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Thursday, November 17, 2016

2016 World Championship Joke

     The Carlsen vs. Karjakin world championship match being held in New York City sounds like a complete fiasco, at least from a chess fans' point of view. The whole thing is just bizarre. Things got off to a weird start...FIDE president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov was not allowed to attend because his visa request was turned down and not a single major American news service was there. 
     One-day tickets to the VIP lounge range from $600-$900 per day which allows you to rub shoulders with celebrities, assorted VIPs and GMs, eat fancy snacks and drink fancy liquor and sit on designer furniture. During the first game Vladimir Putin’s press secretary was there and so was Woody Harrelson, the TV actor who played the dumb as a rock bartender Woody Boyd on the sitcom Cheers. It was a part where he didn't have to act, just be himself. There's commentary on the games on TVs spread all over the room.
     If you an ordinary non-millionaire working stiff who just likes chess, then you have to use the general admissions lounge, for which tickets run $75. There are GMs there (just the garden variety, I guess), journalists and the unwashed masses. They sell high-priced sandwiches, and you can watch the match live. 
     Well, you can sort of watch it. Calrsen and Karjakin are playing behind a black curtain manned by two security guards. You enter a pitch black hallway and walk up to a huge glass window where you can watch them play inside their soundproof box. You can see them, but they can't see you. It sounds like visiting the zoo when you're visiting a darkened enclosure where the animals are behind thick glass. 
The stage for the Botvinnik - Bronstein Match

     When the games started the organizers were caught off guard by the unexpected large turnout, which led to long lines and ticket refunds for some disgruntled spectators. Some people were furious at the arrangements. Folks paid $75 for a ticket and for what? Chairs were sparse and to view the players a hundred or more people had to stand in line awaiting their turn to get a glimpse of the players behind the glass. One spectator described the scene as "like being in a fish market"
     Organizers sold about 300 to 400 tickets for each day, but about 700 people showed up on the first Saturday because the organizers had handed out hundreds of complementary tickets that were valid for any day of the match; of course, most of the tickets were used on Saturday. Should they have been surprised by that? Organizers responded to the long lines for the viewing room by allocating time slots to people to enter the room. Sort of like a Fastpass at Disney World, I guess. 
     Match organizers sued last month to block a trio of website operators from distributing footage of the November 11-30 match which is expected to draw millions of online viewers. The lawsuit, filed by World Chess US Inc and World Chess Events Ltd in Manhattan federal court, seeks to limit the operators from streaming the match.
     You can view the games on the official site, if you agree to the terms using their widget.

     You are not permitted to use any content from the Widget except as expressly permitted by these Terms. You acknowledge that all the content present on the Widget is either owned by or licensed to World Chess Events Limited (Tropic Isle Building, P. O. Box 3423, Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands). Your use of such content shall be limited to its viewing for private noncommercial use. 
     YOU EXPRESSLY AGREE THAT INFORMATION ABOUT CHESS MOVES OF THE FIDE WORLD CHESS CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES IS EXPENSIVE TO PRODUCE AND GATHER AND TIME-SENSITIVE AND THAT UNCONTROLLED COPYING OF THIS INFORMATION DURING THE RESPECTIVE CHESS GAME MAY REDUCE THE INCENTIVE OF THE ORGANIZER OF THE FIDE WORLD CHESS CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH 2016 TO STAGE SIMILAR EVENTS IN THE FUTURE. YOU FURTHER AGREE NOT TO COPY OR COMMUNICATE ANY INFORMATION CONCERNING THE CHESS MOVES OF THE BROADCASTED GAMES DURING SUCH GAMES BY ANY MEANS TO ANY THIRD PARTY. 

     You can buy access for $15, $45 or $99 depending on how much information you want access to. As for this world championship match...Bah! Humbug! Who cares?

1 comment:

  1. I was at that first Saturday game as one of the suckers who paid $75 to sit on slabs in order to watch the game on the video monitor. It felt like a total scam.

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