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Achieving Win-Win in Nanjing

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There's a super-tournament coming to Nanjing, China in December. The Pearl Spring Chess Tournament is a powerful six-player all-play-all, following the Linares format I've been sick of for a while now. Do all events have to be double round-robins at the expense of inviting a wider variety of players? Let Linares be Linares and have 10-12 players. But six hotel rooms and six plane tickets are cheaper, and this way you can keep the average Elo higher as well. The event runs Dec. 11-21 with a free day at the split. The players are Topalov, Ivanchuk, Aronian, Movsesian, Svidler, and Bu Xiangzhi. The former child prodigy Bu Xiangzhi was hammered at the M-Tel this year, making a -4 score. (Reinforcing what I said above about the same players always appearing, the M-Tel had four of these six; we're swapping Cheparinov and Radjabov for Svidler and Movsesian.) I'm a little surprised they didn't also include Wang Yue instead of another foreigner. But he has the Grand Prix starting in Elista on the 13th. Dueling supertournaments, oy.

I dug up what looks like an official site here, complete with remarkably unflattering photos of the participants and a few bits of entertainingly translated English. The official slogan appears to be "Achieving win-win through the event and demonstrating the intelligence of the people in Pukou." Do not taunt happy fun rook! All your pawns are belong to us! The punishment for losing this event is likely to be severe: "Undertaker´╝Ü People's Government of Pukou District." And someone will have to break it to the people of Pukou (a district of Nanjing, a city of nearly 7.5 million people) that hosting chess events doesn't demonstrate intellect, and often quite the contrary. Otherwise Kalmykia would enjoy much more enlightened leadership, I suspect.

Jokes aside, more chess is always good and previous strong events have been run very well in China. One of the Chinese sites that mentioned this event says it is planned to be an annual affair such as Corus and Linares. Many events have claimed that over the years, mind you. The cute little chess in China flash movie that pops up on the official site is worth the click.


I am surprised that our country, United States, does not hold a supertournament.

Mig wrote: {"Do not taunt happy fun rook!"}
Ha! It is not just me who has long felt that was an especially memorable line from SNLive (delivered by Mike Meyers or Phil Hartman?).

Too many Tournament Organizers give too much weight to the idea that a higher category number equals a more entertaining tournament.

Instead it tends to produce duplicate tournaments with the same names and faces repeated. The T.O.s feel the ideal is to garner players from a narrow Elo range near the top of FIDE's list. That ideal loses the possibility of a dramatic upset victory. That ideal diminishes each duplicate tournament given the larger context they all share.

Give more weight to players under 2700 who have **still-rising** Elo ratings.
Or have a tournament that invites only the best players rated under 2700.

Forget supertournaments check out the
Nunn plan for the world championship published on chess base. I think it rocks - the idea of the activity bonus is verging on the brilliant. One year a candidates tournament the next a wcc. Its so good and simple that it hasnt got a chance in the loony elista half life of chess

Not sure why the organizers didn't flavor a generic-looking tournament with more locals, such as the 2700ish players Ni Hua and Wang Hao, especially since Bu seems to perform erraticly and poorly against non-Russian 2700s. Would be more interesting to see how Ni and Wang fare than another thrashing of Bu.

I guess it is logical to not include Wang Yue, who is already busy and more or less established, and could expect foreign invitations to strong tournaments. This year alone he's already played a whole bunch of games against top-20s, with another 2 strong tournaments waiting.

Better to give the chance to the other Chinese rising stars who haven't played too many top 20 players. However, I'd prefer to see Wang Hao instead of Bu.

By the way, this year Wang Yue has played 30 games against 2700s. It's a good number of high level games, even for top standard. He emerged without one single loss. And wins against Gelfand, Svidler, Radjabov, etc. Even for 2700 standards, this is very solid. At the Olympiad his score is not spectacular, but still as expected at the top 10 standard. In fact, it's still enough to add some Elo points to his 2750-ish rating.

Am I the only dude on board to pick that Turkish bid beat Montenegro tonight in a definitely win-loss voting to host 2012 Olympics?

It is a cute movie... if it weren't for the fact that the board is oriented incorrectly (dark square in lower right)!


Players such as Carlsen, Ivanchuk, Adams and Wang Yue all declined Nanjing because of the Doha World Cup event. Now they are on a waiting list to get back into the Nanjing event rather than play in Elista!

Jimbo says: "I am surprised that our country, United States, does not hold a supertournament."

Why would that surprise you? Holding a supertournament involves giving a large amount of money to Grandmasters, which requires either

1) corporate sponsorship, which American chess has none of, or

2) a super-rich patron of the game, which the US also has none of.

So, no US supertournament in our future.

I suppose a third way would be to have a lot of non-super-rich Americans give money to fund such an event, but of course the boundless generosity of American chessplayers towards Grandmasters is justly famed throughout the world, so that's no go.

You guys whine all the time about FIDE and Kirsan but FIDE works well enough, world events take place, games are rated (very efficiently) and world chess goes on.

You think American know-how would make FIDE better? Send in Goichberg and Truong, along with a few big execs from Lehmans?

U.S. chess cannot get supertournament (or any) sponsorship without marketable players, i.e.:

1. at least one top-10 player
2. physically attractive players (e.g., Grischuk, Ponomariov, the lovely Kosinteva sisters)
3. charismatic or flamboyant players (Fischer, Kasparov)
4. players of the "correct" ethnicity (I'm thinking a U.S. team with two WASPs, a Jew, and one grab-bag like a Kamsky, Nakamura, or Maurice Ashley.)

As it stands the U.S. has none of this. Our male and female top-five aren't gorgeous, unusually likeable, and so forth.

Reading this thread, I have to ask: Did Seattle lose its bid to host a FIDE Grand Prix tournament without my knowing?

Wang Yue has the Grand Prix starting in Elista on the 13th,Dec.

+++But six hotel rooms and six plane tickets are cheaper+++
And two is even cheaper than six. Matches are the future. Easier to promote as a clash of titans. Take cues from pro wrestling; boring players (on and off board) need not apply! Among 2700+ I'd pencil the first match as:

Adams vs Vachier-Lagrave (England vs France, age/youth)

Probably can get them cheaper than the 2750+ cloud-walkers, with just as much hoi polloi impact.

Yes, Wang Yue cannot play in Nanjing because of the Grand Prix. But even if he is free, it's probably better to let other chinese players take part in Nanjing, for the reasons I gave in a previous post.

actually, Nakamura is charismatic while Kamsky is attractive if not a little dull

Kamsky's somewhat funny looking. Also, no corporation would ever touch him with Rustam Kamsky and his death threats on a google click.

Nakamura has an attractive game style, but he's not photogenic. Looks doofy and lethargic, IMO.

The ideal? See Russia and Ukraine which have highly marketable players. These are faces you can put in a magazine, a poster.

1. the rogueish heartbreaker Grischuk
2. the clean-cut happy-go-lucky Ponomariov
3. the silent killer Kramnik, married to a '10' wife
4. the metaphysical Morozevich (no doubt he has many female admirers)

The women's team too, with Kosteniuk, the Kosintevas, and other young girls.

I don't know why they need to invite Svidler. Carlsen, Radjabov or Morozevich would be more interesting. But maybe they did try.

The US does have a potential super-rich patron of the game... Howard Stern. Now, it is unclear what the PR ramifications would be if Stern sponsored a super-GM tournament, but it would certainly bring in a lot of publicity.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on November 24, 2008 12:52 PM.

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