SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
With the conclusion of the London Candidates tournament FIDE–or should I say AGON– will now anxiously await to see if sponsors line up and bid for the slated world championship match with Anand sometime later this year. I may be wrong, but it seems to me that after the ultra-boring match between Anand and Gelfand in Moscow last summer, as well as the anti-climatic finish in London this past weekend, the eventual sponsors will most likely end up being the ”usual suspects”: either some rich tycoon in Russia or in London or an oil company in some ex-Soviet republic or maybe even Norway.
Don’t get me wrong: I WANT to see the Carlsen vs Anand match very much! But that is because I am a chess fanatic…if instead I were a sponsor looking to make a multi-million dollar investment then even Cyprus banks look like a more promising option at this point!
My understanding is that the London Candidates tournament was NOT a big success with the London public, and not only because the tournament hall was more often half-empty than half-full. As for internet coverage, I think that only those accustomed to making little white lies would be able to say with a straight face that millions of individuals followed what was happening in London. More likely it was several hundred thousands at peak traffic…and these same individuals returning 5 or 6 times during the game to see what had happened. Note: The Guardian estimates that perhaps close to a half-million spectators watched the last round via the net. I think that even that is optimistic, however!
The chess world is a lot smaller than what we once thought it was. There are no hundreds of millions of amateur chess players following every move of our champions. (I won’t get into the subject of those 650 zillion phantom chessplayers that some recent STUDY came up with!). And even if someone tried to argue that such a ridiculous number was realistic, it would not be difficult to shoot them down if you were to insist on defining a chess amateur as someone who MUST know the basic rules : how Knights move, enpassant, castling, promotion , etc. That I think would eliminate 99% of the fore mentioned 650 zillion players….organized chess is a VERY small world! A lonely world at that….
KRAMNIK TO PLAY FOR THE ”OTHER” WORLD TITLE?
MATCH OF THE CENTURY-II ?
No, I am not making this up! Stan Vaughan, excentric world champion of the break-a-way WORLD CHESS FEDERATION was not long in giving the opportunity to co-candidate winner Vlad Kramnik to play a match for his world title. There is one catch, however, Vlad will have to provide 100% of the sponsorship! This is the offical press release:
CLICK ON TO ENLARGE
It is not known if Kramnik has been given the
wonderful news, but I would not be surprised if Kramnik’s first reaction might be ”Which piece would I have to give as odds, Queen or Rook?”
Stan is author of the controvertial ”Paul Morphy: Confederate Spy” and also claims to have proof that Alekhine was murdered by a Russian spy.