23 December 2017

2018 Fischer Memorial

What's the biggest single problem with chess960? There aren't enough games to report on! And there aren't enough games, because there aren't enough chess960 tournaments. The last time I reported on contemporary events was in (Not so?) Rare Birds, Summer 2017 (July 2017).

Sure, I could report on games from the many ongoing chess960 tournaments on the various online servers, but there is a certain element missing from online games. I'm not sure what it is exactly. Missing some tension? Missing some drama? Missing something else?

When the players travel to the same physical destination, meet face-to-face, and fight with the constraints of a physical clock, of visible spectators, and of real pieces that they grab in their hands, this all adds to a sense of permanence.

Events like the GAMMA Reykjavík Open 2018 – Bobby Fischer Memorial – March 6th – 14th don't come along very often. Although the tournament was held every two years starting in 1964, and every year starting in 2008, this year will see its first (official?) chess960 event (aka Fischer Random, aka Fischer chess, aka ..., we all know the routine). The site for the Reykjavík Open says on its main page,

The GAMMA Reykjavík Open 2018 will be a very special event. This time the tournament will be dedicated to the CHESS KING Bobby Fischer. An Icelandic citizen in his last years, Robert James Fischer was born on March 9th 1943. That means he would have turned 75 years old during GAMMA Reykjavik Open 2018.

His contributions to chess history will be celebrated during the tournament. Instead of the normal 10 rounds there will be nine rounds this year and a "free day" on March 9th. Then a special event will be organized – a Fischer Random championship with excellent prices.

The date for the chess960 tournament has extra meaning, because that would have been the day that Fischer turned 75 years old. The page for the chess960 event, European Fischer Random Cup 2018 (Free day), says,

1. ORGANIZERS: The Icelandic Chess Federation and the European Chess Union.

2. DATE, VENUE, SCHEDULE: The tournament is open for everyone, but the highest ranked European player will be European Champion in Fischer Random chess. The tournament takes place in Harpa (the playing venue of the GAMMA Reykjavik Open) on March 9th and starts at 13.00.

3. SYSTEM AND RATE OF PLAY: The Fischer Random Cup shall be played according to the Swiss System in 9 rounds. Time controls are 10 minutes + 3 second increment per every move.

4. RULES: The FIDE Chess960 Rules will be used. [with a link to the rules on Fide.com]

5. PRIZES: 1. €2,000; 2. €1,000; [...]

What was I saying about 'a certain element missing from online games'? Maybe I shouldn't have spoken so categorically; Win A Ticket To The Bobby Fischer Memorial (chess.com):-

By playing in the first Chess.com Chess960 Championship on January 4 you can win a ticket to the Bobby Fischer Memorial in March in Reykjavik and play in the Chess960 tournament that will be held on Fischer's birthday. [...] The Chess.com team loves Chess960, and we know the organizers well since we've provided the live broadcast of the tournament for several years now. So, we decided to join forces and organize a Chess960 tournament that is closely connected to the Fischer Memorial.

The mention that 'It's for titled players only' brought howls from the commenters and eventually a pseudo hashtag:-


I have to agree with that, although a comment from the author of the article, Peter Doggers, said, 'We had to decide to keep our Chess960 tournament for titled players only, at least for this year.' There's always next year! What will the format this year be?

It will be a nine-round Swiss with a time control of four minutes plus two seconds increment per move.

That's too fast for my taste, but I'll certainly report on the event after it's over. Let's add both the Reykjavík Open and the Chess.com Chess960 Championship to the events I mentioned in Three Chess960 Developments to Watch (October 2017).

1 comment:

HarryO said...

Hi Mark - Could we being seeing a changing of the guard? Quote Maxime Lagrave "If you are not enjoying Chess960 you might as well retire".
Source: https://youtu.be/INs7IkjeQhE

Note that the youtube link is from the first ever all Chess960 online competition by Chess.com. Yasser Seirawan's comprehension skills in 960 are amazing. Check out how quickly he gets the major ideas.

In that youtube Yasser claims Chess960 was not really invented by Bobby Fischer but by people like Benko. Is he trying to distance Chess960 from Fischer legacy perhaps?

PS) Another good Chess960 video by an IM: