The number of 2700+ players in the world is back to 50. The main news is that Magnus Carlsen has broken the all-time rating record once again, while Pentala Harikrishna entered the 2700+ club for the first time in his life.
In 2010 a column by Natalia Pogonina was dedicated to the possible sources of income of chess players and estimates of their earnings depending on skill. The idea of creating a live rating list of prize money winnings has been suggested by Peter Zhdanov in one of the articles previously published by ChessBase in 2012. The key message of the latter publication was that making the financial details publicly available is a crucial step towards transforming chess into a mainstream sport and making the game more popular. From theory to practice: this paper is a first attempt at creating a list featuring chess players who have made more prize money than anyone else in year 2012.
A stereotypical chess player is a noble intellectual who is not interested in money. A common belief is that playing chess is not a profession; hence even grandmasters are expected to have “real jobs”. Is it true or not? Today we are publishing our own Chess Cash Kings-2012 rating – a list of chess players with the highest prize money winnings in 2012.
Notably, there is a serious gap between the two players who played the World Chess Championship match (Viswanathan Anand and Boris Gelfand) and everyone else. Non chess-related activities were not accounted for, so you won’t see Garry Kasparov or Anatoly Karpov on the list. It features only active top players whose primary income sources are chess-related.
The list has been compiled using public information sources, namely, the official websites of the tournaments and regulations of the events. The figures do not include endorsement deals and non-tournament chess earnings (book royalties, simultaneous exhibitions, coaching, scholarships, unofficial games, etc.). Hence, in some cases the real earnings of the players are considerably higher. Another confusing factor is taxes: some of the tournament organizers list the amounts after tax deduction, while others provide pre-tax figures. Additionally, a lot depends on the tax policies of different countries.
Most top tournaments conceal the amount of the prize money and the appearance fees. They prefer to negotiate the conditions personally with each player without informing the public about the details, thus saving funds and avoiding paying taxes. While common sense tells us that the chess community should be evolving towards financial transparency and legal payments, it is clear that the organizers and many of the players themselves will be reluctant to cooperate.
Of course, there are exceptions, but the average figure of the first prize at a super tournament is $50,000-$100,000. The appearance fees for players rated 2700+ are usually in the $10,000-$20,000 range. The very top stars can negotiate even better rates.
To make the list more representative, we tried to list the most important details even when the data is missing. Please don’t judge this article too strictly: as far as we know, it is the first attempt of this kind in the chess world:
Pogonina.com offers you a selection of some of the most informative chess tweets from last week. All the fresh chess news in one short post:
Who do you think will win?
Kim Kardashian expressed an interest in learning chess under Levon Aronian's guidance
Quote of the week
Kosintseva sisters won't be playing for Russia at Women's World Team Chess Championship
Alexandra Kosteniuk: I wish the sisters will return to the Team asap. It would also be nice if Russian Chess Federation held "discussions" with the leading female chess players not only in such cases. All the other issues are an inner business of the team and RCF, so they should be sorted out between the players and the federation. Closing this topic, I am starting to prepare for the WWTC - the tournament in Kazakhstan will be the toughest one for us in 12 years.
Without even trying, how do they do it?!
World Women's Chess Champion Anna Ushenina received Order of Princess Olga of Second Class
Magnus Carlsen won Tata Steel Chess Tournament with 10/13
Sergey Karjakin: I attended an exhibition where a round-the-clock chess channel was presented. Also played a game against a chess robot. Draw :)
Congratulations to the legendary ex-World Chess Champion
Chess in schools
Kirsan Ilyumzhinov: Moscow. A meeting with the Chairman of the Russian Communist Party G. Zyuganov. We have been discussing the development of chess in our country. The Communist Party will support the Chess in Schools program.
Have we missed some of the best tweets? You can contribute to our next top-10 stories chart by retweeting the post you like and adding @Pogonina to the message so that we can see it.
World Women's Team Chess Championship without Kosintseva Sisters
Written by Administrator
Wednesday, 30 January 2013
The Kosintseva sisters were looking concerned at the closing ceremony of the Chess Olympiad-2012, which Russia won
The information that was previously available only to the members of the team and the Russian Chess Federation officials has been made public. In today's interview chief coach of the Russian chess teams Evgeny Bareev announced that the Kosintseva sisters won't be playing for Russia in March at the World Women's Team Chess Championship. According to him, they gave an ultimatum: replace women's chess team captain Sergey Rublevsky, or they are not taking part. While the sisters have not provided the exact reason for this demand, Sergey himself mentioned to Evgeny that it might have to do with him acting overemotionally after the match with Ukraine and trying to "shake up" the team. GM Bareev said that the sisters were asked to explain their position in writing, and after that a final decision will be made.
As a result, the training session before the WWTC will be attended by Natalia Pogonina, Alexandra Kosteniuk, Valentina Gunina, Olga Girya, Anastasia Bodnaruk and Alexandra Goryachkina. All of them, except Anastasia Bodnaruk, are expected to play at the WWTC.
When asked why Alisa Galliamova is not being considered, Evgeny mentioned that she is often reluctant to travel (afraid of traveling by plane - Pogonina.com) and has basically given up on chess, playing very rarely ("once in half a year"). Hence, inviting her is risky.
"I would like to see a battleworthy team in Astana, in which the younger girls won't be feeling lost. Olga Girya played at the Chess Olympiad in 2010, but for the second team. Sasha Goryachkina is lacking even such an experience. Meanwhile, the first team performance is very important, it provides emotions for the rest of the life. Other three girls are winners, they know how to play and to succeed. If the experienced girls support the youngsters, we should be able to finish in the top-3", - says Evgeny Bareev.
"It is sad that a compromise hasn't been reached between the two sides. Obviously, the Russian team will be much weaker without Nadezhda and Tatiana. Also, unfortunately, the interview published at RCF website is a turning point after which there is no way back. Now it will be harder to work out a mutually acceptable solution. If Sergey Rublevsky steps down, he will be considered a loser, and the RCF's reputation will be stained. If the sisters agree to play under his leadership, they will be be regarded as people who have given up on their beliefs. Overall, the situation is disappointing and difficult to handle. In terms of the nearest future, Alexandra, Natalia and Valentina are strong enough to potentially perform well on the first three boards. The younger players have their chance of a lifetime to shine and prove that they are worthy of playing for the strongest chess nation in the world. We will see what happens and wish them good luck", - comments Pogonina.com editor Peter Zhdanov.
Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation and Head of the Russian Chess Federation Arkady Dvorkovich tweeted to Natalia Pogonina: "We have done everything we could to make sure they do play. I don't understand why they refuse to play for Russia..."
P.S. January 2013 FIDE ratings of top-11 Russian female players:
In January 2013 Magnus Carlsen officially became the highest-rated chess player ever, beating the seemingly unsurpassable achievement of Garry Kasparov (2851). Magnus’ ELO reached a skyrocket height of 2861. However, after winning Tata Steel Chess Tournament Carlsen’s February FIDE rating is expected to be 2872, which is another record. Many people have announced a “countdown to 2900”, eagerly anticipating Magnus to hit that ethereal mark. So, how good are his chances?
Magnus Carlsen’s rating history
As one can easily see from the graph, Magnus Carlsen is an improving player (sounds funny, right?). His rating tends to grow over time.
Over the last two years Magnus Carlsen has been steadily (!) increasing his ELO, from 2802 in November 2010 to 2872 in February 2013. He hasn't experienced any failures at all. Carlsen’s performances over this period range from 2826 to 2990. The young GM’s last four results are particularly impressive: 2892, 2889, 2990 and 2933. These figures seem to prove that 2900 is a realistic goal for the Norwegian chess genius.
By candidate master Peter Zhdanov, editor of Pogonina.com
In this special weekly column we will be looking at the most unexpected upsets that happened last week. Players usually face opponents of a comparable level. Considerably less frequent are situations when a significantly lower-rated player succeeds in beating a much stronger adversary.
If you have ever won a game against someone rated 300 points or above of yourself, please send it to us for publication. Any additional information (a photo, annotations, etc.) will be appreciated.
Natalia Pogonina Interviewed by Russian Communal Standard Magazine
Written by Administrator
Tuesday, 22 January 2013
Chess is an ancient game that has captured the hearts of many people. Throughout history chess has been popular among thinkers, poets and rulers. Nowadays this is a game played by millions. While at first glance chess might seem to be dull and boring, in reality it is full of action and tension. By playing chess one gets to develop one's logical sense and improve the thinking process. A great benefit of chess is that by learning to plan our own actions and anticipate the activity of other people we gain an important real-life skill. Chess helps to become more successful, expand one's horizons, achieve new goals in one's career and personal life. Becoming more confident, stress resistant and stronger analytically are other advantages of studying chess.
Natalia Pogonina knows about this like few others do. Among her multiple prestigious titles are: Olympic team & individual chess champion (2012), Russian women's chess champion (2012), European Team Champion and runner-up at World Team Chess Championship (2011), winner of European Club Cup (2011). Natalia shares her thoughts in an exclusive interview for Russian Communal Standard Magazine.
- Natalia, can women compete on par with men in chess? For example, in tennis, swimming and many other sports men are just stronger physically...
- They can, but it's a rare phenomenon. Among the world's top-100 players there is just one lady. The main reason for this is probably gender discrimination. Very few parents encourage their daughters to attend chess clubs. Also, many coaches are reluctant to work with girls, because they treat them as the inferior sex chess-wise and believe that they will never become good players anyway. Additionally, after marriage and, especially, giving birth, it is typical of women to quit. Professional chess players have to travel from one tournament to another, and this is not an attractive lifestyle for most married women. Nonetheless, I hope that we will be seeing more strong female chess players in the future.
- How is "women's chess" different from "men's chess"?
- Men are less emotional and more pragmatic. Let's say there is a chance to a tie in a large open tournament. Quite a few male pros are likely to negotiate the outcomes of the final round and avoid taking risks. Women usually fight till the end; women's chess is very exciting and unpredictable.
- Male chess players are often sporting old sneakers, dirty baggy jeans with coffee stains...On the contrary, women are dressed stylishly and wear make-up. Should a chess player care about his appearance and outfit, or should he only care about his chess performance and look whatever way he wants to?
- In my opinion, it is important to be well-groomed and elegantly dressed. Of course, a lot depends on the status of the tournament. If it is an open event for amateurs, then there is no need to impose a strict dress-code. After all, they are paying their own money to compete. Some of the guys are coming to the playing venue right after their real job, being tired and barely catching their breath. Talking about super tournaments and official events, everyone is supposed to be dressed respectably. The spectators & the sponsors won't be happy if the players look like homeless people. Hence, most of the top grandmasters to care for their public image. Of course, there are exceptions, the nutty professor-type GMs, but when there are few of them, then it's not a problem. Just adds some spice to the game.
- Is it true that some Chinese players are using special balms in order to confuse the opponents? What other means can women use to throw their opponents off balance?
- The Chinese team is indeed well-known for applying certain balms that are mind-expanding. Also, they have special teas which increase a person's concentration. Women in general? They can try to catch a man off-guard at the board by wearing a sexy decollete, or surprise a woman by buying a new flashy blouse. Chess history knows a lot of behind-the-scene tricks: kicking under the table, muttering, inviting hypnotists. Some people are not very picky when their career success is at stake. Also, chess players are expected to be ready to take doping tests, which is kind of silly. The list of forbidden medicines is that same as for the other athletes, while it should have been entirely different. After all, the key component of a chess player's performance is how well one's brain is working. Much more important is the problem of cheating prevention, i.e., making sure that no one is getting human or computer assistance during the games.
- You, chess players, can foresee the moves of the opponent. And how can a regular person learn how to think strategically and plan ahead? Any quick tips?
- Chess is an excellent model of life and a good simulator of making decisions. It teaches us to carefully assess the situation, consider all the factors involved and come to the right conclusion. The game is beneficial for both kids and their parents. Therefore, it is not surprising that the number of schools which are including chess into the study plan is increasing, while private lessons are becoming more and more popular among adults. Of course, chess is not the only way of acquiring such skills. For example, studying exact sciences has a similar effect.
- Such long tournaments as the Olympiad that can last for weeks must be devastating. How do you stay in shape?
- I like soccer, volleyball, basketball, skating, jogging, dancing. Besides, going out for a walk is a good idea.
- There is a common belief that all the chess players were nerds at school and had only excellent marks. Also, they are supposed to be Math wizards. Is this the case with you?
- At school I did better in the humanities than in Math and didn't have all A-s. However, I have a college degree in Law with a GPA average of 5.0 (the highest possible in Russian universities - Pogonina.com), which is a subject for good-natured jokes coming from my friends and relatives.
Natalia Pogonina is one of the few women in the history of chess who managed to break the 2500 FIDE rating threshold, which is traditionally associated with the playing strength of a GM
- How many hours per day should one study to reach a professional level in chess?
- This is a tough question. There are different layers of professionalism in chess. If we are talking about someone who is a contender for the World Chess Champion title, then he is expected to work on chess full-time, about as much as people do at their regular job. Women are generally less organized and less willing to study independently. A lot depends on the person. By far not all of us have a strict schedule. Sometimes I study vigorously, and sometimes hardly do anything at all. There are also chess addicts, of course. To sum it all up, professional chess requires consistent concentration of one's physical and mental energies. Caissa doesn't tolerate unfaithfulness.