13 October 2021

2021 World Cup Wrapup

In the previous post -- see the last entry in the table below, 'Player Indices', for a link and see that post for links to the two World Cup pages under discussion -- I promised to add PGN files to both pages. Done & done.

Before adding the PGN, I cleaned up some name mismatches. The discussion after the table provides some details. The table summarizes the effort required to document a World Cup on my site, where I always build a page from the PGN game scores for the event. The table covers two recent World Cup events held concurrently: (1) unrestricted by gender, and (2) women only.

Post U W
2021-08-04: TWIC Documents Chess History Y Y
2021-08-11: A New Cycle Is Evolving Y Y
2021-08-18: 2021 World Cup Tiebreak Y -
2021-08-25: 2021 World Cup [Name] Mismatches Y -
2021-09-15: 2021 World Cup Crosstables Y -
2021-09-22: 2021 Women's World Cup Preparation - Y
2021-09-29: 2021 Women's World Cup Crosstables - Y
2021-10-06: 2021 World Cup Player Indices Y Y

In brief, here are the steps required for each event:-

  • Collect the PGN for an event
  • Prepare the PGN according to my preferences
  • Create a text file with the structure for the event
  • Convert the text file to HTML
  • Add the players to the index of of players
  • Add the PGN to the page for the event

While the steps are largely automated, they require constant supervision because of various booby traps at each step. As for name mismatches between the official site and the PGN delivered for the event, I discovered a half-dozen:-

Unrestricted event
- Ali / Salih
- Elarbi/ Elarabi
- Gareev / Gareyev
- Iyti / Eiti

Women only
- Bhakti Kulkarni / Kulkarni Bhakti
- Medina / Aulia

I've incorporated my decision for each name on the pages holding the player indices. I hope I've been consistent with previous decisions.

06 October 2021

2021 World Cup Player Indices

In last week's post, 2021 Women's World Cup Crosstables (September 2021), I ended with an action:-
As for the PGN and the 'Index of Players', the same task needs to be done for the concurrent event already documented in '2021 World Cup Crosstables' (September 2021).

The two events were:-

I updated the respective indices that cover all World Chess Championship (WCC) events since the 19th century:-

The unrestricted event included 200 players, of which 122 were veterans of other WCC events, and 78 were competing for the first time in a WCC event. In an earlier post on Sochi, 2021 World Cup Tiebreak (August 2021), I noted that the regulations specified 206 players: 156 players in round 1, joined by 50 top seeds in round 2. The same post explained that 'The difference of six players stems from six first round matches that were not played.'

The women's event included 101 players, of which 57 were veterans of women's events and 44 were competing for the first time. How does this compare with the regulations? Here I ran into a problem. I had regulations for 'Women’s World Cup 2020' and for 'Women’s World Cup 2022', both downloaded February 2020, which was pre-covid pandemic.

Digging deeper, I discovered that FIDE released 'Regulations for the FIDE Women’s World Cup 2021' in June 2021, a month before the event took place. That document specified that 78 players in round 1 were to be joined by 25 top seeds in round 2, for a total of 103 players. The difference of two players (103 in the regulations vs. 101 who actually played) was again accounted by two first round matches that were not played.

I spent so much time researching those numeric mismatches that I was unable to tackle the PGN. I'll do that for my next post, along with a second look at 2021 World Cup Name Mismatches (August 2021), where I wrote,

Other mismatches had to do with the spelling of player's names on TWIC and on the official site. Although I resolved the name mismatches, I ran out of time to go further. I'll document the mismatches at the appropriate place.

In retrospect, I think I made a mistake trying to document both Sochi events at the same time. The result has been a process that has dragged out for too long, with neither event fully documented. The upcoming Grand Swiss will also have concurrent tournaments. I'll try a different approach for those.


Later: Re 'two first round matches that were not played', the players who forfeited those matches are listed here:-

Ovezdurdiyeva (Badelka)
Paramzina (Bhakti)

Their opponents, whose names are listed in parentheses, advanced to the second round.

29 September 2021

2021 Women's World Cup Crosstables

In last week's post, 2021 Women's World Cup Preparation (September 2021), I wrote,
I'll need some more time to finish the 2021 FIDE Women's World Cup crosstables. After that I'll add the PGN files to the page and update the Index of Women Players.

I added the crosstables to the page for 2021 FIDE Women's World Cup. The Fide.com server error that I mentioned in the 'Preparation' post has disappeared, so I am more confident that my data is correct.

As for the PGN and the Index of Players, the same task needs to be done for the concurrent event already documented in 2021 World Cup Crosstables (September 2021). After that, I'll catch up with the latest news for two upcoming events:-

For those in-between weeks with nothing special to report, I'll document the zonals for the current cycle, C30. Here are a few corresponding references for the previous cycle, C29:-

All that will keep me busy well into next year.

22 September 2021

2021 Women's World Cup Preparation

In the previous post, 2021 World Cup Crosstables (September 2021), I noted,
Still to be done: [...] prepare the crosstables for the concurrent event 2021 FIDE Women's World Cup.

That harks back to an earlier post, A New Cycle Is Evolving (August 2021). There I wrote,

The two World Cups finished this past week, so I used the TWIC files to prepare the PGN files for both events [...] and created 2021 FIDE Women's World Cup.

I'll need some more time to finish the 2021 FIDE Women's World Cup crosstables. After that I'll add the PGN files to the page and update the Index of Women Players.

NB: The official site from Fide.com is currently returning the message 'Oops! An Error Occurred; The server returned a "500 Internal Server Error"', so I wasn't able to check the TWIC player names against FIDE's, or verify that the individual match results were correct. I hope to be able to do both when I add the crosstables.

15 September 2021

2021 World Cup Crosstables

After pausing a few weeks, I continued with 2021 World Cup Mismatches (August 2021). In that post I wrote,
The third and last step is to convert the text file [crosstables] to web page format by adding HTML markup tags. I wasn't able to do this for the current post, because I ran into a number of mismatches that had to be resolved.

Markup tags in place, I uploaded the result to 2021 World Cup; Sochi (Russia), VII-VIII, 2021. Still to be done:-

Before doing that, I'll prepare the crosstables for the concurrent event 2021 FIDE Women's World Cup.

25 August 2021

2021 World Cup [Name] Mismatches

In the previous post, 2021 World Cup Tiebreak (August 2021), I documented the first step in converting a TWIC PGN file for a World Cup to a page like 2021 World Cup, Sochi (Russia):-
TWIC delivers the files sorted by game and round : all of the PGN game scores for the first game of the first round, followed by all of the PGNs for the second game, etc. I prefer to have all of the games for each mini-match together.

The second step is to create a text file using my standard structure for a World Cup page. I've been using the same structure since the first FIDE knockout tournament, 1997 FIDE Knockout Matches, Groningen (Netherlands). It's not elegant, but it serves my purpose well enough. While I'm creating the text file, I also compare my results against the official site.

The third and last step is to convert the text file to web page format by adding HTML markup tags. I wasn't able to do this for the current post, because I ran into a number of mismatches that had to be resolved.

One mismatch was an error I made in that 'Tiebreak' post. The other mismatches had to do with the spelling of player's names on TWIC and on the official site. Although I resolved the name mismatches, I ran out of time to go further. I'll document the mismatches at the appropriate place.


Later: After I wrote this post, I realized that the title '2021 World Cup Mismatches' might easily be misunderstood to mean mismatches in playing strength. While there were certainly plenty of those in the event, I corrected the title to describe the content of the post more accurately.

18 August 2021

2021 World Cup Tiebreak

In last week's post, A New Cycle Is Evolving (August 2021), I wrote,
Two World Cups finished this past week, so I used the TWIC files to prepare the PGN files for both events.

That was just the initial preparation. TWIC delivers the files sorted by game and round : all of the PGN game scores for the first game of the first round, followed by all of the PGNs for the second game, etc. I prefer to have all of the games for each mini-match together, e.g. for the second round of the unrestricted World Cup (open to both men and women), I prefer to see both games of the Carlsen - Martinovic match, followed by both games of the Caruana - Megaranto match, and so on (using the top two boards in the second round as an example).

That sort takes some effort, but I like being able to get a bird's eye view of each match without any additional work. Since that's not much info for this current post, I'll add a count of the games played in each round of the unrestricted event.

For example, there were 144 players competing in the first round -- 72 mini-matches total for the first and second games of the round -- of which 19 matches went into tiebreak. One of those matches reached the third tiebreak.

The 72 winners of the first round joined 56 seeded players to contest 64 mini-matches in the second round. One of those matches reached the 'Armageddon' tiebreak.

For an explanation of a similar chart and the tiebreaks used in a previous World Cup, see 2015 World Cup Tiebreak (October 2015), on my main blog. NB: I haven't compared the details for the tiebreaks used in the 2015 World Cup with those of the 2021 event, but I suppose they were similar. For the details of the recent event, see 2021 World Cup, Sochi (Russia).


Later: In the next post for this series, 2021 World Cup [Name] Mismatches (August 2021), I wrote,

I ran into a number of mismatches that had to be resolved. One mismatch was an error I made in that 'Tiebreak' post.

That error stems from the sentence above that says,

The 72 winners of the first round joined 56 seeded players to contest 64 mini-matches in the second round.

That statement doesn't square with the official rules, copied on my page about the Sochi event, that said,

Round 1: 156 players
Round 2 (78 winners of Round 1 + 50 top seeds): 128 players

The difference of six players (78 winners - 72 winners) stems from six first round matches that were not played. The players who forfeited those matches are listed here:-

Atabayev (Erdos)
Fan (Lupulescu)
Rodriguez (Ivanisevic)
Wynn (Mikhalevski)
Zaibi (Deac)
Ziska (Moradiabadi)

Their opponents, whose names are listed in parentheses, advanced to the second round.

11 August 2021

A New Cycle Is Evolving

In my previous post, TWIC Documents Chess History (August 2021), I wrote,
I'm currently waiting for two concurrent World Cups to finish, so I decided to bring my personal copies of TWIC up to date.

The two World Cups finished this past week, so I used the TWIC files to prepare the PGN files for both events, added the headers for the rounds to 2021 World Cup; Sochi (Russia), VII-VIII, 2021, and created 2021 FIDE Women's World Cup [same venue and dates] on the index page for World Chess Championship for Women. I also updated two pages for qualifying events by adding the latest announcements from FIDE:-

The FIDE announcements were all made in the three weeks since I created the pages for the post A New Cycle Is Advancing (July 2021).

04 August 2021

TWIC Documents Chess History

Last week's post, Early Women's Grand Prix Events (July 2021), was a placeholder because,
I'm currently waiting for two concurrent World Cups to finish [plus links]

The same is true this week, so I decided to bring my personal copies of TWIC up to date. Along with the games from the World Cups, I'll need TWIC data to document:-

The two referenced posts document the start of the work I did for the previous cycle.

28 July 2021

Early Women's Grand Prix Events

I'm currently waiting for two concurrent World Cups to finish:-

I didn't have a good idea for today's post, so I looked at ideas in my 'Follow-up' category, Showing posts with label zFLUP. Most of the ideas required more time than I have to spend, but I found one that seemed reasonable:-

At the time of the post I wrote, 'The first two [WGPs], 2009-2010 & 2011-2012, could use a chart like the one shown.' For each of the players who competed in the Grand Prix, it showed the total score achieved across all events and the number of games played by the player. I added the new charts to the two wrapup pages:-

What's the plural of 'Grand Prix'? I decided to use the phrase shown in the title.

21 July 2021

A New Cycle Is Advancing

In the previous post, A New Cycle Is Starting (June 2021), I added the first page for the new World Championship cycle:-

That tournament is currently underway. For this current post, I added pages for the next two events in the cycle:-

Those three pages give me anchors for any subsequent announcements from FIDE concerning the new cycle.

30 June 2021

A New Cycle Is Starting

The last time I posted about the next FIDE World Championship cycle, A New Cycle Is Coping Nicely (June 2021), I noted an additional twist:-
FIDE's Handbook, D. Regulations for Specific Competitions (handbook.fide.com), includes the usual qualification paths for the 2021 World Cup, and adds a new one:- "VIII. One hundred (100) players are determined according to the Final Ranking of the Chess Olympiad 2020 open section."

The 2021 World Cup starts in a few weeks, so I added basic info about the new cycle to my index page for the World Chess Championship. I also added a new page 2021 World Cup; Sochi (Russia), VII-VIII, 2021. It currently consists mainly of excerpts from the regulations governing the tournament, but much more will be added over the next few months.


23 June 2021

2019-20 WGP, Last Actions

Last week's post 2019-20 WGP Crosstables listed a number of finishing touches for my page on the 2019-2020 FIDE Women's Grand Prix. These have all been implemented.

The chart on the left was the working document used to update the World Chess Championship : Index of Women Players. Of the 20 players listed, two were new to the index: Irina Bulmaga and Gunay Mammadzada. Both played in a single event, Gibraltar, but I could find no explanation for their participation.

The chart also shows that four women played 11 games (one event) and four others played 22 games (two events). This was probably due to covid complications, but I'll leave the whys and the wherefores for another time. The FIDE report on the last round of the last event, Gibraltar, Round 11: to Zhansaya, the glory; to Kateryna, the ticket to the Candidates (fide.com), reported,

Kateryna Lagno of Russia drew her game with Mariya Muzychuk of Ukraine to finish on 6.5 and clinch her place in the Candidates' tournament alongside Humpy Koneru, who also qualifies via the Grand Prix series, and Aleksandra Goryachkina of Russia, who qualifies as runner-up in the last Women’s World Championship.

Humpy Koneru achieved the goal despite having participated in only two events. For the previous final report on a WGP see 2015-2016 Women's Grand Prix, the Players, (December 2016), including links to older WGP final reports.

16 June 2021

2019-20 WGP Crosstables

Continuing with last week's post, 2019-20 WGP Gibraltar (June 2021), where 'WGP' stands for Women's Grand Prix, I added the crosstables for the four individual events to my page 2019-2020 FIDE Women's Grand Prix. I still have a few finishing touches to do:-
  • Add PGN
  • Add 4 x event logos
  • Add FIDE press releases
  • Update the index of players

I should be able to finish those for the next post.

09 June 2021

2019-20 WGP, Gibraltar

A few weeks ago, in More Notes on the Women's Championship (May 2021), I wrote,
Still missing is any trace of the Women’s Candidates tournament. FIDE partially compensated for this requirement by making a key announcement...

Following the link I gave for that announcement, 'Qualification for FIDE Women’s Candidates Tournament 2022 (fide.com)', one point gave a welcome confirmation:-

The eight spots in the Women’s Candidates Tournament 2022 will be allocated based on the following criteria [...] B. 2 spots – FIDE Grand Prix Series 2019-20 • The players who finish 1st and 2nd in the FIDE Grand Prix Series 2019-20. If one or two of these players is/are GM Ju Wenjun and/or GM Goryachkina, the reserved spot(s) is (are) awarded to the next non-qualifying player(s) in the final ranking of the FIDE Grand Prix Series 2019-20.

In past posts I repeatedly decided not to document the 2019-20 FIDE Grand Prix on my own pages:-

  • 2019-10-02: 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. [...] I'll wait until FIDE has published the necessary documents before I tackle the new cycle.'
  • 2019-12-18: 2019-20 Women's Grand Prix • 'The second event in that Grand Prix, held in Monaco, has ended and there is still no sign of documentation covering the full cycle.'
  • 2020-04-22: 2019-20 WGP, Lausanne • 'The necessary documentation is still not available, nor is there any sign of activity.'

Reversing that decision, I created a new page, 2019-2020 FIDE Women's Grand Prix (m-w.com), including the recently finished 2021 Gibraltar, and added it to the index page World Chess Championship for Women (ditto). • Next step: For the four events that were played in the Grand Prix, add the crosstables and PGN to the new page.

02 June 2021

A New Cycle Is Coping Nicely

A couple of months ago, in A New Cycle Is Struggling to Survive (March 2021), I gathered available info on the next FIDE World Championship cycle. That's the cycle that follows the forthcoming title match, Carlsen - Nepomniachtchi, Dubai, XI-XII, 2021. I'm happy to report that the cycle is not only surviving, it appears to be thriving.

The 'Struggling to Survive' post included the dates for the next world class event:-

FIDE World Cup; Sochi, Russia; 10 Jul; 03 Aug

That's next month! FIDE's Handbook, D. Regulations for Specific Competitions (handbook.fide.com), includes the usual qualification paths for the 2021 World Cup, and adds a new one:-

VIII. One hundred (100) players are determined according to the Final Ranking of the Chess Olympiad 2020 open section.

The top one hundred (100) national federations are given one qualification spot (hereinafter referred to as Olympiad spot). If any federation is represented by two (2) or more teams, it cannot get more than one Olympiad spot. Not more than forty (40) federations per Continent may get Olympiad spots. If there are more than forty federations from the same Continent in top 100 of the Final Ranking, Olympiad spot(s) go(es) to the next federation(s) in the Final Ranking.

Each Continent has [the] right to transfer up to 50% of the eventual respective Continent’s Olympiad spots to Continental events (see Article 2.1.V). Such a decision is to be announced by March 1st 2020. If this decision is taken, the remaining Continent’s Olympiad spots are given to the best federations representing the respective Continent according to the Final Ranking of the Chess Olympiad 2020.

Each national federation having won the Olympiad spot needs to work out qualification criteria for its representative. The Olympiad spot is to be given to one of the Olympiad 2020 national team members. If all Olympiad 2020 national team members qualify to World Cup by other paths or decline participation, the spot can be given to any other player.

All the Olympiad spots are to be announced between June 1st and July 1st 2021.

It remains to be seen how that will work in practice, especially the provision to 'transfer up to 50%', which I don't understand. The two most recent issues of TWIC ('The Week in Chess' by Mark Crowther) mentioned a number of World Cup qualifying tournaments.

The AICF Qualifier was a special event brought on by the covid crisis:-

FIDE has already issued reports on two of the Continental qualifiers:-

  • 2021-05-30: 36 European players qualify for 2021 FIDE World Cup (fide.com) • 'The European Hybrid Qualification Tournament for the FIDE World Cup took place from May 24-30 on Tornelo online platform. All the federations had specially designated and approved venues supervised by local arbiters and monitored by cameras. The event brought together 264 players from 35 European federations.'

  • 2021-05-31: Eight American players qualify for 2021 FIDE World Cup (ditto) • 'The American Hybrid World Cup Qualifier was an 8-group (16 players in each) knockout tournament taking place from May 22-29. The winner of each group qualified for the 2021 FIDE World Cup that will be held in Sochi, Russia from July 10 to August 7. All the games were played online on Tornelo platform from designated venues.'

'China Zonal 3.5' was missing from the 'Struggling to Survive' post. As for the other events covered by the TWIC reports, I'll wait for official reports before I go any further.

I discussed the hybrid format in FIDE Hybrid Competitions (March 2021), where I wrote, 'In a few months we'll learn how well this works for World Championship qualifiers.' The results so far appear to be positive.

26 May 2021

More Notes on the Women's Championship

The last time I looked at the current cycle for the Women's World Championship was in Notes on the Women's Championship (November 2020). I used a screen capture from the FIDE handbook to show that the documentation available to the public was poorly maintained: women's events mixed with unrestricted events (open to both men and women); events listed in no particular order; and important events missing entirely.

Here's another screen capture showing the current status of the FIDE handbook. The organization of the material has been much improved.

handbook.fide.com (May 2021)

Still missing is any trace of the Women’s Candidates tournament. FIDE partially compensated for this requirement by making a key announcement:-

After the fourth and last leg of the Women's Grand Prix currently underway in Gibraltar, the two other qualifying events are scheduled for later this year:-

  • Women's World Cup 2021; Sochi, Russia; 10 Jul 2021; 03 Aug 2021
  • Women’s Grand Swiss 2021; Isle of Man; 25 Oct 2021; 08 Nov 2021

Another piece of the overall picture was announced last week:-

The Women’s Candidates tournament and the title match are currently not scheduled. Which will come first -- the documentation, i.e. the rules, for the events -or- the formal announcement of the events? Based on recent performance, I'm betting on the announcement.

19 May 2021

Yekaterinburg Candidates - Wrapup

It's finally time to terminate the interminable. Here's a summary of the posts -- mainly from this blog -- stemming from the recently concluded Yekaterinburg Candidates. Let's start with the posts from the first half of the tournament.

During this time, there was only one post on my main blog:-

  • 2020-03-31: Coronavirus Candidates • 'With every major sports event getting cancelled or postponed this month, you might think the Candidates tournament would have attracted considerable attention from mainstream sports broadcasting ... and you would be wrong.'

For the previous Candidates tournament, the summary Berlin Candidates - Wrapup (April 2018) listed 15 posts on my main blog. Why the big difference? Because the following year I announced, 'The End of Daily Blogging' (September 2019).

After the first half was of the Yekaterinburg Candidates was played, there was a long hiatus before the second half started. Of course, no one could know how long it would be.

That last FIDE announcement finally hit the right note.

Next stop: 2021 Carlsen - Nepomniachtchi; Dubai, XI-XII, 2021.

12 May 2021

Yekaterinburg Candidates - Last Updates?

To my page:- I added the PGN and crosstable for the second half of the tournament, plus the chart from last week's post Yekaterinburg Candidates - Cumulative Score (May 2021). Then I added Nepomniachtchi's name, as challenger, plus other relevant info to the pages:-

I also added recent announcements from Fide.com to the same pages where appropriate. Then I ran out of time. To be continued?

05 May 2021

Yekaterinburg Candidates - Cumulative Score

My first action after last week's post, Yekaterinburg Candidates - Fourth Week (April 2021; 'Congratulations to GM Nepomniachtchi on a well deserved victory'), was to gather the PGN for the second half of the tournament. Combining that with the PGN for the first half let me calculate the cumulative score, shown below.

The red line separates the two halves of the tournament, where the second half was played more than a year after the first. As soon as I get a chance, I'll add that image -- plus the PGN and crosstable for the second half -- to my page 2020 Candidates Tournament; Yekaterinburg (Russia).

The cumulative score continues a pattern I've noted several times on this blog. The previous mention was Yekaterinburg Candidates - First Week (March 2020):-

The eventual winner was from the group of players who had a plus score after round 3. The winner was also one of the leaders after the first half of the tournament.

That makes five consecutive candidate tournaments showing the same pattern. What are the odds?

28 April 2021

Yekaterinburg Candidates - Fourth Week

After waiting more than a year for the continuation of the 2020 Candidates Tournament, Yekaterinburg, the whole affair was over in a little over a week. Unfortunately for me, after last week's post Yekaterinburg Candidates - Third Week (April 2021), I didn't find the time to watch a single minute of the action. To compensate, I collected the following links from two of the most respected chess news sources.

Rd. Chess.com Chessbase.com
R08 Well-Prepared Caruana Moves Up As MVL Stumbles In Endgame Caruana impresses, wins marathon [with links to rds.1-7]
R09 Giri Strikes, Moves Into Second-Place Tie? Giri wins, climbs to shared second place
R10 Nepomniachtchi Wins Quickly, Increases Lead Nepomniachtchi widens the gap
R11 Giri Approaches Nepomniachtchi, MVL Stumbles Giri in sole second place after brilliant win
R12 Four Winners, Nepomniachtchi Maintains Lead Nepo wins to keep the lead as Giri beats Caruana
R13 Nepomniachtchi Wins FIDE Candidates Tournamen1 day Nepomniachtchi to challenge Carlsen for the World Championship title
R14 Three Winners In Final Round, Wang Hao Announces Retirement Ding, MVL and Alekseenko finish on a high note

Congratulations to GM Nepomniachtchi on a well deserved victory. Another article on Chess.com, published just before the second half of the tournament started, is worth noting: FIDE Candidates: Karjakin Names Nepomniachtchi As Most Difficult Opponent For Carlsen (Peter Doggers). Over the next few weeks, I'll add the finishing touches to my own online record of the event.

21 April 2021

Yekaterinburg Candidates - Third Week

In writing this post, I had two problems to solve. My first problem was what to title it. In the previous post, Yekaterinburg Candidates - Second Week (April 2020, a full year ago), I wrote,
This might become one of the shortest blog posts I've ever written. After last week's post, Yekaterinburg Candidates - First Week, there was no second week.

I decided to keep the title ordinally simple: First Week, Second Week, Third Week. Next week's post will be titled ... no prize for a correct guess.

My second problem was what to write about. The first round of the restarted second half finished yesterday, so there's not much new material to work with. Let's just say that the continuation of the event is finally underway -- there were no further postponements or delays. On top of that, all of the players arrived safely -- there were no last minute cancellations. Those points are both noteworthy, in and of themselves.

Once again, like for 'Second Week', that's not much of a post. Fortunately, I have a backup idea. A couple of weeks ago I received an email from Eric van Reem telling me that he had released a couple of podcasts about the Candidates tournament, with a third podcast on the way. Last year I became familiar with Eric's work thanks to my chess960 blog; see The Norwegian Connection (November 2020), for his two part chat with GM Jonathan Tisdall (which covers much more than chess960). The three more recent podcasts are well worth a listen:-

  • 2021-03-30 #26 Lennart Ootes, 'Let's talk about the Candidates Tournament and photography'
  • 2021-04-06 #27 Leontxo García, 'Let's talk about your escape from Yekaterinburg'
  • 2021-04-18 #28 Douglas Griffin, 'Let's talk about chess history' [with an emphasis on past candidates tournaments]

Each of those podcasts links to the full index of all 28 podcasts. That's guaranteed to provide some entertainment between rounds of the tournament. What will podcast #29 bring?

14 April 2021

1976 Arandjelovac Zonal Revisited

My index of zonal pages, The World Chess Championship : Zonals, follows a straightforward structure. Players in a zone assemble for a tournament, they play each other, and the winners qualify into an Interzonal. Repeat that sequence for as many zones as were authorized for a particular cycle.

Sometimes the evolution of a zonal is not so straightforward. One example is documented on my page (C05) 1960-1963 Zonal Cycle, where the zone two tournament at Berg en Dal was annulled and played again the following year at Marianske Lazne. The underlying reason had to do with Cold War Chess Politics (July 2015).

Another such cold war event involved two zonals, 1975 Barcelona & 1976 Arandjelovac (August 2014). I outlined the circumstances in that blog post, but there's more to the story. Vladica Andrejic of Perpetualcheck.com, sent me scans of the following clippings, which tell the tale of 1976 Arandjelovac.

Šahovski glasnik, 1976-09, p.305-306

I ran the scans through (1) an OCR to text converter, followed by (2) a language translator, and was pleased enough with the results that I'll incorporate them here. The article, written by V. Sokolov, is titled 'Supplementary Zone Tournament in Arandelovac'. The first two paragraphs [with some minor edits by me] say,

It is in Arandelovac at the time of 16. to 25. [April] o. g. held supplementary match-tournament of four grandmasters who for obvious reasons did not participate in the zonal tournament in Barcelona (Spain).

After many vicissitudes and months of negotiations on the route FIDE-SSJ ['ŠSJ' = 'Šahovski Savez Jugoslavije' = Yugoslavian Chess Federation] finally four grandmasters Uhlmann (DDR), Smejkal (CSSR), Adorjan (Hungary) and Velimirovic (Yugoslavia) got a chance to [be] subsequently included in interzone tournaments. It needed to be won the first two places, i.e. the last two are dropped.

The next eight paragraphs describe the evolution of the tournament, especially taken from the point of view of Velimirovic. Unfortunately for his Yugoslav fans, he had a poor tournament and finished last behind the other three players who finished tied for 1st-3rd. The next paragraph says,

So the tournament ended in a dead race. Three players found themselves in the first place and should have continued with a new two-round tournament. They have, however, opted for gambling, just like Parma and Liberzon. Such as it is known that the dice were not in favor of Adorjan, [so] Smejkal and Uhlmann were placed for interzone tournaments. It seems that it should not be applied gambling when it comes to such a serious matter as the World [Championship]. Yet it is in a sense chess degradation.

I added the crosstable shown in the clipping to the page (C10) 1975-1978 Zonal Cycle, then reorganized the page to clarify the different sequences of events. There are still some open questions involving the 'IZ Qualifiers', but perhaps 'Šahovski glasnik' will prove useful there as well.

07 April 2021

Viktor and Petra Korchnoi

A couple of recent reports from the mainstream chess press have their roots in a World Championship match from the 1970s. It's curious that all three title matches from the 1970s -- 1972, 1975 (unplayed), 1978 -- have achieved legendary status.

2021-03-23: 'The dirtiest chess match in history': Stean on Karpov-Korchnoi, 1978 (chess24.com; Colin McGourty)

The great Viktor Korchnoi, one of the strongest players never to become World Champion, would have turned 90 today. On the eve of that anniversary, the BBC dedicated an episode of the radio broadcast Witness History to the match that saw Viktor come within a win of claiming the World Championship title. The clash with Anatoly Karpov in Baguio City in the Philippines is described as "a surreal experience" by English Grandmaster Michael Stean, who turned 25 during the match and was working as a second for Viktor.

2021-03-19: Petra Korchnoi dies at 93 (chessbase.com; Frederic Friedel)

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Petra Korchnoi – Petronella Leeuwerik before her marriage to the two-fold World Championship Challenger. She was a remarkable personality and a great friend, and will be sorely missed.

More than 20 years ago I used database techniques to compile a summary of the many themes that occurred in the match: 1978 Karpov - Korchnoi Title Match : Yogurt, Parapsychology, Ananda Marga, ... (m-w.com). That analysis still holds up today.

31 March 2021

A New Cycle Is Struggling to Survive

It's been two years since FIDE restructured its World Championship qualifiers, as I documented in FIDE Starts the New Cycle (May 2019; 'I added three new pages to my site for the World Chess Championship'), meaning it's time to start the next cycle. Although the coronavirus pandemic has played havoc with tournament plans, the FIDE Calendar shows that many qualifying events are already scheduled. The following table gives an overview of those events.

Source: FIDE Calendar
[World Events 2021]
Candidates Tournaments Yekaterinburg, Russia 19 Apr28 Apr
FIDE World Cup Sochi, Russia 10 Jul03 Aug
FIDE Women's World Cup 2021 Sochi, Russia 10 Jul06 Aug
FIDE Chess.com Grand Swiss and Women’s Grand Swiss 2021 Isle of Man 25 Oct08 Nov
FIDE World Chess Championship Dubai, UAE 24 Nov16 Dec
European Hybrid Qualification event for the FIDE World Cup Online 22 May30 May
('No Data')
Asian Continental Open Chess Championship Hybrid 20 May30 May
Zone 3.1 Zonal Open Championship Hybrid 01 Jun09 Jun
Zone 3.2 Zonal Open Championship Dhaka, Bangladesh 01 Jun09 Jun
Zone 3.3 Zonal Open Championship Hybrid 01 May10 May
Zone 3.4 Zonal Open Championship Tashkent, Uzbekistan 06 May15 May
Zone 3.7 Zonal Open Championship India 2021 2021
2021 African Online World Cup Pre-Qualifying Chess Championship Tornelo Platform 23 Apr02 May
African Individual Chess Championship 2021 (Open & Women) Lilongwe, Malawi 17 May28 May
Zone 4.1 Individual Chess Championship 2021 (Open & Women) Algiers, Algeria 29 Oct06 Nov
Zone 4.2 Individual Chess Championship 2021 (Open & Women) Lomé, Togo 03 Sep11 Sep
Zone 4.3 Individual Chess Championship 2021 (Open & Women) Libreville, Gabon 01 Oct09 Oct
Zone 4.4 Individual Chess Championship 2021 (Open & Women) Kigali, Rwanda 27 Aug04 Sep
Zone 4.5 Individual Chess Championship 2021 (Open & Women) Maseru, Lesotho 05 Nov13 Nov

[World Events 2021] - My most recent posts on these subjects were:-

[Europe] - See also European hybrid qualification tournament for the FIDE World Cup (chessbase.com), which starts,

The European Hybrid Qualification Tournament for the FIDE World Cup will take place on May 22-30 and will be played Online as a hybrid event. 36 players will qualify for the FIDE World Cup 2021. The event will be played under a knock-out system with matches consisting of 2 standard games plus tiebreaks if needed.

[Americas] - The calendar section of the FIDE America site returns an error message: '404 Error : Article not found'. A recent page, Participants in the World Cup, says,

FIDE has asked the Continents to send the names of the participants in the World Cup before May 31st, 2021, also approving to organize Continental Hybrid Championships where no titles will be granted.

[Asia] - Zone 3.5 is missing. Zone 3.6 was covered on 2021 Oceania Zonal (chessexpress.blogspot.com). That kickoff post explained,

The 2021 Oceania Zonal is now going ahead as a 'hybrid' event. This means that the players will be playing online, but supervised by an in place arbiter. Due to the logistics of organising such an event, it will be a round robin tournament, with 1 player per country, except Australia, who can nominate 2 players.

[Africa] - I first mentioned the new zone 4.5 in FIDE Details the New Cycle (May 2019).

For more about the hybrid format, see my recent post FIDE Hybrid Competitions: 'In a few months we'll learn how well this works for World Championship qualifiers.' The experience started with zone 3.6.

24 March 2021

A World Correspondence Champion's Games

The subject of last week's post, Three Time World Correspondence Champion (March 2021), was ICCF GM Aleksandr Dronov. Wanting to know more about GM Dronov's games, I downloaded the PGN file from his ICCF player page (see the 'Three Time WCC' post for a link) and started to analyze it.

Although the ICCF page promises '149 games completed' (three more than last week), I received 150 games. Dronov is currently playing the 'World Championship 31 Final' and the crosstable for the event indicates that three of his games, all draws, have been added since a week ago.

Of the 150 games, there was a preponderance of games where Dronov was Black. It turned out that two of the earliest events had him as Black in nearly all of his games. These games in the PGN file were only stubs -- no moves available -- a bookkeeping convention I've also used to build crosstables. Going a little deeper, I counted 34 such games without moves.

The following chart gives an overview of Dronov's opening repertioire. Of course, it doesn't pretend to be complete. He has also opened 1.Nf3 and 1.c4 in a few games. Where he plays several different moves in a position, his most frequent choice is shown first. It's also worth noting that 1.d4 as his first move was more frequent in older games, while 1.e4 was more frequent in newer games.

What more can I say about this chart? Not much. These are all popular lines and the moves shown here are all well known. The same chart would apply to many of today's titled correspondence players. The choice of move depends not only on a player's experience (i.e. repertoire), but also on the opponent's repertoire, previous experience against the opponent, the objective against a specific opponent, and up-to-date engine analysis.

Two games were mentioned in the AJEC interview, already referenced in the 'Three Time WCC' post. Both games were from the WC22 Final, the event that gave Dronov his first World Champion title. The first game mentioned was a controversial decision on an adjudication:-

Q: Several strong players (Langeveld, Hamarat and Timm) are convinced that the [win] which you have been granted in the arbitration against Rune Holmberg is completely fanciful and that you wouldn't you have won this game against one of them.

Dronov answered with a few specific points and summarized,

A: The arbitrator (just like me), had no doubts about the outcome of this game and that is why he awarded me the win.

The second game mentioned was the last to finish in the tournament, and allowed Dronov to tie for first place, thereby winning on tiebreak:-

Q: What was your most difficult part in this world championship? • A: The last, decisive game against Buecker was the most difficult and the most interesting.

Both of those games are worth a deeper look. Since the purpose of this blog is not to analyze games, I'll leave that exercise for another place.

17 March 2021

Three Time World Correspondence Champion

In a recent post, Small Projects for 2021 (February 2021), I wrote,
The ICCF started one new World Championship, the 32nd, but finished none. It might be worthwhile to write a post about three time ICCF winner Aleksandr Dronov, so I'll keep that in mind.

My first stop was the ICCF site, from which I cobbled together the following composite image. It shows GM Dronov's titles and ICCF events

140915 RUS GM Dronov, Aleksandr Surenovich

Comparing the 146 games there with The chess games of Aleksandr Surenovich Dronov (chessgames.com; 'Number of games in database: 47'), shows that many of his games are not in the online databases. If the best correspondence player in the world is underrepresented, the same must be true for lesser players.

My next stop was Wikipedia's page, Aleksandr Dronov (en.wikipedia.org). The following 'snippet' repeats nearly the entire content of the page.

Aleksandr Surenovich Dronov is a Russian International Correspondence Chess Grandmaster. He is most famous for being the 22nd, 27th, and 29th World Correspondence Chess Champion.[1][2][3] He is the only person to win the World Correspondence Chess Championship three times.

Country: Soviet Union; Russia
Born: 6 October 1946 (age 74) Moscow, Russia
Title: ICCF Grandmaster (2005)

The footnotes '[1][2][3]' lead to the relevant crosstables on ICCF.com. That English language page is not very informative, but indicates that Dronov also has Wikipedia pages in six other languages. Only one of these, the German language page Alexander Surenowitsch Dronow (de.wikipedia.org), has much to add. Google Translate informs,

Dronow began in 1988 at the age of 41, inspired by the successes of Fritz Baumbach with correspondence chess. Before that he had tried his hand at local chess without any notable success and had been taking a break there since 1981. After taking 3rd place on the first board of the 13th Correspondence Chess Olympiad behind Baumbach and Chytilek, he won the gold medal on the 1st board of the opening group for the 18th Correspondence Chess Olympiad.

My final stop was a French language page, AJEC - 01.01.2011 - Interview d'Aleksandr Surenovich Dronov (ajec-echecs.org; AJEC = 'Association des Joueurs d’Échecs par Correspondance'). Taking only a small portion of the interview, Google Translate again informs,

Q: Do you have any favorite books? A: 'My System' by Aaron Nimzowitsch and 'Zurich 1953, The Art of Chess Fighting' by David Bronstein. • Q: What do you think is the essential trait that enabled you to win this [World Championship] tournament? A: A very solid confidence in [myself]. • Q: How do you prepare your games with Black? A: I always look for positions with counterplay. I always play to win.

Correspondence chess grandmasters don't get the attention they deserve, but we knew that already.

P.S. In the final of the 31st ICCF World Championship (follow the link under the image above), the leader is presently on plus-2 with all games completed. Dronov is on plus-1 with four games unfinished. He might win a fourth title!

10 March 2021

FIDE Hybrid Competitions

Earlier this year we had an announcement from FIDE about online chess rules, including the concept of 'hybrid competition'.
  • 2021-01-04: FIDE approves Online Chess Regulations (fide.com) • 'The FIDE Council has approved a new set of rules to be applied to official online chess competitions. The document, which will be incorporated into the laws of chess, is the result of a joint effort by a dedicated task force, in which several FIDE Commissions were involved. [...] The so-called "hybrid competition" is a new format where the games are played online, but the participants are physically present in a public place like a club, federation headquarters, hotel, et cetera. [...] FIDE expects the hybrid format to be used in some official events in the near future, and some Continents have expressed their intention to hold their Zonal and even Continental Championships under this format.

A few weeks later we learned that the hybrid competitions would be rated.

  • 2021-01-18: FIDE approves hybrid competitions valid for rating (ditto) • 'A few weeks ago, the FIDE Council approved a new set of rules to be applied to official online chess competitions. The document also established the framework for “hybrid” events [...] After receiving some additional input from the Qualification Commission, and adding some minor amendments to the first version of the regulations, the FIDE Council has approved that hybrid competitions are officially rated in equal terms with traditional games.'

Just a few days ago we learned that hybrid competitions were valid for World Championship qualifying events.

Shown below is the table of contents for the 'Online Chess Regulations'. Note specifically 'Part III b: Regulations for Hybrid Chess Competitions'. In a few months we'll learn how well this works for World Championship qualifiers.

FIDE Handbook E. Miscellaneous / 04. Online Chess Regulations

03 March 2021

FIDE Candidates Tournament, Final Chapter?

Regarding the February announcement, FIDE resumes the Candidates Tournament (fide.com), shouldn't that say, 'FIDE plans to resume...'? The announcement started,
The Candidates Tournament, the biennial 8-player event that decides who will be the Challenger for the World Chess Championship title, will resume on the 19th of April in Yekaterinburg, Russia.

It also gave an overview of the tournament standing, reproduced below, when it was interrupted after the first half had been completed.

I added a link for the announcement to my page, 2020 Candidates Tournament; Yekaterinburg (Russia), III-IV, 2020. There are now 19 Fide.com links on that page, which might be some kind of a record. For the recent announcement about the subsequent title match, see Expo 2020 Dubai (in 2021).

24 February 2021

Small Projects for 2021

This year's 'Small Projects' could almost be a carbon copy of last year's post, Small Projects for 2020 (February 2020). The main topics a year ago were:-
- 2017-02-22: Missing Months
- Renewed interest in 1983 for London

- Posts with label Computers
- Posts with label Correspondence
- Posts with label zFLUP
  * 2020: Currently 26 posts
  * 2021: Currently 33 posts

I made no progress on those first two bullets, so they are still outstanding. As for label 'Computers' and 'Correspondence', there is no significant activity to report in either category. The ICGA cancelled nearly everything in 2020 because of the covid pandemic. The ICCF started one new World Championship, the 32nd, but finished none. It might be worthwhile to write a post about three time ICCF winner Aleksandr Dronov, so I'll keep that in mind.

As for label zFLUP ('Follow-up') the increase from 2020 to 2021 is partly due to posts that were followed-up, but not closed. Add that to the list of small projects.

Another idea that's been in the back of my mind for a few years is to clean up the Index of Zonals. The country codes could be standardized and the columns of counters, 'GMG' etc., could be moved into the background. At the same time I could investigate events that are still marked '?'. There are currently 16 of them.

17 February 2021

Olimpbase Zonals

In last week's post, Another Azmai Controversy? (February 2021), I discovered an exciting development on Olimpbase concerning the documentation of zonal tournaments. As a consequence, I assigned myself a future action:-
For further investigation: [...] How much more than 'Zonal 1.2b, Struga 1995' is available on Olimpbase?

Unable to find an index to zonals on the site, I concentrated on the directory where the zonal files are located: olimpbase.org/ind-wcc. I loaded the filenames of the zonal pages into a database and learned that they were all similarly structured:-

[cycle]-zonal[info], e.g. 'wc1998-zonal12b' for the Struga 1995 page mentioned above.

This let me count the number of zonals available for each [cycle], as shown in the following chart (excludes playoffs).

For example, the 'wc1998' cycle has 21 zonals associated with it, of which one is the Struga 1995 page. The codes shown in red in the last column correspond to my system of numbering the cycles. From this we can see that cycles C01 through C10 are represented, C11 to C14 are missing, and C15 to C20 are represented, although C20 has only a single zonal. (The current cycle is C29.)

The largest number of zonals are from the 'wc1996' cycle (C16), so I decided to compare the Olimpbase data with my own data on the page C16: 1993-1996 Zonal Cycle. The word 'compare' isn't the most precise term, because Olimpbase has full crosstables, round-by-round progress, and much more, where I often have only the year/place of the event with a clipping to confirm its existence elsewhere in chess literature. For example, my C16 page mentions,

1.5a Kladovo YUG 1993-06
1.5a Zouberi 1993-00

On several occasions I've looked for more info about these events, without success. The equivalent Olimpbase page, Zonal 1.5a, Kladovo/Zouberi 1993, has crosstables for both events plus links to a corresponding PGN file and a playoff. The Olimpbase home page, OlimpBase :: the encyclopaedia of team chess (olimpbase.org), currently says, 'Individual tournament finally available - a long expected feature is ON', plus:-

Under construction a.o.: • Individual World Championship (including complete results of zonals) • Individual Continental Championship (Panamerican, Asian, African, European) - most complete! [...]

This indicates that the championships of the four continents, which are equivalent to zonals for cycle qualification, are available elsewhere. The site's right sidebar lists all four under 'Continental Championships', but the links only lead back to the Olimpbase home page. Technical glitches of this sort are common on new resources. The timestamps on the zonal pages show that most were released on May 2020, so I expect we'll see updates at some time in the future.

OlimpBase's Wojciech Bartelski shows once again that he is a trailblazer in chess history. Thanks, Wojciech!


Later: Re...

The site's right sidebar lists all four under 'Continental Championships', but the links only lead back to the Olimpbase home page. Technical glitches of this sort are common on new resources.

...the 'glitch' was mine. I was trying to open the links in a new browser tab -- as I often do -- but the target page was not loading as it usually does. It was defaulting to the site's home page. A straightforward click on the link produces the desired target page. Apologies for the misleading remark!

10 February 2021

Another Azmai Controversy?

One of the events on my page (C17) Zonals 1995-1997 is '1.2b Struga (Macedonia) 1995-03', with a clipping attributed to 'Europe Echecs, 1995-09, p.50'. A note under the entry says,
EK: Europe Echecs wonders why Azmaiparashvili played in this zone. He was representing Bosnia & Hercegovina at that time, which can be seen from the rating lists of that time. So he was in the right zone after all.

My reaction when I first copied the comment to that page was 'Oh, OK', and I've since re-read it many times without giving it a second thought. On the latest reading it occurred to me that in 1995, Bosnia was in the middle of a civil war. This is confirmed by Wikipedia's page Bosnian War that says,

The Bosnian War was an international armed conflict that took place in Bosnia and Herzegovina between 1992 and 1995. The war is commonly seen as having started on 6 April 1992, following a number of violent incidents earlier in the year. The war ended on 14 December 1995.

Did GM Azmaiparashvili really change his nationality to a country involved in a civil war? It happens that there is another page on the web Zonal 1.2b, Struga 1995 (olimpbase.org), with a full crosstable of the event. That OlimpBase page lists three participants under the Bosnian flag:-

  • GM Azmaiparashvili, Zurab
  • GM Kurajica, Bojan
  • GM Dizdarevic, Emir

The three GMs finished 1st, 3rd, and 5-7th, respectively. To verify the EK explanation, I turned to my rating database and queried the three Bosnian participants for four consecutive years. The following image shows what I found.

I have one rating list per year, dated 1 January each year. My public page, FIDE historical ratings, points to one more file that is not in my database, 1995-07.ZIP, for ratings dated 1 July 1995. It also lists GM Azmaiparashvili's nationality as GEO (Georgia). On its own Elo lists, Europe Echecs (EE) had

Jan 1995 • 'Azmaiparachvili GEO 2610' at 44-46th in the world
Jul 1995 • 'Azmaiparachvili BOS 2620', 39-44th in the world.
In other words, EE confirms EK. For 1996, EE had the Georgian GM back in GEO at mid-year.
Feb 1996 • 'Azmaiparachvili BOS 2660' 15-17th in the world
Jul 1996 • 'Azmaiparachvili GEO 2670' 12-15th in the world

Azmaiparashvili's career has been dogged by controversies, including one in 1995. His Wikipedia page, Zurab Azmaiparashvili, says (with references),

Azmaiparashvili was alleged to have rigged the results of the Strumica [Macedonia] tournament of 1995 [month?] to boost his rating.

That particular World Championship cycle was itself controversial. Instead of The Last, Lost Interzonal (February 2012 on this blog), the chess world saw 1997 FIDE Knockout Matches. GM Azmaiparashvili was seeded into the second round and eliminated in the fourth round by GM Krasenkow.


For further investigation:-

  • How was Azmaiparashvili's transfer GEO -> BIH -> GEO handled administratively within FIDE?
  • Why don't the historical rating lists reflect the transfer?
  • How much more than 'Zonal 1.2b, Struga 1995 (olimpbase.org)' is available on Olimpbase?

I doubt the first two questions can be answered so many years after the fact, but the third should be easy.

03 February 2021

Expo 2020 Dubai (in 2021)

Dubai emerges as likely host for November world championship (theguardian.com; Leonard Barden) • Breaking news? No, the dateline is February 2020 and the first line warns, 'This article is more than 11 months old'. It starts,
Magnus Carlsen’s next world championship defence is likely to be in Dubai. The global chess body’s president, Arkady Dvorkovich, said in an interview in Gibraltar that Fide is close to signing a contract with Expo Dubai to stage the €2m, 14-game series there in November.

Carlsen’s opponent will be decided by the eight-man candidates’ tournament which starts at Ekaterinburg, Russia, on 15 March, and where the United States world No 2, Fabiano Caruana, who tied the 2018 championship series with Carlsen before losing a speed play-off, is the favourite.

We all know what happened next. First there was the Coronavirus Candidates (March 2020; on my main blog). Then there was 2020 World Championship Postponed (July 2020). Fast forward to a year after the Leonard Barden article and we learn, Expo 2020 Dubai to host FIDE World Chess Championship (fide.com):-

The next FIDE World Chess Championship -- the highlight of the world chess calendar -- will be held at Expo 2020 Dubai, promising an enthralling contest that will delight chess fans and the wider public alike.

Organised by the International Chess Federation (FIDE), the postponed 2020 championship will take place between 24 November and 16 December 2021, and will see the reigning world champion, Magnus Carlsen of Norway, defend his title against the winner of the delayed Candidates Tournament, which is due to conclude in Ekaterinburg, Russia, in April. The two players will compete for a prize fund of EUR 2 million (AED 9 million).

I added that FIDE link to my page on the next title match, 2021 Carlsen - ?, then wondered what are the odds that the Candidates tournament and/or the title match will take place. Does anyone know?

27 January 2021

The Kamskys vs. Bob Rice

During the last 20+ years I've accumulated thousands of documents and document snippets related to the World Chess Championship. While sorting through them for another post, I rediscovered a series of early TWIC extracts related to the 1994-95 PCA Candidates Matches. As far as I can tell, these historically relevant documents exist only on TWIC.

1994-11-20: The Week in Chess 10 • '2) The Kamsky Letter and Bob Rice's response'

  • 'Eric Schiller posted an open letter to the chess world from Gata Kamsky. It purely represents Kamsky's point of view and was unedited by Eric; Dated: 07.11.94' • 'One and half months already passed since we started trying to get any answer from Bob Rice. So far, our lawyers received only telephone answers. We officially requested him in written form to allow PCA Candidates' finals match between Kamsky and Anand to be held in Linares, starting December 15-20th.'

  • 'PCA Response to Kamsky. November 19, 1994; Bob Rice's Reaction; We spoke to Bob Rice today over the phone about Gata Kamsky's Open Letter and he made these comments. The fragments are presented more or less in the order that I jotted them down. -- Larry Evans' • "The charges made by Gata Kamsky are patently absurd and have about the same degree of validity as his earlier charge that people were poisoning his food. [...]"

1994-11-27: The Week in Chess 11 • '2) FIDE, PCA and the Kamskys'

  • 'Interview with Gata Kamsky; By Larry Evans' • (On Sunday we received a phone call from Gata Kamsky and his father Rustam. These are their comments on my interview with Bob Rice.) "We had two lawyers but dismissed them because we feel they took the side of PCA commissioner Bob Rice against us. [...]"

  • 'Protest; From Roustam Kamsky; To Bob Rice; Dated 18-Nov-94' • 'On behalf of Gata Kamsky and myself I protest against the fact that the prize for the Candidates Final Match was cut in half. [...]'

1994-12-04: The Week in Chess 12 • '5) Further Bob Rice - Kamsky letters.'

  • 'Text of letter from Bob Rice to Rustam and Gata Kamsky, date November 23, 1994, on PCA letterhead, with the contact information listed as 345 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10010' • 'This letter replies to your "Protest" of November 18 and confirms conversations I had with your lawyers, Mr. Joel Lutwin and Mr. Edwin Rubin, previously on the subjects you raise in your "Protest".'

  • 'Reply to Bob Rice; For immediate release; From Roustam Kamsky; Retyped and posted by Eric Schiller' • 'This is a reply to a fax I received 25-Nov-94 from Bob Rice. After almost two months Mr. Rice finally sent me a fax in reply to my repeated requests for information.'

TWIC 12 had an additional section about the recently concluded match, Kamsky - Short, Linares • '6) The PCA Candidates Semifinals - Linares 1994'

  • 'Report to the PCA by Technical Director Mauricio B. Perea' • 'My first experience as a chess Technical Director became an interesting episode, blending amusing bouts of curiosity with an almost paranoid human behaviour on the part of Mr Rustam Kamsky. [...] Technical meeting of September 20, 1994 • Mr Rustam Kamsky insisted on being present at the Technical Meeting of Sept. 20th, on the grounds that his son is still a minor (Gata is 20 years old).'

  • 'Chief Arbiter's Report; Regarding the incident of September 25, 1994, in the hotel restaurant of the Anibal Hotel; Chief Arbiter Andrzei Filipowicz; Linares, September 26, 1994 • 1. During the 4th round, in the opening (after Black's 5th move) Mr Short, on his own time, said a few words directly to Mr Gata Kamsky, asking him to stop his permanent coughing which was disturbing him. [...] 9. As I understand, a few hours later that same night the police took Mr Rustam Kamsky to the police station to clarify his version of the case and his behaviour in the restaurant.'

For more about the struggle between the rival chess organizations that damaged world chess at the highest level, see my page FIDE vs. PCA : World Chess Championship.

20 January 2021


On the sidebar of my main blog -- follow the sidebar on this blog to find it -- there's a link called 'My Scrapbook (Google Alerts)'. In fact, it's been years since the service was rebranded as 'Giga Alerts', but I've never taken the time to update the name of the link. The link's target page is a service that keeps track of results for the search term 'chess "mark weeks"'. It's a simple way to see who is referencing my material and what they are saying about it.

Those 'Giga Alerts' aren't updated very often, some of them don't make much sense, and many of them are for other folks who go through life bearing the name 'Mark Weeks', but all-in-all, the alerts are useful. Recently I discovered that turning the page search into an image search returns many more relevant pages than does the straightforward page search. Many of the images are from Wikipedia pages that reference my World Championship pages for crosstables.

Using the same technique as I used for the post Imagery of 1995 Kasparov - Anand (June 2018), the following image shows the first three lines of a search restricted to Wikipedia pages. It's a real who's who of world class players who are a tier below the familiar names of the World Champions and their main challengers.

Google image search on 'chess "mark weeks" site:wikipedia.org'

[Call the rows 'A' to 'C' (from top to bottom) and number the images in each row '1' to 'x' (from left to right).]

Images A1 and A10, for example, are from Wikipedia's page on Fenny Heemskerk, who, according to Wikipedia, competed in four women's tournaments at the highest level. My own page, Index of Women Players lists a fifth tournament, the 1967 Candidates Tournament in Subotica, then Yugoslavia, now Serbia.

Image B9 shows Lubomir Kavalek (wikipedia.org), who died this week. Wikipedia has links to two of my Interzonal pages, although my Index of Players (H-M), lists a third, the 1987 Subotica Interzonal Tournament (Subotica again), where I note, 'Kavalek withdrew after six rounds'.

Why do the Wikipedia pages link to my pages rather than to other Wikipedia pages on the same subject? Or to Chessgames.com crosstables? That is a question for which I have no answer. Perhaps the links were created before the other pages existed. (NB: I'm *not* complaining!)

13 January 2021

Whither the Women's World Championship?

My first question while Spectating the 91st FIDE Congress on my main blog was 'What about the Women's World Championship?' FIDE has been dithering on the subject for over two years, as a recent post on this current blog, Notes on the Women's Championship (November 2020), documented. The 'Spectating' post mentioned four FIDE announcements (see that post for links):-
  • 2020-12-05: '2020 FIDE Online General Assembly Agenda' • '5.2 Women's World Cup 2021 and World Cup 2021'
  • 2020-12-10: '91st FIDE Congress: decisions, documents, numbers' • 'Even though the Gibraltar Chess Open 2021 had to be canceled, ['founder and driving force behind the Gibraltar Chess Festival, Brian Callaghan'] managed to keep the tradition alive by hosting the fourth and final leg of the FIDE Women's Grand Prix, from January 17-29.'
  • 2020-12-16: 'Decisions of the 4th quarter FIDE Online Council Meeting' • 'fee reduction for women’s titles and ratings'; 'approve the 2021 Grand Swiss and Women’s Grand Swiss Regulations'; 'note EDU, WOM, [...] reports'
  • 2020-12-17: 'Decisions of the FIDE Online General Assembly 2020' • zilch

The first bullet (2020-12-05) is a change to allow federations to nominate participants. See FIDE World Cups 2021: Players nomination (fide.com) for details.

The second bullet (2020-12-10) has since been superseded by FIDE Women's Grand Prix Gibraltar rescheduled (fide.com). This is through no fault of the organizer, but is another casualty of the covid coronavirus.

The third bullet (2020-12-16) might have further info, but I could not find the WOM report. The Commission for Women’s Chess (wom.fide.com) is filled with old news. For details about the Grand Swiss, see Bidding procedure for FIDE Grand Swiss & FIDE Women's Grand Swiss 2021 (fide.com).

The fourth bullet (2020-12-17) sums up the rest: mostly zilch. Maybe the minutes of the Congress will be more informative.

06 January 2021

C14 1987 Interzonal Qualifiers

I ended last week's post, C01-C29 IZ/KO/QP Cosmetic Changes (December 2020), saying, 'More to follow...'. One of the pages that I updated during the previous weeks, (C14) 1987-1990 Zonal Cycle Qualifiers, starts,
The qualification rules for this cycle have been guessed for this page.

After that page was created, we had a new web-based resource in US Chess CL Archive (November 2019). I reviewed the Chess Life (CL) PDF for the year 1987, hoping to find more information about the zonals for that year. Although I didn't eliminate all of my guesses, I did find new material for the page (C14) 1987-1990 Zonal Cycle, specifically:-

  • Zone 6, the U.S Championship, where the number of players qualifying was changed after the tournament ended, and
  • IZ Qualifiers, confirming the three organizer choices.

The page for the '(C14) Qualifiers' changed from (note the obviously incorrect double entry for '2I'):-

Adorjan A (c?,, 2I)
Hulak K (c?,, 3I)
Velimirovic D (c?,, 2I)


Adorjan A (c,, 2I)
Hulak K (c,, 3I)
Marjanovic S (c,, 1I)
Velimirovic D (?,, 2I)

Did GM Velimirovic qualify by rating? I'll look into that as soon as I can.