26 February 2014

Tales of Three Zonals

Just as in last week's Small World Championship Stories, I received new information about old zonals from a couple of knowledgeable correspondents.

Massimiliano Orsi, who sent the new crosstables for C10 and C13, has written in detail about the C13 event: Castelldefels 1985 (soloscacchi.altervista.org).

While applying the updates, I noted two points of further interest:-

  • The Praia de Rocha 1978 event also served as a zonal for a new zone 12.

  • One of the participants at Caorle 1975 is listed as 'Albert' by the BCM reference, and as 'Frank' by the new reference, both references giving Zaire as the country of origin. This must have been the same Dr. Albert Frank who conducted one of the first studies for chess in school; see Chess and Aptitudes for his own account of the study.

    Several years ago I had a brief correspondence with Dr. Frank. I was informed last year that he passed away 2 May 2013 in Belgium.

For my next post, I'll return to Small Projects for 2014, provided there are no more pleasant distractions to keep me busy.

19 February 2014

Small World Championship Stories

In Small Projects for 2014, I mentioned a story shedding light on a detail of the World Championship Zonals:-

Since then I've encountered two similar stories and added them to the appropriate pages:-

Ask and ye shall find.


I encountered another World Championship story in Five Secrets of Successful Entrepreneurs [Wired.com]:-

In 1996, Natan Sharansky won the world chess championship. How did he train? While he was imprisoned for nine years in a Siberian labor camp in solitary confinement, he played himself in thousands of imaginary games of chess. His mind saw every possible move so when it was time for the competition, he excelled.

The similarity to the Stefan Zweig novella is remarkable in itself (see yesterday's post, Chess Behanced, on my main blog for more about that), but even more remarkable is the news that 'Sharansky won the World Chess Championship'. How could this myth possibly arise? Wikipedia to the rescue:-

At the age of 15, he won the championship in his native Donetsk. When incarcerated in solitary confinement, he claims to have maintained his sanity by playing chess against himself in his mind. Sharansky beat the world chess champion Garry Kasparov in a simultaneous exhibition in Israel in 1996. • Natan Sharansky

For more about the true part of the Sharansky story, see Natan Sharansky: How chess kept one man sane [BBC.co.uk].

12 February 2014

WCCC Ain't What It Used to Be

The first project on my list of Small Projects for 2014 is the World Computer Championship. The concern here is whether to continue updating my page for the World Chess Championship : Computer Chess (WCCC). As the following chart shows, the number of WCCC participants has been dropping steadily since peaking in the late 1990s.

Source: www.grappa.univ-lille3.fr

By the time the The Rybka Affair broke in 2011, the ICGA competitions no longer attracted or accepted the strongest programs. The three most recent events -- 2010, 2011, & 2013 -- have seen two separate competitions, hardware and software, where the software event is not considered as important as the equivalent TCEC competitions.

It's time to acknowledge that the ICGA tournaments are not real World Championships. I'll continue to list the ICGA events, but without crosstables or game scores.

05 February 2014

Small Projects for 2014

Where does a year go? Looking back at what I accomplished with this blog in 2013, there are many projects left undone. Here's a TBD list for future updates.

World Computer Championship: The previous update was in 2011 for the 19th World Computer Championship. The 20th WCCC was held in August 2013.

World Correspondence Championship: The previous update was in 2012 for the ICCF World Championships (2012 Status). Here is an overview of the current status.

Zonals: (1; Done) Earlier this month I received an email clarifying the circumstances of a playoff match for zone 2 of the Zonals 1984-1987 (C13), and added the info to that page. (2) For the current cycle, I added C26 Zonal Clippings 2013, but haven't added the FIDE rating links for ratings.fide.com to Zonals : Links (and Other References). (3) Early last year I did an analysis of discrepancies in the list of all zonals:-

I should follow-up with the goal of removing the 'In process & preliminary' warning from the index page.


Later / Grand Prix: The two most recent Grand Prix series are missing the final standings.