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Adios 2008, Hello 2009: Part 1

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Unlike most year-end list makers, I prefer to actually wait for the year to end before compiling my review of the year gone and the look ahead into the year to come. The problem with this method is called, for lack of a better word, alcohol. So I'll be adding to this series the next day or two during the post-New Year's Eve detoxification process. Happy New Year, everyone!

My general impression of 2008 was that it was a very busy year for elite chess. The addition of the FIDE Grand Prix events, the Grand Slam final in Bilbao, the Nanjing Pearl Spring tournament, and the Dresden Olympiad made 2008 a bumper year in terms of a sheer quantity of top-level games. The traditional events of Corus Wijk aan Zee, Linares, and Dortmund were again joined by relative newcomers MTel Masters, Aerosvit Foros, and the Tal Memorial. The Russian Team Championship was again incredibly strong, probably deeper overall than the Euro Club Cup it was a qualifier for. There were many powerful rapid and blitz events old and new, from Melody Amber to Mainz to Yerevan and Cap d'Agde.

To top it all off, we had the remarkable world championship match we'd all been waiting for as Anand defeated Kramnik in Bonn. Anand's domination -- he led 4.5-1.5 at the half -- was startling. That took the drama, if not all the life, out of the match. Anand turns 40 in 2009 but is clearly still capable of playing the best chess of his life, although his dismal Bilbao performance showed he can no longer coast on sheer talent. Kramnik now begins what they call a "rebuilding year" in team sports. Meanwhile, Veselin Topalov dominated all his events in the second half of 2008 and starts the new year as the world #1.

We are supposed to have yet another world championship match in 2009, between Anand and the winner of the Topalov-Kamsky candidates match scheduled to take place in Bulgaria in February. Despite FIDE's best attempts to save/sabotage the world championship over the years, including this one, you have to admit at least we're getting some events. The problem continues to be that all the confusion and abuse is alienating fans, players, and sponsors. All the dropouts then lead FIDE to toss out makeshift "solutions" instead of dealing with the core problems of transparency and reliability.

Coming up, more stats than you can stomach and the reader polls you demanded dreaded. This is your last chance to submit an idea for a year end/start poll!


The BB at the Rybka Forum had a nice long year-end review of the major tournaments, though ignoring open events and non-classical chess. Lots of stats. Too many in fact!

You forgot the new World Mind Sports Games, a phenomenal success!

I dunno, I thought the WMSG was a confusing mixed bag as a chess event, if impressive in scale and ambition. The only elite players were from the host nation. Are there plans to continue it?

Mega+TWIC give 610 games between 2700s in 2007, and 1075 in 2008 - clear proof!

Can't wait for the reader polls...I can stomach quite a bit!

You forgot to mention Bobby in your year-in-review comments.

Yep, but include the remark about KramnikĀ“s rebuiding year (which didnt occur yet).
Gods of chess will ask you about this sometime.

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    About this Entry

    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on December 31, 2008 7:16 PM.

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