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.