28 October 2020

Interview with Dvorkovich

A few weeks before the announcement that FIDE Candidates Postponed Again, FIDE President Dvorkovich gave a wide ranging interview touching on many aspects of the current situation in world chess. In particular, he discussed the various events that make up the World Championship cycle.

Interview with FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich (2:07:40) • '[Published on] Sep 30, 2020'

The description starts in Russian (here translated by Google):-

Created jointly with the Moscow Chess Federation 'MskChess TV' [...]

Then it switches to English:-

English subtitles are added! In this two-hour-long interview, GM Daniil Dubov asks questions about FIDE, chess during pandemic, online chess, the future of the world championship cycle, and touches other burning issues.

As usual, the '[CC]' box on the status line at the bottom of the embedded video switches between 'subtitles <-> no-subtitles'. On top of that, excerpts of the interview are available in English on Chesstech.org:-

  • 2020-10-14 (Part 1): FIDE’s next steps • 'Stefan Loeffler has excerpted the essentials in two parts. The first one focuses on competitive chess.'
  • 2020-10-17 (Part 2): "I am not used to discussing politics" • 'After part one of our excerpts focused on competitions, this one deals with FIDE’s functioning, finance and online chess policy.'

'Part 1' places the time of the interview:-

In August, FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich was interviewed for more than two hours by Daniil Dubov, the 24-year old Russian grandmaster.

'Part 2' has a strange title that I understand as "I am not used to discussing politics [online]". Dvorkovich explained further, 'Probably this has to do with my former work in the Russian government, when social media could not be used to discuss political matters.'

21 October 2020

FIDE Candidates Postponed Again

In last week's post, 'Tournir of the FIDE Applicants', where the 'Tournir' is FIDE's Candidate tournament and the issue is its resumption, I noted dates from two sources:-
'Today, 5 October, it is planned to make a final decision' -- almost ten days have passed -- Fide.com: 'The 8th round has been scheduled for 1 November 2020.'

Since the 'Tournir' post was near the mid-point between 5 October and 1 November, we didn't have to wait long for an announcement. Before we go there, let's look at another FIDE announcement from early October: Decisions of the 3rd quarter FIDE Online Council Meeting (fide.com); 'Decisions ... 30 September 2020', relevant to the World Championship:-

Q3OC-2020/8: To note that the final decision regarding the 2020 Candidates’ Tournament shall be taken by 5 October 2020 conditional on the results of the analysis of the current situation in the respective countries.
Q3OC-2020/9: To note the update provided by Mr Sutovsky regarding the 2021 World Championship Match.
Q3OC-2020/10: To note that the decision regarding the organization of the Women’s World Cup and World Cup 2021 shall be taken at the Online GA.
Q3OC-2020/11: To note the information provided by Mr. Sutovsky in respect to Women’s Grand Prix. [...]
Q3OC-2020/48: To investigate how the organization of the forthcoming Zonal events may be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. [...]
Q3OC-2020/50: To note that the next online meeting of the FIDE Council will take place on 4 December 2020, prior to the 2020 FIDE General Assembly.

A few days later, FIDE announced the decision for Q3OC-2020/8: The second leg of the Candidates Tournament is postponed to the spring of 2021 (fide.com). It started,

Unfortunately, FIDE is forced to postpone the resumption of the Candidates Tournament until the spring of 2021. The main reason for rescheduling the event is, of course, the concern related to the well-being of the players in the midst of the second wave of the pandemic.

Did anyone expect a different decision?

14 October 2020

'Tournir of the FIDE Applicants'

Spotted on the Russian language site chess-news.ru:-

If you're wondering about the English language titles on a Russian site, there's a simple explanation. I ran the orginal articles through Google's translation service. Here's how it translated the first few paragraphs of the first article, 'Wang Hao and FIDE':-

Wang Hao posted on his Facebook a letter from Arkady Dvorkovich to him. The FIDE President, according to the Chinese grandmaster, then asked him to publish all the correspondence. Wang Hao did that too.

The main correspondence is with FIDE lawyer Alexander Martynov . It is about the second round of the Candidates Tournament. From the letters it follows that FIDE is still considering two locations for the game - Yekaterinburg and Tbilisi, but is determined to resume the competition from November 1.

Today, October 5th, it is planned to make a final decision. However, Wang Hao (and possibly Ding Liren too) does not consider it correct to organize the tournament now for security reasons and suggests FIDE to postpone this matter until better, from an epidemiological point of view, times.

The rest of that article was a chain of emails written in English. As for the second article, 'Karpov to Dvorkovich', the translation was simpler:-

Anatoly Karpov sent a letter to Arkady Dvorkovich regarding the second round of the Candidates Tournament.

The rest of the article was a letter in Russian, in the form of an image, which Google didn't translate. I ran the letter through an OCR service, then ran the output Russian text through the Google translator. Here's what I got:-

Axioms. Ssrligsvaya region, Yelagsriya, Surg
Prgzkhdeit of the International Chess Federation (FIDE) Dvorkovich A.V.

Dear Arkady Vladnmirovkhch!

In accordance with the Agreement between FIDE, FSHR and SHFSO, we had an excellent first part of the 2020 Tournament and went to a forced break due to pag1demiI at your decision. Ekatsriiburg has the unconditional right to host the rest of the tournament, which you noted in your letter to the First Deputy Governor of the Sverdlovsk Region, Chairman of the Organizing Committee of the Candidates' Tournament Orlov A.V. The continuation of the tournament in Ekatsrinburg was confirmed by the press secretary of the President of the Russian Federation, chairman of the board of trustees of the FSHR D.S. Peskov.

We have never waived our right to host a tournament in Ekaterhiburg. Therefore, the actions of the FIDE representatives, who are holding underground negotiations and putting pressure on the participants to move the tournament to another place, are surprising.

If the epidemic situation in the Sverdlovsk region does not allow the tournament to continue from November 1, 2020, then it can be held at a later date. Before the World Championship Match between Mapgus Karpsen x the winner of the Pretsidegp Tournament, postponed to mid-2021, there is enough time to spend the rest of the tournament in the same place as x the first half.

As the plenipotentiary representative of the Organizational Committee of the Candidates Tournament in Ekatsrieburg, I express my readiness to hold the second half of the tournament in any eventuality.

Mnogokragg1 world champion.
Member of the Organizing Committee of the
Candidates Tournament in Eka erinburg-2020

A.E. Karpov

There are plenty of errors in that OCR translation, and if I were doing a more formal article than this current post I would try to correct them, but the text makes sense as it is. It helps to know that 'applicants' in the first line and 'pretsidegp' in the third paragraph both stand for 'candidates'. The nonsense word 'pag1demiI' in the first paragraph must be 'pandemic'. As for 'Mapgus Karpsen', also in the third paragraph , the phrase 'World Championship Match between Mapgus...' should eliminate any confusion.

Getting back to the sentence, 'Today, October 5th, it is planned to make a final decision', almost ten days have passed. My previous post on the subject, Yekaterinburg Candidates - 2nd Half Announced (September 2020), noted,

Fide.com: 'The 8th round has been scheduled for 1 November 2020.'

Something's got to give!

07 October 2020

Early World Championship Tournament Play

Continuing with two posts on the early World Championships...

...in that second post I quoted H.J.R.Murray from his 'History of Chess'...

After 1860 the opinion that the Tournament was not the best way of discovering the strongest player of the day became general, and the match became the recognized test.

...and wondered...

On what evidence did [Murray] conclude that 'the opinion became general'? I'm afraid that might be looking for a needle in a haystack, but a good place to start would be the Early Chess Periodicals that I collected last year.

That 'Early Chess Periodicals' post leads to Tabulating the Rabbit Hole (June 2019), where I counted the number of early periodicals in my digital collection by year. For the 1860s, that totals 46 annual volumes; for the 1870s (through 1878), 14 volumes.

Since that is too many volumes for practical guidance, I turned to another good source, 'Chess: the History of a Game' by Richard Eales (Batsford, London, 1985), for further guidance. Here is a long paragraph from the book.

Eales p.152

There are two passages in that excerpt relevant to the issue of match vs. tournament play. The first is:-

In 1866 Steinitz met Anderssen in a match in London, both players being backed entirely by stakes subscribed in England. Steinitz won by eight games to six, and this was the basis of his later claims to have been 'chess champion for twenty-eight years', though contemporaries were not so sure. Now over fifty (he was born in 1818), Anderssen won the Baden tournament of 1870 and defeated Steinitz in both their individual games, though Steinitz finally established his superiority in the Vienna tournament of 1873.

The second is:-

When in 1883 [Zukertort] convincingly won the great London tournament, Steinitz challenged him to a match rather than the other way round, so recognizing that the title of champion was still at the mercy of public opinion.

The first passage mentions the 1870 and 1873 tournaments as having an influence on thinking about the early World Championship. Those are the same tournaments that I flagged in the 'Official Unofficial' post. The second passage mentions the 1883 tournament. Since I've already documented the 1883 event, perhaps I should look more closely at the two earlier events. The 'Tabulating' post counts only a handful of periodicals from the early 1870s. Even though they are in the German language, it's a manageable number.

One more thought: there must have been a 'list zero' of unofficial early World Championship events. Since an introduction to chess history consists of parroting what recognized historians have already documented -- that's how I started -- there must be a chain of lists of unofficial early events. Who compiled the first such lists? Where were they published or otherwise documented? Perhaps the first official World Championship, the 1886 Steinitz - Zukertort match, is a logical place to start looking.