25 March 2015

A Pseudo World Championship

When is a World Chess Championship not a *real* World Championship? A strong case can be made against the most recent World Computer Championships, as in the 20th World Computer Championship. Another can be made against the Women's World Championship, which I last discussed in Knockout Format KOed (December 2012).

Don't misunderstand me. I'm not at all against the idea of a Women's World Championship. Women seem to enjoy competing for their version of the world title and both men & women enjoy following the competitions. The problem is the schizophrenic format of the series. From the current 'Regulations for the Women’s World Chess Championship Cycle' (the italics are mine):-

The Women’s World Chess Championship shall be organised annually and qualifying events include the following: National Championships, Zonal Tournaments, Continental Championships, FIDE Women’s Grand Prix and the final stages, the Women’s World Chess Championship Tournament in even years 2014, 2016 etc. (64-player knock out system) and the Women’s World Chess Championship Match (10 games, 2 players) in odd years 2013, 2015, etc.

Tournament in the even years, match in the odd years -- and not a normal double-round-robin tournament as last seen in the 1997 Groningen Women's Candidates Tournament, but a 64-player knockout tournament. A similar format was abandoned for the unrestricted (aka men's) World Championship after the disastrous 2004 FIDE Knockout Matches (aka The Worst World Championship Ever).

Simply stated, the knockout format is too vulnerable to random factors to be taken seriously as a World Championship. The winner of the event deserves our full respect for achieving a major tournament victory, but doesn't deserve the title of World Champion.

The current Women's World Champion said the same thing when the current Sochi tournament was announced after a months-long delay.

'Generally speaking, I don't think I will continue to play the World Championship if the knock-out system is used', she said. 'The system is different from the men's. If it were the same that would be much better'. • Hou Yifan: 'Probably I Won't Play in Sochi' [chess-news.ru]

Peter Long of TheMalayMailOnline.com said similar in a pair of recent columns:-

Former Women’s World Champion Susan Polgar is a current FIDE 'Co-Chairperson' of the Commission for Women's Chess. Given her complaint about having been treated unfairly throughout her career, you have to wonder why she tolerates FIDE's approach.

18 March 2015

More Berman Memoirs

Continuing with Early FIDE Zonals, I added more clippings from Marcel Berman's French-language memoirs published 50-60 years ago in FIDE Review. The zonal pages I updated were:-

It's not always obvious which actions from which FIDE Congress took effect in which cycle, so I might rearrange the material if I determine that the chronological sequence is misleading.

11 March 2015

20th World Computer Championship

After posting TCEC Season 7 on my main blog, I returned to my post about the 20th World Computer Championship on this blog, WCCC Ain't What It Used to Be, where I wrote,
It's time to acknowledge that the ICGA tournaments are not real World Championships. I'll continue to list the ICGA events, but without crosstables or game scores.

For the sake of completeness I decided to provide the PGN game scores and a text-only crosstable, both in the same ZIP file. I then added the corresponding link to my page on the World Chess Championship : Computer Chess.

04 March 2015

2014-2015 Grand Prix, Tbilisi

I added the crosstable and PGN for the Tbilisi Grand Prix tournament, won by GM Evgeny Tomashevsky, to my page on the 2014-2015 Grand Prix. After the previous event, 2014-2015 Grand Prix, Tashkent, this is the third of four events from which two players will qualify for the candidates tournament March 2016, venue still unknown.

See Who can win the FIDE Grand Prix? [Chess24.com], for the current standings.

25 February 2015

Early FIDE Zonals

A few months ago, in a post on Early FIDE Titles, I used Marcel Berman's memoirs, published mid-20th century in the FIDE Review. In the same source there is much that is relevant to the early history of the zonals, and to get started I added two clippings to my page on the Zonals 1946-1948 (C00).

Fide Review 1960, p.8

I believe that Berman is the dark-haired fellow fourth from the left in the back row, standing behind then-FIDE President Alexander Rueb.

18 February 2015

Update to FIDE Codes

A few days ago, on my main blog, I posted about FIDE Country and Federation Codes (chessforallages.blogspot.com), with a new page on my main site having the same title, FIDE Country and Federation Codes (m-w.com). The new page provides support material for my ongoing project on the World Chess Championship Zonals.

The list of country and federation codes used some obsolete data relating federations to the FIDE continent and zone structure, but it was the best I could do at the time. Sometimes it's better to release a nearly finished prototype, then fix the errors, than it is to attempt perfection on the first release. This was one of those times. Here is a list of errors I corrected for this second edition.

  • Added missing data to several federations.
  • Added zone 1.10.
  • Updated most Asian zones, i.e. 3.x.
  • Added zone 4.4.

The Fide.com page, Zone Presidents, was useful to verify the European zones like the relatively new zone 1.10 for small countries. My own page Zonals : Links (and Other References) was useful for the recent history of changes to zone numbering, e.g.

Starting cycle 22 (2004-2005), zone numbering changed from 3.1a to 3.1, from 3.1b to 3.2, from 3.2a to 3.3, from 3.2b to 3.6, and from 3.3 to 3.5; 3.4 unchanged.

FIDE pages for individual federations were useful to verify current zone numbering. I discovered two federations, both in zone 4.4, which are not on my current list.

I'll tackle this discrepancy another time.

11 February 2015

2015 a Zonal Year (More++)

Since my previous post, 2015 a Zonal Year, there have been additions and corrections to the FIDE calendar for the current cycle (C27, according to my numbering). The additions are noted below. I've also noted a few other events for future reference.

2.1 American Zonal Open & Women St. Louis, Missouri, USA 31-Mar-2015
4.0 African Individual Championships 2015 Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt 1-May-2015
4.1 African Zonal Hammamet, Tunisia 25-Mar-2015
4.2 African Zonal (A) Kampala, Uganda 17-Apr-2015
4.4 African Zonal Lome, Togo 13-Mar-2015
0.0 ACP Wildcard (B)  
0.0 FIDE Online Arena (C)  

(A) See also TWIC1047: 24) Zonal 4.2 2014 (1 December 2014); 'The Zonal 4.2 took place in Cairo 21st to 30th November 2014. Bassem Amin won with 8.5/9.' • How to reconcile these two events for zone 4.2? NB: The previous cycle (C26) did not have a zonal 4.4.

(B) ACP Wildcard for World Cup 2015 (30 September 2014); 'The ACP will have a wild card in the World Cup 2015 [...] The wild card will go to the highest-placed participant of the ACP Tour 2014 who has not qualified by rating, continental championships or any other means.'

(C) FIDE Online Arena enters a new era (29 January 2015); 'According to the regulations of the FIDE World Cup (art. 3.1) the FIDE Online Arena will provide 3 qualifiers for the World Cup 2015.'

From fide.com/FIDE/handbook/WorldCup2015Regulations.pdf:-

2.3.5. The number of qualifiers for each continent is:
Europe 46,
Americas 20,
Asia 20,
Africa 6.

3.1. Qualifiers -
There are 128 qualifiers (in order of priority):
World Champion + four (4) semi-finalists from the World Cup 2013,
Women's World Champion,
World Junior U-20 Champions 2013 & 2014,
eighteen (18) rated players as described in 3.1.2,
ninety (92) players from Continental Championships,
the one (1) highest-placed participant of the ACP Tour who has not qualified with the previous criteria,
two (2) FIDE President nominees,
four (4) organiser nominees,
three (3) qualifiers from FIDE-approved internet events.
If there are no internet events, the spot(s) will be decided by the FIDE President after consulting the WCOC.

I'll look at the FIDE Online Arena in another post.