25 March 2015

A Pseudo World Championship

When is a World Chess Championship not a *real* World Championship? A strong case can be made against the most recent World Computer Championships, as in the 20th World Computer Championship. Another can be made against the Women's World Championship, which I last discussed in Knockout Format KOed (December 2012).

Don't misunderstand me. I'm not at all against the idea of a Women's World Championship. Women seem to enjoy competing for their version of the world title and both men & women enjoy following the competitions. The problem is the schizophrenic format of the series. From the current 'Regulations for the Women’s World Chess Championship Cycle' (the italics are mine):-

The Women’s World Chess Championship shall be organised annually and qualifying events include the following: National Championships, Zonal Tournaments, Continental Championships, FIDE Women’s Grand Prix and the final stages, the Women’s World Chess Championship Tournament in even years 2014, 2016 etc. (64-player knock out system) and the Women’s World Chess Championship Match (10 games, 2 players) in odd years 2013, 2015, etc.

Tournament in the even years, match in the odd years -- and not a normal double-round-robin tournament as last seen in the 1997 Groningen Women's Candidates Tournament, but a 64-player knockout tournament. A similar format was abandoned for the unrestricted (aka men's) World Championship after the disastrous 2004 FIDE Knockout Matches (aka The Worst World Championship Ever).

Simply stated, the knockout format is too vulnerable to random factors to be taken seriously as a World Championship. The winner of the event deserves our full respect for achieving a major tournament victory, but doesn't deserve the title of World Champion.

The current Women's World Champion said the same thing when the current Sochi tournament was announced after a months-long delay.

'Generally speaking, I don't think I will continue to play the World Championship if the knock-out system is used', she said. 'The system is different from the men's. If it were the same that would be much better'. • Hou Yifan: 'Probably I Won't Play in Sochi' [chess-news.ru]

Peter Long of TheMalayMailOnline.com said similar in a pair of recent columns:-

Former Women’s World Champion Susan Polgar is a current FIDE 'Co-Chairperson' of the Commission for Women's Chess. Given her complaint about having been treated unfairly throughout her career, you have to wonder why she tolerates FIDE's approach.

18 March 2015

More Berman Memoirs

Continuing with Early FIDE Zonals, I added more clippings from Marcel Berman's French-language memoirs published 50-60 years ago in FIDE Review. The zonal pages I updated were:-

It's not always obvious which actions from which FIDE Congress took effect in which cycle, so I might rearrange the material if I determine that the chronological sequence is misleading.

11 March 2015

20th World Computer Championship

After posting TCEC Season 7 on my main blog, I returned to my post about the 20th World Computer Championship on this blog, WCCC Ain't What It Used to Be, where I wrote,
It's time to acknowledge that the ICGA tournaments are not real World Championships. I'll continue to list the ICGA events, but without crosstables or game scores.

For the sake of completeness I decided to provide the PGN game scores and a text-only crosstable, both in the same ZIP file. I then added the corresponding link to my page on the World Chess Championship : Computer Chess.

04 March 2015

2014-2015 Grand Prix, Tbilisi

I added the crosstable and PGN for the Tbilisi Grand Prix tournament, won by GM Evgeny Tomashevsky, to my page on the 2014-2015 Grand Prix. After the previous event, 2014-2015 Grand Prix, Tashkent, this is the third of four events from which two players will qualify for the candidates tournament March 2016, venue still unknown.

See Who can win the FIDE Grand Prix? [Chess24.com], for the current standings.