Balgabaev also blames the failure of the unification matches on "Kasparov's unreasonable financial demands." This is amusing if only because FIDE 1) guaranteed these amounts several times and 2) wanted an exorbitant amount itself for doing nothing.
January 2005 Archives
I'm not much into mythology, but god help us. Ilyumzhinov crony Berik Balgabaev told a Russian paper that FIDE will raise funds for another knock-out tournament.
I'll have a long wrap-up at ChessBase.com soon, but wanted to kick-start the topic. It was a remarkably balanced event other than the bottom falling out for Morozevich and Sokolov. Leko was the only undefeated player, Sokolov the only one without a win.
The Gibtelecom Chess Festival is underway on the UK's tiny peninsula in Spain, Gibraltar. I was there ten years ago, quite a fascinating place. There are spectacular caves and on a clear day you can see Africa. The famous Rock also hosts the only monkeys native to Europe, which have apparently been put to work designing chess websites.
Not to turn this into the Jen Shahade news center, but by coincidence John Henderson sent me this link the other day. It's a recent TV piece on her that you can watch online.
Before we get down to serious analysis, I want to give a couple shout-outs, first to "Chess Moms," a label and T-shirt slogan for the hyper moms of would-be prodigies. Now Judit Polgar is leading the way in changing the meaning of "Chess Mom." True, women do sometimes drop out of chess once they start families. But certainly there are no statistics to show that those who do stick with it play any worse
The popular comic strip Baby Blues today starts a six-day series in which the father is teaching his kids how to play chess.
Today is the first day of National Chess Week in the UK. It raises money for the children's charity Barnardo's. It launched last October (photos and stories here and here.) The official site makes much hay of celebrities who play chess. Madonna and Lennox Lewis are predictably trotted out.
A very balanced event on paper has proven to be very balance in practice. Four players are tied for the lead with +2. One of them is Anand, who has won three in a row. There has been a lot of great fighting chess so far.
The Association of Chess Professionals issued a brief statement (see below) on Kasparov's withdrawal from the FIDE/Kasimdzhanov/Turkey/unification match. (Unless of course the money magically appears in the next few days, at which point Kasparov's letter will look like a clever negotiating tool.)
The international chess federation has issued a press release responding to Garry Kasparov's "unilateral withdrawal" from the 2005 unification match against Rustam Kasimdzhanov that had been scheduled for Turkey in April. In it, they say that if only Kasparov had waited one more week (until Jan. 25), that the monetary guarantees the players demanded would have been there.
The Mainichi Daily News again has the best recap of the latest Bobby Fischer news. Fischer's supporters are trying the tactic of accusing the Japanese government of kowtowing to the US. I'm not sure if insulting the people holding the keys to your cell is the best idea. The Japanese courts still say they aren't prepared to send Fischer to Iceland since the default is to deport to country of origin.
Overdue or premature? The end of the best hope for unification or the end of something that never should have existed? Say what you will, and there's a lot to say. Garry Kasparov today issued a press release (see below) to explain the end of his negotiations for his match with FIDE champ Kasimdzhanov.
Not that you can tell, but this is the 400th Daily Dirt entry. That it has taken over two years to get here proves that perhaps "daily" wasn't the best name, but it was never really intended to be a destination site.
A curious editorial in the UK Sunday Times about chess for kids in Scotland. It's a little confusing because it blends in coverage of another initiative for teaching Scottish history. The general idea seems to be that chess will decrease violence.
Today's first round was as close as Corus comes to a boring day of chess. The sheer size of the event is what saves it. Having 14 players (Linares has seven) means a broader range of ratings and increases the chance that a few will be hot and a few will be cold. And having seven games each day means even if you have three pathetic draws like today you'll still have a few good games.
If you had no trouble with differential equations and are looking for a challenge, check out the rules for the recently completed 2004-05 Hastings Congress. (Won by my old KasparovChess coworker Vladimir Belov, now all grown up. Good job!) 1,871 words are needed to explain the rules. They didn't have the money to run a traditional Premier section, so it was combined with the Challengers in a KO with "lucky losers," players who lost but were needed to fill out the next round of the draw and so moved on anyway. Of more interest than the tournament format was the time control:
Nothing much new for this crowd, but it's something to see Greg Shahade's photo on the homepage of the NY Times. Today there's an article on how databases have changed the game. There are comments by various NY players like Bonin, Shahade, and Ehlvest, as well as by the volks at ChessBase.
It was almost six years ago when I, then writing at TWIC, came up with an idea to quantify and castigate "fightless" GM draws in Mig on Chess #116. Showing my usual flair for names that guarantee no one will take my ideas seriously, I called it "the Chicken Factor." I'm bringing this up because my vision for the CF may soon be realized. The laboriousness of calculating each game made it more of a joke than a tool. I said then that it would be truly powerful to have a PGN reader/calculator or to build it into database formats. Now that may actually be happening, so post your thoughts and suggestions.
In this era of live online broadcasts and daily event coverage, the event organizer wants seven dollars to send you the bulletins with 110 games from the open section! While it's his right to do as he wishes with his bulletins, it seems obvious he would profit much more from the publicity gained by releasing the games widely so places like ChessBase.com with their hundreds of thousands of readers could report on the event.
Perhaps more interesting than the field is the MonRoi broadcast system that will be used for the first time in an international event. Each player gets a palm PC-looking device to record the moves instead of using a paper scoresheet. This "ECM" transmits the moves over a wireless network to a central PC. In turn the games can be broadcast online.
Since it's moving into other posts, here's a place to talk about Teimour Radjabov's shot about how Garry Kasparov "uses his name, his influence in the chess world to persuade tournament organizers not to invite me to play."
With a brief moment of net time before heading back to New York (whence daily posts will resume), how about we get the Corus Wijk aan Zee hubbub bubbling? The official site has much useful information in English thanks to the excellent Aviv Friedman. ChessBase.com will have daily reports. Group A: Anand, Topalov, Kramnik, Leko, Morozevich, Adams, Svidler, Polgar, Grischuk, Ponomariov, Sokolov, van Wely, Short, Bruzon.
How about those New Year's chess resolutions, both personal and global? Please share. I always say I'm going to make time to play tournaments again. I always hope for unification. I resolve to try and stamp out GM draws wherever they are found.