28 March 2012

Two Big Events for 2012

The 2012 Anand - Gelfand match is fast approaching, so I updated that page to include the latest announcements from FIDE plus a link to the official site. After that match, the 2012 Candidates Event is the next big event in the lineup, and I added that page to my index for the World Chess Championship. The Candidates event deserves a blog post on it own, but details on its organization are still too unclear to do anything except speculate.


Later: No sooner had the ink dried (so to speak) on this post, than it was obsolete, as was the title: FIDE Announces Dates for World Chess Championship Cycles [28 March 2012].

In the revised calendar, the next World Chess Candidates Tournament has been moved to March 13 – March 31, 2013. The tournament will take place in London.

Comparing the new calendar with the old, which I documented in Overview of Four Cycles, reveals other significant changes. The 2014 Candidates event has been moved forward from November to March and the World Championship match for the same cycle, C26 using my numbering, has been moved from November 2015 to November 2014.

Even more importantly, FIDE has finally settled on a consistent two year cycle. The World Cup will be held around third quarter (Q3) of the start year of a new cycle, the Candidates event around Q1 of the following year, and the title match around Q3 of the same year. This means that the overlapping cycles we have seen over the past few years will disappear for C27. Continental championships and zonal tournaments can be scheduled accordingly.

As for the Grand Prix tournaments in major cities of the world, it remains to be seen if FIDE can execute its plan. Nothing we have seen in the past inspires confidence.

21 March 2012

The Role of the 6th American Chess Congress

I started this post with the intention of adding a new page to my index of World Chess Championship : Pre-FIDE Events. It was to be modeled after the page I did for The First World Championship, and to incorporate basic information about the 1890 Chigorin - Gunsberg match.

While sifting through the source material at hand, I realized that before documenting that match I needed to tackle the Sixth American Chess Congress. That brought me to the door of one of the mysteries of the early World Championships. Here's a writeup from Wikipedia:-

Under rules that reigning World Champion Wilhelm Steinitz helped to develop, the winner was to be regarded as World Champion for the time being, but must be prepared to face a challenge from the second- or third-placed competitor within a month. Mikhail Chigorin and Max Weiss tied for first, and remained tied after drawing all four games of a playoff. Weiss was not interested in playing a championship match, but Isidor Gunsberg, the third place finisher, exercised his right and challenged Chigorin to a World Championship match. In 1890, he drew a first-to-10-wins match against Chigorin (9-9 with five draws). These were the same terms (9-9 draw clause) as the first World Championship match between Steinitz and Zukertort in 1886. Incidentally, they were also the same match terms that Bobby Fischer would insist on for his title defense in 1975. • Sixth American Chess Congress (1889)

Note the phrase 'the winner was to be regarded as World Champion for the time being'. This is contrary to what I knew about the Congress, and I assumed that the anonymous Wikipedia writer simply got it wrong. After all, I've seen similar errors before. Another well known web source on the World Championship explained things differently:-

This tournament was, in a sense, the first Candidates tournament. In addition to naming a US Champion, the organizers planned to finance the winner in a World Championship match against Steinitz. Max Weiss and Mikhail Tchigorn tied for first, and remained tied after drawing all 4 games of a playoff. Tchigorin was not interested in challenging Steinitz again so soon, and Weiss was not interested in playing one at all, and so the plans came to nothing. However, Isidor Gunsberg, the 3rd place finisher, was interested. In 1890, he drew a 10 wins match against Tchigorin (9-9 with 5 draws). Because of these two results, his challenge to Steinitz was accepted, with their match being played in 1890-1. • Sixth American Chess Congress, 1889 (graeme.50webs.com)

The phrase 'in a sense, the first Candidates tournament' was closer to my understanding, but the issue of who would challenge whom provoked another question mark.

This brought me back to a footnote in the Wikipedia article, a link to Steinitz — Chigorin, Havana 1889 - A World Championship Match or Not? by Anders Thulin, a well-documented essay that drags the Steinitz - Chigorin match into the discussion. Wikipedia dates the Thulin essay to 2007, while the current version is dated 2009. This means that the document requires careful re-reading and a comparison with other sources from that era. I'm not prepared to do that now, but will find the time as soon as I can.

14 March 2012

Overview of Four Cycles

FIDE's announcement for the forthcoming World Championship events, FIDE Announces Draft Dates for World Chess Championship Cycles (Fide.com), would have been more exciting if we hadn't seen it all before. The plan was nearly identical to the one announced in June 2007, last discussed on this blog in The New/Old World Championship Cycle.

Here's an overview of the schedule announced by FIDE, mapped onto the cycle numbering I use for my index page on the World Chess Championship. I sincerely hope that FIDE, with its new sponsor, will have more success following through the 2012 plan than it did in 2007.

2011 C24 C25 C26 C27
CT Kazan 2011-05 CM      
WC Russia 2011-08   WC    
2012 C24 C25 C26 C27
Chp Moscow 2012-05 A/G      
OL Istanbul 2012-08        
GP Chelyabinsk 2012-09     *  
CT London 2012-10   *    
GP Tashkent 2012-11     *  
2013 C24 C25 C26 C27
GP Lisbon 2013-04     *  
GP Madrid 2013-05     *  
GP Berlin 2013-07     *  
WC Norway 2013-08     *  
GP Paris 2013-09     *  
Chp TBD 2013-10   *    
2014 C24 C25 C26 C27
GP TBD 2014-05       *
GP TBD 2014-07       *
OL Norway 2014-08        
GP TBD 2014-09       *
CT TBD 2014-11     *  
2015 C24 C25 C26 C27
GP TBD 2015-05       *
GP TBD 2015-07       *
WC TBD 2015-08       *
GP TBD 2015-09       *
Chp TBD 2015-11     *  

Chp: World Championship
CT: Candidates
WC: World Cup
GP: Grand Prix
OL: Olympiad


Later: See also Two Big Events for 2012 for subsequent changes to several of these events.

07 March 2012

Misc. Zonal Clippings (C02-C15)

Continuing with Missing Zonal Clippings, where the most recent updates were for C18 : 1998-99 in January, and C00 : 1946-1948 in February, I updated a number of cycles in the range C02-C15. A few additions were received from knowledgeable correspondents who didn't identify their original source:-

I have no reason to doubt the correctness of those new crosstables and mention this only to keep my records consistent. [Refs: BI072028 for C03, C06, & C08; CB280658 for C08]