31 December 2014

Guardian of the WCCC

Earlier this year, in a post on the World Chess Championship : Computer Chess (WCCC), titled WCCC Ain't What It Used to Be (February 2014), I wrote,
The three most recent events -- 2010, 2011, & 2013 -- have seen two separate competitions, hardware and software, where the software event is not considered as important as the equivalent TCEC competitions. It's time to acknowledge that the ICGA tournaments are not real World Championships.

The ICGA is the International Computer Games Association, a group more inclined to awarding titles through procedural decisions than through competitions. I was reminded of this in a recent blog post, The New Chess World Champion (with extensive comments) by IM Kenneth Regan, best known in the chess world for his work on computer cheating and last seen in this blog in The 'No Cheating' Jigsaw Puzzle. Dr. Regan wrote,

Today we salute Komodo for winning the 7th Thoresen Chess Engines Competition (TCEC), which some regard as the de-facto world computer chess championship.

The phrase 'De-facto World Computer Chess Championship' bears repeating and echoes the Wikipedia page on the Thoresen Chess Engines Competition.

TCEC is often regarded as the Unofficial World Computer Chess Championship because of its strong participant line-up and long time control matches on high-end hardware, giving rise to very high-class chess. [along with a couple of links to support the argument]

What does the ICGA [link redirects] have to say?

ICGA Events July 2015 • Posted on December 25, 2014 by Aske Plaat • We are expecting to organize the ICGA Events in early July of 2015. • The Events will consist of
- The ACG2015 Advances in Computer Games Conference
- The World Computer Chess Championship
- The World Computer Software Championship
- The Speed Computer Chess Championship
- The Computer Olympiad

We expect to be able to provide more details in January of 2015

The post previous to this is titled 'Complaints against the Chess programs LOOP and THINKER' by 'David Levy : ICGA President'.

The ICGA has received formal complaints against the Chess programs LOOP and THINKER, both of which have participated in the World Computer Chess Championship.

The computer chess world appears to pay little attention to these procedural disputes. Who appointed the ICGA guardian of the WCCC?

24 December 2014

2014 FIDE General Assembly : Whither the World Championship?

Just like last year's annual 'Whither' post, 2013 FIDE Executive Board : Whither the World Championship?, the documents released by FIDE for its big meeting are less interesting than in previous years. Maybe the organization is running more smoothly; maybe they are less willing to air their dirty laundry in public; maybe both.

First let's hear what FIDE President Ilyumzhinov had to say in August about the main events. If you need help finding the originals of the documents referenced below, see the post on my main blog, FIDE's 'Chess in Schools' 2014.

As you are aware, the World Championship match which ended by victory of Norwegian wonder child Magnus Carlsen, took place in Chennai in November 2013. Please join me once again in congratulations to this remarkable Grand Master and Norwegian Chess Federation with its outstanding success. I would also like to note, that World Champion is also a top rated player in the world. The match was organized superbly and for this I’m especially grateful to Vice President of FIDE, Mr. Sundar, All India Chess Association and the match organizing committee. The match prize fund was 2,55 mln USD with the total budget of the event exceeding 5 mln USD.

During my discussion with the Tamil Nadu State President H. E. Ms. Jayaram Jayalalithaa, I expressed my gratitude for my patience as all of you know Chennai had been candidate for this match 2 years earlier and I also thanked Tamil Nadu State Government for the support of the development of the chess, especially for inclusion of chess into school curriculum in this province. This match would set a good model of interaction between a National Chess Federation with local state and government bodies in respect of development of chess.

Next important event for us the Candidate Tournament. Once again brilliantly organized by Khanty-Mansiysk. The Mayor of Khanty-Mansiysk, President of the Ugra Vasily Filipenko is present here among our guests and I would like him to pass our most sincere gratitude to the leadership and the government of Ugra and personally Governor Natalya Komarova. It’s a pleasant fact that the interest to this event broadcast was higher than the once to the previous Candidate Tournament in London. Chess lovers in 207 countries and territories visited the official site and could enjoy the games transmissions through Chess casting application created by FIDE. This year’s calendar was full of the vents organized in Khanty-Mansiysk with the above mentioned tournaments and the Presidential Board in March, 4th Womens’ Grand Prix stage in April, followed by Women’s World Rapid and Blitz Championships.

The 5th stage of the Women’s Grand Prix was organized in June in a picturesque Lopota in Georgia and a final 6th tournament was moved, will take place in Sharjah instead of Mongolia. The change was due a serious illness of the President of the Mongolian Chess Federation which unfortunately interfered with the activity with this federation.

Dubai has successfully organized Men’s World Rapid and Blitz Championship with the unique situation when one player Magnus Carlsen has having become World Champion in all the formats.

We are going to announce final schedule for the new series of the Men’s Grand Prix Tournament. This year 2 legs will be organized in October-November in Baku and Tashkent respectively and the other two legs will take place early next year.

The Opening Ceremony of the World Championship match between Magnus Calrsen and Viswanathan Anand is scheduled in November 7th of Sochi. The match will take place in the Olympic Park area which is 5 minute drive the international airport. The managers and the representatives of both teams can select their accommodation from the substantial number of new hotels built for the winter Olympics. The match will be held in EXPO Centre which was home for the Winter Olympics media centre and is equipped with latest technologies.

Then let's hear from the Presidential Board in November about forthcoming events.

4.5. Agon. Annex 13 is a letter from Agon with a change in the Agon/FIDE interface team.

5.11. Women’s Chess Commission. Annex 33 is Commission’s report for Tromso GA. Annex 34 is proposed regulations for FIDE Online Women’s World Blitz Championship 2014 for Tromso GA. Annex 35 is Minutes of the Commission’s meeting held in Tromso.

5.21.1. FIDE World Cup 2015. The event shall be held in Baku, Azerbaijan, 10 September – 4 October 2015.

5.21.2. FIDE World Cup 2017. The event shall be held in Batumi, Georgia, 1-25 September 2017.

5.21.3. FIDE World Championship Match 2014. The event is being held in Sochi, Russia, 7-28 November.

5.21.4. FIDE Candidates’ Matches 2016. Venue to be decided.

5.21.5. FIDE Grand-Prix series. Mr. G. Borg to report. Baku, Azerbaijan : 1-15 October 2014; Tashkent, Uzbekistan : 20 October - 4 November 2014; Tbilisi, Georgia : 14-28 February 2015; Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia : 13-27 May 2015.

5.21.6. FIDE Women’s Grand-Prix series. Mr. G. Borg to report.

5.21.7. FIDE Women’s World Championship 2014. The event is postponed. Mr. G. Borg to report.

5.21.8. FIDE Women’s World Championship Match 2015. Bids open 1st January - close 31st March 2015. The event will be held from 11 to 31 October 2015.

I don't have much to add here. It's Christmas Eve and there are better things to do!

17 December 2014

Label Maintenance

The LABELS listed to the right -- C00:1946-48, C01:1949-51, etc. -- are a useful technique to group posts dealing with a specific World Championship cycle. For many years the numbering was straightforward: one cycle ended and the following year another started. This worked until the infamous C15:1991-93 cycle, when the World Championship split into two because of the Kasparov - Short title match. The scheduling of title events became increasingly erratic.

After the title reunification in C22:2005-07, the scheduling started to improve slowly, but for a number of cycles the chess world was faced with overlapping cycles where a new cycle started before the previous cycle had finished. For example, the 2009 World Cup at Khanty-Mansiysk (C24) was played before the 2010 Anand - Topalov title match of the previous cycle (C23).

When I started this blog in 2007, I was never sure how long a cycle was going to last. When a new cycle started I used a question mark ('?') to indicate the end of a cycle, e.g. C25:2011-?. When a cycle finished, I could eliminate the '?', but after Blogger.com changed its interface a few years ago, I wasn't sure how to do this without changing each post separately. Fortunately, a technique for a global change exists and I used it to close the most recent cycles, e.g. C25:2011-13.

Now that FIDE has brought the World Championship into a steady two year cycle, we can predict when a cycle will end, making the question mark unnecessary. I eliminated it for the current cycle C27:2015-16, and hope that FIDE will be able to maintain a two-year rhythm. World class chess needs the stability.

[Reference: A post on Google.com, I have a question about my labels..., explains the technique for making a global change to labels.]

10 December 2014

Carlsen - Anand II, Wrapup

The Carlsen - Anand title match ended a few weeks ago, and I'd like to do a post just like last year's Carlsen - Anand, Wrapup (2013). First, here are the posts from this blog.

Next, here are the posts from my main blog.

A lot more can be said about the match -- and has been said on other web resources -- so I expect there will be other posts to come. In any case, after two big matches in two years, we now have to wait two years for the next match. Who will Carlsen's next challenger be?

03 December 2014

2014 Carlsen - Anand

I added the crosstable and PGN to my page on the 2014 Carlsen - Anand title match. I also added what appears to be the official logo, first noted on this blog a few weeks ago in Carlsen - Anand II, the First Week. Here's another image worth preserving:-

From: sochi2014.fide.com

Awards and Medals: FIDE/Agon and Adamas, Russia's premier jewelry company, join forces to mark great sporting achievements with great awards. The medals that have been awarded by President Putin to Magnus Carlsen and Vishy Anand, were made from silver and represent remarkable craftsmanship and design.

With this match, FIDE aligned all World Championship events on a two year cycle. Will we see Carlsen - Anand III in 2016?

26 November 2014

Carlsen - Anand II, the Third Week

We left last week's report, Carlsen - Anand II, the Second Week, with Carlsen leading +2-1=5 after eight games and four games to be played. Following is a summary of the week's events, from TheHindu.com.

The week's tally of +1-0=2 gave Carlsen +3-1=7, or 6.5-4.5. The match was over and Carlsen had retained his World Champion title for two more years. There was a controversial, newsworthy guest at the closing ceremony.

Putin, Anand, Carlsen, Ilyumzhinov

After congratulating the players, Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation, said, 'This match was followed by millions of people. Chess is considered a great part of world culture.'

19 November 2014

Carlsen - Anand II, the Second Week

It was a great week for world class chess. Last week's report, Carlsen - Anand II, the First Week, left the match tied +1-1=2. During the seven intervening days, we had four games and three rest days, Carlsen taking the lead with +1-0=3 in the new games.

The overall score of +2-1=5 leaves Anand in a better position than at the same point last year (see Anand - Carlsen, the Second Week, November 2013), when the score was +2-0=6. In 2013 Carlsen won the ninth game and drew the tenth to clinch the title with two games left to play. In 2014, with four games remaining, Anand must win at least one game and draw the rest if he wants to take the match into tiebreak.

Here's a summary of the past week's events, presented by TheHindu.com, one of my favorite Indian news sources. Their chess correspondent is Rakesh Rao.

If I were responsible for the match, what would I change? Not much, with the possible exception of the press conference. I spent time reviewing all of the press conferences held since the opening ceremony and am relieved that they are not re-broadcast on mainstream, network television. The press officer in charge shows no enthusiasm, the players show no interest in communicating, and the assembled journalists show no desire to extend the proceedings. Here's a typical exchange from the session after game eight.

Q: You say you weren't in the best of shape at the beginning [of the game]. Could you elaborate? • Carlsen: No.

Is it any wonder that outside interest in the match is nil? I can understand that the players are tired after a long game and that they don't want to give information about their preparation, but the purpose of a sporting event is to provide some entertainment to the world at large. The entertainment value of chess press conferences is close to zero.


The introduction to the official videos usually features the logo that I captured in my 'C-A II, First Week' post. The animated sequence starts with chess pieces dropping on to an empty board, then the board morphs into the player's eye, then the eye morphs and rotates into the full logo. I managed to capture the board morphing into a player's eye.

That's more entertaining than the typical press conference that follows.

12 November 2014

Carlsen - Anand II, the First Week

It was only two-and-a-half years ago, during the Anand - Gelfand title match, that watching live transmission of a high level chess match was a special treat: World Championship Chess on TV (May 2012). These days it has become commonplace.

Today the live video on the official site went down during the last portion of game four and the associated #c24live Twitter feed started filling up with 'live stream lost!' tweets. At least the tweets aren't filled with engine evaluations the way they were in the early days of live chat on the play sites. Come to think of it, there's not much difference between Twitter and live chat.

GM Peter Svidler and IM/WGM Sopiko ('Giggles') Guramishvili got off to a rocky start as official commentators. During the first games the GM would talk and talk and talk (no problem here; this is what he was hired to do) while the IM/WGM would giggle and occasionally interject an informed 'yeah'. Now there is some real back-and-forth between the two. The male/female, GM/IM contrasts work well provided that there is real interaction and some chemistry between the two commentators.

In the title match section of my previous post, 2014-2015 Grand Prix, Tashkent, I mentioned, 'I couldn't find an official logo' on the official site. The official videos start with the image that I've captured below. The eyeballs everywhere make it a little creepy, but it's better than nothing.

Coincidentally, after four games this year's match stands at the same equal score as last year's match, which I documented in Anand - Carlsen, the First Week (November 2013). Last year I mentioned

A Google News search on 'anand carlsen' has mushroomed to 'about 73.300 results'.
This year I'm seeing '103.000 results'. Other than that, the prediction from a year ago --
Kasparov: A Win For Carlsen In The Upcoming World Championship Match Will Be A Huge Win For The Chess World

-- hasn't happened. Carlsen got more press as a challenger than as a champion, the prize fund for the 2014 match is well below the 2013 match, and the Women's World Championship is in limbo. That's not what I call 'a huge win'. Chess's ragged outlook notwithstanding, I'm looking forward to the second week of the match.


Later: Here's a summary of the week's events as reported by TheHindu.com:-

05 November 2014

2014-2015 Grand Prix, Tashkent

I added the crosstable and PGN for the Tashkent Grand Prix tournament to my page on the 2014-2015 Grand Prix. Only one week separated the last round of the first event, 2014-2015 Grand Prix, Baku, from the first round of the Tashkent event.

The FIDE calendar says the last two Grand Prix events will be held February 2015 in Tbilisi, Georgia, and May 2015 in Moscow. This means that the entire Grand Prix cycle will have taken only eight months to complete.


I also added a link for the official site to my page on the forthcoming 2014 Carlsen - Anand title match, due to start in a few days. I couldn't find an official logo, so I used the image shown on the right.

The official site is a break from the normal look of FIDE sites. It tells us,

The look of the 2014 World Chess Championship, conceived by Pentagram, the famous design studio, stands out from typical chess events designs and represents an effort by FIDE to rebrand chess and make it more attractive for chess players and partners.

The site's schedule omits the starting time for rounds, but the TWIC page World Chess Championship 2014 tells us,

Games start at 3 PM local time, 1 PM CET, 12 PM GMT, 7 AM US East Coast.

I haven't decided where I'll be watching the match, so I'll start with the official site.

29 October 2014

Caracas Zonals

At the beginning of the year I posted Che Guevara at the Havana Zonal, written with the help of feedback from Rafael Santana of Caracas, Venezuela. Since then, he has informed me that his own site, Historia del Ajedrez en Venezuela, has pages for each of the six zonals held in Caracas. He has details on each event, including photos, and I added his crosstables, along with links to the originals, to my own pages: C02: 1951-1954, C03: 1954-1957, C04: 1957-1960, C05: 1960-1963, C07: 1966-1969, and C13: 1984-1987.

His page for the first zonal, Caracas 1951 (C02), includes the following explanation (translated from the original Spanish by Google):-

Since 1950 Venezuela joined the FIDE Zone no.6, which covered the region of Central America and the Caribbean. In 1951 the Venezuelan doctor Manuel Acosta Silva was appointed Vice President of FIDE for the Central American and Caribbean Zone, in office continuously until 1966, when it was replaced by the Cuban A.I. José Luis Barreras.

Later the zone was officially numbered '7', then '8', then '2.3', which it remains today. Thanks, Rafael, for clarifying the early record of an entire zone.

22 October 2014

2014-2015 Grand Prix, Baku

I added a new cycle covering the period 2014-2016 to my pages on the The World Chess Championship. This is the 27th World Championship cycle (C27 in my shorthand) since the first FIDE championship in 1948 (documented in FIDE Events 1948-1990).

The first page in the new cycle is for the 2014-2015 Grand Prix, where I added the crosstable and PGN for the Baku tournament, the first of four events in the new Grand Prix. For my wrapup post on the previous Grand Prix, see 2012-13 GP / 2013 WCC.

At the start of the Baku event, FIDE also announced Introducing New Look for the Grand Prix Series.

FIDE invite you to take the first look at the new Grand Prix website. We have been working to create a better experience for chess enthusiasts who follow the games online.

Fot more about the new Grand Prix and about the Baku event, see The first stage of FIDE GP series 2014-2015 in Baku.

15 October 2014

Zonal Index Update 2014-10-15

A second pass through Zonal Clipping Headers revealed no new problems, so I updated the index page World Chess Championship Zonals ('Last updated 2014-10-15'). Since I now had some extra time, I added a few new clippings that were waiting to be processed. I don't want to list all of the changes I made, but if anyone is interested, the latest clippings can be identified via their directory, Index of /chess/zonals/clippngs, sorted on the 'Last modified' timestamp. The first two characters of the clipping filename indicate the year of the event: '90' = 1990, 'A0' = 2000, 'B1' = 2011 etc. The two character year is a convention I use throughout the site.

One of the new clippings is from Chesshistory.com's 'C.N. 6422. Youngest International Master'. On the same page are 'C.N. 6423. Fischer’s title(s)' and 'C.N. 6429. International Master title'. The last reference mentions an appropriate topic for further research:-

Further evidence regarding Mecking’s IM title would also be welcome. With respect to both Fischer and Mecking, does any reader have access to FIDE’s working documents and reports? More generally, what were the rules on the awarding of the IM title for performances in Zonal Tournaments?

As for the list of tasks in the previous Zonal Index Update (2014-07-16), all but the last is now complete. I'll use that task as the start of a new list of tasks:-

  • Identify events where the clippings lack a crosstable
  • List players qualifying to the next stage (where the list is known)
  • Split venue into city & country

With a World Championship match due to start in less than a month, it might be a while before I tackle that list.

08 October 2014

Zonal Clipping Headers

The maintenance on my zonal pages, outlined in Zonal Index Update, then completed for Inventory of Missing Zonal Clippings and Zonal Months, took another step forward. I compared the index page World Chess Championship Zonals with the clipping pages listed at the bottom of the index, resolved as many header discrepancies as I could, and updated 19 clipping pages. I'll perform the comparison one more time before I update the index page.

01 October 2014

FIDE Internet Qualifiers 2001

In the previous post on my zonal project, Zonal Months, I mentioned,
While doing this I noted a few other anomalies that need more research. For example, the page covering Zonals 2001-2002 (C20) starts with '0.0 FIDE Internet Qualifiers 2001-09', but this unique event is not adequately explained.

I added a few more clippings from TWIC to that C20 page, but the coverage is still incomplete. Although I doubt that there is a comprehensive written record of this event anywhere, the original Fide.com reports survive in Archive.org. Following are some of the more informative bulletins.


The Board [...] further resolved to give FIDE Commerce the support needed for the implementation later this month of the World Internet Championship, which will serve as basis for the selection of 8 qualifiers to the World Championship this year.

/25.07.2001/ Welcome to the World Internet Chess Championship • 'See related material(s):' has all (?) related articles.

The Tournament Zone is OPEN. http://wicc.fide.com

/14.09.2001/ WICC Semifinal Announced

We would like to inform all the Net Chess Players of the terms and conditions of WICC Semifinal. On multiple requests of the Net Players the dates have been shifted from the initially announced. The tournament will start on September 25, 2001 and last till October 5, 2001. It will be played in 9 rounds Swiss system based on rating. 64 winners of the Semifinal will take part in the WICC Final to define the best 8 to qualify to the World Chess Championship 2001. All who completed 4 games before Monday, September 24, 2001 12:00 GMT and occupy places 1 – 256 in the FIDE Net Rating are eligible to get registered for the Semifinal.

/21.09.2001/ 3 easy steps to take part in WICC Semifinal

More detailed information concerning WICC Semifinal you may get here href=http://wicc.fide.com/read.cgi?html=fin1#subm

/08.10.2001/ WICC Final Started

The first phase of the qualification is over. Now, the 68 strongest players of WICC Semifinal will come together to define the 8. There are already surprises. The common opinion was that the Final qualifiers would be only the well-known FIDE-rated players. But... Take a look at the players' list, are you sure you heard of all of them?

/19.10.2001/ Final standings of the World Internet Chess Championship

The whole standing list you may see by clicking here: http://wicc.fide.com/read.cgi?html=fin2a

/05.11.2001/ The official decision of the WICC Appeals Committee regarding appeals submitted by the players disqualified from WICC Final

The WICC Appeals Committee [...] has undertaken an examination of the appeals submitted by...

That same month saw news about another online event -- /29.11.2001/ OFFICIAL WORLD CHESS FEDERATION DISAPPOINTED BY FAILURE OF UNOFFICIAL 'ONLINE WORLD CHESS' EVENT. What was this about? The news lives on in the form of press releases.

The challenges in running these online chess events were so severe that FIDE never attempted another online qualifier.

24 September 2014

2013-2014 Women's Grand Prix, the Players

After posting Women's Grand Prix, Sharjah, the last of the six events for the 2013-2014 FIDE Women's Grand Prix, I created the table shown on the left. It lists the 21 players, their scores across all events in which they participated, and the number of games they played. The table gave me the data I needed to update the World Chess Championship : Index of Women Players.

17 September 2014

2013-2014 Women's Grand Prix, Sharjah

I added the crosstable and PGN for the 2014 Sharjah (United Arab Emirates) to my page on the 2013-2014 FIDE Women's Grand Prix. The initial announcement for this Grand Prix (March 2013), stated that the event would be held in Erdenet, Mongolia.

Since this was the last of the six events scheduled for the Grand Prix, I also added the final standings calculated by FIDE. I was pleased to see that these standings were published shortly after the Sharjah event ended. The final results were never published for the 2011-2012 Women's Grand Prix.

TBD: Add the participants to the Index of Women Players, and perhaps develop a table of results across all events, like I did for the 2012-13 GP. • The FIDE calendar lists 'Women's World Championship 2014, 11-Oct-2014, 31-Oct-2014', but there has been no announcement about this event. This would be the same knockout format last seen in World Chess Championship (Women) : 2012 FIDE Knockout Matches.

10 September 2014

Zonal Months

Starting with the first zonal cycle, Zonals 1948-1951 (C01), I stepped through all 26 cycles listed at the bottom of the index page World Chess Championship Zonals, looking for mismatches between the year & month shown on the event header (e.g. 'CAN Quebec City 1947-00') and the same info in the corresponding clipping (e.g. 'June'). I found 20 cycles with mismatches and updated the headers.

While doing this I noted a few other anomalies that need more research. For example, the page covering Zonals 2001-2002 (C20) starts with '0.0 FIDE Internet Qualifiers 2001-09', but this unique event is not adequately explained.

27 August 2014

2014 Carlsen - Anand

I added a new page for the 2014 Carlsen - Anand title match to the index page for the World Chess Championship. According to FIDE, the match will take place 7-28 November 2014, 'on the territory of the Olympic village'.

The match still hasn't been confirmed by both players. Chess-news.ru reported earlier this week that Carlsen Postpones Signing of the WC Match Contract At Least for Two Weeks. The current World Champion has washed his hands of FIDE in the past; see my post Groan Prix (December 2008) for details.

20 August 2014

Zonal Clipping Update, C16-C20

It's curious that of the ~30 events listed on Inventory of Missing Zonal Clippings, nearly all of them were played during the period 1985-2000. I've noticed this many times before: history that occurred just before or at the beginning of the Internet era is less well documented than both earlier and later history.

Starting with the most recent events first, I looked for available info on the web. While finding a few new clippings, I also found new, relevant info for events from the period that were already documented. For the full table of events, see World Chess Championship Zonals.

13 August 2014

Inventory of Missing Zonal Clippings

Returning to Zonal Clipping Updates, last seen for C13-C16, I added a couple of new clippings to Zonals 1995-1997 (C17). Since this exhausted the backlog of clippings I have collected, it's a good time to take an inventory of missing clippings, shown in the following table. 'Cy' and 'Zo' are Cycle and Zone.

Cy Zo Event Venue Start ID
5 9 9f Madras 1961-00 429
13 12 12 Algiers 1985-02 331
13 13 13 Harare 1985-02 330
14 10 10 Doha 1987-03 333
14 12 12 Khemis Miliana 1987-04 332
14 13 13 Luanda (or Cairo?) 1987-05 335
15 8 8 subzonal? Pinar del Rio CUB 1990-00 111
15 12 12 ? (TUN Hmadi) 1990-00 424
15 13 13 ? (EGY El Taher & Afifi) 1990-00 425
16 1 1.5a Zouberi 1993-00 99
16 4 4.2 ? (EGY Esam Aly) 1993-00 394
16 4 4.3 ? (RSA Gluckman) 1993-00 395
17 2 2.3a San Salvador 1995-00 75
17 3 3.4 ? (Nenashev) 1995-00 482
17 4 4.1 ? (Hamdouchi) 1995-00 483
17 4 4.2 ? (Ahmed) 1995-00 484
18 1 1.7 Tallinn 1998-07 56
18 1 1.8 Shaki, Azerbaijan 1998-00 485
18 2 2.3.5 subzonal San Felipe 1999-00 41
18 3 3.1a Tehran 1997-08 61
18 3 3.1b Mumbai 1999-03 520
18 3 3.3 ? (Liang Chong & Peng Xiaomin) 1999-00 487
18 3 3.4 ? (Kasimdzhanov & Kotsur) 1999-00 488
18 4 4.1 ? (Bouaziz) 1999-00 489
19 2 2.3 ? (Hernandez & Nogueiras) 2000-00 458
19 2 2.3.2 Guatemala City 2000-07 19
19 3 3.1a ? (Al Modiahki) 2000-00 490
19 3 3.1b ? (Barua) 2000-00 491
19 3 3.3 ? (Xu Jun & Peng Xiaomin) 2000-00 492
19 3 3.4 Namangan, Uzbekistan 2000-00 493
19 4 4.1 ? (Hamdouchi) 2000-00 494

Where venues are marked '?', I have no information about the event.


Later: Events that have a new clipping are indicated with a strike.

06 August 2014

Zt: 1975 Barcelona & 1976 Arandjelovac (II)

After posting about two controversial events in the 1975-1978 cycle -- see Zt: 1975 Barcelona & 1976 Arandjelovac -- I received more information from two Czech correspondents, both keen chess historians.

The first correspondent, Jan Kalendovský, confirmed that both Smejkal and Uhlmann qualified from 1976 Arandjelovac for the Interzonal phase after the drawing of lots. He also forwarded a column by GM Hort from a May 1976 issue of Rudé právo which discussed the outcome. I added the clipping to my page on the cycle, Zonals 1975-1978 (C10).

Rudé právo (Czech for The Red Right or The Red Law) was the official newspaper of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia. • Rudé právo [Wikipedia]

The second correspondent, Jan Fiala, commented on the circumstances surrounding the boycott of 1975 Barcelona.

The theory about Pachman is possible. Two chessplayers in the 1970s couldn't play for two years because they played in one tournament with Pachman -- Ján Báňas and Ivan Novák, Stockholm 1974 -- but I didn't read about it anywhere [else]. Moreover, Smejkal in his memories in one interview wrote about it and I think if it was because of Pachman, he would say so.

He also forwarded a translated excerpt from 'Jan Smejkal - Bretislav Modr: Smejkalova padesatka, Sachinfo 4/1996, page 136'.

In time when I was on top and I saw the whole world pink, I should play in next cycle zonal tournament in Spain (in year 1975) and I did not. The day before take-off a telegrame came that tour is not held. And a declaration was published without our knowledge together with Yugoslavians, Poles and Hungarians in which we protest against Franco's regime.

Zonal tournament was held and Ludek Pachman, who lived in Germany yet, promoted [i.e. 'qualified'] amongst others. [...] Finally I promoted to interzonal, together with interest of Russians and Americans but also of organizers of interzonal tournaments and next promoting places were enforced for those who could not start in Barcelona. I promoted but without illusions.

Jan Kalendovský is a published author; see Complete Games of Alekhine on newinchess.com. Jan Fiala maintains a web page on Czech chess history at sachyceskybrod.cz/historie.htm. Thanks to both for the information.


Later: I added another clipping, received from the same correspondents, to the 1975-1978 (C10) page. It's under the heading 'Barcelona 1975', captioned 'Rudé Právo 1975-10-03'. A translation was also provided:-

As a Protest Against Reprisals • Yugoslavian chess master D. Velimirovic anounced to FIDE secretariat that he will not take part in zonal tournament in Barcelona as a protest against fascist regime in Spain. At the same time he asks international federation to replace the tournament to other European country.

The correspondents mentioned that there were other published protests.

30 July 2014

Zonal Clipping Update, C13-C16

With World Championship events taking a back seat to the 2014 Olympiad, scheduled to start in a few days, it's a good time to catch up on my zonal backlog. My previous post, Zonal Clipping Update, C20-C26, was mainly an effort to fill in a few missing events; this post is a mixed bag of minor updates.

C13: When I first started to gather clippings (see More Zonal Clippings, June 2008) I especially liked finding summaries of all events in a zonal cycle, because these filled multiple gaps in the record. Now that I have more detailed clippings for most events, the summaries are superfluous. Here I deleted one. • Zonals 1984-1987 (C13)

C14: I added a clipping from Polgar & Shutzman's 'Queen of the King's Game', documenting Polgar's exclusion from the Warsaw event in zone 3. • Zonals 1987-1990 (C14)

C16: I added a number of clippings from Informant 57. Although these are the second (or third) clipping for the specific event, they contain information not found in the other clippings. • Zonals 1993-1996 (C16)


Back to the C14 clipping, a few paragraphs after the discussion of the zonal exclusion, I found the following.

Re the sentence, 'Her case contributed to the changes FIDE had made to erase the title "Men's World Championship"', did FIDE once refer to the title as the 'Men's World Championship'?

23 July 2014

Zonal Clipping Update, C20-C26

I tackled the first of the actions from the previous post, Zonal Index Update, i.e. 'Look for missing events on the pages of zonal clippings'; found 11 new crosstables; and added them to the relevant pages of clippings -- C20 : 2001-02, C21 : 2002-04, C22 : 2004-05, C23 : 2006-07, C25 : 2010-11, and C26 : 2012-13. With a few exceptions, the crosstables were found on ratings.fide.com.

16 July 2014

Zonal Index Update

Back in Small Projects for 2014, I made a list of tasks for the zonals, most of which are now incorporated into the index page, World Chess Championship Zonals. Next steps:-
  • Look for missing events on the pages of zonal clippings.
  • Add dates to the index where they are missing.
  • Synchronize the index with the headers on the clippings pages.
  • Identify events where the clippings lack a crosstable.

That should keep me busy for a while.

09 July 2014

2013-2014 Women's Grand Prix, Lopota

I added the crosstable and PGN for the 2014 Lopota (Georgia) to my page on the 2013-2014 FIDE Women's Grand Prix. My previous post in the series, 2013-2014 WGP, Khanty-Mansiysk mentioned that the next event would be held in Tbilisi (Georgia). It seems that Lopota -- or more precisely Lopota Lake, Kakheti, Georgia (a resort) -- is 115 km northeast of Tbilisi.

02 July 2014

Zt: 1975 Barcelona & 1976 Arandjelovac

When it comes to chess history, one thing generally leads to another, and a particular subject is often incomplete. While I was working on the actions identified in Zonal Overview 2013 (plus the following three weeks), I discovered a curious paragraph on Zonals 1990-1993 (C15). A clipping for zone 3, Stara Zagora 1990-02, mentioned
The zone of Europe is one of the strongest, and used to send representatives to compete with the rest of Europe till the Pachman affair and the orders of now discredited governments led to tournament disruption. [BCM, 1990-05, p.197]

Pachman affair? What was that all about? Looking at my index page for World Chess Championship Zonals, I identified the 1975 zonals as the likely root of the 'affair', especially two events: 1975 Barcelona and 1976 Arandjelovac. Pachman played in the first event and the the second was a mystery to me that I had investigated several times without much success. The clippings for that cycle, including notes from a relevant discussion with 'EK', are on my page for Zonals 1975-1978 (C10).

A copy of a Pachman obituary from Google groups -- Ludek Pachman, chess grandmaster; Telegraph obit -- gave me further details.

In 1975 Pachman qualified once again for a world championship zonal tournament, this time held in Barcelona. After his departure from Czechoslovakia, East European chess federations had done their utmost to continue damaging his career, and they now used the bullying tactic of threatening a total Eastern European boycott if he took up his place.

Fortunately, the Spanish organisers and the World Chess Federation stood their ground. Pachman's invitation remained and it was the communist players who suffered, by being deliberately excluded from the event. As it was, he went on to qualify, and his presence in the 1976 interzonal contest obliged the communist federations to abandon their boycott, since to have withdrawn en masse from this advanced stage of the world championship would have been a considerable political setback.

This was confirmed in a passage from the book 'Smart Chip from St. Petersburg' by Genna Sosonko, in a chapter titled 'If the Trumpet Sounds; Ludek Pachman (1924-2003)'.

A few months later, in August 1975, we both played in the zonal in Barcelona. This was an unusual tournament. About ten days before it began in Spain —- where Franco was in power at the time -- several people were sentenced to death for killing a policeman. When we arrived in the capital of Catalonia we found out that some representatives of Eastern European countries -- strong grandmasters from Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia -- had refused to come to the tournament in protest, while the Romanian and Hungarian chess players had arrived in Barcelona but eventually decided not to play because they were afraid of being punished by their governments when they returned home. [p.52]

The reason for the boycott is different for the two accounts, but the underlying facts correlate nicely. A little further investigation led me to a long discussion on Chessgames.com's Biographer Bistro. It starts,

Jan-26-14 thomastonk: I see. Some Dutch newspapers also reported on the zonal in Barcelona because of Sosonko. Three places for the interzonals, one newspaper says two. Four strong players from eastern Europe did not start because of Sosonko and Pachman. Diez del Coral is mentioned as second, and since Pachman played in Manila, he should have been qualified, too.

The discussion is too long to quote in its entirety, but it did tie 1975 Barcelona to 1976 Arandjelovac.

Jan-26-14 sneaky pete: In Barcelona 1975 not 4 but 6 masters from eastern Europe (Adorjan, Ciocaltea, Smejkal, Uhlmann, Velimirovic and Ermenkov) were not allowed to play by their federation because of some recent murders of political opponents committed by the Franco gang. The Swedish master Ornstein didn't play for the same reason (the murders).

Four of the 6 eastern Eastern masters later played a double round qualifier for 2 places, where of course 3 players shared first place. After drawing of lots Smejkal and Uhlmann qualifed at the expense of Adorjan. Velimirovic was number four.

There are more leads here for further investigation, especially the qualification process for the two subsequent Interzonals, but that isn't too surprising. 'When it comes to chess history, one thing generally leads to another, and a particular subject is often incomplete.'


Later: Some quotes from the Chessgames.com reference for further investigation:-

  • A) 1975 Barcelona : 'The Swedish master Ornstein didn't play for the same reason (the murders).'
  • B) 1976 Arandjelovac : 'After drawing of lots Smejkal and Uhlmann qualifed at the expense of Adorjan.'
  • C) IZ Qualifiers : 'Diez del Corral couln't play because of professional obligations and was replaced by first reserve Pachman.'
  • D) IZ Qualifiers : 'Perhaps only one place [from 1976 Arandjelovac] because Smejkal was already qualified from the Leningrad Interzonal (1973). As was Larsen, Kuzmin (who withdrew), Hübner, and somehow Tal (possibly as reserve for Kuzmin).'
  • E) IZ Qualifiers : '"EK" in http://www.mark-weeks.com/chess/zon... (bottom of page) writes that Smejkal was 2nd reserve and that Kuzmin was replaced by Kavalek etc., but I'd like to see hard evidence.'
  • F) IZ Qualifiers : 'The British Chess Magazine, issue May 1976, page 184, reports on the results of a FIDE Bureau meeting in Rome, March 16-19.'
  • G) IZ Qualifiers : 'When FIDE decided to create 2 extra places to give the Barcelona five (originally six) a second chance, they also added 2 more places (for a reserve from the previous cycle and a Swiss guest player)'

The BCM reference (F) looks to be extremely useful.

11 June 2014

Zone 7 Details, 1969 & 1975

Thanks to a couple of Bill Hook articles in Chess Life, I added clippings for zone 7 to my detail pages on the World Chess Championship Zonals:-

The 1975 writeup included a note on a tentative Fischer match.

A surprise visitor was Florencio Campomanes of the Philippines, FIDE Deputy President, fresh from negotiations in Caracas for a possible Fischer - Mecking match.

I don't recall seeing mention of this before.

04 June 2014

'The Termination' by Kasparov

In my previous post, KK1, KK2, and KK3, I mentioned three accounts by Kasparov on the series of Kasparov - Karpov matches:-
  • Child of Change (Hutchinson 1987, with Donald Trelford),
  • Unlimited Challenge (Fontana 1990), and
  • Kasparov on Modern Chess part 2; Kasparov vs Karpov, 1975-1985 (Everyman 2008)

I closed the post with:-

Although the later discussions of the KK1 termination largely repeat Kasparov's 1987 account, and all three contain a fourth Kasparov account written in March 1985, they still deserve to be reviewed.

Not having studied the three accounts, I was taking a bit of a stab that the two later accounts 'largely repeat' the first. The diagram on the left shows the similar structure of the three accounts -- CHCH (1987), UNCH (1990), and KMC2 (2008) -- along with the page numbers where corresponding sections start. For example, the events leading up to Campomanes' termination of the match on 15 February 1985 ('<15 Feb'), start on p.127 in 'Child of Change', on p.116 in 'Unlimited Challenge', and on p.246 in 'Kasparov on Modern Chess'.

The events of the termination itself ('@15 Feb') are mainly a transcript of the press conference. This is nearly identical in the three sources.

Kasparov's account written in March 1985 ('Cui bono?') is introduced in 'Kasparov on Modern Chess' (KMC2) with

The starting point of my analysis was that, in trying to assess that decision to end the match, one should be guided by Cicero's immortal question: 'Cui bono?' - 'To whose benefit?' (p.264)

Although building on the previous account, each new account provides more detail. For example, the second account (UNCH 1990) incorporates the full text of letters missing from the first. The third account (KMC2 2008) quotes sources not available for the second. Two examples from the events leading up to the press conference are

Averbakh: 'Incidentally, in his letter, when he states "it will be recalled", Sevastyanov cites the agreement about the unlimited Fischer-Karpov match (1976). But this agreement was confidential, the negotiations took place in strict secrecy, and I, for example, as head of the Federation, had no idea about them.' (p.251)


Nikitin: 'Campomanes spoke with us somewhat sluggishly and did not enter into arguments. We realised that he did not agree with much of what was said and therefore did not want to defend it. It was a purely formal visit, since everything had already been decided. Apparently Campo was not exactly enthusiastic about the mission assigned to him of executioner of the match, and he simply wanted to warn us about his next steps.' (p.252)

Here is a third example from well after the press conference.

Five years later Karpov wrote this in his book Sestra moya Kaissa: 'Those days left a heavy residue in my heart. And not only because victory was taken away from me without a fight. The main thing was that I was denied the opportunity to immediately explain the truth to my people... (p.262)

The Karpov book was published in English as 'Karpov on Karpov' (Macmillan 1991). How does it compare with Kasparov's accounts?

28 May 2014

KK1, KK2, and KK3

Getting back to my previous post, Overlapping Cycles in the 1980s, events surrounding the first four Kasparov - Karpov (KK) title matches, I closed with the comment,
While working on this last table I noted a few other points of interest, but ran out of time before I could investigate them further.

The first point of interest was a question: Given that Kasparov didn't participate in the 1982 USSR zonal, how did he qualify for the interzonal? I found the answer in his book 'Garry Kasparov on Garry Kasparov, Part 1: 1973-1985'. Short answer: he qualified by rating. Longer answer: see the page Zonals 1981-84 (C12).

The next point of interest was a forgotten fact. I had a vague recollection that around the time of the first three KK matches, FIDE tried to shorten the World Championship cycle from three years to two, but I couldn't recall the details. While I failed to find any confirmation one way or the other, I did spend some time reviewing Averbakh's 'Centre-Stage and Behind the Scenes: A Personal Memoir', a book I discussed last year in Averbakh on the World Championship. In it I found the following passage related to the organization of KK2 and KK3.

Averbakh p.221

Both of those book references, 'Kasparov on Kasparov' (p.513, four paragraphs) and Averbakh's 'A Personal Memoir' (p.214), reminded me that I had never really looked into the termination of KK1. Along with two well known essays by Edward Winter,

plus that first Kasparov autobiography,

  • Child of Change (Hutchinson 1987, with Donald Trelford),

there are two more recent Kasparov autobiographical sources,

  • Unlimited Challenge (Fontana 1990) and
  • Kasparov on Modern Chess part 2; Kasparov vs Karpov, 1975-1985 (Everyman 2008).

Although the later discussions of the KK1 termination largely repeat Kasparov's 1987 account, and all three contain a fourth Kasparov account written in March 1985, they still deserve to be reviewed. On top of that, how well do these resources -- Averbakh, Kasparov, and Winter -- square with each other? I'll look at that another time.

21 May 2014

Overlapping Cycles in the 1980s

While working on a post for my main blog, Kasparov TMER: Last updated 2014-05-19 [TMER: Tournament, Match, and Exhibition Record], I realized I had only a hazy recollection of the events surrounding the Kasparov - Karpov title matches played in the 1980s, especially the two overlapping cycles provoked by the termination of the 1984 match. My index page, World Chess Championship : FIDE Events 1948-1990, shows a nice, orderly progression of the two key cycles (C12 & C13), which is misleading.

Here are those same events presented in chronological order. The '}' in the last column shows events in the two cycles which were played at the same time.

  C12: 1982-1984 C13: 1985-1987  
Karpov - Kasparov (I)    
1985-04/-07   IZ Tunis
IZ Taxco
IZ Biel
1985-09/-11 Kasparov - Karpov (II)   }
1985-10/-11   CT Montpellier }
1986-01/-02   CM QF Matches  
1986-07/-10 Kasparov - Karpov (III)   }
1986-09/-10   CM Sokolov - Yusupov }
1987-02/-03   CM Karpov - Sokolov  
1987-10/-12   Kasparov - Karpov  

While working on this last table I noted a few other points of interest, but ran out of time before I could investigate them further.

14 May 2014

C26 Zonal Rating Reports

Returning to Small Projects for 2014, I added links for cycle 26 zonal events on ratings.fide.com (C26 = the current cycle) to Zonals : Links (and Other References). All of the C26 events on World Chess Championship : Zonals were present and accounted for on ratings.fide.com.

07 May 2014

Misc. Zonal Clippings (C06)

The mention of the 1964 Benko - Bisguier match in the post for May 1964 'On the Cover' on my main blog triggered a search for more info about the zonal cycle documented in Zonals 1963-1966 (C06). While I was looking for info about the U.S. zonal, I discovered details about other zonals from the same cycle and added all of the new clippings to the C06 page.

30 April 2014

2013-2014 Women's Grand Prix, Khanty-Mansiysk

I added the crosstable and PGN for the 2014 Khanty-Mansiysk (Russia) event to my page on the 2013-2014 FIDE Women's Grand Prix. Following the 2013 Women's Grand Prix, Tashkent, this was the fourth of six events in the Women's Grand Prix series.

The FIDE Calendar 2014 lists

  • Tbilisi, Georgia; 18-Jun to 2-Jul-2014, and
  • Erdenet, Mongolia; 24-Aug to 7-Sep-2014
as the two final events in the current Women's FIDE Grand Prix Series. Later this year will also see the
  • Women's World Championship 2014; 11-Oct to 31-Oct-2014
This 2014 event will use the knockout system, a format abandoned by FIDE nearly ten years ago for the unrestricted World Championship.

23 April 2014

Looking Forward to Carlsen - Anand II

In my previous post, Khanty-Mansiysk Candidates - Wrapup, I wondered,
Is this really the last post for the Khanty-Mansiysk Candidates? I wouldn't bet on it.

Good thing I didn't bet on it. First I updated my pages on World Chess Championship : Index of Players, to add the Candidates tournament. Then, with Carlsen - Anand II in mind, I went back to my Carlsen - Anand Wrapup post from December 2013 to review Match Resources.

The Google News search on 'Anand Carlsen' brought up over 1500 recent results, including an article from TheHindu.com, It will be a different match this time: Anand. It started,

For Viswanathan Anand, the wounds of the world championship defeat have healed, and the emotional turmoil has settled. Now, with uncluttered mind and renewed vigour, the five-time world champion is keen to return the favour to Magnus Carlsen when they meet again later this year in another summit clash.

"I have a fairly good idea what I want to change (about my game), and what went wrong (in Chennai). I will choose my team accordingly. I am waiting for the bid (for the world championship match venue) and I will have a clearer idea after that," said Anand at a promotional event here on Wednesday.

That sounds like the Anand that ruled the roost before the disastrous match with Carlsen. Their next encounter should be even more spell binding.

09 April 2014

Khanty-Mansiysk Candidates - Wrapup

Last post for the 2014 Candidates Tournament? If so, let's first have a summary of the action from two major chess news sources.

Rd. Chessbase Chessvibes
R0 Who will win the 2014 Candidates? Part 1, Part 2All systems go for the 2014 Candidates tournament Preview & Predictions by Top GMs
R1 The Madras Tiger breaks Aronian Anand Beats Aronian in First Round
R2 Three wins and the race is on Three Winners in Spectacular Second Round
R3 Anand grabs early lead with 2.5/3 Anand Beats Mamedyarov, Back in Sole Lead
R4 Aronian, Mamedyarov win Mamedyarov & Aronian Win, Anand Maintains Lead
R5 Svidler pounces Lucky Win For Svidler, Anand Still Leads
R6 Spoilt opportunities Topalov beats Kramnik, Svidler Self-Destructs vs Mamedyarov
R7 Pandora's Box Aronian Catches Anand in Fascinating 7th Round
R8 A solid round Quick Draw Aronian-Anand, Karjakin Beats Svidler
R9 Decisive Round?! Shocking 9th Round: Anand Wins, Aronian & Kramnik Go Down
R10 Kramnik's downfall Kramnik Blunders, Loses to Svidler
R11 All Null Four Draws, Anand Closer to Victory
R12 Time is running out Missed Chances For Anand, Topalov Beats Svidler
R13 Anand-Carlsen rematch! Anand Draws, Clinches Rematch with Carlsen
R14 Karjakin grabs second Karjakin Second After Beating Aronian, Anand Undefeated

Then let's have a wrapup of my own posts, as in last year's

Here are posts from this WCC blog:-

And here are posts from my main blog:-

Is this really the last post for the Khanty-Mansiysk Candidates? I wouldn't bet on it.

02 April 2014

Khanty-Mansiysk Candidates - Third Week

I added the crosstable, PGN, and cumulative score to my page on the 2014 Candidates Event. The previous report, Khanty-Mansiysk Candidates - Second Week, showed Anand with a solid lead. The cumulative score, reproduced below, shows that he led through the last six rounds of the double round robin and was never worse than tied for first.

Congratulations to the winner! Will he join that small group of World Champions who recovered the title after losing it?

26 March 2014

Khanty-Mansiysk Candidates - Second Week

'Any volunteers to play World Champion Magnus Carlsen in a 12-game title match, please take one step forward!' And everyone except Anand took one step back. How else to explain the results since Khanty-Mansiysk Candidates - First Week? The following chart from the official site shows the standing after ten rounds.

The 11th round finished while I was writing this, all games ending in a draw. For me the strangest game has been Aronian - Anand in the eighth round. The Armenian GM needed a win over the former World Champion to go ahead of him and to reestablish tiebreak parity. The game was drawn after 19 moves with all of the pieces and most of the Pawns on the board. Anand had sacrificed the missing Pawn early in the game to give Aronian a cramped position.

Would Carlsen have agreed to a draw in that situation? No guts, no glory.

19 March 2014

Khanty-Mansiysk Candidates - First Week

The eight candidates vying for the chance to play Carlsen for the World Championship are off and running. After five rounds the standings are shown in the following table, taken from the official site, Candidates Tournament 2014.

In a comment to last week's post, Khanty-Mansiysk Candidates - Kickoff, I noted,

If we substitute Anand for Carlsen, the top four finishers at the 2013 London Candidates are also playing in the 2014 Khanty-Mansiysk Candidates. The bottom four finishers have been replaced by four different players.

The top four finishers at 2013 London are currently occupying the first four places at 2014 Khanty-Mansiysk. Coincidence? Definitely. With nine rounds still to be played, anything can happen.

Last year Carlsen edged Kramnik on tiebreak, earning the right to challenge Anand. This year's tiebreaks, identical to the system used last year, are shown in the table under the 'Res', 'Vict', and 'SB' column headers. Their meaning is found in the 'Rules & Regulations' for the tournament.

3.7 Tie-breaks

If the top two or more players score the same points, the tie will be decided by the following criteria, in order of priority:
a) The results of the games between the players involved in the tie.

If they are still tied:
b) The total number of wins in the tournament of every player involved in the tie.

If they are still tied:
c) Sonneborn-Berger System.

If there is no clear winner with the above 3 criteria, there will be a special competition between the players who still remain tied after using the 3rd criteria (Sonneborn-Berger) [...]

Although the players in Khanty-Mansiysk are giving their best efforts, the competition lacks some of the heat felt in London. This is due to several factors.

First, Carlsen isn't playing. In 2013 the number one question was 'will he qualify for a match with Anand?', followed by 'if he qualifies, will he win?'. Carlsen was the favorite and everyone knew it. In 2014 the number one question is 'who will qualify?'. There are at least four players who have a chance of winning, and before the tournament started, their chances were considered roughly equal. Ditto for their chances against Carlsen. Against any one of them, the Norwegian GM will be the heavy favorite.

Second, London is one of the world's major cities, while Khanty-Mansiysk is somewhere in Siberia. Media attention is sadly lacking and we won't see any interviews on BBC or CNN while the tournament is taking place.


Later: The sixth round has finished. Two of the top-four players were beaten by two of the bottom-four. Anand is at plus-two, Aronian at plus-one, Karjakin at minus-one, and Andreikin at minus-two. The other four players have even scores. Tomorrow is a free day and then we have three games on the weekend: Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. You can be sure I'll be watching.

12 March 2014

Khanty-Mansiysk Candidates - Kickoff

The Candidates Tournament starts this week, so let's have some links:-

Here's a table with links to Chessgames.com showing how the eight participants have scored in play against each other and against World Champion Carlsen:-

  Ana And Aro Kar Kra Mam Svi Top : Car
Anand xx * * * * * * * : *
Andreikin   xx * * * * * * : *
Aronian     xx * * * * * : *
Karjakin       xx * * * * : *
Kramnik         xx * * * : *
Mamedyarov           xx * * : *
Svidler             xx * : *
Topalov               xx : *
Carlsen                 : xx

If you are wondering why this tournament is taking place only one year after last year's Candidates Tournament (see London Candidates - Wrapup for the coverage on my blogs), you aren't alone. Here's a snippet from the index page of my site showing all World Championship events since the unification match in 2006.

The World Cups have been held every two years since 2005. The title matches for those cycles have been held *after* the World Cup for the following cycle. This cycle will be the first in the unified series where the title match takes place *before* the World Cup of the following cycle. This makes the cycles easier to follow and to understand and is a good move on FIDE's part. The chess world now has a *non-overlapping* two-year championship cycle.

05 March 2014

Ukrainian Chess Players

These days Ukraine is on everyone's mind. The happenings of the past few weeks reminded me of a long note I once received from the same correspondent who featured in the post 1985 Montpellier Candidates Reserve. It was sent to me just after the sixth round of the 2001-02 FIDE Knockout Matches, when a pair of Ukrainians, GMs Ivanchuk and Ponomoriov, qualified for the last round FIDE title match.
Now we will have the first Ukrainian World Champion. Before former Ukrainian players Bogolijbov (relocated to Germany) and Bronstein (relocated to Russia) played matches with Alechin, Euwe (for FIDE title) and Botvinnik. Some coverage of Ukrainian chess see below.

I've done some editing to the text, but the facts are stated as I received them.

Two comments. First, "politics". As you maybe know Vasily Ivanchuk is from Lvov (West Ukraine) and Ruslan Ponomoriov (I think he is a Russian native, just due to name, I do not know) is from Kramatorsk near Donetsk (East Ukraine)

Really there is a big difference between East and West Ukraine, like maybe Serbia and Crotia from former Yugoslavia due to history (East Ukraine belonged mainly to Russian Empire - Soviet Union, West Ukraine to Austrian Empire and after to Poland (Lvov), Hungary and Slovakia (Uzgorod), Romania (Chernovsu) and only after 1945 to USSR); religion (Orthodox East / Catholic West) and other cultural things; really there is some tension between East and West part of Ukraine. Some people, like Alexander Solzhenitsyn do not think that is one nation (do not say it to Ukrainian, especially West Ukrainian people!).

But certainly, from the "chess" point of view West Ukrainian Ivanchuk and young Ponomoriov belongs to Soviet Chess School. They said about this in interview "there is not Ukrainian chess school, there is Soviet chess school".

Second. It is always hard to divide former Soviet chessplayers to different countries. By place of the birth? But sometimes a person was born at Ukraine, but the whole life was in Belorus or Russia or anything else, or several times relocated during life. By nationality? But many Russians were born in the Ukraine, and Ukrainians in Russia, and many players were Jews. But I try to write a summary about Ukrainian players.

First some pre-WWII names.

Old Russia and Soviet Union. First of all I want to mention that many Ukrainian players often emigrate to America and relocate to Moscow. Before 1917 Revolution I can point to Sam Lipschutz from Uzgorod, one of the best the USA players in 1890s who beat Delmar (1890) and Showalter (1892) and was sixth on the big international tournament in New York; and Oscar Chajes from Odessa who beat, for example, Capablanca in New York tournament at 1916.

Some great Ukrainian players:
  • Osip Bernstein from Zitomir, who was the second on all Russian championships in 1903 and 1912, winner of many competitions, later he relocated to Moscow, and after 1917 to France, he played until 1950s, very strong player,

  • Efim Bogoljubow from Kiev, very famous player, played two matches with Alechin for World Champion Title, after revolution was in Germany, USSR Champion (1924, 1925)

  • Boris Verlinsky from Odessa, the first Ukrainian Champion (1909/10), winner of Capablanca on the Moscow tournament 1925, USSR Champion (1929), the first grossmeister of the USSR, relocated to Moscow in the middle of 1920s

  • Fedor Duz-Hotimirsky [Dus-Chotimirsky, Duz-Khotimirsky] from Kiev also relocated to Moscow in 1907. On the International Tournament in Peterburg in 1909 beat two winners: Lasker and Rubenstein! He played many years and died in 1965. He was 3-5 in 1923 and 3-4 in 1927 at the USSR Championships

  • Alexander Evenson from Kiev was very talented but was killed during the Civil War. On the blitz tournament in Peterburg in 1914 he was second after Capablanca, but before Lasker, Alechin et al.

  • Fedor Bogaturchuk from Kiev was the USSR Champion in 1927; also he had a good records from other USSR tournaments 3-5 from 1923; 3-4 from 1924; 3-6 from 1931; 3-4 from 1935; his score against Botwinnik from International tournaments and USSR Championship was +3=1! During the Second War he collaborated with German administration and immigrate to Canada.

  • Alexander Konstantinopolsky from Kiev was very good player - second place at the USSR Championship in 1937, all his family was killed. He left the Ukraine after War, as two other great players David Bronstein and Isaak Boleslavsky, they were extremely strong players in 1940-50s.

Then some post-WWII accomplishments.

Ukrainian chessplayer achievements; in 1945-91 years.

Winners of the World Team Competions:
- Alexandr Belyavsky (from Lvov, now Sloveniya) 85, 89
- Alexandr Chernin (from Kharkov, now Hungary) 85
- Michael Gurevich (from Kharkov, now Belgium) 89

Winners of the Olympics Competions:
- Isaak Boleslavsky (left Ukraine after 1941) 52
- David Bronstein (left Ukraine after 1941) 52, 54,56, 58
- Leonid Stein (from Lvov, died early in 1973) 64, 66
- Vladimir Savon (from Kharkov) 72
- Gennady Kuzmin (from Lugansk, now coach of Ruslan Ponomoriov)
- Efim Geller (from Odessa) 52, 54, 56, 62, 68, 70, 80
- Vladimir Tukmakov (from Odessa) 84
- Alexandr Belyavsky 82, 84, 88, 90
- Vasily Ivanchuk 88, 90
- Oleg Romaninishin had played in 1978 in Buenos Aires, when USSR was second,
- Lev Alburt form Odessa had played for the USA
- The Ukrainian were the first board in 1984 (Belyavsky) and 1990 (Ivanchuk)

In the "Matches of Century" (Belgrad 1970, London 1984) played Stein and Geller (1970), Romanishin and Tukmakov (1984)

In the USSR-USA matches (1945-1955) played Boleslavsky, Bronstein, Geller and Salo Flohr, who was originally from Ukraine.

Winners of European Team Competitions:
- Bronstein 57, 65
- Boleslavsky 57, 65
- Stein 65, 70
- Kuzmin 73
- Iosif Dorfman (from Lvov, now in France) 77
- Geller 61, 70, 73, 77, 80, 83
- Romanishin 77, 80, 83
- Tukmakov 73, 83, 89
- Vyacheslav Eingorn (from Odessa) 89
- Gurevich 89
- Belyavsky 83, 89

Ukrainian Players - the USSR Champions in 1945-91:
- Belyavsky 90, 87, 80, 74, second in 89
- Gurevich 85
- Geller 55, 79; plus six times in first three
- Dorfman 77
- Savon 71 (3-5 in 72)
- Stein 66, 65, 63 (2 in 66; 3 in 70; 3-4 in 61)
- Bronstein, who was living in Moscow won twice in 48 and 49 and five times in 45-65 was 2nd or 3rd

Following Ukraine players were throug first three winners:
- Eingorn (89, 87, 86, 84)
- Vladimir Malanyuk (from Sevastopol, 86)
- Konstantin Lerner (from Odessa, 84, 86)
- Chernin (1-3 in 85, lost tie-break)
- Tukmakov (was second in 70, 72 and 83)
- Romanishin (75, 80, 81)
- Kuzmin (73)
- Igor Platonov (from Kiev, 67)
- Isaak Lipnisky (from Kiev, 50)
- Isaak Boleslavsky, former three times Ukraine Champion (38, 39 and 40) was second in 45 and 47 and third in 44 but he already had left the Ukraine.

We must remember couch Victor Kart from Lvov: he grew in Lvov four strong grossmeisters: Belyavky, Romanishin, Adrian Mihalchishin (now in Sloveniya) and Marta Shul-Litinskaya, very strong women player (concerning women players also we must underline Lidiya Semenova from Kiev, who played final candidate match in 1984)

Also I want mention about USSR Team Championatships, which the Ukraine won three times:
- 1979 (Romanishin, Belyavsky, Kuzmin, Tukmakov, Dorfman, Mihalchishin, Semen Palatnik from Odessa, Savon, Litinskaya, Semenova);
- 1981 (the same team only Lerner instead off Palatnik); and
- 1986 (Young team: Ivanchuk, Igor Novikov, Alexandr Shneider, Alexandr Huzman (now in Israel) Yury Kruppa)

What else?

European Youth Champions (up to 20):
- Michael Steinberg (1967/68), very talanted guy who died very early,
- Romanishin (1972/73)
- Chernin (1979/80)
- Ivanchuk (1985/86)

World Youth Champions (up to 20):
- Belyavsky (1973)
- Ilya Gurevich (USA, former from Kiev) also was world younth Champion.

As you can see Ukrainian chess has very good tradition, and now we are waiting for the first Ukrainian World Champion.

Why wait 12 years to post this? At the time I received it, external circumstances were unfavorable. I learned much from reading it the first time and even more while preparing this post.