30 May 2018

Leading Chess Players in 1886

Yesterday's post on my main blog, An 1886 Photoshopped Illustration, was based on an 1886 illustration titled 'The 16 Leading Chess Players of the World'. While looking into various aspects of the image, I discovered a couple of copies that were used to illustrate pages on the first World Championship.

According to my page on that match, 1886 Steinitz - Zukertort Title Match, it took place in 'New York / St.Louis / New Orleans, I-III, 1886'. The '16 Leading Players' illustration was published in the 17 July 1886 issue of The Graphic. The centerpiece of that composite illustration, Steinitz and Zukertort seated at a chess table, could very well have been taken from the match. What other images are available from the 1886 match?

Google image search on '1886 Steinitz Zukertort'

The composite image shown above is based on a technique that I use frequently on my main blog, most recently in a post for Berlin Candidates - Venue (March 2018); 'Call the rows 'A' to 'C' (from top to bottom) and number the images in each row '1' to 'x' (from left to right)'. Two of the images (A3 & B1) show the '16 Leading Players' illustration, other images are from the 1886 match (e.g. A1 & A2), and others are from different Steinitz matches (e.g. C1 & C4).

Given that the 1886 match was the first recognized World Championship, were Steinitz and Zukertort the world's best players? Were the other 14 players also among the best? My page of relevant BCM clippings, 1886 Steinitz - Zukertort : Background, confirms that the match was a direct consequence of the 1883 London Tournament, where Zukertort and Steinitz finished 1st and 2nd. In fact, nine of the '16 Leading Players' finished in the first ten of the 14 players in that event; only Chigorin, who finished 4th, is missing.

Chessmetrics.com has a page that covers the period coinciding with the start of the match, Monthly List: January 1886 rating list. Although the Chessmetrics calculations can't be taken as gospel, they do show 11 of the 16 players in the site's own top-16. The bottom line is that The Graphic's selection is probably as good a list as anyone's.

23 May 2018

2017 Women's Title Match (May 2018)

I added a new page for the 2017 Ju Wenjun - Tan Zhongyi Title Match held in Shanghai and Chongqing (China) earlier this month. For once I managed to include the full package in one update: crosstable, PGN file, and links from the Index of Women Players.

The event's logo is shown on the left. The acronym FWWCM means 'FIDE Women's World Championship Match'. According to the earliest news page on the official site, The last rehearsal before the fight,

The match consisting of 10 games will start on May 2nd. The first half of the match will be held in Shang Hai and the second half in Chong Qing.

This is the third time for two Chinese players to join in the match in history. The first one was between Xie Jun and Qin Kanying in 2000. the second time is ten years later, then 16-year-old Hou Yifan defeated the teammate Ruan Lufei being the youngest Chess Queen in chess history.

Those last two events were the 2000 FIDE Knockout Matches (New Delhi), and the 2010 FIDE Knockout Matches (Antakya, Turkey). The 2018 FIDE calendar says that the next event will be the 'Women’s World Championship 2018, Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia, 1-Nov-2018, 25-Nov-2018', a knockout tournament.

16 May 2018

A Two Year Cycle

For the last few World Championship cycles, FIDE has managed to maintain a two year rhythm, with title matches taking place at the end of even-numbered years (like 2018). How many chess fans remember that FIDE tried to do the same nearly 35 years ago? From Informant 36 (1983-H2):-
A new system of competitions for Individual and Team World Championships was adopted by FIDE at its congress in Manila, in October 1983. The proposal was being prepared for some time by an ad hoc Committee headed by Mr. Campomanes, the President of FIDE.

The new system contains many changes:

• a restructuring of FIDE Zones was carried out (new distribution of countries among the Zones, two Zones in Africa, the so-called Sub-zones set up in some Zones);

• a two-year cycle of competitions for Individual World Championship was introduced to replace the hitherto three-year cycle (i.e., the World Title Match will henceforth be played every other year);

• 12 (in 1985, 14) best players from the FIDE rating list will also have the right to participate in three Interzonal Tournaments;

• a candidates' all-play-all tournament with 16 participants was instituted, to be played after the Interzonal Tournaments;

• Individual Candidates' Matches with four participants -- the players placed lst-4th in the Candidates' Tournament -- will be played after the candidates' all-play-all tournament;

• in addition to the Chess Olympiad, a World Team Championship (with ten participant teams) was instituted to be played every fourth year.

What happened to this grand plan? The infamous 1984 Karpov - Kasparov title match (Moscow; 1984-09 through 1985-02) took place.

09 May 2018

2018 FIDE Chess Politics

If chess players aren't interested in chess politics, why is the chess press running so many stories these days about chess politics? Maybe because there's serious trouble in FIDE's leadership with both a FIDE election and a World Championship match looming later this year.

I last covered the FIDE problems in a couple of 'Yahoo' posts on my main blog -- February Yahoos (February 2018; 'I've been following the sanctions saga since the end of 2016.'), and April Yahoos (April 2018) -- and now I should cover the jockeying for the FIDE election, but the situation is changing so rapidly that anything I say is bound to be wrong even before I press 'POST'.

In the meantime, let's settle for an overview of the election process. The FIDE page Handbook >> A. Administrative Subjects >> 04. Electoral Regulations (fide.com) starts,

1. The Presidential Ticket

1.1 The Presidential ticket shall be six persons, at least one of whom must be a woman. Nominations on the Presidential ticket shall specify the proposed nominees for the offices of FIDE President, Deputy President, General Secretary, Treasurer and two Vice Presidents.

1.2 Nominations for the Presidential ticket and Continental Presidents must reach the Secretariat at least three months before the opening of the General Assembly. Each ticket must be nominated by at least five member federations. The decision of the federation shall be communicated to FIDE by the federation's President. A federation is entitled to nominate only one Presidential ticket.

The General Assembly will take place during the forthcoming Olympiad. The FIDE Calendar 2018 (also fide.com) says,

43rd World Chess Olympiad 2018 • Batumi, Georgia • 23-Sep-2018 • 6-Oct-2018
89th FIDE Congress • Batumi, Georgia • 26-Sep-2018 • 6-Oct-2018

Three months before the opening of the General Assembly will happen around end-June. I'll come back to the subject at the beginning of summer.

02 May 2018

Three and a Half Cycles

While preparing for the previous post (see the last link below, 'Berlin Candidates - Wrapup'), I assembled a collection of links to similar posts for past events. This was primarily with an eye on maintaining consistency, but the list has other uses, too.

C25: Candidates

C25: Title Match

C26: Candidates

C26: Title Match

C27: Candidates

C27: Title Match

C28: Candidates

C28: Title Match

  • 2018-11-xx: Carlsen - Caruana, London

Only six months to wait before I can start filling in that last list...