It is part of the human cycle. Our heroes come and go. Age and generation play a decisive role.
We see this scenario being played out in Chennai, India, where – as I write – 22-year-old challenger Magnus Carlsen is leading the current champion 43-year-old Viswanathan Anand by a score of 5-3 in their 12-game title match.
Although the score was tied after the first four games, Anand had shown signs of weakening.
And then a collapse in rounds five and six followed by two more draws.
The defeats seemed a moral as much as a pure chess setback. At news conferences following each, Anand appeared a bit bewildered and unable to explain what had happened.
Carlsen has this effect. He wears his opponent down, pressing almost imperceptibly but relentlessly in virtually equal positions until achieving a decisive breakthrough.
There are only four games yet to be played.
A quick victory and Anand will be back in contention. But the odds against such a reversal are substantial.
With hardly a chink in his armor, Carlsen is unlikely to let victory, a world championship title, and a cornucopia of enhanced opportunities slip from his eager and youthful grasp.
Anand is a revered icon in his country, but youth, it seems, is about to have its say.
Below is a win by Anatoly Karpov against Vassily Ivanchuk from the Karpov Trophy tournament in Cap d’Agde France.
Karpov Trophy tourney
Anatoly Karpov vs. Vassily Ivanchuk in Cap d’Agde France.