24 August 2016

22nd World Computer Championship

I added the PGN and crosstable for the 21st World Computer Championship (WCCC) held in Leiden (Netherlands) to my page on the World Chess Championship : Computer Chess. Just like the two previous events (see my post on the 21st World Computer Championship, November 2015), both files are packed into a single ZIP file. For more about the event, see
  • WCCC 2016 [ICGA; 'From Monday 27 June until Friday 1 July the WCCC will be held in Leiden at the Leiden University, Snellius Building, Turing Room.'], and
  • WCCC 2016 [chessprogramming.wikispaces.com]

The ICGA page links to a report that starts,

The 22nd World Computer Chess Championship started on June 27, 2016. Six programs participate in a double round robin tournament of ten rounds. The tournament takes place at the Leiden University and is organized by the ICGA, LIACS and LCDS. The sponsors are Google, Naturalis Biodiversity Center, the municipality of Leiden, Leiden University, Faculty of Science, ICGA, iSSC, SurfSara, Digital Game Technology and NWO Exact Sciences. It is held in conjunction with the 19th Computer Olympiad and the 15th Advances in Computer Games conference.

The page also informs about the tiebreak,

Play-off between Komodo and Jonny: Two games 45 minutes + 16 seconds: 1-1. Two games with 5 min. + 5 seconds. 1-1. Two games with 3 min. + 5 seconds 1½-½ for Komodo

Chessbase.com published a commercial puff piece, Komodo is World Computer Chess Champion (July 2016), that started,

[Komodo's] stiffest competition came from the German program Jonny, running on a giant 2400-core machine. With only 48 cores the US program Komodo finished the computer tournament in Leiden, Netherlands, equal first with Jonny, then went on to win a hard-fought tiebreak, making it the 22nd World Computer Chess Champion. It may interest you to know that the latest version of our flagship chess engine, Komodo 10, was released just a month ago.

It received some pointed comments from skeptical readers, like

'Why didn’t Stockfish compete?' • 'I thought the TCEC tournament determines the World Computer Chess Champion? ' • 'Please explain how did these engines qualify to this competition, and how does this compare to TCEC.' • etc. etc.

Another resource that once documented the WCCC events but is now little more than a stub, is Leiden 2016 [game-ai-forum.org; formerly www.grappa.univ-lille3.fr]. For more about the computer chess world, see my main blog, e.g.:-

How much longer will tradition continue to accept the ICGA events as World Championships?

17 August 2016

Site Migration II

A week ago, in Site Migration, I quoted an email from my web site host: 'Your account has been successfully migrated to the new technology platform.' I quickly learned that while 'migrated' was an accurate term, 'successfully' wasn't. At the end of the post, I asked,
How long will it be out of service?

It took four days for technical support to update the nameserver info that redirects traffic to the new platform instead of the old, deleted platform. The following graphic shows the evolution of the migration in terms of the size of the log files that record traffic to the site.

The line for the day after migration reads

File: access_log_20160811.gz
Updated: 08/11/2016 9:15 AM EDT
Size: <1KB

Traffic doesn't occur on the site until

File: access_log_20160814.gz

In the last day or so traffic has returned to pre-migration levels, meaning that the site was out of service for nearly a week.

10 August 2016

Site Migration

This morning I received the following message...
Subject: Your Account Has Been Moved to the New Platform
Sent: Wednesday, August 10, 2016 8:03 AM

Your account has been successfully migrated to the new technology platform. This account is associated with the following domains: mark-weeks.com

The last step of the migration is pointing these domains to the new platform. If you are already using [our] name servers, we have made this change for you. (It usually takes just a few hours for domain name server (DNS) changes to take effect, though it can take up to 24 hours for the update to spread globally.) [...]

...While I knew the change was coming, I wasn't sure when exactly. I won't make any changes to the site until I'm sure that I'm using the new, migrated version.


Later: I received another message...

Subject: mark-weeks.com - Your Web Hosting account status
Sent: Wednesday, August 10, 2016 8:37 PM

The Web hosting account [mark-weeks.com] has been suspended. If you recently received a migration message for this account, your account has been migrated to the new platform and you are receiving this notice as part of the cleanup process on the old platform. No further action on your part is required.

...The main WCC index page, The World Chess Championship, is now returning a '404 Not Found' message...

Not Found: The requested URL /chess/wcc-indx.htm was not found on this server.

...How long will it be out of service?

03 August 2016

2015-2016 Women's Grand Prix, Chengdu

I added the crosstable and PGN for the fourth event in the 2015-2016 FIDE Women's Grand Prix, held at Chengdu (China).

The previous event was 2015-2016 Women's Grand Prix, Batumi. In that Batumi post I mentioned a fifth event that had not yet been scheduled. It is now listed on the FIDE calendar as:-

Women's FIDE Grand Prix Series; Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia; 12-Oct-2016 to 27-Oct-2016

Other than the updated calendar, I can find no announcement on the FIDE site.

13 July 2016

An Infamous Unplayed Match

A few months ago I received a message concerning my page 1975 Fischer forfeits to Karpov.
Subject: World championship rules 1974
From: GMG

On your Fischer forfeits to Karpov page [link given above], you wrote, "The same rules governing World Championship matches had been in place since the 1949 FIDE Congress in Paris. They were confirmed at the 1974 Congress in Nice."

In Bozidar Kazic's article "Anatoly Karpov The New World Champion" in Chess Informant 19, he writes that "In September 1971, the FIDE Congress in Vancouver decided that ... the world title in 1975 will be played for 6 won games draws not counting." In 1972, Euwe reportedly tabled a proposal for a match of 30 games. At Helsinki, Fischer sent his 10 wins and 9-9 plan, and a commission was created to draw up rules. At Nice, Kazic has them adopting a match of 36 games where one could win ahead of schedule by scoring 10 wins.

GMG, Toronto

Indeeed, the referenced Informant has two-and-a-half pages titled 'An Outline of the Dispute Over the Unplayed Match' with a summary of FIDE actions between 1971 and 1975. While looking a bit more into the background of the 1975 match, I discovered the following table in a 1974 article titled 'The Historical Background' by Frank Skoff, President, USCF.

Chess Life & Review, October 1974, p.652

Although it might contain its own errors, it's a good summary of pre-WWII top-level matches and shows that Fischer's demands were not as outrageous as many of his critics declared.

06 July 2016

Postcard Pretty Merano

While searching for Korchnoi images on my main blog -- e.g. Korchnoi's Defection and Composite Korchnoi -- I came across a couple of attractive postcards.

The event was the 1981 Karpov - Korchnoi Title Match; Merano, X-XI, 1981. Merano/Meran has multiple associations with chess; from Wikipedia's entry on Merano:-

Merano or Meran is a town and comune in South Tyrol, northern Italy. Generally best known for its spa resorts, it is located within a basin, surrounded by mountains standing up to 3,335 metres (10,942 feet) above sea level, at the entrance to the Passeier Valley and the Vinschgau. [...]

A chess opening, the Meran Variation of the Semi-Slav Defense, is named after the town, from its successful use by Akiba Rubinstein against Ernst Grünfeld during a tournament held in the town in 1924. In 1981, the World Chess Championship match between Anatoly Karpov and Victor Korchnoi was held in Meran. The first act of the musical Chess also has a world chess championship match set in Meran, and features a song entitled "Merano", which includes the line, "rosy-cheeked Merano, flourishing to a fault".

I have spotted many examples of the upper card on eBay, but the lower card is seen less frequently.

29 June 2016

Korchnoi's Zonals

On my main chess blog, I've already mentioned Korchnoi's autobiography 'Chess Is My Life' (Batsford 1977) in a post about Korchnoi's Defection. There is also much in the book relevant to Korchnoi's World Championship career, pre-1977.

Of particular interest is Korchnoi's mention of five consecutive USSR championships that served as zonals (or in one case as a zonal qualifier). In two of the zonals the future World Championship challenger was successful in advancing to the Interzonal stage. Here are the five events with links to my page on the cycle and page references to Korchnoi's book.

  • C03; 1955 Moscow; p.27 'I did not live up to expectations'
  • C04; 1958 Riga; p.34 'it turned out badly for me'
  • C05; 1961 Moscow; p.42 'I thus took second place'
  • C06; 1963 Leningrad (qualifier, USSR chp) & 1964 Moscow (zonal); p.49-50 'I scored less than 50%'
  • C07; 1966 Tbilisi; p.56 'I shared third place'

Also of particular interest is Korchnoi's discussion of the 1964 zonal. I've already included an introductory clipping on my page for the C06 cycle, but would like to add a transcription.

After the [USSR] Championship, a special Zonal Tournament was arranged, as a qualifying event for the Interzonal. It was to be made up of the six highest placed in the Championship, plus two personally invited players (on the basis of previous successes). The seventh particpant named was Smyslov, who had not taken part in the Championship (it was for his sake that this whole system had been thought up), and for the eighth the Chess Federation nominated me.

Literally a few days before the start of the tournament there was a surprising turn of events. Smyslov put in an application to the Federation, requesting that he be allowed to have one of the four USSR qualifying places and go directly into the Interzonal. The Federation rejected his claim. He then turned to his friends with access to the Government and leading Party Organs. From there -- from above -- came an order which was un-conditionally accepted by the USSR Sports Committee, and the head of the Chess Federation (at that time Rodionov) was reprimanded.

From this incident the reader can gain an idea of the bureaucratic hierarchy of the heads of sport, in particular of chess.

The USSR Chess Federation, a public organ with the right of consultative vote, is controlled by the USSR Sports Committee. Supervision of the activities of the Sports Committee is carried out by corresponding departments in the Communist Party Central Committee. Even higher, in the Communist Party Central Committee's Politburo, there is a man who is responsible for sport, including chess. At that time this man was the present Minister of Culture (demoted from the Gods to a mere mortal!) Demichev. Evidently it was he who heeded Smyslov's call, and in an instant decided the matter in favour of the capricious grandmaster.

There was no limit to the indignation of the competitors in the Zonal Tournament. It was decided to call a strike and refuse to play. However, the strike was vetoed by Spassky (strongly influenced by Bondarevsky). With such a small number of participants it had to be unanimous and as a result the conspiracy broke up. A pity!

Knowing about this incident, chess followers will now be able to guess why, at the Biel Interzonal Tournament in 1976, Kuzmin was replaced by Smyslov.

In the C07 cycle, Korchnoi advanced to the final stage of the 1967-69 Candidates Matches, thereby qualifying for the Candidates stage of the following cycle. He remained in World Championship cycles through 2001.