28 February 2018

Kramnik on Playing for the Title

On my main blog I'm doing a weekly series on the eight players who will be competing in next month's candidates tournament (see the previous post, Berlin Candidates - Kickoff, for more about the tournament). The most recent player to be covered was in Interview Videos : Kramnik. As the oldest of the eight players, there is a wide choice of material about Kramnik. The following video is even better than an interview.

Chess : V Kramnik's preparation before WC match 2000 vs G Kasparov (27:55) • 'Published on Sep 27, 2017'

Pirated material on Youtube typically omits mention of the source and this is no exception. Without too much trouble, I discovered that the clip is a segment from a DVD titled 'My Path to the Top' by Vladimir Kramnik (chessbase.com).

On this DVD Vladimir Kramnik retraces his career from talented schoolboy to World Champion in 2006. With humour and charm he describes his first successes, what it meant to be part of the Russian Gold Medal team at the Olympiad, and how he undertook the Herculean task of beating his former mentor and teacher Garry Kasparov. Kramnik dissects his wins against Leko and Topalov, giving us a vivid impression of the super-dramatic final games of the 2006 match.

The specific segment in the Youtube clip is:-

Part 8 - Preparation for the World Championship match against Kasparov in London 2000, 27:55

A review of the DVD by Prof. Nagesh Havanur is at Kramnik speaks: My Path to the Top (chessbase.com; May 2012).

This ChessBase DVD was produced in 2007, when Vladimir Kramnik was still world champion. On it he describes the nirvana of attending the Botvinnik School, of being nominated for the Olympiad in 1992 by Garry Kasparov, how he went on to dethrone his mentor. Apart from narrative and analysis the DVD also includes previous interviews with ChessBase.

Particularly insightful is the explanation of how GM Kramnik chose the Berlin Defense as his main weapon with Black.

21 February 2018

Berlin Candidates - Kickoff

A few weeks ago FIDE issued the 2018 FIDE Candidates' Tournament Pairings, including dates and times for the 14 rounds ('Round 1 on 10.03.2018 at 15.00'). I'll use this week's post to summarize available info about the event, just as I did two years ago in Moscow Candidates - Kickoff (March 2016).

I give the 'Official site' a question mark ('?'), because it's inconceivable to me that such a poorly designed page will be the main repository for daily information about the event. Perhaps I should follow the lead from a post on my main blog, World Championship Social Media (December 2016), and rely instead on other sources. Here, for example, is the organizer's Facebook page:-

As for other recent Candidates tournaments, I developed a table with links to Chessgames.com showing how the eight players have fared against each other and against World Champion Magnus Carlsen. The links behind the players' names go to ratings.fide.com/card.

  Aro Car Din Gri Kar Kra Mam So   : Car
Aronian xx * * * * * * * : *
Caruana xx * * * * * * : *
Ding Liren xx * * * * * : *
Grischuk xx * * * * : *
Karjakin xx * * * : *
Kramnik xx * * : *
Mamedyarov xx * : *
So, Wesley xx : *
Carlsen : xx

The action starts on the second Saturday in March. This is not an event where the players finishing 1-2-3 get a place on the winners' podium. The only real prize is a ticket for one player to the title match, Carlsen - TBA; London, XI, 2018.

14 February 2018

C28 Zonal Links

My previous post, C28 Zonal Rating Reports, promised,
The next (and last) step is to add all of these links to the page Zonals : Links (and Other References).

The results are here: Zonals : Links (and Other References). Note the first appearance on the page for European zone '1.3 Nordic Championship'.

07 February 2018

C28 Zonal Rating Reports

Going down the list of Small Projects for 2018 (December 2017), the next project is to continue where I left off with C28 Zonal Qualification Paths (November 2017), i.e. needing 'two more steps that were done for the previous cycle'. The first of those two steps was to collect the links from ratings.fide.com, as in C27 Zonal Rating Reports (January 2016).

The database of FIDE rating reports is a wonderful resource that stores all of the work FIDE produces to calculate ratings. The page linked here is the list of players for each event. Attached to this, under the heading 'More Info', is additional data about the event, like time control and arbiters. For many events the database also points to a crosstable and PGN file.

Here is a list of continental and zonal events that played a role in the current World Championship cycle (C28). The titles are taken directly from the rating reports:-

There are two events listed on the index of all World Chess Championship Zonals that are missing here -- '0.0 ACP' and '1.7 Baltic Zonals' -- because these don't fit the pattern used for the other events. The next (and last) step is to add all of these links to the page Zonals : Links (and Other References). That page has similar links to all cycles since 2001 (C20).