16 May 2018

A Two Year Cycle

For the last few World Championship cycles, FIDE has managed to maintain a two year rhythm, with title matches taking place at the end of even-numbered years (like 2018). How many chess fans remember that FIDE tried to do the same nearly 35 years ago? From Informant 36 (1983-H2):-
A new system of competitions for Individual and Team World Championships was adopted by FIDE at its congress in Manila, in October 1983. The proposal was being prepared for some time by an ad hoc Committee headed by Mr. Campomanes, the President of FIDE.

The new system contains many changes:

• a restructuring of FIDE Zones was carried out (new distribution of countries among the Zones, two Zones in Africa, the so-called Sub-zones set up in some Zones);

• a two-year cycle of competitions for Individual World Championship was introduced to replace the hitherto three-year cycle (i.e., the World Title Match will henceforth be played every other year);

• 12 (in 1985, 14) best players from the FIDE rating list will also have the right to participate in three Interzonal Tournaments;

• a candidates' all-play-all tournament with 16 participants was instituted, to be played after the Interzonal Tournaments;

• Individual Candidates' Matches with four participants -- the players placed lst-4th in the Candidates' Tournament -- will be played after the candidates' all-play-all tournament;

• in addition to the Chess Olympiad, a World Team Championship (with ten participant teams) was instituted to be played every fourth year.

What happened to this grand plan? The infamous 1984 Karpov - Kasparov title match (Moscow; 1984-09 through 1985-02) took place.

09 May 2018

2018 FIDE Chess Politics

If chess players aren't interested in chess politics, why is the chess press running so many stories these days about chess politics? Maybe because there's serious trouble in FIDE's leadership with both a FIDE election and a World Championship match looming later this year.

I last covered the FIDE problems in a couple of 'Yahoo' posts on my main blog -- February Yahoos (February 2018; 'I've been following the sanctions saga since the end of 2016.'), and April Yahoos (April 2018) -- and now I should cover the jockeying for the FIDE election, but the situation is changing so rapidly that anything I say is bound to be wrong even before I press 'POST'.

In the meantime, let's settle for an overview of the election process. The FIDE page Handbook >> A. Administrative Subjects >> 04. Electoral Regulations (fide.com) starts,

1. The Presidential Ticket

1.1 The Presidential ticket shall be six persons, at least one of whom must be a woman. Nominations on the Presidential ticket shall specify the proposed nominees for the offices of FIDE President, Deputy President, General Secretary, Treasurer and two Vice Presidents.

1.2 Nominations for the Presidential ticket and Continental Presidents must reach the Secretariat at least three months before the opening of the General Assembly. Each ticket must be nominated by at least five member federations. The decision of the federation shall be communicated to FIDE by the federation's President. A federation is entitled to nominate only one Presidential ticket.

The General Assembly will take place during the forthcoming Olympiad. The FIDE Calendar 2018 (also fide.com) says,

43rd World Chess Olympiad 2018 • Batumi, Georgia • 23-Sep-2018 • 6-Oct-2018
89th FIDE Congress • Batumi, Georgia • 26-Sep-2018 • 6-Oct-2018

Three months before the opening of the General Assembly will happen around end-June. I'll come back to the subject at the beginning of summer.

02 May 2018

Three and a Half Cycles

While preparing for the previous post (see the last link below, 'Berlin Candidates - Wrapup'), I assembled a collection of links to similar posts for past events. This was primarily with an eye on maintaining consistency, but the list has other uses, too.

C25: Candidates

C25: Title Match

C26: Candidates

C26: Title Match

C27: Candidates

C27: Title Match

C28: Candidates

C28: Title Match

  • 2018-11-xx: Carlsen - Caruana, London

Only six months to wait before I can start filling in that last list...

25 April 2018

Berlin Candidates - Wrapup

During a World Championship event, like the recent 2018 Candidates Tournament, I generate so many posts that it's useful to summarize them when I'm done. First, here are posts from this blog:-

And here are posts from my main blog:-

Posts marked '(*)' include a video clip.

18 April 2018

Berlin Candidates - Last Updates

I ended the previous post, Berlin Candidates - My Resources, with a number of small actions for a final update. To close these, I added the PGN file and tiebreak rules to my page on the 2018 Candidates Tournament. I also added links for that page to the four pages comprising the Index of Players.

Given that the tournament finished three weeks ago, you might think I was slow to make the updates. My excuse is that I had a vacation during that period. The official site for the 2018 Carlsen - Caruana title match to be held later this year is still wondering who the challenger will be.

(Hint: It's the guy in the darkly shaded box.)

What's their excuse?

11 April 2018

Berlin Candidates - My Resources

I added the crosstable and cumulative score to my page on the 2018 Candidates Tournament. The cumulative score is reproduced below.

Still to be done:-

  • Add the PGN file
  • Document the tiebreak rules
  • Update the index of players
  • Summarize the action from major chess news sources

I also updated the page for the 2018 Carlsen - Caruana match, to be held in London later this year.

28 March 2018

Berlin Candidates - Third Week

Yesterday the 2018 Berlin Candidates Tournament finished with a clear winner, no tiebreaks necessary. Congratulations to Fabiano Caruana on earning the right to challenge World Champion Magnus Carlsen next November in a title match. In my previous post, Berlin Candidates - Second Week, I recorded the situation at the top after nine of the 14 rounds had been played:-
6.0 Caruana; 5.5 Mamedyarov; 5.0 Grischuk

Since the official site, worldchess.com/berlin, never did manage to produce a crosstable, I'll use their chart of scores per round ('Standings') to show the final scores.

The scenario for an exciting finish was set in the 12th round when the two front runners were both defeated. Playing with the White pieces, Karjakin (6.0/11 before the round) beat Caruana (7.0). Playing Black, Ding Liren (5.5 after 11 draws) beat Mamedyarov (6.5) Many onlookers started to wonder whether we were going to see a second Carlsen - Karjakin title match, after the Russian scored +4-0=2 in rounds seven through twelve, thereby catching up with Caruana.

The two most recent posts on my main blog described the situation before the last two rounds. With two rounds to go, in Two Championship Qualifying Events, I noted,

The 2018 Berlin Candidates Tournament is also reaching its climax and here the results are anything but clear. [...] Five players are bunched within a half-point of each other.

Before the final round, in Berlin Candidates - Tiebreaks, I wrote,

The players with a chance of winning the tournament (plus their scores going into the last round) are: 8.0 Caruana; 7.5 Mamedyarov, Karjakin; 7.0 Ding Liren. It's still not easy to calculate each player's chances to win.

Playing Black, Caruana beat Grischuk and none of the other games mattered anymore. The chart above shows that Caruana won his last two games, despite the tension. He seems to have the nerves of steel that all World Chess Champions necessarily possess.

I watched the beginning of the last few rounds on Chess24.com. For the first nine rounds, I alternated between that site and the official site, Worldchess.com, switching when the commentators on one site or the other took a break. After the Worldchess broadcasts disappeared behind the site's paywall, I settled on Chess24 exclusively. Although Judit Polgar did a capable job for Worldchess, their other commentators were not at her level.

Worldchess.com was plagued by technical and organizational problems. For the first few rounds, the site was unable to display the games in progress. News reports only started appearing after the first half of the event had been played, even though the same reports had been available on Fide.com from the beginning. For games in progress, the main page displayed broken images for the players' caricatures, although these were working on other parts of the site (as the chart above shows).

Now I have to change the title of my 'World Chess Championship' page. Until now, it has shown 2018 Carlsen - TBA; London, XI, 2018. After three successful title matches, GM Carlsen might be favored to win, but GM Caruana has shown that he will be a worthy challenger.