Michael Adams | November 14, 2012 21:23

Last Minute in London

Around lunchtime the day before the opening ceremony, I got a late call up to the London leg of the FIDE Grand Prix substituting for Peter Svidler for that one event only. Despite the lateness of the invite, openings-wise I fared quite well, but was tired towards the end of the event and felt I should have picked up a few more half points from the positions I had.
The rules were the usual FIDE mishmash: it’s not clear why Sofia rules are used during this event when they aren’t during the World Championship match when they would actually be useful. The event was also unusual for unintentionally employing two different time controls; we started with 40/2 followed by 20/1 but now things got confusing as in the first couple of games you were only credited with your additional 15 mins plus 30 seconds once your regular time had elapsed rather than on move 60. The additional increment would have been welcome in my first game with Wang Hao. To remedy this flaw from round 3 onwards, we received the increment on move 60 as is the norm.
This event was the first to be organised by Agon although it is clear that they won’t have time to implement their main ideas until at least the London Candidates. Obviously they are serious about chess and I was impressed with their concepts concerning branding and presentation of the game several of which were new to me. I hope they can be successful with the big problems of finding sponsors, and creating a proper World Championship cycle.

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Michael Adams's picture
Author: Michael Adams

Michael Adams became a grandmaster at the age of 17 and has been a professional chess player for over 20 years. In 2006 he began writing a chess column in the Saturday Telegraph Weekend section.

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Comments

Seeley's picture

"Obviously they are serious about chess and I was impressed with their concepts concerning branding and presentation of the game"

It's interesting to read a professional player's thoughts on the staging of this event and I'd be interested to know what concepts specifically Michael Adams is referring to here.

From my own perspective, as an English chess enthusiast, it was extremely disappointing to have a major tournament such as this held in London but not to be allowed access to it. I don't know if the barring of spectators from their events is part of Agon's grand vision for chess or if it was the consequence of some unforeseen problem, but it doesn't seem to me like a very effective way of generating interest in the game.

Thomas's picture

Adams writes that he is impressed with their _concepts_, also stating that they haven't yet been realized. The London venue has lots of chess tradition but cannot cater to the needs of on-site spectators. Indeed there was an "unforeseen problem" - moving the event from Chelyabinsk to London at short notice (due to some 'shenanigans' behind the scene).
The Agon concept includes holding events in major cities, let's hope they will also find suitable venues for forthcoming events.

Seeley's picture

"Adams writes that he is impressed with their _concepts_, also stating that they haven't yet been realized"

Yes, I understood that, thank you. My point was that I was interested to know which concepts in particular impressed Michael Adams, and your highlighting the word 'concepts' for me hasn't really shed any light on that.

Greg's picture

I'm not sure if the comment about Sofia rules in World Championship matches was actually a serious suggestion, or just a throw-away line complaining about draws in the Anand-Gelfand match. They would at least need substantially tweaking to have any value - if two players insist on agreeing a draw in a match then the current double default penalties would obviously be completely useless!

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