30 December 2014

Chess and EEG

Going back a few weeks to my post on Chess and Meditation, I ended with 'There is more in the article worth exploring, but I'll leave that for another time.' Once in a while I actually find 'another time' and this is one of those times.

That post was based on the cover story 'Mind of the Meditator' from the November 2014 issue of Scientific American. The SciAm article mentioned,

A DOOR TO CONSCIOUSNESS: Meditation explores the nature of the mind, providing a way to study consciousness and subjective mental states from the first-person perspective of the meditator. In a collaboration with expert Buddhist meditators at Wisconsin, we have studied the brain's electrical activity using electroencephalography (EEG) during compassion meditation in which the meditators described the well-defined sense of self as becoming less fixed and permanent.

Substitute 'chess' for 'meditation', 'chess player' for 'meditator', etc., and the paragraph reads surprisingly well. In fact, it shouldn't be too surprising, because EEG experiments are occasionally made on chess players. What's EEG? In case you're as clueless as I am, the Wikipedia page Electroencephalography explains,

Electroencephalography (EEG) is the recording of electrical activity along the scalp. EEG measures voltage fluctuations resulting from ionic current flows within the neurons of the brain

A few years ago, GM Simon Williams posted a piece on his blog titled EEG of my Brain Whilst Playing Chess for Horizon BBC. It started,

Just over a week ago myself and Stuart Conquest took part in a fascinating study for the Horizon TV Science program. A certain Dr Amidzic and Dr Sautoy were also involved. Below is an actual EEG reading of my brain whilst I was involved in a game of chess with Stuart Conquest.

The researchers claimed to confirm that his chess 'talent is tactical, not strategic.' That in itself is interesting enough -- the blog post attracted many comments -- but there are other, more powerful uses of EEG technology. Watch the following video.

Euronews Hi-tech - Look no hands! Brainpower keeps chess in check (2:14) • 'In Berlin they have a unique way of playing chess. The player sits motionless and, as if by magic, his pieces move around the board. His brainwaves are being harnessed so he can play just by thinking about the next move.'

For more about the technology, developed by Michael Tangermann at the Berlin Institute of Technology, see Brain-Controlled Chess Game Proves Cognitive Abilities of Locked-in Patients. If this becomes commercially available, it will force the FIDE rules commission to rewrite the rule for touch-move.

29 December 2014

TMERs: Kasparov in Africa

Year end holiday weeks travel in pairs. Just like last week's post, TMERs: Kasparov's Travels Enhanced ('little time for blogging and even less for side projects'), this week's post is the product of limited resources.

My working file, Garry Kasparov's Travels During His 2014 FIDE Campaign, shows a number of extended trips by Kasparov to different regions of the world. Of particular interest is Africa, which he visited in July 2013 (before announcing his FIDE ambitions), in January-February 2014, and in May 2014.

The expert on chess in Africa must be Dr. Daaim Shabazz of The Chess Drum (thechessdrum.net). To get a better picture of Kasparov's campaigns in Africa, I assembled a list of the Drum's posts covering the same period as my working file. The list starts six months before Kasparov's formal announcement.

TMER : Tournament, Match, and Exhibition Record

28 December 2014

Chess Stone Lithograph

In the previous, pre-Christmas episode of Top eBay Chess Items by Price (see Chess, Ebay, Christmas, and Paintings), I noted,

The month preceding Christmas is like, umm, Christmas. There are always plenty of interesting items to choose from.

While that's been true since I started the series, it's also true that the interesting items start tapering off in the last fortnight before Christmas, just like they did for this post. Besides the item pictured below, which was titled 'Michael Parkes -- String and Chess Game -- Pair, Signed, Unframed' and sold for US $890.10 'Buy It Now', I had one other item to choose from.

The other item was titled 'Original Manuscript of Robert Bobby FISCHER Grandmaster World Chess Champion' and sold for $3500, also 'Buy It Now'. Calling it a manuscript was overly generous. It was in fact a couple of games recorded by Fischer. The description noted,

Original chess notations reconstruction. Handwritten by Robert James "Bobby" Fischer (1943-2008), American chess grandmaster and the World Chess Champion, of chess matches -- Tigran Petrosian vs Ludek Pachman, 1961 Bled, Yugoslavia, and Boris Spassky vs Efim Geller, World Chess Championship 1968. Extremely rare algebraic notations by Fischer (who always used descriptive).

Since Fischer and Bjelica worked together on the book, but also TV shows in Yugoslavia –- using algebraic (not descriptive) notations -- they adapted to algebraic notation system which was common to the Yugoslav wider audience. Provenance: The manuscript was created during a joint writing of the book "Sahovski susreti stoljeca" (Chess meetings of the Century) by Fischer and Dimitrije Bjelica, jointly published in Serbian in 1973.

Why didn't I use the Fischer item? It wasn't particularly interesting visually, and Fischer has already been seen three times this year in 'Top eBay Chess Items': in Caveat Fischer - Spassky 1992, in Fischer Insecure?, and in Delucia's Chess Library.

Back to the Michael Parkes lithograph, the description added,

LIMITED EDITION STONE LITHOGRAPH • PAIR OF TWO • VERY LOW EDITION NUMBER! RARE! • Numbered: 37/160 • MATCHING NUMBERS ON SET • Safely stored in a cool, dry, temperature-controlled room • Lithograph Size: 19" x 27"

For more about Parkes ('an American-born artist living in Spain who is best known for work in the areas of fantasy art and magic realism'), see Michael Parkes on Wikipedia.

26 December 2014

Moonwhisker Chess

For the last Flickr Friday of 2014, I had plenty to choose from, including Flickr users already featured on this blog. I had a half-dozen new copies of chess paintings from Flickr user Irina, first seen in Chess on a Settle, and an arty shot of the 'Opening ceremony of the 15th European Individual Chess Championship' from Flickr user PAN Photo, first seen in Meet the Monks.

My new chess selections for these and other Flickr users can be found by following the links on the right navigation bar under 'Flickr Favorites'. A search of my previous posts, a function also found on the right navigation bar, didn't turn up any artwork on cats, so cats it will be.

Chess Cats 2 © Flickr user Moonwhiskers under Creative Commons.

Add this to two pseudo cat posts, Alice and 'The Cat in the Hat' and Chess History Cat Fight.

25 December 2014

Joyeux Noël!

Last year I had two Christmas posts: Mele Kalikimaka! (with a chain to previous years) and World Championship Chess on Christmas (because Christmas fell on WCC Wednesday). This year I'm back to a single post.

Google Images: chess santa

Have a Merry Christmas (and please drive safely)!

23 December 2014

The Phoenix of Chess?

We've seen Magnus on Yahoo: Carlsen vs. Gates, The Aftermath; we've seen Garry on Yahoo: Geopolitical Yahoos; but I can't remember ever seeing Vishy on Yahoo.

The Chess Phoenix Rises Again (huffingtonpost.com)

Top of the list, too!

Vishy Anand could be the Phoenix of Chess. Many times down, but never out. Again and again he rises up to snatch another tournament triumph, another world championship.

I'm no big fan of the Huffington Post and its clickbait headlines, but chief chess blogger Lubomir Kavalek is always worth a visit.

22 December 2014

TMERs: Kasparov's Travels Enhanced

A holiday week means little time for blogging and even less for side projects. I went back to the data from TMERs: Kasparov's Travels Extended, clicked through many of the related links, made some notes, and updated my page on Garry Kasparov's Travels During His 2014 FIDE Campaign. [TMER : Tournament, Match, and Exhibition Record]

21 December 2014

FIDE's 'Chess in Schools' 2014

Going back a year to an early post in this CIS series, 'Chess in School' Is Quantifiable, I noted,

The involvement of the world chess organization [FIDE] is fundamental to the success of the CIS program. FIDE has automatic access to its 160++ member federations.

Once a year, at FIDE's annual pow wow, we get the chance to find out what its Chess in Schools commission has been doing for the previous year. In 2014 it has been a tough act to follow. Documents from the CIS commission have been released at three separate occasions: at the announcement for the General Assembly in Tromso (GA, coinciding with the Olympiad), at the minutes of the GA in August, and at the Presidential Board (PB, Sochi) in November.

Fortunately, the documents for all three occasions are available from one point. In my post on the FIDE Journalists' Commission, FIDE's 'Principles of Chess Journalism', I explained how to find them.

The 2014 4th quarter Presidential Board -- Agenda (5 November) and Press Release (9 November, 'agenda included the proposals deferred from Tromso') -- had released the commission documents in the same directory as the Agenda.

From the same source, here are the three documents for CIS: Annex 30, Annex 31, and Annex 32 Let's have a summary of the three annexes.

Annex 30 is titled 'Report of Commission Chairman Ali Nihat Yazici' and dated 2014-06-24.

There have been six principal areas of activity since the last Congress in Tallinn:

1. Promotion of chess in schools through multiple means, such as the Chess and Education conference (2012) and the ongoing visits, especially by the FIDE President to many federations, the promotion of chess in schools being the main unifying factor of these visits.

2. Major sponsorship from Rosneft meant that we were able to purchase a substantial quantity of chess sets in 2012-2013 and this year sees us distributing the last of those, albeit, with no renewal of that sponsorship, we have been seriously constrained in our budget.

3. Multi-lingual web sites, launched in January 2012, to support both our chess in schools work and FIDE-CiS Student Membership (a synergistic part of the whole), are now available in 11 languages, with a 12th planned.

4. We have now produced class books and a teacher guide in several languages, including English, French and Arabic.

5. We have produced more than 100 magazines (some 800 pages, all in a choice of languages!) for our FIDE Student members.

6. The major Chess in Schools projects have proven their worth, and not only those, since several small federations have shown that good organization is more important than funding for the development of a programme.

Annex 31 is titled 'Chess in Schools Commission Meeting, Tromso' and dated 2014-08-06.

Chairman Ali Nihat Yazici opened the meeting. He thanked His Excellency Kirsan Nikolayevich Ilyumzhinov for having appointed him as Chairman of the Commission for a second time (2004 & 2010). He referred to the general acceptance of CiS and expressed his thanks for the help and appreciation received from federations. He went on to restate the principles behind the main approach of CiS :

• For FIDE, CiS is neither a social project, nor a program to generate Grandmasters. The CiS approach of FIDE is to focus on primary schools with the aim to introduce chess to young children to help their education.

• CiS is not a charity. It is very important that there should be a benefit for our members – the national chess federations. We are not UNICEF, UNESCO or the Red Crescent to make donations, we are FIDE, with basic aims to:
    o Access millions of children in primary schools
    o Direct the maximum number of these children towards membership of our national federations.

Annex 32 is titled 'Chess in Schools presentation to PB meeting in Sochi 2014', signed 'Kevin O’Connell - CiS Commission Chairman', and dated 2014-10-26.

At the start of the new mandate for 2014-2018, we wish to inform the PB of our main plans for this period and to seek your approval and support for them. Given the experience of the last four years, and following preliminary discussions with Commission members (past, present and future), we foresee a number of changes to the way that we implement chess in schools projects. The most important of those changes are covered in this presentation.

[The sections of the presentation are titled:-]
  • CiS100 Projects
  • 2014 Highlight - Erevan Conference
  • FIDE Schools Chess Challenge
  • ACES [Europe]
  • Further Cooperation FIDE - National Federations
  • FIDE Chess in Schools Commission
  • National Federation Structure
  • Budget 2015
  • Research
  • Better Working Relationship with TRG [Trainers' Commission]
  • Commission Composition

The three annexes provide a total of 22 pages of reading, with plenty of material for further review.

19 December 2014

Online Instructional Videos

At the end of Carlsen - Anand II, Chess Press Overview, I mentioned, 'If I really wanted to do a thorough job, I would add some of the video series on the match.' Since there was nothing compelling for today's edition of Video Friday -- last seen in World Championship Broadcast Blitzed (also about the recent match) -- I decided to look at instructional clips about game 11 of the same 2014 World Chess Championship. I had already spent some time on the game, in Carlsen - Anand, Game 11: Anand's Gamble, and felt I was familiar enough with it to judge the quality of others' comments.

I identified videos from four Youtube sources that I had seen before, all of which had a healthy number of views. The links under their names go directly to their video about the game, so you can compare for yourself:-

  • ChessNetwork; 23 Nov 2014; 72,361 views; 19:55 viewing time • Overall, a competent analysis, both positionally and tactically. See, for example, the discussion of Anand's 23...b5!: 'stunning ... shocking'. Who exactly is 'Jerry'?

  • PowerPlayChess; 23 Nov; 30,049 views; 10:48 • Presented by GM Daniel King, whose work I've referenced before, e.g. GM King on Carlsen vs. Anand II. In this clip he skips the first moves and starts the discussion at Black's move 23, 'a very creative idea'.

  • thechesswebsite; 23 Nov; 14,809 views; 16:28 • Lots of enthusiasm, but not much explanation of the ideas in the game. Of 23...b5!, 'I just don't think it's nearly as good [as another move]'.

  • kingscrusher; 24 Nov; 6,635 views; 26:11 • Made by one of the pioneers of online instructional chess videos. Of 23...b5!, 'energetic ... incredible'. Merits more views.

If I get time I'll repeat the analysis on another game and perhaps add another commentator or two.

18 December 2014

Chess and Meditation

Last month's Scientific American (November 2014) featured a cover 'The Neuroscience of Meditation' and an associated article 'Mind of the Meditator'. For an introduction see Neuroscience Reveals the Secrets of Meditation’s Benefits on ScientificAmerican.com.

A few years ago I ran a short series on chess in SciAm that included a post about Scientific American's Chess Neuroscience, and was intrigued to see the recent article on meditation. While having exactly nothing to do with chess, the November 2014 article ties the two subjects together with the word 'neuroscience'.

Having dabbled with meditation in the past, I've often felt that the two mental states -- the meditative state and the deep pondering to find a chess move -- were similar. A sentence in SciAm supported this hypothesis.

Advanced meditators appear to acquire a level of skill that enables them to achieve a focused state of mind with less effort. These effects resemble the skill of expert musicians and athletes capable of immersing themselves in the "flow" of their performances with a minimal sense of effortful control.

That's not to say that meditation and chess playing are the same thing. The introduction to the article mentions three types of meditation.

IN BRIEF: Three common forms of meditation -- focused attention, mindfulness and compassion -- are now practiced everywhere, from hospitals to schools, and have increasingly become an object of scrutiny in scientific laboratories worldwide.

Chess playing would be an example of 'focused attention'. There is more in the article worth exploring, but I'll leave that for another time.

16 December 2014

Chess, Ebay, Christmas, and Books

In my recent post on Chess, Ebay, Christmas, and Paintings, I noted that there were 'plenty of interesting items to choose from'. Besides the paintings (there were two I could have used) there were a couple of books that caught my interest. Why they caught my interest I can't explain, except to provide material for another post.

The first book auction was titled 'Rare Signed 1st Edition "An Essay Toward Making The Game Of Chess Easily Learned"', subtitled 'Signed By Author, Edmund Hoyle & The Publisher, Thomas Osborne'. It sold for US $2600 after a single bid. The description said,

Extremely old & rare 1st Edition volume of "An Essay Toward Making The Game Of Chess Easily Learned". This book was printed in 1761 in London, England. Its author Edmond Hoyle was world renowned for many of his treatises on learning how to play different games. This first edition is signed by the author and by the publisher Thomas Osborne. This is because there were many pirated additions, so for many years every genuine book bore the signature of the author, Edmund Hoyle. Many times the publishers name was also signed as is the case with this edition, where you can easily see the signature of the publisher, Thomas Osborne, underneath the author's signature.

The book can be browsed on Google Books: An Essay Towards Making... It consists of 40 game fragments illustrating the opening and a few basic endgames.

The second book auction was titled '1821 v. Rare CHESS AUTOMATON KEMPELEN * The First Edition * Illustrated'. It sold somewhere between $4000 and $6500, 'Best offer accepted'. The description included a transcription of the book's title page,


followed by technical and biographical notes:-

Custom made drop down box with morocco title label to front board, original paper covered boards, lacking the upper cover, spine rubbed with loss, some light spotting and minor marking but generally in very good condition. An octavo volume, it measures approximately 23cm (9") 15cm (6cm (0.5cm (¼"). Pagination pp. [2], [5]-40 collated and complete with the half-title and 10 plates (including frontispiece).

Robert Willis (1800-1875), polymath, engineer and architectural historian. Willis was Jacksonian Professor of Natural and Experimental Philosophy at the University of Cambridge. Here he was noted for his unique blend of mathematics, natural philosophy, and -- an enduring passion -- animal mechanism.' He specialized in the study of mechanism, extending the earlier researches of Kempelen into speaking machines, 'he furnished practical experiments which analysed and imitated mechanically the human vowel sounds'. 'In 1820 he went with his sister Mary to London's Spring Gardens to scrutinise Wolfgang von Kempelen's (1734-1804) automaton chess player. Having established that there was room for an adult to lurk within, mimicking machine intelligence, he published in 1821 an expose which Edgar Allan Poe passed off as his own in 1836'. (ODNB). An interesting and curious book, it is one of the great rarities of both chess and automaton literature.

The book can also be browsed on Google Books: An Attempt to Analyse the Automaton Chess Player... It contains a number of 'plates' showing the construction of the automaton.

The bookplate of the Google copy ('Ex libris Silas W. Howland') is shown on the left. I've seen the same bookplate and source ('Harvard College Library') stamped on other antiquarian chess books available on Google Books.

15 December 2014

TMER Working Files

After last week's post, Kasparov's Travels Extended, I realized that its working file, m-w.com/about/misc/aa14l08x.htm, was structurally weak. Besides lacking a title to identify it in any web references, it was an orphan page not integrated with any other material on the site. Ditto for the other files in the same directory.

To fix this, I added an appropriate header and footer, then moved it to my page on Chess History. Ditto for the other files in the same directory. They can all be found in the section called 'TMER++ Working Files'.

Since I hate breaking links on active pages, I replaced the original m-w.com/about/misc pages with redirects to the new pages. This might create some issues with browsers, but I'll deal with that if it happens.

14 December 2014

Chess, Ebay, Christmas, and Paintings

Here on Top eBay Chess Items by Price, the month preceding Christmas is like, umm, Christmas. Just as with last year's Quarter Sawn Chess (December 2013), there are always plenty of interesting items to choose from. In a recent post, American Pastimes, I mentioned that 'my most favorite posts are about paintings', and for this current post I had two to choose from.

The item pictured below, titled 'Margaret Dovaston (British, 1884-1955) The Chess Game', sold for US $3250 after receiving 7 bids from two bidders. The starting price was $2000 with a seller's estimate of $4000-6000.

The description added,

12 x 16 inches (30.5 x 40.6 cm) • Margaret Dovaston received her artistic training under Thomas William Cole (b.1857), the still-life artist and headmaster of the Ealing Art School and Arthur S. Cope (1857-1940), the famous portrait artist. She specialized in portrait and genre painting and was a frequent exhibitor at the Royal Academy and Royal Society of British Artists.

Dovaston exhibited her first work at the Academy in 1908 and received three medals during her lifetime. She was elected a member of the Royal Society of British Artists in 1910 and in 1911 was elected a member of the N.B.A. Dovaston's art continued the tradition of 19th century genre painting well into the 20th century, and with it the meticulous technique which characterized it.

For more works by the same artist, see a Google image search on Margaret Dovaston.

12 December 2014

Chess in Bavaria

Just as in Chess Pumpkins from a year ago, the colors of autumn complement the black and white of chess.

Freiluft-Schach im Herbst © Flickr user Ulrich Berens under Creative Commons.

The German title translates to 'Outdoor Chess in Autumn'. The photo's EXIF data pins it to Bad Woerishofen, Bavaria.

11 December 2014

DIY Chess Set

Seen on Doonesbury...

'Six new arcs? Who starts six new story arcs on a Sunday?'

Doonesbury; Sunday, 7 December 2014

...What are 'story arcs'?...

A story arc is an extended or continuing storyline in episodic storytelling media such as television, comic books, comic strips, boardgames, video games, and films with each episode following a narrative arc. On a television program, for example, the story would unfold over many episodes • Story arc [Wikipedia]

...Anything here that can be applied to blogging? Continuity of posts is, after all, an ongoing challenge.

While looking into story arcs for nonfiction, I discovered the site Instructables.com, a DIY resource that includes chess: Instructables.com/howto/chess/. There's nothing to do with playing, but lots to do with making your own chess set. Anyone looking for an inexpensive Christmas gift idea?

09 December 2014

Carlsen - Anand II, Chess Press Overview

Just like last year's Carlsen - Anand, Chess Press Overview (2013), let's have one more post about the this year's edition (2014) of the World Championship title match.

  Chessbase Chess.com
  Ilyumzhinov, Putin meet, discuss Sochi matchWCh Sochi: personalities, players and seconds Garry Kasparov On The World Championship
07 Nov: Sochi Opening: Anand draws white for game one Anand To Start World Championship Match With White Pieces
08 Nov: Sochi WCh G1: Climbing back up Mount Olympus Game 1 Carlsen-Anand World Championship: Draw
09 Nov: World Championship 02: Carlsen strikes first Magnus Carlsen Wins Game 2 In Sochi World Championship
10 Nov: Sochi WCh G2: A day to remember  
11 Nov: Sochi G3: Anand strikes back – with a vengeance!Sochi WCh G3: The Tiger roars Vishy Anand Wins Game 3, Levels Score In Sochi World Championship
12 Nov: Sochi G4: Level game ends in Draw Carlsen-Anand World Championship Game 4: Draw
13 Nov: Who will win the match?  
14 Nov: Sochi G5: A few palpitations, but no heart attack Carlsen-Anand World Championship Game 5: Another Draw
15 Nov: Sochi G6: Carlsen won, Anand missed big chance Magnus Carlsen Wins Dramatic Game 6 In Sochi World Championship
16 Nov: Chess blindness of the Champions  
17 Nov: Sochi G7: Unbreakable Anand Anand Holds Draw In 2nd-Longest World Championship Game Ever
18 Nov: Sochi G8: An easy draw for Carlsen Anand Gets Nothing From Opening, Short Draw In Game 8
19 Nov:    
20 Nov: Sochi G9: A quick draw tightens the noose Lifeless Draw in Game 9 Of Carlsen-Anand
21 Nov: Sochi G10: Unrealized opportunities Magnus Carlsen Holds As Black In Game 10, Maintains Lead In Sochi
22 Nov:    
23 Nov: Sochi G11: In dramatic finale, Carlsen retains title Carlsen Wins, Defends World Championship Title In 11th Game
25 Nov: World Championship Sochi: Closing Ceremony Wrapping Up The World Championship
  Carlsen interview after the matchKasparov: The quality of the games was not so highCarlsen analyzes the World Championship (1/2)(2/2) An Interview With Ilya Merenzon, Organizer of Carlsen-Anand

If I really wanted to do a thorough job, I would add some of the video series on the match. Good idea! I might just do that...

08 December 2014

TMERs: Kasparov's Travels Extended

Continuing with the previous post in this series, TMERs: Kasparov's Travels, I merged the links from my post on Kasparov's Campaign Site with the links from Chessbase and Youtube. Then I created an external page on my main site (m-w.com) to store the combined results: Kasparov's Travels During His 2014 FIDE Campaign.

Next step: Identify which of Kasparov's campaign destinations included a simul or other chess exhibition. Before doing that, I could merge the links from Kasparov's Campaign: Twitter & Facebook, but I'm not sure they add new info to the overall picture.

07 December 2014

Chess Stereotypes

The 'Chess in School' series has been bouncing from topic to topic for months now -- probably because it's such a big subject -- and although I should try to get it back on some sort of plan, that will have to wait until another time. The previous post, about 'Scholastic Club Starter Kits', was buried inside Carlsen - Anand, Game 11 (the final game of that historic match), and this post will change course again to chess stereotypes, specifically On the Danger of Chess Stereotyping by WIM Alexey Root and GM Denes Boros [uschess.org, aka Chess Life Online].

Alexey Root: When I was 15, I walked into an unfamiliar chess club at the same time as a male college student who I did not know. The student was asked by another club member, "Is that your girlfriend?" I was upset at the assumption that I was not a chess player.

What's the scholastic angle?

Denes Boros: I also make assumptions about chess players, especially children. In Hungary, where I am from, FIDE ratings are the best indicator of playing strength. So a young player without a high FIDE rating would usually be an easy win for me.

The comments to the article (no need to be a USCF member to read it, but required to comment) provide more examples.

'Race is also a big factor and there are countless examples of underestimating a player because of it.' • 'Players' games are often affected by the knowledge of the rating of the opponent.' • 'Several of my students have defeated much higher rated players who used inferior openings and tactics against them looking for the "easy" win.'

The authors conclude, 'We hope to continue our collaboration with a scholarly article on this same topic for the Journal of Chess Research.' I touched on the journal some time ago in one post appropriately titled Journal of Chess Research, then in another titled The Riddles of Chess. It's time to return for a follow-up look.

05 December 2014

World Championship Broadcast Blitzed

The choices for this fortnight's Flickr Friday were once again dominated by the recently concluded Carlsen - Anand title match. I had a half-dozen good videos to choose from and went with another clip derived from the official video broadcast each round. This one is a bit more highbrow than the previous Beavis and Butthead at Sochi.

10x Faster Rd 11 (FINAL) (9:07) • 'World Chess Championship 2014, Carlsen vs Anand'

I like the way the board in the upper right corner constantly shows the current position and clocks. The board on the bottom right was used by the commentators.

04 December 2014

FIDE's 'Principles of Chess Journalism'

What's your favorite FIDE Commission? In my case it must be the commissions I reported on a year ago: the FIDE Journalists' Commission and the Ethics and Cheating Commissions.

That's why I was disappointed to discover a few months ago that when the FIDE General Assembly Derailed during the Tromso Olympiad, the various commission reports were not released. That's also why I was pleased to learn that the 2014 4th quarter Presidential Board -- Agenda (5 November) and Press Release (9 November, 'agenda included the proposals deferred from Tromso') -- had released the commission documents in the same directory as the Agenda; see, for example Annex_49.pdf for the 'Journalists Commission (CCJ) Minutes, Tromso, Norway, 6 August 2014'. In brief:-

The Chairman Georgios Makropoulos greeted the participants and opened the meeting. He explained that the Commission was created in order to help the professional journalists with coverage of the tournaments, travel and accommodation.
1. The first item of the Agenda - Principles of Chess Journalism was discussed.
2. Website of the Commission
3. and 4. were discussed jointly. Organizers of FIDE events should provide free accommodation for some of CCJ accredited journalists and significant discount for another group of journalists.
5. Problems of Women events media coverage

The web site currently looks like this:-

FIDE Chess Journalists Commission [journalists.fide.com]

As for the 'first item of the Agenda - Principles of Chess Journalism', a 'final version' document was embedded in Annex 49. Here are the main sections:-

1. Respecting Human Rights
2. Truth and accuracy
3. Objectivity and impartiality
4. Fairness / Fair Play
5. Independence
6. Originality and respect for intellectual property
7. Responsibility

How does this compare with broader Principles of Journalism (journalism.org)?:-

1. Journalism’s first obligation is to the truth
2. Its first loyalty is to citizens
3. Its essence is a discipline of verification
4. Its practitioners must maintain an independence from those they cover
5. It must serve as an independent monitor of power
6. It must provide a forum for public criticism and compromise
7. It must strive to make the significant interesting and relevant
8. It must keep the news comprehensive and proportional
9. Its practitioners must be allowed to exercise their personal conscience

I get the distinct impression that FIDE's Principles are designed more to shield chess officials from criticism than they are to aid chess journalists in their reporting on chess events and chess players. (A suivre...)

02 December 2014

December 1964 'On the Cover'

As I round out the monthly look at chess in the USA for 1964, I can't help but notice that Chess Life had only 20 pages in December 1964 vs. an average of more than 26 for the preceding 11 months. Was this because 'The USCF's annual rating list will appear in the January issue'? Chess Review continued with a steady 36 pages per issue.

Left: 'Happy Chess in '65'
Right: 'Coming Back?'

Chess Life

[No additional info]

Chess Review

"Is Botvinnik really invincible? No, indeed: no man is. Botvinnik is not invincible, but he plays as if he were", wrote the late Fred Reinfeld. And, though his statement applied to the period of the '20's through the '40's, it came to life again in October of 1964, during the Moscow Team Matches.

Although no source was given for the images on the Chess Life cover, they appear to have been taken from Jerzy Gizycki's 'A History of Chess'. The large woodcut, subtitled 'from an Italian treatise of 1493', can be found on p.19 of the English edition (Abbey Library, London, 1972, 'first published in 1960 in Polish'). The smaller illustrations, by S. Luckiewicz, are from the book's title page for each chapter.

As for my question from November 1964 'On the Cover',

Let's see when our two magazines report on the 1964 Olympiad.

CL had three pages on the event, including games. CR had a column on the preliminaries, illustrated with a photo from the 1963 Petrosian - Botvinnik World Championship match.

01 December 2014

TMERs: Kasparov's Travels

Now that the Carlsen - Anand II title match is fading into history, it's time for TMERs: Back to Kasparov, specifically 'Kasparov's travels during his bid for the FIDE presidency'. I combined the tables from August 2014:-

to create the following table; entries link to (C)hessbase & (Y)outube.

[Later: After adding additional entries, I moved the table to an external page: Kasparov's Travels During His 2014 FIDE Campaign.]

Some of the Youtube entries are not really in chronological order, but I'll fix those as I continue to work on the project.