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!