Thursday, August 14, 2014

A Silly Chess News Day

With no over-the-board action coming from Tromsø yesterday, and with the key political dogfight for FIDE now over, attention turned to other news.

It all began with an article from The Times (UK) announcing that Judit Polar will retire from competitive chess. This is big. Except that nobody was really sure! The problem is The Times' article is behind a paywall.

On Twitter @ChessVibes tweeted, "It all just doesn't feel right, somehow." And the man behind TWIC, Mark Crowther, was having doubts, too.

Norwegian journo Tarjei J. Svensen did read the article but, according to him, there's absolutely no mention of retirement. And he's right. Here's the text of the article courtesy of today's The Australian. Still, just because there's no direct quote like "I'm retiring from competitive chess" doesn't mean that the whole story isn't true.

But Tarjei got all excited about some other thing.

Paired against the Malaysians in the last round, the Norwegian 1 team have decided to give Magnus Carlsen the day off. This doesn't seem particularly unusual to me. The local press, however, viewed Carlsen's non-appearance as a withdrawal. After their man's disastrous outing in round 10, you can imagine how the Norwegian press could leap to that conclusion. But GM Agdestein would have none of it; Carlsen's alleged withdrawal, he says, is "bullshit".

Although it wasn't quite as big a news, GM Nigel Short's agreement to work with FIDE did come as a surprise. A deal with the Devil perhaps?

Appropriately, yesterday ended with the announcement of the new Olympiad host. In 2018, the Olympiad caravan will head to Batumi. Chessdom has their bid video. The presentation has a lot of irrelevant imagery, but here are the key promises. Remember these!
  • 20 million USD budget 
  • 5-star accommodation for all participants
  • Two extra rooms for each delegation
  • 1.6 million USD travel subsidy
  • 800,000 USD assistance for developing federations
I might have preferred to see the planned playing hall, toilet facilities, the press room, etc. Hec, how much does a bottle of beer cost in Batumi? These are really the key questions.

To close, congrats to Indian chess star Humpy Koneru. She got hitched!

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