31 August 2023

Top Yahoos: Niemann, WRTC, and Pragg

I can start this month's post on Yahoos [see the footnote for an explanation of 'Yahoos'] by repeating a sentence from last month's post, Blocks of Yahoos (July 2023):-

For this current post Google News again 'returned blocks of stories on two specific chess topics' [note to self: find out what Google calls these sections]. Before I look at those, let's have the usual statistics.

Change 'two' to 'three' and the sentence becomes 100% accurate. First, here are the stats.

This month Google News returned 104 stories on a straightfoward search for 'chess'. Ten news sources with two or more stories each accounted for 59 of the 104 stories. That left 45 news sources with a single story each.

Once again, Chess.com alone accounted for more stories than the other nine news sources combined. Once again, Chessbase was runner-up with six stories plus another two from ChessBase India.

Back to those three blocks of stories, with three stories each, they were:-

  • 'News about Hans Niemann, chess'
  • 'Chess World Rapid Team Championship'
  • 'R Praggnanandhaa receives grand welcome at Chennai airport'

That summary doesn't give the full picture, because the block of Hans Niemann stories expanded to a second page linked as 'Full coverage of this story'. That page had four stories under 'Top news', four Twitter tweets, and 44 stories from a variety of other sources.

Two of the stories in Niemann's main block were repeated in the top news, while the third story, not repeated, was the off-the-wall Elon Musk nonsense that I covered last year in It's Not Polytopia (March 2022). Following are the first stories from each of the three Yahoo blocks:-

As often happens in the world of Yahoos, I ran out of time to continue with this post. I'll come back later to look at some of the other stories for the month.

[Yahoos (mainstream news stories about chess) are derived from Google News top-100 (or so) stories from the past month.]


Later: On top of the three stories flagged by Google News as worthy of a special highlight, three other stories merit inclusion in this month's Yahoos post. All received coverage from multiple mainstream sources. Here they are in chronological order.

I've never understood why news sources surrounded by paywalls are returned by Google News. Everyone loses: Google News loses credibility; the news source loses a reader; the person who follows the Google link loses time. Does anyone really think that someone with an interest in a single story is going to pay for a permanent subscription to read that story? It's a lose-lose-lose proposition. There are plenty of other news sources reporting on the same story. Following is another example of paywall unpleasantness.

  • 2023-08-16: Chess World Splits Over Handling of Sexual Misconduct Allegations (wsj.com) • 'Continue reading your article with a WSJ subscription.'

    Here's another angle on the same story, returned by a normal search on the title of the FT story. Note that it's straight from the original source of the chess news.

    2023-08-17: WSJ: Chess Platforms Halt Relationships With Saint Louis Chess Club (chess.com; TarjeiJS) • 'Chess.com and Lichess will halt their relationships with St. Louis Chess Club and no longer provide support for or cover any of their tournaments in the wake of allegations of sexual misconduct, The Wall Street Journal revealed on Wednesday.'

For the events leading up to this break between the online chess powers and a major chess sponsor, see Three Yahoo Surprises (June 2023; keyword = 'Alejandro Ramirez'). We certainly haven't seen the end of it.

That makes two major themes related to women's chess. Over the last few years, much effort has been spent supporting women's chess. Was anyone expecting this much negativity?

[NB: The two Chess.com/TarjeiJS stories quoted here were not returned by Google News.]

29 August 2023

2023 CJA Awards - Part 2

Continuing with 2023 CJA Awards - Part 1 (August 2023), the following composite image shows how the 107 awards for the year 2023 break down in various ways.

The charts in the upper left ('Award') and lower right ('Person/Brand') cover only entities with more than two awards. The other three charts cover all 107 awards.

How did 'Best Interview - Print' manage to account for nine awards? With four 'Co-winner' and five 'Honorable Mention' awards.

27 August 2023

The Arab Chess Federation

After so many years of posting on The Sociology of Chess (November 2016), it finally occurred to me to ask the question, 'What is the difference between a sociologist and a historian?' Google pointed me to Difference Between Sociology and History (byjusexamprep.com), where I learned,

The key difference between sociology and history is that sociology is a social science that focuses on the contemporary social environment. However, history deals with the past and examines previous societies. Sociology is an abstract field, while history is a concrete subject.

Let's consider that an introduction to the following video.

History of Arab Chess Federation (23:24) • '[Published on] Jul 27, 2023'

The description starts,

On July 27, 2023, we celebrate the 48th anniversary of the establishment of the Arab Chess Federation. The federation, currently headquartered in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, is under the esteemed leadership of President Sheikh Saud Bin Abdulaziz Al Mualla.

Its origins date back nearly 50 years, precisely on July 27, 1975, when it was founded in Damascus, Syria by seven national federations, its founding members. On this day, we would like to share this movie that delves into the history of the Arab Chess Federation. [more++]

The video is in Arabic, subtitled in English. Early in the clip, the narrator says, 'He who does not have a past has neither a present nor a future.'

Wikipedia has a page Arab Chess Federation (wikipedia.org), flagged as a stub. The corresponding Arabic page also looks like a stub. A transcript of the video's subtitles would make a useful addition for further study.

25 August 2023

Adsense and the GDPR

In last Friday's post, Adsense on CFAA++ (August 2023), I concluded with:-

Adsense is once again increasing the volume of its commanding voice: 'New Consent Management Platform [CMP] requirements for serving ads in the EEA and UK'. • TBD. Watch this space...

My WCC index page, shown below, is a typical example of how I handle ads across the site.

Index : World Chess Championship

The ad ('Download de whitepaper'; that's Dutch, believe it or not) appears between the site 'logo' and the link to Amazon. The small right-pointing triangle on the left side of the ad, leads to a page titled About this ad (adssettings.google.com). The small 'x' beneath the triangle removes the ad.

Ads are related to cookies. It's been eight years since the last time I looked at the European cookie monster. At that time I wrote two posts:-

Since then, the European Union has introduced the GDPR, which stands for General Data Protection Regulation (wikipedia.org). The CMP requirements are a response to the GDPR. What does that entail for small web sites like mine? I'll look at that in the next post.

20 August 2023

Chess Sets Are the Real Deal

For this month's Flickr favorite, I had another AI image on the short list, DALL-E 2023-02-04 23.17.22 - A picture of two AIs playing chess (flickr.com), which came with another half-dozen images in the same series. This latest DALL-E example wasn't nearly as compelling as the previous examples, last seen in Karpov and Kasparov Play Chess in Iceland (March 2023), so I went with a different composite.

Upper right: UK TV Antiques Shows © Flickr user antefixus21 under Creative Commons.

The description on the linked Flickr page explained,

I found these images of an antique (around 1860) English ivory hand turned chess set requiring some restoration on YouTube in a popular UK TV series "A Very Attractive Set of Three Bottles Tantalus | Dickinson’s Real Deal | Season 07 Episode 76 | HomeStyle". The vendor sold the lot to a dealer for £250.

The title in quotes ("") is the same as a Youtube video (channel: 'The Real Deal') linked after the Flickr description. After the video link is a second link to a page titled, 'The Standardization of Chess Set Design' (kottke.org).

The photographer's index page of photos has a few other chess sets and boards, indicating a general interest in the subject. For more about the TV series, see Dickinson's Real Deal (wikipedia.org).

18 August 2023

Adsense on CFAA++

Earlier this year, in TGIF on CFAA (June 2023), I wrote,

Some of my blog posts are basically notes to myself. This is one of them.

This current post is another. To parrot the thought process introduced in the TGIF post,

I took three weeks off at the beginning of July and have been scrambling since then to get my blogs back on track. Although you can't see it easily from the dates on the posts, I wrote 21 posts in 25 days and am now caught up.

In addition to the actions mentioned in the TGIF post, I need to catch up with new actions from Google ('Your wish is my command, master!'). The last time I did this was documented in Party Cookies (October 2022; 'Earlier this year I ran a series of four posts about living with Google's Adsense').

Adsense is once again increasing the volume of its commanding voice: 'New Consent Management Platform requirements for serving ads in the EEA and UK'. • TBD. Watch this space...

17 August 2023

2023 CJA Awards - Part 1

A month after posting about the 2023 CJA Award Entries (July 2023; Chess Journalists of America), I'm ready to do a short series on the awards themselves. In that post I wanted 'to collect all of the entries across all of the categories', but I ran into an obstacle:-

The data behind the page is embedded on the page's HTML, so it should be possible to extract the entries using straightforward text tools. That would require more work than I have time for right now. I might come back to it later, but I wouldn't bet any money on that happening soon. The winners will be announced next month.

If anyone had made that bet, they would have won. After a little work, I discovered that there were 361 entries.

As expected, the winners were announced earlier this month in 2023 CJA Award Winners (chessjournalism.org; 'Congratulations to this year's CJA Award Winners!'). Around the same time, US Chess revealed their portion of the awards in 2023 Chess Journalist of America Awards (uschess.org):-

Writers, columnists, photographers and analysts from US Chess had much to celebrate at the annual Chess Journalists of America (CJA) meeting on August 2 in Grand Rapids. US Chess took home 27 awards, including two of the "big three".

For the final awards, the CJA offered an option to download a complete list of all the awards. I did this and discovered that 107 awards were made. I'll have more to say about the entries and the awards in a follow-up post. This time you can bet on it.

15 August 2023

August 1973 & 1998 'On the Cover'

In last month's post for the 'On the Cover' series, titled July 1973 & 1998 'On the Cover' (July 2023), I observed, 'we find two foreign-born GMs dominating both covers'. This month is mostly about the World Chess Championship both 50 and 25 years ago.

Left: '?'
Right: 'Shirov to Challenge Kasparov'

Chess Life & Review (50 Years Ago)

Robert Byrne, who finished 3rd at the Leningrad Interzonal and thus qualified for the Candidates' Matches, relaxing after his return to the States. Bulletin [inside], complete story and games next month. Photo by Burt Hochberg.

The bulletin summarized the Interzonal like this:-

At the peak of his strength, Robert Byrne had the greatest success of his career to date by finishing third in the Leningrad Interzonal, one point behind tournament winners Victor Korchnoi and Anatoly Karpov. Korchnoi, Karpov and Byrne have thus qualified for the Candidates' Matches, the next step on the road to the World Championship. The two Russians scored 13.5 points in the 18-player tournament, while Byrne scored 12.5. Korchnoi had 11 wins and one loss (to Rukavina), Karpov had 10 wins and no losses, and Byrne won 9 games, losing only to Korchnoi. [...] A full crosstable and reports will appear in our next issue.

After winning the 1972 U.S. Championship, Byrne made the cover a few months ago in April 1973 & 1998 'On the Cover' (April 2023). In the post I added a summary of his 'progress in that World Championship cycle [C09]'.

Chess Life (25 Years Ago)

Over the years, thanks to the pioneering efforts of previous editors such as Burt Hochberg, Frank Elley, and Larry Parr, our Senior Art Director Jami L. Anson has a morgue file which includes samples of the work of almost 2,500 cartoonists, illustrators, and artists. And new work comes in every week. Jami has developed quite an eye for spotting "good stuff," and our cover this month is no exception.

Knights on Easter Island (or "Statues that aren't in any travel books.") was one of 13 computer generated works submitted by Jon F. Buckley of Naperville, Illinois. I am sure Mr. Buckley would enjoy hearing your comments and you can reach him by snail-mail at [postal address]; by e-mail at [email address]; or by visiting his website: [URL].

In 2023 you might end up on the wrong side of a privacy case if you publish someone's postal and email addresses in a national magazine. It's still OK to publish a web address, which was given as:-


I should say more about the cover art, but it will take more time than I have for this post. Maybe later.

As for the Shirov/Kasparov news on the cover, the story inside was titled, 'Shirov Defeats Kramnik (continued)' by GM Leonid Shamkovich. Part I, in the July issue of CL, was titled 'Shirov Defeats Kramnik in WCC Match: Kasparov Next' by GM Leonid Shamkovich. It started,

Two outstanding young grandmasters, Vladimir Kramnik (22) and Alexei Shirov (25), crossed chess swords in the best of ten World Chess Council (WCC) World Championship candidates' match. The match started May 24 and finished June 5 in the small Spanish city of Cazorla, in Andalusia. Alexei Shirov, who won the match with a score of 5.5-3.5, will meet Garry Kasparov in October for the WCC World Championship.

This duel represents great interest for the chess world, in both the sporting and psychological aspects. These great rivals have demonstrated an almost permanent success at the top level in recent years. Kramnik came into the match ranked third in the world, behind only Kasparov and Viswanathan Anand, while Shirov was ranked fourth. Each has his own distinctive chess style; Kramnik is a classical virtuoso a la Capablanca, while Shirov is a knight of combinations and attacks in the Mikhail Tal style. No wonder he titled his book of best games Fire on Board.

Going into the match, Kramnik and Shirov have met over-the-board about 20 times, with Shirov leading by an impressive 8-1.

Part II issued a correction to the score: '10.5-8.5 in favor of Shirov'. The Kasparov - Shirov match never took place. For more about its collapse, see 1998-99 World Chess Council ('and more'; m-w.com).

13 August 2023

'At the Center of AI Research'

GM Rogoff has made occasional appearances on this blog since the first, featured mention in Kenny Rogoff as You've Never Seen Him (February 2012), where he had a full head of hair. Here he weighs in on the top computer topic of the 2020s.

How AI makes Chess 'more interesting': International Grandmaster (3:43) • '[Published on] Aug 12, 2023'

The description, although brief, gives the essentials of the video:-

International Grandmaster Kenneth Rogoff spoke with Yahoo Finance anchor Julie Hyman about the link between chess and artificial intelligence.

Just like the genial GM, Yahoo Finance has made a few appearances on the blog. See, for example, The Money Game (May 2016; 'What do Jack and Jane Yahoo have to say about money in chess?').

06 August 2023

Dachshunds Play Chess

After so many years of the series Top eBay Chess Items by Price (March 2010), I sometimes can't be sure whether I've already featured an item or not. The item in the image below is a good example.

Titled 'Charming Vienna Bronze two Dachshunds playing chess at a table', it apparently sold for $425.00. Ebay has changed the look of its auctions since I last posted about 'Top Chess Items' and I'm not sure how to interpret the info correctly. The index of items returned said,

1 bid
Best offer accepted

The auction itself said,

1 bid
Ended 08/02, 11:06 PM
or Best Offer

So which is it -- '1 bid' or 'Best offer accepted'? On top of that, 'Ended 08/02' (presumably August 2nd) didn't match the end of the auction shown on both the index and the item: 'Jul 25, 2023'.

The description added only,

Liquidating from my collection. Excellent condition. Rare, Marked.

The mark, which was under both chairs, looked like 'BERMANN WIEN' (Vienna) above some kind of cachet. The size of the item wasn't specified.

As for 'whether I've already featured it or not', I haven't. I once used a painting of Dalmatians playing chess in An NN for Chess Images? (June 2018). I last featured a bronze, also from Vienna, in Cold Painted Cats (December 2022).

Ebay has eliminated the intermediate page that was required to see the original listing, has changed the way it presents images of the item, and appears to have added more links to current auctions than it had before. I counted seven rows of multiple (>5) links, most of them for 'sponsored items'. That's a lot of links.


Later: Re '"Ended 08/02" (presumably August 2nd) didn't match the end of the auction shown on both the index and the item: "Jul 25, 2023"', when I looked at the bids, I noticed that 'Jul 25' was the day the only bid (marked 'Best Offer') was made. The auction start day was listed as 'Jul 23'. The auction also said, 'Duration: 10 days'. Putting this together, 'Jul 23' plus '10 days' equals Aug 2. Now the dates make some sense.