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Jolly Old England

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Or should that be Jolly Old Britain? It should be now that the Scots keep winning the British Championship. This year it wasn't three-times-running winner Jonathan Rowson but adopted Scot Jacob Aagaard, whose last name, by the way, is the Scottish pronunciation of a synonym for worn out and exhausted. But Aagaard, Danish, a prolific author, and still just an IM if not for long, outlasted everyone else in Great Yarmouth to win with 8.5/11. He beat Flear in the final round to finish a half-point ahead of Rowson and Gordon. Note on the crosstable that Terence Chapman, he of the 2001 two-pawn handicap match against Kasparov, played this year and had a respectable 6.5-point result. I believe it was his first championship since 1983!

Meanwhile, oddly enough, the strong 12-player round-robin Staunton Memorial is underway in London. Maybe next year they'll hold the World Open and the US Championship at the same time? As last year it's a mix of top British and Dutch players. Top seeds Adams and van Wely are leading with 5.5/7 with four rounds to play. Smeets and last year's winner Ivan Sokolov are a point back. Jan Timman, whose games are always worth a look, is listing badly and taking on water (probably not water) with four losses against one win. They are also tracking the Dutch vs British score and currently the Dutch lead 20-16. There are extensive daily reports, always nice to see. Note that the crosstable on the official site isn't really a crosstable. It's the progressive score. E.g. Sokolov didn't lose to Adams. He lost to McNab in the first round. Weird.

The official site makes a bold claim that I believe was quickly bold-erized from the ChessBase report that reprinted it. Namely that the 5th Staunton Memorial is "certainly the strongest event to be held in London if not the UK since 1986." Well, if you don't include the 1993 world championship match between Kasparov and Short, I suppose. But aren't they using the date 1986 to include the third Kasparov-Karpov WCh match? (I'm sure they are actually using the 86 London tournament that included Spassky, Vaganian, Nunn, Short, Portisch, and Polugaevsky. Won by, serendipity trivia drumroll please.... Glenn Flear.) How about the PCA rapid Grand Prix in 1995 with Kramnik, Anand, and Ivanchuk. Ask the winner -- Mickey Adams -- if it counts! That event was also memorable for Tony Miles knocking out Kramnik in the first round in front of a very partisan home crowd. You could even make a good case for a few of the Lloyds Bank opens with Shirov, Morozevich, Larsen, et al. I guess "strongest closed all-play-all classical chess tournament since 1986" doesn't really roll off the tongue.

London saw several great events in 1984 alone. The big international closed won by Karpov despite his famous loss to Torre (Eugenio, not Carlos). And the USSR vs the World rematch won 21-19 by the Soviet team led by Karpov and Kasparov. Bonus serendipity trivia: Only two players at that event scored more than one win. Beliavsky (3.5/4 over Seirawan and Larsen) and.... Eugenio Torre. He scored 2/3 against Andrei Sokolov.


Quote: "The official site makes a bold claim that was quickly bold-erized from the ChessBase report that repeated it. Namely that the 5th Staunton Memorial is "certainly the strongest event to be held in London if not the UK since 1986.""

The initiator and main organizer of the event is Raymond Keene, and he's well known for his hyperboles, exaggerations, factual mistakes and perhaps even outright lies, many of which were generously pointed out by the late Tony Miles who wrote some delightful (if you weren't Keene, that is) reviews of anything Keene wrote.

I think Jonathan Rowson won it three times running, Mig.

Only goes to show that it doesn't pay to look things up. I did because I couldn't remember if Kunte won in 2003 or 2004 and then I wrote two anyway. I could have saved time and been just as wrong! Thanks.

Is there any discussion anywhere about what the BCF thinks about having the Staunton event during the British championship? More chess is always good, especially well-sponsored chess, but still. Having the two top events in the country at the same time is bizarre bordering on malicious and/or incompetent (unless, perhaps, they are in the same place as a sort of festival). Adams wouldn't have played in the Ch anyway, but the other four Brits likely would have, possible excepting Speelman, who has passed on it regularly. Last year the Staunton started a few days after the championship ended. I don't think anyone went for the double, however. Related, I wonder how the invitations are decided for the Staunton. Wells and Speelman are there again, although Spess is something of a fixture, having been in all four modern editions.

It's pretty bizarre timing - and it gets better. The next big event in the UK starts at the start of September (UK vs China with an Open tournament alongside). So we have 3 high level tournaments in 2 months then nothing for the rest of the year, genius!

Does this get Aagaard his GM title?

I've always felt a wee bit sorry for the guy - at the beginning of his Nimzoindian DVD he says something along the lines of "..it might say IM on the box but I'll be a GM within the next 10 minutes and possibly even am one by now as it's taken a week or two for this DVD to hit the shops..."

And that was in 2005

The Staunton Memorial link doesn't seem to work, Mig...

according to the danish chess federation Aagaard gets enough points from the british champs to go above 2500 and he does have a handful of norms, so it should be certain now.
As a Dane living in Scotland (!) I can only say that I am delighted for him, even if he does play for the wrong country :-)

Well.. what happened to the

Kasparov-Kramnink match 2000??

Evereybody forgot that it was held in London? Even you Mig??

Well it is understandable for Garry to want to forget it and remember only the match against Short, though :-)

It does get JA the title, yes.

Keene has of course hated the BCF, now ECF, ever since they wanted to know why he'd swindled them over being Miles' second at the Tunis interzonal back in the sixties some time. It wouldn't surprise anyone if the timing was sheer malice on his part. I don't know of any ECF comment, although they are now under new management and I'd like to think said new management will be trying to mend a few bridges including this one, and hopefully amend this fixture clash.

An earlier poster seems to have forgotten the Isle of Man event, though one does take his point. I suppose the summer here is so short and the weather the rest of the year so dire that if one wants to attract foreign visitors there's bound to be clashes....

Hearty congratulations to Jacob Aagaard who has been a breath of fresh air for Scottish Chess. He's increased representation in overseas events, arranged coaching workshops with Dvoretsky, Yusupov and Marin amongst others and with Quality Chess founded a major Scottish Chess book publisher.

Still, he has not been accepted by members of the SJC, a destructive junior chess splinter group run by parents with chips on their shoulders. Some prominent members racially abused him in his wife's presence, leading to his resignation as director of Junior Chess, a huge loss for Scottish chess.

Ah, petty chess politicking. So what's new.

Congrats to Aagaard - his book Excelling at Technical Chess has been very helpful to me.

Miles couldn't have played in the "Tunis interzonal" (or any interzonal) "back in the sixties"; he was nowhere near strong enough until the 70s. He was 12 years old in 1967 when the single Interzonal took place in Sousse, Tunisia. That's the one Fischer forfeited out of at the midpoint, when his score was +10 -0 =3.

I have to correct both rdh and Jon Jacobs. The Keene / Miles incident was in the 80s, and Fischer withdrew at midpoint with only +7-0=3.

As far as it being organised at the same time as the British - it is being privately sponsored by Jan Mol (who appears to have a business colleague of the guy who runs the Melody Amber event) and half the players are Dutch, so perhaps the clash is not so important. Adams wouldn't have played in the British anyway, so it is unlikely it would have affected the result of the British (although juniors such as Gordon and Haslinger did well, so maybe Jones would have been in contention).

Unfortunately this event shows the relative demise of the Timman and Speelman. I am afraid Speelman is no longer worthy of the English Olympiad team on this form which is close to picking itself now as Adams, Short, McShane, Howell, Jones and one other. Chandler has apparently gone back to New Zealand. Pity there isn't a British Olympiad team - adding Rowson to the mix would make a huge difference.

It is extremely amusing for Mig to have forgotten that Kasparov - Kramnik (which I assume was the highest rated chess event in history excluding computer matches) was played in England. However as a fan of GK and since I enjoying reading Mig when he acts as his spokesperson on this site, I am sure it was an honest oversight :-)

The most alarming story is the one about Aagaard being racially abused for being Danish in Scotland - what is going on here? Is this Scottish Nationalism gone mad? Can anybody else confirm this story?

nationalism IS madness, mcb.

The best review by Tony Miles was the one consisting of two words to describe one of Eric Schiller's potboilers. There was also an incident where he knocked Sam Sloan to the ground after Sloan accused him of misusing his position as a team selector. If only there were more like him around...

Unfortunately Scotland has far more than its fair share of chauvinistic losers (I wouldn't call them racists as their main target is the English, who are racially similar).

Many people think of Scots as pure Celts, but in fact there are at least as many Scandinavian genes in the mix. Which makes the Aagaard incident all the more stupid.

Sheesh, mcb, that's some impressive lack of a sense of humour you've got there! Have you really never heard the phrase 'back in the sixties' to mean 'some time too long ago to worry about'?

mcb - yes, sadly this incident did happen. It was during a tournament (Oban, I think) and two parents of a junior were making racist comments about him. If I remember right it was in the hotel of the bar and Jacob's wife was sat just a table or two away.

It ended up with Aagaard resigning as Director of Junior Chess in Scotland. A lot of people tried to convince not to step down but I guess he just didn't need that kind of hassle. There was a long discussion on the old Scottish message board although it was changed to a new one fairly recently so the relevant stuff would've been lost.

Err, meant bar of the hotel. :)

"Sheesh, mcb, that's some impressive lack of a sense of humour you've got there! Have you really never heard the phrase 'back in the sixties' to mean 'some time too long ago to worry about'?"

Posted by: rdh at August 16, 2007 08:20

rdh: You must really be amusing to yourself!

Let's try to unwind all of the misconceptions fostered by your attempt at humor, shall we?

The country of Tunisia has hosted more that one FIDE InterZonal tournament. The first Interzonal held there was in Sousse. There was another Interzonal hosted by Tunisia, in which Tony Miles did indeed participate (finishing =10th, with +4 -4=8, for 8.0/16). It took place in
April-May of 1985, in the Tunisian capital, Tunis.

Of the two events, Sousse 1967 is, rather appropriately, better known to the chess community. Sousse had a relatively stronger field of participants [There was just 1 Interzonal, leading to the Candidates' Matches, back in 1967. By 1985, there was a format of holding 3 Interzonals--held in 1)Taxco, Mexico 2)Biel, Switzerland 3) and in Tunis. The Top 4 finishers in each Interzonal qualified for the Candidates' Tournament in Montpellier, France. The Top 4 finishers in Montpellier (A. Yusupov, R. Vaganian, A. Sokolov, and J. Timman) ended up playing two rounds of Knock-out matches for the right to face Karpov in the Candidates' Final Match.] than did Tunis 1985, and Sousse 1967 was made notorious by the controversy surrounding Fischer's withdrawal while leading the event with a +7 =3; 8.5/10 score.

Therefore, it was understandable that readers would be confused--not amused--when you made reference to an Interzonal in Tunisia that took place "back in the sixties".

May I also suggest the possibility that the idiomatic usage of the expression "back in the sixties" to connote "'some time too long ago to worry about'?" might not be as broadly understood as you seem to assume?


World Chess Championship
1985 Tunis Interzonal Tournament

Tunis, IV-V, 1985.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 Total T/B
1 Yusupov,A 2590 xx = 1 1 = = 1 = = = = 1 1 = 1 = 1 11.5
2 Beliavsky,A 2635 = xx = = 1 = = 1 1 = = 1 0 = 1 1 1 11.0
3 Portisch,L 2635 0 = xx = 1 = = = = = 1 = 1 = = 1 1 10.0

4 Gavrikov,V 2550 0 = = xx = 0 = = 1 = 1 = = 1 = 1 1 9.5 66.75
5 Chernin,A 2495 = 0 0 = xx = = 1 0 = = 1 = 1 1 1 1 9.5 65.75

6 Hort,V 2560 = = = 1 = xx = = 0 = = = = 1 0 1 1 9.0 66.25
7 Sosonko,G 2535 0 = = = = = xx = = = = = = = 1 1 1 9.0 63.25
8 Dlugy,M 2485 = 0 = = 0 = = xx = = 1 = = 1 = 1 1 9.0 62.75
9 De Firmian,N 2540 = 0 = 0 1 1 = = xx 1 0 = = 1 0 = 1 8.5
10 Nikolic,Pr 2575 = = = = = = = = 0 xx 1 0 = 0 = 1 1 8.0 58.75
11 Suba,M 2465 = = 0 0 = = = 0 1 0 xx 0 1 = 1 1 1 8.0 55.25
12 Miles,A 2570 0 0 = = 0 = = = = 1 1 xx = 0 = 1 1 8.0 55.00
13 Morovic Fernand,I 2450 0 1 0 = = = = = = = 0 = xx = 1 = = 7.5
14 Zapata,A 2535 = = = 0 0 0 = 0 0 1 = 1 = xx = = = 6.5 50.00
15 Ermenkov,E 2515 0 0 = = 0 1 0 = 1 = 0 = 0 = xx = 1 6.5 45.75
16 Afifi,A 2370 = 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 = 0 0 0 = = = xx 1 3.5
17 Hmadi,S 2285 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 = = 0 0 xx 1.0

Bouaziz,S 2395 - 0 - - - 0 - - 0 - 0 - = - - - 0 0.5

Bouaziz withdrew after six rounds; his results are not included in the totals for the other players.

Moscow playoff, VI-VII, 1985.

1 2 3 4 5 6 Total
Gavrikov,V 2550 0 = = 0 1 = 2.5
Chernin,A 2495 1 = = 1 0 = 3.5

Doug, I believe you are being a little hard on rdh.

As is well known, the world is smaller, the pace of life is quicker and this has resulted in the contraction of time, viz...

"back in the Paleoproterozoic era" now refers to Tuesday the 6th June 1954.

"back in the 50s" refers to the disco era in the 70s

"back in the 60s" - (as we now know) refers to 1985

and "yesterday" now means during the last 10 minutes.

Do try to keep up.

I have to admit it was the first time I've ever heard the phrase used in that way.

Getting back on topic, Mickey Adams has married his long-term partner. I wonder how many other chessplayers are allowed to spend their honeymoon playing in a tournament?

The news was quietly slipped out in the first round report, which also describes the highly unusual drawing of lots.


Sorry, Doug, I always forget how ignorant most of you people are about chess history. My bad. For future reference, though, when I mean the Sousse interzonal, I'll say the Sousse interzonal, and when I mean the one in Tunis, I'll say the Tunis interzonal. I'll also try and avoid any idiomatic expressions and write in the same way as androids such as yourself and that mcb feller. That should help to avid any confusion

The Mickey A story reminded me of Brian Labone, England's regular soccerball left back in the 1960's. He told the manager he thought he'd give the 1966 World Cup a miss because he was getting married and going on honeymoon. Different, and I dare say better balanced, times.

Hmmm... Please correct me if I'm wrong rdh, but there was something with Flear. When he won London 1986, wasn't he a last minute replacement? And didn't he get married during (!)the tournament?

Either my mind is playing tricks with me again, or Michael Adams is superstitious and wants to win the tournament by imitating Flear. Or it's a coincidence, who knows.

"Sorry, Doug, I always forget how ignorant most of you people are about chess history. My bad. For future reference, though, when I mean the Sousse interzonal, I'll say the Sousse interzonal, and when I mean the one in Tunis, I'll say the Tunis interzonal. I'll also try and avoid any idiomatic expressions and write in the same way as androids such as yourself and that mcb feller. That should help to avid any confusion"

Thanks rdh, such a change in your style of prose would represent a marked improvement, although you'd still have room for plenty more.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on August 14, 2007 2:05 PM.

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