08 August 2018

News about 2018 Carlsen - Caruana

Four months after the 2018 Candidates Tournament ended, we finally have some news about the forthcoming 2018 Carlsen - Caruana match. Received from Worldchess.com, World Chess Championship Match takes place in Holborn, Central London (email):-
We are very happy to announce The College, a breath-taking historic building in the heart of London as the venue for the FIDE World Chess Championship Match 2018! The 10,000-square foot space in Holborn will host 400 people each day to see Magnus Carlsen defend his world title against US challenger Fabiano Caruana. The much-anticipated match will be held in London from 9th to 28th November.

The announcement carried an artist's conception of the playing area. It was too dark to see much, so I took its negative.


'Render of the playing hall at the College, Holborn'
[reverse black & white]

Before the announcement of the venue, the only other email communication from Worldchess.com was dated 17 June 2018; US President Will Meet the Challenger to the World Championship Title (If You Want Him To!):-

Chess fans from the [USA] contacted us with an idea: to petition Donald Trump to invite Fabiano Caruana, the challenger to the Title, to the White House before the World Chess Championship Match that takes place in London in November. They published a petition today in support of this proposal at the White House’ petitions page. According to the rules, if the petition is signed by over 100,000 in 30 days, the Administration will review and possibly grant it.

The related link to petitions.whitehouse.gov now informs,

Signature Count • 847 signed, 100,000 goal // Closed Petition • This petition has been archived because it did not meet the signature requirements. It can no longer be signed.

In other match related news -- carrying the same date as this blog post -- Unibet secures 'opening move' sponsoring FIDE World Chess London 2018 (sbcnews.co.uk):-

Kindred Group Plc European sports betting subsidiary Unibet has broadened its sponsorship portfolio confirming that it has become the official betting partner to the ‘FIDE World Chess Championship Match’ (London 9-28 November). The bookmaker confirms a ‘ground-breaking deal’ with principal organiser World Chess, becoming the first betting partner of a FIDE syndicated event. World Chess expects a sell-out crowd for its much-anticipated event. [...]

Ilya Merenzon, the CEO of World Chess, backed Unibet as new partner: "World Chess is proud to announce this exclusive partnership with Unibet. We're enabling fans to be even closer to the action in this tantalising match. The tournament is the highlight of the chess calendar and millions of people around the world will follow every move."

Speaking of World Chess, whatever happened to their Grand Prix series, last seen in Palma de Mallorca, November 2017, according to my page 2017 Grand Prix. The FIDE calendar has nothing listed for 2019. Anyone taking bets on whether it will take place next year?

25 July 2018

Another Bad Day for Spassky

In the previous post, A Bad Day for Spassky, I extracted a passage from 'Chess Panorama' by William Lombardy and David Daniels.
The 'Chess Panorama' excerpt mentions the book 'Spassky's 100 Best Games' by Bruce Cafferty. That should of course be Bernard Cafferty, who also mentioned other last round incidents of the same genre. I'll cover those in another post.

In fact, the 'Chess Panorama' excerpt is from the Foreword to Cafferty's book, written by Leonard Barden. Here's the full text around the excerpt (p.19).

The Spassky - Tal was important becuase of its role in the 1957-1960 Zonal Cycle (C04, Z04). The Stein - Spassky game was important because of a similar role in the 1960-1963 Zonal Cycle (C05, Z04).

For the moves of the Stein - Spassky game, see Leonid Stein vs Boris Spassky; USSR Championship (1961), Moscow URS (chessgames.com). For the moves of the other two games mentioned above, also from Chessgames.com, see Rodolfo Tan Cardoso vs David Bronstein; Portoroz Interzonal (1958), Portoroz SLO, and Oscar Quinones Carrillo vs Leonid Stein; Amsterdam Interzonal (1964), Amsterdam NED.

18 July 2018

A Bad Day for Spassky

On my main blog, in a post titled Chess-books and Chess-players, I rediscovered the chess books offered by the Internet Archive's Open Library. In one of the books I looked at, Chess panorama By William Lombardy (openlibrary.org), in a chapter titled 'The Last Round', I found a long anecdote about a famous failure that occurred in the 1958 Soviet Championship, a zonal (p.179).

For a crosstable of the tournament, see 1957-1960 Zonal Cycle (C04, Z04). To play through the moves of the game, see Boris Spassky vs Mikhail Tal; USSR Championship (1958), Riga URS (chessgames.com).

The 'Chess Panorama' excerpt mentions the book 'Spassky's 100 Best Games' by Bruce Cafferty. That should of course be Bernard Cafferty, who also mentioned other last round incidents of the same genre. I'll cover those in another post.

04 July 2018

2018 FIDE Election Tickets

A couple of months ago, in 2018 FIDE Chess Politics, I wrote,
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. [...] I'll come back to the subject at the beginning of summer.

Earlier today, in Tickets for FIDE Presidential elections 2018 (fide.com), FIDE announced,

FIDE has received, within the specified deadline of 3 July 2018, 17:00 (Athens time), the following three (3) Presidential Tickets of Arkady Dvorkovich, Georgios Makropoulos and Nigel Short for the upcoming FIDE elections 2018 (listed alphabetically):

Arkady Dvorkovich – President
Bachar Kouatly – Deputy President
Sewa Enyonam Fumey – General Secretary
Mahir Mammedov – Vice President
Julio Granda Zuniga – Vice President
Zhu Chen – Treasurer

Georgios Makropoulos – President
Malcolm Pein – Deputy President
Sundar Damal Villivalam – General Secretary
Martha Fierro – Vice President
Chitalu Chilufya – Vice President
Adrian M. Siegel – Treasurer

Nigel Short – President
Lukasz Marek Turlej – Deputy President
Ruth Haring – General Secretary
Olalekan Adeyemi – Vice President
Paul Spiller – Vice President
Panu Laine – Treasurer

What happened to current FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov? Last week, in e.g. Arkady Dvorkovich is RCF’s candidate for FIDE President (chessdom.com), we learned,

24 ballots were received by the RCF Secretariat by 6 p.m. (Moscow time) on June 27th. 22 RCF Supervisory Board members voted in favour of Arkady Dvorkovich and 2 in favour of Kirsan Ilyumzhinov.

RCF stands for Russian Chess Federation, and the group voted overwhelmingly Ilyumzhinov out, Dvorkovich in. I can't imagine that anyone outside of Ilyumzhinov's inner circle is sorry to see him go. After nearly 23 years at the helm of FIDE, the quirky Kalmyk has consistently demonstrated that his strongest quality is unpredictability.

As for the three confirmed candidates, they are all damaged goods. Dvorkovich is a puppet of the Putin regime; Makropoulos has been a controversial figure in FIDE for even longer than Ilyumzhinov and has been in bad health; Short has never shown any political acumen and specializes in insulting people. I imagine the election will be decided the same way all FIDE elections are decided, with palm grease.

Of special interest is the upcoming World Championship. With Ilyumzhinov out of the picture, what is organizer Agon's outlook? I'll be watching to see how the three candidates treat all aspects of the Carlsen - Caruana match. Both players are tremendously popular and should deliver positive publicity to world chess. Will the three candidates build on that or will they destroy it?

28 June 2018

Garry Kasparov Face Recognition

Does the general public recognize the names of World Chess Champions? For Garry Kasparov, I have anecdotal evidence that, 'Yes!', they do. For Magnus Carlsen, I'm not so sure. How about recognizing their faces? I can't answer that question easily, but I can run their photographs through the sort of AI software I discussed last week on my main blog in Analyze Your Own Images. If AI doesn't recognize them, then non-artificial intelligence probably won't either.

The software I used is available through Vision API - Image Content Analysis (cloud.google.com/vision). I used another Google service, image search, to locate a studio portrait of GM Kasparov, then fed it to the Vision API. The 'Faces' section of the analysis returned the image shown below on the left, while the first item in the 'Web Entities' section told me 'Garry Kasparov 10.947', where the number is probably some kind of a confidence metric. The second item was 'Chess 1.06755' and the last was 'Bobby Fischer 0.09179'.

The 'Pages with Matched Images' section returned a long list of links, most of them from Pinterest.com, including a link to the same image I used for the test. No question about it, Garry Kasparov has both name and face recognition.

While I was conducting that test, it occurred to me that the Google AI software might be cheating. It could easily locate copies of the image in the Google archive of results from web searches, then analyze the associated text.

I searched my own archive of images and located one that might not have found its way to a web page somewhere. I fed this one to the Vision API and it returned the image shown above on the right, along with 'Garry Kasparov 10.2885'. There's no doubt about it -- the API recognized Garry, and this time 'Pages with Matched Images' was empty.

One more curiosity is worth mentioning: the analysis of both photos returned the following list of face attributes:-

Joy : Very Unlikely
Sorrow : Very Unlikely
Anger : Very Unlikely
Surprise : Very Unlikely

It seems that AI software can recognize Kasparov's face, but it can't recognize his expression.

20 June 2018

Imagery of 1995 Kasparov - Anand

Start with the format used in Imagery of 1889 Steinitz - Chigorin, then fast forward more than a century to Chess at the World Trade Center. You end up with something like the following.

Google image search on '1995 kasparov anand'

[Call the rows 'A' to 'C' (from top to bottom) and number the images in each row '1' to 'x' (from left to right).]

First observation: There is nothing from Pinterest (Thank you, Google!), although there is plenty from Youtube (A2, A5, B5, C1, C4). Second observation: There are also plenty of similar aerial photos showing New York City (A1, B3, B4, B5, C5). Given that there is not a real position on the board and no clock. this was probably a publicity shot.

The 'Intel World Chess' logo figures in many photos (A4, A5, B1) and is partially obscured in others. In A4 -- Kasparov vs Anand, 1995 (kasparov.com) -- the word 'Intel' is cropped out on the top, though a smaller version is visible on the bottom; ditto A5.

Two more photos (A2 & B2) are from the match and show arbiter Carol Jarecki. A2 is from a Youtube video, Kasparov - Anand, Game 10, World Championship 1995, that includes footage taken during the match plus game analysis by Daniel King. In B2, NYC mayor Rudy Giuliani makes the first move.

Nearly all of the images on the third row are from other Kasparov - Anand encounters. C1 is titled 'BLITZ Intel World Chess 1995'; C2 is from a Spanish tournament (Linares?); and C3, dated August 2017, says 'Saint Louis Rapid & Blitz'. C4 is from another Youtube video, although the image returned by Google is not in the clip.

The match took place during a period of increased interest in chess by Americans. In The USCF in Numbers (June 2014), I documented a 'period of growth from 52.898 members in 1990 to a peak of 88.908 members in 2002'.

13 June 2018

Chess at the World Trade Center

I found this image while preparing a recent post, Chess in The Graphic, on my main blog.

Under the heading 'Checkmate!', the text says,

Intel World Chess Championship 1995
Garry Kasparov versus Vishy Anand
World Trade Center Observation Deck
September 11, 1995 through October 13, 1995
on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, 3:00 pm
For tickets call 1 800 388 KING

The four sponsors listed at the bottom are

World Trade Center,
Intel World Chess,
PCA, and
Alliance for Downtown New York Inc.

For the history of the PCA (Professional Chess Association), see my page World Chess Championship : FIDE/PCA Chronology. I've documented the event shown in the poster on the page 1995 Kasparov - Anand PCA Title Match.

Just above the name for that last sponsor, 'Alliance for Downtown New York Inc.', is a logo composed of buildings that appear to say 'Alliad', where the two letters 'll' represent the twin towers of the World Trade Center. The group's LinkedIn page, Overview ('Nonprofit Organization Management'), shows a similar but different logo that spells 'Alliance'.

I found the image in an August 2007 eBay auction. The auction description said,

1995 WORLD CHESS CHAMPIONSHIP PROMOTION CARD • SEPTEMBER 11, 1995 • WORLD TRADE CENTER

Attractive announcement of Garry Kasparov versus Vishy Anand duel that took place on that fateful date, September 11 at the World Trade Center. ROOK GRAPHIC on opaque/glossy white chessboard. Suitable for framing. Dimensions: 6" x 9".

Accompanying WTC NEWS (World Trade Center) announcement: "The world's greatest chess players will compete a quarter mile high in the sky ... on the 107th floor Observation Deck at Two World Trade Center..."

The connection between my post about 'Chess in The Graphic' and this poster is the phrase 'ROOK GRAPHIC'. From such connections little discoveries are made.