When going through the tweets I saved this week, I spotted this thought-provoking tweet:
@ValaAfshar: “Didn’t exist in 2006: iPhone, iPad, Kindle, Uber, Airbnb, Android, Oculus, Spotify, Nest, Kickstarter, Stripe, Square, ,Instagram, Snapchat, WhatsApp.”
And Twitter? Twitter was created in March 2006, and launched in July of that year. Not everything in the list mentioned above is relevant for us chess players and fans. It is interesting to see how fast we got used to watch games of a big chess event on a smartphone or tablet. Everyday, everywhere.
Let’s take a quick trip down memory lane: do you remember who played the world championship match back in 2006? I have to admit that I had to look it up myself. It was the notorious “Toiletgate” match between Veselin Topalov and Vladimir Kramnik. The Russian is still a 2800+ player, whereas Topalov has dropped out of the top 20.
In 2006, a Chess Olympiad was played in Turin Italy (Winner Open: Armenia, winner women: Ukraine). The Israeli chess program “Junior” won the world computer chess world championship, which was also played in Turin. And who won the tournament in Wijk aan Zee in 2006 , the Corus Chess Tournament, to be precise? Veselin Topalov and Vishy Anand shared first place in Group A with 9/13. In the B group Motylev and and young gun from Norway, called Magnus Carlsen shared first place, also with 9/13. Time flies!
Vishy analyzing on a wooden demonstration board. (Corus 2006)
Back to Wijk aan Zee! In 2007 there was no livestream, live commentary or a quick video interview after the game. Grandmasters analyzed the game in the press room on a wooden demonstration board. But something important happened in January 2007:
@peterdoggers: “Today 10 years ago I filmed my first press conference in Wijk aan Zee. The rest is (@ChessVibes) history. 🙂
And guess what: I found a picture of the 2007 event in my vault.
Peter Doggers, Corus 2007. Picture by @Chessurfer.
Probably for the first time, chess fans all over the world could get an inside look in the press room of Wijk aan Zee. And as Peter stated in his tweet, the rest is history.
Today, we can follow Tata Steel Chess virtually in real time, with a livestream, commentary on various sites, twitter updates, facebook posts, instagram pictures and what have you. It is certainly great for the sponsor and the tournament to have a big worldwide audience on the World Wide Web, but it seems that a part of the the magic and mystery of Wijk aan Zee is gone. What happens in Wijk, stays in Wijk. But hey, maybe I am just a grumpy old man? Isn’t is just great that everbody gets the chance to see the games and the players live? On a smartphone or a tablet?
Let’s have a look at a few tweets of first week of the Tata Chess Tournament. In an earlier post I made a list of twitter accounts of the participants, and some of them use twitter to keep the fans up-to-date in an exemplary manner, e.g. @HariChess: “Solid game with many exchanges in tatasteelchess. Did not get many chances in the match against Dmitri and had to repeat moves to draw.”
Thanks for the updates, Hari!
@SergeyKarjakin entertains his fans with tweets like: “The only reason why I played 6.a3 against @anishgiri is that I forgot adaptor for my laptop and I urgently had to create a new ideas??”
And after his crazy win against Aronian: “It is always fantastic to play one good game in a row, but sometimes it is more effective to play one good move in a row???. #11.c4!!!”
Karjakin mentioned Anish Giri in his tweets: the young Dutchman often tweets himself, but Giri seems to concentrate fully on his tournament. However, there are many other people who tweet about Giri, mainly about his draw addiction, @elgransenor1: “Giri is a pawn up with a huge advantage in the ending. Expect a draw soon”.
@seitenschach:“Things aren’t going well for Anish Giri today, who got tricked into an attacking position, risking a win.”
It is easy to make fun of Anish, and @forwardchess tweets: “Surely he is tired of people like us giving him crap about draws. I believe he is always trying to win.” @MarkTWIC: I think so too. He’s an exceptional, still improving young player.”
And sometimes, even Giri loses but if so, in a special game: @gmjlh: “If there is such a thing as sexy chess, Aronian-Giri must be the definition of it”. Don’t worry Anish, even the world champion loses a game sometimes: @EuropeEchecs: “Richard Rapport plays «normal chess» and wins against world champion Magnus Carlsen!” Paco Vallejo, @Chessidharta tweeted: “In the end… even Magnus is human.”
@mauriceashley: “Another shocker: Magnus Carlsen lost today at Tata Steel against Richard Rapport. Has the World Champion lost his air of invincibility?”
The great thing about Wijk is that you get to see some lesser known players, like Rapport and Adhiban, who are highly motivated and play some refreshing openings, resulting in fantastic games. @CazHansen: “Adhiban won his 3rd game in a row today. Who will stop him? He plays exciting chess. I say keep it going! “
All in all, you could say that the first week in Wijk aan Zee was pretty crazy. Good to have a rest day sometimes, what do you think @Radek_Wojtaszek: “There are a lot of tough and crazy games here at #TataSteelChess. Its good to have a rest day to recover. Five more rounds to go!”
I guess that tournament photographer Alina L’Ami is happy to get a rest day as well: @alinalami: “Dear all, my camera fell on the ground and cracked. Feeling… :(” . Off day tomorrow, that includes the arbiters and photographer – time to replace my gear!”
Oh, and it will be exciting to see if Wesley So can extend his record in the last week of Tata. @2700chess: “Wesley So (2816.6) setup his new amazing record: 50 classical games without losses (+20 =30) since 16 July 2016”.
Anything else happened last week, outside of Wijk aan Zee? Oh, wait….
Chess fans must be happy these days, because we do not only see many top players in Wijk aan Zee, the Gibraltar Chess Festival started this week. Follow @GibraltarChess and use the hashtag #Gibchess.
@nigelshortchess: “The competition at @GibraltarChess is so fierce that I dare not even dream about a 4th victory. I’ll just try to play a good game at a time.”
@kevinwinter59: “In Manchester ready to fly to Gib for the best Open around. Hope the wine is cheap, £7.50 for large one here !”
And one final tweet, by @Country_Knoop: “Both Wimbledon and #TataSteelChess wouldn’t be the same without their quintessential food treat (strawberries and erwtensoep, respectively)”
And that raises the question: what is the quintessential food treat in Gibraltar? Suggestions to @ChessClassic!
More Tata and Gibraltar tweets coming up next week! Your blogger will be in Haarlem on Wednesday 25 January to visit the Tata Chess on Tour event. A picture gallery of that day will be posted in this blog. Want to say hello to your blogger? Send a tweet to @ChessClassic to meet and greet! Tot ziens!