When you need cheering up there's nothing quite like laughing at the problems of others. Victoria sponge, maybe, but nothing else. On Saturday evening I needed both.
So call me a misanthrope if you will, but there I was wiping the crumbs from my lips whilst having a chortle at Magnus Carlsen's latest rook ending debacle. Our F.W.C., having gone well beyond misfortune and carelessness, is making such a habit of failing to hold drawable rook endgames he's surely earned the right to have the phenomenon named after him by now.
At the Candidates' Carlsen lost against Ivanchuk - Magnus versus you; EFing rook endings - and then in May he went down against Wang Hao. Given his form in this area, it probably shouldn't have been a surprise when things went tits-up once again, this time around against Caruana at the Tal Memorial.
Deceptively difficult, these rook and single pawn positions eh? Even when you have an elo comfortably over 2800.
It's an odd one isn't it. Carlsen's supposed to be The Man when it comes to endings - and maybe he is - but for some reason when the game is reduced to nothing but rooks and pawns he often fails to locate the cow's arse with his proverbial banjo. Aside from losing drawable positions, against Kramnik at the Tal Memorial Blitz he added 'not exploiting winning chances' to his repertoire of rook ending mishaps. More of that next week.
Why? Who knows? It's a conundrum, to be sure.
Still, if nothing else it does at least give us something at which we can chuckle when we find ourselves in between cake. Every cloud, eh Magnus?
Rook and pawn Index