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.

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