28 September 2016

Buying a Title Match 2016

Buried among the 63 annexes for the recent FIDE Congress was a stunner:-

The text of Annex 44 read...

4 July 2016
To: Chairman of FIDE Commission for World Championships & Olympiads (WCO)

Dear Mr. Makropoulos,
Russian Chess Federation asks the Commission to consider and (if needed) improve and approve the below mentioned amendments to the current system of determining the World Chess Champion at the 87th FIDE Congress (04-14.09.2016, Baku, Azerbaijan). RCF suggests adding an article to the rules governing World Chess Championship matches stating that the World Chess Champion can accept the challenge of any player who can contribute to the prize fund and the costs of holding of the match. Herewith a number of basic conditions should be fulfilled:
• The FIDE President would have the power to veto any proposed match. Any proposed World Championship match would be carried out under the auspices of FIDE and according FIDE rules.
• 50% of the prize fund will go to FIDE.
• The match must be held before the end of the current FIDE qualifying round, that is, before a challenger has been determined by the Candidates Tournament.

FIDE Vice President, President of the Russian Chess Federation
Andrey Filatov

I suspect that the motivation for the proposal was that '50% of the prize fund will go to FIDE'. Whatever the reason, it brought a quick reaction:-

The Filatov/RCF proposal was eventually rejected:-

It's curious that the ACP's announcement 'RCF proposal not approved', predated the General Assembly, but I suppose someone changed the title of the original post after the GA was held.

21 September 2016

World Chess Championship Buzz

The buzz around the upcoming 2016 Carlsen - Karjakin World Championship match is starting to pick up. Since the last report, Chess in Manhattan (August 2016), we had

Agreed, that was more of a snoring sound than a buzz, but it got better.

World Chess by Agon presenting new sponsor of World Championship Match in New York (33:41) • 'Published on Sep 12, 2016'

That press conference was held during the recent 2016 Baku Olympiad. For details, see:-

In addition to the usual FIDE/Agon hyperbole -- 'truly historic event', 'the championship last year [2014 Sochi?] attracted more than one billion viewers around the world', 'roughly 600 million people in the world who actively play chess' -- the EG/VR introduction had one glaring inaccuracy:-

We recall that the last time the World Chess Championship played in New York, it was in 1990. (1:55 into the clip)
The 1995 Kasparov - Anand PCA Title Match (New York, IX-X, 1995), is considered by most (all?) experts to have been a far more important World Chess Championship than any of the subsequent FIDE Knockout events, perhaps even more important than all of the knockouts taken together. It coincided with The Start of the Scholastic Boom (chessforallages.blogspot.com; July 2014), a period of U.S. chess growth eclipsed only by the Fischer boom in the 1970s. As for the broadcasting gimmicks, does anyone remember:-

Headset or not, I'm looking forward to the big show. Game one is scheduled for 11 November. That's a public holiday in many countries.

14 September 2016

The Best Psychological Chance

Garry Kasparov as chess commentator is always as interesting and as entertaining as he was during his heyday as a chess player. Here he is with Jennifer Shahade and Yasser Seirawan during the last round of the recent Sinquefield Cup.

Garry Kasparov, Commentator - 2016 Sinquefield Cup - Grand Chess Tour Round 9 (52:59) • 'Source : Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis - YouTube'

At one point [around 30:20 into the video clip] GM Seirawan asks about Kasparov's fourth World Championship match against Karpov.

YS: Thought process: One of the hardest things in chess is to win on demand. For me, one of your greatest achievements was Seville [1987] game 24. You're trailing in the match 12-11. You have one and one result only : you have to win with White. [GK: And I was playing Karpov!] And you accomplished it. How do you play for a win on demand? In your game with Karpov, you wanted to play a long, slow game and just let his nerves... • GK: Yes, I thought it would be a game of nerves and I thought the best psychological chance...

Kasparov goes on to explain.

GK: In a last round game, the last game of the match -- a long, marathon match, ten weeks -- you don't play a game of beauty. It's all about creating psychological discomfort for your opponent. I thought that if we had a slow game, Karpov would be under pressure to simplify the position, even by making little concessions, concession after concession, because he wanted to finish the game, he wanted to reach a position where he would be out of danger. But by trying to force it, without contemplating the potential consequences, he could give me some chances. And it worked out nicely. He was gradually making his position worse and worse, he gave me a big chance and blundered in time trouble. We entered the adjournment with me having an extra Pawn and Karpov couldn't survive under the pressure.

For more about the match, see 1987 Kasparov - Karpov Title Match; Seville, X-XII, 1987. Kasparov could have been describing a typical Magnus Carlsen game.

07 September 2016

ICCF 25th to 27th World Championships

I updated my page for the World Chess Championship : Correspondence Chess to add the ICCF's 25th, 26th and 27th final events. As I decided earlier this year in Correspondence Chess 2016 and Stats for Index Pages (both May 2016), the latest events have only a ZIP file that contains both the crosstable and PGN game scores.

The previous update of the Correspondence Chess page was documented in ICCF 20th to 24th World Championships and WCCC Finals PGN (both November 2012). Given the slow pace of correspondence games, I imagine the next update will be in another four years or so.