12 May 2021

Yekaterinburg Candidates - Last Updates?

To my page:- I added the PGN and crosstable for the second half of the tournament, plus the chart from last week's post Yekaterinburg Candidates - Cumulative Score (May 2021). Then I added Nepomniachtchi's name, as challenger, plus other relevant info to the pages:-

I also added recent announcements from Fide.com to the same pages where appropriate. Then I ran out of time. To be continued?

05 May 2021

Yekaterinburg Candidates - Cumulative Score

My first action after last week's post, Yekaterinburg Candidates - Fourth Week (April 2021; 'Congratulations to GM Nepomniachtchi on a well deserved victory'), was to gather the PGN for the second half of the tournament. Combining that with the PGN for the first half let me calculate the cumulative score, shown below.

The red line separates the two halves of the tournament, where the second half was played more than a year after the first. As soon as I get a chance, I'll add that image -- plus the PGN and crosstable for the second half -- to my page 2020 Candidates Tournament; Yekaterinburg (Russia).

The cumulative score continues a pattern I've noted several times on this blog. The previous mention was Yekaterinburg Candidates - First Week (March 2020):-

The eventual winner was from the group of players who had a plus score after round 3. The winner was also one of the leaders after the first half of the tournament.

That makes five consecutive candidate tournaments showing the same pattern. What are the odds?

28 April 2021

Yekaterinburg Candidates - Fourth Week

After waiting more than a year for the continuation of the 2020 Candidates Tournament, Yekaterinburg, the whole affair was over in a little over a week. Unfortunately for me, after last week's post Yekaterinburg Candidates - Third Week (April 2021), I didn't find the time to watch a single minute of the action. To compensate, I collected the following links from two of the most respected chess news sources.

Rd. Chess.com Chessbase.com
R08 Well-Prepared Caruana Moves Up As MVL Stumbles In Endgame Caruana impresses, wins marathon [with links to rds.1-7]
R09 Giri Strikes, Moves Into Second-Place Tie? Giri wins, climbs to shared second place
R10 Nepomniachtchi Wins Quickly, Increases Lead Nepomniachtchi widens the gap
R11 Giri Approaches Nepomniachtchi, MVL Stumbles Giri in sole second place after brilliant win
R12 Four Winners, Nepomniachtchi Maintains Lead Nepo wins to keep the lead as Giri beats Caruana
R13 Nepomniachtchi Wins FIDE Candidates Tournamen1 day Nepomniachtchi to challenge Carlsen for the World Championship title
R14 Three Winners In Final Round, Wang Hao Announces Retirement Ding, MVL and Alekseenko finish on a high note

Congratulations to GM Nepomniachtchi on a well deserved victory. Another article on Chess.com, published just before the second half of the tournament started, is worth noting: FIDE Candidates: Karjakin Names Nepomniachtchi As Most Difficult Opponent For Carlsen (Peter Doggers). Over the next few weeks, I'll add the finishing touches to my own online record of the event.

21 April 2021

Yekaterinburg Candidates - Third Week

In writing this post, I had two problems to solve. My first problem was what to title it. In the previous post, Yekaterinburg Candidates - Second Week (April 2020, a full year ago), I wrote,
This might become one of the shortest blog posts I've ever written. After last week's post, Yekaterinburg Candidates - First Week, there was no second week.

I decided to keep the title ordinally simple: First Week, Second Week, Third Week. Next week's post will be titled ... no prize for a correct guess.

My second problem was what to write about. The first round of the restarted second half finished yesterday, so there's not much new material to work with. Let's just say that the continuation of the event is finally underway -- there were no further postponements or delays. On top of that, all of the players arrived safely -- there were no last minute cancellations. Those points are both noteworthy, in and of themselves.

Once again, like for 'Second Week', that's not much of a post. Fortunately, I have a backup idea. A couple of weeks ago I received an email from Eric van Reem telling me that he had released a couple of podcasts about the Candidates tournament, with a third podcast on the way. Last year I became familiar with Eric's work thanks to my chess960 blog; see The Norwegian Connection (November 2020), for his two part chat with GM Jonathan Tisdall (which covers much more than chess960). The three more recent podcasts are well worth a listen:-

  • 2021-03-30 #26 Lennart Ootes, 'Let's talk about the Candidates Tournament and photography'
  • 2021-04-06 #27 Leontxo García, 'Let's talk about your escape from Yekaterinburg'
  • 2021-04-18 #28 Douglas Griffin, 'Let's talk about chess history' [with an emphasis on past candidates tournaments]

Each of those podcasts links to the full index of all 28 podcasts. That's guaranteed to provide some entertainment between rounds of the tournament. What will podcast #29 bring?

14 April 2021

1976 Arandjelovac Zonal Revisited

My index of zonal pages, The World Chess Championship : Zonals, follows a straightforward structure. Players in a zone assemble for a tournament, they play each other, and the winners qualify into an Interzonal. Repeat that sequence for as many zones as were authorized for a particular cycle.

Sometimes the evolution of a zonal is not so straightforward. One example is documented on my page (C05) 1960-1963 Zonal Cycle, where the zone two tournament at Berg en Dal was annulled and played again the following year at Marianske Lazne. The underlying reason had to do with Cold War Chess Politics (July 2015).

Another such cold war event involved two zonals, 1975 Barcelona & 1976 Arandjelovac (August 2014). I outlined the circumstances in that blog post, but there's more to the story. Vladica Andrejic of Perpetualcheck.com, sent me scans of the following clippings, which tell the tale of 1976 Arandjelovac.

Šahovski glasnik, 1976-09, p.305-306

I ran the scans through (1) an OCR to text converter, followed by (2) a language translator, and was pleased enough with the results that I'll incorporate them here. The article, written by V. Sokolov, is titled 'Supplementary Zone Tournament in Arandelovac'. The first two paragraphs [with some minor edits by me] say,

It is in Arandelovac at the time of 16. to 25. [April] o. g. held supplementary match-tournament of four grandmasters who for obvious reasons did not participate in the zonal tournament in Barcelona (Spain).

After many vicissitudes and months of negotiations on the route FIDE-SSJ ['ŠSJ' = 'Šahovski Savez Jugoslavije' = Yugoslavian Chess Federation] finally four grandmasters Uhlmann (DDR), Smejkal (CSSR), Adorjan (Hungary) and Velimirovic (Yugoslavia) got a chance to [be] subsequently included in interzone tournaments. It needed to be won the first two places, i.e. the last two are dropped.

The next eight paragraphs describe the evolution of the tournament, especially taken from the point of view of Velimirovic. Unfortunately for his Yugoslav fans, he had a poor tournament and finished last behind the other three players who finished tied for 1st-3rd. The next paragraph says,

So the tournament ended in a dead race. Three players found themselves in the first place and should have continued with a new two-round tournament. They have, however, opted for gambling, just like Parma and Liberzon. Such as it is known that the dice were not in favor of Adorjan, [so] Smejkal and Uhlmann were placed for interzone tournaments. It seems that it should not be applied gambling when it comes to such a serious matter as the World [Championship]. Yet it is in a sense chess degradation.

I added the crosstable shown in the clipping to the page (C10) 1975-1978 Zonal Cycle, then reorganized the page to clarify the different sequences of events. There are still some open questions involving the 'IZ Qualifiers', but perhaps 'Šahovski glasnik' will prove useful there as well.

07 April 2021

Viktor and Petra Korchnoi

A couple of recent reports from the mainstream chess press have their roots in a World Championship match from the 1970s. It's curious that all three title matches from the 1970s -- 1972, 1975 (unplayed), 1978 -- have achieved legendary status.

2021-03-23: 'The dirtiest chess match in history': Stean on Karpov-Korchnoi, 1978 (chess24.com; Colin McGourty)

The great Viktor Korchnoi, one of the strongest players never to become World Champion, would have turned 90 today. On the eve of that anniversary, the BBC dedicated an episode of the radio broadcast Witness History to the match that saw Viktor come within a win of claiming the World Championship title. The clash with Anatoly Karpov in Baguio City in the Philippines is described as "a surreal experience" by English Grandmaster Michael Stean, who turned 25 during the match and was working as a second for Viktor.

2021-03-19: Petra Korchnoi dies at 93 (chessbase.com; Frederic Friedel)

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Petra Korchnoi – Petronella Leeuwerik before her marriage to the two-fold World Championship Challenger. She was a remarkable personality and a great friend, and will be sorely missed.

More than 20 years ago I used database techniques to compile a summary of the many themes that occurred in the match: 1978 Karpov - Korchnoi Title Match : Yogurt, Parapsychology, Ananda Marga, ... (m-w.com). That analysis still holds up today.

31 March 2021

A New Cycle Is Struggling to Survive

It's been two years since FIDE restructured its World Championship qualifiers, as I documented in FIDE Starts the New Cycle (May 2019; 'I added three new pages to my site for the World Chess Championship'), meaning it's time to start the next cycle. Although the coronavirus pandemic has played havoc with tournament plans, the FIDE Calendar shows that many qualifying events are already scheduled. The following table gives an overview of those events.

Source: FIDE Calendar
[World Events 2021]
Candidates Tournaments Yekaterinburg, Russia 19 Apr28 Apr
FIDE World Cup Sochi, Russia 10 Jul03 Aug
FIDE Women's World Cup 2021 Sochi, Russia 10 Jul06 Aug
FIDE Chess.com Grand Swiss and Women’s Grand Swiss 2021 Isle of Man 25 Oct08 Nov
FIDE World Chess Championship Dubai, UAE 24 Nov16 Dec
European Hybrid Qualification event for the FIDE World Cup Online 22 May30 May
('No Data')
Asian Continental Open Chess Championship Hybrid 20 May30 May
Zone 3.1 Zonal Open Championship Hybrid 01 Jun09 Jun
Zone 3.2 Zonal Open Championship Dhaka, Bangladesh 01 Jun09 Jun
Zone 3.3 Zonal Open Championship Hybrid 01 May10 May
Zone 3.4 Zonal Open Championship Tashkent, Uzbekistan 06 May15 May
Zone 3.7 Zonal Open Championship India 2021 2021
2021 African Online World Cup Pre-Qualifying Chess Championship Tornelo Platform 23 Apr02 May
African Individual Chess Championship 2021 (Open & Women) Lilongwe, Malawi 17 May28 May
Zone 4.1 Individual Chess Championship 2021 (Open & Women) Algiers, Algeria 29 Oct06 Nov
Zone 4.2 Individual Chess Championship 2021 (Open & Women) Lomé, Togo 03 Sep11 Sep
Zone 4.3 Individual Chess Championship 2021 (Open & Women) Libreville, Gabon 01 Oct09 Oct
Zone 4.4 Individual Chess Championship 2021 (Open & Women) Kigali, Rwanda 27 Aug04 Sep
Zone 4.5 Individual Chess Championship 2021 (Open & Women) Maseru, Lesotho 05 Nov13 Nov

[World Events 2021] - My most recent posts on these subjects were:-

[Europe] - See also European hybrid qualification tournament for the FIDE World Cup (chessbase.com), which starts,

The European Hybrid Qualification Tournament for the FIDE World Cup will take place on May 22-30 and will be played Online as a hybrid event. 36 players will qualify for the FIDE World Cup 2021. The event will be played under a knock-out system with matches consisting of 2 standard games plus tiebreaks if needed.

[Americas] - The calendar section of the FIDE America site returns an error message: '404 Error : Article not found'. A recent page, Participants in the World Cup, says,

FIDE has asked the Continents to send the names of the participants in the World Cup before May 31st, 2021, also approving to organize Continental Hybrid Championships where no titles will be granted.

[Asia] - Zone 3.5 is missing. Zone 3.6 was covered on 2021 Oceania Zonal (chessexpress.blogspot.com). That kickoff post explained,

The 2021 Oceania Zonal is now going ahead as a 'hybrid' event. This means that the players will be playing online, but supervised by an in place arbiter. Due to the logistics of organising such an event, it will be a round robin tournament, with 1 player per country, except Australia, who can nominate 2 players.

[Africa] - I first mentioned the new zone 4.5 in FIDE Details the New Cycle (May 2019).

For more about the hybrid format, see my recent post FIDE Hybrid Competitions: 'In a few months we'll learn how well this works for World Championship qualifiers.' The experience started with zone 3.6.