16 November 2016

Carlsen - Karjakin, the First Week

What a difference a week makes. At this time last week the chess world, faced with Agon's World Championship Bullying, was looking at limited options for viewing the long-awaited 2016 Carlsen - Karjakin World Championship match. The rule of law prevailed and a day before the first game of the match we learned that U.S. judge rejects World Chess bid to block websites from airing moves (reuters.com):-
Organizers of the World Chess Championship on Thursday failed to persuade a federal judge to block rival website operators from broadcasting chess moves at the upcoming Nov. 11-30 match in New York.

Unfortunately, the start time for the games -- 14:00 NYC time (20:00 my time) -- isn't a good fit for me. Game one started while I was having dinner. I took a short break and tried to find the Agon widget on the official site, but failed. Although there was a broadcast on Chess24.com, the format wasn't really suitable for casual viewing on the iPad, and by the time I opened it, the commentators were already predicting a draw, which is what happened.

The next day, for the start of game two, the Agon widget was available on the official site. I soon decided that moves without commentary can't compete with the other distractions in life. At one point one of the players went into a long think. I said to my wife, 'They've been thinking for 18 minutes now'. Her passion is figure skating and she said, 'That's too slow. It's definitely not for me.' I said, 'Me neither', and switched it off. The game was again a fairly quick draw.

Between games one and two I received an email from the 'World Chess Team (newsletter)' announcing 'Subject: Day 1 - Full Video'. While preparing this post, I finally found the time to watch it on Worldchess.com:-

I captured GM Carlsen's second move in the following image.

While certainly better than watching the moves on the Agon widget, it has its drawbacks: there is no move list and the players' clocks aren't visible. I'll postpone a fuller discussion of the format until another post. Articles for subsequent games are also on the Worldchess.com site:-

The full official video is available for game two, but is missing for games three and four. Chess24.com, by contrast, has made their game broadcasts available using a playlist on their Youtube channel.

After four complete games, the match has the same tied score as the two preceding Carlsen - Anand matches. In both of those matches, Carlsen pulled ahead in the following week. Will history repeat itself?

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