The #8 article in Best of US Chess 2015 is Why is Carlsen Dominant? (A Theory) By GM Cristian Chirila. Judges praised Chirila’s unique angle and nonobvious practical advice for aspiring players.
One of Carlsen’s main anchor was, until not so long ago, his infamous orange juice. That juice placed in a water bottle was not only his beverage of choice, it was a powerful anchor that reminded him of the times he reached the pinnacle of his performance. Just by interacting with the bottle during the games, he reinforced that stimulus which triggered the desired response: not to lose focus and determination. The one important characteristics of anchors is that they fade in time, they lose their stimulus effect and therefore they become useless. In the case of Magnus, the orange juice has stopped giving him that sought reinforcement and therefore he started looking for stronger anchors.
Cristian Chirila is a San Francisco based chess Grandmaster and trainer. Originally from Romania, Chirila graduated from the University of Texas at Dallas in 2014. He’s a back to back US Class Champion (2013 and 2014) and former World Youth Champion. His contributions to US Chess include a best of article in 2014 for his article on preparing for the Millionaire Chess Open, Million Dollar Training. He also wrote about Millionaire Chess II (see his preview and wrap-up articles). Find out more about Cristian, including how to book lessons with him, on his official website. You can also follow him on twitter.
There is so much psychology in chess, and Christian’s theory is quite fascinating. His take on Carlsen’s success combined with concrete suggestions for improving players is really useful. The annotated games are very instructive as well, it’s clear a lot of work went into this piece.- Kostya Kavutskiy
This article introduced an important area of chess to its readers and often overlooked – the psychological aspect- Claudia Munoz
While it’s not so clear to me that the proposed theory is correct, I found this piece fascinating. It gives readers an indication of the kinds of psychological factors that can make a big difference at the highest level. In that regard, it’s great that the author is a GM who would therefore be more likely to be sensitive to the importance of such “small” differences.- Kele Perkins
Cristian presents an interesting theory in this article on positive anchors. Psychology is as much a factor in chess as actual talent. Nice to see an article written about the link between the two.- Jennifer Vallens
Best of CLO 2015 Countdown
8.Why is Carlsen Dominant? (A Theory) by Cristian Chirila