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Candidates 09 and 10; Fischer Film Nixed

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ChessBase has an item merging an interview with Topalov's manager and event organizer Silvio Danailov and a proposal from UEP to organize the 2010 candidates and 2011 world championship in Bonn, Germany.

The home-field dis/advantage must be different for every player. It's not like a football game, but wouldn't some people feel more comfortable at home than on the road or in a hostile environment (your opponent's home nation)? Neutral sites are preferred for a reason, aren't they? But the pressure and added attention from playing at home must be unpleasant to a degree. I hope an outside security specialist does check the venue and stay there throughout the event. Cheating isn't a problem in my opinion, but it is essential to remove the possibility of cheating and the accusations that can arise when there is any room for doubt.

The UEP bid for the 2010 candidates is based on the assumption that Lord Kirsan's recent pronouncement about inserting a new candidates event into the current cycle is law. To my knowledge that isn't the case yet, but as I said at the time, it's 1) very unlikely he would have announced it had he not already had an offer lined up and 2) that offer would probably have something to do with Vladimir Kramnik, who is affiliated with UEP.

Old one from the archives I'd forgotten about. Last month a note in the NY Times apparently shot down the Bobby Fischer film mentioned in this Variety magazine item.

Universal and Working Title partners Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner have tapped Kevin Macdonald to direct "Bobby Fischer Goes to War."

The drama about the upstart chess whiz's triumph over Boris Spassky in the World Chess Championship in 1972 is scripted by Shawn Slovo, based on the book by David Edmonds and John Eidinow. Bevan and Fellner will produce.

A prodigy from Brooklyn who reached grandmaster stature at 15, Fischer became a global celebrity at 29 after defeating the world's best player, becoming the only American to win that title. The matches [sic], held in Reykjavik, Iceland, were covered like a sporting event [sic! What was it really, a goddamn fashion show?!] and became a symbol in the posturing between Cold War superpowers.

Fischer, who died earlier this month, became known in his later years for outspoken comments, anti-Semitic rants and an eccentric and reclusive nature.

Macdonald won an Oscar for the documentary "One Day in September" before making his scripted directing debut on "The Last King of Scotland."

But in the Times piece on the effects of the economic downturn on Hollywood:

Thus, Universal Pictures now says it is not planning to shoot the once seemingly imminent "Bobby Fischer Goes to War," a drama about the 1972 chess showdown between Mr. Fischer and Boris Spassky.

Darn. It's not clear if this was planned to be a documentary or a "based on" dramatization, which seems much more likely. I'm sure a doc would cause us chess people far less gnashing of teeth than seeing Fischer acted on the screen, even if it's by Nicholas Cage, as the person who sent me the old Varity item proposes. h/t Paul B. Who would you suggest playing Fischer? With Benjamin Button effects you only need one actor, I suppose, though two actors for "young Bobby" and the "old Fischer" make for better chit-chat. Daniel Day-Lewis for Fischer in his prime?


I'm a bit confused - is there a confirmed bid for the match between Anand and Topalov/Kamsky? Seems odd to be organizing the next WC match first.

Not a follower of FIDE news much, David? :-) Merely getting things backward would be a great step forward...

To be able to get inn three or four major and a few minor changes before the actual match, you better start early.

UEP's announcement should be accompanied by banner headlines, balloons and fireworks.

Up to now Kirsan could manipulate scheduling, events, playing sites, and prizes; explaining that "the money just wasn't there." So UEP's announcement is revolutionary for chess. Finally sensible people with a decent idea and MONEY!

Kirsan must now feel increasing pressure to implement a stable WCC cycle given the small but growing potential of UEP to cut deals with Anand, Topalov, and other top players and to set up a competing, sensible, stable cycle.

Quite right Greg. A few more organizers with well funded programmes would be a good counterweight to FIDE. By the way, whatever happened to FIDE Commerce?


Sylvester Stallone.
"What we gona do, Bobby?"
"F*** em."

Nicholas Cage! Why not!?

James Woods, if he only were younger.

John Malkovich for old Fischer. A good actor, and a lookalike.

Ha! On the Chessville.com forums years ago, I suggested Nicholas Cage as the right actor to portray Fischer in any movie (this particular "BF Goes to War" was not then known about). There was immediately agreement on Cage -- who now seems too old.

But we could not decide who should portray Spassky; other than agree Joe Pesci was not quite right.

- - - - - - - - - -

Re the UEP item....,
FIDE can never "own" the (Steinitz-derived match) World Chess Champion title. No organization can.
FIDO can have a champion player under rigid restrictive contract, but that is different.

UEP can wrest WCC title operations away from FIDO simply by being a better organized and better funded organization, and thus eventually being more trusted than FIDO.

The USSR is not around to protect FIDO any longer. How soon we forget that -- for most of these years since the USSR collapsed, FIDO has not had control of the WCC title.

FIDO, a real dog of an organization.

re: Who should play Spassky?

When I first saw pictures of Boris back in the day, my first thought was of a then fairly popular actor by the name of Dick Shawn. Look him up at imdb.com, if you want. Actually played a Russian in "Way ... Way Out," a Jerry Lewis vehicle. Ideal choice ... then, of course. Too dead now.

Another would have been Dick Gautier, but again, too old. Geez, maybe I'M too old!!


Petrosian--Michael Madsen.

Fischer Ed Norton
Spassky Seth Rogan


Oh please, Crowe, Pitt, and Cage are in their mid 40's.....to capture Bobby in at least a full Bio, one would almost need an unknown. For example, you wanna see a Bobby in his early 20's, dressed up, sharp, ect. take a look at those dudes who visit hospitals, as drug reps....you'll see an early Bobby for sure in his 20's.....

Oh, gotta like Ed Norton. Course that guy is so versatile, he could probably play Spassky. Or Edmondson. Hell, even Kissinger!


Ed Norton almost 40, and only 6 feet tall....keep "Searching":-)

To capture "Bobby" one needs the body frame of say a Ted Danson and his smile. Danson is also at least 6' 2" if not more. Only thing nixing Danson now is his age, he's 61. So at least you have something to work with in casting the "end of life Bobby". For a full bio one needs to have probably four more Bobby's. Early teen, mid-late teen, 20's something, and also someone maybe between 48-52 for the "1992 Match Bobby". IMHO

Totally do the Bobby film like that film about the other great Bobby, Dylan ("I'm Not There"). Cast different actors, male and female, to portray Fischer throughout his life. As she did with Dylan, Cate Blanchett would portray Fischer brilliantly.

However, you'd have to have a genius director and writer to make a non-documentary film on Fischer anything but dead boring. The real drama of Bobby's life wasn't mental illness or cold war politics or any of that, it was 21. . . Qd7, and how do you portray that onscreen?

The real drama is determined and identified by the director, and the rich material and possibilties available to Todd Haynes are not there for Fischer's story. Mike Figgis could maybe do it; if it leans on the second act of Fischer's life, David Cronenberg for madness or Ang Lee for tragedy.

Fischer -- Michael Pitt
Regina -- Patricia Clarkson
Reshevsky -- Joel Grey
Tal -- Nestor Serrano
Paul Keres -- Stellan Skarsgard
Spassky -- Richard Dean Anderson
Euwe -- Max von Sydow
William Lombardy -- Nathan Lane
Miguel Quinteros -- Miguel Greengard

"The real drama of Bobby's life wasn't mental illness or cold war politics or any of that, it was 21. . . Qd7, and how do you portray that onscreen?"

Totally disagree.

If each phenomenal player's phenomenal games were dredged up from a "lost games" archive you generally couldn't tell which player played which game.

The real drama of Fischer's life, Kasparov's life, etc. was how the guy got to the top and what he did when he arrived.

Joel Grey as Reshevsky is inspired.

You know, Nathan Lane could also play Geller.


Well done!

Verne Troyer could play Topalov.

Personally, I'm shocked that UEP prefers mini-matches over a tournament... I would never have guessed.

You know who might not be bad as Spassky? Michael Imperioli of Sopranos fame.

The middle-aged Fischer has been described as gangly with an awkward gait. So, maybe Christopher Walken. Both these guys also lack cadence when they speak although any good actor can adopt to the character. Nicholas Cage as the cantankerous and vociferous Bobby Fischer? I don't think it will be a good fit.

Philip Seymour Hoffman as Jack Collins

Old Spassky - Boris Spassky

Too bad about the Fischer film. I think that, relatively speaking, it would be inexpensive compared to other Hollywood films.
Compared to SEARCHING FOR BOBBY FISCHER, which is a wonderful film about sons and dads, but a terrible film about chess, it could only have done better.
But in getting actors, yes, you have to have some resemblance. But look at Anthony Hopkins in Oliver Stone's NIXON. Portraying someone who was notorious, Hopkins does such a great job that in a few minutes you forget it's him and wow...there's Nixon again. he did the same thing with Hitler in THE BUNKER. A truly great actor can be anybody.
That being said, my nominee for Efim Geller is Joe Pesci. James Woods would be a great Fischer -- look at his performance in CASINO. He could get the characterization down to the letter. And he has the emotional range needed.

I suspect a very worked up rabbit would have the emotional range needed to play Fischer.


You're on a roll.

What we need is a Stephen Sondheim musical. Music and lyrics could get at Bobby's inner-life:

"I'm a kid from Brooklyn with a huge intellect.
All I care about is this cult, is this sect
Known as chess chess chess!
I must confess
It is chess chess chess
Makes me nothing less
Than a god, than a man . . ."

And you could have a really good song about the Najdorf:

"With black I play to win.
Tell me, is that a sin?"

Or the Exchange Ruy:

Yugoslavian star!
Of course you expect B-R4.
Instead I take your knight off of the board.
Shades of Lasker!
I'm such a rascal!"

You get the idea.

"Personally, I'm shocked that UEP prefers mini-matches over a tournament... I would never have guessed."

No surprise that Kramnik chose minimatches since it improves his chances. He could be the best rapid player of the event and is hard to beat in a four game match so it's understandable that he doesn't want a round robin.

The reason I sent the old Variety item was that I was told that last week Ron Howard told Howard Stern on his show that the Bobby Fischer script was "floating around" in Hollywood. Stern had suggested Ron make the Fischer movie as he enjoyed Frost/Nixon. I'm hoping 70's nostalgia trend influences the movie moguls to go for it.

BTW Mig are you attending Fischer symposium at the Marshall March 6&7? Wish Dr. Brady would record and sell a dvd of this event.

Yeah, Nathan Lane in triplicate after Sellers in Strangelove: Lombardy, Geller and Donner with perhaps a quick walk-through as Hort.

James Woods definitely has the range for ratty old Fischer, but I bet Crispin Glover could nail it without even trying, taking over from Michael Pitt round the mid-1980's.

Crispin Glover as Fischer makes a lot of sense, in more ways than one.

Also, we have to have Jack Black as Korchnoi.

Mig wrote:

"The matches [sic], held in Reykjavik, Iceland, were covered like a sporting event [sic! What was it really, a goddamn fashion show?!] and became a symbol in the posturing between Cold War superpowers."

It was NOT a sporting event. It was a COMPETITION, but not a sporting event for the simple reason that chess is NOT a sport.

If chess is a sport, dominoes, tic-tac-toe, backgammon, poker and even parchisi are sports, too.

If chess is a sport, Jussupov and Epishin are athletes....

Not all competitions are sports. Everyone knows that...

Of course chess is a sport, everyone knows that. It's not the same kind of sport as football, but neither is snooker or shooting. Ah, but what is sport, yada yada yada.

But it's always cute to see someone tackle one of the oldest and most discussed topics in chess history as if there is a single and obvious point of view, and be dismissive at the same time. Neanderthal discussion techniques at their finest.

Chess is a sport and you're rated 2300, instead of your real 1825.

Delusion at its finest.

Is not even a discussion , for now chess is a game with some kind of sportive practice generally in the professional area.
Two machines cannot play Judo or basketball , but they can compete in chess with diferent engines , and it would be a genuine competition , but not an sport.
It seems to be a contradiction because the best players are also great sportsman (Anand , Topalov , Shirov) , but they are playing a game , not an sport.
The real question for me is , Why would someone think that ¨sport¨ is more than ¨game¨.
Other complex games like ¨Go¨ are proudly free of this ridiculous argument.

"I look like a twit! Quick, to the USCF rating list, Robin!" At least in my chess strength Irv found something he knows even less about than carrying on an intelligent discussion.

Steve Buscemi as Karpov.

Mig and Garry can make cameos as themselves.

Kamsky - Topalov match is definitely exciting... especially after disappointing Anand-Kramnik match. Oh, well, I hope Gata would play his best chess there.

No way, I want Bruce Willis to play me. I look horrible enough in person. My brief appearances in that Deep Blue/GK documentary were illustration enough I should stay online or on the radio. Enough people say I look like Willis to put it in the ballpark even if he's sort of tiny in real life. Or Shabalov can play me.

I liked the Crispin Glover suggestion for Fischer. Buscemi as Karpov is pretty good, too. Cage was actually mentioned as a possible for Garry when a bio-pic on him was briefly floated a few years ago.

Mig wrote:

"At least in my chess strength Irv found something he knows even less about than carrying on an intelligent discussion."

Your chess rating and chess strenght would not be a factor if you had not chosen to lie about it.

Why are you so ashamed of being an 1825 player? You are a very good chess blogger. But your chess is VERY suspect. Not a crime. Just a fact.

Manu wrote:

"The real question for me is , Why would someone think that ¨sport¨ is more than ¨game¨.
Other complex games like ¨Go¨ are proudly free of this ridiculous argument."

The ones who truly think that sports are better that board games are the ones trying to make chess into a sport. :-).

I agree with you: chess is beautiful and complex and entertaining enough that it does not need to be made into something it is not.

Stellan Skaarsgard as Paul Keres. Good call there.

I suggest Tony Shaloub play Petrosian and Kevin Spacey play Korchnoi. (In the photo section of Persona Non Grata, Korchnoi has more than a passing resemblance to Spacey)

Nicholas Cage as Kasparov? Ugh.

Garry's a tough one to cast. A couple of American actors have the intelligence and depth: Sean Penn and Peter Saarsgard--but they're not quite right physically, are they?

Maybe Bruce Springsteen could make his acting debut as Garry.

Joaquin Phoenix?

I can't believe I forgot to mention this earlier, but Jason Alexander as Bronstein.

[Curtain rises. The scene, a seedy chess blog. The characters, clearly people with too much time on their hands.]

Mig: "Blood on the Tracks a good Dylan album."
Irv: "Blonde on Blonde was his best, everyone knows that."
Mig: "Actually, some consider it overlong, especially with 'Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands'. It's clearly a subjective matter.
Irv: "You were 1825 in high school!"

[Curtain falls.]

We're clearly missing an opportunity for maximum effect here. We must have Fischer played by a Jewish actor, no? I mean, it's realistic as well as ironic. How about Rob Reiner for the later years? My worry when I first heard about the project is that they would take a lot of license filling in the many gaps in his personal history. The various rumors about his activities in the 70's and 80's, etc. But I guess if they stuck only with what is known for sure it would leave some big holes that would be unsatisfying for an audience of a popular film.

1975 to 1990 - A couple brief scenes of Fischer handing out leaflets in Pasadena, and crooning in some cult-like silk robes. Maybe later scenes of the recluse hiding in Eastern Europe, playing the Polgar children or the pre-teen Leko (are those stories even true?)

For me the test of a Fischer movie will be, can they capture for the general public just how astounding Fischer's strength was, since they cannot show games, moves and analysis like a chess video would. Can they paint for movie goers just how unreal it was for Fischer to go 6-0, 6-0 and what, 19 straight GM victories, at the very highest level of Candidates matches?

I remember playing through the Fischer-Larsen games in the newspaper, and it seemed to me that every 5 moves, Fischer got a ! while Larsen got a ? Fischer's will to win was demonic, even with black. In this psychological aspect, he puts today's players to shame. But even though I was a 13 year old in 1972, I recognized what everyone understood, Bobby was really weird, a nut case even then, 'demanding' and 'petulant' were nicer words used for him. But it was all excused, because no one had ever seen chess so beautiful, strong and pure. How to get this into a movie? Without chess-analysis?

Yah, the sporting significance of the winning streaks would be reduced to a bunch of GMs in the analysis room mumbling in awe to each other as he racks up win after win. It's always hard to emphasize any impressive element in chess without emphasizing one of the negative stereotypes about it (and the players) at the same time.

Meanwhile, there was plenty of accessible, mainstream awe and reaction to the 72 match and its result, no chess required. But from all I've been able to tell from the NY Times archives and the dozens of books on Fischer, he was about as famous to the average American before 1972 as Kamsky is now. (I'm not sure how successful the book "Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess" was before 72.) Some early prodigy coverage, then mostly just the chess column with a blip now and then for something off the board like the "teletype tournament" in Cuba.

Sigh. Good time to re-read Dick Cavett's stunning reminiscence on Fischer in the NY Times after his death.


I think Fischer would be glad if Mel Gibson directs the movie.

Re the Fisher winning streak: I think that was the sole reason for him losing the first against Spassky. He indeed saw that Bxh2 loses for sure (in chess sure means 99%). But he went to Reykjavik with the self-imposed, single-minded crazy goal of 6-0 again, thus a draw for him was as much a failure as a loss. And we know how much he hated and feared failure in the limelight. Thus, it was a perfectly correct chess decision to go for the 1% chance.

And no wonder why it was so difficult to get him back to play afterwards; and impossible 3 years later. Just imagine how difficult such a decision must have been for somebody with such crazy, dead-serious self-demands and fears. They eventually succeeded even to kill his one true great, saving passion: the love for chess -- leaving just a poor sick soul behind.

That's crazy.
Fischer's big 20-game winning streak ended with his loss in the second match game with Petrosian.
Fischer went into the Spassky match on only a four-game winning streak (the last four games of the Petrosian match).

So Fischer did not beat Petrosian with a perfect score.
And a perfect score against Spassky in a 24-game match would have required 13-0, not 6-0. I doubt if even Fischer thought that was possible.

Mig wrote:

"Irvin said: "You were 1825 in high school!""

Why are you so ashamed of your real rating, that you feel the need to keep lying about it?

1. I never said or implied your 1825 rating was your high school rating.

2. Your 1825 rating ids the one you deserve, based on your performance in the USA as an ADULT, after many years of playing chess.

3. Here is your rating history, so that everyone can verify what rating you deserve, based on your performance:


4. Maybe you have a different rating, but you will have to provide the evidence. It's the fair thing to do.

5. Maybe you feel that your closeness to Kasparov makes you into a strong player, but nobody agrees with that idea.

So, why don't you just admit that your rating is your ratin and that it is not a crime? Why are you so desperate to cover it up?

This is such a great thread: Jason Alexander as Bronstein is sheer genius.

Plus, who can resist the Irv-Mig smackdown? Mig defending himself is like Vince McMahon getting in the ring and throwing down to set the record straight. Or maybe it's like Ed McMahon, I don't know, but it's awesome.

Long live the Dirt.

Not so much Ed McMahon, perhaps more of Hank Kingsley trying to suppress the sex videotape in the final season of Larry Sanders.

The Fischer film could end in the late 70s with the simultaneous sequence of preteen Kasparov solving the Fischer-Botvinnk draw problem as vagrant Fischer wanders along a desert highway.

If we're casting for a Kasparov biopic, that's another matter...

Garry Kasparov -- Harvey Fierstein
Klara Kasparova -- Estelle Parsons
Karpov -- Ileana Douglas
Petrosian -- Mandy Patinkin
Kramnik -- Randy Quaid
Timman -- Michael Wincott
Campomanes -- John Lone
Boris Gulko -- Donald Pleasance
Tony Miles -- Bobcat Goldthwaite

I think I've got a good actor who looks enough like Kasparov: Dominic West. The British West also does accents well (he was a Baltimore cop in The Wire).

Ileana Douglas as Karpov. That is freaking great. And Harvey Fierstein barking at everyone after Kasparov's loss to Radjabov would literally be the greatest scene in any movie ever.

Sorry to ask Mig , but where is your real rating placed? Is it 2300?
I don´t care if you are 1600 or a GM , but the ongoing conversation made me curious.

Fischer = Adrien Brody
Spassky = Kevin Spacey
Sammy Reshevsky = Linda Hunt (!)


Any skilled player reading Mig's commentary will instantly detect an exceptional gift for the game. The only mystery is how that brief way-station to which you refer could have come about; the expectation being that he would have jumped full-fledged into FIDE-master status (at least) in his first tournament. This puzzle has been explored ad nauseam by countless posters over the years. If you've got some new insight please share; otherwise, please spare us all, and move on.

Greg wrote:

"Any skilled player reading Mig's commentary will instantly detect an exceptional gift for the game."

It depends. Weaker players will see the game different from stronger players. Your perspective on Mig's strenght directly reflects your own understanding of the game. A much stronger player will have a completely different perspective.

"The only mystery is how that brief way-station to which you refer could have come about; the expectation being that he would have jumped full-fledged into FIDE-master status (at least) in his first tournament. "

His rating is fully deserved, based on his tournament history. 2300 players DO NOT have a string of 1700-1800 performances. A bad tournament, yes. A bad game against much weaker opposition, yes. But rest assured that a master-level player would NEVER sustain an 1800-elo performance over 10 years, across several tournaments.

"This puzzle has been explored ad nauseam by countless posters over the years. If you've got some new insight please share; otherwise, please spare us all, and move on."

There is no mistery or puzzle to explore when it comes to Mig's rating. He is truly an 1800+ player. His performance over the years (check his tournament history) confirms his rating.

The are only two puzzles worth investigating:

1. Why he feels so ashamed of being an average, low-rated player. After all, the overwhelming majority of tournament players have ratings between 1700 and 1900. So, Mig is not among the strong players group, but he is not absolutely weak, either.

2. Why some people have a hard time accepting the available evidence of Mig's rating, in the absence of any data supporting the contrary. If Mig plays like a duck, analyzes like a duck and...

Sorry, when I wrote, ". . . who can resist the Irv-Mig smackdown?" I did not mean to fan the troll flames. I just thought that Mig's replies were humorous.

Greg's post above is spot on.

A 1400 player can still take the opinion of a much stronger player and spice it up a little , still the comments would be something worth reading if the player can write with grace.
But if that is the case here , it would be nice to know.
Maybe the best way to settle the interrogant is to arrange a game between Irv and Mig , loser pays dinner.

Wait, many years of playing chess in the US? Amusing way to look at it. The reason I laugh about my USCF rating is that it is based on the games I played from 1987-88 and then one event when I was living in Mexico and on vacation in the US in, I think, 1991. Then after a six year layoff from chess I played in the Amateur East and the World Open in 2003. In the first grouping I doubt it was more than a dozen games played at the Berkeley club, a "People's Class Struggle" event in Berkeley (still have two scoresheets!), and the 91 event in Concord, CA. I didn't have the time, interest, or opportunity to play serious chess until I moved to Buenos Aires in 1992, where I joined the Club Argentino and played and worked at the game in a good environment for over five years, when work obligations limited me to the occasional Sunday 'semi-lento' (rapid) events at the club.

As had been pointed out to me when I got there by the other 'club gringo' Terrence (aka Javier) Erbe, it was nearly impossible for non-Argentine players to get rated. He lived there for a decade and was still being paired informally by the legendary club icon/arbiter Raúl Vignoles. He eventually got his Argentine rating when he changed his citizenship. I was in a similar situation, but it didn't prevent me from playing in the club championships, local opens, and even representing the Club Argentino in match play against a rival club. For three years I regularly swapped Spanish classes for chess classes (really combining them) with GM Max Sorokin, who arrived in Buenos Aires the same time I did. I always joked I was a much better teacher than he was because his Spanish was soon fluent while I was clearly not GM material.

What I was was paired as 2300 based on my results and Raul's unofficial tracking, which is why I used that number when I played in the US in 2003. Since I was a semi-public figure and didn't want to be accused of sandbagging since I had an albeit unofficial foreign rating, I asked the organizers of the Amateur East and later the World Open to contact Vignoles or then-Club President Guelman to avoid any shenanigans. This was done, and it can hardly be said it was to my advantage. I just didn't want any crap. (Carol Jarecki told me that since I'm not officially Argentine rated there's no legal reason I couldn't use my old USCF rating were I to play again. Sounds nice to me.)

Now it's been 12 years since I played chess seriously. I have no doubt my playing strength has atrophied seriously in anything beyond online blitz and bullet, as was already well demonstrated when I lost three games on time, touch-moved once to an instant loss, twice made moves a 1200 should have avoided (and winning one of those games from a totally lost position against a 2200 to our mutual disgrace) at the World Open in 03. Knowledge isn't practical playing strength.

But during those 12 years I have worked on and around chess a huge amount. I started my writing and my first column at the end of 1997 because I no longer had time to play. My work has included developing and writing thousands of pages of instructional material. I know lots of 1800 players and if I didn't think I knew a hell of a lot more about the game of chess I certainly wouldn't have been teaching them and they wouldn't have been paying me to do so. And as disposable as online blitz games and ratings are, I do all right despite not being terribly fast at it, as indicated by my 'bullet' rating usually being a few hundred points lower than my blitz. (My 1-minute usually hovers around 2200, my 3-minute 2400.) Occasionally I even play a decent game.

So yes, it bothers me when a troll who doesn't know me, has never seen me play, and is clearly just trying to stir things up calls me a liar because of a USCF rating based mostly on games I played when I was 17 or 18. And then has the gall to say it's based on something other than hot air.

I really need to put the above to music and put it on YouTube, with me and a cast of the above commentators singing it while dancing to Beyonce's "Single Ladies, Put a Ring on It." Would save time next time a troll who figures out how to use the USCF rating search comes along.

Clear as air , Mig .If you ever need to recover something from the club , i live nearby.

And of course if you want to shoot your video , i'd be glad to do it.
We can do that in a rap/tango style , something in between " calle13 " and Piazzola.

"clearly not GM material"
I'm glad of that, Mig. I didn't think many Americans went for the organic eats.

En serio, Manu? Que envidia me das. I was told they renovated the Club a lot since 2000. Ah, the days of the horrible food and the postre de vigilante in the cafeteria. But you could talk and blitz all night with guys like Sorin, Lida Garcia, Spangenberg, Rubinetti, Bronstein, Tempone, Quinteros, Szmetan, Hoffman, Slipak, Sorokin, Ricardi... And the future stars like the Herman brothers and Alonso and Moreno, who were the young blitz hotshots. Now Moreno is a GM in Spain and came on the ICC with us the other day, which was a trip.

I want to get back to BA this year, but it will be hard to convince my wife that going to the chess club every night is an important part of the trip.

Heh, yes, I'm genetically modified only by my parents. I was used to "GMO" on things but when we bought some baby food a while back it said it wasn't "GEI". Had to look that one up. No "Genetically Engineered Ingredients".

"So yes, it bothers me when a troll who doesn't know me, has never seen me play, and is clearly just trying to stir things up calls me a liar because of a USCF rating based mostly on games I played when I was 17 or 18. And then has the gall to say it's based on something other than hot air."

So, basically a very long post to conclude that the only VERIFIABLE games/performance points to you fully deserving your 1825 rating.

Represented your club in match play? I know at least three dozens of 1800-rated players who have represented their club against other clubs. It does not mean a thing.

Thanks for the explanation, in any case. It confirms that I was absolutely correct: your rating is fully deserved.

No shame in that. Not everybody can be a master, even if they feel they deserve the title based on the company they keep or the memories they fabricate.

Mig you could post your Irv-answer to a DDirt FAQ, and when these posters pop up, we will just refer them there for the explanation.

I wonder if most of them are mad at you for something else, and grasp at the rating straw to bash you (what? You're criticizing GMs and you're not yourself a GM?)

You could add a note explaining that if rating is all they care about, they are welcome to go read more entertaining writers like Dvoretsky at Chess Cafe, or maybe peruse the Informantor website.

We're here for the usual you, Mig, not Gligorichian analysis.

I have fabricated nothing and claimed nothing untrue. Nor do I claim to "deserve" anything or claim any title whatsoever. Never have. As for my USCF rating, it is certainly fully deserved for what it is. It is remarkable how many people play chess in places not rated by the USCF. You sound like a stereotypical American surprised to find out they speak other languages in other countries.

The only things confirmed here is that my USCF rating is 1825, which any twit can look up, and many have, and that you are trolling and calling me names because you couldn't handle a little criticism about your weakly argued post.

Well, that part is and should be obvious, tjallen. Probably the weirdest part of these annual Mig's USCF rating trolls is that I do almost no analysis here or anywhere else. As I do on Chess.FM, I leave it to my betters and am cautious on my own. It's not that type of blog and my writing in general has never been much about what happens on the board. There are plenty of people who do that quite well. So the trolls never say, "you must be horrible because X, Y, and Z" pieces of analysis, etc. Of course that would be welcome, and the very point of public discussion of analysis.

Now after that stunningly unoriginal hijack, maybe we can get back to the very serious issue of who is going to play Spassky in the Fischer movie that isn't going to happen.

Indeed. To take it to a deeper level, here is how it is.

1. Mig has been writing these chess columns and some of us have been reading them, since the '90s. (God has it been that long?) Mig has history with us, we know his foibles, his judgment, his basic honesty, his sense of humor. We even know where he is wrong about something. And rating is not even relevant to why I am here. So when the Irv-rating-curses pop up, who cares?

2. These Irvs seem to think you are putting on airs or something, by hanging with various GMs and commenting on the GMs' world, which is somehow proved to be undeserved by your (old) rating.

But suppose it is true, that Mig has the lowest published rating in his whole entourage? I don't think the elite chess group keeps Mig around for his rating or chess analysis. But the world has more than one dimension, Irvs. Mig is in the group because they value his work, his writing, his aid in publicizing top level chess. That includes his judgment, the breadth of his knowledge and interests, his political and editorial skills, and his writing. And hey, maybe he's just a fun guy to be around. To none of this is a chess rating relevant.

3. Just ditto number 2 for Mig and his relationship with Kasparov. I say to the Irvs who come along, do you think Kasparov and Mig spend time together because of Mig's rating and chess analysis? Uh, no. So why does Kasparov occasionally spend time with Mig? Must be something like the same elements mentioned in 2.

So I'm not worried that these Irvs come along. They make an interesting study - what prompts their anger, etc. Looks like Jealousy? Perhaps a lack of correlation between chess rating and success in their own life? Just hemorrhoids? One never knows, really.

Keep up the good work, Mig.

Spassky is the real difficulty in casting the Fischer movie, and it is because of that hair. For many years, from the late fifties through the early seventies, Spassky had the best hair in chess. I suppose Timman was a far second.

There is a great picture of the young Spassky in 1956, on the cover of Sosonko's Russian Silhouettes, and already Spassky's amazing hair is evident. The hair gives Spassky a presence, an eminence, that balding Tal or curly Petrosian just can't match.

By 1972, editorial cartoons showed Spassky's coif covering the entire upper half of the cartoon. When Spassky sat at the table and jiggled his leg, the entire head of hair vibrated back and forth. When he nodded his head to resign, the hair toppled down in defeat.

So first of all, any actor chosen for Spassky's part MUST have the right hair.

Agreed @ tjallen.

One question , i have this idea about a system for a tournament and i wanted to ask anyone here if it was done before or not.
It is a very simple idea : A tournament played without knowing who you play against .
Players enter a room(black room , white room) with a computer to enter the moves , and play the game without knowing the identity of the other master , after the game has finished the players exits the rooms using diferent paths so none of them knows who they played.
The only thing they know is which players are invited to the tournament.
After each round the position table is given to all of them.
It sounds like a reality show in a sense , but the interesting part (IMO) is what diference this can make in the opening choices of the participants .
And in adition to the regular award to the winner, the tournament can have another special price:
After each round the players are taken to a room and asked about the identity of his oponent .When the tournament ends the player who is able to identify more oponents wins a car or something like that.
The ideal location should be something awesome, like an island in Greece .
Delirious , isnt it?

@ Manu:

Very nice idea. But I bet you'd have a hard time filling the tourney with elite.


I don't know if someone suggested this before, Mig, but is there any chance of one of those games of the type e.g. Ivkov v Rotterdam etc where we vote for a move, against your boss?? Maybe sometime far in the future..you could get him drunk and make him promise. Failing that DD v Mig would be fun...

See my suggestion above: Michael Imperioli IS Spassky.

One indication of Mig's chess strength is that he knows enough about chess to know that he doesn't know all that much.

I think that realization usually dawns on people who are master strength. It comes up very nicely on ChessFM, when Mig defers, in analysis, to LarryC, GMJoel, and others.

Tjallen's comments re: analyzing the Mig v. Irv dialogue are really excellently expressed, clear, and to the point; I doubt there'd be very many readers of a website run by Irv! And if there were, it would be by people like him, who would no doubt jump on the slightest "excuse" to criticize so that they'd feel better about themselves. As Tjallen points out, Mig's breadth of scope - as well as his humor & writing ability - more than make up for whatever he might or might not lack in "deep" analysis, and keep us intrigued and involved; and having met Mig briefly, I can testify that his personality is honest, refreshing, and true to what comes across the page. He doesn't pretend to be other than who he is, and we're all the better for it. He's done a great deal for chess and those who care about the game - can Irv claim that?! - and we should all be thankful.

geez, i gotta clean off my 'puter screen now. sheesh.


Well, at least we know Irv would read an Irv blog. A lot.

Thx a lot , but i dont see why players like Anand ,Topalov, Shirov , Carlsen , Grishuk or Dominguez (to name players i folow) , can´t have a lot of fun with a tournament like this.
Specially if it starts as a semi-rapid and not rated event.
BTW , Mig : has this been tried before?
can i name it? (just kidding,he he)

Excellent idea, Manu, and I also see no reason why top players wouldn't be interested. After all, many of them sincerely enjoy the Melody Amber tournament, which also isn't all that serious (to my knowledge, the only occasion when 2700+ players try blindfold chess).

I have a few additional suggestions:
1) Why publish the scores after each round? It may be even more interesting if the players are blissfully unaware about their tournament standing at any given point .... (is +2 enough for first place, or does it require +5 ??)
2) It may be fun to invite a few far weaker players (say, 2400-2500):
Will they perform better or worse than expected under such circumstances?
If a game between two super-GM's is very one-sided (which occasionally happens), the winner probably thinks he played one of the underdogs!?
If an underdogs wins (or even if he loses in the end) after some tactical fireworks, he may be confused with Shirov or Topalov?!
3) It may be fun to publish the games 'anonymously' (in the first place), so the public (all of us) can also attempt to guess who was playing whom ... .

Now you, me or anyone else only has to find sponsors ,:)

oliver, just wondering, are you thomas? stylistic similarities, or my imagination..

I'm always disappointed when Mig wastes tune defending himself on the rating issue. Who cares what Mig can do at the board at classical time controls if, given some earnest contemplation, plus seances with Rybka, GKK and other GMs, he can produce instructive and entertaining copy?

If Irv wants a GM-written blog maybe he should visit Susan, who would do Irv the great favor of censoring him when he gets too provocative, cranky, or stupid. The less considerate Mig simply lets Irv expose himself.


And I was just wondering whether our "Thomas" is an older, wiser version of the immortal "tommy" who graced the Daily Dirt some years ago.

Let us pray that "Oliver" is, indeed, "Thomas." (If there were two "Thomas"-like posters in the Daily Dirt it'd be time to turn on the gas and stick your head in the oven.)

What do you think of the tournament idea greg?

I mean , Kramnik´s style can do great in a tournament like this.
And imagine Topalov not knowing he is playing with Kramnik and going 1 e4 , and Kramnik going c5!...
You wont get that very often in common practice.
And Shirov´s lighting would strike really from out of the blue sky , you thought you were playing Leko? Ka-boom! , and the guy burned more wood than in the Amazonia.

Time to start another experiment: let's all use different user names from now on and guess each other's earlier identity ,:) There are quite a few other posters with unique writing style and/or recurrent topics ... . What if 'Paul Miller' continues to point out Mig's official USCF rating? Official, verifiable AND irrelevant IMHO - enough his been said on this topic, and I fully agree with most reactions, including the one by Mig himself.
Disclaimer: I do not at all want to make fun of Manu's idea - again IMHO, it is the very best he posted here in a long time.

Anyway, who's that Oliver copying my writing style?? Yep, it's me (well spotted!), Greg Koster's prayers have been heard ,:). I will also "confess" how this happened: At the current end of the 'Top of the Rock' thread ("he he" "ho ho" "hi hi"), I took the liberty to use another identity [Oliver is my second given name], and then I simply forgot to switch back - thought about posting a rectification right away, but maybe I made someone happy by not doing so. However, I am not "tommy" and don't even know what Greg is referring to (must have been before my time on this site).

BTW, who is "curious" (the poster)? Quite possibly someone usually posting under another name. One possibility (by far not the only one): It was Greg Koster, subsequently (with a well-timed 40 minute delay) replying to his own post. Just a non-verifiable, speculative joke .... .

Oops, still wrong identity (corrected by now). So, yes indeed, "Oliver" is "Thomas"!

Last point, back to the core of Manu's idea:
I think it is (relatively or comparatively) 'easy' for other players (even weaker ones) to 'copy' the attacking style of Shirov or Topalov, at least in a single game. It may well be more difficult for most to copy Kramnik's refined positional style in his better games [Leko is one conceivable exception]? Of course, this doesn't say anything about the relative strength of the named players!

BTW, there is an interview with Topalov at Chessbase (of all places ...):
In my opinion, the interviewer Dagobert Kohlmeyer was neither giving presents, nor behaving as an enemy. Topalov's answer regarding home (dis)advantage slightly differs from Danailov's. At the end, Topalov states
"It would have been no problem for me to play the Candidates Match on foreign soil."
He was not obliged to say so, but it would have been strange and suspicious if he had problems with playing outside of Bulgaria !!?

Cats are curious creatures. Greg, agreed on the rating. Maybe he likes the guaranteed reaction it gets from Mig.

My precious pony , is this really the best i said in this site? isnt that an agressive remark?
Are you going to apply your dilution tactics on this subject too?(like counting the teeth of the horse head they just droped in your bed ).
I could talk about how changing your name reveals a lot of you , etc , etc , but that would be your objective , talk about everything but the real point.
So i leave you with the other members of the Droopy´s fan club so you can keep the exchange of dresses and purses going.
I will try my idea this weekend in Mar del Plata , and see what the players tell me.

I wrote "the very best", implicitly indicating that you had more 'good' posts IMHO, as well as some bad ones .... . The same applies to other posters (e.g. Greg Koster and chesshire cat), and it is ALWAYS a matter of personal taste. Of course in my own opinion ALL (or almost all) of my own posts are spot on ,:) but here other people are free to have their own opinions.

In the discussion about Mig's rating, I like what you wrote (not singling you out, because many reactions by several people were to the point). I guess you also liked what Greg Koster wrote Feb 10 3:16PM, but you presumably disagree with his post Feb8 10:33AM .... so the world isn't black and white after all.

And I didn't call you "a 12-year old Bulgarian", but defended you at that occasion.

But if you cannot even take a compliment, but call it "an aggressive remark" (a poisoned pawn) because it comes from the wrong person, you may have a problem .... .

End of sermon

I forgive you the (weak) attempts at implied insult, Manu, because your spelling and phrasing continue to provide rich amusement in compensation. Try not to reveal your personality too much to the players, it won't help your idea. Your well-practised full fawn would be a better bet. Thomas, are you not familiar with the idiom "to talk to a wall"?

Ok , lets call a truce Thomas , i thought you changed your identity because you were afraid that the sisterhood of the draw might retaliate against you , my fault.
@cat , it is always nice to know that my phrasing and spelling amuse you , i guess you dont have something solid to say against the idea and went for the (well written) cheap shot.

The idea is a fine one, I hope you make it happen. Just try to curb the acidity.

Truce accepted, Manu - actually I had never declared war and made several attempts to find peace (to the amusement or annoyance of some other people around ...). It doesn't matter that I don't understand the second part of your sentence [about "sisterhood of the draw" ...].

And my change of identity was intentional once (for my part of the silly but fun "he he ho ho hi hi" intermezzo), and accidental thereafter .... .

Ok...got the actor for Spassky. Now before you object check out the hair.

Spassky = Alec Baldwin

Forget about height & ethnicity, just see "The Aviator." DiCaprio DiCaprio DiCaprio.

Both Walken and Malkovich are interesting for older Fischer, but should the film really dwell on older Fischer? Compare "Raging Bull"

Well the guessing is over! Looks like it's Damian Chapa playing Bobby! He's got the looks down, but how tall is he? He's 45 a bit too old, but I guess he has a young enough face to pass. Filming begins this March!!

Hey, Bruce, thanks!

But yikes! Bobby's jacket and tie were not wrinkled, nor were his chess pieces plastic.

I remember really liking the film version of "Luzhin's Defense," though many in the chess community thought the film lacked authenticity, chess-wise.

But the "Luzhin's Defense" was a real motion picture, with a budget and real production values. I'm not sure about this film, with its "under construction" Web site.

Anyway, thanks!

Never saw "The Luzhin Defense," wish I had, heard it was good.

That reminds me: Are you guys aware that Nabokov was approached about turning it into a film not long after he published the novel? I forget which decade that was - could have been '60s, or maybe far earlier.

He turned down the request. Here's why: Since most of the audience would have been American, and the producers were out to make a commercial film not an art film, chess as the theme was unacceptable. They wanted to rework the story line to be about a musician instead of a chess player (just the way Mel Brooks re-worked The Twelve Chairs).

Nabokov gave that a thumbs-down. I forget whether he was still alive decades later, when The Luzhin Defense finally got made. (I think he was alive, and was to see it get done as a film about chess.)

Hey, Jon. Jon Speelman was the chess consultant on The Luzhin Defense, and he did a brilliant job of staging GM games.

Some people in the chess community had trouble with parts of the plot though, claiming that certain of the characters' actions violated tournament rules. I say big deal.

Great performances by John Turturro and Emily Watson.

Damian Chapa is making "Bobby Fischer Live"...filming starts next month, and he's playing Fischer!!!....http://BobbyFischerLive.com/

sorry the url. http://www.BobbyFischerLive.com/........I posted this again cause it seems my first post might have been deleted for some reason?

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on February 7, 2009 11:01 PM.

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