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Need For Speed

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What FIDE and the organizers are calling the 2006 World Blitz Championship is taking place in the lovely town of Rishon LeZion, Israel. Qualification for the event started a few weeks ago online at the ICC and an OTB qualification tournament is tomorrow. The final, a 16-player round-robin with eight qualifiers and eight seeded players, is on the 7th. According to the ICC, 153 FIDE titled players, 38 of them GMs, took place in the online qualifier. It was actually won by China's Zhao Jun, but he's playing in another event already (a France-China match; another China team match?!) so the other spot went to Merab Gagunashvili on tiebreaks, joining USA's Dmitry Gurevich.

The eight seeded players are an impressive lot: Anand, Svidler, Gelfand, Radjabov, Polgar, Grischuk, Bacrot, Carlsen. I'm not sure who all was invited to chase the $92,000 prize fund ($16K first prize!) or what it takes to get something called a FIDE world championship. (Mainz is calling itself the world rapid championship, but without a FIDE imprimatur, whatever that's worth these days.) It should be a good show if they can get the games out, always tricky with blitz. Israeli GM Boris "Deep Boris" Alterman, who has pounded me in more blitz games than I care to recall, is the organizer. Too bad he's not playing. The time control is 4'+2" increment (cumulative, not Bronstein).

Speaking of the live games, an Israeli site called IchessU (which sounds somewhat saucy – "I chess you long time") is in charge of the broadcast, but it's not clear how this is supposed to work. Anyone want to guinea pig and install their client, if that is how it's done?

Rishon is known as the city with the world's highest concentration of Grandmasters, becoming the home of imported and homegrown talent alike. I'm not sure what the count is these days, but last I heard the town of 200,000 had around 25 GMs! When I lived in Israel in 1999 while we were developing KasparovChess.com in Herzlia, little weekend club tournaments in Rishon would turn out over a dozen GMs.

World computer champion Junior 10 beat the Israeli Olympiad team 3-1 in a preliminary event. If this was also blitz it's amazing the humans got two draws, which were scored by Avrukh and Mikhalevsky.


Does "cumulative, not Bronstein" mean that 2 seconds is actaully added after every move so that a player can actually increase the time on their clock (theoretically)?

Beer-Sheba, Israel probably has a very close ratio -- 20+ GMs to a population of ~180k.

That's my understanding, Todd, although they don't spell that out. Usually that's what's meant by "increment" if it's not explained further. Non-cumulative Bronstein timing is usually preferred for blitz, although FIDE used increment in its blitz tiebreaks at the KO WCh events.

I wasted my time downloading the client but there was no way to see the results clearly. Pretty lame Java GUI, probably originally made for UNIX, no doubt another ICS offshoot. The page has a picture of two dorks "graduating" from Chess U. (And I thought they cancelled the Gay Pride Parade in Jerusalem last month.)

With all the babes on the beaches in Tel Aviv, why would anyone in Israel spend time on this?

The WBC site omitted the winner of the ICC blitz tourney. While the winner (GM Zhao Jun of China) will not be in Israel (as mentioned above), it gives the impression that both Dmitry Gurevich and Merab Gagunishvili won. It takes very little effort to mention this fact.

Was Gurevich ICC blitz 2245? That must be a typo. Nope... just checked Dima's ICC finger notes... sheesh! It's 2486 now. By the same token, a 2700-blitz rating on the ICC is attainable by modest players.

The WBC site omitted the winner of the ICC blitz tourney. While the winner (GM Zhao Jun of China) will not be in Israel (as mentioned above), it gives the impression that both Dmitry Gurevich and Merab Gagunishvili won. It takes very little effort to mention this fact.

Was Gurevich ICC blitz 2245? That must be a typo. Nope... just checked Dima's ICC finger notes... sheesh! It's 2486 now. By the same token, a 2700-blitz rating on the ICC is attainable by modest players.

IchessU is based on the client Jin, but according to the author of Jin, they are breaking the GPL. http://yro.slashdot.org/yro/06/09/05/087224.shtml

So it would seem that not only does IchessU make a bad Windows-only client, they are also crooks. Good choice...

I think Dima spends a lot of time playing blitz against students and other weaker players instead of cultivating his rating against high-rated guys. From his OTB results he's a very strong blitz player.

Good find on the IchessU / Jin client, David. Thanks. I've played around with Jin before. Worth a mention. Long live the GPL!

Not long live GPL. GPL in this case is stifling innovation. The authors provided the source code for Jin, which is the only requirement for GPL. They do not have to license their software GPL at all. In fact the modified version of Jin, probably links to their libraries... Not vice versa (ie all the calls to the video streaming stuff is made inside of jin), so it's not even clear that a GPL violation even occured.

This is all made better by simply using the BSD liscense, one that we know doesnt stifle innovation. Free Software should be truly free, and freedom includes the right to have your sources private.

Long live BSD license!


requirement onf GPL is, that free code is kept free. If you just take whatever is out there on free code, put in three days work (I exaggerate, I know) to make it work for your specific needs and then make big money selling that, you essentially make money with the potentially years of work the original author has put into his program. That's the sole objection of this Jin-guy.
Either pay for services (i.e. the Jin-code) or keep it free. It's that simple.

But this is folly. The value of derived work is it's new features, namely the video streaming software. The chess client itself has little value (else, why would it be GLP'led)... To on one hand claim that you wish for your software to be free, while at the same time collect damages for a value-add seems to be quite duplicitous to me.

Hi Mig, the ICC broadcasted Avrukh & Roiz´s games vs. Junior 10 and they set 90 30 as the time control (you can replay the games with "liblist live")


Tkachiev should be playing. Heck, he should be seeded. He's a superb blitz player.

"The chess client itself has little value (else, why would it be GLP'led)... "

Brilliant reasoning: If something is for free, it must be crap, right?

Linux is GPL, StarOffice is GPL, GordianKnot is GPL. Any encryption software I would ever consider using MUST be GPL just to make sure no backdoors exist, eDonkey, eMule and any onther p2p-client is GPL, Lugdunum is GPL as is Kademlia. PhpBB, probably the forum script most widely used, is GPL, in fact ANY html- and javascript code is GPL (maybe not expressis verbis, but since you can't protect such a scripts...) - so is all of that of 'little value'???

You missed the point. His claim is that somehow he is being damaged because his software's value was enhanced with new features. How can you claim damages on something you were not getting paid for in the first place (namely jin did not have video streaming before).... This is the sort of thing that leads to a litigation, rather than innovation.

but we can take your "examples" and dissect them:

Linux - Reimplimentation of a proprietary piece of software (AT&T Unix)

StarOffice - Was only recently open sourced... again a proprietary piece of software.

Encryption Software - Implimentation of publicly known algorithms... Not exactly innovative

P2P Clients - Not new... at all, and very proprietary... Ever heard of Kazaa or Napster? Those were P2P clients.... I assume you're talking about Torrents and distributed P2P, but again, this is an implementation of a known idea...

PhpBB - You really think there were not bullitien board sites before phpBB? or after? Facebook, myspace anyone?

Come on now, you can do better than this.

Evidently they are only showing the final round tomorrow, Thursday, September 7 at 8:30 am EDT. http://www.ichessu.net. The site is set up and they are testing it now.

If you are using IE you need Windows Media Player, with Mozilla Firefox you need Real Player. They have 5 cameras set up – one is a view of the hall. The others are concentrated 4 of the games. There is an option to view the game, which then shows the board and score. There is also a chat box. You can use any name and place. They also ask for email address, but that is not shown in the chat.

There is no need for a download. That is for playing chess on their server. They are actually using a third party, Cast TV, to broadcast the games.

Has Naka or Moro been invited?

"Come on now, you can do better than this."

Why should I? This is no pissing contest (at least I hope not...). I was merely pointing out that the logic of if-it's-free-it's-worthless is faulty and I was trying to give a few examples of free software that, in my eyes, is pretty useful and high quality. Whether they used to be proprietary at some distant point in history, whether there are simliar products blablabla, all that matters very little with regards to the point I was trying to make.

I've counted only 4 GMs from Rishon le Zion.
There are 5 GMs only who live in Beer Sheva now.
Most of GMs live in Tel Aviv and Tel Aviv area ( approximately 10). Israel has 33 GMs in total, which is not bad at all for 7 million of population (at least 5.3 million of them are Jews), but many of them aren't pro's and play only in the israeli club champ (no more than 11 games a year). For comparison, England has the same number of GMs for over 50 million people.
At least 3/4 of them were born in ex- Soviet Union countries.

Have so many moved away from Rishon in the past few years? Just from those I knew personally in 99 I can name nearly ten!

"at least 3/4 of them were born in ex-Soviet Union countries" english ones or isrealian?

3/4 of the israelian, of course.
Thanks, Gilles.


few moved to different areas, others never lived in Rishon Lezion, but played for the Rishon Lezion club in the israeli team champ including myself.
Unfortunately, Rishon Lezion chess club lost their main sponsor, so their team isn't that strong as it was in past. Ashdod and Beer Sheva are the two strongest chess clubs in Israel for now.
Cheers, Dima

Hi דימה,

Could you please elaborate about chess in Beer Sheva or tell me where I can find more information ? I may spend a few months there next year, so I'm interested in chess-related information about this city. Which chess club would you recommand, where is it ? Who are the GMs you talked about ?

I recall Yudasin, Roiz, Tseitlin, Golod, V. Mikhalevsky - at least - all living in Beer Sheba at some point, no?

Alon Greenfeld has been a player and organizer there for a long time.

To Olivia:

You can find the info on chess clubs in israel at the site of the israeli chess federation www.chess.org.il (Hebrew only).

The only chess club in Beer-Sheva you may find on Meshahrerim St. 22. It's located in the building of the music conservatory, and it's easy to find. tel. no. is 972-86277431

Five GMs who currently live in Beer Sheva are: Avrukh, Golod, Mikhalevsky, Roiz and Tseitlin.

Yudasin is in NY since a while, Greenfeld lives in the center of Israel, while continues to play for Beer Sheva chess club (He has never been a chess organizer, but he is a pro' chessplayer and a chess coach).

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on September 5, 2006 3:20 PM.

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