Indian journos got their info from that site and while trying to come up with a stat to further glorify their man, came up with the Fischer bit.

Oscar voting used to be a fairly closed affair, mostly people who knew the editor of the Russian magazine 64, Alexander Roshal, who runs the prize contest. Now it appears it has been opened up to all and sundry, not that it wasn't mostly a popularity contest anyway. For a long time Kasparov didn't even bother accepting his string of awards.


I believe the comment has been misunderstood. What I gathered from that statement was that Anand was the second non-Russian player to win the Chess Oscar, THREE times, not just once.

I haven't gone back and read the interview again, but I believe Anand is just too smart to make incorrect claims :-)

Maybe some of them say that, but the one I link to says "Anand, who earlier won the award in 1997 and 1998, is only the second non-Russian after Bobby Fischer (1970, 71, and 72) to win the award."

Plus, being "the only non-Russian other than Fischer to win more than one" is too conditional to sound impressive! The revived Oscar really wasn't paid much attention to until just recently when FIDE tried to adopt it as a semi-official player of the year honor. I doubt most people, including players, know or care who won in 1967!

The way it usually works is a journalist calls the player (Anand in this case) and says, "You are the only non-Russian other than Fischer to win the Oscar, how do you feel about that?" The player has no reason to doubt the writer. He says, "hey, that's cool, quite an honor!" and ends up sounding like HE is spreading false info. Not his fault, happens all the time.

The Anand quote in that article uses the plural "Oscars" but sounds like a bad paraphrase with grammar weaker than I know Anand's to be. No big deal, I was more concerned with the source of the error, the FIDE Oscar site that omits poor Bent!

All this reminds me that "those who do not learn history are condemned to repeat it". And so Anand repeats history by again becoming the first... lol : )

Twitter Updates

    Follow me on Twitter



    About this Entry

    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on May 9, 2004 1:02 PM.

    Libya Says No, FIDE Says Libya Says Yes was the previous entry in this blog.

    Libya, Oy is the next entry in this blog.

    Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.