Diskerud vs. Carlsen: Analysis

Give Mix Diskerud credit for challenging the best chess player of this or possibly any age, Magnus Carlsen. Here’s the video and a quick analysis:

Diskerud is given 7 minutes to play. Carlsen has 1. Even for a grandmaster, that’s not much time.

And Diskerud tries to take advantage of that with some passive play and counterattacking. Maybe that’s what we should expect from a Norwegian/American soccer player, though Jurgen Klinsmann might not approve.

Still, such tactics could work over the chessboard in a situation like this. So Diskerud’s tentative early move of a3 (the pawn all the way to the left up one square) could work … if he defends intelligently. He can make things complicated for Carlsen so that the soon-to-be world champion may run out of time.

Alas, he does not. He fails to castle, leaving his king vulnerable in the center. And then he inexplicably plays Rh3, giving up his rook.

He also musters little of a counterattack other than Bh6, which is nothing but a one-move annoyance that leaves Carlsen’s rook on a better square, anyway.

Diskerud does one more thing that plays into Carlsen’s hands. His hand hovers over the piece he plans to move, and then he moves and slowly touches the clock. His slow hands and telegraphed moves essentially give Carlsen more time. If Diskerud kept his hand on his chin, then quickly whipped his hand over the board to move and hit the clock, Carlsen wouldn’t be able to think about his response until his own clock was running.

All that said — it’s Magnus Carlsen. He’s going to win.

So when does Carlsen face Diskerud on the soccer field?

(Programming note: Yes, I’ve done very little on the blog while working on the Washington Spirit book. I may do more quick hits like this, but really, until the book is done, don’t expect much. Then it’s 2014 projection time!)


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Beau Dure

The guy who wrote a bunch of soccer books and now runs a Gen X-themed podcast while substitute teaching and continuing to write freelance stuff.

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