26 October 2011

2011-2012 Women's Grand Prix, Nalchik

I added the Nalchik event to my page on the 2011-2012 FIDE Women's Grand Prix. After Rostov in August, and Shenzhen in September, this was the third Women's Grand Prix tournament in as many months. The last three events are scheduled for Kazan, Russia, in May 2012; Jermuk, Armenia, in June; and Istanbul, Turkey, in November.

The Nalchik event was marked by the runaway win of Zhao Xue (+9-1=1) and the collapse of former Women's World Champion Alexandra Kosteniuk, who finished last (+3-7=1), only a half-point ahead of her last place finish in the Rostov Grand Prix event. What went wrong for the self-styled Chess Queen™? Her blog makes no excuses -- Congratulations to Zhao Xue for winning the third Women's Chess Grand Prix in Nalchik -- and features an interview with the winner.

19 October 2011

Of Names and Pirates

A comment to my recent post, 2011 World Cup Players, alerted me to a couple of errors on my Index of players for all World Championship events (after the zonal stage). One error I already knew about (the dates are the years of a WCC event),
Alexander Nenashev (1997) and Alexander Graf (2001, 2004) are the same person.

but hadn't yet made the correction. The info is confirmed on Wikipedia, Alexander Graf:-

born Alexander Nenashev, 25 August 1962 in Tashkent, Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic, USSR, is an Uzbekistani-German chess grandmaster. In 2000 he moved to Germany and took his father's name.

The other error was new to me.

Mohamed Esam Ahmed Nagib (FIDE WCh 1999) and Essam El Gindy (2004, 2007, 2009) are the same person.

This was confirmed on a page from the Polish version of Wikipedia, Essam El Gindy, translated by Google:

Essam El Gindy (born 14 July 1966 in Cairo) - Egyptian chess player, grandmaster since 2008, the end of 2000 known as Esam Mohamed Ahmed Nagib.

In both cases, it would be interesting to confirm that the FIDE ID handled the change correctly (see Structure of the FIDE ID for background). While I was working on these changes I was reminded that another sharp-eyed visitor had spotted an error on my index of World Chess Championship : Zonals page. For cycle 16, zone 4.2, I had noted that I was missing info on how the player Adly of Egypt had qualified for the next step in the cycle, the 1993 Biel Interzonal Tournament. This did not jive with Glenn Giffen's page, Zonals in the Americas and Africa, which listed Esam Aly Ahmed of Egypt as one of the qualifiers from Africa.

My first problem was that the 1993 Biel page had no mention of Adly, Esam Aly Ahmed, or any other player from Egypt. I located a printed crosstable from 1993 and discovered that Essam Ali A. of Egypt was qualified to participate, but forfeited the first round and was dropped from the tournament. My corresponding PGN file for 1993 Biel (last touched in August 1997, the month before I first released the WCC site!) confirmed this. I corrected both the 1993 Biel page and the index of zonals.

That first problem alerted me to a second problem, where the Arabic name had four valid transliterations -- Esam/Essam Aly/Ali -- all found using Google, although 'Esam Aly' is by far the most common variant. A browse through the various pages did not resolve the original question, how he qualified into the 1993 Interzonal. I did, however, discover that he was no longer with us. From The Sunday chess column (telegraph.co.uk) for 16 November 2003 by Nigel Short:-

After returning home to Egypt from last month’s African Games in Abuja, Nigeria, Esam Aly Ahmed, a 38-year-old International Master ranked sixth in his country, dropped dead from cerebral malaria. The 60-year-old head of delegation did likewise the following day. The disease, which requires urgent treatment, had not been detected in time.

These various researches left me little time to tackle any other item on my long TODO list, so I spent the available time delving further into the Complete History of the World Championship. An unfortunate side effect of these researches is to unearth elsewhere on the web many unattributed copies of the original material.

For example, a search on "there have been many matches between the leading players" returns not only the original page History of World Championship matches (forums.ubi.com, 11 July 2008), but also a bootlegged page World Chess Championship 1886 Pre-Fide (pakchess.org, 4 September 2009). I'm sure the forums.ubi.com page is the original, because I've also been copied by the pakchess.org site. For example, the page The History of Chess | PAKCHESS has links to copies of many articles from my own page on Chess History. Authorized? Of course not. Attributed? You must be kidding!

12 October 2011

Complete History of the World Championship

Help! I'm being bombarded with fantastic information about the World Championship and I don't know how to assimilate all of it. In addition to clarifications on the zonals from the ubiquitous ebutaljib, last mentioned in A Feedback Loop for Zonals, I've been getting frequent messages from German correspondent H-W.Ohl, whose work I introduced in Qualifiers and More Qualifiers.

Herr Ohl sent me a 527 page PDF reference document that chronicles the history of the World Championship from the early 19th century to the present (2011 World Cup). The document was compiled using copy & paste -- the word 'scrapbook' describes it best -- from knowledgeable sources that cover all aspects of the World Championship. For example, here are web sources I identified from the first 25% of the document, listed with the PDF page where the source is quoted.

I even spotted a few pages copied from (gasp!) me, including that rare show of thanks : attribution. Filling up the other pages are crosstables and scanned clippings from offline resources that enhance the referenced material. For reasons of copyright, the Ohl document can't be distributed publicly, but it makes a good personal reference and I am lucky to have received a copy.

Making the document even more valuable is a second, three page PDF cross-referencing Ohl's list in my 'More Qualifiers' post with the longer document. For example, the blog post item '1907: Ostende Tournament (World Tournament Championship & Qualifier)' is supported by the Wikipedia page on the Ostend 1907 chess tournament, along with a German language clipping from an unidentified (probably contemporary) source.

I have several books covering different aspects of the history of the World Championship, but I don't have any single reference that is so comprehensive. It is truly a unique document. Thank you, Herr Ohl!


Later: More of the same investigation.

05 October 2011

2011 World Cup Players

Continuing with my previous post on 2011 World Cup Results, I added the missing explanatory material to my page on the 2011 World Cup. I also added the names of all 128 players, including the two no-shows, to my Index of Players: A-G, H-M, N-S, & T-Z. According to my calculations, there were 41 players who had never played in a World Cup before.