25 December 2019

Merry Christmas! from a Family of Blogs

This year Christmas Day coincides with World Championship blogging day. The last time this happened was World Championship Chess on Christmas (December 2013), six years ago. Since all dates advance by one weekday every year -- except on leap years, where they advance two weekdays -- and since there was one intervening leap year after that 2013 post, the six year gap is entirely copasetic. In 2013, I wrote,
My first idea was to identify World Championship games that took place on 25 December. I thought of three events that fell over Christmas.

This year's idea was to do the same for the Women's World Championship, but the dates are not fixed so firmly in my head, nor is my head functioning correctly after the Christmas Eve celebration, which also did serious damage to my energy level. What to do? Keeping with the theme of Women's World Championship, how about some Alexandra Kosteniuk Christmas photos.

Google image search on 'kosteniuk christmas'
(no mention of 'chess' necessary!)

It turns out that I've already mentioned ('Sorry, Alexandra!') the 2008 Women's World Champion -- see 2008 FIDE Knockout Matches, 'Nalchik (Kosteniuk 1st)', for details -- in pre-Christmas post Mele Kalikimaka!, that time on Christmas Eve. After Pictures of Pia (December 2019), that makes twice in one month that I've based a post on photos of a top woman player.

Here's wishing a Merry Christmas! to all those who celebrate the day. • To follow the complete chain of previous Christmas posts, see A Cropped Christmas (December 2018), and please continue to drive safely...

18 December 2019

2019-20 Women's Grand Prix

I ended my first post on the current Women's Grand Prix, titled Status of the Women's World Championship (October 2019), with:-
I'll wait until FIDE has published the necessary documents before I tackle the new cycle.

The second event in that Grand Prix, held in Monaco, has ended and there is still no sign of documentation covering the full cycle. One page on the Women's Grand Prix, About and Schedule — FIDE Grand prix 2019, says,

Sixteen (16) players compete in four WGP tournaments. Each of the sixteen players participate in three (3) out of four WGP tournaments. Each WGP tournament is played with twelve (12) players round robin. In each WGP tournament every player scores WGP points according to her position in the final standings; the winner of WGP Series is a player who scores the most number of cumulative points earned in all three WGP tournaments she played.

The two (2) players who score the most number of cumulative points in WGP Series qualify to the FIDE Women Candidates Tournament to be held in the first half of 2021.

The FIDE handbook still points to the document for the previous cycle, which does not mention a FIDE Women Candidates Tournament. To help anyone who happens to consult my page on the World Chess Championship for Women, I added a link to 'Label : Women' on this blog.

The third leg of the Women's Grand Prix will take place at Lausanne in March 2020. Will the necessary documentation be available by then?

Next month, January 2020, we will see the final event in the previous cycle, a title match between Ju Wenjun and Aleksandra Goryachkina. This will be the first event occurring under the WADA restrictions that I documented in the previous post, WADA Ya Know. I'm not expecting anything dramatic to happen, given the short time since the WADA restrictions were announced.

11 December 2019

WADA Ya Know?

For anyone who understands the deep connection between chess and Russia, the first notification was a bombshell:-
2019-11-25: WADA Compliance Review Committee recommends series of strong consequences for RUSADA non-compliance (wada-ama.org) • 'Having considered a report from the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA’s) Intelligence and Investigations Department (I&I) and independent forensic experts, WADA’s independent Compliance Review Committee (CRC) has recommended to WADA’s Executive Committee (ExCo) that the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) be declared non-compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code (Code), as announced by WADA on 22 November 2019.'

FIDE, a signatory to WADA's 'International Standard for Code Compliance', reacted within a few days:-

2019-11-28: Official statement on WADA recommendations (fide.com; unsigned) • 'FIDE is an international sports organization, officially recognized by the IOC, and complies with all internationally recognized rules and regulations.'

This was immediately followed by a call for a special Assembly and Congress:-

2019-11-29: General Assembly and FIDE Congress: dates & venue (fide.com) • 'The Presidential Board made a final decision about the place and dates of an Extraordinary General Assembly and FIDE Congress. In response to a number of requests from delegates, and taking into account the opinion of the Chairman of the Constitutional Commission, Mr. Rivello, the Board scheduled the Assembly on February 26-29 in the United Arab Emirates. The final agenda will be published no later than one month before the date of the meeting, according to the Statutes.'

The formal confirmation of WADA's recommendations came a week and a half later:-

2019-12-09: WADA Executive Committee unanimously endorses four-year period of non-compliance for the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (wada-ama.org)

That endorsement included four paragraphs relevant to FIDE. They cover FIDE management, FIDE events, and top players:-

  • 'Russian Government officials/representatives may not be appointed to sit and may not sit as members of the boards or committees or any other bodies of any Code Signatory (or its members) or association of Signatories.'
  • 'Russia may not host in the Four-Year Period or bid for or be granted in the Four-Year Period, the right to host (whether during or after the Four-Year Period) any editions of the Major Events.'
  • 'Where the right to host a Major Event in the Four-Year Period has already been awarded to Russia, the Signatory must withdraw that right and re-assign the event to another country, unless it is legally or practically impossible to do so.'
  • 'Russian athletes and their support personnel may only participate in Major Events staged in the Four-Year Period where they are able to demonstrate that they are not implicated in any way by the non-compliance with conditions [...]'

I put together the following chart showing events on the FIDE calendar scheduled in Russia for 2020, plus an overview of Russia's position as a leading chess nation (1st) and the top Russian players.

(Source: Fide.com)

There are a number of points to watch: FIDE management (esp. FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich, who was Deputy Prime Minister of Russia from 2012 to 2018), scheduled FIDE events, future FIDE events, and top Russian players. All of this taken together will become the follow-up to last year's 2018 FIDE Congress : Whither the World Championship? (January 2019). If we are going to follow this evolving story, current FIDE management will need to improve its communication skills and work on its lack of transparency.


Later: After I wrote the post, I discovered that there was no apparent connection between the WADA issue and the 'call for a special Assembly and Congress'. For more about the latter, see Spectating the 90th FIDE Congress? (February 2020).

04 December 2019

C29 Zonal Qualification Paths

Continuing with the zonals++ for the current cycle, the previous post in the series, C29 Zonal Clippings (November 2019), promised, 'The next step will be something like C28 Zonal Qualification Paths (November 2017), this time for C29.' Most of the C29 preparation was done for the first post in the series, C29 Regulations for World Cup Qualifiers (September 2019). Building on this, I created a new page Zonal Qualifiers 2018-2019 (C29), and linked to it with:-

While I was doing these tasks, I noticed that there were significant differences between the 128 players listed as 'World Cup Qualifiers' and the 128 players who actually participated in the World Cup. I created the following chart to identify the differences.

2019 World Cup, Khanty-Mansiysk

Left: Qualified, but didn't play
Right: Played, but not on list of qualified players

Unfortunately, I didn't have the time to go further with the comparison. If I ever continue with the idea, I might also try to apply it to the players listed on Zonal Qualifiers 2016-2017 (C28). Ditto for previous cycles.


Later: Here are a couple of notes on the chart.

Re zonal 3.6, 'Illingworth Max (AUS)' was replaced by 'Press,S'. See Shaun Press's Chessexpress blog post, Lots of travel for a bit of chess (August 2019) for more info like:-

GM Max Illingworth was the original representative from the Oceania Zone, by virtue of winning the 2019 Oceania Zonal. However, due to personal circumstances he was unable to attend the World Cup, which meant the runner up could go in his place. I was the runner up!

The blog also has followup reports posted during the World Cup, like White in the first game (September 2019). Earlier reports from the zonal tournament, like 2019 Oceania Zonal (February 2019), were also posted on the blog.

Re 'Nominees of the FIDE President', the qualification of 'Salem A. R. Saleh (UAE)' prompted me to include '3.1e Dubai (UAE) 2018-11' in the list of zonals. Since the player wasn't replaced by another competitor in the tournament, this might have been unjustified speculation on my part. To be confirmed.


Even later: From an announcement on Fide.com, Players qualified for the World Cup 2019 - Average ELO & ACP Tour (July 2019), after 18 players qualified by 'Average Rating' there were five players listed as 'Reserve':-

Andreikin, Dmitry
Naiditsch, Arkadij
Vidit, Santosh Gujrathi
Fedoseev, Vladimir
Tomashevsky, Evgeny

All of those players participated in the World Cup. Looking at the six players still unaccounted for, two had ratings around 2700, which was the approximate cutoff point for the listed reserves:-

Adams, Michael
Alekseenko, Kirill

The other four players were relatively young with ratings in the low 2600s ('B-Year' from ratings.fide.com):-

Abdusattorov, Nodirbek [B-Year 2004]
Chigaev, Maksim [B-Year 1996]
Nihal Sarin [B-Year 2004]
Pichot, Alan [B-Year 1998]

I imagine that these players were nominees of the authorized FIDE representatives.


The last word(?): The Wikipedia page for the event, Chess World Cup 2019 (wikipedia.org), has a section titled 'Qualification paths', which ties all of the loose ends together.

Abdusattorov,NodirbekOther replacements
Adams,Mi Ratings list
Alekseenko,K Organizer nominee
Andreikin,D Ratings list
Chigaev,M Organizer nominee
Fedoseev,Vl3 Ratings list
Naiditsch,A Ratings list
Nihal,Sarin FIDE President nominee
Pichot,A Other replacements
Press,S Other replacements
Tomashevsky,E Ratings list
Vidit,S Ratings list

One more discrepancy is worth mentioning. The last player on the list, 'Vidit,S', is listed in Wikipedia as 'Vidit Gujrathi'. In the section above, titled 'Even later', he is listed as 'Vidit, Santosh Gujrathi'. On my Index of players (T-Z), he is listed as 'Vidit S' where his first WCC event was the '2015 WCup'.

27 November 2019

2019 Grand Prix, Hamburg

I added the crosstable and PGN for the third event in the 2019 Grand Prix. The tournament's logo is shown to the left.

For the blog post on the second event, see 2019 Grand Prix, Riga (July 2019). According to a FIDE bulletin, Alexander Grischuk wins FIDE Grand Prix in Hamburg (fide.com),

With this win, Grischuk virtually booked his ticket for the Candidates tournament which will take place in Yekaterinburg, Russia from March 15 to April 5, 2020.

GM Grischuk twice reached the final round, and in his least successful Grand Prix event reached the semifinal round. According to my page, Index of Players (A-G), next year's tournament will be his fifth participation in the prestigious event.

20 November 2019

C29 Zonal Clippings

Last week I announced C29 Zonals Indexed, and this week I added a new page to store the clippings for new individual zonal events: Zonals 2018-2019 (C29). I also linked the new page from the index for World Chess Championship Zonals.

For now, the new page includes mainly the clippings for events that took place in 2018. I'll add the other events as soon as I can.


Later: Re 'I'll add the other events as soon as I can', this was done. According to the roadmap I put together for C29 Regulations for World Cup Qualifiers (September 2019), the next step will be something like C28 Zonal Qualification Paths (November 2017), this time for C29.

13 November 2019

C29 Zonals Indexed

Continuing with C29 Zonals (September 2019), and following the roadmap established in C29 Regulations for World Cup Qualifiers (ditto), I updated the index page World Chess Championship Zonals. The 28 new events make a total of 469 events recorded on the index.

06 November 2019

2019 Grand Swiss Players

In last week's post, 2019 Grand Swiss Results, I wondered if I should add the names of all players participating in a World Championship event for the first time to my Index of Players:-
A preliminary count gave 38 new players, or about 25% of the 154 players who participated. This compares to the 30% (38/128) that I counted a few weeks ago in 2019 World Cup Players. That statistic gives me a green light to add all of the new players to the index.

After adding links to 2019 Grand Swiss, Isle of Man for the 154 participants, I queried the index and found that 113 names had already been on the index, while 41 names were new. That number differed from the preliminary count by more than it should, but I decided to leave it at that. More interesting was a trio of possible discrepancies I noted while updating the index.

Jansa V, '1985-87 Izt' and '2019 Gr.Sw.' • Was this the same player in two events separated by more than 30 years? I found an answer in the Chess.com article by Peter Doggers that I mentioned in the 'Grand Swiss Results' post. Here's an extract from that article:-

FIDE Chess.com Grand Swiss Preview

On top of setting the record straight for GM Vlastimil Jansa, that clipping will be useful if I ever document the qualification paths for the Grand Swiss.

Allan K, '1988-90 Izt'; and Allen K, '2019 Gr.Sw.' • In fact, that first reference should have been 'Allan D' for Denis Allan of Canada. I'll correct the two pages -- Interzonal (plus PGN) & Index -- as soon as I can. The second reference is Keith Allen, an organizer for the series of Isle of Man tournaments.

Vovk Y, '2015 WCup'; and Vovk A, '2019 Gr.Sw.' • The first player is Yuri Vovk of the Ukraine. The second player is his younger brother Andrey Vovk.

30 October 2019

2019 Grand Swiss Results

I added the crosstable to my page on the 2019 Grand Swiss; Isle of Man. Still to be done are adding the PGN and updating the Index of Players. In the previous post, 2019 World Cup Regulations, I wrote,

I started the process of adding a crosstable to my page for the 2019 Grand Swiss, which finished this week. While preparing the PGN, I counted 154 players and 841 games. [...] One question I haven't answered is how to update the index of players. I imagine that many players who participated in the Grand Swiss will never play in another World Championship event. Is it worthwhile adding their names to the index? I'll have to count the number of new players before I decide how to proceed.

A preliminary count gave 38 new players, or about 25% of the 154 players who participated. This compares to the 30% (38/128) that I counted a few weeks ago in 2019 World Cup Players. That statistic gives me a green light to add all of the new players to the index. • NB: The qualification paths for the participants are documented in FIDE Chess.com Grand Swiss Preview (chess.com; Peter Doggers).

It's also worth mentioning two previous tournaments that were part of the FIDE World Championship cycle and that used the Swiss system format:-

These were the last Interzonals organized before the knockout format replaced the entire tail-end of the cycle.

23 October 2019

2019 World Cup Regulations

In the previous post, 2019 World Cup Players, I wrote,
It seems that the regulations for the 2019 World Cup were considerably changed from the regulations for the 2017 World Cup, probably due to the change of FIDE management a year ago. I have to spend some time reviewing the changes before I can add a legend to the 2019 page.

The changes were not more extensive than I had expected, so I had no trouble adding the regulations to my page 2019 World Cup, Khanty-Mansiysk. Since I still had some time left after doing this, I started the process of adding a crosstable to my page for the 2019 Grand Swiss, Isle of Man, which finished this week. While preparing the PGN, I counted 154 players and 841 games.

The crosstables for Swiss system tournaments are generally trickier than for round robins or matches. I identified eight players who didn't complete the full 11 rounds and it will take some additional effort to see that they are documented correctly.

One question I haven't answered is how to update the Index of Players. I imagine that many players who participated in the Grand Swiss will never play in another World Championship event. Is it worthwhile adding their names to the index? I'll have to count the number of new players before I decide how to proceed.

16 October 2019

2019 World Cup Players

Following up last week's post on the 2019 World Cup Results, I added the PGN to my page 2019 World Cup, Khanty-Mansiysk. I also added the participants to my page World Chess Championship : Index of players. Of the 128 players who competed, 38 were new names on that index.

It seems that the regulations for the 2019 World Cup were considerably changed from the regulations for the 2017 World Cup, probably due to the change of FIDE management a year ago. I have to spend some time reviewing the changes before I can add a legend to the 2019 page, like I did for the 2017 World Cup, Tbilisi, and for all preceding World Cup pages. I'll do that as soon as I can.

09 October 2019

2019 World Cup Results

I added the crosstable for the recent 2019 World Cup, played at Khanty-Mansiysk (Russia). This was the fifth time the event was held at that location.

For my next post, I'll add the PGN and update the Index of players. In related news, the 2019 Grand Swiss, a new addition to the qualifying events for next year's Candidates tournament is just getting underway.

02 October 2019

Status of the Women's World Championship

For this post I intended to add a new page for the 2019-20 Women's Grand Prix, because the first event, held in Skolkovo (Russia), finished a few weeks ago. When I reviewed the previous post on the Women's Championship, Future of the Women's World Championship (June 2019), I found a question: 'Where is the follow-through describing the next cycle?' Since I still can't answer that question, I decided to abandon the new page for now. On top of FIDE's obsolete documentation, the recent design change of FIDE's web site has rendered many (all?) bookmarks unusable ('404 Page Not Found; The page you were looking for doesn't exist'), making any research problematic.

It's been a little more than 20 years since I started documenting the Women's World Championship. The first occurrence of the page in my archive is dated September 1999, and the first occurrence on Archive.org is dated March 2000. That first page looked like the following screen capture, with only title matches having crosstables.


As far as I could tell, that overview had never been done before and, like a jigsaw puzzle, it took some time to piece the record together from different clues. I determined the events under the columns for 'Interzonal' and 'Candidates' by starting with relevant PGN files, looking for games by Women's World Champions. Sometimes the only clue was 'IZ' or 'CT' in the PGN '[Event]' tag. When I found a game, I used the name of the other player to look for more games. Eventually I developed the overall picture. It was partly a hit-or-miss effort, and that March 2000 snapshot is missing a second Interzonal for both the 1976-78 and 1979-81 cycles.

After producing that first draft shown above, I spent the next year or so documenting the various events. It took me over a year to discover that I had overlooked the 1976 Roosendaal Interzonal. After once spending so much time guessing about historical events, I don't want to start guessing about future events. I'll wait until FIDE has published the necessary documents before I tackle the new cycle.

25 September 2019

C29 Zonals

The previous post, C29 Regulations for World Cup Qualifiers, gave a summary of the different qualification paths for the 2019 World Cup currently taking place at Khanty-Mansiysk (Russia). Using that as a starting point, I identified 28 events that served as World Cup qualifiers.

For most events, the following table gives a reference from The Week in Chess (TWIC). Where I could find no TWIC reference, I located a page giving results for the event.

0.0: (01, ACP)
1.0: TWIC 1222 (2018)
1.0: TWIC 1274 (2019)
1.0s: TWIC 1224 (European small nations; ESNA)
1.3: TWIC 1286 (Nordic Championship)
1.7: (02, Baltics)

2.0: TWIC 1232 (2018)
2.0: TWIC 1288 (2019)
2.1: TWIC 1273
2.2: TWIC 1277
2.3: (03)
2.4: TWIC 1276
2.5: TWIC 1276

3.0: TWIC 1259 (2018)
3.0: TWIC 1285 (2019)
3.1: TWIC 1286
3.1e: TWIC 1257 (Emirates Arab Championship)
3.2: TWIC 1272
3.3: TWIC 1275
3.4: TWIC 1282
3.5: TWIC 1241
3.6: TWIC 1268
3.7: TWIC 1259

4.0: TWIC 1289
4.1: TWIC 1278
4.2: TWIC 1279
4.3: TWIC 1278
4.4: TWIC 1278

Tour 2018. Standings (chessprofessionals.org; ACP)

TWIC 1228 : Baltic Zonal I Stage 2018
TWIC 1233 : Baltic Zonal II Stage 2018
TWIC 1236 : Baltic Zonal III Stage 2018

TORNEO ZONAL 2.3 EL SALVADOR 2019 "SSESTUYO" (chess-results.com)

The 'zonals' numbered 1.0s, 1.3, 1.7, and 3.1e were competitions to determine 'Nominees of the FIDE President'.

18 September 2019

C29 Regulations for World Cup Qualifiers

The 2019 World Cup is currently taking place in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia. While I'm waiting for it to finish is a good time to start documenting the qualifying events. I'll follow the same procedure as in the previous cycle, starting with:-

The list of qualifiers for the current cycle was published over the summer in World Cup 2019 Qualifiers and Contract (fide.com). Using the details in the related PDF document, I developed the chart shown below. The left side of the chart shows qualifying paths which were not taken from a standalone tournament, plus a count of players who qualified via each path. The right side shows a count of the players who qualified via direct competition, either a continental championship or a zonal.

My procedure for the previous cycle continued with the following steps:-

In hindsight, I can't believe it took so many steps to document the zonals++, but so it seems.

11 September 2019

Zonal Qualifiers C01-C12 Wrapup

Continuing with last week's Zonal Qualifiers C01-C12 More++, I added the following to the relevant pages:-
  • Links from the various clipping pages to the corresponding qualifiers.
  • Links from the qualifiers to the corresponding interzonals.
  • Links to various explanatory pages.

Thus ends the small project I started with Zonal Qualifiers C01-C16 (May 2019). There is more I can do with these pages -- much more -- but it's time to tackle something else. The 2019 World Cup at Khanty-Mansiysk started this week and the qualifying paths for the current cycle (C29) need to be addressed.

04 September 2019

Zonal Qualifiers C01-C12 More++

Continuing with last month's Zonal Qualifiers C01-C12, the original data used to create the C01-C12 pages had additional details about the qualifying events in the twelve cycles. I added these details to the C01-C12 pages.

Some details are superficial; others require further research; all are appropriate to understanding a specific cycle. For pointers to all twelve pages, see the 'QP' links on the index of World Chess Championship Zonals.

28 August 2019

Updates for the Current Cycle

The 2019 World Cup starts next month, and the 2019 Grand Swiss takes place the following month. I updated both pages with FIDE announcements made after the post FIDE Starts the New Cycle (May 2019), for which I created them. The web site for the World Cup is also up and running.

Official site:


The official site has a History page that starts with this curious paragraph:-

The history of the FIDE World Cup began in 2000 when the World Chess Federation (FIDE) organized its first tournament having this name, and in 5 years it got its present format with 128 strongest international chess players competing by the knock-out system.

According to my records, the first FIDE World Cup was 2005 Khanty-Mansiysk, won by GM Aronian. That Fide.com 'History' page gives no more details about the so-called '2000 FIDE World Cup'. The first event with details is given as:-

Date: 9-22 October 2002
Place: Hyderabad, India
Winner: Viswanathan Anand

The second event with details is 2005 Khanty-Mansiysk, followed by World Cups every two years. I don't recall the 2002 Hyderabad tournament and will have to research it.

21 August 2019

Zonal Qualifiers C01-C12

Continuing with two recent posts:-

I added HTML titles etc., to make the 12 pages look like other pages in the zonal qualifier series. Then I added the links for the 12 pages to the index for the World Chess Championship : Zonals (near the bottom of the page). The data shown on each page is from different sources:-

  • Player : name as given on 'GMG data'

  • GMG data : see Zonal Qualifiers C01-C16 (May 2019) • NB: This data was originally organized by continent. That high-level information was lost during the creation of these C01-C12 pages. Non-specific designations like 'Zonal' and 'West Zonal' are to be understood within the context of a non-specified continent.

  • Zt : the zonal tournament as numbered on the corresponding 'Clippings' page; early cycles are marked '*' to indicate my (unofficial) numbering

  • IZ : the interzonal to which the player qualified

I'll add additional supplementary data -- IZ references, data legend -- to the 12 new pages as soon as I can.

14 August 2019

Zonal Qualifiers C01-C08

After creating the Zonal Qualifiers C01-C12 Crosstab, the next step was to produce the remaining detail pages:-

These have the same format as Zonal Qualifiers C09-C12, where I noted,

The other bells and whistles found on the existing pages will be added after I create similar pages for C01 through C08.

The next post should also serve as a common reference for all 12 new pages.

07 August 2019

Zonal Qualifiers C01-C12 Crosstab

After creating the pages for Zonal Qualifiers C09-C12 (July 2019), I set up the corresponding data for cycles C01 through C08. Since I didn't have time to create the pages for those cycles, I used the remaining time to get a bird's eye view of all the data.

Zonal Qualifiers by Cycle by Zone

C02 & C03 (left of red line) use unofficial zone numbering


  • The row with zone blank counts mostly seeded players. The row with zone '?' counts players where I couldn't determine the qualification path. Were there no seeded players in C04 and C05?

  • The count for 'C10 Z01' includes Z02 and Z03. The players from the three zones were combined into a single pool and distributed across four tournaments.

  • The count for 'C11 Z11' includes three players for Z11 (all YUG) and one for Z12. The zonal was split for the next cycle.

31 July 2019

2019 Grand Prix, Riga

I added the crosstable and PGN for the second event in the 2019 Grand Prix. The tournament's logo is shown to the left. For the blog post on the first event, see 2019 Grand Prix, Moscow.

Three of the 15 matches played at Riga were decided by Armageddon games. Compare that to the Moscow event, where only one match went beyond the rapidplay tiebreak and was decided in the first blitz match.

24 July 2019

Zonal Qualifiers C09-C12

At the end of the previous post, Zonal Qualifiers C11, I concluded,
I've decided that the format of the data in the chart is sufficient for new zonal pages on my World Championship site.

I applied the format to four cycles and created four new pages:-

These pages show only the qualifier data. The other bells and whistles found on the existing pages, like (C13) 1984-1987 Zonal Cycle Qualifiers, will be added after I create similar pages for C01 through C08.

17 July 2019

Zonal Qualifiers C11

Last month, in Zonal Qualifiers C12, I developed a technique of documenting the qualification paths for the early World Championship cycles. The following chart shows that technique applied to the preceding cycle.

The first two columns are from the ZQP (zonal qualifying paths) data that I described in the C12 post. The last two columns are from my own pages. The zone numbers 'z01' etc. correspond to my page (C11) 1978-1981 Zonal Cycle. The last column is a code for the two interzonals that were held during the cycle:-

There are two gaps in the data. One is for Mecking; the other is for Sunye Neto. I'll follow those up another time.

I've decided that the format of the data in the chart is sufficient for new zonal pages on my World Championship site. See the table at the bottom of the index page, World Chess Championship Zonals, for cycles C13 (1984-87) and after.

26 June 2019

Future of the Women's World Championship

After last week's post, 2019 Women's Candidates Tournament, Kazan, I tied up some loose ends and then tackled the future of the Women's World Chess Championship. Here's what I wrote last week:-
The information about the next cycle is scattered across different documents and, although it's consistent, I couldn't find a single document pulling everything together. [...] There might be a basic document that I've overlooked.

The most important document for understanding FIDE's current direction is the FIDE Handbook. Here's a copy of the World Championship section where I've highlighted the women's events in red.

There are four parts:-

07. Regulations for the Women's World Chess Championship Cycle
08. Regulations for the FIDE Women’s World Championship Match 2019-20
09. Regulations for the 2019-2020 Women's FIDE Grand Prix
10. Rules for the FIDE Women's Candidates Tournament 2019

The first part should cover the entire cycle, but it describes the former system of a knockout championship alternating with a match.

07. Regulations for the Women's World Chess Championship Cycle

1.1. 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 2018, 2020 etc. (64-player knock out system) and the Women’s World Chess Championship Match (10 games, 2 players) in odd years 2017, 2019, etc.

2. Qualifying events for the Women’s World Chess Championship Tournament (knock out system)...

The other documents describe a future cycle. For example:-

09. Regulations for the 2019-2020 Women's FIDE Grand Prix

2.8. The two players who score the most number of cumulative points in WGP Series qualify to the FIDE Women Candidates Tournament to be held in the first half of 2021.

The next Women's World Cup is scheduled for Minsk, Belarus, starting September 2020. How many players will qualify for the 2021 Candidates Tournament? My guess is two, along with the loser of the forthcoming title match, a couple of seeds based on rating, and an organizer's choice.

The announcement of the women's candidates tournament changed a cycle which was already in progress, a rookie mistake. Where is the follow-through describing the next cycle? Note that the the women's events are not the only problem in the handbook, which currently describes two candidates tournaments in the main WCC cycle.

05. Rules & Regulations for the Candidates Tournament of the FIDE World Championship cycle 2016-2018
12. Regulations for the FIDE Candidates Tournament 2020

Conclusion: Communication is not the strong point of the current FIDE management. The former FIDE management, despite their many shortcomings, did a better job of documenting their decisions.

19 June 2019

2019 Women's Candidates Tournament, Kazan

I added the recently completed 2019 Kazan Candidates Tournament to my index page on the World Chess Championship for Women. This should have been relatively straightforward, but I ran into complications when I tried to understand the structure of the next cycle.

The information about the next cycle is scattered across different documents and, although it's consistent, I couldn't find a single document pulling everything together. The subdomain for womenchess.fide.com is also hopelessly out of date. I'll come back to this at the same time I update the other data -- PGN and the Index of Women Players -- for the Kazan Candidates event. There might be a basic document that I've overlooked.

12 June 2019

Zonal Qualifiers C12

In my previous zonal post, Zonal Qualifiers C13-C16 (May 2019), I noted,
I was pleased with the correlation between my data and the ZQP [zonal qualifying paths] data. It was even better than I had hoped for and confirmed my belief that the ZQP data is an excellent source of info on the early FIDE zonals and interzonals.

That gave me a green light to proceed with the earlier World Championship cycles, C01-C12. An overview of C12 is shown in the following chart. It lists the players who competed in the three interzonals for that cycle.

The 1st & 3rd columns are from the ZQP data. The 2nd & 4th columns are from my own pages. The 2nd column shows in which interzonal the player participated and corresponds to the following list:-

The 4th column corresponds to the zonal numbering on my page (C12) 1981-1984 Zonal Cycle. Players who didn't qualify from a zonal were seeded on other criteria.

05 June 2019

2019 Grand Prix, Moscow

I added the crosstable and PGN for the first event in the 2019 Grand Prix. The tournament's logo is shown to the left. For more about the logos for the new Grand Prix, see Magic Beasts Are the Key Visuals for the 2019 Grand Prix Series (worldchess.com).

For more about the current cycle, see FIDE Starts the New Cycle (May 2019). For the last post about the Grand Prix in the previous cycle, see 2017-18 GP (December 2017).

29 May 2019

Zonal Qualifiers C13-C16

In the previous post, Zonal Qualifiers C01-C16, I started working with a summary of the qualifying paths from the zonal stage to the interzonal stage for the earliest World Championship cycles. On top of zonals, these paths included other means of seeding players into the Interzonals, like rating. To facilitate comparison, I created a table which is also shown near the end of today's post.
The table shows my count of the number of players who participated in the interzonals for C01 through C16. [...] The last column shows the number of players documented in the zonal material that I'm using as the base for this exercise. The table gives me a guide for further work on this particular project. [...] The new data lets me complete C01-C12 and also lets me doublecheck C13-C16.

The cycles C13-C16 took place during FIDE's darkest days. Let's have a recap of the interzonals that spanned nearly a decade.

C13 unfolded during the uncertainty of the first three Kasparov - Karpov (K-K) matches, when the continuity of the previous cycle (C12) had been disrupted and had entered uncharted territory. For C13, FIDE scrambled to organize something resembling a traditional cycle. There were three Interzonals that eventually led the way to the fourth K-K match.

C14 was played in (more-or-less) traditional circumstances. It was the last cycle to have three Interzonals. They culminated in the fifth K-K match, the last match between the two 'K's.

C15 saw the introduction of a single interzonal tournament using a Swiss system format instead of the traditional round-robin format. The cycle would eventually lead to the schism between FIDE and Kasparov, with two parallel World Championship matches.

C16 was played as the schism was deepening, with two parallel World Championship cycles. No one knew where world class chess was going.

The following chart is taken from the previous post, 'Zonal Qualifiers C01-C16', and highlights the four cycles featured in today's post. The counts show the approximate number of players who qualified into the interzonals for those cycles.

I compared the lists of players from my record of interzonals and the summary of zonal qualifying paths (ZQP). After identifying differences in the spelling of players' last names (needs more work to establish the accepted spelling) and accounting for the order of Asian names (like 'Qi Jinguan' and 'Jinguan Qi' in C13) I worked out the reason for the different numbers.

In C13 and C14, a total of four players were missing from the ZQP lists. C15 matched perfectly. C16 was due to a mismatch between my page on 1993 Biel and my Index of Players (they should also match); the ZQP data was perfect.

All things considered, I was pleased with the correlation between my data and the ZQP data. It was even better than I had hoped for and confirmed my belief that the ZQP data is an excellent source of info on the early FIDE zonals and interzonals.

22 May 2019

Zonal Qualifiers C01-C16

The current FIDE World Championship cycle is slowly getting into gear, so I'll fill the idle time with another crack at Small Projects for 2019 (January 2019):-
The first two of the actions on that [2018] 'Projects' post are still open [...], while the second required permission to reuse published material. This permission was granted recently: 'If you'd like to quote my zonal material, that's fine.'

That second action is a continuation of Zonal Qualifiers C01-C12 : Archive.org (June 2017), where I took 'the first steps for documenting the interzonal qualification process in C01-C12'. The numbering C01, C12, etc. is a convention I use to identify the different World Championship cycles that have taken place since 1948. According to that convention, we are in the 29th cycle or '2019-20 C29'. The complete cycles C01-C14 are documented on my page, Index of FIDE Events 1948-1990.

The table on the left shows my count of the number of players ('Plyrs') who participated in the interzonals for C01 through C16. The middle column ('Evts', events) shows the number of interzonals that took place during the cycle. The last column ('ZQP', zonal qualifying paths) shows the number of players documented in the zonal material that I'm using as the base for this exercise.

The table gives me a guide for further work on this particular project. Ideally, 'Plyrs' should be equal to 'ZQP', although even when it is there might be a mismatch between the names of the players.

I've already documented the qualifying paths for C13 through C28, as shown at the bottom of the page Index of Zonals. The new data lets me complete C01-C12 and also lets me doublecheck C13-C16.

15 May 2019

FIDE Starts the New Cycle

With the first leg of the 2019 Grand Prix starting this week, I added three new pages to my site for the World Chess Championship:-

The new pages include links to Fide.com announcements that I've documented in previous blog posts:-

The contest to determine the next challenger for World Champion Magnus Carlsen starts this week with the Grand Prix event in Moscow.

08 May 2019

Wrapping-up Recent Posts

Several of the posts on this blog over the last two months... ...have been to improve my record of the Pre-FIDE Events, specifically the early, unofficial events. These resulted in two new pages that are consistent with similar pages:-

While I was working on those, I left a few loose ends that required small corrections:-

  • Redirecting obsolete pages to the new pages
  • Deleting PGN files for the obsolete pages
  • Updating the player indices
  • Checking that nothing had been overlooked

Before I tackled that, I considered consolidating the pages of three other related matches:-

I finally decided against doing this because of a key difference: the first page covers exhibition matches, but the second is for a World Championship title match. Before I do any more work on the 'Pre-FIDE Events', I'll try to address another item on the list of Small Projects for 2019 (January 2019).

01 May 2019

FIDE Details the New Cycle

Following-up the previous post on FIDE's new management, FIDE Maps the New Cycle (February 2019), we find that FIDE has pressed ahead with its plans. In this post I'll cover announcements related to various aspects of the World Championship. The first batch all appeared around the same time. (Links are to Fide.com.)

That last link, an interview covering several talking points related to the World Championship, took place at the same time as the PB meeting in Astana.

AD [Arkady Dvorkovich]: We are working on the World Championship Cycle. The Regulations of the Title Match and the Candidates Tournament will soon be ready for publication, which will naturally launch the bidding procedure for these events. [...]

YP [Yannick Pelletier]: A few significant modifications have been brought to the formula of the World Championship cycle. What impact will they have in your opinion?

AD: First of all, we are improving the visibility of our tournaments. The new "Grand Swiss" will be spectacular and attractive. This event opens the door to the Candidates Tournament for all young and talented players who have not yet made it to the Top-10. And it also represents an opportunity for all participants to improve by being confronted directly with world-class players. Moreover, we have reformed the Grand Prix Series. For the first time, tournaments will be staged with the knockout system, as in tennis. We are expecting to arouse interest from sponsors and journalists through this new format. All participants will be motivated to fight until the end, both for the qualification spots and for prizes in each event and the overall rankings.

Another aspect I would like to broach is the importance of side events at such tournaments. Starting with the World Rapid and Blitz Championship in St Petersburg, and also here in Astana, we are making a point of cooperating with local organizers to have a program of parallel activities, like simultaneous, events for kids, blitz, etc. I consider it crucial to open the doors of a top tournament to all levels of chess players and fans, and thus to avoid seclusion. It improves the image of chess and attracts attention.

YP: A last question related to the World Championship cycle, which has been sent to me by Mr. Leonard Barden, emblematic figure for chess in The Guardian: What has been done to try and build a friendly relationship with Rex Sinquefield and Garry Kasparov, since it is clear that an agreement could bring major benefits to chess?

AD: I met Rex Sinquefield for the first time during the opening ceremony of the World Championship match in London and our short discussion was very friendly. Actually, my colleague of the management board Director General Emil Sutovsky has had intense consultations with Sinquefield’s team of the Grand Chess Tour, including Garry Kasparov, in order to adjust the tournament calendar. They have increased the number of events this year, so that coordination with the World Championship cycle was essential.

All tournaments now have their place in the calendar 2019, and we basically avoided clashes of the main competitions, except for November which was completely unavoidable. But the smooth cooperation with the Grand Chess Tour allowed to minimize the damage for the players. Indeed, providing for the satisfactory distribution of all participants in the events of both cycles was fundamental. Both sides are happy and continue to work effectively. FIDE has big expectations for the upcoming World Championship and I hope that we will receive competing bids from many countries.

Of the 35 PB decisions, I counted five related to the World Championship. Note the new African zone.

  • 2019-03-13: List of Q1 2019 Presidential Board Decisions
    Q1PB-2019/17 To approve the regulations for the 2020 World Chess Championship Candidate Tournament. Also to set a recommended prize fund of 2 Mln Euro for the Title Match.
    Q1PB-2019/18 To approve GSC proposal to ban draws by mutual agreement before move 40 in Candidates and World Championship Matches starting 2020.
    Q1PB-2019/19 To approve GSC proposal in regards to the tie-break criteria for the Swiss-system events of the World Championship Cycle.
    Q1PB-2019/25 To confirm the new Addendum to the Agreement with World Chess., approved by absentee voting in January 2019.
    Q1PB-2019/32 To approve the African continental report and the creation of the zone 4.5 with further ratification by GA.

  • 2019-03-14: Tie-break criteria in Swiss-system events of the World Championship Cycle

  • 2019-03-26: Kazan inaugurates a new stage in women’s chess • See PDF

The following announcements were accompanied by PDF documents giving details.

  • 2019-04-19: FIDE Chess.com Grand Swiss Tournament • 'Please find below the updated version of the Tournament Regulations in accordance with the decision of the FIDE Presidential Board as well as the current ranking of top 120 players by average rating as per April 1, 2019.'

  • 2019-04-26: New regulations for the World Championship matches • 'FIDE has approved the regulations for the World Championship Match 2020, as well as for the Women's World Championship match 2019-2020. The bidding procedure will last three months. [...] Apart from the technical and format changes in both cycles, the main novelty respect to the past few years is that FIDE is again in charge of organizing the World Championship match. After having delegated this responsibility on a third party company for the past few editions, a top priority for the new leadership under Arkady Dvorkovich's direction was to regain the commercial rights over its flagship event. The approval of these regulations marks the completion of this plan.'

In the last day, two more announcements further separated current FIDE management from the previous administration.

According to the previous post, 'FIDE Maps the New Cycle', we will see two events in May: (1) the first event of the new Grand Prix tournaments, in Moscow; and (2) the Women’s Candidates Tournament in Kazan, Russia. All eyes will be on FIDE to see whether it can execute its plans as smoothly as it announces them.

24 April 2019

1860s Anderssen Matches

I added a new page, 1861-62 Adolf Anderssen matches, to the index of World Chess Championship : Pre-FIDE Events. The page consolidates and replaces two older pages that documented Anderssen's unofficial matches for the World Championship:-
  • London, VII, 1861; Anderssen - Kolisch [+4-3=2]
  • London, VII-VIII, 1862; Anderssen - Paulsen [+3-3=2]

I also added links to other pages on the site that document events where Anderssen played a role in the history of the early, unofficial World Championship. Just like my previous effort to consolidate separate pages about matches, 1840s Staunton Matches (March 2019), the new page serves as a framework for further notes about the events it documents.

17 April 2019

Corrections to Recent Posts

Since the beginning of the year, I've been focusing on the early history of the World Championship. After finishing the posts, I've sometimes discovered additional information that required documenting. Finding the time to make the corrections is always another matter. Here are the posts in chronological order.

2019-01-23: Acknowledging an Important Source • I wrote, 'Here's a copy of the tournament crosstable given in Gelo's book (chapter 17), slightly reformatted.' • Gelo's crosstable is better than any other version I've seen and the reformatted version is better than the original. I added a copy to my page on the 1862 London Tournament.

2019-03-19: Wilhelm Hanstein, Schachzeitung • I wrote, 'For some reason, missing characters occur frequently, not only in the Schachzeitung scans, but in other scans that have nothing to do with chess. Add this to the (long) list of things that can go wrong with digitized documents.' • Although that post is on my main blog, it covers techniques that are useful for this present blog. I added a note about the missing characters.

2019-04-10: (last week's post) 1834 London : How Many Matches? • I wrote, 'While I have no reason to doubt the accuracy of the conventional view, I'll keep the discrepancy in mind while I review other material on the match.' • A couple of hours later I resolved the discrepancy, so I added a note to the post.

10 April 2019

1834 London : How Many Matches?

In last week's post, Early Chess Periodicals, about the availability of 19th century chess literature on Google Books, I ended the post saying,
The early chess magazines have been locked away in specialist libraries for many years. Assuming that they have not been picked over completely, what more information about the early unofficial events can be gleaned from their pages?

I started chronologically, tackling the earliest matches first, noting the location of different early articles about the matches. This page in particular caught my attention.

The Chess Player's Chronicle [S01V03; 1842], p.410

The page is titled,


The lead paragraph says,

In concluding the series of games between these distinguished Champions, it may not be uninteresting to review briefly the results of their several contests. It appears that in all, they played together EIGHTY-FIVE GAMES, divided into four separate matches of twenty-one games each, and one extra game.

This is contrary to conventional wisdom, which says the games were played in a series of six matches of varying length, between 9 and 25 games per match. That's what I've recorded on my own page, World Chess Championship : 1834 Labourdonnais - McDonnell Matches, which I double-checked against Gelo's book 'Chess World Championships 1834-1984'; see Acknowledging an Important Source (January 2019) for more about the book.

The summary in 'Chess Player’s Chronicle' (CPC) gives the following scores for the four matches. The +/- tallies are from the Labourdonnais point of view:-

1st: +13-4=4
2nd: +11-9=1
3rd: +8-6=7
4th: +11-9=1
Xtra: +1-0=0

Total: +44-28=13

This maps fairly well onto the sequential score given by the conventional view of six matches. For example, the score of the first 21 games of the first match was +13-4=4, which is the same as the CPC tally. There are, however, a few differences arising in subsequent matches. These might be accounted for by the choice of the 85th game, CPC's 'one extra game'. While I have no reason to doubt the accuracy of the conventional view, I'll keep the discrepancy in mind while I review other material on the match.


Later: Re 'I have no reason to doubt the accuracy of the conventional view', that view is from an essay by George Walker. I discussed his book 'Chess and Chess-players: Consisting of Original Stories and Sketches' last year in Chess-books and Chess-players (July 2018), including a link to access a copy. The last chapter is titled 'The Battles of M'Donnell and De La Bourdonnais' and starts with a poem by Percy Bysshe Shelley.

"The splendors of the firmament of time
May be eclipsed—but are extinguished not.
Like stars, to their appointed height they climb,
And death is a low mist, which cannot blot
The brightness it may veil."

The literary tone continues with the first paragraph.

ALL the world -- at least all the world we care about upon the present occasion, the Chess world -- has heard of the Chess encounters of De la Bourdonnais and M'Donnell. The battle has been sung by Mery in French, by D'Arblay in English. The games themselves have been printed in several different European languages, and have become a code of precedents, like the famed Pandects of Justinian, by the light of which future players may walk safely through almost all the dark mazes of the Sacred Grove -- if they have but the intellect to understand, and the memory to apply these splendid examples of Chess-play to the varied situations which arise during the progress of an actual game.

A note to the essay mentions, 'This paper was first published in the Chess Player's Chronicle, 1843.' It was the last article in CPC volume 4, signed by George Walker and dated October 1843. I'll use the CPC version for the rest of the quotes in this section. Later in the essay G.Walker writes,

Mr. William Greenwood Walker, himself but a very moderate Chess-player, (related to me only in name,) was the most enthusiastic Chess-recorder I have ever had the honour to know. He cared little to play himself, but delighted to be always at M`Donnell's elbow, to record his victory ; like one of the bards of old, ever by the side of his Chief to hymn the song of triumph in his praise. Mr. Walker took down the whole of the games played by M'Donnell and La Bourdonnais, and printed them, with many others played by the former, in a well known octavo volume. Without him, these fine games would have been lost for ever. Great, then, is the obligation we are all under to his name, for thus constantly attending at his post—the scribe, the herald of the war. It is no light thing to sit daily five or six hours, during a period of months, to watch games playing, and write them down. Mr. William Greenwood Walker has been taken from us long since. He died full of years. We could "well have spared a better -- aye, many a better -- man."

As for the structure of the matches, he writes,

I intend to be the more particular in presenting what may be termed the statistics of the games played by M‘Donnell and De la Bourdonnais, as they have been on many occasions so erroneously stated. Writers of these latter times have assumed that they were all comprised within two, three, or four matches. Be it mine to state the exact and full truth. During the time they were playing, I visited the club daily, and took some of the games down, move by move, as they were played; relieving my worthy namesake thus occasionally at his post. At the close of each day's play, the notes of Mr. Greenwood Walker were kindly placed at the disposal of Mr. [William] Lewis and myself; who thus were enabled to get the games in a complete shape. I have them all by me, as I wrote them out at the time -- in the exact order they were played, and classed according to the actual matches of which each one formed a part.

Following that are page after page of 'the exact and full truth'. These correspond to the conventional wisdom and are undoubtedly the source of what we know about the first (unofficial) World Championship event.

03 April 2019

Early Chess Periodicals

On my main blog I've been exploring early chess magazines. Here's a summary of the three periodicals I've looked at to date:-

The year in brackets ('[]') is the year of the periodical's first publication. That is followed by the name(s) of someone who played a role both in the early years of the periodical and in the early events now considered to have been forerunners ('Unofficial events') of the World Championship. The next image shows a snapshot of a portion from my World Championship site.

World Chess Championship : Pre-FIDE Events

Labourdonnais, Staunton, and Anderssen are all accounted for. St.Amant played two matches against Staunton. The early chess magazines have been locked away in specialist libraries for many years. Assuming that they have not been picked over completely, what more information about the early unofficial events can be gleaned from their pages?

27 March 2019

Early Women's Championships

In a recent post on my main blog, Chess and Gender Lines, I highlighted a treasure trove of videos about women's chess, all stemming from the 2019 Cairns Cup:-
Other videos about the same event can be found via Youtube search STLChessClub query=cairns.

See the 'Gender Lines' post for a clickable link. One of the videos focuses on the early events in the Women's World Championship.

2019 Cairns Cup: Women's World Championship History (9:17) • 'Published on Feb 7, 2019'

The description says,

Before the 2019 Cairns Cup, Grandmaster Yasser Seirawan and WGM Jennifer Shahade discuss the great women's world chess champions and how World War II changed the course of the game forever.

The video starts with WGM Shahade saying,

[Vera Menchik] won the first Women's World Championship in 1927 in London, went on to win eight titles.

Since that statement is somewhat ambiguous, I checked my page on the World Chess Championship for Women, and counted the number of Menchik titles. I found seven tournaments and two matches, a total of nine titles.

One of the comments to the video said, 'This deserves more views.' Yes, it does. So does The Life and Chess of Vera Menchik by Lucas Anderson, also on Youtube.

20 March 2019

More on 1846 Staunton - Harrwitz

In the previous post, 1846 Staunton - Harrwitz, I added that unusual match to my page on the 1843-46 Howard Staunton Matches and noted,
I ran into a glitch with the match PGN and will add it to the game scores of the other matches as soon as I can.

I took the Staunton - Harrwitz games from my page titled Howard Staunton's Tournament, Match, and Exhibition Record (1840-1866; Last updated 2001-06-16) and expanded the PGN headers before uploading the file. Having some extra time to spend on the Harrwitz match, I looked at what various web authorities had to say about the result.

That last quote, taking only the games without odds into consideration, is typical of other references. The comment section on the second link (Howard Staunton, page=4) has a long discussion from 2004 between GM Ray Keene, a Staunton biographer, and SBC (aka Batgirl), a serious collector of Paul Morphy material.

As for a written reference, the Staunton chapter in E.G.Winter's 'World Chess Champions' (Oxford, 1981), written by R.N.Coles, says that Staunton 'decisively trounced the younger master Daniel Harrwitz'. The summary of Staunton's career in an appendix lists three separate matches with total score of +12-9=1. In my previous post I said, 'It was a close match', taking the cumulative score during the match into account.

13 March 2019

1846 Staunton - Harrwitz

In last week's blog post, 1840s Staunton Matches, I added a new page to my World Chess Championship site covering the 1843-46 Howard Staunton Matches. I mentioned,
The reason for the new page is to prepare for the addition of the 1846 Staunton - Harrwitz match.

I had to put some thought into how to organize the crosstable. The final result is shown in the following image.

It was a close match. In each round of three games, with a different format in each game, Harrwitz consistently won the first game at odds of 'Pawn & move'; Staunton won the second game on equal terms; and the third game at 'Pawn & two moves' was a battleground.

The 13th game was drawn and replayed. The draw was counted in the result of the match as published by Staunton.

I ran into a glitch with the match PGN and will add it to the game scores of the other matches as soon as I can.

06 March 2019

1840s Staunton Matches

I added a new page, 1843-46 Howard Staunton Matches, to the Index of Pre-FIDE Events. This page combines:-
  • the two Staunton - St.Amant matches (London, IV-V, 1843 & Paris, XI-XII, 1843), and
  • the Staunton - Horwitz match (London, II-IV, 1846).

The reason for the new page is to prepare for the addition of the 1846 Staunton - Harrwitz match. The format is consistent with two other pages:-

While preparing the recent post Acknowledging an Important Source (January 2019), I noticed that Gelo's book 'Chess World Championships' included the Harrwitz match, but that my site omitted it. At first I thought this was an oversight on my part, then I realized that I had not included the match because of the many games played at odds.

Since all of the matches played before 1886 Steinitz - Zukertort are considered unofficial, there is no reason to omit the Harrwitz match. I'll add it as soon as I can.

27 February 2019

Index of Women Players

In last month's post, Small Projects for 2019, I wrote,
As part of preparing the first post of this current month, 2018 Women's World Championship PGN, I routinely 'added the names of all 64 players to the Index of Women Players'. While doing that I noticed several inconsistencies across the index and will address those as soon as I can.

The action resulted in around a dozen changes to the referenced page, most of which aren't worth mentioning. I did, however, correct two misspellings.

On the page for the 1961 Candidates Tournament (Vrnjacka Banja, X-XI, 1961), I had the name 'Hundsuren' instead of the correct Sandagdorj Handsuren (wikipedia.org). On the page for the 1967 Candidates Tournament (Subotica, IX-X, 1967), I had 'MacGrath' instead of Marion Mott-McGrath (ditto).

The page Index of Women Players now has 463 names for a total of 1338 cross-references to other pages on the site. I had a relatively easy time finding the info I needed to make the corrections. Twenty years ago, when I first started creating the main page, World Chess Championship for Women, there was almost nothing about the subject on the web and I relied on offline resources to construct the framework.

20 February 2019

FIDE Maps the New Cycle

After four consecutive posts on the World Championship in the 19th century, let's return to the 21st century, last seen in 2018 FIDE Congress : Whither the World Championship? (January 2019). After the 89th Congress, FIDE went quiet for a few months as the new management deliberated on the future of the organization. Since the beginning of 2019, they have issued a flurry of announcements about upcoming events. Let's start with the master plan for the current cycle, which is just starting.
  • 2019-02-18: Road to Candidates • 'Qualification system for the 2020 FIDE Candidates Tournament'

    A. 1 place – 2018 FIDE World Championship Match, Runner up
    B. 2 places – 2019 FIDE World Cup
    C. 1 place – 2019 FIDE Grand Swiss Tournament
    D. 2 places – 2019 FIDE Grand Prix Series
    E. 1 place – Highest Average FIDE Rating (Feb. 2019—Jan. 2020)
    F. 1 place – Player nominated by the Organizer

That makes eight places in the Candidates tournament and three qualifying events, one of which is brand new:-

The Grand Prix received a complete makeover:-

For the corresponding World Chess announcement, see Guide to the 2019 Grand Prix Series (worldchess.com). The World Cup continues in the same format that we've seen since 2005:-

The FIDE Calendar (fide.com), currently shows the following World Championship events. I include the 2020 Olympiad as a reminder that most other 2020 events are not yet listed.

I also set up place holders for the current cycle on my The World Chess Championship index page. When was the last time we had three qualifying events for the Candidates tournament?

13 February 2019

1851 London (the Tournament Books)

In my previous post, 1851 London (on Google Books), I referenced a digital copy of Staunton's book 'The Chess Tournament', his account of 1851 London, the first international tournament. Page 174 of the book gives a summary of the matches.

I compared this against my own page on the matches, 1851 London Tournament; London, V-VII, 1851, and except for a slight problem with one name ('Lowe' vs. 'Loewe E') the basic info was the same. The same page in the book includes a note:-

In this final section, the match between Anderssen and Wyvill was to decide which took the First, and which the Second Prize. The next contest, between Williams and Staunton, was to determine which took the Third, and which the Fourth Prize. The third encounter, between Szen and Kennedy, was to decide who took the Fifth, and who the Sixth Prize ; and the Fourth Match, between Horwitz and Mucklow, was to settle their respective right to the Seventh and Eighth Prize. (This match not being played, in consequence of Mr. Mucklow's absence, the Committee adjudged Mr. Horwitz entitled to the Seventh Prize, and awarded the Eighth to Mr. Mucklow.) It is to be regretted that, owing to the arrangements, which were unavoidably adopted to shorten the duration of the Tourney, most of the chief players, as Kieseritzky, Szen, Staunton, Loewenthal, Mayet, &c., were precluded from contesting at all for the Second Prize.

That last sentence is curious and indicates that the organizers were not happy afterwards with the tournament's knockout format. Starting with the first round all of the players were paired unseeded.

In that previous post I also referenced a digital copy of the German edition of the tournament book. It turns out that the German version is not a straightforward translation of the English version. It includes ten new pages of introductory material for which Google Translate gives the following as the first sentences of the anonymous 'Forward':-

From the following treatment of the Chess Tournament, the German reading world may be assured that not only all factual and historical facts about the great chess tournament, but also the merely reflecting part of its contents, wherever a clear view guides the hand of the author has, faithfully and completely reproduced. But it must be sincerely known that one believes in terms of the effusion of a cranky vanity and bitterness against alleged contraindications -- a substance to which the famous author attributes only too much space in his mind, as in his book has to deal with the patience of the local audience with care. Regardless, too many of the persistent or hateful ones have been taken up by Staunton's hand. This, however, was not to be avoided partly for the constancy of great injustice and inconvenience, partly in favor of the connexion and the psychological interest.

The German player Anderssen won, while the English player Staunton only finished fourth. Although that translation is far from perfect, the rest of the introduction is worthy of a similar treatment.

06 February 2019

1851 London (on Google Books)

Last week, in 1862 London (on the Web), I used the six-page bibliography in Gelo's book 'Chess World Championships' to locate source material for the referenced tournament. Another bibliographic entry serves a similar purpose:-
Staunton, Howard. The Chess Tournament. London, 1852.

There are several scans of this book in Google Books. The first copy I downloaded had large sections of the book out of sequence, so I located a better copy:-

The first 90 pages of the book are Staunton's own account of the tournament. The rest of the book (the 382 pages mentioned in the book's description) contains the moves of the games plus light annotations by Staunton. To help me find my way around Staunton's account, I constructed the following table of contents.

Also on Google Books are two related works from the 19th century:-

Staunton's edition was published again toward the end of the 20th century:-

How close are these to the original? Google Books doesn't offer a digital copy.

30 January 2019

1862 London (on the Web)

This month marks 20 years since I first uploaded my World Championship page for the 1862 London Tournament. How well has it withstood the test of time?

In last week's post, Acknowledging an Important Source, I noted the importance of Gelo's book 'Chess World Championships' as a reference for many of the pre-1883 pages on my site. The book is documented by a six-page bibliography including an entry for:-

Loewenthal, J., ed. The Chess Congress of 1862. London, 1889.

A digital copy of the book is available online via a Google Books page, The Chess Congress of 1862, subtitled, 'A Collection of the Games played, and a Selection of the Problems sent in for Competition. To which is prefixed an Account of the Proceedings and a Memoir of the British Chess Association. By G. W. Medley'. This book is undoubtedly the source for much that is known about the event.

Wikipedia has a page, London 1862 chess tournament, that dates back to October 2008. Its source was London 5°Congresso Britannico, 16/6 - 2/8 1862 (archive.org // xoomer.alice.it). Both references use the same technique to indicate draws that were replayed, and neither shows which games were forfeits.

The most recent incarnation of the event is probably on the Zanchess blog: London 1862 – Preliminary results and xtabs (January 2016; 'There were 91 decisive games, of which 21 were forfeits; two decisive games are missing.'; see comments, esp. 'ckr') and London Chess Congress 1862 – a first-look look (February 2018). The forfeited games are not indicated here either.

If the forfeited games were handled as they are in modern times, Loewenthal's record in the event would be excluded. He scored +3-0 (+1F-9F) for a total of 10 forfeits out of 13 games.