It’s no secret that Alexander Alekhine is my favorite GM by far, past or present. Fischer comes in a close second, but top on my list is definitely Alekhine. His wins were brutal, and even most of his losses contained brilliant attempts that wouldn’t have been found or played by most chess enthusiasts. He was nobody to mess with.
A friend and I got to talking at the chess club last night and I brought up an observation I’d made earlier that day. I’d been watching live coverage of the World Chess Cup here http://new.livestream.com/cisha/wcc2013 and Nakamura was in the frame. It occurred to me, then and there, that I was looking at a kid who could maybe draw or beat Alekhine in a match. And he’s a kid.
That thought is eerie to this author. We like to think of the late greats as just that: greats. And while they were greats, are today’s up and coming players greater? Better at the game? Stronger? We’ll never know, of course, but it is good food for thought.
Countless discussions have been made on chess forums and playing sites about what would happen if Master X from the past could play a match with Master Y of today. Inevitably, computers and technology come into play. But let’s assume that Alekhine were alive today and were fully up to speed and at his peak playing strength. What would happen in a Naka vs. Alekhine match? How about Morozevich vs. Lasker? Carlsen vs. Morphy. Maybe Kasparov vs. Botvinnik. The possibilities are almost endless. It really would be neat to know for sure, but since we never will, we can only speculate.
Here’s my fantasy situation: Nakamura vs. Alekhine, classic time controls, draws don’t count. Also, no lame blitz tiebreaks or other silly rules. First player to six wins gets the crown.
Who goes home the victor? The fact that nobody knows for sure is proof that today’s younger players are some of the best the world has ever seen. Alekhine was no chump, but Nakamura is knocking on 2800’s door and is inarguably the world’s strongest bullet player.
Chew on that a while.