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The Kids Are All Right

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More than all right, actually. In the NH Tournament, the "Rising Stars" (something of a misnomer since a few of them are well risen already) defeated the veteran team by +6, reaching that margin thanks to Smeets' win over a fading Jussupow in today's final round. Most of today's games were short draws so I appreciate the Dutchman's effort. +6 was what I predicted before the event, and Big Al didn't let me down either. (My predictions are usually rubbish so pardon my enjoying this one. Migstradamus lives!)

There were many interesting games. Carlsen's win over Jussupow stands out. The Norwegian teen's +3 was the best of the junior team, meaning he gets an invitation to next year's Melody Amber tournament. Beliavsky also scored +3, for the veterans, the only oldster to make a plus score. Nice to see him showing kids who don't remember the USSR what a four-time Soviet champion can do. Jussupow lost his last three games after a typically solid start. Nunn also went -3 in the second half but deserved better. Someone who attended the event wrote in to say Dr. Nunn had a brief health worry during the event, but he played out the rest of the games and the word is he's dandy.

Karjakin continues with inconsistent play that is only to be expected from a player his age. When he's on song he can be devastating, but sometimes he seems to be overthinking and trying to play too precisely, which leads to too much caution. He went undefeated but drew several excellent positions – although he was lost against Nunn in the eighth round.

We've had this discussion before somewhere, but what do we do with our honored veterans? Few can keep up the elite pace after 40 and the B circuit doesn't pay too well, especially since by then they usually have families to support. And older bodies don't enjoy the rigors of constant travel and play. They are essentially lifelong freelancers and just like anyone without a pension they must save for retirement. Not everyone wants to write and/or teach chess, let alone go back to school or embark on a new career. There are a scary number of 50+ GMs out there living near the poverty level. (Not to mention those in their 20's and 30's, but they can take it and have more options.) One reason to push and promote chess on a global level is that more players means more students and clubs and more coaches and a softer landing for players leaving the circuit.


With this kind of margin, will there be another "Rising Stars" versus "Experience" event next year? I doubt it. NH *was* fun to watch, though.

Congratulations on your uncanny prescience, Mig, and I must add that your last paragraph made me very sad, because it is so true. I have no solution to offer at all, unless it were that FIDE would set up some kind of pension plan for such "honored veterans". I doubt it will happen...

geeker, I suppose we'll have to wait until the various Ks join the ranks of "Experience". I can see Garry scoring 9/10, for example. But again, I doubt it will happen...

Now, they can still have this event next year. They just need to make the rising stars team a little younger. Maybe no one over 13?

Yeah, good idea, Icepick. How about this: pick the lineup of "Experienced" players and then pick a lineup of juniors that averages 50-100 rating points below the Experience team (since junior ratings tend to lag behind true strength). This might lead to a closer final team result, if that's what is desired by the organizers.

For the aging GM

Yeah, good idea, Icepick. How about this: pick the lineup of "Experienced" players and then pick a lineup of juniors that averages 50-100 rating points below the Experience team (since junior ratings tend to lag behind true strength). This might lead to a closer final team result, if that's what is desired by the organizers.

For the aging GM

To complete that interrupted thought...

For the aging GM, what about simuls? Something like a dinner with the star(s) and then a simul would seem to be lucrative. It seems like a lot of aged stars in other sports have had lucrative careers with personal appearances after their skills have eroded (some old baseball stars have earned more in post career appearances than they did in their career).

Supporting our esteemed veterans should be a simple case of applied economics. Staging and marketing a tournament (or a match) of veterans should hold the interest of the chess public. Sometimes the veterans alone, sometimes against youngsters, or even throw in a computer. Rivalries drive most sport, so why not competitions with former USSR champs vs. senior players from the West, or set up rematches of great tournaments and matches of the past. This works in many sports. I know many people (in my age type) who would rather watch a rematch of the aging Borg and McEnroe than whoever the top tennis players are today. If Big George Foreman could draw crowds to the boxing ring in his 40s, then we can find ways to support our chess legends!

This is why the PGA has a seniors tour for exactly the 50+ crowd. If they have achieved noteriety during their <50 years, long time fans (who might also be 50+) should enjoy watching them play.

After all, even at 50+, these old timers could trounce most all the fans, so they are playing better than the audience can.


P.S. I have posted on http://chessmind.powerblogs.com/posts/1156656329.shtml some of my thinking about chess on TV

Hi guys,

I want to ask Mig and others how much do you know on the announcement in TWIC on a "World Blitz Championship".

TWIC says:

"The World Blitz Championship takes place 5th-8th September 2006 in Rishon Le Zion (Israel). Anand, Polgar, Leko, Svidler, Gelfand, Grischuk....+ Junior compete."

However, when you see the list of participants (by the way, the web page in the link above is quite primitive), it does not look like a top elite event, with just a few exceptions. Is this tournament open? Is invitational? At least, if you want to fulfill the status of an elite blitz tournament, just to mention a few ones (of course, I will miss names), guys like Aronian, Morozevich, Mamedyarov, Nakamura, Tkachiev should be there.

People would focus in Topalov-Kramnik match, but the fact that is not possible to organize even a decent "Fide Blitz World Championship" shows how poor in disorganized is chess world in general.

Official site: http://www.fideblitz.com

It is an invitational event and I believe all the top players were invited to take part. Topalov and Kramnik are understandably not present, but I'm guessing all the other players turned the offer down and that is the reason they are not present.

Players like Nakamura and Tkachiev are not high enough rated to get a direct invitation, but they could play in the qualification tournament if they had wanted to take part, just like any other strong blitzers out there.

I'm a fan of chess, but for the sake of humanity and the grandmasters themselves, they're probably best off retraining for another real career. Think of the Nobels and inventions these bankrupt 50 year-olds could've trophied instead of TNs (theoretical novelties).

From the perspective of economics...

Who can tell me of a recent chess event which actually made money for the sponsor? I am not talking about an entry fee club tournament, but something, well, a little more high level. Please describe the system which lead to the organizers being in the black.

Then, and only then, let's talk about lack of money in chess sponsorship, classical or stupid pet trick (blindfold blitz) variety.

The only ones that come to mind are the Deep Blue matches by IBM. They generated millions of dollars worth of publicity and even more with subsequent sales of computer systems with the pitch that "if it is smart enough to beat Kasparov at chess, it is smart enough to fill in the blank"

My views on chess are rather unorthodox, but I describe plans on how to boost money flowing into chess tenfold. If you are curious check out http://www.Slugfest7.com

The fact is that there is a LOT of latent interest in chess, and there is no reason that it cannot be monetized a lot more than it is now. Alternatively, it could be viewed as something like the space program. Advances in chess being a good thing just from the spillover effect into society

I would imagine that Chessbase, ICC and Chessworld are all in the black. Especially Chessbase with million unit sales of $100 software, that's a lot of money. I don't understand why Chessbase doesn't sponsor a million dollar tournament. They would recoup that and more in added sales as long as they make sure the winner of the tournament used Chessbase products.


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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on August 29, 2006 2:09 PM.

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