Welcome back! This is becoming regular. Three posts, three weeks… excellent!
This edition will contain more about my historical chess experience and with any luck, I’ll also have a little bit about the digital age attempts at bringing chess to a broader audience. We’ll see when we get to that part of the column. I’ll also be discussing some of the top players and their current playing exploits.
What are we waiting for? Let’s get this party started already!
The Anand (Champion) – Gelfand (Challenger) 2012 World Chess Championship will start off on May 10 and run through May 31 of 2012. Both players will be in the Skolkovo region near Moscow, Russia to play for the Undisputed World Chess Championship. Neither player, champion nor challenger, is number one rated in the world and that (to me) is odd. I understand why Carlsen (number one rated player) bowed out of the last candidates cycle, but that would still have been better protested by winning the championship. Carlsen shouldn’t be bowing out of the next cycle as the new rules for candidate qualifying takes place for the 2013 World Chess Championship. Already qualified for the tournament are Carlsen, Aronian, Kramnik, Ivanchuk, Grischuk, and Svidler… though if the matches are held in Azerbaijan then Aronian won’t come because of the Armenian-Azerbaijan conflict, which would mean that Aronian would be replaced and that would eliminate another fully qualified player from the competition. FIDE, get your head out of your ass and start holding these competitions in places 100% free of controversy.
That leads me to the illustrious President of FIDE, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, and how the man is embroiled in constant controversy regarding FIDE business decisions and yet no one will vote him out of office. Chess should NEVER go to a war conflict area. Chess should NEVER go to a country where there are limitations on certain genders (promoting the equality of those genders). Chess should NEVER be someplace where a candidate in one of the most important tournaments cannot compete due to religious or patriotic reasons. FIDE under Ilyumizhinov? Constantly pulling this crap. Sad, really.
Kramnik and Aronian will be playing a 6 game “friendly” in the near future… not sure why, but this is a great way to put two of the top players in the world against each other in a focus on great play. I’m looking forward to it.
I left off with the death of what I call the Beulah Chess Club, my sixth grade class’s own little chess league. Almost four years later, a group of my friends and I (not limited by a class, grade, or region) formed what I would call the Chess League. I’d ended the Beulah Chess Club as the World Champion but I wanted to legitimize the “championship” in a new setting, so the founders of the Chess League (CJ, Daryl, Tim, and myself) played a round robin tournament to be crowned the first Chess League Champion. I won narrowly and would get the chance to lead another effort into the future.
The Chess League had anywhere from four to twenty members at any one time. There was a lot more playing going on and only the one championship to worry about. All four of the founders would hold the Chess League Championship multiple times because, much to my delight, we were all fairly evenly matched. If I had to guess at a rating, I’d say we were between 800 and 1000, somewhere good enough to be competitive but not so good as to be “snobbish” about it.
Fluctuating membership was a side effect of being outside of a limitation of venue. The Beulah Chess Club happened exclusively inside the walls of our sixth grade classroom, the Chess League had no such limitation. We played at Daryl’s house, my house, the high school, Hazen (our nearby city rival), Zap (opposite direction from Hazen), and I even took in a game in Golden Valley (further west than Zap). We stretched MUCH farther than the Beulah Chess Club and the championship was actually sought after by anyone who could beat one of the founders… because we were the benchmark.
The Chess League lasted about two years, right around when CJ had to stop playing due to moving, and instead of carrying the championship on like I did before, the coveted “top spot” just sort of left with him (he was the Champion at the time he left). Interest in playing towards the end of our school year in 93 let the rest of us just kind of drift apart. There would be plenty of personal issues to arise to drive a permanent wedge between a couple of us and that would really end the Chess League as we knew it.
During a research project in April of 1994 (I’ll explain why I know the date in a bit), I and a couple of others had known what we were going to be doing after high school… I would be joining the United States Navy and would be able to actually PLAY chess in foreign countries. Four others (who have since chosen to remain nameless) and I signed a document forming the World Chess Organization on April 21, 1994. A ten game match was played between myself and the next best “founder,” whom I’ll call Tiger.
The series between Tiger and I was nothing to write home about. We’d played in the past but I knew I was significantly stronger in play than he was. We played only six games and I won all six. I was the first World Chess Organization (WCO) Champion. That would be the last time I’d have contact with any of the others in a chess capacity.
As the WCO Champion, I wanted to make sure to branch out into the world actually defending the championship against decent opponents. I had no concept of FIDE or that there was an actual World Chess Federation out there, so my concept of the game was that it was a casual competition just about anywhere I’d go. Locations where I’d defended the championship (successfully or otherwise) were Mississippi (multiple cities), New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Okinawa (Japan), Anchorage, and San Juan (Puerto Rico). In an epic match and rematch, I had lost the WCO Championship to a man who goes by DCP, who then gave me a rematch and I won it back. So, I was a two time WCO Champion.
When I detached from the Navy, I remained the WCO Champion until October 31, 2005… when I officially vacated the championship and allowed the WCO to “die.” As the only regular and active member for over three years, I felt the organization needed to be laid to rest.
That did not end my endeavors, though. We’ll pick up in the Internet era of my chess experience in the next column (which will complete the saga of how I got to where I’m at today).
I don’t have a game to evaluate, yet. I do have four started and a fifth has just been sent out into the void to request another opponent. When I get to actually evaluate these things, I’m wondering what kind of mess I’ll be in with the rest of them.
I’m a member of GameKnot.com, as I’ve noted before. I would really like to get some opponents that will be around my own strength to discuss both sides of the game to figure out why moves were made. I do have a friend (an official “friend”) on GK now but I’ve not approached him about this concept, yet.
So, without a game to evaluate, I’ll push this column out and I will pick a game of mine to go over, whether or not its one of the official recorded “w-d-l” games or not.