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WCh 2006 Mainstream

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Good news, the Topalov-Kramnik match has broken through in a few mainstream newspapers. The Times (UK) has a report from Tony Halpin on the scene in Kalmykia. (Note there is a second page to the article.) It sounds like the Elista Olympiad in at least one respect:

Stops included a golden pagoda that shares the central square with a statue of Lenin; a dazzling new $25 million Buddhist temple, the largest in Europe at 64 metres (208ft) tall; and the local supermarket, where the bemused players were shown the fresh meat counters and the cake displays. Mr Ilyumzhinov has spared no expense to ready the city for the match. He moved deputies out of Kalmykia’s parliament and ordered it to be completely refurbished to stage the championship games.

The players were forced to step around workers who were still frantically completing the renovations, however, when the President showed them the stage where they will play. Geurt Gijssen, the Dutch arbiter who will oversee the contest, shook his head, but said that he was confident that everything would be finished in time for the opening ceremony on Thursday.

This also sounds like the last US championship in San Diego, with the doors not on the building the day before it started.. Mmm, cake. I'm hungry. And they have horses. I'm a little scared of horses. I remember Kramnik not being very happy to pet the camels in Bahrain for photos. Where was I? Oh yah, Elista. Kramnik, a small-town boy himself, sez:

“I was happy when the President decided to arrange it here. Elista is a good place for a chess match because it is rather quiet and you need concentration. I prefer it to playing in cities like London or New York, where there are many things that can distract you.”

True, although I prefer cities that generate more mainstream coverage that catches the eyes of potential sponsors. Not that I don't love a golden pagoda as much as the next guy. Still, this is a good start. FIDE says they have issued several dozen "international journalist credentials." The FIDE website has more photos of the players' arrival.


I have a prediction: Saturday will come, the chess world will be on the edge of their seats, and still no word will be available regarding seeing the games online. Playchess ICC etc. etc. will have nothing. Then FIDE will announce that the games are being blacked out so that they can sell tickets for $20 at the door. Once again Kirsan will prove he's living in the stone ages and doesn't really give a damn about promoting chess.

Actually Captain playchess is relaying the games with commentary from dear old Yazz.

Impressive to accumulate quite so many factual errors in one piece. This Tony Halpin must indeed a mainstream journalist.

So Kalmykia has 300,000 people, and Chess City costs $100,000,000. That's $333 per person. What is the average income of a Kalmykian?

I love it that Gijssen just shook his head, on seeing the stage. Now if someone would have the nuts to look at the stage, shake his head, and say, "Mr. FIDE President, this is a f***in' joke."

After reading Alex's post in the last thread (trollin' trollin' trollin'), I want to apologize to Mig for my attempted humor re Greg Keester (alter ego).

Mig, I'm sure you were employing hyperbole, but I was suprised when you said, "That's the worst thing anyone ever said about me..."

Will the games be broadcast live over the Internet? Will they be on the playchess.com?

Yes, they will be on playchess.com

My apologies if my comment has been discussed before in some other thread.

I looked at the regulations of the match and came across section 3.7 Tie-breaks. Which simply states the following tie breaks in case of a level score after 12 games.
T1: 4 games at 25 min + 10 seconds per move
T2: 2 games at 5 min + 10 seconds per move
T3: ARMAGEDON 6 min (white) – 5 min (black) with draw odds to black.

I for one would hate to see the world championship decided by silly tie-breaks. Is there a precedence for this in the “real” world championship history (pre Kasparov-Short)?


(source: http://www.fide.com/news.asp?id=1081)
3.7 Tie-breaks

3.7.1 If the scores are level after the regular twelve (12) games, after a new drawing of colours, four (4) tie-break games shall be played. The games shall be played using the electronic clock starting with 25 minutes on the clock for each player with an addition of 10 seconds after each move.

3.7.2 If the scores are level after the games in paragraph 3. 7. 1, then, after a new drawing of colours, two (2) five-minute games shall be played with the addition of 10 seconds after each move.

3.7.3 If the score is still level, the players shall play a single decisive sudden death game. The player, who wins the drawing of lots, may choose the colour. White shall receive 6 minutes, black shall receive 5 minutes, without any addition. In case of a draw the player with the black pieces is declared as winner.

Mig's blog is a good reminder to us that Kirsan is responsible for the funding, location and other details for this match. Which brings up an interesting point. Kirsan is obviously not spending a significant percentage of his fortune on this match. There is no reason for him not to increase the size of the money he spends on this by a mere 20 percent from .01 of his earnings to .012 or whatever and thus also increase the size of the match by 2 games. This isn't a private potentially disinterested sponsor who is careful about how much money he is going to throw away on such an investment, this is a very very rich man very very involved with chess. No, when you take issue with the length of this match, remember, it was Kirsan's choice to make the match this short.

Now why would Kirsan do such a thing? Well, the past tells us that Kirsan was the man who ended "King of the Hill" championship system, who ended the idea of a long championship match and who has generally set up cycles in such a way as to minimize the advantage enjoyed by men with greater chess talent. The less magnificent the spectacle of a match the less Kirsan has to worry about people expecting to see quality chess and a battle of great GMs.

Excellent point, Yuriy. If you count all the other expenses of a match (including press accomodations, venue, etc.) the overall expenses would increase by less than 20%.

Kirsan's choice of 10 games really is just that - his choice. He wants to demistify the world championship, increase its randomness (to make chess more telegenic? We've all seen the results of that thus far), and to decrease the political power of the WC vis-a-vis his own.

Well, for now it's a twelve game match. I think the ten-gamer is being saved for next cycle.

LAT, the reason tie-breaks have little precedent is that in previous championship matches, the champion retained in case of a tie. Here FIDE is pretending that this a battle of two men with equal claim to the title.

This is going to be a great match! Except for the short length (ahh...the days of the classic 24-game match), what else could you want (except maybe Garry or Vishy involved). Two great players, contrasting styles, gentlemen, and someone has to win, no ties for first here! Love it!

If Kramnik and Topalov were even after twelve games, what would be the best way to proceed?

If they are even after 12 games:



Good one, Q!

A rapid-blitz-SD tie break is unfortunately the only way to resolve the match, should it be tied. Let's just hope it doesn't come to that, but tied WC matches have occurred numerous times in the past, so it could very well happen here.

The only fair tiebreak is making both GMs read one of Mig's blog entries. May I suggest one of the ones with cat pictures? He is who able to spot the largest number of pro-Kasparov bias wins.

(needless to say, they would alternate with pictures of white and black cats)

Just have them keep playing classical chess games until one wins a game. If the match goes on then so be it. Sponsors should be happy they get more games for the same money.

Did Kirsan pay the 20% to FIDE in addition to the prize fund?

Does anyone know if there will be a free relay of the games? I'd like to watch but I don't want to get up earlyon a Saturday if there's nothing to see.

"Just have them keep playing classical chess games until one wins a game. If the match goes on then so be it. Sponsors should be happy they get more games for the same money."

Wildly impractical, I'm afraid. Because of the advantage of the white pieces, they need to play an even number of games. And as Karpov and Kasparov proved, two evenly matched players could go on for weeks without playing a decisive game.

Agree almost entirely with niceforkinmove. The principle of a proper WC playoff is too important to be overridden by organisational concerns - it is supposed to be the WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP after all. If the venue is the concern, then simply transfer the playoff to FIDE headquarters. Yes, even number of games is a must.
And only one blitz game?? Blitz doesn't take very long - why not 10? (see my comments under 'Elista Entourage', too).
Only 12 games (making a playoff much more likely) is of course another Ilyumzhinov absurdity (but what else do we expect?). Something like 20 is necessary for a proper WC match.

Not to go off on a tangent but ... that Rock Paper Scissors site is really interesting. Did you know that RPS players have "gambits" and opening theory? I didn't.

The “Great Eight” Gambits
The mathematically inclined will quickly realize that there are only twenty-seven possible Gambits. All of them have been used and documented in tournament play. Each has several names from a variety of localities. There is no such thing as a “new” Gambit.

The “Great Eight” Gambits are the eight most widely used. There is nothing about these eight that make them superior to any other Gambits, although as a group they can be very effective. Several high-level players built careers on just these eight Gambits. They are, sorted alphabetically by their most common names:

Avalanche (RRR)
Bureaucrat (PPP)
Crescendo (PSR)
Dénouement (RSP)
Fistfull o’ Dollars (RPP)
Paper Dolls (PSS)
Scissor Sandwich (PSP)
Toolbox (SSS)

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    About this Entry

    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on September 18, 2006 2:26 AM.

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