01 December 2021

2021 Carlsen - Nepomniachtchi, the First Week

'The first four games of the match all ended in draws.' That's how I opened my report three years ago for 2018 Carlsen - Caruana, the First Week (November 2018), and it works just as well in 2021 as it did in 2018. I continued the 2018 report with a summary of the first week of previous World Chess Championship title matches.
Of the seven most recent matches, all with 12 games at standard time control, the first three (2006, 2008, 2010) saw the eventual winner jump into the lead after four games. The last four saw a tied score after four games, where only one (2014) had decisive games. The other three matches started with six consecutive draws (2012), four draws (2013), and seven draws (2016).

Let's add to that list 'twelve consecutive draws (2018)'. Yes, the most recent World Championship match, 2018 Carlsen - Caruana (London), had all 12 regulation games end in draws. I doubt that the current contest, 2021 Carlsen - Nepomniachtchi (Dubai), will suffer the same fate, but with the players so evenly matched, who can say for sure?

In the previous post on the current match, 2021 Carlsen - Nepomniachtchi, Warmup (November 2021), I started keeping track of articles emanating from Fide.com. I'll continue that method of summarizing the events of the first week, all under the title 'FIDE World Championship Dubai 2021':-

On my main blog I posted a look at World Championship Social Media 2021 (November 2021). One of the highlights was a Youtube video from the FIDE chess channel under the title 'FIDE World Championship Match - NBC Recap Game'. Here are links to the first three games covered by NBC:-

There's much more non-NBC video material available on the 'FIDE chess' channel. For more info on the source of those three listed videos, NBC Sports, see that post, 'WCC Social Media 2021'. Another post on my main blog, World Championship Yahoos 2021 (November 2021), introduced another mainstream resource, The Guardian:-

That last story, by 'Sean Ingle in Dubai', looks like continuing coverage of the Carlsen - Nepo match. In each of the last few World Championship matches, I've discovered at least one professional, non-chess journalist who provided an outsider's view of the match. Will the Guardian continue the trend?

I learned from the writer's page, Sean Ingle | The Guardian, that he 'is the Guardian's chief sports reporter', which means he probably doesn't have the time to cover a niche match that lasts three weeks. While I fully expect the highly respected Guardian to provide continuing coverage, it might be from their other writers, like the legendary Leonard Barden. Here are two of Sean Ingle's pre-match reports:-

It's curious that the address of that first story, 'Inside the Mind', uses a different headline than that which appears on its page. Was there a problem with the original? -- 'Magnus Carlsen: The big advantage is that I am the better chess player'. It's unusual to get that sort of edgy reporting from professional chess journalists, but it makes for interesting stories.

24 November 2021

2021 Carlsen - Nepomniachtchi, Warmup

Today is the opening ceremony for the 2021 Carlsen - Nepomniachtchi (m-w.com) World Championship title match at Dubai. Because of the covid confinements and the Netflix series 'The Queen's Gambit', chess has seen a spike in popularity since the previous title match, which I followed three years ago on this blog:-

The Carlsen - Nepomniachtchi match, originally scheduled for a year ago, might well turn out to be the most widely followed match in chess history. As a final preparation for the match I updated that page on m-w.com, where the main change was a link to FIDE's own site. It looks like this:-

Official Site:-


The m-w.com page has a dozen links to FIDE announcements, which must be a record for my pages and which attests to the organizational difficulties encountered by FIDE over the past two years, again because of the covid-19 coronavirus. One of those dozen links published the schedule for the match, reproduced here:-

No need to memorize that chart. The games will be played on the weekend -- Friday, Saturday, and Sunday -- plus Tuesday and Wednesday during the week. The other two days of the week are 'Free Days'. The small print on the bottom right of the chart says, 'Games start at 16:30 GST | 12:30 UTC'. If you're like me, 'GST' and 'UTC' don't mean much, so here's a useful link to understand that in local time:-

I could have added a few more pages to the dozen links already referenced on m-w.com. Instead, I'll start to document them on this blog. The two most recent are:-

That second page, the 'Preview', is curious. It mentions the first person pronouns 'I' and 'me', but is anonymous. The same writeup on the official site, A Special Sense of Occasion (fideworldchampionship.com), is also anonymous. Oversight or intentional, with so many sites scrambling to cover the match, why should the official site not trumpet its own sources?

There's so much more I could say about the match, but I'll stop here. Chances are that it's already been said a dozen times in a dozen other places.

17 November 2021

2021 Grand Swiss Crosstables

Continuing with 2021 Grand Swiss Preparation (November 2021), I added crosstables to two pages:-

Still to do is add the PGN to the same pages and update the corresponding player indices:-

Before I tackle that, there's a big event due to start next week: the 2021 Carlsen - Nepomniachtchi match, Dubai. In a year filled with big chess events, it's the biggest. The first game is scheduled for Friday, 26 November, aka Black Friday.

10 November 2021

2021 Grand Swiss Preparation

This past weekend two concurrent Grand Swiss events finished. Here are links to their pages on my WCC site:-

In addition to the new page for the women's event, I collected the PGN -- see TWIC Documents Chess History (August 2021) for an overview of that process. I also started building the crosstables.

The equivalent sequence for the recent World Cups took eight posts to finish (nine, if I count the 'Wrapup'), as documented in 2021 World Cup Wrapup (October 2021; NB: name mismatches). I should finish the Grand Swiss events in another couple of posts.

27 October 2021

C30 Regulations for World Cup Qualifiers

After catching up with current events in the previous post, Upcoming World Championship Events (October 2021), there remains one more action from 2021 Women's World Cup Crosstables (September 2021):-
For those in-between weeks with nothing special to report, I'll document the zonals for the current cycle, C30. Here are a few corresponding references for the previous cycle, C29. [...]

Here is the complete list of corresponding references:-

The qualifiers for the recent 2021 World Cup, Sochi (m-w.com) were published in Players lists and full pairings of FIDE World Cups published (fide.com; June 2021). The following chart, similar to the one developed for 'C29 Regulations', shows the various qualification paths for the World Cup plus the number of players qualifying via that path.

The numbers in parentheses, e.g. 'World Cup 2019 (4)', show the number of players authorized for that path by the regulations. That allows a quick calculation to check the number authorized by more complicated paths. For example, 'Americas Continental (20)' equals 8 players from that tournament plus 12 players from the zonals 2.x.

I noticed only one discrepancy, 'European Continental (47)', where the actual count in the chart totals to 48. This turned out to be an error on my part; 'Zone 1.10' produced only one qualifier, not two as shown in the original chart.

That error was caused by my erroneous manipulation of the data for players marked 'withdrew'. There were 17 such players, out of the 214 players listed as qualified.

It's worth noting that all of the players qualified by 'African Continental (4)' were from 'EGY' (Egypt). There were no African zonals 4.x in the current cycle. In the line marked 'Other (*)', the asterisk stands for:-

FIDE President’s wild cards [4], replacements of missing federation’s nominees [6], and Zonal 3.5 [2].

The four players nominated by the FIDE President were listed in the FIDE announcement from June 2021. In addition to the 17 players marked 'withdrew', six federations were missing a name under 'Federation Nominees (91)'.

The 19 events listed in the right column will be the subject of future posts. The covid coronvirus created havoc with qualifying events for the cycle C30. I hope I don't fall into any more traps along the way.

20 October 2021

Upcoming World Championship Events

After finally finishing with the most recent events in the World Championship, as documented in 2021 World Cup Wrapup (October 2021), it's time to move on to future events. One of the posts in the World Cup series, 2021 Women's World Cup Crosstables (September 2021), laid down a small follow-up plan:-
After that, I'll catch up with the latest news for two upcoming events:-
* 2021 Grand Swiss; 25 Oct - 8 Nov, and
* 2021 Carlsen - Nepomniachtchi; 24 Nov - 16 Dec

I identified recent announcements from Fide.com and updated two of my pages (both m-w.com):-

I also noted some changes required to bring the pages behind World Championship for Women up to date. I'll tackle those for my next post.

While looking for relevant info, I noticed two different banners for the Grand Swiss events, shown below. The first banner appears to have been discarded in favor of the second, which is the model for the logo shown at the top of this post.

13 October 2021

2021 World Cup Wrapup

In the previous post -- see the last entry in the table below, 'Player Indices', for a link and see that post for links to the two World Cup pages under discussion -- I promised to add PGN files to both pages. Done & done.

Before adding the PGN, I cleaned up some name mismatches. The discussion after the table provides some details. The table summarizes the effort required to document a World Cup on my site, where I always build a page from the PGN game scores for the event. The table covers two recent World Cup events held concurrently: (1) unrestricted by gender, and (2) women only.

Post U W
2021-08-04: TWIC Documents Chess History Y Y
2021-08-11: A New Cycle Is Evolving Y Y
2021-08-18: 2021 World Cup Tiebreak Y -
2021-08-25: 2021 World Cup [Name] Mismatches Y -
2021-09-15: 2021 World Cup Crosstables Y -
2021-09-22: 2021 Women's World Cup Preparation - Y
2021-09-29: 2021 Women's World Cup Crosstables - Y
2021-10-06: 2021 World Cup Player Indices Y Y

In brief, here are the steps required for each event:-

  • Collect the PGN for an event
  • Prepare the PGN according to my preferences
  • Create a text file with the structure for the event
  • Convert the text file to HTML
  • Add the players to the index of of players
  • Add the PGN to the page for the event

While the steps are largely automated, they require constant supervision because of various booby traps at each step. As for name mismatches between the official site and the PGN delivered for the event, I discovered a half-dozen:-

Unrestricted event
- Ali / Salih
- Elarbi/ Elarabi
- Gareev / Gareyev
- Iyti / Eiti

Women only
- Bhakti Kulkarni / Kulkarni Bhakti
- Medina / Aulia

I've incorporated my decision for each name on the pages holding the player indices. I hope I've been consistent with previous decisions.