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Reign in Spain

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It's never too early to take a shot at the "advanced chess" tournament in Leon, Spain. It runs June 5-8. The problem is that this year the Leon event isn't going to be advanced chess. Instead of having Grandmasters play while using computer assistance, it will be a normal rapid-chess event with Topalov, Ponomariov, Vallejo, and 13-year-old Karjakin. The time control is 20 minutes plus a 10 second increment. It's not a round robin, it's a knock out system.

This may be the end of the short life of advanced chess, created by Kasparov in 1998 in a quest for "near-perfect chess." I don't think it has ever been played outside of this annual event in Leon. (And on every chess server in the world of course... Playchess.com even has a "centaur" room for people who want to play with computer assistance and not get flagged by their anti-cheating system.) Kasparov himself fell out with organizer Marcelino Sion Castro before the second event was held in 1999 and abandoned his brainchild.

I was never a big fan of the concept. Chess is boring without mistakes. Seeing the players' ChessBase files after the games were over was interesting, however. You could see what lines they had been looking at and it was a sort of view into their minds. Kramnik ruined even that by refusing to release his game logs after he beat Anand last year! So advanced chess, RIP 1998-2002. (If they did this on the Playchess server with real-time live broadcast of the lines they were looking at, I could see resurrecting it.)

The official Leon website is graphics and animation heavy as are all Spanish chess sites. Even if you can't read Spanish you can enjoy a catch-phrase on the site that is sure to surprise the organizers of Linares: "The most prestigious Chess Spectacle in Spain." NB The game download page at the Leon site has a broken link to the ChessBase Light page and a direct link to download the program in a zip file from the Leon servers. The Chessbase Light page reads in part: "ChessBase holds the exclusive copyright to ChessBase Light. ChessBase Light may not be made available on other web sites or ftp servers."

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on March 16, 2003 9:45 AM.

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