Magnus Carlsen and Sergey Karjakin will battle for 12 days to get the title of Chess World Champion, to be disputed in New York City. One from Norway and the other from Russia brought back memories of the famous 1972 duel between Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky.
They both represent the youth on Chess dueling, Karjakin being the youngest person in history to get the chess grandmaster title at 12 years and seven months old. Carlsen is third on that list, acquiring the title at the age of 13. Their combined age is 51, the lowest in any final match in history, and they will compete for the $600,000 prize in the duels that will begin this Friday.
The Russian Karjakin defeated Fabiano Caruana of the United States, number three in the international ranking, at the Candidates’ Tournament in Moscow. He still comes to the final as an underdog, being Carlsen the actual leader of the ranking and current champion while Sergey is in the ninth position.
Carlsen played his first tournament at eight-years-old, and just five years later he defeated the former world champion Anatoli Karpov. He even managed to draw with chess legend Garry Kasparov.
Both Norway and Russia are having a huge boom in the chess-related field. Russia is remembering their golden age in chess, back to Soviet times. Norway got a lot of motivation when Carlsen arrived at the number one spot in the international ranking. In fact, when Carlsen played a rematch for the defense of the international title against Indian rival Viswanathan Anand, the ratings of the match were higher than that year’s Tour de France
Cold War resemblance
This game series has drawn comparisons to the 1972 famous showdown between American Bobby Fischer and Soviet Union’s Boris Spassky that reflected perfectly the diplomatic and international tension in which both countries were immersed.
“Back then it was the USSR versus the US, and now it’s the European Union and the US and their sanctions against Russia,” the Russian head of the World Chess Federation, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, said in the run-up to the match.
In that opportunity, Fischer was able to terminate a 24-year domination of the Soviet Union of the World Championship. This country gave a lot of relevancy to this sport because considered that winning year after year represented an intellectual dominance over the western world.