23 July 2014

Zonal Clipping Update, C20-C26

I tackled the first of the actions from the previous post, Zonal Index Update, i.e. 'Look for missing events on the pages of zonal clippings'; found 11 new crosstables; and added them to the relevant pages of clippings -- C20 : 2001-02, C21 : 2002-04, C22 : 2004-05, C23 : 2006-07, C25 : 2010-11, and C26 : 2012-13. With a few exceptions, the crosstables were found on ratings.fide.com.

16 July 2014

Zonal Index Update

Back in Small Projects for 2014, I made a list of tasks for the zonals, most of which are now incorporated into the index page, World Chess Championship Zonals. Next steps:-
  • Look for missing events on the pages of zonal clippings.
  • Add dates to the index where they are missing.
  • Identify events where the clippings lack a crosstable.
  • Synchronize the index with the headers on the clippings pages.

That should keep me busy for a while.

09 July 2014

2013-2014 Women's Grand Prix, Lopota

I added the crosstable and PGN for the 2014 Lopota (Georgia) to my page on the 2013-2014 FIDE Women's Grand Prix. My previous post in the series, 2013-2014 WGP, Khanty-Mansiysk mentioned that the next event would be held in Tbilisi (Georgia). It seems that Lopota -- or more precisely Lopota Lake, Kakheti, Georgia (a resort) -- is 115 km northeast of Tbilisi.

02 July 2014

Zt: 1975 Barcelona & 1976 Arandjelovac

When it comes to chess history, one thing generally leads to another, and a particular subject is often incomplete. While I was working on the actions identified in Zonal Overview 2013 (plus the following three weeks), I discovered a curious paragraph on Zonals 1990-1993 (C15). A clipping for zone 3, Stara Zagora 1990-02, mentioned
The zone of Europe is one of the strongest, and used to send representatives to compete with the rest of Europe till the Pachman affair and the orders of now discredited governments led to tournament disruption. [BCM, 1990-05, p.197]

Pachman affair? What was that all about? Looking at my index page for World Chess Championship Zonals, I identified the 1975 zonals as the likely root of the 'affair', especially two events: 1975 Barcelona and 1976 Arandjelovac. Pachman played in the first event and the the second was a mystery to me that I had investigated several times without much success. The clippings for that cycle, including notes from a relevant discussion with 'EK', are on my page for Zonals 1975-1978 (C10).

A copy of a Pachman obituary from Google groups -- Ludek Pachman, chess grandmaster; Telegraph obit -- gave me further details.

In 1975 Pachman qualified once again for a world championship zonal tournament, this time held in Barcelona. After his departure from Czechoslovakia, East European chess federations had done their utmost to continue damaging his career, and they now used the bullying tactic of threatening a total Eastern European boycott if he took up his place.

Fortunately, the Spanish organisers and the World Chess Federation stood their ground. Pachman's invitation remained and it was the communist players who suffered, by being deliberately excluded from the event. As it was, he went on to qualify, and his presence in the 1976 interzonal contest obliged the communist federations to abandon their boycott, since to have withdrawn en masse from this advanced stage of the world championship would have been a considerable political setback.

This was confirmed in a passage from the book 'Smart Chip from St. Petersburg' by Genna Sosonko, in a chapter titled 'If the Trumpet Sounds; Ludek Pachman (1924-2003)'.

A few months later, in August 1975, we both played in the zonal in Barcelona. This was an unusual tournament. About ten days before it began in Spain —- where Franco was in power at the time -- several people were sentenced to death for killing a policeman. When we arrived in the capital of Catalonia we found out that some representatives of Eastern European countries -- strong grandmasters from Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia -- had refused to come to the tournament in protest, while the Romanian and Hungarian chess players had arrived in Barcelona but eventually decided not to play because they were afraid of being punished by their governments when they returned home. [p.52]

The reason for the boycott is different for the two accounts, but the underlying facts correlate nicely. A little further investigation led me to a long discussion on Chessgames.com's Biographer Bistro. It starts,

Jan-26-14 thomastonk: I see. Some Dutch newspapers also reported on the zonal in Barcelona because of Sosonko. Three places for the interzonals, one newspaper says two. Four strong players from eastern Europe did not start because of Sosonko and Pachman. Diez del Coral is mentioned as second, and since Pachman played in Manila, he should have been qualified, too.

The discussion is too long to quote in its entirety, but it did tie 1975 Barcelona to 1976 Arandjelovac.

Jan-26-14 sneaky pete: In Barcelona 1975 not 4 but 6 masters from eastern Europe (Adorjan, Ciocaltea, Smejkal, Uhlmann, Velimirovic and Ermenkov) were not allowed to play by their federation because of some recent murders of political opponents committed by the Franco gang. The Swedish master Ornstein didn't play for the same reason (the murders).

Four of the 6 eastern Eastern masters later played a double round qualifier for 2 places, where of course 3 players shared first place. After drawing of lots Smejkal and Uhlmann qualifed at the expense of Adorjan. Velimirovic was number four.

There are more leads here for further investigation, especially the qualification process for the two subsequent Interzonals, but that isn't too surprising. 'When it comes to chess history, one thing generally leads to another, and a particular subject is often incomplete.'


Later: Some quotes from the Chessgames.com reference for further investigation:-

  • A) 1975 Barcelona : 'The Swedish master Ornstein didn't play for the same reason (the murders).'
  • B) 1976 Arandjelovac : 'After drawing of lots Smejkal and Uhlmann qualifed at the expense of Adorjan.'
  • C) IZ Qualifiers : 'Diez del Corral couln't play because of professional obligations and was replaced by first reserve Pachman.'
  • D) IZ Qualifiers : 'Perhaps only one place [from 1976 Arandjelovac] because Smejkal was already qualified from the Leningrad Interzonal (1973). As was Larsen, Kuzmin (who withdrew), Hübner, and somehow Tal (possibly as reserve for Kuzmin).'
  • E) IZ Qualifiers : '"EK" in http://www.mark-weeks.com/chess/zon... (bottom of page) writes that Smejkal was 2nd reserve and that Kuzmin was replaced by Kavalek etc., but I'd like to see hard evidence.'
  • F) IZ Qualifiers : 'The British Chess Magazine, issue May 1976, page 184, reports on the results of a FIDE Bureau meeting in Rome, March 16-19.'
  • G) IZ Qualifiers : 'When FIDE decided to create 2 extra places to give the Barcelona five (originally six) a second chance, they also added 2 more places (for a reserve from the previous cycle and a Swiss guest player)'

The BCM reference (F) looks to be extremely useful.

11 June 2014

Zone 7 Details, 1969 & 1975

Thanks to a couple of Bill Hook articles in Chess Life, I added clippings for zone 7 to my detail pages on the World Chess Championship Zonals:-

The 1975 writeup included a note on a tentative Fischer match.

A surprise visitor was Florencio Campomanes of the Philippines, FIDE Deputy President, fresh from negotiations in Caracas for a possible Fischer - Mecking match.

I don't recall seeing mention of this before.

04 June 2014

'The Termination' by Kasparov

In my previous post, KK1, KK2, and KK3, I mentioned three accounts by Kasparov on the series of Kasparov - Karpov matches:-
  • Child of Change (Hutchinson 1987, with Donald Trelford),
  • Unlimited Challenge (Fontana 1990), and
  • Kasparov on Modern Chess part 2; Kasparov vs Karpov, 1975-1985 (Everyman 2008)

I closed the post with:-

Although the later discussions of the KK1 termination largely repeat Kasparov's 1987 account, and all three contain a fourth Kasparov account written in March 1985, they still deserve to be reviewed.

Not having studied the three accounts, I was taking a bit of a stab that the two later accounts 'largely repeat' the first. The diagram on the left shows the similar structure of the three accounts -- CHCH (1987), UNCH (1990), and KMC2 (2008) -- along with the page numbers where corresponding sections start. For example, the events leading up to Campomanes' termination of the match on 15 February 1985 ('<15 Feb'), start on p.127 in 'Child of Change', on p.116 in 'Unlimited Challenge', and on p.246 in 'Kasparov on Modern Chess'.

The events of the termination itself ('@15 Feb') are mainly a transcript of the press conference. This is nearly identical in the three sources.

Kasparov's account written in March 1985 ('Cui bono?') is introduced in 'Kasparov on Modern Chess' (KMC2) with

The starting point of my analysis was that, in trying to assess that decision to end the match, one should be guided by Cicero's immortal question: 'Cui bono?' - 'To whose benefit?' (p.264)

Although building on the previous account, each new account provides more detail. For example, the second account (UNCH 1990) incorporates the full text of letters missing from the first. The third account (KMC2 2008) quotes sources not available for the second. Two examples from the events leading up to the press conference are

Averbakh: 'Incidentally, in his letter, when he states "it will be recalled", Sevastyanov cites the agreement about the unlimited Fischer-Karpov match (1976). But this agreement was confidential, the negotiations took place in strict secrecy, and I, for example, as head of the Federation, had no idea about them.' (p.251)


Nikitin: 'Campomanes spoke with us somewhat sluggishly and did not enter into arguments. We realised that he did not agree with much of what was said and therefore did not want to defend it. It was a purely formal visit, since everything had already been decided. Apparently Campo was not exactly enthusiastic about the mission assigned to him of executioner of the match, and he simply wanted to warn us about his next steps.' (p.252)

Here is a third example from well after the press conference.

Five years later Karpov wrote this in his book Sestra moya Kaissa: 'Those days left a heavy residue in my heart. And not only because victory was taken away from me without a fight. The main thing was that I was denied the opportunity to immediately explain the truth to my people... (p.262)

The Karpov book was published in English as 'Karpov on Karpov' (Macmillan 1991). How does it compare with Kasparov's accounts?

28 May 2014

KK1, KK2, and KK3

Getting back to my previous post, Overlapping Cycles in the 1980s, events surrounding the first four Kasparov - Karpov (KK) title matches, I closed with the comment,
While working on this last table I noted a few other points of interest, but ran out of time before I could investigate them further.

The first point of interest was a question: Given that Kasparov didn't participate in the 1982 USSR zonal, how did he qualify for the interzonal? I found the answer in his book 'Garry Kasparov on Garry Kasparov, Part 1: 1973-1985'. Short answer: he qualified by rating. Longer answer: see the page Zonals 1981-84 (C12).

The next point of interest was a forgotten fact. I had a vague recollection that around the time of the first three KK matches, FIDE tried to shorten the World Championship cycle from three years to two, but I couldn't recall the details. While I failed to find any confirmation one way or the other, I did spend some time reviewing Averbakh's 'Centre-Stage and Behind the Scenes: A Personal Memoir', a book I discussed last year in Averbakh on the World Championship. In it I found the following passage related to the organization of KK2 and KK3.

Averbakh p.221

Both of those book references, 'Kasparov on Kasparov' (p.513, four paragraphs) and Averbakh's 'A Personal Memoir' (p.214), reminded me that I had never really looked into the termination of KK1. Along with two well known essays by Edward Winter,

plus that first Kasparov autobiography,

  • Child of Change (Hutchinson 1987, with Donald Trelford),

there are two more recent Kasparov autobiographical sources,

  • Unlimited Challenge (Fontana 1990) and
  • Kasparov on Modern Chess part 2; Kasparov vs Karpov, 1975-1985 (Everyman 2008).

Although the later discussions of the KK1 termination largely repeat Kasparov's 1987 account, and all three contain a fourth Kasparov account written in March 1985, they still deserve to be reviewed. On top of that, how well do these resources -- Averbakh, Kasparov, and Winter -- square with each other? I'll look at that another time.