In a recent
interview from New In Chess, the 14th world champion Vladimir Kramnik says
the artist paints. I think chess players think of their work as a form of
art. However, in order to be a chess player you must have some sportsman
in you. It is true the artist just paints. The artist can only create his masterpieces
when he feels inspired. Artists are not competitive, generally speaking.
They don't understand competition. I don't think the artists performs well
under pressure. The sportsmen can be inspired by competition.
The sportsman can thrive under pressure. When you're a sportsman, you can't
wait for your inspiration. You must find it in your opponent. You must
find it when the first bell rings, or when the first clock is started.
The painter does his work alone. Its just him, his
paint, his bush, his canvas, his inspiration for his plan. With chess,
this is not the case. The chess artist has his canvas, its called the
board. He has his paints, they are called the pieces. He has his brush, it's
called a move. He has his inspiration for his plan, it's called his chess
talent. However the chess artist does not create alone. He does not have
sole control over his canvas, or the board. He has another artist who has
his own set of pieces, moves, and inspiration for a plan. These two plans
are in conflict with each other. This can makes the creation of art very
difficult. If the artists lose their inspiration, they produce nothing.
However this conflict does allow for the creation of great works of
art. Artists are less likely to take risks or gamble. The Artist is
worried about being true to his art form. The artist wants to create
brilliancies, winning is secondary.
The sportsman has his talent, his teammates, his play
making, and the field to perform on. The chess sportsmen has his chess talent. His pieces
are his teammates. His moves are his play making. The board is his field.
The sportsman only wants to win. He wants to dominate his opponent.
However, he doesn't care so much as to how he
wins. He just wants to win. If he produces a great work of art, so be it.
He wants to score. Sportsmen are more likely to gamble
and take risks. Sportsmen have no problem winning ugly.
like Kramnik is an artist/sportsman instead of a sportsmen/artist.
That doesn't surprise me. Kramnik's father was an artist. He painted
and sculptured. Kramnik's mother was a music teacher. So Kramnik's
inclination towards art is well ingrained. That could explain why he had
trouble defending his title. I am not sure an artist can perform under
pressure. An artist does his best work when he can find the inspiration
for his work. Sometimes finding that inspiration is difficult. That attitude does not work so well for sporting events. The
sportsman/artist finds his inspiration in his competitive instincts. The
art is secondary to the competition. The sportsmen/artist admires
his work after the fact. This is probably the opposite to the
artist/sportsmen who is think about his art while he is creating. Kramnik
said he was sick before the start of his match with Peter Leko. I
think Kramnik, the artist/sportsman, felt the pressure to perform his
art, and was having difficulty finding the inspiration. Kramnik started
out slowly. He got a lucky win in the first game, when Leko, the
sportsmen/artist, felt the pressure of being in a world championship match
and over pressed in a drawn position. Kramnik went on to lose the lead by
games 5 and 8. It wasn't until the last quarter of the match, that the sportsman
part of Kramnik came out. The sportsman side can operate and thrive while
under pressure, the artist can't.
Prior to 2000, I think Kramnik was
more sportsman than artist when he defeated Kasparov and became the world
champion. OR it might have been the artist in Kramnik wanting to achieve
the world championship title. But after Kramnik won the title, he said
that it was something that just happened. He did not seek it out. Maybe
the artist in Kramnik wanted to break the 2800 plateau. However, I am not sure an artist can maintain a 2800 rating,
whereas the sportsman can maintain it. Artists aren't greedy, whereas sportsmen
are greedy. They always want to establish
their dominance over their opponents. This explains why Kramnik doesn't
win as many tournaments as his world champion predecessors.
was the artist desiring to achieve something new, like winning the world
championship, that drove Kramnik to greatness. When Kramnik does win, he doesn't
dominate the field. An artist doesn't understand the concept of breaking
away from the pack, white the sportsman does understand. Kramnik's inspiration in
2000 was to become world champion. Kramnik had trouble defending his
title. Once the goal is achieved, I think it
is difficult for the artist to defend something he's already achieved. I
don't think artists like covering the same ground twice. The sportsman
lives to defend his title. Kasparov is the sportsman/artist type. He wants
to dominate his opponents. He liked defending his title. He defended it 6
times against the best of the rest.
Kramnik did not show his
competitive edge when he faced Anand during the 2004 Dortmund final.
During the blitz playoff, I recall Kramnik continued his experiment with
1.e4. The first game with white, Kramnik took a quick draw. Then with
Black, Kramnik played the Najdorf, a defense he was not very familiar
with. It proved to be a dubious move against Anand, who proceeded to
crush Kramnik. I was surprised that Kramnik would not seek revenge for
his loss to Anand at Cap De Age in late 2003. Anand also passed Kramnik
by in the FIDE rating chats. Anand took the 2nd rating spot. The artist is not interested in taking
revenge, where as the sportsman will seek it out. The sportsman can find
inspiration in taking revenge. Kasparov the sportsman/artist wants a rematch
with Kramnik. Kasparov wants to repair the damage to his resume.
Kasparov wants to right the wrong. He wants the title back that he lost to
Kramnik in 2000. Kramnik the artist/sportsman appears uninterested in having such
a rematch. For Kramnik the artist/sportsman, his mission was accomplished
in 2000. It's time to do something different.