25 November 2015

1985 San Juan (Puerto Rico)

After sorting out the record of Central American (CAM) Zonals, there was still an open question about CAM Subzonals. On the one hand I knew that the 1985 CAM zonal was held in Caracas. On the other hand I had a curious reference in 'Hooked on Chess' by Bill Hook (p.134):-
The Puerto Ricans hosted the Caribbean zonal tournament in 1985, in San Juan. [...] The zonal was well organized by Narciso Rabell Mendez, as were all other tournaments of his that I attended. This was my third zonal, and I finished in the lower half of the field, as usual. The Cubans had the preponderance of chess strength in the Caribbean, and they took the first three places.

The best way to reconcile the contradictory pieces of information was to verify that 1985 San Juan was a subzonal, but how? A library visit wasn't possible and I could find nothing on the web except for a single game reference, William Hook vs Craig van Tilbury; Zonal Tournament (1985) on Chessgames.com (CG).

What about Hook's reference to the Cubans? From my page (C13) 1984-1987 Zonal Cycle, I knew that the Cuban players in the 1985 Caracas zonal were Amador Rodriguez and Jesus Nogueiras, but their player pages on CG didn't mention it. [I did discover, however, that GM Rodriguez was listed on CG as 'Cespedes, Amador Rodriguez' rather than 'Rodriguez Cespedes, Amador', making his record harder to find.]

CG helped by providing a link to GM Rodriguez' personal site, amadorgm.com. I took the liberty of contacting him there to ask if he had any information about the San Juan tournament. Some time later the GM answered,

I did play in San Juan in 1985, a great year, happy times. It was a sub-zonal tournament, there were two spots valid for the zonal tournament that was played next month in Caracas, where I took first and went all the way to play the Interzonal.

In Puerto Rico I shared first with GMs Nogueiras and Guillermo Garcia, all of us from Cuba. At the end we had to play a double round match to eliminate one, but Guillermo Garcia had to return home and declined to play those tiebreaks.

That info matched Hook's perfectly, so I thanked GM Rodriguez and wrote this post.

18 November 2015

2016 Candidates, Moscow

I created a new page for the 2016 Candidates Tournament, scheduled for March 2016 in Moscow. For now the page has only a couple of links to FIDE.com announcements like 2016 FIDE World Chess Candidates Tournament:-
According to FIDE regulations, the list of players includes the top two performers from the 2014-2015 Grand Prix: Hikaru Nakamura and Fabiano Caruana (both of the USA); the winner and runner-up of the 2015 World Cup, Sergey Karjakin and Peter Svidler (both of Russia); as well as the loser of the 2014 World Chess Championship match, Viswanathan Anand of India; Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria and Anish Giri of the Netherlands, based on their 2015 FIDE ratings are likely to have qualified to participate. The eighth and final participant is Levon Aronian of Armenia, who was chosen as Wild Card entry by the Organizers.

Another paragraph informs that Agon is still very much part of the story.

About World Chess by Agon Limited: Agon Limited is the official partner of World Chess Federation (FIDE) and owner of commercial rights to the World Chess Championship cycle. The company aims to develop and commercialize chess, create favorable environment for partners, players, and brands, and to significantly expand the broadcast coverage of the sport. With this in mind the company introduces World Chess brand, targeting 600+ million chess players and spectators all over the world.

Agon became owner of commercial rights in 2012. The company successfully managed the 2012-2013 Grand Prix cycle, the 2014 World Championship Match, and the 2015 Rapid and Blitz World Championships. For commercial and partnership opportunities, please visit www.agonlimited.com.

The last time I recall covering Agon was on my main blog during last year's World Championship match, Carlsen - Anand II : Rumblings (November 2014). The post started,

Pre-match Press Conference: Who was that fellow sitting to the right of the match stakeholders? Introduced as 'the organizer of the tournament, Ilya Merenzon', this was the first time I had become aware of him.

Agon also received a subsequent mention on this WCC blog in 2014 FIDE General Assembly : Whither the World Championship? (December 2014).

Then let's hear from the Presidential Board in November about forthcoming events. • 4.5. Agon. Annex 13 is a letter from Agon with a change in the Agon/FIDE interface team. [...] I don't have much to add here. It's Christmas Eve and there are better things to do!

Christmas is long past, so let's look at that letter.

'The Chairman' was identified as Mr. L. Buckley assisted by Mrs. C. Farrow as secretary. Mentioned in the clipping are Andrew Paulson, Ilya Merenzon, and Matvey Shekhovtsov. Now that we know the Agon cast of characters, we can continue with the story.

11 November 2015

21st World Computer Championship

I added the PGN and crosstable for the 21st World Computer Championship (WCCC) held in Leiden (Netherlands) to my page on the World Computer Chess Championship. Just like the previous event (see 20th World Computer Championship), both files are packed into a single ZIP file. For more about the event, see

The ICGA has announced next year's competition in ICGA Events 2016 in Leiden, including

  • The World Computer Chess Championship,
  • The World Computer Software Championship, and
  • The Speed Computer Chess Championship.

These events might better be named 'The ICGA Computer Chess Championship', etc. A few days ago I posted TCEC Season 8 Superfinal in Progress on my main blog. Many (most?) people who follow computer chess now consider the TCEC events to be the real World Computer Chess Championship.

Having said that, in round 5 of the 21st WCCC, the eventual winner of the event (Jonny) managed to beat the winner of TCEC Season 7 (Komodo). The two engines finished 1-2 in the final standings at Leiden.

04 November 2015

CAM Subzonals

In 2005 I gave myself the goal of documenting the World Chess Championship Zonals. Since the early days of the project there have been a number of events -- I call them the Central American Subzonals -- that I wasn't sure how to treat. The first of these on my zonal index was for cycle 15...
Zone 8 subzonal?; Pinar del Rio CUB; 1990-00

...after which there were seven more. I finally decided to delete them all ('hide' would be a better verb), so I updated the zonal index to reflect this decision.

The index now lists 451 events, of which 414 represent zonals and 37 represent the next stage of a cycle, e.g. an Interzonal. The current list of Central American zonals is shown below.

Central American (CAM) Zonals

End of story? No, not quite. Although that first subzonal reference was from 1990 and the first from Rafael Santana's site is TORNEO FIDE ZONA 8 (VIII) – CALI, 1990, a 2008 post on this blog, appropriately titled Subzonals, mentions a 1985 San Juan (Puerto Rico) event. I'll tackle that some other time.