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Making a List, Checking It Twice

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FIDE has released the "final" list of players for the 2004 FIDE world championship in Tripoli, Libya starting on June 18. No Israelis are on the list. Smirin was the top reserve and had sent in his agreement so I hope this will be explained. Perhaps he was a little put off by the tournament organizer calling him the enemy. American Boris Gulko is on the list, something of a surprise after his impassioned letter. I'm not sure he answers e-mail on Shabbat but I'm hoping to get the full story from him this weekend. Perhaps he felt that FIDE had done all it could to let his fellow "Zionist infiltrators" into the event, even if it is being run by a lunatic. Or maybe the list is simply wrong; it would hardly be the first time.

[ Update 1hr later: GM Gulko just informed me he will NOT be playing and tells of his e-mail exchange today with FIDE veep Israel Gelfer. FIDE seemed to be of the opinion that all of the issues Gulko raised in his letter were invalid ("denied" is the word they use). Gulko disabused them of this notion, and writes "until the Libyan authorities renounce the notorious statement of the President of the Libyan Organizing Committee, Mohammad Qaddafy, I will not be participating in this tournament." ]

Even without Kasparov, Kramnik, Karpov, Khalifman, Ksvidler, and Kbareev, there are 19 (!) Russians on the list of 128 players. The USA is next with seven six players. Kasparov opines that there is a 99% chance of one of the top six "heavyweights" winning the event. Topalov, Morozevich, Adams, Grischuk, Ivanchuk, Short. For FIDE the dream is for a Russian to win, making it much easier for Ilyumzhinov to negotiate unification plans with a Kasparov match in early 2005. The FIDE wet dream is for FIDE VP Azmaiparashvili to win!

It's a little early to start handicapping, but Adams always comes to mind in these events. It's a lottery, especially when you have very strong players like former Russian champion Lastin seeded 53rd!

1 Comment

Presumably the reason that Israel Gelfer is writing to Gulko on FIDE's behalf is because Gelfer is on FIDE's World Championship Committee.

I shall be in Ramat Gan, Israel, for the World Computer Chess Championship, running from July 4th-12th, where I had been hoping to meet my friend Gelfer. Now I realise that, unfortunately, I will miss him. He will not be there at that time because, presumably, as a member of FIDE's World Championship Committee he will be at the human World Championship instead, rather than at the computer World Championship.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on May 28, 2004 6:49 PM.

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