30 December 2015

Zonal Qualifiers C14

Continuing with Regulations for Qualifiers C14, I concentrated on the players who qualified from the various zonals. First I added many new clippings to the page C14: Zonals 1987-1990. The most important of those is shown below, reduced in size to fit on this blog post.

Zoninis šachmatu turnyras

It is a portion of a 'Vikipedija' [Lithuanian] page which seems to be based largely on my own work. A few comments:-

  • Zone 05: Four players from this zonal competed in Interzonals. The page says Hulak and Marjanovic qualified on rating, but their ratings were too low. (NB: Pucarevo = Novi Travnikas)
  • Zone 07: Neither Ivanov nor Spraggett played in a C14 Interzonal. Allan and Baragar played instead.
  • Zone 11: The 'scandal' is not mentioned. Did it have any real impact?
  • Zone 12: Bouaziz qualified.
  • Zone 13: Hamed qualified.

Thanks to that info plus details from other new clippings, I can make an educated guess on how the players qualified, whether from zonals or otherwise.

23 December 2015

Regulations for Qualifiers C14

Having finished Regulations for Qualifiers C13 -- that's the cycle that culminated in the 1987 Kasparov - Karpov Title Match (aka KK IV) -- I tackled the following cycle. This cycle was more complicated than any of the other cycles because I wasn't able to locate a copy of the FIDE regulations in force for the cycle.

Starting with a list of the players in the three Interzonals plus the lists on the image to the left (Source: Europe Echecs 1987-07 p.24; it mentions the date on which it was created, 16 June 1987), I worked out which players had qualified from zonals. This is largely documented in C14: 1987-1990 Zonal Cycle, although that page is not as complete as I would have liked.

There are some mismatches between the players who qualified and those who finally played. This gives me some direction for further research.

I also added a new page for C14: 1987-1990 Zonal Cycle Qualifiers. The page is only a stub for now, but I should be able to fill it out the next time I return to this subject.

16 December 2015

Zonal Qualifiers C13 - Qualification Paths

After locating the Regulations for Qualifiers C13, I added the qualification path for each player to the page C13: Zonal Qualifiers 1984-1987. The two tables below show the counts of players who qualified by the different paths.

The left table ('Qual') counts the types of qualifiers as defined in the first part of C13: Zonal Qualifiers. The right table ('Zonal') counts the players who qualified at a certain zonal ('z'), as listed in the second part of the same page.

The three players with an unknown qualification path (Qual = '?') -- Afifi, Bouaziz, & Hmadi -- all played in the 1985 Tunis Interzonal. Two of them qualified via African zonals and one was nominated by the Tunis organizers. I haven't been able to determine who qualified by what path.

The count for zone 4, the USSR, shows five players. GM M.Gurevich did not play an Interzonal although he qualified ahead of two other players. I haven't been able to determine why.


Later: To document a few discoveries, I added new clippings to C13: Zonals 1984-1987.

09 December 2015

Regulations for Qualifiers C13

Continuing with Zonal Qualifiers C15-C26 : Summary, I added a new page C13: Zonal Qualifiers 1984-1987. The first cut covers only the rules for qualification into the Interzonals, so I still need to add the qualification paths for individual players.

What happened to C14: 1987-90? I haven't been able to locate a description of the qualification rules for that cycle. I suspect that the rules for C14 were similar to C13 and will test that hypothesis after completing C13.

02 December 2015

2015 FIDE Congress : Whither the World Championship?

World Chess Championship watchers throughout the world were all asking, 'What news from Abu Dhabi?' Last year's post on this blog, 2014 FIDE General Assembly : Whither the World Championship? (December 2014), covering the FIDE President's travel report and a list of forthcoming events was decidedly unsatisfying. Would this year's post be any better?

Given that I've already started the report with a post on my main blog, The Resurrection of Agon, let's continue with FIDE Congress, Abu Dhabi, Executive Board, 7-8 September 2015, MINUTES, where 'President K. Ilyumzhinov delivered his annual report'. The most important bit was somewhere in the middle.

On 31st October I made a report during a private meeting with Mr. Putin to discuss the preparation for the World Championship match in Sochi between M. Carlsen-V. Anand which took place 7-28 November 2014.

The match was taking place in the Main Media Centre of the Sochi Olympics and was organized on a very high level. I would like to especially thank the Russian Chess Federation led by our Vice President Andrei Filatov, and our commercial partner – “Agon”. Spectators from 217 countries were following this interesting event on the match official Internet site. In an uncompromising fight, Magnus Carlsen kept the title.

As an unprecedented event, the President of the country-organiser attended the closing ceremony. After the ceremony, the President V. Putin invited the FIDE delegation, the players and their families as well as 10th World Champion A. Karpov and 12th World Champion B. Spassky to have some tea, during which the issue of the Women’s World Championship was successfully solved.

The tournament was organized successfully 16 March – 7 April under wonderful conditions in Krasnaya Poliana, a mountain resort in Sochi. Once again it is my pleasure to thank the Organising Committee led by the Russian Vice-Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich, the Russian Chess Federation and its President A. Filatov and the Championship sponsor – Gazprom. The Championship was won by a Woman Grandmaster from Ukraine Maria Muzychuk, who is now the 15th Women’s World Champion. I sent a letter to the President of Ukraine P. Poroshenko and proposed to organize the Muzychuk – Hou Yifan match in a western –Ukrainian city of Lviv.

On the 1st of July 2015 I arrived in Ukraine where I met with Mr. Poroshenko. We discussed the matters of the possible match organization, and a chess festival to take place during the match. Mr. Poroshenko gave a very high evaluation to the chess development level in Ukraine and in the world. Mr. Poroshenko has also signed the Decree on creating the Organising Committee with Head of Ukrainian President’s Administration Boris Levkin in chair, and their first meeting took place on 31st August. The prize fund of the match will be 210, 000 euro and it will be organized 1-18 March 2016. The Ukraine signed the contract and the first tranche of the prize fund in the amount of 100,000 euro reached the FIDE accounts. The next meeting of the Organising Committee will take place at the end of September.

During my visit to Kiev, I have also succeeded to agree with the Kiev Mayor Vitali Klitschko to host one of the Women’s Grand-Prix series stage in Kiev which became an instance for Mr. Levkin to propose that 2016 be a year of chess in Ukraine. It was also resolved that in each of 500 Kiev schools a chess class will be prepared and equipped to start chess education as a facultative subject as the first stage. In future, the mayor would like to make chess an obligatory subject in the school curriculum.

Later on in the same MINUTES, we find 5.21. Commission on World Championship and Olympiads (WCOC). After a list of forthcoming events and a discussion about a detail from the women's cycle,

A request from Americas – eight places from the Continent for women’s championship and one only for the Continental. They want to have annual events and they request for another slot.

followed by an equally skimpy Annex 37 ('Minutes of the meeting in Abu Dhabi'), we can only conclude that important business of the WCOC is conducted elsewhere. The Executive Board apparently agrees and 'noted Annex 54 – report of Agon', to which I now refer. The major sections of Annex 54, Report to the FIDE Executive Board; by Ilya Merenzon, CEO of Agon Limited; September 7, 2015, were as follows:-

1. World Rapid and Blitz Championship in Berlin
2. The Financial Times and Chess
3. Calendar of the Events for 2015 - 2018
4. Working with Federations to hold major chess events (grand prix, candidates and etc)
5. Sponsorship of chess
6. Media site [worldchess.com]
7. Candidates Tournament 2016
8. Championship Match 2016
9. About Agon

I've already covered sections (2) and (6) in the 'Resurrection' post, but section (5) is equally promising.

5. Sponsorship of chess: Agon has a team of sponsorship sales working in Russia, Germany, the US and Switzerland. It’s been not easy as there are several issues that limit access to sponsors:
- Not enough presence on TV (smaller audience)
- Lack of verified numbers
- Lack of history

But we are addressing the issues and have some initial success with sponsors: for 2016, we have commitments from the following brands: Goldman Sachs Investment Banking, Audi, E.ON (Germany), Isklar Water (Norway); and have advanced talks with a major IT company and a major watch brand. We’ll share all information as we develop this segment and hope that FIDE and federations can provide sponsors with 360-degree approach.

Section (8) contains news that was largely speculative until now.

8. Championship Match 2016: There is huge interest in the Match from both sponsors and media. FIDE and Agon have decided to hold the match in the US, as FIDE President has announced at the closing ceremony of 2014 Championship in Sochi. The US, especially now, with major players who have a chance to take on Magnus, is home to the largest number of sponsors who work in industries that are close to chess — IT, Technology and Banking.

Agon has secured a prize fund (EUR 2,000,000) and is working on developing sponsorship contracts. We’ll inform the Board and, if approved, announce the city and venue in November of 2015, exactly a year before the championship. We are looking at New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. We are also working with ESPN and Sky sports to make sure the Championship is on TV.

Section (9) gives a headcount.

9. About Agon: It’s managed and [run] by Ilya Merenzon and has 9 full-time employees: 3 sales managers, 1 digital communications, 1 sports lawyer, 1 events director, 2 project managers. More people are brought on board during important events.

After that four page introduction, annex 54 continues with nearly 30 pages of presentation. The first informative slide ('What Is Chess?') is copied below.

There are few people who want Agon to succeed more than I do, but that is not a good start. The first bullet ('more than 2000 year history') is simply wrong and the last ('more than 600 million people play chess') is controversial; see An evening with Ilya Merezon (Streatham & Brixton blog) for more on the second point.

Those two points might be nitpicking, but a later development isn't: Chess boss Ilyumzhinov among 10 targets of US sanctions over Syria (RT.com). If RT ('Russia Today') isn't your idea of an independent news group, how about this: FIDE chief out in the cold: Why Kirsan won't be knocking at the door of the US Treasury (telegraph.co.uk):-

FIDE president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov was celebrating the 20th anniversary of his appointment as head of the game’s governing body when news came that the US government had cited him for business dealings with the Syria regime of President Bashar al-Assad. He is now subject to an assets freeze and, according to a statement by America’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), "US persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions" with Ilyumzhinov, and three others similarly cited.

Given that 'U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions', how will those U.S. persons manage to organize a World Championship match with FIDE? I trust we'll have an answer to that question before the next edition of 'Whither the World Championship?'.

25 November 2015

1985 San Juan (Puerto Rico)

After sorting out the record of Central American (CAM) Zonals, there was still an open question about CAM Subzonals. On the one hand I knew that the 1985 CAM zonal was held in Caracas. On the other hand I had a curious reference in 'Hooked on Chess' by Bill Hook (p.134):-
The Puerto Ricans hosted the Caribbean zonal tournament in 1985, in San Juan. [...] The zonal was well organized by Narciso Rabell Mendez, as were all other tournaments of his that I attended. This was my third zonal, and I finished in the lower half of the field, as usual. The Cubans had the preponderance of chess strength in the Caribbean, and they took the first three places.

The best way to reconcile the contradictory pieces of information was to verify that 1985 San Juan was a subzonal, but how? A library visit wasn't possible and I could find nothing on the web except for a single game reference, William Hook vs Craig van Tilbury; Zonal Tournament (1985) on Chessgames.com (CG).

What about Hook's reference to the Cubans? From my page (C13) 1984-1987 Zonal Cycle, I knew that the Cuban players in the 1985 Caracas zonal were Amador Rodriguez and Jesus Nogueiras, but their player pages on CG didn't mention it. [I did discover, however, that GM Rodriguez was listed on CG as 'Cespedes, Amador Rodriguez' rather than 'Rodriguez Cespedes, Amador', making his record harder to find.]

CG helped by providing a link to GM Rodriguez' personal site, amadorgm.com. I took the liberty of contacting him there to ask if he had any information about the San Juan tournament. Some time later the GM answered,

I did play in San Juan in 1985, a great year, happy times. It was a sub-zonal tournament, there were two spots valid for the zonal tournament that was played next month in Caracas, where I took first and went all the way to play the Interzonal.

In Puerto Rico I shared first with GMs Nogueiras and Guillermo Garcia, all of us from Cuba. At the end we had to play a double round match to eliminate one, but Guillermo Garcia had to return home and declined to play those tiebreaks.

That info matched Hook's perfectly, so I thanked GM Rodriguez and wrote this post.

18 November 2015

2016 Candidates, Moscow

I created a new page for the 2016 Candidates Tournament, scheduled for March 2016 in Moscow. For now the page has only a couple of links to FIDE.com announcements like 2016 FIDE World Chess Candidates Tournament:-
According to FIDE regulations, the list of players includes the top two performers from the 2014-2015 Grand Prix: Hikaru Nakamura and Fabiano Caruana (both of the USA); the winner and runner-up of the 2015 World Cup, Sergey Karjakin and Peter Svidler (both of Russia); as well as the loser of the 2014 World Chess Championship match, Viswanathan Anand of India; Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria and Anish Giri of the Netherlands, based on their 2015 FIDE ratings are likely to have qualified to participate. The eighth and final participant is Levon Aronian of Armenia, who was chosen as Wild Card entry by the Organizers.

Another paragraph informs that Agon is still very much part of the story.

About World Chess by Agon Limited: Agon Limited is the official partner of World Chess Federation (FIDE) and owner of commercial rights to the World Chess Championship cycle. The company aims to develop and commercialize chess, create favorable environment for partners, players, and brands, and to significantly expand the broadcast coverage of the sport. With this in mind the company introduces World Chess brand, targeting 600+ million chess players and spectators all over the world.

Agon became owner of commercial rights in 2012. The company successfully managed the 2012-2013 Grand Prix cycle, the 2014 World Championship Match, and the 2015 Rapid and Blitz World Championships. For commercial and partnership opportunities, please visit www.agonlimited.com.

The last time I recall covering Agon was on my main blog during last year's World Championship match, Carlsen - Anand II : Rumblings (November 2014). The post started,

Pre-match Press Conference: Who was that fellow sitting to the right of the match stakeholders? Introduced as 'the organizer of the tournament, Ilya Merenzon', this was the first time I had become aware of him.

Agon also received a subsequent mention on this WCC blog in 2014 FIDE General Assembly : Whither the World Championship? (December 2014).

Then let's hear from the Presidential Board in November about forthcoming events. • 4.5. Agon. Annex 13 is a letter from Agon with a change in the Agon/FIDE interface team. [...] I don't have much to add here. It's Christmas Eve and there are better things to do!

Christmas is long past, so let's look at that letter.

'The Chairman' was identified as Mr. L. Buckley assisted by Mrs. C. Farrow as secretary. Mentioned in the clipping are Andrew Paulson, Ilya Merenzon, and Matvey Shekhovtsov. Now that we know the Agon cast of characters, we can continue with the story.

11 November 2015

21st World Computer Championship

I added the PGN and crosstable for the 21st World Computer Championship (WCCC) held in Leiden (Netherlands) to my page on the World Computer Chess Championship. Just like the previous event (see 20th World Computer Championship), both files are packed into a single ZIP file. For more about the event, see

The ICGA has announced next year's competition in ICGA Events 2016 in Leiden, including

  • The World Computer Chess Championship,
  • The World Computer Software Championship, and
  • The Speed Computer Chess Championship.

These events might better be named 'The ICGA Computer Chess Championship', etc. A few days ago I posted TCEC Season 8 Superfinal in Progress on my main blog. Many (most?) people who follow computer chess now consider the TCEC events to be the real World Computer Chess Championship.

Having said that, in round 5 of the 21st WCCC, the eventual winner of the event (Jonny) managed to beat the winner of TCEC Season 7 (Komodo). The two engines finished 1-2 in the final standings at Leiden.

04 November 2015

CAM Subzonals

In 2005 I gave myself the goal of documenting the World Chess Championship Zonals. Since the early days of the project there have been a number of events -- I call them the Central American Subzonals -- that I wasn't sure how to treat. The first of these on my zonal index was for cycle 15...
Zone 8 subzonal?; Pinar del Rio CUB; 1990-00

...after which there were seven more. I finally decided to delete them all ('hide' would be a better verb), so I updated the zonal index to reflect this decision.

The index now lists 451 events, of which 414 represent zonals and 37 represent the next stage of a cycle, e.g. an Interzonal. The current list of Central American zonals is shown below.

Central American (CAM) Zonals

End of story? No, not quite. Although that first subzonal reference was from 1990 and the first from Rafael Santana's site is TORNEO FIDE ZONA 8 (VIII) – CALI, 1990, a 2008 post on this blog, appropriately titled Subzonals, mentions a 1985 San Juan (Puerto Rico) event. I'll tackle that some other time.

28 October 2015

2015-2016 Women's Grand Prix, Monte Carlo

For my previous post, CAM Zonals, Women's Events, and C27 Zonals, I created a new page for the 2015-2016 FIDE Women's Grand Prix. For this post, I added the first leg of the event, held at Monte Carlo in Monaco. The second leg of the Grand Prix is scheduled for February 2016 in Kish, Iran.

For the Grand Prix from the previous cycle, see 2013-2014 FIDE Women's Grand Prix. For the corresponding post on this blog, see 2013-2014 Women's Grand Prix, the Players.

21 October 2015

CAM Zonals, Women's Events, and C27 Zonals

The last time I mentioned Rafael Santana of Venezuela on this blog was in More CAM Zonals, where CAM means Central America. He has since completed two more zonal pages on his own site, which I incorporated into

A few years ago, the CAM zonals were among the least documented events on my page for the World Championship Zonals. Now, thanks to Rafael, they are among the most documented.


I also updated my index for the World Championship for Women. First I added a new page for the 2015-2016 FIDE Women's Grand Prix; the first event has already finished and I'll add it ASAP. Then I updated my page on the 2015 Hou Yifan - M.Muzychuk Title Match; the event is now scheduled for March 2016 in Lviv, Ukraine.


After my first post last month on the C27 Zonals (the current cycle), I realized I had made several mistakes regarding the African zonals. I added a correction to that post.

14 October 2015

2015 World Cup Players

Continuing with 2015 World Cup Results, I added the PGN file to my page on the 2015 Baku World Cup. I also added the 128 players to my World Chess Championship : Index of players. A quick count indicates that there were 36 players participating in their first World Championship event at this level.

07 October 2015

2015 World Cup Results

I added crosstables for the recently completed Baku event to my page on the 2015 World Cup. For the first time I was able to follow the tournament as it evolved into the final mini-match between GMs Karjakin and Svidler.

Congratulations to both for qualifying into the forthcoming Candidates tournament and to GM Karjakin for winning the World Cup.

I still have a few actions to perform:-

  • Add the PGN game scores, but first I have to correct a few errors I found in the source data.

  • Add an explanation of the tiebreaks used. For the 2013 World Cup, I simply pointed to the page for the 2011 event. I plan to do the same for the 2015 event, but I should first confirm that the tiebreak systems were the same for all three events. My post on the Evolution of the FIDE Knockouts suggests that the formats were equivalent.

  • Add the 128 players to the Index of players.

Now that the event belongs to history, I would like to consider World Champion Carlsen's suggestion that the format be used for future World Championships.


Later: For the follow-up actions, see 2015 World Cup Players and 2015 World Cup Tiebreak.

30 September 2015

C27 Zonal Clippings 2015

Following C27 Zonal Clippings 2014, I added clippings for the events that took place in 2015 to my page on Zonals 2014-2015 (C27). Since this was the last bullet listed in my initial post on the C27 Zonals, I also added a link to two index pages:-

There remain two pages to create / update...

...but with the 2015 World Cup reaching the final stage -- Karjakin vs. Svidler -- documenting that will take priority.

23 September 2015

C27 Zonal Clippings 2014

Continuing with C27 Zonals Indexed, I added a new page Zonals 2014-2015 (C27), and populated it with clippings from zonal events held in 2014. Although these initial clippings are all from TWIC, some additional clippings will be needed to explain the more unusual events, like zones 1.7 and 1.10.

16 September 2015

C27 Zonals Indexed

Continuing with C27 Zonals, I added the 26 new events for cycle 27 to the index page of the World Chess Championship Zonals. The previous cycle (see C26 Zonals Indexed) had only 22 events. Why the difference?

An ACP qualifier accounts for one event. Then there were two events in Europe -- zones 1.7 & 1.10 -- where FIDE President Ilyumzhinov used two of his five presidential nominations to determine a qualifier; the year 2014, when the events took place, was (coincidentally?) a FIDE election year. A new FIDE African zone -- 4.4 -- accounts for the fourth new event.

Next step: Add clippings for the 26 events.

09 September 2015

C27 Zonals

The list below shows events -- continental championships, zonals, and special events -- that qualified players into the 2015 Baku World Cup. Most events are referenced to the The Week in Chess (TWIC), but where I couldn't find a TWIC reference, I added a link to another source (see the corresponding note).

0.0: (00, ACP)
1.0: TWIC 1010 (2014)
1.0: TWIC 1062 (2015)
1.7: (00, Baltics)
1.10: TWIC 1017 (00, Zone 1.10)

2.0: TWIC 1042 (2014)
2.0: TWIC 1073 (2015)
2.1: TWIC 1066
2.2: TWIC 1080
2.3: TWIC 1065
2.4: (01)
2.5: TWIC 1070

3.0: TWIC 1016 (2014)
3.0: TWIC 1084 (2015)
3.1: TWIC 1072
3.2: (02)
3.3: TWIC 1062
3.4: TWIC 1075
3.5: TWIC 1044
3.6: TWIC 1079
3.7: TWIC 1050

4.0: TWIC 1070 (2015)
4.1: (03)
4.2: (04)
4.3: (05)
4.4: (06)

(00) as documented in earlier posts on this blog: 2015 a Zonal Year and 2015 a Zonal Year (More++)
(01) Fier lidera isolado Zonal 2.4 no Peru [revistameiojogo.com.br]
(02) Ziaur Rahman Wins FIDE Zone 3.2 Chess Championship [chessdom.com; ditto for the following notes]
(03) Zaibi and Mezioud winners of FIDE Zone 4.1 Championships
(04) Arthur Ssegwanyi wins FIDE Zone 4.2, qualifies for Baku World Cup
(05) Richmond Phiri and Boikhutso Mudongo win FIDE Zone 4.3 Chess Championships
(06) IM Oladapo Adu from Nigeria qualifies for FIDE World Cup in Baku

As is often the case with zonals, the record of events in Africa is harder to track than in other continents. TWIC did report on two zonals -- 4.1: TWIC 1065 and 4.2: TWIC 1047 & TWIC 1087 -- but buried both under a concurrent open, which was in fact a side event. On top of this, African organizers ran a number of events in 2014 which were called 'zonals', but had no status as qualifiers. (Organizing zone championships in off-years is an idea other zones might also consider.)

Over the next few posts, I'll follow the same sequence that I used for the previous cycle:-

Then I'll wrap it up with a page covering the qualification paths of all 2015 World Cup participants.


Later: Re 'TWIC did report on two zonals -- 4.1: TWIC 1065 and 4.2: TWIC 1047 & TWIC 1087 -- but buried both under a concurrent open, which was in fact a side event', this was a premature, inaccurate assessment on my part.

The event '4.2: TWIC 1047' was another 2014 zonal which had no status as a qualifier. The event '4.1: TWIC 1065' was a report on the zonal held in Hammamet, Tunisia. The event '4.2: TWIC 1087' was a report on the zonal held in Kampala, Uganda; TWIC listed the venue as Kamwokya (aka Kamwookya), which is within Kampala.

Why the error on my part? TWIC listed both zonals as 'Zonal 4.x Open', meaning open to both men and women and in contrast to a women-only event. I had never encountered this meaning of the word. I was also misled by the low ratings of some of the participants, under-2000 in several cases. I'll try to avoid similar errors in the future.

02 September 2015

2015 Baku World Cup

After spending the last few months examining Zonal Qualifiers C15-C26, it's a good time to return to C27, the current World Championship cycle. I updated my page on the 2015 World Cup, adding a link to the official site, BakuWorldCup2015.com, plus a few recent links to FIDE announcements about the event, which starts next week.

Over the next few weeks, I'll also add info on the

For the record, the venue for the following World Cup (C28, according to my unofficial system of numbering the cycles) is already known; see The contract for 2017 World Cup & 2018 World Chess Olympiad

26 August 2015

Zonal Qualifiers C15-C26 : Crosslinks

Returning to the table in Zonal Qualifiers C15-C26 : Summary, I linked all of the pages in the 'Zonals' column (aka clippings) to the corresponding page in the 'Qualifiers' column. I also linked each 'Qualifiers' page backed to the 'Zonals' page. As for individual pages, here are discrepancies I flagged in the blog post for each cycle.
  • C15: Zones 4 & 8
  • C16: Qualified by rating?
  • C17: Why Gelfand over Salov?
  • C18-C21: Incomplete data
  • C22-C24: Ditto
  • C25-C26: OK!

Before I tackle those points, I want to address a few more current aspects of the World Championship.

19 August 2015

Zonal Qualifiers C15-C26 : Summary

Nearly five months ago, in my first post to document Interzonal++ qualifying paths, Zonal Qualifiers C25-C26, I wrote,
I'll continue backwards in time to see how this works for previous cycles. The new pages aren't yet linked from any other page. That will happen when I'm happy with the structure.

I've taken the project back to C15 and the following table shows the accumulated effort. For each of the twelve cycles, the columns link to the original page documenting the zonal events for the cycle ('Zonals'), the blog post where I released the results for one or more cycles ('Blog'), and the new page listing the qualifying paths for that cycle ('Qualifiers').

Cycle Zonals Blog Qualifiers
C15 1990-93 C15 1990-93Q
C16 1993-96 C16 1993-96Q
C17 1995-97 C17 1995-97Q
C18 1998-99 C18-C21 1998-99Q
C19 2000-01 -"- 2000-01Q
C20 2001-02 -"- 2001-02Q
C21 2002-04 -"- 2002-04Q
C22 2004-05 C22-C24 2004-05Q
C23 2006-07 -"- 2006-07Q
C24 2008-09 -"- 2008-09Q
C25 2010-11 C25-C26 2010-11Q
C26 2012-13 -"- 2012-13Q

The next step will be to add crosslinks to the pages in m-w.com. Many of the links in the 'Blog' column flag follow-up actions that need to be addressed separately.

05 August 2015

Zonal Qualifiers C15 - Qualification Paths

After completing the preliminary work described in my previous post, Regulations for Qualifiers C15, I tried to determine the qualification paths for each of the 64 players who competed in the 1990 Manila Interzonal. The two tables below show the counts of players who qualified by the different paths.

The left table ('Qual') counts the types of qualifiers as defined in the first part of Zonal Qualifiers 1990-1993 (C15). The right table ('Zonal') counts the players who qualified at a certain zonal ('z'), as listed in the second part of the same page.

At the same time I worked on the qualification paths, I added a few new clippings to Zonals 1990-1993 (C15). These are mainly explanations about players from specific zonals and I have a few more to add when I find the time.

The first row in the 'Qual' table counts eight players where I am not certain how they qualified. These are mainly players who were nominated by Continental Vice-Presidents (Qual = 'd').

Some of the counts in the 'Zonal' table are also likely to be wrong. Zone 4 (USSR) reportedly had six qualifiers from the zonal, but I can only identify five. Zone 8 (Central America) shows three qualifiers, but one of these might have been the nomination of the Continental Vice-President.

Whatever the real status of my tables and counts, they give a good basis for further investigation. Before I pursue that, I would like to incorporate the dozen new pages showing Qualification Paths into the rest of my material on the zonals.

29 July 2015

Regulations for Qualifiers C15

After working on Zonal Qualifiers C16 - Qualification Paths, I turned my attention to the 1990 Manila Interzonal Tournament. I found an overview of the regulations to determine qualified players and started a new page, Zonal Qualifiers 1990-1993 (C15).

The list of players competing in the Interzonal, plus the regulations, plus the details on the Zonals 1990-1993 (C15), should allow me to identify how most of the players qualified for the 1990 Interzonal. I'll work on that for my next post.

15 July 2015

Cold War Chess Politics

On the Streatham & Brixton blog, Justin Horton posted about
the impact of the building of the Berlin Wall [1961] on various international chess tournaments that were due to take place that year and the next: mainly the Women's Olympiad, which was cancelled, but also making reference to the Interzonal, which took place not in Amsterdam, as planned, in 1961, but in Stockholm the next year. • Past imperfect III

A related clipping from the August 1961 BCM mentioned three forthcoming international events scheduled for the Netherlands:-

  • 1961-08: World Junior, The Hague;
  • 1961-09: Women's Olympics, Emmen; and
  • 1962-01: Interzonal, Amsterdam [BCM said 1961-01, but this looks like a misprint].

To this list he added an event from my page on the zonals of that period, C05: 1960-1963, specifically,

  • 1960-11: Zone 2 - Berg en Dal zonal,

where he questioned a statement from Robert Wade:-

Uhlmann of East Germany was refused a visa. This was one of the tit-for-tats in which NATO countries have retaliated for the setting up of the Berlin wall by refusing visas for all East Germans.

Wade apparently confused the years-long Berlin crisis with the building of the wall, the central event of that crisis. Here is a chronology from William Langer's Encyclopedia of World History (p.1200), a work I use frequently for understanding the connections between world events.

The Berg en Dal, Ubbergen [Wikipedia], tournament, which took place in November 1960, was also mentioned in a BCM clipping on my 'C05: 1960-1963' page:-

The East German grandmaster, W. Uhlmann, was refused an entry visa by the Dutch authorities, who said that multi-lateral agreements prevented them from granting it until he had obtained the necessary documents from the Allied Control Commission in West Berlin.

To understand the connection between the September 1960 events and the Allied Control Commission would take me into details of post-WWII cold war tensions that go beyond the objectives of this chess blog. In Bobby Fischer: Profile of a Prodigy, Frank Brady mentioned the impact of the Berlin events on the 1962 Stockholm Interzonal:-

The long, slow-burning, potentially eruptive conflict [the Berlin crisis] was no doubt partially responsible for the fact that FIDE was having no luck in its attempts to find a site for the Interzonal tournament. (p.48)

Since this would be more directly relevant to chess history, I'll see what I can discover for a future post. Thanks, Justin, for highlighting the entire sequence of events.

08 July 2015

Zonal Qualifiers C16 - Qualification Paths

I ended my previous post, Regulations for Qualifiers C16, saying, 'There are still some blanks to be filled, so I'll continue this exercise for my next post.' I returned to the two pages

filled in the blanks, double-checked some assumptions, corrected a few errors, and added the list 'Player - How qualified' to the 'Zonal Qualifiers' page.

The table on the left is similar to the one shown in Zonal Qualifiers C17 - Qualification Paths. It counts and summarizes the qualification paths of the 74 players who competed in the 1993 Biel FIDE Interzonal.

The letters in the left column correspond to the paragraphs from the first section of the 'Zonal Qualifiers' page ('Comment ils se sont qualifiés' = 'How they qualified'). For example, 'a' counts the players who qualified on rating, 'e' counts players who qualified as ex-World Champions (only Smyslov accepted), and 'z' counts players who qualified via a zonal.

The counts total to 76, so where do the two extra players come from? Europe Echecs listed ten players qualified on rating ('a'), but only eight eventually played (Azmaiparashvili and Christiansen were missing). On top of that, I identified another six players who didn't qualify by any obvious path. Since they all had ratings in the same range, I assumed they also qualified on rating and assigned them code 'a?' to keep them separate.

For my next post, I'll tackle qualification paths for the preceding cycle, Zonals 1990-1993 (C15).

01 July 2015

Regulations for Qualifiers C16

After Zonal Qualifiers C17 - Qualification Paths, and continuing to work backwards in time, I tackled the preceding cycle, C16. First I located a list of players who qualified for the interzonal and added the clippings to Zonals 1993-1996 (C16). The same source, Europe Echecs, had an overview of the regulations in force at the time. I used this to start a new page Zonal Qualifiers 1993-1996 (C16).

Combining this information with the players who finally participated in the 1993 Biel FIDE Interzonal Tournament, let me work out how most of the players qualified. There are still some blanks to be filled, so I'll continue this exercise for my next post.

24 June 2015

Zonal Qualifiers C17 - Qualification Paths

Continuing with the 1997 World Championship, FIDE Knockout Matches (Groningen), I ended my previous post, Regulations for Qualifiers C17, with
The regulations plus the list of qualified players plus the clippings from 'Zonals 1995-1997', allowed me to work out how most/all(?) of the players qualified for the knockout tournament. For my next post, I'll check this work once more before adding it to the new page on 'Zonal Qualifiers 1995-1997'

Good thing I rechecked, because I found a number of unclear or inaccurate points. First I added a new clipping -- Europe Echecs 1997-11 -- to the 'KO Qualifiers' section of

Then I added a list of the qualified players -- 105 by exact count -- to

The same page ends with a list of qualified players who did not compete, e.g. Kasparov and Kramnik.

The table on the left counts and summarizes the qualification paths of the 105 players. The letters in the left column correspond to the bullets from paragraph 12.12 of that 'Zonal Qualifiers 1995-1997' page ('Regulations for the 1997/8 World Championship'). For example, 'a' counts Karpov and Kasparov, who both received special treatment; 'e' counts the players who qualified from a zonal.

The rest of the counts match the regulations nicely except for 'j' ('Nominees of the Organizing Federation') which should be two nominees. The count for 'k' ('sufficient number of the highest rated players') includes all names that couldn't be placed elsewhere, which was guesswork on my part.

One other point deserves mention. Section 12.13 of the regulations states,

d) Where Kamsky fails to enter, his place in Round 3 [of the 1997 Groningen KO] shall be taken by the loser from Round 3 of the previous Candidates match.

Kamsky did not enter and his place was taken by Gelfand. According to my page on the 1994-96 FIDE Candidates Matches, in the last round Gelfand lost to Karpov, and Salov lost to Kamsky, thereby setting up the Karpov - Kamsky title match. It's not clear to me why Gelfand was favored over Salov for rule 12.13(d).

With that little mystery in the back of my mind, I'll move on to qualifiers for C16: 1993-96.

17 June 2015

Regulations for Qualifiers C17

I ended the post on Zonal Qualifiers C17 with
Matching the list of qualified players with the players who eventually showed up for the tournament, then showing how they all qualified, will be a separate exercise.

Using some work on my main blog, Early Chess on the Web, I located the document 'Regulations for the 1997/8 World Championship'. I then added that link and relevant portions to a new page Zonal Qualifiers 1995-1997 (C17). Essentially, it explains the (complicated) structure of the 1997 Groningen tournament, aka 1997 FIDE Knockout Matches.

The regulations plus the list of qualified players plus the clippings from Zonals 1995-1997 (C17), allowed me to work out how most/all(?) of the players qualified for the knockout tournament. For my next post, I'll check this work once more before adding it to the new page on 'Zonal Qualifiers 1995-1997'.

10 June 2015

2014-15 GP

I ended my previous post, 2014-2015 Grand Prix, Khanty-Mansiysk (GP), with a promise 'to add the participants to the index that cross-references players and events'. For the results, see World Chess Championship : Index of players.

The chart on the left is similar to the chart I developed two years ago for 2012-13 GP / 2013 WCC. It shows the 16 players who competed in the four Grand Prix events, along with the total score accumulated in the three events where they played. Is this the first GP -- for men or women -- where there were no additions to or substractions from the original list of players?

In the 2012-2013 Grand Prix, GM Caruana had the best overall score, but did not qualify for the subsequent Candidates event. In the 2014-2015 Grand Prix, he was one of three players to finish with the best overall score, GM Tomashevsky being the odd man out who failed to qualify. You can look at this in two ways. Either the qualifying process is inherently random -or- the GP scoring adds another dimension to a closely contested series. I'll take the additional dimension.

03 June 2015

2014-2015 Grand Prix, Khanty-Mansiysk

I added the crosstable and PGN for the 2015 Khanty-Mansiysk event to my page on the 2014-2015 Grand Prix. Since this was the last of the four scheduled tournaments, I also added the calculations that determine the overall winner and qualifiers to the Candidates event next year. I still need to add the participants to the index that cross-references players and events.

I also added a new page for the 2015 World Cup, to be held September/October at Baku. While I was researching the FIDE announcements for this event, I found five reports of trips by FIDE personnel to Baku:-

The FIDE calendar currently lists the Candidates Tournament for '9-Mar-2016 to 28-Mar-2016', without venue.

27 May 2015

Zonal Qualifiers C17

As I mentioned in Zonal Qualifiers C18-C21,
Working backwards, the next three cycles are going to be more challenging, because I have little information about their organization.

I located a list of the players qualified for the 1997 FIDE Knockout Matches (Groningen, XII, 1997), and added it to the page Zonals 1995-1997 (C17). That 1997 Groningen page says,

Kasparov (ranked 1st in the world), Kamsky (7th), and Z.Polgar (Women's World Champion) declined to participate. Kramnik (2nd) declined on the grounds that Karpov's direct entry into the final was unacceptable.

but that was just the tip of the iceberg. Matching the list of qualified players with the players who eventually showed up for the tournament, then showing how they all qualified, will be a separate exercise.

20 May 2015

More CAM Zonals

After my most recent post, 1972 & 1990 CAM Zonals, I had further discussions with Rafael Santana of Venezuela, who provided three types of updates to Central American zonals:-

The info for C19 was particularly helpful, because it identified an event ('2.3 Jalapa 1999-09') that I had not been able to locate previously. Thanks once again, Rafael!

13 May 2015

1972 & 1990 CAM Zonals

The last time we saw Rafael Santana of Venezuela on this blog was in a post about the Caracas Zonals. He's back again with detailed pages on two more Central American zonals, from which I extracted crosstables and for which I provided links on my own pages: C09: 1972-1975 ('7 Bogota 1972-02'), and C15: 1990-1993 ('8 Cali 1990-04').

While incorporating the new Bogota crosstable into my own page, I noticed a discrepancy between the old and new clippings. The reference for the new clipping explains this in some detail (translated from the original Spanish by Google):-

Among the various sources used to reconstruct the tables of results of the FIDE Zonal 7 - Bogotá 1972, there are discrepancies in the number of players, creating variations in the final score. In the journalistic report JAQUE magazine (01-09-1972, page 38) are registered only 16 of the 17 participants (Trotsky Yepez not shown) and the following explanation:

"There was regrettable withdrawals Ecuadorian TROZKY YEPEZ (SIC), illness, when he had 2 points from 7 possible and Venezuelan CARO when he had 4 points 8. (This last figure in the box classification having played more than 50 percent of the items, according to FIDE rules)."

The new Santana pages are on domain ajedrecito2.galeon.com. The links I used for 'Caracas Zonals', on ajedrecito.galeon.com, are not working ('Lo sentimos, esta página no existe o no está disponible') and I'm not sure why. Thanks again, Rafael, and I hope we can soon see all of your pages again.

06 May 2015

2014-15 Women's World Championship, Players

There were two open actions from my previous post 2014-15 Women's World Championship -- add the PGN to 2015 FIDE Knockout Matches and add the 64 participants to Index of Women Players -- both of which are now done. I counted 19 new names on the index.

After completing the update for the previous knockout, 2012 Women's World Championship, Players, I noted, 'Three posts to finish one page?! I must be slipping.' The same work for the current knockout took only two posts. Will I ever be able to get back to a single post, as in 2010 Women's World Championship?

29 April 2015

2014-15 Women's World Championship

I added two new pages to my World Chess Championship for Women:-

The first page still needs some work (PGN & Index of players), but should be finished in a week or so. The second page is just a stub, but I'll add to it as new information becomes available.

The second page includes an explanation of the FIDE rules leading to the title match. This would be a useful addition to the two previous title matches: 2011 Hou Yifan - Koneru and 2013 Hou Yifan - Ushenina.

22 April 2015

Zonal Qualifiers C18-C21

Continuing with Zonal Qualifiers C22-C24, I added four new pages to the series.

The first two of these pages are lacking any sort of timestamp, and all are missing information about their original source. The third has two lists, with some discrepancies between the two. I'll try to sort these out in a separate effort.

Working backwards, the next three cycles are going to be more challenging, because I have little information about their organization. Here are links to their crosstable pages.

The C15 and C16 events were Swiss systems. The Interzonals for cycles before C15 were organized as one, two, or three separate round robin tournaments.

08 April 2015

Zonal Qualifiers C22-C24

Using the basic techniques developed for Zonal Qualifiers C25-C26, I applied the same to the three preceding cycles:-

(*) The data format for C22, the first World Cup, is less friendly than the others. FIDE released the base data in pieces and I'm not sure I have the final edition -- many names are missing. On top of that, the data is in CSV format, which is nice for software processes, but not so nice for people. I'll try to improve the presentation for this cycle when I'm done with the initial round of data population.

01 April 2015

Zonal Qualifiers C25-C26

Continuing with Small Projects for 2015, the next project isn't so small. In Zonal Index Update 2014-10-15, I mentioned, 'List players qualifying to the next stage', i.e. players qualifying from the zonals to the next stage of a World Championship cycle. Since 1997, the next stage has been a knockout tournament.

I have many documents collected on my hard disk, but how to organize them? I started with the two most recent cycles:-

Each page has two parts. The first part gives some info about the source of the list. The second part gives the list of qualified players as published by FIDE. I'll continue backwards in time to see how this works for previous cycles. The new pages aren't yet linked from any other page. That will happen when I'm happy with the structure.

25 March 2015

A Pseudo World Championship

When is a World Chess Championship not a *real* World Championship? A strong case can be made against the most recent World Computer Championships, as in the 20th World Computer Championship. Another can be made against the Women's World Championship, which I last discussed in Knockout Format KOed (December 2012).

Don't misunderstand me. I'm not at all against the idea of a Women's World Championship. Women seem to enjoy competing for their version of the world title and both men & women enjoy following the competitions. The problem is the schizophrenic format of the series. From the current 'Regulations for the Women’s World Chess Championship Cycle' (the italics are mine):-

The Women’s World Chess Championship shall be organised annually and qualifying events include the following: National Championships, Zonal Tournaments, Continental Championships, FIDE Women’s Grand Prix and the final stages, the Women’s World Chess Championship Tournament in even years 2014, 2016 etc. (64-player knock out system) and the Women’s World Chess Championship Match (10 games, 2 players) in odd years 2013, 2015, etc.

Tournament in the even years, match in the odd years -- and not a normal double-round-robin tournament as last seen in the 1997 Groningen Women's Candidates Tournament, but a 64-player knockout tournament. A similar format was abandoned for the unrestricted (aka men's) World Championship after the disastrous 2004 FIDE Knockout Matches (aka The Worst World Championship Ever).

Simply stated, the knockout format is too vulnerable to random factors to be taken seriously as a World Championship. The winner of the event deserves our full respect for achieving a major tournament victory, but doesn't deserve the title of World Champion.

The current Women's World Champion said the same thing when the current Sochi tournament was announced after a months-long delay.

'Generally speaking, I don't think I will continue to play the World Championship if the knock-out system is used', she said. 'The system is different from the men's. If it were the same that would be much better'. • Hou Yifan: 'Probably I Won't Play in Sochi' [chess-news.ru]

Peter Long of TheMalayMailOnline.com said similar in a pair of recent columns:-

Former Women’s World Champion Susan Polgar is a current FIDE 'Co-Chairperson' of the Commission for Women's Chess. Given her complaint about having been treated unfairly throughout her career, you have to wonder why she tolerates FIDE's approach.

18 March 2015

More Berman Memoirs

Continuing with Early FIDE Zonals, I added more clippings from Marcel Berman's French-language memoirs published 50-60 years ago in FIDE Review. The zonal pages I updated were:-

It's not always obvious which actions from which FIDE Congress took effect in which cycle, so I might rearrange the material if I determine that the chronological sequence is misleading.

11 March 2015

20th World Computer Championship

After posting TCEC Season 7 on my main blog, I returned to my post about the 20th World Computer Championship on this blog, WCCC Ain't What It Used to Be, where I wrote,
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.

For the sake of completeness I decided to provide the PGN game scores and a text-only crosstable, both in the same ZIP file. I then added the corresponding link to my page on the World Chess Championship : Computer Chess.

04 March 2015

2014-2015 Grand Prix, Tbilisi

I added the crosstable and PGN for the Tbilisi Grand Prix tournament, won by GM Evgeny Tomashevsky, to my page on the 2014-2015 Grand Prix. After the previous event, 2014-2015 Grand Prix, Tashkent, this is the third of four events from which two players will qualify for the candidates tournament March 2016, venue still unknown.

See Who can win the FIDE Grand Prix? [Chess24.com], for the current standings.

25 February 2015

Early FIDE Zonals

A few months ago, in a post on Early FIDE Titles, I used Marcel Berman's memoirs, published mid-20th century in the FIDE Review. In the same source there is much that is relevant to the early history of the zonals, and to get started I added two clippings to my page on the Zonals 1946-1948 (C00).

Fide Review 1960, p.8

I believe that Berman is the dark-haired fellow fourth from the left in the back row, standing behind then-FIDE President Alexander Rueb.

18 February 2015

Update to FIDE Codes

A few days ago, on my main blog, I posted about FIDE Country and Federation Codes (chessforallages.blogspot.com), with a new page on my main site having the same title, FIDE Country and Federation Codes (m-w.com). The new page provides support material for my ongoing project on the World Chess Championship Zonals.

The list of country and federation codes used some obsolete data relating federations to the FIDE continent and zone structure, but it was the best I could do at the time. Sometimes it's better to release a nearly finished prototype, then fix the errors, than it is to attempt perfection on the first release. This was one of those times. Here is a list of errors I corrected for this second edition.

  • Added missing data to several federations.
  • Added zone 1.10.
  • Updated most Asian zones, i.e. 3.x.
  • Added zone 4.4.

The Fide.com page, Zone Presidents, was useful to verify the European zones like the relatively new zone 1.10 for small countries. My own page Zonals : Links (and Other References) was useful for the recent history of changes to zone numbering, e.g.

Starting cycle 22 (2004-2005), zone numbering changed from 3.1a to 3.1, from 3.1b to 3.2, from 3.2a to 3.3, from 3.2b to 3.6, and from 3.3 to 3.5; 3.4 unchanged.

FIDE pages for individual federations were useful to verify current zone numbering. I discovered two federations, both in zone 4.4, which are not on my current list.

I'll tackle this discrepancy another time.

11 February 2015

2015 a Zonal Year (More++)

Since my previous post, 2015 a Zonal Year, there have been additions and corrections to the FIDE calendar for the current cycle (C27, according to my numbering). The additions are noted below. I've also noted a few other events for future reference.

2.1 American Zonal Open & Women St. Louis, Missouri, USA 31-Mar-2015
4.0 African Individual Championships 2015 Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt 1-May-2015
4.1 African Zonal Hammamet, Tunisia 25-Mar-2015
4.2 African Zonal (A) Kampala, Uganda 17-Apr-2015
4.4 African Zonal Lome, Togo 13-Mar-2015
0.0 ACP Wildcard (B)  
0.0 FIDE Online Arena (C)  

(A) See also TWIC1047: 24) Zonal 4.2 2014 (1 December 2014); 'The Zonal 4.2 took place in Cairo 21st to 30th November 2014. Bassem Amin won with 8.5/9.' • How to reconcile these two events for zone 4.2? NB: The previous cycle (C26) did not have a zonal 4.4.

(B) ACP Wildcard for World Cup 2015 (30 September 2014); 'The ACP will have a wild card in the World Cup 2015 [...] The wild card will go to the highest-placed participant of the ACP Tour 2014 who has not qualified by rating, continental championships or any other means.'

(C) FIDE Online Arena enters a new era (29 January 2015); 'According to the regulations of the FIDE World Cup (art. 3.1) the FIDE Online Arena will provide 3 qualifiers for the World Cup 2015.'

From fide.com/FIDE/handbook/WorldCup2015Regulations.pdf:-

2.3.5. The number of qualifiers for each continent is:
Europe 46,
Americas 20,
Asia 20,
Africa 6.

3.1. Qualifiers -
There are 128 qualifiers (in order of priority):
World Champion + four (4) semi-finalists from the World Cup 2013,
Women's World Champion,
World Junior U-20 Champions 2013 & 2014,
eighteen (18) rated players as described in 3.1.2,
ninety (92) players from Continental Championships,
the one (1) highest-placed participant of the ACP Tour who has not qualified with the previous criteria,
two (2) FIDE President nominees,
four (4) organiser nominees,
three (3) qualifiers from FIDE-approved internet events.
If there are no internet events, the spot(s) will be decided by the FIDE President after consulting the WCOC.

I'll look at the FIDE Online Arena in another post.

04 February 2015

The First Women's World Championship

A January 2015 Chess Note by Edward Winter on Chesshistory.com, 9074. Championship confusion, starts,
It is difficult to imagine a world championship title being decided in an event whose participants did not know that they were contesting the title, but that happened in 1927.

Winter goes on to document how the first Women's World Championship title, won by Vera Menchik, was awarded after the event. On my page World Chess Championship (Women) : 1927-39 Title Tournaments, I added a link to this fascinating research.

Near the end of his note, Winter asks, 'Where are the game scores?' On my main blog I have previously posted two photos showing Menchik at women's events: More Menchik (London 1926) and Folkestone 1933. In both of these photos, the chess tables appear to be too small to allow space for recording the games. Were games from early women's events not recorded? More photos needed...

28 January 2015

Small Projects for 2015

A year ago I set out to accomplish a number of Small Projects for 2014. It's totally out of character for me, but I actually accomplished all of them.

World Computer Championship: I wrote two posts on the topic.

The ICGA, responsible for organizing the events, hasn't kept up with the underlying technical evolution and their champions no longer include the strongest competitors in the world. Can they adapt?

World Correspondence Championship: With the exception of the 27th championship, which finished last year, the list in 'Small Projects 2014' remains the current status. No new events were started in 2014.

Zonals: After completing the tasks listed in 'Small Projects 2014', I wrapped them up with a second set of tasks.

Ditto for the second set, but the third set of tasks remains open.

Grand Prix: The following pages now show 'Overall Standings'.

As for 'Small Projects 2015', I have nothing beyond the tasks for the zonals.

21 January 2015

2015 a Zonal Year

At the beginning of the previous World Championship cycle (C26 according to my system of numbering the cycles), it was useful to put together a list of forthcoming FIDE qualifying events and related activities -- see 2013 a Zonal Year. For the current cycle, C27, the following table is taken from the FIDE Calendar 2015, plus events completed in 2014. For the history of previous cycles, C00-C26, see World Chess Championship Zonals.

1.0 European Individual Championship 2015 Jerusalem, Israel 23-Feb-2015
2.0 American Continental Championship 2015 Montevideo, Uruguay 15-May-2015
2.2 American Zonal Canada 9-Jul-2015
2.3 American Zonal Guayaquil, Ecuador  
3.0 Asian Continental Championships 2015 Al Ain, UAE 20-Jun-2015
3.1 Asian Zonal Muscat, Oman  
3.2 Asian Zonal Kathmandu, Nepal  
3.3 Asian Zonal Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam 6-Mar-2015
3.4 Asian Zonal Dushanbe, Tajikistan 3-Jun-2015
3.5 Asian Zonal China  
3.6 Asian Zonal Sydney, Australia 4-Jul-2015
4.3 African Zonal Malawi 13-Apr-2015
>> World Cup 2015 Baku, Azerbaijan 10-Sep-2015
  1st Quarter 2015 Presidential Board Chengdu, China 26-Apr-2015
  86th FIDE Congress Abu Dhabi, UAE 1-Sep-2015
Other (2014):
1.? Baltic Zonal (A)  
1.10 European Small Nations Chp (B)  
3.5 China Zonal TWIC1044  
4.2 African Zonal TWIC1047  

(A) FIDE President Opens the Baltic Zonal Chess Tournament in Liepaja (chessdom.com; June 2014): 'In Liepaja the first of the three stages of the Baltic Zonal Tournament takes place; the second will be held in September in Lithuania, and the third – in January in Estonia. The winner of the three stages in aggregate will be admitted to the World Cup tournament in 2015.'

The Week in Chess (TWIC):-
TWIC1022, Jun 2014, Liepaja
TWIC1047, Nov 2014, Vilnius
TWIC1054, Jan 2015, Tallinn

(B) 1st Individual FIDE Zone 1.10 Championship (chessdom.com; January 2014; follow links for the tournament bulletin): 'The winner of the Zone Championship will be one of FIDE president nominations for FIDE World Cup 2015.'

14 January 2015

'Happy to Take the Money'

In my previous post, Books on the Carlsen - Anand Matches, I mentioned the low ratings given by customer reviews for the Keene / Karlovich books. One comment on the book about the 2014 match baffled me:-
I am returning my two books. I bought one, and Amazon sent another when I said the first one was defective. Well, the second one was messed up, too. All of the chess diagrams in the second half of the text are complete nonsense, e.g. a diagram may have a black knight sitting on each light square: 24 black knights at once.

I couldn't imagine how that looked on the printed page. By coincidence, a few days later in 9046. Carlsen v Anand match book, Chesshistory.com reproduced a pair of pages from the same book. It boggles the mind that such a blatant series of errors could slip through the proofreading process. Then it struck me -- the book has never been proofread!

The Amazon 'Look Inside' feature (a real godsend for books like this one) offers many more examples of errors. See, for example, the following photo and caption from page 7.

'One it entitled to wonder...'

'Us chess players do not ask questions. [Us] are just happy to take the money...'. That pretty much sums up the philosophy behind this book.

07 January 2015

Books on the Carlsen - Anand Matches

Anyone interested in a book on one or both of the Carlsen - Anand title matches? I imagine many people are, so let's take a look at what's available. Amazon.com currently lists five titles. I've grouped them here by author, with links to the corresponding Amazon pages.

Karsten Müller

Jon Edwards

Raymond Keene and Anastasiya Karlovich

Bookfinder.com lists only the Keene / Karlovich titles: Title is anand carlsen; Book is written in English. Why is that? The Müller and Edwards titles are listed on Amazon as 'Kindle Edition', implying that they are only available in digital format.

The two Keene / Karlovich works are both listed on Amazon as 'Publisher: Ishi Press'. I am extremely reluctant to buy anything published by that outfit, not just because the book on the 2013 match has two stars (out of five) based on three customer reviews, while the book on the 2014 match has one-and-a half stars on two reviews.

I already have one book by Ishi Press: ELISTA DIARIES: Karpov-Kamsky, Karpov-Anand, Anand Mexico City 2007 World Chess Championship Matches by Anatoly Karpov and Ron Henley; December 5, 2007. The Karpov / Henley writings, which make up the bulk of the book, are first rate, but the rest is not.

For example, the last page of the book discusses the following photo. The discussion is signed 'Sam Sloan'.

'Hot Tomalis [sic] on the Mexican Professional Chess Player circuit?'

'Nondescript women'? Before reading Sloan's petty, sexist writeup, many players would recognize Arianne Caoili and Aruna Anand. They might also wonder what they have to do with the Karpov / Henley material. In a word, they have *nothing* to do with it.

Back to the Keene / Karlovich works, the name Raymond Keene also raises a red flag. I have a number of his books on title matches, which I listed in World Championship Bibliography. While I wouldn't mind buying another work in his series, other knowledgeable chess fans wouldn't go near them.

The names Ishi and Keene taken together convince me to keep my money in my wallet. Buyer beware.