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Gimme a K!

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Uzbekistani GM Rustam Kasimdzhanov triumphed over odds, Elo, and four world-class opponents to become the new FIDE world champion. Despite eliminating Ivanchuk, Grischuk, Topalov, and Adams he will be a heavy underdog in his unification match against Garry Kasparov, which is (very) tentatively scheduled for January 2005.

Clearly the odds-makers underestimated the K-factor. No, not the number used to calculate rating changes after a game, but the first letter of Kasimdzhanov's name. Karpov, Kasparov, Kramnik... 1999 FIDE WCh Alexander Khalifman's name was often transliterated as "Halifman" but he wisely went with the K to clinch the title. Only the letter S has as many classical champs: Steinitz, Smyslov, Spassky. In Russian the Ks have it because Capablanca also starts with K!

The Kasparov-Kasimdzhanov match is supposed to be played under the same rules as the Ponomariov match that never happened. 12 games, classical time control. Kasimdzhanov has lived in Germany for a while, but is still getting a hero's welcome in Uzbekistan. That nation is a tidy dictatorship, but it's a very open question whether or not they will be interested in sponsoring a big chess match. Not every despot likes attention as much as Ghaddafi and Ilyumzhinov. [Edit 08:52: Serendipity.]


Many people will think: "Is Kasimdhzanov the World Champion we deserve?"

He has won the World Championship organized by FIDE after many problems with Ponomariov, Kasparov and Praga agreement signers.

Looking at FIDE nowadays is always an unanswered question. We don't know whether Kasimdhzanov will play the match vs. Kasparov. And we don't know whether reunification match will ever be played. The only thing it seems to go as was planned is Krammik - Leko match. But I don't think this match is also representative of World Chess. Why Leko? "Because he won Dortmund". OK, but why Dortmund?

I don't think we deserv this kind of World Championship. This knock-out system may be OK for chess in Olympic Games but not to decide World Champion. I think that a Double Round Robin tournament with highest rated 10, 12, 14 or 16 players will be the first step for reunification. And after that? Perhaps we should go back to Zonal and Interzonal tournaments and then Candidates Final with a Round Robin.

This system isn't the best thing, I know, but personally I think is better than the actual one.

Fischer setup the position after that Kasparov simply delivered a coup the grace to the Fide. A more respectable world chess federation wouldn't have such a hard time finding funds for a match. It's time to refer to chess as a game not a sport.

A "world championship" that excludes Israelis (or any religious or national body) is too disreputable for words; a new low, if it can be believed, for FIDE.

Poor Kasim, whose deserved win is besmirtched by another implicit FIDE-championship "asterisk."

Israeli players were never stopped to go to Libya. It is their problem if they didn't want to go.

On the other hand, this is just the "FIDE world championship", not the real world championship.

If you think the Israelis didn't want to play in the world championship you are swallowing the FIDE trick. They arranged completely unacceptable conditions and then acted as if it were the Israelis who were at fault.

First they promised an alternative venue in Malta for the Israelis because the Libyans said they wouldn't let them in (already unacceptable, but better than nothing). Then FIDE changed its mind, cancelled Malta with just a few weeks to go, and announced "everyone" would be welcome in Libya. A few days later the ORGANIZER OF THE EVENT, a Ghaddafi son, told the Associated Press that the "Zionists" would never be allowed into Libya and that they had not been invited. Is that not clear enough?

It was clear enough for most of the Israelis, even though FIDE pathetically still acted as though they were welcome to play in Tripoli. But even then they said the Israelis couldn't come with family or trainers (even non-Israeli coaches), again unequal and unacceptable. When one Israeli passport holder, Milov, STILL insisted on going FIDE waited until the day before the event to suddenly say "okay, you can go," knowing it was too late.

FIDE's strategy the entire time was to maintain that the Israelis could play if they really wanted while not pissing off the Libyans by actually having any Israelis play. (It would be a huge diplomatic scandal for Libya in the Arab world.) Every time it seemed an Israeli might go forward and play another obstacle appeared.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on July 14, 2004 7:09 AM.

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