19 November 2014

Carlsen - Anand II, the Second Week

It was a great week for world class chess. Last week's report, Carlsen - Anand II, the First Week, left the match tied +1-1=2. During the seven intervening days, we had four games and three rest days, Carlsen taking the lead with +1-0=3 in the new games.

The overall score of +2-1=5 leaves Anand in a better position than at the same point last year (see Anand - Carlsen, the Second Week, November 2013), when the score was +2-0=6. In 2013 Carlsen won the ninth game and drew the tenth to clinch the title with two games left to play. In 2014, with four games remaining, Anand must win at least one game and draw the rest if he wants to take the match into tiebreak.

Here's a summary of the past week's events, presented by TheHindu.com, one of my favorite Indian news sources. Their chess correspondent is Rakesh Rao.

If I were responsible for the match, what would I change? Not much, with the possible exception of the press conference. I spent time reviewing all of the press conferences held since the opening ceremony and am relieved that they are not re-broadcast on mainstream, network television. The press officer in charge shows no enthusiasm, the players show no interest in communicating, and the assembled journalists show no desire to extend the proceedings. Here's a typical exchange from the session after game eight.

Q: You say you weren't in the best of shape at the beginning [of the game]. Could you elaborate? • Carlsen: No.

Is it any wonder that outside interest in the match is nil? I can understand that the players are tired after a long game and that they don't want to give information about their preparation, but the purpose of a sporting event is to provide some entertainment to the world at large. The entertainment value of chess press conferences is close to zero.

***

The introduction to the official videos usually features the logo that I captured in my 'C-A II, First Week' post. The animated sequence starts with chess pieces dropping on to an empty board, then the board morphs into the player's eye, then the eye morphs and rotates into the full logo. I managed to capture the board morphing into a player's eye.

That's more entertaining than the typical press conference that follows.

12 November 2014

Carlsen - Anand II, the First Week

It was only two-and-a-half years ago, during the Anand - Gelfand title match, that watching live transmission of a high level chess match was a special treat: World Championship Chess on TV (May 2012). These days it has become commonplace.

Today the live video on the official site went down during the last portion of game four and the associated #c24live Twitter feed started filling up with 'live stream lost!' tweets. At least the tweets aren't filled with engine evaluations the way they were in the early days of live chat on the play sites. Come to think of it, there's not much difference between Twitter and live chat.

GM Peter Svidler and IM/WGM Sopiko ('Giggles') Guramishvili got off to a rocky start as official commentators. During the first games the GM would talk and talk and talk (no problem here; this is what he was hired to do) while the IM/WGM would giggle and occasionally interject an informed 'yeah'. Now there is some real back-and-forth between the two. The male/female, GM/IM contrasts work well provided that there is real interaction and some chemistry between the two commentators.

In the title match section of my previous post, 2014-2015 Grand Prix, Tashkent, I mentioned, 'I couldn't find an official logo' on the official site. The official videos start with the image that I've captured below. The eyeballs everywhere make it a little creepy, but it's better than nothing.

Coincidentally, after four games this year's match stands at the same equal score as last year's match, which I documented in Anand - Carlsen, the First Week (November 2013). Last year I mentioned

A Google News search on 'anand carlsen' has mushroomed to 'about 73.300 results'.
This year I'm seeing '103.000 results'. Other than that, the prediction from a year ago --
Kasparov: A Win For Carlsen In The Upcoming World Championship Match Will Be A Huge Win For The Chess World

-- hasn't happened. Carlsen got more press as a challenger than as a champion, the prize fund for the 2014 match is well below the 2013 match, and the Women's World Championship is in limbo. That's not what I call 'a huge win'. Chess's ragged outlook notwithstanding, I'm looking forward to the second week of the match.

05 November 2014

2014-2015 Grand Prix, Tashkent

I added the crosstable and PGN for the Tashkent Grand Prix tournament to my page on the 2014-2015 Grand Prix. Only one week separated the last round of the first event, 2014-2015 Grand Prix, Baku, from the first round of the Tashkent event.

The FIDE calendar says the last two Grand Prix events will be held February 2015 in Tbilisi, Georgia, and May 2015 in Moscow. This means that the entire Grand Prix cycle will have taken only eight months to complete.

***

I also added a link for the official site to my page on the forthcoming 2014 Carlsen - Anand title match, due to start in a few days. I couldn't find an official logo, so I used the image shown on the right.

The official site is a break from the normal look of FIDE sites. It tells us,

The look of the 2014 World Chess Championship, conceived by Pentagram, the famous design studio, stands out from typical chess events designs and represents an effort by FIDE to rebrand chess and make it more attractive for chess players and partners.

The site's schedule omits the starting time for rounds, but the TWIC page World Chess Championship 2014 tells us,

Games start at 3 PM local time, 1 PM CET, 12 PM GMT, 7 AM US East Coast.

I haven't decided where I'll be watching the match, so I'll start with the official site.

29 October 2014

Caracas Zonals

At the beginning of the year I posted Che Guevara at the Havana Zonal, written with the help of feedback from Rafael Santana of Caracas, Venezuela. Since then, he has informed me that his own site, Historia del Ajedrez en Venezuela, has pages for each of the six zonals held in Caracas. He has details on each event, including photos, and I added his crosstables, along with links to the originals, to my own pages: C02: 1951-1954, C03: 1954-1957, C04: 1957-1960, C05: 1960-1963, C07: 1966-1969, and C13: 1984-1987.

His page for the first zonal, Caracas 1951 (C02), includes the following explanation (translated from the original Spanish by Google):-

Since 1950 Venezuela joined the FIDE Zone no.6, which covered the region of Central America and the Caribbean. In 1951 the Venezuelan doctor Manuel Acosta Silva was appointed Vice President of FIDE for the Central American and Caribbean Zone, in office continuously until 1966, when it was replaced by the Cuban A.I. José Luis Barreras.

Later the zone was officially numbered '7', then '8', then '2.3', which it remains today. Thanks, Rafael, for clarifying the early record of an entire zone.

22 October 2014

2014-2015 Grand Prix, Baku

I added a new cycle covering the period 2014-2016 to my pages on the The World Chess Championship. This is the 27th World Championship cycle (C27 in my shorthand) since the first FIDE championship in 1948 (documented in FIDE Events 1948-1990).

The first page in the new cycle is for the 2014-2015 Grand Prix, where I added the crosstable and PGN for the Baku tournament, the first of four events in the new Grand Prix. For my wrapup post on the previous Grand Prix, see 2012-13 GP / 2013 WCC.

At the start of the Baku event, FIDE also announced Introducing New Look for the Grand Prix Series.

FIDE invite you to take the first look at the new Grand Prix website. We have been working to create a better experience for chess enthusiasts who follow the games online.

Fot more about the new Grand Prix and about the Baku event, see The first stage of FIDE GP series 2014-2015 in Baku.

15 October 2014

Zonal Index Update 2014-10-15

A second pass through Zonal Clipping Headers revealed no new problems, so I updated the index page World Chess Championship Zonals ('Last updated 2014-10-15'). Since I now had some extra time, I added a few new clippings that were waiting to be processed. I don't want to list all of the changes I made, but if anyone is interested, the latest clippings can be identified via their directory, Index of /chess/zonals/clippngs, sorted on the 'Last modified' timestamp. The first two characters of the clipping filename indicate the year of the event: '90' = 1990, 'A0' = 2000, 'B1' = 2011 etc. The two character year is a convention I use throughout the site.

One of the new clippings is from Chesshistory.com's 'C.N. 6422. Youngest International Master'. On the same page are 'C.N. 6423. Fischer’s title(s)' and 'C.N. 6429. International Master title'. The last reference mentions an appropriate topic for further research:-

Further evidence regarding Mecking’s IM title would also be welcome. With respect to both Fischer and Mecking, does any reader have access to FIDE’s working documents and reports? More generally, what were the rules on the awarding of the IM title for performances in Zonal Tournaments?

As for the list of tasks in the previous Zonal Index Update (2014-07-16), all but the last is now complete. I'll use that task as the start of a new list of tasks:-

  • Identify events where the clippings lack a crosstable
  • List players qualifying to the next stage (where the list is known)
  • Split venue into city & country

With a World Championship match due to start in less than a month, it might be a while before I tackle that list.

08 October 2014

Zonal Clipping Headers

The maintenance on my zonal pages, outlined in Zonal Index Update, then completed for Inventory of Missing Zonal Clippings and Zonal Months, took another step forward. I compared the index page World Chess Championship Zonals with the clipping pages listed at the bottom of the index, resolved as many header discrepancies as I could, and updated 19 clipping pages. I'll perform the comparison one more time before I update the index page.