24 May 2016

Caveat eBay Chess Autographs

Remember Echoes of a Postcard (April 2016), where I noted that an eBay auction for chess autographs was similar, but not identical, to an item featured on Chesshistory.com nearly ten years ago? About a month later I received a comment explaining the difference.

The document in your article is clearly not genuine. I own the original postcard which you can see here:


The seller now has two other fake documents for sale on eBay. Fortunately no one has bought them yet.

Without publishing the comment, I contacted the sender to find out more about the 'fake'. He replied,

At first I would give [the seller] the benefit of the doubt. When you don't have the option to compare the documents with the originals, you could be fooled. The buyer of the Bad Kissingen 1928 document thought they were real enough, because he gave positive feedback on eBay after having paid $900.

My correspondent also sent the following composite image...

...and remarked,

The best evidence that my Bad Kissingen postcard was copied can be seen on the second 'L' on the Marshall autograph. Marshall allowed himself to end his signature with a rather frivolous curl. The person who made the copy thought that curl belonged to the Reti signature. And he drew it in another color, as you can see.

Yes, indeed. The eBay item is almost certainly a copy of the document shown on Chesshistory.com / Chessautographs.com. Add the 'Echoes' post to the list:-

Caveat eBay?

23 May 2016

Karjakin's Early Team Events

While researching the last two posts in this series -- Karjakin's Early Corus Encounters with Carlsen & Karjakin & Carlsen's World Championship Careers -- I was impressed by the number of team events in which Karjakin participated. Here's a list I assembled from early TWIC references.

2002-08: TWIC 408, 7) World Youth Olympiad 2002 [Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Team Ukraine]

2003-05: TWIC 445, 16) Forthcoming Events and Links [Saint-Petersburg vs. Paris; (1)]

2003-12: TWIC 476, 18) Russia vs Ukraine Internet Blitz [Team Ukraine]

2004-10: TWIC 518, 8) Bilbao International Chess Festival [1st People vs Computers World Chess Team Championship]

2004-10: TWIC 521, 2) 36th Chess Olympiad [Calvia (Majorca); Karjakin (top scorer with 92.9% on board 6, second reserve)]

2005-08: TWIC 561, 2) 15th European Team Championship [Team Ukraine]

2005-08: TWIC 564, 3) 49th Spanish Teams Honours Division [Team C.A. Magic Merida]

2005-09: TWIC 567, 2) European Club Cup [Team NAO]

2005-10: TWIC 575, 2) World Team Championship [Beer-Sheva, Israel; Team Ukraine]

2006-04: TWIC 595, 5) Top 16 French League [Team NAO; final stages 4-7 May 2006; (2)]

2006-05: TWIC 604, 2) Chess Olympiad [Team Ukraine]

2006-08: TWIC 617, 4) NK Hoteles Chess Tournament [A team of 'Experience' and a team of 'Rising Stars']

2006-09: TWIC 626, 4) Spanish Teams [November 2006 (Final); Team Linex Magic]

2007-05: TWIC 653, 3) Russian Team Championships [Sochi; Team Tomsk 400]

Other references:
(1) 'Distant chess' in St Petersburg and Paris (chessbase.com; May 2003)
(2) NAO Is No More (this blog; October 2006)

There are undoubtedly team events missing from the list, but it's a start for future investigation. The Olympiad record would make a useful follow-up topic.

22 May 2016

Top eBay Giant Chess Sets by Price

The previous episode of Top eBay Chess Items by Price, which I titled Chess Builders, was about Mother's Day. I rejected featuring a giant plastic chess set, because 'I just couldn't picture Mom playing chess outside in her garden'.

For this episode I had two more giant sets -- a sign of the season? -- and not wanting to choose between them, I decided on a composite post featuring all of the top sets from recent months. The results are shown below.

Following are the titles and selling prices of the six sets. The King in the first set listed is more than four feet tall, nearly twice as tall as the King in the last few sets.

  • Giant Plastic Chess Set with a 49" King - Garden Chess Set - Outdoor Chess Set • US $939
  • MegaChess Giant Plastic Chess Set with a 37" King • US $789
  • Giant Plastic Chess Set with a 37" King - Garden Chess Set - Outdoor Chess Set • US $649
  • MegaChess Giant Plastic Chess Set with 25" King with a Nylon Chessboard • US $529
  • Giant Plastic Chess Set with a 25" King with Nylon Chess Board Outdoor Chess Set • US $440
  • Giant Plastic Chess Set with a 25" King • US $400

Although the last two sets have the same photo, one is with 'nylon chess board', the other without. While browsing these closed listings, eBay informs me that there are more than a half-dozen giant sets currently on offer.

20 May 2016

We Will Be Agog!

From the World Chess YouTube channel...

Making of the World Chess Candidates Tournament (6:15) • 'A short film about the 2016 World Chess Candidates Tournament that took place in Moscow in March of 2016.'

...Good things to know: (Pretty woman talking) 'Chess is a game for the strong, a game for winners, a game for those who rule the world.' • (Ditto) 'I see chess as first and foremost a strong and courageous handsome man.' • (Voiceover) 'The whole world will be agog as Karjakin attempts to dethrone Carlsen in the World Chess Championship final.'

19 May 2016

My Name in Bytes!

After establishing that I'm Not a Chess Historian, what else could Giga Alert tell me? In the past, the service has mainly alerted me to the existence of my own resources, like this blog, but lately it has been showing more originality. Take the following table, for example.

Chess Links and Websites

There I am at no.91, mark-weeks.com, sandwiched between book publisher everymanchess.com and long defunct whychess.ru. I have an Alexa number of 613604 (no. 613.604 of all websites in the world?) and 178 incoming links (it's more than that). My real interest in the list is centered on the top-10 sites. I am very surprised to find lichess.org and chess24.com at no.2 and no.3, just ahead of the old stalwart chessbase.com.

Also interesting was to find my name on ChessScotland.com: Caorle 1972. That was a zonal tournament and the site has details that might be useful for my zonal pages.

I've done some work to validate chess960 and wasn't surprised to find my name on Some hard questions for chess philosophers and the elite (chess959.com). The main page of the blog is titled Chess959 – Thinking starts at move 1, 'No Memorization Required!', and also deserves a closer look.

Most of the Giga references are to pages like CHESSSPY & FLOOTSIE! in the press (chessspy.com, for one of my blog posts), or Still Thrills: The Drama of Chess (academia.edu, for a WCC page). The most surprising reference was to a wiki-style page: Chessprogramming - Mark Weeks. My name in bytes, indeed.

17 May 2016

Blog Follow-ups

Why didn't I think of that before? Instead of maintaining a list of blog posts that need a follow-up, why not use a blog tag? And so I did -- 'FLUP'.

Google Image search on 'flup'

I'm getting off-topic, but it turns out that the word 'flup' is used elsewhere, often in an odd context. Following the images shown above, I discovered:-

  • Faculdade de Letras da Universidade do Porto, Portugal (Faculty of Letters, the University of Porto)
  • 'Looking for an incredibly rare 4 letter domain name package?? http://flup.com is for sale...'; flup on Twitter
  • FLUP line of 'Drain Openers'
  • 'Flup, el idioma de la comunicaciĆ³n'
  • '"Flup is like pushups for the brain" -- Play the game critics are calling "the most inventive puzzle game since the Rubik’s cube."'
  • 'The project is called flup (short for follow up with me) and it's an online system that helps you swap contact details safely and easily, and arrange follow ups (we call it a flup).'
  • (The one eyed monster in the middle of the bottom row): 'Name: Flup Landed; Age: 7 3/4 years old; Place of birth: Plextan, Xtron'

Next step: Follow up my chess 'flups'.

16 May 2016

Karjakin & Carlsen's World Championship Careers

In Karjakin's First Encounters with Carlsen, I noted that both Magnus Carlsen and Sergey Karjakin played in the 2004 FIDE Knockout World Championship in Tripoli, Libya, and that both were eliminated in the first round. This was their first of many participations in World Championship events. Let's look at their respective records since then.

(C21) MC: 2004 KO ; SK: 2004 KO

Here I'll use a bit of shorthand to document the record. The notation 'C21' is a convention I developed for my World Chess Championship index to differentiate events played in (sometimes overlapping) FIDE cycles. The links are to my page on the 2004 Knockout tournament.

(C22) MC: 2005 WCup , 2005-07 Cnd; SK: 2005 WCup

In the next cycle, the knockout event became the World Cup, a qualifying step to the rest of the cycle. Karjakin was again eliminated in the first round. Carlsen survived to the fourth round, where he lost the match but continued to play for a qualifying place in the subsequent candidates matches. He succeeded, but in the first match was eliminated from the rest of the cycle by Aronian.

(C23) MC: 2007 WCup ; SK: 2007 WCup

In the next cycle, both players survived to the semifinal round of the World Cup. Carlsen was eliminated by Kamsky, and Karjakin was eliminated by Shirov. Kamsky beat Shirov in the final round to qualify for a subsequent match.

(C24) MC: 2008-09 GP ; SK: 2008-09 GP , 2009 WCup

The next cycle saw the introduction of the Grand Prix series. Carlsen dropped out after playing one event and declined to play in the World Cup. Karjakin played in both, but was again eliminated in the semifinal round of the World Cup, losing to Gelfand, who went on to win the event.

(C25) MC: 2013 CT , 2013 WCC; SK: 2011 WCup

In the next cycle, Carlsen was seeded into the Candidates Tournament by rating and narrowly won on tiebreak ahead of Kramnik. This catapulted him into a title match with Anand, which he also won. Karjakin was eliminated in the third round of the World Cup by Judit Polgar.

(C26) MC: 2014 WCC; SK: 2012-13 GP , 2013 WCup , 2014 CT

(C27) SK: 2014-15 GP , 2015 WCup , 2016 CT

As World Champion, Carlsen was exempt from qualifying the stages of the next cycles. Karjakin qualified by rating into the 2014 Candidates. He finished second behind Anand, but after a minus score in the first half, he was never in the running for first. In the current cycle, he won the World Cup, then won the Candidates event, setting up a title match with Carlsen later this year.