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.