27 March 2013

London Candidates - Second Week

Today, round 10 of the 2013 Candidates Tournament is taking place. In my previous post, London Candidates - First Week, I listed British web sources. Now I'll list international sources, including live videos -- commentary and press conference -- from the playing site.

Rd. Live Chessbase Chessvibes
R0   Opening CeremonyPairings and commentary schedule PredictionsOfficially opened by Ilyumzhinov
R1 Video All games drawn Tournament starts peacefully: four draws
R2 Video Radjabov, Aronian draw first blood Aronian and Radjabov first winners
R3 Video Three decisive gamesExpert commentary Aronian sole leader after exciting round
R4 Video Carlsen joins Aronian in the lead Carlsen catches Aronian in first place
R5 Video All four games drawnPostmortem Four fighting draws
R6 Video Carlsen, Aronian win, leadPostmortem Aronian & Carlsen increase lead
R7 Video Mercy was the constant Four draws, Aronian & Carlsen maintain lead
R8 Video Kramnik, Gelfand, Grischuk winPostmortems Aronian & Carlsen still tied, Kramnik a point behind
R9 Video Carlsen survives, Aronian losesPostmortems Carlsen in sole lead as Aronian loses to Gelfand
R10 Video Kramnik, Aronian, Carlsen winOdds of winning the event Aronian, Carlsen & Kramnik winners
R11 Video Kramnik wins, Aronian losesPostmortems Kramnik beats Radjabov, now second as Aronian loses to Svidler
R12 Video Kramnik overtakes Carlsen after dramatic round Kramnik wins [vs. Aronian], overtakes Carlsen
R13 Video Kramnik draws, Carlsen winsPictures and postmortems Carlsen grinds down Radjabov to catch Kramnik in first place
R14 Video Leaders lose, Carlsen qualifiesPress conferences, postmortems Carlsen & Kramnik both lose in final round, Carlsen wins Candidates

I hope the table will eventually include all rounds.


Later: I added the opening ceremony ('R0') and rounds 10 through 12.

Even later: I added rounds 13 and 14. This was a great tournament!

20 March 2013

London Candidates - First Week

I'm watching the fifth round of the 2013 Candidates Tournament as I write this. There is so much to say on the subject, but so little to say that's important. I had planned to travel to London to watch the first few rounds of the tournament, but high travel costs coupled with a high uncertainty of seeing memorable games made me change my mind. As luck would have it, there is much to take in from the comfort of my home office.

British sources: With the tournament being held in London, British / English sources (yes, I do understand the difference) are closest to the action.

The 'Streatham & Brixton Chess Blog', which is usually one of my favorite sources, has been a disappointment. Snotty posts like How many wheels left on the AP wagon? and Chess Is Like... The Carlton Club? leave me wondering why these bloggers focus only on the negative.

Also disappointing was a BBC interview, with multiple video sources linked from Carlsen & Paulson on the BBC. The comments to that Chessvibes.com post list many of the problems with the interview and the interviewer. Neither Carlsen nor Paulson was able to rescue it. Did the interview air? I hope not. Surely the BBC can do better than this.

As for the live onsite commentary, last year I commented on the Moscow broadcasts from the Anand - Gelfand title match (see World Championship Chess on TV, 'the sheer pleasure of seeing the most important chess event of the year in real time') which set the bar very high. I'm happy to report that the London broadcasts are meeting, maybe even exceeding, the Moscow mark.

Tiebreaks: The chess itself has been fantastic. Since the objective of the event is to identify a challenger for Anand later this year, I started to wonder what happens if there is a tied score at the end of the 14 rounds. A readable copy of FIDE's 'Rules & Regulations' can be found on Chessdom.com: Candidates Tournament 2012 (the dates for the event were originally proposed for 2012); see '3.7 Tie-breaks'. It's complicated.

Grand Prix: It turns out that the premonitions of disaster (see A House Divided for background) were well founded. First we had a report from Chessdom.com: FIDE Grand Prix moves from Portugal to Switzerland, which has yet to be confirmed by FIDE. Then we had a report from Chessvibes.com: Nakamura sends open letter to Agon/FIDE regarding Grand Prix situation, which has yet to be addressed by FIDE. The evolving situation is following the same script as the first Grand Prix (2008-2009), which I documented at the time in Groan Prix. 'Fool me once', etc. etc.

13 March 2013

2013 World Championship Events

With the 2013 London Candidates tournament scheduled to start in a few days, I brought my page 2013 Candidates Event up to date, along with a link to the official site, london2013.fide.com. After that, I added a new page for the 2013 World Cup, scheduled to start in August.

The next World Championship match is still on the FIDE calendar for November 2013. That means there will be a little more than six months to organize the match after the Candidates tournament has determined Anand's challenger.

Following up last week's post, A House Divided, Silvio Danailov, President of the European Chess Union (ECU), tweeted on 11 March, '[Grand] Prix in Lisbon also cancelled. AGON(Y) is about to finish'. The event is on the FIDE calendar with a 17 April start date.

06 March 2013

A House Divided

With the London Candidates tournament fast approaching, I'll take a break from the Zonal Overview, last seen in Zonal Overview 2013 3.x & 4.x, and return to the subject of FIDE politics, last seen in What Is Going on Here. In that post I quoted Silvio Danailov, President of the Bulgarian Chess Federation, which had lost a bid for organizing the Candidates event to Agon and its representative, Andrew Paulson:-
I have met Paulson & Co several times and I immediately realized that [they] are not serious and will be a complete disaster for chess after the Candidates where Azerbaijan pays the bill. So far this is their only sponsor. The London Grand Prix was one of the worse organized big chess events ever; everybody could see it. They have no money, no sponsors and absolutely no idea about chess at all.

Those are strong words, coming from a person who is also President of the European Chess Union (ECU) and a member of the FIDE Presidential Board, the highest decision making group in international chess. Were these opinions sour grapes, petty politics, or something more substantial? To find out, I started following Danailov's Twitter feed, Silvio Danailov on Twitter. Following are excerpts [sometimes translated from Russian by Google Translate with minor editing for punctuation; I've left in untranslated words]. First, here are a pair of tweets on Agon's attempts to organize the other Grand Prix events.

Feb 19: Madrid Gran Prix will be cancelled soon. You guess what will happen with Paris & Berlin, it's not so difficult to predict. Pray for Lisbon guys

Feb 19: You can bet on it

A few days later this was followed by comments on a retweeted FIDE announcement (WCOC = World Championships & Olympiads Commission).

Feb 25 (FIDE @Fide_chess): WCOC recommendations approved by the Presidential Board

Feb 25: All these recommendations are shameful and discriminatory for ECU and Europe. BTW, the WCOC commission is the worst by far in FIDE.

Feb 25: I hope next ECU GA in Warsaw in November will not approve this nonsense.

Feb 26 (Chess-News.ru @Chess__News): Russian version -> Translated version 'FIDE adopted the recommendations of the committee for the World Championships and the Olympic Games, which are called the infamous Danailov'

Feb 27: Chess Churov again blather and PR deshego, his favorite spetsialnost. Mozhet calm down, this nonsense will not work on the [GA] in November.

Feb 27: Of course he forgot to mention that out of $ 50,000 prize money to Asia and America FIDE makes $ 35,000.

Feb 27: So in fact the prize in Asia and America 15.000 $, a in Europe on his proposal to be 150.000 €. As saying pochuvstvayte difference

Feb 27: So he, along with FIDE true boritsya fiercely for the rights of players in Asia and America

Feb 27: That's the main problem, you write too much and you're always the same. (From the comments chess-news.ru)

I think 'Churov' refers to Evgeny Surov, the editor-in-chief of Chess-News.ru. It's worth noting that the 'prize money' is for the Continental Championships, and that the European continent is not organized the same as the other continents. In Europe, the European Championship is the only opportunity for European players to qualify for the World Cup, the next stage in the World Championship cycle. The other continents offer zonal tournaments in addition to the Continental Championship. After this, we return to the Grand Prix.

Feb 28: Panic. Desperately moving back to the usual suspects: Baku, Jermuk, Nalchik, Elista, etc,etc. The question is, are they available any longer?

Feb 28: I won't bet on it

Feb 28 (Mikhail Golubev ?@mikhail_golubev) they have Grozny (the capital of the Chechen Republic) in reserve: several years ago they wanted to make a top event there

Then back to comments on the WCOC.

Mar 1: Riddle of the day: What is the reward awaiting Churov chess FIDE for the faithful service of his Greek head this year? Reply soon, hurry-:)

Mar 1: Answer the riddle of the day: Presidential nomination for the World Cup in Tromso, the same that he has already received in [Khanty] 2011 for the dedication and achievements.

Here I'm baffled. The six nominees of the FIDE President for the 2011 World Cup were Kasimdzhanov, Sutovsky, Nielsen, Ding Liren, Bologan, and Moradiabadi. What do any of them have to do with Churov/Surov? In any case, no one should be surprised that the presidential nominations are used for political reasons. What other purpose would they serve? Finally, a few days ago, we had a pair of retweets.

Mar 4 (Chess-News.ru @Chess__News): Russian version • Mar 4 (Chess-News.ru @Chess__News): English version, Ilya Levitov on FIDE: "There's Not Such an Organisation. Their Actions Are Supported Neither By the Idea, Nor By Any Plan"

Levitov is a FIDE Vice President and also a member of the Presidential Board. The Chess-news.ru article started,

Ilya Levitov, the Chairman of the Management Board of the Russian Chess Federation, strongly criticised the international chess federation in the recent interview given to Sport-Express : "Unfortunately, I have not any kind of relations with FIDE. That's because in reality this organisation doesn't exist. Their actions are supported neither by the Idea, nor by any plan. They meet, discuss something and make some decisions, which have no influence on the chess world. FIDE is remembered only when it prepares another mean trick for the chess players.

So we have the President of the European Federation badmouthing attempts to organize World Championship events on his continent. We also have a FIDE Vice President saying, 'I have not any kind of relations with FIDE'. What is wrong with this picture?