17 October 2018

In with the New!

2018-10-10: Out with the Old! (this blog)
Letter of Kirsan Ilyumzhinov to Delegates of 89th FIDE Congress: 'I congratulate Arkady Dvorkovich on his victory in FIDE presidential election.' (fide.com)

[The following links are all from chess-news.ru, translated by translate.googleusercontent.com]

2018-10-03: Arkady Dvorkovich: "It's all not black and white ..." (interview)

E. SUROV: You apparently do not manage to eat well during the day?
A. DVORKOVICH: Yes, the election campaign, especially its last hours, requires constant concentration. But we lived like that for two months. In general, the campaign was quite successful. Of course, there is good news, and for sure we made some mistakes - in particular, not all countries managed to visit, it was very difficult to do.

2018-10-03: Arkady Dvorkovich - New FIDE President

The election of the FIDE President has just ended in Batumi. With the exception of small emotions at the very beginning of the General Assembly meeting, everything went smoothly. Candidates' speeches cannot compare in brightness with those sounded four years ago in Tromsø by Ilyumzhinov and Kasparov. Nigel Short expectedly starred in favor of Arkady Dvorkovich ; The last speaker, Georgios Makropoulos, condemned the grandmaster’s deed and announced that he was going to win the race. However, the result was in favor of the Russians: 103 votes against 78.

2018-10-03: Putin congratulated Dvorkovich. He hopes that chess "will remain a clean sport from politics"

2018-10-06: Short, Mamedov, Khodarkovsky. Who else became FIDE Vice President?

After the election of Arkady Dvorkovich as FIDE President, the Congress delegates identified the vice presidents. Five were chosen, five were appointed.

2018-10-10: Great combinator. Why Arkady Dvorkovich headed the world chess federation (originally from theins.ru; Denis Bilunov)

FIDE consists of 189 countries, it is the third largest sports federation in the world - after football and athletics. Voting in such organizations is based on the principle of “one country - one vote”, and it is not difficult to guess what character the election campaign usually takes.

2018-10-12: Arkady Dvorkovich: "If it is necessary, I will leave the structures subject to sanctions risks"

During a press conference in Moscow, Arkady Dvorkovich responded, in particular, to the question about the Kremlin report , the so-called “waiting list” of persons to whom the US Treasury may subsequently impose sanctions. The name Dvorkovich is present in that list.

Next: ???

10 October 2018

Out with the Old!

2018-10-03: 2018 Carlsen - Caruana, ChessCasting (this blog)
While I was writing this post, I learned that Arkady Dvorkovich defeated Georgios Makropoulos in the FIDE Presidential election. The vote count was 103 to 78.

1996-06-15: In the Republic of Kirsanstan (vedomosti.ru; Matt Taibbi)

ELISTA, Kalmykia -- Like most places, the tiny Russian republic of Kalmykia has its own bad joke about a fisherman who catches a golden fish. Their version goes like this: The fish begs the fisherman not to eat him, saying that he'll give him three wishes in return for his freedom. "You can have anything," the fish says. "Money, power, women ..."

"Who needs all that?" answers the fisherman. "Just make it so that I went to school with Kirsan Nikolayevich."

2018-10-02: Russia Made The King Of Chess. The U.S. Dethroned Him (fivethirtyeight.com)

In the days following the 2016 election, a large group of Russians gathered in New York to watch one of their own wage war in miniature. They were at the World Chess Championship, where a patriotic Russian grandmaster was challenging the Norwegian defending champion in Manhattan’s South Street Seaport. [...]

One person was especially conspicuous, and he wasn’t even there. Kirsan Ilyumzhinov has lorded over the sport as the president of the World Chess Federation, more commonly known by its French acronym FIDE, for more than two decades. But the game’s most powerful figure had been barred from the country hosting its highest profile event.

2018-10-03: Letter of Kirsan Ilyumzhinov to Delegates of 89th FIDE Congress (fide.com)

I congratulate Arkady Dvorkovich on his victory in FIDE presidential election. I would like to thank you, the delegates of the Congress and all the national federations, for this choice. I wish all the success to all of you. who will continue to develop and popularize the ancient game along with the new leader. Chess is the best that humanity has. I am sure that our most important dream -- one billion people playing chess -- will come true. I would like to thank you for your trust that allowed me to win against the most serious rivals in elections several times.

Today. many people remember that difficult time when I came to work at FIDE. Together we managed to rally the chess world! Thanks to our collaboration, I have made many friends in FIDE.

2018-10-08: The Week in Chess 1248 (theweekinchess.com; Mark Crowther)

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov was FIDE President from 1995 to 2018. The final ejection of this cuckoo in the nest should be a cause for relief. He claimed a fictional chess career and used the post of FIDE President to further his own business interests. He was both a constant embarassment and directly cost the game many potiential commercial sponsors. I hope chess never sees or hears of him again.

Just as when he was finally removed as Kalmykian President there should be celebration but also the realisation that things are not guaranteed to get better. Ilyumzhinov should also be the last of the long serving FIDE Presidents as Dvorkovich should only be able to serve two terms after new rules were passed. Eight years to make an impact is plenty for anyone.

Next: In with the New!

03 October 2018

2018 Carlsen - Caruana, ChessCasting

In my previous post, 2018 Carlsen - Caruana, Online, I quoted Worldchess,
Introducing ChessCasting! [...] You can follow the 43rd Olympiad in Batumi on Worldchess.com. The games start this Monday! Based on your feedback, we'll add and improve the broadcasting before the World Chess Championship Match, the biggest event in the sport, that takes place in November of 2018 in London.

and promised,

I'll look at some of the rounds and report on the broadcast for the next post on this blog.

Today the ninth round of the Olympiad is taking place, with two rounds to go. Following is a screen capture of the Worldchess broadcast. It shows the top board of the top match, Duda (Poland) vs. Caruana (USA). The third line showing the players' names is the mechanism to switch between matches and between games within a match.

While the presentation of the game is certainly professional enough, I still prefer the layout used by Chess24.com. There you have an overview of the progress of all games on a single page.

As for the other functions, I never noticed anyone using the chat (large gray rectangle on the right: 'There are no messages yet. Be the first!'), which indicates that the site was not used much during the Olympiad. The video shown above the move list is the Chess24 commentary from Youtube's channel Batumi Chess Olympiad 2018. The scribbles at the bottom of the screen show which rounds of the tournament have already completed.


While I was writing this post, I learned that Arkady Dvorkovich defeated Georgios Makropoulos in the FIDE Presidential election. The vote count was 103 to 78.

For my previous post on the election, see Three Candidates in Three Weeks. For a snap, post-election writeup, see World chess gets first new president in two decades as Putin loyalist takes power (telegraph.co.uk).

26 September 2018

2018 Carlsen - Caruana, Online

I closed the previous post, 2018 Carlsen - Caruana, Schedule, with:-
Looks like I waited too long to get tickets, but I'm glad to see that the match is so popular. Maybe I'll look at online viewing options in another post.

My page on the 2018 Carlsen - Caruana match points to london2018.worldchess.com, which redirects to worldchess.com/london. A screen capture of that page is shown below.

The info on the left says,

FIDE World Chess Championship Match 2018 starts in
44 days : 08 hours : 59 minutes : 29 seconds

With online access, you will have the best seats in the house! Multi-camera view, commentary, access to behind-the-scenes, interviews and press conferences, advanced chat options and more. It's 2018 and chess is spectacular!

Of the options on the bottom of the screen, I tried the first ('get the ticket') in the previous 'Schedule' post. The other two options ('get my 12-month pass' and 'get my online ticket') both go to the same page: worldchess.com/paygate.

Given that there are currently no more Agon/Worldchess events on the agenda after the Carlsen - Caruana match, there is no apparent advantage to the $25 '12-month pass' over the $20 'online ticket', so I opted for the less expensive access. This brought me to a panel to enter my Worldchess login credentials and my credit card info ('secured by STRIPE'). Since I've never used STRIPE for payments, I thought I should look into the company before I give them any credit card credentials. In the meantime, this past weekend I received a newsletter from Worldchess.com saying,

Introducing ChessCasting! Welcome to the new World Chess Broadcasting Platform! • Dear chess fans! We are pleased to introduce the new official chesscasting platform: it’s well-designed, has great features that appeal to non-professionals, has the best chess chat ever, will be available for all chess organizers shortly to broadcast events for free (and even make money with it), and it works well. [...] You can follow the 43rd Olympiad in Batumi on Worldchess.com. The games start this Monday! Based on your feedback, we'll add and improve the broadcasting before the World Chess Championship Match, the biggest event in the sport, that takes place in November of 2018 in London.

The link for the 43rd Olympiad went to a Worldchess.com page, Olympiad : Open Section, with an announcement 'Round's pairings will be available soon'. Tomorrow the fourth round will take place. I'll look at some of the rounds and report on the broadcast for the next post on this blog.

19 September 2018

2018 Carlsen - Caruana, Schedule

It's already been six weeks since I posted News about 2018 Carlsen - Caruana, where I quoted a press release,
The much-anticipated match will be held in London from 9th to 28th November.

It's high time to decide whether I want to travel to London to see the match myself. First, what's the schedule? The official site, FIDE World Chess (worldchess.com/london), only informs

FIDE World Chess Championship Match 2018 starts in
51 days : 10 hours : 35 minutes : 18 seconds

but 'Watch live at the college : get the ticket' leads to World Chess 2018 | Official Ticketmaster UK Site, which displays a useful calendar. Here's a copy in reverse black & white, which is easier to read in this reduced size.

The small print in the bottom line, which applies to rounds 10 through 12, says,

* : Sales will be open after the end of the 3rd and 4th round.

Second, what about tickets? Details for the first game are at Tickets: World Chess Championship - Round 1, London | Fri 9 Nov 2018 @ 3:00 pm:-

Best Available
Price : £600.00
Section : VIP Area

Ouch! The info button says, 'Event Info : General Admission Only', which probably means there are no numbered seats. The rest of the info informs,

VIP Tickets - with the VIP ticket you will get: separate entrance to the venue with VIP reception and separate coat check; comfortable VIP area with seating zones; bar with free drinks; priority entrance to the Players area; possibility to book seats in the first rows during the games and press-conference; memorable souvenirs.

General Admission Tickets - if you are buying this ticket you are getting: access to the Players area, where you can watch the two best world chess players compete for the chess crown; live commentating of the games by chess grandmasters; entertainment area, where you can try to beat your mate in chess; chess cafe where you can buy snacks and drinks; chess shop with chess souvenirs.

How about round 2? A page similar to round 1 informs,

General Admission Tickets : £70.00
VIP Ticket : £500.00

The related 'Find tickets' button informs, 'Tickets not currently available from Ticketmaster', which is the same message I received for round 3. The first available tickets I could find were for round 4 at £45.00 per ticket. Rounds 5 and 6 were also marked 'Tickets not currently available'. Looks like I waited too long to get tickets, but I'm glad to see that the match is so popular. Maybe I'll look at online viewing options in another post.

12 September 2018

Three Candidates in Three Weeks

With the FIDE presidential elections due to take place in three weeks, let's return to the subject of 2018 FIDE Election Tickets (July 2018). Last month the Association of Chess Professionals (ACP) endorsed one of the three candidates:-

That second link, 'Why', listed seven areas of concern:-

  • The work of FIDE ['utterly ineffective for quite some time now']
  • Anti-cheating issues
  • World Championship Cycle [*]
  • Women's chess
  • Helping veterans
  • Calendar of official events ['dates of the major events are regularly shifted']
  • FIDE General Assemblies and Terms ['no President should be serving for more than two consecutive terms']

Given that this blog is named the World Chess Championship Blog, the area marked '*' is of particular interest. The ACP board stated,

This is a very troublesome area. To start with, the last title match saw the highest budget for such an event ever but also one of the lowest prize-funds in modern history. That is simply ridiculous. Restoring transparency and respect for the players is a very much needed action. It is not irrelevant to mention that the Grand Prix series suffered a major blow in recent years, mainly due to FIDE’s inability to attract corporate sponsors.

FIDE is composed of national federations. Although the federations are political bodies that don't pay much attention to the thoughts of their strongest players, the ACP endorsement is the strongest statement to date by any single chess organization. The FIDE election has also attracted attention outside chess circles.

Who will be king? Three-way battle for control rocks international chess
(2 September 2018; theguardian.com)

Of Dvorkovich, the Guardian article said,

The Russian bid sees one of the Kremlin’s most capable and modern lieutenants unleashed on a sport that, frankly, seems small fry for him. Dvorkovich was Russian deputy prime minister for six years and chaired Russia’s World Cup organising committee, which spent an estimated £10bn on the tournament. By contrast, the Fide’s annual budget is just £2.3m.

The article also quoted Chess.com's Peter Doggers, recently seen on this blog in Peter Doggers on Chess Politics (August 2018). His most recent post on the election was FIDE Elections: 'Fake News' And The Call For Transparency, from which we can conclude that GM Short is already the odd man out. For more about the three candidates, see their Wikipedia pages:-

The winner in the election will shape FIDE policy for the next decade and probably longer.

22 August 2018

24th World Computer Championship

Last week, while working on Battles of the Chess NNs, a post about TCEC S13, I was reminded that the 2018 edition of the World Computer Chess Championship (WCCC) had taken place in July. From the Leela blog (archived version):-

That second link took a not-so-subtle swipe at the WCCC:-

WCCC still has a human operator make moves on a board. It's all very punchcard and mainframe and has one expecting to play against Belle and Cray Blitz. Hopefully the remote connection and special ASCII interface won’t lead to any snafus.

As someone who actually worked with punchcards and mainframes, I can say with certainty that they were 1960's technology, while the WCCC references in the rest of the quote were 1980's technology. But point taken, the WCCC is badly in need of a complete makeover.

What about the outcome? Relevant pages from the WCCC organizers are:-

This was Komodo's third straight WCCC title, but the engine has not been as successful in the TCEC against Stockfish. The message is clear: the TCEC is the World Computer Championship in all but name only; the ICGA's WCCC is the World Championship only in name. On my page about the World Chess Championship : Computer Chess, I decided to stop including details (PGN and crosstable) about new ICGA events. From now on, the page will only list the winner.

[For my post on the previous WCCC event, see 23rd World Computer Championship (January 2018).]