30 January 2015

Tata En Passant

Near the beginning of the interview, GM Keene mentions that he played at Wijk aan Zee more than 40 years ago, finishing equal third in the masters section.

Q: Why are you here in 2015? A: It's one of the world's greatest tournaments and has been for a long time, so it's a pleasure to come. It's great to come back after 40 years, to see how much it's grown. It's extraordinary.

He compares Wijk aan Zee to Hastings (the world's oldest ongoing tournament) and admits that the Dutch event 'is much bigger'.


Tata Steel Chess 2015 - En passant (8:19) • 'Raymond Keene'

Keene is a colorful, controversial character; see, for example, Raymond Keene on Wikipedia, especially the 'Talk' page.

29 January 2015

The Money Game

Someone at Barron's must really like chess. Last year I ran a series of posts highlighting articles from the financial publication, all of which featured chess. The last post in the series was The Game at Chestes (May 2014).

A recent edition had our favorite game on the cover -- shown on the left -- introducing a feature story titled Barron’s Roundtable: Masters of the Game, where a select group of investment wizards gave their prognostications for the coming year (see Barron's Magazine Archives : 19 January 2015 for the full article).

Once upon a time chess and money were complete strangers to each other, and a world class player would risk ending his days in poverty after pursuing the royal game as a profession. Nowadays chess can even make an appearance at the annual World Economic Forum in Switzerland: Davos Billionaires Predict Low Interest Rates, Terrorism (Bloomberg.com):-

Pegasystems Inc. founder Alan Trefler became a billionaire in 2013 after his relationship management software maker surged in value. [...] Trefler was a chess prodigy in his youth. He tied for first place at the World Open Chess Championship in 1975, while studying at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, where he received a degree in economics and computer science. He formed Pegasystems in 1983.

A few years ago, Chessbase reported about Chess Grandmasters at the Davos conference (February 2009):-

As the World Economic Forum held its annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, two chess grandmasters weighed in on the crisis that has hit the economies of industrialised nations. One was Chess World Champion Vishy Anand, the other one of the leading economic thinkers in the world, Ken Rogoff – who in his day was listed in 40th place in the world chess rankings.

Although Rogoff's playing days are long behind him, the Harvard professor of economics still finds time to pursue his former passion; see Kasparov Interviewed by Rogoff (USchess.org; videos).

27 January 2015

Titled Players and Their Ratings

After last week's look at Federations in Arrears, I inventoried older posts that analyzed FIDE ratings. Two of my favorites were

Both posts looked at titled players and their ratings. Following this idea, I created the following tables from the January 2015 rating list.

The first column lists the title (where blank means untitled players). It is followed by the number of players with that title, then the maximum, minimum, and average rating across all players with the title. The top table counts men and women together; the bottom table counts women only. Here are a few more past posts that analyzed ratings:-

Given time, I might redo one or two of these using the January 2015 list.

26 January 2015

TMERs: Kasparov Wrapup

Last week's post ended my series on Garry Kasparov's Travels During His 2014 FIDE Campaign (working file). After creating the working file with

we looked at his trips to three FIDE continents:-

What about Kasparov in Europe? Looking at the table of Kasparov's comings and goings according to the working file, we see that he made several trips to Europe, but always for isolated events. There was no campaign tour where he visited several countries on the same trip, as he did on the other continents.

I'll add this present post to the working file, then decide what to tackle (if anything) for my next TMER project.

25 January 2015

More Fischer - Spassky 1992

More Fischer - Spassky items? What can I say, except that in a typically slow post-holiday period here on Top eBay Chess Items by Price, these were the most interesting auctions.

The descriptions for all three 'Autograph on Envelope' items were brief and identical.

GM Eugene Torre, personal friend and official second in the 1992 World Chess Championship of Bobby Fischer, personally obtained these original and fresh autographs from both Bobby and Boris Spassky at the conclusion of the match. GM Torre will provide the authentication document.

In the past I've been suspicious about memorabilia from the 1992 return match -- see Caveat Fischer - Spassky 1992 -- but this batch looks like the real deal. Like most people, I would take exception to calling the match '1992 World Chess Championship', but that doesn't change the value of the signatures.

23 January 2015

'Nice Jacket!'

What other icebreakers could you use when first meeting this fellow? • 'Oh, do you play chess?' • 'I like your shirt!' • 'Did anyone ever tell you that you look like Steve Wozniak?' • [...]


11a TataSteelChess 170115 © Flickr user Heleen Vink under Creative Commons.

For more from the same photographer, see 77e Tata Steel Chess Tournament.

22 January 2015

Feedly Top Blogs

Continuing with Blog Maintenance, after selecting Feedly.com to manage my blogroll (do people still use that term?) I migrated the blogs I had collected on the old Google Friend Connect. Of the 60 blogs, all but five appeared on the new service.

Feedly maintains some statistics on what it considers to be the top chess blogs, of which the first nine I've captured on the left. The two blogs shown with a green plus are missing from my own list. Of the top 24 blogs suggested by Feedly, I was already following 17.

The Feedly suggestions are somewhat out of date. The late, lamented Daily Dirt has been out of action for well over three years, a fact I noted in The Dirt Bites the Dust. The last post that Feedly offers is from 2008, probably from an older version of the blog on a different platform. A few other suggested blogs are also well past their heydays, although the list is overall more helpful than misleading. I added a handful of blogs that I had previously overlooked.

Finding less popular blogs is less obvious. I have quite a few buried in my bookmarks, but I'll have to wait until I've finished sorting out the other resource on my 'Blog Maintenance' post, Diigo.com.