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Breaking news in the world championship unification saga. Ponomariov met with the FIDE brass in Moscow on Feb.12 and the unverified word is that he has agreed to play his FIDE title match with Kasparov at the classical time control (seven hours) and without draw odds. Rumors say that there's a good chance it will be in my old home, Buenos Aires, Argentina this Spring. Que grande! There's a report here in Russian. ChessNinja member penguin_with_visor translated the facts (and he notes that it's from a Ukrainian news agency and written by someone close to Ponomariov and probably isn't very objective. I (Mig) add that most of the news on this that comes from the Ukraine plays Ponomariov to be a martyred saint.) Thanks for the quick work, PWV!

Yesterday in Moscow Ponomariov met with Omuku and Ilyumzhinov's aid Berek Balgabaev. The meeting started at 6 pm and went, with some breaks, till 6 am in the morning. Kirsan himself showed up at 10 pm. According to Ponomariov, no translators were present, despite his requests and the fact that all documents read by Omuku were in English.

When Ilyumzhinov came, he told Ponomariov that FIDE is currently having problems with sponsoring Kramnik-Leko match because "FIDE will not be a hostage of the Einstein Group." Ponomariov says Ilyumzhinov offered him to consider his match with GK as "final", which Ponomariov declined, insisting on the full implementation of the Prague protocol.

In the end, Ponomariov signed the protocol concerning his match with Kasparov (no details given), at the same time obtaining Ilumzhinov's guarantee that all 3 matches (Leko-Kramnik, Pono-GK and the final) will take place under the same rules. The details of the match with Kasparov will be elaborated after the Linares tournament.

This seems to confirm that Ponomariov is playing Kasparov, but the final word will have to come from FIDE. This development puts more pressure on Einstein, who hold the rights to world champion Vladimir Kramnik's title contests. They are broke and the one person who gave them money for chess, Nahed Ojjeh, has broken off relations with them. She's a big Kramnik fan (wink wink) and this might lead to Big Vlad breaking off with Einstein. Certainly if they can't organize his title match with Leko before the middle of the year, it might not happen at all.

Unless unificiation stays on track, FIDE will just declare the winner of Kasparov-Ponomariov to be the champion and good night. Apparently the rumors about FIDE being involved with the Leko-Kramnik match were true. In way that works out nicely. If Einstein really is out of the picture, sooner or later, it will be sad news for chess. Problems aside, Einstein did put some effort into the game. (Come to think of it, they only auspiced Dortmund, a traditional event, so really the only thing they produced was the Kramnik-Fritz match last year.)

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on February 13, 2003 10:08 AM.

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