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.