This past week was a lost one in the Panner household as we all succumbed to a flu bug. Now that I am back somewhat healthy, I figure it is time to comment on some of the chess things that occurred over the last week.
I realize the year is less than a month old so far, but Topalov-Kramnik at the Corus tournament had to have been the game of the year thus far.
I probably should mention something about Fischer's death, but honestly, I am so tired of seeing debates on Fischer. Like any player, yes I respect his games. I think he also did a fair share of setting the game back with his actions and it pains me to see so many apologists for him. My least favorite topic when I teach chess is when the occasional student asks about what Fischer is doing and why he doesn't play any more after I show one of his games. Now at least there is an easily understood answer suitable for telling school kids.
It is interesting that even in fall 2007 Iceland was seriously courting Karpov to come for a match against Fischer to take place. Plans actually were derailed by Fischer's illness. That would have been worth watching.
The NACA IM norm bearing round robin is now just a couple of rounds from finishing up with both Dr. Tansel Turgut and Mehmed Pasalic in contention for IM norms. The chess has been hard fought this last week though with a fair share of minor blemishes. These events are one of the few occasions our master level players get to try to achieve international titles without having to travel abroad. Invitations to this type of event is an honor, so when I see things like what happened this week transpire, it really ticks me off.
Bill Calton and Tom Bartell both withdrew from the event. Withdrawing from a RR is significantly different than from a swiss. In a RR event, if a player drops before completing half of their games, their score does not count at all, so a player could conceivably lose a NORM chance because someone drops out too early (even if you already played them). It also isn't fair to drop for the spirit of the event and is considered in very poor taste. Having organized events like this, I can tell you that it is MUCH easier to run a 200 player swiss than have to deal with a 10 player round robin. If I were Sevan, not only would I not invite either of these guys back, but would also warn the other organizers against inviting such tools to their event.