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Mighty Moscow 08

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It's all well and good for the super-elite guys to have more events than they can handle these days, but what about poor Boris Six-pack? The top 20 has the Grand Slam and the soon-to-be-announced FIDE World Cup cycle. If things go as planned, it will be hard to find enough free space in the calendar, what with all the rapid events squeezed in. The trickle-down theory of economics never really worked on a national scale. (Give rich people more money and they tend to keep it. That's why they're rich.) One of my staple elitist beliefs in the chess world is that for #100 to make $50,000 a year in prize money, #10 has to be making $500,000, the way it is in other individual sports. To mangle a food metaphor, trying to spread a small pie thinly is never going to happen.

There is still a very important place for big open tournaments, both those of the US pay-to-play model in which amateurs subsidize the pros and those with corporate sponsorship. Nowadays many combine these models. Hikaru Nakamura just triumphed in Gibraltar and now an even stronger event is underway, the Moscow Open. Not to be confused with the equally powerful Aeroflot Open, which also takes place in Moscow in a week or so. Many die-hards are playing in both events. (The Chinese squad went to Gibraltar and doesn't seem to be showing up for either Moscow event.) There are dozens of GMs playing in Moscow now and after four rounds only Riazantsev has a perfect score. A few Yankees have made the trip, including Gregory Kaidanov, Josh Friedel, and my recent rijsttafel companion David Pruess. He went to Moscow from Amsterdam with ChessNinja Black Belt annotator and my fellow Brooklynite Irina Krush, who is playing in a special women-only open, where she's the fifth seed and near the lead with 3.5/4.

The official site has photos and entertainingly Russified English reports and captions. Someone tell the photographer to set his white balance to "fluorescent" instead of auto. That's the #1 mistake people make with digital cameras, not changing the white balance indoors. Auto is fine if it's one in the afternoon outside in the sun, or if you're in close flash range. It looks like some the players got a free case of jaundice with entry. Would be nice to get more games for download. TWIC has a handful from each day. ChessBase has a handy summary of the tournament with some pics. It's nine rounds, concluding on the 10th. The first prize is around $20K.


Those Russian tournaments are fine, but hey, I think that what most of us chess fans are waiting for is Linares. You know, heavy weight -drawing- chess. Sadly I have no idea when starts and who is going to play there. Any thoughts?
Off the subject, I've just saw a Fantastic Four movie and it surprised me to the bones to encounter Mig in there! Isn't he similar to the actor that plays Ben Grimm? (without powers of course) :)

Linares starts Feb. 15 (with games beginning on the 16th, I presume). Participants are:
Anand, Ivanchuk, Topalov, Carlsen, Leko, Radjabov, Aronian, and Shirov. You can read more about it at chessdom.com:


haha! great line:

"It's all well and good for the super-elite guys to have more events than they can handle these days, but what about poor Boris Six-pack?"

the areschenko-novikov game was badass!

Wow, that's a fine attacking lineup, thanks, Dan. Only Leko seems to be slightly out of place, like a penguin among sharks or something. Well maybe he'll get the fighting disease with all those guys around and show up some ambitious chess too, sort of Leko 3.0

The US model??

From where I'm sitting, the thing that stands out about US events is precisely that amateurs don't subsidise the pros.

Leko out of place in Linares? A penguin among sharks? Watch that penguin teach a shark or two a lesson if they get overly aggressive.

rdh, to bone up on the economics of US open (class section) events, with plenty of data about the subsidy, look up the lengthy and sometimes hilarious debates involving Ben Finegold, on one or two Dirt threads bracketing the 2006 World Open.

That would be good Russianbear, I like penguins too. Don't misunderstand me, Leko certainly deserves to be in Linares, but come on, his style is not exactly the same as that of the other players. Radja, Aronian, Shirov, Ivanchuk, Anand, Topalov! All of them can turn things really crazy on the board, not sure about Carlsen, but all in all it's a very combative group.


Looking over the Grand Prix schedule, it seems for the most part the Western Hemisphere has been left out of site venues. Why? How does this serve FIDE as being an international organization?

Although I'm surprised by the comment of rdh, let's not get the Finegold thing going again. I've got better things to do than be p****d-off all day! Then again, regarding Finegold, better p****d-off than p****d-on.

"The trickle-down theory of economics never really worked on a national scale. (Give rich people more money and they tend to keep it."

First sentence is true, but mainly because of outsourcing which translates into: They don't keep it, they invest in those outsourced companies where labor is dirt cheap and make even more wealth, while the rest of us continue to act like the "pawns" that Veblen satirized in the Theory of the Leisure Class over a hundred years ago. And the beat goes on...

Its interesting to me that "Boris" Six Pack is actually not that common name in the A group (not even a Six Pack). "Alexander" Twenty Pack looks like it would be more appropriate.


By western hemisphear you mean America I suppose? (or is Switzerland eastern hemisphere??)

Even, so, initially they planned to hold tournaments in all continents. But quite naturally, the less devel0ped (chess-wise) continents couldn't bring a bid that satsifies the criterea (money:-)). So Africa, South and North America and Australia were excluded. (leaving everything in Europe and Asia).

I know it is quite sad that nobody in US, an otherwise pretty rich country, could gather prize money for one part of the world grand-prix...

Switzerland actually IS part of the eastern hemisphere, if one bothers to check a map. Sorry.

Regarding the site venues, it's 3-3 Europe-Asia (if you consider Azerbaidjan in Europe, like it was when I learnt my geography).

rdh wrote:

"From where I'm sitting, the thing that stands out about US events is precisely that amateurs don't subsidise the pros."

You need to sit a little closer.


obviously I was being sarcastic to the previous post by Mark (thus the two question-marks)... I consider that his comment about western hemisphere was made because he was American and disturbed by the fact that they are excluded (while switzerland that you and I agree is in the west, was assigned a grand prix tournament). I am not American and know well that Switzerland is in western hemisphere, as my place, Greece, is. No need to check a map :-) However, if one tries to be pedantic, east and west depends on the conventions one (or a society) uses, since a sphere has a certain symmetry that you cannot identify a centre :-)

Oops.. sorry Andy,

Missread your post. Indeed if you define grenwich to be the centre you are right. But then most of the western hemisphere is water, so it hardly surprising that it is excluded. Again western and eatern hemisphere depends on the convention of society... In my school we were always considered to be in the west :-)

certainly, by greenwich, switzerland is on the east, check geographical coordinates of any swiss place :-)
And Andy you are right that it is 3-3 between Europe and Asia; but Azerbaijan belongs to Asia (the boundary between Europe and Asia is Caucasus Mountains), but Elista, Russia belongs to Europe, as Krasnoyarsk, Russia belongs to Asia. In this case the boundary is Ural Mountains. Sorry for geographical remarks :-))

zhorik: I'm guessing you're not a native English speaker. Joe six-pack refers to the "average" American guy. Mig's saying is a take-off of that, as they are in Russia, "Boris" being the change. BTW, that would be a pack of six beer bottles/cans.

Perhaps I should have said 'don't subsidise the pros ENOUGH'. I am aware of the Feingold debate. It was precisely the attitude of some posters in that which I had in mind. The European model is, or certainly was, different.

rdh wrote:

"Perhaps I should have said 'don't subsidise the pros ENOUGH'"

What does that mean, exactly?

To what extent should amateurs "subsidize" pros? And how would they go about doing that?

Should amateurs pay big entry fees without expecting a prize, so that all the money goes to the pros?

What's actually the difference between a pro and an amateur in the USA?

It's very clear that Nakamura is a pro (GM making the news, earning money prizes, getting recognition, etc) and I'm not one (lowly national Master, no money earned and no recognition).

But is IM XXXX a pro? He doesn't make even $5,000 from chess (even though his rating is over 2500 and he wins the occassional swiss), but that's all he does for a living.

Will Nakamura be a pro when he turns 45, his rating has dropped to 2625 and doesn't make more that $15.000/years from all his chess activities/work?

Is GM Fedorowicz still a pro?

Without a clarification, your argument doesn't offer a point of reference for dialog.

The game Inarkiev-Kazhgaleyev is pretty unbelievable, although I haven't run it through a computer.

The simplest definition of a pro is someone who does the sport for a living. They don't have a day job and just play for fun. It is there job. Rating doesnt matter, if you can make a living playing chess, your a chess professional.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on February 5, 2008 5:31 PM.

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