Today I intend to honour the Speedy Malc* approach to chess journalism by dedicating the Sunday S&BCC blog to some really old news.
I was flicking through a New in Chess from 1992 the other day when I found a report on the recently completed tournament in Reggio Emila, Italy. It was an incredibly tough event with all ten participants rated in the world’s top fourteen. Anand, then a rising young gun, won it ahead of Kasparov and Karpov. Ivanchuk, astonishingly the second highest rated player in the world back then just as he is now, was also there.
[bonus trivia question: without looking it up, try to guess the other six players]
Dirk Jan ten Guezendam:
The funny thing with Anand is that among the experts there is absolutely no consensus about his true potential. His results are impressive and he may have beaten the World Champion twice in a row [that's a reference to Kasparov of course. Anand beat him at Reggio Emilia and at Tilburg immediately before the Italian event - JMGB ] … but for many it is difficult to believe that someone who plays so easily and so loosely can be made of the stuff that World Champions are made of.
Two former World Champions then gave their opinions on Vishy’s potential,
Mikhail Tal gets twinkling eyes when he talks about Anand’s formidable talent, but Anatoly Karpov cannot get too excited. ‘He is very talented and this was a great success, but I still don’t see a future World Champion in him.’
While Kasparov was quoted as saying,
'In a match it would be quite easy to get him trapped in different openings. But he’s got a good knowledge of chess, he follows it. He’s working.’
There's lots of talk in the article about Anand challenging for the title in 1996. I wonder if any of them could have guessed it would be another 15 years before Vishy would actually take the crown.
* Rather to my annoyance Speedy Malc is doing better than normal today in that although he's reporting the end of the European Team Championships, which ChessBase, for example, covered nearly two weeks ago, he is at least not writing as if the event is still in progress.