28 December 2022

2022-23 Women's Candidates, Stage I PGN

Continuing with last week's post, 2022-23 Women's Candidates, Stage I Crosstables (December 2022), I added the PGN to my page on the World Chess Championship (Women) : 2022-23 Candidates Tournament (m-w.com). Then I added the eight players to the Index of Women Players (ditto).

One last action remains from 'Stage I Crosstables', i.e. 'Add info from 'Regulations', incl. tiebreak'. It's worth noting that there were two versions of the 'Regulations'. The first ('valid till 26 June 2022') was:-

Regulations for the FIDE Women’s Candidates Tournament 2022 • 4.1. Format & System; The 8 players shall play a double round robin tournament (14 rounds).

The second ('effective from 23 June 2022') was:-

Regulations for the FIDE Women’s Candidates Tournament 2022-23 • 4.1. Format & System; 4.1.1. The 8 players shall play a knock-out tournament, 3 rounds. First two rounds (Stage I) shall be played with 4-game matches. The final round (Stage II) shall be played with a 6-game match.

Note the 'Stage I/II' terminology that I used for my own page. The tiebreak rules from the same document are copied here:-

4.7. Tie-breaks

4.7.1. In each match, if the score is level after the standard games, after a new drawing of colours done immediately after the last standard game, four tie-break games shall be played with time control of 15 minutes for each player + 10 seconds increment per move, starting from move 1.

4.7.2. If the scores are level after the games in Article 4.7.1, then after a new drawing of colours, 2 games shall be played with time control of 5 minutes for each player + 3 seconds increment per move, starting from move 1.

4.7.3. If the score is still level after the games in Article 4.7.2, then after a new drawing of colours, one game with a time control of 3 minutes + 2 seconds increment per move, starting from move 1 shall be played to determine the winner.

4.7.4. If the game described in Article 4.7.3 is drawn, another game shall be played with a time control of 3 minutes + 2 seconds increment per move, starting from move 1 with the colours reversed from the previous game.

4.7.5. If the game described in Article 4.7.4 is drawn, the procedure described in Article 4.7.4 shall be repeated until the first game won by one of the players.

The sudden-death sequence described in 4.7.3 to 4.7.5 is unusual. I don't recall seeing it used before at this level. The Armageddon game used in recent years has not been wholly satisfactory.

In 'Stage I', two matches went to tiebreak. Both were resolved using the rule described in 4.7.1.

21 December 2022

2022-23 Women's Candidates, Stage I Crosstables

In last week's post, 2022-23 Women's Candidates, Pool B (December 2022), I promised, 'I'll add the crosstables and PGN to my own page as soon as I get a chance.' For this current post I added the crosstables.

Still to do:-
- Add PGN
- Add players to index for women
- Add info from 'Regulations', incl. tiebreak

Once again, I observed that an event with a complex, multi-stage format having few games, takes longer to prepare than a simple event with far more games. This might be because there are fewer opportunities to automate the various steps. Less automation of the steps means more possibility for errors and, consequently, more checking along the way.

14 December 2022

2022-23 Women's Candidates, Pool B

A few weeks after I posted the results of the 2022-23 Women's Candidates, Pool A (November 2022), the results of the second half of the event are available. At the end of the 'Pool A' post, I wrote,
Unfortunately, circumstances intervened and I ran out of time. Instead of updating the page, I'll add a summary of Mark Crowther's most recent report. Thanks, Mark. I'll add my own work to my page when 'Pool B' finishes.

The referenced page is the 2022-23 Women's Candidates Tournament (m-w.com). In the interest of consistency, I'll document 'Pool B' in the same way for this blog.

I updated the '2022-23 Women's CT' page by adding a few more references to news from FIDE.com. I'll add the crosstables and PGN to my own page as soon as I get a chance.

The FIDE Calendar (fide.com) doesn't yet list the Candidates final match between GM Lei Tingjie and GM Tan Zhongyi, both from China. The winner will play the current Women’s World Champion, GM Ju Wenjun, also from China. That title match is also not listed. Tournaments for the following cycle -- the Women's World Cup (July 2023) and the Women’s Grand Swiss (October) -- are already scheduled.

07 December 2022

Boris the 10th and Bobby the 11th

Last week, in the post Karpov the 12th (November 2022; video: 'Karpov on Kasparov - 1984 World Chess Championship'), I asked,
Will I find the occasion to overview the other Karpov videos? Maybe, but I might have to bounce back to my main blog to do that.

No bounce necessary. Here's another video from Youtube channel iChess.net.

Karpov analyzes the Bobby Fischer vs Spassky Rematch 1992 (17:23) • '[Published on] Jun 13, 2012'

The description teased,

The three volume "Karpov on Fischer" provides Anatoly Karpov’s perspective on why Bobby Fischer declined to play him in the World Chess Championship Match in 1975.

That discussion has been cut out and the video focuses on one game:-

Grandmasters Karpov and Henley analyze game 25 of the famous 1992 historic return match between Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky, now both close to 50 years old. [NB: Spassky turned 55 in 1992. He was six years older than Fischer]

For context, see the previous post on my main blog, The SmartChess Saga (December 2022; 'a trailblazer among chess-on-the-web sites'). The discussion of SmartChess will continue on that blog.

30 November 2022

Karpov the 12th

I'm bouncing between two blogs here. A month ago on this blog I posted, Smartchess Interviews Karpov (November 2022). There I noted,
The period in which Smartchess was active [late 1990s to mid-2000s] was a controversial time for the World Championship and its association with Karpov might provide valuable background material. I'll try to look at its Wayback records another time.

That led to a follow-up on my main blog, Wayback to Smartchess (November 2022):-

In his interview with Smartchess, Karpov mentioned a couple of video series he was developing for Smartchess's 'WWW Chess Superstore'. I've featured two of these in posts on my main blog [see links; ...] How many more of these videos are still available on Youtube?

The answer to that last question is 'More than I expected', all on Youtube channel iChess.net. Here's one.

Karpov on Kasparov - 1984 World Chess Championship (18:17) • '[Published on] Jun 30, 2012'

The description said,

Who better to analyse Garry Kasparov's World Championship games than his opponent and eternal rival, Anatoly Karpov? Get instant access to Karpov's astounding analysis of his matches against Kasparov. [...]

Right-click the embedded video to find the original page and see the rest of the description. It points to a page titled Karpov on Kasparov - His World Chess Championships (1984-1990) (ichess.net). The description there said,

Overview: Karpov On Kasparov – His World Chess Championships (1984-1990) • 3-disc set converted, reauthored, and remastered by OnlineChessLessons.net. Total Run-time: 275 minutes. • Volume I - 1984/1985 [KK-1]; Volume II - 1987; Volume III - 1990

So the 1985 and 1986 matches [KK-2 & -3] are missing? I imagine the memories for Karpov were too painful after he surrendered his World Champion title in both.

There are more video series by Karpov available from Youtube and iChess.net. It's also worth noting a post from last year, Carlsen's TMER 2019-21, Chess24 (November 2021), where I wrote,

Current information about [the company 'Play Magnus'] is available from its web site. The following image from the site's main page lists eight subsidiaries: [...] and iChess.net.

Will I find the occasion to overview the other Karpov videos? Maybe, but I might have to bounce back to my main blog to do that.

23 November 2022

Kasparov the 13th

Once in a while I like to look at chess newsletters that might offer insight into the World Championship. See, for example, FIDE Newsletters Revisited (August 2020). The link to 'archive of all issues, FIDE Newsletter (fide.com)' still works, although the frequency is becoming erratic. The most recent issue was '#47 (11-16-2022)'.

One newsletter I haven't discussed is a monthly effort from the 13th World Champion. I received the first, unsolicited issue at the email address I use on the index page for my World Championship site (m-w.com). I often receive spam at that email address, but this was one piece of email that I was happy to see:-

Kasparov's message started,

I'm happy to greet you with one of many new or relaunched projects. On the 13th of every month, this newsletter will send you my most recent op-eds and interviews, recommended reading, and more exclusive content. I’m excited to share my latest work and partnerships, as well as my insight into current events and an inside angle on developing stories that caught my eye. We’ll be making many additions and improvements in the coming months.

The first segment was an excerpt from Yuri Dokhoian, Dear Friend and Peerless Coach (kasparov.com). The second segment was about 'the launch of KasparovChess.com'. I wrote about that site on my main blog in The Second Incarnation of Kasparovchess.com (June 2022). Those segments convinced me that the newsletter was more than just another vehicle for his 'I-told-you-so' diatribes about Putin and was therefore worth keeping for its chess content. The next two newsletters arrived on schedule:-

Skipping over the next half-year we come to the first newsletter after the start of Russia's attack on Ukraine:-

Just so no one misunderstands my sentiments, I first covered the conflict in Yahoos of Madness, Yahoos of Tragedy (March 2022; 'Russia's brutal, barbaric attack on neighboring Ukraine and its impact on international chess'). Kasparov, who has no military experience and even less diplomatic instinct, was not shy about giving advice to Western military, diplomatic, and political leaders. In early March he granted interviews to two CNN news commentators. I saw the original, live(?) interview on CNN's 'New Day Weekend', but had to change the channel after Kasparov said,

[No] boots on the ground is a typical trick when they [NATO] want to cover their weakness. They introduce an argument that was not there. We are talking only about a no-fly zone. If NATO is not ready to confront Russia militarily in the skies, how are they going to defend the eastern flank [of NATO].

A no-fly zone is not considered boots on the ground? Defending non-NATO Ukraine is equivalent to defending a member of the NATO alliance? If anyone in authority had followed Kasparov's advice, we would all be dead now, so let's move on; the latest newsletter was:-

There's some chess in that issue, but there's much more about Putin. When Kasparov discusses chess, I listen carefully. When he disusses almost anything else -- AI included -- I change the channel. Apparently, I'm not alone. See We Need to Talk about Garry, Part 1 (kingpinchess.net; 'Why Life Does Not Imitate Chess'...), and follow the links for the other two parts. Once again we see that hubris is the occupational disease of the professional chess player.

16 November 2022

Chess.com Global Championship

Earlier this year I wrote a post titled It's Not an April Fool's Joke (April 2022). It was about two events that were announced around the same time:-
  • 'The $1,000,000 Chess.com World Championship'
  • 'The Lichess World Championship'

I asked and answered,

Are these real World Chess Championships? In my opinion, no, they aren't, but I'm just one voice in the court of public opinion that decides such matters. I think they're more like site championships. I'll come back to the subject if public opinion eventually disagrees with me.

The Chess.com event quickly changed its name:-

The results are scattered across many Chess.com pages:-

That 'All The Information' page informed,

GM Wesley So won the inaugural Chess.com Global Championship in November 2022. This event was the first Chess.com championship with a cycle open to all of our verified players. Players competed in official Chess.com verified events for their share of the $1,000,000 prize fund and the Chess.com Global Champion title.

As for the Lichess version, Announcing the Lichess World Championship (lichess.org/forum), it looks like it was intended as a joke. Lichess can sometimes become very strange.

09 November 2022

2022-23 Women's Candidates, Pool A

I had planned to follow up the recent post, 2022-23 Women's Candidates, Kickoff (October 2022), by updating my page on the World Chess Championship (Women) : 2022-23 Candidates Tournament (m-w.com). 'Pool A' ended a few days ago.

Unfortunately, circumstances intervened and I ran out of time. Instead of updating the page, I'll add a summary of Mark Crowther's most recent report.

Thanks, Mark. I'll add my own work to my page when 'Pool B' finishes.

02 November 2022

Smartchess Interviews Karpov

Yesterday's post on my main blog, November 1972 & 1997 'On the Cover' (November 2022), was partially based on the November 1997 issue of Chess Life. I ended the post saying,
An article by Rachel Landry featured an interview with then FIDE World Champion Anatoly Karpov, plus his relationship with GM Ron Henley and Smartchess Online. Is this worth a follow-up?

Indeed it is worth a follow-up. Karpov gave his side of two hot topics from the second half of 1997. The first topic involved a reunification match that was never held. For background, see FIDE/PCA Chronology (m-w.com; Feb 1993 - Oct 1996).

RL: There have been many rumors circulating about a World Championship rematch in Compiegne, France. Carol Stroe, the proposed organizer for this event, said in a press release that you and Garry Kasparov were close to signing a formal accord. Mr. Kasparov's publicity agent fervently denies these rumors. Were you approached about such a match?

AK: Yes, but no agreement was signed.

RL: What is the true likelihood of a World Championship rematch between you and Kasparov?

AK: It is possible but not in October, and as I said before, nothing is definite until an agreement is signed and a prize fund is agreed upon.

The second topic involved the introduction of the much-criticized knockout matches to determine the title of FIDE World Champion.

RL: Will you be playing in the FIDE World Championship Knockout matches?

AK: Yes. I'm playing in the final as defending champion.

RL.: A letter signed by sixteen grandmasters was delivered by Vladimir Kramnik to the 68th FIDE Congress in Moldava. This letter conveyed these players' concerns about seeding arrangements in the upcoming FIDE World Championship Knockout. Can you shed any light on what took place in Moldava with regards to this letter?

AK: I heard Kramnik would be there with the letter. Kramnik read the letter to the assembly, and gave his point of view. Later, I addressed the assembly. Subsequently there was a vote by the FIDE Congress to uphold the original arrangements under which the Championships were organized: that is if Kasparov and myself were playing, then we would both be seeded into the semifinals; whereas if one us was not participating then the other would be seeded automatically into the final. Indeed, the original papers I signed regarding my participation were based on this exact arrangement, and Kramnik amicably agreed that he would abide by FIDE's decision. Incidentally, I met the former President of the New Jersey State Chess Federation, E. Steven Doyle, in Moldava, and we discussed a number of interesting things.

All of this was happening at the same time I was building my WCC site, as I documented earlier this year in The First Quarter Century (September 2022). I researched the 'FIDE/PCA Chronology' partly because I wasn't sure who the *real* World Champion was.

The Karpov interview included many more details related to Smartchess Online, one of the earliest chess web sites. Its first capture in the 'Wayback Machine', dated January 1999, shows the following home page.

Source: http://smartchess.com/ (web.archive.org).

A footnote to the interview mentioned that it first appeared on Smartchess Online in September 1997. I tried to find the original interview via the Wayback Machine, but failed. Smartchess.com appears to have been built using techniques that are incompatible with Wayback assumptions. The period in which Smartchess was active was a controversial time for the World Championship and its association with Karpov might provide valuable background material. I'll try to look at its Wayback records another time.

In the meantime, some other subjects for 'normal' web searches related to Smartchess are GM Ron Henley, Rachel Landry, Paul Hodges, Irina Krush, R&D Publishing, and Hikaru Nakamura. The home page pictured above leads to the 'November - December 1998' issue of Smartchess Online, with the following headlines:-

  • '1998 US Championships: SmartChess Online coverage with GM Ron Henley & NM Irina Krush. • Congratulations! SmartChess Online Columnist Irina Krush, 1998 US Women's Chess Champion!'
  • 'Press Release: "Krush Challenge" Series. Irina Krush to play a match against GM Walter Browne'
  • 'Press Release: SmartChess Online welcomes its new Columnist - NM Hikaru Nakamura'

Krush was 14 years old at the time. Nakamura was 10.

In his interview with Smartchess, Karpov mentioned a couple of video series he was developing for Smartchess's 'WWW Chess Superstore'. I've featured two of these in posts on my main blog:-

How many more of these videos are still available on Youtube? That makes a second topic for follow-up.

26 October 2022

2022-23 Women's Candidates, Kickoff

This morning I was surprised to learn that the Women's Candidates Tournament (Pool A) starts in Monte-Carlo (fide.com). In last month's post, Women's Events 2022-23 (September 2022), I mentioned the event without giving dates.

I created a new page World Chess Championship (Women) : 2022-23 Candidates Tournament (m-w.com) and added it to the index page World Chess Championship for Women (ditto). Shown below is the event's logo.

I'll come back to the event after it ends in early November. Pool B, the second of two preliminary events, starts toward the end of November.

While I was researching the event, I noticed that my page on the previous Women's Candidates, 2019 Kazan Candidates Tournament (m-w.com), lacked references to FIDE's site. I added a few important links dating to the time of the tournament.

19 October 2022

'Inspired by the Fischer-Spassky Match'

For nearly six months I've been running a Fischer Friday series on my main blog. A month ago it switched from the 1972 Fischer - Spassky Match to the 1992 Fischer - Spassky Rematch. I documented the transition in FS 1972 + 20 = FS 1992 (September 2022) and listed all of the previous posts in the series.

The following video would have fit well into that series, but I decided that this World Championship blog was an even better fit. On top of that it gives me the chance to incorporate the series into this blog, by mention.

John Donaldson Lecture (41:18) • 'Streamed live on Oct 19, 2022'

The clip starts with sound problems, but they don't last long. The description said,

Join us for a lecture as part of 1972 Fischer/Spassky: The Match, Its Origin, and Influence by IM John Donaldson on his unique experience and perspective on the history of Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky before Reykjavik. Emphasis will be placed on their similar experiences and differences growing up under quite different political systems.

IM John Donaldson joined the Tacoma Chess Club in the fall of 1972, inspired by the Fischer-Spassky match. An international master, with two grandmaster norms, Donaldson has captained the U.S. Chess Olympiad team on 14 occasions. He is the author of over 40 books on chess with his most recent effort being Bobby Fischer and His World.

The lecture is a presentation by Donaldson of photos relating to key events and people in Fischer's career. Three other Youtube videos relate to the lecture:-

Back to my main blog, we saw IM Donaldson in another recent post, unrelated to Fischer Friday: 2022 CJA Awards - Part 3 (October 2022). Specifically,

Winners of multiple awards • Although the numbers add up to 11 awards, Spanier and Donaldson were named jointly on one award:-

• Honorable Mention; Best Story of the Year; 'The Fischer Project'; John Donaldson (author), Ian Spanier (photographer); Chess Life, July 2021

That one story accounted for five of the ten awards. IM Donaldson had one other award for the same story (Winner 'Best Feature Article - Print') plus one Honorable Mention in 'Best Print Articles' for 'Bobby Fischer's Lost Game Scores' in American Chess Magazine (ACM) #26.

After Fischer's official biographer Frank Brady, Donaldson is undoubtedly the most knowledgeable chess historian on Fischer's career. The Fischer - Spassky match has been a guiding light throughout his own distinguished career.

12 October 2022

Missing Labels

A few weeks ago I noticed that a few of the posts on this blog had no labels, aka tags. Of the 746 posts currently on the blog, I identified 16 without labels and added at least one tag to each post. The most recent post to received its first label was Gunsberg - Chigorin - Tarrasch (May 2012), so I've been consistent for over 10 years.

Most of the new labels were in category 'Resources'. The only post where I had to think about a label was The 1st and 2nd GMA World Cups (April 2008). Although the GMA was not officially tied to the World Championship, it was a precursor to later complications surrounding the title. I finally decided to add the post to category 'PCA/WCC/etc.'

The most interesting post to receive its first label was Where's Smyslov? (December 2007). Since the question is still unanswered, I gave it two labels.

05 October 2022

2022-23 WGP, Astana

A few weeks ago, in the post Women's Events 2022-23 (September 2022), I wrote,
The 1st leg of the [Women's] Grand Prix [WGP] started this past week. Since [the four] events are for the next cycle, I decided not to record their details myself, but to link to the corresponding Wikipedia page. I documented the decision in the index page for the Women's Championship. (NB: PGN still to be decided.)

The 'to be decided' also applied to images that I would normally use on the page, plus links to resources from Fide.com. See the page for the previous cycle, 2019-2020 FIDE Women's Grand Prix (m-w.com), for an example of the layout. Although I just wrote 'previous cycle', that cycle is in fact still underway, with the Candidates tournament and title match to be played.

The logo for the first leg of the new WGP is shown above. The link to the official site is FIDE Grand prix 2022 (womengrandprix.fide.com; 'Astana, the 1st tournament: September, 17 - 20 [sic; see TWIC below for the correct dates]'). I was disappointed to discover that the Wikipedia pages for the most recent WGP's lack crosstables for the individual events:-

On the page for the 2019–2021 WGP, the Wikipedia section 'Events crosstables' says,

This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (October 2021).
In TWIC 1454, Mark Crowther wrote,
The Astana FIDE Women's Grand Prix takes place Sat 17th Sep to Fri 30th Sep 2022. The city in which the event is being held was renamed from Astana to Nur-Sultan in 2019 but yesterday a decree was signed to restore the city to the name of Astana, so I went with that. This is the first of four Women's Grand Prix events as part of the FIDE Women's World Championship cycle, three are next year.

Thank goodness we still have TWIC for PGN and crosstables.

28 September 2022

The First Quarter Century

Earlier this year, in a post on my main blog titled A Year of Anniversaries (May 2022), I wrote,
On a more personal note, I'll see a couple of significant anniversaries myself:-
• 25 years documenting the World Chess Championship (m-w.com; WCC site)

The first incarnation of the site was on Compuserve.com. In Archive.org's Wayback Machine, the earliest capture of the WCC site's index page on that domain is shown below. Archive.org dates the page to 3 December 1998.

Wayback Machine [ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/Mark_Weeks]

My first backup of all pages on the site was dated 18 September 1997. The first event listed on the index page was '1994-96 FIDE' and the last was '1886 USA Steinitz - Zukertort', i.e. all events were on a single page and there were no unofficial events from earlier in the 19th century.

I recorded the first statistics on 23 September 1997, when I noted 213 visitors to date. I'm not sure how many days that covered, because I neglected to record the day I added the Icount.com counter to the index page. There were only three additional pages linked from the index page:-

  • 'Index of players - Alphabetical list of all players who have participated in a World Chess Championship event.'; All names A-Z were on a single page. [WCC-PLYR.HTM]
  • 'Recent news about the World Chess Championship (aka "chess politics")'; e.g. 'Organizations' and 'Relevant pages on the Web'. [WCC-NEXT.HTM]
  • 'The World Chess Championship and Computers'; the emphasis was on the two Kasparov - Deep Blue matches. [WCC-COMP.HTM]

By the time of the December 1998 page returned by the Wayback Machine, those pages had been reorganized into a table titled 'Related topics'. The WCC-NEXT.HTM page had disappeared.

For an earlier post on the creation of the site, see The Second Decade (March 2007). It was the first post on this blog and started,

Almost ten years have passed since I first started assembling the information that became my first web site. Chess had always been good to me and I wanted to do something for the game. No one had yet put anything on the web that tackled thoroughly the history of the World Chess Championship, so I decided that it would be my little gift to chess.

For the story behind another noteworthy anniversary on the site, see Status of the Women's World Championship (October 2019). I moved the site from Compuserve.com to my own domain in October 1999.

21 September 2022

Women's Events 2022-23

Earlier this year, in a post on my main blog titled A Year of Anniversaries (May 2022), I noted a number of past events worth remembering in 2022. Among more important anniversaries, like 50 years since the 1972 Fischer - Spassky match -- see FS 1972 + 20 = FS 1992 (September 2022), for the most recent post on my main blog -- this year marks a personal milestone:-
25 years documenting the World Chess Championship (m-w.com; WCC site) [...] Later this year I'll be closing down the WCC site, probably after the next title match [...] It's time to put the whole thing to sleep. We will always have Wikipedia, won't we!

What about the rest of the WCC site, specifically the index page for the World Championship for Women (m-w.com)? It's been eight months since I last posted about a women's event: 2021 Grand Swiss PGN and Player Indices (January 2022). Has anything significant happened since then or have I been asleep at the wheel? It turns out to have been a bit of both.

At some time during the year, FIDE changed the format of the Women's Candidates Tournament. It will be a knockout event instead of a round robin. Full details aren't available yet, but I'll start a new page when the time is right. On top of that, the FIDE Calendar (fide.com) lists a series of tournaments under the heading 'FIDE Women's Grand Prix 2022/23':-

1st leg; Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan; 17 Sep 2022; 30 Sep 2022
2nd leg; Munich, Germany; 01 Feb 2023; 14 Feb 2023
3rd leg; India; 2023; 2023
4th leg; Bydgoscz, Poland; 2023; 2023

It also mentions an event to be held in Q4 next year:-

FIDE Grand Swiss and Women’s Grand Swiss 2023; Isle of Man; 23 Oct 2023; 05 Nov 2023

The 1st leg of the Grand Prix started this past week. Since all of those events are for the next cycle, I decided not to record their details myself, but to link to the corresponding Wikipedia page. I documented the decision in the index page for the Women's Championship. [NB: PGN still to be decided.]

14 September 2022

World Champs from Morphy to Carlsen

This video, from Chess.com, could play a significant role in introducing chess history to the general public, although the title is misleading. More accurate would be 'The History of the World Chess Championship'. After a brief introduction covering centuries of chess history, the narrative decelerates starting with the career of Paul Morphy.

The History Of Chess: The World Chess Championship (1:14:37) • '[Published on] Aug 21, 2022'

The description said,

Learn about the champions who have defined the game such as Paul Morphy, Bobby Fischer, Garry Kasparov, and Magnus Carlsen from some of the game's greatest players and commentators, including Viswanathan Anand, Bruce Pandolfini, Ben Finegold, and Danny Rensch.

I could quibble about some of the 'facts' -- was Genghis Khan's contribution really worth a mention? -- and many of the photos do not correspond to the story at that moment. I'll look the other way because one of my pages makes a brief appearance at the appropriate moment: Lasker - Schlechter Title Match; Vienna/Berlin, I-II, 1910 (m-w.com). Fame at last...

At around 48:00 into the clip, Nigel Short says,

Spassky. It's actually a tragedy in a way. The guy is best known for losing a match. He did so much more than this in his chess career, but sometimes your fate in life is to be known for a defeat rather than all the many, many victories that you've had over those years.

Was GM Short also talking about himself? For more about the video, see Chess.com Releases Documentary 'The History Of Chess: The World Chess Championship' (chess.com). Bravo, Chess.com!

31 August 2022

Chess.com to Acquire 'Play Magnus'

Yesterday on my main blog, I posted Olympiad, Business, and Political Yahoos (August 2022). One of the stories I flagged was:-
The Financial Times announced, 2022-08-29: Chess.com bids for Play Magnus, a move towards monopoly? (ft.com; Leonard Barden) • 'A merger between two of the largest major chess sites is imminent following the announcement that the US-backed chess.com is bidding for playmagnusgroup.com, the company named after world champion Magnus Carlsen. The offer, which values PMG at around $82m, has been accepted and will take around two months to complete.' Since that story is worth a separate post, I'll look at it in more depth elsewhere.

'Elsewhere' turns out to be here on the World Chess Championship Blog. Why this blog? The ft.com/Barden story made a further point:-

Whether the merger will work in the longer term remains an open question. Optimists paint a golden future where Carlsen competes regularly against his old rival Nakamura, but the pessimistic view is that the No.1, who has already announced his retirement from the world title, is taking a step towards further reducing his commitments.

Reading between the lines, I understand that to say there's a possible connection between World Champion Carlsen's decision to exit from the World Championship followed shortly by the sale of his 'Play Magnus' company. Carlsen's initial decision, after he had wavered for months, was finalized in July:-

The acquisition by Chess.com of Play Magnus was announced a month later:-

  • 2022-08-24: The Board unanimously recommends an offer from Chess.com to acquire all shares of Play Magnus Group (playmagnusgroup.com) • 'The Board of Play Magnus AS today announces an offer from Chess Growthco LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Chess.com to acquire 100 percent of the shares of Play Magnus Group at an offer price of NOK 13.00 per share.'

  • 2022-08-24: Chess.com Makes Offer To Play Magnus Group (chess.com w/ video) • 'Chess.com is excited to announce that we have submitted an offer for Play Magnus Group (PMG) to join Chess.com. Magnus Carlsen and the management at Play Magnus are enthusiastic and have accepted the offer. We expect that it will take about 6-8 weeks for this process to finalize. Until that time, Chess.com and Play Magnus will remain independent companies.'

  • 2022-08-24: Play Magnus Group receives Chess.com offer (chess24.com) • 'Play Magnus Group (PMG), that includes chess24, has received an offer from Chess.com that may see the two companies join forces. The offer values PMG at around $82.5 million and will take around two months to finalise, subject to shareholder approval and other closing conditions. Magnus Carlsen commented, "now we are entering a new era, and the combination of these two companies creates opportunities for the game of chess that no-one has imagined before".'

Those last two links, from Chess.com and Chess24.com, have dozens of comments from supporters (and detractors) of both sites regarding the consequences of the takeover. For a previous post about the acquisition by PMG of Chess24, see Carlsen's TMER 2019-21, Chess24 (November 2021; '2019-03-15: Chess24 and Play Magnus join forces [chess24.com; Colin McGourty]') on my main blog. I have the feeling that I'll likely be switching between that blog and this blog to cover the evolving story.

24 August 2022

2022 World Computer Championship [ICGA]

Yes, Virginia, there is a World Computer Chess Championship and it was last seen on this blog in 25th World Computer Championship (May 2020; ICGA). No, Virginia, not many people consider the event to be a *real* World Championship, because the strongest chess engine in the world, Stockfish, doesn't participate. That '25th WCCC' post mentioned,
The next [2020] ICGA championship was announced at the beginning of the year. It was subsequently postponed because of the coronavirus Covid-19.

What's happened with the WCCC since then? Until recently, not much. At the end of last month, in WCCC 2022 (icga.org), the ICGA announced,

After a lengthy play-off of two faster matches and an Armageddon game, Komodo Dragon is the new World Champion Computer Chess. Congratulations to Mark Lefler, Larry Kaufman, Erdo Gunes and the rest of the team.

I dutifully added the info to my page World Chess Championship : Computer Chess (m-w.com), and made a few tweaks. The ICGA appears to have stopped numbering the events since '22nd WCCC', so I followed their lead, starting with the latest WCCC. I also reversed a decision made for 23rd World Computer Championship (January 2018), and stopped listing Don Dailey as a member of the Komodo team; RIP. For more about the event as told by the official scribes of the chess engine universe, see:-

Why doesn't Stockfish participate in the ICGA WCCC? See, for example, Stockfish @ WCCC - Good or bad idea? (groups.google.com/fishcooking; May 2015). I doubt the reasoning has changed much since then.

In its heyday, the ICGA issued detailed reports about the WCCC events. For a third party report on the 2022 WCCC, see Komodo and Ginkgo are 2022 World Champions! (chessbase.com; Albert Silver). Re Ginkgo, the report explains, 'Ginkgo AKA Fritz'. Both Komodo and Fritz are sold by Chessbase; I'll say no more.

17 August 2022

Dvorkovich Gets Four More Years

Four years ago Arkady Dvorkovich defeated Georgios Makropoulos in the 2018 FIDE election. I documented the transition in two posts:-

This year let's follow the FIDE election through the eyes and ears of Chess.com's Peter Doggers

That last link summarized a video.

ACP Round Table Discussion : The Next 4 Years - The Future for Chess and FIDE (1:34:46) • '[Published on] Jul 21, 2022'

The description informed.

In view of the FIDE Presidential Election (7 August 2022, at the FIDE General Assembly in Chennai, India), the Association of Chess Professionals hosted a round table discussion. [...] The discussion was hosted by WGM Maria Gevorgyan and Mr. Yuri Garrett, ACP Deputy President.

The results were unexpectedly lopsided. Peter Doggers reported,

The report started,

FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich was re-elected for a second term in the presidential elections during the FIDE Congress in Chennai, India, on Sunday. He received 157 of the votes. The only other remaining candidate, Andrii Baryshpolets, received 16 votes.

Shortly before the voting started, GM Bachar Kouatly withdrew his candidacy citing a lack of support from the delegates. Inalbek Cheripov, the fourth candidate, had withdrawn a few days earlier.

Candidates often withdraw from FIDE elections shortly before the elections are held. Why that is, I've never understood.

10 August 2022

Madrid Candidates - Wrapup

This blog's posts on the 2022 Candidates Tournament, Madrid (m-w.com; CT) might have set some sort of record. For the previous CT, which lasted more than a year, the summary Yekaterinburg Candidates - Wrapup (May 2021) listed 16 posts on this blog plus one on my main blog. Here's a similar list for 2022 Madrid:-

Add to those one post on my main blog:-

That totals 11 posts on this blog plus one on my main blog. It's not even close; the previous CT had considerably more.

Next stop: 2023 Nepomniachtchi - Ding Liren; Venue?

03 August 2022

Madrid Candidates - Last Actions

After the updates described in Madrid Candidates - PGN++ (July 2022), there was one more action stemming from Madrid Candidates - My Resources (ditto): add the eight participants to the World Chess Championship : Index of Players (m-w.com). This is now done.

At the same time, I created a new page, the 2023 Nepomniachtchi - Ding Liren title match (m-w.com), and added it to the World Chess Championship : Index (ditto). The title of the new page is somewhat premature, as the participants haven't yet been announced by FIDE, but it is in accordance with the rules and the facts. I can always update it if necessary.

27 July 2022

Madrid Candidates - PGN++

Getting back to the 2022 Candidates Tournament, Madrid (m-w.com), in my previous post Madrid Candidates - My Resources (July 2022), I listed a few actions still to be accomplished. They are repeated in the following screenshot.

The three actions marked 'OK' in red are done, leaving one action for another post. While I was updating the FIDE links, I discovered a few links concerning the forthcoming title match. I'll add that page ASAP to my index for the World Chess Championship.

20 July 2022

An Accidental Challenger

According to my previous post, Madrid Candidates - My Resources (July 2022), 'There are still a few more actions concerning the event to be accomplished.' That can wait another week, because big news broke today: It’s official! Magnus Carlsen will NOT defend his title (chess24.com; Colin McGourty):-
Magnus Carlsen, the 5-time World Chess Champion, today ended months of speculation by announcing via his sponsor Unibet that he will not defend his title.

Unibet? Yes, Unibet: Breaking news: Magnus Carlsen will not play in the 2023 World Chess Championship (unibet.co.uk). So who *will* play the title match? Magnus Carlsen Will Not Defend World Championship Title (chess.com; Peter Doggers):-

GM Magnus Carlsen will not defend his world championship title against GM Ian Nepomniachtchi next year. Carlsen announced his decision on a podcast on Tuesday. According to current regulations, FIDE Candidates tournament winner Nepomniachtchi will now play the world championship against Candidates runner-up GM Ding Liren.

Ding Liren's participation is about as accidental as things get in the real world. First, GM Karjakin lost his place in the Madrid Candidates; for details see The Karjakin Affair (March 2022). Then Ding Liren scrambled to grab that place by rating; for those details see The Ding Liren Affair (May 2022). At the half-way point in Madrid, the Chinese star had a negative score, but finished strongly to overtake his rivals for second place.

World Champion Carlsen had already announced the possibility of relinquishing his title during last year's 2021 Carlsen - Nepomniachtchi title match (m-w.com). The players in Madrid knew that second place was worth a fight.

The table I developed for Madrid Candidates - Kickoff (June 2022) once again comes in handy. According to Chessgames.com,

Classical games: Ian Nepomniachtchi beat Ding Liren 3 to 2, with 9 draws. • Including rapid/exhibition games: Ian Nepomniachtchi beat Ding Liren 13 to 9, with 17 draws. • Only rapid/exhibition games: Ian Nepomniachtchi beat Ding Liren 10 to 7, with 8 draws.

Those results include a +1-0=1 score by Nepo against Ding Liren in Madrid, where the Russian won with the Black pieces. Advantage Nepomniachtchi?

The downside of Carlsen's move is that many fans will continue to think of him as the *real* World Champion. The winner of the forthcoming title match -- venue still unknown -- will forever have an asterisk after his name. We know from the PCA fiasco that 'two world champions are [not!] better than one'; for those details see FIDE/PCA Chronology (m-w.com; 1993-1996 and after).

13 July 2022

Madrid Candidates - My Resources

Following last week's post Madrid Candidates - Third Week (July 2022), I added the final crosstable to my page 2022 Candidates Tournament; Madrid (m-w.com). There is still more to be done for that page.

One thing I can't do is explain the event's logo, shown on the left. It's a reverse (black on white) copy of the official logo (white on black) seen on many FIDE pages. The logo shows eight right-pointing arrows aimed at a Rook. To the left of the Rook is a small text that says 'a8'. What does it all mean?

There are still a few more actions concerning the event to be accomplished:-

  • Add the PGN to the m-w.com page.
  • Calculate the cumulative scores and add them to the same page. These scores were compared for the previous five events in Madrid Candidates - First Week (June 2022).
  • Update FIDE links on that page.
  • Update the Index of Players (m-w.com).

The crosstable can also be improved:-

Can I accomplish all of that for a single new post? Somehow I doubt it; maybe two posts.

06 July 2022

Madrid Candidates - Third Week

Last week, in Madrid Candidates - Second Week (June 2022), we left the tournament with GM Nepomniachtchi in first place, a point ahead of GM Caruana. I speculated,
With five rounds left to play it seems even more unlikely that anyone except Nepomniachtchi or Caruana will win the event.

The Russian finished +1-0=4 in the last five games, while the American collapsed with +0-3=2, giving him four losses in the second half of the tournament. The final tally in the following image tells the complete story.

Ding Beats Nakamura To Finish 2nd Behind Nepomniachtchi; Radjabov Claims 3rd Place

The battle for second place was less straightforward, especially since World Champion Carlsen had teased that he might hang up his crown before the next title match is held. That last round game 'Ding [Liren] Beats Nakamura' left the Chinese player a half point ahead of his main rival for runner-up status and a possible title match.

And thus the 2022 Candidates Tournament, Madrid (m-w.com) goes into the official record. The next move is GM Carlsen's. He convincingly beat the same challenger +4-0=7 in last year's title match, 2021 Carlsen - Nepomniachtchi, Dubai (m-w.com). Anyone expecting a carbon copy of that match is advised not to place large bets.

Nepomniachtchi clinched first place during the next-to-last round. Here is the winner's interview with Dina Belenkaya.

Nepo's Instant Reaction To Winning Candidates (5:25) • '[Published on] Jul 4, 2022'

The applause and Nepo's reaction to it are worthy of a champion. Players who won candidates tournaments always became superstars. Players who won two -- Smyslov, Spassky, Karpov, Anand -- always became World Champions.


Later: Re 'Players who won two [Candidate cycles] always became World Champions', wrong! A few weeks after this post, a Chessbase article, Nepo joins the elite Two Plus Club (chessbase.com; Albert Silver), pointed out that Korchnoi won two cycles, but lost the title match both times to Karpov.

29 June 2022

Madrid Candidates - Second Week

At the end of last week's post, Madrid Candidates - First Week (June 2022), I noted,
Next week's 'Second Week' post should have the results through the ninth round. If Nepomniachtchi and Caruana continue to do well, one of them could become World Champion Carlsen's challenger for the second time.

Both of them continued to do well, but the event is still far from over. The following chart shows the standings after the seventh round, mid-point of the tournament. The next two rounds saw two key games featuring two of these top players against a key rival.

Nepomniachtchi, Caruana Win Again To Extend Lead On Field
(chess.com; after rd.7)

In the eighth round, Nepomniachtchi drew while Nakamura beat his compatriot Caruana. That gave the Russian a full point lead over the higher placed of the two Americans, who were in second and third.

In the ninth round, Nepomniachtchi drew with Black against Caruana, while Nakamura lost to GM Radjabov. That let the Russian retain his one point lead over Caruana, who was a point ahead of Nakamura and GM Ding Liren, both with an even score. The Chinese player won his first game of the tournament, beating GM Duda. Nepomniachtchi has White against Nakamura in round 12.

With five rounds left to play it seems even more unlikely that anyone except Nepomniachtchi or Caruana will win the event. Since both players won a previous Candidates tournament, we can conclude that experience counts in this toughest of tournaments.

22 June 2022

Madrid Candidates - First Week

The first four rounds of the 2022 Candidates Tournament (m-w.com) have finished, making this a good time for a follow-up to last week's post Madrid Candidates - Kickoff (June 2022). For the 'First Week' posts of the two previous candidates tournaments, see:-

For both posts, I used the following chart showing the round-by-round progress of the participants in the 2013, 2014, and 2016 candidates tournaments.

The red ovals identify the leaders after the 3rd, 7th (midway), and 14th (final) rounds. In all cases, the ultimate winner was among the leaders after the other, intermediate rounds. The only real exception to this pattern was GM Kramnik in 2013, who was trailing after the 3rd and 7th rounds, then had a super spurt during the second half to finish in a tie with GM Carlsen.

I created a new chart for the 2018 and 2020 tournaments, shown below. It highlights the leaders after the 4th round, because that's where the 2022 tournament is now. The red line on the 2020 tournament is a reminder that the event was effectively split in two pieces because of the covid-19 pandemic.

In the 2022 tournament, GM Nepomniachtchi is leading with 3.0 points after four rounds, followed by GM Caruana with 2.5 points. The other six players are all bunched within a half point of each other.

Next week's 'Second Week' post should have the results through the ninth round. If Nepomniachtchi and Caruana continue to do well, one of them could become World Champion Carlsen's challenger for the second time.

15 June 2022

Madrid Candidates - Kickoff

The 2022 Candidates Tournament starts in a few days. Following the pattern I established for the previous event -- see Yekaterinburg Candidates - Kickoff (March 2020) -- here are a few relevant links:-

The centerpiece of this current post is a crosstable showing the historical record of all previous games between the eight players, according to Chessgames.com. Their records against World Champion Carlsen are also included. The links under the players' last names lead to their FIDE rating pages.

  Car Din Dud Fir Nak Nep Rad Rap : Car
Caruana xx * * * * * * * : *
Ding Liren xx * * * * * * : *
Duda xx * * * * * : *
Firouzja xx * * * * : *
Nakamura xx * * * : *
Nepomniachtchi xx * * : *
Radjabov xx * : *
Rapport xx : *
Carlsen : xx

In next week's post, I'll summarize the highlights of the first week. I'm sensing more interest in this event than in any previous candidates tournament.

25 May 2022

The Return of Chessdom News

Where have I seen that title before? Oh, yes, it was The Return of Chessdom News (May 2021), on my main blog. At the time I wrote,
In early 2019, Chessdom stopped being one of the 'go-to' sites for chess news and started limiting itself to specialty topics like news about TCEC. The last time I referenced Chessdom as a news source was over a year ago. [...] Chessdom.com TCEC S21 articles 'by Sergio' started appearing last month.

That observation turned out to be premature. There was a gap of ten months -- from May 2021 to March 2022 -- when there was no news about TCEC or, apparently, about anything else. There is a similar gap in my bookmarks for Chessdom.com.

In March 2022, the site suddenly came to life with a flood of reports, many related to the World Championship. Some reports were about the new cycle that starts next year:-

Unfortunately, Chessdom's use of tags to group related reports together looks like an afterthought rather than an integral tool for organizing the site. The first report in that list, about the 2023 Grand Swiss, has a tag named 'fide grad [sic] swiss 2022 [sic]'.

One tag that could be promising is All posts tagged "FIDE elections" (chessdom.com). There are currently only five reports under the tag, although announcements on the forthcoming election have been coming fast and furiously. A suivre...

18 May 2022

The Ding Liren Affair

Let's return to The Karjakin Affair (March 2022), where I wrote,
I added the FIDE announcement about GM Karjakin's ban to my page 2022 Candidates Tournament. Why is this important to the Candidates event, scheduled to start in June?

The answer to that question was because Karjakin had earlier qualified as one of the eight candidates to challenge Magnus Carlsen in the next title match. Earlier this week we learned that the Russian Karjakin had been replaced by the Chinese Ding Liren.

We learned not via a formal announcement on the FIDE site, but via a tweet on the world's largest chat room. Even then, Karjakin's replacement wasn't identified by name in the tweet, but by a photo with an embedded caption.

Mark your calendars! We are a month away from the start of the #FIDECandidates in Madrid, Spain... (twitter.com; 16 May 2022)

I hope we get a FIDE announcement so that I can add it to my page on the 2022 Candidates Tournament (m-w.com), due to start at Madrid in less than a month. I also hope they replace Karjakin's photo, which is still on what appears to be the official site for the tournament, FIDE World Championship. Cycle 2021-2023 (wcc.fide.com). I looked at that subdomain in my previous post on the cycle, 2022 Candidates; 2023(?) Title Match (May 2022), and nothing has changed since then.

So how did Ding Liren qualify for the second most important event in chess? He qualified by rating. The nitty-gritty was explained in two reports by Chess.com's Peter Doggers:-

As the comments to that second report testify, many chess fans aren't happy with the rating method of qualification, but rules are rules. Better to fix anomalies by updating the rules for the next time than to make stuff up as you go along.

For the nittier-grittier on the rating, see Ding, Liren CHN Individual Calculations Chess Ratings FIDE, period=2022-05-01 (ratings.fide.com). He gained 7.2 rating points for the period.

11 May 2022

A Giant Among GMs

Earlier this week, in Yuri Averbakh, 1922-2022 (chess.com), Peter Doggers reported,
GM Yuri Averbakh, the world’s oldest grandmaster, a trainer, international arbiter, chess composer, endgame theoretician, writer, historian, honorary member of FIDE, and the last living participant of the famous Zurich 1953 Candidates Tournament, has passed away, three months after turning 100. His death has been confirmed by the Russian Chess Federation and FIDE. Averbakh was one of the few strong players who managed to simultaneously reach significant heights in chess theory, literature, journalism, history, and chess politics.

Of the dozen photos of GM Averbakh in my eBay photo archive, this was my favorite. From an eBay auction in February 2012:-

The description informed,

Original Soviet chess press photo. The 26th Championship of USSR in Tbilisi 1959. Grandmasters from left to right: Tigran Petrosian, David Bronstein, Mikhail Tal, Yuri Averbakh.

The photo pictures a former World Championship challenger (Bronstein) and two future World Champions (Tal, Petrosian). GM Averbakh competed in the 1952 Saltsjobaden Interzonal (5-8th/21), the 1953 Zurich Candidates (10th-11th/15), and the 1958 Portoroz Interzonal (7-11th/21) a half point behind the group that qualified for the 1959 Yugoslavia Candidates (all links m-w.com).

Averbakh has figured many times on this blog, as well as on my main blog, e.g. in these related posts:-

Many of the posts on my main blog were related to his contributions to endgame theory. This post is all Averbakh:-

In another post on that blog, Friendly Chess Players (July 2013), I mentioned,

Near the end of the book ['Centre-Stage and Behind the Scenes: A Personal Memoir'], GM Averbakh divides great players into six groups. Here are quotes from Averbakh describing each group [...]

Another obituary from this week, Yuri Averbakh, Chess’s First Centenarian Grandmaster, Dies at 100 (nytimes.com), by the NYT's top chess writer, Dylan Loeb McClain, referenced the same categories:-

Though Mr. Averbakh was talented, he said he knew he lacked the necessary qualities to become a world champion. In his autobiography, he wrote that great players fall into six categories: killers, fighters, sportsmen, people who like to play games, artists and explorers. All of the world champions came from the first four groups, he said. He put himself in the sixth category -- that of an explorer.

GM Averbakh was a World Champion chess explorer, possibly the greatest ever. Who else comes close?

04 May 2022

2022 Candidates; 2023(?) Title Match

The 2022 Candidates Tournament; Madrid, VI-VII (m-w.com) starts next month. I updated that page to include the latest announcements.

The eighth player is still unknown. A Fide.com subdomain that I had never seen before, FIDE World Championship. Cycle 2021-2023 (worldchampionshipcycle.fide.com), includes Sergey Karjakin as a participant, but with an asterisk against his name:-

World Cup runner-up; (* : Suspended by a decision of FIDE EDC. Subject to appeals.)

See a previous post on this blog, The Karjakin Affair (March 2022), for background. I could have written a companion post, 'The Ding Liren Affair', but decided that it was premature. See Ding Liren on his way to the Candidates (chessbase.com), for a different opinion. Instead of speculating on the eventual outcome, I'll just wait for FIDE's decision. It should come soon.

For a comprehensive explanation of the current status of the Candidates tournament and of the subsequent title match, see

Both pages are from Chess.com. The WCC title match is not yet listed on the FIDE calendar. Although the previous title match, 2021 Carlsen - Nepomniachtchi (m-w.com), was held at the end of last year in Dubai, it was originally scheduled for end-2020.

27 April 2022

It's Not an April Fool's Joke

You've seen the publicity: Announcing The $1,000,000 Chess.com World Championship (chess.com). Now watch the trailer!

Announcing The $1,000,000 Chess.com World Championship (?:??) • '[Published on] Apr 21, 2022'

Hey, wait a minute! Now it says, 'Video unavailable; This video is private'. I watched the clip yesterday and recorded the description, which said,

With $1,000,000 in prizes, we are excited to announce the Chess.com World Championship! Prepare for open qualifiers, play-in and knockout rounds featuring the world's best chess players, and you! Take part in this record-breaking event by verifying your Chess.com profile!

Yes, the video was sort of silly. It started with an inside joke -- 'World Hess Hampionship' -- seen in Chess.com's broadcasts of the last *real* World Championship, the 2021 Carlsen - Nepomniachtchi match. If you don't get the joke, see the 'CHR' column in a post from my main blog, A Trio of World Championship Video Makers (December 2021). Sorry I can't be more specific about which round the joke appeared. It was worth a smile at the time, but that was nearly six months ago.

My guess is that someone pulled the plug on the video because the subject is serious, but the video wasn't. It's not every day a chess site announces a World Chess Championship of its own. Why would they turn around and make fun of it? As an April Fool's joke maybe, but they missed that by three weeks. A few days after the Chess.com announcement, there was a similar announcement from another online chess play site: Announcing the Lichess World Championship (lichess.org).

Are these real World Chess Championships? In my opinion, no, they aren't, but I'm just one voice in the court of public opinion that decides such matters. I think they're more like site championships. I'll come back to the subject if public opinion eventually disagrees with me.

20 April 2022

2022 Grand Prix, Wrapup

2022 Grand Prix; Berlin / Belgrade, I've already posted six times:-

At the end of that last post, 'Final Actions', I noted,

Not done: Add the 25 players to the Index of Players.

Consider it done -- see World Chess Championship : Index of Players -- and that's a wrap! Congratulations to World Chess for the most interesting of the six Grand Prix events that started with the 2008-2009 Grand Prix.

13 April 2022

2022 Grand Prix, Final Actions

In the previous post, 2022 Grand Prix, 3rd Leg (April 2022), I left myself with three actions: 'Still to do on my page'. First I added the PGN and total Grand Prix points to 2022 Grand Prix; Berlin / Belgrade (m-w.com).

Then I created the chart shown on the left. It lists the 25 players who participated in the three legs of the 2022 Grand Prix, their total score across the events in which they played ('Tot'), and the number of games played in the events ('Gms').

The last column shows the number of events in which each player participated ('Tnmt'). Two players participated in a single event and were substituted in their second event. I should say more about the substitutions, but I'll save that for another time.

Not done: Add the 25 players to the Index of Players. I had hoped to do that for this post, but I ran out of time. I'll schedule one last post for this long and complicated event.

06 April 2022

2022 Grand Prix, 3rd Leg (Berlin)

Three weeks after 2022 Grand Prix, 2nd Leg (March 2022), the third and final leg concluded in Berlin. I added the various crosstables for the last leg to my page 2022 Grand Prix : Berlin / Belgrade, II-IV (m-w.com). Following the lead set in the '2nd Leg' post, here are TWIC introductions ('by Mark Crowther') from the weeks when the event took place:-
  • TWIC1428, 2022-03-21 • 'Russian players are competing under the FIDE flag in the final leg of the FIDE Grand Prix series which starts tomorrow.'
  • TWIC1429, 2022-03-28 • 'The three event FIDE Grand Prix is not over but the main issue has been decided, Richard Rapport and Hikaru Nakamura take the final Candidates places. Nakamura was in a group with Levon Aronian and lost his first game to him but came back to score 4/5 including a revenge win against Aronian.'
  • TWIC1430, 2022-04-04 • 'Wesley So defeated Hikaru Nakamura in the final of the final FIDE Grand Prix but the two Candidates places had long been decided in favour of Nakamura and Richard Rapport.'

Still to do on my page:-

  • Add the PGN for the third leg.
  • Add the spreadsheet showing total Grand Prix points allocated.
  • Calculate the total score for each player over the three legs.
  • Add the event to the Index of Players for all participants.

TWIC1430 had another comment on the current cycle:-

Ding Liren scored 10.5/12 in a tournament entirely arranged to produce enough games with the right results to qualify him for the Candidates if Sergey Karjakin is suspended for the event. Whilst Ding does belong in the Candidates and seems to have been one of the worst affected players by the Covid-19 crisis this whole event was really not a proper tournament at all.

I'll look at that in another post.

30 March 2022

C30 Zonal Hybrid Events

My most recent post on the series of events that kicked off the current cycle, C30 Zonal Rating Reports (March 2022), didn't go very smoothly. As I wrote then,
I encountered a problem -- most of the events had no rating reports. I don't know if they are missing because the events weren't rated -or- because they are documented elsewhere -or- because I made a mistake. I didn't have time to investigate more thoroughly.

A few days later I learned that FIDE had changed its presentation of ratings -- Mark Crowther on Twitter: "@FIDE_chess The old version of the page is back..." -- and had problems with it. That encouraged me to look at the rating reports again, but the zonal++ events were still missing.

Not having another good idea for this week's post on this blog, I decided to document one of the many hybrid events that made up the bulk of the zonal stage of the current cycle. I've already looked at the technology, once on this blog in FIDE Hybrid Competitions (March 2021), and once on my main blog in The Tornelo Online Platform (June 2021).

Last year the European Chess Union (ECU) issued a series of reports on its own World Cup qualifier. The reports explained, in text and in photos, how the tournament was conducted:-

That first report, 'Tournament Starts', included a couple of important references:-

The 'FIDE Requirements' included a brief section:-

7. Rating calculations (Decision pending)

Since that section has been there for a year or so, we can conclude that the hybrid events were not rated. And that explains why there were no FIDE rating reports for the qualification events.

23 March 2022

The Karjakin Affair

I added the FIDE announcement about GM Karjakin's ban to my page 2022 Candidates Tournament (m-w.com). Why is this important to the Candidates event, scheduled to start in June? From Karjakin Banned For 6 Months, Misses Out On Candidates (chess.com; Peter Doggers):-
The FIDE Ethics and Disciplinary Commission (EDC) has banned GM Sergey Karjakin for six months from participating as a player in any FIDE rated chess competition. The 32-year-old Russian grandmaster, who is a fierce supporter of Russian president Vladimir Putin, was punished for his recent statements on social media and will be missing out on this year's FIDE Candidates Tournament.

A related Chess.com analysis of the third, last leg of the ongoing 2022 Grand Prix (m-w.com), explains the details. From The Final 3: Who Will Qualify For The Candidates 2022? (chess.com; Nathaniel Green):-

Now we come to the other huge news of the past several days, Karjakin's six-month ban by FIDE. The Candidates rules dictate that Karjakin's spot goes to the highest-rated player on the May 2022 rating list (not an average over several months) who has played at least 30 rated classical games in the previous 12 months (since the June 2021 list).

This is doubly important because several players participating in the Grand Prix have the opportunity to raise their own ratings during the event. A number of scenarios are possible.

16 March 2022

2022 Grand Prix, 2nd Leg (Belgrade)

Two weeks after adding 2022 Grand Prix, 1st Leg (March 2022) to my page on the 2022 Grand Prix; Berlin / Belgrade (m-w.com), I incorporated the second leg on the same page. Following is a summary of TWIC introductions ('by Mark Crowther') from the weeks when the event took place:-
  • TWIC1425, 2022-02-28 • 'The second FIDE Grand Prix starts tomorrow in Belgrade, I have no idea what to expect.'
  • TWIC1426, 2022-03-07 • 'The FIDE Grand Prix in Belgrade has a day off tomorrow as the group stages all proved decisive. Dmitry Andreikin, Anish Giri, Richard Rapport and MVL [Maxime Vachier-Lagrave] all topped their group without the need for a tie-break.'
  • TWIC1427, 2022-03-14 • 'Richard Rapport has one foot in the Candidates tournament after his win in the second FIDE Grand Prix in Belgrade. The third and final one takes place in Berlin starting next Monday.'

The sentence in the first TWIC report, 'I have no idea what to expect', referred to the Russian attack on Ukraine that started a few days before the Belgrade event opened. Of the five Russian players, only GM Andreikin advanced from the preliminary stage to the playoff stage. He lost in the final match to GM Rapport of Hungary. There were no Ukrainian players.

The official site for the event FIDE Grand Prix 2022 Series (worldchess.com) offers a 'Fleece Hoodie', shown in the following image ('Time to say Berlin'). I can't figure out what the design means. A man dressed in white is fighting a black ghost over spaghetti, while stepping in something that can't be good. Hmmm.