21 September 2016

World Chess Championship Buzz

The buzz around the upcoming 2016 Carlsen - Karjakin World Championship match is starting to pick up. Since the last report, Chess in Manhattan (August 2016), we had

Agreed, that was more of a snoring sound than a buzz, but it got better.

World Chess by Agon presenting new sponsor of World Championship Match in New York (33:41) • 'Published on Sep 12, 2016'

That press conference was held during the recent 2016 Baku Olympiad. For details, see:-

In addition to the usual FIDE/Agon hyperbole -- 'truly historic event', 'the championship last year [2014 Sochi?] attracted more than one billion viewers around the world', 'roughly 600 million people in the world who actively play chess' -- the EG/VR introduction had one glaring inaccuracy:-

We recall that the last time the World Chess Championship played in New York, it was in 1990. (1:55 into the clip)
The 1995 Kasparov - Anand PCA Title Match (New York, IX-X, 1995), is considered by most (all?) experts to have been a far more important World Chess Championship than any of the subsequent FIDE Knockout events, perhaps even more important than all of the knockouts taken together. It coincided with The Start of the Scholastic Boom (chessforallages.blogspot.com; July 2014), a period of U.S. chess growth eclipsed only by the Fischer boom in the 1970s. As for the the broadcasting gimmicks, does anyone remember:-

Headset or not, I'm looking forward to the big show. Game one is scheduled for 11 November. That's a public holiday in many countries.

14 September 2016

The Best Psychological Chance

Garry Kasparov as chess commentator is always as interesting and as entertaining as he was during his heyday as a chess player. Here he is with Jennifer Shahade and Yasser Seirawan during the last round of the recent Sinquefield Cup.

Garry Kasparov, Commentator - 2016 Sinquefield Cup - Grand Chess Tour Round 9 (52:59) • 'Source : Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis - YouTube'

At one point [around 30:20 into the video clip] GM Seirawan asks about Kasparov's fourth World Championship match against Karpov.

YS: Thought process: One of the hardest things in chess is to win on demand. For me, one of your greatest achievements was Seville [1987] game 24. You're trailing in the match 12-11. You have one and one result only : you have to win with White. [GK: And I was playing Karpov!] And you accomplished it. How do you play for a win on demand? In your game with Karpov, you wanted to play a long, slow game and just let his nerves... • GK: Yes, I thought it would be a game of nerves and I thought the best psychological chance...

Kasparov goes on to explain.

GK: In a last round game, the last game of the match -- a long, marathon match, ten weeks -- you don't play a game of beauty. It's all about creating psychological discomfort for your opponent. I thought that if we had a slow game, Karpov would be under pressure to simplify the position, even by making little concessions, concession after concession, because he wanted to finish the game, he wanted to reach a position where he would be out of danger. But by trying to force it, without contemplating the potential consequences, he could give me some chances. And it worked out nicely. He was gradually making his position worse and worse, he gave me a big chance and blundered in time trouble. We entered the adjournment with me having an extra Pawn and Karpov couldn't survive under the pressure.

For more about the match, see 1987 Kasparov - Karpov Title Match; Seville, X-XII, 1987. Kasparov could have been describing a typical Magnus Carlsen game.

07 September 2016

ICCF 25th to 27th World Championships

I updated my page for the World Chess Championship : Correspondence Chess to add the ICCF's 25th, 26th and 27th final events. As I decided earlier this year in Correspondence Chess 2016 and Stats for Index Pages (both May 2016), the latest events have only a ZIP file that contains both the crosstable and PGN game scores.

The previous update of the Correspondence Chess page was documented in ICCF 20th to 24th World Championships and WCCC Finals PGN (both November 2012). Given the slow pace of correspondence games, I imagine the next update will be in another four years or so.

31 August 2016

Chess in Manhattan

I added links for the official site (see nyc2016.fide.com) plus the latest FIDE news to my page on the World Chess Championship : 2016 Carlsen - Karjakin match. The latest news was announced in FIDE World Chess Championship Match 2016 (fide.com; 10 August 2016):-
The FIDE World Chess Championship Match 2016 is to take place at the Seaport District in Manhattan, New York. [...] The Match arena will be built within the Fulton Market Building, a five minute walk from Wall Street, and will also feature dedicated spectator and VIP lounges with panoramic views of the Brooklyn Bridge as well as retail space, a restaurant, TV studios and much more.

Match principals mentioned in the FIDE announcement included 'Ilya Merenzon, Chief Executive of Agon Limited, owner of World Chess and the commercial rights holder to the FIDE Chess Championship cycle' and 'Alan Baum of CAA Premium Experience'.

Formed in 2015, CAA Premium Experience is a best-in-class, full-service hospitality, event management, and marketing practice with more than 50 employees working with Fortune 500 companies across hundreds of global sports and entertainment events annually.'

Google Maps points to the site of the match....

...while New York news sources provided local commentary. Speculation Ends: Date and Venue Set for World Chess Championship in New York (nytimes.com):-

Mr. Merenzon said that securing a venue for such a long period proved harder than expected. Among the other sites considered: Trump Tower. The players will compete in a soundproof glass room, in front of 300 spectators plus VIPs, who will have a lounge area. Regular tickets will cost up to $50.

World Chess Championship to Be Played at South Street Seaport (wsj.com):-

The match -- a duel between two grandmasters in their mid-20s -- will take place on the second-floor atrium of the Fulton Market inside a glass, soundproof room that organizers are referring to as the "cockpit." As Carlsen and Karjakin play, attendees will be able to engage with the moves on the board in various ways. Since individual games can take hours, sometimes with prolonged stretches between moves, Merenzon wants to give attendees some options.

Cockpit? Where have we heard that before? In an early Agon press release from the previous cycle: Evolution of a Press Release (August 2012); 'the purpose-built arena and cockpit for the matches'.

24 August 2016

22nd World Computer Championship

I added the PGN and crosstable for the 21st World Computer Championship (WCCC) held in Leiden (Netherlands) to my page on the World Chess Championship : Computer Chess. Just like the two previous events (see my post on the 21st World Computer Championship, November 2015), both files are packed into a single ZIP file. For more about the event, see
  • WCCC 2016 [ICGA; 'From Monday 27 June until Friday 1 July the WCCC will be held in Leiden at the Leiden University, Snellius Building, Turing Room.'], and
  • WCCC 2016 [chessprogramming.wikispaces.com]

The ICGA page links to a report that starts,

The 22nd World Computer Chess Championship started on June 27, 2016. Six programs participate in a double round robin tournament of ten rounds. The tournament takes place at the Leiden University and is organized by the ICGA, LIACS and LCDS. The sponsors are Google, Naturalis Biodiversity Center, the municipality of Leiden, Leiden University, Faculty of Science, ICGA, iSSC, SurfSara, Digital Game Technology and NWO Exact Sciences. It is held in conjunction with the 19th Computer Olympiad and the 15th Advances in Computer Games conference.

The page also informs about the tiebreak,

Play-off between Komodo and Jonny: Two games 45 minutes + 16 seconds: 1-1. Two games with 5 min. + 5 seconds. 1-1. Two games with 3 min. + 5 seconds 1½-½ for Komodo

Chessbase.com published a commercial puff piece, Komodo is World Computer Chess Champion (July 2016), that started,

[Komodo's] stiffest competition came from the German program Jonny, running on a giant 2400-core machine. With only 48 cores the US program Komodo finished the computer tournament in Leiden, Netherlands, equal first with Jonny, then went on to win a hard-fought tiebreak, making it the 22nd World Computer Chess Champion. It may interest you to know that the latest version of our flagship chess engine, Komodo 10, was released just a month ago.

It received some pointed comments from skeptical readers, like

'Why didn’t Stockfish compete?' • 'I thought the TCEC tournament determines the World Computer Chess Champion? ' • 'Please explain how did these engines qualify to this competition, and how does this compare to TCEC.' • etc. etc.

Another resource that once documented the WCCC events but is now little more than a stub, is Leiden 2016 [game-ai-forum.org; formerly www.grappa.univ-lille3.fr]. For more about the computer chess world, see my main blog, e.g.:-

How much longer will tradition continue to accept the ICGA events as World Championships?

17 August 2016

Site Migration II

A week ago, in Site Migration, I quoted an email from my web site host: 'Your account has been successfully migrated to the new technology platform.' I quickly learned that while 'migrated' was an accurate term, 'successfully' wasn't. At the end of the post, I asked,
How long will it be out of service?

It took four days for technical support to update the nameserver info that redirects traffic to the new platform instead of the old, deleted platform. The following graphic shows the evolution of the migration in terms of the size of the log files that record traffic to the site.

The line for the day after migration reads

File: access_log_20160811.gz
Updated: 08/11/2016 9:15 AM EDT
Size: <1KB

Traffic doesn't occur on the site until

File: access_log_20160814.gz

In the last day or so traffic has returned to pre-migration levels, meaning that the site was out of service for nearly a week.

10 August 2016

Site Migration

This morning I received the following message...
Subject: Your Account Has Been Moved to the New Platform
Sent: Wednesday, August 10, 2016 8:03 AM

Your account has been successfully migrated to the new technology platform. This account is associated with the following domains: mark-weeks.com

The last step of the migration is pointing these domains to the new platform. If you are already using [our] name servers, we have made this change for you. (It usually takes just a few hours for domain name server (DNS) changes to take effect, though it can take up to 24 hours for the update to spread globally.) [...]

...While I knew the change was coming, I wasn't sure when exactly. I won't make any changes to the site until I'm sure that I'm using the new, migrated version.


Later: I received another message...

Subject: mark-weeks.com - Your Web Hosting account status
Sent: Wednesday, August 10, 2016 8:37 PM

The Web hosting account [mark-weeks.com] has been suspended. If you recently received a migration message for this account, your account has been migrated to the new platform and you are receiving this notice as part of the cleanup process on the old platform. No further action on your part is required.

...The main WCC index page, The World Chess Championship, is now returning a '404 Not Found' message...

Not Found: The requested URL /chess/wcc-indx.htm was not found on this server.

...How long will it be out of service?