19 May 2010


While doing some work on Adolf Anderssen, I came across this statement by Howard Staunton from his tournament book for the London 1851 international chess tournament.
Chess is certainly the most widely spread scientific amusement even known among civilized nations. The Chess-amateur must travel far indeed in these days to find himself debarred from the indulgence of that pleasant recreation, the knowledge of which will often prove to be a surer passport in foreign lands than all the mysterious symbolism of Freemasonry. Among the most remote regions of the golden East, or the fabled West, in the torrid South, or on the frozen shores of the North, amongst the great military nations and amidst men devoted to commercial enterprise, the Chess-player, who is essentially a cosmopolite, will speedily find a circle of friends through the more than Masonic influence of this ancient and absorbing game.
Howard Staunton, The Chess Tournament (1873)
He then explains problems stemming from variations in the rules from country to country. The London tournament was, among other things, a substantially successful step towards unifying the rules by which we now play.

13 May 2010

Sofia Rule

In the recently finished World Chess Championship, the challenger adhered to the so-called Sofia Rule even though it was not among the rules for the match.

12 May 2010

Sour Grapes

A group of chess fans from Bulgaria took issue with ChessBase's one-sided coverage of the World Championship in which Viswanathan Anand dispatched challenger Veselin Topalov. It was a great match; both players can be proud of their performance and the quality of games. Of course, errors were made, and Topalov's final error was fatal.

It does seem that the world was rooting for Anand. This impression does not stem solely from the coverage by ChessBase, but from a potpourri of websites and chess discussion forums. Even so, Topalov has his admirers, including many in his own country. It's too bad that some of them are so partisan that they offer this nonsense:
Kramnik has not played even one nice game in his whole life and does not deserve anything except to be pitied.
Chess Fans from Bulgaria, Darmstadt, Germany
Kramnik has played many fine games.