Pie in the sky?

9/3/2003 – Yesterday we reported on a Supertournament in Mumbai. After all it was splashed all over the biggest Indian newspapers. Now most of the top players say they know nothing about this event. Even more embarrassing: it turns out our August 27th report on the "Face on Mars" was also flawed. Here is the whole shocking truth.

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The Mumbai event appeared in all the major Indian newspapers, like the Times of India and The Hindu. According to them a top chess event was to be staged in Indias commercial center Mumbai in December. Amongst teh 13 GMs participating the names Kasparov, Karpov, Anand, Kramnik, Leko, Grischuk, Shirov, Svidler, Polgar, Bareev, Adams and Short were mentioned.

However the next day when Garry Kasparov was questioned by World Chess Ratings his answer was blunt: "I know nothing about this event, I have not been consulted." And Nigel Short confirms: "I had not heard anything about this Mumbai business until someone informed me that I was down to play." Judit Polgar also had not heard anything about the tournament in which she would be playing.

Sounds like pie in the sky. The event is not very plausible anyway – wasn't the next FIDE knockout cycle going to be held around the same time? We haven't been able to contact some of the key players, but we will keep you briefed on the progress of this phantom tournament as information seeps in.

Face on Mars

In the meantime we learn that the "Face on Mars" picture we used in our August 27th report was also probably flawed. Javier Sanchez de la Barquera of Monterrey, Mexico, informed us that Hubble cannot take pictures with the zoom given, and that pictures in gray are taken from satellites orbiting mars. "I understand that you want to put some spectacularity into your articles," he wrote, "but not at the expense of pseudocientific statements". Many others wrote in a similar vein.

We investigated the matter and discovered that once again some misguided soul in the ChessBase team had faked the picture, photoshopping an image of Garry Kasparov into the surface of Mars. We even found what is probably the original source of the picture.

Above is a picture of Garry Kasparov during a press conference after his match against Deep Junior in January this year. On the left is NY Sports Commissioner Ken Podziba, on the right FIDE president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov.

We also traced the joker's practice efforts – a Mars surface picture with many Kasparov faces copied into it. The prankster simply took the one which looked most realistic.


This is the original fase as it appears on most conspiracy sites.


This is a recent JPL/NASA picture, which softens into the "face"


And here's an angular view which makes it even less face-like

Our apologies to readers who took the whole business seriously. We did give away everything in our final paragraph, where we wrote: "An incredible geological formation, that looks eerily familiar. We must come to the conclusion that GMs Nunn and Chandler are in genuine danger, since the Martians are obviously fans of a different chess player."


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