For those of you with a slightly more high-brow taste in chess blogging, Michael's your man. Take a note to peruse his right side bar under "Best of..."
Also, in the spirit of the upcoming FIDE World Championships, the Guardian Weekly has this long article on the King of Kalmyk. That is none other than FIDE boss Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. From the article:
Kalmykia's murky finances have raised as many eyebrows as his eccentric public statements. Chess City - the $50m complex that he built on the edge of his sleepy capital - turned out to be a white elephant of Millennium Dome proportions: its foundations are subsiding and few of its luxury homes are inhabited. The match this week could not be held there because although the complex has a swimming pool, a hotel and a grocery store, it does not have a hall large enough for a big chess match.
Ilyumzhinov's re-election as head of Fide in June followed a harshly fought campaign that saw opponents accuse him of dragging chess into disrepute. Nigel Short, the British grandmaster who was in the camp that opposed Ilyumzhinov, warned before the vote that "either Fide stays a cowboy organisation mired in sleaze and shunned by corporate sponsors, or it becomes a modern, professional sporting body". Yet Ilyumzhinov's survival suggests that not everyone finds his notoriety off-putting.
Read more of the King of Kalmykia from The Guardian.
It's times like a World Chess Championship when some mainstream heavies like the NY Times devotes a column or two in its pages to chess. Yesterday, The Grey Lady featured an article by Dylan Loeb McClain who quotes GM Yasser Seirawan: "The title has been cheapened...It really affected sponsors much to the detriment of the game. If Mercedes- Benz or General Motors wanted to sponsor the world chess championship and there is another one going on down the street, then they end up asking, 'What am I sponsoring?'"
From the New York Times: Chess world awaits true champion (The link goes to IHT, actually, but the content is originally from NYT. IHT is an NY Times company).